Understanding The Geek Language When Buying A New Laptop

We have been selling computer systems and laptops for all these years, and until right now, we still have lots of customers asking us what does the acronyms mean for the laptop specifications when we gave them the quotations.

Bluetooth, Firewire, Wi-Fi, Kensington Slot and so forth.

…if you are not into I.T. itself, you will not be interested to know what the technology mean…

They just sound too geeky and seriously, if you are not into I.T. itself, you will not be interested to know what the technology mean, you just need it to work, and that’s it. We understand, and we want to “ease your pain” for your next purchasing with us, so, right here, right now, I’m going to decipher these geeky acronyms for you and hopefully you can understand them better.

Bluetooth Technology

  • for wirelessly transferring data short distances (up to 30 feet) among notebooks, cell phones, Palm or Pocket PC handhelds, and printers.
  • available on many notebooks.
  • not a competitor to wireless Ethernet.
  • comes with most notebook computer

How To Buy A Laptop ComputerDVD-Rom/CDRW Combo Drives

  • Slowly being phased out but you’ll still find it in some budget and business notebooks.
  • reads DVDs and CDs and writes CDs.

Dual Layer, Dual Format DVD RW Drives

  • Adding writeable DVD is extremely cost effective these days.
  • Virtually all consumer laptops will have some kind of DVD writing capability.
  • Dual format writes both mi-nus(DVD RW) and plus(DVD+RW) discs at a maximum capacity of 4.7GB.
  • Dual Layer adds another layer on top of the disc to give it a total capacity of 8.5GB.

Docking station

  • A cradle for your notebook that provides space for extra drives and attachment ports for all your cables.
  • Popular in business, but are losing favor to port replicators among individuals.
    • Replicators typically don’t have any expansion bays.

ExpressCard Slot

  • Already replacing PC Card slots as a feature for expandability.
  • Supports two form factors:-
    • ExpressCard/34 (34 mm wide) and
    • ExpressCard/54 (54 mm wide, in an L-shape).
  • Currently, there are very few ExpressCard devices out there that can take advantage of the faster bus speeds.


  • A high-speed connector (capable of 400 Mbps).
  • Universal on Macs, common on media-oriented PCs for transfers from digital video (DV) cameras.
  • USB is used for virtually all other high-speed data transfers on PC notebooks.

Kensington slot

  • A universal connector for a physical security lock, named after the company that invented the feature.
  • virtually every notebook security lock you can buy fits the Kensington-style slot.

Key pitch

  • Distance from the center of one key to the next.
  • Desktop keyboards have a 19mm (0.75 inches) pitch.
  • Full size notebook keyboards have a 97 percent (18.5mm) pitch.
  • To check key pitch, measure across 10 keys (from the left side of the Q key to the left side of the left bracket ([) key).

Modular Bay

  • A cavity in a notebook used primarily for removable drives, but also for accessories.
  • A two-bay notebook has an internal bay for the hard drive and a second bay for a CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, floppy disk drive, or a spare battery.

PC Card slot

  • A space in a notebook where you can insert credit card-size accessories such as modems, network adapters, wireless network adapters, security cards, and memory cards, as well as connection points for some external disk drives.
  • PC Cards are slowly becoming legacy ports as they are being replaced by ExpressCards.

Pointing device

  • A built-in substitute for the mouse—
    • either a touch pad or a pointing stick that looks like a pencil eraser stuck below the G and H keys.
  • Some notebooks have both types.

Port replicator

  • A hardware device that attaches to a notebook and connects all the cables (modem, printer, power, and mouse) that you would otherwise attach one by one to your notebook’s ports.
  • simpler than a docking station and cheaper.
  • Most replicators include a security locking slot.

Travel weight

  • The total weight of a notebook package for computing on the road, including the notebook, transformer, battery, and possibly an adapter module for connecting accessories.
  • Marketing literature usually quotes system weight (computer, battery, and usually the internal optical drive).
  • Add 0.75 pounds for the transformer and 0.5 pounds for the optical drive if it wasn’t quoted by the manufacturer.

Universal Serial Bus (USB)

  • An all-purpose input/output connector that lets you attach a digital camera, audio player, memory key, mouse, external drive, or printer.
  • A notebook has one to four USB ports (two are adequate for most users).
  • All notebooks sold today use USB 2.0, capable of 480 Mbps.


  • An LCD display with a width-to-height ratio of 16 to 10 (sometimes 16:9) instead of the more common 4:3.
  • better for watching movies, but total size (square inches) is about the same.


  • Short for wireless fidelity, an umbrella term for wireless Ethernet.
    • 802.11b, capable of 11 Mbps theoretical speed (about 5 Mbps actual), is most common.
    • 802.11g, capable of 54 Mbps, is succeeding (and in-corporates) 802.11b.
    • Some corporations prefer 802.11a, also 54 Mbps. It is possible for a wireless card to integrate both g (with b) and a.
    • Virtually every notebook incorporates wired Ethernet; many include wireless, too.

XGA (Extended Graphics Array)

  • One of the two most common screen resolutions for notebooks and desktops:1,024 pixels horizontally by 768 vertically.
  • Equally common is SXGA+ (1,400 by 1,050).
  • Other resolutions are SXGA (1,280 by 1,024, used more on desktops than notebooks), and
  • UXGA (1,600 by 1,200).
  • The higher resolutions make for crisp graphics and small text.
  • Widescreen displays typically use WXGA (1280 by 768), WSXGA+ (1680 by 1050), and WUXGA (1920 by 1200).

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