Sunday, April 16, 2006

Some FAQ's

From NotebookReview
By: Lowlymarine

Question #1:
Can I upgrade the graphics card in my notebook?

Not likely. Some high-end models can be upgraded, for instance Alienwares and Falcon Northwests. Dells with dedicated cards can be upgraded within model lines by ordering the appropriate card from Dell's spare parts. INTEGRATED CARDS (Intel Extreme & GMA 900, S3G Unichrome, etc.) CAN NOT BE UPGRADED, however.

Question #2:
Can I upgrade my processor, then?

Possibly. Most processors in computers can be upgraded inside model lines, eg. you can replace a P-M 1.6GHz Sonoma with a P-M 1.86GHz Sonoma, or a Mobile Athlon 64 3400+ with a MA64 3700+. You cannot, however, upgrade between model lines, EVEN IF they are both avaiable configuration options on your notebook. For instance, a Sempron 2800+ cannot be upgraded to an Athlon 64 3200+, even though they are both on the HP dv6000, nor can a Celeron-M 1.3GHz be upgraded to a P-M 1.6, even though the Dell Inspiron 6000 can be configured with both. A couple of warnings: 1) Make ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that you are using the correct processor type (P-M of the same core, Mobile or DTR Athlon 64, etc.) and 2) This WILL VOID YOUR WARRANTY, so please don't break anything.

Question #3:
Gah! I tried to upgrade the video drivers for my ATi or nVidia card and I get an error message saying that a supported chipset cannot be found. What can I do?

The reason for this is that neither nVidia nor ATi officially support upgraded drivers for their laptop cards. There a re several workarounds, however. First, try the "Support/drivers" section of you laptop's OEM's website, as it is officially their responsibility to update the drivers for their computers. If there are no updates there, your best bet is to use a modded driver set with built-in support for mobile cards. I personally reccomend the LaptopVideo2Go. If you really want to do things the hard way, download the installer for the official drivers, run it until it stops, then locate the temporary folder for the driverset (most likely C:ATI or C:
Vidia). Next, go to your video adapter in the Device Manager and select "Update Driver." Navigate to the temporary folder I had you locate earlier, and select the driver file (it will be a .INF file located in the 2KXP_INF folder of your driver's temporary files). From the massive list of cards that appears, scroll down until you get to the genric entries that look like "RADEON 9800XT" or "GeForce FX5700." Generally you pick the one that most closely matches your model of card, IE if you have a GeForce Go6600, you would pick "GeForce 6600GT" or if you have a Mobility RADEON 9800, you would pick "RADEON 9800XT." However, this is not always true; the MR9600, MR9700, x300, and x600 are all based on the desktop 9800XT core, so for best performance, you would pick "RADEON 9800XT" for these as well. (Note: Some of thse steps may be a little off, especially for nVidia card owners, since I have done this only with my MR9600.)

As a final word of warning, the ATi 9000/9100 IGPs and x200M IGP, along with the GeForce Go6200 IGP, are not compatable with any known non-OEM drivers as of the time of writing, due to their status as integrated graphics processors.

Quesion #4:
What are these "Tablet PCs" I keep hearing about?

A Tablet PC is a computer that either is designed flat or can be folded flat that you interact with using an electromagnetic pen and touchscreen. Similar to an electronic notepad, these PCs are popular among professionals and students due to their flexibility, low weights, and long battery life. The tradeoff is that they tend to not be very powerful and use older chipsets with integrated graphics.

Question #5:
What's the difference between "Centrino" and a Pentium-M?

The Pentium-M is the actual processor chip, whereas "Centrino Mobile Technology" is merely the term for a combonation for the Intel 845/855GM or 900/915GM motherboard chipset, Pentium-M processor, and Intel PRO/Wireless 2200BG or 2915ABG wireless cards. "Centrino" is not a piece of hardware or software in and of itself. Note that Celeron-M processors, even if combined with the proper motherboard and wireless card, do NOT qualify as Centrino Mobile Technology, despite the architectural similarities. Not that that really matters.

I'll continue to add more information here as I think of it.

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