Replacing a Desktop with a Laptop – CompTIA A+ 220-801: 3.1

Updated : Nov 06, 2019 in Articles

Replacing a Desktop with a Laptop – CompTIA A+ 220-801: 3.1


Our laptop computers are getting
smaller and smaller, and our society is becoming
much more mobile. So it makes perfect sense to
think that we might want to move from our older desktop
computer into something like a laptop. But there are a number of
considerations you should keep in mind if you’re planning to
make the transition from a desktop machine to
a laptop machine. On the laptop, you don’t have
the same amount of room available that you have on
a desktop for typing. So the laptop keyboard is going
to be a lot smaller than the one that you normally work
with on a desktop computer. This keyboard also takes a
number of functions and doubles up their capability,
usually with something like a function key, so that if you
need to turn on and off the wireless, you hold down the
Function key and press F2. If you want to move between a
connected device for a monitor and the internal LCD, you would
use Function and F8 on this particular laptop. Notice that the number pad that
normally you would have on a desktop computer
is now built-in with these function keys. So if you’re somebody that uses
a lot of the number pad functionality, that may be
something that you have to give up or work around when
you’re working in a laptop environment. It’s obvious that a laptop is
a much smaller computing environment, and the same thing
applies to the storage that we would use inside of
these laptop devices. You can see, for instance,
desktop hard drive– this is a three terabyte hard drive on
the left, and on the right hand side is a 320 gigabyte,
2 and 1/2-inch drive that commonly is used in
a laptop computer. You usually don’t see the
laptops with as many options for large amounts of storage
because the storage itself is a bit of a smaller
form factor. If you were to look a little bit
closer, you can even see they take up a lot less room. It makes sense to have a much
smaller storage device in a laptop because you don’t have
all of that room available. Just keep in mind that you may
not have as much storage as you’re used to having on
a desktop computer. Of course, we don’t have the
same amount of room for memory on our laptop devices, either. So we commonly see the memory
modules on a laptop in this SO-DIMM form factor. That’s SO-DIMM stands for Small
Outline Dual In-line Memory Module. And there are a lot of different
versions of this that we’ve seen through
the years, for DDR and DDR2 and DDR3. You can see there are different
sections in the memory so that we can fit it
into the keys that is in the proper memory slots
on our computer. This is also one that has a lot
of different pins and a lot of different formats. So if you’re planning to buy
memory for your laptop, make sure you get exactly the right
kind of memory that correlates to the model of laptop
that you own. Now that our laptops are getting
much smaller, it’s becoming more and more unusual
to see one with an optical drive built into the
laptop itself. Optical drives tend to be
relatively large considering the size of the laptops we’re
working with these days. You really have to find the
right model laptop if you require an internal optical
drive like this one. It’s very common to perhaps
put something else in that slot as well. Some laptops even allow you to
swap out a optical device with a floppy drive or even with a
separate hard drive device, just so there’s options and
modularity on your laptop and portable device. You can get these optical
devices to do practically everything for you. If you’re in a mobile type of
environment and you need to be able to burn DVD-ROMs or
CD-ROMs, this might make a lot of sense to have in your
laptop device. And you can do all of that in
that mobile platform just by installing or having available
one of these optical drives. Not all laptops come with a
wireless card available, or maybe you would like to upgrade
the type of wireless interface that you have
in your laptop. There’s usually a cover on the
bottom of laptops that allow this where a slot will be
available that also has the wires that you would plug in
for the antennas that you would use for the wireless
communication. You would simply install the
wireless card very similar to other expansion devices and make
sure that you plug into the leads on the card those
antenna connectors that are generally going around the top
of your LCD monitor so that you get the best possible signal
when you’re using the wireless network. There are two common standards
you will see for those internal card interfaces that
you would plug into a laptop. One is this Mini PCI format. This is a wireless card. You can even see the leads
for the antennas on the top of that. And you can see, it’s about six
millimeters wide, the Mini PCI express much smaller. It’s one that takes
up less room. This is also a wireless card,
but notice that it takes up a lot less form factor. And if you have one of the
newer laptops that’s much smaller, it may opt to have one
of these Mini PCI Express adapters just so you’re saving
that much more room inside of a laptop case. These days a lot of the screens
that we have for our desktops are already LCD. And we have the same thing
on our laptops. This Liquid Crystal Display
gives us the ability to get a nice crisp display at very
high resolutions. But it’s very fragile. That’s something we didn’t have
to worry about on our desktop machines because
we weren’t moving the desktops around. But a laptop is going around
and moving a lot of places. It can be in a backpack. It can be in a carry case. You have to be very careful,
though, because these LCD displays are very,
very fragile. Make sure that you have a good
case so that when you carry around your laptop, you’re not
going to damage any part of the LCD display. Also keep in mind on the
LCD display, the resolutions are fixed. If you’re going to be changing
away from the default resolution of the LCD display,
you may notice that some of the information on the screen
is blurry or not as crisp as it normally is at its
native resolution. So you can sometimes purchase
your laptop with different native resolutions. And you’ll want to find the one
that fits best for what you were trying to do with
your mobile device. The power supply for a desktop
computer is a big box that sits inside of the case. We obviously don’t have that
kind of room on a laptop. So most of the power
supply sit outside of the laptop itself. They’re usually these large
power bricks we call them because they’re so big. And they’re responsible for
taking the alternating current coming out of the wall and
converting that to a direct current that the laptop
can then use. Usually, these will allow for
an auto-switching, sometimes it’s a fixed input going in. So depending on what source
you’re using and what country you happen to be in, you want
to be sure that the power supply you’re using will use
the proper type of input. If we look at this power supply,
you can see that this power supply allows for either
a 100-volt input or a 240-volt input. So you’ve got options. No matter where you happen to
travel in the world, you can use the same power supply. If you’re using a third-party
power supply, you may see that there’s a switch on it
that will switch between 100 and 240 volts. Make sure you use the right
voltage when you’re plugging into that wall outlet. Obviously, on a laptop, we can
move away from the wall outlet and take our laptop
on the road. We don’t have to always be
plugged into a power source. And we’re able to do that
because our laptop has batteries inside of it. Some of the early types of
batteries that we used on our mobile devices was
Nickel-Cadmium, or NiCd. These older batteries are rarely
use these days, but they were able to handle
very deep discharges. You could really use every bit
of that battery and still charge it back up again. Unfortunately, relatively
expensive and, from an environmental perspective,
these were not very good batteries to have. You rarely see these
used for consumer electronics these days. A common replacement for NiCd
batteries was the Nickel-Metal Hydride, or the NiMH
batteries. These batteries suffered from
problems if they were ever over-discharged, and you
could not charge them up again after that. And when you set them
on the shelf. They tended to decrease the
amount of charge very rapidly over time. So they were not the perfect
type of battery to use, which is why a lot of our consumer
electronics these days are using lithium ion batteries. Lithium ion batteries have an
advantage that they don’t have what some of the
older batteries had as a memory effect. That means that you can
discharge just a little bit of a lithium ion and then charge it
back up and it doesn’t lose any of its capacity
because of that. One of the problems with lithium
ion, though, is that it loses a little bit of its
capacity every you charge it. So over time, you’ll notice
the battery has lower and lower and lower amounts
of capacity. And, ultimately, after a number
of years, you may find yourself replacing that lithium
ion battery because it just can’t hold a charge
any longer. If you’re moving from a desktop
to a laptop, one of the things that you don’t
have any more is a desk. There’s nowhere to have
that physical mouse. So a lot of the mouse
functionality is built right into the keyboard. You can see a track pad that’s
right on the keyboard Itself. Maybe the mouse is this little
tiny piece that sits right in the middle of all the keys
itself so that you’re able to use your finger to move the
mouse around on the track pad, or put your finger on this mouse
movement device to be able to move the mouse around
the screen without having something that you would put
next to the computer or slide around on the desktop. Our desktop computers are
generally encased in metal, but our laptop computers
tend to use plastic. This type of plastic is
very durable, but it’s also very light. Because we’re moving these
devices around, it certainly makes sense to have a plastic
case rather than the much heavier metal case. This plastic around the laptop
is also very durable, and it has to be. The laptop is banging around
inside of our computer case. We’re pulling it
out on a plane. It’s being banged
around there. We need to be sure that this
case protects everything that’s inside of the laptop. Because it’s plastic, it’s also
a relatively inexpensive. So we don’t have to add a lot
of additional cost to the laptop just to make sure
everything is protected wherever we happen to take it. Most of our laptops are also
going to have speakers built into them to give us at least
some feedback and some output from music or videos
that we might have on our mobile devices. But because the speakers are
so small, they’re not the highest quality that
you might expect. Generally we would plug in
additional external speakers if we really needed something
high-fidelity. Or we’d plug in our earphones. But if you’re in a room and you
simply need to demonstrate a capability, show a small clip,
this may work perfectly for what you’re trying to do. These days, the laptops
generally have both a left and a right channel, so you
are getting stereo feedback from that. Some of our laptops, especially
the larger ones, might even have underneath the
device a subwoofer itself, which gives us a little more
clarity and a little better sound out of such
a small device. On our desktop computers,
we use standard-sized motherboards because we have
plenty of room, plenty of real estate, to put those standard
ATX motherboards or BTX motherboards right in that
motherboard case. But a laptop is not
standardized. Practically every motherboard
you’re going to find is proprietary. It’s built just for that
particular laptop model. And that makes it very difficult
to replace these. First you have to get an exact
replacement from the manufacturer. And because everything is
generally connected onto this motherboard, we have to
dismantle the entire laptop case, remove the motherboard,
replace it, and then put everything back together
again. The CPUs that you would find in
a laptop computer are very different than the CPUs
that you would find in a desktop computer. A desktop computer, for
instance, does not need to move anywhere, so it doesn’t
need to be extremely small. And it doesn’t have to worry
about power management. A laptop is often just running
on batteries, so you don’t want a CPU that is going to
use up all of that battery time even if it’s just
sitting there idle. You also have a lot of
integrated features on a laptop CPU. The video displays and
components can be built into the CPU itself. Your memory controller can
be built into the CPU. And that means that you don’t
need additional components on your motherboard to be able
to handle those functions. On a desktop computer, you
generally have a socket that allows you to remove the CPU and
replace and then sometimes upgrade that CPU
on the desktop. Laptop computers
don’t generally allow you to do this. They’re often connected
hard-wired to the motherboard. And it’s not very easy
to replace one. Even if it does allow it, it
generally doesn’t allow you to upgrade it. They build these laptop
motherboards for a specific function with a specific CPU,
and you don’t have a lot of options for changing
any of those out. On a desktop computer, you have
plenty of room to cool that CPU, and you have plenty
of power to put towards the CPU process. But on a laptop, it’s a
very confined area. You don’t have a lot of
capabilities for cooling that device, and you also don’t have
the ability to power it all the time. So you’ll find that the CPUs on
a laptop are often a little bit slower than what you
might find available on a desktop computer. And it’s because we have to keep
the size small and the heat down to a minimum that
usually dictates just how fast that CPU is going to
be able to go.

3 Comments

  • Laptops (as a replacement for desktop) are my favorite computer form. In the past I had desktop computers. The main disadvantage of a laptop was that they were very expensive, compared to a desktop computer with the same features.

    Now it is feasible to buy a laptop because they are just slightly more expensive than a desktop. The main advantage is that a laptop requires les physical space has almost no cables and does not turn a living room into an office room.

    My last 4 computers were laptops, and if I buy a computer again, it will be a laptop again, for the same reason.

  • 9:17 If you have a USB mouse or your laptop has a PS/2 mouse connection, you can still use an external mouse. If you do, you can do the same things with the mouse than you could with a mouse connected to a desktop computer.

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