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PC Technoids LLC

Laptop /Portable Devices

(CompTIA uses the terms laptop and portable devices interchangeably).

Percentage of Examination:

Essentials exam 11%
220-602 exam (IT/Enterprise Technician) 9%
220-603 exam (Remote technician) 0%
220-604 (Depot Technician) 20%

Identify the fundamental principles of using laptop and portable devices:

Identify names, purposes and characteristics of laptop-specific:
Form factors such as memory and hard drives
Peripherals (e.g. docking station, port replicator and media / accessory bay)
Expansion slots (e.g. PCMCIA I, II and III, card and express bus)
Ports (e.g. mini PCI slot)
Communication connections (e.g. Bluetooth, infrared, cellular WAN, Ethernet)
Power and electrical input devices
LCD technologies (e.g. active and passive matrix, resolution)
Input devices (e.g. Keyboard, Mouse/pointer devices, and Touch screen)

Install, configure, optimize and upgrade laptops and portable devices.

Identify tools, basic diagnostic procedures and troubleshooting techniques
for laptops and portable devices.

Perform preventive maintenance on laptops and portable devices.

Bluetooth is a wireless technology that enables devices to connect point-to-point or
multipoint (up to seven simultaneous connections by a single device) rather than the
traditional cable link. This means that devices that have Bluetooth enabled can
connect to each other in a wireless environment, no more cables! Bluetooth
operates at the unlicensed 2.4 GHz range, and its usable within a range of about 30
feet (10 meters).
Characteristics of Bluetooth:
Operates at low power
Low cost
Capable of processing voice and data transmission simultaneously
Networks are temporary
Networks are ad hoc basis: whenever two Bluetooth devices get close enough
to each other, they can communicate directly with each other.

Bluetooth Classes:
Class 1: 100-meter (300 ft) range, industrial usage, 100 milliwatts power.
Class 2: 10-meters (30 ft) range, mobile devices usage and 2.5 milliwatts (Most
common class)
Class 3: 1-meter (3 ft) rarely used and 1 milliwatt power

Infrared a standard for transmitting data via infrared light waves. Increasingly,
computers and other devices (such as printers) come with IrDA ports. This enables
you to transfer data from one device to another without any cables. For example, if
both your laptop computer and printer have IrDA ports, you can simply put your
computer in front of the printer and output a document, without needing to connect
the two with a cable.
IrDA ports support roughly the same transmission rates as traditional parallel ports.
The only restrictions on their use is that the two devices must be within a few feet of
each other and there must be a clear line of sight between them.
Infrared is: quick, easy to configure, secure. Limited to line-of-sight, point-to-point

Cellular WAN 3G cellular WAN technology intended to turn your cell phone into a
powerful data transmission tool. It supports speeds of up to 2.4M it/sec, far
exceeding previous generation cellular transmission rates of 44K bit/sec.
Cell communications requires the use of a central access point, usually a cell tower,
which is connected to a main hub.


Laptops dont use standard desktop computer memory chips. There are two
common types of laptop memory: SoDIMM and MicroDIMM.

SoDIMM: Short for Small Outline DIMM, a small version of a DIMM used commonly in
notebook computers. Whereas a full-size DIMM has 168 pins and supports 64-bit
transfers, a SO DIMM has only 72 pins, which supports only 32-bit transfers, or 144
pins, which supports a full 64-bit transfer.

MicroDIMM: are the newest and easily the smallest RAM form factor for laptops. It is
over 50% smaller than a SoDIMM. Another difference is that the RAM does not have
notches on the bottom. MicroDIMMs have either 144 pins or 172 pins and are similar
to DIMMs in that they are 64-bit memory modules. MicroDIMMs are more expensive
than SoDIMMs.

Laptop monitor displays:

Active matrix displays include:

MIM - Metal Insulator Metal
PALC - Plasma Addressed Liquid Crystal
TFT - Thin Film Transistors

Display Resolutions (make sure you know these for the test).

XGA - Extended Graphic Array: 1024x768
SXGA+ - Super Extended Graphics Array: 1400x1050
UXGA - Ultra Extended Graphics Array: 1600x1200
WUGA - Widescreen Ultra Extended Graphics Array: 1920x1200

Docking Station:
A platform into which you can install a portable computer. The docking station
typically contains slots for expansion cards, bays for storage devices, and connectors
for peripheral devices, such as printers and monitors. Once inserted in a docking
station, the portable computer essentially becomes a desktop model computer. When
it is taken out, it becomes a portable computer again. Most importantly, the same
data is accessible in both modes because it resides on the portable computer's
drives. The idea behind docking stations is to let you simultaneously enjoy the
expansion possibilities of desktop model computers with the portability of notebook
computers. In addition, the docking station enables you to use a full-size keyboard
and monitor when you're not traveling.

Laptops support Plug and Play at three different levels:

Cold Docking: takes place when the computer is completely shut down before it is
docked or undocked.

Warm Docking: A method of removing or installing a mobile system in a docking
station with which the computer can be docked or undocked while in a reduced
power state, such as suspend.

Hot Docking: means the computer can be docked while running at full power.

PCMCIA card is a credit card-size memory or I/O device that connects to a personal
computer, usually a notebook or laptop computer.

Type I: Thickness (mm): 3.3 Typical Use: Memory

Type II: Thickness (mm) 5.0 Typical Use: Modems, LANs, SCSI, and sound

Type III: Thickness (mm) 10.5 Typical Use: ATA hard drive

The Type II cards and I work in a Type III slot and a Type I card will work in a Type
II slot. (On the other hand, the thicker cards can't be fitted into the slots for the
thinner cards.)

Power management: refers to a group of techniques that (for the most part) are
designed to reduce the power consumption of a PC (particularly a laptop running on
battery power). These techniques include suspend-to-disk, suspend-to-RAM,
processor frequency scaling (reducing the processor clock speed), spinning down the
hard disk, and thermal management (starting the fans).

AC power issues: laptops are powered by either AC power or battery. Remember
that AC power must be used to charge the battery. Laptops have an indicator light
showing if the AC power is being received. Most laptops have an icon located at the
bottom right hand corner of the screen indicating if the laptop is using AC power or
battery. Word of caution, use the AC cord that came with the laptop.
Also, if there is a network card attached to the laptop it may be configured to
conserve power if the laptop is running on a battery and therefore the network card
is not active. You can solve this by accessing the Control Panel.

DC power issues: Laptops are power hungry and the biggest issue with DC power
problems is the battery life.

Antenna wires: Most laptops include an internal wireless card.

External Monitors: laptops can be connected to external monitors either directly or
through a docking station. If you connect an external monitor to a laptop after it has
been booted, you will have to use the appropriate Fn key to send the display to the

Keyboard issues: Keyboards become dirty and you may need to use compressed
air to blow them clean. Sometimes the keyboard springs wear out. You will have to
either replace the keyboard, which is expensive, or use an external one.

Pointer issues: Just like the keyboard, pointer devices become dirty and need to
be cleaned. If a pointer device needs to be replaced use an external one.

Laptops vs. Desktops


Pros: Portability, access wireless networking in public locations

Cons: Less powerful (usually), harder to upgrade, more expensive, less resistant to
theft, more prone to component failure, quality of construction.


Pros: More powerful, easy to upgrade, less expensive, more resistant to theft, less
prone to component failure

Cons: Not portable

Laptop Motherboards

Laptop motherboards, like desktops, are the backbone area to which all internal
components connect. The problem is that with laptops, most components are
integrated onto the motherboard. Also, there is a lack of standards with laptop
motherboards and are mostly proprietary.

Laptop Processors

Laptop processors are not as fast as desktops.

Cooling is a major concern with laptop processors and therefore differs from the
desktop processors. Example to difference, because of the heat is:

Laptop processors mount to the motherboard differently. Unfortunately, most laptop
processors cannot be removed and therefore they cant be upgraded or repaired.

Laptop processors run at lower voltages and clock speeds than desktop processors.

Laptops have processor throttling. The system is able to determine if the processor
needs to run at full speed and if not, it slows down to save energy and heat. When
more processing power is needed, the processor is throttled back up.

Processor States:

CO is the operational state; no power is being saved.

C1, or Halt, is a powered-down state, but the processor can return to action almost

C2 or Stop-Clock, uses less power than C1. The processor is still visible to software
applications but takes longer to wake up if a request is made.

C3 or Sleep mode, the processor cache is flushed and it will take a few seconds for
the processor to be available.

Laptop Device States:

D0 Full On is the full operating state.

D1 and D2 are intermediate power states. Neither uses full power, and each device
specifically defines its own D1 and D2 states.

D3 Off, the device is completely powered down and not responsive.

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