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Laptop Buying Guide Chapters

1. What to Consider Before Purchasing a Laptop

2. Recommended Laptop Features

3. Video Memory and Screen Resolution

4. Notebook CPU Speed Index Chart

5. Hints on Buying a Laptop

6. Best Selling Laptops and Notebooks

7. Notebook Reviews and Links



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Notebook Buying Guide - page 3

Recommended Notebook Features - continued

Video Memory and Screen Resolution Table

Type of Output
Maximum Screen Size
Number of Colors
Video RAM Required
VGA 640x480 16 1 MB
SVGA 800x600 256 1 - 2 MB
XGA 1024x768 64K-16M 4 MB
SXGA 1280x1024 16M 8 MB
Super XGA+ 1400x1050 16M 8 MB
Ultra XGA 1600x1200 16M 8 MB

Laptops with no dedicated video memory. If your notebook lists the term "shared memory" in its specifications, it is likely that it contains no dedicated video memory. The video controller shares system RAM with the CPU, eliminating the requirement for dedicated Video RAM. For notebooks that use shared RAM, the video controller's capability is the limiting factor for screen resolution.

There are two drawbacks to shared RAM: The video controller accesses shared RAM slower than dedicated Video RAM, and the memory used by the video card reduces total system RAM available to software programs. For example, if your notebook with 1 GB of shared RAM is running a video program that uses 128 MB of RAM, your system RAM is reduced to less than 900 MB of RAM.

So what is good about shared RAM? Shared RAM allows manufacturers to cut cost, size, and heat generation by eliminating Video RAM. As a result, you will usually see shared RAM in lower cost laptops, notebooks, and desktops.

Hint: Avoid notebooks with shared RAM unless you are interested in low power consumption, extended battery life, or you are buying a low cost laptop.



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