- Questions to ask yourself
- Desktop PC or notebook?
- How important is mobility?
- What will I be using the notebook for?
- How much do I need to spend?
- Specialised portable computers?
- Ultraportable notebooks
- Tablet PCs
- Palm/hand top computers
- Ruggedised portables
- Processor and chipset
- Intel versus AMD
- Intel notebook processors
- AMD mobile processors
- Other key components
- Questions to ask the retailer
If a computer's CPU is the brain of the PC, the hard drive serves as the heart, pumping vital data to the rest of the system. Providing long-term storage on your PC, the hard drive is the workhorse component of virtually every computer.
The hard drive rapidly records data as magnetic pulses on spinning metal platters -- the more quickly a drive spins, the more quickly you can access and transfer data. In the mobile market, the overriding concern is power conservation. Slower-rotation drives can increase battery life but also reduce performance.
Hard disk speed is measured in revolutions per minute (rpm). The more your work or gaming requires access to the notebook's hard disk to load or save, the faster the disk you'll want. The range of hard disk options includes 4200rpm, 5400rpm and 7200rpm. It's also worth noting that hard disks are usually quite upgradeable with help from vendors.
Storage capacities for new drives grow every year, but the physical size (2.5in) of drives remains relatively constant. The biggest single notebook hard disk at the moment is 200GB and the minimum you should opt for is about 60-80GB.
If you are a multimedia user, and therefore most likely will be working with large file sizes, then you will probably want at least 120GB of hard drive space. The other option would be to use alternative (removable) methods of storing data, such as DVD writer or an external storage device.
Multimedia users who are interested in a desktop notebook may also be pleased to hear that such machines can sometimes support two hard disks in RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) configuration which offers potential performance and data backup benefits.
Most notebooks include a Serial ATA (SATA) hard disk interface. This is the connection type that the industry has moved to for newer SATA hard disks that are replacing the older IDE (EIDE) kind.