Tech Talk – Be laptop savvy |

Tech Talk – Be laptop savvy

Dear Ernie,Im experiencing a laptop conundrum. Im in the market for a new laptop, but I dont know how to sort out all the options. I have seen similarly priced options for what looked like a slower computer with a fancy graphics card or a much faster laptop with integrated graphics. I hope to keep the laptop for a while, any advice?Signed,Confused Laptop Shopper

Dear Laptop Shopper,Popular wisdom is that beefing up the processor is always the best way to allocate your dollars to boost performance, since more megahertz is better, right? Wrong. Ill start by explaining the different types of Graphics Cards. There are 2 basic types of cards Integrated or Discrete. Integrated graphics are built right onto the chip and share the computers memory. This slows down both the computer and graphics significantly. Discrete Graphics cards on the other hand, have their own memory so they can render better graphics faster, without slowing down the rest of the computer. I would recommend spending $75 on a discrete ATI Mobility Radeon, a much better buy than $50 on a 200MHz speed bump for the processor. The performance difference a couple hundred megahertz buys you is not noticeable to most users! While a graphics card from ATI or Nvidia will deliver serious performance benefits over Intel’s integrated graphics offering. This is especially true if you do even light 3D gaming, HD video playback or anything else mildly graphically intensive like running Vista’s Aero interface. Thrifty folks take heed: If you plan to keep your laptop for more than two years, buying a better graphics card makes it more future-proof, since Windows 7 and future resource-intensive apps will utilize the bonus computing power and memory of a discrete graphics cards to provide extra computing mojo!

Interactive App of the Week Visual Bookshelf is a social application with rating and review features. However, instead of movies you can share what you are currently reading with everyone. You can add books youve already read, offering scores and adding a short descriptive blurb. Coolest of all, the application suggests further reading choices based on your collection.

Kings Beach resident Ernie Dambach is a self-admitted computer geek who enjoys helping others navigate their way through the digital world. His computer and networking company Tahoe Tech Group serves small and medium businesses, as well as the home computer users throughout the Tahoe Truckee region.Log onto, or call (530) 550-0999. READERS SHARE FAVORITE TIPS: Have a great tech tip that youd like to share?Post in the comments section below.

More Tech Talk of 2009

Support Local Journalism


Support Local Journalism

Readers around Lake Tahoe, Truckee, and beyond make the Sierra Sun's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User