How Laptops are Similar to Desktop Computers

How Laptops are Similar to Desktop Computers


Like regular desktops, laptops are powered by microprocessors. A typical laptop processor is customized for lowered power consumption and heat production. The processors are designed to run at a lower voltage and have multiple sleep or slow-down modes that increase battery life considerably. The most popular laptop processors in the market are Motorola’s PowerPC (used in Apple Macintosh computers), and Intel’s Pentium and Celeron and AMD’s K5 and K6 (used in PCs).

Operating System

It is the system software that directly controls and manages hardware and basic system operations. Additionally, an operating system provides a foundation for the functioning of application software.

Various operating systems available today are:

Microsoft Windows: The Microsoft Windows family covers round 90% of the worldwide desktop market share. Various versions include Microsoft Windows 98, 2000, NT and XP.

Mac OS: Macintosh Operating System was developed by Apple Computers, Inc. for Mackintosh Computers. Mac OS X is the latest version available in the market.

MS-DOS: Developed by Microsoft in 1981, Microsoft-Disk Operating System is used on the PC compatible platform; although, it is gradually being replaced with various generations of the Windows operating system. Its forerunner, CP/M (Control Program/Monitor) was used in a few laptops manufactured in the early 1980s.

UNIX-based: UNIX was originally developed in the 1960s and 1970s by a group of AT&T Bell Labs employees. These days it represents a diverse group of operating systems including System V, BSD and Linux.

1. What is a Laptop?

2. How Laptops are Similar to Desktop Computers

  • Microprocessor
  • Operating System
  • Memory
  • Disk Drives
  • Input/Output Ports
  • SoundCard and Speaker

3. How Laptops are Unlike Desktop Computers

  • Power Supply
  • Display Screeen
  • Input Devices
  • Docking Connection

4. Personalizing the Laptop

5. History of Laptop Computers

6. Popular Laptop Brands

  • Sony – VAIO
  • Compaq – Presario
  • Apple – iBook Dual USB
  • Lenovo – ThinkPad
  • Dell – Inspiron

7. Common Laptop Uses

8. Health Issues

Computer Memory

Laptop computer memory also comprises of ROM (Read Only Memory) and RAM (Random Access Memory). The laptop’s ROM chip contains the BIOS exactly as a desktop computer’s does. However, a laptop RAM uses a form factor different from a standard desktop computer.

Disk Drives

Like desktops, laptops have various disk drive storage devices. The internal hard disk drive capacity usually varies from 6 to 20 GB (gigabytes). Removable disk storage system includes floppy disks, Zip disks, CDs and DVDs. Some laptops are manufactured with a bay that allows for interchanging of various drives A ‘Hot-swappable’ drive allows the user to interchange various drives without rebooting the computer, whereas using a ‘cold-swappable’ drive requires the user to switch off the computer before making any changes. Some laptops do not have any internal drives. All drives are externallly connected to the computer by cables. This feature allows the laptop to be very small and thin.

Input/Output Ports

Computers send and receive information to other devices (such as printers, modems and networks) through various input/output ports, which can include serial ports, parallel ports and Universal Serial Bus (USB) ports. Some laptops have expansion slots for ‘PC’ cards that can be used for expansion of memory and addition of a modem, a network connection or a secondary device.

Sound Cards And Speakers

Like desktops, most laptops are equipped with sound cards and speakers for the purpose of playing music. However, the quality of the built-in speakers in most laptops does not match that of desktop speakers as space is a major limitation in a laptop case.