Multimedia Laptops

Written by James McLean
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These days, the rules have changed for what can and can't be called a multimedia laptop. There was a time when the ability to run movies at half-screen and play back MP3s was good enough for the designation. Today the bar has been raised substantially, and manufacturers are scrambling to keep up with changing technologies.

Generally most experts believe true multimedia laptops are those that contain certain benchmark hardware. 512MB RAM is considered adequate, and a separate video card with at least 128MB of video RAM is practically required fare. Add in software packages such as those that come optional with XP or standard with XP Media Center Edition and you begin to get a sense of what's selling.

Why Media?

Our laptops have long been more than simple machines for calculating spreadsheets and drafting correspondence. Today you would be hard-pressed to catch a flight anywhere in the U.S. without finding at least one passenger watching a DVD and another listening to music on their notebook computers. The truth is that these versatile tools have transcended their computing lineage to become entertainment companions of the highest order.

The very best multimedia laptops even throw in goodies like integrated web cams and subwoofers to give your machine some zip on the Web. Whatever you choose, you may want to check its specs and processing firepower against other major manufacturers. Sometimes the best deals on the Web are a little off the beaten path of the Big Three computer builders.

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