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Need tech advice: comparing guts of 2 laptops

by paqrmatt / July 1, 2010 4:17 AM PDT

I'm looking at purchasing one of 2 laptops as a cheap means of browsing the internet at home. I'll mainly be using it for viewing video/music clips (hi-def), streaming HD video and general internet browsing. The 2 laptops below are refurbished thru my employer and I'm not sure if having more RAM is better than having more VRAM for what I plan on using the computer for.

Here are the two laptops:

1.
Core 2 Duo 1.66GHz CPU with 1 GB RAM, 14.1" No Drive, Trackpoint/Touchpad Pointing Device, 56.0K (OnBoard), Fast Ethernet (100Base-X) Network Adapter, Integrated Sound System with Speakers, NO OPERATING SYSTEM INSTALLED. One PCM Slot, 1.6GHz Motherboard, Drive 1: SATA 80 GB HD, Removable Drive 1: CD-RW DVD Combo, Functional Battery, 8 MB VRAM (OnBoard) Video RAM, Power Supply Adapter Included,

2.
Core 2 Duo 1.66GHz CPU with 2 GB RAM, 14.1" No Drive, Trackpoint/Touchpad Pointing Device, 56.0K (OnBoard), Fast Ethernet (100Base-X) Network Adapter, Integrated Sound System with Speakers, NO OPERATING SYSTEM INSTALLED. One PCM Slot, 1.6GHz Motherboard, Drive 1: SATA 60 GB HD, Removable Drive 1: CD-RW DVD Combo, Functional Battery, 1 MB VRAM (OnBoard) Video RAM, Power Supply Adapter Included,

Basically, it comes down to #1 having 2GB RAM and 1MB VRAM, versus #2 having 1GB RAM and 8MB VRAM. They are basically the same price (#2 is $10 more).

Thanks for taking to the time to read my message.

Matt

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forgot to mention...
by paqrmatt / July 1, 2010 4:18 AM PDT

...both are Dell laptops.

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I really doubt ...
by Kees Bakker / July 1, 2010 4:22 AM PDT

if streaming HD video is possible with any of the 2. Did you try?

Kees

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maybe not
by paqrmatt / July 1, 2010 4:28 AM PDT
In reply to: I really doubt ...

it may be more like "enhanced" definition streaming video. not true HD. no, i have not tried it yet.

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WIth a 1MB frame buffer.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 1, 2010 4:37 AM PDT

That's the tech name for it. Does 800x600 work? Let's do the math.

800 x 600 x 3 (a byte per color) = 960,000 bytes.

This means there is BARELY enough ram to hold one image. This means zero chances of any larger display and likely less chance of smooth video play as we only have one buffer. With the 8 MB buffer the video has a chance to get a few frames of video display queued up so video play is going to be much better with less taxation on the CPU.

8MB is my vote here.
Bob

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Ooops, bad calculatiion.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 1, 2010 4:40 AM PDT

800 x 600 x 3 is 480000 times is 1,440,000 bytes so the 1MB frame buffer is likely for a very poor 640x480 display which means web browsing is going to end with posts about "Why don't web sites cater to 640x480 VGA standards."

Ouch.

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any idea...
by paqrmatt / July 1, 2010 5:12 AM PDT

...how much RAM and VRAM I'd need to comfortably view HD video?

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You have to define HD first.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 1, 2010 5:40 AM PDT
In reply to: any idea...

Some think it's 720, others 1080p. You can find the numbers on the web and do the math to see if there is enough memory to hold one frame of 1080p. However we can tell from the exercise above that these are simple web surf machines and the 1MB VRAM looks to be pixel challanged.

Let's just say no.
Bob

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