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Replace Your Space

It slices away excess dices the bulkier competition: The desktop replacement notebook kicks your tower to the curb.

Do you really need two computers, a desktop PC and a laptop? Lucky for you, not anymore: Powerful, new desktop replacement notebooks can now do the job of both, and come in especially handy for road warriors constantly shuffling their work in and out of the office.

Weighing in at 8 to 10 pounds (and designed to be more transportable than portable), the latest desktop replacement notebooks come with enough processing power and other appointments to easily function as your primary PC at the office. But when you're ready to hit the road, simply unplug it and take it with you-no more worries about whether you remembered to bring this file or that program.

If you're a frequent flier, you still might prefer one of the many 3- to 6-pound lightweights on the market; they're easier to schlep around to far-flung business meetings than their fully appointed counterparts. But keep in mind, those same features that add a few pounds to your desktop replacement notebook also let you compute in comfort at your workstation.

Extras include 15-inch liquid crystal displays, built-in CD-ROM and DVD-ROM drives, extra ports for connecting full-sized keyboards and mouses, and enough memory modules and storage space to handle even the largest databases. Docking stations, port replicators and mini peripheral connect interfaces (PCIs) provide true expandability and interchangeability, giving you access to standard desktop features.

Some models have Infrared Data Association (IRDA) ports for wireless exchange with other IRDA-equipped devices, such as printers and personal digital assistants. Sony has even added a lightning-quick digital interface port (called iLINK) to its F480 for fast and easy transfer of data, video and photos. We can also look forward to a new wireless technology called Bluetooth, which is scheduled to debut this month but probably won't make it into notebooks before year-end or early 2001. Bluetooth is a communication chip developed by Intel, Nokia, Ericsson, Toshiba and IBM for sending and receiving information over radio frequencies. The Bluetooth will let notebooks, PCs and other electronic devices "talk" more easily with one another.

In addition, several of the high-end portable models sport Intel's SpeedStep technology-a power-saving innovation that runs the CPU faster when plugged into an outlet than when relying on battery power. "SpeedStep slows down when you switch over to battery power, so you don't chew up the battery so quickly," explains John Grodem, NEC's mobile product manager.

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This article was originally published in the May 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Replace Your Space.

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