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Spawned in the mainframe days of computing, grid today is being taken out of the realms of academia and research and being used by enterprises in an attempt to ease the process of homogenizing heterogeneous and siloed compute environments.

Because grid computing puts a layer of virtualization, or abstraction, between applications and the operating systems (OS) those applications run on, it can be used to tie together all a corporation’s CPUs and use them for compute-intensive application runs without the need to for stacks and stacks of new hardware.

And because the grid simply looks for CPU cycles that are made available to the grid though open grid services architecture (OGSA) APIs, applications simply interact with the CPU via the grid’s abstraction layer irregardless of OS, said Tom Hawk, IBM’s general manager of Grid Computing. In this way, Windows applications can run on Unix and Unix applications can run on Windows and so on.

“We’re exploiting existing infrastructure through some fairly sophisticated algorithmic scheduling functions — knowing which machines are available, pooling machines into a broader grouping of capacity on our way towards exploiting those open APIs so that we really, truly do separate the application from the infrastructure,” he said.

Virtualized Environment

Basically, grid can be thought of as similar to the load balancing of a single server but extended to all the computers in the enterprise. Everything from the lowliest PC to the corporate mainframe can be tied together in a virtualized environment that allows applications to run on disparate operating systems, said Hawk.

“The way I like to think about it really simply is the internet and TCP/IP allow computers to communicate with each other over disparate networks,” he said. “Grid computing allows those computers to work together on a common problem using a common open standards API.”

Some companies in the insurance industry, for example, are utilizing grid to cut the run-time of actuarial programs from hours to minutes, allowing this group to use risk analysis and exposure information many times a day verses just once. In one example, IBM was able to cut a 22-hour run-time down to just 20 minutes by grid enabling the application, said Hawk.

By utilizing the compute resources of the entire enterprise, CPU downtime is put to productive work running programs that once had to wait until nightfall before enough CPU time was available. Servers, which typically have a very low CPU utilization rate, can be harnessed to run more applications more frequently and faster. But this can get addictive, said Ryan.

“Our biggest customers go into this to drive up their asset utilization and what ends up happening is their end-user customers get hooked on having more compute power to solve their problems,” he said.

What this means to the average CIO, who typically has stacks of hardware requests waiting for attention in the inbox, is they can provide this power while throwing most of the new hardware requests into the circular file.

Even data retrieval and integration is being targeted by at least one firm for grid enablement. Avaki is taking grid to a new level by using it as a enterprise information integration (EII) engine that can either work with or by-pass altogether current EII efforts, said Craig Muzilla, vice president of Strategic Marketing for Avaki.

In fact, Avaki’s founder is confident grid will become so pervasive in the coming years it will be commoditized as just a standard part of any operating system. That is why Dr. Andrew Grimshaw founded Avaki as a EII vendor.

“For the CPU cycles it’s maybe a little bit more straightforward,” said Muzilla. “Instead of having to go buy more servers to speed things up or do analysis faster, to run the application faster I can go harvest the untapped CPU cycles. We think eventually that kind of compute grid technology will be embedded in the operating system so we don’t think long-term it’s that attractive for ISVs.”

Grid also plays right into the hands of companies looking to implement on-demand, utility or service-orientated architectures (SOA) since it enables the integration of disparate, heterogeneous compute resources by its very nature. Therefore, on-demand environments can piggy-back on the grid to achieve the integration and productivity promises of those methodologies, said IBM’s Hawk.

“Right now, I’d say the No. 1 reason customers are deploying this technology is to gain resolution or to fix specific business problems they’re having around either computing throughput or customer service,” he said. “The real cool thing here, long-term, is about integration and about collaboration and that’s why I keep harping on this concept of productivity.”

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Sas Grid Computing And Legacy

Introduction to SAS Grid

SAS Grid is a type of manager support. It is most widely used to distribute or spread the user tasks across multiple computers through the network connection, enabling the workload balance to accelerate the data process. The job schedules is more flexible and sophisticated on the grid computing, which already has a centralized environment with peak areas, and computing demands cost efficiency and reliability.

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Key Takeaways

It distributes the n number of tasks to multiple computers on the same network.

It enabled the workforce load balancing algorithm to process the accelerated jobs and schedules.

It is a more flexible and centralized one.

It has faster data processing in the migrated environment.

To increase power and save money.

What is SAS Grid?

In SAS Enterprise guide, the architecture is mainly called and used for sharing multiple computer resources via a network. It acts as the manager role, so it’s named SAS Grid Manager, which provides:

The load balancing algorithm.

Application connectivity access like Policy enforcement and more resource allocation.

Prioritization is highly available in the analytical environment.

It needs several types of machines, which looks like a cluster setup across the same network, and it has several software products. Using the server-side load balancing algorithm, it used the workspace server, which sends the job at a busy set of nodes through config via if the grid is available, the project is configured, or else the grid is configured to a specific set of tasks that already run on the grid table.

SAS Grid Computing

SAS Grid manager, which delivers the load balancing algorithm available on all the set of work tasks and high availability with faster when compared to other computing environments. The cluster is the set or group of computers with their efficiency and specifications across the networks. Workload is also split up of each computer, and it is called the tasks with the help of Workload balancing algorithm for sharing the resource pool and accelerated processing for allowing multiple users with the same sharing datas.

The workload distribution helps to enable the functionality of the SAS grid as the below:

Workload Balancing:

 Mainly, it enables the n number of users that are more than 1 user to be performed in the SAS environment, which distributes the data workload to the shared resource pool.

Accelerated Processing:

 It helps to distribute tasks similar to subtask child processes, so it splits the SAS single job into a shared resources pool.

Scheduling Jobs:

 The jobs allowed users to route the shared resources pool at the exact scheduled time.

SAS Grid Legacy

The grid legacy mainly enabled the users for computing to develop the shared environment and control the larger volume of data that processed and analyzed the program code.

It helps fast the code, which accomplishes the user dynamics to reload the data load resources to balance the split and multiple nodes.

Steps to Create SAS Grid

Given below are the steps mentioned:

1. Navigate to the below URL.

2. And paste the below code for to create the grid table.

3. %MACRO First(August11=);


5. create table &August11. (inp1 CHAR(100),inp2 CHAR(1));

6. QUIT;

7. %IF %SYSFUNC(grdsvc_enable(_all_,Server=SASApp)) NE 0 %THEN

8. %DO;

9. %PUT WARNING: There is no grid in series;

10. %Inputs1(August11=&August11.);

11. %Inputs2(August11=&August11.);

12. %Inputs3(August11=&August11.);

13. %END;

14. %ELSE

16. %END;

17. %MEND;

18. %First(August11=WORK.Test);

19. In the above code we used Macro for initializing and created the table like &August11 with 2 input parameters.

SAS Grid on AWS

SAS on AWS is one of the run time environments for allowing the organizations which deployed the application on either open source or some other feature in the SAS models. We used the data infrastructure to support the wide variety of analytics the patterns will support the AWS devops. For mid-tier architecture, we used Amazon EC2 or r5 instances and types to load the data share client contents by using two or more number of instances in the SAS requirement. Unless we used high availability metadata servers in the EC2 instance types which exceed the minimum requirement from SAS memory recommendations.

The above diagram explains about the AWS cloud in the SAS platform through the Gateway and the amazon VPC[Virtual Private Cloud].

Example of SAS Grid

Given below are the examples mentioned:


%MACRO Second(vars=, AUgust11= ); PROC SQL; create table &AUgust11. (inps1 CHAR(25),inps2 CHAR(3)); QUIT; %IF %SYSFUNC(grdsvc_enable(_all_,Server=SASApp)) NE 0 %THEN %DO; %PUT WARNING: There is no grid table on this series; %a(AUgust11=&AUgust11.); %b(AUgust11=&AUgust11.); %c(AUgust11=&AUgust11.); %END; %ELSE %DO; %PUT WARNING: Its Grid and used parallel macros; %IF %UPCASE(&vars.) = WORK %THEN %DO; %PUT ERROR: Specified Work is not shared in RSUBMITs; %GOTO Finish; %END; %methd(d=aug11,g=&vars.); %methd(e=aug12,h=&vars.); %methd(f=aug13,i=&vars.); PROC SQL; CREATE TABLE aug11.AUgust11 AS SELECT * FROM &AUgust11.; CREATE TABLE aug12.AUgust11 AS SELECT * FROM &AUgust11.; CREATE TABLE aug13.AUgust11 AS SELECT * FROM &AUgust11.; QUIT; %END; %Finish: %MEND; LIBNAME Sandboxtesting '\MyNetwork'; %Second(vars=Sandboxtesting, AUgust11=WORK.August111);



In the above example, we created SAS grid by using the macro along with procedure SQL.

By using IF and another conditional statement we can validate the inputs.

Table will be created for each session with parallel macros.

Network location is shared at the end of the method.


Given below are the FAQs mentioned:

Q1. What is SAS Grid?


The computing tasks are split into sub-tasks and assigned to multiple PCs with the network.

Q2. How SAS Grid works?


By using the workload the SAS grid will be enabled and operated in the environment.


Load Balancing

Policy Enforcement

Time Saving

Money Saving

Efficient Resource Allocation

Q4. Define Grid Manager.


It’s a web-based tool to monitor the resources, users, and jobs which already scheduled.

Q5. What is SAS Grid Server?


It serves as an intermediate between the SAS application and grid environment.


The SAS grid helps to convert the existing codes to the parallel processing system on the remote sessions like a straightforward approach. By using SAS keywords like RSUBMIT, %SYSLPUT, INHERITLIB are handled, and executing the macros for merging datasets without causing any errors. More complexities exist, and parallel processes will be used by the SAS Grid to perform independent and synchronized data operations.

Recommended Articles

This is a guide to SAS Grid. Here we discuss the introduction, SAS grid computing and legacy, example, and FAQ respectively. You may also have a look at the following articles to learn more –

Esr Kickstand Case For Ipad 10.2

Earlier, my association with ESR was just limited to iPad cases, but now the brand has floored me with a mini, portable wireless charger. So, there are two beautiful products in my hands: a convenient kickstand case for my iPad 7 and a universal wireless charger for my iPhone.


Although iPad 10.2-inch is a low-cost tablet released in 2023, I always count protection as a key feature in any case or cover. Well, ESR’s kickstand case has scored full marks here. I could quickly feel its build quality; it is more powerful than other ordinary protective cases if not those made for kids. And by the way, the case is not for children; hence, ESR stays away from those hand straps and overly bulky edges around the screen and camera.

Strong magnets are for stability and sturdiness. A full-sized kickstand sets this product apart from other cases. On the front flip, there are seven grooves to adjust the iPad screen; you can achieve maximum comfort and fix your eyes on the screen. When you open the lid, you can rest the bumper on the backflip in a single jerk.

Lightweight Ruggedness: A Curious Paradox

Thermoplastic polyurethane adds durability to this case, which adds minimum bulk to the overall profile. Check those raised edges around the screen and camera; the edges protect your iPad’s screen and camera against scratches when you place your tablet on a flat surface.

The Smart Design Saves Your Bucks

Yes, it is true. The design of this case eliminates the need for a keyboard or a keyboard case. When you set your iPad at the right angle, you can easily type or write the text for emails and messages. If you own an Apple Pencil, you can quickly jot down something in the note apps by placing your iPad comfortably. This makes a smart choice for artists and writers.

ESR has painstakingly designed this case to attain precision. Look at the Pencil holder near the hinge of this case. While using your iPad, you can quickly take your pencil out by gently pushing it from behind. The cut-out is big enough to remove a pencil conveniently.

Miscellaneous Features

Home-makers have their field day while watching videos, TV series, movies, and other visual contents. All they need is to hang the case down a hook or peg on kitchen walls. Moreover, the magnets are strong enough to attach the tablet on any metal surface of refrigerators and other electronic appliances. A firm grip enables you to hold your iPad tightly in your hands, even while you are walking through busy streets and crowded corridors in skyscrapers.

Buy it from Amazon

Review of ESR Wireless Charger for iPhone 11, X, and iPhone 8 Series

A wireless charger is one of the fixtures at my home and office when it comes to iPhone accessories. Since my job profile demands a lot of movements, I cannot afford to charge my iPhone 11 Pro Max with a wall adapter and lightning cable. And therefore, a portable wireless charger is always appreciated.

Universal in Nature

We are into the Apple ecosystem – hook, line, and sinker – but that is our professional life. Android has its say in our personal life, and we always admire good things from any corner. For this reason, a universal wireless charger is a friend in need. ESR’s mini wireless charger is universal in nature.

Cable Management

One of the glaring features of this portable charger is effective cable management. A globe-trotter would always like to carry this wireless charger in a travel bag. You can coil the cable around the grooves between silicone cover and take this wireless charger wherever you go. This, however, means you cannot manage the cable if there is no silicone cover.


If you are using a magnetic case for your iPhone, make sure to remove it before you place the device on the charging mat. However, if you don’t want to take the device case off, you can always remove that silicone cover from the charger.

In all other conditions, you can always charge your iPhone with its case on as long as the case is 5mm thick.


You can charge your iPhone as well as other smartphones of Samsung and Pixel. Its fast-charging feature is compatible with a wide range of devices like iPhone 11, 11 Pro, 11 Pro Max, iPhone XS, Samsung Galaxy S20, S20+, S20 Ultra, Galaxy Note 10, Google Pixel 4, 5W for Pixel 3.

What about your AirPods?

ESR has already thought about it. You can put your AirPods charging case on this charging case; however, your AirPods charging case should be Qi-compatible. So when you are not charging your iPhone, you can place your AirPods and the wireless charger will power up your pods in no time.

It is your nightstand What’s more?

ESR is known for its high-quality accessories. This portable charger gives you more than your expectations. Apart from above-mentioned features, this charger is packed with other security benefits like Qi, CE, FCC, and RoHS certification. The charger also boasts overheating & short-circuit protection, and foreign object detection, which keeps your device safe.

Planning to buy both?

This happens with every true-blue Apple lover. They cannot resist the desire to buy such amazing products that can elevate their lifestyle in a positive way. The protective case and a wireless charger are your constant companion no matter where you are on the earth. Both products pack killer features at an affordable price. Just go for it!

You may also like to explore other Apple accessories…

Would you recommend ESR products to your friends and family? You can share your feedback as well in the Comments section below.

Author Profile


Jignesh Padhiyar is the co-founder of chúng tôi who has a keen eye for news, rumors, and all the unusual stuff around Apple products. During his tight schedule, Jignesh finds some moments of respite to share side-splitting content on social media.

6 Books For Young Students About Making Choices

Every year that I taught kindergarten, the third week of school would roll along and I would inevitably lose my voice. Generally, I wasn’t an overly talkative teacher; I spent a great deal of time and effort emphasizing routines, rituals, and visuals, so that my words were only a portion of classroom communication. The beginning of the school year, however, always required me to go verbally above and beyond; I overexplained everything.

My dual goals in those early weeks were to familiarize the students with the classroom resources and routines and to promote opportunities for them to engage in student-directed activities. “Choice Time” was where I would initially invest a great deal of time—and words.

Choice Time was a daily kindergarten activity that involved students selecting areas and projects to engage in, such as block building, dramatic play, the writing area, makerspace materials, puzzles, books, and drawing. I wasn’t emphatic about what activities the students selected, but I tried to encourage new choices by rotating materials within those activities to spark interest, encourage exploration, and initiate problem-solving opportunities.

Integrating Choice Time into an early childhood school day has numerous benefits for young students. It empowers children, by suggesting that the teacher values their capacity for making decisions, and additionally offers opportunities for children to learn from each other. In making decisions about activities, students must not only negotiate personal wants and needs but simultaneously accommodate the wants and needs of their peers. 

At the beginning of the school year, the newness of everything can seem overwhelming, and all students struggle to some extent to make choices. The six picture books that follow offer a beginning-of-the-school-year introductory course in decision-making.

This foundational picture book collection is meant to assist children in defining what making a choice actually means and offer examples of what making a choice can look like. As back-to-school classroom read-alouds, these books set the stage for classroom social and emotional discussions about strategies and resources for making personal and group decisions at school.

Here are some general post-reading discussion prompts:

Can you name some choices in this book?

Does this book remind you of a time when you had to make a choice?

Were there any suggestions for what to do when you have a hard time making a decision?

Were there any helpers in this book? Who are some people who you could ask if you have a hard time making a decision?

Does this book remind you of any other book? How?

Books About Making Choices

88 Instruments, by Chris Barton, illustrated by Louis Thomas. A child visiting a musical instrument store has a colossal choice to make: choose one instrument (out of 88) to learn to play. After trying out each instrument, the child ultimately makes an informed and logical decision. Here’s a link to Random House’s Educators’ Guide for the book. (Preschool–grade 2)

Charlie Chooses, by Lou Peacock, illustrated by Nicola Slater. Charlie struggles to commit to making choices throughout most of the book. In the end, when Charlie finally commits to an important birthday choice, he is rewarded with canine friendship that ultimately helps him make some of life’s choices much simpler. Nicola Slater demonstrates here how she draws Charlie and Sparky from the book. (Preschool–grade 2)

Choices, by Roozeboos. A little girl spends the day at the pool, and everywhere she turns there are big and small choices to be made. Here is Anne Roos Kleiss, aka Roozeboos, demonstrating her process for creating her book. (Preschool–grade 2)

The Favorite Book, by Bethanie Deeney Murguia. This book offers suggestions for how children might evaluate and ultimately select a favorite choice. (Preschool–grade 2)

I Voted: Making a Choice Makes a Difference, by Mark Shulman, illustrated by Serge Bloch. This book about voting begins with examining what it means to make an informed choice. It offers scenarios about how to join others in a group decision and navigating acceptance when your choice does not win favor. Teacher resources for this book are available here. (Preschool–grade 2)

This or That? A Story About Choosing, by Kell Andrews, illustrated by Hector Borlasca. Alexander is filled to the brim with indecision. He overly considers every possibility and doubts his ability to make the “right” choice. His parents offer suggestions, but it’s ultimately Alexander who comes up with his own strategy to make a choice all his own. (Kindergarten–grade 2)

Clic: The Elegant Case That’s Barely There

I have tested many, many cases in my short two year term as a hardware review editor. The one genre of case that I have seen overdone, rinsed and repeated, is the simple clip case. Almost every iPhone hardware company as one. The generic, little flimsy, thin-as-possible case that is just there to keep your phone from getting scratched up.

The trouble with these simple, small, thin cases is lack of detail and, really, passion. Companies seem to pass the thin do-nothing case as their last item at the trash can’s bottom. They just produce it because it is a cheap, quick way to make a buck from people just wanting a simple solution. Native Union is here to correct those notions and is really killing it with their Clic…

Clic for all

Unlike some other cases the Clic is not an afterthought. It is currently the only iPhone case Native Union distributes and they are really, really good at what they do. I would always rather a company focus on their primary item and truly perfect it. The Clic very intently hugs the iPhone forming a precision fit. Maybe it doesn’t ‘hug,’ rather exists in harmony next to the iPhone.

A rubberized, soft touch finish coats the plastic case. All ports are easily accessible and the mute switch and volume buttons are protected, but easily activated. The headphone jack is operable, but really large 3.5mm jacks will not work, as the case corner is too closely tailored. Any of my headphones, however, work perfectly.

On the face, the side bumper extends just far enough to prevent the glass from touching when placed upside down. The edges on the bumper and back meet at an almost geometric 90 degree angle. I really like this because it keeps the iPhone shape part of the design, instead of rounding them off like most other cases.

Clic types

Clic Color comes in eight different colors. I personally own the marine blue. Clic Metal is a hybrid of wood and matt metal. Combinations in the metal grade include: walnut/black; walnut/brass; cherry/rose gold; cherry/stainless.

Clic Wooden is only rated by color, not by woods. The wood is not quite as pretty as the Clic Metal cases, having seem them all at CES and several more recently at the Apple store. Colors include  terra-cotta, white, jade, black, and aquamarine.

If you are interested in a wooden case that includes a bit of color pop, Clic is for you. Same for metal lovers that are also looking for a natural inclusion. I’m really happy with the Clic Color, but really have my eye on the Wooden and Metal series cases. Here is the best part, the Clic Color retails for $19.99 and can be found on Amazon. Clic Wooden is a step up at about $48.

My only complaint is the Native Union logo on the Clic Color is not recessed flat into the case back like the burned-in logo on the Wooden and Metal series. Really, if you have ever considered a small, thin, barely-there case that is still elegant and beautiful, check out the Native Union Clic case line. I have never kept a case on my iPhone longer than the Clic Color, and I have a lot of cases.

Laptop Buying Guide: Making Sense Of The Specifications


If you’re buying a netbook, you’re bound to find that it uses an Intel Atom processor. You won’t encounter a particularly noticeable difference in performance between the Atom chips you find on modern systems, but the newer N450 Atom processors do offer slightly better battery life.

Ultraportable PCs generally use low-voltage AMD or Intel processors. These chips are usually dual-core CPUs that are quite similar to the regular notebook CPUs found in larger laptops but run at much lower clock speeds (1.2GHz instead of 2.1GHz, for example). Lots of processors–too many to list here–are available in this group, but when you’re shopping, you can follow a few general rules: More cache is preferable, and higher clock speeds are better but will drain the battery a little faster. AMD’s CPUs are a bit slower than Intel’s, but are priced to move. Note, too, that some ultraportables don’t use low-voltage CPUs, and are considerably faster (but have shorter battery life) than those that do.

All-purpose and desktop-replacement laptops offer both dual-core and quad-core CPUs in a range of speeds. Intel’s Core i3 and Core i5 CPUs are excellent for most users; only people who truly need a quad-core CPU (for encoding video, playing games, or running engineering applications, for example) need to look for a quad-core Core i7 processor. Again, more cache and higher clock speeds are better, but any CPU over 2.0GHz is fast enough to handle all the basic stuff, like playing music, surfing the Web and playing Web games, displaying online video, and managing e-mail.

You’ll still find many laptops on sale with Core 2 Duo CPUs, which are the previous generation of dual-core chips from Intel. These models are perfectly fine for most tasks–just avoid the ones with low clock speeds and small caches (1MB or 2MB), if you can. Be wary of cheap laptops bearing Intel Celeron or Pentium CPUs, or those that carry AMD Sempron CPUs; these processors help laptop manufacturers keep prices low, but they do so at the expense of performance.


The GPU (graphics processing unit) in a computer is useful for more than just playing games. This bit of silicon is ultimately responsible for everything you see on screen, from 3D games to the basic desktop. Perhaps more important for some people, many GPUs can accelerate video decoding: With the latest version of Adobe Flash and the right GPU, Web videos from Hulu or YouTube will run more smoothly and look better (especially if you have a netbook or an ultraportable laptop with a weaker CPU).

Integrated GPUs from Intel are generally quite poor: They don’t run 3D games well, and their video decoding is lackluster. The GPUs built into the new Core i5 CPUs are much better than previous integrated graphics, but still not as good as ATI or nVidia dedicated graphics. If you want to play games other than the occasional Web-based diversion, you probably want discrete graphics. You’ll find lots of graphics chips to choose from, but in general the 5000 series from ATI is faster than the comparable 4000-series models, and the 300 series from nVidia is faster than the comparable 200 series. Within each series, the more expensive models are speedier: ATI’s Mobility Radeon HD 5850 is faster than the Mobility Radeon 5650, and nVidia’s GeForce 330M is faster than the GeForce 310M, for example.


Laptop memory comes in two types, DDR2 and DDR3. Of the two, DDR3 is faster and can speed up memory-intensive operations. You’ll also see a clock speed listed on some laptop memory specs, like 667MHz, 800MHz, or 1066MHz. The higher the number, the faster the RAM. But spend the money to get to 4GB first, and then worry about speed: If your choice is between 4GB of 800MHz DDR2 memory or 2GB of 1066MHz DDR3 memory, go with the 4GB of slightly slower RAM, as you’ll get more performance bang for your buck by doing so.


Many laptops have LED-backlit displays. Instead of compact fluorescent tubes, LEDs (light-emitting diodes) sit behind the LCD panel. LED-backlit displays tend to be more energy-efficient, so the battery lasts longer, and they often provide better contrast. LED-backlit displays are increasingly common, and now can be found in all laptop segments and on most notebook models, at least as an option.

You’ll also notice that some laptops have a very shiny, glossy display, while others have a soft matte finish on their screen. This is a matter of the coating on top of the display. A glossy coating certainly creates a lot more glare, but it also lets light through more easily; as a result, glossy displays tend to look like they have better contrast and brightness. The matte finish on other displays may result in the appearance of a little less contrast, but it also produces a lot less glare. If you plan to use your laptop outdoors or in brightly lit areas, you might want to consider avoiding a glossy display.


Every laptop, from a netbook to a desktop replacement, includes wireless networking. The standard you’re most likely to encounter in coffee shops and airports is 802.11g Wi-Fi, and you can’t find a laptop these days that doesn’t include 802.11b/g support (802.11b is an older, slower networking standard that you don’t see much these days). That’s the good news.

If you need to plug your computer into a wired network, ensure that the laptop you buy has an ethernet jack. Most do, but a few netbooks don’t. The standard now is gigabit ethernet, but while some laptops may have slower ethernet jacks (limited to 100 megabits per second), it isn’t a major concern. Unless you need gigabit speed to transfer lots of very large files and you’re sure you’ll be plugging into a gigabit wired network, you don’t need to look for that feature specifically.

If you want to connect on the go but no Wi-Fi hotspot is available nearby, you’ll need a mobile broadband radio. You can buy one as an add-on card, but many laptops offer built-in mobile broadband radios as an option. Typically these are tied to a single wireless carrier (AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon, for example) and require a mobile data plan to use. If you constantly use your laptop on the road, it can be a convenient option. Some netbooks are available from wireless carriers at subsidized prices along with a wireless data plan, but we don’t recommend taking this option–the money you initially save isn’t worth being locked into a contract for a couple of years.

Optical Drive

Most all-purpose and desktop replacement laptops include an optical drive, while most netbooks do not; with ultraportables, it’s hit-and-miss. All optical drives in laptops these days will play and burn DVDs. Some laptops even include (or offer the option to add) a drive that can play Blu-ray media and burn DVDs and CDs, which means you can use these models to watch high-def movies. Blu-ray Disc writers–which burn to those high-def discs as well as to DVDs and CDs–remain less common in laptops, and are a more expensive upgrade than the Blu-ray-reader/DVD-and-CD-burner combo. Don’t worry too much about the performance ratings on optical drives (expressed, for example, as 8X) unless you plan to do a lot of disc burning.

If you have software on CD or DVD that you need to install, or if you want to watch a movie on disc, you can buy an external DVD drive that plugs into the USB port on your laptop. You don’t have to buy the drive from the manufacturer of your notebook, and in general the drive will cost between $40 and $60, sometimes less. Look for a drive that’s “bus-powered”–this means that the drive can get its power from the laptop’s USB bus, and shouldn’t need a dedicated power adapter.


Some laptop models provide an option for using an SSD, or solid-state drive, instead of a standard hard drive. SSDs tend to cost more (adding hundreds of dollars to the cost of the laptop) and offer far less space than the regular rotating magnetic media type, but they’re usually faster and far more durable since they have no moving parts. Some SSDs are even more power-efficient than regular hard drives. SSDs can be a good idea for anyone especially concerned with performance or durability, but you’ll pay a lot more money for a lot less storage capacity.

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