Many things have changed in the last twenty years. From the way we consume content, to how we accomplish our tasks, whether at home or in our workplace, arguably nothing has remained the same. Companies manufacturing electronic products such as personal computers and smartphones have witnessed a remarkable transformation, both in terms of technology and design, especially with the progress made in the semiconductor industry.
Before the 2000s, laptops were catered to a niche-segment — businessmen and big corporations. They were still very nascent and weighed around 3 Kgs. Over the course of the last two decades, laptops have become more compact, started carrying more features, and integrated newer and better technologies. It comes as no surprise, then, that today’s laptops do not even closely resemble the ones that were released over twenty years ago.
Let us now take a closer look at the biggest changes to have taken place in the PC industry over the last two decades.
- Compact and Sleek Laptops
Laptops today are much more compact and sleeker, as compared to the models that were available 20 years ago. Due to the advancements made in laptop technology, laptop brands can now pack more features, while significantly reducing the laptop size. While IBM ThinkPad, which was released in the early 90s, was considered to be the first real compact, portable laptop, laptops have since become even thinner and smaller. Today, brands like Asus, Acer, and HP among others offer ultra-thin, lightweight laptops. For instance, the HP Spectre x360 Core i7 7th Gen laptop, considered to be one of the best HP laptops in the market, comes with a 13.3-inch screen and weighs just 1.3 Kgs while packing 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD storage.
- Solid State Drives
Older laptop models used to come with hard disk drives (HDDs), which are storage devices that use mechanical platters, along with movable read/write heads to access data in laptop devices. From taking up more space inside laptops, thereby making them bulkier and heavier, to making the device relatively slower, HDDs offered several drawbacks, as compared to the relatively new SSDs.
Solid state drives are faster devices that store data on immediately-accessible memory chips. They are non-mechanical, and therefore take up less space, while improving the laptop’s battery life as they do not consume much power. Furthermore, SSDs store information on flash memory, which translates to laptops working faster, as compared to laptops carrying HDDs.
- Intel Core Processors
In 1993, Intel first launched the P5 Pentium processors with 60MHz base speed and up to 200MHz, with 3.1 million transistors. In 1997, the P55C processor came with MMX (Multimedia Extensions), with 4.5 million transistors and 233MHz clock speed. During the first decade of the new millennium, Intel launched the now prevalent Core i-Series, with Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 processors. Today, we can purchase laptops with Core i9 processors that come with up to 18 cores, with the 3.3GHz i9 chip that can be overclocked up to 4.5GHz, which is ideal for high-performance computing and gaming purposes.
Furthermore, laptops today also come equipped with decent RAM size, from either Intel or AMD. Some of the best laptops under 25000 INR, such as HP Chromebook 14-ca002tu, Lenovo Ideapad S145 (81MV00NBIN), and Lenovo Ideapad 130 (81H50031IN) come with 4GB DDR4 RAM.
- Better Displays
Laptops during the late ‘90s carried screens which were black and white, blue and white, or grayscale STN passive-matrix LCDs. This resulted in poor viewing quality. However, laptops today come with improved LCDs, with better color-reproduction capability and brightness. The latest laptops offer full HD+ displays or OLEDs, with ultra-colorful panels delivering incredibly vivid images.
Furthermore, the best HP laptops today, such as the HP 14-inch 7RP94UA laptop, come with IPS or in-plane switching displays, with WLED-backlit technology, delivering better color accuracy with high refresh rates. In fact, IPS displays are ideal for professionals who edit photos and videos on their laptops.