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Do Notebook PC's Make Sense in the Treatment Room?

The technology incorporated into the notebook computers that are being produced today is truly phenomenal.  No they won't outperform the latest top of the line desktop of today, but they will outperform high level desktops of just a few months ago.  So, can these improvements make an operatory notebook practical?

nb front view64.jpg (30400 bytes)      nb side view64.jpg (23925 bytes)

What has changed since the Olden Days?

Way back in May, 1999, Dr. Larry Emmott, www.drlarryemmott.com wrote an article for Dental Economics "Where laptops don't work", describing the pitfalls of treatment room laptops.  In this article, Dr. Emmott identified 2 criteria of treatment room computers.  Network connectivity, and imaging (and other) peripheral connectivity. The 1999 era notebook had to be shut down and rebooted when moved from one network cable location to another.  Without USB most digital x-ray solutions would not interface and intraoral camera image capture was too slow to be effective.  Displays were not ideal in this era so the quality of the images to be presented to the patient on the notebook screen were sub par.  And the cost was a huge factor with top of the line notebooks priced above $4000.

Fast forward to March, 2003.  Intel releases the Centrino processor designed to power notebook computers for years to come.  The Centrino family of processors uses advanced circuit design and large on chip cache memory to outperform the Pentium 4 (at the same clock speed).  So a slower clock speed (which improves battery life) can perform the same work as a power hungry P4 at a faster clock speed.  Centrino also means wireless built-in.  That is it means Intel 802.11b wireless built-in.  However, Intel was smart enough to offer the processor part of the Centrino chipset family as a separate offering (Pentium M) so notebook makers could couple the new powerhouse notebook processor with other wireless solutions.

Along comes Dell, who loves to capitalize by offering new innovations in a segment of the market that has proven to offer high volume sales, and the result is a very effective solution for the dental treatment room.

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