New PC laptop features

From WSU Technology Knowledge Base
Jump to navigation Jump to search

About this article

This article highlights major changes and new features introduced by the latest laptop models offered through the E-Warrior Digital Life and Learning Program. It is intended for all students and employees who are scheduled to exchange their laptops.

This year's laptops: What's new?

16 Gig RAM

Random Access Memory (RAM), is sometimes called system memory, has been increased from 8 Gig to 16 Gig on this year's model. This increase in RAM should provide you noticeable improvements as you access data from different applications you are running on your laptop. As we demand more of our devices by opening several software applications at one time along with streaming audio or video you may have noticed devices in the past sputter and choke on the demands we place on them. With access to larger RAM, the device can better process all of the demands placed with fewer delays and crashes of applications. Where you will see this improvement is if you choose to pick up the digital pen. In the past, there were delays while annotating. With 16Gig. of RAM, this not an issue even when running multiple processor intense applications.

No internal CD-DVD drive

This is the fourth year that WSU is offering standard laptop models without an internal, optical CD-DVD drive. Laptop manufacturers have been moving away from optical drives for the past few years. Shedding the optical drive allows the laptop to be thinner and lighter, increases battery life, and eliminates numerous points of mechanical failure. This is also in line with recent changes in media distribution. Music, movies, and software are no longer being distributed via CD-DVD and cloud services and large-capacity external drives are replacing CDs for file storage. If you still rely on an optical drive, you can:

256 GB solid state drive

This is the third year that WSU is offering standard laptop models with a solid-state drive (SSD) instead of a standard, mechanical hard drive. SSDs are roughly four times faster than traditional drives, resulting in quicker start-up, disk writing, and application performance. Note that the size of this year's drive is 256 GB. Take a look at how much hard drive space you are using now to store your data on your laptop, particularly multimedia files (e.g., music, video) and any large applications (e.g., Adobe Photoshop, games). If you have more than 256 GB of personal data and applications on your laptop now and have concerns about storage, please contact the Technical Support Center (, 507-457-5240, Somsen Hall 207).

USB 3.1 port

This laptop model comes equipped with one USB 3.1 ports. USB 3.1 ports are backward compatible and will accommodate older devices using the USB 2.0 and USB 1.1 standards. You should notice an increase in data transfer speed when you use your external hard drive or flash drive, particularly if that drive is designed to use USB 3.1. If you are in the market for an external drive, make sure you get one that takes advantage of USB 3.1.

USB Type-C ports

The newest USB port is called Type-C and you probably have seen this technology rolling out with your newer mobile devices such as phones and tablets. This technology is greatly improving speed, power, and compatibility with other peripherals we need to use with our devices as we move over to high-definition projection and monitors. However, after thirty years of standard USB technologies (USB 1, 2, 3, etc.), this newer port is not reverse compatible and will be upgrading as we move into this new technology over the new few years. Luckily, you have the standard USB 3.1 port to continue over the next three years as we move to this new port.

Thinner and lighter

The new laptop models are over a pound lighter than the models we distributed three years ago. This is largely because the mechanical drives have been eliminated, which also means a lot less weight in your backpack.

Touch-sensitive screen

The screen on the new HP Elitebook x360 1030 G8 is touch-sensitive. The screen responds to your finger and special HP Pen (i.e. optional component) that can be purchased at the Bookstore or Technical Support Center (Somsen 207) when you pick up your new device.

Video card

Those of you exchanging old laptops should experience cleaner and faster video performance, something that will be particularly noticeable when watching movies and using graphics-intensive applications.

New docking station

If you purchased an HP docking station for your HP 840, it is not compatible with your new HP Elitebook x360 1030 G8. The new dock runs on the powerful USB-C port. WSU employees can purchase a docking station through the Technical Support Center (Somsen Hall 207) for approximately $105.

What's new with software?

Default Browser

The default browser is set to Chrome this year. This means that if you click on a link inside an email or document, it will open up in Chrome. Last year the default was Internet Explorer (IE). You can change your default browser by typing 'default programs' at the start menu. Select Set Your Default Programs and then choose the browser you set as default.

Windows 10 operating system (HP Elitebook x360 1030 G8)

Elitebook x360 G2.jpeg

Microsoft 365

The HP EliteBook comes with Microsoft 365 (formerly Microsoft Office 365) is a suite of integrated productivity, creativity, and collaboration tools available to all Winona State University students and employees. The suite includes the latest version of familiar Office applications (e.g., Word, PowerPoint, Excel) for installation on your PC or Mac, a cloud-based file storage system called OneDrive, a web portal for accessing online Microsoft 365 Apps and services, and apps that can be installed on your mobile devices. All laptops provided through the eWarrior Digital Life and Learning Program and all Winona State University desktops in offices and labs come with Office applications installed. All Minnesota State schools use Microsoft 365 Apps under a single license, facilitating sharing, communication, and collaboration across the system.

Office 365

Office 365 also has Office Web Apps, cloud-based versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote.


Currently, your StarID and password is used to access student e-services and the class management system that includes registration, grades and transcripts, financial aid, housing, and bill payment. Your WSU ID and password is currently used to access WSU Email, WSU wireless, MyWSU campus portal, OneDrive for Business, class storage, printing, etc.

Related articles