Hardware

Laptop or desktop computers and any components within.

The Giz Wiz ... Coolmax

Episode 1299

This week's gadget is perfect for the summer. It's the Kool Max Cooler. 40 qt. cooler that holds up to 48 cans or 28 bottles that keeps ice frozen for up to 3 days. Inside the lid is a detachable cooler flashlight (3 AAA batteries not included) which can be used elsewhere at night. Other features include a 350 watts amp with Bluetooth digital music player and FM radio with two built-in 6.5” Hi-Fi water-resistant speakers and two 2” high performance tweeters. XLR microphone/instrument input, 1/4 inch instrument input for entertaining with live music.

What computer should I get for video editing and 3D rendering?

Doug from Sacramento, CA

Episode 1299

Doug has been taking a lot video classes with Adobe Premiere and After Effects and his HP computer performance wasn't all that great. Leo says that when you buy a computer at Costco you're not going to get a pro grade device. If you're being slowed down by rendering, you not only want a lot of RAM, but also put in an SSD drive That will make your PC scream. A good Nvidia or ATI Radeon video card will give you a fast GPU to handle the rendering instead of your PC's processor. That's what Premiere relies on, the GPU.

Should I upgrade to Windows 10 from Windows XP?

Chris from Lakewood, CA

Episode 1299

Chris is still using WIndows XP, but his computer is slowing down and his internet connection isn't that great. Time Warner says that if he upgrades to Windows 10, it'll give him faster internet performance. True? Leo says it's true that the older a computer gets, the slower it becomes. He calls it "kruft." Leo backs up his data, reformats the drive and reinstalls Windows once a year. You can do that and upgrade to Windows 10, sure, but Leo advises going to Windows 7 if you can. If you get a new computer, you will get it with Windows 10.

How can I monitor my driving?

Noah from Chino, CA

Episode 1299

Noah is looking for an OBD2 device like the Automatic, that can give him an alarm if he passes the speed limit, but lets him set the speed. Leo says that the Automatic does alert you if you go over 70. They were the first to do the iPhone version, and now does Android. The idea of the Automatic is to teach you to be fuel efficient. You can turn the warnings off. But there are other options. There is an app called DASH that can alert you and it will suggest different dongles out there to use. You're insurance company may actually have one too and could offer you a discount if you use it.

How can I control my HAM radio with my computer?

Ed from Tennessee

Episode 1298

Ed is blind and has trouble controlling his HAM radio with his computer. Leo says if he has software that is designed to control it, and a cable that converts USB to RS232, then it should work. The chatroom says that they haven't gotten it to work on Macs either. Macs don't work because they don't recognize COM ports. Windows, by contrast, is backwards compatible and has support for that. He'll also need drivers. If the COM port adapter came with software, then that could also be the issue.

Should I buy a laptop with a touch screen?

Episode 1298

Warren from Los Angeles, CA
Dell XPS 13

Warren is looking to buy the Dell XPS and he wants to know if he needs a touch screen. Leo says that the concept of touch screens mostly started with iPad. People are now used to touching the screen to do things, so Microsoft decided that Windows needed a touch screen option. Windows 8 worked with touch and PCs began to come with it. If Warren likes touching the screen to interact with it, then by all means get one. Windows 10 doesn't require a touch screen and works perfectly well with keyboard and mouse, though.

Should I buy a used laptop to run Linux?

Justin from Savannah, GA

Episode 1298

Justin wants to get a high end laptop that will run Linux. Leo says that Linux always works best with older hardware, but Lenovo's laptops seem to be very popular with Linux users. Another option is Dell. They sell native Linux laptops called Project Sputnik.

Should he buy a used laptop? Leo says that nowadays he can buy a brand new Lenovo for $500. If he's on a budget, he should look at Lenovo's refurbished site. He'll save some money there. He shouldn't buy refurbs from anyone but the manufacturer, though. That way he can at least get a warranty.