Hardware

Laptop or desktop computers and any components within.

What laptop should I buy?

Episode 1187

Chris from California
Microsoft Surface Pro 3

Chris wants to buy a laptop and he needs processor power, but what else should he consider? Leo says that for what Chris wants, he should have an i7 with 16 GB of RAM with a solid state drive. Chris says he can get an i5 with 12GB. Is that good enough? Leo says sure. the i7 has Hyperthreading, which is good for multitasking. For raw speed, however, the i5 works just as well. If he wants a pro machine, it's going to set him back between $1000 and $1500. Chris hates touch screens though. Should he bite the bullet and just get one?

Can I add a monitor to a Winbook?

Episode 1186

Cheryl from Alexandria, VA
HP Stream

Cheryl bought a $60 Winbook and was wondering if she could add a monitor to it. Leo says it does run a Micro HDMI cable, so she could add a monitor. But most have either VGA or DVI. Can she convert it? Or get a USB monitor? Leo says that she could use a USB driven monitor, and they're cheap. But they are mostly used as a second monitor. A DVI converter is a better idea.

What's a good Linux version to run on an old eMac?

Louis from Ontario, CAN

Episode 1186

Louis wants to run a dummy web server on an old eMac for running Ruby and Ajax. Leo says the eMac was good for its time, but he'll need a Linux distro that's compatible. Ubuntu may be too heavy for it. Running it command line would be the best for that computer and how low power it is. Linux Mint has a Power PC version. Check out DistroWatch.org, where they list all the Linux distributions, and he can pick the features he wants.

What's a good video card for building my own computer?

Jack from Streamwood, IL

Episode 1186

Jack wants to build his first computer and he has a budget of about $800. He needs a good gaming quality video card. Leo says that learning how a computer works is a great reason to build one. Leo recommends going to PC Perspectives and check out their hardware leaderboard. Leo says that the AMD XFX video card is the best in that price range.

Why does my laptop randomly shut down?

Patrick from Riverside, CA

Episode 1186

Patrick is a DJ and his laptop shuts down randomly. Sometimes when he closes the lid, and sometimes when he plugs in a USB. Leo says that could be an overheating issue, but more likely there's a short somewhere and that's a serious issue. Laptops are difficult to repair, sadly. Either the fan has gone bad, or there's a lot of dust. Even the thermal paste could have dried out.

Can the iPhone talk to the Harmony Remote?

Episode 1185

Vincent from Fullerton, CA
Logitech Harmony Remote

Vincent's wife is blind and he's thinking of using a Harmony remote and the screen reading app on her iPhone to use it. How does that reader work? Leo says that's a great idea and some phones have free built-in infrared, making the phone a smart remote. The Harmony remote can talk to the phone via Bluetooth, though. The iPhone also has great accessibility features, if the app developers take advantage of them. But Leo says that the iPhone is the best option.

Can I clone my MacBook Pro drive and install it on my Mac Pro?

Brennan from Orange County, CA

Episode 1185

Brennan has a 2012 MacBook Pro running Mountain Lion. He also has a 2010 Mac Pro. He uses both for audio engineering. He has everything set up, and he wants to know if he could clone the MacBook Pro and then put that onto his Mac Pro. Leo says he may be able to. He could try making a bootable drive from a USB key and then selecting that when booting up the Mac Pro to see if it works. OS X should be smart enough to install any missing drivers. Otherwise he can always run the OS X installer and reinstall the OS directly

Why can't I view my webcams?

Episode 1185

Greg from Palm Beach, FL
Foscam

Greg has several webcams at his home in Colorado and every time he logs into the cameras, there's no image. He has to go into compatibility mode and add an IP address manually to get it. Leo says that the issue may be compatibility mode or hardware acceleration in his video driver. If it's set to bypass Windows, then he should go to the video device driver and check or uncheck the box. He should also use the latest version of his browser.