Hardware

Laptop or desktop computers and any components within.

Where can I learn about SSD Drives?

Edgar from San Diego, CA

Episode 1086

Edgar wants to get a new laptop with an SSD drive, and he's noticed that there are some SSDs that offer more storage for less. Leo says that not all solid state drives are alike. Leo recommends going to PCPerspective to check out their SSD Decoder board. There's a lot of factors that can make SSD drives faster including controllers, connection via PCI Express, etc. Leo recommends a SanForce controller.

Has my motherboard died?

Episode 1086

Devon from Corona, CA
Newertech Universal Drive Adapter

Devon thought his video card was failing so he removed it and now he's getting no post codes. Could the motherboard be bad? Leo says it could be a number of things, including loose cables or CPUs, memory etc. He should try reseating everything. Leo says Devon may have also lost the CMOS battery in the process, but that wouldn't fail the post.

How can I speed up my computer?

Chris from California

Episode 1085

Chris' computer is really slow. Leo says that could likely be malware that's causing the computer to devote its time to things he doesn't know about. He advises scanning the computer with the Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool and his AntiVirus software. It could also indicate that the hard drive is starting to fail.

Leo suggests reinstalling Windows and starting over. He should backup his data, reinstall Windows and then update it. He'll have a computer that runs a lot faster.

What's a good low cost laptop with a DVD burner?

Episode 1085

Jeffrey from Twin Peaks, CA
Dell Inspiron

Jeffrey wants to buy a new computer that has a DVD burner for around $500. Leo says that the trend has been away from incorporating CD/DVDs into laptops because they want to make them lighter and smaller.

Leo says that a desktop replacement is what Jeffrey should be looking at, and a low end computer is really a false economy. But at that price, Jeffrey should look at the Dell Inspiron. They cost $400 to $800, and Dell sells them with Windows 7. Of course, he can always get an external burner. That way he can connect it when he needs it.

What can I do with a bad computer I bought at Costco?

Mary from Northridge, CA

Episode 1085

Mary bought a new computer at Costco, and began having issues with it right out of the box. Should she contact Microsoft? Leo says no, she should take it back! Don't try and fix a computer that's out of the box -- put it back and tell them it doesn't work. Since it's happened to her more than once, it makes Leo wonder if it's a refurbished computer or if Costco is selling returned computers as new. This isn't her problem, it's Costco's!

What's a good laptop for work?

Episode 1085

Lori from San Diego, CA
Acer Aspire S7

Lori is in need of a tablet or laptop that's easy to use and can provide her with a good productivity tool at work. She broke her laptop and she's a bit lost in what to get. Leo says for work, Windows is paramount. He's not really a fan of the Surface tablet so far, and even though the new Surface is light and portable, Microsoft doesn't seem to know what they want it to be -- a tablet or a laptop. The keyboard that it comes with isn't so great either. But it does come with One Note on the Surface 3, which makes it an ideal machine for work. That's the only real advantage of it though.

Apple May Skip the Beat

Episode 1085

Beats

The news is that the rumor of Apple acquiring Beats for $3.2 Billion may have been premature, as Apple has started to back away from the acquisition. Word is that Doctor Dre put up a video bragging about being the first rap Billionaire and Leo says it seems it apparently didn't sit too well with Tim Cook and the Apple Board. So things have been put on hold.

What HAM Radio should I get as my first one?

LaSalle from Logan, NM

Episode 1084

LaSalle just got licensed as a HAM radio operator. Leo says that's great news and HAM radio is a great hobby. It's very important after a disaster because often every other communication is down. The FCC eliminated the requirement for morse code, so it's easy to get a basic license. He's looking at the ICOM radio. Leo says that they're great. Handy Talky is a great way to start out, and they're more affordable and would make him more mobile.

What's the best way to get data on your phone when traveling overseas?

Diane from Orange County, CA

Episode 1084

Diane is going to be traveling to Switzerland and wants to be able to use her phone and tablets locally. Leo says since she uses AT&T's service, she can request that they unlock her phone for the trip so she can buy a local SIM. She's also going to three other countries, and that will cause issues as well.