Hardware

Laptop or desktop computers and any components within.

Should I buy a new 5K iMac?

Episode 1300

Laura from San Diego, CA
Apple iMac with 5K Retina display

Laura has had an iMac for 9 years and is wondering if she should upgrade her Mac to a new one. She's looking at the 5K iMac. Leo says it's a beauty and the best computer that Apple makes. Leo says that's a beautiful choice, but she shouldn't feel like she needs to buy a new computer if all she needs to do is replace the hard drive in the old one.

Where can I buy a charger for my fitness watch?

Episode 1300

Gary from Laughlin, NV
New Balance NX950 GPS Runner

Gary picked up a second hand New Balance runner's watch and he needs to get a USB charger for it. Leo says that NBMonitors.com is where he can go if it uses a proprietary connector. It uses a Pogo pin plug, though, and that means he can't just pick up a third party charger.

If Gary can find out what model number it is, he may be able to go to eBay and pick one up. He should definitely get it from New Balance, though.

Dick DeBartolo, The Giz Wiz

Episode 1299

Dick DeBartolo

This week's gadget is perfect for the summer. It's the Kool Max Cooler. This is a 40 qt. cooler that holds up to 48 cans or 28 bottles and 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. It has 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, but his HP computer performance isn'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 Doug is being slowed down by rendering, he'll not only want a lot of RAM, but he should also put in an SSD. A good NVidia or ATI Radeon video card will give him a fast GPU to handle the rendering instead of his PC's processor. That's what Premiere relies on -- the GPU.

Should I upgrade to Windows 10 from Windows XP?

Episode 1299

Chris from Lakewood, CA
Windows 10 Start Menu

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. Is that 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. Chris can do that and upgrade to Windows 10, sure, but Leo advises going to Windows 7 if he can. If he gets a new computer, he will get it with Windows 10.

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.