Hardware

Laptop or desktop computers and any components within.

Can I upgrade the RAM in my laptop?

Jeremy from Ventura, CA

Episode 1373

Jeremy has a Lenovo 11S and the power supply died. So he replaced it along with replacing the motherboard. It runs great, but he'd like to increase the RAM as well. Leo says it depends on the motherboard and the amount of room inside that laptop. Leo says it's odd that he was able to replace it. Laptops are highly customized, so that is likely a problematic endeavor. Laptops tend to not be upgradable by design. Jeremy can check with crucial.com and kingston.com.

What computer should I get for college?

Episode 1373

Tara from Menifee, CA
Dell XPS 13

Tara is going back to college to become an electrical engineer and is trying to find the right computer for the job. Should she get a tablet or a MacBook? She'll be doing coding as well. Leo says that if there's specific software, then she'll likely need to use the platform that supports it. She should talk to an advisor and ask them. Since she's doing electrical engineering and not computer science, then a Linux computer may actually work for her. She should get any laptop she likes and then she can put Linux on it. Most coders prefer it anyway.

How can I charge my phone while hiking?

Episode 1372

Sheri from Pomona, CA
American Red Cross Clipray the crank-powered, clip-on flashlight and smartphone charger

Sheri wants a good battery backup that will last a long time and will enable her to recharge via solar. Leo says the problem with solar is that to be portable, it'll take days to charge because it would be so small. That's why Leo recommends crank chargers. They also have emergency radios built in. Campers also have camp stoves that will charge the phone by converting heat to electricity.

Dick DeBartolo, The Giz Wiz

Episode 1372

Dick DeBartolo

This week's gadget is The LectroFan Sound Machine. It's a White Noise Machines,that can help you get to sleep when you're in a noisy area.Here's how the company describes it: “Lectrofan sound is not just a recording. It has been developed through a proprietary algorithm that dynamically generates unique non-repeating sounds. This steady stream of sound eliminates the distracting looping that is common among many competing brands.” --- The model that was on sale was the LectroFan international model that features plugs for the US, UK and EU.

What's the best router to handle 1GB of bandwidth?

Episode 1372

Matthew from Grinnell, IA
Asus AC5300

Matthew's cable provider has introduced a 1GB down, 50MB up package for $139. Leo says that's a bit expensive, but it's pretty nice. What router will support that kind of speed? Leo says his stream is only going to be as fast as his slowest hardware connection. Asus's AC 5300 is a higher end router which will likely handle it no problem. It would be more expensive, but Matthew may want to consider building his own using the PFSense firewall.

Should I buy a Chromebook?

Episode 1372

Norman from Lakeview, OH
Samsung Chromebook Plus

Norman heard Leo say that the Chromebook would simplify his online life. Is that true? Leo says yes. Ten years ago, his choices were Windows or Mac and they are really overkill for most users and overly complex. Windows is worse because it's more of a security concern. But the Chromebook is so tuned into the internet, that it's simpler, and more secure. They're also more affordable. The only real need is that he'll have to have an always on internet connection.

What's a good printer?

Episode 1372

Nick from Moreno Valley, CA
Epson Expression XP-330

Nick just moved in with family and they don't have Wi-Fi! He needs a printer, though. Leo says that most printers that do wireless printing do wired printing via USB too. Leo likes Epson. Canon is also a good option. HP's printers are improved, but they only use HP printer cartridges now. Leo recommends going with Epson. And since Nick is going to be printing so infrequently, he can actually shop by price.

(Disclaimer: Epson is a sponsor)

How can I reset my mouse?

Episode 1372

Corey from Panama City, FL
Corsair M95 mouse

Corey is a gamer and is using a Corsair M95 mouse, but the driver software has "stuck" the buttons and even reinstalling the drivers doesn't fix it. Leo says it may be time for a new mouse. It sounds like the settings may be kept in firmware, though. He could look for a reset button. He should look for a tiny pin hole that will allow for that. But outside of that, if the settings can't be changed through the software, it indicates that the memory may have failed.