PCs

IBM PC Turns 40 Today

IBM PC Turns 40 Today

Episode 1819

The IBM Computer turns 40 today. A "skunkworks" project out of Boca Raton, FL, the IBM 5150 personal computer had off-the-shelf parts and MS-DOS as its operating system, which Microsoft bought for that very reason. The 5150 started at around $1500, with an Intel 8088 processor at 400 MHz and 16KB of RAM. The floppy disk drive was optional.

It was less than a year that the IBM clone was born and the computer industry was off to the races.

Ängström is a New Word for Processor Size

Ängström

Episode 1815

"Ängström" is a word that represents 1/10,000,000,000,000th of a centimeter. That's pretty small. Why do we care? Leo says it's because it's the new measure of the latest processors, known as 20A processors. So when you upgrade your PC, you're going to be hearing that term. The more transistors you can get on a processor, the more powerful they become. Up until recently, processors had been plateaued due to Moore's Law (which stated that transistors would double every 18 months). That had caused chip makers to put multiple processors on a chip. But we're at the end of Moore's Law now.

Why Can't I Boot Up My PC?

ASUS VIII Motherboard

Episode 1795

Henry from Las Vegas, NV

Henry built a new PC, and he's having problems with his AMD Formula 8 motherboard when he tries booting up. It looks to be an issue with his Display Port. Leo says the first thing to look at is the display port cable. If it's gone bad, that could cause problems. Leo also says that this is the problem with building your own PC. You are your own tech support, and every part manufacturer is going to pass the buck when you call them.

Why Does My Dell Laptop Slow Down When I Plug It In?

Dell

Episode 1778

Max from Boca Raton, FL

Max has an issue with his Dell XPS 15 laptop, where if he's running off the AC adapter, it will slow down. He has to take out the battery and then put it back in to solve the problem. Leo says it could be because the computer thinks you want to charge the battery, but it can't. Dell has addressed it by coming out with a separate USB-C charger. 

What's a Super Fast Laptop for Professional Work?

Dell Alienware M15

Episode 1777

Richard from Woodland Hills, CA

Richard would like a fast laptop to do CAD, video editing, etc. Leo says that a desktop would probably be a better way to go for super-fast CAD working. Laptops can't run at full speed because they get too hot. But the top of the line fastest laptops are Windows machines and are more like desktop replacements. And they run hot. ASUS Republic of Gaming and Dell's Alienware brands are designed for that high-performance gaming and other applications. But Apple's new M1 designs are making strides to do high-performance computing without having to run hotter.

Why Can't I Connect My Bluetooth PS4 Controller To My PC?

DualShock 4

Episode 1745

Alex from Covina, CA

Alex recently built a new PC with an AMD 8 core processor. But he can't connect a Bluetooth PS4 controller to it. It can detect his cell phone, but not his controller. Leo says that if he can pair it to other devices, then he should try reconnecting it to the PS4 and see if there's an update to the controller. If there is, update it. Then try again!

What computer do I need for video editing?

Dell Precision Workstation

Episode 1537

Gary from Walla Walla, WA

Gary wants to buy a PC for video editing. How much should he spend? Leo says that just about any PC can do video editing. The money comes from how much performance he'll want. Leo uses a Dell Precision Workstation with Xeon processors that scream. So they are very powerful and expensive. An iMac would be more than adequate, though, to capture and edit home movies. A MacBook Pro would also work.

Is the computer designed specifically for senior citizens any good?

WOW Computer

Episode 1478

David from Arvin, CA

David got an email advertising a computer ideal for seniors. Leo says that FirstStreet for Boomers and Beyond sounds like a WOW computer and Leo has played with it and kind of likes it. It runs Linux, so it's very secure. It has a browser, email program, and video chat. But Leo has a problem with the price. It's about $1,000 and it may require a subscription to their service. It's also the only one company that supports it. Leo says that using a Chromebase desktop is a better option, and it's half the price.

Is it a good time to buy a new PC?

HP EliteOne

Episode 1459

Tony from La Jolla, CA

Tony's wife has a laptop that's dying. Should he buy her a new laptop or a desktop? Leo says that as time goes on, more people are doing their computing on mobile, so if she needs a new computer, going back to a desktop for those times she has a few hours to sit and surf may be a better option. It's certainly more affordable. All-in-Ones like the HP EliteOne is a good option, and it's very attractive on the desk. Dell makes some nice All-in-Ones as well.