PCs

What's a good gaming PC?

Episode 1035

Paula from Temecula, CA

Paula's son wants a PC to play Minecraft on for Christmas. Leo says that for Minecraft, any PC will do because it's not very demanding. As her child's tastes in games matures, though, he may require a more powerful computer that can handle the graphics. There's a lot of choices for her budget of $600. Leo likes Acer for entry level computers. For gaming, PCs are generally better and she'll likely want a desktop over a laptop. Asus and Dell are good options as well. Avoid going to a "big box" store because they usually are selling older models.

How does the iPhone work with Ubuntu Linux?

Episode 1022

Tristen from Pleasanton, CA

Leo says when it comes to the iPhone, Apple has to support Windows, but it doesn't have to support Linux. Leo's not sure that even matters though, because increasingly the iPhone is designed not to be connected to a computer. Updates all happen over the air now. It's no longer tied to a desktop computer. Obviously there's no iTunes on Ubuntu for his music, which might be the biggest issue, but he can get music directly on the phone. Leo doesn't think he'll run into any major issues using an iPhone and an Ubuntu desktop computer.

Should I buy an extended warranty on my Dell Inspiron?

Episode 1004

Steve from Culver City, CA

Steve wants to know if he should get an extended warranty on an old Dell Inspiron laptop. Leo says no, that Dell is only worth about $200. If the computer breaks, it's just cheaper to buy a new computer.

Extended warranties are revenue streams for retailers. If it fails, it's going to likely do it in the first year. One thing to consider is to see what a comparable laptop will cost and then compare it. If he can't replace it with anything comparable, it may be a good deal. Generally speaking, they aren't a good deal.

Is there an alternative to Windows 7 for upgrading older computers?

Episode 988

Isaac from Orange County, CA

Isaac runs an electronic waste and recycling company and he has 20 computers running XP and wants an alternative to Windows 7 to upgrade to. Leo says that XUbuntu is a great option that's just as powerful, but it's free and open source, which is great for older and slower computers. There's also Lubuntu. Isaac wonders about malware, though. Leo says that only 1% of the market uses Linux, so nobody is writing viruses for that. It's more secure, easier to use, and will run great.

What's the best budget laptop for a student?

Episode 986

Samson from California

Samson needs to get a laptop for school and wants to know what laptop is best for under $500. Leo says that he can, but under $700 or 800 would be better. Leo recommends Dell, but if he's price sensitive, Acer makes some good laptops for the money.

The Chatroom says the Lenovo Thinkpad Twist is a good option under $500. There's also the Acer VivoTab. He can also save money buying refurbished.

What advice do you have in buying a computer and printer?

Lenovo IdeaPad

Episode 984

LaVerne from Florida

LaVerne is ready to buy a new computer and printer and would like to know what Leo recommends. Leo says that if Laverne wants a laptop, then she should wait a few months until the new Haswell processors come out. Battery life will be doubled once that happens. She'll want to look for a 4th generation, Intel processor.

On desktops, there's really no need to wait and he recommends an i5 processor for most people. 4GB of RAM is the minimum, but no more than 8GB is really needed.

What's a good All-in-One Windows system?

Vizio All-In-One PC

Episode 975

Savon from California

Savon needs to get new servers and a system at work and he's considering whether to stay with Windows or go with an Apple iMac. They're so clean and easy to use, a lot less cables, etc. Leo says that's a great feature of the iMac, and it can actually be used as a Windows machine. That said, there are now plenty of iMac-like all-in-one Windows machines out there too. Even though Walt Mossberg thinks the best Windows Machine ever is a Mac, Leo believes that running Windows natively works best on a machine built for Windows.

Why does my computer shut down while playing games?

Episode 973

Norm from Upland, CA

David's laptop shuts down while he's playing Call of Duty. Leo says that's a protective measure. If the laptop gets too hot, it will shut down by design. The best thing he can do is make sure the laptop has free flowing air all around it so it can cool itself. Make sure that dust isn't blocking the airflow slots. Look to see if the laptop's fans are working properly. It could also be the thermal paste has been misapplied to the processor. It may be worth bringing in to get looked at.

Why do I have to keep unplugging and replugging in my PC to get it to turn on?

Episode 971

Gary from Los Angeles, CA

Gary can't turn on his computer unless he unplugs it, waits for five minutes, then plugs it back in. Leo says that if Gary is turning it off with the hardware button, the computer may be going into hibernation and there are known problems with a system in hibernation. He should disable that first.