Should I max out the RAM of my MacBook Pro?

Episode 1013

Monroe from Rutherford, NJ

Monroe has a two year old MacBook Pro with 4GB of RAM and he's thinking of boosting the RAM on it to avoid beach balling. Leo says that beach balls tend to be an indication of software issues. Leo recommends formatting the hard drive and reinstalling OS X. While he's at it, he should upgrade to Lion. Upgrading to 8GB really isn't worth the performance boost he'll get, which is marginal.

Can you talk me out of getting a really fast laptop?

Lenovo Thinkpad W530

Episode 1008

Steve from Hermosa Beach, CA

Steve wants to get a new Lenovo laptop with dual SSD drives and 32 GB of RAM. He's looking at a Workstation model, which is a desktop replacement. Leo says first and foremost, 32GB of RAM is way too much for the average or even heavy user. His biggest jump in performance would be from 4GB to 8GB. From there out, the speed boost can get to the point where the cost-benefit isn't all that great.

Leo also says that an SSD drive is great for storing the OS and apps on, but an SSD drive for storage is really not practical. It would be better to get a larger spinning drive.

Do I need 64 bit Windows 7?

Episode 993

Steve from Ohio

Steve bought a new laptop with 32 bit Windows 7, but he can't see all of his RAM. Leo says that's because 32 bit will only see 4GB of RAM, so if he has more than that, he'll need to go with 64 bit Windows 7. Can he install it over the 32 bit? Leo says it's better to format the hard drive and start over. The chatroom says that he doesn't need to buy another copy, just download it from Microsoft and use the same License key.

Can I use third party hard drives and RAM to upgrade a Mac Pro?

Episode 986

Jeff from Marino Valley, CA

Jeff would like to upgrade his hard drive and RAM in his Mac Pro, and is wondering if it's okay to use third party hard drives and RAM. Leo says sure, they're essentially PCs, but occasionally one may run into issues with needing dongles or drivers. Leo recommends buying things from MacSales.com, especially RAM.

How can I make my old Dell P4 run faster?

Episode 974

Gil from Whittier, CA

Gil wants to breath new life into his old Dell 2.8 Ghz P4. Leo says that's pretty old and it's not really worth putting a lot of money into. Gil could beef up the memory to 4GB. That would help a little. Go to Kingston.com or Crucial.com and use their memory tool to find the right memory. At that age, it's probably better to apply that money to a new computer.

How can I manage RAM in Android?

Droid Razr Maxx

Episode 972

Rod from Shelby, MT

Rod has a Razr Maxx Android smartphone. He wants to know how to kill applications once he's done with them. Leo says that with the recent versions of Android, killing apps is no longer necessary. The OS will stop the app once he exits from it. Leo says that RAM management isn't really an issue for Android. If RAM starts to run low, Android will automatically kill the oldest process if it's running in the background.

Why would my computer be running slower with more RAM?

Episode 971

Gabriel from Yorba Linda, CA

Gabriel upgraded his XP system to 4GB of RAM, but now the computer is running slower! Leo says RAM usually either works or doesn't work. The 4GB shouldn't slow it down at all. Leo thinks it's coincidental. He advises trying to run a boot CD and see if it boot sup fast or slow. This will tell Gabe if Windows is corrupted or not. It'll also let him know if the hard drive is to blame.

How can I stop memory leaks in mobile devices?

Episode 956

Pete from San Antonio, CA

Leo says that a memory leak is when a program claims memory and never releases it even after it's needed, and that's not usually how mobile devices work. Apps that have memory leaks in portable devices just keep acquiring memory until the app crashes, and that's why most mobile device OS's are designed to prevent that. If he jailbreaks the device, all bets are off and some apps are just poorly written. As a result, they'll just force close.

How can I speed up my older computer?

Episode 947

Trevor from Washington, DC

Trevor has an older Dell Latitude that he's reinstalled the OS on, bumped up the RAM and installed an SSD drive, but it's still running slow. Leo says that although the drives are fast, the bus may be slower and it's only going to be as fast as the bus itself. Then there's the video card. Trevor is running dual monitors and the video card may not be able to handle the bandwidth. Since it's a laptop, there's really not much he can do about the video card, other than just buy a new laptop.