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All posts tagged "upgrade"


Friday, August 12, 2011

Is Upgrading Your Old Computer With an SSD Worth It?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 10:00 AM

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews...ml#xtor=RSS-182

"It's a foregone conclusion that SSDs are must-haves in performance-oriented PCs, but our testing reveals that solid-state drives are reasonable upgrades in older mainstream machines, too. We build three old boxes to gauge the impact of an SSD on each."

There are only a few Web sites out there that I trust to tackle thorny questions with the scientific rigour that would make a molecular biologist proud, and Tom's Hardware is one of those sites. They post a fascinating question: is it worth it to put an SSD in an old computer? They reach all the way back to a typical system from 2005, equipped with a 300 GB Samsung hard drive that benchmarked at 54 Mbps, and move forward from there to several newer generations. Their conclusions? SSDs rock performance, even on an older system. The catch though is the price tag; if you need a lot of storage, it starts to make less sense to put an expensive SSD in an older system. One option is to use a smaller, less expensive SSD for the boot drive, then use a large hard drive for mass storage.

Personally, after years of multi-drive, multi-partition setups, I've enjoyed the simplified approach of a single partition, single drive setup on most of my PCs and have resisted going to an SSD until the price on 200+ GB drives comes down. I might re-evaluate that on my next build...we'll see.

Have you installed an SSD in an older computer? Was the performance increase noticeable?


Thursday, April 7, 2011

ACDSystems Releases ACDSee Pro 4

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Software" @ 09:46 AM

http://store.acdsee.com/store/acd/e...s=1302193122812

"Take your digital photos to the highest standard. ACDSee Pro 4 will help get you there fast, with all the tools you need for everything you shoot. Manage, view, process and publish your images in one full-featured application. You'll enjoy organized files, achieve stunning visual results, and free up more time to spend behind the camera."

I've been a huge fan of ACDSee for years - I've used every version of their product since the mid '90s - but I have to admit I'm not terribly enthused by this upgrade in their Pro line. The cost of the upgrade for owners of Pro 3 is high; $167.99 for the upgrade (compared to $99 for the Lightroom upgrade for example). When I look at the list of what's new, I don't see many things that make me say "Oh yeah, I've been waiting for that!". Pro 4 offers a better metadata panel, metadata presets, a location-based map view, improved raw rendering and vignette correction, chromatic aberration fixes...and that's about it. There's mention of an HDR feature on the product home page - and I don't think that's in Pro 3 - but the What's New page doesn't mention the HDR feature as being new...so who knows? Read more...


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Are Developers Lazy, or is Windows 7 Broken?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Talk" @ 11:00 AM

The above screen shot is what I saw after upgrading Evernote on Windows 7 yesterday. The white icon used to be my Evernote icon, but after the upgrade the icon becomes broken. When clicked on, this error pops up:

I can click Yes in response to that error, or if I right-click on the icon and select to Unpin the icon, it will be removed. Then I click and drag the application shortcut on the desktop back onto my taskbar. The question is, why should I have to do that every time I do a software upgrade? I see this frequently with TweetDeck, iTunes, and basically every other app I can think of that updates frequently. It only takes about 10 seconds to fix every time it happens, but I find myself asking the question "Why should I have to fix this?".

Not being a developer, I have no idea why this happens: is there something broken in the Windows 7 software upgrade system that doesn't allow you to update the shortcut already in place to work with your software? Or, better yet, why is it breaking in the first place? I seriously doubt that the .exe file the shortcut links to is changing.

Does anyone know what's going on here?


Saturday, September 4, 2010

Keeping Old Faithful Fast

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 02:00 PM

http://gadgetwise.blogs.nytimes.com...-up-a-cheap-pc/

"My Dell came with AMD HD 4200 integrated graphics — and an open PCI Express (PCIe) slot for a future upgrade to a discrete graphics card. Lately I’ve noticed that the computer seemed a bit sluggish when displaying high-definition video, and I wondered if adding a graphics card would improve its performance. I’m not a gamer, so I wasn’t looking for hot-shot gaming capabilities."

Computers are incredibly cheap, at least compared to what they used to cost over a decade ago, but that does not mean that people can afford to upgrade every year, or even every few years. I have computers that are well over 5 years old that are still in use, and I am willing to bet that a great deal of people out there are using computers even older. Old computers are trusty, longtime friends, but do not always perform great with what we demand of them today. Upgrades are a cheap way to keeping them perky, and adding a video card is one of the best investments you can make, especially now that hardware acceleration is becoming more commonplace. The only other major upgrade I could recommend is RAM. Computers sold four to five years ago tended to be anemic on RAM, often having 1GB or less. This was one of the reasons why Microsoft Vista performed like a dog. I have noticed that a lot of computers today are selling with 3-4GB of RAM, which probably helps considerably with performance. Even old Windows XP needs almost 1GB of RAM to be happy when a few programs are running. Without that space, your computer will spend more time swapping memory than actually doing something productive. Has anyone else found cheap, effective upgrades for their old bessie?


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Microsoft Office 2010 No Longer Available As An Upgrade

Posted by Andy Dixon in "Digital Home Software" @ 02:00 AM

http://daggle.com/office-2010-no-up...de-pricing-1994

"I'm a Microsoft Office devotee. Sure, cloud-based apps are fine. But I like dependable, fast software right on my own computer. My life revolves fairly happily around Outlook. You can pry Excel out of my cold dead fingers. But maybe it'll be Excel 2007 you'll be prying away, because Office 2010's new pricing policy has really ticked me off."

It appears Microsoft have removed the upgrade version of Office 2010 and the only choice is to buy one of the full product versions. As Danny Sullivan says in his blog, this will feel like a price increase to users especially as Office isn't exactly cheap to start with. With the availability of free competing products such as Google Docs or Openoffice, there is a good chance that many will see this as a chance to switch from Office to save money. It will be interesting to see the market share statistics in the future to see if there has been any change.


Friday, April 9, 2010

Server Down Time on Saturday Night

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Thoughts Media Status Updates" @ 05:00 PM

We're doing some upgrades to our server on Saturday night (Eastern US time), so expect some down-time for 2-4 hours. Have a great weekend everyone!


Friday, October 23, 2009

New Windows Live Sync Update a Disaster on Windows 7 Computers

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Talk" @ 10:00 AM

Yesterday morning, Microsoft's Live Sync service wasn't working for me. It has its glitches here and there, so I waited and assumed it would start working again. Hours passed, and it still wasn't connecting. That's not normal, so I checked the Sync Web site. Nothing posted there. I posted in the newsgroup, and discovered it was planned maintenance - evidently the Live Sync team expects people to check their updated-a-few-times-a-year blog regularly for announcements. Why they wouldn't have pushed out a message via the client is beyond me - they have the capability to do so, yet they don't use it when they should.

I upgraded Live Sync on five of my computers today, and the install went smooth. I noticed that after installing the client it still doesn't auto-run itself - which is silly and would confuse most users - so I ran the client, re-entered my username/password, then watched what happened. Nothing happened. Read more...


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Windows 7 to Cost More than Windows Vista?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 08:00 PM

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13924_3-1...l?tag=rtcol;pop

""In tough economic times, I think it's naive to believe that you can increase your prices on average and then still see a stronger swell than if you held prices flat or even lowered them. I can tell you that the licensing tiers at retail are more expensive than they were for Vista." In the business market, Windows 7 Professional is expected to be more expensive than Windows Vista Business, the version that Professional is replacing, he said."

Without firm pricing announced by Microsoft, it seems hard to get too up-in-arms about this, but one thing is for sure: this is not the ideal financial environment for Microsoft to be raising their prices in. I also think that, where consumers are concerned, Microsoft is going to run into trouble with windows Vista owners not wanting to upgrade to Windows 7 unless Microsoft can make it affordable for them to do so - and this is especially true in the case of multi-computer households. With Windows XP, many people upgraded to Windows Vista with new computers because they'd had their XP-based systems for years. Vista still feels brand-new in comparison, and the vast majority of consumers running Vista today are doing so on hardware that's less than two years old. If Microsoft is expecting those users to drop $129 USD (the price of Vista Home Premium Upgrade) on every computer in the house, that's probably not going to happen.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Upgrading HP EX470 and EX475 MediaSmart Servers

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 08:00 PM

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews...-hack,2171.html

"Although the new generation of HP MediaSmart Servers offers more memory and a somewhat more powerful CPU, with bargain prices like those for refurb units readily available (not to mention even lower prices on used units), you can apply some modest hardware hacks to these older servers. You’ll wind up with a system that’s as good or better than the newer, more expensive models, while saving some money in the bargain."

The HP MediaSmart Servers are among the more popular and prominent Windows Home Server incarnations. Recently, HP released the EX485 and EX487 models, bumping up CPU power and memory making the EX470 and EX475 look like capable but weak workers. Tom's Hardware has come to the rescue with a guide on how to bring your old, decrepid server up to scratch. The tight fitting components of the MediaSmart servers don't make it easy, so this isn't for the timid. But the extras, especially the memory, can certainly be worth it. Windows Home Server is not the only NAS solution available and it certainly is not the cheapest, but it is really easy to use and with add-ons, it can serve a lot of extra uses as well.


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