Category Archives: Computer Questions and Answers

Questions and answers on a broad range of computer related topics

Q. What is the difference between NVME, M.2 and SATA?

A. M.2 (formerly known as NGFF) is a standard for a computer expansion card socket, and the cards that can go into it. M.2 – Wikipedia M.2 cards are named after their size: the most popular is M.2 2280 – 22 … Continue reading

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Q. Why does it take much longer to copy a large file to a USB flash than to an external hard drive?

A. USB “keychain” flash drives are slower because the flash drive has much poorer writing performance than an external hard disk drive. The real world speed of writing depends both on the performance of the interface (USB in this case) … Continue reading

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Q: What should I check first if my computer lost internet access?

The first rule of support is: Check the cables. The second rule of support is: Check the cables again! Is everything powered on? Once you have done that, you need to isolate where the internet access is being interrupted. Was … Continue reading

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Q: Can I use compressed air to clean out dust from inside my computer?

Yes, you can. ‘Canned air’ is a common, if environmentally dubious, method of blowing dust out of computers. Although chlorinated fluorocarbon propellants have been banned, the replacement propellants, Hydrofluorocarbons (HFC) and hydrocarbons, are still not good for the atmosphere, and … Continue reading

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Q: What does “swap memory” do that physical RAM memory in a computer can’t do?

A: It can be bigger. Swap files on the computer’s hard drive are there for when you don’t have enough physical RAM, so the operating systems swaps data out of RAM space and writes a file on storage, to free … Continue reading

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Q: What old generations of RAM memory are the same speed as drives?

A: RAM, of any generation, has always been much faster than hard drives or SSD drives, and RAM continues to be faster. There are several reasons. Bus access: RAM is on a bus that is much ‘closer’ to the CPU … Continue reading

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Q: News web sites lock up every computer I’ve used, using much of it’s resources

A: Your experience is not the same as others. Yes, news sites rely a lot on syndication, ads, dynamic content and loading content from multiple different sources. But the majority of computers do not bog down or lock up on … Continue reading

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Q: Is it expensive to add a Thunderbolt port to a budget priced laptop?

A: Yes, because it means buying a new laptop. The Thunderbolt protocol is an extension of the PCI-e bus and therefore cannot be converted from USB or any other common interface. Thunderbolt relies on having a Thunderbolt hardware controller chip, … Continue reading

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QNAP NAS storage owners – time to update your units

There is a security vulnerability that affects the QNAP NAS storage devices, and their QTS operating system. It has been fixed with a firmware update from QNAP in February, but the catch is — you need to manually install the … Continue reading

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iPhone 5 Owners need to take action before Nov 3

Apple announced that iPhone 5 will require updating before Nov 3 or iCloud, App Store, email, web and other services will no longer work. Starting just before 12:00 a.m. UTC on November 3, 2019,* iPhone 5 will require an iOS … Continue reading

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What ports do I have on my device? Sorting out cables, USB, Thunderbolt and Firewire

USB Host ports A host is a computer or another device with an operating system, that has the ports and the OS support (and drivers) to control a USB device. Where are the ports? If it is a desktop computer, … Continue reading

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Purchase Order Fraud – Impersonation scam

Every week we receive orders and quote requests from companies, universities and hospitals all over North America, requesting expensive IT equipment. Great, right? Not really, because these are fraud artists that are trying to lure companies into sending valuable goods … Continue reading

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Can I build a gaming computer under $1000? Sept 2019 edition

Posted on March 15, 2018 by quill It’s September 2019 and we are revisiting our exercise in budget computing: Can we build a computer that will give acceptable gaming performance for under $1000 Canadian? There’s a whole lot of new to look at … Continue reading

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RyZen and DDR4 Memory – what to look for

AMD’s RyZen and RyZen third generation (Zen2) CPUs have rewritten the conventional wisdom around computer processors, the one that goes “Intel is the performance and innovation leader, and AMD follows behind with lower performance chips for the budget market”. The … Continue reading

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Mac Pro Refresh 2019 – Expansion and memory

Apple finally brought a new Mac Pro design to the table. It is a return to the tower format, with some serious expandability and options. The CPU(s) are still Xeon workstation class processors, which means far higher expandability and bandwidth … Continue reading

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