Up Your Media Apple Web and Tech Blog
Parksville / Qualicum Beach's only Apple Certified Macintosh Technician (ACMT) and Apple Support Professional, Dan LaRocque, posts semi-regular tips and blogs about his day-to-day experiences with Macintosh computer technology, social media, web marketing & design and other technology related developments.
There are 4 main components to your computer that dictate performance and can periodically require maintenance
- Hard Drive - The hard drive is where your personal data, plus OS and other software, is stored. Most drives are mechanical (HDD) but more modern drives are Solid State (SSD). HDDs are more likely to fail than SSDs but both can experience corruptions due to volume count and directory errors. A disk repair generally costs about $100 while a disk replacement runs from $250-$300. Don’t forget to buy an external hard drive as a Tme Machine backup.
- RAM - or Random Access Memory is independent of the hard drive, and is available, generally, to the software and applications as the computer is operating. The more you have, the faster your computer will run. To determine how much you have, look in the About This Mac dialogue in your Apple menu.
- Logic board - This contains the CPU and the GPU (graphics processing unit). Sometimes the graphics processor will fail due to too much heat or other factors. Often this can be replaced or repaired, usually at a cost of $300-$500. IF YOU SPILL WATER, WINE, COFFEE, OR ANY OTHER LIQUID IN YOUR COMPUTER, it can “possibly” be fixed depending on the amount and location of the corrosion and electrical shorting the liquid caused. It WILL be expensive, between $300-$500. The alternative to repairing either of these situations is to replace the logic board altogether, usually around $800-$1000.
- Software - I like to say that over the past 10-20 years, the hardware in your personal computer hasn’t changed that dramatically. However, the software that runs that hardware changes constantly. I regularly see operating systems from 2007 (Snow Leopard 10.6.8) and every variation in between, while the current one today is Sierra (10.12.3). In addition, the other native softwares in your machine, ie., Safari, iTunes, Photos, etc need regular updates, as do third party applications like Microsoft Word, Flash, and Java. Not every operating system is appropriate for every vintage of computer, even if it’s compatible according to Apple.
Memory vs Storage.
It’s important to know the difference between memory and storage capacity on your computer. RAM, or system memory, is used for temporary processing storage, and contributes to the speed of your computer.
Storage is the overall capacity of your hard drive, i.e., how manysongs, pictures and documents you can keep on your drive. Most iMacs contain 1 TB of capacity. Newer MacBook Airs and Pros tend to use Solid State (SSD) drives, with faster speed and less capacity, although the capacity vs cost is getting better. If your startup disk should become too full, performance will be negatively affected.
You can check both these specifications on your machine by going to the About This Mac dialogue via your Apple menu at the very top left of your screen. Click on Storage to see what is taking up the bulk of the capacity of your machine.
Both these components can generally be upgraded. It’s best practice to have the most RAM possible in your computer to maximize performance. To find out the maximum RAM for your model, check out this webpage. Hard drives can also be upgraded with either mechanical HDDs (low cost, high capacity, slower speed) or SSDs (high cost, low capacity, higher speed). Call 250-240-3564 to inquire about details and costs on your memory and hard drive upgrades.
Adobe Flash received an update on April 21st 2016, and it's starting to affect usability. I had written a tutorial on how to upgrade your version a couple years ago, but here is some more current information.
To avoid following a link to a bogus download, I advise going directly to Adobe.com, then following the link to the Adobe Flash download. From there, you have to follow ALL the steps to download, launch and install the update (many people tend to simply click the ‘install now’ link and assume they’re done). The software will appear in your downloads folder, double click on the ‘.dmg’ file (it’s a disk mounted image) and launch the installer, then double click the ‘install flash player’ button, then agree to open the software. You’ll have to sign in with your computer login password to authenticate, then continue to follow the installation process. To complete it, you’ll have to relaunch your browser(s). Once done, you can continue to watch Youtube videos, view JacquieLawson e-cards, reserve ferries, etc.