CheckUp is an easy-to-use multipurpose maintenance utility that can help you monitor and improve your Mac's performance. Its very visual interface uses colorful and dynamic icons, graphs, and dials to display performance and data over eight different categories: Profile (including uptime and a bandwidth tally), System (especially great for seeing which OS your Mac can handle), Processors (twin dials for dual processors, plus a temperature monitor), Memory (configuration, usage, and testing), Disks (all partitions, with an option for repairing permissions), Network (showing input and output in a customizable graph), Processes (a prettier, more flexible version of OS X's … Read more
FreeMem Ram Optimiser 1.0 is a lightweight utility for users who want to keep a certain amount of RAM free and available on their computers. It allows you to force a "release" of RAM as well as set a threshold for automated release. Unfortunately, a few issues make this tool confusing at best.
Ram Optimiser is simple to use: a slider controls the amount of RAM you want to free up, and an Optimize button initiates the action. You can run the tool on your desktop or send it to the system tray. We watched the effects … Read more
Phones make trusty sat-navs, MP3 players, and cycling computers--as well as handy phones--so they can replace a pocket full of gear on your daily commute or monthly trek. But short of lashing them to the handlebars with duct tape, you need a decent way to keep them front and center, without them flying off to become the puck in a horrifying game of . You'll be needing a mount.
With all the mounts we tested, we were surprised how much we enjoyed having our phone at our fingertips while pedaling. Not only did our sat-nav apps benefit from … Read more
If you've got burnt thighs from an old MacBook Pro or you notice that your computer is always overheating and crashing from using CPU-intensive apps (like playing PC games in a virtual Windows environment), you might want to check out smcFanControl. This free, GPL-licensed utility has a single purpose: letting you increase the minimum speed of built-in fans, so your Intel computer will run cooler.
smcFanControl lets you monitor the current temperature (in Celsius or Fahrenheit), assign different minimum speeds for each fan using sliders, and even apply different settings when your power source changes (for example, going back … Read more
Consumers have had the option of 64-bit Windows computing since the release of Windows XP Professional x64 Edition in May 2005, four years after the release of Windows XP 32-bit. At the end of 2006, Windows Vista 32-bit and 64-bit versions were released simultaneously. Yet chances are you're currently using a machine that runs the 32-bit version of Windows.
This is about to change. Windows 64-bit has started to gain a significant foothold in the past two years as more systems ship with 3GB or more of memory. However, with Windows 7, 64-bit computing is likely to become even more common.
What's the difference between 32-bit and 64-bit computing? In a nutshell, the numbers refer to the amount of bits a computer can process in one computation. They also translate into the amount of random access memory (RAM) a computer can address. A 32-bit Windows computer can address a maximum of 4GB of RAM, while a 64-bit Windows machine can address up to 128GB and even more (64-bit applications can address theoretically up to 16 billion gigabytes of memory). So the higher number of bit means better computing, both in terms of precision and capability.
Despite the potential, the transition to the new platform has been slow. This is because of the high price of RAM and the lack of device drivers and 64-bit software applications. (Drivers are a special type of software that make hardware components work with the operating system. Without the sound driver, for example, your computer wouldn't be able to play music.)
Back when Windows Vista was released, 2GB of RAM, which is the recommended amount to make Vista run properly, could easily cost a couple hundred dollars. (This is one of the reasons Vista failed so badly as a new OS release.) There was virtually no 64-bit application then, either, other than a few game demos, and most hardware vendors didn't provide the 64-bit version of the drivers. Apart from this, 32-bit computers have been able to satisfy most of our daily computing needs. … Read more
This coming weekend, our country will be celebrating the annual Fourth of July holiday. And what better way to celebrate the rich history of the USA than with a week long tribute to some of the most bad ass American automobiles ever made? I sure can't think of a better way, so here we go with the Super Muscle Car Shootout!
This web video is actually a trailer for the Muscle Car Shootout that aired on the Speed Channel in 2006, but the cars showcased here are simply timeless. Some of the most powerful American performance car classics are … Read more
SuperRam employs various tests and diagnostics to optimize your system's performance. While it offered us a quick glimpse into our memory and processor space, we found no noticeable difference in our computer's performance.
The user interface is very easy to understand. All of your system's process and memory space is laid out for you. A task menu resides on the left side of the window, but we also noticed that the same task commands reside underneath the RAM pie graph. On our first go-around, we used the program's Memory Benchmark test to check our computer's … Read more
The other day, my friend Howard asked me about an error message that appeared whenever he tried to open Internet Explorer on his aging Windows XP machine. After a little basic long-distance troubleshooting (Howard lives on the other side of the country), we determined that it wasn't a problem with his network connection.
Howard isn't very tech-savvy, unfortunately. (He's a handicapping wiz, though, which explains why he needed to get back online--he had a longshot lined up at Gulfstream.) My brother Larry, who lives in the same town as Howard, restored his Web access by logging him … Read more
This free diagnostic program tests your processor speed, but the unreliable readings and error messages left a lot to be desired.
MSC CPU Benchmark 2008's user interface displays a graph that appears to display your CPU usage, along with your system's processor, model, type, and the availability of physical and virtual RAM. There are options along the left side of the interface for testing your processor speed, configuring the settings, and showing past and present test results. The program doesn't include any kind of temperature gauge commonly found in similar tools. From the Configurations menu, you can … Read more
At the end of December, my colleague Seth Rosenblatt put together a thoughtful and in-depth Windows Starter Kit that collects the best-of-breed freeware applications for all categories. But what if your new Windows computer can be balanced on the palm of your hand and contains only a whiff of RAM?
Take, for instance, the tiny Acer AspireOne laptop that my mother purchased on little more than a whim and a phenomenal deal. Not for kitchen lookups of recipes or way to win dinnertime debates, as I had imagined when we first slipped the preemie out of its box, but as … Read more