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K1FRK1FR Member ✭✭
Would appreciate some thoughts from those with solid performing windows machines for their SmartSDR work.

Have been using a three year old HP Win 7 box with less than stellar results.  Thought it would be good for PowerSDR when I bought it.  It has an I7, gobs of RAM, a SSD for C drive, large mechanical drive for D, NVIDIA mid range graphics card.

Worked kinda OK with PowerSDR.  Some pops in the audio, and some issues with PSDR hanging.  Latency monitor showed some pretty good DPCs from graphics and the network card as well as long delays for hard page faults.  Since getting the 6700 in June, works OK with SmartSDR most of the time, but do think some of the disconnects I get are due to my computer.

My 6700 is in shop for PEN at moment, so been using old 3000 and PSDR.  Finding my computer even worse now.  Lots of pops and PSDR hangs.  Close to unusable.  Have updated all the drivers, played with network card settings to no avail.

So, I do not want to spend as much for a new computer as I did for the 6700 but guess the time has come to think about a new box.  Partial to Dell as that is what we have a work and can get pretty good deals.

Sorry for long post, but would appreciate hearing from SSDR users that have really solid performing Dell (or other) win7 computers.  Type of drive,graphics card, etc.

Many thanks!

73, Tom

Completed · Last Updated



  • Bill-W9OLBill-W9OL Member
    edited October 2016
    Go to Neils Website.
    He sells Flex Specific computers and his service is impeccable.
    neal Campbell <[email protected]>

  • Neal_K3NCNeal_K3NC Member ✭✭
    edited January 2015
    Tom, beware an advertisement follows!

    I offer services to help tweak and tune your current PC and if that doesn't work out you can also buy a fully configured and installed FlexReady PC from my company. I have extensive experience in selecting the best components to run a program such as Powersdr and SmartSDR.

    If you purchase my tweak and tune service (to get your current PC fully operational) and it doesn't solve your problems, I give full credit of the tweak and tune service towards one of my FlexReady PCs.

  • Nick - W2NERNick - W2NER Member
    edited June 16
    Well, I have a 6500 running on windows 7, I5, 64 bit and 8 gig of ram with a SSD drive.  Works great! It's also running on Apple mini mac hardware using bootcamp.  I went the direction because the Apple hardware is superior to anything out there.  I would say its time to re-install windows for you or get a new system.  I would bet a new frsh install would cure all your problems.  One thing I suggest is to have a system dedicated to just the Flex (which is what I do). 
  • DaveDave Member ✭✭
    edited November 2019
    Your current computer should be fine! I'm running win7 on a 4 year old MacBook Pro in a bootcamp partition and have no issues at all. Quad core I7, 8GB ram, 512 GB SSD and Nvidia graphics. You might want to try a clean reload on Windows 7 before investing in a new computer...
  • W5XZ - danW5XZ - dan Member ✭✭
    edited June 2019
    my low end, 'budget' k3nc spec'd homebrew rice rocket is still humming along nicely; Asus m5a78L-m motherboard, AMD fx-6300 cpu, 8 gigs matched Kingston Ram, ATI HD 7790 video card ( drives 2 monitors nicely ); drop him a note, he's very helpful, if you want to roll your own and save some $$.
    73, w5xz, dan

  • DrTeethDrTeeth Member ✭✭
    edited December 2018
    Your PC needs nothing more than some servicing. It has more than enough grunt for what you need it for.

    You don't need a new computer or anything special at all. All you need is free so watch out is somebody is looking for $s.

    Something like this http://etoolsonline.com/computer-house-cleaning/ (though ignore anything to do with registry cleaning, plus may not be a need to defrag a SSD - I don't know for sure) and this http://windows.microsoft.com/en-gb/windows/delete-files-using-disk-cleanup#delete-files-using-disk-c... - use the 'clean up system files' button if you have it.

    Make sure you have the latest drivers for everything and only get them from the manufacturer's site.

    Your PC is better specced than mine and I have no problems, in fact, I am running my 6300 off my lesser specced laptop at the moment without issue.

    Good luck.
  • edited March 2015
    Are your sure this is a hardware replacement?  I'm with G4DWV.  You should have plenty of power to run that stuff.  What else are you running?  I'd look into that first.
  • SteveMSteveM Member
    edited January 2017


    Are you sure it is not network related? Your machine is 10x better than mine (Core2 Duo) but it sounds like mine, interfaced to a 6500, is doing better than yours.

    If it's not a network issue, you must be bogging down with other processes. Like those before me said - a fresh install of Win7 should take care of that.

  • Walt - KZ1FWalt - KZ1F Member
    edited December 2018
    Feel free to reach out to me directly, [email protected] Your computer is fine. Can you boot to a system recovery partition? My first guess is malware and/or virus. I've never heard of a hard page fault and I've been doing this (software) 43 years. If you are reading pages in, not so bad. If you are writing pages out, not good. SSDR has a lower footprint on your machine than psdr. If you can restore your system image, do that and let windows reapply its patches. Walt - kz1f
  • Bill RobertsBill Roberts Member ✭✭
    edited July 2018
    I agree that your computer is adequate.  Some may have told you that you might consider doing a fresh install of the operating system but that is a lot of hassle.  Of course, delete all the programs you don't anticipate using.  Revo Uninstall FREE is good for doing a thorough uninstall of software.  Do an occasional registry fix with Ccleaner FREE.  Use either Control Panel or the Tools section of CCleaner to disable all but the essential programs you have starting up.  Also, make sure that your drivers, particularly the video drivers are up to date.  An old or misfunctioning driver can increase latency.  Finally, there are latency checkers our on the web for free that will tell you exactly which program and/or device is using the most resources and thus, causing latency.  Search for Latency Checker.  For whatever it's worth, until recently I reliably used a 3 year old Dell I7 with Windows 7/64  and PowerSDR 2.7.2 and I did not see a need to do an OS refresh.
  • DrTeethDrTeeth Member ✭✭
    edited August 2016
    It would be advisable to back up any personal data that would be wiped 110% by this procedure.

    I would advise a tune up first, one does not replace one's car because it starts misfiring.
  • K1FRK1FR Member ✭✭
    edited February 2017
    Thanks to all for all the helpful replies.  Lots of ideas to work on, and will go down the list and review each reply again.

    Definitely have something at issue with machine.  Have run all the nasty gremlin finders I know of including tdsskiller, combofox, cccleaner and all the standard things like antimalwarebytes, ad aware, and MSE.  Have just recently again assured all drivers are current.

    It does appear something serious is going on in the NIC - 10000 usecs reported DPCs on Latency MOnitor.  ALso getting hard page faults up to 200000 usecs. 

    Going to try updated the BIOS and run down some ideas found on web re NDIS.SYS that might help with the NIC.  Failing that, afraid the advice of many for clean install is where this may end up.  Ugh!

    Thanks again.  Great support on this community.  Will save community bandwidth until I have something to report.

    73, Tom
  • Andrew VK5CVAndrew VK5CV Member ✭✭
    edited December 2018


    I suspect that you should not get any hard page faults if reading from the SSD if its working properly.

    No SSD here but when I put in a hybrid drive hard page faults became zero.


  • N7BCPN7BCP Member ✭✭
    edited May 2019
    A hard page fault occurres when the block of memory you need has been swapped to disk, an SSD won't keep this from happening although it should lessen the impact. Reduce the memory pressure.
  • ik2eglik2egl Member ✭✭
    edited June 23
    let me suggest to use http://www.passmark.com performance test

    I have been using with nn4nn to tune and upgradee my pc and I found it really useful

  • Andrew VK5CVAndrew VK5CV Member ✭✭
    edited November 2015
    Well markedly reduced to almost nil.
  • Walt - KZ1FWalt - KZ1F Member
    edited November 2016
    who calls it that? Not IBM, Microsoft, or Linux. In windows, every app loaded gets paged out. A ptage fault is processed much more efficiently than a standard disk read. Regardless of a 7k, 15k, or ssdd, as a program is loaded it is paged out. The page data set (or page.sys) is generally larger than one's total memory. If you want your computer to run its perceived fastest set the size of this to equal you system memory size. As a program updates a counter or othwise creates new data modifying a page marks that page as dirty. That, in and of itself, isn't bad. Its when the OS or a program, accesses a page not currently loaded into memory and that page you just modified is residing where the new page will resdde a page fault occurs. Seeing that page was marked dirty it must be paged out before the new page can be paged in. If the selected frame wasn't marked as dirty the page fault would still occur but there would be no page out required. By limiting your virtual memory size to you real memory size there would never be a page out required. For those really **** about their computer's performace, modify the page file to equal the ram size, I.e. 8GB
  • Jay NationJay Nation Member
    edited August 2016
    I was also under the Impression that pagefile on an SSD would result in shorter lifetime for the SSD. Is that no longer the case? 
  • Jay NationJay Nation Member
    edited August 2016
    Wouldn't More RAM be the better solution?
  • Walt - KZ1FWalt - KZ1F Member
    edited November 2016
    if you are concerned about your network speed, point your browser at speedof.me. If your download results are between 15 and, say, 30 million bits per second your your NIC network interface card its fine.
  • Walt - KZ1FWalt - KZ1F Member
    edited November 2016
    that depends. If you are trying to run more programs than your real or or system memory will allow then you going to be paging. If, on the other hand, the number of programs you load is less than or equal to the amount of memory you have then you won't be having any page out operations and rules you won't see any page related performance issues. So if you're over committing memory yes adding more memory would would eliminate or reduce page out operations but if you're not over committing memory just changing the size of your page file to equal your memory size accomplishes the same goal for less money. Reducing your page file would prevent you from over commuting memory. I think what you might be thinking of is writing to a solid state drive is far more expensive than reading. Whether you page or download programs **** or PDFs you are going to be eriting to the ssdd. I am unaware of any mttf on ssdd due to writes.
  • Jay NationJay Nation Member
    edited May 2019
    Hadn't seen speedof.me before. Thanks Walt! Im connected to the 6500 with a separate gigabit ethernet card and 3ft of cat6, which doesn't see my gigabit router or my 100Mbps capable fiber optic internet connection to the 15Mbps/5Mbps connection the ISP provides but the 17.65Mbps/8.79Mbps test result means my internet is healthy enough to give me that warm fuzzy/dollars well spent feeling. Not bad for 80 miles north of dallas and 30 miles from the ISP, low noise rural life. Too bad the trees top out at 30 ft. 
  • Nick - W2NERNick - W2NER Member
    edited February 2015
    In real world conditions, more ram limits the use of the page file.  Once you get to 32 gig its not needed but does help to off load application switching and reserve memory for use with other running process use.  I'm sure the OP issues has to do with installed apps, old running background apps and needs to be cleaned out.  Unless he is very technical, a new fresh install is his best option.  I do this for a living and I have seen people brick their system.  That's my opinion.
  • Jay NationJay Nation Member
    edited August 2016
    I think the mttf is only an issue with some of the SSDs, the older cheaper ones. I avoided SSD for now but did go with a seagate hybrid drive. 8gb of which is SSD. So far the 16gb of ram seems to be enough for SmartSDR, DXLab, Fldigi, WSJTX, web browser and email programs I tend to run. I'll upgrade to 32gb when it won't get the job done. I'm a fan of overkill. Costs a lot but it's less hassle. I tend to only assemble new PCs when the old one breaks beyond repair or is no longer overkill. 
  • Walt - KZ1FWalt - KZ1F Member
    edited November 2016
    Well, as I said in a previous post, buying business class machines 'because you can' is perfectly acceptable. That is what helps drive the economy. My concern is how some equate 'because I can' with 'because I have to'. If prospective flex owners perceive in order to run a $5,000 radio they need a $20,000 windows PC, this hurts FRS and I don't believe anyone gains if that happens.
  • Walt - KZ1FWalt - KZ1F Member
    edited November 2016
    I checked into mttf, 1,200,000 he's. I'm thinking that's way beyond warranty. None of the programs we talk about here are disk intensive.
  • Jay NationJay Nation Member
    edited August 2016
    Only cost me about $800 and my old box that cost me about $300 struggles but can run SmartSDR and PowerSDR concurruntly. Wouldn't even dream about $20,000.00.

    PCs "can" last a long time. Cheaping out "can" end up costing more over time. My kids and grandkids enjoy Grandpa's hand me down PC's and get new ones when they need something better. Keeping PC's out of there budgets means they sometimes ask to splurge on Grandpa's hobbies around christmas. Why spend money on good coax when RG-8 will get the job done. Next several years I plan on spending nothing on PC's. Anything that meets the minimum PC requirements should be able to play. Thats all you actually need, today at least. A penny saved, gets spent eventually, or your doing it wrong. I actually cheaped out on some of the parts in this PC. Caught some of the parts at "Sale" prices. Choosing to go the Intel route this time added $200 I could have saved by choosing AMD parts like I have in the past. The old box survived through the second year of the SDR-1000 and PowerSDR and the Flex-5000a. It's still running but I cheaped out when I built it and only installed 4gb of ram, now 8 years later the ram that box needs is no longer made. I'm hoping the 16gb of ram I put in the new box remains adequate, but I bet I'll outlive it.

    I'm still using the original keyboard I got with my first used Intel 386 PC its an IBM model M. That PC new retailed for something like $2400 and all that survived of it is this keyboard. I like this old keyboard so much I dumpster dived my self a couple of spares in case I ever manage to **** this one. I bought that 386 8 bit system complete, 20mb hardrive and all for about $500 used. A strictly DOS machine, not enough of anything required to run Windows 3.1. It went into the dumpster I found the 2 spare keyboards in. Along with 4 Commodore PET computers I no longer had storage space for. I didn't upgrade to a new PC until 1995 when the first Pentium based machines hit the christmas sales.
    The box after that one was the first self assembled machine as all the rest have been. 

    I've had the computer hobby a lot longer than I've had the radio hobby, I got interested in radio first and computing a couple years later, when I was allowed access to the high schools teletype terminal on the dialup connection to the school districts mainframe, sometime in the mid 70s. When SDR became something that was a possibility I finally got licensed. I had to be. What a cool idea, A new way to play computer that includes my other favorite obsession. Luckily I've been able to afford both hobbies. Like Peter Pan I'll never grow up No! Not me!
  • Walt - KZ1FWalt - KZ1F Member
    edited November 2016
    Here is what I have running on my laptop booted to run Windows (SSDR and Turbotax) only.

    HRD Logbook
    Lync Basic
    Performance Monitor  <-- used to make this point
    Task Manager <--- used to make this point
    SmartSDR AlertHelper
    SmartSDR CAT

    total memory footprint, including Windows 7 (pig) AccuWeather (junkware) and all the other garbage that comes with a Dell

    Memory in use - 4GB almost exactly. It's an 8GB system which supports the page count below below.

    Page Writes/sec - 0 (maximum)

    I can, with almost absolute certainty, state nobody (99.99%) on this forum will ever use 16GB...ever. That includes grandchildren too. 4 billion, if counted, would take
    27 years to finish. 16 billion is 4 times that.

    This is primarily for those lurking on this forum contemplating buying a Flex 6000. I do not believe you could find a machine for sale at Dell that couldn't successfully handle a Flex 6000. I have a 6500, four panadapters. Firing up the other 3 raised the 4GB but only about 200MB. CPU with all four panadapters running plus everything else, 60% of a 2.8GHz I7 processor with 8 threads which equate to about 5 real processors.

    A 6700 would probably maybe rise to 4.4GB.

    The 'can' far exceeds the 'needs to'.

    However, in defense of those who buy the biggest Dell PowerEdge boxes they can find. If nobody bought the next new bright shiney, this economy would collapse overnight.  So, as I am counting on the stock market to fund my retirement, "Party On Wayne, Party On Garth" ;-)

    Al, the scale is the factor to get it to show in the real time graph. The numbers are true values.
  • Walt - KZ1FWalt - KZ1F Member
    edited November 2016
    the problem with passmark is, "it's a 5" means absolutely nothing.If all you require is a 2 then 5 reflects excess capacity of  150% If you require a 10 than you have no excess capacity.

    SSDR, if anything, is IO Bound. Put a performance monitor on your NIC when you have all your panadapters/ slice receivers running. Why 100% cpu is fine is if it is waiting for data to display from the radio itself, it is waiting, there is capacity for something else to use the processor. If running everything drives your cpu to 99.9% your system has excess capacity. If one had 2 chips and 128 processors, there is only so much processing power SSDR needs. The rest of it is ego and/or helping the economy. But, "its a 5" by itself is meaningless.

    People should buy whatever it is that makes them happy. That's much different than what do I "need" for SmartSDR.
  • Peter K1PGVPeter K1PGV Member ✭✭
    edited December 2016


    who calls it that? Not IBM, Microsoft, or Linux. In windows, every app loaded gets paged out. A ptage fault is processed much more efficiently than a standard disk read.


    I'm sorry, but there's a whole lot that's incorrect in this post.  Since the dawn of Windows NT, there have been two categories of page faults: Hard page faults and soft page faults.  Just Google "hard page fault" or have a look at Solomon and Russinovich WIndows Internals book.  There was this same concept in VMS as well.

    You can read about the difference between hard and soft page faults here: <http://blogs.technet.com/b/askperf/archive/2008/06/10/the-basics-of-page-faults.aspx>

    Also, in Windows every app that gets loaded does *not* get paged out.  However, it IS true that we load pages of an app through the use of page faults.  Windows memory maps the executable image, load the first part of the executable, and then let paging take care of the rest.  This is how the app gets loaded initially.

    Peter K1PGV

    Windows kernel-mode developer by trade

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