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Seeking Insights: Upgrading Computer Desktop Tower Components for Enhanced FlexRadio Performance

Hello FlexRadio community members,

I hope you're all enjoying your FlexRadio setups! I'm reaching out today with a specific question about upgrading computer desktop towers [https://www.lenovo.com/us/en/d/desktop-computer-tower/] components to optimize FlexRadio performance. If you have experience or insights on this matter, I'd love to hear from you!

Here are some aspects I'm particularly interested in, but feel free to share any relevant information:

Processor (CPU) Upgrades: Have you upgraded your CPU to a more powerful model to boost FlexRadio performance? What improvements did you notice, and were there any compatibility concerns?

RAM Enhancements: How did upgrading your system's RAM affect the overall performance while running FlexRadio software? Did you observe smoother multitasking or better memory handling?

Graphics Card (GPU) Considerations: Has anyone replaced their GPU to support higher resolutions or smoother graphics during FlexRadio operation? I'm curious about any noticeable differences and any specific GPU models that work well.

Storage Solutions: Share your experiences with upgrading to faster SSDs or other storage options. Did it help with faster boot times, reduced latency, or improved data access?

Cooling Solutions: If you've installed additional cooling systems to handle increased performance demands, let us know the impact it had on your FlexRadio setup's stability and reliability.

Compatibility Challenges: Have you encountered any compatibility issues while upgrading components? If so, how did you resolve them?

Benchmarking Results: If you've benchmarked your system before and after upgrades, please share your findings. It could be helpful for others to gauge the potential improvements.

Any Other Tips and Recommendations: Feel free to provide any other advice or tips for fellow community members who are considering upgrading their computer desktop towers to enhance FlexRadio performance.

Whether you're a seasoned expert or just starting with upgrades, your insights will be invaluable for fellow FlexRadio enthusiasts looking to optimize their setups. Please share your experiences, both positive and negative, to create an enriching discussion that benefits the whole community.

Thank you for taking the time to contribute to this topic. Your expertise will undoubtedly help many of us make informed decisions on upgrading our computer desktop towers for a better FlexRadio experience.

Best regards,


  • Erik Carling EI4KF
    Erik Carling EI4KF Member ✭✭✭
    edited July 2023

    The processing, and hence peformance, power comes from the server within the radio. Flex are unlike other SDR companies all of whom have foolishly taken the path of having software / computer do the 'heavy lifting'. Therefore anything that can adequately run SmartSDR is more than sufficient.

    It beyond the Flex setup and into the ecosystem that hardware improvements can help. But even then that matters mostly to digital operation, especially FTx software where timing is important, and multi-tasking should a large number of client software be running simultaneously.

    Because I had a very out-dated computer, I upgraded to Ryzen 5800X with 32GB RAM and fast SSD. The Flex setup saw no benefit as it was already working perfectly. Multi-tasking and to some extent FT8/4 operation improved with more decodes in the available receive period.

    The most startling and significant optimization came not from expenditure on hardware upgrades but by customizing and de-bloating Windows. This I did by using NTLite. All of the time using and processor draining background rubbish like telemetry, diagnostics to MS, useless Windows apps etc have been taken out of it. In JTDX I can now receive over 50 decodes per period at maximum decode settings with a significant negative lag time and it is not unusual on a busy band to consistently receive 70 to 80 decodes and with little positive lag. Prior to my OS customizing I was lucky to ever see more than 60 decodes per period.

    No hardware "improvement" ever achieved this and I think too many people get fooled into thinking it will.

    MacOS users I suspect have little need to upgrade anything, hardware or software. Their OS appears to be far better streamlined than Windows.

  • David Decoons, wo2x
    David Decoons, wo2x Member, Super Elmer Moderator

    I’ll add if you plan to run multiple programs at once (SmartSDR, logging, Grid Tracker, 4 instances of WSJT-X, email and web browser for example) then a CPU with more cores will benefit you. I had helped someone running SmartSDR, JT Alert, two instances of WSJT-X, and Grid Tracker. Every 15 seconds his CPU usage would pin at 100% since he was running on an older Intel CPU with only dual core (4 threads). The CPU was the bottleneck trying to process 4 streams on FT8 data at the same time.

    RAM, Win10 or Win11 can get by with 8 GB ram if only running a couple of programs but 16 GB will run better.

    Storage - in today’s world I would go with minimum of a SATA SSD. New PCs have NVME drives which are even faster. This will help with initial load time of programs and OS.

    Video - SmartSDR and programs mentioned above do not require a lot of video GPU processing power. Just make sure to use latest drivers from manufacturers website. There was a bug with the Intel Iris video drivers which was fixed in latest version.

    Summary - if only running the OS and SmartSDR, it will run fine on older hardware and less RAM. Where the upgrade might benefit is when you factor in all the additional programs you will be running at the same time.

    Dave wo2x

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