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computer design

hi, I need some information about the most efficient computer design to run flex software. does the software take advantage of multi-core design and/or hyper-thread technology, and will a Xenon processor with ecc ram have any advantage over standard I7 core technology?
thanx, K3QH

Best Answer

  • KD0RC
    KD0RC Broomfield, COMember ✭✭✭✭
    Accepted Answer

    What Flex says, and I can corroborate through experience is that it does not take a high end computer to run SmartSDR. What I find takes the most compute power is CW Skimmer. It can simultaneously decode a lot of signals over a fair bandwidth so yhat is not surprising.

    My 8GB i5 laptop running Win 10 runs SmartSDR just fine, but chokes on Skimmer. My new 32GB i9 runs everything without a hitch, but is probably overkill. I am sure that a good i7 would be fine.

    So I can't really answer your question directly, but I can say that SmartSDR itself doesn't need all that much computer.

Answers

  • k3qh
    k3qh Member ✭✭
    thank you very much for your input. yes it does help a lot. I have an i7 right now which runs smart sdr fine. However when i start adding multiple programs like slice master, hrd, jtalert ,and 3 or 4 wsjtx programs etc, it starts slowing down. so I guess my real question is "what type of computer architecture is important to running multiple ancillary programs along with smart sdr?" thanks.
  • Sergey KN7K
    Sergey KN7K Member ✭✭

    i have i7 with Intel SSD and 64gb memory, running everything with no problem.

    It is not just i7 or not, it is other components involved as well.

  • k3qh
    k3qh Member ✭✭
    Thanks Sergey, I follow what you and Len are saying. Maybe its more of a general computer question i am asking than a Flex radio type question. I currently have a fast i7 processor with 64 gb and an 8gb video card running 4 screens. I am trying to find out how i can if possible improve the computers capability to handle more processes at the same time. Or is it even worth trying. I don't even know if windows 10 can handle multiple processors etc.
    thanks again to both of you for the quick response!!
  • bahillen
    bahillen Member ✭✭

    I have an I7-7700 with 250 SSD and Windows 10. I had to upgrade from 8 gb to 16gb of RAM. Flex 6600. A separate video card is very important and any and all monitors need to be connected to the video card.

    I run 4 instances of FT8 and is OK most of the time. Now and then I have to reboot the computer as there must be memory leaks or buffer overflows. (2-3 days). It also depends on the activity on the bands significantly. CW Skimmer is ok but pushes the limits. I had CW Skimmer on during a big contest and it was crash time. Also the spotting functionality can crush performance of computer when many spots.

    LatencyMON test is helpful in identifying problematic drivers that happen occasionally. I run a separate free program Drive Booster that identifies updates to software drivers. It is a reiterative process that takes time to optimize your computer. You will learn a lot.

    I also use an old Dell laptop, I5-3210 8gb RAM. It works but barely. I am thinking about adding a second computer to my network to divide the workload. It does work but have not evaluated the impact on operation and performance. I have tried running a 2nd computer with DAX and SmartSDR CAT as well as SliceMaster with my laptop briefly and seemed to work.

    As new things/software is added and developed computer resources are challenged. The question becomes which resources have the most impact.

    73

    Bill W9JJB

  • Sergey KN7K
    Sergey KN7K Member ✭✭

    What exactly is the problem statement? Your PC is struggling to run 4 monitors, has crashes or else?

    My PC is i7700 at 4.6ghz, 64 gb memory and 1gb SSD. I run 3 monitors with Nvidia 1080 video card 8gb memory.

    Here is typical usage today during ARRL Contest

    It seems like SSDR use 8 cores

    Bottom line, my PC is "resting" :)

  • k3qh
    k3qh Member ✭✭

    Sergey, again thanks for the info. I'm not exactly sure if I even have a problem. with the 1070 8 gb nvidia card i get random flickers and dark screens. also the more apps i have open seems to slow the screens as I move pages around. many times i leave the radio on and lost either transmit capability or receive glitches. rebooting usually helps. I just wanted to know if for example, a workstation or server type system would prove more reliable as they are usually a more robust system. I guess i'm fact finding vs problem solving.

    I will look at the cpu's and do a little more investigating with the screen shots you supplied. thanks again ,

    stuart

  • bahillen
    bahillen Member ✭✭

    Sergy,

    Attached is my Task Manager screen capture. It is important to have the update speed to high as it shows the peak CPU usage better. The MAX RAM I can install is the 16GB I am using. My processor is a 3.6 Ghz and is overclocking to 4.0 Ghz. When I get 100% CPU, it is employing the SSD. It seems a faster DIMM card would be helpful as well as more RAM.

    I have found with FT8 if you hit 100% even briefly some decodes are lost. Also if an interrupt occurs things come to a halt while it handles the interrupt. Interrupts cause holes in the audio in Windows 10.

    Stuart started the thread and I added what I have experienced over the past year or so. Sergy is your computer a gaming computer setup? I have wondered if the gaming computers enhance the same things we need in a communications computer. It appears so.

    Stuart, I have a NVDIA 1050 graphics card and have updated my drivers a couple times last year as they may have been working through some issues. Has been stable for a long while now.

    73

    Bill W9JJB

  • bahillen
    bahillen Member ✭✭
    edited February 20


  • bahillen
    bahillen Member ✭✭


  • k3qh
    k3qh Member ✭✭

    My computer is also set up originally as a gaming computer. I am now monitoring the cpu usage as i work ft8. I will post what i see as soon as i have anything to report. Changing subjects for a moment. I 'm fairly new to flex and this computer is dedicated now only to the radio. all my other computers are linux(really do not like windows). So did an forced update today and lost all my dax. I saved the global settings on my desktop and re installed complete smart sdr. I could not recover the cat settings i previously had. any suggestions. all the ports on windows are still there just slice a cat and tcp in the cat program. Just figured i'd ask.

    really thank you for your time today and help,

    stuart

  • Sergey KN7K
    Sergey KN7K Member ✭✭

    Radio 6600 with FT8 running 2 panadapters.

    Seems like my PC is resting with CPU running between 17-35%, Video card at 21%, memory usage 14.5gb(out of 64gb).

    I also have 38! tabs open at Chrome at the same time, Spotify running, Stacks3, ****, two Logs for each WSJT.

    So, everything telling me that my PC more than capable to run SSDR.

    Do i have SSDR rashes? Yes I do ! But nature of these crashes is unclear.

    Good luck with your decisions :)

    It is not fun to build a new PC now. My son was chasing a Video card for a while as he just built a gaming PC. Video cards is nearly impossible to purchase now (the new ones).

  • bahillen
    bahillen Member ✭✭

    Sergy,

    Attached is my Task Manager screen capture. It is important to have the update speed to high as it shows the peak CPU usage better. The MAX RAM I can install is the 16GB I am using. My processor is a 3.6 Ghz and is overclocking to 4.0 Ghz. When I get 100% CPU, it is employing the SSD. It seems a faster DIMM card would be helpful as well as more RAM.

    I have found with FT8 if you hit 100% even briefly some decodes are lost. Also if an interrupt occurs things come to a halt while it handles the interrupt. Interrupts cause holes in the audio in Windows 10.

    Stuart started the thread and I added what I have experienced over the past year or so. Sergy is your computer a gaming computer setup? I have wondered if the gaming computers enhance the same things we need in a communications computer. It appears so.

    Stuart, I have a NVDIA 1050 graphics card and have updated my drivers a couple times last year as they may have been working through some issues. Has been stable for a long while now.

    73

    Bill W9JJB

  • Stan VA7NF
    Stan VA7NF President Surrey Amateur Radio Communications Member ✭✭

    I am a software developer and my specialty is parallel processing.

    Almost all I5 and above machines very easily handle the load, with some basic performance items.

    First is the hard drive - I suggest replacing your operating system hard drive with a M.2 either by mother board socket or PCI bus adapter. This ensures very fast paging and OS response. SSD on serial bus are, roughly, limited to 400Kb where PCI is in the Gb range. I routinely get over 1GB data rates to my M.2 drives, under load with larger buffer sizes. This is complicated on Windows 7 due to boot up bios concerns but included with Win 10.

    Second is to avoid all paging, especially thrashing due to limited memory. I see you are using 1/4 of your 64GB so this is not a problem on your system.

    With the above satisfied then your environment can utilize multi-cores, especially for handling system interrupts and overheads such as IO and driver overhead. Hyper-Threading is useful when the instruction mix leaves some free internal processing blocks - This is well beyond your control and the operating system tries to use available internal instruction/memory blocks before relying on hyper threads. You can often see in your performance tools that half of the "threads" are idle, these are the hyper thread portions. So unless you have many active programming threads that is not a concern.

  • k3qh
    k3qh Member ✭✭

    Thank you all , it has helped me trouble shoot the problem. Its in my video card that i'm having some problems.

    73' again thanks, Stuart K3QH

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