Considering buying a MS Surface to control a640 Comments?

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  • Updated 1 year ago
Small laptop to control a 6400. I would like to run the radio from a chair in the house and still need to have a computer for other things
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Gerald Capodieci

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Posted 1 year ago

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I'm currently using an old Surface Pro (4gb RAM, 128GB HD) and it works very well with 2.4.9.
Even use the built in Mic and get great reports(once I tweaked the EQ)

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Gerald Capodieci

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Thanks for the great news. Kd6et
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Bill Hickey

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I use a Surface 3 with no problems.
Bill AB7AA
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Larry Benoit

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Hi Gerald, 

I recently acquired a Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 (8th Gen i5 CPU, 8GB RAM) and used it for remote operations during the entire month of February. It's not a 2 in 1, rather a conventional clam shell design with non-detachable keyboard, weighing 2.7 pounds.  Materials and quality are world class and the display is bright and beautiful. 

I also have a Microsoft Surface Pro 5 (7th gen i5 CPU, 8 GB RAM). This is a true 2 in 1 with detachable keyboard, weighing 1.7 pounds. It is somewhat awkward and slightly uncomfortable to actually use on my lap with the keyboard attached. For that mode of use, I grab a small pillow and rest the Surface Pro on it. 

Both products have good wireless performance  and work very well with SmartSDR over SmartLink and a boatload of apps. I run full DX Lab Suite, WSJT-X or FLdigi, PSTRotator, DAX, CAT, remote control apps, browser and e-mail on both products with no problems. With all these apps CPU utilization averages about 40% on the Surface Pro and 20-25% on the Laptop 2, while physical memory utilization is about 4 GB on both, leaving plenty of available RAM. 

You mention using a laptop from a chair. For what it's worth, I much prefer the Laptop 2 for use on my lap. But, it won't operate in pure tablet mode (no keyboard) like the Surface Pro. 

The cost difference between the Pro and Laptop 2 is small, but the available CPUs are faster and the display larger on the Laptop 2.  Either way I highly recommend you get the latest generation product with the 8th gen i5 CPU with 8 GB RAM. The i7 CPU is not worth the extra expense, unless you are running games or processing video and images. 

Good luck and 73,
Larry KB1VFU

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Gerald Capodieci

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Fantastic comments everybody Thanks.
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Ernest - W4EG

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I don't know how I missed these comments.
I had to purchase a desk top computer, since my 6 years old one, decided to retired: And die!
If I had seen these comments, I would had saved quite a few bucks: Since my wife wanted a newer Surface.  
Now, I noticed several of you, are using these MS machines for remote operations.  I see  that I could had done the same with my inherited wife's Surface 4 tablet.
Oh well. I was off the air for approximately 6 weeks, building my new desk top "puter" and recently managed to reinstall all new software. Which I am now barely able to get on FT-8. While, there was a machine capable of saving (me) all that time and keep me on the "air." 
W4EG motto:  "If you don't read the forum --- how can you keep up with your Flex Radio"
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I have no doubt that a Microsoft Surface would be great for SSDR and the associated applications you'd want for your Flex.  I already have a MacBook that does the job by running Parallels and Windows, but if I didn't and I needed something specifically to use with my Flex, I'd look first at the Surface product line for a model that suited me.

Just remember one thing: Your processor can never be too fast, your hard drive can never be too big, and your RAM memory can never be too great. Thus, you should always buy the most powerful unit you can justify for your Ham budget.
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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I bought a Surface Pro 6 laptop with an i7 processor, 16GB Ram;, 500GB SSD to replace my 2012 MacBook AIR to running SSDR and WSJT remote Both are around this same small form factor necessary for travel. Neither was inexpensive -around $2.4K. BUT i agree with Rociante that you should always buy the fastest most powerful computer because it will last many more years than a cheaper one.

‘The Surface Pro works great here in France remote via my big station in La Jolla, CA for FT8/FT4

I still use my iPad for SSB remote - better TX audio.