New user--need info abt good computer to buy.

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Hello, I am new to this community so please forgive a mistake or two with posts--not sure how all this works yet. I just bought a new Flex 6500. I am now going to buy a new computer to use with the 6500. What recommendations does the community have for me? What processor, speed of processor, ram, notebook or otherwise, graphics card, etc. I am new to Flex so will have lots of questions, thanks , Cristina WD8KUR
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Cristina Staats

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Posted 3 years ago

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Dave - W6OVP

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If you can wait 6 months, this looks good. If not, something to think about:

http://www.flexradio.com/amateur-products/flex-6000-signature-series/maestro/
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Walt - KZ1F

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In fairness, that is not a 6000 series, it is a VFO a VFO b thing. To answer your question Christina, virtually anything Dell is currently selling will suffice. 4GB-8GB memory and whatever the going GHz is, 2.5-3.5. I think the current generation is around 3. That is more than enough speed. What Dave was referring to would work if you wanted to make contacts in the bathroom or some such.
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Neal - K3NC, Elmer

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If you would like a computer specifically built for sdr's and have all the software you want already installed, along with 2 weeks of remote sessions to learn how to use it, visit my website:
http://www.abrohamnealsoftware.com/products.php

73
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Walt - KZ1F

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While a video card is relatively inexpensive, the goal is to convince her the computer speed necessary to run a 6500 costs as much as a 6500. Chris, get a PC from Dell, as I described. If it proves to be insufficient, we can help you deal with it. One thing FlexRadio did was refactor the code for the UI such that the horsepower required is a fraction of what it used to be.
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DrTeeth

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Why pay extra for the Dell name? My first and last Dell was a P133 and it came with Win 95. Would never buy another.
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Walt - KZ1F

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The margins are so long on these, Dell or otherwise. The only justification to build one is to say you built one.As a person who fancies themselves a kit builder, yes, it is fun, but the savings likely don't exit. To rationalize why it cost more is via "oh but it is so much better". Um, no, the parts still come from the lowest bidder, you just connected wiring harnesses. Nothing wrong with doing that, just recognize that's what your doing.
I doubt Chris, from what she has said is the DIYer when it comes to computers or paying someone to build one for her. Chris, get a Dell, most any Dell.

Yes, I've noticed, have the rest of you, she is not even participating in this thread?
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Walt is right, I don't build our computers much these days to save money. Not with the price of them now off the shelf. The only reason I would build my own now is to pick the mother board, video card and sound card combo that I want.
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DrTeeth

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Same with me here Bill. I do not build a PC myself (one is in a MUCH stronger legal position buying a working computer in the UK) but love choosing the bits. I do not do it to save money. The company I buy my bits from builds the PC for a nominal cost.

Since my last PC purchase, I have so much more grunt for anything I need to do that I have stopped my annual/biannual upgrades.

I do not like the way Dell hides many options in their custom BIOSs - I'm a tweaker - if it still works, I have not tweaker it enough. I have learnt a lot from breaking things and then fixing them.
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Dave - W6OVP

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There is no downside risk IMHO to just grabbing the nearest Windows computer, desktop or portable and downloading the FLEX software and giving it a try. It's not a big deal, and a little experience is worth a thousand words of chatter. You will quickly get a feel for how well that computer does (or doesn't) work.

Then try another computer or two if you like and decide from there about whether to buy something else. No harm, no foul. Good Luck!  -Dave
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DrTeeth

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How can one use the Flex software without a Flex connected?
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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SmartSDR - no.  PowerSDR - yes, but it is difficult to get the PC sound card setup properly
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DrTeeth

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I think one would have to try very hard these days to buy a computer that would not run SSDR well. FRS produces min specs. A graphics card can always be upgraded - just buy at the sweet spot, viz best bang for buck. It ain't rocket science.
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Doug Hall

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Here in town there are a number of PC "refurbishers" who buy off-lease computers and resell them. They generally advertise on Craigslist, and I've gotten to know a couple of them. They generally get the computers by the pallet, go through them and pick out good ones, reformat the HD, and reinstall the originally licensed OS. These aren't no-name computers - these are from companies like Dell, HP, and Lenovo. As an example, I recently bought an HP Z400 Workstation with a 2.8 GHz quad core CPU, 1 TB HD with Windows 7 Ultimate, 12GB RAM, and a Nvidia 9900 graphics card for $275. (I could have saved $25 by getting it with 8GB RAM, but it seemed worth $25 for the extra 4GB.) The reseller (who has been in business for 6 years) includes a 1 year warranty. This computer is quiet, very fast, built like a tank, has lots of room for expansion, and doesn't come with a bunch of "trial versions" or bloatware pre-installed. The case is well-shielded. I bought this computer to do schematic capture and PCB layout, but I installed SmartSDR just to see what the performance was like. With SmartSDR 1.4.11 running the CPU utilization sits at 6% to 7%. Smooth as butter.

Another alternative, still on Craigslist, is to look for gamers dumping their old computers so they can buy or build the latest thing. The computer I currently use on my Flex6300 came from a gamer. Quad core, licensed Win7 Ultimate, lots of RAM, spacious well-made case, an insane dual-slot graphics card, and an upgraded power supply. I paid $250 for this computer including the mouse and keyboard and a 24" LCD display. I've been using it for over two years, first with a Flex1500, then with an ANAN-10, and now with the Flex6300. Smooth, quiet operation with all of them. And I've been known to play Portal 2 on it when the bands were dead.

Of course there are lots of nice new computers, and you an always get K3NC to build a nice one for you as well. Just throwing out some alternatives that have worked out well for me.
73,
Doug K4DSP