performance question

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Hi, I use a Surface Pro 2 which is a fast computer (especially for a tablet/laptop hybrid) but I've noticed that if I have 2 panadapters open, SmartSDR can run for days with no problems.  If I open more than that (lets say 4 panadapters on my 6700), then within 15-30 minutes, it starts to get choppy. The panadapter updates are choppy and the DAX audio is choppy.  If I kill off the extra panadapters, the problem goes away.  I usually end up restarting SmartSDR just to be sure it stays "smooth".  

Should I just get a full-blown computer with a high-end video card to get around those problems?  I already have the latest video drivers, so there's nothing I can do there.  My wifi router is a Cisco e4200v2 so it's not that old and has decent bandwidth, so I don't think that is the problem.

Thoughts?  Suggestions?
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Robbie - KI4TTZ

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Posted 4 years ago

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Reg

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Robbie:

If you search on my call sign you'll find a couple of lengthy threads about video performance issues associated with the 4000 series embedded graphics adapters that are built into many (not all) models of CPU's, both desktop and mobile.  The most recent Intel drivers, dated since last September, show pretty good success in running SmartSDR.  You can find the links to the Intel driver site in the previous threads.  A recurring problem that a lot of people are having is that many OEM vendor sites, including Microsoft, HP, Dell, etc., roll back drivers, often to the version that was originally shipped with the PC/laptop.  You have to go to the Intel website and download the latest Intel 4000 series graphics adapter drivers.  If you use a vendor update site they will most likely roll your driver back to an earlier version.  It doesn't matter which version of the 4000 series your system uses (4200, 4400, 4600, etc.) they all use the same download.

My high-end Sony laptop only started running SmartSDR some of the time since I installed the most recent video driver.  Before that it would only run a couple of seconds and then crash.  I have no problem running SmartSDR on Core i7-4770K machines with NVIDIA 760 video adapters.

Good luck.

Reg, KD5RB

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Richard Clafton W4/G7EIX, Elmer

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We use the Surface in the games room attached to a projector - mainly to watch movies and Sky News (UK). But I do use it to display SmartSDR on the big screen too.

I have the same tablet, the Microsoft Surface 2 that was given to me at a Microsoft event last year.   The Video drivers I use are from the Intel site and I have seen similar issues trying to run more than two pan adapters on this little thing.    No so much choppy audio (I port through DAX), but more latency in the display.   

I found that if I connect the surface via a USB/Ethernet adapter and eliminate the Wifi - the issue never arises.   


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Tom Hoflich

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I run SmartSDR on a Dell venue 8 pro which is probably less powerful than the Surface and I am satisfied with the results.  When I have 3 panadapters (stuff is really small so I usually don't do that), I back off the FPS some and the results are quite good. This requires WIFI so you need to have a really good WIFI network also.

Tom, KM5H
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Robbie - KI4TTZ

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Cool, thanks for the comments everyone.  I'm already running the latest video drivers (from the Intel site).  I haven't tried getting a usb/ethernet adapter though, maybe I'll give that a shot.  I think I'll also check around and see if there are any newer wifi drivers out there.
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Richard Clafton W4/G7EIX, Elmer

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Another thing you could look at is the QoS settings on your Router (if it has those) - I never bothered as it was easier to just plug it into the house network.  But may be worth a try to see if you can up the QoS settings to give your surface a fixed IP using DHCP and then give it the highest priority on the network.
(Edited)
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Asher - K0AU

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On my Intel 4K and 5K integrated graphics computers I've observed several thousand page faults per second when a slice tuning flag is displayed.  If I minimize the flag (by clicking on the flag letter) the page faults go away and SSDR performance is improved.  Flex is aware of the issue and they believe it's related to the Windows libraries they're using.  I've also observed the hiccup where SSDR just slows down.  I've found stopping and restarting SSDR restores performance.  I can't find a consistent cause or pattern to force the behavior.

Flex is aware of the problems and is making slow progress.  If more people are having performance problems, they may prioritize this work higher!
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Jim Bryce W5HFS

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I've been running all the versions of SmartSDR from the first test release to the most current on my MS Surface Pro. It performs perfectly. Often I will run it with three screens: its own and two additional monitors. I use the Plugable 7 port USB 3 hub with Plugable HDMI and VGA adapters and sometimes using the Surface video port. I've also been using a Plugable USB Ethernet adapter. While I often use the Surface Pro my primary computer for the 6700 is a Lenovo Q150, a $300 TV computer 6 inches square and 1 inch thick. With this I run two monitors (one using VGA, the other using HDMI), SmartSDR, HRD logbook, DM780, and a website or two. Don't waste your money on some expensive high end game computer. The Surface does an excellent job. You might play with the priority settings through the task manager. In my minimal arrangement with the Lenovo Q150 I find setting the DM780 to high priority is helpful to keep it running well; SmartSDR runs with 8 pans/receivers without adjusting priority. Admittedly there can be some occasional jerkiness when so fully loaded, but I've found it acceptable. Of course everybody at Flex thinks I'm crazy, but what do they know?
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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"Of course everybody at Flex thinks I'm crazy, but what do they know?"

That isn't the case.  We know you are crazy :-)

SmartSDR, when run on a reasonable PC platform with an adequate graphics adapter (using good drivers) will perform very well. I agree, a high-end gaming PC is a bit over kill unless you plan to crunch SETI data sets while chasing DX.
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Jim Bryce W5HFS

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Thank you, Tim. Such flattery is indeed humbling. To be serious for a moment, I'm not recommending anyone buy a minimum computer like the Lenovo Q150, but, since I already had one, it's been fun testing it and showing SmarSDR is very efficient in its use of computer resources. The Q150 has a very good NVIDA video processor because it's intended to work well with a high definition TV. A couple of hundred more dollars will get you a notebook, laptop, or tower with CPU and video processors sufficient to work really well with SmartSDR and additional programs like the HRD suite.
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Robbie - KI4TTZ

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I just installed the new *beta* intel 4000 video drivers.  I put up all 8 panadapters because that usually breaks it pretty quick.  

So far (knock on wood) no problems at all.  Brought up a JT65 decode too.  Maybe Intel finally fixed the problems that were affecting SmartSDR?

If anyone else happens to try this new driver, I'd be interested to see if it works better for you too.  Hopefully it doesnt stop working as soon as I submit this post. :-)

Here's a link to the driver.  https://downloadcenter.intel.com/Detail_Desc.aspx?agr=Y&ProdId=3718&DwnldID=23644&ProductFamily=Grap...

Thanks,

Robbie - KI4TTZ

Edit: over an hour later, still no problems at all.

Edit #2: I'm declaring this bug resolved.  SmartSDR (and the Intel drivers) haven't been this rock solid since I bought it.  I'll give it 24 hours "just in case" but if nothing blows up, I'll probably post a new thread with this info just to catch the attention of everyone who has a 4000 series chipset.  Tim - If you happen to see this and would prefer me to do something different, let me know.  Feel free to shoot me an email or post here.  This is awesome!!  I love technology (sometimes lol).
(Edited)
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Reg

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Robbie:

You are a braver man than I should have been.  The beta HD Graphics driver that brought success to your system comes with the following caveats and warnings, among others:

1.  "This beta graphics driver provides support for two games: "TITANFALL" and "Thief". Do not update to this driver if you do not plan to play either of of these games."

2.  "Intel does not recommend installing these beta drivers in systems used for mission critical operations or where productivity of any kind is a concern."

3.  "These beta drivers are provided "as is" and are not supported by Intel Technical Support."

My high-end Sony laptop which will not yet run SmartSDR in a stable manner is a machine that I use daily on business matters.  After some consideration and much trepidation I did a full backup of the laptop using StorageCraft and then I created a restore point.

Next I installed the Intel Beta HD Graphics driver.  When the installation was finished I had no video on the laptop screen.  I had a blank black screen.  I plugged an HDMI monitor into the HDMI port to see if by chance their was video on that port.  No joy.  I used the function keys to change the monitor selection.  Still, no joy.  After numerous attempts all I had after Windows 7 Pro loaded was a blank black screen.  Finally, I booted into Safe Mode and did a Restore to the restore point that I created before I started this process.

I am happy that you appear to have success with the beta driver.  For all of the rest of us considerable caution is in order.  I would caution that others at least do a Restore Point before installing the beta driver so you have an easy exit ramp to get out of the situation if it doesn't work.

Reg, KD5RB

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Reg

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I should have said that after I reverted to the Restore Point my system is running fine and it is just like it was before I installed the HD Graphics beta driver.
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Robbie - KI4TTZ

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Wow, I'm surprised the driver failed that bad on the Sony.  Sorry to heat that.

I definitely agree with you that a restore point and backup should always be performed before any update, especially if it is a critical machine.  All software updates (both beta and non-beta) come with risk that the user must be willing to accept before installing it.  Most of the time updates run smooth, other times they break in unexpected ways.

There's also a new driver (non-beta) that came out in late January, I believe.  I skipped over that one though since it was an older build number.

Robbie - KI4TTZ

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Reg

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Robbie:

I'm running the January Intel driver.  It is stable for all other purposes but it will only run SmartSDR for a short period of time before hanging.  On the Sony laptop that is a big improvement because the earlier drivers would freeze in 1 or 2 seconds.  Clearly, Intel is on the right path.  In the meantime I continue to take the safe and easy road of running SmartSDR on high-end systems with fairly high-performance graphics adapters.  When Intel finally fixes their drivers then my high-end systems will be overkill for running SmartSDR but that is not their intended purpose.  They are intended to be used as skimmers monitoring all bands, etc.  This is going to be fun.  Multiple high-end computers connected to a FLEX-6700 radio server.

Reg, KD5RB