Please help me configure the right computer to run my (soon-to-be-purchased) Flex-6000 Series Radio

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Hello all. One of the new newbs here and the Flex-6000 Series just might beat out my previous radio of choice, the Yaesu FT DX 5000MP. I am ordering a new state-of-the-art computer within the next 7 days to replace my Dell E510 3 GHz Pentium 4 with Windows XP from January 2006. Within the next 30 days, I am ordering a state-of-the-art HF radio to replace my Drake TR-7 which I purchased new back in 1980.

So here is my situation. I am a disabled individual with special needs. I have limited mobility, severe hearing loss and use Nuance's Dragon NaturallySpeaking (DNS) v12.5 to help control the computer programs and typing speeds. I love CW using a Vibroplex bug but peripheral neuropathy is making that harder to have a decent fist. I may need to resort to speaking words into the keyer with DNS and send CW that way. Ugh! That's cheating to me; licensed since 1974.

Who can I go to at FlexRadio to review the computer configuration that I have selected to see if it will be powerful enough to run Dragon NaturallySpeaking (it's a resource hog), a Flex 6500/6700 series radio nicely configured with two receivers and Microsoft Office 365 Professional using the Windows 8.1 operating system (OS). I may be medically retired with an extremely rare terminal illness called MELAS (see http://emedicine.medscape.com/article...) but while I'm alive as a shut-in due to a compromised immune system, I'm still living life to the max, ham radio is my access to the outdoor world and I am very much a techie with a BSEE '78 from Virginia Tech and a MSE '91 from Johns Hopkins. While I am losing some of my mental abilities and cognitive logic because of MELAS, using high-end equipment helps to stimulate those neurons and keep them running on the right wires up in the grey-matter. Hi, hi!

I know that I am taking a chance with computer lockups due to TSR conflicts and whatnot's but I am up to the challenge. Besides, I don't have a whole lot of time left here, don't have a money tree in the backyard so I need to take the gamble and pray that the memory and resource hogs will play nice together and the CPU platform configuration has enough oomph to keep things running at less than 40% of the processor load.

Thanks for reading along as I laid out my wishes. Now let's see if I can be running a new HF station before the end of 1st Quarter 2014. Any help or prior experience similar to mine will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance to all responders!

73 es happy "Flexing" your HF muscles, Dave K4EET
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Rev. David E. Hamm, K4EET

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  • chomping on the bits for a new Flex-6000 Series Radio

Posted 4 years ago

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Rev. David E. Hamm, K4EET

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Sorry about the double pix. Can the original post above be edited? I do not see any way to delete the duplicate pix.


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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Dave - it is fairly easy to get a machine that will adequately run SmartSDR without trying really hard. Th SmartSDR for Windows is a WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation) application that inherently uses all available graphics processing in the video card for rending the spectrum displays. It is the presentation of the spectrum that accounts for a great majority of the "heavy lifting" the PC has to do for running SmartSDR. So what you need to focus on is the graphics adapter.

There is an article in the HelpDesk, What is important in choosing a Video Graphics Card? that discusses the different factors in picking a good graphics card. The Rule of Thumb: You do not need to over spend for a top end 3-D gaming graphics video card to run SmartSDR is important.

The two most popular graphics cards are from NVIDIA and AMD. Both are very good. Some folks like the AMD because they seem to have better performing drivers. I am one of those.

Like the two main GPU manufacturers, from a CPU standpoint, any AMD or Intel CPU that is a dual core or better will be sufficient for running SmartSDR for Windows. (Personally, I'd only consider quad core or greater just to have the overhead to run other applications without taxing the system). Whether or not it is AMD or Intel CPU you select is a "Ford vs. Chevy" question. I have been using AMD processors for several years now with very good success, but either will do fine.

I would however tell you that we have had some challenges with users that are utilizing the embedded graphics in the "i" series of Intel processors and in those cases, a video card installed in the x16 PCIe bus slot was necessary to overcome some of those challenges.

For my systems, I chose to use AMD processors (CPU) paired with AMD graphics cards. This combination for me has worked flawlessly together. I do think there is some synergy by pairing both the CPU and the GPU from the same manufacturer, but there is no hard evidence to prove this configuration is any better than using an Intel CPU with a NVIDIA graphics card. Now a days, they are all so close in performance that there really isn't any significant differentiators between the major players.
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Rev. David E. Hamm, K4EET

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Thanks Tim, W4TME, for your detailed reply. It has proven very helpful! Keep your eyes focused on an eMail from me today. 73, Dave K4EET
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Robbie - KI4TTZ

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I'll be using a Surface Pro 2 (with optional external monitor) with my 6700. I've been surprised at how fast it is, especially in a tablet form factor. Hope it works well enough.
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Rev. David E. Hamm, K4EET

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Hi Robbie, KI4TTZ, thanks for your reply too. I guess my biggest concern is that I have limited funds but need high-end software for my disabilities that require huge amounts of processing power. The next thing that I need to conquer is getting "everything" to "play nice together" on a single-tower desktop, dual-monitor, with an Intel i7-4770 processor and dual NVIDIA
GeForce GTX 650 video cards. Should be a fun challenge but I am up to the game. 73, Dave K4EET
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Mike - W8MM

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Anybody using a Mac Mini (late 2012 version) with Bootcamp and Windows 8.1? It uses Intel HD 4000 graphics which videocardbenchmark.net lists with a Passmark G3d score of 457.

I really like the form factor of the Mini and wondered how much its graphical performance is leaving on the table for 6700 max satisfaction.
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Rev. David E. Hamm, K4EET

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Hi Mike, W8MM. I am sorry that I cannot help with your question. Since it has been 5 days now with no reply, may I suggest that you start your own thread? Put the key words in the subject to help draw the attention of the right people to your question. 73, Dave K4EET