SmartSDR performance on $120 "Intel Stick" PC

  • 2
  • Praise
  • Updated 9 months ago
I had been trying to figure out a good low-end PC to set up in my remote location. I ordered an "Intel Stick CS125" PC which cost $120 (including shipping). It plugs right into a monitor via HDMI.  The price includes a Windows 10 license. It is about the size of a medium-sized chocolate bar. 

I plan to install it at the remote location the next time I go there, but last night I decided to try using it in the operating position for the 0300Z CWT contest.  I set up the VPN client, installed SmartSDR, installed N1MM+ Logger, plugged in some headphones, etc. 

It worked quite well.  I could tell that its tiny CPU was straining a bit now and then, particularly when I would try to reposition a window on the desktop (it's driving a 4K monitor). But it was more than adequate for all but the most serious contest operation, using the 6600 in full duplex mode remotely. After the contest I installed WSJT-X and tested out FT8 using the DAX audio over the VPN, which also worked flawlessly.  

I used the built-in wifi to connect to my LAN and then to my remote station's VPN (which I set up using Ria's superb SoftEther install script). 

Congrats to the Flex team for building software that is efficient and performant enough to be fully usable on such low-end hardware! That is quite an accomplishment.

73,
Matt NQ6N
Photo of Matt NQ6N

Matt NQ6N

  • 91 Posts
  • 23 Reply Likes
  • surprised and delighted

Posted 9 months ago

  • 2
Photo of Chris Tate  - N6WM

Chris Tate - N6WM, Elmer

  • 808 Posts
  • 217 Reply Likes
what one are you using?  STK1AW32SC?  I have one of these as well.  good for the basics.. I would not try and run too much on the ATOM.  but it is quite cool how well stuff does run..
Photo of Matt NQ6N

Matt NQ6N

  • 91 Posts
  • 23 Reply Likes
The model number seems to be BOXSTK1AW32SC so I suspect it's the same one you have. I totally agree, it's pushing it a bit to use it the way I did, but I was amazed how smoothly it all worked. 
Photo of Chris Tate  - N6WM

Chris Tate - N6WM, Elmer

  • 808 Posts
  • 217 Reply Likes
I would see one of these being good for a softEther server, and perhaps integrate some rotor control or something.  but with the low cost of RasPi.. in particular  Pi3, they would be more bang for the buck.
Photo of Matt NQ6N

Matt NQ6N

  • 91 Posts
  • 23 Reply Likes
I agree. My goal is mainly to free up the much more powerful Windows PC I have in the shack now for other purposes. It also provides a redundant way to log into the remote LAN if there is a problem with the VPN.   But now that I know how fast the stick is, I will seriously consider getting the latest model stick next time I need a new PC.
Photo of Chris Tate  - N6WM

Chris Tate - N6WM, Elmer

  • 808 Posts
  • 217 Reply Likes
I think I will take this one to the office today and see what I can do with it..  you have peaked my interest.
Photo of Ria - N2RJ

Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

  • 2270 Posts
  • 904 Reply Likes
For Softether, linux definitely rules. Easier to automate deployments than Windows. But this might be good for running DDUtil, PSTRotatorAZ, WSJT-X etc.
(Edited)
Photo of Ria - N2RJ

Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

  • 2270 Posts
  • 904 Reply Likes
That is pretty interesting. Might be good for some remote control stuff at my upcoming remote site in 9Y.
Photo of roger na4rr

roger na4rr

  • 82 Posts
  • 5 Reply Likes
I have had one of these for a couple of years.  It runs my 6700 very well.  I run a couple of panadapters with a couple of slices.  I have a usb hub plugged in running ethernet adapter with flexknob and a logitect mouse and keyboard.  At the same time I run logging program, fldigi and surf internet (qrz.com, etc.)All work well.

roger