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Author Topic: New computer  (Read 2757 times)
N8TNJ
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Posts: 62




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« on: December 12, 2010, 10:21:34 AM »

Well the old shack computer finally took a dump today, power supply shorted out and took out the mb. It was running Xp, 2 sound cards and 2 serial ports. And about 1 gig of memory. Now my wife said buy a new computer, but the problem is, how well do ham programs run with Windows 7 (like HRD, s/card packet). Plus I would have to replace my s/c interfaces with usb ones. I like to build my own computers and have some extra room to expand (extra pci slots, things like that. I've been looking around TigerDirect's web site and most I've seen don't leave to room for expansion. So I need some suggestions. Plus let it be known that I hate Windows Vista (it's on my laptop)
« Last Edit: December 12, 2010, 11:48:06 AM by Chet Bruzewski » Logged
W4PC
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Posts: 286


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« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2010, 04:21:23 PM »

Most newer USB soundcards, as well as USB to serial ports do have Windows 7 drivers.  I have that setup here in the shack with my software (http://www.w4pcsoftware.com).  The only issue you'll run into, is with the programs that use the serial port for keying, if they dont support the 8250 totally in the driver, then you'll run into issues keying.

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W6RMK
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« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2010, 09:17:13 PM »

spare slots are rapidly becoming a thing of the past.  And a good thing, too.  I'd much rather debug a USB device than a PCI bus device.  The odds of some random USB thing working are MUCH higher than some PCI device.  The vast majority of USB devices that hams will see look either like a USB disk drive or a serial port (most often, using the FTDI devices, but sometime the Prologic).

If you want to fool with discrete address/data sorts of interfaces, then get yourself an arduino or rabbit or something similar, talk to it with USB or ethernet from the PC and have at it.
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KE4DRN
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« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2010, 03:01:04 PM »

hi Chet,

take a look at IBM used off lease desktops, with win xp pro
starting at $233 and up with free UPS ground shipping.
Plenty of room inside these desktops.

If you don't see what you like, keep checking, new models weekly
including laptops.

http://www-304.ibm.com/shop/americas/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/default/CategoryDisplay?categoryId=2576395&storeId=1&catalogId=-840&langId=-1

73 james
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W8JX
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« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2010, 05:18:18 PM »

So I need some suggestions. Plus let it be known that I hate Windows Vista (it's on my laptop)

I have heard a lot of complaints about Vista but I have been running 64 bit Vista for nearly 3 years on a quad core machine with 8 gig of ram and it has been flawless. It is very fast and very stable.  I have 64 bit Vista on 2 dual core laptops with 4 gig that my daughters use at college for nearly 2 years without complaint and 2 more 32 bit Vista desktops with 3 gig of ram for nearly 3 years too. Point is the problem with Vista was hardware or lack of memory more than anything because Vista at SP1 level and beyond is pretty solid on correct hardware. I have NEVER had to reload a Vista machine. 
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All posted wireless using Win 8.1 RT, a Android tablet using 4G/LTE/WiFi or Sprint Note 3.
N8XI
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Posts: 122




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« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2010, 11:17:22 PM »

Chet,
Too bad you don't live down here in SeMI.
Most of the big lot stores sell a "fixed" setup computer.
In other words, will not custom build.
Not too far from me is a little mom-pop computer shop.
They had an ad for an AMD Athlon II 2.9 Ghz machine (and others) with 64 bit W7 with all USB ports and non USB sound cards, etc.
I had them change the OS to W7 32bit and add a serial port, which the big lot stores will not do!!

I am back in business with a Serial port for CW/PTT/FSK and an audio system for PSK31,
with my original homebrew interface box and original cables...

This PC is sooo.... much faster than my W98 Machine  Smiley

73, Rick - N8XI
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W8JX
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« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2010, 09:02:40 AM »


I had them change the OS to W7 32bit and add a serial port, which the big lot stores will not do!!


"Adding a serial port" is not a issue or problem that requires a tech store today. With WIN XP, Vista or Win7 you can simply add a virtual serial port via USB pretty easy (I am running 2 on a old XP laptop) Actually XP and Vista are a bit "friendlier" about this because drivers are more mature though Win7 is catching up. I buy them on Ebay cheap and use them and always keep a spare around if I need one for something else. What ever you get I do strongly suggest that you get a 64 bit OS be it Vista or Win 7 because 32 bit OS is on way out and 7 may be last OS to ship in 32bit version too. 32 bit has a memory limitation of about 3.2 gig no matter what hardware you run. 64 bit does not suffer this hardware design limitation and is limited only by OS. With 64 bit you can run 8 gig and more memory and zero swap file and have snappy performance even with several intensive apps open at once.
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WA7NCL
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Posts: 625




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« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2010, 06:13:52 AM »

You could look at some of the computers targeted at corporate and small business like dells vostro.  I think some of them still have PCI slots and traditional ports.

You could consider a new mobo and power supply.  You could inquire about the terms of your windows license and see if you can revalidate your win XP in a replacement system.  Depends on if you have backups or install media.

If your windows license can be moved, you could run something like ubunut linux, put your XP in a virtualbox virtual machine and run your ham software in a virtual environement.

You could buy a Win 7 machine and run XP in a virtualizer and then all the old ham stuff would work.  Again, you need to be able to recycle your windows XP license.

The thing about a virtual system is that you can move the image from machine to machine easily.  As long as the new machine has the virtualizer software on it.  The image is like an operating system in a bottle.

Lastly, I offer the idea of installing win95, 98, or win2k in the virtualizer.  Win9x and Win2k don't validate and have generally escaped into the wild.  If you have a copy of these systems, they run well in the virtual environment of virtual box etc.  You can safely run your old software inside under their old environment and still have them run safely bottled up in the virtual image.

I hope these ideas give you some more off the beaten path ideas for a "new" system.
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AA4PB
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Posts: 12832




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« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2010, 09:23:30 AM »

I got a Dell Vostro desktop a couple of months ago. I did an on-line chat with a sales rep who ensured me it had room for a second hard drive and two PCI slots. It did, and I was able to add a dual-RS232 card (cost about $20) and a back up hard drive.

I had to upgrade a couple of programs to work on Win7 but MixW and most of the programs I use work fine in Win7.
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W8JX
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Posts: 5750




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« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2010, 01:49:15 PM »


You could buy a Win 7 machine and run XP in a virtualizer and then all the old ham stuff would work.  Again, you need to be able to recycle your windows XP license.

The thing about a virtual system is that you can move the image from machine to machine easily.  As long as the new machine has the virtualizer software on it.  The image is like an operating system in a bottle.


Virtual OS is a old trick but it can work well but it "screams" for dual core or better machines with more than 4 gig of ram and a 64 bit OS. Virtual OS's really play well on fast hardware and when not confined within a 32 bit host and memory limitations that go with 32 bit OS.
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All posted wireless using Win 8.1 RT, a Android tablet using 4G/LTE/WiFi or Sprint Note 3.
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