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eHam Forums => Computers And Software => Topic started by: N6SBN on November 20, 2013, 03:33:27 PM



Title: Recommended computers for Ham
Post by: N6SBN on November 20, 2013, 03:33:27 PM
  Had an Apple IMac.   Worked okay, but wanted to run some of the programs on windows.   Bought a Dell XPS and I sounded like a chainsaw running next to my radio. Lots of RFI.

  Aside from laptops, is there a desktop that is radio quiet???


Title: RE: Recommended computers for Ham
Post by: KE4DRN on November 20, 2013, 08:36:02 PM
hi Craig,

I use IBM desktops (used off lease) all over my home and no problems,
for field day IBM Thinkpads and Lenovo Thinkpads again no problems.

http://www-304.ibm.com/shop/americas/content/home/store_IBMPublicUSA/en_US/icpepcs.html

Work great and don't cost a bundle of money and no RF problems,
also have the OS installed and warranty too.

73 james


Title: RE: Recommended computers for Ham
Post by: N6SBN on November 21, 2013, 08:26:22 AM
  The Imac is silent compared to the Dell.   Would like to find that in a Win machine


Title: RE: Recommended computers for Ham
Post by: KE7TMA on November 21, 2013, 03:41:11 PM
  The Imac is silent compared to the Dell.   Would like to find that in a Win machine

Why don't you just run Windows on the Macintosh you already have?  It's officially supported with a program called Boot Camp and has been for years.


Title: RE: Recommended computers for Ham
Post by: W8JX on November 21, 2013, 07:35:05 PM
  The Imac is silent compared to the Dell.   Would like to find that in a Win machine

Why don't you just run Windows on the Macintosh you already have?  It's officially supported with a program called Boot Camp and has been for years.

So you pay 3x as much just to run Windows? Just by a Windoze machine to begin with.


Title: RE: Recommended computers for Ham
Post by: KG4NEL on November 21, 2013, 08:40:22 PM
I haven't bought one yet, but I'm giving the Gigabyte Brix some looks :)

Was thinking about the Intel NUC, but the Brix seems to get better reviews...


Title: RE: Recommended computers for Ham
Post by: KE7TMA on November 23, 2013, 11:44:49 AM
  The Imac is silent compared to the Dell.   Would like to find that in a Win machine

Why don't you just run Windows on the Macintosh you already have?  It's officially supported with a program called Boot Camp and has been for years.

So you pay 3x as much just to run Windows? Just by a Windoze machine to begin with.

No, you pay about the same if you want a quality machine.  Of course a Mac costs 3x as much as a creaky hunk of junk cheapest Wal-mart laptop but a high quality notebook costs the same as a Mac Pro or substantially more.  Spec'em out if you want, I know lots of people who run Windows on Macs simply because they are the best hardware.


Title: RE: Recommended computers for Ham
Post by: W4KYR on November 23, 2013, 02:04:51 PM
I would recommend getting a second computer with a serial port and running Windows 98SE, with Windows 98 you can run in DOS mode. Some cloning and programming programs run on DOS only and require serial ports.

 A good example is the EX 1726 clone program for changing the Icom M710 from a Marine Band Only Radio to a Marine Band and Ham Band, it requires DOS and a serial port. Many of the earlier packet programs run on DOS or Win 95, 98 only.  

I think the program for the Kenwood VC-H1 only runs on Windows 95 and 98. Also in addition, all Windows Computers from XP and below automatically come with "Hyperterminal". It is not available in Windows Vista, 7 and 8 but can supposedly be added by copying the four Hyperterminal files from System 32 under I-386.

Get a computer with an all steel case not plastic. The Dell Dimension (built in 1999) is still running, but it has a plastic case. It might not be good for ham radio purposes. Your results may vary, void where prohibited..etc, etc....


Title: RE: Recommended computers for Ham
Post by: AF5FH on November 24, 2013, 11:42:44 AM
hi Craig,

I use IBM desktops (used off lease) all over my home and no problems,
for field day IBM Thinkpads and Lenovo Thinkpads again no problems.

http://www-304.ibm.com/shop/americas/content/home/store_IBMPublicUSA/en_US/icpepcs.html

Work great and don't cost a bundle of money and no RF problems,
also have the OS installed and warranty too.

73 james

James,

Thanks for advice. My five year old HP desktop that I use to run my home station is failing again, already replaced motherboard last year, and it is locking up again with same symptoms. The motherboard is a PITA to find and to replace on this model, and I have decided I am not fixing it again. The HP laptop I now use for portable operations is also unreliable (replaced LCD panel twice, and DVD/CD once). Although I admit my college age children were using the laptop when it broke all those times. And HP does not stock replacement parts, I have ended up buying parts for most of these repairs on eBay because HP tells me they don't have the parts.  I have decided that HP is not reliable enough for me. I went to the web site you referenced and ordered a desktop computer. Hopefully the IBM/Lenovo computer will be more reliable than HP for me.

Jim, AF5FH


Title: RE: Recommended computers for Ham
Post by: W8JX on November 24, 2013, 02:13:21 PM
It is really kinda silly to repair a old laptop as new ones are cheap, much faster and much cooler running too.


Title: RE: Recommended computers for Ham
Post by: AF5FH on November 24, 2013, 08:23:42 PM
It is really kinda silly to repair a old laptop as new ones are cheap, much faster and much cooler running too.
If you are talking about young people who are taking the laptop to class every day at high school or college, and breaking something on it every twelve months, then I say it is cheaper to fix it for what the parts cost on eBay. My experience with three children, and talking with other parents has convinced me that students are "tough" on laptops. I'm glad that I was able to get extended warranty for the laptops that my children have used for school. At least for the first few years on each laptop I didn't pay for broken parts.

If an adult is using it and it breaks after five years, then I would agree to toss it and get a newer one.

Jim


Title: RE: Recommended computers for Ham
Post by: NA4IT on November 25, 2013, 04:17:56 AM
You can buy good Windows XP refurbished machines from Dell or TigerDirect.

If you are looking to resurrect an older computer, try a Live CD of Puppy Linux with FLDigi on it for sound card modes.... if you like it, install it to the hard drive...


Title: RE: Recommended computers for Ham
Post by: W8JX on November 25, 2013, 04:58:03 AM
It is really kinda silly to repair a old laptop as new ones are cheap, much faster and much cooler running too.
If you are talking about young people who are taking the laptop to class every day at high school or college, and breaking something on it every twelve months, then I say it is cheaper to fix it for what the parts cost on eBay. My experience with three children, and talking with other parents has convinced me that students are "tough" on laptops. I'm glad that I was able to get extended warranty for the laptops that my children have used for school. At least for the first few years on each laptop I didn't pay for broken parts.

If an adult is using it and it breaks after five years, then I would agree to toss it and get a newer one.

Jim

Put two daughters thru 6 years of college each and no repairs. Bought 2 HPs at start and replaced/upgraded them 3 years later. Original ones still work and I use one with ham radio. 


Title: RE: Recommended computers for Ham
Post by: KE4DRN on November 25, 2013, 04:13:50 PM
hi

I have several older T series Thinkpads for my own use,
rest of family has the R series, also several desktops I use
for work, all used from IBM off lease.

IBM has the manuals in pdf on the Lenovo site, should you
ever have to open one up and repair or replace a part.

73 james


Title: RE: Recommended computers for Ham
Post by: W3ML on November 27, 2013, 06:35:02 AM
I went to PC Direct when my old one was giving out.  I bought a floor model that runs quiet and works great on digital modes as well as controlling the rig.

Cost me around 390.00.

Looking to get another one for the other station set-up.

John, W3ML


Title: RE: Recommended computers for Ham
Post by: K0JEG on November 29, 2013, 06:16:10 AM
  The Imac is silent compared to the Dell.   Would like to find that in a Win machine

Why don't you just run Windows on the Macintosh you already have?  It's officially supported with a program called Boot Camp and has been for years.

So you pay 3x as much just to run Windows? Just by a Windoze machine to begin with.

No, you pay about the same if you want a quality machine.  Of course a Mac costs 3x as much as a creaky hunk of junk cheapest Wal-mart laptop but a high quality notebook costs the same as a Mac Pro or substantially more.  Spec'em out if you want, I know lots of people who run Windows on Macs simply because they are the best hardware.

I wouldn't call Apples the "best" hardware, but it is very good. I became an Apple convert when I had a cheap Core2 laptop stolen this year. Because I had to buy right then, I had to pay full retail and found the prices on well spec'd Ultrabooks to be actually higher than MacBooks and Airs. I ended up getting a demo MacBook pro for a real bargain price, but now I'm spoiled.


Title: RE: Recommended computers for Ham
Post by: KD7RDZI2 on December 03, 2013, 10:33:55 AM
Is your XPS new or old? My old Dell XPS was quiet but suddenly became very noisy especially at 10m band. In few minutes I detected the problem was the battery (I was running AC). The battery, which I never discharged, broke somewhere and generated a wide spectrum background noise. After changing the battery my XPS came back quiet. The instructions of the new battery says to fully discharge-charge once a month the battery. I wasn't aware of it...


Title: RE: Recommended computers for Ham
Post by: W8JX on December 03, 2013, 10:52:15 AM
  The Imac is silent compared to the Dell.   Would like to find that in a Win machine

Why don't you just run Windows on the Macintosh you already have?  It's officially supported with a program called Boot Camp and has been for years.

So you pay 3x as much just to run Windows? Just by a Windoze machine to begin with.

No, you pay about the same if you want a quality machine.  Of course a Mac costs 3x as much as a creaky hunk of junk cheapest Wal-mart laptop but a high quality notebook costs the same as a Mac Pro or substantially more.  Spec'em out if you want, I know lots of people who run Windows on Macs simply because they are the best hardware.

I wouldn't call Apples the "best" hardware, but it is very good. I became an Apple convert when I had a cheap Core2 laptop stolen this year. Because I had to buy right then, I had to pay full retail and found the prices on well spec'd Ultrabooks to be actually higher than MacBooks and Airs. I ended up getting a demo MacBook pro for a real bargain price, but now I'm spoiled.

My daughter bought a Mac Book pro a year ago and I used it several times and I was not impressed. I find it too limited. As far as price on ultra books, not sure where and what you looked at but you can buy more CPU and RAM and ability for less in a PC. If apple would invite clones and innovation they might get more market but they will fade like they have before. They have lost romance in tablet market and soon in phones too and never will get a serious hold on PC sales. apples history is gimmicks that do well for several years and then they fade.


Title: RE: Recommended computers for Ham
Post by: KD0REQ on December 03, 2013, 02:20:35 PM
recently bought a hew HP 2000 core i3 on special, it's quiet next to the radio.


Title: RE: Recommended computers for Ham
Post by: W8JX on December 03, 2013, 07:54:05 PM
recently bought a hew HP 2000 core i3 on special, it's quiet next to the radio.

i3 is a great CPU. It is nothing more than a i5 without turbo mode. Very cool running CPU too.


Title: RE: Recommended computers for Ham
Post by: KB7QOA on December 06, 2013, 02:01:56 PM
Also in addition, all Windows Computers from XP and below automatically come with "Hyperterminal". It is not available in Windows Vista, 7 and 8 but can supposedly be added by copying the four Hyperterminal files from System 32 under I-386.

You can forget Hyperterminal altogether in the later versions of Windows.  There is a free program called PuTTY that works a lot better.  Primarily it is a Secure Shell (SSH) and Telnet program used for remote (Linux) server administration, but it also works great for direct COM port communications as well.  It supports scripting and other options, and doesn't force you through a new connection wizard just to connect a terminal to COM1.  Simply open the program, hit the Serial radio button, select your COM port and Speed, then click the Open button.  You can save settings too if you have commonly used parameters, then you'd just open the program and double-click the saved session name.

PuTTY works for sure on Windows XP up through Windows 8.  I think I remember using it on 98 as well, but it has been long enough ago I don't remember for sure.


Title: RE: Recommended computers for Ham
Post by: K1PJR on December 12, 2013, 11:46:55 AM
I bought a Dell and montor for $400 at Best Buy.  Hardware is fine but Windows 8 is ridiculous (my opinion).



Title: RE: Recommended computers for Ham
Post by: K3NB on December 13, 2013, 08:06:38 AM
A lot of your choice of computer/OS depends on what you like to do with your spare time.

Do you like troubleshooting hardware/software/network/virus-malware problems almost daily for hours on end day after day year after year?  Do you want to chase the proverbial "best software" by buying one video, audio, word processor, backup, or other program piecemeal one after the other to the tune of hundreds of dollars until you find one that suits you subsequently winding up with a stack of "shelfware" you never use but burnt a hole in your wallet at the time?

Or, do you want a computer that works?

Yeah, Apple products cost more, but they come with a suite of programs installed that save you time NOT scouting the internet for a program to do audio/video editing or making DVDs and more.  When you plug in a hard drive, it'll ask you "do you want to use this for a time machine" (installed backup software program) and automate that process for you, EZPZ.

The other issue is, and for me this is a big one, Apple products are end-user tested.  Common man.  PCs, and the software that runs them, I contend, are still aimed at techies, software/hardware geeks, nerds, engineers.  If you LIKE needing to know about things like IRQs and bus or memory speed vs megaflops vs. all the other pedantic detail one needs to get into to use/troubleshoot a PC (otherwise you become a slave to a tech somewhere), by all means, buy one.  But Mac software is more intuitive, user-friendly.  You can get into it as much as you want, but generally, you won't have to, you'l spend more time just using the software than "setting it up."

I know, I was a PC guy for decades.  Learned basic/fortran in HS in the early 70's on an IBM 360 timeshare and a Honeywell 1600 computer (both the size of a refrigerator, with less computational power than a pocket watch in 2013).  Played around with Timex/Sinclair, Atari, TRS80s until our pharmacy got MACs in the early 80s.  Did I buy a MAC?  No, a PC 2086XT in 1987 the size of a suitcase, then another new computer about every 3-5 years until 2006 when I got tired of the endless software updates, virus/malware hassles (a houseguest did some web surfing and infected our network,  :o the viruses trashed three different hard drives, took me months to figure out) and bought a Mac desktop.  Then one for my kids.  Then a notebook.  Then one for my wife.  The time saved is priceless.  

I now have time for ham radio AND Ancient Aliens. ;D

There's still some expense involved.  I buy the extended warranties, have taken my machines in to the apple store for "checkups" and there's been some software glitches, one recently on an out-of-warranty product but they're covering it because it looks like it was a problem incurred by a software update so the tech time to sort out the corrupted database is on them.

Ever try getting tech help from microsoft?  Dell?  HP? Many of the companies I'd bought computers from over the years went tits up before the warranty expired, but PC Mag and all the others raved about their products at the time.  Do you reach customer service only to find you can't understand the accent?  Like to do face to face?  You'll like Apple.  Yes, it costs more, but you get more.

I still use Windows - 7 - loaded under VMware on my iMac desktop.  I gave my wife my old(er) desktop computer, updated her mac mini and put it away (EMP-proofed, "for later" - insurance), for her it's like a new computer.  Bigger, faster, better.

The local Apple store "genius" I last spoke to still uses a mac from 1995.  Good friend of mine has two G4s ganged together for video editing he's used for over 10 years.

You pays your money and takes your chances.  I just don't like working on computers as much as I like working WITH them, that's why I like Mac vs. PC.

YMMV.


Title: RE: Recommended computers for Ham
Post by: W8JX on December 13, 2013, 08:26:13 AM
A lot of your choice of computer/OS depends on what you like to do with your spare time.

Do you like troubleshooting hardware/software/network/virus-malware problems almost daily for hours on end day after day year after year?  Do you want to chase the proverbial "best software" by buying one video, audio, word processor, backup, or other program piecemeal one after the other to the tune of hundreds of dollars until you find one that suits you subsequently winding up with a stack of "shelfware" you never use but burnt a hole in your wallet at the time?

Or, do you want a computer that works?

Yeah, Apple products cost more, but they come with a suite of programs installed that save you time NOT scouting the internet for a program to do audio/video editing or making DVDs and more.  When you plug in a hard drive, it'll ask you "do you want to use this for a time machine" (installed backup software program) and automate that process for you, EZPZ.

I know, I was a PC guy for decades.  Learned basic/fortran in HS in the early 70's on an IBM 360 timeshare and a Honeywell 1600 computer (both the size of a refrigerator, with less computational power than a pocket watch in 2013).  Played around with Timex/Sinclair, Atari, TRS80s until our pharmacy got MACs in the early 80s.  Did I buy a MAC?  No, a PC 2086XT in 1987 the size of a suitcase, then another new computer about every 3-5 years until 2006 when I got tired of the endless software updates, virus/malware hassles (a houseguest did some web surfing and infected our network,  :o the viruses trashed three different hard drives, took me months to figure out) and bought a Mac desktop.  Then one for my kids.  Then a notebook.  Then one for my wife.  The time saved is priceless. 

I now have time for ham radio AND Ancient Aliens. ;D

I still use Windows - 7 - loaded under VMware on my iMac desktop.  I gave my wife my old(er) desktop computer, updated her mac mini and put it away (EMP-proofed, "for later" - insurance), for her it's like a new computer.  Bigger, faster, better.

The local Apple store "genius" I last spoke to still uses a mac from 1995.  Good friend of mine has two G4s ganged together for video editing he's used for over 10 years.

You pays your money and takes your chances.  I just don't like working on computers as much as I like working WITH them, that's why I like Mac vs. PC.

YMMV.

Time searching internet for software for a PC that you get on a Mac get real. You can find just about anything for a PC in mere seconds if you know how to use search engines. On  Mac you can search too but there is far less to find. As far as working on them, I have not had down time to failure for a very long time and no virus issues. As far as fixing a infected system, 98% of the time you can attach it to another system that is clean and is not booting of infected drive and scan an clean it and repair boot sector if needed too. No so on a crapple. I do think it is cute that you paid 2 to 3x more to still run Windows 7. Even then it is limited by Apples hardware and will not doing anything hard core like a game well.

Apple is for those that are happy with simple systems using closed shop hardware and software and no easy upgrades or cutting edge performance. If using a PC is too challenging for you you need to maybe how to use it correctly. Properly set up with proper hardware and software they are pretty bullet proof. I have NEVER had to do a reload on any of mine, my kids (now on own) or spouse due to a virus.


Title: RE: Recommended computers for Ham
Post by: K3NB on December 13, 2013, 10:37:05 AM
Aren't you the lucky exception.  Smarmy and nasty, too.



Title: RE: Recommended computers for Ham
Post by: W8JX on December 13, 2013, 11:24:27 AM
Aren't you the lucky exception.  Smarmy and nasty, too.

Not lucky just know what I am doing. As far as last comment it is what it is. Macs are a novelty at best. They will never get and hold a serious market share. Like it or not it is a windows world. Why else do think Apple licenced abilty to run windows. It was to help prevent buyers remorse when they found out what Mac software could not do.