Is the Intel NUC suitable for running digital modes in the Hamshack

Discussion in 'Computers, Hardware, and Operating Systems' started by N2IPH, Nov 22, 2019.

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  1. N2IPH

    N2IPH Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    My Dell OptiPlex PC running Windows 7 Pro is long in the tooth and I am thinking of an Intel NUC to replace it for running digital modes running HRD, WSJT-X, JTAlert, GridTracker and for general web browsing related to operating such as uploading logs to QRZ, LoTW, eQSL, etc.

    I will probably get it configured with Win10 Pro, 16GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD. I have a network storage device so the small drive is not an issue for me. The model I am looking at has dual HDMI ports so I can drive both my monitors, an SD card slot, and multiple USB ports.

    Anyone know of problems with the audio in the NUC when running WSJT-X or HRD ?

    I like the small footprint for the shack. I can hang it on the back of a monitor so it's totally out of sight but will probably keep it on the desktop where I can access the USB ports and SD Card slot quickly.

    The OptiPlex is running fine just not sure it's up to running Win10 as the hardware is 10 years old.
  2. W7UUU

    W7UUU Principal Moderator Lifetime Member 133 Administrator Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    Should be just fine. Plenty of horsepower - NUCs are used EVERYWHERE in the corporate conferencing room world where audio and video are very much a part of the performance requirement. Digital modes are audio only - shouldn't be a problem.

    KK4NSF likes this.
  3. K8HIT

    K8HIT Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I have had three NUCs, I really liked the idea of them on paper. One i5 and two i7s, three different generations. I gave up on them about a year ago

    The firmware and software always seemed to be an afterthought. For many months we had to deal with horrible screen flicker until new drivers and firmware were developed. One died completely and had to be replaced.

    The video performance was mediocre at best.

    Unless you really need to conserve space I can't recommend them.

    There are quite a few models, so it's hard to say yes or no about running your shack. There are models that are only suitable for streaming TV and such, definitely not up to the task of panadapters and other graphics.

    Buy another optiplex.
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2019
    KK5JY likes this.
  4. W7UUU

    W7UUU Principal Moderator Lifetime Member 133 Administrator Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    Not all NUCs are equal.... it's a generational family of products, not just one. You can't lump all NUC computers into one category.

    I work around them all the time in the corporate conferencing world with totally adequate 1080p video conferencing and 20-20k digital audio

  5. K8HIT

    K8HIT Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Looking back, you'll see I talked about the model, generations and processors.

    Conferencing is alot like streaming TV, it doesn't take much, so a NUC could be a good match in that environment.

    I also think corporate IT is hard to compare to shack IT.

    Corporate has lots of skill, training, exposure, and resources. In this thread we have a ham asking about replacing a ten year old machine.

    Very different environments.
  6. KA9JLM

    KA9JLM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have one that runs Linux and I really like it.

    I would not screw it up running Win 10. But if you like Win 10 it may be worth a try.

    Please do report back all of the problems Windows 10 causes.

    Have Fun.
    KK5JY and KK4NSF like this.
  7. KK4NSF

    KK4NSF Ham Member QRZ Page

    agreed. They are quite capable little machines. Most ham radio uses are not that CPU or HDD intensive anyway. I think even the SSD drive is overkill for this application. (but they are cool!)
  8. WA4SIX

    WA4SIX Ham Member QRZ Page

    At my former job, we flew Lady Gaga into the superbowl with an NUC. It was a quick replacement for a blown console (Power spike).
    It impressed me

    KK4NSF likes this.
  9. W4EAE

    W4EAE Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    The Intel NUC is certainly capable of running software for digital modes. The Windows install will account for the vast majority of resource usage. If a computer can run Windows well, you should not have any problems running the software you will need for digital modes.

    My shack computer is a Raspberry Pi 4, and up until recently was a Raspberry Pi B3+. Fldigi and WSJT-X run well on both.
    AB6RF likes this.
  10. KA9JLM

    KA9JLM Ham Member QRZ Page

    The only draw back to these small computers is Video Power and Screen Refresh Speed.

    Just one of those things, Because they require very little power to operate.

    Streaming video lags audio. Lip Sync is a good test.

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