"Radio Computer"

Discussion in 'Computers, Hardware, and Operating Systems' started by N5CM, Nov 3, 2020.

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  1. N5CM

    N5CM Ham Member QRZ Page

    My only computer is a Dell Inspiron 15 with Intel i3 5005U, 2GHz, 4GB memory and 920 GB hard drive, Windows 10, Microsoft Office. It is a good computer, but like me, it's getting a little long in the tooth and slowing down a bit.

    I'm thinking about getting a "radio computer" and trying some digital communications and computer logging. The "radio computer" would be dedicated to radio stuff only. The Dell would be used for stuff that uses Microsoft Office and for e-mails.

    I saw a good deal on a Lenovo IdeaPad 3 at Best Buy. Intel Dual Core i3 1005G1, 1.2 GHz, 8GB memory, 256 GB solid state hard drive.

    I'm not a computer guy. They're just a tool for me. So, would the Lenovo make a decent radio computer?


    John N5CM
  2. KD8DEY

    KD8DEY Ham Member QRZ Page

    N4FZ and KK4NSF like this.
  3. W5UAA

    W5UAA Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've never had a good experience with Lenovo. But I demand a bit more from my computers.

    My personal computer requirements are nothing less than an I5 running at 3.5 Ghz or greater, 16 GB of matched memory and enough HD space on a 6GB/s SATA port.

    If your I3 running at 2 GHz with 4 GB of memory is not good for you anymore, an I3 running at 1.2 Ghz is going to be worse for you.

    Try cleaning up your existing computer first by removing unused software, delete the start ups that have proliferated and are just wasting space, and use something like CCleaner to clean out the junk files and clean up the registry. That may make it noticeably faster again for you and you can skip buying a new computer for now.
    N4FZ and KB0MNM like this.
  4. KP4SX

    KP4SX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Geez, that's a lot more machine than many of us use! Sounds like you just want to buy a new computer :D
    KB0MNM, AE0Q, PU2OZT and 2 others like this.
  5. KC8RLU

    KC8RLU Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm not too thrilled with some of the Lenovo systems, especially if they have an all plastic case design.

    My dad bought a Thinkpad E570 about 2 years ago. Early this year, twice the left and right hinge assemblies (the parts that attach the screen to the bottom half of the laptop) worked themselves too tight on their own. I tried to readjust the tension in the clutches to my liking, but ran into further issues, when the case plastic that held the metal screw standoffs for the hinges became brittle and I couldn't secure the hinges with screws. The solution to this problem is I ended up having to use JB Weld, different longer screws, Gorilla tape and being creative with a Dremel tool to "rebuild" new secure points for the hinges. All this because the case plastics are defective! Of course, fixing it yourself the way I did it voids your warranty, but I don't care. I tried looking for replacement case parts online with no luck.

    In the end, my folks bought 2 brand new HP laptops (same models) that are METAL in more places of the top and bottom casing than I can count. So far, so good. I ended up inheriting the Lenovo, as I needed a Win10 machine for use on Zoom and editing the media content stuff in Faithlife's Proclaim for the church I work for.

    My suggestion is to make sure the CPU in the new laptop you choose is no less than 2 GHz speed. RAM should be no less than 8 GB. Most new models should be using an SSD of some sort as the hard drive, which will help with fast speed.

    When you get the new laptop and you migrate things over, I would do some searching online for what settings or features to change in Win10 to make it work better for you. YouTube user Carey Holzman is a good source through his videos on helping out in this area. I would only recommend Black Viper's site if you are comfortable enabling or disabling Component Services within Windows. If you aren't or am not sure of what you're doing, don't do it. It's like editing the Windows Registry or modifying DNA; you just don't do it.

    73s KC8RLU
    N5CM likes this.
  6. KK9W

    KK9W Ham Member QRZ Page

    If it is still using a mechanical hard disk I strongly suggest you spend about $120 on a solid state hard drive and load it with Windows 10 and that slow computer will have plenty of pep in it's step.

    I have a 15 year old HP Pavillion laptop that was taking upwards of 20+ minutes to boot and have services ready. I put an SSD in it and cloned the drive. It now boots in less than 10 seconds and keeps up with my other machines.

    I think I spent $60 on a 500GB SSD for the laptop and when I built my shack computer I picked up a 1TB SSD for just over a Ben Franklin note. Money well spent.
    KC8RLU, N0NB, W1TRY and 1 other person like this.
  7. WA9SVD

    WA9SVD Ham Member QRZ Page

    It depends entirely on what you plan on using the computer for. The "suggestions" above seem(?) to involve Win 10 machines. MOST ham software is compatible with an Operating System as "old" as Win XP (some even earlier than that.) If you need to ALSO use the machine to go online often, then Win 10 is an option, but if it is JUST for ham software, you may NOT need the "latest, greatest" computer, whether it be laptop or desktop. And a desktop may well have the advantage of a REAL RS-232c Port, rather than just USB. And whether you have a mechanical OR solid state drive, the ONE key thing is BACK UP ALL of your data! (Especially logs!) ALL drives, regardless of type, are subject to failure (usually at the most inopportune time:() whether "unexpected" early in life, or due to "old age."
    I can't count the number of clients I have had with a drive failure:oops: that said "I was going to do a back up tomorrow...":rolleyes:
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2020
    KB0MNM and KK4NSF like this.
  8. KK4NSF

    KK4NSF Ham Member QRZ Page

    The truth of the matter is that a Ham-Shack Only, limited Internet computer does not need to be very powerful. An XP or Win 7 machine with 4gb of memory and a small HDD will run all of our ham software just fine. The CPU / Memory loads are simply not very high. If you WANT a more powerful machine, that's OK, but you don't need one.

    In my portable shack, I've got an I3 Win 7 machine w 4gb ram, and 160gb HDD..... that runs HRD, DX Commander, a CW decoder, and my SDRplay software. It controls the SDRplay as a panadapter, my Icom TS440 and my logging simultaniously..... and the CPU meter never indicates it's overloaded. In fact it's response times are virtually the same as my wife's Win10 machine.

    The trick to running a shack only computer is to turn off all of the services / processes / resident programs that are not needed. (as mentioned above). Once you do that, even machines considered to be obsolete or too feeble suddenly show their colors, and work like a charm.

    In my opinion, Win 10 Home is not the best option, since it has a number of features that are semi-locked so you can't turn them off (like updates).... and many of the updates are known to suddenly disable other programs and hardware. Pro is much better. Win 7 is even better for a Shack Only machine since you have a lot more control over it.

    I really like Linux , but it is not a good option in this one case, since it's not supported by most hardware manufacturers and the Open Source software is still very clunky.
  9. VE3CGA

    VE3CGA XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Using a dell box I5 3.3G with 8G of ram.
    3 - 1TB drives, 1 for win7pro, one for linux mint, one for backups
    Didnt need the large drives but they were free
    got it at a local surplas store cheap.
  10. KK9W

    KK9W Ham Member QRZ Page

    That's because the only computer he owns is a Windows 10 machine and the other ones he mentioned come with Windows 10.

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