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"Radio Computer"

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

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  1. WA9SVD

    WA9SVD Ham Member QRZ Page


    Just curious: HOW do you "upgrade" cache memory? As far as I know, you can only CHANGE the amount of memory used for the Windoze cache, but not "upgrade" it. The time of outboard cache (NOT internal to the processor) that MIGHT be "upgradeable" with more memory went out with the '486 era, I believe..
     
  2. KQ9J

    KQ9J Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I bought two HP dc7900 small form factor desktops at a surplus property sale about 5 years ago. Core2 Quad CPU at 2.66 gHz. I've got 8 gigs of ram in them and honestly they do everything I want to do in the shack. I paid $5 each for them, no kidding.

    I may convert to SSD one of these days but they keep running so I keep using them. :)
     
    W9FL likes this.
  3. KB0MNM

    KB0MNM Ham Member QRZ Page

    ( Crosstalk )- Larry ( Wa9SVD )- You 'upgrade' cache memory by talking to an experienced IT technician about the merits of an I3 processor and 4GB of memory as the platform for Windows10(tm?) in the current state, then deciding on more external storage*- or a new motherboard. Yes, they should be able to set the outboard cache- yet also advise about the overall expected performance with the hardware at hand. It has been my understanding that in order to run properly ( no excessive waits for 'swaps' ), Win10 typically needs 8 GB of external storage, and that the number of 'cores' and specific applications involved also determines the overall satisfaction. Yet I have seen plenty of systems which can be restored to 'acceptible' levels of performance with just the cleanup and de-fragmentation steps. I also know first-hand how older mechanical hard drives machines can be improved with the appropriate solid-state drive. There are cases where SSDs are not desired, yet that may be beyond the scope of this discussion. I am NOT hunting for anecdotal evidence that Windows 10(tm?) can run in 4GB of external storage- just mentioning that folks have suggested to me that 2GB is clearly insufficient, and performance can be improved in many situations with twice that 4GB storage.*Intel maintains a list of processors and the internal cache storage. Many desktop motherboards have sockets which might allow for a processor upgrade, yet few laptops contain motherboards which may be 'easily' upgraded.
     
  4. KB0MNM

    KB0MNM Ham Member QRZ Page

    One more for those about to 'flame': ( see file upload )
    ( RAMMin.PNG )
    73
     

    Attached Files:

  5. W5UAA

    W5UAA Ham Member QRZ Page

    The term "cache" is a confusing term in computers.

    I worked near many "weapons caches" while I was active duty.

    Early in the PC revolution, CPU manufacturers started placing memory inside the CPU chip. This was referred to as "cache" memory. Today, you have different levels of cache inside the chip. L1 is closest and extremely fast since it's right next to the actual processor. L2 is one step away and there's some kind of swapping algorithm between L2 and L1. Most used data blocks get put in L1, least used are in L2. L1 and L2 are usually on the same die (same layer in the CPU.) Then most CPUs today have an L3 cache. And there's a swapping algorithm between L2 and L3. Most used data blocks go to L2, least used stay in L3. Where does L3 get data from? RAM. There can be a "cache" of data in RAM. And there's an algorithm that swaps data blocks between L3 and RAM. This is where things start to get really slow, when comparing the speeds of L1 and L2. However, by human standards, it's still really fast.

    Windows has a mechanism to prevent your computer from crashing because it ran out of RAM. Usually this is called "virtual memory." But it's nothing more than a "cache" on your hard drive. If you use this "cache" or "virtual memory" on your hard drive, your computer becomes noticeably slower. Accessing the hard drive takes forever compared to L1, L2, L3 and RAM. So the #1 most recommended upgrade for a computer today is to add enough RAM so you're not having to use this "virtual memory" or "cache on your hard drive."

    One step further, you can have a "cache" across the network. It's visibly and painfully slow. But it works.

    More on topic. I just built a new "radio computer." I'm of the opinion that going cheap on your computer will only cost more in the long run and cause frustration and anxiety for the duration. Spend a few more dollars today and you'll have a computer that causes less anxiety, last longer and be cheaper in the long run.

    I'm currently migrating from 4th gen Intel computers to 10th gen intel computers.

    And moving from the spinning hard drives to the solid state hard drives give a noticeable increase in speed also.

    I just swapped out a spinner for a SATA SSD on one of my 4th gen Intel computers and I got the following

    Went from a 5400RPM 1TB spinner drive:

    [guy@fedora ~]$ systemd-analyze
    Startup finished in 1.250s (kernel) + 3.820s (initrd) + 55.384s (userspace) = 1min 455ms
    graphical.target reached after 55.212s in userspace
    [guy@fedora ~]$

    !!! 2 minutes to login screen!!!

    To a 500GB SATA SSD:

    [guy@fedora ~]$ systemd-analyze
    Startup finished in 1.007s (kernel) + 1.622s (initrd) + 8.436s (userspace) = 11.065s
    graphical.target reached after 8.427s in userspace
    [guy@fedora ~]$

    !!! about 20 seconds to the login screen!!! And this is on one of my 4th gen Intel computers.

    For ~$700, I just put together the following:

    Gigabyte B460MD3H Mobo
    16GB of matched 3200 memory to take advantage of the dual memory channel controller
    I7-10700K @3.8GHZ with an aftermarket Artic Freeze CPU cooler because this CPU is unlocked
    Samsung SSD 970 EVO Plus 250GB M2
    and the boot up time is:

    [guy@fedora ~]$ systemd-analyze
    Startup finished in 6.751s (firmware) + 1.584s (loader) + 4.165s (kernel) + 1.343s (initrd) + 8.943s (userspace) = 22.789s
    graphical.target reached after 8.934s in userspace
    [guy@fedora ~]$

    Just under 32 seconds to the logon screen. I also put a 1TB spinner in it for storage only and it has to wait a several seconds for it to spin up.

    And anything I click on happens, like, NOW! No spinning hour glasses.

    My 4th gen computers have lasted a little over 12 years now and they're starting to fail. These new 10th gen computers will last at least 12 years also.

    So, go big, go fast and you'll experience less frustration, pay less over the long run and they'll last longer.
     
    KB0MNM and AC0GT like this.
  6. N6YWU

    N6YWU Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've been experimenting with using my iPad for my radio computer. It's faster than my i5 Desktop, quiet, more energy efficient, lower maintenance, more secure, takes up less space on the desk, and I can easily take it with a QRP rig for POTA/portable ops.

    ... of course, there's very little amateur radio software for it (but some good logging apps, etc.), so I have to mostly write my own. Plus I need a bunch of dongles, and maybe a Raspberry Pi as well, due to the iPad's serious lack of ports. Trade-offs.
     
  7. WA9SVD

    WA9SVD Ham Member QRZ Page

    I think we are still talking 'APPLES" AND "ORANGES." Changing processors (such as an old[er]i3 to a new[er] i5. is more than JUST "upgrading cache." It may not even be possible. What you CAN CHANGE (not considered an "upgrade) is the size of the cache maintained by the (Windows in this case) operating system. The default value may well NOT be optimum for everyone. Agd I condider "external storage" perhaps differently than you (or your IT peers.) External storage is usually a USB or other device, such as an SSD or hard drive. Win 10 alone can't operate on its own "cache" (L1, L2, and L3) without memory. Yes, there ARE (whether you see it as desirable or acceptable) those that run Win 10 with less than 6 GB of external memory. (And THAT is not "external cache," it is external MEMORY.) Particularly with the "Latest (and greatest??) versions of Win 10, 16 GB is usually enough, and I use 32 GB. If I was doing really high level processing, I'd have 64 GB, which is the limit imposed by INTEL.(At least, for MY i7.)
    By the way, I have been building (and/or upgrading ) computers (including IBM/other X86 platforms, and Apple) since 1984, so I'm no "newbie." Current count is 16 built, 12 upgraded, and other than laptops, one (first and ONLY) "store bought" computer. If I outlive the present one, any future computer WILL be assembled only from premium parts by myself. The "store-bought" brand name boxes are by and large, a P.O.S. with marginal (if that good) parts, and often proprietary parts as well, only available for replacement from the original manufacturer.
     
  8. WA4SIX

    WA4SIX Ham Member QRZ Page

    DO you have an M.2 drive or an NVME drive? NVME uses 2 lanes of diffenertial PCIE bus & cuts boot time in half again. My Dell laptop takes about 14 seconds to the login page with NVME.

    Ed
     
  9. W5UAA

    W5UAA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yes, I now have a couple of NVME drives that utilize the M.2 physical protocol.
     
  10. KB0MNM

    KB0MNM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Please refer to posts #44 & #45. As others mention, L3 cache is made from storage external to the processor. As to the other parts of the cache, I seriously doubt that an i7 processor may be a good option for the machine mentioned in post #1. Yet many desktop machines will hold upgrade motherboards, which then implies a better processor internal L1/L2 cache setup and/or storage for the L3 cache. Please direct comments back to N5CM and post #1. If I wanted to fully explain cache memory ( and note that post #45 has someone else doing a good job of getting that started )- I would have done so. As to the semantics of 'cache and memory' in your explanation, I would suggest that you stop calling attention to yourself through the use of all capital letters. Again, the creator of this thread was not looking for 'contests', just answers. Storage can be defined as any of the following: firmware, ROM, RAM, drives, and even registers in a processor, etc. Cache is generally in RAM which is one type of storage, just as DRAM is a type of RAM. Further, SRAM ( Static ) is generally found inside the older processors where DRAM ( Dynamic ) generally is external. NVRAM (Non-volatile) is generally used for BIOS, where SRAM on some motherboards is used for lower numbered cache.
     

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