Monday, October 12, 2009

New Puter

I have been running a Shuttle cor several years n0w. It was a core 2 duo 2.5 ghz with a couple gigs of ram and a SATA 3 hard drive. I Overclocked the box to about 2.8 ghz. It was a nice running machine and had pretty good horse power as far as a ham computer goes. I plugged in a Radeon X1300 512 mb video card so I can run 2 monitors of extended desktop. I chose this particular card because it can run 2 monitors and does not have a fan. I added Windows XP pro, and lived the good life. After several years of clean living about two weeks ago the system started to hiccup and finally died to the extent the machine would not even POST.

What to do? The Shuttle had given me great service so I decided to try another. The Shutle uses a TI fire wire chip set and has always been perfectly compatible with my Flex gear, so I decided to pop for another Shuttle. I usually don't buy the highest performance stuff, but I do like to upgrade to some extent. I bought the SX48P2 E chassis. Next what processor? I chose this

This is a Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 Yorkfield 2.83GHz 12MB L2 Cache LGA 775 95W Quad-Core Processor The reason I chose this processor over something a bit cheaper was the size of the cache. Hard to beat 12mb of L2 Next was memory

Mushkin 2GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Desktop Memory Model 991580

I bought a total of 4gb. The Shuttle can address a total of 8gB of Ram spread across 4 slots, so if I ever upgrade to a 64bit OS I will be able to just pop in another couple of sticks of memory to fill out the bill. As it stands with XP I can access a little over 3 gb. The hard drive is a Seagate from the other computer and the DVD is a read write from the other computer. The computer can be overclocked, but at 95w I decided that was enough, no need to stress the cooling system. It runs at about 40 deg C.

It took about 45 minutes to build the computer, including dissembling the old Shutle and building the new. The Shuttle case is entirely thought out and it is basically put in the component and hook it up. There was no troubleshooting to be done and I fired it up went into the bios screen to set up a few parameters like drive boot order and started loading windows. Windows is another matter. That took the better part of 5 hours to load and bring entirely up to date, including all the Flex stuff and DDUTIL VCOM SKIMMER and DXLAB. I plugged in the F5K and it went through the 3 driver installs and I was on the air!!!! It went smooth as silk.

This computer has a few idiosyncrasies. It does not have PS-2 ports, so you have to use a USB Keyboard and mouse. It also does not have any serial or parallel ports. For that duty I use USB ports as well. I still have the USB to parallel port connector for my SDR-1000. My printer is a network printer so I do not need any ports for that. I use a USB serial for the input from my keyer, and to communicate with my LP-100 watt meter and all of those were installed in mere minutes.

It's performance is significantly better than the old core 2 duo, so all in all the upgrade was entirely uneventful and there were NO incompatibility issues.

I chronicle this build, because people often wonder what computer is compatible with the Flex series of radios. This is not an overly expensive machine to build, so if you are in the market for an upgrade or want some info on a system that works out of the box with the Flex line this sucker is works great. It's also quieter than the previous Shuttle. The system uses heat pipes to pipe the heat to the cooling fans. Very efficient.

73 W9OY