Minimal computer requirements

Status
Not open for further replies.

moonbounce

Member
Joined
Nov 5, 2002
Messages
1,249
I want to buy a used laptop computer to run DSD plus exclusively . I was wondering what the mininmal requirements would be and do you need a line in port or does the microphone port just as good?

MB
 

br0adband

Member
Joined
Apr 8, 2005
Messages
1,569
Location
Springfield MO
Many people have reported that even using an older Atom processor (for Netbooks) they've had good results using DSD+ (not DSD which is the original decoder app) so I would say anything with at least a Core 2 Duo processor will work just fine. More current machines with the "Pentium" processors in them or even the latest Celerons are basically Core technology CPUs (meaning Intel Core tech that's used in the i3, i5, and i7 series) with less L2 cache most of the time and would be more than capable of handling DSD+.

DSD+ has proven itself to require a lot less "horsepower" to decode things than DSD and it works better on older hardware or at least hardware with limited resources better.

As far as a mic/line inputs, line input is always preferred because it handles signals better. A mic input is expecting an incredibly low voltage signal, sometimes hundreds of times less powerful than a typical line-level signal is and because of that you end up setting the input levels almost to nothing to account for the difference.

Some laptops feature a dual-functionality input: the software for the sound chip (along with the drivers) can sometimes allow for the input to do both mic or line-level input; you use the software to make the selection of which type of mode you want the input jack to function in. My Dell Latitude E6400 is such a machine; the IDT sound chip (an Intel/Sigmatel product) allows me to choose how to handle the input jack as mic or line-level and adjusts itself as necessary.

Hope this helps...
 

moonbounce

Member
Joined
Nov 5, 2002
Messages
1,249
Many people have reported that even using an older Atom processor (for Netbooks) they've had good results using DSD+ (not DSD which is the original decoder app) so I would say anything with at least a Core 2 Duo processor will work just fine. More current machines with the "Pentium" processors in them or even the latest Celerons are basically Core technology CPUs (meaning Intel Core tech that's used in the i3, i5, and i7 series) with less L2 cache most of the time and would be more than capable of handling DSD+.

DSD+ has proven itself to require a lot less "horsepower" to decode things than DSD and it works better on older hardware or at least hardware with limited resources better.

As far as a mic/line inputs, line input is always preferred because it handles signals better. A mic input is expecting an incredibly low voltage signal, sometimes hundreds of times less powerful than a typical line-level signal is and because of that you end up setting the input levels almost to nothing to account for the difference.

Some laptops feature a dual-functionality input: the software for the sound chip (along with the drivers) can sometimes allow for the input to do both mic or line-level input; you use the software to make the selection of which type of mode you want the input jack to function in. My Dell Latitude E6400 is such a machine; the IDT sound chip (an Intel/Sigmatel product) allows me to choose how to handle the input jack as mic or line-level and adjusts itself as necessary.

Hope this helps...
When looking at laptops I was concerned because all the laptops I had seen did not have a "line in" port, I was not aware that some laptops had a dual funtionality input, good to know. I had tried using the :"mic in port on my desktop to see if it would work instead of "line in" but had dismal results, so I figured that any computer that i used for dsd plus should have a :"line in" port.

Because the laptop I buy will be used only for decoding ap 25 with dsd plus with a discriminator tap I was hoping to get away with an atom processor and a 10 inch screen, there is lots around, but none had the :"line in" port. I will now check and see if the particular computer has that dual functionality access.
Thanks for the info.

MB
 

AZScanner

Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2002
Messages
3,352
Location
Somewhere in this room. Right now, you're very col
When looking at laptops I was concerned because all the laptops I had seen did not have a "line in" port, I was not aware that some laptops had a dual funtionality input, good to know. I had tried using the :"mic in port on my desktop to see if it would work instead of "line in" but had dismal results, so I figured that any computer that i used for dsd plus should have a :"line in" port.

Because the laptop I buy will be used only for decoding ap 25 with dsd plus with a discriminator tap I was hoping to get away with an atom processor and a 10 inch screen, there is lots around, but none had the :"line in" port. I will now check and see if the particular computer has that dual functionality access.
Thanks for the info.

MB
If you don't mind getting something with a bit more oomph, you can avoid the whole Line-In issue by using DSD+ with an RTL dongle and appropriate SDR software. I would think such a setup would be a bit more portable too - I'm guessing that's why you want to use a laptop and not a used desktop machine which can be had at many thrift stores for a song. I've bought a few over the years - they work great for dedicated scanning and also for small children who want their own computer to play games on. ;)

-AZ
 

moonbounce

Member
Joined
Nov 5, 2002
Messages
1,249
If you don't mind getting something with a bit more oomph, you can avoid the whole Line-In issue by using DSD+ with an RTL dongle and appropriate SDR software. I would think such a setup would be a bit more portable too - I'm guessing that's why you want to use a laptop and not a used desktop machine which can be had at many thrift stores for a song. I've bought a few over the years - they work great for dedicated scanning and also for small children who want their own computer to play games on. ;)

-AZ
Portabililty would be key, I would like to take it to work on Sunday as I work alone. SDR and a dongle would be the way to go but as you say to run both ot them and DSD you would need at least a dual core processor which would be more money and a bigger laptop. I would like to stick to something small if I can, if not I will go whole hog and get a beast of a laptop, lol.

MB
 

AZScanner

Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2002
Messages
3,352
Location
Somewhere in this room. Right now, you're very col
Portabililty would be key, I would like to take it to work on Sunday as I work alone. SDR and a dongle would be the way to go but as you say to run both ot them and DSD you would need at least a dual core processor which would be more money and a bigger laptop. I would like to stick to something small if I can, if not I will go whole hog and get a beast of a laptop, lol.

MB
You don't need to go all out - I have a Gateway NE56R41U Laptop and it runs SDR#, Unitrunker, Virtual Audio Cable and DSD+ just fine all at the same time. You can get one for around $350 or less brand new, and probably a whole lot cheaper if you buy used. I paid my ex-wife a whopping $250 so I could keep it after our divorce. :D

-AZ
 

jaspence

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Mar 21, 2008
Messages
1,813
Location
Michigan
DSD+ computer

I have a Dell D430 that runs DMR decode well. It jas 2 GB of memory and Wndows 7. Mine is set to dual boot on XP and Win 7 as some of my radio software is not happy on the newer versions. You can get a docking base for about $15.00 on ebay which gives you a DVD and real com port, which I needed for three of my old radios. The whole package was less than $150.00, not counting the Win 7 install.
 

jhampton2000

Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2005
Messages
765
So i've had various setups working on single and dual core atom netbooks, some using internal soundcard but usually with an external soundcard. My 'portable' unit is now a Win 8.1 tablet, using an iMIc USB sound card, concurrently running 3-4 instances of DSD+ (as I get all flavors of digital mod to decode). It's light, portable, battery lasts for ~12hours and for DMR you can easily see the screen to see what DCC is being used. So if you've got nowhere to plug in, don't forget 2nd hand laptop batteries don't tend to last long.

Personally I would throw some caution on the dongle (vs scanner) view though. Yes a dongle is light and more portable, but the sensitivity is much worse. For me a dongle works fine in a fixed installation with a good antenna. For good decodes you need a good signal, and therefore every bit of sensitivity helps. You'll have to faff about with a dongle's antenna too. I use a tapped Icom R2. If I compare my setup with some of my early analogue scanners, the whole setup is just as portable and not far off the same weight.

HTH

Jim
 

moonbounce

Member
Joined
Nov 5, 2002
Messages
1,249
Very helpfull info, thanks to everyone who replied I feel like I have a lot more options as I can now include the mini laptop. I was always wondering how they would make out running DSD with a scanner tap.

MB
 

ronenp

Member
Joined
May 8, 2002
Messages
499
It depends...

If the computer has to decode only the speech and the audio come from another device direct to the mic or Line input then Pentum may be enough ... BUT ....
If the computer run SDR software like SDRSharp then i found that dual core is minimum needed to decode fairly the audio ....
Good Luck
Ronen - 4Z4ZQ
http://www.ronen.org
 

coolderb

Member
Joined
Oct 21, 2006
Messages
236
So i've had various setups working on single and dual core atom netbooks, some using internal soundcard but usually with an external soundcard. My 'portable' unit is now a Win 8.1 tablet, using an iMIc USB sound card, concurrently running 3-4 instances of DSD+ (as I get all flavors of digital mod to decode). It's light, portable, battery lasts for ~12hours and for DMR you can easily see the screen to see what DCC is being used. So if you've got nowhere to plug in, don't forget 2nd hand laptop batteries don't tend to last long.

Personally I would throw some caution on the dongle (vs scanner) view though. Yes a dongle is light and more portable, but the sensitivity is much worse. For me a dongle works fine in a fixed installation with a good antenna. For good decodes you need a good signal, and therefore every bit of sensitivity helps. You'll have to faff about with a dongle's antenna too. I use a tapped Icom R2. If I compare my setup with some of my early analogue scanners, the whole setup is just as portable and not far off the same weight.

HTH

Jim
Hey, that sounds like a great setup. Certainly a lot more portable than my current ASUS netbook, tapped Uniden BCD 895, iMic setup. I have been wondering whether the Win 8.1 tablets would work. Thanks for the confirmation. I think I will get one along with one of the small Icom portables.
 

joeuser

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Feb 9, 2014
Messages
1,611
Location
North Central Kansas
SDR# needs a faster system. Think it's because of all the eye candy (but it can be turned down). Now that Unitrunker supports the 820T dongles natively I have noticed far less impact on my system. I started with SDR#, Unitrunker, DSD+, etc on a HP laptop with a dual core and it didn't do so well. I then moved it to a slightly better dual core system that was optimized for gaming & it did fine. Now that I no longer need SDR#, the impact is so low that I am willing to bet I could get this to run on the HP laptop again. In a nutshell, more is always better esp. with SDR#.
 

moonbounce

Member
Joined
Nov 5, 2002
Messages
1,249
Just wanted to update for the benefit of anyone else who might be interested in running DSD and SDR Sharp on a laptop.
So I decided to find a laptop to run DSD only, instead of DSD and SDR Sharp.The laptop I bought was a Dell D630 with the 2.1 ghz processor with 2 gb ram running Window 7 Pro. The laptop of course has no problem running any version of DSD. The laptop will also run SDR Sharp with no problem but it will not run DSD and SDR Sharp together (with an R820t dongle of course). I find that the Intel 2.1 Ghz processor is just not powerful enough to for the job. I base this on my desk top with an Intel E5800 processor and 2 gigs of ram ( now updated to 4 GB ). The set up on both machines was identical but again the laptop just can't handle it.

Moonbounce
 
Joined
Jun 16, 2013
Messages
3,349
Location
Texas
Just wanted to update for the benefit of anyone else who might be interested in running DSD and SDR Sharp on a laptop.
So I decided to find a laptop to run DSD only, instead of DSD and SDR Sharp.The laptop I bought was a Dell D630 with the 2.1 ghz processor with 2 gb ram running Window 7 Pro. The laptop of course has no problem running any version of DSD. The laptop will also run SDR Sharp with no problem but it will not run DSD and SDR Sharp together (with an R820t dongle of course). I find that the Intel 2.1 Ghz processor is just not powerful enough to for the job. I base this on my desk top with an Intel E5800 processor and 2 gigs of ram ( now updated to 4 GB ). The set up on both machines was identical but again the laptop just can't handle it.

Moonbounce
I wonder how much of that is actually Windows being a resource hog.
 

reconrider8

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Dec 26, 2007
Messages
2,502
Location
Eastern, NC
i have a asus with a amd C-60 apu and when i just have sdrsharp running i cant even play a game of solitare with out lagg in it due to sdrsharp
 

reconrider8

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Dec 26, 2007
Messages
2,502
Location
Eastern, NC
nope i can run unitrunker fine and dandy with no lag what so ever but thats the new versions w/o sdr running
 

moonbounce

Member
Joined
Nov 5, 2002
Messages
1,249
You mean the new version of Unitrunker or the new version of RTL820t2 ? I will have to give that a whirl, I will also update that when I have it running, might be a little while but i will update.

Moonbounce
 

slicerwizard

Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2002
Messages
5,534
Location
Toronto, Ontario
I wonder how much of that is actually Windows being a resource hog.
Oh, I'd say not much. SDR# is a resource hog, that's really all there is to it. I regularly use two dongles and two copies of DSD+ on an Atom netbook, but I don't use SDR#, so it actually works. Mind you, I suspect that running XP helps a bit as well - it tends to stay out of the user's way.
 

Forts

Mentor
Database Admin
Joined
Dec 19, 2002
Messages
5,583
Location
Ontario, Canada
I can barely run SDR# on my Atom netbook. Multiple instances of DSD+ are no problem however. I also use an older Dell thin client for streaming. It's running two instances of DSD+ and 4 instances of ScannerCast without breaking much of a sweat.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top