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Author Topic: hmmm...SDR software optimized hardware?  (Read 5053 times)

Offline IQ_imbalance

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hmmm...SDR software optimized hardware?
« on: August 17, 2019, 0052 UTC »
There's a company that benchmarks and assembles desktops based on intended software use....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ph-uq_B5TSI
« Last Edit: August 17, 2019, 1907 UTC by IQ_imbalance »
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Offline Josh

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Re: hmmm...SDR software optimized hardware?
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2019, 1946 UTC »
I build my own but use input from the boutique shops as far as parts and compatibility goes. If some boutique sells a rig with x parts, you can be sure they've done the work of testing compatibility, stability, processing powa, etc. Why not take advantage of that? You'll likely get at least 90 percent of their bench results, they might have an edge on sweetheart drivers and os configs from their respective makers that aren't commonly available to non boutique builders, however.

My next sdr build is a low power rig, 15w workstation vid card, dual cpus @ 20w max, ecc mem, server os, laptop hdds, real hardware accelerated soundcard, etc. Might go scsi on this one as I have the parts, scsi stuff is made for reliability not often found in today's parts.
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Offline IQ_imbalance

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Re: hmmm...SDR software optimized hardware?
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2019, 0216 UTC »
Haven't dug into it but these folks were saying they share their benchmarks, etc.  Other than brute force FFT, wonder what other features would be good for a dedicated SDR rig?  Network I/O comes to mind, but wonder what else.....
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Offline Josh

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Re: hmmm...SDR software optimized hardware?
« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2019, 1739 UTC »
This depends on what the system is tasked with.

If you're running a remote sdr then networking and background (as in not in the foreground/desktop app) processing performance is a priority.
In such case most any recent system should do as most systems feature offloading nics (this wasn't the case only a decade ago) and commodity cpu processing power has increased greatly in the last few years.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TCP_offload_engine

If the system is hosting the sdr it obviously needs to cater to the interface (if other than tcp as discussed above) between the system and sdr; if usb it needs good usb performance and sometimes a add in usb card is better than onboard. If the sdr uses firewire like the flex rigs used to, then a decent firewire card is in order. If the sdr is internal, the sys needs good pci or pcie interfaces, most systems have no issues with pci/pcie performance.

Some sdr apps are starting to take advantage of vid card processing such as cuda in the case of nvidia cards and so on, and this can greatly enhance sdr performance and reduce cpu processing needs. In that case you would want a fast vid card, a powerful vid card will also help in general sdr use as the display is often the main desired feature of sdr. Sdr rigs can be very demanding of vid cards, especially when fine resolution as well as fast update rates are employed.

Also, and this is a big one, one should try to get the most rf quiet psu they can for a home build - in general you want one with power factor correction, this is only on the more expensive psus that hopefully have a bit of line filtering.
Sadly, psu makers do not spec how noisy their psus are in the rf spectrum so it's hard to determine wich will be best but going by pfc alone that will be a good choice. If you have to add a ac line filter to the psu, so be it.
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Offline chanito

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Re: hmmm...SDR software optimized hardware?
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2019, 2148 UTC »

Workstation class PC's for SDR have performed better for me than homebrews, and often at a better price point.


Current shack radio workhorse is a HP Z240 with i7 6700, 16GB, single SSD system drive and Raid 1 storage drive. It hosts the Flex 3000, RSP1 and RSP1A simultaneously no problem. These routinely go for well under a grand on eBay with massive SSD storage included. Can't build one like that for much less considering the CPU alone still goes for $350.


And, workstations tend to just run forever. One of my other utility machines is a 11 yr old Dell OptiPlex 745 sporting a Pentium D and running Win 10 Pro, hosting two Icom PCR-1500's built right into the drive bays, powered off the 12v rail through a noise filter, antennas ported to the rear panel, remote accessible via PCRAnywhere. This thing has been running pretty non-stop for a decade. I shut it down every once in a while to blow the dust bunnies out.


I prefer to keep the radio PC's doing just that, no general computing or gaming.

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