Loft PC upgrade

After some testing of my loft receiver system on my main desktop PC showed that the Loft PC was probably hitting the limits of its performance I’ve decided to do a limited hardware upgrade.  The Loft PC is made from components dated around 2005 which were mid-range back then.  Without spending too much money and keeping the Socket 939 motherboard as the core of the system, the components to take the motherboard to its maximum (what would have been high spec back in 2006) are now available 2nd-hand on eBay.  I have therefore acquired a dual-core Athlon X2 4600+ CPU and an additional 2GB of DDR400 memory as a ‘final push’ on this PC…

Passmark PerformanceTest Summary Results (performed locally, not via VNC) :

LOFT-PC (pre-upgrade, Athlon 64 3000+, 1 GB DDR400): 

LOFT PC (post-upgrade, Athlon dual-core X2 4600+, 3 GB DDR400): 

Desktop PC (Max. power saving mode, Intel i5  750 quad-core, 8 GB RAM): 

The bars show Passmark summary scores relative to my desktop PC running in “max. power saving mode” which was set when the successful SDR/VNC tests had been achieved.  The detail of the Passmark tests shows various gains from the upgrade (and interestingly an increase in memory latency on the Loft PC – due to non-matched memory module pairs?*) but this gives a feel for the relative size of the upgrade.

Most importantly, the upgrade appears to have smoothed out data mode reception on the system so I’m currently running SDR#, VAC, IPSound, Digital Master 780 and RealVNC Server with good performance – success!

Loft PC - running Softrock Ensemble with SDR# and DM780

Quick, time to make an image of the system before something breaks…

* (Later Edit) Well, my instincts proved correct!  It wasn’t long before I had a couple of reports of registry failures and some boot errors (missing/corrupt system folders and hal.dll).  After a couple of unsuccessful re-installs of Windows today I think I’ve traced it to the new RAM (2x1GB low-density DDR400) and the old RAM (2x512MB high-density DDR400) not playing nicely together.  Old RAM now removed and the system seems stable and working well at 2GB RAM.  That increase in memory latency was probably a clue to the problem.  Will re-run the Passmark tests when this fresh system has completed all of its automatic updates…

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