Building a computer for GNURadio


Currently I am using a Thinkpad Z60t laptop for GNURadio using OpenSUSE
10.2. It has a 1.73 GHz Pentium M. It seems to do a good job but I
have hit the processing wall a few times. Most turned out to be
programming errors that ate up CPU cycles. I do seem to always get an
error from the USRP every 3 to 5 seconds. I can run DREAM and a 10.7
MHz to 12 kHz converter application on the same laptop but can run into
problems displaying 3 FFTs at once for some of the examples. Plus I
noticed some of these USB HDTV devices need 1.8 GHz CPU minimum. My
experience has shown that minimum equates to “It works but is too slow
to be practical”. I also want to play with the ATSC HDTV receiver in

I am interested in the PS3 but realize that it will be a year or two
before it gets to the useful point. I may still get one to experiment
with but I rather have a system where I can build applications without
porting GNURadio first. I was interested in a Mac Mini but I got
confused about the Core Duo and Core 2 Duo. A Core 2 Duo Mac Mini maybe
available in a few months. It seems alot of the stock PC stuff still
uses Pentium D or Pentium Core Duo.

It looks like the Core 2 Duo is a good processor to use. Intel has
solved the thermal problems and the processing power is good. Also of
interest to me is the ability to overclock the processor with stock
cooling. I usually build my systems so getting a motherboard and CPU
combo together is no problem.

I would like to go with a Small Form Factor system so I could take it on
demos. Most of the mATX boards I see use a 945 chipset instead of the
965 chipset or do not support Core 2 Duo. This would also eliminate
overclocking. It looks like a mid-tower is the smallest I can go with
due to performance requirements. I could still use my Z60t or go with a
T61 for demos.

So is anyone using a Core 2 Duo? Does the dual core give a good
performance boost over the Pentium 4 and Pentium M?

I think benchmarking systems as suggested in another message thread is a
good idea. Have some practical tests based on GR blocks.

73 Eric