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purpose built computer
« on: May 07, 2013, 04:32:12 AM »
Hi there,
I am in the final stages of building my first CNC mill and am considering building a dedicated computer to run it.
My existing old (2004) XP home machine is getting so cranky I don't trust it to run a machine safely. To be fair
it has run all the testing problems I have presented it so far....

Can anyone make some suggestions or comments:
1) Is there a better OS than XP (like Windows Embedded) for Mach3?
2) Are there services/components that can or should be disabled to allow Mach3 best chance to run well?
3) Is there any advantage in multi core processors and similar high power gismos when running a dedicated macine?
4) My existing 1.5GHz machine runs well at 45kHz Mach3 kernel but gets dodgy above 60 kHz. Should I be concerned?

My mill is petty basic and requires one only LPT port but in the future would look to 2 or 3 ports or alternately a USB/motion
controller setup. Currently running 5 phase Vexta steppers with near zero backlash planetaries. With very modest drives
the rapids are fairly slow but plenty of torque.
'I enjoy sex at 73.....I live at 71 so its not too far to walk.'
Re: purpose built computer
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2014, 04:29:27 AM »
Well I have finally got around to 'building' purpose built computer a year to the day from my original post. Have bought a house in the mean time tho...

I selected a single board 'industrial' computer based on the Atom dual core processor. Largely on the basis of cost and local (New Zealand)
availability from a Taiwanese manufacturer UniGens.

The model I bought is Mini ITX size with 4G DDR3 1600 RAM and 60G mSATA SSD. I also bought a runtime key for Windows Embedded Standard 7 (WES7).

I selected WES7 largely because the optimisation/deployment tools looked like a much simpler proposition than XP Embedded. Configuring and installing the OS
while challenging to a non geek has not been to bad. There are some good books and forums out there... I have learnt a lot about Windows and operating
systems in general as a result and feel that I have achieved something as a result.

WES7, or at least my 'mix' of it is working great, it runs the pulse engine at 100kHz rock steady and have not had one glitch due to the system or other software
running. Mach3 is still Mach3, when it runs well its great but when it struggles it still struggles. The expense and effort I have gone to have just made the platform
running it behave more reliably and no more.

I am pleased with the result, the computer looks handmade, my own tin box etc, operating system components of my choice and all the knowledge/research
that it took leaves me with a sense of pride very much akin to the pride in producing really nice CNC parts on your own machine.
'I enjoy sex at 73.....I live at 71 so its not too far to walk.'