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Offline N4NV

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Need new small computer
« on: May 22, 2017, 08:31:10 AM »
My 10 year old computer is dying.  I need a new small one that can run Mach 3 or 4.  It needs to be under 9" square and 4" deep.  Also, what operating system should I use?  The old one is still running XP.  It is not connected to the internet.  Any suggestions would be greatly suggested.  Oh, BTW, my old one had a parallel port.  I am guessing I will need to change to a USB or Ethernet port type BOB, so I will need to replace that as well.

Thanks,
Vince

Offline N4NV

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Re: Need new small computer
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2017, 02:39:37 PM »
I am thinking of one of these: NEXBOX T9 Mini PC Windows 10 Intel Z8300
Has anyone used one for Mach?

Vince
Re: Need new small computer
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2017, 03:07:54 PM »
Hi,
I've used a dual core Atom mini ITX for Mach for several years without trouble.

I installed Windows 7 Embedded 32 bit as OS and ran two PP with Mach3. Despite on-board graphics it worked well.
More recently have upgraded to Mach 4. While the Atom can be very slow to load large Gcode files it otherwise runs
fine. Note that I upgraded to an external controller at the same time.

Truth is that you don't need a 'whiz bang' PC to run Mach, one that runs without interruption or hesitation due to hardware/software
conflicts is whats required. I think the NEXBOX will be fine. You will need an external controller to use Windows 10 as OS.

Craig
My wife left with my best friend...
     and I miss him!

Offline N4NV

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Re: Need new small computer
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2017, 06:14:13 PM »
Thank you for the reply.  When you say Windows 10 will require an "external controller", do you mean a motion control board that takes an USB or Ethernet connection?

Vince
Re: Need new small computer
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2017, 08:47:18 PM »
Hi,
either. Ethernet is fastest and has better latency performance. Ethernet is transformer isolated as
standard, USB can be isolated but need to be specified. Whether galvanic isolation is important is
a moot point.

I would recommend that if you buy one that you get one that has a Mach4 ready plugin in addition to
a Mach3 plugin. At this time the manufacturers whom offer cheap ($100-$200) Mach4 ready external
controllers are Warp9,PMDX, PoKeys and CNCdrive. All of these companies have been around a while
and all enjoy a good rep for backup. You need to read and interpret the specs and weigh those against
your requirements/expectations to make a choice. The good news is that any of them are pretty damn
good. Avoid the cheap-no-name stuff, the forum is littered with posts of people trying to get these
pieces of junk running.

Craig
My wife left with my best friend...
     and I miss him!