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[McIDAS #JAV-781741]: McIDAS-X on Windows or Linux

Hi Kwan,

re: some info on your laptop
> I bought this laptop from Dell a couple of years ago, and it has been
> upgraded to Windows 8.1 since then.  It was at a bargain price (either $249
> or $299).  Perhaps this is the reason that I have not been impressed by its
> performance so far.

Hmm... if you are not impressed with your laptop's performance when it
is only running Windows, it is most likely that it would not be a good
candidate for running a virtual machine at the same time as Windows.
My laptop, for instance, is has an Intel I7 processor (quad core and
hyperthreaded so it looks/runs like there are 8 cores), 8 GB RAM and
a decent HDD.  I dedicate 2 of the CPU cores to running my CentOS 6.6
x86_64 virtual machine, and I set up the VM to have available 2 GB of
RAM and 80 GB for disk space.  This setup runs very well even though
my machine is now almost 5 years old.

> The details of the hardware is as follows.
> Intel Celeron CPU 1007U @1.5 GHz

The spec sheet for this CPU indicates that it has 2 cores and 2 threads:


I am not sure if this means that it appears to have 4 cores or not.  Can you
see what the Windows Task Manager's Performance display indicates as the
number of cores (the number of CPU load graphs will indicate the number
of cores; mine displays 8 indicating 8 cores)?

> 4 GB RAM

OK.  According to the same spec sheet referenced above, the CPU can
handle up to 32 GB of RAM.  What the machine can handle, however, is
a different story.  My machine, for instance, seems to be maxed out at
8 GB of RAM.  My plan when I eventually replace my laptop is to buy
one that supports at least 32 GB of RAM and has a 4 or 6 core CPU
that also supports hyperthreading.  The reason for the apparent overkill
is the machine should stay completely useful for a number of years,
just like my current laptop has.

> Video card: Intel HD Graphics, driver version:, driver date:
> 9/30/2014 (just updated)

Built-in Intel graphics has gotten a lot better recently, but they
still do not come close to matching higher end Nvidia or ATI graphics.
Good graphics allows one to run graphic intensive applications like
the IDV, McIDAS-V and AWIPS-II Cave.

> Hard disk: 282GB (don't know how to check the speed, likely 7200 and not a
> solid state)

OK.  Yours really is a lower end machine.  The ads I read every week
tout laptops that come with 500 GB or 1 TB HDDs.  I personally don't
need all of this disk space as I keep most of the stuff I want to be
able to share on an external drive.  My current one is a Western Digital
750 GB unit that I bought on sale for about $60 three and a half years
ago; it may have been a Costco special. 

By the way, you could get a good handle on how good/bad your machine's
performance is by downloading, installing and running the latest version
of the IDV.  There are a couple of bundles that I would ask you to
load and play with on our RAMADDA server on motherlode.ucar.edu, and
your experience for how well they run would go a long way towards
letting me understand how good or bad your machine really is.  Are
you up for such a test?

> It is the first time I learn about the difference between a regular
> spinning HDD vs. a solid state.

My comment about solid state drives comes from experiences at work...
replacing HDDs with solid state drives has extended the usable life of
the laptops that several people have, and loading applications is now
incredibly fast.  I have been tracking sales of solid state drives for
quite some time now, and it is likely that I will bite the bullet and
buy one during the big sales around the 4th of July.

> From what you have told me, it seems that
> I should at least double the RAM and get a solid state HDD.  I am open to
> getting a new laptop if necessary.  What advises would you give me?

I don't know enough about your laptop to give you well reasoned advice
on whether or not you should replace it.  My gut feeling is, however, that
it may not be a good machine on which to run both Windows and a Linux
virtual machine.  The good news is that you can test this setup out
essentially for free and then base a decision on buying a new, more
powerful machine on what you find out.

I found my vanilla CentOS 6.1 64-bit virtual machine image, and it
is 769 MB in size.  I will investigate uploading it to Google Drive
and then giving you (via your NOAA email address) access to it sometime
this weekend (but I might have to delay uploading it until I am at

> Thanks again!

No worries.

I will send a follow-up note when I have uploaded the VM to a place
you can grab it.


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Ticket Details
Ticket ID: JAV-781741
Department: Support McIDAS
Priority: Normal
Status: Closed

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