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HDS8 vs NSS and NSE

Old 10-04-2011, 09:24 AM
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Default HDS8 vs NSS and NSE

Trying to make a decision between the HDS8, NSS8 and NSE8. Originally considering the HDS8 which I have used on a friends boat and like, but after investigating the Simrad units wonder if they are worth the added cost. I have only used the NSE briefly at a West Marine. I understand the benefits of touch screen with the NSS, the faster processor of the NSE, but like the larger screen size, overlay data and scalable windows of the HDS. Also HDS is a little smaller package and fits better on the dash.

The nav pack cost of the units including radar is within $300 when including current rebate on the NSE. However, when adding radar, sirius, sonic hub and fishfinder ( to the NSE) the differential jumps to $1000 for the NSS and $1600 for the NSE.

My question is whether the redraws of the NSS and NSE are that dramatically different than the HDS and whether the not insignificant difference in price is worth it. I could probably swing the larger price, but am already going to catch enough grief for the HDS from my better half. No need to ask for trouble if not really worth it.
On my friends HDS the redraws seem relatively quick, but how would this change compared with the NSS and NSE when loaded down with 3d split screen, radar and weather?

Hoping anyone with experience the units can chime in.

Thanks.
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Old 10-04-2011, 10:23 AM
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We have the NSE12 and they are an awesome machine. We are very happy with them for many reasons that have been already discussed on THT.
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Old 10-04-2011, 10:56 AM
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I use 2 HDS-8's with structure scan and broadband radar. I absolutely have enjoyed them and they've been responsible for some extremely successful days offshore. And close in navigation is awesome along with long distance storm watch capabilities. But saying that I can't say the Simrad line hasn't caught my eye; I haven't used their equipment but it sure looks inviting. Now when it comes down to costs, I would probably go with Lowrance again since expenses do matter in our household if Simrad is much more expensive. I'm not quite sold on the touch screen technology in this arena since I try "not to touch" my screen when fishing due to obvious reasons.
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Old 10-04-2011, 11:12 AM
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NSS and HDS with software version 4.0 have exactly the same redraw speed. According to what i've been told NSS has larger memory and faster processor than HDS so I expect the current HDS softare is more optimized than NSS. NSS will probably be faster when the next software version is introduced, I don't think we can expect HDS will be faster in the future, version 4.0 was a major improvement in this respect.

I have HDS and NSS and have used NSE, I would without doubt have gone for NSS8. The combination of touch, rotary controller and a few knobs is optimal, NSS has by far the best, fastest and most intuitive user interface on the marked.
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Old 10-04-2011, 11:47 AM
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HDS and NSS, both are under navico ambrella, but the NSS system is three years ahead than HDS.
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Old 10-04-2011, 03:57 PM
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If I could do it over..... SIMRAD would be on my boat. In a recent discussion with Lowrance, I was told NOT to expect any deep water (offshore) improvements in future HDS builds. NAVACO has decided to market the HDS specifically for skinny water fishing while Simrad will take the lead in the offshore market. For example, I was told HDS will NOT see signal processing improvements to improve deep water performance of BB processing and HDS will NOT see CHIRP capability. I have 26 years of experience with Lowrance systems and this is very disappointing.
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Old 10-04-2011, 04:37 PM
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HDS is already optimized for deep water operation. In SW version 4.0 there are several improvements for deep water operation which have been tested out last year at a lake in Norway at 1500'. Prior to v4.0 these improvement where only available from one Norwegian dealer in a non official release.

The current software version of NSS is not as good as HDS with SW v4,0 for deep waters. I have to admit I was a bit disappointed when testing NSS at depths down to 1450' this weekend. Hopefully they will improve this in the next software release. I'm very pleased with the performance at 400' and less.

It's correct that the current HDS will not get support for the black-box CHIRP sounder BSM-2, but who knows what future HDS models will bring. I expect CHIRP in a few years time will be standard also for mid level recreational fishfinders. CHIRP is not only for deep waters, the improved target detection and separation as well as the noise suppression gives huge advantages at all depths.

Last edited by abbor; 10-04-2011 at 04:48 PM.
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Old 10-04-2011, 04:46 PM
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ABBOR; No argument that 4v HDS is great for depths to 1500 feet, even in salt water. The 200 kHz performance of a p66 is just amazing with the BB HDS. I have posted several times my opinion on this. I am most disapointed with the fact that HDS will be left behind with respect to future CHIRP capabilities. It in the lead today, but I am afraid that will be short lived and while I have a good system, there is no hope for future offshore performance upgrades unless NAVACO changes course.
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Old 10-04-2011, 04:57 PM
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In freshwater HDS gives a steady bottom at 1500' @ 200kHz using the low end 83/200kHz Lowrance transom mount ducer.

HDS is now a mature product and we should not expect major functionality upgrades for the current HDS models. Navico has developed HDS much further than what was planned when the series was introduced. If we want more functionality or support for newer technologies than what's the current HDS models can do, we will have to go Simrad or the new Lowrance models to come.
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Old 10-05-2011, 01:31 AM
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I used Airmar thru hull 200kHz 12-degree P19, instead of lowrance lower end 83/200kHz, and was superior to lowranc's ducer. on 83kHz I got bottom reading in saltwater up to 349 fathom (which equal to 2094 ft.). I think the beamwide was 72-degree in stead of 120-degree. However, if any one tryed the P19 instead of lowrance 83/200, hi will love the HDS and will never go back to Lowrance's 83/200.

But, to do so you need to splice the wires. P19 wires digrams: blue = positive depth, black = nigative depth and shield = shield. Lowrance's wires digrams: red = positive depth, black = nigative depth and shield = shield.
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Old 10-05-2011, 10:14 AM
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Simrad is a cut above hardware wise and probably represents the Navico flagship strategy model with Lowrance and Northstar riding behind in the wake a little.

I sure would love touch on my HDS-10 though! Tired of the menu mashing.

I guess I think of HDS as the "value" Simrad.
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Old 10-05-2011, 11:59 AM
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Thanks for the replies.

I think the touchscreen is neat, but I really don't have a problem with buttons. In a way I find it can be a little easier to just control the unit with your hand in one place once you get used to it. If the redraws are the same, and the only things missing are video-in and autopilot control, at the expense of a smaller, less bright screen at greater monetary expense, I am not sure I am sold. I do agree there is a definite appeal to the NSS packaging and interface. Maybe bucking the trend, but kind of leaning toward the HDS.

About 15 years ago a company came out with the first and only touchscreen interface EMG (electromyograph) machine. It was very slick in comparison to the the existing ones with buttons and knobs. For some reason it just didn't take off and the company went out of business, never quite understood why. I think they completely replaced the physical interface, suspect that redundant devices like the NSS are a different animal.
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Old 10-05-2011, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by capecuddy View Post
Simrad is a cut above hardware wise and probably represents the Navico flagship strategy model with Lowrance and Northstar riding behind in the wake a little.

I sure would love touch on my HDS-10 though! Tired of the menu mashing.

I guess I think of HDS as the "value" Simrad.
I'd agree. I own multiple HDS and NSE units. IMO, unless you NEED the NSE-only features, go HDS. They're almost identical units for most of your operation - chart plotting, fish finding, radar and sonar... it's close. The Simrad has a faster processor and a hard drive, sure, but it hasn't made the difference for me.

The advantages are the numeric keypad on the NSE8 (vs the HDS8), video input and autopilot controls. The HDS is cheaper to network as it has NMEA2000 connection right on it, but is more expensive for ethernet as it has only one port (multiple devices connected to the HDS requires the Navico expansion, which adds $250). The HDS also has a built-in GPS, the Simrad requires an external... the recommended is $250 plus cable/mount/etc. if required.

IMO, the HDS is a better value for most cases than the NSE, software-wise they're almost identical, functionality is very close, etc. But there are certain conditions which makes the NSE make $$ sense, and certain features which make the NSE a requirement.

The only way you'll be unhappy with a HDS but happy with the same NSE is if you need one of the few features the HDS doesn't support.
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Old 10-05-2011, 12:26 PM
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I have 3 HDS units and a NSS, and several other fishfinders and MFD's as well. I don't think I will ever buy a MFD without a hybrid touch and buttons interface again. NSS is a revolution when it comes to user friendliness.
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Old 10-06-2011, 10:14 AM
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On my HDS10, and I really do like it, I do get somewhat upset when it gets slow.
What causes it to be slow? Well, seems I am figuring out that when I use Broadband 3G overlay it gets real slow to respond. But I think what is causing that is as I have added more and more customization to each screen setup with Data overlay (information such as voltage, time, DTD, etc), it has gotten worse.
I think that the faster processor in Simrad models would help with that, assuming they have that capability...dunno as I haven't played with them since the higher cost was not in my budget. Also their size I agree was larger and would not fit in locations I am using the HDS10.

Now, the question is if I add another HDS unit and have different views such as Chart/Steering on one, and Sonar/Structure Scan on the other, will this help the speed? Assuming that each HDS unit is only trying to process what is being displayed and this might bring the speed back to normal? Anyone know about this short of me calling lowrance to find out?
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Old 10-06-2011, 10:48 AM
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That would work as each HDS has its own processor, unless you were data starved. Network bandwidth usage is pretty low in a boating environment (except for radar and structure scan sonar.) You may want to think of the network topology and have seperate ethernets to each HDS in that case rather than bussing them together via a NEP-2. Use common NMEA2000 across both HDS's but have separate enets.
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Old 10-06-2011, 01:10 PM
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Yeah, was wondering about the enet speed or bandwidth but figured the ethernet was capable to handle the bandwidth as this is really not a lot of data I wouldn't think in comparison to computers on a network with many sharing.

Also want to be able to switch back and forth between the units at will like move Radar to top or to bottom display as one would be on overead like I have currently, and want to add another to the helm for mostly navigation.

My neck gets tired after a while looking up at an angle, but that position is great for Sonar/Radar when at the back of the boat fishing.

Maybe I can find out how this will work if Santa is good to me
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Old 10-06-2011, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by roberth View Post
On my HDS10, and I really do like it, I do get somewhat upset when it gets slow.
What causes it to be slow? Well, seems I am figuring out that when I use Broadband 3G overlay it gets real slow to respond. But I think what is causing that is as I have added more and more customization to each screen setup with Data overlay (information such as voltage, time, DTD, etc), it has gotten worse.
I think that the faster processor in Simrad models would help with that, assuming they have that capability...dunno as I haven't played with them since the higher cost was not in my budget. Also their size I agree was larger and would not fit in locations I am using the HDS10.

Now, the question is if I add another HDS unit and have different views such as Chart/Steering on one, and Sonar/Structure Scan on the other, will this help the speed? Assuming that each HDS unit is only trying to process what is being displayed and this might bring the speed back to normal? Anyone know about this short of me calling lowrance to find out?
My HDS-8's aren't slow at all BUT I did have that problem several months back. I called tech support and went through the "maybe it's low voltage" deal.... but that wasn't the cause. They had really slowed down to the point of being useless until reboot. So I dug in.

...and found the cause. I don't know exactly how many trails were recording/displayed at the same time but there were at least 3 between the 2 units. Probably 4 but as soon as I stopped all of them, the units both snapped back to full speed like there had never been a problem. I don't know the rate of the trail pinging but it's probably pretty high to leave the details it does. Beyond that, look for anything that can eat up memory.

I have LSS-1, BR24 Radar, RC42 Compass and 2 transducers networked into the 2 units which perform flawlessly. The few problems I've had ultimately lead to operator error, me.

** correction, I just tried my unit from the recliner and it will not record more than one trail at a time. So I must have had both units recording and possibly multiple trails displayed. I wish I knew more about them at the time because whatever I did corrected the problem. One thing you guys may want to consider is the LEI power adapter in so they can be used at home. I'll usually bring mine in after a few trips and go over all the trails and waypoints to amend and make notes.

Last edited by GulfC; 10-06-2011 at 01:40 PM.
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Old 10-06-2011, 03:21 PM
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So then, not clear if the Hds bogs down more than the Nss when doing radar overlay. Sounds like some are noting this, some are not. That is really my main concern as i haven't been able to see this combo in action. How does the NSS behave with radar overlay? I would guess other things such as sirius tuner, or sonic hub wouldn't make that much difference compared to radar overlay.
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Old 10-06-2011, 03:28 PM
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NSS has more memory and a faster processor than HDS and will be a better choice if you plan to load the system by running all functions simultaneously.

Remember HDS are NSS embedded computers running Linux operating system, as all computers these systems will also be slow if the load is too large, and a faster processor and more memory always helps, same as with your home computer.

HDS has gotten more functionality than the hardware was planned for, so I would not be surprised if the unit may become a bit slower when all functionality is enabled even if software 4.0 was a major upgrade when it comes to speed. I've not seen any performance problems myself with HDS after v4.0 was introduced, but I have several units so I never load one unit to the max.

Last edited by abbor; 10-06-2011 at 03:41 PM.
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