We'll review here the most relevant hardware and software requirements for PixInsight. Bear in mind, however, that today's operating systems, hardware and graphical applications are so complex, that potential sources of error extend far beyond what developers of nontrivial applications are able to imagine. For this reason, the requirements specified on this document are not guaranteed to be all the existing requirements to successfully execute PixInsight on a specific computer.
Supported Operating Systems
PixInsight 1.0 targets the Microsoft® Windows family of 32-bit operating systems. Supported versions include:
Windows 98 Second Edition is supported, but it is not recommended due to stability and performance issues.
PixInsight should run under 64-bit versions of Windows XP, but this has not been tested yet.
Unsupported Operating Systems
The following versions of MS® Windows are explicitly not supported:
Of course, no 16-bit version of MS® Windows is supported, including the Win32s subsystem on Windows 3.x.
Minimum Hardware Requirements
PixInsight targets the Intel® Pentium® processor instruction set. PixInsight will not run properly on anything worse than a Pentium® 200 processor. Multiple processors and 64-bit processors are not explicitly supported in version 1.0, but there should be no problem with them.
Amount of RAM
For execution under normal tested conditions, a minimum amount of 128 MB of RAM is required. PixInsight will try to run with less memory, but expect stability issues. For actual deep-sky imaging work in PixInsight, 512 MB of RAM is a practical minimum.
Free hard disk space
The undo/redo system and some sophisticate masking procedures implemented in PixInsight are based on temporary disk swap files in order to maximize availability of RAM for critical processing tasks. In addition, more space is required during file save operations due to implemented security disk strategies.
You can evaluate the approximate maximum free disk space required for an open image as three times the 32-bit size of its pixel data. For example, for a 3-channel, RGB color image measuring 2048x1536 pixels, we have: 3 x 3 x 2048 x 1536 x 4 = 113,246,208 bytes, or 108 megabytes. With 40-80 GB hard disks being common today, disk space shouldn't be a concern under normal operating conditions.
The minimum required resolution is 1024x768 pixels. This refers to the whole virtual desktop, so you should be able to run PixInsight on a multiple monitor configuration even if some individual monitors are running at resolutions of 800x600, or even 640x480 pixels. A minimum color depth of 16 bits per pixel is required, but for serious work a true-color, 24-bit video mode is a must.
PixInsight is a processor and memory intensive application. It includes extremely complex numerical routines that really need as much processing force as possible. For this reason, there is no recommended minimum hardware/software configuration. However, based on our own experience, we can recommend the following setup for high-level astrophotographic imaging with PixInsight: