PixInsight Forum

PixInsight => General => Topic started by: Nocturnal on 2009 February 23 07:12:03

Title: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Nocturnal on 2009 February 23 07:12:03
Hi,

I'm considering building a new PC. It'll be a general purpose machine but of course I'll spend lots of time doing astro work on it too. I know PI uses multi threading so I'm getting a quad core CPU. Now the choice is between an i7 920 and one of the older quad cores. I suppose I should consider the Phenom series but I'm an Intel guy so that'll probably be it.

Now the i7 runs circles around other processors when it comes to memory throughput since we work with large amounts of data this seems important but is it? Could it be that many processes work on chunks of data that fit in cache so that memory bandwidth isn't the bottleneck?

Clearly I could simply build the fastest machine I can afford but I'd rather optimize things a little and spend money where it matters. Are there plans to use GPU acceleration? I've read a bit about CUDA but I'm not sure it's available cross platform.

The machine will most likely run 64 bit Vista. I'm not sure yet about the disk config. I realize that PI likes to have multiple drives for swap files. I don't think I'll accommodate that right away but use fast SATA drives and RAID for general speed and data protection of all applications. I can always add a drive later. Spreading out the 'investment' keeps prying eyes (wife) at ease you know :)
Title: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Juan Conejero on 2009 February 23 08:02:05
Hi Sander,

Personally I'd go for the i7.

Quote
Now the i7 runs circles around other processors when it comes to memory throughput since we work with large amounts of data this seems important but is it? Could it be that many processes work on chunks of data that fit in cache so that memory bandwidth isn't the bottleneck?


Of course throughput counts, but much more important is to have a *lot* of RAM. I'd consider 8 GB as a minimum. I recommend 16 GB. With a huge RAM everything runs faster (for example, you can accumulate many processing steps on previews) and you can do much more complex things (f.e. large wavelet transforms, especially HDRWT).

Quote
Are there plans to use GPU acceleration? I've read a bit about CUDA but I'm not sure it's available cross platform.


My advice is: buy an nVidia graphics card :D

Not in the short term, but PixInsight will use GPU acceleration via CUDA. Hopefully this year we'll have some core routines well implemented through CUDA. Convolutions and FFTs are the main initial candidates. Then depending on how things evolve we'll implement more sophisticated algorithms.

CUDA is cross platform. There are excellent implementations for Linux/UNIX, OS X and Windows. I have already studied some CUDA example code, and Oriol is also working on this.

My main problem now is that I have to update my main Linux workstation to install a CUDA-enabled video driver, which implies a recompilation of my Linux kernel, along with several key packages (VMware), monster backup copies, etc. This is stopping me because right now I need a fully operational machine all the time, and these changes would leave me out-of-business for several days. As soon as I can afford a full software update, I'll begin working on a port of some PCL routines with CUDA. I'll keep you informed.

Quote
The machine will most likely run 64 bit Vista.


It won't deserve that :) Seriously, you'll really hate Vista. I'd consider waiting for Win7, and use XP in the meanwhile. Or, much better, why not install a good Linux distribution instead? :) :)

Quote
I'm not sure yet about the disk config. I realize that PI likes to have multiple drives for swap files. I don't think I'll accommodate that right away but use fast SATA drives and RAID for general speed and data protection of all applications.


I use RAID 1 for the sake of security on all Linux workstations. RAID 5 and RAID 10 are good choices of course, but they need more drives, and nothing is more secure than a simple RAID 1.

Use a good software RAID implementation. This is also a good reason to use Linux :) Beware of mainboard RAID utilities; they are actually software RAID implementations that use comparatively slow processors, even the best ones, and if your motherboard crashes, you may have serious trouble to restore your drives due to proprietary RAID software. If you cannot afford a server-level dedicated RAID card, use software raid. Your i7 processor can perform all necessary RAID operations much faster than a mainboard based RAID. For example, I have two 750 GB SATA drives configured as RAID 1 with mdadm on Linux. I've never seen a processor load above 1%, even during intensive disk I/O operations. With this configuration, I have a consistent write speed of about 475 MB per second, and around 1100 MB/s for reading.

Buy two or three cheap, relatively small SATA drives with a good cache size, and use them only as swap storage drives. PI will perform undo/redo disk operations almost as if they'd happen in RAM :)

Quote
Spreading out the 'investment' keeps prying eyes (wife) at ease you know


Oh yes, of course. And you can invest more with a fraction of the total "pain" :)

Good luck with your new machine.
Title: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: OriolLehmkuhl on 2009 February 23 08:22:23
Quote from: "Juan Conejero"

Not in the short term, but PixInsight will use GPU acceleration via CUDA. Hopefully this year we'll have some core routines well implemented through CUDA. Convolutions and FFTs are the main initial candidates. Then depending on how things evolve we'll implement more sophisticated algorithms.

CUDA is cross platform. There are excellent implementations for Linux/UNIX, OS X and Windows. I have already studied some CUDA example code, and Oriol is also working on this.


Indeed :D, I have been done some test with onedimensional convolutions and its a must have for PI ;): it seems that is better for you the nVidia card :D :D

Regards,
Title: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Nocturnal on 2009 February 23 10:21:30
Very cool, thanks for the advise. I may move my Radeon 3850 from the old PC to this one for now and upgrade to a decent nVidia card when CUDA code for PI becomes available. Right now ATI is really spanking nVidia in the perf/$ department so I don't think it's the right time to get one.

As for the Vista bit, I know it's a shock but PI is not the only thing I run on my PC. I know, I know, I can hear you gasp :) I use DSS for stacking and lots of other software for other purposes. So I might get a copy of XP64 if I can get it but it sounds like Vista will get a free upgrade to windows7 when it comes out.

The RAM thing, yeah, 16 GB would be nice but I don't have *that* many images to deal with. I'll start with 6 (3 x 2) and see how things go.
Title: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: bitli on 2009 February 24 04:42:26
Thanks for the information, this will eventually be helpful to me.

Currently I run PixInsight on a machine with a Dual Core E2180 @2GHz and 2GB of memory (800MHz).
The screen is a 22" 1680x1050.

This is less than the minumum requirement (it happens to be the cheapest system one could buy around Christmas, originally for my wife to read mail and internet).

In spite of that I found that Pixinsight runs OK, or a beginning user , as long as I limit the size and number of images open and have some patience. The current limitation is my skills, not the performance of the computer.

I almost give up downloading the trial version when seeing the official requirements. Fortunately I tested it and found it good enough to buy it. So readers that have a not very powerfull computer (mine seems to be near the lowest usable end), please do not hesitate to dowload the trial version PixInsight and see if you can make useful work with it in your configuration. You may find it useful enought to use (while saving for a more powerful computer).

bitli
Title: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Nocturnal on 2009 February 24 05:48:15
I haven't seen the official requirements but judging from Juan's post above I think there's a slight disconnect between what people do and what Juan *thinks* they do :) Not everyone is a professional astronomer who needs 20 SLT11K images open at a time. My computer is probably about as fast as yours (Dual Core E processors are faster than the P4D but my clock speed is higher) and it works fine with my modest 3K by 2K 32 bit color images.

As near as I can tell PI performance is much better than other software that's out there. For all kinds of reasons I'm sure but one is the multi core support. MaximIM, AIP4WIN, CCDStack and probably others don't do that. I know Craig is working on it for Nebulosity 2 and CCDStack has it planned but I read that MaximIM won't have it for a while. AIP4WIN probably never will because it's a VB6 app. New Photoshop versions apparently are multi core optimized.

The only thing I notice now and then is 'stickyness' in the histogram sliders and when I move DBE samples around.

My current computer would be sufficient for a while longer but it's time for an upgrade and so I wanted to know where the best bang/buck is.
Title: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Simon Hicks on 2009 February 24 07:56:16
Up until about a month ago I was using a 2GHz, single core, 1.25Gb RAM laptop on all my 3k x 2k x 32bit images. It worked slow, but it worked fine all the same.

Then the screen started to come away from the base...yippee...excuse to get a new laptop. I now have a 2.4GHz, dual core, 3Gb RAM laptop. Still pretty basic, but the increase in PI speed is fantastic.

I now use ACDNR with much improved results, simply because I can be bothered to fine tune the parameters....which took hours before (well tens of minutes).

So the Previews, and dragging Previews to make new small Parents is critical to anything I do.

I wonder what PI would be like if I had Juan's computer!  :lol:

Cheers
              Simon
Title: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Nocturnal on 2009 February 24 10:00:47
I've run PI with success on my 1.6G dual core centrino laptop with 3G RAM as well.

I think Juan should keep an entry level computer around just to remain grounded with his users. Perhaps the Mac takes care of that, I don't know how beefy it is. Not many people have a dual Xeon server class machine under their desk after all :)
Title: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Juan Conejero on 2009 February 24 10:17:09
A couple weeks ago I made a few photos of my workstation during some maintenance work to install a pair of new SAS drives. I think you'll probably be interested in taking a look at the machine where PixInsight is being cooked :)

http://forum-images.pixinsight.com/legacy/workstation-0902/01.jpg

I built this machine during May and June 2008. The motherboard is an ASUS DSEB-DG/SAS with two Intel Xeon E5420 processors (eight cores) and 16 GB of RAM installed (8 x 2GB Kingston FB-DIMM 800 MHz FSB modules).

Here you can see a closer view:

http://forum-images.pixinsight.com/legacy/workstation-0902/02.jpg

The graphics card isn't anything very special: a PNY nVidia Quadro FX 570 (some dust doesn't hurt, as you can see :) ). This machine has two 750 GB Western Digital SATA disks (server class drives) configured as a RAID 1 set. Along with these drives, I usually have two 160 GB SATA drives for swap file storage. Here I was replacing them with two new SAS drives. The case is an Antec P190 with dual power supply (1200 W total power), which I highly recommend.

Of course, this machine runs a 64-bit Linux operating system (Fedora 8, about to be replaced with Fedora 10). On this computer I run Windows Vista x64, Windows XP SP3 x86 and two Linux distributions on virtual machines under VMware.

The main monitor is a 24-inch DELL LCD. Here is a general view of the machine running my favorite image processing application :)

http://forum-images.pixinsight.com/legacy/workstation-0902/03.jpg

My other workhorse is a Mac Pro with 8 GB of RAM, which I mainly control from the Linux workstation via ssh. I'm about to install a second nVidia graphics card on this Mac to play with CUDA on OS X :)
Title: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Juan Conejero on 2009 February 24 10:27:26
Quote
I think Juan should keep an entry level computer around just to remain grounded with his users.


I have one :) It's a Pentium IV HT at 2.66 GHz with 2 GB of RAM. I must say that PixInsight runs fine on this machine under Windows XP. This is the machine where I wrote the PixInsight LE application.

I still have a Pentium II machine with 256 MB. On this machine I wrote some really old code which had some success, many years ago (the SGBNR noise reduction application). This computer still works perfectly. I built it in 1997, if I remember well.

And to complete my personal Jurassic park, I still have an IBM AT (compatible) with a nice 20 MB hard drive and a 5.25' floppy drive :)

As you can see, I am a bit sentimental regarding my old machines :D
Title: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Nocturnal on 2009 February 24 10:33:14
I don't really throw them away either although I tend to replace the guts and leave the case and whatever else I can re-use in place. So I have a box full of motherboards and other parts all the way back to a P2 of some sort. I don't think I ever owned a Pentium 1. My first PC was a 8088 based XT (Sinclair ZX-81 and C= 64 before that but those weren't PCs) and then I skipped PCs for a while.
Title: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: C. Sonnenstein on 2009 February 24 14:49:59
Quote from: "Juan Conejero"
The motherboard is an ASUS DSEB-DG/SAS with two Intel Xeon E5420 processors (eight cores) and 16 GB of RAM installed (8 x 2GB Kingston FB-DIMM 800 MHz FSB modules).
Absolutely :)
Title: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: David Serrano on 2009 February 25 12:46:55
Just made this thread sticky since I think it may be of special interest to everybody. I'd also like to encourage people to post their hardware configurations in order to build a mini database of recommended/best hardware equipment.

If the OP doesn't mind, of course ;).
Title: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Niall Saunders on 2009 March 29 07:05:23
Well, last November I set out to build myself a new PC, specifically so that i could justify paying for the full commercial license for PixInsight.

Literally, as my machine was going into final test, Intel announced the i7 - and I had to decide whether to make a last minute change.

My eventual decision was not to bother - and I have not had any regrets.

The spec I ended up with was :-

Processor : Intel® Core™2 Quad Q9550 (4 X 2.83GHz) 1333MHz FSB/12MB Cache
Memory : 4GB CORSAIR XMS2 800MHz - LIFETIME WARRANTY! (2x2GB)
Motherboard : ASUS® P5Q DELUXE: DUAL DDR2, S-ATA II,2 x VGA, 2 x PCI, 2 PCI-E x1
Operating System : Vista™ Home Premium 64-bit Edition + SP1
Hard Drives : 2 x  320GB SERIAL ATA II HARD DRIVE WITH 8MB CACHE (7,200rpm)
CD/DVD Drive : 20x Dual Layer LightScribe DVD Writer ±R/±RW/RAM
CD/DVD Drive : 16x DVD-ROM & 52x CD-ROM Drive
Graphics Card : 512MB GEFORCE 9600GT PCI Express + DVI + TV-OUT
2nd Graphics Card : NONE
Network Facilities : 2 x ONBOARD 10/100/1000 GIGABIT LAN PORT
Power Supply & Case Cooling : 450W Quiet Dual Rail PSU + 120mm Case Fan
Processor Cooling : STANDARD CPU COOLER
Monitor : HANNS.G 28 Inch Wide TFT Silver/Black 1920 x1200 3MS D-Sub, HDMI
External Hard Drive : 2 x 1TB SERIAL ATA II HARD DRIVE WITH 8MB CACHE (7,200rpm), RAID 1, NAS

Price : £1375.00

I could have gone up one level on the Core 2 Quad processor (up to 3.2GHz) - I don't regret not having done so and, in any case, I can always upgrade that component alone, sometime in the future - IF I felt it was necessary (which, at the moment, I don't).

Same goes for the choice of 4Gb memory - in fact I was advised NOT to consider 8GB - because sometimes the system is LESS stable when using 8Gb, Don't ask me why. But, in any case, I have NEVER, EVER, seen my 'memory useage' meter in the Vista Sidebar go up above 75 - 80%. And I am running a networked security camera system on my second Ethernet adaptor 24/7.

I didn't 'want' to choose Vista, but I didn't 'want' to stay with XP. That said, I knew that I was going to 'need' a 64-bit OS, so Vista 64 had to be my choice. And, after all the reservations, it does actually work. Don't wait for Windoze 7 (or 8, or anything else for that matter) - if you are a Windows user (like 99.97636% of other PC users on the planet) and cannot contemplate the change to Mac OS or Linux, then just stick with Vista 64. You won't be disappointed. And, if you cannot face the upgrade to Vista 64, then stick with XP 64.

My only 'regret' is that Vista 64 'Home' does not have the Remote Desktop facilities of Vista 64 'Pro' - but there are (better) ways around the problem.

Don't be tempted to load ALL your hard drive storage into the main case - if you have a problem there, then you couls lose everything (think fire, theft, etc.). Hence I chose anothe NAS to add to my network - this time with built-in RAID. And I keep that unit 'off-site' (and therefore protected from the 'fire and theft' risks).

And I have absolutely NO REGRETS about the ASUS motherboard - they are simply fantastic.

As is the graphics card - plenty fast enough to handle anything I have cared to throw at it. I don't believe that PixInsight has anything in its arsenal that would require a more powerful card.

The monitor was, by far, my best choice. A delight to work with, And, if you REALLY need more screen 'real estate' (more than 1920 x 1200 pixels), then GET TWO of them - but be prepared to have to go to a good eye surgeon and ask them to relocate your eyes closer to your ears !!!

Hope this info is of use to someone.

Cheers,
Title: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Nocturnal on 2009 March 29 07:37:27
Sounds like quite a race horse you got there Niall! Thanks for providing so many details.
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Nocturnal on 2009 June 11 06:26:59
Last night I built my i7-920 based system and loaded PI 64b. Only used it for a few seconds but indications are this is one fast machine. Even the simple task of starting PI is done in a flash. Looking forward to putting those 8 logical processors to work :)
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Niall Saunders on 2009 June 11 23:56:35
Hi Sander,

For the ebenfit of others, maybe a detailed spec of your new 'beast' might help.

Cheers,
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Juan Conejero on 2009 June 12 08:03:03
Hi Sander,

Congratulations! This is a long step forward from a PIV!  :D

It would be nice to see some benchmarks. I am curious about the performance of this new monster with PixInsight, especially with respect to hyperthreading. For example, what is the performance difference between limiting PI threads to your 4 physical cores and 8 cores (4 + 4*HT)?
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Nocturnal on 2009 June 14 10:00:04
Hi,

I had some bad luck and my hard drive (Seagate 1TB Baracuda 7200.12) went bad already. I ordered two WD Black 500 GB drives instead and will set those up as a mirrored pair. I was able to pull a disk image of the drive with Acronis before the drive went completely South so I hope to be able to restore it and be up and running again without having to re-install everything.

Anyway, I've been thinking some kind of PI-Mark might be handy. Or entertaining at least. A java script that runs a few images through some torturous operations. In the meantime, what do you suggest I try once it's up and running again?

Specs:

- i7-920
- MSI X58M motherboard
- Antec P180 Mini case
- 2 x 3GB OCZ 7-7-7 memory (Platinum)
- OCZ 600W Modular power supply
- Vista Home Premium 64b
- Samsung optical drive
- EVGA GTX-260 OC graphics
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Niall Saunders on 2009 June 14 10:12:30
Hi Sander,

Shame you don't still have a DSI-IIC - otherwise I would have been interested how fast your machine could work through my PJSR 'CMYG deBayer' routine.

Although, that said, my script doesn't actually perform any kind of error checking of the source image data, and will 'blindly' attempt to debayer ANY source image (Colour Plane '0', at least) - so I would imagine that it would quite happily 'deBayer' a series of images obtained from your DSI-IIPro. It wouldn't matter that the end results were 'meaningless' in terms of colour rendition - that is not the point of the exercise I had in mind.

Would you care to acquire, say, sixty images from your DSI-IIPro, and to have my PJSR 'deBayer' them, and would you then care to "cut'n'paste" the console output back to me? (Exposure times need only be 'minimal', calibration frames not needed)

As a matter of note, running Vista64 HP on my machine (from a clean re-boot of the OS, and hence a fresh 'load' of PI - v1.5.0 at present), my average 'run time', per image, is of the order of 4 seconds, or so. My sixty images therefore take four minutes to be converted - not great, but then again I was NOT setting out to achieve ultra-fast times (pointless in a non-compiled, scripted, program).

Cheers,
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Nocturnal on 2009 June 14 13:45:53

Hi Niall,

I have a DSI and I can see if I can find some images made with it but I could simply debayer one of my 6 MP raw images, right?

  Sander
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Niall Saunders on 2009 June 14 15:43:32
Hi Sander,

My script will 'deBayer' anything - it doesn't verify that the image is, in fact, 'deBayerable' first !!

I was actually after a time comparison for an 'identical' file -and a RAW file from a DSI-IIC would be the same size as that from a DSI-IIPro. In fact, ANY 'mono' FITS image that was 748 x 577 pixels would give a perfectly adequate time comparison, so a suitable 'crop' of that size from ANY of your images would be sufficient.

I suppose that I am just curious - should I have held out and put up the extra cash for the latest processor?(after all, the MAIN reason for the new PC was, in fact, to run PI as fast as possible !!)

Cheers,
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: greeko on 2009 September 17 20:49:00
Just bit the bullet and purchased a Dell Studio XPS 435MT with the following specs.
This was a labor day special for under 1k. I chose the better video card.
My primary reason for this was to try the 64bit flavor of Pixinsight.

Windows Vista 64bit
Intel Core i7-920 processor(8MB L3 Cache 2.66GHz)
6GB DDR3 SDRAM at 1067MHz
20.0 Dell ST2010 HD Widescreen Monitor with VGA Cable
1024MB nVidia GeForce GT220
640GB Serial ATA 2 Hard Drive 7200 RPM

Looks like it will arrive tomorrow.
WooT! ;D

I'm hoping running DSS and photoshop wont be a problem for this OS.
Also Windows 7 upgrade comes with the order.

Troy
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Niall Saunders on 2009 September 23 12:25:49
Hi Troy,

So - are the over-happy police going to have to pay you a visit  :police: ?

It was this time last year that I went '64-bit', and PI was the driving force behind that decision. And I have had no regrets (even though I chose to 'move up' from XP to Vista in order to satisfy my desire for four chunky 64-bit processors, and even though the i-7 was announced just in time to have let me change my already part-built order).

I just have to decide whether I am going to be a Win7 'guinea-pig', or to wait and let everyone else make my mind up for me  ;)

Cheers,
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: greeko on 2009 September 23 20:44:48
Sander I'm surely going to try Windows 7 but maybe run it in VM first.
I have the system in hand after arriving back from vacation.

Now just need to decide if the video card will meet the needs.
The system came with a nvidia Geforce GT 220 however I dont think this card will cut it.
How much does Pix Insight rely on the video card for resources?

Contemplating the Geforce 9800gt.


Troy
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Niall Saunders on 2009 September 23 23:55:13
Hi Troy,

I am using a 512MB GEFORCE 9600GT PCI Express card in my Quad-Core (non i-7) machine, and have been thoroughly delighted with it.

I am not a 'gamer' in any way - in fact, nowadays, PI is the single most PC-intensive application that I run. So, I use PI as my personal 'benchmark'.

In which case, if the 9800 runs 'faster' than my 9600, I think you will be quite happy with it.

That said, I do wonder whether the PI core routines do actually make use of any graphics card capabilities. My first thought is "why would they?". PI is primarily 'number-crunching' software after all. Once the PI routines have 'crunched' a set of totally graphics-card-incompatible data, and reduced that data to 24-bit integer format, only then can the data be sent off to the graphics card for rendering on the display.

So, unless a modern graphics card can be sent a 32-bit or 64-bit floating-point dataset for display, I really do not see how PI could take advantage of the extra power. Yes, in another thread, there was a discussion of methods of actually getting the GPU to perform some of the number-crunching alongside the CPU. To me though, that seems to be using a sledge-hammer to crack a nut - why not just invest in a more powerful main CPU, they are not that much more expensive, and it makes the code base of PI far easier to implement - and it speeds up your WHOLE computer, not just one finely-tuned application.

Cheers,
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: greeko on 2009 September 24 18:57:16
I'll first see how Pixinsight works with the stock video card.

Troy
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: greeko on 2009 September 26 20:36:52
Ran some data through DSS and PIxInsight and thought something was wrong because the results were generated so fast.
Big difference
I can run the modules in PixInsight without having to walk away and come back.

All I can say is wow! 8)

Troy
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Nocturnal on 2009 October 03 08:01:06
Hi,

PI does not yet use graphics card capabilities other than rendering the windows etc. We've talked about CUDA or OpenCL acceleration but that's tricky. I got a GTX 260 overclocked card because I do like to play games.

The x64 platform is great. Being able to leave PI running (idle) while I play a game or do other things is great. Even just 6GB of memory makes a huge difference in the workability of the system.

And yes, DSS positively *flies* on this box. Stacks of a hundred lights are done before you've gotten a cup of tea. Of course PI loves all the horsepower as well.
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: papaf on 2009 October 06 05:31:24
I use an 3Ghz Athlon 64X2 with 2Gb RAM, running a linux (Kubuntu 32bit) distribution. I have to say, with my relatively small images (Atik 314L, sony 285 chip), all is fast enough in PI.

Fabio
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: darkownt on 2009 November 18 05:56:29
Hey Nocturnal:

I know it sounds ridiculous given how powerful the i7 920 is, BUT if you ever feel the need to upgrade, the best thing you can do next to cheaply speed up your system is cooling.  Go from the mini case to a large performance based case with plently of airflow, maybe even get a 3rd party CPU heatsink/fan and you can reliably overclock your i7 from 2.66 GHz upwards of 3.

I have the same CPU as you running on an Asus Mobo, with a large coolermaster case and ... Thermaltake H/s fan on the CPU, and I am getting 3.5 GHz from it, completely stable.  Even with my vid cards o/c'd (and yes the GTX 260's ARE hot).  Remember, when the Intel guys test the CPUs they give a wide margin so that the CPU is stable at the rated GHz in the worst computer enclosure/case, hottest environment, using the stock H/S and fan...

Congrats on the i7 920, but dont be jealous of ppl who spent $1000 dollars more on a 3.5Ghz chip... you probably have one sitting in your computer right now, and you could unleash it someday for less than $200 !  :)

cheers
Colin

Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Nocturnal on 2009 November 18 06:12:04
Hi Colin,

yes I know the i7 is easily overclockable. I just haven't bothered with it yet :) My case isn't that small and it has a huge fan on top so I think I should be able to OC it quite nicely even with current coooling. Right now I appreciate my computer being quite fast and still very quiet. And the thought that if I get bored with it a simple overclock is all it'll take to speed it up.
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Yuriy Toropin on 2010 February 25 09:26:34
Let me share my expirience in fight for speed of PI.

As a test bench I used StarAlignment process, aligning 24 8 MP shots from QSI583 (default parameters of process were used)

My initial configuration was
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 (@3GHz) +4Gb DDR2 (@1066MHz) + GeForce 9600GT (1GB) + 1 TB HDD + Asus P5E Deluxe MB, under Win 7 Ultimate 32-bit.
Initially, time required for alignment with mentioned configuration was 176.806 sec

First round of upgrade was relatively simple, I've added another 4 Gb of DDR2 RAM (@1066MHz, total RAM is 8Gb now) and changed to 64bit  version of Win 7 Ultimate...
Suprisingly, alignment time went down to 147.109 sec (woo-hoo, -17%!!! or 1.2 times, not bad at all!!!)
Well, this is simply effect of going 64bit (64bit PI was used) having enough RAM 'cause 32bit Win can't address all that 8Gb been limited to something below 4GB naturally by address space available in 32bit version.

Second round of upgrade was in replacement of Duo to Quad, to Q9650 (@ 3GHz), the fastest Socket 775 Intel processor available on the market now.
Alignment time went down to 93.854 sec (Ok, I realize, that couple of last digits are almost meaningless :), I've performed 5 runs and present average in the post for all sets ).
This is another -36% or 1.57 times improvement from previous configuration and almost -47% or 1.88 times improvement from my initial PI performance.

So - go 64bit, you will cut ~17% of waiting time, doubling processor cores will give you another 36% benefit. With this I almost decreased my "waiting" time by a factor of 2.

For sure, it can depend on process used, size of image, etc etc.

The next big boost will be in multiprocessor system or - in well-done CUDA support, NVidia Fermi is just in month or so to wait... Juan? :)
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: vicent_peris on 2010 February 25 10:41:32
doubling processor cores will give you another 36% benefit.

This is a quite small performance improvement... surely SA is not the right process to analyze paralelization performance. Some other processes will cut down the waiting time to 1/2 using double core number.

I think we could define a standard test bench for PI. We can analize some critical aspects under various machines if we define good standard proceedings and upload use standard images.

What do you think?


Vicent.
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Yuriy Toropin on 2010 February 25 11:23:57
Vicent, this is a great idea!

Some script that will be a good representation of "natural processing workflow", starting from alignment to sigma integration, deconvolution, ACDNR and, probably, some other heavy computation things will define good "synthetic" test for hardware performance.

Standard set of data to process should be also provided.

Unfortunately, I'm not the "script guy", but at least I can supply data for "standard performance testing set".

Meantime, I will continue my "home" testing with any new release of PI or hardware change I will make ;)
I'm looking for SSD as the next possible upgrade option 'cause right now storage access speed is my weakest point...
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: vicent_peris on 2010 February 26 02:01:45
Hi,

tomorrow I will prepare a standard dataset consisting in 13, two megapixel greyscale images, and will do a standard processing. Juan will make a script from my processing icons. Then we will release the script and the dataset as a standard benchmark. The 1.0 version of the benchmark will simply measure the "performance index" of your system (AKA "PI" :D). I think this can be a significative number that will tell you how will be your "PixInsight experience". :-P The higher, the better. The unity reference will be Juan's Linux workstation.


Vicent.
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Niall Saunders on 2010 February 26 05:55:15
Quite interesting Vincent - I will be interested to see how my PC fares on your standard test 'right now', when my system has been running for several weeks, with a whole load of other processes also running, compared with a clean re-boot, running PI only.

I think that the 'fully-loaded' resuslts will be of greatest interest, because that is how my machine 'normally works'.

It will also be interesting to see how the last of the Core-Quad processors fare against the newer i7 series - especially if the OS is, more or less 'the same', and the 'typical' memory quota is also 'the same' (e.g. two systems both running Vista64 Home, with similarly clock-speed processors, Core-Quad vs. i7, 8Mb RAM vs 6Mb RAM - which would be similar, $for$ )

At least it lets a user determine if a given 'upgrade' can be justified, in terms of benefit versus investment.

Cheers,
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: georg.viehoever on 2010 March 06 06:47:53
Hi,
... The 1.0 version of the benchmark will simply measure the "performance index" of your system (AKA "PI" :D). I think this can be a significative number that will tell you how will be your "PixInsight experience". :-P The higher, the better. The unity reference will be Juan's Linux workstation.

any news on the PI benchmark? I would very much like to see a measure of how fast a specific hardware can be (with all the problems that benchmarks tend to have...)

Georg
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: vicent_peris on 2010 March 06 10:33:05
Yes, news:

I have designed a processing chain with 20+ icons. The data set is 6x10 min R, 4x15 min V and 3x20 min B of M74 with CAHA's 1.23m scope. You will download the data set (about 60 MB) and the script Juan is writing with these processes. Processing starts with StarAlignment and ends by resizing the image for the web.  :D


Vicent.
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: mmirot on 2010 March 06 14:55:31
That will be real cool. 

Max
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: georg.viehoever on 2010 March 07 00:13:38
Hi,
I can't wait to give it a try... 8)
Georg
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: bitli on 2010 March 19 14:46:26
Hi,
I plan to buy a new machine, and I hesitate between a Core i5 750 (8GB, upgradeable to 16 in the future) and a Core I7 930 (12 GB, upgradeable to 24 in the future), on Windows 7 64 bits (for professional reasons). I do plan to use a very low end graphic card (I do not use 3D neither games), and I do not think that PI will be impacted, right?. I start with a single 7200 HD to stay within budget (more can be added later or an SSD added in the future).

Do some of you have some feedback on whether the I7 based system is worth the additional cost (about 2 license of PI :-).
--
bitli
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: georg.viehoever on 2010 March 20 10:22:56
Bitli,

I would go for the i7 930 because it has a 3 memory channels (compared to 2 with the lower end i7 and i5). Image processing tends to be a memory intensive tasks (both in terms of memory bandwidth and memory size), so 3 channels are often better than 2. Having said that: i5 systems are usually cheaper for comparable performance for the usual (not so memory intensive) benchmarks.

Save the money for an additional HD or SSD until you need it/have the money. They are easily added to an existing system - changing the CPU on the other hand can be a lot of headache. And they get cheaper every day...

Georg
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: bitli on 2010 March 20 23:34:29
Seems reasonable, thanks. Now I have to find a 'decent' screen,,,
I will run the PI benchmark when I have both the benchmark and the machine and keep you informed.
--
bitli
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Nocturnal on 2010 March 24 07:12:33
I would think a single process icon (distributed as a PSM) would serve as starting point for a benchmark. Why would it need to be scripted? It already shows the time it takes to execute in the process window:

ProcessContainer: Processing view: LDN1622_4
Crop
Crop: -2, -2, -2, -2: 100%
HistogramTransformation
Processing channel #0: Histogram transformation: 100%
Processing channel #1: Histogram transformation: 100%
Processing channel #2: Histogram transformation: 100%
0.373 s

It would be nice if each individual step was timed so you can compare where the time spent but that's not really necessary.
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: bitli on 2010 March 24 07:24:51
It would be useful to consider two aspects:

I suspect (but benchmarks are there to validate or invalidate assumptions) that an important difference between a powerfull and less powerfull machines is the size of what can be done, more than the time. It is nice to make an operation twice faster. But I have seen that some operations are simply impossible on smaller configurations (like having many large images open). Could we define a process that requires a lot of memory and make a test with bigger and bigger images (or more and more images) to see when it becomes impossible impracticable to run it(for example when there is some thrashing).  This would require some scripting.

-- bitli
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: vicent_peris on 2010 March 24 10:21:40
I would think a single process icon (distributed as a PSM) would serve as starting point for a benchmark. Why would it need to be scripted? It already shows the time it takes to execute in the process window:

ProcessContainer: Processing view: LDN1622_4
Crop
Crop: -2, -2, -2, -2: 100%
HistogramTransformation
Processing channel #0: Histogram transformation: 100%
Processing channel #1: Histogram transformation: 100%
Processing channel #2: Histogram transformation: 100%
0.373 s

It would be nice if each individual step was timed so you can compare where the time spent but that's not really necessary.

Hi,

The problem is that the processing I designed had background reference previews and mask generation. But just for fun... I have uploaded an image and a PSM file. Apply to the image and see how much time your computer takes. The resulting image is not good, but it's impossible to do a good color calibration without a good background reference.

http://www.astrofoto.es/Benchmark (http://www.astrofoto.es/Benchmark)

There is an image and a process icon.

My computer takes 23.39 sec with the console open, and 21.79 sec with the console closed. It's a quad core 2.67Ghz Core 2 Extreme Edition, 4 GB DDR2 800 MHz RAM and SAS HDDs. ADDED: OS IS FEDORA 10 64 BIT.



Regards,
Vicent.
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Yuriy Toropin on 2010 March 24 11:19:42
Vicent's set tried.

Intel Core 2 Quad Q9650 (@3GHz), 8Gb RAM (@1200MHz 1066MHz), 1Tb Samsung HDD,
Win 7 Ultimate (x64 bits),
PI 1.05.09.0561 eng (x86-64)

It takes 13.9sec (console open) to proceed.

Regards,
    Yuriy

RAM Clock Corrected
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Juan Conejero on 2010 March 24 11:42:22
Mac Pro (2008 Edition) dual quad-core Intel Xeon @2.8 GHz
RAM 8 GB @800 MHz
Mac OS X 10.6.2
Two 750 GB Western Digital SATA hard disks

16.8 s

Yuriy, your overclocked CPU and memory FSB really make a difference!

(Edited: fixed CPU speed unit: GHz, not MHz :) )
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: sleshin on 2010 March 24 13:52:42
HP Pavilion Elite Desktop
Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
Intel i7 quad core(975) 3.33 GHz
RAM: 12 GB DDR3-1066MHz
HD: 320GB @ 10K rpm

11.5 s

Steve

Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Jordi Gallego on 2010 March 24 14:50:16
HP EliteBook 8730w
Win 7 64
Intel Core 2 Quad Q9000 2.0 GHz
8 GB  DDR-2 800 MHz
18,2s (console open)

Not very good performance compared with others (but it has DreamColor technology providing 96% representation of Adobe RGB gamut  ;) )

Regards
Jordi
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Silvercup on 2010 March 24 15:53:16
Hi:

How I apply psm file? I get an error in the first pixelmath process.

Silvercup.

Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: vicent_peris on 2010 March 24 16:19:57
To me, seems that calculations are actually done way faster under Windows than under Linux or OSX. Can be this possible????


V.
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: avastro on 2010 March 25 03:34:15
Ok, here are my test result:

Win Vista 32, i7 920 @2.67ghz, 4Go RAM DDR3 1333,500Go SATA2
MSI X58C.

15.985 s console open

Antoine
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: bitli on 2010 March 25 03:36:12
Hi, I also did not find how to apply the process icon, when I load ne, I get a bunch of process on the workspace. If I load the second one, I get some process renamed. Dragging the psf fiel on top of the image does seem to load them only.  Could somebody clarify the process?
thanks - bitli
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: georg.viehoever on 2010 March 25 03:49:31
Bitli,

You need to drop the Benchmark Process Icon on the FITS image. At first, I did not see this icon. This was because I was on the second PI desktop when I loaded the PSM file. You have to go to the first desktop. In my case, the icon was on the upper right of the screen.

Hope that helps.
Georg
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: vicent_peris on 2010 March 25 04:16:10
Hi,

the reason seems to be that, in this process container, almost all the processes don't profit from parallelization.

Please go again to http://www.astrofoto.es/Benchmark (http://www.astrofoto.es/Benchmark) and donwload the new process icon. This one uses only highly paralellized processes.

My computer does the job within 12.3 sec.


Regards,
Vicent.
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: vicent_peris on 2010 March 25 04:19:20
Hi, I also did not find how to apply the process icon, when I load ne, I get a bunch of process on the workspace. If I load the second one, I get some process renamed. Dragging the psf fiel on top of the image does seem to load them only.  Could somebody clarify the process?
thanks - bitli



Sorry! Please, reload the process icon, as there were a lot of icons in the other workspaces!


V.
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Jordi Gallego on 2010 March 25 04:34:49
With new set of icon:

HP EliteBook 8730w
Win 7 64 Professional
Intel Core 2 Quad Q9000 2.0 GHz
8 GB  DDR-2 800 MHz
11,3s (console open)

Big improvement!
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Juan Conejero on 2010 March 25 05:12:16
New set of icons:

Mac Pro (2008 Edition) dual quad-core Intel Xeon @2.8 GHz
RAM 8 GB @800 MHz
Mac OS X 10.6.2
Two 750 GB Western Digital SATA hard disks

6.9 s
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: bitli on 2010 March 25 05:47:00
Thanks, indeed I had to scroll horiontally to find it. I feeld stupid, but at least I was not the only one :-)

19.2 sec (with console), 18.3 sec (console closed) on an HP Compaq 6730b,
a portable with Core 2 DUO P8700 @2.53 GHz 4.00GB
Vista 32 bits, a few other programs were present (its Windows, after all).

Not bad IMHO for a portable computer. I just ordered a Core I7 with 12GB,
I hope this will be worth the additional expense.

-- bitli
NOTE: This was with the old icon set.  The new icon set results in 16 secs (with console).

Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: bitli on 2010 March 25 11:02:21
And for the fun:

Dell Inspiron 3600 (Pentium III 900 Mhz running at 600 Mhz), 2GB memory, Windows XP.
Slightly older version of Pixinsight, but results in 56 secs (first bench) and 46 second (so called parallel,
but I have a single cpu).  Sql server in the background...

The fan seems to run at 1Ghz when PI is running :-)

Slow but not unusable.
However I was totally unable to process APN sized images with this machine, except very basic operations, .
-- bitli
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: vicent_peris on 2010 March 25 11:05:59
Dell Inspiron 3600 (Pentium III 900 Mhz running at 600 Mhz)

900 MHz running at 600 MHz?? Why??


V.
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: avastro on 2010 March 25 13:15:53
New set of icons:
7.924s console open
Win Vista 32, i7 920 @2.67ghz, 4Go RAM DDR3 1333,500Go SATA2
MSI X58C.

Big improvement!  :D

Antoine
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Silvercup on 2010 March 25 14:00:20
Hi:

Well, I feel stupid too. I was on Desktop 2.

First Process Icon set  17,129 s. Console opened.
First Process Icon set  16,888 s. Console opened.


New Process Icon set 11,887 s. Console opened.
New Process Icon set 11,200 s. Console closed.

Intel Core2 Quad Q9550 2,83 GHz 8Mb Bus 1333 MHz Windows Vista Home Premium 64 Bits

 
Silvercup.



Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: georg.viehoever on 2010 March 25 14:06:31
Here a couple of measurements, all with PI 1.5.9.561 on different Hardware and OSes. Summary:
-- i7-860 blows your mind away.
-- But 4 real cores+HT give speedups of "only" 2.3 (which is a quite reasonable speedup from my experience with programming)
-- Windows7-x64 does parallel processing much better than Vista-x32
-- Windows7 and PI get slower over time
-- Running Fedora11-x64 inside a virtual machine on Vista-x32 is slow.

Georg

All measurements below are medians from 3 measurements each.
- On Toshiba Satego X200 Laptop, Intel Core2Duo@2GHz, Chipset PM965, 4 GB RAM PC2-5300(333MHz)
-- On Win7-x64 and PI-x64 that has been running for quite a while:
--- Benchmark 31.3 seconds
--- BenchmarkParallel 22.7 seconds
-- On freshly booted Win7-x64 and PI-x64:
--- Benchmark 27.8 seconds
--- BenchmarkParallel 19.36 seconds
-- On freshly booted Vista-x32 and PI-x32:
--- Benchmark 28.34 seconds
--- BenchmarkParallel 23.9 seconds
-- On Fedora11-x64 Linux running inside VirtualBox inside Vista-32 (yes, thats possible, but gives only 1 core to Linux)
--- Benchmark 75.5 seconds
--- BenchmarkParallel 52.1 seconds

- On Desktop with i7-860@2.8 GHz (4 cores+HT), Asus P7P55D, 8 GB RAM PC3-10700H (667 MHz), Win7-x64, PI-x64
--With PI defaults:
--- Benchmark 13.46 seconds
--- BenchmarkParallel 7.0 seconds
-- With Parallel Processing Disabled in Global Settings:
--- Benchmark 19.68 seconds
--- BenchmarkParallel 16.14 seconds
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: sleshin on 2010 March 25 14:34:56
HP Pavilion Elite Desktop
Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
Intel i7 quad core(975) 3.33 GHz
RAM: 12 GB DDR3-1066MHz
HD: 320GB @ 10K rpm

Benchmark 11.5 s
BenchmarkParallel  6.43 s
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Yuriy Toropin on 2010 March 26 03:02:53
Intel Core 2 Quad Q9650 (@3GHz), 8Gb RAM (@1066MHz), 1Tb Samsung HDD,
Win 7 Ultimate (x64 bits),
PI 1.05.09.0561 eng (x86-64)

It takes 13.9sec (console open) to proceed - old set.
New BenchmarkParallel PSM
7.2 sec w/console opened, on average, individual runs took 6.8...7.8 sec,
6.9 sec on average with console closed
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Niall Saunders on 2010 March 26 12:23:33
Firstly, my PC has not been switched off (all I EVER do is switch the monitor off, and even that doesn't happen that often) for over two months now. I have NEVER defragmented a hard drive - at least not this century!! I have had DOZENS of applications open and closed, so I am BOUND to have had a few 'memory leaks' as a result.

I am also running TWO instances of PI, the first of which has been running (endlessly) since the computer was last re-booted (two months ago, when I had to change the UPS batteries). The first instance has seven workspaces open, over fifty images open, and HUNDREDS of process icons all over it.

So, I decided - to be safe - that I would just open a second instance and load the benchmark data into that. I loaded the standard PSM, and then 'merged' the second PSM in beside it. Then I loaded the RGB.fits image (in fact I ended up loading many, many 'copies' of the image, whilst I repeated the application of the PSM container to a new image each time).

The following are mean averages of three applications of each process, to a fresh copy of the image each time (without ever clearing any previous images, and all with the console opening during, and closing after the process run)

Code: [Select]
The 12-step process "Benchmark_M74.psm"          :- 14.775 sec

The 19-step process "Benchmark_M74_parallel.psm" :-  8.894 sec

This was for PI v01.05.09.0547 eng (x86_64) running on an Intel Core 2 Quad CPU (Q9550), running at 2.83GHz, with 8Gb RAM (at 800MHz, I think - certainly nothing 'special'), and all under Windows Vista 64 Home Premium SP1 (using a 7200rpm 320GB HDD) [total cost was WELL under £1000, 18 months ago]

That seems to compare well with Georg's results for an i7-860/2.8GHz/8Gb machine (13.46 and 7.0 seconds)

I don't understand why Silvercup's results - for a very similar machine - are apparently 'slower' than mine, given that his FSB speed is MUCH higher

Even Antione's i7-920 (albeit only 32-bit OS) is not 'much' faster

My 'first thoughts' are that the i7 chip is not THAT much faster - and my machine was NOT purchased as a 'screamer', it was just the most 'sensible use' of a £1000 (FIXED) budget that I had available at the time. It was certainly NOT purchased for 'games' (I have NEVER played ANY game on it !!), it WAS purchased with PI in mind, hence 2x320GB internal and an upgrade from 4Gb to 8Gb last November (with a further 3 x 1TB dual RAID NAS devices on the LAN).

An interesting test. Now we need someone to compile a proper table of results ::)

Cheers,
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: georg.viehoever on 2010 March 26 12:31:00
Niall,

This was for PI v01.05.09.0547 eng (x86_64) running on an Intel Core 2 Quad CPU (Q9550), running at 2.83GHz, with 8Gb RAM (at 800MHz, I think - certainly nothing 'special'), and all under Windows Vista 64 Home Premium SP1 (using a 7200rpm 320GB HDD) [total cost was WELL under £1000, 18 months ago]


Could you try the same with the latest PI version (1.5.9.561)? I wonder if this makes a difference.

Georg
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Niall Saunders on 2010 March 26 12:43:26
I would LOVE to - but that probably means 'closing down' my existing PI session - and the sheer number of processes and images now terrifies me - hence the reason I have been pleading with Juan for a 'Save ALL' option ::)

Give me a day or so to think about it - I have come over all hot and sweaty just at the very though of NOT having PI running on my machine (like someone else once said, my darling wife actually thinks that PixInsight actually IS the Operating System on this PC ;D)

Cheers,
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: georg.viehoever on 2010 March 27 03:11:24
Hi,

some additional information about the effect of threads and priorities. Summary:
-- even the "Hyperthreading"  (threads>4) gives some benefits
-- thread priorities do not influence performance (at least on my desktop that has plenty of performance. On my Laptop, TimeCritical will freeze Media Player).
Details below.

Georg

System: Desktop with i7-860@2.8 GHz (4 cores+HT), Asus P7P55D, 8 GB RAM PC3-10700H (667 MHz), Win7-x64, PI-x64
Measurements with BenchmarkParallel, median of 3 measurements.
- Modified the number of threads in Global preferences/Parallel Processing
-- default threads (use all available): 6.83
-- 8 threads (equivalent to all): 6.88
-- 7 threads: 6.89
-- 6 threads: 7.22
-- 5 threads: 7.69
-- 4 threads: 7.97
-- 3 threads: 8.61
-- 2 threads: 10.07
-- 1 thread (=parallel deactivated): 16.2
- Influence of thread priority
-- TimeCritical default=: 6.68
-- Lowest: 6.82
-- Adiitional Load (youtube video) made no difference
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: georg.viehoever on 2010 March 27 03:38:52
...
--- BenchmarkParallel 7.0 seconds
...
Disableing the console window (setting delay to 10 seconds in Global preferences/Miscellaneous Process Settings) reduces this to 6.24 seconds. The console consumes an amazing amount of time...

Georg

PS: Setting the delay to 0 makes the window appear immediately (contrary to bubble help description).
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: georg.viehoever on 2010 March 31 13:54:44
Here a couple of measurements, all with PI 1.5.9.561 on different Hardware and OSes. Summary:
...
All measurements below are medians from 3 measurements each.
- On Toshiba Satego X200 Laptop, Intel Core2Duo@2GHz, Chipset PM965, 4 GB RAM PC2-5300(333MHz)
...
-- On Fedora11-x64 Linux running inside VirtualBox inside Vista-32 (yes, thats possible, but gives only 1 core to Linux)
--- Benchmark 75.5 seconds
--- BenchmarkParallel 52.1 seconds
...

Another measurement on the same laptop, this time Fedora11-x64 running inside VirtualBox inside Windows7-x64 (giving it 2 of the 2 cores):
--- Benchmark 45.3 seconds
--- BenchmarkParallel 24.8 seconds.

Still considerably slower than native Win7-x64, but much better than virtual on top of Vista32.

Georg
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: bitli on 2010 April 09 03:05:34
Version 01.06.00.592 on Windows 7 64 bits,
On Core 7 93 @2.8 GHz0, 12 GB, a single 1 TB Sata drive.

Using the parallel icons.
7.5 second when run on the first time (with console)
6.6 seconds when run a second time (with the console), 6.4 without the console.

Looking at the console log, I see that on the first execution, I have:
ProcessContainer: Processing view: RGB
Writing swap files...
15.00 MB/s

While on second and third execution it is 55MB/s and 65MB/s. But the time is not logged, so I do not know if this explains the difference.
The other operations do not log any information that could help finding how they contribute to the processing time.

I am a little bit surprised that PI bother to write to the swap file when it has probably 10GB available. But I am pretty happy with the performances.

-- bitli

Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: georg.viehoever on 2010 June 13 05:20:46
Here a test on "virtual" hardware rented at Amazon EC2. This appears to be a good approach if you temporarily need a machine with huge RAM. Graphics Performance via Remote Desktop seems to be acceptable.

Version 01.06.00.0592 eng(x86_64) on Amazon EC2 Windows Server 2008 on m1.large instance (according to Windows, that an "Intel Xeon E5430 @2.66GHz 2,.8 GHz (2 processors), 7.5 GBtyes RAM", whatever this means in a virtual environment):
New Icons (Benchmark_M74_parallel.psm): 17.1 secs
Old Icons (Benchmark_M74.psm): 46.38 secs


Georg
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: georg.viehoever on 2010 June 13 06:23:40
Same scenario as in previous message, but this time with instance of type c1.xlarge (for compute intense tasks, Intel E5410@2.33 GHz 2.46 GHz (8 processors), 7 GBytes of RAM):

New Icons (Benchmark_M74_parallel.psm): 11.9 secs
Old Icons (Benchmark_M74.psm): 45.19 secs

Since this is 1,16 USD per hour (compared to 0,48 USD per hour for m1.large), it does not really pay off.

Georg
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Niall Saunders on 2010 June 13 08:39:06
How does this work Georg?

Presumably you rent 'time' on a remote server, and can upload (i.e. 'install') software on the 'virtual machine' for the duration of your session? And, at the end of the session, your entire 'virtual image' is then deleted?

Seems like an interesting idea - but I can't see how financially viable it is. And, the end results did not seem to outshine a 'moderate' home PC (considering what is available nowadays). Still - if you have the bandwidth to be able to upload your raw data, and the software needed to process it, then it might be feasible. But, it isn't the same at 'hearing' your very own processor grind through a task in a box down by your feet ;D

Cheers,
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: bitli on 2010 June 13 08:46:31
Hmmm, may be this could solve one of my problems.

I wanted to demo PI at my club, but I have no reasonable portable computer anymore. So maybe I can setup a 'server' and use it for the demo and examples. I just need to send the raw images one on the server, so this would not be a problem.

My understanding is that as long as I protect the license and I am the only one able to use it, this should be ok. Juan ?

I could digg it up, but if you have some step by step on how to set it up, I would gladly follow them :-)

-- bitli
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: georg.viehoever on 2010 June 13 09:08:08
Hi Niall,

How does this work Georg?

Basically, you rent CPU time, storage and network capacity from Amazon on a on-demand basis, see http://aws.amazon.com/de/ec2/ (I hope they switch to english with an english language browser... I always get the german language page). Prices are quite reasonable http://aws.amazon.com/de/ec2/pricing/, at around 0.50 $/hour CPU and 0.10 $/GByte/month storage. So you can buy quite a lot of processing time for the 2000 USD that an upper end computer costs these days. With the Windows Remote Desktop integration with the remote machine is almost seemless, you can even map your local drives to the remote computer. The details of setting up such a machine on the Amazon side are a bit complicated, but can be done in an hour or two.

For me, this may be a solution
- if I need a large RAM machine (you can get up to 68 GBytes of RAM, albeit more expensive than the basic machine)
- if I am traveling with a small netbook and still want to do image processing with reasonable speed.

It may even be possible to connect via iPhone, all you need is an RDP client (http://itunes.apple.com/de/app/remote-desktop-lite/id288362576?mt=8, or http://itap.mobi/itap-rdp not tested yet...)  8)

For the Linux fans: yes, it is also possible to run Linux (not tested yet).

Georg


Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: georg.viehoever on 2010 June 13 09:13:14
Bitli,
Hmmm, may be this could solve one of my problems.

I wanted to demo PI at my club, but I have no reasonable portable computer anymore. So maybe I can setup a 'server' and use it for the demo and examples. I just need to send the raw images one on the server, so this would not be a problem.
...

If you know how to open a few ports on your internet router, this is indeed a way to do it. Since only the "Professsional" Windows versions allow to connect via RDP, VNC http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_Network_Computing might be an option. Of course, you can also go the Amazon EC2 way if you are willing to spend a few dollars.

Georg
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Niall Saunders on 2010 June 13 23:38:35
Hi Bitli

Quote
I wanted to demo PI at my club, but I have no reasonable portable computer anymore. So maybe I can setup a 'server' and use it for the demo and examples. I just need to send the raw images one on the server, so this would not be a problem

Have you looked at TeamViewer?

This is a free package (for non-commercial use) and it JUST WORKS !!

You really don't need any 'techie' knowledge to set it up either - it will work right across the 'Net and through your firewalls without any hassle. I even use it now if I want to come back in from the Observatory of an evening. It is also my preferred choice for offering 'remote assistance' simply because it is so easy for a novice to set up the remote end.

Drop me a line if you want more information - or download the software and get in touch with me to see the system working 'for real'.

Cheers,
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: georg.viehoever on 2010 July 06 01:48:33
Hi,
Here a test on "virtual" hardware rented at Amazon EC2. This appears to be a good approach if you temporarily need a machine with huge RAM. Graphics Performance via Remote Desktop seems to be acceptable.
...

For those interested in something like this: Here is my bill for June, basically the costs for having 2 short PI  sessions plus 1 month of 30 GB storage on EC2: $4.59+VAT
Code: [Select]
EU (Ireland) Region
  Amazon EC2 running Windows  
    $0.48 per Large Windows Instance (m1.large) instance-hour (or partial hour)  2 Hrs  0.96  
    $1.16 per High-CPU Extra Large Windows Instance (c1.xlarge) instance-hour (or partial hour)  1 Hrs  1.16  
  Amazon EC2 EBS  
    $0.11 per GB-month of provisioned storage  17.542 GB-Mo  1.93  
    $0.11 per 1 million I/O requests  247402 IOs  0.03  
    $0.15 per GB-Month of snapshot data stored  3.237 GB-Mo  0.49  
    $0.010 per 10,000 gets (when loading a snapshot)  3196 Requests  0.01  
    $0.010 per 1,000 puts (when saving a snapshot)  15 Requests  0.01  
 »  4.59  

I find this quite acceptable. Note that I did not do any lengthy sessions last month, so as an intense user, you will get higher bills.

Georg
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Nocturnal on 2010 July 21 12:54:35
I find it interesting that Juan hasn't jumped in here with some kind of explanation why the console has such an effect on performance. Especially because some time ago there were some suggestions to get rid of the thing and of course that never happened :)

In 1.6 I don't see how to delay the processing console from popping up. I do notice that every item in the process container causes the application to 'flash'. It should probably only flash when the entire process container is done.

Results:

Laptop with Centrino Duo @ 1.6G, 2.5GB RAM, WinXP 32b: 25s.
Desktop with i7-920 and Vista x64: 7.5s
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Nocturnal on 2010 July 21 13:17:25
Hmm, I wonder why the 'undo' operation takes so long after applying the process container. I would expect this to be near instantaneous but it takes several seconds.

Also, when I restrict PI to only 1 (out of 2) cores on my laptop the time goes to 42s so that's about in-line with expectations. I first reported 164 seconds but I had forgotten that I had increased the image size x2 :) Oops!
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Carlos Milovic on 2010 September 26 16:44:48
How are going things in this topic these days? I want to upgrade my computer... nearly US$700 of bugdet for processor, mainboard, HDD and RAM (anything else? maybe a new tower...) I've got 2 19" monitor that I would like to use. Suggestions?

BTW, I'm more a fan of AMD products than Intel...
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Nigel Ball on 2010 September 27 02:13:31
Carlos

There is another thread on a similar topic which might interest you http://pixinsight.com/forum/index.php?topic=2375.0

Nigel
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Niall Saunders on 2010 September 27 14:13:36
Quote
I want to upgrade my computer... nearly US$700 of bugdet

Carlos - you are going to have to set aside part of that budget just to keep the Dark Side supplied with cookies :P
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Carlos Milovic on 2010 September 27 15:10:28
Cookies are supplied by the boss, and are next to the beers ;)
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Niall Saunders on 2010 September 27 15:16:01
Hola Juan,

Dos cervesas es dos cookies, por favor ;D
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Nigel Ball on 2010 October 07 03:21:15
Hi all

My new PC arrived yesterday  :D

Niall suggested I post the spec of the machine in this thread as I announced it's arrival yesterday on another thread I had started on Windows 64

Hardware is

DELL Optiplex 980
6Gb RAM
i7 processor 860 @ 2.80GHz (8 cores)
Windows 7 64 bit OS

and below the picture that made me smile with contentment yesterday

Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Carlos Milovic on 2010 October 07 08:50:00
Hi guys

Since by budget is a bit low, I think I'll buy AMD (also I like them more, as company... but this is another story). This are the main components I'm considering. Suggestions are highly wellcome.

CPU: AMD Phenom II X6 1055T AM3
MB: Asus AMD M4A785TD-V EVO A/L/V (AM3) (with ATI Radeon HD 4200, which I think will work fine for my dual monitor setup)
HDD: Seagate Sata2 1 Tb 7200 rpm
RAM: Kingston DDR3 HyperX LOVO 4Gb 1600MHz PC3-12800 (2Gbx2) (maybe two of these, for 8Gb total).
Tower: Spektra ATX 550w Shinobi Black

What do you think?
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Carlos Milovic on 2010 October 25 09:32:13
Just to make an update ;) This was the final setup I builded:

CPU: AMD Phenom II X6 1055T AM3 (~$260)
MB: Asus AMD M4A89GTD PRO (with ATI Radeon HD 4290) (~$200)
HDD: Western Digital Sata3 1 Tb 7200 rpm - 64Mb cache (~$120)
RAM: Corsair XMS3 DDR3 2x2Gb 1600MHz PC3-12800 (~$120)
Tower: Cooler Master Elite (~$60)
Power: Cooler Master eXtreme 550W (~$80)

Total: ~$840
A bit more expensive than in USA or EU, but still a good trade between price and quality. I have not yet tweaked the MB to perform overclocking, but it is pretty easy to achieve. Toying a bit with the automatic configurations, yielded a improvement of nearly 400Mhz on each processor, while all 6 are enabled, and almost 1000MHz with only 3 of them (AMD uses a technology that boosts the clock speed of the first processors if the other are not currently used, dynamically). So, I'm quite happy with it as it is right now :)
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: georg.viehoever on 2010 October 25 11:29:15
...Toying a bit with the automatic configurations, yielded a improvement of nearly 400Mhz on each processor, while all 6 are enabled, and almost 1000MHz with only 3 of them (AMD uses a technology that boosts the clock speed of the first processors if the other are not currently used, dynamically). So, I'm quite happy with it as it is right now :)

maybe you could try Vicent's benchmark http://pixinsight.com/forum/index.php?topic=1052.msg10478#msg10478 and report the numbers.

Georg
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Carlos Milovic on 2010 October 25 12:07:02
Thanks for the link :)

Just for testing, this was at work (university, biomedical imaging center):

Intel Core 2Quad 2.40GHz - 4Gb RAM
Results
- Benchmark: 43.77s
- Parallel B. : 26.63s
(average of three)

Standard console behavior :)
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Carlos Milovic on 2010 October 25 15:06:14
Ok, here are the numbers for my current setup, no overclocking (X6@2.8GHZ-RAM@1.6GHz):

- Benchmark: 18.273s
- Parallel B.: 7.877s

Again, mean of three, and standard console. Other programs running as in normal usage.
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Nigel Ball on 2010 October 26 14:50:44
And mine

Benchmark  19.9s
Benchmark Parallel 7.8s

DELL Optiplex 980
6Gb RAM
i7 processor 860 @ 2.80GHz (8 cores)
Windows 7 64 bit OS

Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: NKV on 2010 November 21 06:22:30
My new box i7-950 24Gb-1333 2xSSD.
Performance is good. 8)
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Nocturnal on 2010 November 21 21:32:10
24 Gb? Only 3 GB? I'd get a little more  :)

Seriously assuming you meant 24 GB that's an insane amount of memory. Why so much? Do you intend to run lots of VMs? That's why I recently upgraded from 6 to 12 GB. Without VMs I never got over 4 GB of memory used. Add a 2 GB Linux VM and memory was getting tight.
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: NKV on 2010 November 21 22:20:16
Without VMs I never got over 4 GB of memory used.
Without VMs I have got over 17 GB of memory used. ;)
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Nocturnal on 2010 November 22 12:00:22
Well clearly if you need the memory you need the memory :)
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: MikeP on 2010 December 07 04:25:50
New PC is now assembled and working.  Quite similar spec to Carlos, so I have borrowed his format:

CPU: AMD Phenom II X6 1075T 3.2GHz
MB: Asus AMD M4A89GTD PRO/USB3
HDD: 3 x Western Digital Sata3 Caviar Green 500Gb 7200 rpm - 32Mb cache
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaw DDR3 4x2Gb
Tower: Cooler Master Elite 335
Power: Novatech Powerstation 600W
OS: Windows 7 Professional 64 bit

One of the disks contains the operating system, installed programs and their various hardwired data storage requirements.  The other two are set up under RAID 1 using Windows 7's inbuilt capabilities and I use it / them for everything else.

It is significantly faster than my old machine but anything up-to-date would be anyway.  Microsoft seemed to have made the OS much more friendly and helpful.  For example, I'd bought two new Wireless N cards one of which I'd installed in the new PC - during the install of Windows 7 I set up wireless networking by accepting the SID from a list and entering my key - and job done.  When I swapped out my old card from my old XP machine, it was a 30 minute job to get the drivers updated and the configuration done - not hard, just messy by comparison.

Slightly off topic, my old Netgear router had gone on the blink a while ago and I'd replaced it with the BT Home Hub I was given as part of my broadband package.  That has now been replaced with a Billion router.  Sadly, its wireless range does not seem much better but its throughput .... two nights ago, I set a new record for me of 600+ Kb/sec downloading - about 3 times faster than my previous best.

I've just asked for a Windows 7 64 bit trial version of PI so I can be sure there are no problems and I'll be sending some euros to Juan and his team.  Absolutely cracking piece of software.  Just wish I could learn to use it better  :)

Mike
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: RobF2 on 2011 February 23 04:57:38
Hopefully I've run the Benchmarking PSM correctly on the RGB.fit image:

Intel Qual Q6600 @2.726mHz (slight overclock)
Win XP 32 Home
4GB DDR2 RAM 800 MHz
9.7s (console open)
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Harry page on 2011 March 06 06:29:02
Hi

Ok after running the bench mark on my laptop and got 35.2 sec I think its time to upgrade

Is the i7 the wat to go  O:)

Harry
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: georg.viehoever on 2011 March 06 06:35:56
Yes, i7-2xxx is probably the way to go. I read that the Sandy Bridge generation also give some nice performance boosts compared to the previous i7 generation. Only, you'll have to wait for another month or so until Intel as fixed the problem with the chips set.

Georg
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Nocturnal on 2011 March 06 06:48:22
Go i7 second gen if you can afford it. My i7-920 is 1.5 years old now and it's still quite fast. A quad core i5 is no slouch either and AMD makes some fast processors that are less money per MIPS. There are several way to look at CPU speed, here's one that looks at the Passmark:

http://www.cpubenchmark.net/high_end_cpus.html
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: sleshin on 2011 March 06 09:21:36
Hi Georg,

Quote
Yes, i7-2xxx is probably the way to go. I read that the Sandy Bridge generation also give some nice performance boosts compared to the previous i7 generation. Only, you'll have to wait for another month or so until Intel as fixed the problem with the chips set.

About 2 weeks ago, Dell started to offer a new version of there XPS laptop, available for shipping after March 15, with a 2nd gen Intel Core i7-2820QM processor. Do you know if this has the "fixed" chip set.

Steve
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Nocturnal on 2011 March 06 09:22:41
You should ask Dell to make sure but I doubt they'd sell broken hardware on purpose.
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: georg.viehoever on 2011 March 06 11:34:32
...
About 2 weeks ago, Dell started to offer a new version of there XPS laptop, available for shipping after March 15, with a 2nd gen Intel Core i7-2820QM processor. Do you know if this has the "fixed" chip set.
...
Unlikely. I have heard the first fixed systems are supposed to ship by end of March. You should ask Dell about it. If you/they dont plan to (ever) use the slow SATA ports that have problems, there is no reason not to buy such as system (the fast SATA ports dont have the problem).

Georg
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Nocturnal on 2011 March 06 13:57:51
When you order a Dell laptop today it may not get built till 2-3 weeks from now. It's possible that they're delaying those i7s until the right parts come in.
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: sleshin on 2011 March 06 14:19:15
Thanks Sander and Georg. I certainly will ask Dell but being well informed before talking with them can't hurt. :)

Steve
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: georg.viehoever on 2011 April 09 02:00:10
Asus P8P67 Board with 8 GB RAM and i5-2500 3.3 GHz (Sandy Bridge generation, Quad Core, no HT), HD6850 graphics, Blue Ray burner, 2TB Harddisk with 7200 rpm.
Windows7-x64
PI 1.6.9.652 with latest patches

Results:
- new icon set: 8.595 sec
- old icons set:produces error when loading the icon set "*** Error: Deconvolution: Unknown parameter: linear", but still works. 25.05 seconds

Quite amazing speed for just 900 EUR (plus, one could easily save 100 EUR by using a smaller harddisk, a more modest graphics card, a less flashy casing, a plain DVD drive... . But try to tell this to your son  :) )

Georg
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Juan Conejero on 2011 April 09 02:49:31
Intel Core i7 990X @ 3.47GHz
Intel DX58SO2 motherboard
24 GB of RAM @ 1066MHz
ATI FirePro V4800 graphics card
2 x WD7500AYYS hard disks working as a RAID 1 set
2 x Hitachi HDP725050GLA hard disks for swap file storage
Fedora 14 Linux x86_64
Gnome desktop latest version with X11 composition manager running.
PixInsight 1.7.0.675 (development version)

Benchmark_M74
Average of 6 runs: 9.58 s (minimum: 9.53 s, maximum: 9.63 s)

Benchmark_M74_parallel
Average of 6 runs: 4.67 s (minimum: 4.59 s, maximum: 4.73 s)

This is a self-made machine that replaces my old dual Xeon workstation.

Edited: These results are with the console open. The two 750 GB WD disks are working as a software RAID 1 set (mdadm).
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: georg.viehoever on 2011 April 09 04:00:32
...Benchmark_M74_parallel
Average of 6 runs: 4.67 s (minimum: 4.59 s, maximum: 4.73 s)
...

Wow, this is probably amongst the fasted single socket system you can buy today...  8)
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Carlos Milovic on 2011 April 09 06:07:54
You changed KDE for Gnome? :D I didn't feel it right on Fedora... I think that gnome blends better with ubuntu :P
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: georg.viehoever on 2011 April 13 05:09:58
PI 1.6.9, latest patches
RHEL6-x64
2x Xeon X5550 quadcore @2.66 GHz, HT deactivated (unfortunately the only RHEL6 system I have access to)
24 GB RAM

Benchmark_M74_parallel: 11.57 secs
Benchmark_M74: 18.79 secs

Note that closing the console window for computation had a large effect (14.54 vs. 11.57 secs).

Georg
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: twade on 2011 April 14 07:45:45
To all,

After about eight years, I finally had to upgrade my machine.  It was testing my patience due to its slowness.  The old PC was a dual Xeon 2.66 GHz 32-bit processor.  Each processor is single core, but it has HT for a total of 2 threads (total for the system is 4 threads).  The new machine is a dual Xeon 5650 2.66 GHz processor with 6 cores each for a total of 24 threads.  The old system was Windows XP 32-bit; whereas, the new system is Windows 7 64-bit.  Finally, the old system had 4 GB of ram, and the new system has 24 GB.  All the benchmark tests were run with the console open.

Old dual processor Xeon 2.66 GHz:
   Benchmark_M74:             78.09 seconds
   Benchmark_M74_parallel:  35.54 seconds

New dual processor Xeon x5650 2.66 GHz:
   Benchmark_M74:             83.42
   Benchmark_M74_parallel:  12.13

I'm a little surprised at how slow the processors are when executing with non-parallel code.  I suppose the "poor" performance of the new chip (i.e. slower than the older chip) is due to the 64-bit overhead and larger memory pool???  It definitely goes to show that cpu speed is everything.

I did run a comparison on StarAlignment and Integration.  It took the old system 8203 seconds to align thirty-three 4096x4096 images (Kodak 16803 chip).  It took the new system 1184 seconds.  Integrating the images with noise evaluation and Winsorized sigma clipping.  The old system took 2132 seconds while the new system took 1041 seconds.

I'm very pleased with the improvement I'm seeing, but as stated earlier, cpu speed is everything if you want the fastest computations.  In the future, I may experiment with overclocking.

Wade
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: georg.viehoever on 2011 April 14 10:57:24
...
New dual processor Xeon x5650 2.66 GHz:
   Benchmark_M74:             83.42
 ...
I am a bit surprised about how slow it is for the non-parallel benchmark. After all, the 2x Xeon X5550 quadcore @2.66 GHz I tested in my previous mail does the same thing in 18.79 secs.  ??? If you look at other measurements in this thread, even fairly old laptops are faster than this. Something is probably wrong with this number.

Georg
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: twade on 2011 April 14 11:42:38
Georg,

Quote
I am a bit surprised about how slow it is for the non-parallel benchmark.

I'm very surprised too.  Do you have any suggestions on how to troubleshoot this unexpected result? Perhaps, it is the OS.  I have 7200 rpm SATA drives installed.  Are there any settings in PixInsight I need to change.  At present, they are set at their default.  The motherboard is an EVGA SR-2.

Thanks,

Wade
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Juan Conejero on 2011 April 14 13:10:17
Hi Wade,

Congratulations on you new machine. With that dream of a motherboard (http://www.evga.com/articles/00537/) and those Xeon processors this machine should beat everything else by far. I agree with Georg that something is wrong with those 83 seconds, and I think with the 12 seconds too. I think the operating system may be the problem here. We have seen performance problems with Windows 7 on several machines, although nothing so severe.

Definitely a 64-bit operating system cannot be the problem here; it is just the contrary. The same happens with RAM - the more the better.

Any chance you install a Linux distribution? You could just add a second hard drive and install Linux on it, then set up a dual boot system. I guess you may be surprised...
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: twade on 2011 April 14 14:59:10
Juan,

Quote
Congratulations on you new machine.

Thanks!  I'm hoping I can improve its performance.  There's a lot of potential tweaks in the BIOS.

Quote
Any chance you install a Linux distribution?

At present, I do not have an extra drive; however, I do have VMWare Workstation so I could install Fedora 14 as a virtual machine.  The VM will result in some processing penalty, but hopefully it will give us a better idea as to what is causing the slowdown.  I will keep everyone posted.

Wade
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: twade on 2011 April 14 18:52:27
To all,

I updated the BIOS to the latest version and this helped a little.  I still have more tweaks to make, but here are the latest results:

New dual processor Xeon x5650 2.66 GHz:
   Benchmark_M74:              62.60 (33 percent improvement)
   Benchmark_M74_parallel:  11.12 (9 percent improvement)

Wade
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: twade on 2011 April 14 22:25:32
To all,

I installed Fedora 14 as a VM into WMWare Workstation.  The parallel processing took a big hit; however, the non-parallel results were a little better.  Here are the numbers:

New dual processor Xeon x5650 2.66 GHz:
   Benchmark_M74:              42.35
   Benchmark_M74_parallel:  25.64

I'm still looking into what might be causing the poor performance.  I'm hoping I can continue to find ways to improve the results.  Despite the results being on the high side, the machine is significantly faster than my old machine.

Wade
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: georg.viehoever on 2011 April 14 23:51:59
It is difficult to diagnose such things. For sure, this machine should outperform my laptop in the sequential benchmark, but it does not....
Since you already upgraded the BIOS:
- try Linux (outside of the VM - within the VM at cannot be be faster than native Windows). If you dont want to install it, you should be able to run a live DVD (you have more than sufficient RAM)
- are all RAM slots occupied? If not, all RAM may be connected to only one of the CPU sockets, giving you bad performance for the second socket.
If you like, you can swap your dream machine against my old laptop  ;)

Georg
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: twade on 2011 April 15 08:15:13
Georg,

Quote
It is difficult to diagnose such things.

Definitely.  Later today, I'll see if there are any firmware updates to the components on the motherboard.  This may help disk throughput.

Quote
you should be able to run a live DVD

I'll give the live DVD a try tonight and post the results.

Quote
are all RAM slots occupied?

No, only slots 1, 3, and 5 (i.e three channel mode).

Quote
If you like, you can swap your dream machine against my old laptop

What's your mailing address.  :D

I appreciate all your suggestions.  I'm positive we'll get to the bottom of this.  In all likelihood it is Windows.

Wade
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: georg.viehoever on 2011 April 15 09:05:14
Hi Wade,

I just had a quick look at the manual of your board:
- do you have DIMMs in both banks of the board? If not, then one socket would always need to fetch memory by asking the second socket, which is extremely inefficient (and from what I read not really supported by this board).
- your board has jumpers to disable CPU sockets. Maybe you check what happens if you disable one of the sockets.

Good luck,
Georg
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: twade on 2011 April 15 09:41:18
Georg,

Quote
do you have DIMMs in both banks of the board?

Yes, I have a total of six 4GB DIMMS.  They are located in slots 1, 3, and 5 on each bank.

Quote
your board has jumpers to disable CPU sockets. Maybe you check what happens if you disable one of the sockets.

I may have to go down this road if I all other leads fail to deliver what is expected.

I really appreciate your thoughts and suggestions so keep them coming.

Wade
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: twade on 2011 April 16 22:40:25
To all,

I ran Fedora 14 Live KDE and definitely got some improvement, especially with the parallel processing benchmark.  Here are the numbers:

New dual processor Xeon x5650 2.66 GHz:
   Benchmark_M74:              29.82
   Benchmark_M74_parallel:  6.70

Obviously, Linux makes use of the processors better than Windows; however, I'm not sure why my non-parallel benchmark is so low compared to others.  I did notice the following in System Info under Fedora:

Processor: X5650 @ 2.67GHz
Speed: 1,600 MHz
Cores: 24

What is the Speed measurement?  It seems way low.

Wade
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Andres.Pozo on 2011 April 17 02:54:13
Hi, I have just run the benchmarks in my new machine:

Intel Core i7 2600K @ 3.4GHz
8GB RAM
Win 7 64bits

   Benchmark_M74:              20.14s
   Benchmark_M74_parallel:  7.176s
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: georg.viehoever on 2011 April 17 10:01:52
Processor: X5650 @ 2.67GHz
Speed: 1,600 MHz
Cores: 24
Wade,
this speed may be caused by the fact that idle processors are throttled. Look at the CPU speed while running some program, it should show the nominal speed or sometimes something faster (TurboBoost).

Georg
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: twade on 2011 April 18 07:52:44
To all,

I made several more BIOS tweaks and changed the power savings to High Performance in Windows 7.  This gave me a little more improvement.  I'm not sure why but this appears to be the best this system can do.  Even under Linux, the non-parallel numbers are high.  It's almost as though PixInsight isn't taking advantage of the Xeon 5600 series.  It will be interesting if I see any improvement with the next version of PixInsight.  I will keep you posted.  Despite the "disappointing" numbers, I'm still quite pleased since this system is significantly faster than my old system.

New dual processor Xeon x5650 2.66 GHz:
   Benchmark_M74:             55.12 (13.5 percent improvement)
   Benchmark_M74_parallel:  10.42 (6.7 percent improvement)

Wade
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: twade on 2011 April 18 19:32:20
To all,

As one last experiment, I turned off hyper-threading.  This improved the results in PixInsight, but there was a decrease in performance in other benchmark tests (e.g. CINEBENCH 11.5) which is quite interesting.  I wonder if I have reached a thread maximum for PixInsight.  Any thoughts?

New dual processor Xeon x5650 2.66 GHz:
   Benchmark_M74:             38.18
   Benchmark_M74_parallel:  9.22

The CINEBENCH 11.5 results are as follows:

With HT:
  CPU 13.97
Without HT
  CPU 11.93

With HT:
  OpenGL 39.79
Without HT:
  OpenGL 39.15

It appears there is a penalty for decreasing the number of threads for the CPU benchmark in CINEBENCH 11.5.

Wade
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Juan Conejero on 2011 April 19 01:20:19
Hi Wade,

Quote
I wonder if I have reached a thread maximum for PixInsight

There's no specific limit; PixInsight will use all logical processors allowed by global preference settings (all processors available are used by default).

There's something that you may try in PixInsight:

- Select Edit > Global Preferences.

- On the Preferences tool, select the Parallel Processing and Threads section.

- Disable the Enable Thread CPU Affinity option.

- Press F6 or click the Apply Global button.

Thread CPU affinity control normally improves performance by preventing expensive cache invalidations caused by running threads that migrate across processors. With affinity control enabled, PixInsight will force the OS to execute each thread on a specific logical processor. This is a small performance improvement though, and it is OS- and architecture-dependent. I suspect this feature may be penalizing performance with these Xeon processors under Windows 7 for some reason.

Another, much more important performance penalty may come from the fact that the benchmark image is quite small (about 900x900 pixels). Most image processing algorithms are embarrassingly parallel (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embarrassingly_parallel). In most cases, with 24 logical processors each thread will process less than 40 pixel rows. This is a marginal load that may be causing a severe performance penalty because the work required to set up and launch the threads may be comparable to the actual pixel processing work. So my recommendation is:

- Re-enable hyperthreading in your BIOS settings.

- As before, open the Preferences tool and select the Parallel Processing and Threads section.

- Disable the Allow using all available processors option.

- Decrease the Maximum number of processors used value to 12 (for example).

- Apply Global.

Let's see if these changes improve benchmark performance.

Note however that your machine performs much better under Linux (with PixInsight at least) than on Windows 7. And if you fine tune services and background tasks on Linux, you can get significant performance improvements (the Live CD is far from running optimized). With a powerful workstation like yours I definitely would use Linux for all serious tasks and would install Windows, if necessary, in a VMware virtual machine. This is just what we do for PixInsight development. Another option is a dual-boot setup, but VMware is much more practical.
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: georg.viehoever on 2011 April 19 02:38:44
...As one last experiment, I turned off hyper-threading.  This improved the results in PixInsight, but there was a decrease in performance in other benchmark tests (e.g. CINEBENCH 11.5) which is quite interesting.  ...

Hi Wade,

I know quite a couple of applications where Hyperthreading does not give you any additional performance, and a few where it actually hurts. Maybe PI is one of these. So nothing unusual here.

Two more hints:
- You may want to monitor the actual CPU clock (and tempeature) while running the benchmark. Maybe they are throttled because of thermal issues? Something like Rightmark CPU Clock http://cpu.rightmark.org/ may help with that.
- Do you use ECC memory? If yes, try to switch off ECC.

Georg
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: twade on 2011 April 19 07:50:45
Juan,

I appreciate your suggestions.  I'll give them a try tonight.

Georg,

Quote
Maybe they are throttled because of thermal issues?

I've watched them using ELEET which comes with the motherboard.  The cores are very cool during the benchmark phase.  None of them get warmer than 25C.  The air temperature coming out of the machine is a cool 20C.  I built it just in case I OC it  in the future.  It has 15 fan including the power supply.  I'll post a few images of this beast later if anybody is interested. I'll check out the program you mentioned too.

Quote
Do you use ECC memory? If yes, try to switch off ECC.

Yes, I do use ECC memory.  I'll see if there is a way to run this feature off.

I appreciate all your suggestions.  We will definitely get to the bottom of this.  Is is obvious, Linux is a much better OS when it comes to speed.

Wade
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: georg.viehoever on 2011 April 19 14:04:15
Wade,

Quote
Do you use ECC memory? If yes, try to switch off ECC.

Yes, I do use ECC memory.  I'll see if there is a way to run this feature off.


It appears unlikely that you have thermal problems. I mentioned ECC only because this costs a few percent performance compared to non-ECC (desktop class) systems. With 24 GBytes, it is not a bad idea to have ECC, so you should keep it switched on for normal operation.

Georg
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: twade on 2011 April 19 20:43:25
To all,

Here are the results after changing the settings Juan suggested in an earlier reply.

Threads            Non-Parallel         Parallel
  24T                     67.70              10.72
  12T                     39.50              10.20
    6T                     39.88              11.80
    4T                     44.17              13.96

These values are with Enable Thread CPU Affinity enabled.  This option saved about 1 second or so when enabled.  It appears the sweet spot is 12T.  I'm not sure why this is, but it seems to be the case for this version of PixInsight and my processors.  What's really interesting is the severe penalty for using all the threads in the non-parallel test.

I appreciate everybody's suggestions during this adventure.  I look forward to the next version of PixInsight so I can "play" more.

Wade
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Catanonia on 2011 April 27 04:00:40
I am running a water cooled I7 920 (8 cores) clocked to 4.2Ghz

Also Raid 0 (Stripped) fast HD.

A real boost for PI and makes life much easier.

Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Louis Mamakos on 2011 April 29 09:45:54
  What's really interesting is the severe penalty for using all the threads in the non-parallel test.

With too many threads, you're probably thrashing the L1 cache and perhaps L2 cache in the CPUs as the threads each get scheduled for execution.  The local data for each thread will tend to evict the local data for another thread that's probably doing the same work.  You take a big hit when your execution thread gets a cache miss and has to go to the next level of cache or worse, all the way to main memory to retrieve the memory the program is referencing.

With fewer threads, closer to the actual number of execution cores, there will tend to be more locality of reference and higher cache hit rates as those same threads stay resident on the CPU and it's cache.  You can see a little evidence of this with the CPU cache affinity switch's effect on the timing.

Just a guess.
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Louis Mamakos on 2011 April 29 09:50:55
Quote
Quote
Do you use ECC memory? If yes, try to switch off ECC.

Yes, I do use ECC memory.  I'll see if there is a way to run this feature off.

I don't get this; why would you ever turn ECC off and trade reliability for just a few percent increase in performance.  We spend all this money on cameras and image acquisition and processing software to extract as much signal out of the data we acquire from photons that come from halfway across the universe.  And then risk undetected corruption by turning off ECC?

That's the one thing that really annoys me about my otherwise wonderful iMac computer; I can't populate it with ECC memory and I wonder how many bits (out of 12GB of DRAM) have rotted away, mostly unnoticed.  I mean, we surely see evidence of like phenomenon in our raw CCD images due to "cosmic rays" and other decay events dropping a few extra electrons here and there..
  
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: georg.viehoever on 2011 April 29 10:05:45
Quote
Quote
Do you use ECC memory? If yes, try to switch off ECC.

Yes, I do use ECC memory.  I'll see if there is a way to run this feature off.

I don't get this; ...  

See http://pixinsight.com/forum/index.php?topic=1052.msg20629#msg20629 . This was intended as an attempt to drill down to the cause of the issue.

Georrg
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: georg.viehoever on 2011 May 02 01:19:45
  What's really interesting is the severe penalty for using all the threads in the non-parallel test.

With too many threads, you're probably thrashing the L1 cache and perhaps L2 cache in the CPUs as the threads each get scheduled for execution.  ...

You are right in saying that more cores sometimes mean *less* performance - anybody who has ever experienced the slowness of a large discussion group compared to an effective task force with few people will probably agree. However, a clever OS would keep the tasks as much as possible on already used cores - and apparently Linux does a better job than Windows in this respect. Having said that: Sometimes you need to help the OS in doing this, by using suitable parallel programming constructs or specific annotation. This however is tedious work, and it rarely successful for all possible combinations of CPUs, sockets, RAM channels, ...

Georg
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Yuriy Toropin on 2011 May 13 05:41:31
Intel Core 2 Quad Q9650 (@3GHz), 8Gb RAM (@1066MHz), 1Tb Samsung HDD,
Win 7 Ultimate (x64 bits),
PI 1.05.09.0561 eng (x86-64)

It takes 13.9sec (console open) to proceed - old set.
New BenchmarkParallel PSM
7.2 sec w/console opened, on average, individual runs took 6.8...7.8 sec,
6.9 sec on average with console closed

Guys, need your opinions,

That time my Core 2 Quad 9650 demonstrated just fine performance.
Now, when I'm trying to process 2x2 or 3x2 mosaics or "overlaps" combining data from 2 astroimaging setups working in parallel I feel "Need for Speed".

Intel Core i7-970 with 12 threads looks like good selection for the "calculation engine" of the new rig, promising ~2...2,5x speed improvement, but...

Are there other options? GeForce 570 is useless untill CUDA support is added to PixInsight (Juan...  ::))
Any "dedicated calculation units" that will be supported under Win 7 by PixInsight?

Or multithreaded i7 is the only option?

PS: below is example of "IFN overlap" I'm working right now. Alignment and integration of ~50 16Mpix pictures is... well, slow.
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: twade on 2011 May 30 18:47:18
To all,

I don't know what Juan did in version 1.7, but I'm seeing a significant improvement.  I still have to limit the threads to 12, but I can live with that.  :)

Here are the results:

Dual processor Xeon x5650 2.66 GHz:
   Benchmark_M74:             12.48
   Benchmark_M74_parallel:  6.035

What's really impressive is the lack of variability between each run.  For example, the non-parallel execution only varied 0.03 seconds between the mean.  I had a lot more variability with v 1.6.

Awesome job Juan!!!

I do get the following error when loading the non-parallel process icon.  Hopefully, this is not having an impact on the overall results.

Reading PSM resource:
I:/Benchmark/Benchmark_M74.psm
*** Error: Deconvolution: Unknown parameter: linear
*** Error: HDRWaveletTransform: Unknown parameter: scalingFunctionKernelSize
*** Error: ATrousWaveletTransform: Unknown parameter: scalingFunctionKernelSize
*** Error: ATrousWaveletTransform: Unknown parameter: scalingFunctionNoiseLayers
0 icon(s) loaded.

Wade
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Juan Conejero on 2011 May 31 00:18:02
Quote
I don't know what Juan did in version 1.7

Magic ...  :o

Seriously, I've rewritten a lot of low level routines, especially parallel convolution and FFT routines which are at the heart of wavelets and other transformations widely used in PixInsight. The use of Visual C++ 2010 has had also a significant impact on performance for Windows versions of PI. VC++ 2010 seems to produce better optimized code than VC++ 2008. Nevertheless, I must say that your results are awesome. I didn't expect such a big performance improvement, so I'm very happy to see those numbers :)
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Harry page on 2011 May 31 12:47:33
Hi

I got my new i7 laptop this week with 8 gig of mem windoz 7

I concur 1.7 is so much faster

1.6 parallel set = 9.4 sec

1.7 parallel set = 6.1 sec

cool  8)

Harry
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Andres.Pozo on 2011 June 01 12:12:39
I can confirm that the version 1.7 is MUCH faster than 1.6

Benchmark_M74Benchmark_M74_parallel
Version 1.6
25.28 s
8.55 s
Version 1.7
8.61 s
5.13 s

Second best time in four runs
Intel Core i7 2600K @ 3.4GHz
8GB RAM
Win 7 64bits

Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Carlos Milovic on 2011 June 01 12:37:24
Huge imrpovement here too :) At work, these were the previous numbers:

Intel Core 2Quad 2.40GHz - 4Gb RAM
Results
- Benchmark: 43.77s
- Parallel B. : 26.63s
(average of three) std console behaviour

Now:
- Benchmark: 28.53
- Parallel B. : 17.65
console always opened.

Congrats Juan :)
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Carlos Milovic on 2011 June 05 16:37:49
Juan, are you using Intel specific optimizations? I ask, because no I saw no gain at home, with the AMD Phenom II x6 CPU. 1.6 and 1.7 tests show almost the same values (in fact, 1.7 is a bit slower now, nearly 1 sec for both benchmarks).
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Juan Conejero on 2011 June 05 17:02:14
Hi Carlos,

No I am not using Intel-specific optimizations, at least not in any way that I can control directly. For UNIX/Linux the whole PI has been built with GCC 4.4.5 (Linux and FreeBSD) and GCC 4.2.1 (Mac OS X) with '-mtune=generic' as part of the optimization compiler flags. On Windows PI has been built with Visual C++ 2010, which unlike GCC, does not allow control over machine-specific optimizations.

So the results you're getting with your AMD processor are very strange. PI 1.7 should be approximately as faster as it is on Intel machines. If it is slower, then something wrong is happening and I definitely want to know what it is.

Anybody else can report benchmarks on AMD-based machines? (we have none!)
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: DarrenS on 2011 July 01 12:28:32
hi

looking to upgrade my pc and I dont know which cpu to pick.

primary use is for pixinisight, what else.

two processors at the top of my price range are

Intel CPU Core i5 Unlocked 2500K Sandy Bridge Quad Core Processor

or

AMD CPU Phenom II 1090T Black Edition

any thoughts on these and which motherboard/chipset - memory configuration to go for?

thanks
Darren
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Carlos Milovic on 2011 July 29 09:38:53
This is funny... I was experimenting with OC... I was able to increase the processor's freq up to 3.5 for a while, and the benchmarks went down in linux from ~18secs to ~14secs (non-parallel) and nearly 1 sec down (~7secs) on the parallel one. Unfortunately, the temp went up too fast, so I can't keep that setup :P
Anyway, I just repeated the tests with no OC on the windows partition (same computer), and to my surprise it was faster than in fedora!  Maybe windows is managing better AMD's frequency boost when performing non-parallel tasks.

I'll repeat the tests with my current soft OC setup (it is supposed to run at 3.2GHz without boost and 3.3GHz with it) and post them.
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Carlos Milovic on 2011 July 29 10:45:12
Ok, here are the measurements for my current setup:
        Fedora 15      Windows 7   
         Single   Parallel   Single   Parallel
Average   16.682   8.515   11.526   6.694
Std. Dev   0.361   0.107   0.282   0.108


That is a huge difference! I'm very surprised.

This is my current CPU speed as stated in the BIOS:
Base: 3045 MHz
Boost: 3349 MHz

In Fedora, with the "dmesg | grep MHz" command I get a lecture of 2851.730 MHz, which is consistent to a x14 multiplicator over my current 203 MHz FQC (In the BIOS I use x15 and x16.5 multipliers ). Could it be that Fedora is using the processors at a lower speed?
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Juan Conejero on 2011 July 29 12:00:47
Hi Carlos,

There may be different factors here:

- You have to optimize your system. There are lots of unnecessary services that come enabled by default. See:
http://www.harald-hoyer.de/personal/blog/fedora-15-8-services-you-can-most-likely-disable
http://www.mjmwired.net/resources/mjm-services-f14.html

- KDE 4 is slow. GNOME 2.x is faster and makes better use of the available resources. However, Fedora 15 comes with one of the worst things that have happened in the Linux world for a long time: GNOME 3. If you use KDE, there are also some features that are mostly useless and can be disabled.

- Fedora 15 is slower than F14. See for example: http://www.dedoimedo.com/computers/fedora-15.html

Anyway, the differences you've got are very big. There is something in your Linux configuration that is very wrong. Or Fedora 15 is really slow ...  ::)

So far I still have F 14 on all my Linux machines. I guess this will continue the same for some time ... :)
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Carlos Milovic on 2011 July 29 12:19:05
Hi Juan
I just disabled cpuspeed and I came very close to the windows tests (only half a sec slower). I'll try to disable more services, and try again.
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: georg.viehoever on 2011 July 29 12:27:02
To have a fair comparison, you would have to disable unnecessary Windows services as well....  >:D
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Carlos Milovic on 2011 July 29 12:44:16
Like windows itself? :D Since I almost don't use it, I don't have even an antivirus installed. So, it is almost as fresh as a new installation.
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Carlos Milovic on 2011 July 29 13:40:11
After reboot the gain was higher. And I got the feeling that maybe now the OC would allow larger amounts, without being unstable. It seems that I was right :) I set the FSB to 240Mhz, and disabled the boost. Now I have ~3360MHz always, on every processor.

The new number are:

   Fedora 15      Windows 7   
   Single   Parallel   Single   Parallel
   10.3   6.502   11.26   6.556
   10.65   6.508   10.72   6.646
   10.35   6.495   10.8   6.411
   10.73   6.537   10.89   6.351
   10.45   6.514   10.64   6.418
Average   10.496   6.511   10.862   6.476
Std. Dev   0.187   0.016   0.241   0.121


As you can see, there was a huge imrpovement on Fedora! Right now it is faster than Windows (and these numbers are also smaller than the previous, so the OC worked well :P) on the normal benchmark, and almost the same in the parallel one.

Now I'm happy. :D
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Juan Conejero on 2011 July 30 03:44:49
Very nice results. I think you can squeeze even more performance by fine tuning services and KDE features.

Quote
Now I have ~3360MHz always, on every processor.

Make sure your machine is properly cooled.

Quote
Quote
To have a fair comparison, you would have to disable unnecessary Windows services as well....  >:D
Like windows itself? :D Since I almost don't use it, I don't have even an antivirus installed. So, it is almost as fresh as a new installation.

 >:D  >:D  ;D
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: georg.viehoever on 2011 July 30 04:44:16
Hi,

all in all, fair  benchmarking CPUs gets more and more difficult. Today, you have to factor in things like TurboBoost, and the latest CPUs even have something like short term Boost taking advantage of thermal inertia, and have to take into account the thermal budget of the on-chip GPUs as well. Simple things like the type of Desktop manager can make a large difference.

Any measured difference <10% is barely noticable anyway in practice.

Georg
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: mmirot on 2011 August 26 21:42:26
I just tested my new CPU on 1.7
Windows 7, 8 Gigs Memory,  Intel i7 2600
Regular 7.9
parallel 4.8

Does not seem possible but that what it says

Wow?? :-\
Title: PI in the Cloud
Post by: georg.viehoever on 2012 March 16 17:46:37
I tested PI 1.7.5.779 with latest updates on Amazon's EC2 cloud, on a t1.micro instance (the smallest system they offer, $0.035/h, 615 MB RAM, 7GB free disk space) with OS Windows_Server-2008-R2_SP1-Language_Packs-64Bit-Base-2012.03.13 (ami-9b8fb6ef).

- Benchmark_M74.psm: does not load into latest PI
- Benchmark_M74_parallel.psm: 345 seconds

Not fast, but it works...
Georg
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: georg.viehoever on 2012 March 16 18:08:26
Same for c1.xlarge system ($1.140/h, 7 GB RAM, 1.690 GB harddisk space):

- Benchmark_M74_parallel.psm: 16.2 seconds

Thats reasonable power...
Georg
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Nocturnal on 2012 March 16 18:48:19
I forgot about that benchmark. It runs in 12.9 seconds on my i7-2630 (2G) laptop. The first time it took 2 seconds longer. Did you try running it a few times? There seems to be some lazy loading of processes happening.
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: georg.viehoever on 2012 March 17 02:37:26
Yes, ran a couple of times and used the median value.
Georg
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: georg.viehoever on 2012 March 17 06:10:13
Same for largest beast EC has. c2.8xlarge instance (60,5 GB, 2 x Intel Xeon E5-2670, Eight-Core-Architektur "Sandy Bridge", $2.970/h, needs special OS image and only in US East (Virginia)):

- Benchmark_M74_parallel.psm: 12.6 seconds.

Georg
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Nocturnal on 2012 March 17 07:38:32
Sorry, should have assumed you knew how to do this :)
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: topboxman on 2012 March 21 12:29:13
My latest computer: Benchmark_M74_parallel.psm: Average 8.5 seconds (Min: 8.3 and Max 8.8 seconds) .

Windows 7 64 bit
Asus Rampage IV Gene LGA2011 Motherboard
I7-3820 LGA2011 Quad Core CPU (3.6 GHz), no overclock
16GB DDR3 1866
1TB 6GB/s 7200RPM HDD
Sapphire HD7770 PCI 3.0 1GHz video card


10 year old computer: Benchmark_M74_parallel.psm: 75 seconds

Windows 7 32 bit
Asus P4C800 Deluxe Motherboard, 150MB/s SATA
P4 3GHz Hyperthread single core CPU
2GB RAM DDR400
1TB HDD connected to 150MB/s SATA on motherboard
AGP video card
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Nocturnal on 2012 March 21 12:51:18
Nice!
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: viktorbravo on 2012 March 28 09:22:12
I've been reading this thread for a while and although much of it is way beyond my computer knowledge it has prompted me to try and build my own system.  I understand its not terribly difficult to do, but should I expect to make expensive screw ups on my first attempt?  Would I be better off just buying a higher end gaming machine off the shelf?

I also am having trouble finding which compnents are compatible, CPU/motherboard/graphics cards etc.  Is there a site you folks use to find whats compatible?

I would like to build a smoking fast machine for image and video processing.  I can spend about $2500 USD without the montior, but for that cost, I want room to upgrade/expand.

I was thinking of building around the second gen i7 six core processor but I see AMD has an 8 core processor out there.  Which would you choose?  I'm still trying to learn what components are the most important for image/video processing.  Obviously, processor, memory and graphics cards but I am just leaning about this stuff and realize that a lot of components have to play well together to get the most out of the system.  I'm also starting to learn about RAID, what it is but I still cant figure out why I would need this configuration for image/video processing.

As far as OS's go.  I am familiar with Windows and OSX.  I hear a lot of folks talk about the Linux system, but I know next to nothing about it so am inclined to go with either Windows 7 or OSX.

Sorry for all the newbie questions but you guys seem like a wealth of computer knowledge.

Any advice or sites you could point me to for further learning would be much appreciated!

Thanks.
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Nocturnal on 2012 March 28 09:28:19
Building a computer is not for the faint of heart and if this is your first time you should be prepared to do a lot of reading to understand all the terminology. Sites like Toms Hardware and Anandtech or some of the oldest sites on this topic and still relevant. Toms Hardware regularly puts together systems in separate classes. This may be a good starting point for you. Given that you have a high budget you may be better off buying an off-the-shelf system from Dell and equip it just the way you like it.

Check out this $2600 example.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/core-i7-3930k-overclock-radeon-hd-7970,3158.html

Of course you also need to be comfortable assembling all the pieces, debugging things when they don't work and installing an OS from scratch. I enjoy such pain but many people don't :)
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: viktorbravo on 2012 March 28 10:41:55
Thanks for the websites Sander.  I might try building a much cheaper machine first to get the hang of it.  I have a lot of reading to do. :-)
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: topboxman on 2012 March 28 11:32:54
If you are not a gamer, all you need is fast 64 bit CPU, lots of RAM, and fast hard drive for PixInsight processing. You just need high computational power. I don't think you don't need high end video card. My video card is Sapphire 7770 and costs only $160. My new complete system costs me about $1500 to build excluding the monitor which I already have. This includes i7-3820 LGA 2011 CPU, CPU fan, ASUS motherboard, 16GB RAM, 1TB HDD, new DVD burner, 1KW power supply, Antec DF-85 case. Two most expensive parts are CPU and motherboard and they costs about $600. Software of course is extra including PixInsight.

Peter
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Nocturnal on 2012 March 28 11:36:29
Agreed, I generally buy the best video card I can get for about $200. There's always a possibility PI will get some modules that are CUDA or OpenCL enhanced but it may not happen for a long time. You need good fill rates even for 2D stuff like what PI does so definitely go with a discrete graphics adapter rather than the built-in.
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: DarrenS on 2012 March 28 12:15:29
Just built a new pc using the i5 2500k chip, z68 mother board, 8gb ram + couple of sata hdd for data storage.
Forget the discrete graphics card (unless you are gaming) the onboard CPU HD3000 gfx are more than capable enough for pixin then spend the money saved on a SSD.
Install 64bit OS on the SSD and save your data on the HDD.

Windows 7 pro boots and fully running in 15s.  :)

Pixinsight runs very well  :)  :D

already had the case, hdd's + DVD and waited for a few deals so the total cost of the cpu + mb + ram + ssd + 600w PSU came to £370
Darren
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: topboxman on 2012 March 28 14:59:25
I had to completely buy all new computer parts because my 10 year old computer parts were incompatiable with new parts. Even the DVD burner was still using parallel IDE interface. The new motherboard no longer use parallel IDE interface. I couldn't use the old case because I accidentally bought an non-standard and oversized Antec 1KW power supply. I had two choices, either exchange the power supply to work with standard computer case or get another Antec case to fit with new power supply and I opted for a new case which I am glad because it comes with 7 super quiet and cool fans.

Read everything for each part before you order to make sure each part will work. NewEgg never gave me a big warning about the non-standard size power supply. You should read reviews about this power supply at NewEgg and the number one complaint is that it won't work with standard computer cases. I am glad it happened to me anyway because the new case is much better and cooler than my old case.

Peter
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: viktorbravo on 2012 March 29 08:54:17
Thanks for the replies.  I think I will build a moderately powerful system to start off with.  Is there anything special I need to consider building a dual boot system (Linux and OSX) besides simply using an intel processor?
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Carlos Milovic on 2012 March 29 10:27:29
Why intel processor? Does OSX not run in AMD's?
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: georg.viehoever on 2012 March 29 10:30:54
Thanks for the replies.  I think I will build a moderately powerful system to start off with.  Is there anything special I need to consider building a dual boot system (Linux and OSX) besides simply using an intel processor?
Will OSX run on any home grown system? If you mean Linux+Windows, just make sure that your primary HD is <= 2TB. Beyond this, things can become difficult.
Georg
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: georg.viehoever on 2012 April 06 06:00:02
i7-2700k@3.5 GHz (4core+HT), 8GB RAM, Z68 Chipset, SSD used as cache (Intel SRT)
Benchmark_M74_parallel.psm: 8.4 seconds
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: viktorbravo on 2012 April 16 22:45:42
Since my earlier posts, I've been reading everything I can get my hands on about building a computer and I am getting pretty excited about it.  I'm starting to make a list of components.

This could be overkill for our applications.  I sold a couple nice little refractors to finance the project.  I'm trying to justify dual processors. Maybe all I really need is a single 6 core i7 3930?  Maybe its a point of diminishing returns and not worth spending 3X the CPU money for maybe a 30% return in speed at best with the applications we are running? Anyway, this is what I am thinking:

Cooler Master HAF X
1200W power supply
Asus Z9PE-D8 WS motherboard
2 X Intel Xeon E5 2620 6 core processors, 2 ghz base, 2.5 ghz turbo. 
Not sure about what brand CPU coolers yet, I think Gelid Tranquillo will work.
64 Gb DDR-1333 RAM
240 Gb SSD
2 X 1.5 TB HDD's for storage, I think I should I do this in a RAID-1 configuration for redundancy, hardware or software?

Not sure what I am going to do about a video card at this point, but its time to start trimming the budget somewhere.

Any thoughts/advice on the components?  What would you change/do differently?  Is this overkill?  So far I think everything is compatible, but obviously I will make sure before I order.

I'm coming from an old 2 core machine that takes damned near a hour to register a bunch of 16803 images, and can barely handle editing HD video, so I'm thinking this thing is going to absolutely scream for image processing if the applications can make use of all the CPU power. 
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: vicent_peris on 2012 April 20 12:03:53
Hi,

Take into account that some processes are not parallelized. In these processes, one of your Xeon cores won't very very fast because they run at 2 GHz... One option could be to put two quad-core Xeon processors with higher clocks.


Regards,
Vicent.
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: ruediger on 2012 April 23 03:07:45
MacBook Pro 15" (late 2011 model)
2,4 GHz Intel Core i7, 8GB RAM, OS X 10.7.3

PixInsight 1.7.6

Benchmark_M74_parallel.psm: 7.8s

Rüdiger
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: georg.viehoever on 2012 July 12 11:03:29
Another experiment in the cloud, this time on profitbricks.com. Prices appear to be lower than with Amazon EC2. In a support mail they said they charge by the hour (on the website they always cite the costs per month).  They give you a two week free test drive when you register.

Creating such a virtual server was much easier than with Amazon's EC2, and including installation of PI it was done in just 15 minutes. They have a very nice GUI for configuring a system (see screenshot). Connection to the Windows2008 server was via Remote Desktop, which gives almost the impression of a local system, and even allows Copy/Paste between local and remote system, and  access your local drives and printers.

You specify the performance of the required system by "cores", with one core supposed to be the equivalent of a 1 GHZ Opteron of 2007. I configured a Windows2008 system with 8 GB RAM and 50 GB disk. Changing the number of cores is done in seconds, it just reboots the system. Running Benchmark_M74_parallel.psm on 1 core required 63 seconds, on 8 cores 19 seconds.

Georg
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: viktorbravo on 2012 September 25 20:34:38
2012 Macbook Pro Retina
2.7 GHz i7 Quad Core
16 GB RAM
768 GB SSD
OSX 10.8.2
PixInsight 1.7.6

Benchmark:  6.892 sec

Parallel:  6.199 sec

Not sure why there is not much difference between the two.  Any ideas?  Turbo Boost maybe?


Another for comparison:

2008 Macbook Pro
2.8 GHz Intel Core Duo
4 GB RAM
320 GB HDD
OSX 10.7.5
PixInsight 1.7.6

Benchmark: 23.23 sec

Parallel:  14.62 sec



Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Jan on 2013 January 26 13:57:21
Gentleman, maybe this is the right place for the request for help:

Seeing the necessity to run Pixinsight on the more powerfull machine then I have now, and also to upgrade to 64bit system, I decided to buy a new notebook. Ok ok.. I know the desktop would be better performer for less money. But my job is generally around the world, LOTS of travelling (80% out of the home), so my solution needs to be notebook.

I know the PI recommended hardware specification, but I will highly appreciate any advice regarding this, maybe even Pixinsight authors can have some valuable comments to that.

i7 quadcore processor
Probably SSD hard drive (but not necessary)
Weight bellow 3kg preferably
Screen full HD, but preferably not the bulky 17incher
Upgradable (mean generally RAM slots capacity ideally up to 32GB)
Established manufacturer like Lenovo, HP, DELL or so.
My residence is Europe (some brands may not be present on the market)
Budget- dont want to say "unlimited" but I am ready to pay for performance, I want also cut the HD videos on the machine.
And.. I am not the Apple guy;)

I have some tips, generally among the workstation sector of the range. Anyway please advice!
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: vicent_peris on 2013 January 26 14:32:41
Hi,

I have been using a Dell Precision M6500 from three years ago and I'm overall happy with it. Some things have broken during this time but Dell customer support is good. The M6700 has some improvements that I find decisive if I were going to choose a new laptop:

- It has an IPS display. Look for reviews as they state that this display is very good.
- My computer has room for two hard drives plus one mSATA port. But in the M6700 you can put a third drive if you detach the optical drive. This means that you can have a system drive, two SSD drives for PixInsight swap (reading at 1 GB/s) and a removable drive with SED Opal protection for your sensitive data. :)

Other advantages I found with this computer are:

- 4 RAM modules and a maximum of 32 GB (mine has 16).
- The video card works very well, although is power hungry... I recommend to put the cheaper one.
- The aluminum casing.
- Works great with Linux.

You have the M6700 with an I7 quad core, 16GB RAM, 2x750 GB HDD and IPS panel for ~3000€ + VAT.


Best regards,
Vicent.
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Jan on 2013 January 27 04:45:24
Hi Vincent, thank you! I have had a look at it and the performance and quality looks awsome! I have tried the configurator though, and the pricing policy of DELL in my country is such that for 3000e without VAT, I can hardly get the 4700 model with the configuration you mention. But I will have deeper look into in and will try to configurate some basic version (eg no extra hard drive) with upgrades later on.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH!
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: vicent_peris on 2013 January 27 04:49:31
Hi Vincent, thank you! I have had a look at it and the performance and quality looks awsome! I have tried the configurator though, and the pricing policy of DELL in my country is such that for 3000e without VAT, I can hardly get the 4700 model with the configuration you mention. But I will have deeper look into in and will try to configurate some basic version (eg no extra hard drive) with upgrades later on.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

Just go for the quad processor, 16 GB de RAM (2x( GB), the IPS panel and the minimum HDDs. You can easily upgrade the hard drives at lower prices if you buy them separately.

Good luck,
V.
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: vicent_peris on 2013 January 27 04:55:07
You have other computers at lower prices, but this computer is the only in which you have all thse features:

- High RAM capacity
- More than one HDD
- IPS panel.

For me the IPS panel is crucial. I haven't it on the M6500 and, at the end, you always need an external monitor to adjust the image.


Regards,
V.
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Jan on 2013 January 27 10:51:19
Vincent thank you very much for valuable advice! Can you specify which of the currently offered processors would be the best choice?   

And second question is, if the version 4700 could be also the reasonable choice in your opinion (for me the reason is the mobility, I really do spend a lot of time travelling).

Here is the offer of the processors for 6700 in my country (in brackets ai the addition to the price of the basic configuration, divided by 25 is the EUR price:-)):

3rd gen Intel® Core™ i7-3540M Processor (3.00GHz Turbo, 4MB, Upgradable to Intel vPro technology) [p?idat 4 930,00 K?]
3rd gen Intel® Core™ i7-3520M Processor (2.90GHz Turbo, 4MB) [p?idat 4 930,00 K?]
3rd gen Intel® Core™ i7-3740QM Processor (2.70GHz Turbo, 6MB) [p?idat 6 249,00 K?]
3rd gen Intel® Core™ i7-3840QM Processor (2.80GHz Turbo, 8MB) [p?idat 12 624,00 K?]
3rd gen Intel® Core™ i7-3940XM Processor (3.00GHz Turbo, 8MB) [p?idat 28 037,00 K?]
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: vicent_peris on 2013 January 28 10:44:03
Hi,

I would choose the i7-3740QM, it is the lower quad-core processor. You have a quick benchmark here:

http://www.cpubenchmark.net/high_end_cpus.html (http://www.cpubenchmark.net/high_end_cpus.html)

You'll find all these processors in the list. See that there is a tiny difference between 3740 and 3840, but price increase is huge. The Extreme processor will give you a 25% performance increase, but a really high cost.

The M4700 is also a very good option IMO:

- IPS panel option.
- Up to three drives (I would buy an external Blu-ray unit for 80€ and put a third drive in the laptop).
- Four RAM sockets.

Last, I would choose the cheaper nVidia card, specially if you're planning to use Linux. Anyway, it doesn't matter for PixInsight if you use a better graphics card, as we haven't GPU processing for the moment.


Best regards,
Vicent.
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: vicent_peris on 2013 January 28 12:36:29
One more consideration... These laptops are power hungry. Mine won't last more than 90 min on battery, and less than one hour if processing (although battery is now near 3 years old). If you need long battery life you're better looking for another solution.


V.
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Jan on 2013 January 29 09:48:28
Actually the battery life is not critical for me, I am travelling a lot, but generally I am working BY travelling kind of  ;) So I do not need the notebook as in-flight entertainment device, just want to have a portable desktop replacement, which will be mostly on the table in my homebase, or with me for the overnights around Europe.

I have been having a look also to the HP Elitebook line, but they are quite heavy and do not have the configuration flexibility of DELL, do not offer SSD etc. 

THANK YOU VINCENT!
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Jan on 2013 February 11 04:44:40
UPDATE

After choosing the parts, fancy IPS screen, two hard drives, 16gb RAM etc... and getting very good price quote (cca 30 percent less than the DELL configurator), I was about to pay the deposit today, and I was happy I will get great tool for my astro and photo/video work.

BUT- my DELL distributor informed me few minutes ago, that "Precision m4700 is now out of production, there is no equvalent product from DELL and therefore they have to cancel your order."

So I am at the same point as I was two weeks ago asking for the advice.


AUPDATE again:
My distributor informed me that they made mistake when they informed me about the non-availability of the product, and that they have the Dell Precision ready for me!

Now I have the notebook at home, and it is awsome - great display, and the whole system as I have custom-ordered is unbeliveably fast (I have ended up with 2,7, 256SSD+750GBHDD, Nvidia Quadro 2000 and 32GB RAM, the price was at the level of HP with 2,3GH, 8GB RAM, 750HDD).

THANK YOU FOR GREAT ADVICE!
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: jdupton on 2013 April 15 08:44:36
To continue the benchmark results and add a data point on PixInsight v1.8, I just ran a trial on the system I built over the weekend.

M74_Benchmark = 6.552 sec  (Average of three runs)
M74_Parallel      = 2.964 sec  (Average of three runs)

System:
CPU  = i7-3930K @4.17 GHz
Mem = 16 GB DDR3 @1333 MHz
Disk  = Samsung 840 Pro SSD
OS    = Windows 8 Pro

I built this system for photo editing and CAD work.  PixInsight will be a real pleasure on it compared to my five year old desktop system.

John
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: georg.viehoever on 2013 April 15 11:19:13
Is this due to PI1.8, or your PC hardware. Can you make the same run with PI 1.7?
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Andres.Pozo on 2013 April 15 11:41:27
PI 1.8 feels much faster than 1.7 and the benchmarks confirm it.

Nearly two years ago I wrote a message with the benchmark results in my new (then) machine: http://pixinsight.com/forum/index.php?topic=1052.msg20590#msg20590 (http://pixinsight.com/forum/index.php?topic=1052.msg20590#msg20590)

These are the results in the same machine using 1.8RC5:

                        PI1.8RC5   Old version
Benchmark_M74:          7.54s      20.140s
Benchmark_M74_parallel: 3.93s       7.176s
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: jdupton on 2013 April 15 20:49:40
Since this was a freshly built system, I did not try v1.7 on it.  I simply installed v1.8 and ran the benchmarks so I cannot do a fair comparison of speed between the two versions.  I did notice that my old desktop had an improvement in speed with v1.8 but did not benchmark as did Andres.  (I am not sure I saw a 2x improvement, but it did seem "snappier".

Sorry, I don't have a direct comparison between the two versions yet.  I do however, have PI installed on my imaging laptop and am still at v1.7 there.  I can benchmark that system again and then upgrade to v1.8 to get a direct comparison data point to go along with the comparison Andres performed.

John
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Andres.Pozo on 2013 April 16 01:26:45
I don't remember the version that I used for the benchmarks two years ago, but PI 1.7 was not announced until June of 2011, so I probably used a 1.6.x version.
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: georg.viehoever on 2013 April 16 02:02:34
PI 1.8 feels much faster than 1.7 and the benchmarks confirm it.
...
That would be a very impressive performance boost achieved by Juan. I know how difficult this is from my daytime job.
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: atudorica on 2013 April 27 08:30:25
Hi,

   I'm wondering why the benchmark performance I get is very low compared to the results you posted here. I get around 40 seconds for both processes. The thing is that I am using 16 physical processors which can run 2 threads each (AMD Opteron 6220 at 3 Ghz) and insane amounts of RAM (128 Gb) and disk space (>70 Tb of SSDs in RAID 0, I/O rate of about 1100 MiB/s).
   When first starting PI 1.8, I get the messages:

 * Parallel processing enabled: Using 16 logical processors.
* Thread CPU affinity control enabled.
* PSM AutoSave enabled. Auto-save period: 30 seconds.

** No running X11 compositing manager has been detected. Some core GUI functionality will be reduced or unavailable.

     Do you think that the missing X11 would have an impact on performance? Everything moves a bit in slow motion.

     This is quite interesting as playing with very large images seems not to be problematic, most processes take only a few seconds in images as large as 30k x 30k.

   Thanks,
Alex
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: ruediger on 2013 April 27 10:46:40
** No running X11 compositing manager has been detected. Some core GUI functionality will be reduced or unavailable.
Are you running PixInsight with X11 forwarding to a client computer?
I have a similar setup like yours (12 Xeon Cores, lots of RAM, SAN storage, virtualized environment), but the benchmark's running time is about 5 times slower than on a MacBook Pro. The speed difference is mainly because of the amount of screen updates the benchmarks does and my way of forwarding X11 via ssh -X.
In other tasks the virtualized PI machine is running much faster than the MacBook Pro.

Rüdiger
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Carlos Milovic on 2013 April 27 10:54:45
My results with PI 1.8 RC7 at home (AMD Phenom II 1055T @2.8GHz, 12Gb RAM, SSD) with Fedora 18 + KDE:
B74: 8.676s
B76_parallel: 6.976s

There is a definitive improvement to previous test in the single core process (before, 10.496s), even when at that time F15 enabled me to use the CPU at 3.3GHz (overclocking). The parallel test is slighty slower (before, 6.511s). Either way, is a good result, considering the slower CPU, and that I have not fine tunned the OS to get more speed, as I did at that time (disabling services, etc).
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: atudorica on 2013 April 29 04:31:32
Are you running PixInsight with X11 forwarding to a client computer?
I have a similar setup like yours (12 Xeon Cores, lots of RAM, SAN storage, virtualized environment), but the benchmark's running time is about 5 times slower than on a MacBook Pro. The speed difference is mainly because of the amount of screen updates the benchmarks does and my way of forwarding X11 via ssh -X.
In other tasks the virtualized PI machine is running much faster than the MacBook Pro.

   I am indeed running PI through a ssh -X connection to a remote server and I think that you are right, this is the "problem". I'll try to find how to increase the ssh bandwidth (it's limited by default, if I understood that well) and I'll let you know what I found.

    Thanks,
Alex
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: georg.viehoever on 2013 April 29 05:03:40
I have found that using VNC can give much better performance compared X11 forwarding)if the network connection is slow.
Georg
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Andres.Pozo on 2013 April 29 05:08:08
The console slows the processes. The effect in a remote session probably would be worse. You can try to rerun the benchmarks hiding the console.
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: atudorica on 2013 April 29 05:33:32
The console slows the processes. The effect in a remote session probably would be worse. You can try to rerun the benchmarks hiding the console.

   I've tried that, but it does not significantly change the result for some reason...
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: atudorica on 2013 April 29 11:32:04
I've added the -Xc option when connecting through SSH to my server and the interface moves much faster now, there is no noticeable delay when I'm opening a menu or writing a command. The benchmark runs now 3 times faster with the console opened and 4 times faster with it closed.

Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: dmax11 on 2013 July 29 18:42:40
Just saw this and boy do i love benchmarks! :)

M74 Parallel: 4.493 seconds
M74 : 7.584 seconds

running latest release version of PI

hardware on my machine is
i5-2500k overclocked to 4.4 ghz (used to be 4.5, became unstable after a year so i lowered it to 4.4) (Watercooled, Antec unit)
16 GB DDR3 running in dual channel mode at 1600 mhz
Mainboard is an Asus P8P67 Pro
Video cards if it matters is two Nvidia 560 Ti's in SLI
hard drives I run OS and main programs off of are 2x Seagate Cheetah 15K.5 SAS drives in Raid 1 via an LSI controller card (used to have 3 in Raid 0, man it was fast but one became unrelaible so i rescued my data and went to Raid 1 with the remaining two drives to be safe until they die, they are retired server drives from a large tech company and have massive amounts of use put on them when i got them lol)
OS Windows 7 64 bit.

looks like PI loves CPU power and Ram as one would expect
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: jerryyyyy on 2014 January 30 08:02:35
Well, here is the latest Dell Precision Workstation Laptop:  the M3800

Windows 7; 16gb RAM; 512 GB SSD; I7 Quad processor... 3200x1800 display... OhLaLa
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: georg.viehoever on 2014 January 30 08:51:37
And what are the PI performance values? See previous posts for a possible benchmark.
Georg
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: pfile on 2014 January 30 09:45:50
http://www.astrofoto.es/Benchmark

Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Zocky on 2014 January 31 12:41:27
When I try to open M74 file, PI returns some errors. M74_parallel works fine.
What causes this errors?
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: jerryyyyy on 2014 January 31 13:25:07
http://www.astrofoto.es/Benchmark

8.438 s

and

4.525 s
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: georg.viehoever on 2014 February 01 06:37:05
I tested my trusted old laptop with the current 1.08.01.1083 with Benchmark_M74_parallel.psm: 20.66 seconds. So at least for this rather old dual core system on Win7x64, the recent PI version does not show any performance improvement. Tests with old version in http://pixinsight.com/forum/index.php?topic=1052.msg10534#msg10534 .
Georg
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: jerryyyyy on 2014 February 01 09:17:23
It appears to have run both versions on the M3800.  I applied to the downloaded image and they both ran.  The regular was 8s and the parallel was 4s.  It runs fast to my eye. 
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Gardner Gerry on 2014 February 05 08:29:51
Very interesting thread! Next time I buy new computers I'll buy faster processors. Still, I downloaded and ran the benchmarks

I have the latest PixInsight build 01.08.01.1087 Ripley(x64) on both machines

my desktop is Intel Core i3 540 @ 3.07GHz 8GB RAM 64 bit Win 7 Home Premium

13.31 s and 8.13 s

laptop Intel Core i5 2450M @2.50GHz 6GB RAM 64 bit Win 7 Professional

11.09 s and 7.38 s

While I am not unhappy with either of my systems performance, any tips from users to speed things up would be welcome.  :)

Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: diurnal on 2014 February 05 15:02:21
parallel
7.741 s

benchmark
12.87 s

amd 6 core fx 6100 3.3ghz
16gb ram
windows 7
thats the best data ive opened up :)
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: jerryyyyy on 2014 February 05 16:33:08
Nice data.  Looks like I am doing alright for a laptop.   ;)
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Peter on 2014 February 06 12:59:48
Zocky's question is the same effect I an having running the regular file but when using the parallel psm file profile explorer reads file and then declares zero icons loaded. Unless my computer is taking over three hours to go through the file what is happening????? :police:
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: diurnal on 2014 February 06 13:34:33
i think what's happening is some of the processes are outdated, so they dont load up. i got an error too, but it ran anyway without those processes.
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Peter on 2014 February 06 13:50:27
Had a quick look at my process icons after profile explorer read that it had to rename some process icons as there were compatibility problems. I now have atrouswaveletransform v1 as well as the original process. In the V1 named icon there are no pop up prompts so I need to know if the benchmark psm file is corrupted or not suitable for older 4 year laptops running a dual core processor? Also how do I rid the program of this renamed process icon?
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Peter on 2014 February 06 13:52:45
Thanks Diurnal, I guess you may be right and I have also come to the same conclusion. But if that is the case then why is this post still active?
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: tom886 on 2014 July 18 00:43:01
Sorry for bringing that old topic up again, but I didn't wanna start a new thread
I have a AMD PC with an FX-4100 CPU (3.6GHz, Quad-Core) and 8GB RAM.
PixInsight is running pretty smooth however I am considering to upgrade my CPU and/or RAM to 16GB.
Of course not both at the same time, so what would be the better benefit for PI.
Upgrade to an Octa-Core CPU (8 cores) or upgrade first the RAM to 16GB
OS is Windows 8.1 x64.

CS
Tom
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: Earl_UK on 2014 September 08 08:48:05
do you run your os and apps of a SSD, this makes a huge improvement, then ram finally cpu
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: tom886 on 2014 September 10 08:49:58
Thanks, OS and Apps are installed on SSD.
Ok, first upgrade will be the RAM

Thanks again

CS
Tom
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: avarakin on 2014 September 29 19:45:17
Probably it is too late for response about upgrade, but here it goes:
I run PI on 8gb of RAM and never saw a need for more memory because I never noticed swapping. 
I also doubt that Ssd would increase performance much.
PI is all about number crunching and for that you need CPU and not Ram or Ssd. Keep in mind that some CPUs have many slow cores (AMD) and some have fewer but faster cores (Intel) . For PI I would chose fewer but faster cores, i.e. Intel.
IMO i7 4770 and similar are the best choice right now. A CPU and motherboard would run for around $300 which is not much.

Alex
Title: Re: New PC: biggest bang for the buck?
Post by: georg.viehoever on 2014 September 30 01:22:44
...
I also doubt that Ssd would increase performance much.
PI is all about number crunching and for that you need CPU and not Ram or Ssd....
Alex,

you are right that number crunching is an important aspect of image processing. However, I/O performance is also important, especially for operations such as image calibration and stacking that need to read/write lots of data from/to disk. Also, PI appears to write to disk quite frequently, for instance to enable undo operations. Have a look at the PixInsight benchmark http://pixinsight.com/benchmark/ that clearly indicates that SSDs are beneficial - at least for this benchmark.

Georg