PixInsight Forum

PixInsight => General => Topic started by: SeattleStarGazer on 2017 September 30 09:34:00

Title: Computer Configuration Option questions
Post by: SeattleStarGazer on 2017 September 30 09:34:00
Hi! I’m almost finished speccing out a Xeon/Quadro based Lenovo P71 workstation for graphics processing, including Pixinsight, Lightroom, Photoshop. I have s little extra budget to apply in one of three areadv- a faster CPU 3.8 vs 4.2 Ghz, a better graphics card (Quadro P4000 vs P5000), or memory (32 gb vs 64 gb). Any thoughts on which factor would make the most difference for PI? I’m typically processing up to several hundred subs from an ASI1600. Sometimes a smaller number of subs from a QSI690 or 5Dmkiii DSLR.

Also, I’m configuring with 2 512gb SSDs, but non-RAID, based on what I’ve read here on the forum regarding scratch files.

Any thoughts on this would be appreciated!

Title: Re: Computer Configuration Option questions
Post by: LarryC on 2017 October 01 15:07:56
I run a, now older, i74770K overclocked to 4.4, with 2.5 TB of SSD drives and 8TB of HDDs, and 32Gb RAM.  OS is on a dedicated SSD.  16Gb of RAM are dedicated to a virtual RAM drive as soon as my computer boots and I use that along with swap disk on a dedicated SSD.  I don't remember the number off hand, but I get a pretty good score on PI's test, but I do not think that test has a lot of relevancy to real world PI use.   What I found was that the RAM drive did help, but not in many operations.  My video card is a mediocre 4Gb NVIDA card, but I don't think video acceleration is lacking.  What I have seen is that processes (virtually all of them) are faster at 4.4Ghz than they are at 3.8 (or so), and, not surprisingly, everything runs faster off SSDs.   To me that means that CPU speed matters, RAM drives help, SSDs are critical, and video cards are not critical (I only compared to a lower level card).   I have tried lots of combinations of sawp drives with SSDs and RAM drives, different CPU speeds, etc. I've tested a lot of permutations of my system.  My next upgrade will be for a faster CPU, but perhaps more importantly, a 6 or 8 core CPU as I think others have demonstrated that more cores at a given speed are faster. 

Also,  I too am processing 150-300 (or more) ASI1600 NB images at a time.  I find that my current system is pretty fast on all processes, and very much faster than is used to be at stock clock, no RAM drive, 16Gb RAM, and HDDs.  In fact it's fast enough that I am in no hurry to upgrade.

Title: Re: Computer Configuration Option questions
Post by: SeattleStarGazer on 2017 October 01 16:16:45
Thanks Larry, good info! I agree on the benefit of multiple cores; even wondering about The upcoming super multi core chips like the AMD Threadripper. Do you just use the virtual disk for one of the swapfile sites?

Just out of curiosity what do you have for a display monitor?

Title: Re: Computer Configuration Option questions
Post by: LarryC on 2017 October 02 11:41:32
After trying all sorts of combinations of SSD and RAM drive, I have 4 instances of the RAM drive set as my swap files. 

I use a color-calibrated NEC EA23 for a monitor.  It's a few years old but is (was?) a good monitor for photo processing and it calibrates well with my x-rite calibrator.   I print from Canon PIXMA Pro9000 MkII and Pro-100 printers using Canon Platinum Pro paper (most of the time).   A 27" 4K monitor may be a future investment, but I can already print what I see, so I don't think I have a limitation there.  I use the set-up extensively for LR/PS terrestrial photography in addition to AP, though not professionally.