Author Topic: 64 bit Windows  (Read 6227 times)

Offline Nigel Ball

  • PixInsight Addict
  • ***
  • Posts: 277
    • View Profile
    • Astrophotography by Nigel
64 bit Windows
« on: 2010 September 24 16:22:27 »
I'm upgrading my PC hardware and will be moving to Windows 7 64 bit

For those who already run PI on 64 bit Windows what hardware config in terms of Porcessor, Memory and Graphics card would you recommend. I've been looking at the Dell Vostro 430 which is an i5 cpu with 6Gb RAM with 1Gb graphics card or should I look at a Xeon cpu?

Thanks in advance

Nigel
Nigel Ball
Nantwich, Cheshire, United Kingdom

Takahashi FSQ-106 at f/8, f/5 and f/3.6 on AP900, Nikon 28 mm and 180mm f/2.8
SBIG STL-11000M, Astrodon LRGB, 5nm Ha
ST-10XME, Astrodon HaLRGB
www.nigelaball.com

Offline Nocturnal

  • PixInsight Jedi Council Member
  • *******
  • Posts: 2727
    • View Profile
    • http://www.carpephoton.com
Re: 64 bit Windows
« Reply #1 on: 2010 September 24 16:48:31 »
It all depends on how much money you want to spend. Faster is better. Go for an i7 if you can swing it. 6 GB is the minimum but will do PI just fine. I never ran into trouble with memory until I added a few VMs so I recently added another 6 GB for 12GB total. If the i7 is too much, get a fast i5 with 4 cores at least. More cores is better. I don't think there's a need to go Xeon. Fast disks help with PI swapping. I'm considering upgrading to SSDs. Graphics card is pretty much immaterial for PI as it does not use much accelleration. So you can save a few bucks there.

Go to Toms Hardware for articles on good systems and components for the money.
Best,

    Sander
---
Edge HD 1100
QHY-8 for imaging, IMG0H mono for guiding, video cameras for occulations
ASI224, QHY5L-IIc
HyperStar3
WO-M110ED+FR-III/TRF-2008
Takahashi EM-400
PIxInsight, DeepSkyStacker, PHD, Nebulosity

Offline Niall Saunders

  • PTeam Member
  • PixInsight Jedi Knight
  • *****
  • Posts: 1456
  • We have cookies? Where ?
    • View Profile
Re: 64 bit Windows
« Reply #2 on: 2010 September 25 07:27:18 »
Hi Nigel,

Sander has hit all the key points.

Quad or Eight-core is best (I am running the last of the pre-i-x processors, and with Vista-64 Home on 8Gb RAM. My C-drive is only a 320Gb 7200rpm unit - although I might change things around soon, to make my C: and D: drives a 'striped RAID array' based on my two 1TB 7200 drives, and bring in a second pair of internal 1TB drives (mirrored this time) as 'internal backup')

My Graphics card is only 512Mb (although I do have a second 1Gb card to drive the two auxiliary monitors each side on the main 28" unit)

I don't know what the detailed specs are for your Dell proposal, but I did a LOT of searching at the time I upgraded, and found a simply EXCELLENT dealer here in the UK - who custom-built me a system that FAR exceeded anything else I could lay my hands on, and who have provided PERFECT service ever since (far exceeding the excellent service I have had from DELL in regards to my father's PC). You have my contact details, contact me off-group and I will pass these along (and that also goes for anyone else who may be interested, it seems 'better' to keep 'commercialism' out of out primary discussion interests here on the Forum).

I know that I designed this PC with PixInsight in mind, first and foremost - and only regret that I fixed my budget just as the new i-series processors were coming on-line. That said, I would have had to have waited a further month (at least) for an i-7 system to be built, and there would have been a 33% budget over-spend to have upgraded to a 6Gb i-7 system. But, it will soon be TWO YEARS since I purchased this system, and I certainly do NOT notice ANY 'bottlenecks' in performance, PI or otherwise. I have also been PERFECTLY HAPPY with Vista-64, just going to prove that, perhaps, most of the users who have experienced Vista problems may actually have themselves to blame, NOT their OS ::).
Cheers,
Niall Saunders
Clinterty Observatories
Aberdeen, UK

Altair Astro GSO 10" f/8 Ritchey Chrétien CF OTA on EQ8 mount with homebrew 3D Balance and Pier
Moonfish ED80 APO & Celestron Omni XLT 120
QHY10 CCD & QHY5L-II Colour
9mm TS-OAG and Meade DSI-IIC

Offline Nocturnal

  • PixInsight Jedi Council Member
  • *******
  • Posts: 2727
    • View Profile
    • http://www.carpephoton.com
Re: 64 bit Windows
« Reply #3 on: 2010 September 25 08:00:05 »
Hi,

as with all things 'it depends' applies. Faster computers mean quicker processing with PI because you wait less for things to complete. At the same time you probably spent most time processing actually 'thinking' or 'planning' and actual processing time may be limited. Clearly the size of your images and your processing choices affect this. All obvious stuff but I'll mention it anyway. I can do perfectly good PI work on an old laptop with a dual core centrino at 1.6G. I used that for my MWAIC presentation.

If you are going with a new system keep in mind the following:

- room for expansion: get a large case so you can add drives and other goodies. I went with a mid tower and wished I'd gotten a bigger one. I had to give up 3 drive slots to fit my monster (at the time) graphics card.
- consider how quiet your system will be. I specifically bought a quiet case as I don't like fan noise.
- have plenty of IO options. Gigabit Ethernet (almost everyone has this), eSATA, firewire, USB 3 if you can swing it. You may not need it now but expandability will give your PC a longer life.
- don't fill the memory slots right away. Choose your memory config and use half your slots. I started with 3x2GB and added 3x2GB a week ago. Oddly enough memory had gotten more expensive in a year! Anyway, if I'd started with 6x1GB I wouldn't have been able to upgrade without throwing memory away.
Best,

    Sander
---
Edge HD 1100
QHY-8 for imaging, IMG0H mono for guiding, video cameras for occulations
ASI224, QHY5L-IIc
HyperStar3
WO-M110ED+FR-III/TRF-2008
Takahashi EM-400
PIxInsight, DeepSkyStacker, PHD, Nebulosity

Offline Niall Saunders

  • PTeam Member
  • PixInsight Jedi Knight
  • *****
  • Posts: 1456
  • We have cookies? Where ?
    • View Profile
Re: 64 bit Windows
« Reply #4 on: 2010 September 25 10:30:10 »
And, Nigel, if you haven't already worked through the contents of this topic, it might be a good time to see what we have all bee saying over the last couple of years:-

http://pixinsight.com/forum/index.php?topic=1052.0
Cheers,
Niall Saunders
Clinterty Observatories
Aberdeen, UK

Altair Astro GSO 10" f/8 Ritchey Chrétien CF OTA on EQ8 mount with homebrew 3D Balance and Pier
Moonfish ED80 APO & Celestron Omni XLT 120
QHY10 CCD & QHY5L-II Colour
9mm TS-OAG and Meade DSI-IIC

Offline vicent_peris

  • PTeam Member
  • PixInsight Padawan
  • ****
  • Posts: 988
    • View Profile
    • http://www.astrofoto.es/
Re: 64 bit Windows
« Reply #5 on: 2010 September 25 11:12:19 »
Hi,

strongly consider the option of adding two SSD disks. If they are identical, PI makes kinda of software raid to write and read the swap files. Buy, for example, two small 64 GB SSD SATA disks, they are not expensive, and your waiting time for swapping will be near to zero. :)


Regards,
Vicent.

Offline Nocturnal

  • PixInsight Jedi Council Member
  • *******
  • Posts: 2727
    • View Profile
    • http://www.carpephoton.com
Re: 64 bit Windows
« Reply #6 on: 2010 September 25 13:04:22 »
As I understand it they don't need to be identical. Simply point PI at multiple temp paths and it'll take care of it, right?
Best,

    Sander
---
Edge HD 1100
QHY-8 for imaging, IMG0H mono for guiding, video cameras for occulations
ASI224, QHY5L-IIc
HyperStar3
WO-M110ED+FR-III/TRF-2008
Takahashi EM-400
PIxInsight, DeepSkyStacker, PHD, Nebulosity

Offline nemecl

  • Newcomer
  • Posts: 4
    • View Profile
Re: 64 bit Windows
« Reply #7 on: 2010 September 26 00:22:21 »
I just did it. I wound up buying an Acer Aspire 5810 with I5 650 - 2 core CPU with 4 'threads' - PI seems to recognize all of them. 6 Gb of memory. According to some 'benchmark' tests, it runs about 3 times faster than my few years old XP (32 bit) machines with 3 GHz Pentium and 2 Gb of memory.

Cost: from $650 to $700. I am, so far, very satisfied with it, it is almost completely silent (unlike both of my older desktops).

Just one of the alternatives. I7 was bit out of my price range.

Offline Niall Saunders

  • PTeam Member
  • PixInsight Jedi Knight
  • *****
  • Posts: 1456
  • We have cookies? Where ?
    • View Profile
Re: 64 bit Windows
« Reply #8 on: 2010 September 26 04:37:43 »
I suppose that I have never really been too bothered with the noise of cooling fans. My last 'deskbook' portable, with a 3.4GHz processor and a 19" screen ran so hot that the cooling fans seemed to use more power than the rest of the system put together - I only ever got about 30 minutes off a brand-new battery and, if you tried using it on any surface that might block the cooling vents, the unit simply shut-down, instantly, for several hours.

My existing tower system has several cooling fans, but they are inconsequential compared to those of the 3.5KVA UPS that sits next to it :(

I have probably reached the stage that I rely on being able to hear the fans to convince me that the system is running ::)
Cheers,
Niall Saunders
Clinterty Observatories
Aberdeen, UK

Altair Astro GSO 10" f/8 Ritchey Chrétien CF OTA on EQ8 mount with homebrew 3D Balance and Pier
Moonfish ED80 APO & Celestron Omni XLT 120
QHY10 CCD & QHY5L-II Colour
9mm TS-OAG and Meade DSI-IIC

Offline ammcdavid

  • Newcomer
  • Posts: 40
    • View Profile
Re: 64 bit Windows
« Reply #9 on: 2010 September 26 10:57:54 »
I will throw this out there.....
Most of us, since we are in this hobby, are pretty familiar with most aspects of computers.  Building your own system is one of the easier aspects and one I highly recommend.  I haven't bought an off-the-shelf system in over 10 years (Laptops are the exception) and I have found I can get a 50%+ boost in performance from the money saved in building it myself.  Now, I have enough old cases, power supplies, fans, DVD drives, etc. that I only need to buy new guts and be up and running in just a few hours. 

The biggest plus is that I get EXACTLY what I want in a system.....even down to the software on the hard drive (yes it can be re-formatted and "start over" but why?)  The biggest caution is that you are largely on your own so if something goes wrong during the build you provide your own warranty.  Bad parts can be returned but the process can be lengthy while the seller determines if it was manufacturer's defect or not.  However, do plenty of research to ensure compatibility, buy quality components (not cheap unknown junk which is everywhere), use care during the build and it is virtually impossible to mess it up.

Andy
Losmandy G11 on pier with Celestron C8 and Astrometric Instruments drive system. Canon EOS Rebel T1i (500D).  Coming soon: Orion Short Tube 80 w/Star Shoot Autoguider.

Offline Nigel Ball

  • PixInsight Addict
  • ***
  • Posts: 277
    • View Profile
    • Astrophotography by Nigel
Re: 64 bit Windows
« Reply #10 on: 2010 October 06 08:04:07 »
Thanks to everybody for their input and advice

The next PC and monitor arrived today and the first application installed was PI  :D

The Console Message makes me a happy bunny!
Nigel Ball
Nantwich, Cheshire, United Kingdom

Takahashi FSQ-106 at f/8, f/5 and f/3.6 on AP900, Nikon 28 mm and 180mm f/2.8
SBIG STL-11000M, Astrodon LRGB, 5nm Ha
ST-10XME, Astrodon HaLRGB
www.nigelaball.com

Offline Nocturnal

  • PixInsight Jedi Council Member
  • *******
  • Posts: 2727
    • View Profile
    • http://www.carpephoton.com
Re: 64 bit Windows
« Reply #11 on: 2010 October 06 08:17:20 »
Nice.
Best,

    Sander
---
Edge HD 1100
QHY-8 for imaging, IMG0H mono for guiding, video cameras for occulations
ASI224, QHY5L-IIc
HyperStar3
WO-M110ED+FR-III/TRF-2008
Takahashi EM-400
PIxInsight, DeepSkyStacker, PHD, Nebulosity

Offline Niall Saunders

  • PTeam Member
  • PixInsight Jedi Knight
  • *****
  • Posts: 1456
  • We have cookies? Where ?
    • View Profile
Re: 64 bit Windows
« Reply #12 on: 2010 October 06 23:50:12 »
Hi Nigel,

Post the spec of your new machine over on the "New PC : Biggest Bang for the Buck" thread - its always interesting to know what folks are choosing for their high-end astro-imaging needs
Cheers,
Niall Saunders
Clinterty Observatories
Aberdeen, UK

Altair Astro GSO 10" f/8 Ritchey Chrétien CF OTA on EQ8 mount with homebrew 3D Balance and Pier
Moonfish ED80 APO & Celestron Omni XLT 120
QHY10 CCD & QHY5L-II Colour
9mm TS-OAG and Meade DSI-IIC

Offline Nigel Ball

  • PixInsight Addict
  • ***
  • Posts: 277
    • View Profile
    • Astrophotography by Nigel
Re: 64 bit Windows
« Reply #13 on: 2010 October 07 03:22:04 »
Post the spec of your new machine over on the "New PC : Biggest Bang for the Buck" thread - its always interesting to know what folks are choosing for their high-end astro-imaging needs

Done!
Nigel Ball
Nantwich, Cheshire, United Kingdom

Takahashi FSQ-106 at f/8, f/5 and f/3.6 on AP900, Nikon 28 mm and 180mm f/2.8
SBIG STL-11000M, Astrodon LRGB, 5nm Ha
ST-10XME, Astrodon HaLRGB
www.nigelaball.com

Offline mmirot

  • PixInsight Padawan
  • ****
  • Posts: 881
    • View Profile
Re: 64 bit Windows
« Reply #14 on: 2010 October 07 08:26:09 »
Where are the specs?

Max