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Old 26-06-2018, 06:38 PM
Imme (Jon)
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Computer specs for processing

Hey guys,

I’m using an ASI1600 to image (32mb images) and I went to drizzle some images the other night in DSS and it crashed due to low memory. I’m also a little impatient and dislike having to wait so long for commands to be carried out in Startools.....I’d rather a faster system.

What I currently have is -
Dell Optiplex 9010 SFF i5
3.4GHz 3570 Quadcore 8GB ram
1TB
Windows 10 pro 64 bit

I’m guessing being quad core and 3.4ghz I’ve got ok speed.....but I’m falling down in the ram stakes right?

The computer can handle up to 32gb of ram on the board I believe. If I went to 16gb would it make a significant difference or should I just shoot straight to 2x16gb ram modules and be done with it?

Advice greatly appreciated!


Edit.....just realised there’s a 64bit version of dss!
That should make a difference!!!

Still interested in people’s thoughts though

Last edited by Imme; 26-06-2018 at 07:34 PM.
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Old 26-06-2018, 07:44 PM
GodsPetMonkey
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The 64-bit edition of DSS makes a huge difference - the memory limits of 32 bit software really crippled it when it came to modern massive resolution images.


Some more RAM would be a good idea, but your system is starting to get old anyway, so I can't see much point in investing in more than an extra 8gb. Your system will use DDR3 RAM, which is now deprecated (current generation systems now use DDR4). That said, be sure to open up your case before you go shopping to make sure you actually have some empty RAM slots to put it in - your board may support up to 32gb, but that doesn't help you if all the slots are already in use!
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Old 26-06-2018, 07:50 PM
Imme (Jon)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GodsPetMonkey View Post
The 64-bit edition of DSS makes a huge difference - the memory limits of 32 bit software really crippled it when it came to modern massive resolution images.


Some more RAM would be a good idea, but your system is starting to get old anyway, so I can't see much point in investing in more than an extra 8gb. Your system will use DDR3 RAM, which is now deprecated (current generation systems now use DDR4). That said, be sure to open up your case before you go shopping to make sure you actually have some empty RAM slots to put it in - your board may support up to 32gb, but that doesn't help you if all the slots are already in use!
I have 4x2gb in there at the moment.....I was going to scrap them and just get a straight 16gb from ebay [$120]. Sounds reasonable?
Could I also keep 3 of the 2gb ones in the other slots to give me 22gb?
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Old 26-06-2018, 08:48 PM
GodsPetMonkey
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Originally Posted by Imme View Post
I have 4x2gb in there at the moment.....I was going to scrap them and just get a straight 16gb from ebay [$120]. Sounds reasonable?
Could I also keep 3 of the 2gb ones in the other slots to give me 22gb?

You'll want to keep everything dual channel - that means matching pairs in the paired slots (typically 1 and 3, and 2 and 4). While mismatching groups will work, you'll take a pretty hefty performance hit.


I'd suggest grabbing a 2 x 8gb kit (should be pretty cheap for DDR3), and then replace one pair with that. That would give you 20gb, a bit step up from what you have.
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Old 26-06-2018, 09:38 PM
Imme (Jon)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GodsPetMonkey View Post
You'll want to keep everything dual channel - that means matching pairs in the paired slots (typically 1 and 3, and 2 and 4). While mismatching groups will work, you'll take a pretty hefty performance hit.


I'd suggest grabbing a 2 x 8gb kit (should be pretty cheap for DDR3), and then replace one pair with that. That would give you 20gb, a bit step up from what you have.
Thank mate....think ill do that!
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Old 26-06-2018, 10:45 PM
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G'day Jon,

The 9010 SFFs are good boxes (they make great DVRs for BlueIris, etc). As you know, there's not too much height available above the ram, so you'll need to make sure you avoid ram with tall heatsinks. The low profile Kingston stuff fits especially well. Alternatively you can lose the HDD/Optical tray (for space), and just sticky velcro an SSD or 2 inside the case.

Having a read of DSS docs, it appears to have no optimisation for Quicksync, CUDA or OpenCL. Consider removing the video card (AMD/ATI?) if present, as the on-die GPU is plenty good alone. Of course the above optimisation should be checked for all your intended applications.



To that end, does anyone know of any stacking programs that are GPU accelerated?


If you can find an i7 3770 for pocket change (not Ebay... their prices are Dreamin'), they drop in nicely. Lastly, check which BIOS version the box is running. There's been quite a few improvements made since the initial release.

/rambling...
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Old 27-06-2018, 06:55 AM
Imme (Jon)
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G'day Jon,

The 9010 SFFs are good boxes (they make great DVRs for BlueIris, etc). As you know, there's not too much height available above the ram, so you'll need to make sure you avoid ram with tall heatsinks. The low profile Kingston stuff fits especially well. Alternatively you can lose the HDD/Optical tray (for space), and just sticky velcro an SSD or 2 inside the case.

Having a read of DSS docs, it appears to have no optimisation for Quicksync, CUDA or OpenCL. Consider removing the video card (AMD/ATI?) if present, as the on-die GPU is plenty good alone. Of course the above optimisation should be checked for all your intended applications.



To that end, does anyone know of any stacking programs that are GPU accelerated?


If you can find an i7 3770 for pocket change (not Ebay... their prices are Dreamin'), they drop in nicely. Lastly, check which BIOS version the box is running. There's been quite a few improvements made since the initial release.

/rambling...
Thanks Andy.....I’ll look into that
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Old 27-06-2018, 10:44 PM
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Some great advice here.


StarTools is an unapologetic memory hog. More RAM can definitely help if it means less swapping to disk.


However, another cheap and great way to speed up your PC is adding an SSD drive (as Andy suggests). StarTools can routinely move multiple GBs of data back and forth between RAM and storage. An SSD will speed this up immensely. Check Ozbargain.com.au for some great SSD deals currently going on eBay.



The absolute fastest is running StarTools from a RAM drive (in Windows) or mounting your /tmp as a RAM drive (using tmpFS on Linux).


The 9010 and 9020 range from Dell are killer bang-for-your buck machines if you pick them up refurbished. Your i5 CPU is pretty quick still. And though it doesn't have hyperthreading, it can still hold its own when it comes to ST's number crunching.



Unfortunately more cores (or using the GPU to offload calculations) doesn't necessarily mean 1:1 improvements in speed. Much depends on the algorithms; not everything can be perfectly parallelised. Often the memory bus is the bottleneck, rather than raw CPU power.


StarTools is especially memory intensive compared to other software due to the Tracking functionality having to consult vasts amounts of data and previous states of pixels.



Lastly here is a no-cost option;
Consider binning your data before processing if your dataset is oversampled - you won't lose detail and will benefit from the noise reduction, allowing you to push your data harder. Reducing your resolution by 50% on the X and Y axis, means a 4x speed increase and a 4x reduction in RAM requirements. That said, you indicated your needed to drizzle your data, so it probably isn't oversampled in your case...


Hope this helps!
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Old 28-06-2018, 06:39 AM
Imme (Jon)
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Thanks a heap Ivo, really appreciated hearing your views.

Service like this is the exact reason I purchased Startools!

Im not a tech junky so am hoping you could explain the ‘running startools from a ramdrive’ suggestion.......am I right in saying you suggest mounting a ssd and loading startools on to that then launching the program from this ssd location?
I guess pics/darks/lights/etc should also be on the ssd drive as well?
How much of an increase in speed would you expect to see doing this in your opinion?
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Old 28-06-2018, 09:19 AM
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Your operating system should be running on an SSD, ideally your programs on a separate SSD, Pagefiles/temp areas for os and progs on another. Source pics on HDD is fine, processingusually only needs to read them in once and you get no performance gain after that, its the temporary files that get created and used that slow things down. You should also have NOTHING else running, no virus scanners or garbage like that as they "see" the new huge temporary files when they get created and real time virus scanning slows everything down to check these files. The more stuff you install the slower the machine becomes.
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Old 28-06-2018, 12:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Imme View Post
Im not a tech junky so am hoping you could explain the ‘running startools from a ramdrive’ suggestion.......am I right in saying you suggest mounting a ssd and loading startools on to that then launching the program from this ssd location?
In the case of StarTools + WIndows, indeed you would launch StarTools from the SSD drive or RAM drive. For StarTools + Linux you have bit more fleixibility.


Quote:
I guess pics/darks/lights/etc should also be on the ssd drive as well?
As Sil expertly explained, the biggest benefit will be seen for things that get accessed often. This includes any page swapping files and, in the case of StarTools, the .TRK files it creates.



Quote:
How much of an increase in speed would you expect to see doing this in your opinion?
It's a bit of a "how long is a piece of string" type of question
Much depends on what you're used to now, how big the datasets are, what the current throughput is, what sort of storage medium you would be replacing your HDD with, etc. A RAM drive is as fast as... well... RAM (but volatile and more expensive), an SSD drive is slower than that (usually in the 400+ MB/s range), but much faster than a mechanical drive (usually around the 75 MB/s range).



Regardless, as Sil suggest, just putting your OS on an SSD should speed up your whole system noticeably.
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Old 28-06-2018, 12:49 PM
Imme (Jon)
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Thanks everyone for you input.

Order an SSD drive today so will throw it in and then see whether I'll upgrade with more ram from there
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