Thursday, March 28, 2013

What computer should I buy to use ERDAS IMAGINE?


I often get system configuration questions. Actually, very often. People ask, what computer should I buy to use ERDAS IMAGINE? The posted System Requirements explain the minimum needed. Minimum requirements give the same results, but take a long time to get there.
 
For me, my computer is considered the cheapest employee the company can hire. Pay for it once and use it 24 / 7 / 365 for 3 or 4 years. That is a good employee. :)
 
Here are what I usually tell folks:
  1. Everyone using ERDAS IMAGINE should use a 64-bit OS. Everyone. A 64-bit OS is far more valuable in time savings than the cost of the US$125 upgrade from a 32-bit OS.
    1. ERDAS IMAGINE has used large address aware (on 64-bit OS) to allow a process to use up to about 3.4GB memory (if needed) in some form or another since ERDAS Desktop 2010. All ERDAS Desktop products are large address aware in v2013 and higher. All.
  2. Everyone should use a 64-bit OS, and use more than 8 GB RAM. We use their resources they have invested in. Below you see how you easily exceed 8GB RAM on a typical day.
    1. MS Windows OS often uses about 2GB of memory.
    2. MS Office uses about 500MB of memory. 
    3. The ERDAS IMAGINE Viewer/Ribbon can use up to about 3.4GB of memory. 
    4. MosaicProcessPro (MosaicPro engine) can use up to about 3.4GB of memory. 
  3. Everyone should use a 64-bit OS, use more than 8GB RAM, and use multi-core processors.
    1. ERDAS desktop products has used multiple threads in some form or another since ERDAS IMAGINE / LPS 8.7.
    2. We do more work in this area every major release of ERDAS IMAGINE, and salso do some work in some SPs.
    3. Even in areas with limited threading,using multi-core processors improves performance.
  4. Everyone should use a 64-bit OS, use more than 8GB RAM, use multi-core processors, and use fast disks.
    1. This is why moer than 8GB RAM helps so very, very much. Greater than 8GB RAM keeps process intensive memory usage from paging to virtual memory (disk file). All the while you have other applications open on your Windows OS desktop.
    2. Because geographic data are so large, reading and writing of these data is a significant slow-down point. Use one fast disk for reading and another fast disks for writing and most valuable disk RAIDs when ever possible.
    3. Never process large files using an external USB drive. The time (and money) you waste will likely pay for another internal hard disk.


 

5 comments:

Timo Ikola said...

This is my favourite topic too. I have few additional comments

1) OS to SSD drive. SSD's are fast and in case data is small enough to put in a SSD you see that performance is so good that disk is no longer limitation. So you even can run multiple processes simultaneously without losing any time as jobs were run individually.

2) When using big internal SATA drives consider using some SATA controller cards instead of just using the motherboard connectors. In motherboard disk control is in CPU and OS but in controller cards disk is controlled via this card. That in generally boosts disk performance in long run when disk control is given to some deticated device.

3) As you comment external drives are wast of time. If still external drives are mandatory as they sometimes are make sure that connector is something else than USB2 - so in practise USB3, eSATA or FireWire - with that you can save a lot if external drive is only option available.

timo

ps. Hint for using more than 8gb of RAM is my next investment. I thought that 8Gb is enough as I never manage to consume it all but if that helps I will try. RAM is not that expensive nowdays.

Timo Ikola said...

This is my favourite topic too. I have few additional comments

1) OS to SSD drive. SSD's are fast and in case data is small enough to put in a SSD you see that performance is so good that disk is no longer limitation. So you even can run multiple processes simultaneously without losing any time as jobs were run individually.

2) When using big internal SATA drives consider using some SATA controller cards instead of just using the motherboard connectors. In motherboard disk control is in CPU and OS but in controller cards disk is controlled via this card. That in generally boosts disk performance in long run when disk control is given to some deticated device.

3) As you comment external drives are wast of time. If still external drives are mandatory as they sometimes are make sure that connector is something else than USB2 - so in practise USB3, eSATA or FireWire - with that you can save a lot if external drive is only option available.

timo

ps. Hint for using more than 8gb of RAM is my next investment. I thought that 8Gb is enough as I never manage to consume it all but if that helps I will try. RAM is not that expensive nowdays.

Paul said...

Hello Timo, somehow this post got trapped in bit purgatory. I agree with your comments. I have started playing with SSDs and they sure hold a lot of promise. We have been researching with some 64-bit code of ERDAS IMAGINE. This is part of the work we have been doing for some time. Some remove sensing workflows will benefit quite a bit from expanded RAM, some not so much. We are identifying the highest value workflows in our research.

mo ma said...

CAN i use a laptop with high components

Paul said...

Yes, you can use laptops with high-end components. I use several different computers to test ERDAS IMAGINE for speed and scalability. Hexagon Geospatial has a working agreement with HP, so we get some HP equipment before its release to the market, and then use if for several years in processing and testing.

For laptops, the biggest concern is disk speed and RAM. You should have at least a 7800RPM disk. This is not related to the software, but to the image data stored on disk.

For RAM, you need a minimum of 8GB for OK performance. But, you should strongly consider more RAM as the OS will take up a lot of that RAM. Also, laptops and low end desktops do not have sophisticated hard disk controllers, so they use the main CPU and RAM for this task.... thus cutting into your memory usage and processing power.

The key to a good hardware value, a balanced approach. More than 8GB RAM with a 5400RPM disk is not a good idea. Likewise, less than 8GB RAM with a 7800RPM disk is not a good idea. Try an HP laptop with 16GB RAM and a 7800RPM disk with a small SSD for swap space (virtual memory). I think you’ll like that.