Best Computer Workstation For Agisoft PhotoScan




Agisoft PhotoScan has many stages from 'Build Dense Cloud' to 'Build Textures', all of which require slightly different computer hardware to optimise the task. With that in mind it can be difficult to know what the optimum computer workstation configuration is.

Agisoft have stated their hardware requirements on their website and although this will get you going, they are aimed at the more entry level users and will not offer a higher performing and optimised experience. When running computing operations that may take several days or weeks to complete, optimisations are essential to any business.


Which Processor is the best choice for Agisoft PhotoScan?

When considering the right processor for a particular software there are generally 2 key factors to take into consideration, the frequency and the number of Cores / Threads that processor has. Applications are usually programmed in such a way that they favour one over the other however, in the case of Agisoft PhotoScan, different stages benefit from both these qualities so it is important to choose a well-rounded processor capable of both.

With this in mind the very best option to users would be a professionally overclocked Intel Core i9 processor, as this delivers a high clock speed in excess of over 4.00GHz with up to 18 Cores and 36 Threads at the time of writing. This combination means that no matter whether you are running a single threaded, frequency intensive task or a highly parallel, multi core focused task, your system will perform competently.

Alternatively you could look at an Intel Dual Xeon processor system configured with Gold 6136 CPU’s which has a larger Core count of 24 Cores and 48 Threads than the Intel Core i9 option. Whilst in some aspects of Agisoft these Xeon processors are quicker, due to the lower clock speeds of the Xeon processors, our tests have shown the Core i9 to be slightly faster and more cost effective overall.


Which Graphics cards should be used for Agisoft PhotoScan?

Whilst most aspects of PhotoScan will not benefit from your graphics cards (GPU), the “Build Dense Cloud” stage is GPU accelerated and is also the most intensive stage to the applications photogrammetric processes. With this in mind we recommend a system such as our WS-X1181G that is capable of running up to 4x GPU’s to dramatically reduce the overall processing times of your project.

When considering which graphics cards to select we advise the NVIDIA GeForce range for Agisoft PhotoScan. There is no specific reason why within PhotoScan NVIDIA Quadro cards are needed as there is no ISV certifications for either card and our tests have shown any driver optimisations NVIDIA Quadro may have do not overcome the cost saving that NVIDIA GeForce cards provide. Please however consider any other professional applications you may be running as well as these software packages may require NVIDIA Quadro graphics.

We have seen that Agisoft PhotoScan is very good at scaling on the GeForce platform and therefore it is beneficial to have multiple lower end cheaper cards working together in a system, than one very expensive GPU. For example at the time of writing 3x NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 will cost in the region of £780ex.vat. This is similar to 1x NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080Ti, however the 3 lower end cards combined will far outperform a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080Ti.


How much RAM do I need for Agisoft PhotoScan?

Getting the correct amount of System Memory (RAM) is vital when configuring your system for Agisoft Photoscan. Having too little can cause a major bottleneck in your system and dramatically increase your project completion times. On the other hand having too much will offer no performance gains and when considering the high costs of RAM at this time, your budget can soon get swallowed up when it could be better used increasing your CPU or GPU performance.

Agisoft have provided some very good resources online to calculate the amount of RAM you will require, which largely depend on the scale of your projects and the quality of the output you require. We typically find that 64GB is sufficient for most users and this can be comfortably provided by our WS-X frequency enhanced range of workstations however, if you plan on working on much larger scale projects with higher resolution images then consider our WS-E Intel Dual Xeon range of systems that are able to take much more RAM.




Data Storage Configuration for Agisoft PhotoScan?

In recent times pricing of flash based Solid State Drives (SSD) have come down to the point we recommend that all professionals select this option for their primary drive. Users should have their Operating System and Applications installed on this drive to give optimum performance. When comparing traditional Hard Disk Drives (HDD) to M.2 NVMe SSD’s they are worlds apart. By using an SSD you will notice your Operating System will be far more responsive, applications will load far quicker and overall you will find your user experience will be greatly improved.

That being said we do recommend a 2nd traditional HDD as well. The lower price per GB of storage these larger capacity drives provide make them very good options for long term data storage. Users may also wish to opt for an additional SSD to hold your active projects files such as your images, which will offer the same performance gains seen on your primary SSD, without cluttering your primary drive with active project files.


Conclusion

As Agisoft PhotoScan has so many stages to consider, for example some stages are CPU only whilst others are GPU accelerated it is difficult to determine the very best workstation for this program. In an ideal world you would perform different stages on different hardware solutions however this is not practical. With this in mind you should look for the most well rounded workstation solution available with multi-core capability, fast clock speed and multi-GPU compute capabilities.

From our current line-up of Workstation solutions we would suggest one of our WS-X Frequency Enhanced workstations featuring an Intel Core i9 processor & multiple NVIDIA GeForce Graphics cards whilst working on projects requiring under 128GB of RAM. If you require above 128GB of RAM then you should consider one of our WS-E Enterprise Grade Intel Dual Xeon based systems. If you would like to speak with one of our consultancy team to find out the perfect solution to fit your needs and budget please call +44 (0) 1332 280 380 or fill out the form below.





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