Best Workstation For 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 challenging to know what the optimum computer workstation configuration is.
Agisoft has 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 high performance, 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 two key factors to take into consideration. One the frequency a processor runs at and two the number of cores / threads a processor has. It is usually quite easy to select a processor for an application because they often prefer either frequency or cores. Photoscan however, is very difficult because different stages benefit from both these qualities, so it is crucial to choose a well-rounded processor capable of both.
A professionally overclocked Intel Core i9 processor would be the best option for users because it delivers a high clockspeed of over 4.00GHz with up to 18 cores and 36 threads. This combination means that no matter whether you are running a single threaded, frequency intensive task or a highly parallel, multicore focused operation, your system will perform competently.
Alternatively, you could look at an Intel Dual Xeon processor system configured with larger Core counts than the Intel Core i9 option. While in some aspects of Agisoft these Xeon processors are quicker, due to the lower clockspeeds 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?
While 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. We recommend high clockspeed, high-core count Workstations that are 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 PhotoScan requires NVIDIA Quadro cards, and there are no ISV certifications for either card. Our tests have also 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 these software packages may require NVIDIA Quadro graphics and therefore should be considered when selecting your graphics option.
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 3 low-end NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards will cost in the region of £800 ex.vat. This is similar to 1 high-end NVIDIA GeForce graphics card, however, the 3 low-end cards combined will far outperform a single highe-end unit.
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 significant 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 has provided some excellent resources online to help calculate the amount of RAM you will require, which largely depends on the scale of your projects and the quality of the output you need. We typically find that 64GB is sufficient for most users and our WS-X frequency enhanced range of workstations can comfortably provide this, however, if you plan on working on much larger scale projects with higher resolution images then consider our WS-E Intel Dual Xeon system that is capable of supporting much more RAM.
- Check out this document from Agisoft to help calculate your RAM requirements.
- Alternatively contact our consultancy team for assistance.
Data Storage Configuration for Agisoft PhotoScan?
In recent times pricing of flash-based Solid State Drives (SSD) has 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 considerably quicker, and overall you will find your user experience will be significantly improved.
We also recommend a traditional secondary HDD as well. The lower price per GB these larger capacity drives provide makes them an excellent option for long term data storage. Users may also wish to opt for an additional SSD to hold your active projects files. This will offer further performance gains as the project you are currently working on will not have to share drive resources with your Operating System.
As Agisoft PhotoScan has so many stages to consider, it can make choosing the best Workstation configuration challenging. For example, some steps are CPU only, while others are GPU accelerated. In an ideal world, you would perform different stages on different hardware solutions; unfortunately, this is not practical. You should look for the most well-rounded workstation solution available to overcome this with multi-core capability, fast clockspeeds 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 while working on projects requiring under 128GB of RAM. If you need 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.