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Best Workstation PC for Metashape (Winter 2020)

Written on December 15, 2020 by William George
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Introduction

Here at Puget Systems, specifically in the Labs department, most of the content that we write falls into one of two categories: either long, fairly in-depth articles looking at the performance of various PC components in a given application or recommended system pages, with multiple configuration options aimed at different budgets and lots of supporting data drawn from the aforementioned articles. For some readers all of that is information overload, though, and they just want a quick question answered: what is the best computer for my needs? We’re answering that question more directly in a series of articles, like this one, which we plan to update a couple times per year.

Today we are looking at Agisoft Metashape, a photogrammetry application for creating 3D models and maps of real-world object and places from sequences of digital photos. It uses a combination of the CPU and GPUs (video cards) for processing, with different steps using them in different ways, and working with large image sets also requires a lot of RAM (memory) and drive capacity / speed as well.

Good PC Configuration for Metashape

We'll start off with a good, solid workstation design for Metashape - without too high of a price tag. This application performs best with a CPU that has a high clock speed without too much regard for core count. With the improvements to per-core performance in the latest AMD chips, the Ryzen 7 5800X has turned out to be one of the fastest processors for Metashape. Unfortunately it has also been in short supply since it launched, so if it isn't available then the Intel Core i9 10900K is only a tiny bit slower (and much more widely accessible).

Alongside one of those processors, 64GB of memory will usually be sufficient for projects up to 1,000 images or even a bit more (depending on resolution). Metashape also makes use of the video card, so we'll start with a NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070. Finally, we want fast M.2 SSDs for both the OS/application drive and for storing projects.

CPU AMD Ryzen 7 5800X 8-core
Video Cards NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070
RAM 64GB DDR4
Drives 500GB & 1TB NVMe SSDs

Better PC Configuration for Metashape

Upgrading from there, we can opt for AMD's higher core count Ryzen 9 5950X and add a second RTX 3070 video card. Please remember that to actually get better performance from the 5950X you will need to disable SMT. Along with those core upgrades, doubling the system memory and increasing SSD capacity will allow for working with larger image sets. Overall, this system should perform about 10-20% faster in Metashape than the "good" configuration above while also handling projects with up to twice as many photos.

CPU AMD Ryzen 9 5950X 16-core
Video Cards 2x NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070
RAM 128GB DDR4
Drives 500GB & 2TB NVMe SSDs

Best PC Configuration for Metashape

The system above is just about as good as it gets for running a single instance of Metashape. Yes, technically upgrading the video cards to dual RTX 3080 or even 3090 cards could get you another few percent - but for a hefty increase in price.

Instead, if you want to increase overall performance, there is another way to go: running multiple copies (instances) of Metashape at the same time. This isn't something where we can say exactly what hardware is going to be the best, though, because it will depend on whether you want to run two or three instances... and if your workflow will even allow you to do this at all. If you don't usually have more than one active project at a time, this probably won't help - and even if you do, things like drive capacity and system memory will be shared, so there is a lot to consider. As such, we aren't listing a third system configuration; instead, we are inviting you to fill out the form below and get in touch with our consulting team so they can help tailor the right workstation for your specific situation.

Additional Resources

If you want to know more about Metashape performance, we have published several articles over the years looking at how various CPUs and video cards compare when processing different image sets. We also have public benchmarks that you can download and run on your own system to see how it stacks up with the latest hardware. And if you aren’t sure what you need, or if your workflow includes multiple applications, please feel free to call or email our consultants to get a more personalized configuration.

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Tags: Workstation, PC Workstation, PC, photogrammetry, Metashape, Agisoft, PhotoScan