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Best Workstation PC for Pix4D (Spring 2020)

Written on June 11, 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 going to try answering that question more directly in a new series of short articles, like this one.

Today we are looking at Pix4D, a photogrammetry application which can be used to generate 3D models of objects, buildings, or even huge maps from sequences of digital photos. It uses the CPU for most of the heavy lifting, but also benefits from a CUDA-compatible graphics card, and can have hefty memory space and drive capacity / speed requirements when working with large image sets.

Screenshot of Pix4D

Screenshot of Pix4D

Good PC Configuration for Pix4D

We'll start off with a good, solid workstation design for Pix4D - without too high of a price tag. This application performs best with a CPU that has a combination of high clock speed and fairly high core count, which means that AMD's latest generation of Ryzen and Threadripper processors do very well here. The top-end of their consumer line, the Ryzen 9 3950X, is a solid choice - and 64GB of memory will usually be sufficient for projects up to 1,000 images or more. Pix4D also makes use of the video card, but there isn't a wide range of performance there so any high-end GeForce model will do well enough.

CPU AMD Ryzen 9 3950X 16-core
Video Cards NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER
RAM 64GB DDR4
Drives 500GB & 1TB NVMe SSDs

Better PC Configuration for Pix4D

Stepping up from the Ryzen family, we move to AMD's Threadripper line. The 24-core 3960X does quite well in Pix4D, and to compliment that we should step up the video card a couple notches, double the RAM, and go a little bigger on storage.

CPU AMD Threadripper 3960X 24-core
Video Cards NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti 11GB
RAM 128GB DDR4
Drives 500GB & 2TB NVMe SSDs

Best PC Configuration for Pix4D

Right now, the most powerful CPU and video card combo for Pix4D that we have found is AMD's Threadripper 3970X alongside NVIDIA's Titan RTX. These are both very expensive components, and you can get close to the same performance with the more affordable configurations we showed above, but this is the best money can buy right now. For working with larger image sets, we recommend increasing the RAM, the speed of the SSDs where projects are kept, and the total drive storage capacity in the system too.

CPU AMD Threadripper 3970X 32-core
Video Cards NVIDIA TITAN RTX
RAM 256GB DDR4
Drives 500GB & 2TB NVMe SSDs & 4TB HDD

Depending on your exact needs, you might want even more drive capacity than that - but such things are entirely up to personal preference. We also have some limited evidence suggesting that the Threadripper 3990X can be even better than the 3970X when working with really large image sets... but in all of our standard testing, the 3970X wins out. It also costs a lot less, so even if the 3990X is a few percent faster in specific situations that may not justify the massive increase in price.

Additional Resources

If you want to know more about Pix4D 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, Pix4D, photogrammetry
Santiago

Does a pcie4 nvme ssd perform better than a pcie3 one?

Posted on 2020-07-04 02:27:08

I have not personally tested any PCI-Express Gen 4 SSDs yet, but once you get into high speed drives like modern NVMe stuff I don't think the drive speed is a major limiting factor for overall performance. Personally, I would care much more about capacity (having plenty of space) and reliability rather than a small boost in speed.

Posted on 2020-07-06 17:23:09