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Best Workstation PC for RealityCapture (Summer 2020)

Written on July 10, 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 RealityCapture, a photogrammetry application for reconstructing virtual versions of real-life objects and places 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 of course, large image sets can use a lot of drive capacity (and speed) as well.

Screenshot of RealityCapture

Screenshot of RealityCapture

Good PC Configuration for RealityCapture

We'll start off with a good, solid workstation design for RealityCapture - 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 Ryzen 9 3900X, is a solid choice - and 64GB of memory will usually be sufficient for projects up to several thousand images and standard settings. RealityCapture also makes use of the video card, so we'll start with a mid-range NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER there, and a couple of fast SSDs for the boot and storage drives.

CPU AMD Ryzen 9 3900X 12-core
Video Cards NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER 8GB
RAM 64GB DDR4
Drives 500GB & 1TB NVMe SSDs

Better PC Configuration for RealityCapture

Stepping up from there, we can move to the Ryzen 9 3950X with a few more cores and NVIDIA's faster GeForce RTX 2080 Ti. That combination should increase performance by 10% or more over the previous design. System memory is doubled for bigger image sets, maxing out what the Ryzen processor line can handle, and we bump up the total SSD capacity slightly as well.

CPU AMD Ryzen 9 3950X 16-core
Video Cards NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti 11GB
RAM 128GB DDR4
Drives 500GB & 2TB NVMe SSDs

Best PC Configuration for RealityCapture

For the best performance in RealityCapture, especially with larger image sets, we have to step up from the Ryzen family to AMD's Threadripper line. The 32-core 3970X tops our benchmark results, and we're also maxing out video card performance by adding a second GeForce RTX 2080 Ti. RAM is doubled again, and a hard drive is added for extra storage space (not for active projects!).

CPU AMD Threadripper 3970X 32-core
Video Cards 2x NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti 11GB
RAM 256GB DDR4
Drives 500GB & 2TB NVMe SSDs & 4TB HDD

Depending on your exact situation, you might want even more drive capacity - but such things are entirely up to personal preference. Many of the options on the configurations above can be adjusted as you see fit, to best line up with your specific needs and budget.

It is also worth noting that disabling SMT can often increase performance slightly in RealityCapture. This is especially true for higher core count processors, like the Ryzen 9 3950X and Threadripper 3970X recommended above. Check out this article for further details.

Additional Resources

If you want to know more about RealityCapture 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, RealityCapture, photogrammetry
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