I need a laptop that matches the speed of ZWO ASI174

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OTangen
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I need a laptop that matches the speed of ZWO ASI174

Post by OTangen » Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:28 pm

Hi!

I started the solar imaging season to day here in Norway and was reminded of the fact that my current laptop, Lenovo Y-50-70 with SSD and DDR3 type RAM is not able to take care of the bit stream coming from the 174 camera. Doing full disk mosaics I use more or less the full frame on the -174 giving a FPS of a little more than a 100. The machine soon runs out of buffer ram and is starting to write to disk. Even though this is an SSD it is way too slow in writing the data coming from the camera. Are there any reasonable ways to solve this problem without buying a $5000 new machine? I use Firecapture 2.6 and have tried different settings on "heapsize" and RAM buffer allocation, but no significant improvement.
Any suggestions?

All the best
Oivind Tangen
60N 10E

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Re: I need a laptop that matches the speed of ZWO ASI174

Post by MalVeauX » Mon Apr 15, 2019 9:25 pm

Heya,

I find FireCapture to be significantly slower. SharpCap is much faster I find. I wish I knew the difference.

Also depends on whether you're pushing it at 12~14 bit (i forget which the IMX174 can do tops?) versus 8 bit.

Also depends on if you're using a flat calibration in FireCapture (that immediately drops the FPS I find).

At 12bit, the IMX174 will top out in the 120's FPS. In 10bit, around 160's FPS. So you may be at the threshold of reality with your system, at full resolution as it is.

Very best,

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Re: I need a laptop that matches the speed of ZWO ASI174

Post by OTangen » Tue Apr 16, 2019 8:46 pm

Thank you for the replay Marty!
I will try SharpCap in a couple of weeks when I get back to my solar gear. I have tried both 8 bit and 16 bit (its possibly just 12 bit) I do not use flat calibration during imaging. I use flats in Autostakkert.
I tried another pc today, but it was way, way slower, so it seems that the only way out of this is to invest 2500 pounds in a gaming computer. But that is absolutely out of the question at the moment.

All the best from
Oivind Tangen

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Re: I need a laptop that matches the speed of ZWO ASI174

Post by marktownley » Tue Apr 16, 2019 8:58 pm

Have you turned the buffer size right up in firecapture?
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Re: I need a laptop that matches the speed of ZWO ASI174

Post by Merlin66 » Wed Apr 17, 2019 4:40 am

I had similar concerns with my ACER....
Bit the bullet and went for a MSI gaming machine,i7, 16Gb memory, USB3, 500 Gb SSD and 1 Tb data drive.
Handles my ASI 174 and ASI 1600 at max frame rate.
Recommended.
"Astronomical Spectroscopy - The Final Frontier" - to boldly go where few amateurs have gone before
https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/ast ... scopy/info
"Astronomical Spectroscopy for Amateurs" and
"Imaging Sunlight - using a digital spectroheliograph" - Springer

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Re: I need a laptop that matches the speed of ZWO ASI174

Post by OTangen » Wed Apr 17, 2019 8:09 pm

Thanks guys for the response!

Mark: I do have the maximum buffer size, it is a little less than 4 GB as far as I can recall.
Merlin: Well, good advise but I was trying to avoid that right now. May be I get so frustrated I'll do it one of these days.

I will keep you posted when I return to my observatory.

Oivind Tangen
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Re: I need a laptop that matches the speed of ZWO ASI174

Post by bart1805 » Wed Apr 17, 2019 9:19 pm

There is no need for an expensive gaming machine. I use an Acer Aspire V3-371-39C5. Swapped the drive for a fast SSD and dropped in extra RAM memory. Maximum fps is no problem.

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Re: I need a laptop that matches the speed of ZWO ASI174

Post by Merlin66 » Wed Apr 17, 2019 11:28 pm

Bart,
I should have said my ol' ACER didn't have USB3 ports.......
"Astronomical Spectroscopy - The Final Frontier" - to boldly go where few amateurs have gone before
https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/ast ... scopy/info
"Astronomical Spectroscopy for Amateurs" and
"Imaging Sunlight - using a digital spectroheliograph" - Springer

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Re: I need a laptop that matches the speed of ZWO ASI174

Post by bart1805 » Thu Apr 18, 2019 5:41 am

Merlin66 wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 11:28 pm
Bart,
I should have said my ol' ACER didn't have USB3 ports.......
Yes, I forgot that too. USB3 is crucial!
And I should have said that I swapped the original 256 SSD for a bigger one. Everytime the free disk space was lower than 100 the fps dropped significantly.

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Re: I need a laptop that matches the speed of ZWO ASI174

Post by PDB » Thu Apr 18, 2019 6:27 am

Hi,

cheapest option probably is to build an SSSM. Then there is no need anymore to transfer huge amounts of data from the buffer to the disc (since only good seeing moments are saved) That with a good USB3 connection and enough memory (I use 16Gb) should do.

Other option, but the laptop needs to support it (any many older ones do not) is use one of these M2 SSD in PCIe mode (not Sata mode!) that will more that tripple transfer rates over a normal SSD. Also be aware that SSD are fast for reading, but not always for writing because of the way data has to be written. They tend to slow down quicky with more data on the SSD and there is a need for "trimming" on regular basis. This is done normaly by Windows. (But have the impression it is sometimes forgotten) This of course should not be done to frequently because of extra wear.

Regards,

Paul

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Re: I need a laptop that matches the speed of ZWO ASI174

Post by OTangen » Fri Apr 19, 2019 4:55 pm

Hi all!

Bart 1805: My machine do have a USB3 port and I have 512 GB SSD drive. The internal RAM is DDR3 16 GB
Paul: I use an SSM. I do think my SSD is running in SATA mode though. It is a Samsung MZ7TE512HMHP-000L2 according to the BIOS. I do not know if that disk can be run in PCIe mode.
I will seek advice from PC specialists in my home town and see if there something more to adjust or may be a new SSD is an option. The old one is only 2 years old though. But things are progressing fast in the technology world.

Oivind Tangen
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