Setting Up Laptop Solely For Solar Work

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Setting Up Laptop Solely For Solar Work

Post by marktownley »

I have a laptop I use soley for solar; Firecapture, AS3. ImPPG and CS6

It has a 2Tb SSD. 64Gb RAM and 4Mhz processor.

When I am recording files, when have used about 500Gb of data the laptop becomes really slow writing to disk.

I'm wondering are there any easy configurable tweaks I can do to the settings of the laptop to improve this - i'm not a PC expert so any advice appreciated.

Mark


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Re: Setting Up Laptop Solely For Solar Work

Post by pupak »

I am use external 2TB SSD Samsung as a work medium.


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Re: Setting Up Laptop Solely For Solar Work

Post by DavidP »

I’ve wondered about an external HD.
Is data written directly to it?
Does it record slower than to the internal drive?


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Re: Setting Up Laptop Solely For Solar Work

Post by thesmiths »

marktownley wrote: Sun Mar 19, 2023 11:56 am When I am recording files, when have used about 500Gb of data the laptop becomes really slow writing to disk.
What size of files are you recording? I assume the SSD is NVMe ? I also assume you have a single 2TB SSD ?

It's possible it might be better to write to a disk which does not also have the operating system. Since you have a fairly high-end laptop (I'm assuming it's a gaming laptop), there is likely a free slot inside for a second NVMe memory module. An internal NVMe will be faster than an external USB-C drive.

One thing to possibly try (if you haven't done this already): create a new partition on the SSD to use solely for storing data. Reserve 500GB on C: for system files. Create a new partition D: with 1500MB just for the data. It's actually a little cleaner way to organise anyway and possibly might improve performance.

The write speed of an NVMe SSD is much faster than the USB 3.0 camera download speed. I have some concerns about the cache feature that the newest version of FireCapture uses. I suspect it's not always a good idea to use this. You might try to turn this feature off completely (the normal allocation is 50% of the system DRAM) and see if the behaviour changes.


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Re: Setting Up Laptop Solely For Solar Work

Post by marktownley »

OK, so how do I know if the drive is NVMe? It is a single 2Tb (1.81Tb actually).

File size is 5-10Gb ish per file.

Is there anywhere you can point me that is a good guide to partition the harddrive?

Thanks! :)


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Re: Setting Up Laptop Solely For Solar Work

Post by Radon86 »

Hi Mark,

How many frames per second are you getting - a range of low to maximum attainable (depends on image size) do you get ?

Many thanks.
I have a 1 TB SSD (NVMe) on an old HP laptop and 16 GB RAM and it gets about 64 fps on a normal image size of a ASI 174mm I think in SharpCap.

Magnus


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Re: Setting Up Laptop Solely For Solar Work

Post by thesmiths »

marktownley wrote: Sat Apr 01, 2023 7:40 am OK, so how do I know if the drive is NVMe?
Is there anywhere you can point me that is a good guide to partition the hard drive?
To figure out what kind of drive it is, do Windows search for "Device Manager". Then look under Disk Drives. It will give the model for the disk drive. You might have to then Google search for what this actually is (it may be rather non-obvious from the model number).

With regards to creating a new partition, the easiest way is to do a Windows search for "create and format hard disk partitions". You will come to the "Disk Management" tool. The following Dell video explains very well how to do it. It's not difficult but you just need to be careful.



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Re: Setting Up Laptop Solely For Solar Work

Post by marktownley »

Thanks folks. I'm away from home at the moment but will check this out next week when I return.


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Re: Setting Up Laptop Solely For Solar Work

Post by Dennis »

Hm.. sounds like the SSD is slower in writing then the imaging data coming in from the camera. Which means the 64gb of ram should be full at the point of "collapse". Is this the case?
If so then you can try to upgrade the ssd to one that writes faster (look for 500mb/s + ). And careful, many vendors give out the reading speed in the ad for their ssds which is different from writing speed.

If possible give us the model name of your ssd.


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Re: Setting Up Laptop Solely For Solar Work

Post by marktownley »

The disk is a Kingston NV1 NVMe PCIe SSD 2000GB M.2 2280 - SNVS/2000G https://www.kingston.com/unitedkingdom/ ... icle/61642

This is what I have in terms of partitions etc
ssd.jpg
ssd.jpg (392.05 KiB) Viewed 1979 times
I have no idea if the RAM is full when the disk collapses?

If I create new partitions won't it delete everything that is on the disk already?


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Re: Setting Up Laptop Solely For Solar Work

Post by Dennis »

marktownley wrote: Thu Apr 06, 2023 8:58 am The disk is a Kingston NV1 NVMe PCIe SSD 2000GB M.2 2280 - SNVS/2000G https://www.kingston.com/unitedkingdom/ ... icle/61642

This is what I have in terms of partitions etc

ssd.jpg

I have no idea if the RAM is full when the disk collapses?

If I create new partitions won't it delete everything that is on the disk already?
Ok, the hard drive should be more then fast enough..
If the RAM is filling up you can check in the taskmanager (ctrl+alt+del) then under "Performance".
If that is not running full while imaging then something else is going on.

You can make a new partition from space that hasnt been partitioned yet. If all is occupied you can delete Partitions that you want to free up which deletes the data on them.

But as long as your imaging data is landing on c: everything should be fine. Even running the OS from the same partition should be fine with this Laptop.
Might indeed be some settings in Firecapture, i remember having trouble with this too. My current performance settings are like this:
Attachments
Firecapture Settings.PNG
Firecapture Settings.PNG (33.35 KiB) Viewed 1969 times


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Re: Setting Up Laptop Solely For Solar Work

Post by marktownley »

Thanks Dennis, I will have a look at my Firecapture settings when I return home.


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Re: Setting Up Laptop Solely For Solar Work

Post by DavidP »

So can an external SSD be set up on a laptop so that Firecapture writes directly too it with the drive keeping up with capture?


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Re: Setting Up Laptop Solely For Solar Work

Post by Dennis »

DavidP wrote: Sun Apr 09, 2023 9:25 pm So can an external SSD be set up on a laptop so that Firecapture writes directly too it with the drive keeping up with capture?

I wouldnt do it. You would use two usb 3 channels in parallel with the cam and the ssd. Usually the usb 3 bandwith is then shared.


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Re: Setting Up Laptop Solely For Solar Work

Post by thesmiths »

Dennis wrote: Mon Apr 10, 2023 7:15 am
DavidP wrote: Sun Apr 09, 2023 9:25 pm So can an external SSD be set up on a laptop so that Firecapture writes directly too it with the drive keeping up with capture?
I wouldnt do it. You would use two usb 3 channels in parallel with the cam and the ssd. Usually the usb 3 bandwith is then shared.
If you use a USB 3.0 port for the camera and a USB-C port for the SSD, I think it should be ok. I suspect that the USB ports will have a shared channel while the USB-C is likely to be on a separate channel. In any case, I would only use an external USB-C storage device -- the write speed will be almost as fast as an internal NVMe drive (and faster than a SATA drive).


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Re: Setting Up Laptop Solely For Solar Work

Post by GreatAttractor »

Dennis wrote: Mon Apr 10, 2023 7:15 am I wouldnt do it. You would use two usb 3 channels in parallel with the cam and the ssd. Usually the usb 3 bandwith is then shared.
Not necessarily, it depends on how many USB controllers there are in the laptop (and how they're wired to ports). On my 2020 Dell Inspiron 15 7506 I can record at my Blackfly's full framerate (some 330 MiB/s) straight to an external SSD, both connected to USB-A ports (USB 3.2).


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Re: Setting Up Laptop Solely For Solar Work

Post by Dennis »

GreatAttractor wrote: Wed Apr 12, 2023 8:59 pm
Dennis wrote: Mon Apr 10, 2023 7:15 am I wouldnt do it. You would use two usb 3 channels in parallel with the cam and the ssd. Usually the usb 3 bandwith is then shared.
Not necessarily, it depends on how many USB controllers there are in the laptop (and how they're wired to ports). On my 2020 Dell Inspiron 15 7506 I can record at my Blackfly's full framerate (some 330 MiB/s) straight to an external SSD, both connected to USB-A ports (USB 3.2).
Yes, i mostly encountered that there was only one usb 3 controller on the device, but that was usb 3.0 times. Maybe with newer revisions this problem got solved / diffused.


Triband C9.25

H-a: 2x Lunt40 rear mounted

WL: Antlia 500nm/ 3nm, 393 nm/ 3nm

Ca-K: homebrew (includes 2x 1.5A filters, thanks Apollo), corrective lenses (thanks again Apollo)

Cameras: imx432 + imx462
Barlows:
-2x Gerd Düring 2.7x
-2x TMB 1.8x
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