Data fondling machine

Perhaps that got your attention?

Now, I’m looking for a rendering machine for the office to handle all my Drone surveys etc.
It’s not graphics-heavy, so I don’t need some crazy GPU like a Quadro or AMD equivalent, but it is number heavy, so I need RAM.

Supposedly, the recommended specs for Pix4D are:

  • Windows 10, 64 bits.
  • CPU quad-core or hexa-core Intel i9/Threadripper/Ryzen 9/.
  • GeForce GTX GPU compatible with OpenGL 3.2 and 2 GB RAM.
  • Hard disk: SSD.
  • Small projects (under 100 images at 14 MP): 8 GB RAM, 15 GB SSD Free Space.
  • Medium projects (between 100 and 500 images at 14 MP): 16GB RAM, 30 GB SSD Free Space.
  • Large projects (over 500- 1000 images at 14 MP): 32 GB RAM, 60 GB SSD Free Space.
  • Very Large projects (1000 - 2000 images at 14 MP): 64 GB RAM, 120 GB SSD Free Space.

Generally, I work with projects in and around 800 images, but we are tackling larger things now and doing some side projects, where I would be capturing 1500+ images.

I’m trying to not break the bank with this as I also want Da Boss to approve a new drone on Thursday when the Mavic 3 gets announced.

I’ve found a couple of places with decent spec machines, but fuck me with a bacon-butty, they are pricey! Am I that out of touch that I can’t find or spec a decent rig any more???

This seems too good to be true:

Meaning it more than likely is.

Then when I look at specific build sites, they’re obscene money.


These are some of the models that I generate from the Drone surveys:

Clonaslee Municipal Treatment ICW.

Lixnaw Municipal Treatment ICW.

My forestry on the farm.

Kilbogget Park in Dublin CIty.

Rendering these things involves crazy numbers of data. A decent sized survey will typically generate ~10 Million points of data, each with a stack of data within. Throwing those around in order to generate a finished render takes a good chunk of processing power and time.


Pricing is high due to the chip shortage. Also don’t get a Dell box as they are usually not the best. I know not much help…

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Dell have their place, but it’s just painful to see the cost of some things now.

We have Dell throughout our firm and like them.

That said, that one you linked is 6th Gen Intel whereas they have just released 12th gen, hence the reduced price, I would imagine. Probably still a capable machine though.

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With handling so many images I don’t think it’s as simple as just just whacking in as much RAM is possible. I think you’ll probably get to the point where your I/O on your bus could be a factor with high reads and writes. I say that flippantly, as I have no data to back it up but it could be researched. I’d be looking at PCIe 4 and, if going down the Ryzen route, looking at motherboards that truely have those lanes available. You don’t want to be caching in RAM data that is waiting to be written to your SSD.

Something to think about beyond the usual CPU, GPU and RAM numbers.


Good point Jes!

Having a processor that can crunch the numbers and enough high-speed RAM and PCI lanes that can allow that information to be handled is a pain, because of the cost & scarcity of them.

To put in relevant terms, I currently run ALL my drone surveys on my Dell XPS 15 laptop (i7 & 16GB RAM) and some of the projects will take a solid 18-26 HOURS of render time. I have had to leave the machine crunching away for the whole weekend to get a survey done for the following monday.

Depending on your render software performance can be quite different. I for example run Autodesk Inventor for rendering, with an Intel system at work (9700K, 16GB ram) and an AMD system (3600x, 32GB ram) at home.

AMD is a really decent alternative if you want a highend consumer PC, also because of all of the extra PCI lanes, intel has too high power draw for similar power. At least from 9th to 11th gen this was true, 12th seems to be a different beast. Especially the 3900x, or 5900x for AMD is an absolute beast for rendering tasks, even my 3600x is a fairly decent number crusher. I use it frequently for that too, for example magnetic field coil simulations :smiley: . The higher base clockspeed on the 3600x works well for me with the combination with 12 threads for rendering in Inventor.

I hate DELL since Korea, their quality control is nowhere near what it used to be and there products very badly designed down the line. We had to fix our brand new DELL PCs ourselves as they couldn’t fix them or were not willing to after a certain point in time. Mine kept bluescreening, my colleagues SSD kept disappearing. They are also not upgradeable anymore, all of the parts are DELL specific (PSU, motherboard, …). For electronic waste they are a nightmare. I used to like there stuff, back in Germany and Japan I had a Dell working really well and out of the box. Once you have trouble with it though, its a very different story. I have custom budget pc now at work here in Italy.

However in the economy right now a system from DELL or similar offenders looks very good. Until you have trouble with it …

Hmmm… Dell.

Ok, I’ll advise my boss to stop buying machines that we have had good experience with on the back of that video.

Agreed. Clearly not worth the stability over many hundreds of machines deployed.

On a thread related matter, recently “acquired” a M1000e chassis populated with M630 blades through uni contacts for our infrastructure, even for 5 year old hardware we would currently be looking at over £20k to get another, where this time last year we were looking at buying a refurbished one to add to our stocks for 1/4 of that.

We’ve dell machines in work. No issues with them at all. Xps laptop we got for one person is still flying after 5 years of abuse

Don’t know, maybe ours were just those two special Monday machines. All I can say it was a nightmare to get sorted out and at some point they refused to fix them. Afterwards we basically completely flatten the OS on both machines and reinstalled windows, still had the occasional blue screen every now and then but far scarcer.

As mentioned before, in Japan and Germany they worked really well.

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Anyone have any thoughts/suggestions?

Cyber Monday bollocks and all that. There might be something out there.

Ideally looking for something with 32GB RAM.

I’m thinking this and maybe just expanding the memory in it to 64GB?

or this:

Save €400 on the 2nd one and just get €400 worth of RAM?

Looking at the 2nd option there, cheaper, and a 32GB RAM kit from Crucial is €150, so could just get that to bump it up to 48GB and decent storage.

Dell Xps machines are good. Always get the dell 3 year warranty though. It is brilliant if something goes wrong. Saying that, out of all the dell machines we’ve had here, I’ve only ever used it twice in 6 years.

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It mostly depends on your needs, but the 3060Ti has quite a few more cuda cores, and machine learning capabilities than the 1660Ti. If thats not an issue for your requirements take the second one.

For me there was a shift at work were the RTX feature would come in handy to speed up some machine learning. Especially with the current market, that could be a crucial problem later and because a normal GPU might not fit the Dell.

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I’m pulling the trigger on the 3060Ti version.

I’ll get a 64GB RAM bundle from Amazon as well and replace the RAM once it arrives.

Tl;dr: Can you up the system ram on the system with the 3060ti to 64gb?

If so, that looks like a decent bet for the crunching you’re looking at.

If you had the pennies, bump your card to a 3070ti as well.

Looking at the requirements above and having a poke around some benchmarks for the software, the system with the 3060ti looks like it’s going to be short on RAM. (see end of post)

The CPU is looking like a decent choice - According to this bench mark for Pix4D 4.5.6, the Intel 10900k is top of the list:

Having a look how the 10900k stacks up against the 11700 in your system, the 10900k wins out:

…but the 11700 comes in above the next best (according to the above benchmark) CPU the AMD 3960x:

Obviously, appropriate salt with the bench marks.

In terms of the card for use with Pix4D, all I’ve been able to dig up is a forum post which a ‘Technical Support Engineer’ responded to by linking this page:


The Engineer says they don’t have any specific data on the 30xx series for Pix4D, but I would take him linking the above as an endorsement that the 3060Ti would likely do the job. Also as I mentioned above, based on that ‘recommended systems’ link from the Tech, it looks you’re going to want 64gb system Ram.

Also in the forum post, the OP echo’s what Zorn said about the additional CUDA cores.

Hope thats helpful dude.