Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

Getting Ready to Jump In and Need Advice, Please!

  • Please log in to reply
7 replies to this topic

#1 geophiz

geophiz

    Lift Off

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 7
  • Joined: 11 Feb 2020

Posted 20 September 2021 - 05:46 PM

I'm new to AP and haven't bought a single piece of hardware yet, but have a good idea what it will be. I also realize that's just the start and processing is going to be at least as challenging and important as acquisition. Processing is where I feel like Chris Farley's skit on Saturday Night Live and would greatly appreciate your help and insights.

 

I plan on initially using Astro Pixel Processor, then graduating to PI down the road as my understanding and skill progresses (1-2 years).

I also plan on purchasing the ASI 2600MM due to my Bortle 7-8 skies (narrowband filter) as a "buy once..." approach to utilize the latest generation chip. Control/acquisition will be through an Air Pro to keep it as simple to begin with and allow the possibility to step up to a micro-PC later.

 

Here's the rub.

After reading posts regarding the 2600 and it's ability to create substantial file sizes when processing, I'm getting concerned that my current laptop is not up to the task using APP, let alone PI

- Surface Pro 6, i7 8650 cpu @ 1.9 ghz; 16 GB RAM and 1 TB HD.

 

Am I correct and if so, what do hardware do you recommend? Do you build or buy off the shelf?

I'm open to a workstation if that's necessary, as I also see builds here that have 12 core Ryzen chips, 128 GB RAM(!), etc which began my concern that I'll be bogged down or locked-up with my current laptop.

 

Having access through CN to this collective experience and knowledge base is awesome, and I would appreciate and thank you for taking the time to provide guidance to me.



#2 D_talley

D_talley

    Skylab

  • *****
  • Posts: 4,167
  • Joined: 07 Jul 2005
  • Loc: Albuquerque, New Mexico

Posted 20 September 2021 - 06:07 PM

Your laptop will be bogged down with the large file sizes from your camera.  I built a workstation for my processing, a 56 core 64gb Intel system with a dedicated 12 tb NAS for the file storage. I have not run into any problem with large file processing. You can use your laptop to control the scope and remote to it from the workstation.



#3 DJL

DJL

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 977
  • Joined: 15 Aug 2020

Posted 20 September 2021 - 06:07 PM

Newish MacBook Pro here, 2.6 GHz 6 core i7, 32GB memory. I run APP and am happy with the processing speed. APP can use multiple cores and you can designate how much RAM to use. The point of commonality is it has a 1TB SSD. I have Samsung T5s and most recently a T7 2TB just for astrophotography. Having a well organized file system is important.

 

I have learned most of what I can do with astrophotography software from YouTube and Photoshop processing from AstroBackyard's tutorial. I found with APP I really could not figure out how to export an image right away. For my first one I had to do a screenshot to show people. Just ask here if you get stuck. There's a tutorial by Charles Bracken which was really helpful: https://www.astropix...harles-bracken/

 

Hopefully some Windows users can chime in with their preferred processing setups. I think it won't be a go / nogo, more likely a matter of how long operations take, which also depends on complexity. For example I have used APP to combine multiple sessions with multiple filters, which it sounds like you will be doing if you start with mono.

 

Hopefully you picked up the advice to keep the weight of camera and scope to not much more than 50-60% of the mount payload for AP.

 

Good luck!



#4 geophiz

geophiz

    Lift Off

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 7
  • Joined: 11 Feb 2020

Posted 21 September 2021 - 09:49 AM

Thank you for the replies.

DJL, your answer describes a machine with similar specs to my laptop. What camera do you use and what are the intitial and final file sizes you are working with?

 

I guess my question comes down to this: is file size (therefore camera and number of shots taken) being manipulated the primary determinant of required number of cores and amount of RAM to efficiently process? Or is it the software (APP vs PI); or a combination of the two? Is there a calculation that can be made to determine the optimum number of cores, RAM size and speed?

 

Sophmoric questions I'm sure, but it makes me wonder when the other response (D Talley - thank you!) prescribes what I would consider a very high end machine.

 

DJL, I have downloaded Brackens APP guide, as well read (and am re-reading) his DS Imaging Primer. What great help!

Also, I did consider mount capacity versus load and the wish list includes a SW EQR6-Pro (~44# cap), WO FLT 91(wt 12.2#) and .8x flattener, 50mm guidscope w/290mm, 7 x 2" FW, Baader SHO/LRGB, and 2600mm.

 

Again, thank you and I appreciate your advice!


  • DJL likes this

#5 f430

f430

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 724
  • Joined: 29 Sep 2015
  • Loc: La Mesa, CA.

Posted 21 September 2021 - 11:48 AM

I have a more modest setup; A Dell desktop Win 10 Pro, with Ryzen 7, 1700X,  8 core, with 32G Ram, SAMSUNG 970 EVO Plus SSD 2TB - M.2 memory.  I have 8 Swap files set up in Pixinsight. So, a pretty modest machine. 

I use a QHY 268M camera, so 26mb per image. 

I recently ran 120 images each in narrow band, so 360 images total, through Pixinsight Weighted Batch Processing. I also had a Master Dark, but no Flats. Process time for this was about 1 hour.

Another run, with 270 images took 41 minutes.   

Not speedy, but I just get it running and come back later when it's done. I'm retired, time is money, I have more of one than the other! ;-) 



#6 OldManSky

OldManSky

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5,718
  • Joined: 03 Jan 2019
  • Loc: Valley Center, CA USA

Posted 21 September 2021 - 06:51 PM

My i7 Desktop is just adequate for long PI sessions with my 2-month old 2600. And the only thing making it adequate instead of pokey is the 64gb of RAM in it. You Surface is going to have a very hard time and will be pretty slow.

I am looking at new PCs now, but it’s not the best time to buy with all the chip shortages. Sigh.



#7 KTAZ

KTAZ

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,962
  • Joined: 09 Apr 2020
  • Loc: Scottsdale, AZ

Posted 21 September 2021 - 07:01 PM

I also use a Surface Pro 4 for all my acquisition. I do not recommend it for processing, but it works great for capturing using NINA, PHD2, SharpCap, and FireCapture.

 

Plan to move your nightly captures to a desktop for processing. Also plan to get yourself a nice big network drive with several TB of space for the tons of files you will generate year over year. Your processing machine should have at least 32GB of ram and a 1TB dedicated SSD for processing.


  • OldManSky likes this

#8 DJL

DJL

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 977
  • Joined: 15 Aug 2020

Posted 22 September 2021 - 07:11 AM

Thank you for the replies.

DJL, your answer describes a machine with similar specs to my laptop. What camera do you use and what are the intitial and final file sizes you are working with?

 

I guess my question comes down to this: is file size (therefore camera and number of shots taken) being manipulated the primary determinant of required number of cores and amount of RAM to efficiently process? Or is it the software (APP vs PI); or a combination of the two? Is there a calculation that can be made to determine the optimum number of cores, RAM size and speed?

 

Sophmoric questions I'm sure, but it makes me wonder when the other response (D Talley - thank you!) prescribes what I would consider a very high end machine.

 

DJL, I have downloaded Brackens APP guide, as well read (and am re-reading) his DS Imaging Primer. What great help!

Also, I did consider mount capacity versus load and the wish list includes a SW EQR6-Pro (~44# cap), WO FLT 91(wt 12.2#) and .8x flattener, 50mm guidscope w/290mm, 7 x 2" FW, Baader SHO/LRGB, and 2600mm.

 

Again, thank you and I appreciate your advice!

 

Good equipment choices. 

 

An often heard mantra here on CN is "start with what you have." I actually started with my DSLR on a tripod, in December 2019, taking 30 second exposures of the Orion Nebula and the Pleiades, no star tracker, knowing that I'd get star trails , but wanting to see how it would go for the most important part of my rig - me. Next step, Santa brought a star tracker, sturdy tripod and red headlamp...

 

Equipment as listed in my footer + more that will be added when I feel it has been used successfully.

 

Main camera, ASI 071MC, fits files are 32.5MB. I copy all originals into a working folder, and a typical one with all the subs and processing intermediate files may be 6-8 GB. Final file size - you mean the 500k jpeg for Cloudy Nights?  I use APP at present, have not moved to PI (yet) and not moved to mono (yet) so I'm at most doing Ha + OSC. I have never left anything running overnight. I've certainly made coffee, maybe had dinner or watched YouTube (not on the same computer) while waiting for processes to finish.

 

Planetary camera, ASI 462MC, for Jupiter, a couple of minutes video are a few GB, longer for Saturn, this can blow up a lot during processing and then back down to a few hundred k png file.

 

I would suggest trying the processing with what you have, but in this time of supply chain issues it's understandable if you want to try to get something on order now.




CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics