Laptop Specs for Mount, Imaging, and Processing


M Hambrick
 

I am thinking about replacing my laptop. What kind of specifications should I look for ? I will be using the same computer for running the mount (APCC, AP-V2 Driver, MaxIm DL), Imaging (MaxIm DL), and Processing (usually MaxIm, but maybe additional processing software later).

What about a gaming laptop ? These seem to have the most in terms of processor speed and graphics.

Mike


Ray Gralak
 

Hi Mike,

What about a gaming laptop ? These seem to have the most in terms of processor speed and graphics.
Will you ever need to run without power connected? If so, usually a gaming laptop will not last long without power because they consume more energy than an average laptop.

Second, make sure the laptop you choose has enough USB ports unless you are okay with also buying a docking station (and it also requires power).

-Ray


 

Hi Mike

personally i would split image acquisition from image processing. 

Image acquisition generally has much more modest requirements compared with processing, where it seems there is no cpu fast enough, no ram amount large enough, no disk big enough ;)

If possible, you might consider a headless mini pc to attach to your telescope setup, there are excellent ones for a few hundred dollars and will do a great job. you can then focus on buying a gaming laptop or similar for image processing

Brian


On Sat, Apr 16, 2022 at 7:06 AM M Hambrick <mhambrick563@...> wrote:
I am thinking about replacing my laptop. What kind of specifications should I look for ? I will be using the same computer for running the mount (APCC, AP-V2 Driver, MaxIm DL), Imaging (MaxIm DL), and Processing (usually MaxIm, but maybe additional processing software later).

What about a gaming laptop ? These seem to have the most in terms of processor speed and graphics.

Mike



--
Brian 



Brian Valente


M Hambrick
 

Thanks for the suggestions. Unfortunately, I am only allowed to have one computer and it has to do everything. Good point about the USB ports. I need at least three of them and nowadays they don’t put many


mjb87@...
 

At the risk of answering the question actually asked :)...

I use a Lenovo P52 with 32GB Ram and a 1TB SSD for both image acquisition (APCC, SGPro and sometimes TSX) and image processing (PixInsight). The Xeon processor can run 6 threads simultaneously which makes processing in PixInsight pretty fast. I do have it attached to a docking station and power supply which provides connectivity to the mount (Ethernet) and to the various USB devices on it. Works fine.  They don't make it anymore but there is probably a similar model available. This is not field-mobile setup. I bring it to the observatory when I'm imaging and bring it home for processing.


Luke Dodd
 

Depends on your budget but Gamming laptops often Have serious CPU/graphic power and can run image processing software . They also have backlit keyboards. I love the red backlit keyboard of the MSI. Also if your at an astrocamp you can work on your images during the day. Get a 15” screen, smaller screens bunch up the software display too much. I have a 13” Acer and a 15” MSI gaming laptop for my imaging as I occasionally image across two mounts, I use NINA which displays much better on the 15”, subwindows are larger and easier to access. Ray is correct battery life off charger is around 2 hours for the MSI and 6 hours for the acer!.

 

I am considering an upgrade to a Gigabyte A5 which has a Ryzen 9 CPU and 3070 graphics card and 16G Ram, should run pixinsight with no issues.

 

Luke

 

Sent from Mail for Windows

 

From: M Hambrick
Sent: Sunday, 17 April 2022 12:06 AM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: [ap-gto] Laptop Specs for Mount, Imaging, and Processing

 

I am thinking about replacing my laptop. What kind of specifications should I look for ? I will be using the same computer for running the mount (APCC, AP-V2 Driver, MaxIm DL), Imaging (MaxIm DL), and Processing (usually MaxIm, but maybe additional processing software later).

What about a gaming laptop ? These seem to have the most in terms of processor speed and graphics.

Mike

 


Worsel
 

Your note suggests that your goal is faster processing and good graphics.  Then, the only advantage will be to image processing, not so much to acquisition.

How about getting a new fast PC for image processing, keep the old one for acquisition, but unload the image processing software?  You can transfer files from the old PC after capture to the new PC for processing using any number of methods.

Bryan


Worsel
 

USB hubs are inexpensive and come with as many ports as you need, typically with no perceptible loss in performance.

Get one with USB 3.0 ports, even if you only need USB 2 now.  The price delta is minimal and you will likely be glad for the USB 3 in the future.

Bryan


ap@CaptivePhotons.com
 

On Sun, Apr 17, 2022 at 12:00 AM, Worsel wrote:
USB hubs are inexpensive and come with as many ports as you need, typically with no perceptible loss in performance.
For Astro use, with widespread draw of power for focusers, cameras, filter wheels, etc. be sure to get a powered USB hub.  Also, do not buy low end ones, get a respected brand.  Poor quality USB cables (especially 3, especially long ones) and poor quality hubs cause more problems for astro use I think than any other single thing, giving "clouds" a run for their money. 

Linwood


M Hambrick
 

Hi Bryan

One of the big issues I am fighting is that when I have my mount connected to my imaging software (MaxIm DL) by way of the AP V2 Driver, it is intermittently losing communication and the mount status locks up in MaxIm. There are separate threads on the forum extensively covering this issue. I am paraphrasing here, but it has been suggested that this loss of communication may be happening because my laptop is old and slow. I am not sure that I agree with this, but the laptop is getting old (almost 7 years), and if I am going to replace it, now would be a good time while I am still working and bringing in an income.

If I am going to replace it, I want to get something that will not be limited by speed or memory regardless of what I am going to use it for. I am not a gamer, but from what little research I have done, gaming computers seem to have the best performance in terms of speed, memory, and graphics. Operation in harsh weather (cold) would also be a consideration. 

Mike


Peter Bresler
 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06XYXRZ1R/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Try this. Only caveat is 3 months for repair in China, which I have had to do.


Ray Gralak
 

Mike,

One of the big issues I am fighting is that when I have my mount connected to my imaging software (MaxIm DL)
by way of the AP V2 Driver, it is intermittently losing communication and the mount status locks up in MaxIm.
There are separate threads on the forum extensively covering this issue. I am paraphrasing here, but it has been
suggested that this loss of communication may be happening because my laptop is old and slow.
The MaximDL lockup is a bug in MaximDL. The issue is known to happen in ASCOM Client applications written in C++ . MaximDL, PHD2, CdC are the three applications where this has been observed. The lockups never occur with .NET ASCOM Clients like SGPro and NINA because the .NET Framework goes through great effort to serialize the COM interop commands. That is, they get ordered and funneled into one single "thread". This is extremely important, because if multiple threads are used, then the calling application can get "dead-locked", which looks like what is happening to MaximDL. A fast computer will not 100% eliminate the possibility of a dead-lock in MaximDL, but it will dramatically reduce the chance that it will happen.

-Ray


M Hambrick
 

I have got an Icron Ranger 2304 powered USB hub. I think those are pretty good quality.

I get my USB and Ethernet cables from L-Com. I try to get the best ones they offer with the heavier gauge wires and ferrite clips (part no U2A00016). They come in lengths from 1m to 5m. The High Flex Industrial Outdoor ethernet cables (part no TRD695AHF) are also very good. They are more a little more flexible than most ethernet cables I have seen.

I have been fighting this MaxIm lockup problem for some time now. It is very frustrating because it occurs without warning. Last week it happened two nights in a row. When I set everything up indoors to try to duplicate the problem and do some more extensive troubleshooting, everything worked perfectly every time I started it all up.

Mike


Christopher Erickson
 

I use a gaming laptop with a 17" screen, 4TB SSD hard drive & 16GB RAM. When I am home, I connect an external 27" screen to it. I process images on the 27" screen and use the built-in 17" screen for command windows and such. When I am in the field, I sure miss the 27" screen!

"Always take the high road. There's less traffic."

-Christopher Erickson
Observatory Engineer
Summit Kinetics
Waikoloa, Hawaii


Virus-free. www.avg.com


On Sun, Apr 17, 2022 at 3:19 PM M Hambrick <mhambrick563@...> wrote:
I have got an Icron Ranger 2304 powered USB hub. I think those are pretty good quality.

I get my USB and Ethernet cables from L-Com. I try to get the best ones they offer with the heavier gauge wires and ferrite clips (part no U2A00016). They come in lengths from 1m to 5m. The High Flex Industrial Outdoor ethernet cables (part no TRD695AHF) are also very good. They are more a little more flexible than most ethernet cables I have seen.

I have been fighting this MaxIm lockup problem for some time now. It is very frustrating because it occurs without warning. Last week it happened two nights in a row. When I set everything up indoors to try to duplicate the problem and do some more extensive troubleshooting, everything worked perfectly every time I started it all up.

Mike


William Rohr
 

For imaging processing, I would suggest visiting the PixInsight web site, then go to system requirements. You can read their requirements for using their application. If you would like to see what other PixInsight users are using then go to Benchmarks. I built my image processing system around PixInsight requirements and recommendations.

 

Bill Rohr

Dallas and Fort Davis TX

 

Sent from Mail for Windows

 

From: Christopher Erickson
Sent: Sunday, April 17, 2022 8:51 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Laptop Specs for Mount, Imaging, and Processing

 

I use a gaming laptop with a 17" screen, 4TB SSD hard drive & 16GB RAM. When I am home, I connect an external 27" screen to it. I process images on the 27" screen and use the built-in 17" screen for command windows and such. When I am in the field, I sure miss the 27" screen!


"Always take the high road. There's less traffic."

 

-Christopher Erickson

Observatory Engineer

Summit Kinetics

Waikoloa, Hawaii

 

 

Virus-free. www.avg.com

 

On Sun, Apr 17, 2022 at 3:19 PM M Hambrick <mhambrick563@...> wrote:

I have got an Icron Ranger 2304 powered USB hub. I think those are pretty good quality.

I get my USB and Ethernet cables from L-Com. I try to get the best ones they offer with the heavier gauge wires and ferrite clips (part no U2A00016). They come in lengths from 1m to 5m. The High Flex Industrial Outdoor ethernet cables (part no TRD695AHF) are also very good. They are more a little more flexible than most ethernet cables I have seen.

I have been fighting this MaxIm lockup problem for some time now. It is very frustrating because it occurs without warning. Last week it happened two nights in a row. When I set everything up indoors to try to duplicate the problem and do some more extensive troubleshooting, everything worked perfectly every time I started it all up.

Mike

 


ztlm3989@...
 

I am new to all of this and just learning to put all the pieces together, but one thing I am really glad I got was the Pegasus Astro Pocket Powerbox Advance

Rather than try to run all the necessary USB cables to my laptop I can run all the 12v cables and USB cables to the Pegasus which is small enough to nicely velcro to my Mach1 mount., with only one USB cable from the Pegasus to the laptop.  A little pricey but it sure does help manage the rats nest of cables.

Tim Moorehead


kevinwalsh324@...
 

FWIW-
I asked my son, a computer guru (an IT manager for a large electric utility company), essentially the same question last Fall.
For Christmas he bought me a Beelink NUC-type computer to use. I'm really happy with it. I use a bluetooth keyboard and mouse with it.
Fast, easy to use. Installed all the apps I need and ran them with no glitches.
K Walsh


Roland Christen
 

I'm kind of behind the times when it comes to imaging hardware. I use a laptop at my scope to look up stuff to shoot on planetarium programs, capture images, examine and re-orient the images, decide whether to increase or decrease the exposure to prevent noise or saturation of detail, etc. How do you do these things with a Nuc? Where and how are the images displayed?

Rolando

-----Original Message-----
From: kevinwalsh324@...
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Sent: Tue, Apr 19, 2022 9:56 am
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Laptop Specs for Mount, Imaging, and Processing

FWIW-
I asked my son, a computer guru (an IT manager for a large electric utility company), essentially the same question last Fall.
For Christmas he bought me a Beelink NUC-type computer to use. I'm really happy with it. I use a bluetooth keyboard and mouse with it.
Fast, easy to use. Installed all the apps I need and ran them with no glitches.
K Walsh

--
Roland Christen
Astro-Physics


 

>>> How do you do these things with a Nuc? Where and how are the images displayed?

You do it the same way, but instead of using a laptop at the telescope, you use remote access software to connect to the tiny box computer sitting on your telescope.

otherwise it works identically, only you are inside with warm cocoa and Marj, and not outside freezing ;)

Brian

On Tue, Apr 19, 2022 at 8:24 AM Roland Christen via groups.io <chris1011=aol.com@groups.io> wrote:
I'm kind of behind the times when it comes to imaging hardware. I use a laptop at my scope to look up stuff to shoot on planetarium programs, capture images, examine and re-orient the images, decide whether to increase or decrease the exposure to prevent noise or saturation of detail, etc. How do you do these things with a Nuc? Where and how are the images displayed?

Rolando

-----Original Message-----
From: kevinwalsh324@...
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Sent: Tue, Apr 19, 2022 9:56 am
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Laptop Specs for Mount, Imaging, and Processing

FWIW-
I asked my son, a computer guru (an IT manager for a large electric utility company), essentially the same question last Fall.
For Christmas he bought me a Beelink NUC-type computer to use. I'm really happy with it. I use a bluetooth keyboard and mouse with it.
Fast, easy to use. Installed all the apps I need and ran them with no glitches.
K Walsh

--
Roland Christen
Astro-Physics



--
Brian 



Brian Valente


Roland Christen
 

So you need a laptop anyway, just not at your scope outside where you can enjoy the night sky with a pair of 100mm binoculars. Instead you are cooped up inside, watching reruns of Gilligan's island or Hee Haw (both great shows by the way).
So if I'm set up at a dark site in the hills of southern Wisconsin and I have a Nuc on top of the scope, do I still need my laptop in order to monitor the images that are coming from the scope, as well as the other stuff like guiding or model making on the fly or flipping thru my Planetarium program looking for the next thrilling object to try to capture? Or does the Nuc on top of the scope handle all that without my assistance? Sounds a lot like self-driving cars (that don't really work yet).



-----Original Message-----
From: Brian Valente <bvalente@...>
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Sent: Tue, Apr 19, 2022 10:26 am
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Laptop Specs for Mount, Imaging, and Processing

>>> How do you do these things with a Nuc? Where and how are the images displayed?

You do it the same way, but instead of using a laptop at the telescope, you use remote access software to connect to the tiny box computer sitting on your telescope.

otherwise it works identically, only you are inside with warm cocoa and Marj, and not outside freezing ;)

Brian

On Tue, Apr 19, 2022 at 8:24 AM Roland Christen via groups.io <chris1011=aol.com@groups.io> wrote:
I'm kind of behind the times when it comes to imaging hardware. I use a laptop at my scope to look up stuff to shoot on planetarium programs, capture images, examine and re-orient the images, decide whether to increase or decrease the exposure to prevent noise or saturation of detail, etc. How do you do these things with a Nuc? Where and how are the images displayed?

Rolando

-----Original Message-----
From: kevinwalsh324@...
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Sent: Tue, Apr 19, 2022 9:56 am
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Laptop Specs for Mount, Imaging, and Processing

FWIW-
I asked my son, a computer guru (an IT manager for a large electric utility company), essentially the same question last Fall.
For Christmas he bought me a Beelink NUC-type computer to use. I'm really happy with it. I use a bluetooth keyboard and mouse with it.
Fast, easy to use. Installed all the apps I need and ran them with no glitches.
K Walsh

--
Roland Christen
Astro-Physics


--
Brian 



Brian Valente

--
Roland Christen
Astro-Physics