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Dashak
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GIS Desktop

Mon Jul 31, 2017 11:10 pm

Planning a fresh home office build for mostly GIS (geography) related work. Especially looking for help weighing productivity price/performance with ESRI etc if anyone's got experience in that area, but also mini-ITX considerations since this'll be my first non-ATX build.

Intel i7-7700K $339.99
Noctua NH-D15S $79.95
Gigabyte GA-Z270N-WIFI mini ITX $149.99
G.Skill 2x8GB RAM $126.99
Samsung 960 Pro 512GB m.2 $279.99
MSI GTX 1050 Ti $159.99
Seasonic Titanium 650W $149.90
Windows 10 Pro OEM $144.99
Fractal Design Define Nano S $69.99
Logitech K120 Keyboard $22.59
Logitech G403 Mouse $62.17
Dell U2417H Monitor x2 $233.22 ea.

Total = $2052.98 + s/h

Jumble of thoughts: Am good on storage drives. Checked all parts for official compatibility. Dunno if there'd be a noticeable difference if I went with the cheaper Samsung Evo versus the Pro? GPU prices are ridiculous right now, so an upgrade can wait. I tend to like excessive cooling and used the NH-D14 in my last build, so I'll probably use the new version since it also (just barely) fits this mini ITX case. Figure the Titanium-rated PSU will save electricity over the next decade or so. The house isn't wired for ethernet yet, so I like the wireless motherboard. Is there a better deal on Windows 10 Pro somewhere? Not sure if I'm going overboard on the CPU... or to what extent more Ryzen cores would help/hinder my particular uses.
 
Pancake
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Re: GIS Desktop

Tue Aug 01, 2017 6:29 am

I do a bit of GIS consulting work on the side. ArcGIS isn't particularly multithreaded so i7-7700k is fine or even an i5 or i3. Basically, you want fastest single-thread performance. SSDs good. I run with dual 480GB SSDs - one for general PC stuff and one dedicated for GIS data and working room. In my little corner of the world I've got about 250GB raw data and about 150GB analyses so for my next upgrade I'd be getting 1TB GIS dedicated SSD. But it depends on your requirements. Graphics card fine. Mostly I'm doing 2D stuff so just about anything would suffice. My GTX 970 was only bought for Grand Theft Auto V but I haven't even played that for close to a year... Memory is fine although I only really push my 32GB when running my own GIS software which can do ludicrously large dissolves, intersects etc which ArcGIS can only dream about...

What you really want to spend money on is awesome screen real estate. I've got dual Dell Ultrasharp 3011's which is pretty sweet but if I were investing in a new build I'd go 4K 40" or thereabouts or even two 'cause they're so damn cheap these days. For GIS visualisation nothing beats masses of glorious pixels. Beautiful, sweet luscious pixels. All you can eat.
 
cheesyking
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Re: GIS Desktop

Tue Aug 01, 2017 6:40 am

I'd consider moving up to Win10 retail boxed rather than OEM.

I don't remember exactly how the OEM licensing changed with 10 but retail is supposed to be a better deal these days.
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ludi
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Re: GIS Desktop

Tue Aug 01, 2017 2:58 pm

I'm using that exact case and just completed an HTPC build. I'm questioning both the mini-ITX format and Define-series case for your build, though. Unless you plan to avoid optical disks and archival hard disks, which might be tricky in GIS work, I would suggest something with at least one 5.25" device bay and a couple quick-release hard drive trays...and you get more options, both in cases and motherboards, if you switch from mini-ITX to micro-ATX.
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wingless
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Re: GIS Desktop

Tue Aug 01, 2017 3:40 pm

Save on the CPU and motherboard and get a Ryzen 7 1700 for $299 and with an AM4 ITX motherboard. You'll get twice the core and threads for less. This isn't a gaming build so Ryzen will perform well for you and add that extra layer of multi-threaded future-proofing.
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Chrispy_
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Re: GIS Desktop

Tue Aug 01, 2017 4:22 pm

We use a few GIS packages, Inscape and some other plugins to Bentley and Autodesk software. We used to use ArcGIS too, but it's ****

In my experience they require no special hardware. Any bog-standard consumer build is up to the task. Just spend the money on what you'd spend for a good user-experience for your average office PC; A half-decent CPU/Board/RAM with an SSD OS drive, then spend the bulk of the funds on a good quality screen (32" 1440p, or even multiple 1440p screens). The 7700K is good, but a bit overkill unless you'll use it for other stuff. I'd be tempted to drop to an i3-7100 and put the $200 saved into screen or SSD instead, unless money is not an issue.

Just avoid high-DPI screens like the plague, I can't speak for all GIS packages, but none of the GIS software I've seen is particularly modern and it does not deal with DPI-scaling well. Get a display that's in the 80-110dpi range otherwise you're setting yourself up for disappointment, most likely. That means a pair of 24" 1080p, a 32" 1440p, or if you're mad-crazy a 40-50" 4K television that will essentially act as a borderless 2x2 eyefinity display.


Edit,
Now I've bothered to read the rest of the replies in the thread, it looks like I'm just repeating some of what Pancake said.
Corroboration is good; It means that other GIS packages are much the same as what we use.
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Dashak
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Re: GIS Desktop

Tue Aug 01, 2017 4:54 pm

Pancake wrote:
I do a bit of GIS consulting work on the side. ArcGIS isn't particularly multithreaded so i7-7700k is fine or even an i5 or i3. Basically, you want fastest single-thread performance. SSDs good. I run with dual 480GB SSDs - one for general PC stuff and one dedicated for GIS data and working room. In my little corner of the world I've got about 250GB raw data and about 150GB analyses so for my next upgrade I'd be getting 1TB GIS dedicated SSD. But it depends on your requirements. Graphics card fine. Mostly I'm doing 2D stuff so just about anything would suffice. My GTX 970 was only bought for Grand Theft Auto V but I haven't even played that for close to a year... Memory is fine although I only really push my 32GB when running my own GIS software which can do ludicrously large dissolves, intersects etc which ArcGIS can only dream about...

What you really want to spend money on is awesome screen real estate. I've got dual Dell Ultrasharp 3011's which is pretty sweet but if I were investing in a new build I'd go 4K 40" or thereabouts or even two 'cause they're so damn cheap these days. For GIS visualisation nothing beats masses of glorious pixels. Beautiful, sweet luscious pixels. All you can eat.

Seems the i7-7700K has the highest stock clocks (4.2GHz) and boost (4.5GHz), so I'll stick with that. I've got 674GB of GIS files in storage, but most is probably old and I'm not doing any consulting right now. I'd be much more inclined to go for the +$300 cost of a 1TB SDD if I had anything lined up to use this as another income source right away, but will keep this in mind for later. What kind of consulting do you do and with which programs if you don't mind me asking? Am really torn on the monitors because I'm used to 2560x1600 even on laptops, but I can't really justify increasing the build cost quite as much as a 32"+ Ultrasharp. What would you get if you were limiting yourself to one right now? Could add a second one later. And I'm guessing a curved screen would be a bad call? Maybe the non-curved U2718Q at 3140x2160 for $740?

cheesyking wrote:
I don't remember exactly how the OEM licensing changed with 10 but retail is supposed to be a better deal these days.

Changed it to the retail version, the major difference seems to be transfer rights to another PC with a different motherboard... which I would've irked me a few years down the line. Thanks, friend.

ludi wrote:
I'm using that exact case and just completed an HTPC build. I'm questioning the mini-ITX decision for your build, though. Unless you plan to never, ever see an optical disc or add archival hard disks (and how likely is that in GIS work?), I would suggest something in the micro-ATX range instead, with at least one 5.25" device bay and a couple removable hard drive trays.

I have an external optical drive laying around here somewhere which hasn't been used in years, but from looking at other completed builds there's room for a 3.5" behind the motherboard, a 3.5" in front of the PSU, two 2.5" drives behind the motherboard backplate, and another 2.5" (maybe 3.5"?) next to the heatsink. With the m.2 drive, that's enough room for six storage drives and the motherboard has a sixth SATA connector if I need to lay a loose one in there... or if it's a 2.5" it might also fit below the 3.5" behind the motherboard. Fair point with how cramped that'd be, but I don't anticipate that many drives anyway. Nice pictures, looks great.

wingless wrote:
Save on the CPU and motherboard and get a Ryzen 7 1700 for $299 and with an AM4 ITX motherboard. You'll get twice the core and threads for less. This isn't a gaming build so Ryzen will perform well for you and add that extra layer of multi-threaded future-proofing.

Pancake said I'd want more single-threaded performance (which confirmed my prior understanding), but I was sorely tempted by Ryzen. Haven't built an AMD system since the Athlon 64 X2 3800+ days.

Chrispy_ wrote:
Just avoid high-DPI screens like the plague, I can't speak for all GIS packages, but none of the GIS software I've seen is particularly modern and it does not deal with DPI-scaling well. Get a display that's in the 80-110dpi range otherwise you're setting yourself up for disappointment, most likely. That means 24" 1080p, 32" 1440p, or if you're mad-crazy a 40-50" 4K television that will essentially act as a borderless 2x2 eyefinity display.

Yeah, I've run into this too. Based on that and wanting to keep costs down for now, I'm thinking the U2717D at 2560x1440 (109dpi) for $570 which, with the only other change being a retail version of Windows, would put me at $2181.53 + s/h.
 
Pancake
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Re: GIS Desktop

Tue Aug 01, 2017 5:49 pm

Dashak wrote:
Pancake wrote:
I do a bit of GIS consulting work on the side. ArcGIS isn't particularly multithreaded so i7-7700k is fine or even an i5 or i3. Basically, you want fastest single-thread performance. SSDs good. I run with dual 480GB SSDs - one for general PC stuff and one dedicated for GIS data and working room. In my little corner of the world I've got about 250GB raw data and about 150GB analyses so for my next upgrade I'd be getting 1TB GIS dedicated SSD. But it depends on your requirements. Graphics card fine. Mostly I'm doing 2D stuff so just about anything would suffice. My GTX 970 was only bought for Grand Theft Auto V but I haven't even played that for close to a year... Memory is fine although I only really push my 32GB when running my own GIS software which can do ludicrously large dissolves, intersects etc which ArcGIS can only dream about...

What you really want to spend money on is awesome screen real estate. I've got dual Dell Ultrasharp 3011's which is pretty sweet but if I were investing in a new build I'd go 4K 40" or thereabouts or even two 'cause they're so damn cheap these days. For GIS visualisation nothing beats masses of glorious pixels. Beautiful, sweet luscious pixels. All you can eat.

Seems the i7-7700K has the highest stock clocks (4.2GHz) and boost (4.5GHz), so I'll stick with that. I've got 674GB of GIS files in storage, but most is probably old and I'm not doing any consulting right now. I'd be much more inclined to go for the +$300 cost of a 1TB SDD if I had anything lined up to use this as another income source right away, but will keep this in mind for later. What kind of consulting do you do and with which programs if you don't mind me asking? Am really torn on the monitors because I'm used to 2560x1600 even on laptops, but I can't really justify increasing the build cost quite as much as a 32"+ Ultrasharp. What would you get if you were limiting yourself to one right now? Could add a second one later. And I'm guessing a curved screen would be a bad call? Maybe the non-curved U2718Q at 3140x2160 for $740?


The i7-7700K would give you one sweet workstation that could be used for lots of other things. I do environmental GIS work for local and state government. Vegetation connectivity analysis, biodiversity strategies, wildfire modelling, environmental planning from the inner city to the "outback" etc. Touchy feely tree hugging stuff but I deal with massive multi-GB datasets and use all the CPU and RAM I have. I use ArcGIS, QGIS and occasionally resurrect ArcView! My main game is developing my own GIS software so GIS analysis consulting is just a bit of extra cash and keeps me connected with my happy tree friends. Can concur with Chrispy_ about large-ish pixels but also because I'm of the age where I'll be needing bifocals for my next pair of glasses... But I'm happy with my monitors so can't give any advice on current stuff as I haven't been looking.
 
blahsaysblah
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Re: GIS Desktop

Tue Aug 01, 2017 7:34 pm

Does GIS need the dGPU?

I am really happy with my ASRock Deskmini 110w, VESA mounted behind monitor. Noise is whisper quiet during idle/web/normal stuff and loud(maybe, not really) but not annoying whoosh(its noctua fan...) when pushed to max.

i7-7700(4Ghz all cores, 4.2 boost), delidded w/Grizzly Conductonaut(tried NT-H1 twice, kept getting one core hotter than others, so went with what Silicon Lottery uses)
wimpy but quiet Noctua NH-L9i with default fan(tried 25mm, wasnt as good, both noise and thermals inside this case) with Noctua NT-H1 paste
32GB DDR 2400 15-15-15-38 RAM
512GB 960 EVO m.2 drive for boot/active (nvme only, pci-e lanes off CPU, so faster at cost of no SATA link)
2x500GB WD 7mm drive(tops to 2TB as case only supports 7/9mm drives) for long term storage/local backup.
One HDMI, one DP port(there are other mini-STX boards and one case that supports 2xHDD with other port configs)

Granted i delidded and w/liquid metal, but using plain old Noctua NH-L9i and NH-T1 paste, i get 60C/61C peak temp during over one hour Android AOSP userdebug image build for Nexus 5X. (one build creates 40GB data, off of 60GB, CPU pegged 100% pretty much entire time, can get to 65 if i web browse,.. goes back to 60/61 if left alone) The PCH, M.2 did not get overly hot at all.

VESA mounted behind an old but good 1080p that runs hot.

Anyway, except for lack of dGPU support, its pretty good office/home PC build. Just build and mount out of sight.

Maybe its just me, but ive always found that i've over spent and over built.
 
Pancake
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Re: GIS Desktop

Tue Aug 01, 2017 8:08 pm

blahsaysblah wrote:
Does GIS need the dGPU?


If you're drawing a bajillion anti-aliased and shaded polygons, lines and markers it may help some. Back in the day when it was fashionable to wear an onion on your belt we used i860-powered Labtam X-terminals connected to Sun Sparc and DEC Alpha servers on a lightning fast 10-base2 network to do our work.
 
blahsaysblah
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Re: GIS Desktop

Tue Aug 01, 2017 8:51 pm

Pancake wrote:
blahsaysblah wrote:
Does GIS need the dGPU?


If you're drawing a bajillion anti-aliased and shaded polygons, lines and markers it may help some. Back in the day when it was fashionable to wear an onion on your belt we used i860-powered Labtam X-terminals connected to Sun Sparc and DEC Alpha servers on a lightning fast 10-base2 network to do our work.


Need jibber jabber translator on aisle 1, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

Couldnt make heads or tails out of Spring 2017 Platform Performance 40th Edition graphics wise. It does concur on fastest cores being better except for a few multi-threaded aware extensions.

The Xeon E3-2637v4 4-core (1 chip) 3500 MHz was identified as our favorite 2016 and 2017 workstation.
ArcGIS Desktop workstation recommended memory is increased to 16 GB

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