Help (Computer Decision) Help

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Hi All! 

Im in need of some help choosing a new desktop computer for image processing and running GIS software. I'm currently going into my senior year of college majoring in Forestry and minoring in Geographic Information Sciences. This summer I have been working a lot with various forestry technologies and equipment in the midwest north woods. Im reaching out to see if any has suggestions for desktop computers for these applications.  I'm looking to spend no more than $400. 


Anything suggestions would help! Thanks again! 

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First thing you need to decide is what will the computer do? Run GIS software or process imagery. Those are two completely different task that require different solutions. Next, increase the budget five-fold at a minimum.

Depending upon the software you plan on processing the imagery on the GPU will need to be compliant on either OpenGL or OpenCL and the GPU alone will run about $400.00 bucks. You also need a CPU that is going to run the operation, because that is where most of the operation runs. A multi-core processor (8 to 16) cores with 16-32 threads (AMD Threadripper) will handle mid- to large processing jobs. You probably need to look into an SSD drive (1TB) and a 7200rpm internal (2TB) for larger jobs. Run the processing on a local drive. (we made the mistake of using a network drive and that proved to be a huge bottleneck on large datasets). Don't forget the RAM too. That factors heavily in the processing and will be a big limiter if you do not have enough allocated.

As far as a GIS machine, you can pretty much buy off-the-shelf. A mid-range machine will be more than enough to handle a small business operation. You can always go to a dedicated server if you outgrow your system.

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