Hardware for darktable

Hi there,
I am looking for a new mobile computer to use with darktable on Arch Linux. After searching I see the Dell XPS15 7590 with 4k OLED, 16GB RAM and i7 9850H CPU. The graphics card is a onboard Intel UHD 630 and Nvidia Geforce GTX 1650.

The questions are:

  1. I know that Intel UHD 620 is blacklisted due to problems in darktable. Will UHD 630 work with opencl in darktable or is it blacklisted too?
  2. Will the GTX 1650 be fast enough for use in darktable?

Currently I do have an older Gigabyte P34Wv3 with GTX970m which meanwhile becomes slower and slower…

I am asking here, because of the laptop is mainly used for darktable and I don’t wan’t to waste money when buying a RTX 2060 instead of.

Regards,
majobu

I had similar requirements when last year I completed my switch from Mac OS. In the end I bought a Dell XPS15 9560, I guess an older model with respect to yours.

You should read this thread first (if you haven’t done it already):

https://discuss.pixls.us/t/choosing-a-laptop-with-programming-and-photography-in-mind-reloaded/

In the end I opted for the conventional full-HD screen instead of the 4k. I then bought an external monitor. This makes DT snappier.

The intel graphics is useless for DT so consider that you will always be on the external nvidia card. Perhaps I may switch to Intel when I’m doing other things (internet stuff, and work-related hacking in Python) and am on the move. It’s a bit inconvenient mainly for the noise and increased power usage (using the nvidia card I mean). Things may have improved with later models, I don’t know.

I also had lots of doubts on the real speed of DT and have tried to understand whether it was a problem with the specific version of DT I was using, or my Dell, or something else… you may find interesting to read these other threads I’ve started in this forum, e.g.:

https://discuss.pixls.us/t/darktable-speed-in-general-and-when-using-two-monitors/

https://discuss.pixls.us/t/darktable-performance-in-lighttable-mode-tagging-etc/

Why is that? Can you share more information, please?
I have a laptop with that graphic and do not see any special treatment in the debug log.

Do you use OpenCL? Take a look to the output of darktable-cltest

opencl is turned off for all intel onboard graphics. This is not only for UHD 620. The UHD 630 will not help you.

Please read here: https://www.darktable.org/2012/03/darktable-and-opencl/

“There also exist a few on-CPU implementations of OpenCL. These come as drivers provided by INTEL or AMD. We observed that they do not give us any speed gain versus our hand-optimized CPU code. Therefore we simply discard these devices.”

I use the same hardware as you are looking for, I mainly use it to run darktable like you. I am using the Nvidia cart and OpenCL on Ubuntu 19.04. I also have the 4k screen, but in retrospect the Full-HD would have been enough. As a second monitor I am using BenQ SW2700PT - WQHD.

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@mabod Thank you. That is the answer to one of my questions. As I understand, the driver ‘beignet’ is blacklisted and not some graphic chips.

@Namita_nl Thanks you :slight_smile: Today I odered a Acer ConceptD 7.

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Dears,
It’s been a while since hardware requirements for DT were discussed. In the meantime, DT evolved with several versions, there is new hardware on the market. Would it be possible to define now a required/recommended hardware configuration on Windows for DT in terms of RAM, processsor, graphical card? I think that would help lots of people who are new to DT and those who are looking for HW renewal. That would be also helpul for me;-)
Thanks in advance.

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I’m not really sure all that much has changed. Buy the best hardware you can afford. More cores are better, at least 16GB RAM, and a video card that has good OpenCL support for your platform.

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I’d recommend to look at latest AMD hardware. I’d say that it’s currently superior to Intel, and slightly cheaper. There are plenty use cases around with ROCm working fine. I do have older AMD hardware, so I use amdgpu opensource driver plus OpenCL bulb pulled from closed amdgpu-pro. Works just fine.

Just a few points of clarification…

Beignet, the old and deprecated version of Intel OpenCL, is turned off in darktable. These statements are true for it.

However, Neo, the new and faster OpenCL implementation from Intel, is enabled for darktable and it does provide speedups. It’s definitely fast enough that you can feel a boost. (Follow instructions on installing Neo on various Linux distributions, as most don’t ship it yet.)

FWIW: I’m using an Dell XPS13 9360 with an Intel HD Graphics 620.

Additionally, every release of darktable gets faster (thanks to a lot of effort from the awesome devs). The latest development build of from git is faster than the release version, which was faster than the previous release, and so on.

I’m sure it’s not as fast as an AMD or NVidia GPU — I’m not recommending an Intel GPU over the others, if you have the choice — but it’s still better than nothing and generally not bad at all to use. And my laptop’s CPU & GPU are both a few years old now; the latest gen is most definitely faster too.

So, if you are “stuck” with only an Intel GPU right now, at least check out the Neo OpenCL support. It could extend the lifetime of your hardware a bit longer. :wink:

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NVidia’s official stance about Linux – “We don’t support Linux”. Even Linus’ finger has not worked. Which leads to problem with drivers: FOSS drivers are well behind, you’ll have to use closed source blobs if you need OpenCL. Also NVidia has its proprietary CUDA, so OpenCL is not a priority for them. On the contrary, AMD has a team of Linux devs.
However, well, it works quite decently. But I consider AMD as a safer bet.

That’s very interesting to know, thanks @garrett !

I wasnt aware of this Intel support for their integrated gpus.

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Thank you all for you answers.

BTW, do you know if DT developpers are still more focused on Linux than on Windows? That was the case some time ago and I wonder if something has changed since then.

Yes the vast majority of developers are still Linux users.

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I’d posted this in another thread. I got some friends to install dt and export a raw file that I’d sent. All were running windows.

LG Gram with i5 1035G7 and Intel UHD - 34sec . Does not use opencl.

HP Omen with 4800H and rtx2060 - 9sec.

desktop i7 6700k + gtx1060 - 10.8secs.

Acer Swift 3 4500U 20sec. Doesn’t use opencl.

My desktop: i5 3450 +gtx1050ti - 18secs.

Hi, has anyone been to able to get opencl working on either intel or amd iGpu, on windows?

yes, but you might need to edit your darktablerc file: opencl_disable_drivers_blacklist=true

Cool. I’ll ask my friend with the LG gram to test it out.