Laptop

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jpops5
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Laptop

Post by jpops5 » Sat Nov 14, 2020 2:36 pm

Hi, I've been around here occasionally for years, but this is my first post.

I know using a laptop to run BI is far from ideal, but I'm setting up a small cabin I just bought and really can't physically fit anything else. I'm only marginally tech-savvy - would anyone like to give me recommendations for a laptop purchase?

The setup currently has only 3 cameras (1080). I don't plan to add more, but it's possible another 1 or 2 could happen at some point.
The machine would only be used to run BI5.
I'd like the machine to use as little energy as possible.
I'd like to stay under $500.
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Thixotropic
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Re: Laptop

Post by Thixotropic » Sat Nov 14, 2020 5:00 pm

Is there a specific reason you're looking at using a laptop?
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jpops5
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Re: Laptop

Post by jpops5 » Sat Nov 14, 2020 7:35 pm

Yes, as mentioned the physical location is very small. I don't realistically have room for even a headless tower CPU.
Last edited by jpops5 on Sat Nov 14, 2020 9:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
HeneryH
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Re: Laptop

Post by HeneryH » Sat Nov 14, 2020 8:27 pm

Sorry for the snark but it must be REALLY tiny if you can't fit a computer.

Sure, you can go buy nearly any computer you want. Literally any computer at all and run a few cameras off of it.
jpops5
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Re: Laptop

Post by jpops5 » Sat Nov 14, 2020 9:14 pm

HeneryH wrote: Sat Nov 14, 2020 8:27 pm Sorry for the snark but it must be REALLY tiny if you can't fit a computer.

Sure, you can go buy nearly any computer you want. Literally any computer at all and run a few cameras off of it.
That's what I was hoping to hear. Thanks.

Yes, it's a small place. The machine has to fit under a spiral staircase (roughly 6"x12x12" area).
Last edited by jpops5 on Sat Nov 14, 2020 10:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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TimG
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Re: Laptop

Post by TimG » Sun Nov 15, 2020 12:16 pm

Wow, is it Grinch season already :lol:

I think a laptop could be a good idea for a small remote unattended system, as it has a battery built in like a mini UPS. My present BI5 (desktop) pc has an Intel i5-3330 CPU with 16GB of RAM, and it is coping well with four 1080 cameras and two old SD cameras. CPU loading is now around 7% with the tweaks done - this is without Quicksync, but does use substreams and direct to disk recording. I think BI5 uses around 1GB of RAM, so:

1. A laptop with at least the equivalent of an Intel i5-3330 CPU (Old and cheap). You could go weaker, but then you may add more cameras.
2. A minimum of 8GB RAM.
3. Do you have internet access to the cabin ? No remote viewing without that.
4. Hard drive size - A small internal drive will limit the recording time. The biggest capacity 2.5 inch drives are 4 to 5TB now, but may be too thick to fit inside a laptop. An external USB3 drive could be used, but you would have to ensure it wouldn't power down to "save power". If you only have a small drive and no internet, you won't be able to record much.
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jpops5
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Re: Laptop

Post by jpops5 » Sun Nov 15, 2020 2:49 pm

TimG wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 12:16 pm Wow, is it Grinch season already :lol:

I think a laptop could be a good idea for a small remote unattended system, as it has a battery built in like a mini UPS. My present BI5 (desktop) pc has an Intel i5-3330 CPU with 16GB of RAM, and it is coping well with four 1080 cameras and two old SD cameras. CPU loading is now around 7% with the tweaks done - this is without Quicksync, but does use substreams and direct to disk recording. I think BI5 uses around 1GB of RAM, so:

1. A laptop with at least the equivalent of an Intel i5-3330 CPU (Old and cheap). You could go weaker, but then you may add more cameras.
2. A minimum of 8GB RAM.
3. Do you have internet access to the cabin ? No remote viewing without that.
4. Hard drive size - A small internal drive will limit the recording time. The biggest capacity 2.5 inch drives are 4 to 5TB now, but may be too thick to fit inside a laptop. An external USB3 drive could be used, but you would have to ensure it wouldn't power down to "save power". If you only have a small drive and no internet, you won't be able to record much.
Tim, thank you for the detail. Yes, I do have DSL there and it seems reliable so far. I'm not too concerned about recording much. Mainly hope to get motion sensing working well and then be able to check in on the place when alerted (usually to see what type of wildlife is walking by the cameras), see how much snow I'll have to plow next time I'm there, etc :)

Do you think an SSD is worth the cost difference for my situation? I'm not sure it would use much less energy and I don't think the faster startup time will matter for me.
Last edited by jpops5 on Sun Nov 15, 2020 8:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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TimG
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Re: Laptop

Post by TimG » Mon Nov 16, 2020 5:50 pm

BI5 needs a fast drive for the "New" folder, but if you only have one drive there is no point in having a "Storage" folder as well so that would reduce cpu loading and drive wear. If you know the cpu can keep up, then I'm a big believer in trying things to see if they work, and then tweaking things afterwards. I would try it with a mechanical drive, but would go for one with a faster rotational speed, i.e 7200rpm over 5400rpm. An SSD would of course take away the mechanical failure side of things, but could give you reduced drive life. A laptop with provision for two drives (Do they fit NVME drives yet ?) could be an option.

The elephant in the room is Windows updates. I do updates when I'm available, then lock them down for a few weeks. You need to think how you can reboot it remotely if it crashes.

I would suggest re-purposing a used laptop to try this out without costing too much. That could allow a bigger hard drive to be purchased and fitted at a later date if required - at low cost.
Blue Iris v5.4.3.1 x64 | Win10 x64 version 20H2 | Dahua IPC-HDW5231R-ZE, Foscam R2, Ertech 4MP, Neos2, 2 analogue cameras on Euresys Picolo Pro 2 | Intel i5-3330 CPU, 16GB Ram, Multiple SSD and HD | TVMosaic.
jpops5
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Re: Laptop

Post by jpops5 » Mon Nov 16, 2020 7:08 pm

TimG wrote: Mon Nov 16, 2020 5:50 pm BI5 needs a fast drive for the "New" folder, but if you only have one drive there is no point in having a "Storage" folder as well so that would reduce cpu loading and drive wear. If you know the cpu can keep up, then I'm a big believer in trying things to see if they work, and then tweaking things afterwards. I would try it with a mechanical drive, but would go for one with a faster rotational speed, i.e 7200rpm over 5400rpm. An SSD would of course take away the mechanical failure side of things, but could give you reduced drive life. A laptop with provision for two drives (Do they fit NVME drives yet ?) could be an option.

The elephant in the room is Windows updates. I do updates when I'm available, then lock them down for a few weeks. You need to think how you can reboot it remotely if it crashes.

I would suggest re-purposing a used laptop to try this out without costing too much. That could allow a bigger hard drive to be purchased and fitted at a later date if required - at low cost.
Thanks, Tim! I think I'll pick up a 1 or 2 year old refurbished machine from ebay. I'm not sure how to lock down windows updates, but it's also not the end of the world if the system goes down for a period of time.
HeneryH
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Re: Laptop

Post by HeneryH » Mon Nov 16, 2020 10:42 pm

TimG wrote: Mon Nov 16, 2020 5:50 pm BI5 needs a fast drive for the "New" folder, but if you only have one drive there is no point in having a "Storage" folder ...
I would say a 2000 or 2010 "fast" drive. No need for a 2020 "fast" drive.

Birst rates are not as important here as sustained rates. For the same reason cache size is not as valuable. These are the tuning criteria used for marketing a purple drive to DVRs.
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