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Best PC architecture to run Turtlebot

asked 2011-09-21 18:12:36 -0500

Jonathan gravatar image

updated 2011-09-25 21:01:53 -0500

Hi there,

I was wondering if it's worth investing in a high end PC to run Turtlebot, rather than using the advised laptop.

  1. Would it really give a boost to run a big CPU (i.e. i72600) or is it throwing money out of the window ?
  2. Is it possible to use the graphics card processing capacity for some applications ?
  3. What is the RAM impact as well ?
  4. What is the data bitrate output of the Kinect ? edit: it's 13Mbps

I did not find much information on this topic, but if this type of question has already been answered I apologize in advance. Jonathan

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Just found the answer to my last question it's around 13Gbps
Jonathan gravatar image Jonathan  ( 2011-09-21 18:15:27 -0500 )edit
I am having similar thoughts. I would especially like to know, what graphics power the Turtlebot needs. Since the visualization is done on a workstation I would expect the Turtlebot itself not to be very hungry here. Or does the Kinect data processing need much GPU power?
TillScout gravatar image TillScout  ( 2011-09-22 00:49:28 -0500 )edit
Out of curiosity, where does the 13Gbps number come from? That's greater than the 480Mbps that USB allows for.
mjcarroll gravatar image mjcarroll  ( 2011-09-22 09:50:45 -0500 )edit

Did you ever build a souped-up turtlebot? I just installed a Mini-ITX mobo, low power i5 processor, and ssd in the cargo bay. Maybe I'll post some benchmarks

patrick_hammer gravatar image patrick_hammer  ( 2012-02-16 16:52:02 -0500 )edit

@patrick_hammer How does your solution work? How do you power the mini ITX board? Maybe you can post some more details on your project.

TillScout gravatar image TillScout  ( 2012-04-11 08:36:59 -0500 )edit

2 Answers

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answered 2011-09-22 05:40:32 -0500

tfoote gravatar image

The choice of computer to run on the TurtleBot is a tradeoff of battery life for computation and price. In general more computation is better. However also in general longer battery life is better.

The choice of the dual core Atom processor in the Asus 1215N for the default processor provides enough processing to do all of the navigation stack and process the Kinect while leaving most of one core available for the user to develop their own functionality.

If you go up to an i7 or other more powerful CPU you can do more processing, but you need to be careful about what you're expected battery life is.

The same goes for the RAM though it's less power hungry.

It is definitely possibly to use the graphics card for certain applications. Right now the graphics card is most heavily utilized by visualization and simulation libraries which are not especially useful on the TurtleBot laptop. However there are CUDA bindings in the works for both PCL and OpenCV which could offload a lot of computatoin to the GPU soon. In Lucid the EeePC's Optimus technology is not supported, but I have heard of drivers working on Natty.

Using the EeePC is also a price optimization. The EeePC is in a highly competitive product space with many similar models from multiple manufacturers making computers with almost exactly the same specifications.

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from my experience, you can upgrade to natty and use ironhide ( to access the nvidia gpu for rendering.
hsu gravatar image hsu  ( 2011-09-22 08:59:19 -0500 )edit

answered 2011-09-22 18:42:04 -0500

Jonathan gravatar image

Thanks a lot for this answer. On the battery life problem, maybe something like this battery pack would help ?

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Asked: 2011-09-21 18:12:36 -0500

Seen: 1,538 times

Last updated: Sep 22 '11