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Recommended system for complex ROS programs + simulations

asked 2011-04-25 10:46:51 -0600

patrick_hammer gravatar image

updated 2014-01-28 17:09:35 -0600

ngrennan gravatar image

I am looking to build a new computer to run ROS, rviz, and gazebo simulations. I've previously been working on an underpowered Ubuntu VM. What specs (RAM, CPU, GPU...) would you recommend for complex operations like simulating a PR2 or point cloud manipulations? I definitely cannot spend more than $4,000 so I think dual six core xeon processors are out :-p

Thanks - Patrick

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answered 2011-04-26 09:31:17 -0600

tfoote gravatar image

At Willow, our standard dev machines are the Limbo 7000 line from Zareason. Make sure to get an Nvidia Graphics card, other than that the more upgrades you use the faster it will run. I'd suggest bumping up the memory a little bit, but it's not necessary.

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answered 2011-04-26 08:16:23 -0600

Eric Perko gravatar image

Here's some rough specs on my dev machine. I'm able to run the PR2 in Gazebo simulation and work with Kinect data easily. I can also playback full 30Hz Kinect data (/camera/rgb/points for example) thanks to the speed of the SSD and copious RAM available for caching.

Anyways, here's the specs:

  • CPU: Intel Core i7 920, 4 cores, 8 threads, 2.66 Ghz
  • RAM: 12GB DDR3
  • Disk: 120GB OCZ Vertex 2 SSD for code, OS and current work datasets + Standard spinny disk HDDs for longer-term data storage
  • GPU: nVidia GTX 275
  • OS: Ubuntu 10.10 x64

Some of those components have likely been replaced by newer ones, but you get the idea. And really, 6GB of ram is likely plenty, the only time I've seen it go over that was when doing stupid things (such as trying to make a SLAM map with gmapping that was 200m x 200m at 1cm resolution when I didn't need it to be nearly so large). Just watch out for USB 3.0 - some things don't work so well on USB 3.0 right now, whether due to buggy Linux drivers, buggy controllers, etc, I'm not sure.

For our robots (and just add a good GPU to make it a dev machine) we make sure to have at least 4 simultaneous execution threads (either 2cores, hyperthreaded or 4 cores), 64-bit CPU, 6GB of RAM and a decent SSD (any SandForce-based ones that are ~270MB/s read/write are the current favorite).

Hope that helps, let me know if you need anymore details.

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answered 2011-04-25 23:59:44 -0600

I wouldn't think you'd need that much performance. I used p2-gazebo with a Intel Core2 Quad CPU Q9650@3.00GHz and that was fine. I had 4GB and you shouldn't go below that. I didn't run any complicated things though.

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answered 2011-04-26 04:24:18 -0600

dornhege gravatar image

If you want to spent the money, it might be convenient to setup a separate machine for running gazebo. The only thing to watch out for is that you get a proper graphics card, i.e. no onboard intel chipset for running gazebo/rviz.

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Thank you! That is very good to know.
patrick_hammer gravatar imagepatrick_hammer ( 2011-04-26 07:54:09 -0600 )edit

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Asked: 2011-04-25 10:46:51 -0600

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Last updated: Apr 26 '11