Subscriber Discussion

PC Power Needed For Displaying 12 3MP Cameras

Was helping someone with a 12 camera 3MP each, installation with one NVR. The PC is Windows 8 Pro i7-4770@3.40GHZ and 16GB Ram. I will get the model of the video card but apparantly this is a $3,000 computer. I also noticed on the Computer tech specs where it said limited Touch Support with 2 Touchpoints.

There are 3 touchscreens involved so we were pumping full 3MP cameras all 12 into a "16 screen" view into all three screens. These three screens will be in different locations and the system will grow to 16 cameras. We were using the manufacturers software which can manage 1100 cameras. If manufacturer name is necessary but it is a tier 1 camera manufacturer.

I think it is a PC juice problem as there is no way it can handle all this video output.

Most likely suggest they create a lower level profile stream for this type of live viewing I know they will BALK at that suggestion.

This is what I am researching now would like to hear any experience with a similiar situation.

First, I want to make sure I understand this correctly. There are 3 monitors connected to a single PC and each monitor will display the same 12 3MP cameras in a 4 x 4 matrix, like so:

Is that correct?

"Most likely suggest they create a lower level profile stream for this type of live viewing I know they will BALK at that suggestion."

If this is the case, than each camera is going to only take up 1/16th of the screen. Assume a 2MP monitor and that's 1/8MP per camera. So they would be trying to display a 3MP camera in a 1/8 MP space.

They might balk but they would not be able to see the difference if each camera was displayed with a 'low' VGA stream. That's a fundamental use of multistreaming.

We can certainly comment more but let us know what you think and other comments you have and we can go from there.

Thanks for an interesting question!

Yes John you are correct

Multistreaming is the clear answer then. No visual downgrade for displaying a lower resolution stream on a 4 x4 matrix but much reduced load on PC.

However, does your VMS support multistreaming? If it is a camera's VMS, it might not.

I will comment and by no way am I an expert so bare with me. The mother board, processor, memory, video card, on board network or card and power supply would need the information. Belarc advisor a free download allows for a snap shot of computer to get specifications or level of components. What is mother board bus and clock speed, memory speed, video card, how large of power supply ? They all play important roles and have everything to do with your machine performance.

If been told it is very much like a gaming machine and I would doubt the single video card can process all those cameras hence your comment of the juice. High quality video cards or a dual DVI card requires about 115 watts from the psu (power supply unit) to run right. The other thing to check is what the PSU can put out in amps on the 12v rails. Some dual cards in full operation when gaming requires 26 to 30 amps from a 12v rail of a psu also. The information is on psu box.

Summing up your components your memory and processor looks good the rest is up for discussion and are you recording if so with Solid state or desktop drives? Also maybe a dual network card could help I will investigate presuming your network switch is what?

I will leave the debate regarding the efficacy of a human attempting to monitor 48 cameras at once for another thread.

Restating what John said above, chances are your customer is going to use a 1080p/2MP monitor. Higher resolution monitors are available but not yet common. So you are looking to cram a 2048x1536 image into a tile that only has 480x270 pixels (sub-VGA) to display it. The video cards you would need to accomplish this would use a tremendous amount of horsepower transcoding down each camera stream in order to build your screen view.

It would be better to build each screen via secondary streams from each camera with VGA probably being the most appropriate. You don't have to record that smaller stream; you could instead record the primary 3MP stream so your customer has full resolution in the archive.

One thing I noticed in your original post is you mentioned that they were touch screens. Using touch to rearrange the tiles may be possible, but I'd be concerned if your customer wanted to touch a tile and have it expand to full screen at full resolution. That would be a function of your VMS as it would have to switch to the primary stream in doing so.

Rather than three (eventually four) separate high-end video cards (which you will likely need) check with the folks at Barco or Matrox that specialize in video walls like this, and work closely with your VMS as you do so.

Hello, we run a setup that is similiar, the computers power would not be the problem, if the power supply is not sufficient you will receive and error to support that or the system may not even boot up. If you have one card that is going to be a problem for that many streams.

Our Clients we use here have 2 video cards with 2gb ram each. But you have to be careful with the cards too, some manufacturers have 2Gb cards and they cannot run multiple monitors with multiple 2-3 mp images. We are running all HD, usually 40 cameras on 4 screens though, one of them may run the 3 MP cameras we have on the exterior of the building (12 max in that view).

With that said having more then 12 images on a screen is very hard for one person to veiw effectivly and most computer technology will not be able to keep up with 48 3mp images, you would need 1 high end card per monitor just to maintain the images. I also did not see the spec on the Network card for the machine. Most machines will come with a Gb network card but some only have the 10/100 cards in them still, so check that also. fianlly what is the bandwidth on the network? Is is a fibre optics backbone from the nodes to the servers? If the client is high end but the network is not you could have a bottle neck occuring outside of the client.

a good card to process this type of information can run anywhere from 250 to 600 dollars depending on the make and model you want.

Chris, thanks!

"We are running all HD, usually 40 cameras on 4 screens though, one of them may run the 3 MP cameras we have on the exterior of the building (12 max in that view)."

Are you running those cameras at max resolution and frame rate or are you using a lower quality stream when displaying those cameras side by side on the monitors?


We are running at Max Resolution on all of the monitors, frame rate on the fixed is 8 fps on the ptz's it is 10 fps, Lic plate recognition is 15 fps and the 3 MP exteriors are running at 10 fps. Our system is also used to view and investigate at the same time so the machine is under load most of our operating hours.

Thank you all for the answers and I am still reviewing them. It is 3 screens with each screen showing showing the same 12 cameras. Once they are done with teh installation screen 1, first floor, 2nd screen 2nd floor, etc. this is a high end residence of 15,000 sq ft.

I did forget to add that though the PC has 16GB of RAM it is running out of memory at times. This is a video wall scenario such as a Barco or RGB Spectrum it is becoming more clear.

This again is a customer intial reasearch and installer lack of seasoned experience not understanding the project scope.

I obviously knew it is a computer problem and it could not handle it, I could not explain it for them to understand but I know what I understand in my head.

John it is the manufacturer VMS and the storage is an NVR. I will look again for the multi-cast option do not remember seeing that.

"Displaying video and from the IP cameras" sounds like a good tutorial!

These are touch screens and the intent is to use the touch screen for zooming and single screen from the "16 view"

These cameras are all set to 3MP and vary from 10fps - 15fps from what I remember.

"I will look again for the multi-cast option do not remember seeing that."

To be clear, what you want here is multi-streaming, not multi-casting. You are looking for a way to set 'high' and 'low' streams and allow the client to send the 'low' streams when a 4 x 4 view is displayed.