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View Full Version : New laptop for 3d on the road - suggestions?



Rayek
05-08-2011, 12:11 PM
I am looking for a new laptop to complement my i7 desktop system for 3d work/animation on the road. So far my minimum requirements are:
- new Sandybridge 2630MQ cpu
- 8gb min memory
- min. 7200 500gb drive
- min. 1680*1050 screen - though higher (1920) would be nice
- 15"
- dedicated graphics NON-shared memory
- good connect-ability (hdmi/vga/usb3)
- preferably not too expensive
- I do not care much about OS - must run Lightwave, Blender, Cinema4D and all Adobe apps.

So far I have found:

New Apple Mac Pro (can$ 2337)
MSI GE620-021US (can$ 1044) http://tinyurl.com/3goot6k
MSI GT680R-008US (can$ 1553) http://tinyurl.com/3wkgcw7

Now, the second MSI seems almost to good to be true? It actually has better specs overall than the Apple - One could buy TWO of those and still have cash left compared to the mac pro. I configured the mac pro to try to match the MSI specs, but it still comes out with lesser specs (screen, HDD). Build quality may be better, though that does not explain the ridiculous price difference. And the MSI supports CUDA. And why would Apple insist on putting in a scrawny 5400 rpm drive as default for these powerful systems???!!! (btw, I like and use both Apple and Windows systems in my work - no preference on my part, but the pricing kinda kills me here)

Anyway, other suggestions? Anyone has experience with MSI laptops in general? I hear good things about Asus as well.

OnlineRender
05-08-2011, 02:25 PM
http://www.pcspecialist.co.uk/laptop-computers/

UK i know ,but will give you more of an idea , we built our rig from there and the guys and gals truly are helpful

if you buy a mac laptop your throwing money and spec [power] out of the window


ohh might as well buy 3D laptop

15.6" Vortex 3D Vision
http://www.pcspecialist.co.uk/notebooks/vortex-3d-vision/

OnlineRender
05-08-2011, 02:35 PM
- I do not care much about OS - must run Lightwave, Blender, Cinema4D and all Adobe apps.


and you still want a mac? :rock:

dmodric
05-08-2011, 03:03 PM
Try finding one of these.
http://ca.asus.com/product.aspx?P_ID=Gjsm3Kp4pjz9iJM1

I am waiting for my N73SV (17,3") model tomorrow ;)

I think they are best buy, at least in my country.

borkus
05-08-2011, 05:56 PM
MSI GT680R-008US (can$ 1553) http://tinyurl.com/3wkgcw7

I bought the MSI GT660 and have been extremely happy with it. It stays cool even while gaming if I enable the fan boost. I love the graphics card even though it's not as capable as the one in my desktop, but I knew that walking into it. There isn't really anything bad that I can say about my new laptop. I also love the chicklet style keyboard and now dread going back to my desktop to work. If there is any specs you would like me do to mine, you can let me know. I haven't got to do much 3d on it yet in that I'm finishing my degree so I can't comment there. I am just attesting to being very impressed with MSI as a company.

RebelHill
05-08-2011, 06:11 PM
I gotta sound a word in here for the Sony's...

Personally I always go for portability over power, so my 3 last laptops have been sony Z series... however if its max power you're after their top F series is jsut the ticket.

Honestly, they've been totally rock solid (my original P3, 15GBhdd Z model from 2002 still runs fine, and the battery is even still good). The screen quality is top notch, and battery life (and longevity) unlike any other make Ive ever known.

Well worth your consideration.

Rayek
05-08-2011, 10:13 PM
Thanks for the replies! I am going to do some more research on MSI and Asus models, and I'll let you know which one I got (probably sometime next week). It also depends a bit on local availability (vancouver), since my previous laptop (Dell XPS 1710) gave me so much warranty headaches, I vowed to never ever buy from Dell again. I prefer to buy from a physical store now.

nomad108
05-08-2011, 10:55 PM
Be sure to check out http://www.powernotebooks.com They have the highest power to price ratio that I've found.

Rayek
05-08-2011, 11:16 PM
Be sure to check out http://www.powernotebooks.com They have the highest power to price ratio that I've found.

That... is pretty amazingly low priced - a MSI machine with a 460m graphics card, 12gb AND a hybrid seagate momentus hdd/4gb sdd for 1163? Wow. I installed one of those hybrid hdd/ssd's in the old xps 1710 (now my wife's laptop), and now it boots in about half a minute - before she could make herself a cup of coffee - literally.

Too bad they are USA based. :cry:

maxwaver
05-11-2011, 04:25 PM
hI
did yo heard about the hp elitebook series ?
If your budget is unlimited i suggest you to go for one of them. iam using the hp elitbook 8540 and i'm pretty happy with it , stable and fast, it has an i5 2,4 ghz, quadro 800m graphic ( 15" screen 1600 x 900 ) card and 8 gigs of ram + a 320 gigs hd. it has a robust brushed metal and stylish body case and has 5 usb 3.0 usb port, display port which can go to more than 1900 x resolution with an outside screen.
Mine shiped in early 2010 but as i know they have a 17" version witha full hd resolution, i7, more than 500 gigs, 16 gigs of ram, and a quadro 2000, and it cost cheaper than the lastest macbook pro.

some says its the best professional laptop outt there, google it and then give your feedback :)

Rayek
05-13-2011, 09:01 PM
I am trying to avoid hp and dell - I experienced too many support and hardware problems in the past and present. Those companies use the same hardware vendors as Asus and MSI anyway, and it's not really worth the extra cost, in my opinion. Take the HP Pavilion dv7, for example: $1900 is just too much for what it offers.

In addition, I am looking for a 2630QM cpu laptop (the i5 is a tad outdated) - and I just cannot find a suitable model at HP. And, after going through building my somewhat ideal test build online at Dell a week ago, the system responded it would take a month(!) to build and one week to ship. That's just crazy. I can get a superior ASUS model for less money and at a walking distance.

The search goes on. ;-) Thanks for the tip, though.

dmodric
05-14-2011, 01:30 PM
Just to share my experience using my ASUS N73SV for a week now. It's a i7 2630 machine with 4+2 GB of RAM, 2x 650GB HDD and Nvidia 540m graphics.

I was working on a fairly large scene around 1mil polys, DPI, HDI... around 2.5GB in RAM. What can I say, I am impressed. It handles objects in modeler fast, it renders fast. It's twice as fast as my overclocked Q6600's.

It renders this scene in 9min 14 sec
http://www.newtek.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1115680&postcount=53

There is one problem... you cannot turn off integrated Intel HD3000 card :stumped: It's using Nvidia optimus technology and it switches automaticly from one card to another when needed. I got few crashes in Modeler 10.0 but I don't know is that related to the constant switching or something else. Also that Intel card is using system RAM for video memory so you loose some. I have just removed that 2GB modul and replaced it with 4 GB. So now I have 8 GB that shold be enough. It has 3 slots for max of 12 GB but i7 2630 can only use 8GB in dual channel mode, above that it is single channel.

Intel turbo 2 is great. That maximum speed they say it's 2,9 Ghz it is only when using single core. When working with all 8 threads it goes only to 2,6 Ghz and that's not for long. When temperature raises (witch is very high around 85 C) it lowers to 2,4 or 2,5 :grumpy: I will try buying one of those cooling docks.

archijam
05-14-2011, 02:05 PM
Forget a mac book pro in my humble opinion. Not happy with this thing at all (6 months on) ..

Although the 3 year guarantee is awesome and reliable.

maxwaver
05-16-2011, 03:11 PM
I heard also many bad feedbacks about hp laptops, but it was always about their dv series which are not made for proconsumers, dv series are not for people who work using 3d softawers even you could do petty decent good job with.
The Elirebook are workstation and are built for 3d designer, this why its ships with a quadro graphic cards. iam using my 8540 for all my 3d work now plugged to 2 external monitors ( 1 from display port and the other from vga output, the hardware could use 3 with addition of the laptop screen but seems its a windows 7 limitation to stuck with only 2 ), mostly for zbrushing this latest time and i can say that it has a very good performance, i can deal with scenes with more than 30 millions polys without any problems, going beyond 35 it start to go slower but it because of my 8 gigs of ram, i believe i can deal with up to 60 millions or more if i had 16 gigs of ram and and i7 which is possible by going for the best config.
though sharing my experience with a real use may help u .

shrox
05-16-2011, 03:34 PM
I heard also many bad feedbacks about hp laptops, but it was always about their dv series which are not made for proconsumers, dv series are not for people who work using 3d softawers...

Bingo! I had one that would not run Lightwave.

sammael
05-19-2011, 07:07 AM
What about Alienware? though they are more focused for games they seem to pack some decent hardware. I have the smaller 11 inch model which I use instead of a netbook. Battery life is good and it has a better than average graphics card, 7200rpm, 8gb ram, nice screen etc. The bigger ones would be pretty good I'm tipping.

Battery life, thats the drawback with a lot of them.

colkai
05-19-2011, 09:06 AM
I just got a Dell Inspiron 17R (new series), with the NVidia 525M 1GB discrete graphics, 500GB HDD and 4GB of ram. It actually runs LW better than my "main" PC, (a HP DX2550). Not exactly a high end lappy, was only 579 UK, but good enough.

Rayek
05-30-2011, 07:22 PM
I think I have finally decided - after seeing the Eee EP121 and its many positive reviews by artists, I am going for that one. Although it is nothing compared to my original 'requirements', I am a Wacom addict, and this little machine actually out-performs a Cintique in the screen quality department.

And I did some re-thinking about what I generally do during travel, and most of that is drawing, Photoshop, light 3d work (mostly relatively low-poly stuff), note taking. This seems perfect for that.

For heavy duty stuff I work on my Desktop anyway. I need a 'travel companion', rather than a second mini workstation.

The built-in Wacom is awesome. Kinda a deal-sealer. And I can buy it at Bestbuy around the corner.

http://www.asus.com/Eee/Eee_Pad/Eee_Slate_EP121/

geo_n
05-30-2011, 10:54 PM
I'm an Asus ,Acer, Msi fan.
Yes you're right you can buy almost two laptops compared to a mac laptop. Macs are just overpriced and underpowered most of the time. My asus core 2 duo outperformed a macpro during its time with a dedicated nvidia card that ran lightwave fine. Sold it and my friend still edits video in it. Durable!
The acer in my sig is as fast as a quad 6600 and nvidia 8800gt caliber gfx but half the price of macpro that has lower specs when I bought it last year. I could have bought two again with superior power to a macpro.
That Eee EP121, whats the gfx? lightwave has problems with non nvidia gfx especially transparency and wireframe display. The msi I bought had intel gfx I think and couldn't display shaded ogl correctly. But that asus looks great for zbrush.

mosconariz
06-20-2011, 11:47 PM
I think I have finally decided - after seeing the Eee EP121 and its many positive reviews by artists, I am going for that one. Although it is nothing compared to my original 'requirements', I am a Wacom addict, and this little machine actually out-performs a Cintique in the screen quality department.

And I did some re-thinking about what I generally do during travel, and most of that is drawing, Photoshop, light 3d work (mostly relatively low-poly stuff), note taking. This seems perfect for that.

For heavy duty stuff I work on my Desktop anyway. I need a 'travel companion', rather than a second mini workstation.

The built-in Wacom is awesome. Kinda a deal-sealer. And I can buy it at Bestbuy around the corner.

http://www.asus.com/Eee/Eee_Pad/Eee_Slate_EP121/

It looks amazing... Can it survive a full processor render? My Dell Studio 15 don't :(

3dworks
06-21-2011, 10:25 AM
Forget a mac book pro in my humble opinion. Not happy with this thing at all (6 months on) ..

Although the 3 year guarantee is awesome and reliable.

well, i can only recommend mine (macbook pro latest revision, quad core) - never been happier with an apple product, lately. fast (quad core), incredible built quality, great screen (i opted for the non-glossy 17"), very good autonomy, very fast disk performance with built in SSD (boot up from power off in about 8 seconds, including the working wifi connection and remote volume mounting). not installed windows on it, so i can't tell about video performance on that side. runs pretty well lw, modo and maxwell. render times with maxwell are equivalent to my 8 core 2.6 ghz 2008 macpro desktop mac...

pat-lek
06-22-2011, 01:04 AM
I don't know if it's for PC, but there is a new 100 (!!!!) cores processor

http://www.tilera.com/about_tilera/press-releases/tilera-unveils-ultimate-cloud-computing-processor

http://www.tilera.com/

Rayek
07-14-2011, 12:29 AM
So... just to let you guys know I finally decided to get the Asus Eee Slate ep121 tablet last Friday. Some unexpected birthday money won me over, and I have been playing with it for the last couple of days.

Conclusion: BEST toy/creative tool ever! Holy ****, this really is a portable Cintique - I had to install the newest Asus tablet driver to get pressure sensitivity up and running, and overall this is fun, fun fun, AND a creative power tool.

I haven't installed LW yet, but did try Blender, which works okay - I am now testing several on-screen custom keyboard solutions, which so far looks promising.

I got all my note taking software, books, music, design and dev applications, video tutorials, language courses, emulators (xbox 360 controller works out of the box too :-P ), Adobe, dictionaries, and so on - all on one portable machine which feels and looks like a e-reader device in portrait mode and acts like a portable Cintique with the power of an intel i3 backed up by 4gb and a 64gb ssd. Awesome.

And the ips screen is absolutely one of the best screens I have worked on, and puts my desktop screens to shame. It also connects to a second screen, if required! The curved bluetooth keyboard that comes with this tablet works like a charm as well (re-branded M$ 6000 mobile which got several awards in 2010) - I dislike "straight" keyboards, and always use curved ones myself. The only thing that I am missing is that the included pen does not have any buttons to control right-clicking. I've read that an alternative pen is for sale somewhere that does offer two buttons. I'll have to get that in order to use 3d apps, I guess.

Pardon my raving, but I have been waiting for a device like this for a LONG time, and, finally, now the wait is over. Bit expensive, but worth it. Windows tablet done right.

Lamont
07-16-2011, 07:08 AM
Dude, you're making me want a Eee Slate...