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View Full Version : Has anyone tried running Lightwave on the Microsoft Surface Go?



Paul_Boland
01-19-2019, 06:27 PM
Hi Folks.

I have my eye on the Microsoft Surface Go, their ten inch tablet that runs the full version of Windows 10. I want it mainly for writing and working when travelling, and part of that is Lightwave too. The small size of the Surface Go is appealing, having full Windows 10 on a tablet size device is very appealing. But can it run Lightwave?

While I'm sure rendering would be very slow on it, how about work in general? How about modelling, setting up scenes in Layout, etc.? If anyone has tried this out, I would be interested to hear your thoughts on it... Thanks.

jwiede
01-19-2019, 10:37 PM
I can tell you that LW runs decently on my Surface Pro 3, but I'd be a bit concerned about the Atom CPU & associated GPU of a Surface Go having enough "oomph" to run LW. You might want to consider a Surface Pro or Surface Book instead (if going Surface Book, get the dGPU-equipped one, costs a bit more but easily worth it).

Marander
01-20-2019, 03:18 AM
I haven't used the Surface Go (and never will) but I wouldn't recommend it for anything 3D related.

Also consider if you want to use tools like Substance Painter or video editing applications that require or utilize the GPU.

Besides 3D workstations I use also a Surface Pro, Dell XPS 13, Dell XPS 15 4k and MacBook Pro.

For very basic modeling the Surface Pro and Dell XPS 13 (8th Gen Core i7) are ok but for larger models or complex scenes it's no fun to work with (that applies to all laptops with an integrated Intel 620 or similar GPU). The Dell XPS 15 4k with a dedicated NVidia GPU can be used for all modeling tasks and bigger scenes. The Mac I only use for work, but I guess it would also be fine for basic 3D due to it's dedicated AMD GPU. I never use laptops for more than preview rendering.

Be aware that the Surface Go pricing only looks tempting when considering the base model. Remember to add the Type Cover and (if you like) the Surface Pen to your price calculation. Also note that the Type Cover can only be used on the Surface Go, not the Pro models. The Surface notebooks can not be upgraded in any way (except by adding a micro sd card). I wouldn't go for a mobile machine with less than 16 GB RAM or 512 GD SSD today. The lower specs models mostly have slower SSDs and RAMs which lowers the overall performance even more.

You wrote that the Surface Go runs the full Windows 10. I'm not so sure about that because at least out of the box it runs with Windows 10 in S Mode that allows only to run apps from the Microsoft Store. If you get out of the S Mode (which is possible once as far as I know) than you still only have Windows 10 Home, not Pro like most other laptops. For example you will not be able to use Bitlocker to encrypt your drives (maybe the system drive can be encrypted but I don't know because I never used Home).

My advise is to save for a better machine that has a dedicated GPU (even if it's a basic one) or at least use a SurfacePro due to it's much better CPU performance. Now it's a great time to purchase a laptop with an 8 Gen i5 or i7 CPU because of the increased amount of CPU cores.

Of course you can start LW or other 3D applications (if you made the switch from Windows 10 S mode to Home) on a Surface Go but overall I don't think you would be happy with it even for occasional 3D work.

A great feature of the Surface line of products is the Surface Pen that is supported in many applications but with the Surface Go that you might experience lags while drawing.

Paul_Boland
01-20-2019, 06:33 AM
Thanks for the feedback, much appreciated. I am tempted by the size of the Go for carrying onto a plane or train, it's on par with an iPad. I wouldn't mind Windows Home since this would only be a work machine, not my main one. The price is a factor and it would take me a few months to save up for it so that's why I'm exploring all the in's and out's of the Surface Go before committing to getting one. You've given me a lot to think about, thanks!

raymondtrace
01-20-2019, 10:50 AM
Keep in mind that battery charge is rated for average use. You're well above average. 3D programs are going to tax the processor and the battery. So expect shorter use between charges.

Marander
01-20-2019, 11:11 AM
Thanks for the feedback, much appreciated. I am tempted by the size of the Go for carrying onto a plane or train, it's on par with an iPad. I wouldn't mind Windows Home since this would only be a work machine, not my main one. The price is a factor and it would take me a few months to save up for it so that's why I'm exploring all the in's and out's of the Surface Go before committing to getting one. You've given me a lot to think about, thanks!

Welcome! And I agree, the size and weight of the Go is also an advantage of course!

Some more thoughts...

I would keep an eye open for last gen Surface Pro for a reduced price (maybe including the type cover), now that the Surface Pro 6 is out, some stores might want to sell out the previous one (which is still a great device). The difference is basically that the new 8 gen mobile core i5/7 that have double amount of cores. You might also find another last year model ultra book for a much reduced price and even an entry level NVidia MX150 is much better for 3D than the CPU-built-in 'GPUs' like the Intel 620. But as mentioned before for basic modeling or scene setup it works just fine.

Something to consider is that the Surface devices are very difficult to service. Replacing the battery after a couple of years when its condition lowers is almost impossible (if a replacement battery is even available).

https://youtu.be/5ZJn2YCC49s
https://youtu.be/YcKCKDFWDyo

Marander
01-20-2019, 11:21 AM
If you haven't already seen Lisa's review (one of the best tech review channels on youtube):

She mentions and shows lags in drawing as well as other performance issues. Also note what she says about the keyboard (compared to the Type Cover in the Pro versions).

https://youtu.be/IFN7HG6xh1M

jwiede
01-20-2019, 03:03 PM
Thanks for the feedback, much appreciated. I am tempted by the size of the Go for carrying onto a plane or train, it's on par with an iPad. I wouldn't mind Windows Home since this would only be a work machine, not my main one. The price is a factor and it would take me a few months to save up for it so that's why I'm exploring all the in's and out's of the Surface Go before committing to getting one. You've given me a lot to think about, thanks!

I strongly suspect you'll be disappointed with a Surface Go for 3D work, that product is aimed for much more "casual" use cases than something so resource-intensive as 3D work.

Rayek
01-20-2019, 05:28 PM
Hi Folks.

While I'm sure rendering would be very slow on it, how about work in general? How about modelling, setting up scenes in Layout, etc.? If anyone has tried this out, I would be interested to hear your thoughts on it... Thanks.

Modeling, or anything relying on 3d OpenGL acceleration will be hopelessly slow to work with. Very simple game models may be okay. Intel drivers for 3d work on Windows are another factor: they're terrible. Just not meant for productive OpenGL work at all.

I speak from experience: I have an older Windows slate, and anything OpenGL is slow and laggy.

Also a problem: the Surface Go's Intel HD Graphics 615 chip must drive a retina 2,736 by 1,824 pixels screen. When you realize that even relatively simple 3d games run quite slow at 1024x768 with that chip, and you try to run Lightwave at that resolution? Not to mention that Intel chips share their video memory with the RAM: for semi-serious 3d work at least 1GB of video ram is required, which will be leeched from your main memory. And that memory is slow, slow, slow for 3d work.

https://www.notebookcheck.net/Intel-HD-Graphics-615.174029.0.html

And then there's the obligatory CPU throttling on most Surface devices, which you will have to turn off manually - at the risk of overheating and lowering the life expectancy of your device.

Having said all this, there is one 3d app which I found to be the exception to the rule of "no 3d apps on a mobile Intel graphics driven device: ZBrush. Even on my old Windows slate (with built-in Wacom digitizer) I can work with objects up to 8 million polys without much issues. It's smooth. The reason? ZBrush doesn't require 3d hardware acceleration.

In short, I agree with JWiede: you will be sorely disappointed trying to run Lightwave on a Surface. Avoid any mobile device with an Intel graphics chip if you plan to do 3d work on the go.

AnimeJoex
01-20-2019, 09:19 PM
I have this 8 inch Windows tablet
https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B01MYZEPGP/ref=ya_aw_od_pi?ie=UTF8&psc=1

It's weaker than the Surface Go and runs LightWave, Blender, Unity, Visual Studio Community, Android Studio, Fusion, and Adobe Dreamweaver CC. It's a bit slow in some areas, but the programs still run, and you can achieve *some* level of productivity with it. The Surface Go is my next purchase!