Best laptop for 3D artist/vjing/game development?

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by cu3D, Nov 8, 2016.

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  1. cu3D

    cu3D Newbie

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    I’ve been looking for a long time but can’t seem to find an appropriate answer because my question has multiple layers.

    First of all I’m looking for a laptop for 3D design/rendering and vjing but I also do game development in unreal. It’s quite a lot of different things but the main focus lays on 3D design. I’ve been looking at a ton of laptop but it only makes my choice more difficult.

    The other problem is that prices differ a lot on this planet and I’m currently in India. So either I buy a laptop here which is cheaper according to the local economics or I let my friend in america buy on and send it to me. Or I can go to Hong Kong and buy on there. But as long as I don’t know which one to buy I’m kinda stuck on how to get it. The other thing is, if the price isn’t much different it may be cheaper to buy in India.

    I’ve been looking into Alienware 15 - Lenovo P50 - MacBook 15inch

    Currently I have a MacBook 13inch but it’s not powerful enough to do all the things I need.
    Since I move a lot it has to be a laptop. Shifting os is also no a problem (win/mac)

    Thanks a lot

    1) What is your budget?
    1000 to 2100 USD


    2) What size notebook would you prefer?
    15" - 16" screen - 17 could be an option but it's a little too big


    3) What tasks will you be performing with the notebook?
    3D rendering, designing, vjing, video editing

    Software: C4D, Arena, Arnold renderer, Unreal engine, All adobe software

    4) Will you be taking the notebook with you to different places or leaving it on your desk?
    It be moving every couple of months

    5) Will you be playing games on it; if so, which games?
    No games

    6) Are there any brands that you prefer or any you really don't like?
    No

    7) How many hours of battery life do you need?
    I don't care too much

    8) Do you mind buying online without seeing the notebook in person?
    It would be nice to see the laptop but it's not important

    9) What country are you buying this in?
    INDIA (currently based) - HONG KONG (here I can fly to hong kong for 300 dollar)- USA (delivery)

    10) Resolution should be good since it's for graphics


    11) Do you want a glossy/reflective screen or a matte/non-glossy screen?
    Prefer matte

    12) Are the notebook's looks and stylishness important to you?
    No

    13) How long do you want this laptop to last?
    4 years

    14) How much hard drive space do you want?
    At least 500 to 1Tb or more

    15) Do you need a DVD, DVD-CD/RW or DVD-R drive?
    No
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2016
  2. KylePR

    KylePR Notebook Geek

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    Hey there, I'm glad you're taking a look at these forums before you make a choice. I am a game developer myself and while I use a lot of different tools, I might be able to give you some general insight into what to look for in a laptop.

    When it comes to the actual development part of things, the horsepower you need depends on what tools you are using. For instance, C4D is cpu intensive and will do all of its rendering through the cpu. However, you might also be using external renderers which could utilize gpu rendering. My tip would be to know your target with your workflow and look for a laptop that satisfies that, but as a baseline defintely a quad core - and stay away from intel "u" processors like they are the plague. Most applications I use tend to be cpu intensive, but it's essential to have at least a decent enough graphics card to back that up, especially since you're going to want to be able to play test the games you're making! What that means for you will depend on your goals though. Since I mostly do indie game development, a gtx 960m serves me plenty and handles most of the leisure games i throw at it just fine. However, if you're going to be creating first person shooters with huge texture detail, then anticipate that as you develop that it's not going to run as well as a release game would, since nothing will be optimized. So you might need more graphics oomph in this scenario.

    As far as 3D design, get the highest resolution you can without breaking the budget. Screen real estate becomes a hot commodity really quickly when you have 4 different views open in Maya or some other program. While you won't be increasing the size of space you have to work with - a 15 inch will still be a 15 inch - you will be able to zoom out more and still perceive the detail or even shrink down your ui a bit. For me I also knew that I absolutely needed a numpad. I started out modelling in blender, and I hotkey absolutely everything - the numpad does wonders for that.

    I also would advise against a mac if you're serious about game development at all, just because mac gaming is a very niche market and the majority of what you will be developing for is pc. It'll be highly beneficial to be able to test everything on the same system rather than switching around to see if it works for your target platform.

    A final note on screens. I'm not sure what aspects of 3D design you do, but if you also do texturing or 2D graphics you'll want a decent enough screen. I'd definitely recommend an IPS, especially since you said you do video editing. On top of that it really depends, there are lower class IPS screens and higher class ones. I'd recommend one with a good contrast ratio for the video editing (atleast 600+... sites like notebookcheck and laptopmedia will note these values in their reviews).

    Hope this helps!
     
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  3. cu3D

    cu3D Newbie

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    Whoah thank you KylePR, that's some really good advice.

    I could have been more clear on what kind of development it is I'm into. It's not really game development in the way that I want to build a full game. It's more for visualisation and artist purposes, experimental. For example I use unreal to run trough certain scenes which have some functionality but arent an action game.

    I don't have access to a render farm most of the time and I do render a ton in C4D and third party render systems.

    Also I know 17 inch would give me better specs but that's really a big machine I'm still not sure how much I would dislike it when I actually start moving around with it. But if the performance would be a lot better I would surely opt for a bigger screen. Also I do a lot of texturing, even now I do on a 13 inch, I don't think many do, haha.

    Thanks for the links I take a look into them
     
  4. KCETech1

    KCETech1 Notebook Prophet

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    A few more points, I don't do any game development but I edit video for broadcast and cinematic projects all the time ( 3D modeling and animation as well )

    1: for video work your screens color accuracy and gamut can wind up being more important than the resolution. one of my best editing platforms is STILL a 2011 HP Elitebook 8740W because of its wide gamut 10 bit screen, even if its 1080. ( beats packing my Eizo external for onsite edits after shooting, I may even be able to brag that you may have seen some of that antiques edits on the big screen.)

    2: RAM, oh did I mention RAM. if you cant stuff 32GB into it later on keep on walking and the next versions of CS/CC will make this even more important ( ok unless your outputting low res youtube video )

    3: Cooling. can the unit keep cool and not throttle or crash when you are doing those long overnight or all day renderings?

    Kyle is right, Skip the Macs completely ( I even have 17" laptops that destroy my Mac Pro desktop ) Adobe is now far more stable and featured on a clean load of windows 7 or 10. U series processors are junk for much rendering. And he hit the nail on the head using a numberpad in MAYA. its a fantastic tool to have unless you like hauling around external keyboards too.

    I have a Lenovo P50 and a P70, I prefer the P70 personally but I have given up on the small and light and have moved to chunky and get my work done twice as fast. the Precision 7510 is also a great unit as is the Zbook 15.
     
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  5. cu3D

    cu3D Newbie

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    Thank you for all the info KCETech1

    I was actually looking a the Lenovo P50 the P70 is above my budget. They look good, also upgrade it to 16gb and possible to higher in a later stage.

    I'm not sure if I should get the NVIDIA Quadro M1000M 4GB or the M2000M
    Due to the cooling.

    I'm happy I made my mind on the macbook thing cause they're too expensive as well.

    Ps: It's incredible how much these prices vary over the globe, some of these machines cost 3 times as much in India or Belgium
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2016
  6. Kent T

    Kent T Notebook Virtuoso

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    KCETech1 speaks the truth here. Adobe's CS software has been more current, been faster and better on Windows from CS6 onwards. And every recommendation she makes is spot on for all creative professionals, follow her well reasoned, experienced advice based on being a creative professional with wide experience. When she posts, I read it and think carefully about what she has to say. It is always on point and gets you to the heart of the matter in this discipline. It can be taken to the bank! It can be relied on without hesitation!
     
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  7. KCETech1

    KCETech1 Notebook Prophet

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    if you can budget it go with the m2000m

    Thanks Kent I just chalk it up to I want to get my work done in a hurry AND correctly. ok and im tired of my almost 30 years on Apple which I have now almost phased out.
     
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  8. Kent T

    Kent T Notebook Virtuoso

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    And I agree with you, I like my own workflow out the door fast, and correct. And I like fast machines with real support and who's manufacturer treats me like I have important work to get done and gets me back in business quickly. I don't have time for anything less.
     
  9. kojack

    kojack Notebook Virtuoso

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    Surface book. An amazing tool for artists
     
  10. Kent T

    Kent T Notebook Virtuoso

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    Amazing, NO! No next business day service, difficult to impossible to upgrade storage and RAM, consumer grade durability. And you can't run real creative professional workflows on demanding creative software without throttling. For those who create, that is why there is high end Workstations. Which the Surface Pro is not.
     
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