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Comparing laptops under $1000 with CUDA enabled GPU

Discussion in 'Sager and Clevo' started by Signifier, Apr 20, 2009.

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  1. Signifier

    Signifier Notebook Guru

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    Hi - I want to buy a laptop to do scientific numerical simulations (N-body codes, kinetic growth, molecular dynamics, quantum monte carlo) in C or C++. I am trying to find a laptop that is exceptionally fast, that will let me do powerful simulations with tons of floating point calculations, that isn't too bogged down with stuff that would be mostly useless for me - "gaming intensive" stuff, I suppose. I don't plan on ever playing any games on my laptop, so... I think there's a lot of stuff I won't need.

    I have been booking at Sager laptops and I'm not sure which one will suit my needs. I have $1800 but I don't want to spend all of it if I don't need to, of course. I mainly want to make sure that I get a laptop with an NVIDIA GPU that will let me use CUDA so I can do some intense computing.

    So I am looking at a bunch of Sagers, IE the NP7682, NP7350, NP2096, NP8662, NP5793 etc. My question is why exactly should I get one over the other, if they can all be upgraded to a T9800 core? I can sort of rationalize the NP7350 over the NP7682 because the 7350 is smaller...

    Then there's things that I just absolutely do NOT need like the NP2096's "fingerprint reader." Which Sager will give me the most bang for my specific needs - a CUDA enabled GPU, no special gaming or graphics bells or whistles, (I'm not going to play Crysis!), just raw speed that will let me take advantage of CUDA?

    Sorry if my questions are haphazard, I'm writing this during a ten minute break! Give me some Clevo/Sager guidance here, I don't want to spend $1800 when I could have gotten all I want with $1400 or $1200 or less! I'm probably going to ask a bunch of really annoying questions but I'd rather be safe than sorry.

    Right now I'm leaning toward the NP7682 with T9800 and 4GB SRAM, but wondering why I should perhaps spend more for the NP2096 or NP8662? Are there are reasons that will matter for me, where my primary interests are processing speed and taking advantage of CUDA on the GPU?
     
  2. Nirvana

    Nirvana Notebook Prophet

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    You obviously need a high end CPU, Quad core would be ideal for simulations but they are far exceed your budget. 7682 with T9800 seems like a good choice but the GPU is integrated, which means no CUDA for you. What about 2096 with T9800 and 9600M GT?
     
  3. Signifier

    Signifier Notebook Guru

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    Hmm, okay. I'm not too worried about Quad core vs. Dual core, I am sort of under the impression that getting a faster GHz dual core is better than a slower quad core...

    Well, I would like to use CUDA if at all possible. So if 7682 won't let me use CUDA I won't get the 7682. Will any of the Sager laptops under $1000 to start with let me use CUDA? ??
     
  4. Nirvana

    Nirvana Notebook Prophet

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    That's because the old apps/games are not programmed to be multi-threaded. So basically they only use 1 core no matter what, thus, higher clocking = faster.

    You have to balance between CPU and GPU.
    1) High end CPU, no GPU
    2) Dedicated GPU, average CPU.
     
  5. Deathwinger

    Deathwinger Notebook Virtuoso

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    CUDA technology is used by Nvidia cards. Get an medium level Nvidia card like the 9600m GT.

    I recommend you got a fast core 2 duo processor, the time to wait for the quad core ability is not worth your time and may not be necessary to go over budget.

    The Sager 2096 would honestly be your best bet if you want to go with a Sager.

    That or you could find a M860TU that has the 9600m GT.
     
  6. Signifier

    Signifier Notebook Guru

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    OK, so let me try to get this annoyingly clear - the 2096 will let me use CUDA? I look at CUDA's enabled product list (at http://www.nvidia.com/object/cuda_learn_products.html) and the GeForce 9600M GT (which Sager's site says the 2096 has) is listed as a CUDA enabled product. Also on the CUDA enabled product list is the GeForce G105M GPU, which the NP7682 has. So I'm assuming that I'm missing something, if the 2096 is CUDA enabled and the 7682 is not CUDA enabled (considering NVIDIA says the GPUs of both are CUDA enabled).

    Dedicated GPU, average CPU. But what is an "average" CPU? If I get an NP2096 with T9800, will I have a dedicated GPU? Will I have an average CPU? Just based on price range, I could go for Sager 5797 with Core 2 extreme 3.06 GHz and upwards of a $3500 price tag. Is this more in line with an "above average CPU" and a dedicated GPU? (I think I'd be fine with a dedicated GPU and an average CPU, but again, what is average?)

    I am not sure if I will go for Sager. They just have a friendly site to look through products and customize. I am also considering Clevo and the M860TU or M865TU. For Clevos, can I "get" a 2.9+ GHz processor as I can from Sager? ("Get" in the sense of easily get, for someone with very little computer hardware savvy.) Would a Clevo be a better option than a Sager?

    I live in Medford, OR, and I'm not sure if I'll be able to find any of these things locally very easily although my friend said there may be a Clevo dealer in Medford, but their selection is poor. Right now I am just searching for the optimal balance between price and processing.
     
  7. Nirvana

    Nirvana Notebook Prophet

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    1) 9600M GT - dedicated GPU; G105M - integrated GPU
    2) G105M - low end level; 9600M GT - average level; 9800M, GT260M/GTX280M - high end level
    3) Sager buy laptops from Clevo; you can't buy from Clevo, unless you are ordering lot of 1000 or so.

    As said your best bet would be 2096 with T9800 and 9600M GT. End of story.
     
  8. Signifier

    Signifier Notebook Guru

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    OK. I think I understand a bit better now. I am looking at the 2096 closely. Now I begin the hunt for the best price and service.
     
  9. Sp3ctrum

    Sp3ctrum Notebook Consultant

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    But just so you know I think sager reputation come from their clevo models and the NP2096 is a compal which I don't think has the same build quality as clevo although I have never seen a compal so you'd have to ask a compal owner
     
  10. Signifier

    Signifier Notebook Guru

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    Yes, that is another worrying thing. Can anyone speak to this? Does anyone have experience with a 2096? How good is it? The T9800 and 9600M GT seems like a good combination for a good price, but I understand that the 2096 is not based on a Clevo.

    Just going off of Sager's website, I see that for a few hundred $ more I can get a NP5793 which is Clevo, but this is with a T9300 instead of a T9800, plus it's 17" (I'd prefer 15.4" or less). I'm not sure if this is an upgrade or not?

    Should I look beyond Sager? Could I get a Clevo-based model, with a T9800 or comparable speed processor, dedicated GPU etc., not from Sager, for comparable prices?
     
  11. pasoleatis

    pasoleatis Notebook Deity

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    If you use CUDA the the work done my processor is low. Even a dual core can do the work. CUDA can be used on all Nvidia cards starting with the 8xxx models. The better is the card the best perfomance you get. The processor is not so important. Any dual core will work.
     
  12. Gophn

    Gophn NBR Resident Assistant

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    have you looked at the Clevo Guide yet?
     
  13. Signifier

    Signifier Notebook Guru

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    OK, so I'd like to use CUDA but I'd also like a fast processor. I suppose if I fully exploit CUDA then the processor won't matter so much, but I'd like to be able to write non-CUDA programs and have them run as fast as possibly as well... Definitely balancing a whole bunch of needs, wants, impulses, confusions, etc...

    Upping the processor definitely adds $. I suppose that from where I'm coming from - hoping to use CUDA - that an extraordinary GPU is what matters most.

    Or should I shoot for a good processor too?

    Any word on the 2096 from anyone?
     
  14. Signifier

    Signifier Notebook Guru

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    I am also considering a similarly priced laptop I found on xoticpc, the Force 3551 which is built on "MSI-1651". It has a nVidia GeForce 9600M GT 512MB PCI-Express DDR3 DX10 which I'm assuming is better than the NP2096's 512MB PCI-Express nVidia GeForce 9600M GT DDR2 DX10 (DDR3 > DDR2). Will this have an effect on CUDA power?

    Very impressive simulations have been written on a GeForce 8800 GTX (16384 particle N-body simulation) using CUDA code. I'm assuming both the 9600M GT DDR3 and the 9600M GT DDR2 are both better than the 8800 GTX, or am I mistaken?

    But which will be distinctly better for CUDA, DDR2 or DDR3?

    Also, I could just fork out ~$2000 for the NP8662 with T9800. Obviously this would be the "best" laptop in this area... For what I'm going for - a laptop that will last me, that will be powerful and let me use CUDA effectively - would it be worth it to just pay the extra $400 or so?

    Thanks.
     
  15. L4d_Gr00pie

    L4d_Gr00pie Notebook Evangelist

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    Just for you information, 8800M GTX is better than both 9600M GT. It is the same card as 9800M GT (8800 GTX=9800GT).

    The NP8662 would have the best graphics card (GTX 260M or FX 2700M), and would perform better. Depends if you need that much power. Seems like, for your uses, the higher the better, so I guess the NP8662 would be a good choice, if your willing to pay the extra $$.
     
  16. Quicklite

    Quicklite Notebook Deity

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    Maybe Asus's G50 VT? they have 9800m GS, as well as 2.66Ghz dual core CPU.
     
  17. Signifier

    Signifier Notebook Guru

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    Here's what I'm comparing so far:

    NP8662, T9800 (2.93 Ghz), GTX260M, 4GB SDRAM: $1934 (Sager) or $1704 w/ T9550 (2.66 Ghz) (Sager)
    NP2096, T9800 (2.93 Ghz), 9600M GT, 4GB SDRAM: $1359 (Sager) or $1164 w/ T9550 (2.66 Ghz) (Sager)
    Asus G50 VT, T9550 (2.66 Ghz), 9800M GS, 4GB SDRAM: $1589.83 (XoticPC)
    Force 3551, T9550 (2.66 Ghz), 9600M GT, 4GB SDRAM: $1400.68 (XoticPC)

    I'm doing CUDA, but I also want a fast processor for non-CUDA optimized programs. Which of these should I look more closely at? Which simply does not compare? All are with Windows Vista. I'm sure the prices could be fuzzed a bit, plus or minus $100 or more. Who knows. The NP2096 definitely looks better than the Force 3551: same GPU, same SDRAM, but cheaper price for a 2.93 Ghz processor?

    Comments? Thank you for putting up with me. I'm being annoying. This is how I get before spending $1000-2000. =)
     
  18. Deathwinger

    Deathwinger Notebook Virtuoso

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    Signifier, are you going to use the 4 pin firewire port at all? If you are, then that cancels the NP2096, as it lacks such a port.

    From that list, if you can afford it, I'd say go with the NP8662 for $1934. It'll be worth the money and your work and productivity will pay it off.

    If its too high, go with the Asus G50.
     
  19. milamber1983

    milamber1983 Notebook Enthusiast

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    My recommandation would be to go to 8662 with a lower end dual core cpu.

    1. you can upgrade the cpu much easier by yourself later on if needed, but with the gpu you will be stucked.

    2. CUDA research might require more VRAM and a faster gpu (9600M GT is 32 cores, 9800M GTS is 64 and gtx 260m is 112)
     
  20. L4d_Gr00pie

    L4d_Gr00pie Notebook Evangelist

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    The Np8662 also has quads in option. You might wanna see if your uses will take advantage of multi-threading. If so, Q9000 is same price as P9600
     
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