Laptop for 3D Cad + cfd-fem softwares

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by xklis, Dec 13, 2018.

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  1. xklis

    xklis Notebook Consultant

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    Hi everyone :)!

    In a couple of months, in my college course (mech. eng.) i expect to start using 3d Cad modelling softwares like solidworks (or similar like solid edge,creo,catia), cfd/fem/fea applications (i think something like nastran, patran, maybe ansys and stuff like that but not really sure) and calculus like matlab.

    My current (old) laptop is simply not powerful enough so i'm just looking for a new one (i don't want to consider refurbished/redistributed laptops).

    Let's say that my budget is max € 2250.

    I just want the most "future-proof" laptop that my budget allows as i would like it to last for at least 5-6 years.

    I would only consider notebooks with 15,6" Ips fhd matte display + at least 256GB nvme ssd+1 tb hdd+gtx 1060+16Gb Ram (but maybe 32) from european stores (i live in Italy) who gives the opportunity to customize them to your preferences and needs.

    About games, just few games on "fifa" but at max settings.
    Battery not really a concern, most of the time i will have it on my desk connected to the power strip.

    P751tm has always been my first choice since it allows to use cpus like 8700k or new 9900k on lga 1151 socket and mxm gpu cards.
    But now cpu prices (especially k series) have skyrocketed (even the "old" ones like 8700k) and guess if/when they'll go down.
    And surely new rtx gpus will cost more than current gtx.
    I have also discovered it has grip touch finishing on the palm rest area. So don't really know if i would like it or not.

    So i decided to look for other models (especially more compact than p751tm) and i think these two might be good for my future use: N950TP6 and P955ET1.

    -N950TP6
    i would order it from "clevo-computer" with the following specs:

    15,6" Ips 144hz display
    I7-8700 delidded
    Gtx 1060
    Grizzly Kryonaut on both cpu and gpu
    2x16 GB ram ddr4@2400mhz
    2 TB SSHD firecuda
    512 GB Samsung 970 pro
    Intel wifi ac-9260
    Win 10 pro (without license as i already have my own)
    24M + 6M Pickup&Return warranty

    Total--->€ 1950

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    -P955ET1
    My budget allows me to order it with the following specs:

    15,6" Ips 60 Hz display
    I7-8750H
    Quadro P3200
    Grizzly Kryonaut on both cpu and gpu
    2x8 GB ram ddr4@2400 mhz
    1 TB SSHD firecuda
    250 GB Samsung 970 evo
    Intel wifi ac-9260
    Win 10 pro (without license as i already have my own)
    24M + 6M Pickup&Return warranty

    Total--->€ 2240 (clevo-computer)
    Total--->€ 2138,15 (obsidian-pc but without storage;
    adding a 500gb evo from amazon (cheaper option than 250gb+1tb) total increases to 2263,24 so a bit over my budget but may consider it anyway).

    I initally thought that N950TP6 was the obvious choice in terms of cost/performance ratio.

    But i'm afraid i may regret the choice of saving 300 euros now and then experiencing mediocre/poor gpu performances on 3d cad applications when i will need them most.

    Going with P955ET1 would surely be more expensive and i have to give up on a more powerful cpu (8700), half ram and half storage (however can always be upgraded down the road in case of need) but maybe i'll be getting a more "balanced" laptop for my purposes.

    I would also have a less thick notebook and better (personal preference) build quality (aluminum chassis while n950tp6 is all plastic made) that gives me the idea of getting a more "premium" product.

    P3200 should be on par with Gtx 1060 in "every day usage" but with certified drivers for those application i'm going to use which guarantee better results in terms of stability and reliability.
    It has more cuda cores (1792 on a GP104 chip) than gtx 1060 (1280 on a GP106 chip), almost same tgp (78w vs 80w),same vram (6gb gddr5), same memory bus (192-bit) with slightly less bandwidth (168 vs 192 GB/s).

    Putting a quadro gpu in N950TP6 in the future would simply be impossible (gpu soldered to motherboard and no tb3 so no egpu)

    I'm not really sure about this but i've read that quadro gpu offers hardware acceleration with certain cfd/fem/fea softwares like ansys (https://www.nvidia.com/object/tesla-ansys-accelerations.html).
    Anyone here who has experience in this kind of stuff ?
    Will this be a key feature to consider quadro over gtx for my use ?

    Another thing i've noticed is that N950TP6 has 144hz display.
    Such a high refresh rate is great for gaming (if gpu is capable to deliver more then 60 fps on certain games) but that's not my case.
    I'm a bit scared about experiencing lags or tearings just even watching youtube 60 fps.
    Maybe i can lower refresh rate to 60hz but i don't really know what final outcome i could get.
    Moreover it should be a "va" panel so not a real ips.
    P955ET1 instead has a standard 60hz ips display, so no problem on this side.


    The only things that bothers me most (apart from the total cost) are:

    a) Cooling system

    Would p955et1 be a decent one in terms of temps ?
    I just do not want to burn my hands on the keyboard when for instance under load in matlab or cfd simulations or while doing some minor video editing.
    In this review ("") we have a p955hq1 with 7700hq+p3000.
    Temps under load are a bit high but the reviewer told me he didn't apply any undervolt while doing those test.
    And Metabox uses ic diamond (8.5 W/(mK)) as thermal paste, while i'll be buying with grizzly kryonaut (12.5 W/(mK)) which should be better.


    b) Ac adapter

    Stock is 150 W. Do you think i may encounter power limit problems due to this when notebook is under load ?
    If a more powerful ac adapter is compatible with this notebook, will it work or it needs to change some parameters into bios to let the notebook to accept this new ac adapter ?
    If so, should i consider buying it from obsidian-pc since the offer unlocked bios thanks to which these type of changes might be applied ?

    c) Ram

    Do you think choosing 16 gb of ram NOW (but with the possibility of upgrading to 32 later) will be enough for the type of applications i have to use ?

    Or 32 gb is minimun so i have to completely forget p955et1 and go for n950tp6 and who cares if it has a gtx ?


    -Another opition is "PNY Prevail Pro" with the following specs:

    15,6" 4k display
    i7-7700hq
    Quadro P4000 max-q
    2x16 GB Ram
    512 SSD nvme
    2 TB HDD

    Total--->€ 2254,99

    In this case the only "cons" are 4k display and "old" 7700hq.

    How softwares like autocad, solidworks, solid edge, creo, catia, cfd/fem/fea applications behave with 4k resolution ?
    Still same scaling problems ?
    What about normal internet browsers ? office suite products like word excel powerpoint ? watching videos ? win 10 interface ?

    Also is 7700hq still good and would it be for at least 5 years or spending € 2254,99 on a laptop with 7700hq is a complete waist of money for my future usage ?


    I really hope you guys can guide me in taking the best laptop for my upcoming tasks.
     
  2. pete962

    pete962 Notebook Evangelist

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    All I can tell you is that 7700hq is 4 core/8T cpu and 8750h has 6cores/12T, so if your apps multi thread well, you can get up to 50% speed increase on CPU alone. Of course in real life you'll have TDP/power/ amp throttling and some apps don't scale well across cores etc, so you'll never see that 50%, but 8750h still should be faster. Also as a general rule, thinner the laptop, harder it is to cool it properly and solution for that is to throttle it more to stay within specs. I only used CAD sporadically for 3D printing, but more complex the design, more taxing it would be, therefore personally I would go for power and cooling as top priority. I would also make sure the laptop has Thunderbolt, to have option of getting eGpu in the future, just in case.
     
  3. rlk

    rlk Notebook Evangelist

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    One question is whether the packages you're using can take advantage of Quadro drivers, in which case you'd be better off getting something with a Quadro dGPU. The Lenovo ThinkPad P52 has a reputation around here for thermal throttling (I have a P70, which is larger and thus more volume and area for dissipating heat, and I've never seen it throttle), but I haven't seen reports of this with the Dell Precision 7530. These are considered workstation-class machines. Their specs are quite similar; they both have 1x2.5" and 2xM.2 storage bays and you can upgrade the storage and RAM yourself (Lenovo explicitly calls out these parts as customer-replaceable units; there's no real difference between upgrading these components on the P70 vs. my previous Dell Precision M6500).

    It's hard to speak to memory requirements, but both of those have 4 DIMM slots and will go to 64GB.

    I have a UHD screen on my P70 and really like it (the color gamut is also much better than that on the offered FHD screens; the same is true for the Dell offerings). I'm running Linux and don't use any UI scaling, just fonts a little bigger than I did on the M6500 (not double size; the finer dot pitch allows me to use physically smaller fonts). But I bought an M7510 to see if I could use a UHD screen in 15", and that was just a bit too small for my taste.

    If you want on-site service you can get such warranties in many countries.

    You can save some money with previous-generation (Skylake/Kaby Lake) systems; you have to determine that tradeoff yourself. But the very top-end processors command a big price premium that probably is not worthwhile.

    Finally, if you go this route, I would look in the Dell and Lenovo outlet stores (those are in a pinned post somewhere here) for some good deals. If they're identified as scratch and dent, they may have cosmetic damage, but otherwise refurbs here are factory refurbished and carry the full warranty (not just balance of the original warranty).
     
  4. Blacky

    Blacky Notebook Prophet

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    Hi,

    It's a bit of a complicated proposition here. CAD needs for mech. engineering are mild, a Quadro P1000 should do fine, the P2000 will probably be more than enough, the P3200 should be really your upper limit. In terms of gaming video card, a GTX 1060 or GTX 1070 should also work well.
    If you look here: noteb search. You have plenty of options.

    You can see and change the search parameters using the "Refine results" button in the upper-left part of the search results page. You can also click on the laptops for more information.

    I think your best options regarding value for money are the Tsinghua Tongfang GK5CN6Z from XMG and the Clevo N950TP6.
    I wouldn't worry too much about the refresh rate. A higher refresh rate won't be detrimental to your work. Even if the video isn't able to push 144 fps, which should anyway depending on the application, you still get a better display, with excellent colours and good response times.

    The P955ET is the same as the P955EP, just different video card. The P955EP has trouble cooling itself and is generally not recommended for purchase.

    Other laptops to consider are:
    - Dell Precision 7530 - probably the best laptop on the market for you, it comes with an MXM video card and can be upgraded
    - HP Zbook 15 G5 - HP's version of the Dell 7530, also comes with MXM video card
    - Lenovo P52 - Lenovo's answer to the above two laptops, but with much worse cooling and soldered video card. It is also much cheaper. If you are not doing anything intensive on your laptop that puts a load on both the video card and the processor, then this might be an option as well. It all depends on price.

    As for 7700HQ vs 8750H, I think for what you stated, you are better off with the 8750H, but need a laptop to cool it properly.
     
  5. xklis

    xklis Notebook Consultant

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    Hi,

    I have already looked at those workstations when i started to search for a new notebook.
    But i don't like refurbished/redistributed laptops (even from "safe" dell or lenovo outlet stores which by the way seem to be only in U.S.
    So no european online stores).

    HP ZBook 15 G5 Mobile Workstation doesnt have p3200. Best gpu available to select is p2000.

    About p52 and 7530:

    Lenovo Thinkpad P52 with the the folliwing specs:

    15,6" IPS FHD (who knows if it's 60,120,144 hz...)
    I7-8850H
    P3200
    2x8 GB Ram @ 2400 mhz
    256 GB SSD Pcie tls opal
    1 TB HD 7200 rpm
    Win10 pro
    Intel ac-9560+bt 5.0 vpro
    6cell-90 wh battery
    170W ac adapter
    3 yr on site warranty

    has total of € 2.622,86 (taxes included) (now € 2.517,95 with limited 4% off discount promotion)

    While Dell Precision 7530 with the following specs:

    15,6" FHD Ultrasharp IPS matte non-touch display with 72% gamut
    I7-8750H
    P3200
    2x8 GB Ram @2666 mhz
    256 SSD PCIe nvme class 40
    NO HDD
    Win10 pro
    Intel ac-9260+bt 4.2 vpro
    6cell-97wh battery
    180W ac adapter
    3 yr next business day on site warranty

    has total of € 2.836,76 (taxes included)

    They're simply over (way over) my budget :( !

    My mindset has always be this: If it has to be a notebook with gtx (to save money over more expensive quadros) then i choose 1060 as best option in terms of performance/cost ratio and also to be able to buy 32GB of Ram.
    And if my budget allows than i go for a lga cpu over soldered ones to reach higher frequencies to get better performances from cfd-fem and calculus software.

    So i prefer "N950TP6" over "Tongfang GK5CN6Z" for these reasons.

    But right now i feel like i'm putting too much on cpu+ram before exactly knowing what type of tasks i'm going to execute during my college course. It's not only cfd. It's a wider field of applications.

    As i said in OP, my biggest "fear" is spending about 2000 euros and then experiencing lags, missing details or even worse crashes in important applications when i could have "sacrificed" some "raw power" (that maybe i won't ever use) to have a more "balanced" laptop (less thick and with better build quality) and still be under my budget.

    Even if a p1000 may still be able to handle college stuff, i will never consider low-end quadro gpu just to stay within my budget.
    If my budget allows me to consider quadro gpus, than it has to be something that in "normal usage" performs like at least gtx 1060 and "P955ET1" with its p3200 seems to be the answer.

    Well actually it seems to be the answer but only under certain conditions.

    And the most important thing is Ram.

    I can buy p955et1 but with "only" 16 gb of ram and (as i previously said) what really bothers me most is if this amount of ram is enough to smoothly run applications like solidworks, matlab, typical fluid-dynamics simulations etc...

    Because if 16gb are enough but i cannot even have mozilla with multiple tabs opened at the same time, well in this case due to my budget i have to give up on the p955et1 and go for n950tp6.

    But If 16 are more than enough AND i manage to find a more powerful ac adapter to avoid any power limit issue, i don't really see why i shoudn't choose p955et1.

    Both n950tp6 and p955et1 do not have tb3, but with p955et1 with its high end quadro gpu ... I do not think I'll miss it at all.

    Has P955EP quite fans at idle or are they always active regardless of what you're doing ?
    What kind of troubles ?
    You mean that even with grizzly kryonaut on both cpu and gpu + cpu undervolt i will get cpu temps over 90°C and i would not even be able to type on the keyboard or putting my hands on the palm rest area ?
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2018
  6. Blacky

    Blacky Notebook Prophet

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    I think you are looking at these two models: Lenovo Thinkpad P52 vs Dell Precision 15 7530.
    The price for the 7530 is estimated, so I wouldn't be suprised if it's more expensive than the P52, after all, the 7530 comes with a normal P3200, not Max-Q, and is also MXM. Plus the Dell has no known thermal problems. So overall, the Dell is a better laptop, which is why it should cost more.
    If you can't afford the 7530, you can also get the P52 provided you don't use it under combined processor and video card load too often.

    As for the P955ET / P955ET, some resellers, including HidEvolution, stopped selling this model, because even with liquid metal, the laptop would overheat and throttle. You should read the threads about it, but the bottom line is, based on community feedback, is that this laptop simply cannot cool itself down properly. Therefore I will tell you to avoid it.
    Yes, even with that it will get over 90C. The Gigabyte Aero is the same in this regard. You will be able to type on the keyboard, but internally, the laptop will be cooking itself.


    The N950TP6 fairs better in this regard and will probably run better for your needs. I also encourage you to buy a laptop with an LGA processor.
     
  7. xklis

    xklis Notebook Consultant

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    About dell precison 7530 i've discovered an italian online store who is giving great discounted price that let's me buying it under my budget as only few items are left in their warehouse (see my message here if you want:http://forum.notebookreview.com/thr...0-owners-thread.820539/page-161#post-10834490)

    But i'm afraid that its 8950hk would just be like 8750h inside p955et1-->difficult to handle and using at its max potential (even with better thermal paste + undervolt)
    And i think repasting would be very difficult as motherboard is upside down and i'm not really sure if i can call dell support and ask them to send me a technician to perform repaste (i'm just scared even thinking about doing it by myself and i don't know anyone who's capable of doing such thing). Probably they send them only in case of hardware damage.

    Then p3200 on 7350 (even if recognized as normal version) is less powerful than p3200 on the 7730. Like stated by the user who replied to my message, it's something hard-coded into the vBIOS.

    It only has 2 USB 3.1 Gen 1 (i actually espected at least gen2) type-a ports.
    Could have add at least one on the rear part
    Yes it has 2 tb3 ports but this means more dongles to carry around.
    Even air exhaust grill on the right side, so i'll fell some hot air on my hand while using mouse ...

    Looking at this review (https://www.notebookcheck.net/Dell-...Quadro-P3200-Workstation-Review.346631.0.html) i see that 4k display suffers from pwm:
    "The display backlight flickers at 198.4 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 25 % and below. There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting.

    The frequency of 198.4 Hz is relatively low, so sensitive users will likely notice flickering and experience eyestrain at the stated brightness setting and below.
    "

    So if this is a "top display" go figure what "15.6" FHD IPS (1920x1080) UltraSharp Wide View AntiGlare" i may be getting !

    I'm not saying that every panel used is bad, but if the use such a disappointing display on a high end machine, well i think they just do not pay that much attention to this important factor.

    Moreover at "just" € 50 more than my budget i can add "HyperX HX426S15IB2K2/16" for a total of 32 gb in 4x8 configuration.

    But not really sure if any instability problem can come up by using different ram brands with different cas latencies although all four sticks running at 2666mhz.
    With 4x8gb configuration will i lose "dual channel" feature ?
    Maybe more power draw with 4 stick rather than 2 despite having same amount of total ram ?

    So even with the well-known precison 7530 at roughly € 2300 i can get a "beast" machine (at least on paper) with 8950hk+32gbram+p3200 (actually a cutdown version...)+512ssd nvme+3yr ps nbd but with all the above things that actually bother me.

    As you can see, every option i'm considering (n950tp6,p955et1,dell precision 7530-224tt) has its "pros" and "cons" and it's really really difficult taking a wise choice.
    The probability of throwing money out of the window is unfortunately high :(:(
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2018
  8. Blacky

    Blacky Notebook Prophet

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    I think that's great.
    The P955ET1 won't be able to keep the 8750H at the turbo; the 8950HK would be a waste inside that laptop. I won';t say the same about the P7530, it will be able to take advantage of the i9, but don't expect much performance difference due to thermal limits.

    A Dell engineer will not come to your place to re-apply the thermal paste. However, opening the laptop up and replacing the thermal paste will not void your warranty. If you are concerned about this, search for a local laptop repair shop, and they should be able to do it for you for a small fee.

    We suspected this for a while but never had hard evidence. It is indeed downclocked, but not by much. It might be 5-10% less powerful than a standard P3200, but you shouldn't notice the difference. The reduce the clocks to make sure the laptop never overheats and provides constant performance. There is also the possibility of flashing a different vBIOS.


    It only has 2 USB 3.1 Gen 1 (i actually espected at least gen2) type-a ports.
    Could have add at least one on the rear part
    Yes it has 2 tb3 ports but this means more dongles to carry around.
    Even air exhaust grill on the right side, so i'll fell some hot air on my hand while using mouse ...

    Looking at this review (https://www.notebookcheck.net/Dell-...Quadro-P3200-Workstation-Review.346631.0.html) i see that 4k display suffers from pwm:
    "The display backlight flickers at 198.4 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 25 % and below. There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting.

    Notice that this only happens at very low brightness, it shouldn't really be a problem.

    So if this is a "top display" go figure what "15.6" FHD IPS (1920x1080) UltraSharp Wide View AntiGlare" i may be getting !

    I'm not saying that every panel used is bad, but if the use such a disappointing display on a high end machine, well i think they just do not pay that much attention to this important factor.


    Depends really. I have multiple ram brands in my system with different CAS latencies, but I use the system BIOS to force all RAM slots to use the same specifications. Not sure if you will be able to do the same, depends really on what types of RAM brands will be on your laptop. Most of the time, the system BIOS will set the RAM frequency and CAS latencies to match.


    If you can get a 7530 for such a low price with three years next business day warranty, I would hardly call that throwing money out the windows. It will certainly not be perfect, but all the aspects you mentioned are fixable.

    As you can see, every option i'm considering (n950tp6,p955et1,dell precision 7530-224tt) has its "pros" and "cons" and it's really really difficult taking a wise choice.
    The probability of throwing money out of the window is unfortunately high :(:([/QUOTE]
     
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