Recommendations on laptop specs?

Discussion in 'Hardware Components and Aftermarket Upgrades' started by Deks, Aug 27, 2014.

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  1. Deks

    Deks Notebook Prophet

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    Hey guys...
    I'm considering buying a new laptop in about a month or two, but I can opt to wait since I'm not in a rush.

    Namely, I'm eyeing the 15.6" Optimus V (from pcspecialist).
    It would be configured with i7 4710MQ, 1x 8GB RAM 1600Mhz (I would upgrade to 24 GB myself since I can get it cheaper like that),
    GTX 860M 2.0GB DDR5, 640 CUDA cores (if I'm not mistaken, this would be the Maxwell based 860M, is it not?),
    250GB Samsung 840 Evo SSD, 750GB WD Scorpio Black HDD (as a secondary drive), no optical drive and no Windows.
    Total price = £831

    A few things:
    This laptop obviously doesn't have the ability to expand RAM to 32GB (only 3 RAM slots inside) - which would be usable since I do 3ds Max work, though I would imagine that 24GB would be enough for my purposes.

    Is the laptop performance notably impacted with RAM working with 3 sticks instead of 2 or 4 configuration?
    At best, I understand that only up to 5% performance might be impacted under best case situations... though how much of that is the case today (as opposed to the older days when RAM speeds were low in comparison)

    Does this laptop have the ability to swap out the GPU for a better one (MXM slot), or is the GPU soldered to the motherboard?
    This bit is not exactly clear.

    Also, how long until we see upcoming Maxwell and Tonga GPU's in laptops?
    I wouldn't mind waiting for a Maxwell GPU which is better than 860M and has more video RAM (sort of like an 870M version of Maxwell)... or even an AMD high end offering which might come out cheaper than Nvidia?

    Better laptops on PCSpecialist (such as the Vortex IV) apparently do not have the Maxwell GPU option, but they would probably come with an MXM slot (though getting a new GPU into an MXM slot would probably cost a dime).

    I'd use this for some gaming and 3d Studio Max mainly... gaming wouldn't be anything too demanding, but realistically, I'd just run the games at 1080p with High settings (avoid ultra) and probably could still get away with decent performance for some time to come.

    My concern is a bit with 3d Studio Max.
    I'd like to do rendering using the GPU, but the 860M may be lacking in VRAM quantity for that (and no, I wouldn't go for the pro cards option).

    As I said, its not a problem for me to wait longer for new GPU's to come out... and I would prefer to wait so I can get more or less next generation as it comes out, and max out the laptop from the start so I don't have to do it later.

    Anyway, thoughts would be appreciated.
     
  2. tijo

    tijo Sacred Blame Super Moderator

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    The RAM controllers are smart enough these days to run two of the SODIMMS in dual channel mode first and only use the last one in single channel mode if the other two are full. The performance hit shouldn't be a problem.
     
  3. djembe

    djembe drum while you work

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    Since Intel is doing a staggered release of Broadwell (from November-June or so), Nvidia could release their new cards at any time in that bracket. My best guess, though, would be a January release in time for CES.
     
  4. Jarhead

    Jarhead 恋の♡アカサタナ

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    As tijo said, you shouldn't see any noticeable performance issues when running an odd number of RAM sticks.

    That said, for Maya, I'm doubtful about the performance of an 860M (or any >6xx GeForce) compared to a Quadro/FirePro or even a high-end Radeon GPU. nVidia badly handicapped their gaming GPUs for anything other than gaming during the 6xx generation, which can present a problem if Maya relies heavily on OpenCL/OpenGL/CUDA/etc.
     
  5. Deks

    Deks Notebook Prophet

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    I use 3d Studio Max.
    It uses CUDA for the most part, but if I'm not mistaken, AMD cards were also used successfully in Max (via OpenCL) so the gpu can render scenes alongside the CPU (I've seen it done through Quicksilver render).

    So... I'm not opposed to an AMD gpu, but if the 860M (Maxwell) is very close to the current top of the line AMD gpu (R9 M290X), then I might as well get Nvidia sine it would consume less power overall... though the AMD one does have 4GB of VRAM (instead of 2GB on 860M).

    Comparatively, I can wait another month or two until we see new gpu's coming out.
    I'm not really that interested in Broadwell cpu since it doesn't really offer anything performance-wise, and current Haswell does seem to get the job done.

    AMD Carrizo seems interesting, but issue is, that thing won't show up until late next year.
     
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