Need a new laptop for school.

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Need a new laptop for school.

Postposted on Tue Aug 13, 2013 4:52 pm

Hey, my friend needs a new laptop for school. She'll be doing a lot of 3d animation and has a budget of about 1000 dollars. She has no preferences for Windows or apple. Any suggestions?
guilmon14
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Re: Need a new laptop for school.

Postposted on Tue Aug 13, 2013 5:06 pm

Ehhh, well, it's not hard to get a very decent laptop for 1K$. It's hard to get a decent laptop with a discrete GPU or meaty CPU, though. You need to have a more clearly defined #1 goal.
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Re: Need a new laptop for school.

Postposted on Tue Aug 13, 2013 7:45 pm

Where is she going to college? Some places actually give out recommendations and/or give you a laptop for classes. This one gives out a Macbook Pro as part of your tuition there.
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Re: Need a new laptop for school.

Postposted on Wed Aug 14, 2013 2:59 am

I'd get this laptop if I have ~$1,000 just begging to be spent on one.
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Re: Need a new laptop for school.

Postposted on Wed Aug 14, 2013 9:45 am

ronch wrote:I'd get this laptop if I have ~$1,000 just begging to be spent on one.


Nice and all, but looks bulky and likely heavy as well. If she's on the move a lot, those heavy horsepower might start to seem less attractive.
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Re: Need a new laptop for school.

Postposted on Wed Aug 14, 2013 11:10 am

What's the focus? I'm with Forge here; there's no 'perfect' laptop, period.

If we're talking about 3D animation, what software suite(s) are we talking about? I'm not familiar with that type of work, really; I don't know if prioritizing CPU speed or GPU speed would be important, or if there are certain CPU or GPU features that might be more useful. Hell, would a Quadro or FirePro GPU be more useful, or can the consumer cards do the job just fine?

Also, will it have to be mobile? The MSI suggestion above is great, as are the Clevos, if you need the horsepower on a budget, if she isn't going to move it much or doesn't mind the weight. I have a P170EM (Clevo Ivy Quad with mobile version of GTX560 in a 17" chassis), which is stupidly heavy with it's power brick at ~12lbs, yet I have no problem toting it about in a Targus laptop bag. 12lbs is nothing for a woman if carried by proper load-bearing equipment, and the smaller versions are quite a bit lighter.

I'd expect that GPU choice and resolution would make the most difference here; but I'm not sure how that should balance out, really. Is screen size a big deal? 1080p is pretty dense below 17" in my opinion, and I have pretty good vision (corrected). Would an i3 with a top-end GPU be preferable, or a full i7 quad with any decent discrete GPU (GTX650m or the like)? Would integrated graphics work?

Etc. :)
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Re: Need a new laptop for school.

Postposted on Wed Aug 14, 2013 3:57 pm

what about business notebook of the 15.6" range? they usually have the option of workstation Quadro or FirePro graphics and start around $800/$900 base.
id check with school and see what discount options could be done if they offer something like an Elitebook, Thinkpad, or Latitude.
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Re: Need a new laptop for school.

Postposted on Wed Aug 14, 2013 3:57 pm

ronch wrote:I'd get this laptop if I have ~$1,000 just begging to be spent on one.


Go look this laptop up on Anandtech. Looks neat on paper but that CPU and the memory configuration kill it.
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Re: Need a new laptop for school.

Postposted on Wed Aug 14, 2013 4:08 pm

Will she really need the HP in class? If not, consider a cheap netbook/laptop for class and a halfway decent desktop for real work. I went down this path and didn't regret it in the slightest.
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Re: Need a new laptop for school.

Postposted on Wed Aug 14, 2013 4:44 pm

guilmon14 wrote:Hey, my friend needs a new laptop for school. She'll be doing a lot of 3d animation and has a budget of about 1000 dollars. She has no preferences for Windows or apple. Any suggestions?


3D anmiation means LOTS of rendering. A minimum of 24 still images for every single SECOND of video. This is mostly (almost 100%) CPU-intensive. In some ways, rendering is like folding. Strenuous, uses power, and generates heat.

It is my feeling that even the fastest laptops may not make very good candidates for 100% local rendering, even if the software purchased can use GPU to assist the process. Don't forget, you'll also need memory to support high object and polygon counts.

Personally, for 3D imaging and animation, I would suggest the biggest, fastest, highest core-count CPU possible, with the fastest GPU possible (if your software can use GPU as mentioned above).

But for final videos for mid-terms and finals, she might need a renderfarm. Some applications allow you to set up your own renderfarm with PCs on your home network, but there are also commercial renderfarm services that allow you to timeshare with others and pay on a scale of either usage, or "preferred customer basis", etcetera.

If she plans to buy a membership to a renderfarm service, then a business-to-gaming-class laptop could possibly be just fine.
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Re: Need a new laptop for school.

Postposted on Thu Aug 15, 2013 1:37 am

BIF wrote:If she plans to buy a membership to a renderfarm service, then a business-to-gaming-class laptop could possibly be just fine.

No school requires a render farm just to do classwork.
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Re: Need a new laptop for school.

Postposted on Thu Aug 15, 2013 6:31 am

The school will definitely have desktops/workstations available somewhere for actual rendering, and I would recommend using them even if you did have a high-end laptop. If you want to do the setup work on a laptop, you really need more information about the program and what they expect. So without more specific requirements, my advice is the same as it is to anyone with $1000 that needs a laptop: get a Mac.
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Re: Need a new laptop for school.

Postposted on Thu Aug 15, 2013 8:37 am

Knowing what 3-D software is involved would help a lot. I'm guessing it will end up being a Windows system since that's still where the majority of modeling and rendering packages are based.
I doubt Nvidia's Gelato would be of much help, but she may want to investigate if offline rendering is something she has interest in.
As for just using the lab for rendering, well, I never thought this would be topical ...
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Re: Need a new laptop for school.

Postposted on Sat Aug 31, 2013 10:54 pm

For 3d animation, the laptop should has a good GPU.
Last edited by Jonewong on Sat Aug 31, 2013 10:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Need a new laptop for school.

Postposted on Sun Sep 01, 2013 2:50 am

Before anyone else wades in, please keep in mind that the OP never gave any criteria for what she needed or wanted, beyond the very vague "3D animation". For all we know, she could be doing high end CAD work, or some 'intense' Flash and website design. Making any more recommendations at this point seems unwise.
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