Best Laptop for Animation

CG Director Author Alex  by Alex   ⋮   ⋮   380 comments
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Best Laptop for Animation

There are quite some things to consider when looking for the best Laptop for Animation. You will want specific Hardware of the Laptop to have certain specifications and very specific parts should be built into the Laptop for maximum speed.

The best Laptop for Animation is the culmination of optimum hardware and mobility and in fact, there aren’t all that many great Laptops for Animation out there.

Before we dive into what specific components you should be looking for in a Laptop for Animation, let’s take a look at how the task of animating on a Laptop actually uses the Hardware Components. This way we can see clearly what components we will need to optimize as much as possible, to pick the right Laptop.

If you feel like you know your way around the individual Hardware components, follow this link to skip directly to the Best Laptop for Animation Recommendations.

How does Animation utilize the Hardware?

Animation in itself is making virtual objects move in a way we define. This can be in 2D or 3D and there are lots of Programs that we use to go about the task of animation.

Some 2D animation Programs that are currently popular are After Effects, ToonBoom, Harmony, CrazyTalk Animator, Synfig Studio, FlipBook, Photoshop and many more as well as popular 3D Animation Softwares such as Cinema 4D, 3ds Max, Maya, Blender, and many others.

Now, what we do when we animate, is usually pose a rig, set Keyframes and adjust certain parts and objects, so they are placed to our satisfaction. One important thing to note here is that we usually do this not while looking at a final quality image, but a rough Preview Viewport, a Wireframe or simple Shaded View.

Best Laptop for Animation - Shaded View

Why is this important?

As there is not a lot of graphical calculations going on, we can pretty much already say the Graphics Card Hardware Component is something that won’t be quite as important in finding the Best Laptop for Animation.

But if it’s not the Graphics Card that does the heavy lifting when animating, what other Hardware Component might be the crucial part in speeding things up?

You might have already guessed, and it really is the CPU or Processor, that is the most important Hardware Component in a Laptop when using it mainly for animation.

Best Laptop for Animation - CPU

Image Source: Iaroslav Neliubov/Shutterstock.com

Although animation seems to be a very visual task, it’s the CPU that has to do all the calculations for the scene objects, rigs, simulations, hair splines, soft body dynamics and so on to be calculated, and only after these CPU calculations are finished, the Graphics Card displays the result.

In other words, the GPU is almost never the bottle neck in a 2D and 3D biased Workstation / (PC) Computer or Laptop.

You will want to make sure the CPU is as fast as possible.

That said, of course, you should still have a strong enough GPU but it does not have to be unproportionally fast compared to the other hardware components.

The best Hardware Components in an Animation-Laptop

The best CPU in a Laptop for Animation

This brings us to the CPU specifically. What makes a CPU fast, anyway? Is it the number of cores, the clock-speed, or the cache size, or maybe just the Brand of Intel or AMD?

To make it short: For animation, the most important CPU feature to look for is the clock-speed. The CPU clock speed is more important than having lots of Cores or getting a certain Brand.

If you have a low clock speed your Viewport will become very slow and you won’t be able to animate in real-time. The CPU usually has a Base Clock Speed, such as 2,2 GHz in the Intel i7 8750H and a higher in Turbo-Boost Clock that clocks the CPU up to 4,1 GHz on fewer Cores in this case if applicable.

Turbo Boost overclocks your CPU automatically if not all Cores are in use at the same time.

turboBoost

Image-Source: Intel

In animation it is often the case, that only one or two CPU Cores are being used because of how animated objects are being calculated by the software you are animating in. This means, having a high Turbo Boost clock will do lots in speeding up the Viewport snappiness while animating as will a higher base clock speed.

Recommended CPUs for the best Laptop for Animation: Intel i7 8750H or i7 8850H

Both of these CPUs are excellent for animation as they have a high Base-Clock and a great Turbo-Boost Clock. The Intel i7 8850H will give you a slightly snappier Viewport, while the i7 8750H might keep your CPU cooler and Laptop quiet overall.

RAM (Memory) for the Best Laptop for Animation

The second most important factor in getting the Best Laptop for Animation is the RAM or Memory.

RAM Speed isn’t that much of a factor but the size of the memory will do wonders when working on complex scenes, long animations, multiple characters, high resolution meshes and images and the ability to keep preview Playblasts in your memory for comparison and checking the current animation state, if you don’t have Real-time playback.

You will want to go with 8GB as an absolute minimum and target 16GB for a much better experience.

32GB will help in some cases, having more usually isn’t necessary but might help with an extremely complex scene, large textures, or animation simulations and dynamics that are not keyframe-driven but will need to be cached.

The thing about RAM is, that it doesn’t seem to improve Speed all that much unless you have too little.

If you don’t have enough, the System will start swapping active working Files to Disc and at this point, the overall Speed will crawl to a halt.

You definitely want to avoid having too little RAM.

My recommendation for RAM (Memory) in your best Laptop for Animation:

16GB of DDR4 RAM

If optimization is something you crave, you can slightly improve overall RAM Speed by carefully choosing RAM with higher Clock Speeds and lower CL Latency as a general rule.

Best Graphics Card (GPU) for Animation in a Laptop

As discussed above, although not as important a factor as the CPU, the Graphics card is responsible for displaying to your monitors or any attached display device.

It will also help in displaying textures and any other Shaders and Graphical Effects such as SSAO (Screen Space Ambient Occlusion), Realtime Shadows, Anti-Aliasing, Anisotropic Filtering, for an experience that is closer to an actual (final) rendered image.

The Maya Viewport 2.0, for example, makes heavy use of such effects and likes strong GPUs.

Although these type of effects can be computationally intensive, the GPU is specialized for this and can usually handle them quite well, meaning in most cases it won’t be the Framerate Bottleneck when updating the Viewport.

The CPU though usually is.

So having a fairly strong GPU will definitely help, but only to a certain point.

As soon as the CPU becomes the bottleneck, the GPU will not do anything for the performance or Viewport snappiness and Refresh rate.

My base recommendation for a great GPU for Animation in a Laptop:

NVIDIA GTX 1060

Now I have said quite often that the GPU is not an important factor in animation.

This changes entirely if you plan on final rendering your scenes on the GPU instead of the CPU.

GPU Render Engines have become quite popular recently such as Octane, Redshift, Vray-RT or FurryBall.

These Render Engines utilize the Graphics Card instead of the CPU to render out your scenes and can be quite a bit faster than using the CPU.

Furryball

Image-Source: furryball.aaa-studio.eu

If this is the case and you plan on using GPU Render Engines, then you should invest more in a better GPU. My recommendation then would be to get a GPU such as the Nvidia RTX 2070.

Beware though, that having extremely strong GPUs in a Laptop will almost definitely make the Laptop more Bulky, Heavy, Larger and draw more Power, it will also make the Laptop very noisy when GPU Rendering.

You might want to consider external GPUs for Rendering on a Laptop. Or try to use an extra Computer or Rendernode that you can offload any Rendering-intensive tasks to.

Storage Devices, HDD/ SSD for the Best Laptop for Animation

There has been quite an update in terms of storage hardware over the past few years, and almost all laptops now have Solid State Drives (SSDs) built in.

In the past, these storage devices used to be Hard Disc Drives (HDDs) that were very slow and bottle-necked many aspects of a running system.

SSDs are much faster at reading and writing to the storage System and you can now boot the operating system faster, start your programs faster and load / save your scene updates in a fraction of the time it used to take.

SSDs also are much more secure, they don’t age as fast as HDDs and they are almost completely shock resistant.

Having an SSD in a laptop is an absolute must. My recommendation here would to look for:

500GB+ SATA SSD

For those of you who want even greater speed in Saving & Loading and general storage related workloads, the new PCIe M.2 NVMe SSDs are the way to go.

These SSDs are about twice as expensive, but you get 5-6 times the speed in several use cases, especially the sequential read and write performance of PCIe M.2 NVMe SSDs will be a lot faster compared to conventional SATA SSDs.

Take a look at this comparison of HDD vs SSD (SATA) vs PCIe NVMe SSD Write and Read Speeds:

Best Laptop for Animation - SSD vs NVMe

Image-Source: atpinc.com

HDD

The conventional Hard Drive still has a purpose though.

As HDDs are a lot cheaper per Gigabyte, you can use them as long term storage, archiving, backup systems or storage systems for files you don’t need to access very often, that are too big for your built-in SSD, or that don’t require that great a speed.

Basically, anything that is not directly involved in your day-to-day workflow when actively working inside your software.

I usually have external HDDs that I switch on in the evening after a day’s work and backup anything I worked on to the external HDDs, so nothing can get lost.

Expandability

The best Laptop for Animation should have the ability to be upgraded and expanded within its hardware components.

As a great Laptop should be able to last you for a couple of years, the innermost hardware components usually aren’t quite up to speed anymore after a few years, as adevelopment of new technology is extremely fast.

In Laptops, there are many components you can swap out on your own and upgrade, or have a repair shop replace.

For example, you can now buy a Laptop that has only 256GB of SSD Storage built in, and after a year you might realize that you would need more room for all the new projects and clients that you are working on and a larger SSD would come in handy.

You can now easily upgrade to a larger and maybe even faster SSD, as the technology has progressed.

Get a 500GB or even 1TB SSD that will keep you settled for longer until it is time to get an entirely new Laptop for Animation or maybe other types of related fields that you have grown into.

The same applies to RAM. You can usually get a laptop that has some RAM slots still unused at purchase date, and add more later on if you find your memory to be full all the time.

The CPU and GPU, unfortunately, aren’t that easy to upgrade on your own, as these are usually hidden beneath parts of cooling solutions, and you would have to talk to the manufacturer or a repair shop to have these upgraded.

Apple MacBook (Pro) for Animation?

I know of many that would like to just get a MacBook Pro. They look nice and it seems everyone in the Design Industry has a Mac or MacBook, right?

Best Laptop for Animation - Mac vs Laptop

Image-Source: apple.com

Since this is a topic that is usually heavily fought over with very personal opinions, I’ll just list some facts here and let you decide for yourself:

  • Cost: The Laptop(s) I recommend down below are 50% cheaper than the exact same parts in a MacBook Pro
  • Graphics Card: The recommended Laptop(s) have (for this use case) superior Graphics Cards from Nvidia (CUDA based), that you can also GPU Render on in much more 3D Softwares (Apple only offers AMD Radeon GPUs with OpenCL)
  • Industry usage: Any serious 3D Studio I have worked and freelanced at so far, uses Windows-based PCs and not Macs. There are some that only had Macs in their Infrastructure, but those were advertising agencies that always outsourced any serious 3D or Animation work.
  • Expandability: Laptops can usually be upgraded easier
  • Repair cost: Laptops can usually be repaired cheaper
  • Connectors / Adapters: A Laptop has all of the usual Connectors already built in. MacBooks usually need additional expensive Adapters for anything external.

Now, please do comment down below, if you have had a different experience. This is what I myself have experienced so far, but I would love to hear from you!

Using the Laptop

Input Devices

An absolute must to be productive on a Laptop is a good input device such as a mouse or a tablet & pen.

I have never seen anyone on a Touch-pad come even close to the speed of someone using a mouse or tablet & pen.

I know that using additional Input devices can be quite impractical at times, especially if you are in confined spaces such as on the train or the airplane.

Whenever possible though, especially at home, at work or at School where you have a fairly large desk, use an input device that will greatly speed up your work.

Some Laptops have Touchscreens, that can also be quite fast if you are used to using the Touchscreen as an input device. You might want to try this out in a shop and see if it suits you. Also, a mouse is not expensive, you can always get one later-on.

Best Laptop for Animation - Mouse

Image-Source: razer.com

Laptop Screen

As Laptop screens are usually much smaller than external screens that you can buy, you should make sure the resolution of the laptop screen is high enough for you to fit all of your software pallets and windows on the single screen that you need.

A Full HD Resolution (1920×1080) usually is a good minimum to buy, but there are Laptops with even higher resolutions such as 4K, that you can fit much more on.

Beware though that with High-Resolution Screens the pixels are much smaller and as the screen doesn’t get bigger, individual elements and Window/Menu Texts will get smaller and might strain your eyes if the Software you are using does not support Text Scaling.

Best to get an extra external monitor for a Multi-Screen setup or even just use your external monitor in a single screen setup if it is much larger.

I would recommend a 15″ Screen size as the minimum on a Laptop for Animation.

IPS or TN Panel?

For those working on projects that need higher Color accuracy, better Contrast, and an overall better Screen, I would recommend an IPS over a TN Panel.

This is not necessary for everyone. Say you are modeling, or animating in your viewport a lot, but don’t color grade or composite all that much, a TN Panel is usually sufficient. If you rely on more accurate color display though, go the IPS route.

Mobility

Now, the reason you are looking for the Best Laptop for Animation and not a Computer or Workstation probably is also for mobility reasons.

You want to be able to take this with you, maybe work while traveling, or you have a docking station at work and home and you just take your laptop with you wherever you are currently working.

Maybe a Computer setup is just too big and you would like to start with something leaner that doesn’t require a dedicated area with cables running everywhere.

If you are a Student, then having a Laptop might be required by many Schools and you will take your Laptop from Class to Class and back home every day.

Obviously, a Computer or Workstation will be better for Animation in almost every aspect because it has more room for faster parts a better power supply and larger cooling solutions.

But it certainly falls far behind in one important aspect: Mobility.

You want to be mobile and you probably don’t want to carry a huge 10KG Laptop with you that will give you back pain after a days use.

Trust me, there certainly are Laptops that don’t really deserve this name anymore, as you won’t want them to be resting on top of your lap.

They are loud, extremely hot, heavy and very large and look more like a heavy briefcase than anything else.

What we are looking for is the Best Laptop for Animation that is also somewhat lightweight, yet still has a large enough screen, doesn’t produce too much noise and has a battery that lets us animate for some hours before we have to plug it into a power supply.

I have put together some recommendations of Laptops that will fit your needs in different price ranges below four you to take a look at, but as we are almost through this article lets see what else is important in a great Laptop for animation:

What else is important in a Laptop for Animation

If you are planning on using the Laptop with external devices, which I would recommend to enhance your speed and workflow, you should make sure it has all the required connectors.

If you have a docking station for your Laptop, the docking station will usually take care of most of the connectors as not all of the connectors will be present on your Laptop directly for space reasons. If you don’t have a docking station, you will want to make sure your Laptop has some of the following connectors already built in:

For external monitors you will want a HDMI and or Display Port Connector. Some of the older monitors also just support DVI or VGA Plugs though these connectors, because they are so big, usually aren’t found on modern laptops anymore. But you can always get an adapter.

Best Laptop for Animation - Connectors

Image-Source: CNET

If you are using a Local Area Network at your workplace or at home you will want an RJ45 LAN port for attaching a LAN cable that offers much higher speeds than a wireless connection can provide.

For external USB devices such as external HDDs for backup and storage, Input Devices such as Mouse, Tablet or Headsets, you will want enough USB ports that are fast enough such as USB 3.0.

So here they are:

Recommendations: The best Laptop for Animation

If you plan on using Cinema 4D, After Effects and other graphically less demanding Software more extensively, then the following Laptop recommendation is for you:

First Choice: MSI

Best Laptop for Animation - MSI

Image-Source: theverge.com

Considering all aspects in this article such as, Size, Weight, Mobility, and especially Performance & Price your best Laptop for Animation that I can recommend is the MSI GS65 Stealth THIN-050 15.6″ Laptop. Some Features include:

  • Ultra Thin
  • CPU: i7-8750H (6 cores)
  • Graphics Card: GTX 1060 with 6 GB VRAM
  • RAM: 16GB RAM
  • SSD: 512G NVMe SSD
  • Win 10 Pro
  • 15,6″ IPS Screen with a FullHD Resolution

Check the current Price here.

Some notes on this Laptop:

It says “Gaming Laptop” in the Title, which can be somewhat misleading. The reason why Laptops or Computers have the Word “Gaming” anywhere on the product page, usually is because the Graphics Card is fairly strong and the manufacturers think these Laptops will only be gamed on.

Well, they are excellent for animation as well, so don’t let that distract you!

This Laptop weighs under 2KG and is extremely portable and slim. You can configure this MSI Laptop to the next higher Tier GPU, RAM Size, and SSD Size if you want, though I don’t think it really is necessary.

 

Second overall Choice: Gigabyte

If it’s Maya (with its Viewport 2.0) and other graphically more demanding Software you use most, you will want to lean towards a better GPU such as the 1070 as you will find in the following Laptop:

Best Laptop for Animation - Gigabyte

Image-Source: techspot.com

A close second choice within the same Price range and Hardware Components is the GIGABYTE Aero 15X v8-BK4 15″ Ultra Slim Laptop. The Features are:

  • CPU: i7-8750H
  • GPU: GeForce GTX 1070 with 8GB of VRAM
  • RAM: 16GB RAM
  • SSD: 512GB PCIe SSD
  • Win 10 Home
  • 15,6″ IPS Screen with a FullHD Resolution

Check the current Price here.

Some notes on this Laptop:

This Gigabyte Laptop again has the “Gaming” branding in its Title, but will be excellent for animation as well. It even has a higher Tier Graphics Card, the Nvidia 1070 GTX with 8 GB of VRAM. It weighs just slightly over 2KG.

Two more great choices with similar Hardware are the Asus GX531GS (Zephyrus S) and the Razer Blade 15.

More Laptop Recommendations

If you want to get the best Laptop within your budget you should definitely have a look at the Web-Based PC & Laptop-Builder Tool that I’ve created.

Select the main purpose that you’ll use the Laptop for and adjust your budget to see the perfect Laptop Recommendation that will fit within your budget.

If you are planning on doing Video Editing on your Laptop too, check out this Article on finding the best Laptops for Video Editing.

CGDirector PC & Laptop-Builder Tool

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What Laptop are you thinking of buying?

Alex from CGDirector - post author

Hi, I'm Alex, a Freelance 3D Generalist, Motion Designer and Compositor.

I've built a multitude of Computers, Workstations and Renderfarms and love to optimize them as much as possible.

Feel free to comment and ask for suggestions on your PC-Build or 3D-related Problem, I'll do my best to help out!

380
Comments

Jelena

Hi,

I am about to graduate and saved up some money to buy a new laptop. However, my laptop just broke and I need to do it now, as it is essential to get one for me to graduate. I study Art and Technology (major) with a Graphic Design (minor), and we do various programs that are visual, interactive, sound base, etc.

I am looking for a laptop where I can 3D model (Maya, Blender, Rhino), animate and video edit (aftereffects, nuke), programming (Java, Processing, Arduino), and also do graphic design on adobe.
My budget is 1500, if I get a grant that I applied to I can push it to 2000-2200. Please, if you can suggest me something good, I would be forever grateful! I am a broke student and don’t want to make a mistake investing so much in the wrong thing.

Sending love,

Hi Jelena,

Sorry to hear about your laptop!

Anyway, no need to spend $1,500 for a good laptop. In fact, $1,349.99 will get you the MSI GF63 Thin Gamer Notebook. Below are its specs:

CPU Intel Core i7-9750H 2.60GHz 6-Core Processor
Graphics Card NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB
Memory(RAM) 64GB DDR4-2666
SSD 1TB NVMe Solid State Drive
HDD 2TB 5400rpm Hard Disk Drive
Weight 1.8 kg (~3.96pounds)
Display 15.6″, 1920×1080

As mentioned, the price of the MSI GF63 Thin Gamer Notebook is $1,349.99 making it literally a steal. At the heart of its system you get an i7-9750H CPU and a whopping 64GB of RAM. This will ensure task responsiveness when you’re actively working inside the software. In addition to that, it comes with a 1TB NVMe SSD and a 2TB HDD giving you more than enough space for your storage needs. All in all, this laptop brings a lot to the table for a lot less and should be at the top of your list!

Cheers,
Alex

Jelena

Hi Alex,

What do you think about MSI P65 Creator-1084?

Hey Jelena,

The MSI P65 Creator-1084 is also a good option although it’s a bit more expensive at around $1,832.67 because it comes with a higher-tiered RTX 2060 GPU. Be that as it may, the MSI GF63 Thin Gamer Notebook I previously recommended is still the better option and not to mention cheaper. Specs-wise, the MSI P65 Creator-1084 has the same i7-9750H CPU as the MSI GF63. However, the GF63 has twice the amount of RAM (64GB vs 32GB) and comes with a 1TB SSD and 2TB SSD compared to just the 1TB SSD found in the P65 Creator. At the end of the day, the decision is still up to but if I were to choose, the no-brainer choice here is the MSI GF63.

Cheers,
Alex

Jelena

Hey,

Thank you so much for clarifying that. Would you mind sending me a link to where I could purchase the one you’re recommending with all those specs.

Best,
Jelena

Isaac Jacob

i have a Dell G7 with Nvidia 1060 6GB, 16 GB RAM, i7 8th Gen. For some wierd reason Maya just does not install!! It progresses to about 34% and gets stuck…..Any suggestions please.
I am Communication Design Student in Bangalore India

Aymeric

Have you heard of the new Acer ConceptD 7’s? I’ve seen them doing a hardcore marketing campaign targeting all the 3D artist influencers who primarily work with GPU based rendering.

Nvidia RTX 2080 8GB, 32 GB, DDR4 SDRAM, Intel® Core™ i7-9750H processor Hexa-core

I’m looking at replacing my old macbook pro retina for something I can render and work on remotely. I work a lot with Octane so GPU is definitely needed.

I’m happy to spend the money. I built my PC off your article last year, ended up spending close to 8k now you’ve updated the article and all I want to do is upgrade my 2 x 1080tis to 2 x RTX 2080s aaha

Just seeing what your opinion on this was. Cheers

Aymeric

Orrrr going for this beast

ALIENWARE AREA-51M

9th Generation Intel® Core™ i9-9900K (8-Core, 16MB Cache, up to 5.0Ghz w/Turbo Boost)

NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 2080 8GB GDDR6 (OC Ready)

64GB, 4x16GB, DDR4 XMP 2933MHz

512GB RAID 0 (2x 256GB PCIe M.2 SSDs) + 1TB (+8GB SSHD) Hybrid Drive

Hi Aymeric,

Thanks for asking!

I did hear about the new line of ConceptD 7 laptops recently released by Acer. Pretty much, these Acer ConceptD 7 laptops have similar specs as other laptops in their price point but what sets these Acer laptops apart from the competition is their excellent colour accuracy with 100% sRGB coverage and 100% Adobe RGB Colour Gamut. If colour accuracy is important to the type of work you do, then the Acer ConceptD 7 is something you might want to consider as an option. Now, if you just want pure, raw power and you don’t mind investing a lot of money for a beast of a workstation, then the Alienware Area-51M is y our best bet. With the specs you listed, you can expect the Area-51M to easily handle whatever type of task you throw at it.

Cheers,
Alex

Aymeric

Hey Alex, thanks for the quick response! Yeah my main line of work is high resolution 3D prints. I’m generally printing out images that are close to 20,000 px at 300DPI 32bit linear EXR’s. But I have a X-Rite i1 for the monitor callibration so maybe just getting the Area 51 will be the best if I can calibrate the monitor that way…
that laptop is dam big but ahah

Hi Aymeric,

You are right – the Alienware Area-51M is a hefty laptop but I think its heft is a worthy compromise given all that power it has under the hood. The Area-51M may not have to colour accuracy of the Acer ConceptD 7 but you can always use your X-Rite i1 to have the display of the Alienware calibrated so that the colors on your display match those in your original picture or file. Either way, I’m sure you won’t regret it if you pull the trigger on the Alienware Area-51M.

Cheers,
Alex

James

Great article, very useful!

I use an Alienware m15, I find it quite handy because it supports external GPUs with the rather inexpensive Alienware graphics amplifier box, which uses a proprietary port that has been proven faster than thunderbolt equipped external GPUs. my m15 has a 1070 max-q in it and I have the graphics amp with an 8gb GTX 1080. When rendering with redshift I’m able to trim the render times about 40% using both simultaneously. I can also turn off the 1070 maxQ and just go with the external GPU, which keeps my laptop running nice and cool for long renders. I plan to upgrade to a 2080 TI at some point.

Hi James,

Glad to hear you found the article useful!

Just imagine the improvements in your render times when you get around to upgrading to an RTX 2080 Ti. After all, that is a best of a GPU! Feel free to circle back when you’ve “scratched that upgrade itch” and let us know how the RTX 2080 Ti performs, okay?

Cheers,
Alex

James

Hi Alex,

So I wound up convincing my employer to let me upgrade to a 2080 Ti in the Alienware Graphics Amp- Here are my results using a scene I created (https://www.instagram.com/p/B8HVB5tg2TG/) –

GTX 1080 by itself (internal laptop 1070 max Q turned off in redshift render settings) – 5:48

GTX 1080 and internal GTX 1070 Max-Q both active – 3:07

RTX 2080 Ti by itself – 3:58

I couldn’t test the 2080 and internal 1070 max Q because in my redshift settings dual GPU is not available. In fact, the 1070 doesn’t even show up as visible by redshift. I’m using 2.6.53. I might try some of the 3.0 builds to see if it takes advantage of the RTX cores, or if both GPUs are enabled again.

I’m happy with the almost 50% bump in performance over the single 1080 but also a little disappointed. Per the redshift user forum benchmarks which I have a score on for the 1080 + 1070 combo – 09m:06s, vs a 2080 TI in a desktop which is around 8 min: 22s I was hoping the 2080 Ti in the AGA would be a little faster than the 1080 + 1070max-q combo, but it’s 50 seconds slower for my scene.

I’m assuming that the laptop and the nature of the AGA is limiting the power of the 2080 Ti, but at the same time I’m getting decent enough single GPU speeds. And part of the reason behind getting the 2080 Ti was to approach close to dual GPU render speeds without having to cook my laptop from the heat generated by running the 1070 max q non stop on over night renders.

And since work paid for the 2080 Ti, I’ll hang on to it until I’m ready to finish my Ryzen 9 workstation, and stuff it in there with maybe another one 🙂

oh and I should probably mention, I tried to find the thinnest 2080 Ti I could and settled on the gigabyte 3 fan version, and it’s huge, I’m going to have to mod the AGA case to get it to close (and by mod I mean cut off one side of it and 3d print a bumped out grill to replace the housing I remove)

James

I think you misunderstand Alex, the 2080 Ti is not in the laptop, it’s in the external GPU box that alienware makes, with their proprietary cable. It’s a full desktop GPU.

And a quick addition to my test, after writing my reply I upgraded redshift to one of the 3.0 beta builds, and I guess it’s able to take advantage of the raytracing ability because it dropped the render time an entire minute to 2:46 for my scene. So now the single 2080 Ti is in fact, faster than the external 1080 + internal 1070 max q combo.

I’m very happy 🙂

Aymeric

Hey Alex, just a heads up. The new ConceptD 7’s come with NVIDIA Quadro RTX 5000 16GB

I’ve heard mixed things regarding Quadros and 3D programs. How they are better built for CAD and not for programs such as C4D (which is what I mainly use).
It’s a few grand more, so was just wondering if you have any experience and knowledge on the RTX 2080 vs Quadro RTX 5000 / 3000 debate? a 16GB GPU in a laptop sounds like it would work wonders for programs like Octane, but I’m unsure.

Cheers

Hi Aymeric,

True – a 16GB GPU really looks good on paper and may sound like it could work wonders for your workload but in reality, I don’t tend to recommend the use of Quadro GPUs UNLESS the programs you use specifically require a Quadro graphics card. And besides, the consumer-grade RTX counterparts of the Quadro cards deliver a better performance at a much cheaper price point so price-to-performance ratio wise, it makes more sense to make use of an RTX graphics card to get more bang out of your buck, so to speak.

Cheers,
Alex

Aaron Toyne

5000 bucks!

Jorge

Hello Alex! I hope you are having a great day

How do you feel about the HP Omen 15 (2019)
Specs:
Intel Core i7 9750H
nVidia Geforce RTX 2070 Max-q
16GB Ram DDR4 – 2666
1 TB SSD

The listed price is 2050,79CAD that equals to 1547,28 USD

Thanks a lot! Have a great day!

Hi Jorge,

For its listed price of 2050,79CAD (around US$ 1547.28) as you put it, the 2019 model of the HP Omen 15 is actually a good option. The Omen 15’s i7-9750H CPU and 16GB of RAM will ensure that you have a fast and smooth workflow while the RTX 2070 Max-Q GPU will deliver a good render performance if you need to use the GPU render engines. Unless you can find a different laptop with better specs than these, the HP Omen 15 2019 should be at the top of your life.

Cheers,
Alex

Martin

Hi Alex, thanks a lot for the article the information is great!

I`m starting 3d animation art and design career in 2 months im looking for a laptop to use during my 2 years of study and to work for a bit later if possible.
My budget is around 1500-2200. Beside the portability im looking for something that can support design aswell as rendering 3D, do you have any advices at that price ranges?

Thanks a lot fir your help!
Have a nice day

Mg Show

Umm… I don’t think u can get a good laptop for animation at that price range. If you can get a 1000bucks more. It would be great to start. Well for me I will choose MSI GS75 stealth, with the rtx 2080 max q. But u can choose the 1070 or even the 1060 models of MSI. That would be great to start. But yaa i would game on that 2080 one. Soo yaa.. Xd.

Hey Mg Show,

Thanks for chiming in!

You are right – price is often associated with performance and vice versa but it’s just a matter of patiently looking for a laptop that fits your budget.

The high-end variant of the MSI GS75 Stealth is a good option especially if you have the budget for it but if there are certain constraints on your finances, then you make do with what you have. Of course, it goes without saying that if you buy a mid-range laptop, you shouldn’t its performance to rival that of higher-priced and higher-specced laptops.

Cheers,
Alex

Mg Show

Yes True…

Hey Martin,

Thanks for asking!

Portability in laptops is something that’s usually associated with a higher than usual price point. In some cases this is true but for $2,149.99, you can get something like the ASUS ROG Zephyrus S Ultra Slim Gaming Laptop GX531GX-XS74. Below are its specs:

CPU Intel Core i7-8750H 2.20GHz 6-Core Processor
Graphics Card NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 8GB
Memory(RAM) 16GB DDR4-2666
SSD 512GB PCIe NVMe Solid State Drive
HDD –
Weight 2.1 kg (~4.62pounds)
Display 15.6″, 1920×1080

The ASUS ROG Zephyrus S Ultra Slim Gaming Laptop GX531GX-XS74 may have a slightly older i7-8750H CPU but it does more than make up for it by having an RTX 2080 GPU for its graphics card. True, the i7-8750H may not be the newest Intel CPU but it’s no pushover and it’s performance is not too far behind compared to the latest and greatest from Intel. Also, the RTX 2080 GPU of the laptop will come in handy for GPU rendering tasks as it supports CUDA core acceleration and can be expected to deliver a better render performance in case you plan on using the GPU render engines. All in all, the ASUS ROG Zephyrus S Ultra Slim Gaming Laptop GX531GX-XS74 is a great option for what you need it for.

Cheers,
Alex

Martin

Thanks a lot for the quick response, i’ll dig into the Zephyrus S Ultra Slim. What about the GIGABYTE Aero 15X v8-BK4K4P 15″ UHD, you recommend here? i’ll be really behind? is a bit cheaper and has the screen with 100% adobe colour range and calibrated

Hi Martin,

The GIGABYTE Aero 15X v8-BK4 is also a good option. It pretty much has the same specs as the ASUS ROG Zephyrus S Ultra Slim Gaming Laptop GX531GX-XS74 I recommended previously except that the Aero 15X has an older, lower tiered GTX 1070 graphics card. You won’t be too far behind with the GIGABYTE Aero 15X v8-BK4 in terms of overall performance except for GPU rendering where the more powerful RTX 2080 of the ASUS ROG Zephyrus S Ultra Slim Gaming Laptop GX531GX-XS74 will have the advantage.

Cheers,
Alex

Ryan

Hey,
What do you think about the Asus zenbook Pro DUO ( base model with the i7)
I’m going to the 3d animation and visual effects industry.

Hi Ryan,

Thanks for dropping a line!

On paper, the specs of the i7 base model of the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo look good. The i7-9750H CPU combined with 16GB of RAM will ensure task responsiveness when you’re working actively inside the software. The RTX 2060 GPU of the laptop with its CUDA core acceleration will come in handy in case you plan on using the GPU render engines.

What sets the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo apart is its ScreenPad Plus display right above the keyboard. It can act as an extension or connection of the original screen and gives you the flexibility to see, experience and even multi-task with unrivaled potential. Now, if the software you use and your workflow integrates the use of the laptop’s ScreenPad plus display, then you can greatly benefit from it. If it doesn’t, then you’re better off looking at other options that may have better specs at the same price point as the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo.

Cheers,
Alex

Ryan

Hey,
Thank you for the information.
I’m really interested in this lap top because it has a 15.6” OLED 4K (3840 x 2160) 16:9 touchscreen and I cannot get those features in other laptops. So if I really get the maximum use of the Screenpad plus display, then is it a good laptop for my field from the other laptops in the market right now??

Hey Ryan,

If you can get maximum use of the secondary ScreenPad Plus display of the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo and if the said display supports that software you commonly use, then the laptop will be a good choice for what you need it for. If you can talk to Asus Support and check with them what software the ScreenPad Plus display supports, that would really be helpful. That way, you’d know the software supported and at the same time find out more information on how you can maximize the display.

Cheers,
Alex

Ryan

Hey,
I actually changed my mind.
What do you think about this?

ASUS ROG STRIX SCAR III G731GV 9TH RTX 2060Asus Strix SCAR III G731GV 9th Gen with RTX 2060Intel® Core™ i7-9750H (12M Cache, up to 4.50 GHz)16GB DDR4 2666MHZNVME 512G M.2 SSD + 1TB Hybrid HDD (FireCuda)17.3″ FHD 1920×1080 IPS Level 144HzNVIDIA® GeForce RTX 2060 6GB GDDR6Asus Aura Per Key RGB Keyboard + Asus Aura light BarWi-Fi 5(802.11ac) 2*2 + Bluetooth 5.0

Hey Ryan,

The ASUS ROG STRIX SCAR III G731GV pretty much has the same specs as the i7 base model of the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo so you can expect the performance of the SCAR III to be at par with that of the ZenBook Pro Duo. You can expect the same responsiveness and smooth work flow along with a decent GPU render performance thanks to the RTX 2060 GPU in case you need to use the GPU render engines. Of course, the 4K display of the ZenBook Pro Duo will look better compared to the FHD display of the Scar III and the addition of the ScreenPad Plus could give way to better multitasking and increased productivity but if you can do without these features, then the ASUS ROG STRIX SCAR III G731GV is something you might want to consider.

Cheers,
Alex

Ryan

Thank you mate

Yogin

Hi Alex,

First of all thank you for sharing great articles on this website. I have referred cgdirector to all my friends regarding their purchase queries.

I am Motion Graphics artist from Mumbai, India. My main software is Adobe After Effects and have recently started learning Cinema 4d and planning to learn Houdini in future. I was initially planning to get a desktop but am planning to buy a laptop instead as I will be moving a lot. Depending on budget these are the options I have come across

1: Lenovo Legion Y740-15IRHg

Processor : Intel Core i7-9750H Processor (2.60GHz, up to 4.50GHz with Turbo Boost, 6 Cores, 12MB Cache)

Total Memory : 32GB (16+16) DDR4 2666MHz SoDIMM
Second Hard Drive : 1TB Solid State Drive, M.2 2280, PCIe-NVMe, TLC
Display : 15.6″ FHD (1920×1080), LED backlight, IPS, 500nits, Anti-glare, 144Hz, HDR
Graphic Card : NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 8GB GDDR6 256bits with Max-Q Design

Cost: Rs. 168683 ( 2367 US Dollar approx)

Cost: Rs. ₹158,861 ( 2229 US Dollar Approx)
with NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 6GB GDDR6 192bits

2: ASUS ROG Strix Scar III G531GW 15.6″ FHD 240Hz Gaming Laptop RTX 2070 8GB Graphics (Core i7-9750H 9th Gen/16GB RAM/1TB PCIe SSD/Windows 10/Scar Gunmetal/2.57 Kg), G531GW-AZ014T

Rs. 1,69,990 (2385 US Dollar Approx)
Also there is RTX 2060 model available with cost 2076 US dollar approx

Also Laptops are more costly in India than US.

Regards,

Yogin Patel

Hi Yogin,

Thanks for asking!

The Lenovo Legion Y740-15IRHg and the ASUS ROG Strix Scar III G531GW are both excellent choices for what you need a laptop for. In fact, the two laptops have almost similar specs except for RAM size. This is where the Legion Y740 gets ahead of the Scar III having twice as much RAM with its 32GB compared to the 16GB of the Asus laptop. Not only that, the Legion Y740 with its whopping 32GB of RAM is even cheaper by a little bit compared to the Scar III.

That said, I suggest that you go for the version of the Lenovo Legion Y740-15IRHg with an RTX 2070 GPU. The RTX 2070 is one of the best GPUs at the moment when it comes to price to performance ratio. Additionally, it packs support for CUDA core acceleration for a better render performance in case you plan on using the GPU render engines in the future. All in all, you can’t go wrong with the Lenovo Legion Y740-15IRHg.

Cheers,
Alex

Yogin

Hi Alex,

Thank you so much. Will definitely go with Lenovo.

Yogin

Hi Alex,

I have read in many reviews that RTX 2060 mobile is almost equal to RTX 2070 MaxQ version. Does extra RAM of rtx 2070 MAXQ matter in GPU rendering? Also want your feedback on Lenovo Legion Y740-15IRHg IPS screen.
Is MSI gs65 stealth with same configuration of Lenovo Legion Y740-15IRHg except that MSI has 16GB ram and Lenovo has 32 gb ram in this case , is better overall ?
Which of them have better screen Lenovo y740, MSI GS65 Stealth, ASUS Zephyrus M, Asus ROG STRIX SCAR 3??

Regards,
Yogin

Hi Yogin,

You are correct – the performance of the mobile version of the RTX 2060 is almost equal to the RTX 2070 MaxQ but the extra VRAM of the 2070 MaxQ gives it a slight edge when it comes to GPU rendering. After all, it has more RAM and more CUDA cores so you can expect its performance to be better.

As for the display of the Lenovo Legion Y740-15IRHg, it is a 15.6-inch IPS display that has narrow bezels on three of its four sides. In addition to that, the display has a matte finish so reflections won’t be a problem. Also, viewing angles are excellent and colour accuracy is pretty decent.

When comparing the MSI GS65 Stealth with the Lenovo Legion Y740-15IRHg and both have almost the same configuration but if one has twice the RAM of the other, go with the laptop that has more RAM. The extra RAM will come in handy when you’re working on large projects and/or complex scenes.

As for which laptop has the better screen, the four options you listed all have the same 15.6-inch IPS displays with a FHD resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. There’s no way to ascertain which among these four will stand out unless you place all of them side by side to see which screen basically grabs your attention.

Cheers,
Alex

Yogin

Hi Alex
Thank you once again.I m going with Lenovo y740 finally. Also getting with good discount directly from lenovo.
Laptop market is super confusing as compared to desktop. Thanks once again

Regards,
Yogin

dalang

Hi, Alex,
first of all thank you for all the helpful information on your website!

I am interior designer/architect and want to work with sketchup and v-ray. I’ve read a lot about the RTX gaming cards in your comments here, but what is your opinion about the Quadro P620 cards?
Depending on my budget i have made the following choices so far:
Intel Core i7-9 9750H processor
(15″) Full HD 16:9 Display
16 GB RAM , 512 GB SSD
NVIDIA Quadro P620 graphics (4096 MB)
or
Intel Core i7-9 9750H processor
(15″) Full HD 16:9 LED Display
16 GB RAM , 1,512 GB Hybrid
NVIDIA GeForce RTX2060 graphics (6144 MB)

The models have the same price. Which version do you find most useful?

best regards,
dalang

Hi Dalang,

Thanks for dropping a line!

To answer your question, I don’t tend to recommend the use of NVIDIA Quadro GPUs unless the software you use specifically required a Quadro GPU. And besides, the RTX counterparts of Quadro GPUs perform better and come in at more affordable price points.

Having said that, my suggestion is for you to go for the second option with an RTX 2060 GPU. The RTX 2060 GPU will come in handy in case you plan on using the GPU render engines because it supports CUDA core acceleration that will deliver a better GPU render performance.

Cheers,
Alex

dalang

Thank’s for your advice. I will take the version with the RTX2060…
All the best to you and please keep up the good work with your blogs.

Best regards!

Fatemeh

Hi Alex,
I am an architect ,I need a laptop for rendering with vray 3d max and lumion . I want to know which laptop do you suggest?

Lenovo Legion Y740-17IRHg 17″FHD IPS 144Hz i7-9750H 16GB/1TB+SSD RTX2070 Win 10

Gigabyte Aero 15″ FHD i7-8750H 16GB/1TB SSD RTX 2070 Win10Pro 15-X9-7DE0310P

AERO 15 OLED XA-7DE5130SP i7-9750H 16GB/512GB 15″ UHD RTX2070 MaxQ W10P

DELL Alienware m15 R2 FRXPF 15,6″ FHD i7-9750H 16GB/512GB SSD RTX2070 W10

Thanks

Fatemeh

However the aero oled and dell alienware are more expensive than others , so they are not my priority.
I had lenovo ideapad z 500 before and it has worked around 7 years so longevity is important for me. This the reason i Chose lenovo again but I don’t like The lenovo legion y740 keyboard in 15 inch and 17inch is heavy but it is 9th generation beside gigabyte aero 15 is 8th generation.

I will be grateful if you suggest the best.
Fatemeh

Hi Fatemeh,

Thanks for dropping a line!

The Lenovo Legion Y740-17IRHg and the Gigabyte Aero 15 are both excellent options given that they have almost similar specs with the exception of the CPU and additional HDD. Price-wise, the Lenovo Legion Y740-17IRHg can be had for $1,846.06 while the Gigabyte AERO 15 is priced at $2,999.11.

Given the big price difference, it makes more sense to go for the Lenovo Legion Y740-17IRHg because not only is it cheaper but it also comes with slightly better specs with its newer i7-9750H CPU and additional 1TB HDD. With the Lenovo Legion Y740-17IRHg, you can expect the same performance as that of the Gigabyte AERO 15 but you get to save a little over a thousand bucks in the process.

Cheers,
Alex

Fatemeh

Thanks for your reply,

Actually i am living in Germany and here the Gigabyte aero is 1,999 Euro in sale and cheaper than lenovo legion that is 2,190 Euro .

Considering this do you suggest again lenovo ?

Best regards,
Fatemeh

Hi Fatemeh,

If the Gigabyte Aero is cheaper by almost €200, then it would be best if you purchase it while it’s still on sale. True, it may have a slightly older i7-8750H CPU compared to the i7-9750H of the Legion Y740 but I don’t think the hit in performance will be too much to be a game-changer, so to speak.

However, if you have the means and paying around €200 more wouldn’t put too much of a dent on your bank account, it would still be best if you go for the Lenovo Legion Y740-17IRHg for it’s newer CPU and additional storage.

Cheers,
Alex

fibli

Hey Alex,
Hope youre having a great day and thanks for putting all this info together, really informative.
I’m a graphic/motion designer of some years and have decided to make the scary/sensible leap away from Macbooks, and was wondering what you might advise for around the $2.2k mark please.
It’d be a machine dedicated to the usual PS, Illustrator etc but mostly for AfterEffects, and C4D, and videoediting pro mid level.

MSI GS75 Stealth-248 17.3″ Gaming Laptop has been suggested in your previous answers. Is this a good idea and would you suggest a suitable monitor is neccessary?

Best,

Hi fibli,

Thanks for asking!

If you are willing to increase your budget a bit to around $2,300, I would suggest that you go for the MSI GS75 Stealth-248 priced at around $2,302.48 at the moment.

You are right – I already recommended this laptop in the past only because at its price point, the specs of the MSI GS75 Stealth-248 can’t be beat. Please see below for that it has under the hood:

CPU Intel Core i7-9750H 2.60GHz 6-Core Processor
Graphics Card NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q 8GB
Memory(RAM) 32GB DDR4-2666
SSD 512GB NVMe Solid State Drive
HDD –
Weight 2.2 kg (~4.84pounds)
Display 17.3″, 1920×1080

The MSI GS75 Stealth-248 has a generous 17.3 inches of screen real estate but in the event that the display of the laptop is not enough for what you need it for, then it would make sense to invest on a monitor that you can utilize as a primary or secondary display, depending on what you want. For monitor recommendations, please check this article out: https://www.cgdirector.com/best-monitor-graphic-design-video-editing-3d/.

Cheers,
Alex