Best Laptop for Animation [2021 Guide]

CG Director Author Alex Glawionby Alex Glawion   /  Updated   /   624 comments
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Best Laptop for Animation [2021 Guide]

There are quite some things to consider when looking for the best Laptop for Animation.

You will want the Laptop to have certain specifications and parts for maximum performance.

The best Laptop for Animation is the culmination of excellent 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 animation workloads utilize the underlying Hardware Components.

This lets us clearly see what components we will need for the fastest Animation Laptop possible.

If you feel like you already know your way around the individual Hardware components & Laptop Features, follow this link to jump directly to our 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 we can use to tackle the task of animation.

Some currently popular 2D Animation Programs are After Effects, ToonBoom, Harmony, CrazyTalk Animator, Synfig Studio, FlipBook & Photoshop.

Popular 3D Animation Software includes Cinema 4D, 3ds Max, Maya, Blender, and more.

Now, what we do when we animate, is pose rigs, set keyframes and adjust certain scene elements and objects so they are placed and configured to our satisfaction.

One important thing to note here is that we usually do this not while looking at a final quality rendering, but a rough viewport preview, such as a Wireframe or simple Shaded View.

Best Laptop for Animation - Shaded View

Why is this important?

As there aren’t many graphical calculations going on, we can already say the Graphics Card (GPU) 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 crucial in speeding things up?

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

Best Laptop for Animation - CPU

Image Source: Iaroslav Neliubov/Shutterstock.com

Although animation seems to be a very visually demanding task, it’s the CPU that has to do all the calculations for the scene’s objects, rigs, simulations, hair splines or soft body dynamics.

Only after these CPU calculations are completed can the Graphics Card visually display the result to our Monitor(s).

In other words, the GPU is rarely the bottleneck in a 2D or 3D focused Workstation / (PC) Computer or Laptop. (Unless you are doing some heavy GPU rendering)

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

That said, 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

Laptops consist of very distinct Hardware components. Some impact performance more than others, some are soldered and inaccessible, and some can be easily upgraded by you.

Let’s take a look at the most important components:

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, clock speed, cache size, or maybe just the brand:  Intel or AMD?

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

If your CPU has a low clock speed, your Viewport will become very sluggish, and you won’t be able to animate in real-time. The CPU has a Base Clock Speed, such as 2,6 GHz in the Intel i7-10750H and a higher Turbo-Boost Clock that the CPU can boost to, in this case, 5,0 GHz on some of those Cores.

The CPU Boosting technology can overclock your CPU automatically if:

  • Not all Cores are in use at the same time.
  • The CPU’s temperature is below a certain threshold.
  • The CPU’s power draw is below a certain threshold.
turboBoost

Image-Source: Intel

In Animation, often only one or two CPU Cores are being used because of how animation workloads utilize your hardware.

This means having a high Boost-clock will speed up your Viewport’s snappiness while animating considerably.

Recommended CPU Models to get for your Animation Laptop:

  • Intel 9th gen mobile CPUs: i7 9750H,  i9 9880H
  • Intel 10th gen mobile CPUs: i7 10750H, i7 10875H, i9 10980HK
  • AMD Ryzen 4000 Series CPUs: 4800H(S), 4900H(S)

All of the above CPUs are excellent for animation as they have a high Base-Clock and a great Boost Clock.

Of course, you’ll find the CPUs above will usually be built into somewhat mid-range to higher-end Laptops.

If you don’t have the means to spend that kind of money, you could settle for a lower-tier CPU. Be sure to always maximize your base- and boost-clocks.

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 textures.

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 is a life-saver.

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

RAM (Memory) in the Win10 Taskmanager

RAM usage in the Win 10 Task Manager

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

Or, of course, when you’d like to have multiple Applications open at the same time.

The thing about RAM is, it doesn’t impact performance all that much unless you have too little.

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

You definitely want to avoid having too little RAM.

My recommendation for RAM capacity in your Animation Laptop:

  • 8GB of RAM for beginners
  • 16GB of RAM for every day, mid-sized scenes
  • 32GB+ of RAM for highly complex scenes and/or multiple opened Applications

Best Graphics Card (GPU) for Animation in a Laptop

As discussed above, the Graphics card is responsible for displaying to your in-built Screen or any attached display device.

It will also help display textures and any other Shaders and Real-Time Effects such as SSAO (Screen Space Ambient Occlusion), Realtime Shadows, Anti-Aliasing, Anisotropic Filtering, for a more realistic experience.

The Maya Viewport 2.0, for example, makes heavy use of such effects, and you’ll be much happier with a stronger GPU.

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

Limitations of Laptop cooling solutions

As soon as your CPU becomes the bottleneck, the GPU will not help speed up your viewport. It will be waiting for the CPU to finish its tasks to display the result to your screen.

Here are three Laptop GPUs that will perform nicely in an Animation Laptop:

  • NVIDIA GTX 1650 Super
  • NVIDIA GTX 1660 Super
  • NVIDIA GTX 1660 Ti

Now, I’ve mentioned a couple of times that the GPU is not an important factor in the active process of animating.

This changes entirely if you plan on using GPU Render Engines.

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

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

Furryball

Image-Source: furryball.aaa-studio.eu

If you plan on using GPU Render Engines, then you should invest in a better GPU.

My GPU recommendations if you are looking at a stronger Laptop or want to use GPU Render Engines:

  • NVIDIA RTX 3060 
  • NVIDIA RTX 3070
  • NVIDIA RTX 3080

Beware, though, that having a powerful GPU in a Laptop will make the Laptop bulky and draw more power. It will also make the Laptop quite noisy when Rendering on the powerful in-built GPU.

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

Some of you might wonder why there are no AMD GPU recommendations here. The reason is simple:

Nvidia’s GPUs have wider Application and Render-Engine Support, and in many cases, perform better than AMD’s GPUs.

If you absolutely know you will only use Software that supports AMD GPUs, though (like ProRender), then by all means, get a Laptop with an AMD GPU.

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

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

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

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

SSDs are also much more robust, 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 Storage recommendation for Animation Laptops:

  • A 500GB (or larger) SATA SSD

For those of you who want even greater speed in saving & loading scenes and general storage-related workloads, NVMe SSDs are the way to go.

NVMe SSDs are about twice as expensive, but you get 5-6 times the speed in many workloads.

The sequential read and write performance of NVMe SSDs, in particular, is phenomenal.

Highly recommended!

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

Best Laptop for Animation - SSD vs NVMe

Image-Source: atpinc.com

HDD

The conventional Hard Drive still has its purpose, though.

As HDDs are cheaper per Gigabyte, you can use them as long term storage and for archiving and backing up your projects.

Basically, anything that is not directly involved in your day-to-day workflow should be moved to an HDD.

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 HDD.

Expandability

The best Laptop for Animation should have the ability to be upgraded as you’ll want to use this Laptop for at least a couple of years.

Because technology progression is so fast, though, the Laptop might not be up to speed anymore after a few years. If you can upgrade your Laptop, this will give you some extra time before you have to buy a new one.

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

Expandability in laptops

For example, you could buy a Laptop with only 256GB of SSD Storage built in, now, and after a year, you might realize that you need more storage space for all the new projects and clients.

A larger SSD would certainly 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 take care of your pressing storage needs until it is time to get an entirely new Laptop for Animation.

The same applies to RAM.

You can usually get a laptop that will have some unused RAM slots, and you can add more RAM later on if you find your memory to be full all the time.

Both the CPU and GPU, unfortunately, aren’t that easy to upgrade on your own.

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 many that would like to get a MacBook Pro. They are popular, 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 Laptops I recommend down below are at least 50% cheaper but perform better than 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 use for GPU Rendering in more popular CUDA based GPU Render Engines
  • Industry usage: Any serious 3D Studio I have worked and freelanced at so far uses Windows-based PCs and not Macs. Some do have Macs in their Infrastructure, but those are advertising agencies that always outsourced any serious 3D or Animation work.
  • Expandability: Laptops can usually be upgraded easier and cheaper
  • 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

Although Laptops are inferior to desktop PCs in performance metrics, first and foremost, they are chosen for their mobility and ease of use.

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, which can also be quite fast if you are used to it. You might want to try this out in a shop and see if it suits you.

Also, a mouse is not expensive, and 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 laptop screen’s resolution is high enough for you.

It should fit all of your software menus, tools, and windows you need on a single screen.

A Full HD Resolution (1920×1080) is a good baseline 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 itself doesn’t necessarily get bigger (unless you buy a huge Laptop), individual elements and Window/Menu Texts will get smaller and can strain your eyes.

It’s best to get an additional external monitor for a Multi-Screen setup or even use your external monitor as the sole Monitor.

I would recommend a 15″ Screen size as the minimum on a Laptop for Animation. You can get away with a 14″ Screen, but that is really pushing it.

IPS or TN Panel?

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

Monitor Viewing Angle

Image-Credit: benq

This is not necessary for everyone. If you are modeling or animating in your viewport a lot, a TN Panel is sufficient. If you rely on a more accurate color display, go the IPS route.

Be sure to check our Monitor Guide, which explains the features and terminology you might encounter when looking for Laptop screens or Monitors.

Mobility

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

You want to be able to take it with you, maybe work while traveling.

If you have a docking station at work and home,  you can take your laptop with you to 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 cluttering a part of your room.

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.

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

But a PC certainly cannot compete with a Laptop in terms of 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 day’s use.

We are looking for the Best Laptop for Animation that is also somewhat lightweight yet still has a large enough screen. It shouldn’t produce too much noise and have a battery that lets us animate for a couple of hours before we have to recharge it.

I have put together some recommendations of Animation 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, let’s see what else is important in a great Laptop for animation:

What else is important in a Laptop for Animation

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

A docking station will usually take care of most connectors as not all 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 an HDMI and/or Display Port Connector.

Some of the older monitors or projectors only support DVI or VGA, 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.

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

Frequently Asked Questions

So here are the answers to a couple of questions I often get in the comments. Feel free to comment below if you need any other help!

What Laptops do Animators use?

You don’t really need an exotic kind of Laptop or any specific features to animate on a Laptop. There certainly are some features that will make your work more efficient & faster, but any Laptop that meets the minimum requirements for the Animation Software you would like to use, can basically be used to animate on.

What is a good Computer for Animation?

If you’d rather like to use a Desktop PC instead of a Laptop for Animation, be sure to read on in-depth Guide on what the Best PC for Animation looks like.

Is 8GB of RAM enough for Animation?

As we already discussed in this Article, 8GB of RAM can be enough for doing Animation on simple Scenes. You’ll be much happier with 16GB (or even 32GB) though, especially if your Scenes have lots of geometry, or if you’d like to use other Software in parallel.

Are Gaming Laptops good for Animation?

Yes, absolutely! Many Laptop manufacturers market Laptops at Gamers, because the Gaming Target group is much bigger than the Animation or Content Creation Target Group. This doesn’t mean you can only game on a “Gaming Laptop”.

After some quick answers to those questions, here are our Animation Laptop recommendations:

Recommendations: The best Laptop for Animation

If you don’t necessarily need a numbers-pad but a lot of RAM and a fairly strong GPU, then the MSI P65 Creator is the right Laptop for you.

First Choice: ASUS RG Zephyrus G15 (2020), 15.6″

Asus ROG Zephyrus - Best Laptop for Animation

Image-Source: Asus

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 ASUS RG Zephyrus G15 (2020), 15.6″.

The features include:

  • Ultra Slim
  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 4800HS
  • Graphics Card: RTX 2060 with 6 GB VRAM
  • RAM: 16GB RAM
  • SSD: 1TB NVMe SSD
  • Win 10 Pro
  • 15,6″ IPS Screen with a 2k Resolution

Check the current Price here.

Some notes on this Laptop:

The Asus ROG Zephyrus Series is purpose-built for both gaming and creative work, and it will keep you working efficiently even in complex Animation Projects. The 8-Core AMD Ryzen 7 4800HS Processor will help in rendering out some of your playblasts or even final scenes, and its 4.2GHz Boost-Clock keeps your viewport snappy.

The Nvidia RTX 2060 GPU is quite powerful and can be used for fast GPU Rendering of most Scenes.

This Laptop weighs under 2KG (4.8 Pounds) and is extremely portable and slim. You can configure this ASUS Laptop to the next higher Tier GPU, RAM Size, and SSD Size if you want, though I don’t think this is necessary.

Second overall Choice: Gigabyte Aorus 15G, 15.6″

Gigabyte Aorus 15G

Image-Source: Gigabyte

If it’s Maya (with its Viewport 2.0) or GPU Rendering that you’d like to use most, you will want to lean towards a better GPU such as the RTX 2080. A Numbers-Pad can be important for some too, and you will find it along with other great features in the Gigabyte Aorus 15G, 15.6″ Laptop.

The Gigabyte Aorus 15G, 15.6″ Laptop is purpose-built for Content Creators and comes with all the bells and whistles you need for efficient Animation work.

The Features are:

  • CPU: i7-10875H
  • GPU: GeForce RTX 2080 Super Max-Q with 8GB of VRAM
  • RAM: 16GB RAM
  • SSD: 1TB NVMe SSD
  • Win 10 Home
  • 15,6″ IPS OLED Screen with a FHD Resolution
  • Numbers-Pad

Check the current Price here.

Some notes on this Laptop:

This Gigabyte Laptop again has a higher Tier Graphics Card, the Nvidia 2070 RTX with 8 GB of VRAM, which will be excellent for GPU Rendering and working on other GPU demanding tasks. It weighs just slightly over 4 Pounds (~2KG).

Close Runner-Ups:

Another great choice is the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G15 (2020) with an AMD 4800H CPU and an Nvidia 1660Ti, which is quite affordable.

If there is nothing suitable in the above recommendations, take a look at the Razer Blade 15 Series Laptops, which are quite popular among Content Creators and Gamers alike.

More Laptop Recommendations

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

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

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Alex Glawion - 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!

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Also check out our Forum for feedback from our Expert Community.

Nolan

Hi Alex,
I’m a student in college right now and I’ve been trying to get into using Blender and other 3D design programs and I’m still relatively new to it. I’ve saved quite a bit of money and I’m setting the limit to most I’ll pay for a laptop is 2,000. Recently I’ve been searching around for Laptops and I’ve really liked the

MSI GF65 Thin 9SD-004 15.6″ 120Hz Gaming Laptop Intel Core i7-9750H GTX1660Ti 16GB 512GB NVMe SSD Win10Home on Amazon.
Link: https://www.amazon.com/MSI-GF65-9SD-004-GTX1660Ti-Win10Home/dp/B081JDXQTK/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8&th=1

So far it seems to match up with specs listed on here but I don’t know. Since I’m just getting started I don’t quite trust my instinct on it. Would you recommend it for starting off with blender? Is it a reliable brand? I haven’t really heard too much about MSI. Is there anything else I should consider when starting to get into 3D animation or design? Thank you.

Alex Glawion
Alex GlawionCGDIRECTOR

The MSI GF65 is a great laptop for starting out with any kind of 3d workloads. MSI is a good laptop brand and they also make good laptops targeted at creators and not just gamers.

The only thing that you could find something better in the laptop is the CPU. It’s a generation or two old already, still has great performance, but is succeeded by slightly faster cpus or competitor cpus already.

You can take a look at our laptop recommendations here in the 3d modeling & rendering article, which is a bit newer than this one. That said, the laptop above is powerful enough to work in blender and other 3d design programs, even on more complex projects.

https://www.cgdirector.com/best-laptops-3d-modeling-rendering/

Cheers,
Alex

Apxuenuckona

Hey Alex,

I have like 15 tabs open, all with your threads on how to pick the perfect hardware for your (my) editing needs, which i’ve already read and am planning to again so as to finally make an educated choice, since i’ve been struggling with weak machines for almost a decade now and I can finally afford a setup that should smoothly handle the workload.

What i wanted to run directly by you, in hopes you’ll have the time to reply, is if you could help me out with the following 2 dilemmas :

1/ If money wasn’t an issue, which laptop would you pick that is currently on the market, or will be in the foreseeable future for heavy duty Blender modeling as well as complex AE projects. The goal is to have something that runs smooth and displays (renders) instantly the frame as i edit/tweak every little thing. This is a real pain for me since i like to nitpick everything and those seconds amount up to days and weeks of time lost waiting for that bar to fully load and finally see something that i’m just gonna tweak again ( i’m sure you can all relate to that 😛 ) . This goes for 4k/6k + raw footage editing on Premiere as well because, while i’m used to proxies, i’d like to have the option not to go through that for the smallest projects.

This would be an ideal situation for me since i’d like to be able to show clients what could happen on the go, where they need me, because that helps winning them over and sealing the deal. And when i’m home just hooking the beast of a laptop to a nice editing monitor such as the BenQ PD3200U, which would be a dream setup for me cablemanagement-wise.

2/ I’ve obviously checked out the pc-builder tool, kudos for that by the way, amazing job there as well ! But one thing i can’t find or maybe there’s a language gap there, that i’m unfamiliar with, but i’m looking to build my PC (more like Workstation) and all i see are PC builds. I’m emphasizing on Workstation because i would really like to not feel the need for a new setup / upgrade in a couple of months when editing/motion designing/modeling/w/e, and for that to happen i feel like multiple CPUs or GPUs might be the way to go ( with Adobe and other companies implementing CUDA rendering and leaning towards GPU power ), feel free to correct me if i’m speaking nonsense 😉 / Btw , if you think a standard high-end PC build would do the job, i’m fine with saving a buck, obviously 😛

With all that in mind, would you please recommend the hardware you think would guarantee such a steady workflow ?

1 thing i forgot to mention is that final renders aren’t a priority here. I need the editing/creative part to be smooth as fudge the rest i can send to a render farm, if necessary.

Thank you so much for the time and effort you took to create all those amazing detailed articles, as well as for reading my comment and eventually replying to it 😛 .

Apxuenuckona

Edit * –

I don’t mind switching from Windows to Mac Os, so whatever you think is best performance-wise i’d consider it.

Any thoughts on the M1 chip 2nd gen that will come with the new MacBook Pro 16″ or will higher-end Windows laptops beat the latter ?

I mean obviously if we look at the type of footage you’re working on and the software you’re using performance will vary significantly. But let’s say for most common codecs out there and for Adobe products, which would you pick ?

Apxuenuckona

Last edit* i hope 😛

The more I read the more I’m convinced a laptop won’t be able to handle itself as well as i’d like it to. I’d still like to hear your thoughts about something ( a very high-end laptop for example ) i might be missing/overlooking, that will be able to do everything i want and help my OCD cable-wise as well as the so desired portability.

As far as custom built vs Mac the choice is obvious so there, my only question is as far as components go, will 1 CPU ( high-end threadripper ) + 1 GPU ( 3090 ) 24 GB + 64 ( or more )GBs of RAM do the trick when it comes to buttery smooth editing/modeling or should i look for a multi-CPU / multi-GPU type of Workstation ?

I’m of course looking to buy everything next black friday 😛

Alex Glawion
Alex GlawionCGDIRECTOR

First off, a desktop will always be superior to a laptop at the same price in addition to reaching much higher performance potential overall. So if you want the best performance possible a desktop is the way to go.

I also wouldn’t recommend buttery smooth 6k raw non-proxy editing on a laptop, you won’t be able to do it at all with most codecs footage formats.

Secondly, multi GPU setups won’t accelerate active after effects workloads, and neither active editing (e.g. premiere pro) workloads (unless you are using davinci. Both are single core performance bound, although rendering out comps and timelines do benefit from single gpu hardware level features for certain codecs (h.264..) and they also benefit from multiple cores.

Blender, yes will benefit from a fast gpu and even multiple gpus for rendering purposes (e.g. cycles or third party cuda render engines), but if you are modeling or animating complex projects without an interactive preview renderer running, more gpus won’t do you any good. Blender too is single core cpu-bound most of the time. You need high clocking cpus with great single core performance for active workloads like viewport editing.

This is also the reason why I wouldn’t recommend a threadripper to people that want as smooth a viewport as possible, because TRs are bad for active work. Yes they offer more pcielanes, more ram channels, more cores, but all at a cost of smoothness for active work. And your active work, as I often say, is much more expensive than machine hours. So you should rather speed up your active work, the time you spent actively modeling, editing, animating, than speeding up your machines render-hours. Of course you also want fast render performance, but you can get multiple gpus for that.

As for mac vs pc, I’d always put the PC in first place especially in a price to price comparison, performance-wise. Yes, the apple silicon does well with active workloads, e.g. in Cinema 4D, but I am not entirely sure about blender. Personally don’t like how a lot of third part tools, render engines etc. don’t yet play nicely with CUDA or are still being ported to Metal. It’s just not for me who needs a production stable workload that is bug-free. But that’s just my 2c.

Hope that answers your questions.

Oh so I’d recommend 5950X, 64GB-128gb 3600 CL16, RTX3080Ti or 3090 (use blower gpus if you want more than one), a pcie4 nvme ssd, MSI Unify x570.

Cheers,
Alex

Apxuenuckona

You’re amazing ! Thank you so much for your 2-3 and 5c, you don’t know how highly they’re appreciated ! I won’t waste any more of your time. Have a great day ! 🙂

Strix

Hello me again, I still haven’t bought a laptop since I just used my mother’s desktop which she let me borrow, and I’ve found a decent laptop, the brand is thunderobot but I don’t know the model name of it but the specs are as follows

Resolution: 2.5k
Graphics card: rtx 3060 6gb vram
Ram: 32 gb
Storage: 1 tb ssd nvime
Screen size: 16 inches
CPU: Ryzen 7 5800H 8 cores 16 threads; 4.4 ghz
Their design is kinda similar to dells gaming laptop, their cooling system is in the back not from the sides

Link: https://s.lazada.com.ph/s.WHric

All for it for 1,600 USD, while there’s also one but much more expensive

Resolution: 2.5k
Graphics card: rtx 3070 8gb vram
Ram: 32 gb
Storage: 1 tb ssd pcie 4.0
Screen size: 16 inches
CPU: i7-11800H
Cooling system still the same as dell

Link: https://s.lazada.com.ph/s.WHrif

I don’t know if this is the same spec such as inthe above but there’s someone who nade a review about the 3070 one in yourube here’s the link https://youtu.be/lt95VEXs5nE also still do try to check the link above to see what I mean about the specs (not the youtube one but do try see the youtube one!) Thank you!

(In the case where I misput the link, sorry!!)

Please copy the link to see more details, and if ever you can’t access it, change the location, or in the case where you really can’t access it I’m sorry but you’ll have to search it manually like thunderobot 3060 ryzen 7 5800h specs and thunderobot 3070 i7-11800H sorry!!

It cost 2000 USD for all the specs but which one is much worth it to buy? The one which cost 1,600 that has everything from rtx 3060 6gb vram 32 gb ram and 1 tb ssd which has 2.5k screen resolution or the one that’s much expensive but have rtx 3070? While there’s also Lenovo’s thinkbook 16p, they have the same specs as the one which cost 1,600 USD but you do have to upgrade it yourself since they sell it as 16gb ram and 500gb ssd,now the reason why I included this here is because of the bezels, the thinkbook 16p has much thinner bezels, kinda the same as much of a macbook but the macbook one’s are much thicker and wider while this one is not that wide, it’s bezels are pretty much thin, you can try searching it to see what I’m talking about, while the thunderobot , their bezels are thick but not that thick, kinda 2 to 4 cm more than the macbook which is kinda big but not too big compared to gaming laptops, which one is a better desktop like power but portable? And which one is a better investment for long years to come? Of course it has to be the one with rtx 3070 but yeah do help me, I’m not in a hurry since there’s still a year left before I’m planning to be one since I’m still a student, are they enough for 3d renders and 2d animation? Also like is it possible to make a 24 minute animation then just save it to cloud to save some space? Or is it not possible? I commented here last month names still same strix thank you!

Alex Glawion
Alex GlawionCGDIRECTOR

Hey Strix,
Those two Laptops are very similar, performance-wise. The 5800H will be a bit faster for multi-threaded workloads like cpu rendering, while the 11800H will be slightly smoother in active workloads. The higher-tier GPU in the second option is nice too, the 3070 is considerably faster than the 3060. I’d probably go for the second option if pricing is the same.

Might also depend on your type of render engine. If it’s a cpu renderer, first option, if it’s a gpu render engine, second option.

Cheers,
Alex

Kalesha

Hi Alex,

I would like to buy a 17inch Laptop which can support smooth Houdini FX workflow and Redshift rendering. Please suggest which is the best on to pick for my needs.

Alex Glawion
Alex GlawionCGDIRECTOR

Hey Kalesha,
You should check our Laptop Guide on Modeling and Rendering here: https://www.cgdirector.com/best-laptops-3d-modeling-rendering/

Redshift makes great use of high-cuda-core-count GPUs, but you’ll have to balance it with temperatures and noise. An external GPU might be a good idea if you rely on fast rendering.

Cheers,
Alex

Miriam Rosenblum

Hi Alex, I built my desktop earlier this year with a i9 Coffee Lake CPU, 16gb of ram and a 3060ti to use with maya for character animation. However I need a powerful laptop companion to work off of when I cannot be at my desk. My main computer will still be my desktop but my companion laptop still needs to be powerful enough to handle maya using relatively complex rigs. Originally I was hoping to spend about 1k on a new machine (I will be replacing a MacBook pro 2014) and originally thought I would either go with an m1 or a windows machine with a 3050ti GPU. But after some research it looks like a 3060 GPU might be the way to go in terms of performance and cost-benefit. I haven’t found anything at 1k with 16gb of ram but I was able to find these two machines in the 1300k arena.

1) Lenovo Legion 5 15 15.6″ Gaming Laptop Computer
AMD Ryzen 7 5800H 3.2GHz Processor; NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 6GB GDDR6; 16GB DDR4-3200 RAM; 1TB Solid State Drive

2) GIGABYTE – 15.6″ 4K OLED Creator Laptop – Intel Core i7-11800H – 16GB – NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 1TB SSD

(I’m not particularly picky about intel vs. AMD)

Other laptops I’ve been eyeing include the 3060 Zephyrus and the TUF by_ASUS Dash F15 3060 Gaming Laptop but for now they are both out of my price range. I need the laptop before September and have been eyeing everything from student deals (I am eligible) to slickdeals to various retailers and their weekly deals.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the two laptops I’ve picked out and if you know of any other great machines closer to 1k.

Thanks for your help (also your blog seriously helped me with my desktop build!)

-Miriam

Miriam Rosenblum

just to clarify all the prices are in USD, and also I didn’t mean 1300k but rather 1300…whoops

Alex Glawion
Alex GlawionCGDIRECTOR

Hey Miriam,
Those are excellent options! We often recommend the Lenovo Legion as it packs great specs and is almost unbeatable in terms of performance/price. Can recommend.

Gigabyte and MSI have Creator-focused laptops that are targeted at, well, creators like you and me, and while they do look nice and might have the occasional feature that makes our lives easier, they are quite expensive. In your kind of price-range I’d stick to cheaper gaming-laptops, which work just as well. They might have some RGB, but you can turn that off usually.

You might also like this article on Laptops for 3D Modeling, where we recommend the Lenovo as well: https://www.cgdirector.com/best-laptops-3d-modeling-rendering/

Cheers,
Alex