Best Laptop for Animation

CG Director Author Alex  by Alex  ⋮   ⋮   65 comments
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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 1080 GTX.

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.

Be sure to check it out and please feel free to send feedback my way!

CGDirector PC & Laptop-Builder Tool

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Alex from CGDirector - post author

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

I have 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!

65
Comments

Michael

Hi Alex,

Thanks so much for writing this article. It addresses exactly what I’ve been looking for, finding the best laptop for creating 3D design, animation, and motion graphics. It seems the majority of information I find is all about gaming and not content creation. I like the specs of the MSI but I found the chassis (especially coming from a Mac Book Pro) to be extremely pliable with too much flex. I’m wondering if you have any thoughts on Razer Blade RTX vs Dell XPS 15. I use Cinema 4D primarily and looking for models that take full advantage of GPU rendering. I know the new Razer Blades have better GPU cards and more VRAM but I like the overall build of the XPS 15 and it’s significantly less cost. Any thoughts are appreciated.

Thanks!

Nic

Hi Alex,

Due to living small I have to use a laptop. Im looking into a solution having a desktop in a wardrobe and controling it via a cheap laptop.

Could this work? Is there a chance of lagging since I want to work with 3d on the desktop not just rendering? Have you ever heard of anyone using such a solution?

Or should I just buy a great laptop and accept thermal issues evry laptop seems to struggle with.

Any ideas on this would be great.

Thanks!

Salma

Hi Alex, I know you may not have officially started reviewing lenovo yet but maybe you could still advice on the specs. I was thinking of customizing the ThinkPad P1 (15.6″, 8gb RAM, 512 SSD, 4K screen, 8th gen core i7, but only a quadro p1000 graphics card) My budget is 1400$ and with the current march sale this can be done. Upgrading to a quadro p2000 will cost the same as the difference in screen from FHD to 4K. So i was thinking it would be nicer to get the 4k screen. For illustrator/PS/aftereffects would that be worth the sacrifice?
Thank you so much!

Salma

If you think that quadro P1000 is a no go. Would After Effects or programs like Videoscribe for whiteboard animation work better then with GTX? I assume CAD/SketchUp would still work just as well, right? Another aternative in sight is the X1 Extreme with GTX 1050ti, core i7, 16gb RAM,512SSD, FHD screen. 1550$ after the sale but oh well…

I also wanted to tell you this page is awesome and you are awesome for taking the time to manage it and respond to so many people! It’s very difficult for creatives to find good advice in this regards.
Thank you!

Bart

Hello,

I’m thinking of MSI GS65 i7-8750H/32GB/512/RTX2080. I’m not sure do I need RTX card. Is it possible to find something with maybe better screen resolution or even touchscreen? I’m looking for something light, quite good looking. Mostly for Adobe, Cinema4d and some drawing animation. I have workstation at home but I need laptop to finish projects outside or work with client. I come from Poland and the price here is around 3,600$ for that setup, I know its terrible.

What do you think about Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme I7-8750H 2,2GHZ/32/512/GTX 1050 TI for same price.

I’m wondering is it better to take better card or better screen…

Any suggestions?

Thanks!
Bart

Epixx

Greetings Alex,

I have been doing some research into getting a new laptop when I stumbled upon this article. I have been using a Dell M4700 precision workstation for a some years now and I am realizing now that maybe it would be a wise move to get a system with the specs that you are recommending as I was set to spend almost 4k for a 7000 series with Xeon and Quadro specs. The thing is, I do a lot of motion graphics, AE, Premiere, etc., but I use Maya, ZBrush, Substance Painter as well, but not as much. The i7-8750H, i9-8950HK CPUs and RTX 20xx GPUs with 16-32gigs ram, SSD, looks appealing and depending on how you config can cost much less, I am just a bit concerned about build quality and robustness of some of these brands MSI, Gigabyte, Asus as the Precisions are pretty tough and have decent cooling systems. Maybe you may have opinions about this I would love to hear what you think.

Letícia

Hello Alex!

I’d like to know if you would recommend the Acer Predator Helios 500 laptop for heavy work on illustration, animation both 2d and 3d, rendering and all that artsy stuff. The model I’m interested in is the i7-8750H, GeForce GTX 1070, 17.3″ Full HD 144Hz G-Sync Display, 16GB DDR4, 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD, 1TB HDD. It seems like a great buy, but I’ve seen people both recommend and not recommend it for creative work. Are you familiar with this laptop? Would you say it’s a good option alongside the gigabyte and msi ones you talked about?

Malak

Hello Alex!

I’m a student doing interior and product design so I use programs like autocad, cinema 4d, rhino, and a bunch of adobe applications.
I’ve been struggling with my Mac for a while but haven’t been able to choose another laptop that I know will be able to process multiple programs at once without crashing. I’ve done a lot of research but there are so many options that I just can’t decide anymore :/
I’m looking for a laptop that has a lot of storage, can run multiple programs at a time, Has good graphics and is reliable! My budget is from 2000-2500 euros. So if you have any suggestions for some laptops, please let me know!!

Thank you!!
Malak

prokash bishwash

Hi Alex,
I appreciate your effort for such detail explanation which must help animation enthusiastic like me. Do you like me to help by suggesting some laptop models within 900-1200 USD.

Thanking you
Prokash

Nathan Johnson

Hi Alex,

First off, thank you so much for all of this information and especially for taking the time to answer all of these questions.

I have always been a Mac guy, your typical Mac fanboy, but as I get further in my career (I use After Effects for quite heavy effects and colour grading and have started working with Blender as well) I am starting to feel I’d be much better off leaving Mac world.

I’ve been doing a bit of research and am pretty sold on the Razer Blade 15, Full HD 144Hz GeForce RTX 2070 with 512 ggb SSD.

My question is, I have seen a few people voicing concerns over the build of these laptops and saying that longevity might be a problem.

Something about them running quite hot and this causing more wear and tear on the parts than is ideal.

Is this something you have heard of or could give me any advice on?

And since I am here, is this laptop a good choice for $3,499 CAD?

Thanks again

Will

Since you’ve recommended the MSI 65 Stealth…I’ve been galvanizing over the new MSI GS75 Stealth due to screen size and easy accessibility for future upgrades. Any thoughts on this? Also, any difference of performance, rendering, with RTX 2060, 2070, 2080? Do you think the price of 2060 over 2080 (about $1000 difference) justify the price?

Using:
Cineman 4D
Redshift
Premiere Pro
After Effects
VR
some CAD.

Thanks in advance.
Will

Shiv Sharma

Thanks for this information.
Can you tell me what should i do Should i wait for Dell G7 RTX Models or buy a G7 gtx model.

Sara

You are such a legend. Thanks for this info. I’ve burned through my third Microsoft Surface Book 2 in under a year and have been approved a refund. So I need a much better setup for rendering and 3d work. I was previously a Mac user. I am an Architecture Student and use the following software in order of use frequency:

Revit
ArchiCAD
3D Max
Rhino
VRAY
Grasshopper
***This year I will be using Lumion.

Photoshop
Illustrator
InDesign

Essentially I design buildings / interiors in 2d documentation and then play with the 3D model to refine the design.
Then the hard stuff begins – the rendering.
Also – I did a bit of work learning grasshppper and want to work more with curvature.
I’ll quite often design geometries in Grasshopper and play with them in rhino to produce several itterations of a similar design.
Soon I’ll be doing walk throughs of my designs and fly overs of the site design.

I don’t know whether to focus on a laptop for uni (mandetory) that has more cores and a home PC that is specifically for rendering.

I’m in Australia and have a budget of $5000AU in total.

I’ll be most grateful for recommendations and advice. I’m really stuck.

Sara.

Sara

** Sorry I meant – not sure if I should focus on less cores with higher capacity for 3d on laptop and a multi core workstation at home for the rendering. Or if i can optimise both in a kick ass workstation and just get a basic laptop for uni classes. So SO grateful that I found your advice!!! Thank you!!!

Jungwon Eom

I am looking towards Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Extreme, with specs of i7-8750H 6 Core processor, 16 GB RAM with a Nvidia Gforce GTX 1050Ti 4 Gb. Will these specs be alright for both 2D and 3D animation and rendering? Or would it be much better to purchase MSI Stealth 6G.

I am not sure which programs i will be using during my uni work, but i will be definitely using Photoshop and Maya.

rak

Hey how about buying a xeon e-2176 with p2000 quadra graphics? will it do good than i-7 with GTX graphics?

Dede

Hey,
I am a mac/apple user for about 5 years. Which means I am very used to its function and built lol. My first and current laptop is the macbook pro mid 2014
processor 2,6 GHz Intel Core i5
storage 8 GB 1600 MHz DDR3
macintosh HD start volume 121 GB
graphic card Intel Iris 1536 MB

This mac tho is a PAIN IN THE A** for 3d modeling, rendering or video editing.

For about a year I am working with blender, adobe ps, ai, pr and ae. Mostly working with blender, then pr/ae. And I am still considering to buy cinema 4d or maya in the next 2 years.

As most artists, I don’t have an unlimited budget.
But I would go for a long lasting laptop up to +- 3000€, which is supporting cinema 4d (or maya)/blender, premiere pro and after effects.

When it comes to 3d, I spend more time on modeling rather then rendering, but still both have to offer really good performance. And I wish a smooth workflow when I edit videos or animate with ae or pr.

Would the MSI GS65 Stealth THIN-050 15.6 be a vast improvement for my kind of work?

And I know a mac is overpriced, but I am still curious if you would recommend a mac with the same or better performance.

Thank you in advance!

Brice Coustillet

Hi there,
First things first, thanks for the hard work Alex, your blog is amazingly useful !

I could post this in Video Editing section but anyway.

I have two activities so 2 kinds of needs in one machine… I’m a freelance 2D Animator, (AE CC, AI CC, PS CC) and a documentary director (PR Pro CC).
Right now i have a computer, with a pretty old config :
– RAID 5 with 4 2To HDD
– GeForce GTX 770
– 1 SSD Sata for Windows
– 1 SSD Sata for Cache
– 16GB of RAM.
– A drobo with 4 hDDs in USB3 that mirror the RAID 5, for backup.

I want to switch to a laptop because I need mobility.
The problem I have is that I need at least 4To of storage, and of course, safety.

So, my question is : Could my new config be this in a laptop (based on a Razer blade 15) :

– 4to of SSD storage
– 1 SSD for Windows
– 1 SSD for Cache
– 32 GB of RAM
– GeForce GTX 1060
– Drobo in USB 3 for backup
– 2 External Monitor plugged in
– Eventually a Core X Razer with a Geforce to boost my big renders.

I love the Razer blade 15 but apparently I can’t put more than 1 SSD. They have a new option with 1SSD + 1HDD but I kinda want to switch on a full SSD config.

Thank you for reading all of this !

Brice

Andrzej

Hello Alex,
First things first. Thanks for all the hard work you are doing for us on this site/blog. That is really helpful and I believe everybody appreciate a lot!

Now the question 😉
I was asked to find the best long-term (to use at least 5+ years) laptop for an architect. His main software is (ordered by the most used to the least used):

ArchiCAD
Artlantis
SketchUp
AutoCAD
Photoshop

I saw your recommendations here and I really like MSI pick. However, when I checked ArchiCAD hardware recommendations they really push for a Quadro based GPU. Is it worth? In general, these laptops are much more expensive.
This laptop can be considered as a workstation as it will be really rarely taken out of the home.
Also – the guy is asking for a 17″ to increase workspace but it is not a showstopper. If the other components will seem stronger we can do 15.6″.

Budget ~$2500.

All your thoughts, ideas, and proposition would be a great help!

Felix

Hey, right now I am looking to get a new workstation and I am thinking about a powerful laptop. Does anybody have experience with the HP ZBook Studio X360? There are so many options from i5 to i9 and Xeon. And for gpu you could find P1000 as well as P2000. I love the option of having a pen support on display, because sometimes I need to paint textures or do sculpting. I am not sure about choosing the cpu. Sure i9 or Xeon with up to 4.8 Turbo Boost would be nice, but I am not sure if there will be thermal throttling.

https://www8.hp.com/us/en/workstations/zbook-x360/index.html

Would love to see your opinions on that.

James

Any thoughts on the Microsoft Studio 2, the Surface Book 2 and the Cintiq 27qhd in this list?

Joey

Hi Alex,

I do 3D modeling, video editing, photoediting, engineering analysis, etc with Maya, 3Ds max, civil3d, revit, photoshops, after effects, etc. Because i travel a lot for work, i am looking for a laptop that can handle the loads. I have looked into the zephyrus s gx531gs, Razer Blade 15, and aero 15x. They all use i7-8750h, 1070 max q, and 16gb ram. The zephyrus s has better performance and cooling, max out 16gb ram and poor batttery. The Razer Blade 15 is comparable to zephyrus s in performance, max 16gb ram, reasonable battery life but poor cooling. The aero 15x has the worst performance out of the 3, can expand to 32gb ram, long battery life but poor cooling and poor software and driver compatilibity. If what i am doing for work where having only 16gb ram is not an issue, i would probably choose between the Razer Blade 15 or zephyrus s if having 32gb ram make a world of differences, then i don’t see any other choice then the aero 15x. All these laptops are small, thin, and light. Please let me know which laptop you would choose for my line of work. Thanks for your help.

Best Regards,
Joey

Ray

Hi Alex, I used laptop [ MSI GE72VR 6RF ].
I bought this laptop 2 years ago. (This laptop was noisy.)
But someone stole my laptop.
So I need a new laptop.
My budget is $ 2500. I use Maya, Nuke, Katana, Zbrush, RenderMan and V-Ray.
Please can you recommend a good laptop for me?

Thank you.
Ray

persona

hey alex, just wanted to mention that maya and its viewport 2.0 makes good use of a fast, powerful gpu. maybe you should mention that somewhere since maya is still industry standard and taught in many schools. (just thinking students might be interested the most in buying laptops?)

otherwise nice effort keep up the good work.