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Questions regarding buying advice for a AI/ML/DL laptop

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damian8

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Title says it all: I am looking for a new laptops which I will use for (academic) AI-oriented purposes, including locally training Deep Learning models now and then.

Yes, I know. A desktop is better - but no option for me.

Yes, I know. Cloud computer - sometimes an option, but I really want to have the freedom to also run models on my laptop.

My budget is fairly right (and yep, that doesn't go that well together). I have to pay European prices, and my budget is about €2.300.

Currently, I am doubting between:

and Lenovo Legion 7 16ACHG6 featuring a Ryzen 7 5800h and 3080 (mobile) with 115+50w dynamic boost TDP and 16GB DDR6 VRAM for €2.300. (16 GB DDR5 RAM which I can expand to 32 GB.)

and an Asus ROG Strix SCAR G533ZX feauting an i9-12900h and 3080 Ti (mobile) at 125+25w TDP and also 16GB DDR6 VRAM for €3.300. (32 GB DDR5 RAM.)

The difference is €1.000 for a better CPU and better RAM. But does that really matter so much? The i9-12900h has much more cores obviously, but do I really need them? What about the AMD+NVIDEA set-up in terms of compatibility issues for running (Py)Torch, NumPy, etc.? (Including using Cuda, obviously.)

Although the Asus is way above my budget, if I really NEED to pay a €1.000 more (and it would be a mistake for my purpose if I don't), then I will. Otherwise it is actually too expensive.

Really hope to hear some of your thoughts! Thank you guys!
 
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damian8

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(And how much does the DDR4-3200 vs DDR5-4800 really matter if I have 16GB DDR6-VRAM? Obviously, I do need to run (parts of) some models sometimes on the CPU.)
 
Alex Glawion

Alex Glawion

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I'm not sure the 3080Ti could even be able to leverage its higher performance potential due to power and temperature throttling in such a tight environment. What do the benchmarks say? In any case, the 1k$ price increase, IMO, does not warrant the marginal performance increase even if there were to be no throttling.

If your workloads run on the GPU and its VRAM, and there is little back and forth to the CPU and its DDR4/5 RAM, then yes the DDR5 vs 4 wouldn't make much of a difference.
 
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damian8

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Hey Alex!

Thanks for your reply - that is really helpful!

In the end, I indeed went with the cheaper Legion 7 (with the 5800h processor). I am planning to upgrade the 16GB DDR4 RAM it came with to 64GB (the manual lists 32GB as max, but Crucial and users on Reddit report that 64GB is max) and add a 2TB SSD (likewise, manual mentions that only 2x 1TB is possible; not 1x 1TB, 1x 2TB, but reports are positive about another 2TB). I am planning to buy the KF432S20IBK2/64 Kingston Fury's (are considerably more expensive, but have a slightly better latency, and with that I can get at least the most out of my DDR4 I thought) and a Samsung 970 Evo Plus 2TB. I am a bit worried about the laptop overheating (especially since I read that the Evo Plus can get very hot). The laptop already features a thermal plate above the empty SSD slot, so an extra heatsink might not be necessary? (And probably no space for that either?) Would you advise against these upgrades? (At some points the GPU might be on 100% use in full performance mode while also a lot of disk/RAM operations are possibly made?)

Although the laptop (Legion 7) itself was about a €1.000 cheaper (than the - slightly better specced - Asus ROG Option), I plan to spend about ~€500 on the upgrades. Making the end comparison:

32GB RAM DDR5 + i9-12900h + (not fully performing) 3080 Ti laptop GPU + PCIe 4.0 2TB SSD for €500 more

versus

64GB RAM DDR4-3200 + Ryzen 7 5800h + 3080 laptop GPU + PCIe 3.0 3TB SSD

Did I still do a good job choosing in that case?

Oh, and by the way, a cheaper 2TB SSD (without dram, as opposed to the Evo Plus which ought to have dram) would save another ~€20, while cheaper 64GB RAM (G. Skill Ripjaws) would save an additional ~€85 (not sure if it is worth it to pay €85 more for a brand with a nicer name(/support) and 20 CAS instead of 22 resulting in 12.5ns true latency vs 13.75).

Thank you again for your previous answer! :)
 
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