Question Advice for a Fanless Laptop For Heavy Duty Programming ?

Dec 17, 2020
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Dear distinguished TH members.

I am looking for advice on buying a fanless laptop that would be suitable for some heavy duty programming. Specifically I run some scripts about once or twice a year that take about a week to run in a linear process. These are heacy-duty in both RAM (in excess of 16 occasionally) and CPU. It largely consists of large database jobs, so also writing/reading to disk. There are some queries that can take up to about 4 hours.

I previously had a small Dell XPS (?), a cheaper model with an i5 and 16GB RAM. This did the job, but the scripts made the small laaptop, which had a fan, quite hot, and I believe the scripts were responsible for breaking that compute. Now it just turns itself off after 10 minutes.

Now I have a larger ASUS TUF gaming laptop.

I am interested in getting a fanless laptop, for obvious reasons, such as the current fan interfering with my calls. However I am worried my scripts will again frazzle a fanless laptop.

Can someone offer some advice on this?

And I am unable move these scripts to a desktop as I work remotely.

The new laptop would need to be able to have 16GB+ RAM and at least a 2TB SSD, preferably a 4TB NVMe.

Thank you for your time,

- Thavi

There are two fanless laptops I am looking at:

https://www.currys.co.uk/gbuk/computing/laptops/laptops/acer-swift-7-sf714-52t-14-intel-core-i7-laptop-512-gb-ssd-black-10194599-pdt.html

https://www.porsche-design.com/en/ultra-one/

I don't know if there are others that may be suitable.
 

tennis2

Distinguished
https://www.notebookcheck.net/Acer-Swift-7-SF714-52T-Review-Slim-and-light-subnotebook-for-a-fat-wallet.442104.0.html

I would challenge your desire for a fanless laptop. To achieve a fanless design (ESPECIALLY in a laptop where there isn't much room for a heatsink in the first place) you need to sacrifice a SIGNIFICANT amount of performance to keep CPU power usage at a level that can be cooled without a fan. In the case of the Swift 7, this isn't the i7 you'd expect, you need to look at the SKU. It's an i7-8500Y, which is a 2c/4t CPU with a TDP of just 5 WATTS. That's nowhere close to your Asus TUF laptop. Expect that script runtime to increase 3x, maybe more.

I would instead focus on taming the fan noise on your TUF laptop. One super easy solution is to go to Windows' Power Settings, Advanced Power Settings, Processor Power Management, and set Maximum Processor State to something less than 100%. Even setting it to 99% will effectively disable turbo boost and the CPU will only run at its base clock. The lower you go, the less performance you get obviously, but it's also using far less power, so it generates less heat, which requires less fan speed/noise.

Also, these fanless laptops are going to be completely unserviceable. On that Swift 7, you won't be able to swap in a larger SSD, or new/more RAM because they're soldered on to save thickness.
 
Reactions: thavi
A fan is essential to a laptop.
Even then, they are not very good since they need to be small and light.
For a replacement, do not buy a "gaming" laptop with a discrete graphics chip.
Those chips are hot.
Once the cooling gets overwhelmed, the processor slows down or shuts off.

If your task is largely single threaded, bypass the processors with many threads, and concentrate on one with a few threads and a good boost clock.
The newest gen intel and ryzen chips will be more efficient from the power point of view.

On your current laptop, disable the discrete graphics and use integrated. It will draw much less power.
You could also experiment with reducing the number of threads available to the processor.
You can do this in task manager start up options.
 
Reactions: thavi

tennis2

Distinguished
For a replacement, do not buy a "gaming" laptop with a discrete graphics chip.
Those chips are hot.
But in this case, the cooling solution on a gaming laptop is built to handle both the high(er) powered CPU as well as the power-hungry gaming GPU. Most of the time, the cooling solution interconnects to both chips, so if you're doing compiling work that isn't using the dGPU, you've got a chonky cooling solution solely dedicated to cooling the CPU. Whereas, in laptops with no dGPU, the cooling solution is smaller because it's only designed to cool the CPU power needs.
 

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