[SOLVED] Which Laptop Should I get for 3D Modeling and Animation

Immitem

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EDIT: What happened? I was looking for my thread and could not find it in the laptop section but discovered it somehow posted in the components section. How did that happen?! Mod, if you see this could you move this to the general laptop section. I have no idea what I did to accidentally post this here.

Hello there. I have been mulling over this for the last couple of weeks and will be more-so over the next few. I will have to do a lot of traveling soon but I still need to keep up with my work so I have decided to invest in a high-end laptop but I do not know which one would be the best for my needs.

My budget is in the ballpark of 4K CAD with battery life and weight not a concern but I would prefer a 15-inch model as it would fit my current bags and be easier to transport in general. The two models I am looking at are the Eurocom Sky X4C and MSI WS63. Both radically different models with different specs, strengths, and weaknesses.

I intend to install Centos on the laptop with my primary software being Maya-Redshift, Blender, Substance Painter, Zbrush, and Krita/GIMP. The main purpose is primarily 3D modeling, sculpting, texturing, and animation. I will leave rendering to my home workstation and rendernode but still intend to render stills and do interactive-preview-rendering (IPR) using the GPU. Resolution does not matter to me, only colour gamut.

First off, The MSI WS63: This one discombobulates me. The main concern I have is which videocard to get. For 3500 dollars I get an i7 8750H, 32GB RAM, Quadro P3200, 500GB NVME drive and a 1TB HDD, and a 94% NTSC screen. The P3200 is both on paper more powerful than the 1060 mobile while having driver optimisations that would make it at least as fast as a 1070 in Maya with added stability and interactivity. Furthermore, this model does not throttle from the couple of reviews I read on this configuration so I could push it as hard as I want without loosing performance or overheating it. Lastly, it saves me money to put towards a new cintiq. I would go with one of Wacom's competitors but they lack any decent linux drivers.

The main drawback is that I have no upgradability, it has 2GB less VRAM for rendering and texture paintings, and if I were to go with the p4200 for 300 dollars more I would get around 2 terraflops more compute performance which would also translate to better performance in Blender which has no driver optimisations but I would sacrifice half of my NVME storage and RAM which also means less room for caching. I could upgrade it later but I would have to sacrifice running zbrush or substance painter at the same time as Maya until then. I still do not know if the extra powerdraw of the p4200 would cause it to throttle!

Both models come with a 3 year warranty and, from my research, they will still honor the warranty when you upgrade; so long as you did not damage it in the process (obviously).

Next, The Sky X4C: It wins hands down as the faster model with a lot of upgradability and storage but putting high-end components in it will cause it to thermal throttle (i9 9900K & GTX 1080). I would instead prefer to put a either an i7 8700 or 9700K with a 1070. As configured I get an i7 9700K, 32GB of memory, GTX 1070, 100% sRGB 4K matte screen, and a 512GB NVME ssd and 2TB Firecuda HDD. With 3 years warranty it comes to around 3900 CAD.

The problem being that I do not know if the processors will run hot causing it to thermal throttle during multi-threaded loads. Thus making the performance gains nill as well as shortening its life. Furthermore, if Intel forces another chipset upgrade for new processors that would mean that my upgrade path would be kneecapped as I could only get chips in the same family that have higher power draws (124 vs 168 wattts for the 9700k and 9900k respectively). If I go for the lower power drawing 8700 I drop the price down to 3600 dollars which brings it in line with the MSI laptops but I still sacrifice the pro drivers that I have come to rely on in Maya.

(Screw you autodesk and your buggy software that is somehow industry standard!)

This becomes compounded by the fact that I would likely only upgrade the GPU once as laptop gpus are much more expensive and by the time that it is worth it the processor may already be long in the tooth. This happened with my Sager NP9150.

Right now, the P3200 MSI WS63 seems to be the most compelling option but I would like to hear what other people have to say and what other suggestions they might have.

Thanks in advance!
 
The MSI Titan does come with GTX 1070/1080 and RTX 1070/1080.

The thinner the laptop the more chances it could throttle, since it might not be able to handle the heat.
A mobile CPU will not work as fast as a desktop CPU version and the same applies for mobile GPUs.
Which size laptop are you looking to get?
Have you looked at these all @$3k
-Gigabyte AERO
Core i9-8950HK, GeForce RTX 2070, 32 GB DDR4, 1 TB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD, 15.6" 4K/UHD IPS, etc.
or
-Asus ROG Zephyrus
Core i7-8750HK, GeForce RTX 2080, 16 GB DDR4, 512 GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD, 15.6" 1920 x 1080 144 Hz IPS, etc.
or
-Razer Blade 15
Core i7-8750HK, GeForce RTX 2080, 16 GB DDR4, 512 GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD, 15.6" 1920 x 1080 144 Hz IPS, etc.


 
If you go with a modern laptop, beside Sky X4C, forget about upgrading the GPU, since it comes soldered to the motherboard.
Some model are soldering the CPU also.

Have thought about gaming laptops, like the MSI GT75 Titan.
You could configure it with the latest Core i9, GeForce RTX 2080, NVMe SSD, 32GB RAM, etc


 

Immitem

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I already lamented the limited upgradability of the MSI model but questioned the worth of upgradability if Intel locks down their chipset requirements and limiting my CPU upgrade options and thus the value in going with the Eurocom option. If I cannot upgrade the CPU to a newer generation due to Intel's shenanigans that would leave me with higher TDP chips from the same generation that would run hotter than I would feel comfortable running them at for hours at a time. This by extension would mean that the only thing worth upgrading, the GPU, could be held back by a weaker processor by the time that it was worth upgrading the GPU.

Also, the Titan with an i9 and only a 1080 (not an RTX) is 300 dollars overbudget for me, and will not fit in any of my travel cases so it is a bust for me. Lastly, according to reviews it runs really hot which would not be good over the many hours I intend to run it at 100%.

I have also looked at Sager (the current brand I have now) and Origin pc configurers but found nothing compelling yet (or maybe I have not tried hard enough). Still looking, still looking.
 

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I will take a look at them.

 

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