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carson4k
06-19-2012, 08:41 PM
So here is a serious question for those who wish to chime in. How much faster/better is a workstation over a laptop/iMac?

I know overall it's a better call, but without sitting down and comparing them side by side it's very difficult for me to determine if it worth the additional cost.

My MBP runs CS5 (specifically AFX, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign) and Maya 2011, C4D. It's a 2.2 Quad Core i7 with 16gig of Ram and a Radeon 6750M 1024MB GPU.

It does a decent job. Particle systems are slow, sometimes rendering takes a bit of time but I make it work. RAM previews to test animation is probably the most aggravating since it takes longer to work, and more patience on my end.

Would my life be significantly improved in buying/building a higher end workstation? Is the difference in performance that vast? Keep in mind this is the fastest machine I've ever worked on, so I have no reference for anything better.

There have been times in the past where someone convinced me to pay the additional cost for a small bump in processor speed or RAM and the gained second on boot-up or minute on render wasn't worth the cost.

Thoughts?

CHRiTTeR
06-19-2012, 08:45 PM
The new i7 3720qm (laptop) seems to be a tad faster than an (non-overclocked) i7 2600k (desktop) and a tad slower than a 2700K. Which is pretty damn impressive for a mobile cpu!!!

darthviper107
06-19-2012, 09:01 PM
At work I'm on an Xeon quad core 2.66ghz, and at home I upgraded to Sandy Bridge E 3.2ghz 6-core, the one at home renders more than 4x faster. Pretty much worth it.

leigh
06-19-2012, 11:18 PM
Please read the General Discussion forum rules before posting there again. Cheers.

olson
06-20-2012, 09:06 AM
How much faster/better is a workstation over a laptop/iMac?


There's a tremendous difference in performance and scalability. Anyone who says otherwise is kidding themselves. Having said that, not everyone needs a workstation. If you spend most of your time in Illustrator and InDesign you won't notice the difference.

earwax69
06-20-2012, 11:58 AM
Well, for one, I think the best point in having a desktop is the screen. No more crampy 17inch display. When you embrace the full glory of a 27/30inch screen, you never go back.

Then there's the component you chose, that make all the little differences! If you pay 2$ more per fans, your computer will sing the song of silence. You can get a real GPU, not some low mid-range mobile card... You can add few of them to speed your render even more. The cpu can be a 6cores i7 or a 12cores Xeon. A raid configuration? no problem.

But the screen is the main factor for me. You need space to create.

CHRiTTeR
06-20-2012, 12:52 PM
There's a tremendous difference in performance and scalability. Anyone who says otherwise is kidding themselves. Having said that, not everyone needs a workstation. If you spend most of your time in Illustrator and InDesign you won't notice the difference.

The gap is getting smaller with every new release.

Check out the cinebench benchmarks of a 3720qm VS an non-overclocked 2600k ;)

olson
06-20-2012, 02:20 PM
The gap is getting smaller with every new release.

Umm, no. The "gap" is just as big as it has ever been and that will always be the case. If you can stuff X hardware in a laptop then you can stuff X times Y hardware in a workstation. Processing power aside there are other factors like the screen size already pointed out. Case in point, there are no laptops out there currently that can support 1 TB of memory and 64 processor cores.

http://www.supermicro.com/Aplus/system/Tower/4042/AS-4042G-6RF.cfm

Not saying everyone needs that, but there's clearly a tremendous difference between the capabilities of a laptop and a workstation. Whether or not that matters for their workflow is up to the original poster. :thumbsup:

CHRiTTeR
06-20-2012, 03:09 PM
Umm, no. The "gap" is just as big as it has ever been and that will always be the case. If you can stuff X hardware in a laptop then you can stuff X times Y hardware in a workstation. Processing power aside there are other factors like the screen size already pointed out. Case in point, there are no laptops out there currently that can support 1 TB of memory and 64 processor cores.

http://www.supermicro.com/Aplus/system/Tower/4042/AS-4042G-6RF.cfm

Not saying everyone needs that, but there's clearly a tremendous difference between the capabilities of a laptop and a workstation. Whether or not that matters for their workflow is up to the original poster. :thumbsup:

Off course you can beef up a desktop much more, that was not my point.
just saying a laptop with same specs as a desktop isnt that much slower anymore.

cgbeige
06-20-2012, 03:23 PM
My 2011 17" MacBook Pro is so powerful that I only really care about final renders on my workstations. Here's a V-Ray distributed rendering that shows the MBP buckets in orange and the HP Z820 Linux buckets in blue:

http://www.can-con.ca/tumblrpics/_tmphaybail_vray3.DR.png

Considering it has 1/4 the cores and the HP costs $9000, that's still pretty impressive. For working in ZBrush, Maya, etc, the Sandy and Ivy Bridge laptops are really fast. Just max out the RAM. I've got 16GB, which is good.

carson4k
06-20-2012, 03:27 PM
Thanks for the input everyone.

Monitor size isn't an issue, I have my MBP connected to a 27" Apple LED via Thunderbolt, works great.

I had a AFX project a few months ago that wouldn't render at all on the laptop, used a lot of Trapcode Particular and Forum. It would just crash over and over and I finally had to result to using Amazons Cloud drive to render it. It worked but was a pain to use. I ran into all types of issues.

More simple AFX projects actually work out pretty well and the laptop seems to handle the rest of the CS programs fairly well.

3D is my big question mark going forward. Most of the work we've done here at the office has been traditional print and web design, we've only in the last few years began to use more motion design mainly in AFX. The renders in C4D or Maya have also been pretty minor for things like 3D versions of logos.

So that's my worry. The MBP might be able to handle the small stuff but as things get more complex I don't want a 30 second lag when trying to scrub the timeline. I get that now sometimes and it's takes 3 times as long to work on those projects.

olson
06-20-2012, 07:47 PM
Monitor size isn't an issue, I have my MBP connected to a 27" Apple LED via Thunderbolt, works great.

It sounds like the laptop is for convenience, not necessity. In that case I'd definitely recommend a desktop workstation over a laptop.

DMRankor
06-21-2012, 09:44 AM
A choice between a laptop or workstation ...

That should be a No brainer. Laptops are going to have heat issues
and will never match the capacity of a "work station" .

Bullit
06-22-2012, 02:35 AM
I don't agree. With current capability of a good laptop it depends of what you do. Do you need the all CPU and even more? and don't use an external render farm then buy several desktops - at least 2- and forget about laptop.
If you do modeling, texturing and limited render a good laptop is good enough.


Btw Cgchannel has a comparative review, it is going overboard.
http://www.cgchannel.com/2012/04/review-dell-precision-m6600-mobile-workstation/

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