Laptop for VFX (NukeX, AE, Maya, zBrush)

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  04 April 2017
Laptop for VFX (NukeX, AE, Maya, zBrush)

Hello, I'm new to this forum, but I've reading it for a while.

My plan is to buy an Alienware R3 15 with i7 7820HK, GTX 1070, 16GB DDR4 at 2667MHz, 128GB M.2 SSD + 1TB 7200RPM.
The price for all this is $2,024.99 (http://dell.to/2ohKWhq)
Altough I will probably have to spend more than that since I'm buying it in Spain.


So I have a few questions:
  1. My plan is to later add a larger M.2 drive, cause 128GB just isnt enough for all the programs. Should I spend more now, or is this a good idea? will M.2 lower their prices in the near future?
  2. Same idea for the RAM, I would like 32GB, but is it better (and cheaper) to add it later?
  3. Which screen is better for this purpose?

    - 15.6 inch FHD (1920 x 1080) 60Hz IPS Anti-Glare 300-nits NVIDIA G-SYNC Enabled

    -15.6 inch FHD (1920 x 1080) 120Hz TN+WVA Anti-Glare 400-nits NVIDIA G-SYNC Enabled Display


Will I be able to edit and play 4K files? Can it be used with another screen through HDMI?

I would appreciate any help =)
 
  04 April 2017
Check the Hardware board, I recall one or two threads similar too yours that were eventually resolved.

http://forums.cgsociety.org/forumdisplay.php?f=23
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  04 April 2017
Neither of those are 4k screens so you won't be able to actually see anything in 4k, but you should be able to plug one in. I don't have much info to offer other than I was looking pretty seriously at that setup a few weeks ago and ended up going for a Lenovo Legion of similar spec but 1050 GPU, which cost about half of the Alienware. I went for something with a bit more storage and money to spend on ram. So far I'm happy with the laptop's performance, but not a fan of Windows 10.

One other thing regarding the GPU, I've found I haven't been using mine nearly as much as I thought I would. Handy for 3D rendering but less useful than I expected for anything else including Nuke write times or Zbrush.

Last edited by unaccompanieddminor : 04 April 2017 at 01:26 PM.
 
  04 April 2017
DONT BUY ANY LAPTOP THAT ISN'T REVIEWED IN DETAIL HERE:

https://www.notebookcheck.net/

You will very likely wind up with one that has a good CPU/GPU but a shitty screen panel or similar - gaming laptops often have cheap screens with low nit counts or badly inaccurate colors.

I work on an MSI GS73VR 6RF STEALTH PRO 17.3" laptop with a 4K UHD screen.

Best screen I've ever had in a laptop.

I bought it after reading the in-depth review on notebookcheck.net, which included a detailed test of its display panel.

I highly advise you to consult this site before buying any laptop for serious work.

Take the screen panel testing seriously. Many 2K cost laptops do NOT have a good display panel.
 
  04 April 2017
skeebertus:

Ok thanks for the advice. Sadly the screen is something very difficult to know for sure if it's good or bad, since they don't any of these laptops around here to go check them out and see them live

The reviews and search filters on that website look really useful, thank you

Do you have any recommendations other than the one you chose? don't you find the 17.3" size too big?

unaccompanieddminor:

Yes I know most software nowadays use mostly the CPU, but it would be nice to have a good enough GPU for taking advantage of some future GPU powered render engines.

So Alienware doesn't offer any 4K option for the screen, so I guess they are out =/

EDIT: I'm having a good look at the MSI GT62VR 7RE, which has a 4K screen option + i7 7820hk + gtx 1070 (https://www.notebookcheck.net/MSI-G...o.191236.0.html) The main disadvantage (and a big one sadly) is the lack of a Thunderbolt 3 port, which means no fast external drives or external GPUs in the future. This sucks.

Also, I'm finding it very hard to find a place where I can buy it with that configuration

Last edited by pablow92 : 04 April 2017 at 12:16 AM.
 
  04 April 2017
Originally Posted by pablow92: unaccompanieddminor:

Yes I know most software nowadays use mostly the CPU, but it would be nice to have a good enough GPU for taking advantage of some future GPU powered render engines.

So Alienware doesn't offer any 4K option for the screen, so I guess they are out =/



True, also it's kind of nice to have a GPU render going in the background and to be able to keep working using CPU with little/no decrease in performance.

There's probably a good reason why Alienware doesn't offer 4k - the screens are too small for it to make a difference. At normal viewing distance you shouldn't be able to tell an improvement between a retina DPI screen or a 4k because the pixel density will be too high for your eyes to notice. You would notice it in performance though, since it'd be more work for the hardware to support that resolution. For that reason IMO colour accuracy etc. is more useful.

If you're struggling to find the right build have you checked out http://www.xoticpc.com? They're based in the U.S. but ship international, the Sager/Clevo custom options might be worth a look.
 
  04 April 2017
Really depends what you want and how much power you need.

I use a Dell XPS15 for work all the time (I'm writing on it now, on location doing a VFX shoot) which is a year and a half old now but is still great. The reason I love it is the 4k display is amazing. For me it's small, light and powerful for an amazing sized screen and ability to smash out slap comps and simple stuff VFX wise. For hard-core work (CGFX, big Maya scenes, etc) then I'd use a desktop but, most of the time, I just configure my work area so I can handle things.

But yeah - consider size and weight if you're wanting portability.
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  04 April 2017
Originally Posted by pablow92: skeebertus:
Ok thanks for the advice. Sadly the screen is something very difficult to know for sure if it's good or bad, since they don't any of these laptops around here to go check them out and see them live


Notebookcheck test each laptop screen with special measuring equipment.

If you read the reviews fully - the part about testing the screen - they tell you in great detail:

- how bright the screen is in different parts (the center, edges and so forth)
- how good contrast/blacks reproduction is
- how accurate the RGB color reproduction is and how wide the color gamut of the screen is
- whether the screen panel has a good pixel structure up close
- who the screen panel manufacturer is

If the screen tests well in their lab, its usually is a good screen to work on.

Originally Posted by pablow92: Do you have any recommendations other than the one you chose? don't you find the 17.3" size too big?


I use the laptop to demo my realtime video processing algorithms to investors in their office in 4K UHD. Its excellent for that.

The laptop I have is very slim and weighs only 2.4 Kg despite being 17.3", so its very portable.

Originally Posted by pablow92: I'm having a good look at the MSI GT62VR 7RE, which has a 4K screen option + i7 7820hk + gtx 1070 (https://www.notebookcheck.net/MSI-G...o.191236.0.html) The main disadvantage (and a big one sadly) is the lack of a Thunderbolt 3 port, which means no fast external drives or external GPUs in the future. This sucks.


Many MSI laptop owners and technical people from MSI itself hang out at this forum:

http://forum.notebookreview.com/forums/msi.1015/

Tell them what configuration you need (1070 GPU, Thunderbolt and so on) and they'll probably be able to recommend a model for you.

Originally Posted by pablow92: Also, I'm finding it very hard to find a place where I can buy it with that configuration


Contact MSI and ask them what the best way to buy from Argentina is.

MSI is very popular in professional gaming worldwide, so they probably have a distributor or business partner either in Argentina or in a neighbouring country.
 
  04 April 2017
Ok, I'm trying to analize all the viable options (since I can't buy it right now, I have the time to be extra meticulous. Also.. I enjoy the process!)

Here I made a google sheet where I am adding all the possible options with some information:
https://goo.gl/6UWwNd

This are the specs I am looking for:

- 15.6" 4K 100% Adobe RGB display
- i7 7820HK (or 7700HQ)
- GTX 1070
- 32GB RAM (or 16GB expandable)
- 512 M.2 SSD (1TB SSD desired)
- 1TB HDD (if more better)
- Thunderbolt 3
- The less bulkier, the better

I'm willing to spend up to 2500 USD.

Am I falling too short on the price?

skeebertus: Buying this kind of stuff in Argentina is at least double the price. That if you can find any of it, so it's out the question sadly.

I am definitely going to check out that forum, thank you!

Last edited by pablow92 : 04 April 2017 at 03:15 AM.
 
  04 April 2017
Eurocom makes some beefy laptops at a decent price. The Sky MX5, MX4E2 and F5 models are in your price range and config requirements.
 
  04 April 2017
Originally Posted by pablow92: skeebertus:

Do you have any recommendations other than the one you chose? don't you find the 17.3" size too big?

Is this for Occasional use? or a 'work horse'?
Because there is always a portability Vs 'real estate comfort' with complex UIs

Frankly I would NOT do serious production on any laptop because I am used to working with *2* 24" monitors with a workstation. But thats me.

But a tiny screen area and complex UIs (like Nuke, Maya, etc) are not the greatest of bed fellows. So you need to ask yourself what your priorities are if you can not test for yourself. Because you might find using the software to be 'less fun' with a smaller screen. And if there are bugs with the display (graphics drivers say) you'll want something for which graphics glitches are a priority for the maker of that graphics card to fix and release drivers for.

The biggest and best quality screen you think you can carry is the best choice for VFX if you want to be logistical.

Last edited by circusboy : 04 April 2017 at 06:02 PM.
 
  04 April 2017
Originally Posted by pablow92: This are the specs I am looking for:

- 15.6" 4K 100% Adobe RGB display
- i7 7820HK (or 7700HQ)
- GTX 1070
- 32GB RAM (or 16GB expandable)
- 512 M.2 SSD (1TB SSD desired)
- 1TB HDD (if more better)
- Thunderbolt 3
- The less bulkier, the better


This 2000 Dollar MSI laptop is almost exactly what you want - only it has a 1060GTX with 6GB DDR5, not a 1070.

https://www.amazon.com/MSI-GS63VR-S...hd+15.6+1070gtx

Specs:

Quote: Display: 15.6" UHD | 4K eDP IPS-Level 3840x2160 | Operating System: Windows 10 Processor: Intel Core i7-7700HQ (2.8-3.8GHz) Graphics Card: NVIDIA's GTX 1060 6G GDDR5 RAM: 16GB (8GB x2) DDR4 2400MHz | Hard Drive: 512GB SSD (PCIE Gen3x4) + 2TB (SATA) 5400rpm Special Features: VR Ready | Steel Series Full-Color Backlight Keyboard w/Anti-Ghost Key + Silver Lining | Killer Gaming Network E2400 | Thunderbolt 3


If you were to buy this from Amazon USA, how much customs would you pay in Argentina?

Also there are 2000 Dollar HP Omen Gaming Laptops with GTX 1070 8GB like this one:

https://www.amazon.com/HP-OMEN-i7-7...hp+omen+4k+1070


Whatever you wind up buying, first check the screen review on notebookcheck.

Some gaming laptops have great screen panels. Some don't. Check the tests to get a good screen.
 
  04 April 2017
Ok, this the MSI model that meets your specs (has GTX 1070 with 8Gb DDR RAM and 15.6 inch 4K screen):

https://www.msi.com/Laptop/GE62MVR-...o-specification

I don't know if it has Thunderbolt 3 though.

If you go over 1060 with MSI, you currently get a bulkier casing (for cooling the 1070 properly I presume).
 
  04 April 2017
adisan:
Wow! I'm really liking the Eurocom Tornado F5. I can't believe they put a desktop CPU in there. I'm actually getting really interested in this. I'm looking for reviews, but there is not a lot of information around, other than some discussions on the notebookreview forum, and some youtube videos. Does anyone have any experience with this? I'm really considering going for something like this now.

The thing that concerns me the most is the screen. I would like to find a good review talking about that to see if it's good enough. This is what I'm reading right now:
https://www.notebookcheck.net/Euroc...5.195758.0.html
https://www.notebookcheck.net/Euroc...w.189496.0.html

circusboy:
I decided I will choose power over portability, since I will use it to move from one place to another, but mainly work at home with an external display. I want to be able to use my PC anywhere without having to carry a big display, so that means a laptop. Also I just like the idea of a portable powerfull machine.
To answer your question, I plan to do most of the work on a bigger display, that's why I want a 15.6" screen and not any bigger than that. Smaller would be too small to do anything.

skeebertus:
I REALLY liked the MSI GS63VR Stealth Pro 4K-228. Having that slim chassis would be amazing. But I'm afraid the GTX 1060 won't be enough for me. Also, 32GB of RAM would be nice to have, if there is no possibility of upgrading.

I also checked the HP Omen, but apart from being 17", more importantly, it doesn't have any Thunderbolt 3 port

Same thing for the GE62MVR 7RG APACHE PRO, no Thunderbolt 3 =/ I don't understad why they don't put it! I should be a must at this times. It would be the perfect choose if it werent for that.



EDIT:

Ok so I've been looking around a lot, and I came up with these:

Eurocom Tornado F5: $2,534.00
http://bit.ly/2qbOVxa (link to set the pc config)

15.6" 4K
GTX 1070
BIOS Tornado F5
i7 7700K 4.2GHz
16GB 1x DRR4-3200 G-Skill CL16
250GB M.2 SAMSUNG 960 EVO R/W 3200/1500 MB/s
2TB HYBRID SSHD SEAGATE FIRECUDA
Killer Wireless-AC 1535
230W 100V-250V

The one thing that worried me, is the display. What do you think?


EDIT 2:

According to Notebookcheck the Tornado F5 display is not good enough for color work =(
The only other option with a similar price in Eurocom is the EUROCOM Sky X7E2, which has 17.3"
I guess it's hard to find a 4K 15.6 display with that kind of quailty. Maybe I have to accept that. This is the other option I've been looking:

17.3" 4K Ultra HD Adobe RGB 100%
GTX 1070
Unlocked system BIOS
i7 7700K 4.2GHz
16GB 2 x 8GB DDR 2400Hz CL14 Kingston HyperX
250GB M.2 SAMSUNG 960 EVO R/W 3200/1500 MB/s
2TB HYBRID SSHD SEAGATE FIRECUDA
Intel Wireless -AC 8260
330W AC Adapter

Final price: $2,946.00 (with a 10% student discount I can get it for $2651,4 which is close enough)

Last edited by pablow92 : 04 April 2017 at 09:56 PM.
 
  04 April 2017
I'm talking with myself at this point, but I'll keep posting my findings here since I received a lot of help from you guys. Maybe this will be helpfull for someone.

I am really struggling to decide whether I want or not a laptop that completely replaces a desktop power pc, but that I would move out of my house very little, and could never use it on my lap, or too far from a plug.

So I was, again, looking towards more portability, but still don't want to compromise too much power.

My must list was reduced to:

- 15.6" (I don't want it to be heavy or to have a big footprint)
- True UHD 4K display (to take advantage of working in a reduced screen)
- 100% Adobe RGB display (this is one of the hardest things to find)
- 7700HQ (minimum)
- GTX 1060 (minimum)
- SSD and RAM should be 256GB and 16GB minimum (Being upgradeable would be a huge plus)


So my best find was this MSI Workstation, that apparently isn't out yet on all countries. It seems the PERFECT fit for my needs. My only concern here is if it has a true 4K display with 100% Adobe RGB color, or not. I'm guessing it should, right? I mean, it's a workstation, designed for that.

Im talking about the MSI WS63
https://www.msi.com/Workstation/WS6...l#hero-overview

It's like the Workstation version of the MSI GS63 (which looks good except for the pentile display, and little accuracy of colors)

So, I'm crossing fingers for this one now

Last edited by pablow92 : 04 April 2017 at 10:00 PM.
 
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