New Laptop Workstation

Hello Everyone,

I am a CG artist and I am in search of a new and very powerfull workstation laptop. Some of the softwares I use include Maya, Zbrush, Substance Painter, After effects, Houdini etc...
Ive been doing lots of research comparing many different options and I have boiled it down to a few which are listed below. My knowledge of Computer hardware is embarrassingly limited and Id very much need some help figuring out which would be the best. 

1. Lenovo Thinkpad P71: $4589
-Processor options:
Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6 Processor (4 Cores, 8MB Cache, up to 4.0GHz)
Intel Xeon E3-1535M v6 Processor (4 Cores, 8MB Cache, up to 4.20GHz) +$400
Note: ("CPU world" comparison indicates that they aren't much different only a higher operating frequency with 1535M)

NVIDIA Quadro P3000 6GB
NVIDIA Quadro P4000 8GB
NVIDIA Quadro P5000 16GB

32GB(16+16) DDR4 2400MHz ECC SoDIMM (Upgradable to 64GB)

2. SAGER NP9877 (CLEVO P870TM-G): $4705
-Processor options:
8th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-8700K Processor ( 6 Cores, 12MB Smart Cache, 3.70GHz Base / 4.70GHz Max )

SLI (2x) - NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1080 (16GB Total) GDDR5X (Pascal) DX12 + (2x) 330W AC Adapter + Power Converter Box

32GB (2x16GB) DDR4 3000MHz Dual Channel Memory (Upgradable to 64GB)

3. Dell Precision 7720: $5,041.52
-Processor options:
Intel Xeon E3-1575M v5 (Quad Core Xeon 3.00GHz, 3.90GHz Turbo, 8MB 45W, w/Iris Pro Graphics P580)

Nvidia Quadro P5000 16GB 

32GB (2x16GB) 2400MHz DDR4 ECC SDRAM (Upgradable to 64GB)

So it seems to me that the Clevo has better hardware comparing to the other two. The thing is that its being advertised as a gaming laptop and I don't really do much gaming and want to know if It would still be more powerful doing animation and 3D work. Does the hardware requirements for gaming differ from workstations?
Also if there are better options please let me know. 



  • CreativeSheep
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    CreativeSheep polycounter lvl 3
    Which one do you want and get get, then just buy it.
  • radiancef0rge
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    radiancef0rge Polycount Sponsor
    i dont understand the info you posted but it looks like one (or more) of the laptops have Quadros, youre better off with a laptop that has a GeForce. 
  • Mossberget
    Just going on specs alone here the Sager laptop will be faster than the other two machines by quite a substantial margin, but It might have some combability issues with one of your softwares.
    Altough this is more of a rare thing now a days.

    I've been using similar highend/highspec laptops both at work and home as a workstation and I would not recommend it unless you really need to have a fully portable workstations.

    Some reasons why:
    1. Even the best of the best laptops will still give you mediocre performance compared to what you could get for half the price with a regular workstation.
    2. The weight on these machines is not to be disregarded and not to forget the power supply needed, which usually weights another 1kg 
    3. Keyboard on these laptops are way to high up to be comfortable to use so you need an external keyboard and of course mouse / Wacom.

    My suggestion would be to buy a cheaper laptop still something with an i7 or similar dell/Thinkpad/racor and have that as your travel workststion. It will give you almost the same performance but in a much nicer form factor.

    And then there is the Sager "laptop"
    disregard everything I wrote above except the weight. The Sager would be a great workstation with a lot of power, not so much cpu multi threading power but you only mention Maya and nothing about if you plan to render on this machine. For rendering you would need to rely on the gpus to do the heavy lifting. 
    The other applications don't benefit from that much cpu cores so the cpu would be excellent for those tasks.

    Still a desktop workstation would give you all this for less than half the price and you could probably by a bag for it and make it equally portable.
  • igi
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    igi polycounter lvl 10
    Gaming laptops will work better with game-art purposes rather than workstations.

  • EarthQuake
    All 3 of these options are batshit crazy. Dropping $5000 on a laptop is an absurdly bad way to spend your money.

    Let's start with why you think you need a $5000 laptop. What are you using this for?

    Why do you think you need a laptop workstation rather than a desktop? Keep in mind a very powerful desktop workstation should cost less than $2000, even $1500 will get you an extremely good desktop workstation.

    The sort of giant laptop you would need to rival a desktop workstation is going to be absurdly large to the point where it will be difficult to travel with. We're talking 14 god damned pounds for that Sager with the charger. Do you really think you're going to use that on the bus or whatever fantasy location you envision a workstation laptop being useful?

    A workstation laptop really is an oxymoron. To work 8 hours a day at a laptop, you need to get a desk, a decent mouse, maybe even a keyboard that doesn't suck, and you'll want to hook it up to another monitor or two so you're not cramped into a single 17" screen. When you're done, you might as well just have a desktop at the desk too. Yes, you can theoretically sit at the beach with your 14 pound beast for the 2 hours that it will run before the battery dies, but it's not going to be a comfortable or efficient way to get work done.

    Back on Earth, you can get a high end workstation PC, and a laptop good enough for 3D on the go for $3500 total, no problem, and have the best of both worlds.

    Now, if you're intent on carrying out this farce, a few things re: specific components:
    1. Don't get a quadro, these are super overpriced for typical game/3d work - look for a gaming spec laptop so you can get a GeForce
    2. Don't get SLI, most 3D apps can't properly take advantage of it (this is only for gaming)
    3. Don't pay out the ass for the fastest CPU the machine supports, that $400 CPU upgrade on the Lenovo gets you a whopping 5% faster CPU, and these Xeons aren't significantly faster than the I7-7700HQ that comes with the base config
    4. Dear god pay attention to the size and weight
    5. Be wary of Sager and other generics, they often have very good specs for the price but the design tends to be of poor quality, bad heat management, bad build quality, bad components, etc.
    6. Try to find something with reasonable base specs, companies that sell laptops are all about the up-sell, oh $400 for a better cpu, another $400 for a larger SSD, and oh yeah $2000 for that quadro. Just no, find something with a reasonable base config and don't go crazy with the upgrades

    I would look seriously at the Razer Blade 17 pro. It's a solid machine with a slim profile, doesn't weigh an absurd amount, and comes with an I7 7700 and GTX 1060 out of the box. No the 1060 isn't the fastest card on the market, but it's a very fast card which has very good power usage (good for a laptop). You can upgrade the ram yourself to 32GB, as well as the drives. $2000 + a bit more for ram and maybe a large SSD gets you a very reasonable system at about half the cost of your other options.

    There are probably many other similarly reasonable choices for a high-end (rather than super-insane-high-end) laptop.

  • radiancef0rge
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    radiancef0rge Polycount Sponsor
    ya, what he said
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