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Is there a laptop or what is the best and most efficient laptop for 3D with low power consumption

Hi, 

I am a 3D artist… and lately I have been asking myself the same question over and over again, because it is time to upgrade my old working laptop which is power hungry as hell and I would like to minimize on this aspect and to use a laptop that can be more eco-friendly and less power hungry to do my 3D animation work.

But I know… it really doesn’t make sense because anything that requires high-end graphics like 3D, be animation or modelling, etc. it  requires higher power which translate at the end of the day to hungry power usage. 

I know there might be really no way around this, but just dropping the question out here. 

Is there a laptop or what is the best and most efficient laptop for 3D with low power consumption and as eco as possible.

Hopefully, some of you might have some ideas.

Thank you beforehand 

Replies

  • poopipe
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    poopipe high dynamic range
    You understand that the machine only draws as much power as it needs at the time it needs it right? 

  • EarthQuake
    The question is a bit of an oxymoron - high end laptops that are good for 3D tend to have beefy, high power consumption CPUs and GPUs. So if you want something really efficient it would be an M1 Macbook Air. But that's not a particularly good machine for 3D work. What is more important to you, low power use, or high end components suitable for 3D work?

    That said, simply getting a newish laptop will probably give you significantly better performance at similar or lower power levels than your old laptop - depending on how old it is of course.

    Going a bit deeper, the GPU is typically going to be the most power-hungry component. Assuming you want a discreet GPU, which you probably do if you're interested in 3D work, you have a couple different options.

    You could go with a cheap-ish, low-powered GPU like the Nvidia 3050 or 3050Ti. These max out at 80w. But these are the slowest in the 30** line and have the least amount of video ram, so they aren't very good options for VRAM heavy applications like 3D painting. Though they are much more suitable for 3D work than laptops without discreet GPUs (ie: on-cpu Intel GPUs).

    Another option is to get a higher-end GPU that is underpowered/underclocked. The 3060 and 3070 both come in 85w versions (rather than 130w+) and have 6GB and 8GB of VRAM respectively. The 85w 3070 would be my choice if I wanted an efficient GPU in a laptop. It can be a bit difficult to figure out exactly what GPU wattage a given laptop has, but the Asus F15 can be configured with the 85w versions of the 3060 and 3070. There are other laptops that come with these 85w GPUs if you want to dig into it more. See: https://laptopmedia.com/specs/?q=&hPP=20&p=0&dFR[gpu][0]=NVIDIA+GeForce+RTX+3070+(Laptop,+85W)&is_v=1 and https://laptopmedia.com/specs/?q=&hPP=20&p=0&dFR[gpu][0]=NVIDIA+GeForce+RTX+3060+(Laptop,+85W)&is_v=1

    Keep in mind that the 85w 3070 is going to be slower than 130w 3060 - but if you want low power usage and will take advantage of the extra VRAM, it's still probably a good choice.

    There's also a 90w version of the 3080, but you'll have to buy a laptop that is significantly more expensive to get that GPU vs one with a 3060 or 3070, it has the same 8GB VRAM as the 3070, and it's only marginally faster than the 85w 3070. So there isn't much reason to go for the underpowered 3080. There's a 100w (and various other wattage versions) 3080 that offers more of a boost over the 85w 3070, though.

    Now, back to overall system power consumption, the M1 Macbook Air uses about 50w under full load for the entire system, and averages more like 20w during normal use. Compare that to a Windows laptop with a discreet GPU getting up to 80+ watts for just the GPU under full load, probably closer to 120w total. So again, if power usage is your primary concern an M1 Mac is a really good choice.
  • Animat
    Thanks for the information guys I really appreciate. 

    I have finally been looking in two laptops, one is the gaming. 

    OMEN 15-en1003ns Gaming Laptop with NVIDIA® GeForce RTX ™ 3070 Graphics

    Windows 10 Home 64

    AMD Ryzen ™ 7 5800H (up to 4.4 GHz maximum clock boost, 16 MB L3 cache, 8 cores, 16 threads)

    RAM DDR4-3200 MHz 16 GB (2 x 8 GB)

    1 TB M.2 PCIe® NVMe ™ TLC SSD

    15.6 "(39.6 cm) diagonal FHD, 144 Hz, 7 ms response time, IPS, micro-edge bezel, anti-glare, 300 nits, 72% NTSC (1920 x 1080)

    NVIDIA® GeForce RTX ™ 3070 Notebook GPU (8 GB GDDR6 Dedicated)

    And the other is the HP ZBook Power G7 Mobile Workstation

    Windows 10 Pro 64

    Intel® Core ™ i7-10750H (2.6 GHz base frequency, up to 5.0 GHz with Intel® Turbo Boost Technology, 12 MB L3 cache, 6 cores)

    RAM DDR4-3200 MHz 8 GB (1 x 8 GB)

    256 GB PCIe® SSD

    15.6 "(39.6 cm) diagonal FHD, IPS, anti-glare, 250 nits, 45% NTSC (1920 x 1080)

    NVIDIA® Quadro® P620 (4 GB GDDR5 dedicated)

    I know this might not make much of a sense... but... I like both machine, but there are few things that I am trying to avoid at this moment, my old computer had the following and that is the stuff I will try to avoided in the new machine.

    - I will try to avoid a machine that is constantly on a full blast fan noise.

    - I also will try to avoid intensive heat as much as I can (I know this can deteriorate the life of the machine)

    - Power consumption is another thing, I can see that the Omen takes about 200W and the HP ZBook Power G7 takes about 150W AC is which lower but of course this could lower the performance is someway I am guessing. 

    My head is heading to get the HP ZBook Power G7, because the reviews that I have read most then are saying that it is a quiet but powerful machine, it has an NVIDIA® Quadro® P620, but I know NVIDIA Quadro’s are getting out the door and the model with this machine is a basic one, but still an NVIDIA® Quadro® P620. I will upgrade the RAM to 32 GB if I finally choose this unit, I also like the aspect that not many people had reported many problems with the machine, and it seems a well put machine.

    The thing that I am not really clear about is the Intel® Core ™ i7-10750H (2.6 GHz base frequency, up to 5.0 GHz with Intel® Turbo Boost Technology, 12 MB L3 cache, 6 cores) as the work I do is 3D animation, that means PCU will be important. The Omen has an AMD Ryzen ™ 7 5800H (up to 4.4 GHz maximum clock boost, 16 MB L3 cache, 8 cores, 16 threads) which it seems better than the Intel Core i7-10750H, but I could be quite wrong on this.

    So is the Intel® Core ™ i7-10750H good for 3D animation with Autodesk MAYA or will be better the AMD Ryzen ™ 7 5800H?

    What will be your thoughts on this?
  • poopipe
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    poopipe high dynamic range
    AMD chips use less power and have significantly better per ghz performance than the 10th gen intels - i doubt there's any difference in single core performance between those two options and the AMD will let you do more things at once

    in general there is honestly no good reason to buy a 10th gen intel over a ryzen3 if you don't specifically need thunderbolt for something.

    the omen wants more power because it has a more powerful GPU. 

    The only quadros worth using are the ones with lots of memory and if you need one of those you're not looking at a laptop.  

    Id get the omen


    out of the box thinking... have you looked at an external GPU setup?
    you're pretty much restricted to intel but it would allow you to get a much cheaper, less power hungry / heat intensive and thus quieter laptop and then plug it into a dedicated GPU in it's own enclosure when you actually need it for working.   
    thunderbolt is faster than a pci-e bus so theoretically you shouldnt lose any performance but I would certainly check some benchmarks before throwing money at it as a solution  
  • gnoop
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    gnoop interpolator
    I am thinking  about getting a laptop with  3080 16 gb videocard  .   17"" one  like  Alienware .    Have never dealt with such a big laptop so wonder how it is vs  15" ?    I don't expect to  work in a cafe or something but  gonna  try a kind of nomad life style   so wonder how much less comfortable  it might  be  for traveling with together with a small wacom tablet   ,  crossing borders  and customs,  putting in a suitcase ,     using in a hotel room or airnbnb  place ?
    Would  it be  really more comfortable than 15"" to actually work on  vs  size problem?   How much it could be more powerful vs 15" and less vs a desctop?

       On  my desktop I lack  videoRAM  most of all  with my current gf970 6 gb    having 99%  of mem   in Substance Designer  and turning  slow as hell.   Or in  Octane  render. 


  • poopipe
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    poopipe high dynamic range
    Get a keyboard, mouse and a stand to raise it up and you'll be fine. 
    They do get heavy at 17" but if you're not planning to carry it round all day that's not a big deal.  

    The main problem for long term use is ergonomics which are going to be shit regardless of how big it is.
  • gnoop
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    gnoop interpolator
    I
    poopipe said:
    Get a keyboard, mouse and a stand to raise it up and you'll be fine. 
    I don't  really have any experience in working on travel  and all laptops I ever had was just small toys for internet browsing while on vacation.    
    You guys discussing   efficient laptop  for 3d  mean 17" , right ?        I see its 3080 16gb vram vs only  8  in 15"     My bet it would be  less powerful in 15"  size too  due to even stronger overheating limitations .

    Still  isn't 17"  is a half desktop  basically  fighting the very idea of  traveling . I mean not a van  you can keep it in all the time  but rather something you carry in a  rolling suitcase  from one airport to another  together with your other stuff.       I can say I couldn't care  less of how long  a battery could live  since I would only use it at airnbnb places  and hotels .    Just try to figure out if  15"  would be  a waste of money  and so intolerable  to actually  work on  I'll have  to get 17" later anyway  ?


  • another caveman
    something like a Lenovo thinkpad can be cheap and if you aim at just the right lowest specs you could remote control a more powerful computer without a hitch using services like Parsec or Citrix
    It's a different option.
  • poopipe
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    poopipe high dynamic range
    Neither size is going to be actually good - a single 1080p or 1440p screen is basically useless and 17" at 4k  means you need to put your face pretty close or use scaling which makes it pointless having 4k 
    I don't think the extra 2" is worth paying more for unless it gets you a better machine. If you're planning to carry it in a case then I don't think it's a disadvantage either. 

    Honestly, if I travelled enough to warrant it I'd get a 15" thin&light, an external GPU, a portable second  display and stay away from doing anything seriously CPU heavy. 

    At least that way i could sit in a cafe with just the laptop and do a bit of work if the mood took me - believe me, it's no fun trying to set up an RGB laden  desktop replacement with 2 power supplies in a coffee shop (you also look like a complete prick)



    Sort of related
    We had a bunch of Alienware m15s with 3070s for testing and they were generally well liked by 3d artists (Maya, painter) but didn't go down so well with VFX and video people (as you'd expect)

  • gnoop
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    gnoop interpolator
    poopipe said:


    Honestly, if I travelled enough to warrant it I'd get a 15" thin&light, an external GPU, a portable second  display and stay away from doing anything seriously CPU heavy. 

    At least that way i could sit in a cafe with just the laptop and do a bit of work if the mood took me - believe me, it's no fun trying to set up an RGB laden  desktop replacement with 2 power supplies in a coffee shop (you also look like a complete prick)

    Aren't  all those  external GPUs have a junk performance and  hardly transportable . Bulky , heavy  with it's own extra PSU .    My guess it's not for traveling but rather for someone  having no desktop at home  .    Besides  I think with current prices it's still more reasonable to buy laptop with GPU inside.       As of second display I hope to connect to something in a rented place  , even just  TV maybe.

     On paper  those 17" looks  like having  better GPU   .   I wonder how much really ?


    services like Parsec
    Is it that good already  you can connect to your home desktop  and execute all the heavy stuff there?     My guess it wouldn't be much convenient  if I already lacking  6 gb of my video memory badly   and can't imagine it would go swiftly through Internet .


  • poopipe
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    poopipe high dynamic range
    laptop GPUs are completely crippled - a mobile 3080 is slower than a desktop 3070 (uses the same chip iirc)- in some cases i think it even falls behind a 3060 so don't assume you're getting proper GPU performance cos the numbers say you are.

    there's no good reason an external GPU over thunderbolt would be heavily compromised,  the connection has enough bandwidth to cope with pcie-3 speeds,  I don't have personal experience but i do have a colleague who runs one with an XPS15 and is happy with the setup - he's a graphics programmer so you can assume he's paid attention. 

    my reasoning is that an eGPU setup would allow me to carry a lightweight machine around with me for less intensive stuff and then plug it into the proper GPU when i needed to do actual work rather  than carry a 6-7kg laptop plus 4kg of PSU around in a massive bag so i can reply to emails in a coffee shop

     
  • gnoop
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    gnoop interpolator
    poopipe said:
    there's no good reason an external GPU over thunderbolt would be heavily compromised,  the connection has enough bandwidth to cope with pcie-3 speeds,  I don't have personal experience but i do have a colleague who runs one with an XPS15 and is happy with the setup - he's a graphics programmer so you can assume he's paid attention.

    Some time  ago I read that eGPUs are still falling behind  laptop GPUs  , specifically in 17" models   due to  some bottlenecks  in the thunderbolt design. Not much but still behind.       Is it opposite way now?     I seems couldn't find any fresh review specifically about that.

    ps.  Or could it be some special Laptop models  with proper GPU. I read somewhere that laptop GPU performance  is limited nowday not by a  chip used but rather what power consumption the laptop manufacturer allocates to gpu.  And it's pretty hard to figure out.  They never disclose it clearly.

    I recall some Linus review  about Dell laptops which GPUs consume batteries even when power plug is in   to make power adapter less bulky.   But till the  battery is drained the GPU performance was pretty good. 






  • janoshx
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    janoshx polycounter lvl 5
    how about spending more time doing design with paper and pencil to spend less time working with computer?
  • pior
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    pior godlike master sticky
    Well, you either want low power consumption because you are super eco-conscious, or because you want to save money by reducing your power bill.

    • If you are eco conscious, then don't get a laptop and instead get yourself a nicely optimized desktop workstation with a low power graphics card.

    • If you want to save money ... then don't get a laptop and instead get yourself a nicely optimized desktop workstation with a low power graphics card.
  • gnoop
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    gnoop interpolator
    Paper and pencil is  probably not eco-friendly  either considering  Amazon river  basin deforestation  :(
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