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Author Topic: Any advice on buying a new laptop  (Read 549 times)
Description: Wondering what sort of processor to go for
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simon.snake
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simon.fez SimonSideBurns
« on: January 03, 2015, 11:21:18 PM »

Hi

I've been slogging the guts out of an old HP G70 laptop for some time.  A while ago I upgraded the hard drive to a 256Gb SSD and upped the ram from 2 to 4Gb, but apart from that the poor thing struggles to do much when it comes to rendering or generating zoom sequences.

I'm in the process of creating the zoom frames for a fractal depth to a minibrot at E941 and so far I think it has only created the first two frames in about 6 hours and the poor thing's exhaust fan has been on at full pelt the whole time.  Still, I know the machine's on its last legs (was bought in 2009 so already 5 3/4 years old) and I now have to think about buying something else that can do the job.

I like the idea of a laptop.  I currently have a 17" Screen so I'm not looking at going smaller.  I now need to work out what sort of processor.  I'm thinking of going the whole hog and buying an Intel I7 processor.  Something with as many cores as possible.

My friend who is a computer expert and has been in the business for years has narrowed down my choices somewhat:

Sony, Samsung, Lenovo or Toshiba.
Do NOT get dedicated graphics as he sees a lot of machines where this breaks down after around a year of use.
16Gb RAM
As big an SSD Drive as possible.

Now, I know I can always swap out the hard drive for my existing one, and I can shove in extra RAM if I need to.  It's the first bit that seems the hardest to achieve.  I can find machines with 17" or 17.3" screens, but as soon as they also include I7 processor the manufacturer assumes the machine is for gaming so puts in dedicated graphics.

I can not find anything at that screen size and processor that doesn't include dedicated graphics.

I'm thinking it's almost impossible to do.  Does anyone in the forum have any suggestions?

What laptops do you guys use for rendering or generating?
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ellarien
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« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2015, 10:32:00 AM »

I have a 15-inch Toshiba Satellite with Core i5 and 8Gb of RAM, the most powerful common-or-garden model I could find in store a year ago. It works pretty well for me -- I'd never want to go bigger than 15 inches in a laptop I have to carry around -- but I'm hankering after a desktop so that I can do heavy renders without worrying. It's hard to get a laptop really well cooled.
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hobold
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« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2015, 06:55:12 PM »

This isn't what you want to hear, but I'll still say it:

A laptop can only ever be a compromise for heavy number crunching (fractals or otherwise). Full computational load for several hours at a time are just not the scenario that laptops are designed for. It is simply not possible to reliably cool several hundred watts of heat in such a cramped space.

That being said, there are still a few options.

The more renowned makers are offering "business" laptops. These aren't the fastest and flashiest, but they are certified to actually deliver their rated performance (unlike consumer grade hardware which might throttle down to a crawl after as little as 30 minutes of heavy load).

Another option are dedicated gaming laptops. Those tend to offer nice things for fractalists: quad core i7 CPUs with hyperthreading, and respectable GPUs, although at substantially lower clock speeds than desktop variants. They, too, can reliably cool themselves even for an extended duration of time.

But they are noisy - gaming machines are "hot" in more than one sense of the word, all the way to hellfire leaking out of the air vents smiley. Temperatures are still near the upper end of the allowed range, despite the best cooling efforts, so these machines tend to age faster. Don't expect such a hot rod to last much longer than two years, I'd say.
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