Replacing desktop with laptop...plz help!
Ok Im totally confused now and need some help. I am a free lance graphic designer and animator. I use Photoshop CS4 and Illustrator but the last few months there has been an increased demand in motion graphics. I use Cinema 4D and After Effects alot. I tend to use Global Illumination and Ambient Occlusion too and Im finding the render times of each frame to be unbareably long.
My machine is getting old and I want to replace it but I dont have a big budget nor alot of space since moving to this new small apartment. At the moment Im running:
Dell XPS 720 with Vista 32-Bit
Intel Quad core Q6600 @ 2.4Ghz
Geforce 8800 Ultra 768Mb graphics card
I have my eye on a Dell XPS laptop here's its spec:
Dell xps L502x. i7 processor 2.00GHZ with Turbo boost 2.0 up to 2.90GHZ
,Hard drive 640GB,
Optical Drive;8xDVD+/-RW Optical drive,
Power supply Xps 130W AC Adapter,
Power cord;uk 250V,
Battery;Primary 9-cell90W/HR LI-ION
Graphic;2GB NVIDIA GeForce GT 540M Graphic card
Window;English genuine windows 7 Home Premium(64 BIT)
So my question is would this be worth buying? Its at a good price but when I compare graphics cards and processors the laptop seems fo fall much shorter. I know desktops are best suited to this kind of work but this pc is nearly three years old now, the laptop must be able to handle it better right?!
Laptops have always been slower than similar priced desktops.
Laptops are built for low power consumption, portability and low heat. Desktops don't need to worry about these things nearly as much.
I think you would be nuts to get any laptop for the type of work you are doing. A desktop will provide significantly more power for the same price.
What you really need is a render farm, not a laptop. Check out this article,
How to build your own render farm.
Very cool, but even more avant-garde might be to simply buy render time on Amazon EC2 - or any other 'cloud-computing' host whenever you need major horsepower. A quickie Google search shows that there are companies who even offer prefab DIY virtual hosting for this.
Originally Posted by passmark
For your own PC, a quick lookup of CPU and GPU scores should tell you what a current laptop equal or better than your desktop would be. Offhand though those 3 year-old desktop specs will still be equal or better than all but about the top 5% of laptops.. Quad-core laptops are much slower clock speeds, and only a Radeon 5870M or GeForce 460M or better are faster than a desktop 8800 Ultra.. I'd say unless you are willing to spend $2000 or more on your laptop, forget about beating those desktop specs.
You also need to be aware of all the 'gotchas' - the nuances in CPU and GPU design where designers 'cut corners' to save power or reduce heat - remember that THIS is the primary concern in a laptop, not outright speed. The Core i-series chips use 'Turbo Boost' to advertise a higher clock speed as Intel knows this is what everyone still thinks of as the primary measure of a CPU. But Turbo Boost overclocks only ONE CORE of a dual or quad-core CPU. It also DISABLES the others in the meantime.. so for some software this provides a performance advantage. In others it may have no effect at all, or even adversely impact multi-core applications. So which is better - 1 core at 2.9Ghz, or more than 1 at 2.0Ghz? Unfortunately the answer is not clear-cut A or B. But chip designers started offering multi-core chips specifically because they came to the realization with the Pentium4 that there was a practical limit to how much power PCs could consume, and how much waste heat they could generate. This is why CPU speeds have not ramped up much past ~3.4Ghz for several years now.
Likewise with 'mobile' versions of GPUs. The model-equivalent of a mobile chip often runs at a lower clock speed or slower memory than the desktop version to save power. So a Radeon 5870M does not necessarily equal a desktop PCIe 5870. Many mobile chipsets also have a 'hybrid' mode - high-end discrete video in performance mode, and using an integrated GPU on battery or in power-saving mode.
Last edited by Anonymoose; 04-26-2011 at 11:47 PM.
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