Does anyone use a small laptop (12"-13") to run Rhino?

Apologies in advance as I know you get asked about laptops a lot but looking through the forum I can’t seem to find many experiences of people using small laptops to run Rhino.
I love to hear from you if you do.
I know it’s best to get a workstation or a bigger laptop to avoid heating issues and to get more for your money but I need a small laptop as I get RSI on bigger ones and I need a laptop as I move around a lot. I won’t be doing rendering.

Can anyone recommend a small laptop that Rhino works on relatively well?

I saw someone recommend the Surface Book.
I’ve been thinking about getting the HP Envy 13 with GeForce
I’d rather get something that someone has actually used though so any recommendations would be much appreciated.

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Hello - I have a macBook Air 13" running Windows via bootcamp for not-in-the-office work. I’ve done some pretty hefty projects on it and they have worked out but it sure makes me appreciate the desktop workstation & two screens.


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ooh, didn’t think of that! I’ve not used a mac in a while but thanks! - I’ll look into the macbook air

Be careful about using a Mac. The current ones don’t have display adapters with good Windows OpenGL support.

I have a Microsoft Surface Pro 4. It has an Intel Iris display adapter. If you go that route, you’ll need a keyboard and mouse too. It’s super thin and light but also quite expensive. Like Pascal, I use it when I’m working from home. It’s fine for that but certainly does not take the place of my desktop in the office.

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phew… those Surface Pros really are expensive!

I was hoping to point you away from them.
It sounds like you want this laptop as your main computer. Both Pascal and I said we don’t think these are good choices as primary workstations.

A Smart or a Fiat 500 look great unless you need to tow a trailer…

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I have a surface book, and I personally would not recommend it.

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i really don’t have the option to get a desktop right unfortunately now so a laptop is all i’ll have for around 6 months. I won’t be using it Rhino for any heavy work so I was hoping i could get away with using it on a small laptop. But I appreciate its not a long term solution

If it were me, I’d probably go look at a Dell Inspiron or Dell Precision laptop. Maybe a 15" with a decent display adapter.

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so sounds like small laptops and Rhino are probably not worth it

My only machine right now is a two year old 14" HP envy, sorry actual model number escapes me but it’s specs are quad core i7, 12gb of ram, 1g HDD, and gtx970 card on board. I’ve been a digital nomad since I got that machine, doing contact design while travelling. For straight rhino work it’s been great, light compact and powerful enough for everything I want to do.

However, I’m now no longer travelling and getting into using grasshopper more to generate my models. For grasshopper I really need two screens and my bigger scripts (2700 components and 60 sec calculation times) have my HP topped out for sure, fan on and hot to touch for hours. I need to build a tower for production work and retire the laptop for mobile use only.

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Also note, the machine I was using before this was a MBP 15" with windows/rhino via parallels, the HP Envy for Rhino is better on every measure.

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As long as you don’t need super portability I’d also get 15 inch at least.
Used to use 13inch macbookpro for V5mac rhino and bootcamp to handle windows rhino, but screen is just way too small and the good trackpad becomes crap with windows…

Also better to get one with gtx1060 or above.
gtx1050 will get old in about a year more…

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Thanks for this I’m struggling to find anything with an a graphics card close to what the envy has for a reasonable price. I’ll check out the 14" too. Thank you !

I need portability as have to carry it every day - but the reason I’m use small laptops is because i need the keyboard close to my body close to my mouse otherwise i get shooting pains. I plug into a bigger screen mostly. Thanks for the GTX tip !

It’s on a slightly bigger side of 13" but I use AORUS X3…It’s a beast and so tiny.

Mine is with i7-7820HK (up to 4.4Ghz) instead of i7-7700HQ (up to 3.8Ghz) but they don’t make this one anymore… don’t know why.

As I remember I’ve squeezed well over 60k in Holomark after few tweeks

The only downside of this laptop is a lack of thunderbolt 3… it only has usb 3 type c


I use a Microsoft Surface Book with performance base every day and it runs Rhino as well as AutoCAD and Photoshop very well. It has 2 GPU’s, an Intel and an Nvidia GeForce GTX-something. Generally I have a wireless keyboard and a large Dell 4K monitor attached but often use it as a stand alone. It’s a good choice if you move around a lot. I’m still on the fence as to its performance with Rhino 6, but 5 runs great. Also its built-in screen is gorgeous and it has touch capability if you’re into that and the screen detaches so you can use it as a tablet.


Which version of the Surface Book is it dmoyes?

I use a Lenovo Yoga 920 convertible with 4K 13.9" touch screen that weighs 3 lbs. When at home or office I plug in a large 42" 4K LG display and add a wireless mouse and keyboard to make a great setup. The Yoga 920 runs at up to 4 GHz on 4-cores of Intel 8th-generation processors with 16 GB of DDR4 2.4 GHz memory and a 512 GB solid-state drive so performance is good. I have developed 1000’s of lines of drone mapping software with this setup and I am very happy with it.


The Surface Book i7. It’s over a year old so I’m sure there’s a newer model. Make sure you get the model with the performance base and larger power supply. That has the 2nd graphics card.