Laptop buying guide. CPU or GPU or RAM?


I’m looking to buy a laptop that I will use to on-the-go alongside my main desktop machine. I am on a budget, so hoping to spend no more than 1200 dollars. I wanted to know where to spend most of my money.

I don’t intend to do any hardcore rendering on this laptop. The only intensive commands that I use that I can think off top of my head is MAKE2D, MESHTONURB and MERGEALLFACE. I am under the assumption that since I don’t do much rendering, the order of importance of parts are CPU > GPU > RAM. Am I correct?

Some of the specs that I was considering towards Intel i5-7300HQ and GTX1050. But how much How much difference does i7 CPU make compared to an i5 processor? Also, how much GPU power do I need to smoothly orbit around model file, about 500mb in size?

Thank you!

Cheap laptops fall apart in about two years. Thinkpads are still the best laptops. I would buy ThinkPad P50 or P70.

1 Like

Lenovo’s well build (carbon frame, anodised shell, etc) thinkpad range extends beyond the (-EDIT: Retracted-) mobile workstation stuff…

The yoga 460 with i7 & discrete GPU gets 40% off and dips down into @hafyboy budget. (And is a thinkoad)
But outside of lenovo there are a lot of i7’s, with 8-16gb ram and dGPU. Monitor resolution will be the biggest wildcard which affects price in that category.

I would say priority for rhino is: CPU > RAM > GPU.
With the caveats that you can often upgrade the RAM and that you only need a gpu; 940 -> 1050 -> quadro prob isn’t going to make a noticeable difference if you’re not rendering (and the quadro will provide poor bang for buck rendering)

EDIT: Lenovo’s workstations are more resonably priced than some of the others. I still think the additional cost for quadro ‘workstation certified’ stuff is wasted…


CPU > RAM > GPU should be the order of things.

You ought to ensure that you have a decent SSD rather than a HDD as this will improve the speed of the laptop you choose. Rather than get a massive drive you could opt for a 500[GB] and invest in a decent 1TB external drive for backup and storage of your work (unless you have other options).

I would stick with a GTX whatever 4GB RAM or higher and not bother with a Quadro.


1 Like

Good point! Forgot to mention the SSD.

My perfect would be a i7 3.3ghz+, 2.5k monitor, pcie SSD, active stylus input, 16gb dual channel ram, gtx 1050 or better & a partridge in a pear tree! :slight_smile: