Laptop recommendation

I’m looking for recommendation for a laptop for modelling in Rhino 6 and rendering in Octane. It should be able to handle large, detailed architectural models. Something that is not too heavy would be a bonus too.
I’m rally at thbeginning of my search, so any advice would be great to point me in the right direction.

If you just click on the Hardware category tag to filter the list, and browse a bit, you’ll find this question has been asked dozens of times.
Have a look through and if you have some specific questions or confusions, please post those questions.

Good luck!

ThinkPad P50, P51, P70, and P71 laptops are built like tanks and they have very efficient cooling. If you drop non-ThinkPad laptop on the floor, it is total loss, so you just throw it into a dumpster.
ThinkPad spill test:
making a ThinkPad laptop:

Think pads are great in general; but the p50 and p51 won’t be very good for Octane; their maximum GPU is a quadro 2200 4gb or something…

The p71 can go up to a p5000 … but If the p70/71 isn’t to your liking perhaps some of the more subtle gaming stuff; I’m liking the:
-Aorus x3 plus v7 (i7 7820hk, gtx1060, 32gb)
-Razer Blade 2017 (i7 7700hq, gtx1060, 16gb) + Razer Core.

My requirements are just size(13-15”) & processing power (for Large arch models too) … then aesthetics then battery life in that order. Aorus is a better fit for me presently*
(Might consider the 2018 xps 15 when it’s released)

*I also understand that small form factor with high power cpu (Xeon 1535 v6 Or i7 7820/7920) And high power GPU will be burdened by compromise; thermals especially.can always use Octane’s render priority.

Hope it helps…

CES starts in a few days.
all mayor companies will present their updated laptop lineup then. lenovo and dell have already announced theirs yesterday. buying old stuff just days before the new stuff arrives is not a good idea. wait just one week or two and then get happy :wink:

main difference:
most laptops will get 4cores/8threads insted of 2cores/4threads before.
wait a little longer and you’ll even get a high end intel mobile cpu combined with a vega GPU (with 4GB of dedicated HBM) in one package (Core i7-8809G).


As naval architect/ ship designer working quite similar like a product designer (lots hand sketching, 2D/3D Rhino,incl Grasshopper, some CFD and 3D- Rendering with Flamingo or Octane) - i’m looking since some time for a replacement for my current HP ZBook 15 G3 laptop, with Quadro M2200M benchmark in Holomark 2 -> 24301, but with the following changes:
-touchscreen, ideally 2-in-1 or detachable as pad- usable for artistic pen sketching work. Currently i use a separate touch pad for this work.
-preferably more sleek, less beefy exterior design because of customer meetings (therefore no awkward looking gaming laptop)
-more powerful in Rhino especially for large 2D drawings, and Rendering
The machine is used as 100% desktop replacement, i.e. for office and mobile work.

I guess/ hope shirahockman requirements as for most architects/ designers will be similar.

I investigated so far:
1.Quadro M1200 graphic card (roughly equal M2000M)

  • Dell Precision 5520 (workstation version of XPS 15)
  • HP ZBook 15 Studio G4 Quadro M1200

2.Quadro M2200 graphic card

  • HP ZBook 15 G4
  • Dell Precision 7520
  1. Consumer graphic card
  • Dell XPS 15 9560 (Nvidia GTX 1050)
  • Microsoft Surface Book 2 (Nvidia GTX 1050)
  • Lenovo Yoga 720 (Nvidia GTX 1050)
  • Razer Blade ( Nvidia GTX 1060)
  • -> new CES 2018 systems: Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 with AMD Radeon RX Vega M GL or GH?
  • -> new CES 2018 systems: HP Spectre x360 15 convertible, same AMD GPU

Especially laptops with consumer graphic card 3., might offer better value for money and better feature like touch/ pen functionality in more modern casing? But as it is as work system it needs to handle Rhino perfectly!!

I read tons of reviews and posts in the last months, and as far as I can see Rhino (5 and 6) is not optimized for Quadro cards, but it is often mentioned that some problems with Rhino appear when using Nvidia GTX cards?!
Therefore can someone (e.g. some insider from McNeel) enlighten us poor Rhino users, in regards of current graphic cards? Is a Quadro based laptop currently a waste of money for mainly Rhino work?
How will the the new AMD Radeon RX Vega M GL roughly compare to actual GTX cards and Quadro’s in terms of Rhino usability?

Maybe some users of the above mentioned systems can give advise/ experiences with the Rhino performance?

Many thanks in advance for your replies and sorry for the lengthy text :wink:
Best regards

Have Dell XPS 15 9560 (Nvidia GTX 1050), but performance is not top notch because of 4K display.

Battery 〜3hrs or so. depends what you do.

Gigabyte AERO 15 seems better choice, portable and spec.Not that I’ve used it…

Thanks for your feedback. I’m now also looking into the AERO 15. Did you ever run Holomark 2 benchmark on you XPS without external monitor and eGPU? Would you buy this machine again, with your current experiences?

Hi everyone.
Thanks for all the input. I am away at the moment but will get back into
lookibg for a machine on my retun in a couple of weeks.
In the meantime, can someone explain the priblem with 4k screens and also
with gtx cards? I have both of these in my desktop set up and dont seem to
have any problems…the only thing I really struggle with at the moment is
odf printing of large detailed models through the layout tabs.

Haven’t run holomark, maybe I should to see how it does.

If I could go back I’d get a very portable no rendering laptop with 4core and just a desktop.
Give up using raytraced and transparent material, hdri on the go. Just focus on making curves and surfaces.

It was about a year ago when I bought it, and was
one of the few gtx 1050 with portability, but it’s just not enough to power up 4K and either the windows power management or dell hardware isn’t helping in the performance. And I need to carry an external battery anyway so there goes the portability.

At home connecting an external gpu via thunderbolt. Gaming box 1070 from gigabyte. This I like. Though a little unstable at times… sometimes gets disconnected, maybe thunderbolt problem…yet to find out. But smooth operation.

I’d get maybe Aero15X in the current
market or a 17inch beefy gaming laptop if just one pc.

Take the Dell XPS 15 9560, so far worjing more then great

The speed of the computer does not matter if you use Rhino 6 - any new computer with plenty of RAM is very fast. Durability, long warranty, and technical support are more important in the long term.

Why would he do that, this model is one year old and is just about to be replaced by its successor (XPS13, already released, XPS15 soon).
However XPS 15 9560 is still not a bad choice at all. Btw the Dell XPS models are very interesting because you can get them with a standard 1920x1080 display instead of a touch/4K display. This way you can avoid all the problems that go along with scaling and also get better battery life.

More RAM doesn’t make any computer “faster”. You can just do bigger tasks.
For “faster” in terms of more processing in less time, mostly higher clockspeed or IPC of a CPU/GPU is what you need.
“any new computer”, really? That pretty much depends on what you want to do with rhino. I recommend that you make sure you get one with a dedicated GPU inside GTX1050/1060/1070 or something with this new combination inside:

The GPU part should be slightly faster that a GTX1060 - according to Intel’s own presentations.

The above mentioned Gigabyte Aero15X is definitely a good choice in terms of specs. Think this one will also get an update very soon.

I was also thinking about that, but for the FHD version they made the battery like half the capacity when I got it…
Hope Dell changed that.

You are aware that Octane requires a nVidia GPU ? It doesn’t run on CPU only nor OpenCL, so Intel iGPU or AMD radeons won’t work.

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The maximum size of your model is determined by the size of your hard disk. If the model does not fit inside RAM, part of it spills into (much slower) hard disk - this is called paging.

Few computer programs utilize CUDA parallel computing. It will take a few years before CUDA becomes important. By that time you will purchase new computer.

That’s true. File swapping makes it subjectively slower. But you rarely run into this kind of scenario when you have 16GB, wich is pretty much standard today.

All mayor render engines support rendering on nividia GPUs via CUDA. Vray for example but also Cycles and Octane. That’s not new and CUDA is in this segment pretty much undisputed. So you could very well call CUDA very important. Since it is proprietary I would hope CUDA will become less important and openCL more over time.

A dedicated GPU not only helps for rendering but also good for a less laggy viewport performance, especially when dealing with larger models.

Hardware suggestions for Octane:

I know there is a new model coming out, but assuming he wants to buy a computer now, because he asked this now, I recommended him the dell. Btw u gave him a really good explanation for everything…

Dell and Thinkpad are the best brands. My first laptop was Dell, but I later switched to Thinkpads, and I now prefer Thinkpads.