'Laptop' substitute for Rhino

I was going to tack this on to the (several) other threads on the subject that are already available, but what I’m after is a little unusual so I thought the question merits its own thread.

My tank of a Dell CAD laptop is about to slip into a graceful retirement after many years of trouble-free service. It’s got a 17" screen, which is on the limit of what my ageing eyes now consider usable. The trend for new CAD laptops seems to be smaller screens and Ultimate Portability. I’m not worried about it being as light as a feather; I just need to be able to carry it from my mode of transport (usually a car, occasionally a train) to my clients office and when I set it up, for it to feel as close to my office PC as possible. As I’ve got triple screens in the office, I realise I can only take that so far.

The other thing I’ve been playing with recently on a friend’s tablet is Sketchbook Pro, with a digitiser pen. I have to say I’m impressed by it. The (now distant) memories of my knocking out marker and chalk pastel renders came flooding back. So I’ve also been looking at tablets…

It strikes me that I could all too easily end up with a plethora of new gadgets that all have to be kept charged and ready and only ever serve a niche need. Then I saw a review of an Asus 19.5" screen with bespoke digitiser pen. A plan was hatched:

Buy a new, small case for my existing office PC’s ITX motherboard, CPU, memory etc (which are all earmarked for replacement in January anyway), making sure it’s all as light as possible & can house a half-height graphics card. Streacom make something suitable (but expensive); Antec do something similar but a whole lot cheaper. Buy a Quadro K620 to go with it, which seems to be a decent card with low power requirements and it’s pretty quiet too (important when I’m spend long periods at a customer’s premises). Get the Asus screen c/w pen and round it all off with a decent lightweight/compact wireless keyboard and mouse. Get Something like a LAN party bag to put it in and I’m good to go. I can use the same set up at home, with the screen on my lap, reliving the render-maestro dreams of my youth with SBP. All for less money than a bleeding-edge new CAD laptop with a screen the size of a postage stamp.

I very rarely work with Rhino files larger than 150Mb. Hardware technology has caught up with and now exceeds my CAD needs.

Views/comments/alternatives? Does (or will) Rhino have any touchscreen capabilities?

I currently have a Lenovo W540 (15 HD Screen / K2100 Quadro / 24GB Ram), which works pretty well for Rhino, but I am still having problems with my back with it. It’s 5.5 pounds without the 175 watt adapter. Wielding at 15" for media consumption or showing someone your work is…interesting.

So, lately, I’ve been peeking at the (also Lenovo) P40, which is supposed to come out in a month or so, which will be 14" Touchscreen/Pen 16GB RAM / i7 Dual, paltry M500M GPU, BUT it folds for drawing, and it should be under 4 lbs (<1KG).

For desktop processors, the 6700k’s are pricey, but devils canyons like the 4790s are much cheaper right now, and have similar performance. With little competition, Intel is asleep.

Although for ATX, this is a neat case I saw recently: http://www.lian-li.com/en/dt_portfolio/pc-tu300/

I should think that the using the current icon size, you would likely have to lower the screen resolution to make any of the gui finger operatable on a HD screen, but one could use a pen. I suspect that the Rhino V6 will be more scalable, as so many of us are asking for it.

If you are building a portable desktop, I recommend first making sure you have enough and a good power supply, but also not buying excessive capacity, as they get really heavy. Having got tired of buying incrementay larger power supplies, I have a Corsair HX1050 in my desktop. Great power supply, but not light. A SSD will save you weight, and make it more damage resistant.