New to Rhino 5 - Trying to decide on Laptop Specs

Hi all, I am new to Rhino 5 be using it for Engineering Design work and Achitectural Designs.

I have experience in a number of CAD softwares and I am looking forward to adding Rhino to the list.

First things first I need is some help on the specifications for a new laptop I will have to purchase to do the job.

I have some ideas on a setup after hours of scouring the net for a laptop in Australia. This is what I have come up with (unfortunately I am stuck with a laptop and not a desktop).

Processor: i7 Quadcore 4720HQ or 4710HQ
Memory: 16Gb 1600Mhz
Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M 4Gb DDR3 or GTX 970M 3Gb GDDR5
Drive: 256 SSD & 1TB SSD or 256 SSD & 1TB Hard Drive or ITB SSD
Screen: 15.6" Full HD 1920x1080 or UHD 3840x2160 4k eDP wide view angle.

I hope I am heading in the right direction with the above specs. Some of them are setup in a configuration that depends on the brand and model. I would greatly appreciate any advice or any of the components that would not be suitable.

My expectations will be that I will be using most of the capabilities of Rhino 5. For example the add-ons that could include actions such as rendering of intricate designs and on a large scale requiring large amount of memory and speed.

I presume that a 17.3" laptop with a i7 4870HQ Quad Core, Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M with 4Gb GDDR5 VRAM, Memory of 32Gb DDR3 1800MHz,
2x Drives 1TB SSD would more than enough to do the job, unfortunately it is only a dream at this stage.

I hope what I am am asking is not to much of a big ask and any tips again will be greatly appreciated.

I will offer the following thoughts:

  1. i7 probably great. Get the highest clock speed you can afford. Make sure laptop design has sufficient cooling capability to allow i7 (and graphics card) to run at full speed for extended periods.

  2. I have always preferred Quadro cards to GeForce, though I have the sense from this forum that many find the GeForces adequate (and cheaper).

  3. SSD is a great idea, though there is no practical reason for two. Just get one that’s big enough for your OS and software and currently active project files, then put everything else on a hard drive, either built in as a second drive or even as a USB 3.0 plugin.

  4. I like the UHD 4K and Retina screens. Some find the Rhino 5 icons too small for their liking. I got used to it. Rhino 6 is expected to have better support for icon and text size adjustments suitable to higher resolutions, so that’s something to keep in mind if you expect to still be using this machine in a couple of years or so.

Hopefully these comments will elicit some other opinions to consider.

If you were to get 2 of the same SSD’s and stripe them together in RAID 0 you can get some performance gains but you also risk data integrity. I have not had any issues with data but I also make sure to always back up to a secondary drive.



My current Rhino notebook is a Core i7 notebook with the 4720 Quadcore processor ( intel 4600 video board ) and a dedicated nVidia 980M with 4Gb video. 16Gb RAM and two SSDs ( a main 512Gb Samsung Evo for Windows and software instalation, and a 256Gb SSD Samsung Pro for the work data where the project files stay ).

It’s a Clevo P650SG, great value, tripple cooling ( dual for the video Board and single cooler dedicated for the CPU ), and in VRAY or Thea Render on Rhino, runs cool and smooth, and there is a version ( SE ) that runs the GTX 970. I currently do recommend this machine, in Brazil Avell carries this notebook, in other countries you will find other resellers ( in the US Sager has this model I think ). And got 3 years standard warranty, which is great. It is also expandable to 32Gb, which is a plus for me.

Right now, my issue with Rhino is using the full extent of this machine, the only moment I see it’s GPU and memory kicking up significantly, is when handling renderings, most of the time I have the feeling the GPU sits idle by, even when I am handling 3D software and configured the driver to let nVidia take care of things. Maybe a configuration issue.

But on this Clevo configuration, even tho you could go up to a more powerful CPU, a series of benchmarks I read advised against it on regards of this being a very slim notebook ( 2.5Kgs, 1" thick ), and overheating becoming an issue even with all the cooling it has. So, form factor wise, for the 650SG, the 4720 is a good selection regarding power Vs long term life of the machine. It also has a PCIe expansion slot for HD, so you could move from the SSD to the faster PCIe drives in the future, which I plan on doing, but not right now.

In my case, separating OS ( windows ) files from the actual work data has the principle of first, keeping things organized, secondly, keeping them separate in terms of I/O Channels and access time ( not really relevant at all, I know ) and most of all, being able to reformat the machine without worrying about the D drive. Also makes my backup routine a bit easier. But mostly was that I already had a 256Gb disk from a Mac and when moved to this computer got a new one in 512 after a few months with 256. Could not afford 1Gb and selling the 256 didn’t make sense. So, 512 and 256, :smile:


As far as your processor, 16GB may be as much memory as that CPU can use. I believe the 4800QM and up and use 32GB, though Rhino is pretty good with memory.

You the 960M should give good performance, given the amount of deoptimisation that nVidia has punished their game-card users with this month. You can check the Holomark thread for exact stats.

I have 2880x1680 on my laptop, and find it nice for Rhino, but the icons are pretty small. At 3840x2160 and 15" the icons going to start becoming small targets like they are in Photoshop. The good news is: you can probably lower the resolution if you need to, as the non-native panel resolution thing becomes less of an issue when the pixels are so small.

Perhaps you should get the laptop you want. When I buy something like a laptop, I realize that it’s going to be a 3-4 year relationship, and that includes the payments :wink:

Many thanks for your advice, greatly appreciated.

No, from Intel’s site, the 4720 can handle up to 32Gb of RAM :slight_smile: But yeah, Rhino isn’t that memory hungry anyway.

And agreed on everything… for everyday, I am still to notice any performance gains when it comes to Rhino or other 3D software. I am still trying to figure out how to handle models in the level of complexity I want to… the only time I am very happy for the 980M is when I have Thea Render run a render for me for presentation and the CUDA cores kick into action for final rendering. But I spend 40 to 300 hours of work before I sit down and render everything, so, I’d love to have everything work as smoothly all the time ( It’s pretty disapointing to leave the Hardware Monitor open while working on Rhino and see that despite the fact my graphics card is identified correctly, it sits idle with 0% GPU usage while the model moves slugishly after a certain degree of complexity ).

Actually, if anyone can point me to a good configuration tutorial I’d be very thankful :confused:

A good notebook is a longish ter relationship. I always go for good warranties with good manufacturers because I know I prefer to go for a good machine for my needs for a longish timespan instead of replacing every year or so. So… very happy with Clevo, very happy with Avell ( my reseller ) and do recommend. But as I am an assistant teacher sometimes, I like to tell students “Go for what you can afford… for 3D, prefer nVidia to ATI, try to get SSD. SSD will impact performance more than CPU or GPU.” For my current experience, I can’t see the 980M being that much faster than the 960M on everyday activities. On Render time, yeah, but my render X design times makes me put a lot more value on everyday design tasks than render time, which I can leave the notebook doing overnight anyway.