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    Cool Recommend me a 3D Drafting Laptop

    Hey guys!

    So long story short, I have been working in a small town for the last 5 years, 4 hours North of Calgary, I come back every weekend or so. I didn't think I would stay at this company for this long, I was just a new grad that was desperate for experience as a drafter at an O&G company. Besides the 1st year here, job security has been very good and I managed to move up and take on more positions/responsibilities while increasing my pay substantially. The past few days, I have had to self-isolate and work from home since I did not feel well for that one day. Being primarily a Calgary resident it never came across my mind that the company I work for would consider a 2 week rotation between here and Calgary where I can work from home.

    I know nothing about building computers and all the hardware that comes with it. I am looking for a laptop that can power 3D CAD software without a problem, I currently work with Advanced Steel, Plant 3D, Faro 3D Scan, Navisworks and Revit. I currently use a desktop at the office and it seems to need some upgrades since it's starting to have a hard time keeping up especially when its a larger model/files. It would be nice to use this laptop here and away in Calgary. I usually have lots of other software open like Bluebeam, Excel etc, that would slow down the PC, so future proofed laptop would be great.

    Laptop budget <$2000.00, would be nice if it has USB-C and not a Mac. Will not be used for gaming or video editing (although gaming would be nice). Size & weight is not a problem, but lighter the better since I would most likely take this when I am traveling. What would you guys recommend?

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    Dell XPS 15 comes to mind.

    9th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-9750H (12 MB Cache, 6 Core, up to 4.50 GHz)
    Windows 10 Home, 64-bit, English
    NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1650 4GB GDDR5
    16GB DDR4-2666MHz, 2x8G
    256GB M.2 PCIe NVMe Solid State Drive

    2099$ or if you spend 100$ more it has 32gb ram and a 1tb ssd

    https://www.dell.com/en-ca/shop/dell...s157590_h1761e

    Basically you want a newer i7 processor, a fair bit of ram (pretty common) and a dedicated GPU. Stay away from anything with integrated graphics as most CAD programs use hardware acceleration so the GPU can do the heavy lifting.
    Nolan

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    3D CAD programs lean much more on the GPU - 2D CAD programs do not as much.

    A gaming laptop is essentially what you are after. CADing on 15" unit is not ideal. You are looking at a 17" unit.

    A caveat is the fan noise for many - generally the ultra thin/portable units will have tiny fans spinning at 100,000 rpms (jk) to push air, where as the bigger laptops have larger fans and more heat dissipation capabilities. Some newer units rely more on passive cooling more so you might be wise to get a laptop stand with a built-in, large, slow speed fan.

    Something LIKE this for eg. - just note that this is not optimized (in terms of specs) as this is just a quick example:

    https://www.amazon.ca/ASUS-Gaming-FX...tronics&sr=1-8

    (there are better models no doubt for the price)

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    Looking at your requirements I think it would be hard to beat an Asus G14 (Ryzen 9 4900HS, 1TB PCIe SSD, RTX 2060 6GB, 16GB 3200Mhz RAM, 1080P 120Hz w/full SRGB coverage) unless 14" is too small of a screen. Meets all of your requirements (including USB C, gaming ability and traveling) and is a beast in creative applications (for the size/price). It's $2K if you pass on the RGB lid and you can also get 32GB RAM if needed. It's $1799 if you are OK with a 4800HS/512GB/1660Ti 6GB which is still incredible performance for the dollar and probably the overall value sweet spot.

    I wouldn't even consider anything with an Intel CPU in the laptop world this year and that will probably also be the case for next year as well. Thermals and performance (especially in creative applications) is so far behind Ryzen 4XXX it's not even funny. The other bonus of not buying an Intel laptop is you no longer have to sacrifice battery life for power - the G14 gets 10-12hr battery life with light tasks and also won't throttle nearly as quickly or as severely. Intel has not changed it's core CPU design in 6 years and is still on ancient 14nm architecture, which is why performance, power consumption, and thermals are so poor in comparison.

    Basically what you get is performance that beats most 10lb 17" gaming laptops in an ultrabook chassis. Nothing else out there like it at the moment. Only downside is you are limited to a RTX 2060 so if you will be needing more power than that, you may have to pick something else but you will take a massive hit in CPU performance, battery life and physical size.

    The Dell XPS lineup is DOA this year because they could have been cheaper, faster, cooler, and longer lasting but they stuck with Intel for brand recognition. Next year, hopefully along with Ryzen 5000 mobile, the XPS laptops will be the go-to choice again.
    Last edited by Mitsu3000gt; 06-26-2020 at 12:11 PM. Reason: Spelling

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    I am very happy with the Lenovo P53 (i7, RTX4000). I am running large assemblies in Autodesk inventor and Navisworks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mitsu3000gt View Post
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    Looking at your requirements I think it would be hard to beat an Asus G14 (Ryzen 9 4900HS, 1TB PCIe SSD, RTX 2060 6GB, 16GB 3200Mhz RAM, 1080P 120Hz w/full SRGB coverage) unless 14" is too small of a screen. Meets all of your requirements (including USB C, gaming ability and traveling) and is a beast in creative applications (for the size/price). It's $2K if you pass on the RGB lid and you can also get 32GB RAM if needed. It's $1799 if you are OK with a 4800HS/512GB/1660Ti 6GB which is still incredible performance for the dollar and probably the overall value sweet spot.

    I wouldn't even consider anything with an Intel CPU in the laptop world this year and that will probably also be the case for next year as well. Thermals and performance (especially in creative applications) is so far behind Ryzen 4XXX it's not even funny. The other bonus of not buying an Intel laptop is you no longer have to sacrifice battery life for power - the G14 gets 10-12hr battery life with light tasks and also won't throttle nearly as quickly or as severely. Intel has not changed it's core CPU design in 6 years and is still on ancient 14nm architecture, which is why performance, power consumption, and thermals are so poor in comparison.

    Basically what you get is performance that beats most 10lb 17" gaming laptops in an ultrabook chassis. Nothing else out there like it at the moment. Only downside is you are limited to a RTX 2060 so if you will be needing more power than that, you may have to pick something else but you will take a massive hit in CPU performance, battery life and physical size.

    The Dell XPS lineup is DOA this year because they could have been cheaper, faster, cooler, and longer lasting but they stuck with Intel for brand recognition. Next year, hopefully along with Ryzen 5000 mobile, the XPS laptops will be the go-to choice again.
    14" is pretty small for cad work though ... squinting at drawings is never fun and zooming in sometimes isnt an option if you need to see a whole section.

    Though tbh just get a extra monitor for work/home and be set.
    Nolan

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    Quote Originally Posted by pheoxs View Post
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    14" is pretty small for cad work though ... squinting at drawings is never fun and zooming in sometimes isnt an option if you need to see a whole section.

    Though tbh just get a extra monitor for work/home and be set.
    Yup, that's why I mentioned "unless 14" is too small of a screen". I have no idea what he's used to or what he wants, but it will definitely be better for travel/portability and to your point, he can hook up a 30" monitor at his destination if he wants and have the power to run it.

    If you're using it on a plane/bus/car, you will be glad you have 14" ultrabook chassis instead of a 10lb 17" machine as well.

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    Under 2K is gunna be a tough go for what you're doing. I have an MSI 32gb ram i7 2.8ghz 4 core, Quadro m2200 and i don't love it... maybe I'm just picky but i hate any lag when I'm working..

    I ended up going back to a tower and just using my laptop to remote in and sending it to the field with the guys when they're scanning. Justified it by saying i needed more juice for when we process 100+ scan jobs once a year. Maybe I'm crazy i just don't find laptops to run as well as towers? but i too don't know that much about computers haha this is just everyday experience working.

    For Scene and stuff just get the most Ram and processing you can afford. The Graphics cards don't come into play as much for what you do.. a P1000 (or laptop equivelant) is sufficient to run Giant models and Scans so don't break the bank on a huge GPU.


    Edit: and I'm sure you know this, but ALWAYS keep scans/rcp stuff on SSD's... soooo much faster.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JfuckinC View Post
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    Maybe I'm crazy i just don't find laptops to run as well as towers?
    You're not crazy. Desktop hardware is quite a bit better and quite a bit cheaper. Dollar for dollar a desktop will pretty well always outperform a laptop, especially for demanding tasks like gaming or creative/workstation type work.

    Also, there is no laptop screen I am aware of in existence that can be properly calibrated via hardware/LUT, so anyone doing color critical work on them is using an external monitor anyway.

    Laptops have to work within extremely strict thermal limits and power limits (for battery life) that do not apply to the desktop world to nearly the same degree, nor do you have to pay for them all to be packed into an ultra thin package in the case of a desktop.
    Last edited by Mitsu3000gt; 06-26-2020 at 06:00 PM.

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    I'd recommend a smaller laptop and a dock and display at each office
    Quote Originally Posted by Gestalt View Post
    Im the one with a learning disability....

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    Nvidia 650m still delivers for me. 1000+ part assemblies in Inventor runs no problem (i7 with 12-16g ram and ssd)
    Machining, Fabricating, Welding etc.

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    There are laptops designed for 3D CAD. DELL Precision being one of them. HP and Lenovo both have similar machines.

    They aren't cheap, but the graphics cards they ship with are specific to CAD and 3D modelling which is a different instruction set than gaming.

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    Quote Originally Posted by syscal View Post
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    There are laptops designed for 3D CAD. DELL Precision being one of them. HP and Lenovo both have similar machines.

    They aren't cheap, but the graphics cards they ship with are specific to CAD and 3D modelling which is a different instruction set than gaming.
    Nvidia Quadro’s are the graphics cards

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    Quote Originally Posted by JfuckinC View Post
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    Nvidia Quadro’s are the graphics cards
    Yes, I apparently didn't read the whole thread. Just saw a bunch of posts about gaming laptops.

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    Quote Originally Posted by syscal View Post
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    There are laptops designed for 3D CAD. DELL Precision being one of them. HP and Lenovo both have similar machines.

    They aren't cheap, but the graphics cards they ship with are specific to CAD and 3D modelling which is a different instruction set than gaming.
    Yea, these will set you back 3-5k.

    https://www.it4nextgen.com/best-lapt...-3d-modelling/

    for eg.

    https://www.amazon.ca/gp/offer-listi...ion=all&sr=8-9

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    Thanks for the replies guys! Yeah 14" is a bit too small since I plan to take this while im travelling sometimes (will be going on a 3+month vacation in asia, and might have to work some days) 15" would be the bare minimum. I do plan to have a docked setup when I am in Calgary and I already have a USB-C 34" + 27" monitor at my office, that's why I was looking for USB-C compatible laptop. I also hate any type of lag when I'm processing 3D drawings and doing any type of shop drawings, even a 15 second lag irritates me!

    The Dell XPS sounds like a great recommendation with the 32G upgrade and 1tb SSD. My current desktop doesn't even come close to those specs, so I think this would be ideal for the next 5-8 years? Does anyone have any experience with that laptop in terms of 3D CAD work? Ill also check out Lenovo P53 (i7, RTX4000), I have never had or worked with Lenovo products are they a reliable company to work with?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mostwanted View Post
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    Thanks for the replies guys! Yeah 14" is a bit too small since I plan to take this while im travelling sometimes (will be going on a 3+month vacation in asia, and might have to work some days) 15" would be the bare minimum. I do plan to have a docked setup when I am in Calgary and I already have a USB-C 34" + 27" monitor at my office, that's why I was looking for USB-C compatible laptop. I also hate any type of lag when I'm processing 3D drawings and doing any type of shop drawings, even a 15 second lag irritates me!

    The Dell XPS sounds like a great recommendation with the 32G upgrade and 1tb SSD. My current desktop doesn't even come close to those specs, so I think this would be ideal for the next 5-8 years? Does anyone have any experience with that laptop in terms of 3D CAD work? Ill also check out Lenovo P53 (i7, RTX4000), I have never had or worked with Lenovo products are they a reliable company to work with?
    If you end up going with the 2020 XPS 15 9500, I would order the bare minimum RAM and storage space spec, as you can easily upgrade to the maximum RAM and add in additional M2-NVMe storage for much less than what Dell charge for.


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    Thanks for the input. Bought the 2020 Dell 15 XPS with 10 gen i7 (8 core), 16GB, 512gb SSD, No 4k touch screen.

    I never used the touchscreen on my older Dell laptop, so didn't opt out for this one...although 4k would have been really nice to look at!
    I think this will future proof any of my 3D Drafting and basic needs for hopefully another 4-5 years

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    A 15” 4K screen would be garbage to look at, windows doesn’t scale nearly well enough to use high DPI screens IMO.

    I also opted for the 1080p screen on my XPS. Great little rig.
    Originally posted by Thales of Miletus

    If you think I have been trying to present myself as intellectually superior, then you truly are a dimwit.
    Originally posted by Toma
    fact.

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    Quote Originally Posted by killramos View Post
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    A 15” 4K screen would be garbage to look at, windows doesn’t scale nearly well enough to use high DPI screens IMO.

    I also opted for the 1080p screen on my XPS. Great little rig.
    Yeah, 4k on a laptop is rough, it sounds nice but many programs don't scale properly so the text/graphics are really tiny.
    Nolan

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