minimal recommended hardware - laptop

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gautxori
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2008 11:25 am

minimal recommended hardware - laptop

Post by gautxori » Thu Oct 28, 2021 11:03 am

Hi,

I'd like to know which minimal laptop (or GPU + CPU + chipset ) specs you'd recommend nowadays (11/2021), to get good rendering speeds. Would a modern 1200 € laptop offer better rendering results than a workstation from year 2015 (core i7 6820HQ, NVIDIA QUADRO M1000M 2GB)?
thanks.

MrBlack
Posts: 29
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2012 11:32 pm
Location: Sydney or Lusaka

Re: minimal recommended hardware - laptop

Post by MrBlack » Thu Dec 30, 2021 7:14 pm

gautxori wrote:
Thu Oct 28, 2021 11:03 am
Hi,

I'd like to know which minimal laptop (or GPU + CPU + chipset ) specs you'd recommend nowadays (11/2021), to get good rendering speeds. Would a modern 1200 € laptop offer better rendering results than a workstation from year 2015 (core i7 6820HQ, NVIDIA QUADRO M1000M 2GB)?
thanks.
A modern ~1200 Euro laptop will almost certainly absolutely crush your old workstation.


If you are CPU rendering something like the Lenovo Legion R7000 will more than double the performance of your old machine in every aspect.

If you are going to be GPU rendering then the Asus ROG Strix G15s GPU is something like 4 times more powerful with double the VRAM of the M1000M.


Depending on what you are going to be focusing on CPU rendering vs GPU rendering both these laptops are a good choice.
Though Id lean towards the Strix G15.
The Lenovo has 8 cores.
The ROG S has 6 cores.

But the Strix G15 has a much better GPU while still being within ear shot of the Lenovos CPU.

gautxori
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2008 11:25 am

Re: minimal recommended hardware - laptop

Post by gautxori » Fri Dec 31, 2021 9:15 am

Thank you Mr Black, you were really helpful.

However, i find it difficult to believe online benchmarks when an old second hand DELL Precision M6800 is as expensive as a new Asus ROG Strix G15s: the M6800 MUST have some advantage over the ROG G15s.

Not to say a beast like the HP Z640, with 14 cores in a Xeon E5-2680 v4: it can be bought second hand for 2500 €, off budget.

Can you or sb else provide more info? Thnks

MrBlack
Posts: 29
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2012 11:32 pm
Location: Sydney or Lusaka

Re: minimal recommended hardware - laptop

Post by MrBlack » Sun Jan 02, 2022 1:03 pm

gautxori wrote:
Fri Dec 31, 2021 9:15 am
Thank you Mr Black, you were really helpful.

However, i find it difficult to believe online benchmarks when an old second hand DELL Precision M6800 is as expensive as a new Asus ROG Strix G15s: the M6800 MUST have some advantage over the ROG G15s.

Not to say a beast like the HP Z640, with 14 cores in a Xeon E5-2680 v4: it can be bought second hand for 2500 €, off budget.

Can you or sb else provide more info? Thnks


It still expensive because it was expensive way back when.
The technology has improved dramatically.
It has no advantage at all vs something like the ROG Strix G15.
If technology stayed that stagnate id be out of a job.

I literally build computers as a profession.
The i7 6820HQ is a trash tier CPU by todays standards.
And Quadro cards are generally expensive but beyond VRAM dont actually have any real advantage over their Geforce counterparts.
Tis why these days you are seeing people abandon Quadro for range topper cards like the 2080ti or 3090.

To put things into perspective that Dell M6800 came out before AMD even made Ryzen CPUs.
Intel were basically fighting uncontested, they could charge whatever they wanted even for garbo CPUs.

gautxori
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2008 11:25 am

Re: minimal recommended hardware - laptop

Post by gautxori » Mon Jan 03, 2022 3:50 am

I think I'm somewhat older than you, and although I'm not into building computers I could rebate some of your assertions:
- quadro cards have been into market for more than 20 years, and they have been used by pros since then. Me myself, my second computer (Pentium III) had a quadro GeForce which by then could be tweaked to behave like a quadro, and when tweaked there were improvements to be noticed (in particular when working with Solidworks). If I were a pro user (I'm not by now) I would go for a quadro indeed.
- I've always used computers with Intel processors, I'm not an expert on that subject, and I think AMD manufactures excellent chipsets, GPUs, or CPUs. If those ASUS laptops have the motherboards based on AMD chipsets, they might have excellent performance, even on pair with Lenovo or Dell Intel based ones. But I'd like to see a real benchmark, perhaps with latest Indigo version. (Can you manage that?).
- the controversy on Intel and AMD performance is also ancient: not only when the Dell M6800 was in the market, but even when the first Pentium processors came to market, AMD was already there. In fact I hesitated to buy an AMD instead of the Pentium III... But even then Intel were clear winners in the market.
- I think that CPU architectures did not change so much in latest years: my first computer was an Intel 486, Intel developed that same cpu architecture for the pentiums, and both Core and Nehalem are quite similar to NetBurst (Pentium). Even instruction sets are hardly modified: MMX, SSE, .... are still there. And both AMD and Intel manufacture quite similar processors. I'd say that Nvidia or ARM (cfr. RISC) have much more advanced architectures than Intel or AMD. Back to Intel, Xeon CPUs have evolved through the aforementioned architectures (first ones were also NetBurst), have adopted all the major improvements from each, and nowadays are way better than Intel Core (or Sandy, Ivy, Haswell... Intel Marketing Dpt. seem to align with the myriad of names for Android versions). But still, both Intel and AMD are manufacturers of "cheap" chips.
- the key to changes in performance should also be on the motherboard and the chipsets. I recognize ASUS is one of the best motherboard manufacturers, so perhaps the ROG family is a real winner here.

MrBlack
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Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2012 11:32 pm
Location: Sydney or Lusaka

Re: minimal recommended hardware - laptop

Post by MrBlack » Mon Jan 03, 2022 10:11 pm

gautxori wrote:
Mon Jan 03, 2022 3:50 am
I think I'm somewhat older than you, and although I'm not into building computers I could rebate some of your assertions:
- quadro cards have been into market for more than 20 years, and they have been used by pros since then. Me myself, my second computer (Pentium III) had a quadro GeForce which by then could be tweaked to behave like a quadro, and when tweaked there were improvements to be noticed (in particular when working with Solidworks). If I were a pro user (I'm not by now) I would go for a quadro indeed.
As I said, beyond the VRAM Quadro cards dont actually have any advantages over their Geforce counterparts. (Enterprise features be damned, ive never seen anyone actually utilize them even in larger studios).
If you are a professional using enterprise level software, the answer is obvious.
IF you do need that VRAM then go for a Quadro....but the chips are effectively identical or weaker than their Geforce counterparts so in most... GPU dependent situation, the added cost of the Quadro card doesnt add up when you can get a 3080Ti or 3090 that will do the job just as well.
Which is why I pointed out alot of professionals and studios actually use Geforce cards in most situation the Geforce will perform better than an equivalent Quadro.....let alone in this case where its a Quadro from multiple generations ago.
2GB of VRAM.....Indigo will eat through that in no time.
Heck im sure your DCC could eat through 2GB of VRAM with ease.


But just for arguments sake lets do a GA comparison real quick.
For instance the RTX 3090 vs a Quadro A5000?

Both use GA102 chip in different configurations.

Advantage 3090:
Faster Pixel Fill Rate.
Faster Texture Fill Rate.
Faster Memory Bandwidth.
Higher Single precision FLOP.
Higher Half precision FLOP.
Nearly half the price.

Advantage A5000:
Higher double precision FLOP.
Lower TDP?
Drivers that may may benefit specific application performance.

And thats about it.
Unless under very specialized situations where you will be using double precision maths....there no logical reason to pay almost double the price for a GPU that doesnt actually do anything better.

gautxori wrote:
Mon Jan 03, 2022 3:50 am
- I've always used computers with Intel processors, I'm not an expert on that subject, and I think AMD manufactures excellent chipsets, GPUs, or CPUs. If those ASUS laptops have the motherboards based on AMD chipsets, they might have excellent performance, even on pair with Lenovo or Dell Intel based ones. But I'd like to see a real benchmark, perhaps with latest Indigo version. (Can you manage that?).
- the controversy on Intel and AMD performance is also ancient: not only when the Dell M6800 was in the market, but even when the first Pentium processors came to market, AMD was already there. In fact I hesitated to buy an AMD instead of the Pentium III... But even then Intel were clear winners in the market.

Ive been an Intel user for a long long time, even when Ryzen launched I didnt feel a need to jump ship till the 5000 series.
By then Intel were taking a piss and hadn't really been going forward for so long AMD managed to not only catch up, but surpass them between Ryzen 3000 and Ryzen 5000.

The Ryzen vs Intel debate in laptops space is pretty much equal right now.
AMDs top chips and Intels top chips will give you very very similar performance.
This wasnt the case with Ryzen 1000 and prior.
Pre-Ryzen the last time AMD was competitive was around the Athlon era....which I actually had over the Pentium IIIs, and P4s, thats like 20 years ago.
So obviously alot of people forgot AMD was ever really competitive.

With Alderlake im actually contemplating upgrading my CPU because it looks like some real gains have been made.
Otherwise Intel vs AMD was neck and neck for quite a while.
We have to waiting for the 3D Cache CPUs from AMD to see if the can claw back any of the deficite they have over Intels Alderlake.

gautxori
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2008 11:25 am

Re: minimal recommended hardware - laptop

Post by gautxori » Tue Jan 04, 2022 10:33 am

Again, thank you for the info, very helpful. I did not know anything about AMD's 3D V-Cache Stack, might be promising, and I hope that Indigo will benefit from it.
As I remarked, I do not know much about processors, but Xeon processors for servers and workstations usually have quite big caches, and 4ex the Xeon E5-2680 v4 processors I mentioned have 35 Mb Smart Caches. Again, so many questions..: is there any real performance difference between a smart cache and a v-cache? Which compilers take into account these subtleties (V-Cache, Smart Cache, ...) in processors, and consequently which application releases are up to date and take advantage from them?. Is Indigo one of them?...
Regarding Geforce and Quadro, I'll stick to your guns. I have 2 10-year-old laptops, one with a Nvidia Geforce and another with an ATI card, and their performance when rendering with Indigo is quite similar. I'm just a hobbyist, I'd like to move forward, I'm still skeptical and perhaps I'll take my time to make a decision between buying a second hand laptop or a new one, be it Ryzen, Xeon or whatever.
I thought you were still 33, that's what your profile states. Perhaps you're closer to my age than what I thought... Thanks again.
I miss some more bustle in this forum, don't you?

MrBlack
Posts: 29
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2012 11:32 pm
Location: Sydney or Lusaka

Re: minimal recommended hardware - laptop

Post by MrBlack » Wed Jan 05, 2022 4:32 am

gautxori wrote:
Tue Jan 04, 2022 10:33 am
I thought you were still 33, that's what your profile states. Perhaps you're closer to my age than what I thought... Thanks again.
I miss some more bustle in this forum, don't you?

Hahaha I am 34.
But my Uncle was also in the computer industry so I had alot of experience with PCs by the time I was 13 years old.
I thank him basically every month for getting me into computing at a time when people werent as sold on the concept.
Instead of reading comics or playing videogames I had university books and PC magazines to entertain me.
And a bunch of random PC components sitting around.
His store room was basically filled with nothing but PCs so I got to mess about in there for hours on end.
Probably not a good idea cuz the room was dusty as hell.

University was near literally a breeze for me, cuz the concepts werent new to me.


And yeah I miss the forum being more active.
I was a lurker forever but it always seemed to be moving.
The Indigo engine is incredible but I think the plugin support and adapting some features which other renderers have seem to have been left behind.
I still support Indigo cuz its absolutely insane what it can do.

gautxori
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2008 11:25 am

Re: minimal recommended hardware - laptop

Post by gautxori » Fri Jan 07, 2022 8:19 am

A very useful article, from a much more active forum, not related to rendering but to CFD: https://www.cfd-online.com/Forums/hardw ... e-wip.html. Regarding CPU, Indigo and CFD apps computing requirements may be quite similar. Also talks about GPU performance for CFD calculations.

Conclusions:
- "core count and number of memory channels should be balanced. The general rule of thumb is between 2-4 CPU cores per memory channel. " Also: "2 CPUs are usually better than one, because the memory controller resides within the CPU package. By choosing e.g. two 32-core CPUs instead of a single 64-core CPU, you get effectively twice the memory bandwidth"
- Memory capacity: "Big caveat here: there is a lower limit for the amount of memory, dictated by the CPU and memory controller. Let's say you get a CPU with an 8-channel memory controller like an AMD Epyc 7302. To make use of these 8 memory channels, you need at least 8 DIMMs. The smallest compatible DIMMs -more on that later- come in 8GB capacity. Which means that 64GB, populated as 8x8GB, is the lower limit for such a CPU. Double that if you opt for two CPUs.
Big OEMs and system integrators can be oblivious to this, so check your quote very carefully before pulling the trigger"
- "Your CPU choice dictates which memory you need. Server CPUs like AMD Epyc 7xxx or Intel Xeon Platinum/Gold/W should be paired with registered ECC memory (also called reg ECC or ECC RDIMM). [...] Virtually all other CPUs need unbuffered unbuffered (UDIMM) memory. Exceptions confirm the rule, but are usually compatible with both types."
- "In theory, GPUs have much higher raw floating point performance and memory bandwidth compared to CPUs, which is the whole appeal of GPU acceleration. In practice, leveraging these capabilities for CFD/rendering is not trivial. To put it bluntly: with a limited hardware budget, GPU acceleration should not be a priority. Focus on CPU performance instead". This one might be rebated when applied to rendering performance. viewtopic.php?f=6&t=194420 shows that, for CFD, when using multiple (14) cores, there's a remarkable performance penalty when using these cores together with high end graphics cards (Quadro 5000), whereas :arrow: for Geforce GTX cards the penalty is not that high.


Either a workstation from year 2015 (DELL Precision M6800, core i7 6820HQ, NVIDIA QUADRO M1000M 2GB - around 1200 €) or a beast like the HP Z640, with 14 cores in a Xeon E5-2680 v4 (around 2500 €), are well balanced systems for rendering and computations. More modern computers, like the Asus ROG, should also do the right job.

gautxori
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2008 11:25 am

Re: minimal recommended hardware - laptop

Post by gautxori » Sun Jan 09, 2022 3:36 am

this app shows that a 10 year old computer with a modest geforce gt 420M can also render quite fast in real time: https://www.opencascade.com/products/cad-rays/
It would be nice if Indigo had such a feature for render preview.

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