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Old 09-30-2012, 10:07 PM   #1
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Default Computer geeks assemble!

I'm in the market for a laptop capable of handling programs like AutoCAD, Autodesk, Solidworks etc. I have my eye on the Lenovo Thinkpad entry level laptop with and i7 processor which puts me on the $700 level. However, I've also look at the X-convertible laptops and I wonder if it's worth it. Let me know what you guys think
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Old 09-30-2012, 11:02 PM   #2
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Most important question: what size are you looking for?

Myself, I won't use anything larger than 12.5", and prefer something in the 11" class. They fit very nicely in my lap when I'm on the sofa, can open fully in a coach-class airline seat even with the guy in front of me reclined, and are very easy to carry around. My current unit is a Dell E4200, and I use AutoCAD 2005 on it. It would probably suck ***** with Solidworks due to the weak onboard 3D graphics chipset.

Some folks go the other way and order monster 17" machines. My step-father went this route (also a Dell) and he regrets it. The machine is far too large and heavy to comfortably carry around, and since hes a realtor, that's a big minus.

The rest of the crowd just default into the 14-15" class, which is fine, I suppose, if you don't ever travel by air.
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Old 09-30-2012, 11:06 PM   #3
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why not get an iPad so you can draw with your finger? :-)
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Old 09-30-2012, 11:23 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Joe Perez View Post
Most important question: what size are you looking for?

Myself, I won't use anything larger than 12.5", and prefer something in the 11" class. They fit very nicely in my lap when I'm on the sofa, can open fully in a coach-class airline seat even with the guy in front of me reclined, and are very easy to carry around. My current unit is a Dell E4200, and I use AutoCAD 2005 on it. It would probably suck ***** with Solidworks due to the weak onboard 3D graphics chipset.

Some folks go the other way and order monster 17" machines. My step-father went this route (also a Dell) and he regrets it. The machine is far too large and heavy to comfortably carry around, and since hes a realtor, that's a big minus.

The rest of the crowd just default into the 14-15" class, which is fine, I suppose, if you don't ever travel by air.
Screen size is not my main concern, although I would like portability. The ones that I'm looking at range between 12" and 15", with the 12-incher being the higher priced one.


Amazon Amazon


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why not get an iPad so you can draw with your finger? :-)
If I was a journalist major leaving off my daddy's money I would...
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Old 09-30-2012, 11:46 PM   #5
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How much are you planning to do with solidworks? That answer alone will determine if you want a discrete video card.
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Old 09-30-2012, 11:55 PM   #6
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How much are you planning to do with solidworks? That answer alone will determine if you want a discrete video card.
As of right not I'm only a student, but I am missing a lot of workshops with these sort of software because I don't have a capable laptop.
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Old 10-01-2012, 12:05 AM   #7
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How much are you planning to do with solidworks? That answer alone will determine if you want a discrete video card.
In addition to this, some applications can utilize GPUcompute beyond just accelerating 3d stuff, which is a big plus for a discrete GPU.
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Old 10-01-2012, 12:24 AM   #8
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How discrete is an Intel HD3000?
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Old 10-01-2012, 12:27 AM   #9
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How discrete is an Intel HD3000?
About as discrete as Pushy.
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Old 10-01-2012, 12:42 AM   #10
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About as discrete as Pushy.


HD3000 won't cut it. Intel HDx000 is integrated into the CPU, and would be very lacking compared to just about any discrete card. Nvidia Quadro is built for CAD. If that is the main purpose (Ie: No gaming, but it would work well for gaming too), it should suit your needs pretty well. Based on Lenovo, Quadro: It looks like the W350 would suit your needs. ThinkPad W530 Mobile Workstation - Review Powerful Laptop Specs | Lenovo | (US)

There are sure other more cost-effective options.
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Old 10-01-2012, 12:45 AM   #11
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About as discrete as Pushy.
Sounds discrete enough then

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HD3000 won't cut it. Intel HDx000 is integrated into the CPU, and would be very lacking compared to just about any discrete card. Nvidia Quadro is built for CAD. If that is the main purpose (Ie: No gaming, but it would work well for gaming too), it should suit your needs pretty well. Based on Lenovo, Quadro: It looks like the W350 would suit your needs. ThinkPad W530 Mobile Workstation - Review Powerful Laptop Specs | Lenovo | (US)

There are sure other more cost-effective options.
I don't care about gaming, and I think I misunderstood what "discrete" is.
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Old 10-01-2012, 01:05 AM   #12
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Look for something made by ATI or nVidia, buffon. For a video card, that is.
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Old 10-01-2012, 01:13 AM   #13
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Yeah, so far anything with NVidia cost $1k, that's really really pushing it for me at this moment.
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Old 10-01-2012, 09:58 AM   #14
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I have a Lenovo IdeaPad, and like it a lot.

14" with a very good GPU for $800. Check it out.
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Old 10-01-2012, 11:24 AM   #15
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there are like 5 laptop workstations that use the Quadro cards. That should narrow down your search pretty quickly.

Also forget screen size as a parameter. If you intend to get serious, you'll get a dock and a separate monitor.
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Old 10-01-2012, 11:56 AM   #16
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I have a Lenovo IdeaPad, and like it a lot.

14" with a very good GPU for $800. Check it out.
From what I've come across the G640 is gaming oriented, but similar to the k1000. If I'm wrong someone correct me.

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there are like 5 laptop workstations that use the Quadro cards. That should narrow down your search pretty quickly.

Also forget screen size as a parameter. If you intend to get serious, you'll get a dock and a separate monitor.
Aside from the Lenovo w530 and a HP ultrabook the others I've come across use the GeForce unit, but like I mentioned above that seems to be a gaming-oriented card. Also I use my tv as monitor it works for me.
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Old 10-01-2012, 12:27 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by buffon01 View Post
I don't care about gaming, and I think I misunderstood what "discrete" is.
Discrete = there's a physical graphics chip which is separate from the main CPU. It may be located directly on the motherboard, or it may sit on a separate board, like a miniature version of a desktop graphics card.

For the purpose of Solidworks, you DO care about gaming. The same graphics accelerators targeted at gamers are also applicable to realtime 3d solid modelling.




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Also forget screen size as a parameter. If you intend to get serious, you'll get a dock and a separate monitor.
If we're ignoring screen size as a parameter and assuming it'll be docked all the time, then why even bother with a laptop? A desktop PC will universally cost less and deliver higher performance. (Remember- for each processor class there are desktop and mobile versions. For the same ratings otherwise, a desktop i5 will always outperform a laptop i5M by a considerable margin.)
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Old 10-01-2012, 12:48 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Perez View Post
Discrete = there's a physical graphics chip which is separate from the main CPU. It may be located directly on the motherboard, or it may sit on a separate board, like a miniature version of a desktop graphics card.

For the purpose of Solidworks, you DO care about gaming. The same graphics accelerators targeted at gamers are also applicable to realtime 3d solid modelling.
Not true at all. the Quadro / FirePro cards represent a significant (3-4x) performance improvement over the gaming cards. Gaming cards are optimized for foggy mist and pretty landscapes. CAD cards are optimized for geometry and polygon modeling.

Some analyses:
http://web.eurocom.com/ec/ec_GetBenchmarkB(20)
GeForce GTX 580 vs Quadro 5000 | NYC Max User Group


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If we're ignoring screen size as a parameter and assuming it'll be docked all the time, then why even bother with a laptop? A desktop PC will universally cost less and deliver higher performance. (Remember- for each processor class there are desktop and mobile versions. For the same ratings otherwise, a desktop i5 will always outperform a laptop i5M by a considerable margin.)
True, but I assumed he'd be doing most of his work at a desk. Or maybe two desks. Either way, the workstation machines start at 15 inches and usually an extra inch or two is not expensive.

One other thing to consider: don't spend extra money on extra cores. Most CAD platforms use one at a time. It's a software limitation imposed by the way the geometries are calculated. Extra cores will speed up rendering and stuff like that, but the biggest benefit is going to be multitasking and not CAD performance itself.
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Old 10-01-2012, 12:49 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Perez View Post
Discrete = there's a physical graphics chip which is separate from the main CPU. It may be located directly on the motherboard, or it may sit on a separate board, like a miniature version of a desktop graphics card.

For the purpose of Solidworks, you DO care about gaming. The same graphics accelerators targeted at gamers are also applicable to realtime 3d solid modelling.
I saw on some laptop forums that there is difference between "gaming" like the 640 card and "work" cards like the k1000 and k2000. Is there any truth to that? Because there are less expensive options with the 640 than the k1000.


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If we're ignoring screen size as a parameter and assuming it'll be docked all the time, then why even bother with a laptop? A desktop PC will universally cost less and deliver higher performance. (Remember- for each processor class there are desktop and mobile versions. For the same ratings otherwise, a desktop i5 will always outperform a laptop i5M by a considerable margin.)
Ignoring it to a certain degree. I am not interested in a desktop.
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Old 10-01-2012, 12:52 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by y8s View Post
Not true at all. the Quadro / FirePro cards represent a significant (3-4x) performance improvement over the gaming cards. Gaming cards are optimized for foggy mist and pretty landscapes. CAD cards are optimized for geometry and polygon modeling.

Some analyses:
http://web.eurocom.com/ec/ec_GetBenchmarkB(20)
GeForce GTX 580 vs Quadro 5000 | NYC Max User Group
First link didn't work, but the second was quite interesting. I'll shut up now.
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