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Reply with quote  #1 
Hi, I am thinking of treating myself to a new machine with the idea of starting to work from home.
While I have used SU Podium for about 4 years on and off working on detailed domestic interiors and architectural exterior models, I really have no idea about the workings of the inside of my machine.
Can I get the spec I need from a PC laptop? Can anyone give me some guidance?
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Reply with quote  #2 
The two priorities for Podium are CPU and RAM.  Things are going to be more expensive in terms of price-performance when you buy a laptop... that is, the equivalent $$$ will get you a more powerful desktop machine. 

The single most important thing is the speed of the CPU and the number of cores.

So something like this MSI laptop could be decent base for your comparisons -

Core i7 -- 6 cores, 12 threads, 2.2GHZ up to 4.10 GHZ with boost
16 GB RAM, which is a good number to aim for.

In this case you're paying a little extra for a pretty decent graphics card, when you could potentially get by with something less powerful.

Of course there are options above and below that; everything depends on budget.

(I'm surprised there don't seem to be a lot of AMD laptop options right now -- their Ryzen CPUs are currently a very good option for desktops.)  Although this is pretty dang nice for an ultra-light option at a significantly lower price point. I don't think I'd get something like this for a primary render machine though.

Anyway, I haven't shopped for laptops in a long time.  Maybe someone else will chime in!

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Reply with quote  #3 
Justin has a very nice Razer laptop like this. It's expensive, but it's powerful and it's beautifully made. The quality is so much better than any other Windows laptop I have seen, but this HP Spectre runs it close, and it's nice to see a PC manufacturer designing and building desirable machines that don't copy Apple. I've seen this in the flesh and it's very, very nice.

That Ideapad looks really good, and Lenovo have a reputation for good, solid reliable hardware.

Basically you need a Core i7 machine for rendering, with as many cores as possible with the fastest (highest) clock speed you can get. That's the GHz number.
Rendering uses lots of cores, SketchUp doesn't. Lots of slow cores will compromise how your machine performs in Sketchup, but should render quickly in Podium. You need a balance.

Next, look for a fast storage device. There are 2 types, hard drive and SSD. Just don't bother with the former. Only get one with an SSD - it's much, much faster. You will need at least 256Gb of storage, but 512Gb is better.

As Justin says, 16Gb of RAM is what everyone buying a new machine for modelling and rendering should start with. Anything less is simply false economy.

If you want to use ProWalker, you specifically need an Nvidia card. You need a laptop with a Geforce 1050,1060 or a 1070 chipset. The lower numbered cards are cheaper. As the numbers increase, so do speed and price. You can get ones with a Geforce 1080, but they are very, very expensive!

Even if you don't want ProWalker, for 3D work you really ought to get a laptop with a dedicated graphics chipset.

In simple terms this means separate circuitry for all the complex calculations involved in manipulating what is on your screen. You can buy laptops where this stuff is offloaded to specialist dedicated chips to significantly boost performance. You need to look for Nvidia or AMD graphics. If your specification doesn't mention graphics, the machine won't have specialist graphics capability, and all 3d applications, which are graphics intensive, will run much more slowly or less smoothly.

What this means in reality is that when you manipulate your SketchUp model, it will either move smoothly or it won't, and the display will take a while to fully update. This will be particularly noticeable with larger or more complex models, and with shadows on.

If you go into a store and a salesman tells you that the Intel graphics are good enough for 3D, he may be right, but he most likely isn't. Simpler models fair enough, complex and large ones - nope.

However, most people use laptops for lots of different things. A high powered 3d/rendering laptop is likely to be a high end gaming laptop. These are not known for portability or battery life!

I have a Mac Pro in my office and a MacBook Air at home. This is what I have used for 5 years. The latter is very underpowered for rendering, even though it is the top spec model with an i7 CPU, it has Intel graphics.

However - it does the job, but I wouldn't use it for anything complex, because I would spend most of my time swearing while I'm waiting for renders to complete!

I also have a gaudy Asus Strix ROG beast for ProWalker. It's a very fast machine that looks like a teenage boy's wet dream of a gaming PC. Lovely to use and fast, great for development, but as a balding, uncool older guy - I wouldn't like to be seen with it in public [wink]

If you can cope with the bright orange 'go faster stripes' and keyboard highlights, it's recommended. It runs fast but doesn't get too hot. It's probably great for gaming, but I don't do that. My son looks at it with envy, he thinks it will be great for Total War - ha, in his dreams!


That which does not kill us makes us stronger
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Posts: 2
Reply with quote  #4 
That's Brilliant guys, thanks taking the time to give great advice.
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