More Questions about Required Specs for Laptops

Jeanny

Active member
#1
:cautious:I still haven’t purchased a laptop.
I use my computer almost entirely to work on Cheetah 3D projects.
There are a few things I’m concerned about concerning the specific specs as to how they effect C3D:

Graphic Cards
I now have an AMD Radeon HD 6970M 1024 MB
I’m concerned about AMD products because that card went down on me twice.
I notice the graphic cards vary in the laptops I’m interested in.

Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655
-or-
Radeon Pro 555X with 4GB of GDDR5 memory
(Who makes that card?)

Which graphic card do you consider would be best?
Processor:
I now have a 3.1 GHz Intel Core i5
When I purchased the computer I now have; an Apple sales person told me I was buying a Quad Core
When I received the computer the “About this Mac” didn’t show quad core.
They told me there are different ways of expressing this.

Is there a BIG difference between:

2.7GHz quad‑core 8th‑generation Intel Core i7 processor, Turbo Boost up to 4.5GHz
16GB 2133MHz LPDDR3 memory

-and-

2.2GHz 6‑core 8th‑generation Intel Core i7 processor, Turbo Boost up to 4.1GHz
16GB 2400MHz DDR4 memory

That’s .4 GHz difference

If it isn’t that much I think I would sacrifice the “.4 GHz” for a larger screen.

Ram:

When I work on my C3D projects I don’t have any other apps open
do I need more than 8G Memory?
I do want to animate short scenes with objects that are polygon intense
(Particle emitters creating Rain - Snow - Fireworks)
Do I need more Memory to drive that type of animation?
:unsure:

Thanks
Granny Hugs 000
My Best Wishes to You
Jeanny
 
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Swizl

Active member
#2
AMD Radeon Pro is the better card. Formally called ATI, which was one of the top two Video Card makers (the other is Nvidia). Usually the integrated GPU (Iris Plus) are ok, but the discreet cards (Radeon, Nvidia, etc.) are almost always better for more intensive graphics work. C3d doesn't rely much on the GPU though. It could possibly if Martin ever includes some features like ProRender. https://www.amd.com/en/technologies/radeon-prorender

More RAM is always good to have. It may not have a huge effect on rendering or C3d viewport performance.

The CPU will be the most important thing as far as rendering with C3d (as well as most other built in 3d software rendering engines). There are some stand-alone apps that also have app specific plug ins that do GPU rendering, but almost all of them use Nvidia's CUDA technology. Most Apple machines do not have these. It's a hard choice between the two options you've given CPU wise though. More cores are better, but also higher frequency speed is too. One thing to do is to find bench marks posted online for render times with each of these. Do you have the model numbers for these two that you are comparing?

You can try finding each model on one of these sites to see what type of score they have.
https://browser.geekbench.com/mac-benchmarks
https://everymac.com/ultimate-mac-comparison-chart/

Good luck with the choice! I'm sure whatever you pick will work well enough. But it is hard to compare sometimes. :)
 

Jeanny

Active member
#3
:DWow! You really know your computers! ! !
Thank you so much for the detailed explanation along with the links and your comments!
I included links to the specs of the two different computers.

This is a 13 inch Mac Book Pro with a larger Processor and increased memory:

https://www.apple.com/shop/buy-mac/macbook-pro/13-inch-space-gray-256gb-2.3ghz-quad-core#

This is a 15 inch Mac Pro with the basics:

https://www.apple.com/shop/buy-mac/macbook-pro/15-inch-space-gray-2.2ghz-6-core-256gb#

I will have to empty out my piggy bank. It will be a long long time before I’ll be able to invest in a new one. Never-the-less I’m thinking pushing my limits will be the better investment in the long run. My 2011 is gimping along and I can’t upgrade anymore with it. I figured if I had to upgrade my computer I would be better off investing in a little more oomph than the bone basics in hopes it will better keep up with the constant increasing requirements.

Thanks Again
Granny Hugs 000
My Best to You
Jeanny
 
#4
Hi, Jeanny (just found out you are a neighbor!). I'm paying attention to this, too, as my 2011 is also showing its age, and will probably have to replace it pretty soon. Renderings seem to be going much more slowly lately. It is a good thing that we have a couple of very good independent Apple dealers in the neighborhood! One of them just came to my house last week to replace batteries in a couple of bulged MacBook Pros.
BillG in MN
 

Swizl

Active member
#5
The larger screen is nicer for doing graphics work, but you could always plug the smaller one into a bigger monitor. The smaller one would be easier to travel with too.
 
#6
Regarding memory, I just had my Mac lock up on me doing a polygon intense render - out of application memory, it said. I have 16 GB in my 2011 Macbook Pro quad i7.

Edit: add this: Regarding the CPU, I agree with Swizl that more CPUs are better. HOWEVER - if the CPU heats up because of the intensity of rendering, the OS starts throwing in empty CPU cycles to control temperature, and it slows down. Because laptops are small in the first place, it affects them quite a bit. It would be interesting to hear how long it takes to render an intense scene with various laptops. Also, if there is a way to add extra cooling, such as setting the computer on tall rubber feet, maybe at a slant, to encourage more convective cooling on a bigger surface.
 
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#7
Agreed on the monitor, Swizl. I use a GeChic USB powered second monitor when I'm at home. Plenty of screen real estate that way, and even though the second monitor is lighter and easier to carry than the laptop, and fits in the same bag, I don't have to carry it.
 

Swizl

Active member
#8
Regarding memory, I just had my Mac lock up on me doing a polygon intense render - out of application memory, it said. I have 16 GB in my 2011 Macbook Pro quad i7.

Edit: add this: Regarding the CPU, I agree with Swizl that more CPUs are better. HOWEVER - if the CPU heats up because of the intensity of rendering, the OS starts throwing in empty CPU cycles to control temperature, and it slows down. Because laptops are small in the first place, it affects them quite a bit. It would be interesting to hear how long it takes to render an intense scene with various laptops. Also, if there is a way to add extra cooling, such as setting the computer on tall rubber feet, maybe at a slant, to encourage more convective cooling on a bigger surface.
I've had memory issues with Illustrator locking up before and I have 32 GB of RAM in my iMac. But I think that's more of a memory leak problem with Adobe's software than it is with the hardware. I don't think that would be the same issue for C3d. But you're correct, that sometimes we push the hardware too hard and then it locks up.

There are some cooling lap pads that have fans and other various ways of cooling a laptop off. I looked into one way back when I had a G4 PowerBook. I had the 17" one too, so the GPU added to the heat. That thing would get super hot. That laptop quit working on me before I could get one of the cooling pads. You can find plenty of options for that with a google search. There are also some hacks to force the fans to come on earlier than the typical built in temperature triggers Apple set. . I don't use a laptop much anymore though. Most of the time I'm either on my desktop, or I'm on an iPad.

I run iStat Menus to keep an overview of all the different processes. Mostly not necessary, but good for anyone that likes to keep an eye on those things. I did it mainly for memory management, but it does have a temperature gauge too (see my screen shot).

iStat Menu.png


Good luck to both of you on your laptop search. I know it can be a hard choosing.
 

Jeanny

Active member
#9
Thanks BillG for your input.
Thank Swizl for your additional information.
I feel more confident in making a decision now.

I’m glad the subject of cooling methods was discussed.
That sure can be a problem.
Would it work if I rendered out minute by minute parts and put them together in an app like Motion?

Looks like I’m going to have to use my laptop as an interim until I can afford what I really need.

Hope this is helping others also.


Granny Hugs 000
My Best Wishes to You
Jeanny
 

Swizl

Active member
#10
I would say you would probably be ok to render out full takes. It may just be a thing of seeing how hot the laptop gets, but they are generally built to dissipate heat pretty well. There is a temp gauge in the processor that will shut the machine down if it goes above a certain temperature. But that's unlikely to happen very much, unless you are running the laptop in a really hot environment. It's happened to my iPhone a few times because I had it attached to a dash mount in my car. I was using it for navigation and the sun was shining on it directly. It got so hot that it shut off and would restart until it cooled down. But you probably won't have your laptop sitting out in direct mid-day sunlight. :D
 
#11
Thanks, Swizl, for the thoughts about the cooling pads. As I type this, I'm about 2000 seconds into a rendering of animation. I've been watching the activity monitor, and paying attention to the "kernal_task". As the computer gets further into the rendering, the %CPU of Cheetah goes down, and the %CPU of the kernal_task goes up until they are about equal, at just under 400% each. Sometimes, I see the kernal_task be greater than any other process. I suspect it is busy throwing blank CPU cycles to keep the processor within temperature limits. I wonder what others see on kernal task vs Cheetah3D while in a long rendering? During this one, I tipped the laptop up and slipped my wallet under the back side, and the kernal_task went down after a while. I can guarantee you that it wasn't because of cold cash providing the cooling. ;)
 
#12
Laptop heat diffusion

A simple and cheap way to mitigate laptop heat is to temporarily attach it to a masonite board with four chunks of adhesive putty. (The primary intended use of the putty is to temporarily stick paper to walls.) I make four "golf balls" of the putty and squash them between the bottom of my MacBook Pro and a stiff masonite board. This leaves a space of about one to two centimeters. (Offset one ball away from the hot spot so it can freely radiate the heat.)

I prefer to work with my laptop on my lap, so the board keeps it comfortably cool and even spreads the weight so it feels lighter. The putty is sufficiently sticky that the board can be set at an angle up to about 30º without the Mac slipping off. The Mac can be easily separated from the board and then re-stuck over and over.

The board also protects the plugs on the left side from getting pushed around if the Mac tilts to the left. Before using a board, I had a flash drive get wiped out that way.

There are several manufacturers of similar putties; Google "Blu Tac" (Wikipedia) to get the complete list. It's available at art supply or office supply stores. It's one of those things that was discovered by accident but turned out to have surprising properties, and you are likely to find other uses for it once you get it. It's intended to be temporary, but it seems to last forever and can be re-used many times.

97s.jpg
 
#13
Just wanted to pass along some very preliminary results with the little USB powered cooling pad under my laptop. Without the cooling pad, a recent project took 6949 seconds. I regularly saw the kernal_task value near 400% (about the same as Cheetah3D). With the cooling pad under the laptop, it 3485 seconds. I started it late last night and only watched it go through a few frames, but the kernal_task was staying down around 3-5%, and Cheetah3D was in the upper 700% range. The pad has 5 fans and a speed control, cost about $20 US, and came in about 2 days from Amazon. It runs more quietly than the Mac.
 

Jeanny

Active member
#17
:DThanks for your information BillG!
I would hate to fry my laptop right at the start :eek:. . . or any time for that matter.

I wonder if you started another thread and named it something like: “Reduce laptop overheating during intensive Renders”

Granny Hugs 000
My Best Wishes to You
Jeanny
 
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