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My employer intends to purchase a laptop for me in the USA, then send it to me in South Africa. I've read that the GTX 10 series cards have desktop level performance even on laptops.

I've asked around, and Dell is really the only supplier that will support the laptop internationally.. i.e. I won't need to ship it all the way back to the USA if I need repairs.

I've looked at local suppliers that have MSI and ASUS laptops with GTX1080's too.. but they are very bulky and look like too much like gaming rigs (which they are). This new alienware range actually looks a little more conservative and they're slimmer than the other gaming rigs. Ultimately the looks don't matter though. It's just a small consideration.

Note: This isn't for gaming - it's for design work.. with a preference for fast render times in a laptop (I will be travelling a lot).

I've been looking at the Alienware 17 R4 laptop:

It's a 17inch UHD (3840 x 2160) IPS screen - so the color accuracy should be decent. It contains a GTX 1070 with 8GB GDDR5 Also it has: 7th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-7820HK (Quad-Core, 8MB Cache, Overclocking up to 4.4GHz )

There are 2 more expensive Alienware 17 configurations that have GTX 1080s, but they have TN panels.. so I'm leaning toward this IPS one. I intend to max out the RAM and take 3 years of Premium support and accident cover.. so the total cost comes to about $3100

So with that budget in mind.. there's also the whole precision line from Dell.

The New Precision 5520

It's 15inch UltraSharp UHD IGZO (3840x2160) Touch Wide View LED-backlit with PremiumPanel Guarantee - so I guess this might be an even better screen.

If I select specs like the highest end processor: Intel Core Xeon E3-1505M v6 (Quad Core Xeon 3.00GHz, 4.00GHz Turbo, 8MB 45W, w/Intel HD Graphics 630 32GB Ram, add the same HDD's as the alienware etc..

The price comes to 3,014.90 (so basically the same as Alienware)

The Graphics card difference would be that this has a Nvidia Quadro M1200 w/4GB GDDR5

So which of these 2 laptops do you think would render and work better in blender?

I don't do big complex scenes.. it's mostly simple product packaging and bottles.. some glass.. sometimes a simple area to display items like a table with light streaming in from a side window.. wooden surface sometimes. But nothing crazy. I do need to do A LOT of renders though.. so we need something snappy.

Thank you!!

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I think that the Alienware with the GTX 1070 is going to work better for your application. When considering the GPU options.

GTX 1070 vs Quadro M1200.

The GTX 1070 has 1920 CUDA cores vs. 640 CUDA cores from the Quadro M1200

GTX 1070 is rated for 6.5 TFLOPS vs. 1.4 TFLOPS


In terms of benchmarks (these are the desktop versions, I can't find benchmarks for the m1200)

Passmark:

GTX 1070: 10,973

Quadro K1200: 2992


In conclusion, if you are looking for GPU power, the laptop with the GTX 1070 (Alienware) is going to be the better option, if you need professional driver support, then take the Quadro (Precision Workstation). I know there is driver support for CUDA 8.0 cards (in blender) so that isn't an issue.

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  • I would (sadly) concur with this. Going by system specifications alone, the Alienware has more performance for the price. Yes, it is called a gaming system, but in reality all a gaming system is is a system loaded with high end equipment, and tailored for those looking to get the most out of the system. – NZKshatriya Jan 25 '17 at 17:24
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    This is the conclusion I'm reaching as I read around too.. the 1070 is quite superior vs the quadro. – Neverwhere Jan 25 '17 at 20:05
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Dell. In your build, select the option for SSD. My recommendation would not be for touchscreen just yet on the 15" screen because it isn't QUITE up to the level of larger displays used for rendering and image creation. Still keep the UHD screen though.

You mentioned traveling. The Alienware laptop weighs in at a full 10lbs whereas the Dell weighs in at 3.9 lbs. The 17" laptop isn't even close to ideal for traveling. That's really going to be the deciding factor here.

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    The question is which is better for rendering, not better for carrying around. GTX1070 clearly outperforms Quadro M1200 several times in Octane, Blender Cycles, Furryball, etc. – Jerryno Jan 25 '17 at 15:59
  • I'll be taking the 256gb SSD m.2 + 1TB Hdd on either build, but I'm so far still leaning toward the alienware. It's definitely not travel friendly, but It's not impossible to travel with. I won't need to work with it on the plane for example.. I believe plane outlets can't even power it, and rendering would just destroy the battery. I just need to be able to move it from country to country. I'll work on a desk. – Neverwhere Jan 25 '17 at 20:11
  • BTW, both computer are actually Dell, as mentioned by the OP. – timuzhti Jan 26 '17 at 5:59
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Just to get a level of comparison:

The professional (workstation) videocards in the Nvidia family have usually the 1000 / 2000 / 3000 / 4000 / 5000 numbers, prefixed by the generation letter. They correspond to X40 / X50 / X60 / X70 / X80 of the consummer editions. So, for example, M5000M is roughly equivalent of the 980M.

Following the same logic, the newer Nvidia GTX 1070 will have as equivalent Nvidia Quadro P4000M.

But from the 9xx line to the 10xx line the jump was fantastic. For example 1060 is a something between the previous 970 and 980, while taking less power.

So what you are comparing here (M1200) to GTX 1070M is like comparing 1040 to 1070. You say what? There's no GTX 1040? Yes, you're right, that's how low that video card is.

You simply cannot compare them. So, if what you need is video processing power, there's no question.

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