Laptop for Houdini

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Heyall !

Im an animator and currently work as a 3D modelling in a company in Ontario and I am thinking in purchasing a portable laptop 2in 1 for my own personal portfolio needs.

I’m currently looking at Surface Book 2 15in , i7 . GTX 1060 model

I’m hoping to work on making 3D visual effects in Houdini along with modelling , but I also intend on doing work in Harmony regarding 2D animation that’s why I’m looking for something that can double over as a tablet.

Any input and suggestions before I make the purchase would be amazing !

Thanks for the time out of your busy schedules
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I have an i7 with 16GB of Ram.
GTX 980 4MB.

For modelling in Houdini, my system is perfectly fine.

However, when it comes to ‘special fx’ like sims, the 16GB makes it just enough to learn (as long as I keep my ambitions low);

But it's not possible to do what I consider studio level work.

I did a brief search on your model, from the one source it shows all 3 models only have 16 GB.

So unless your fx are going to be fairly simple, I think you might end up being frustrated.

For rendering, I noticed the article says the GTX 1060 has 6 MB…maybe someone can chime in on how good that might be if for rendering alone(not considering sims), if you went with Redshift.

But again, for modelling - perfectly fine.

EDIT: of course if ones going to model an entire city with lots of detail and without much instancing, etc….could make my system come to a crawl very quickly.
Edited by BabaJ - May 24, 2019 19:49:30
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Moin,

I use my Surface Book2 i7/16GB7GTX1060 for software development and occasional Houdini sessions. Cannot say much about Redshift's performance on the GTX, since I run my RS license on RTX2080 at home and don't really render “abroad”. However, I use RealityCapture frequently on the SB2 and can say that the 1060 is only insignificantly slower than the 1080 my client (in that context) uses. I would guess that RS runs smoothly.
Simulations to me are usually physic simulations and don't need that much RAM, but, of course, if you want particles, RAM can only be topped by MORE RAM. Swapping, even to SSD, is no fun. Period.
As for storage room: I have a 400GB SSD card in my SB2 “just in case” (i.e. if the stupid USB3 connectors to HDs fail yet again) and, so far, am happy with using that as a storage device. It obviously isn't as fast as an SSD, but …

Re: Houdini - it's only usable with a 3d mouse or an additional mouse (I use a Swiftpoint Pro when traveling), since Qt's device input is fundamentally bad. Using the trackpad in Houdini is borderline suicidal.

Oh, the GTX 1060 has 6GB, just nit-picking the 6MB mentioned above :-D

Marc

Edit/P.S. I owned a lot of high-end, medium-end and endless-pain-end laptops. The SB2 to me is not only a league of its own, it is so far ahead in terms of reliability, “perceived performance” and comfort that I even installed Linux on some of the other machines (meaning I won't ever touch them again - EVER).
Edited by malbrecht - May 26, 2019 17:53:26

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Hi

If you want to use Houdini as modeling software, that laptop should be fine.
GTX 1060 with at least 16 GB RAM and CPU i7 ideally 7 and 8 generation.

However for other parts specially FX I think Microsoft surface is not good option as it is expensive and you can't find proper specifications on that.

We have laptops with CPU i9 (even with i9 9900k) CPUs , gtx 1080 or rtx 2080 and 32gb of memory at least which are great for all of the parts of Houdini with reasonable prices.

Alienware, MSI GT series and Asus ROG series and some of them are so light and slim aswell such as MSI GS65.
of course if you don't need tablet.
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Similar to what people were saying you can't go wrong with an Intel I7 Gen7 and a Nvidia 1060 and at least 16 GB of ram.

I have a Dell 7577 and it runs Houdini on Linux/Windows crisply. I upgraded the ram to 32 gigs and swapped the extra HD for a SD and am impressed what it can handle with Nuke/Mari/Maya/Houdini/Resolve.
soho vfx
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AnngryKitten
I also intend on doing work in Harmony regarding 2D animation
I would check with ToonBoom about the GPU before you buy anything. I had serious issues(Harmony was completely unusable) with Titan Xp, their support acknowledged they don't test on one.
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I would like to know what the original poster makes of our comments.

After all, we invested valuable time, trying to provide answers to her questions - the least she could do is say “hmm, doesn't help me at all, I was looking for someone to blame when it doesn't work”.

Marc

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My apologize for not replying sooner been rather busy!

Judging from people’s comments an reflecting on what I want to accomplish, I wonder if it would be viable to get a laptop with better GPU and Ram ?

The Tablet part of the surface book is very enticing to me especially because it gets rid of the drawing tablet setup stage and being on the go a lot would , it would only make sense.

A friend of mine recommended a ASUS fx504

I5-8300H CPU Quad core 8 threads (8TH GEN)
1050ti 4GB
8GB DDR4 (up to 32gb)
240 gb ssd

But I think it might be too weak for what I want. In terms of laptops that meet good standards for rendering and fx what do you guys recommend?

If it’s an option to upgrade ram on the surface book I would fully do it but I think it’s pretty hard to do so.

Thanks again for the help !
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> The Tablet part of the surface book is very enticing to me especially because it gets rid of the drawing tablet setup stage and being on the go a lot would , it would only make sense.

When you remove the screen part on the SB2 you only have one battery side left and are limited to the Intel GFX chip (no access to the NVidia GPU), keep that in mind. I use the table feature mostly to show data/results to colleagues next door - and plug it back in right when I come back.

You cannot upgrade anything internally on the Surface Book. It is closed, done-in system. If you know for sure that 16GB will not suffice, this device is not an option. However, I would consider a cloud setup if you NEED to move that much data. My colleagues usually start with setups from 128GB RAM onwards - and use much smaller systems on the go, because the remote-log-in anyway.

Keep in mind that less memory on the GPU may severely limit the GPU's usability - in theory modern GPU code can fall back to CPU, but in general, you want to be able to push as much memory as possible to the GPU.

Marc

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Hmm , very good points.

I think it might be better to invest into a strong laptop with great cpu and gpu.


I think I will take a good look at Sadjads suggestions. I’m will to sacrifice tablet portion for performance anyday.
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