Laptop for Rendering Animations in C4D?
So.. looking all over the internet and getting confused as heck at people suggesting tons of different things, I decided to ask people who actually used the software themselves.
My laptop recently decided to die, and now I'm looking to buy a new one for my university work. I'll be working in Cinema4D doing animations and stills, using vectorworks and also some gaming engines etc.
Looking to spend around £700 ($1100-$1200) but I guess I could save more.. just a little cash strapped at the moment being a student and all.
What laptop would you recommend I try to buy for this purpose? I want fairly fast rendering times, and the last laptop seemed to be OK at that.. just not great at times. It was a Toshiba Satellite L850 with 4GB RAM, Core i5 Processor 2.2Ghz.
I thought I knew a good deal about computers but this is a topic within it that I know very little about.
For rendering, there are plenty of systems out there that should do the trick - you don't necessarily have to spend a ton. As far as speed goes, you'll want to balance a good processor with a decent graphics card (don't skimp on one to put all your money into the other). I would recommend (at minimum) an i7 processor (or AMD quad-core+ equivalent) and at least 1gb graphics card. RAM shouldn't be an issue for you, I've been working off of 8gb for years, and a typical mid-range laptop these days is likely to have at least 8gb, if not more. I also recommend (but not critical) finding a system that has multiple hard drives (or you could work with a high-speed external). Keeping your OS, software (c4d) and textures on one drive while rendering to the second drive can significantly speed up your render times by eliminating a lot of the strain placed on on drive (seek times, read/write speed, etc). Alternatively if you're stuck with just one drive, go with a Solid-State drive as seek-times aren't an issue. Something to also consider would be a powerful cooling system. Most high-end laptops will have this covered, but be careful with the "thin" models as this is usually where they save space. Keeping your CPU and GFX card reasonably cool can make a difference in render times, as well as prolong the life of your system.
If you can afford it, you're really better off putting a little more money into your system if you plan on using it for the next few years. At the rate computer power increases (as well as the demand in workflow) you may find whats 'good enough' now doesn't quite cut it in two or three years... especially now that 2k and 4k are on the horizon for most of us.
That being said, I personally have been ecstatic with my Alienware M17x. It's about 4 years old now and still packs a punch. For reference, it has a 2.3ghz i7 quad-core, 2gb AMD Radeon gfx card, 8gb of RAM and two hard drives, which at the time ran me about $2300. I just glanced at their site and it looks like a base 17" model runs about $1500 (and aside from screen resolution, has some decent specs). Although with Alienware you're buying the name, so you may consider checking out Origin PC, Razer or Xotic. Typically anything marketed towards gamers is going to have the hardware you need.
I hope this helps. If you decide to go with a more affordable / less-powerful system, you could make use of C4D's Net Render setup... perhaps your University is willing to / has the Net Render clients installed in a computer lab. This works great when you're on a deadline, I've use Net Render to process a 390 hour render in just 28 hours.