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kitkats

Best mini-PC's for mograph?

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I've been stalling on upgrading my aging Mac Pro for a loooong time now, and the longer I stall, the more I'm drawn towards Windows. Problem is, I could really use the portability of the nMP. I want something I can fit in a bag and carry in and out of town on a train journey with a couple of changes without getting shoulder cramp. I don't follow the world of PC manufacturers at all, so I'm looking into it now. Just figured someone here might already know best?

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Pretty sure Boxx do a (very expensive) render slave which is supposed to sit on top of your main workstation. Not sure what you'd do for video out on that.

 

The issue you're going to face is that most cases are designed with expansion in mind rather than portability.

 

Origin offer rather revolting looking mobile workstations http://www.originpc.com/Workstation/laptops/eon17-slx-pro/

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Pretty sure Boxx do a (very expensive) render slave which is supposed to sit on top of your main workstation. Not sure what you'd do for video out on that.

 

The issue you're going to face is that most cases are designed with expansion in mind rather than portability.

 

Origin offer rather revolting looking mobile workstations http://www.originpc.com/Workstation/laptops/eon17-slx-pro/

You mean the RenderPro ? Looks ok but seems like it's integrated graphics only. Shame

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Yeah, i was hoping I could find something with a bit more punch in the CPU - maybe 6 or 8 core; and a desktop series GPU. But it does look like PC laptops are the only thing that's portable enough. I'm pretty much back to waiting for the next MacPro which I'm not holding my breath for. That could easily be another 12 months.

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After trying to do this myself (to take a computer for work abroad in airline carry on), I can say with some certainty there isn't a PC option that fits.

 

The smallest PC I could make with full length GPU and a desktop i7 was based around a SUGO SG09 case (micro-ATX motherboard form factor, but smaller than the Corsair) which can take an 850w PSU, proper cooling and 32GB RAM. Even then it's quite tight inside. It's small, but with a decent PSU it's about 9-10KG all-in, and not something I'd want to haul around on a train for very long, unless you were prepared to put it in a peli with wheels or something.

 

The mITX cases (eg the Corsair 380T mentioned above) are limited to 16GB RAM on almost all mITX motherboards.

 

Below that size it gets very expensive (HP zbook territory). A lot more money for a lot less CPU and GPU power than quite a cheap mini-desktop (due to mobile processor versions) and still about 5KG fully loaded. But on the plus side the zbooks can be purchased with 17" dreamcolor screens.

Edited by robertbowen

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I don't understand how people drag their own computers around to offices.. is this normal?

 

Do these people pay you? Ive had very limited experience with people who asked me to bring my own hardware, and it was always a pain to get them to pay, if they ever paid...

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Unfortunately, not much can be done yet. Apple did do something special with the form factor of the Mp that PCs can't do because of established standards. This came at a cost, of course, with there only being a single proc in there and being 300% reliant on thunderbolt, but nothing PC can even try to compete and make a cylindrical option. There just isn't a standard form factor that allows someone to arrange the bits in the same manner.

 

You could go for a micro ATX motherboard setup. It will get you the closest, but also at a cost. Typically, you can only use one good video card in there, which is fine, but it just won't ever be your octane farm or anything. They also typically have fewer PCI slots than the typical workstation-class motherboard. It may be perfectly fine - especially if its a mobile rig. You can still house the same procs and ram as the large boards.

 

Here is a link to micro-atx cases. Since form factor seems to be the largest concern, I'd say find a case that would work best for you and build around that.

 

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100007583%20600006318&IsNodeId=1&name=Mini-ITX%20Tower&cm_sp=Cat_Computer-Cases_4-_-VisNav-_-MiniITXTower

Edited by AromaKat

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1388411270.png

 

BitFenix Colossus Micro-ATX

 

maybe you can fit 2 titans in there?

 

then you get a mini octane render :)

 

but really, just use the money you save on the apple to pay for render farms. I love render farms :D

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This laptop runs a desktop CPU. I haven't looked into it much as I've already got a recent mobile quad I7.

It's probably heavy and has crap battery life, but for horsepower/dollar it might be OK as a portable mograph machine.

 

http://www.pcworld.com/article/2864379/origin-beastly-new-eon-laptops-boast-full-blown-desktop-core-i7-processors.html

 

This is what I'm working on right now. I had priced out a mobile desktop and found that I wasn't going to save much money by going that route, and it introduced a lot of headaches, like making sure components fit.

 

So far, it's been pretty great. I'm kind of a one-man show now (I left Sequence a few months ago), so not having access to a render farm is hurting a little, but animating on it has been pretty good. There aren't many (any?) other laptops that can rock a desktop processor, 32gb of RAM, hold decent (and modern) video cards and support like fifty internal hard drives. Well, not fifty, but I think between SSDs and regular HDs you can have internal four drives, which is impressive considering it's still pretty slim.

 

I priced out similar stuff from ASUS and MSI, but everything was either super overpriced compared to Origin or had serious drawbacks. Kind of surprised that Lenovo didn't have any noteworthy mobile workstations. If you need to be mobile, Origin seems to be by far the best option.

 

Crazy that, for the same price as a MacBook Pro, you can get essentially double the specs from Origin. The only reason to go MBP is if you need battery life more than you need performance. The performance gap is huge.

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Which processor did you end up putting in this machine, and what's the heat like when (for example) you leave the thing rendering overnight?

 

Although I noticed that Origin can overclock the K CPUs (!!!) I would be worried about long term heat dispersal, and about cooking the thing with hours of rendering.

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I got the 4790K. Heat's been fine. They have it set up to send most of the heat out the back -- I have an external keyboard, but keyboard of the laptop itself is usually just warm, never hot, which is amazing. Not sure how they're managing to deflect everything. I haven't paid much attention to the heat being piped out the back, but I'd assume that when it's rendering it could probably cook a hot dog. I should check.

 

(Just looked it up, apparently people are reporting that the back vent hits around 101 degrees, and the touchpad and between the G and H keys can hit 90 if you really stress it. Definitely hot, but not as hot as similar laptops.)

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damn... thats pretty awesome!

 

i was looking at origins thin laptops, but then realized that they where just the msi GS60's... so got one of those instead ( no massive wait time).

 

but this thing sounds pretty cool too. and doesn't look that big either...

 

back in the day when i was using my asus g53 to render, which is probably thicker than what you got now, i remember i would put on its side while its rendering overnight, and if possible point a fan at it. made things much cooler.

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