Laptop Review with Scene, Recap, Arena, Edgewise, Revit

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Orangeduke
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Laptop Review with Scene, Recap, Arena, Edgewise, Revit

Post by Orangeduke »

Brand - Metabox (Clevo) Model - P770DM (17.3")

If you are time poor, the bottom line is I would highly recommend this laptop. I use Scene, Recap, Edgewise, Rhino with Arena and Revit. If you would like more information, read on.

Because I now work at a couple different firms I have been looking at upgrading my desktop to a laptop for some time now, lugging a desktop around is not much fun. Given the choice I would prefer 2 boxes, a dedicated crunching machine similar to what mruss posted (High Speed Registration Machine) (http://www.laserscanningforum.com/forum ... 733#p51383) and something else for modelling and everything else. But due to circumstances mobility takes priority. Since mid 2015 the major manufacturers have been releasing details on their next generation laptops and after a fair bit of research I decided to wait for the release of those models rather than purchase a laptop 8 months ago. The main reasons to wait were

1. 6th Gen i7 motherboards (laptops) can now take up to 64 GB RAM rather than a max of 32
2. That RAM can be DDR4
3. SSD can now be M.2 NVMe variant due to new motherboard
4. The new motherboards now have Thunderbolt 3.
5. Incremental increase in processor speed as well as laptops with Xeon processors

Interestingly when you look at processor speed alone, there is no compelling reason to upgrade to a i7-6xxx processor because there are already some quick i7-5xxx or even 4th gen, especially for desktops. But when you combine the 6th Gen processors with the above points, I think it is worthwhile to upgrade

The new motherboard required for the 6th Gen now means you get the full benefit of using the quickest SSD. Previous laptop motherboards used SATA SSDs and can't utilise the new SSD's to their full potential due to bandwidth limitations on older motherboards. Samsung claim the 950 Pro “outperforms SATA SSDs by over 4.5 times in sequential read and by over 2.5 times in sequential write, delivering the speeds of 2,500 MB/s and 1,500 MB/s respectively”

Thunderbolt 3 is promising to be of great benefit to mobile uses. Thunderbolt 3 is a port which has transfer speeds of 40 Gbps as opposed to 10 Gbps for USB 3.1. So it has a significant throughput increase. Thunderbolt3 also means you don't have to use a dedicated docking station. Dell, HP and other manufacturers will shortly release new products that utilise Thunderbolt3. Basically your old chunky docking station can be replaced by a small, compact box which you can plug all your peripherals into and then only 1 cable is plugged into the Thunderbolt3 port. See the attached pic. You can even have an external graphics card connected via Thunderbolt3 to help improve your rendering performance.

Depending on where you live, Dell has released models 7510 & 7710 and Lenovo their P50 & P70 as mobile workstations. HP is due to release their new Z Books soon. But while researching these laptops I came across "Barebones" laptops which I had never heard of. In effect it's a laptop box and dealers fit them out however they seem fit. Clevo (http://www.clevo.com.tw) manufactures a large range of Barebone models and they have workstation replacement models with 15" and 17.3" screens. Here in Australia Metabox (http://www.metabox.com.au) distributes a number of models and I chose the P770 DM (17.3") http://www.metabox.com.au/store/profess ... rkstations. Other countries have other distributors.

The benefit of the Clevo model is that they take a desktop processor rather than a specific processor for laptops. So it uses a i7 6700K which has excellent base (4.0 Ghz) and Turbo (4.2 Ghz) processor speeds and it's basically the quickest option in the 6th gen Quad Core series. Compare that to the Laptop specific i7 6920 HQ with base (2.9 Ghz) and Turbo (3.8 Ghz). The downside of using a desktop processor rather than the laptop processor is that they use more power so battery life is not great (3 hours) but that doesn't worry me so much. This machine is meant to lift heavy loads not push emails around the place, that's what I use my iPad for. In the same vein, it’s not light weight. It’s a big laptop and for that reason I purchased a new Everki back pack which is doing its job nicely.

The specification that I struggled with the most was the graphics card. Metabox base configuration for the P 770 DM is a 6 GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 970M. I contemplated configuring a Nvidia Quadro M3000 4GB but that was an extra $500 Aus. As we all know, Graphics cards play a very important role and for software such as Revit, Autodesk only recommends Quadro cards because they are designed for CAD whereas GeForce is designed for gaming. Search online and you can find videos benchmarking Quadro cards against GeForce in a 3D CAD application and the Quadro card performs significantly better. However, I also found users that said they never had any problems using GeForce cards for CAD. In the end I decided I could try the 970 first and if I wasn't happy then I could upgrade to something like the Quadro M3000 later. I put the $500 towards getting the full 64 GB of RAM.

So this is the spec.

17.3" IPS (1920 x 1080) Matte FHD
Nvidia GeForce GTX 970M
Core i7-6700K 8MB 4.0GHz
64GB DDR4 2133MHZ (4 x 16GB)
Samsung 950 Pro 512GB M.2 PCIe SSD
No 2nd M.2 SSD Selected
1TB 5400RPM HDD
No 2nd Hard Drive Selected
802.11 BGN / Bluetooth M.2
No External Optical Disc Drive Selected
Win 10

As you can see I can still add another M.2 SSD and standard drive so I could end up with a total of 3 TB of storage.

So far it has performed very well. Seat of my pants feels like it is loading scans into Scene significantly quicker than my previous computer and I am able to open and use data sets that I could not even open beforehand. Likewise creating Project Point Clouds feels definitely faster along with rendering videos.

In Recap and Arena indexing/Converting scans is noticeably quicker. Again, I am using file sizes that I couldn’t previously utilise and in Rhino I can easily bump up the points quality to 100% and still orbit/pan/zoon etc VPC files that are 10GB. In Revit I have worked on RPC files that are 8GB and its been fine. I have no doubts that people are working with much bigger file sizes but so far this is what I have worked with and I am just trying to give an indication that the laptop is performing very well. Unfortunately I haven’t processed any scans in Edgewise yet, only opened and worked on previous Databases and again it’s been great that I can bump up the number of points being displayed easily without any lowering of performance.

The GTX 970M has been fine so far but there has been one noticeable glitch. In Revit I use my Desktop monitor for modelling etc and I use the laptop screen for the Project Browser and Properties Palette Windows. If ever I need to drag the Properties or Project Windows they leave a “Outline” behind. I can make this outline go away by “giggling” the windows so it’s not permanent. That has been the only drama so far.

Finally, the above comments lead me to my final point and one that I have been thinking about for a while now. I propose this forum should have a set of datasets that can be used to Benchmark computers. I am willing to spend a day scanning so that we end up with a set of 30-40 scans which are then kept on this forum for users to download. Users can then record how long different operations take such as importing scans, pre-processing, registering, applying colour, Creating Project Point Clouds/Unifying and exporting etc. Times for different processes in different software along with computer spec could be listed on the forum. From these times we could start to see what computer spec makes a difference and by what margin, if any at all.

We could even make it a bit more scientific. I have a colleague who has a P40 so we could have a Faro and a Leica scan the same project enabling us to have one set of data for Cyclone and one for Scene. That would be interesting.

Sorry for the long post but sometimes it has to be that way :)
zbook_studio with Thunderbolt 3 Dock.jpg
My Office.jpg
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Re: Laptop Review with Scene, Recap, Arena, Edgewise, Revit

Post by Orangeduke »

Forgot to mention the 6700K can be overclocked. Some claim up to 4.8Ghz


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Re: Laptop Review with Scene, Recap, Arena, Edgewise, Revit

Post by Chris06 »

Thanks for the comprehensive review...

Can I ask a ballpark figure $$AUD? We're looking at laptops at the moment and the new Z book range looks top of the list but you've given some food for thought, especially if there are significant savings.

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Re: Laptop Review with Scene, Recap, Arena, Edgewise, Revit

Post by Orangeduke »

Metabox website lets you configure and price your laptop, my spec was $4161. All the major brands have great laptops and the Z books are very popular.


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Re: Laptop Review with Scene, Recap, Arena, Edgewise, Revit

Post by GlobalAndy »

Hi Gregg,
Glad to see you doimg well mate.

I just ordered the below beast from Lenovo.
Havnt got it yet but should be a beast.

It ran around 11,500 NZD

System components
Intel Xeon E3-1505M v5 Processor (8MB Cache, up to 3.70GHz)
Windows 10 Pro 64
Windows 10 Pro 64 English
17.3" 4K (3840x2160), anti-glare, IPS
64GB DDR4 2133MHz ECC SoDIMM (16GBx4)
NVIDIA Quadro M3000M 4GB
NVIDIA Quadro M5000M 8GB
With Color Sensor
720p HD Camera with Microphone
Backlit Keyboard with Number Pad - English
3+3BCP, Fingerprint Reader,Color Sensor
Integrated Fingerprint Reader
Software TPM Enabled
512GB SSD PCIe-NVMe
512GB SSD PCIe-NVMe
DVD Burner, 9.5mm high, fixed
1TB
230W AC Adapter - ANZ (3pin)
8 Cell Li-Ion Battery 96Wh
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260, 2x2, Wi-Fi with Bluetooth 4.0
17.3" 4K(3840x2160),2D Camera,no Touch,with Color Sensor,with WLAN and WWAN antenna
Publication - English
1 Year Depot or Carry-in

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Orangeduke
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Re: Laptop Review with Scene, Recap, Arena, Edgewise, Revit

Post by Orangeduke »

That should serve you well Andy. Did you choose the M5000M?


Gregg

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