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Best Laptop or Desktop for Animation and 3D

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Last response: in Laptop Tech Support
September 5, 2012 8:42:29 PM

Ok, my daughter is going to an Art college next year for Media Arts & Animation, which I know nothing about, but I see some things in the catalog about the following- Programs they may be using are: Adobe Flash Professional, After Effects, Premiere Pro, Final Cut, Motion, and Autodesk 3ds Max and Maya. Can you tell us what laptop or desktop we should plan for? The $ amount is irrelevant at this point, since we intend to make it a High School graduation present, we just want to make sure she has what she needs for this college/career.

More about : laptop desktop animation

a b D Laptop
September 5, 2012 9:12:54 PM

You can get a dell Precision Desktop T7500 with the best option for only 13K+ before taxes/shipping & handling. And that not even include any monitor, I think it can have up to 4 with the setup.
September 5, 2012 10:17:53 PM

I would recommend a desktop computer of some kind, unless a laptop is required.

I am currently attending art school for visual effects (3d computer graphics for film) and I use a custom built pc desktop. For 3D rendering and video editing, the most important specs for a computer are the RAM (amount and speed, 16GB is preferred), the processor (cores and clock speed, quad-core or better is recommended), and the hard drive (space and speed, a quick 3.5" drive at 1TB or more is recommended).

The graphics card isn't quite as important unless you're gaming. Any mid-range nVidia quadro or geforce card would work (quadro 2000 or gtx 560 or better) just fine. But you may not even need a card that fast.

As for a monitor, I definitely recommend looking into more color-accurate monitors. I use a Dell U2410 and it is great! The U2412m is also good I hear.

My entire setup is probably around $2000 but you could easily sacrifice in some areas to get it down to $1500 or $1200 if needed.

If you want to buy a pre-built computer, make sure you get at least a quad-core processor, 16GB of ram, and 1TB of hard drive space with any kind of dedicated graphics card, and it should work for a while. Same with a prebuilt laptop, but it will probably be more expensive than the desktop equivalent.
a b D Laptop
September 5, 2012 10:22:52 PM

Budget is something that needs to be planned as it will determine what to look for and as rgd posted, a pc can cost as much as a new car. As this pc is for a student just getting into the field, you'd probably don't want to spend ~$15k.

I would recommend a desktop because they will have better performance, cost less and the more screen space, the better. Around $1500 would get a pretty high end pc with an i7, at least 8gb ram and a good graphics card like a 560ti or quadro 2000. You will probably want to go with nvidia for the graphics because some add ons use nvidia's cuda technology, especially adobe products. Multiple monitors is a big help, and I will suggest at least 2, 24" 1080p monitors. An ssd is a must for a high end build and will speed up workflow a bit. At least 120gb would be enough for the os and software. Also keep in mind the software costs quite a bit, but that can wait til which program they specifically need at the time. You will also want to get a wacom tablet, at least a medium size, or cintiq monitor if you want to spend more.

Assuming you aren't building it yourself, you could go with the major manufacturers or go with a custom build place like which will probably offer better specs for the price. We could help pick specific parts if you choose that route. Of course we can also find a good hp/dell/etc. if you choose that route. I could post links to a few pcs but I like to have a budget so I'm not shooting in the dark.

Edit: In reply to the above post as he posted just as I did. You can't specifically look at more cores/ghz as this is not telling of performance. An 8 core amd cpu will be beaten by a quad core intel i7 even if it were less ghz. Also, the gpu would be more important depending on if they use gpu accelerated renderers which I would recommend doing. This will cut down on render times quite a bit.