Laptop suggestions

Hi everyone :wave:t2:

I am working with Touchdesigner for quite a while. I also use Resolume, After Effects, Photoshop and Ableton a lot. I work from my Macbook Pro Retina 15inch 2015 laptop but its not optimal. I was wondering what kind of laptop you guys are using and suggest to work on. What kind of processor, memory, graphics card and storage? It doesn’t matter if it’s a Mac or Windows laptop. What are the differences and advantages of Mac or Windows?

Thanks a lot

The biggest thing you want is getting a Nvidia GPU. There are a number of features that are exclusive to Nvidia GPUs and generally their performance is best. This is one of the issues with macOS since Apple and Nvidia haven’t played together in over 6 years.

There are also a number of Windows-only SDKs, such as Kinect/RealSense/ZED cameras, Notch TOP, and the Oculus and Vive VR support to name a few.

If you are interested in which features are limited on some systems, you can refer to our system requirements page: https://docs.derivative.ca/System_Requirements#Feature_Specific_Requirements

For actual benchmarks for laptops, you can think of TouchDesigner as a video game engine, it’s realtime and requires much the same for specifications. So looking up laptop’s gaming benchmarks will give you the best idea of how they compare for TouchDesigner as well.

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They’re not cheap, but if you can shell out for a Sager laptop, the right one is basically a desktop replacement. They’re big, loud, heavy. The brick alone weighed about as much as my last laptop (razer blade). They’re impressive machines, with dedicated gpu’s, fast i7’s. Thought I’d throw that out there!

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I am on my third year with an MSI gaming laptop which has pretty decent performance for Touch Designer with intel i7, 16GB RAM, nVidia GTX 1060 and 256GB SSD drive (which is not enough storage for VR and Touch projects really so I use two little SANDISK 500GB SSD drives - very compact). If you look for models that handle both gaming and VR for Oculus well you will probably be happy. Mine was reliable enough I bought a second updated one for the art gallery which also ran reliably for months continuously. They both run pretty hot when GPU is maxed out so I keep mine on a little fan/stand thing for cooling from wallmart.

The new MSI units have the rare and hard-to-get latest nVidia high end RTX series cards (thanks to bit coin miners and covid). I would love to have one of those. Take a look at this link: https://ca.msi.com/Landing/2021-11th-rtx30-laptops/nb and watch some YouTubes on MSI creator series and golden ratio screens.

I guess if you are not too worried about portability a desktop gaming PC would give you the ultimate TD performance, but I like the all-in-one laptop approach. Get as much RAM and storage as you can afford. I am constantly running out of storage so have to do a lot of shuffling - especially with huge VR programs and Unity projects.

Hope this helps - good luck!

I was able to pick up an ASUS laptop with a Nvidia RTX 2060 GPU for a relatively modest price (and 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD). (They popped up on sale at a local BestBuy for several hundred $$ off a couple months ago). It’s not top of the line, but can really do well by TouchDesigner. Price point around $1000-1500 USD, much better than some of the top-line laptops that can easily be double the cost.

I recommend taking a look on Newegg, Amazon, and brick-and-mortar retailers like Microcenter and BestBuy if you have one nearby.

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