Scouting a new computer to run TD and other VFX tools

Hi everyone,

I know this is a discussion that comes up all the time, but I wanted to ask the community this question as it’s a big decision for me. :slight_smile:

I am looking for a new laptop, switching to windows from mac. I’m wanting to utilize more the features of TouchDesigner and to also start working with other tools such as Unreal engine and Notch VFX. (The sky’s the limit!). I want a laptop because I want to use it for live performances, and want to have something portable. I want to make sure I can run TD on multiple monitors, at least 5!

I’ve read many forums already on this topic, as well as Elburz’s article on how to spec a computer for TD, and I’ve asked around. All very helpful! It allowed me to put together a list of requirements. Basically good CPU (i7 or i9). Good GPU (nVidia rtx series). Storage capacity 16gb recommended but 32gb all the better! 1tb of storage at least. Cooling capacity. And finally lots and lots of ports.

My budget was maximum 2000€ but could go higher if necessary. I’ve managed to narrow down my options to an MSI Pulse GL76 12UEK for 1900€ or an MSI Stealth GS77 12UH-058BE for 2800€ both from Backmarket (links provided).

The price is almost 1000€ difference, and the main difference I noticed between the two was the graphics card. The less expensive having Nvidia rtx 3060 and the more expensive having Nvidia rtx 3080. There could be other differences I’m not aware of but I am a newbie at all of this.

So my question is: should I go for the more expensive one with the better graphics card? or could I do well with the less expensive one? It is an investment so I hope to not be doing too much more enhancing once I buy the computer.

Any other feedback or opinions are welcome :slight_smile:



Without knowing what do you want to do exactly with TD:
– Size of projection (you speak about 5 monitors but which definition?)
– type of image (3D geometries, GPU particles, mixing video clips…
The best would be to rent or borrow a machine and test what do you want, there is so many parameters!

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I agree with Jacques, if you have a specific goal set out to reach you might need a certain level of power in your system. If you don’t yet have such requirements, then working within the limits of your hardware and saving some money might be just fine. The higher spec one might last longer before you feel like upgrading is required, but the cheaper one would save you money so you can upgrade earlier in the future. :person_shrugging:
Also look into the ergonomics of the choices, keyboard, trackpad, screen, and weight are all very important for a machine you’ll spend so much time with. This is often overlooked.

If you plan on using TouchDesigner AND Notch / Unreal at the same time, that is extremely taxing on any system and you would probably want the higher spec of these two options. You can run Notch Blocks inside TouchDesigner and you can run TouchDesigner inside Unreal with our plugin in case you didn’t know.

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Hi, thanks a lot both for the replies. It’s really helpful!

Sorry, I wasn’t clear about how I’m using TouchDesigner. In my experience I work a lot with GLSL vector fields. GPU particles. Video mixing (vjing). And as well as a lot of audio reactive work. I do also installations which require me to connect to large monitors. I have a picture below showing the size of the monitors. Also, I’m still learning new tools like Notch and unreal so I would essentially like to run those tools as well, though may or may not necessarily be in tandem with TD. I did know about the notch blocks and unreal plug-in! :wink: though I haven’t yet had the chance to experiment with it. I also teach and give workshops but most of my students are still using Mac so in this case I try to keep the lessons aimed at features that a Mac can support.

Ergonomics are important too like you said! I will try to take a closer look into that. My current Mac has an Azerty keyboard but I type on it in qwerty.

What language/region are those offered in?

Europe! I’m based in France, but I’m used to typing on qwerty, so I changed the keyboard settings to qwerty. I don’t usually need to look at the keys ^^