Advice on Laptop for working with 3D software

Jun 12, 2023

I'm considering buying a new laptop and I need some advice. I'm studying Animation & Game, so I need a laptop that can handle professional 3D and Game Engines software (i.e. Maya, ZBrush, Substance, Unity, Unreal, etc) and 3D rendering. I need this laptop to be reliable for the next couple years, as I probably won't have the money to upgrade again until I finish my studies and find a job. I'm not considering a desktop PC for various reasons, though I know that it would make things easier in terms of getting the best performance at a reasonable price point.

Here are my requirements:

Budget: max. 2500 €, though less would be preferred (incl. student or other discounts)

Size: not above 16" and as light as possible

Keyboard: not mechanical (regular laptop keyboards preferred), no num block preferred

Screen Resolution: min. Full HD

Portability: doesn't matter; will only be used at home

Battery Life: doesn't matter; will always be attached to the power cord
Games: not a priority; I assume if it can handle 3D software, it can handle games

Tasks: 3D modeling, texture painting, animating, simulations, rendering, etc. (Would be awesome, if I could render in the background and still continue working)

RAM: min. 32 GB, upgradeable to 64 GB preferred (dual channel with 2x 32 GB)

Storage: min. 1 TB SSD

Laptop Life: viable for min. 4-5 years

Brands: anything that's available in Europe, Germany and doesn't have crashing issues with 3D software (I've heard that some builds just don't work with Maya, for example, but I don't know specifics).

Additional Info: I can get student discounts from sites (i.e. 15% from Acer)

Grafics cards I've been considering: RTX 3070TI, 3080, 4060, 4070

Processors I've been considering: i7 12700H, 13620H, 13700H, 13900H, 13700H, i9 13900H, 13900HX

Laptops I'm considering:

Or perhaps it would be better to build my own. On MIF, for example, I configured the following for 2274 €: i9 13900H, RTX 4070, 64 GB RAM, 16" WQHD 240 Hz screen, 1 TB Samsung 980 Pro SSD, Windows 11 Home.

Basically, I've done lots of research, but don't know what combination of processor, grafics card, and RAM would be best for my needs and what combination would be sufficient (so I can save some money). Sites also don't offer much info in terms of cooling systems and how much power is provided to the grafics card.

Any advice, personal experiences with laptops or brands, and recommendations would be greatly appreciated! Also, what's your experience with configuring your own laptop and what should I look out for, if I end up doing that?
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Jun 12, 2023
Thank you for replying, Maryann!

I wanted to update this, incase anyone finds this and is wondering what I ended up doing. I bought the Dell that I listed as an option (2023 G16 7360 with the i9 13700HX and RTX 4070). It was on sale (it still is, currently) and I was able to get it for 1870 € with my student discount; that was a fairly good price for that configuration, I think. I'm going to upgrade it with 64 GB RAM (Crucial) and a 2 TB additional SSD (Samsung), so the total price will likely be around 2100ish after I sell the 32 GB RAM that's currently in the laptop.

Fingers crossed that everything works out, especially with the cooling system. (Dell couldn't give me any details other than "2 fans" on that, which is quite sad imo. I did read on a different forum that it uses similar cooling to Alienware, so I'm hoping that's true. I guess I'll just have to wait and see.)

Also fingers crossed that the Samsung SSD with heatsink fits inside the laptop, because Dell couldn't tell me that either. :,)
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