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Wes Macaulay
2007-01-10, 12:54 AM
Since we have a recommended hardware component thread, the advent of truly powerful mobile computing means that you have no excuse -- you can take your work with you ;-)

There are a large number of laptops manufacturers out there and I'm sure some of you are wondering what to drop the bucks on.

As with desktops, the principles are the same: ensure the CPU, video card, and memory requirements are up to par.

WARNING! Only Revit 2008 has been tested with Vista. If you are using Revit 9.1 or earlier, it probably will NOT work with Vista.

CPU



Intel Core 2 Duo processors lead the pack for performance. Get at least a 1.8 Ghz processor. CPU speeds range up to 2.33Ghz. The Core 2's offer about 10% better performance than Core Duos of the same clock speed.
Core Duo processors: these dual core processors don't support 64bit computing, which may become a handicap as 64bit computing becomes the standard. You'll save a few dollars and this chipset will suffice for at least a couple of years. You can switch to a Core 2 Duo chipset later since they fit in the same slot. CPU speeds for the Core Duo also range up to 2.33Ghz.
Centrino or Core Solo: a single processor which again will not support 64bit computing. These CPUs are fine but dual core CPUs will shine when you're rendering or busy with several applications open at once
AMD Turion 64 X2: a competing 64bit capable dual core CPU from AMD that competes with the Core Duo but is outclassed by the Core 2 Duo; again look for something in the 1.8Ghz range and up
Sempron and Celeron: single core CPUs to be avoided because of their lack of L2 cache memory on the chip
Video/Graphics Card
If you use your laptop in an office and want to use it with dual monitors or a super widescreen monitor, look for a laptop with a DVI output. Laptops with VGA output can only drive a second monitor (beyond that on the laptop itself) but can't do more than that.

ATI: Radeon X1300 is a minimum in the mobility series, with good reports from X1400, X1600 and X1800 users; any of the Mobility FireGL cards will also fare well. Almost all ATI cards are compatible with Revit.
nVidia: any of the QuadroFX cards will do; users of the GeForce GO cards are also reporting good success, especially with the 6000 series cards and higher. Note that some nVidia cards are not entirely compatible with Revit's display system.
Avoid the nVidia Quadro NVS cards because they are not designed for 3D applications
Integrated video cards should be avoided, though the Intel 950 integrated video cards produce the best performance results of this type
See http://www.notebookcheck.net/Mobile-Graphics-Cards-Benchmark-List.844.0.html for a comprehensive list of mobile graphics card benchmarks
Viewscreen
Whether you choose the increasingly popular glossy finish or another finish, you need to choose a resolution higher than 1024x768 -- it's just not enough for CAD.

Memory
Some laptop models only allow a maximum of 2GB of RAM. For very large projects (over 100Mb in Revit file size) this may not be enough. 1Gb is a real minimum for Revit or any CAD application. If you're planning to work with Vista then consider a 2Gb minimum.

Hard Drive
Hard drive performance has improved a lot on laptops in recent years, but consider getting at least 80Gb of drive space.

Networking
Many laptops do not come with Gigabit network cards; if your files are always large and your office is Gigabit wired, consider getting a laptop with this capability. On the wireless front 802.11g is the current standard, and perhaps someday the Wireless N standard will be used.

Known Winners
There are several new laptop models that are being used in our area and work well with Revit.

Dell
Dell's value is hard to beat, and if you don't need more than 2Gb of RAM, the Inspirons are a steal. The Latitude series are attractive but aren't available with CAD-capable video cards. Note that Dell models now only ship with Vista.


most Inspiron models with dedicated graphics cards -- note these have a 2Gb RAM maximum
Precision M65/M90
all XPS models
Apple
The MacBook Pro models combine great styling and design with phenomenal performance. They now run Windows XP either within OS X using Parallels or by dual boot using Boot Camp. These laptops provide a 3Gb maximum for RAM, but can be outfitted with 4Gb of RAM. The MacBook Pro uses the ATI Radeon X1600 or on new models nVidia GeForce 8600 video cards.

HP
The US and Canadian sites offer different models, many of which would run Revit well. Simply pick a model with the CPU and video card specs recommended above.

Lenovo
This Chinese company has taken over the IBM laptop line and continue to build the respected Thinkpad notebooks. Some models of the 3000 series, as well as the R, Z, and T Thinkpad models all have sufficient specs to run Revit admirably. The Thinkpads use ATI video cards.

Toshiba
Toshiba's laptops seem a tad overpriced, but are nice to look at. Toshibas suffer from a lack of ruggedness on some models. You will need to choose from the "Multimedia" or "Gaming" categories on their website to find a model with the specs you need to run Revit. Toshibas only use nVidia dedicated video cards.

Sony
Sony sells a wide line of laptops, all of which boast great styling. All models offer a max 2Gb of RAM for memory. You can readily find a model with the specs needed to run Revit. Sony laptops also tend to be more expensive than other brands, and they only use nVidia graphics cards with their laptops.

Other brands
There are of course other makers of laptops such as Acer, Asus, and others whose reputation is not as strong as those listed here.

If you have bought a laptop recently, post your results here with your laptop specs and tell us what you like/dislike about your laptop. Please don't post if your laptop is no longer available, unless you think your post still applies to new models.

patricks
2007-01-10, 02:25 PM
We have 2 users in my office on Precision M90 laptops, with dual monitors attached while in the office. They work pretty well for Revit.

aaronrumple
2007-01-10, 02:31 PM
We have an HP nw9440 laptop in the office. I've always been a fan of Dell laptops - but this HP is nice. It has 2 gig ram and a wide screen running Nvidia 256 mb graphics card. It has a nice low profile and good keyboard layout. If I needed a new system my self - I'd strongly consider one of these. Runs Revit quite well.

But I'll wait till I can afford decked out MacBook....

BomberAIA
2007-01-10, 09:13 PM
I'm using a Macbook pro with 2 gigs of ram and it works fine.

funkman
2007-01-10, 09:37 PM
Great thread - we have been needing this for a while


Has ayone used a Sony Vaio ?

I am looking at
17" widescreen - 1920x1200
Core 2 Duo Processor T7400 - 2.16GHz
Graphics is NVIDIA GeForce Go 7600 GT

any ideas on this?

Wes Macaulay
2007-01-11, 06:57 AM
That Vaio will scream -- good specs all round. I'd be interested to know if your video card works with Revit with OpenGL acceleration in Revit enabled.

I own a Dell Inspiron 6400 maxed out with all you could get with this model when I ordered it. (Core Duo; Core 2 Duo wasn't available yet.) Performance is 25% better than my P4 3Ghz desktop at the office but the Inspiron's styling isn't great.

Andrew Dobson
2007-01-11, 07:52 AM
I have used Sony Vaio S series and SZ series laptops.

They are very fast transportable and light, but the NVIDIA GeForce Go 6200 graphics card on S series laptops and NVIDIA GeForce Go 7400 on SZ series laptops seem to have problems with Revit Hardware acceleration (some lines are not displayed correctly, particularly in the family editor). Turn off hardware acceleration, and its fine (but not as smooth).

funkman
2007-01-13, 04:21 AM
That Vaio will scream -- good specs all round. I'd be interested to know if your video card works with Revit with OpenGL acceleration in Revit enabled.

I own a Dell Inspiron 6400 maxed out with all you could get with this model when I ordered it. Performance is 25% better than my P4 3Ghz desktop at the office but the Inspiron's styling needs serious help!Installed a demo copy of Revit today at the shops with some large-ish files of around 70Mb.

Awesome! faster than my desktop. It started off fairly normal, but when I turned OpenGL on it did indeed "scream". Around 0.1sec delay for regenerating shadows after spinning in 3d for a large complex file. As for styling - it really is second to none.

Now looking for a good price.

ajd - this model of Vaio was great - perhaps its that model of graphics card?

Crosseyed
2007-01-15, 05:29 PM
I picked up an Alienware 5700 about a year ago for Revit and extracurricular activities. Don't do it, the motherboard died after only 11months of use, not over aggressive use either the basic day-to-day. The only way to get it running again is an expensive flight back to the Alienware HQ, a new $600 motherboard and whatever labor would add up to because they charge you by the hour. I now own a $2400 paperweight. And the tech-support/ sales people wouldn't assist me with diagnosing the problem unless I purchased a 1 year extended service agreement ($250.00)

The one great thing about the computer was that it ran a desktop CPU and not a moble version. To say that it would run Revit is an understatement. I don't know if the Dell XPS systems run full size CPUs but if you can afford it (and carry it, 10+ lbs) they are worth it.

madcadder
2007-01-15, 05:50 PM
Dell
Precision M90


Rocks. Very good deal. Solid computer.

cstanley
2007-01-15, 07:23 PM
right now, running Latitude D820, core 2 duo, 4gb ram. screams... 'course revit won't use that last gig of ram...

Wes Macaulay
2007-01-15, 08:46 PM
Colin, how does your notebook's graphics compare to other notebooks in your office? The NVS video cards are for 2D business applications and I haven't seen how they perform with 3D CAD apps like Revit.

I've clipped a screenshot from nVidia's website:

blads
2007-01-31, 11:25 PM
I had to upgrade my laptop just before AU, due to Qantas potentially banning Dell Laptops on all long haul flights... so I got this little beastie and I'm extremely happy with it

ASUS - Lamborghini VX1
Intel® Core™ Duo Processor T2500 2GHz, 2MB L2 Cache, 667 MHz
2GHz DDRII667MHz Main Memory

NVidia GeForce Go7400 VX 512MB with TurboCache™
160 Gb 2.5" 9.5mm IDE HDD Ultra DMA 100

Size: 331x 272x 25.4- 30 mm (W x D x H) yes its only a 15.1" screen but I was more concerned over weight
Weight: 2.43Kg (with 8-cell battery pack installed) (5.3lbs)


http://www.asus.com.au/610%5Cimages%5Cproducts%5C1188%5C1188_m.jpg

sultarc
2007-02-02, 03:52 AM
Dell, Inspiron 8600 here w/ 2 gigs of ram. 15.4 wide aspect screen. It seems to do pretty well.

dbaldacchino
2007-02-02, 04:07 AM
Colin, how does your notebook's graphics compare to other notebooks in your office? The NVS video cards are for 2D business applications and I haven't seen how they perform with 3D CAD apps like Revit.

I've clipped a screenshot from nVidia's website:
I have a Dell D820 with Nvidia Quadro NVS 120M and sadly, I had to disable OpenGL :( It's really bad with Revit Building 9.1 (under 9.0 I didn't have problems). I was to the point where I couldn't work, with about 10-15 fatal crashes per day. And the most amazing thing is that this typically happened when I was just hovering around with my mouse over the model. Another odd thing is that to display correctly, I have to turn on Overlay Planes.

Once I disabled OpenGL, the crashes stopped, but refresh has slowed down and it's impossible to work with shadows...very disappointing. I highly advise to steer away from this card.

sifuentes
2007-02-03, 11:45 PM
nVidia: any of the QuadroFX cards will do; users of the GeForce GO cards are also reporting good success, especially with the 6000 series cards and higher. Note that some nVidia cards are not entirely compatible with Revit's display system.
Avoid the nVidia Quadro NVS cards because they are not designed for 3D applications


Does anyone know if the Quadro Fx 1500, 2500 or 3500 will work with Revit? Those are the options I have for a Precision M65/M90 (in Mexico).

Video card options for Dell laptops are very limited now, when the M20 offered the Mobility FireGL V3100. HP has a laptop with option for a FireGL, but I'd rather go with a Dell.

Thanks,

Wes Macaulay
2007-02-04, 05:28 AM
I hate to say it, but you might want to go with a model with an ATI card just to ensure compatibility with Revit. The nVidia models are compatible with most Autodesk software, but you're not guaranteed compatibility with Revit, sadly.

sifuentes
2007-02-05, 02:39 PM
Thanks Wes. I will see what the Dell representative says about geting a Precision without a video card, and installing a Mobility FireGL myself. The precision workstations run FireGLs, so I guess the laptops could run them too, as they did in the past.

GuyR
2007-02-05, 06:44 PM
The nVidia models are compatible with most Autodesk software, but you're not guaranteed compatibility with Revit, sadly

I know Wes has had some problems with nVidia cards but I respectively disagree. I have had excellent results with nvidia cards. Looking to the future you can imagine the Factory will be looking to support both manufacturers equally well. I might add, looking at some notes on SOM's setup they use Quadro FX's so they can't be that bad ;-)

Guy

Wes Macaulay
2007-02-05, 06:58 PM
And there may be a setting somewhere that will make these cards work consistently with Revit. Now that ATI is owned by AMD, Intel may not play nice with ATI hardware and ATI may find itself shunned by Intel in favour of nVidia...

sifuentes
2007-02-06, 02:44 PM
I know Wes has had some problems with nVidia cards but I respectively disagree. I have had excellent results with nvidia cards. Looking to the future you can imagine the Factory will be looking to support both manufacturers equally well. I might add, looking at some notes on SOM's setup they use Quadro FX's so they can't be that bad ;-)

Guy

Guy, which FXs are you running? Most Quadro FX cards that are reported to work with Revit are older models (500-540), and those are no longer available in new computers. Many people seem seem to have problems with Revit and newer FXs.

Thanks,

iru69
2007-02-06, 04:18 PM
I think there's sometimes a misconception that laptops have graphics "cards" inside them that can be replaced/upgraded. This is not the case. There are integrated graphics (e.g Intel 915) chips that are part of the motherboard "chipset", and there are discrete graphics chip sets (e.g. nvidia geforce go 6150) that are added to the motherboard, but they're both "integrated" with the motherboard.

I don't know if the discrete GPUs are socketed and can be replaced if defective, or if it's possible to swap a 6100 with a 6150, but I know it's not possible to upgrade from one series to another or from nvidia to ati. The only way to swap laptop graphics is to swap the motherboard.

There are a few exceptions - some manufacturers have come up with proprietary upgradeable graphics modules (I think Alienware might have something like that), but it's not widely available.

It would be nice if there was a standard laptop graphics "slot" like desktop's "agp" or "pci-e", and I think there have been initiatives to come up with something like this, but I'm not aware of any standard that is currently out there. I guess it would be kind of hard to establish a form factor.

Edit:
Just happened to come across this a few minutes ago:
http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=5989
The article refers to MXM which is a standard graphics card slot technology for laptops that nvidia came up with a couple of years ago released to great fanfare (but has little to show for):
http://www.nvidia.com/object/IO_13289.html
Maybe upgradeable graphics will soon become a common?

dbaldacchino
2007-02-07, 05:59 AM
After talking to Colin Stanley (see post above), I played around a bit with the graphics settings in the Nvidia control panel and I have been able to work with OpenGL turned on with no fatal errors, so perhaps the NVS 120M WILL work with Revit, if the right settings are chosen. I'm still trying to figure out which setting is the main source of the crashes, but I tried a few things:

Under the Nvidia Control Panel, 3D Settings->Adjust all image settings: first I tried checking "Extension Limit" but Revit still crashed. Then, I left this setting turned on and set the "Image Settings" to Best Performance and changed "Vertical Sync" to Force Off. Trilinear optimization and Anisotropic optimization are also unchecked. So far this setup has enabled me to use OpenGL and I worked for 4 hours straight with shadows turned on in 3D, rotating around etc. and it's been working flawlessly and very fast. I'll tweak the settings again in the coming days to see what happens. I'm honestly not sure what most settings do, so I'll experiment and post back here, but results look promising so far.

cstanley
2007-02-07, 08:19 PM
that's right, david. i have been successful with these settings, but i'm going to try to monkey around with some of these others as well.

i was telling David that I have never really been very successful running openGL, so i usually have it turned off, with overlay planes on (i confess that i really don't know what overlay planes are all about.) I will continue experimenting as well (afterall, i'm BIM overhead now.. :)) i will also try to let everyone know my results...

cstanley
2007-02-07, 08:47 PM
Colin, how does your notebook's graphics compare to other notebooks in your office? The NVS video cards are for 2D business applications and I haven't seen how they perform with 3D CAD apps like Revit.

I've clipped a screenshot from nVidia's website:

Wes
I haven't really noticed any detrimental effects with the quadro graphics. it seems to perform well, however i now believe that the performance has little to do with graphics capabilities and more to do with processing horsepower. i'm simply using my task manager performance meters to help gauge all this, and the processor gets hammered pretty hard during regens, but ram seems pretty flat, especially during STC. when running revit on one of my larger projects, my ram plateaus around 2.3 (sometimes as low as 1.7) but the processor gets hammered pretty hard.

using the settings mentioned by David, I have noticed a reduction in some of revit's graphical artifacts. that's a nice benefit.

we've actually started to run into performance degradation due to our media lab's render farm activities. Typically, the entire company's machines are used to render all night, then the revit users (on the large projects) hammer the processor all day long. the cpu fans NEVER stop running and the processors are constantly running hot and never get a break to cool down. this, i believe is drastically hampering performance.

dbaldacchino
2007-02-08, 08:43 PM
See attached for the settigns that seem to be working best. I think that the "Vertical Sync" setting was to blame for the constant crashing. Forcing it off seems to have done the trick.

bheng
2007-02-27, 08:51 PM
I'm about to go for the Mac Book pro with 2gb for revit/3dsMax. has anybody had any negative experiences with it?

iru69
2007-02-27, 09:38 PM
I'm about to go for the Mac Book pro with 2gb for revit/3dsMax. has anybody had any negative experiences with it?
I don't believe this thread is the "sticky" Wes was referring to... try this one:
http://forums.augi.com/showthread.php?t=35939

There's also:
http://forums.augi.com/showthread.php?t=47282
http://forums.augi.com/showthread.php?t=52956

mmodernc
2007-03-09, 07:24 PM
I have Toshiba Sattellite P100 Core Duo 2500, 2 gig ram, Nvidia Go7300 512 Mb, 100 Gig Hardrive.
Lasts less than 2 hrs on battery and seems to take performance hit. Open GL only used when shadows on.
Why cannot Autodesk and Nvidia bang their heads on this and get the drivers fixed for Revit. This has been going way too long I.E. for two grown up companies carrying on like they don't know each other. IT IS REALLY COMPROMISING MY ABILITY TO CONVINCE OTHERS WHAT A GREAT PROGRAM REVIT IS WHEN THE SHADOWS TAKE FOREVER AND THE WALLS DISAPPEAR WHEN I SPIN THE MODEL.
Also for some reason after several hours the thing goes to a black screen and locks up. I don't know if this is overheating or maybe a timer I have set by mistake. But for some reason I have lost around six hours of work and when I get it going again the last file saved was the one before I started the machine. This may have been because I did not realise I was not saving regularly but even the backup files were not there and when I try to run a journal file it does not run the full course, crashes anyway or goes into interactive mode.

Andrew Dobson
2007-03-12, 09:00 AM
See attached for the settigns that seem to be working best. I think that the "Vertical Sync" setting was to blame for the constant crashing. Forcing it off seems to have done the trick.


Thanks very much - this has completely solved the missing lines problem that I had when zooming on my Sony SZ2 laptop. This has always been a great laptop (small, light and powerful) and now excellent for Revit as well.

I would recommend anyone with an nVidia card tries this.

Wes Macaulay
2007-03-12, 03:07 PM
I'm about to go for the Mac Book pro with 2gb for revit/3dsMax. has anybody had any negative experiences with it?No problems. Great notebook for Revit work and quite popular for its good design and components. Uses the ATI X1600 graphics cards.

funkman
2007-03-14, 12:32 AM
I was waiting for the new model of the Sony Vaio to be released - the new AR38GP. I waited a few weeks until it was released - and the problem is they only release it with bl00dy Vista! Arrrgh. No option to use XP Pro.


So......I spoke to a tech mate who has a company dealing in technology who absolutely swears by Asus laptops. He has recommended the following:

Asus W2P
Intel® Core™2 Duo Processors T7400/ T7200/ T5600/ T5500:
2.16GHZ-1.66GHz, 667MHz, 4MB/2MB L2 cache
Intel® Core™ Duo Processor T2600:
2.16GHz, 2MB On-Die L2 Cache, 667 MHz
XP Pro

Mobile Intel® 945PM Express Chipset

DDR2 533/667 MHz DRAM, 2x SO-DIMM socket expandable to 2GB

17" WUXGA/ WXGA+(Dual Lamp)/ WSXGA+ TFT LCD
ATI Mobility™ Radeon™ X1700, 256MB, GDDR3
SATA 80/100/120/160 GB


Anyone have any comments on this?

.

Wes Macaulay
2007-03-14, 12:10 PM
Yeah -- that Asus laptop should be excellent. Great specs. Get the 2Gb of RAM, tho.

mmodernc
2007-03-15, 07:31 PM
What does ISV certification for Autodesk Revit mean?

ISV certifications
MCAD: AutoDesk AutoCAD, AutoDesk Inventor, Autodesk Revit, Bentley MicroStation, Dassault CATIA V5, UGS I-DEAS NX 10, UGS I-DEAS NX 11, UGS/PLM Unigraphics NX, Unigraphics NX2, Unigraphics NX3, UGS Solidedge, PTC Pro/Engineer/Mechanica 2001, PTC Pro/Engineer/Mechanica Wildfire, MSC. Patran, SensAble, SolidWorks, CoCreate OneSpace Designer, ICEM Surf, PTC DV Mockup; DCC: Discreet 3DS, MAZ/Combustion, Alias Maya , Alias Studio Tools, Avid SoftImage XSI/3D, Avid Xpress Pro, Adobe Premiere After Effects; GIS: ESRI ArcGIS 9.0, Oil/Gas, SMT, Landmark/GeoGrpahix, EDS, Roxar, Schlumberger/Petrel

http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/au/en/sm/WF05a/1090709-1124051-1124051-1124051-12434688-12401254.html

iru69
2007-03-15, 08:10 PM
What does ISV certification for Autodesk Revit mean?
It simply means that Revit has been tested and certified by the supplier to be fully compatible with the hardware.

Wes Macaulay
2007-03-15, 08:26 PM
Cool! An nVidia-powered video card that's certified for Revit usage -- nice to see.

tc3dcad
2007-03-16, 02:24 AM
Excellent list Wes.... Thank you very much!

I have an HP ZD8000 series laptop with P4 2.4, 512mb (max is 2gb), ATI X600 mobility (128mb), Win XP Home, 17" widescreen, and I forget what else. It is a little slow on opening Revit (not the file) but once it is up it runs faster than my main work computer. Planning on upgrading the ram though!

Jshaver
2007-04-04, 04:46 PM
So revit will not run with vista? 32 or 64?

iru69
2007-04-04, 05:15 PM
So revit will not run with vista? 32 or 64?
Revit 9.1 will work with Vista on most systems, but is not officially supported and some people have had problems running it on Vista.

Revit 2008 (scheduled for release in the next few days) is officially supported on Vista Premium or better (both 32 or 64).
http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/index?siteID=123112&id=8479263
However, notice the subtle difference between "requirements" and "recommendations".

Also, there may be other reasons unrelated to Revit that make XP a better choice (mostly having to do with compatibility with other software and hardware).

fhunziker
2007-04-10, 07:12 PM
I'd appreciate your comments to help me decide between the following 3 laptops:

Dell M90
Intel Core 2 Duo 2.33 GHz, Vista Ultimate, 17 inch WUXGA LCD, 4 GB SDRAM, NVIDIA Quadro FX 512MB, 100 GB HD @ 7200 rpm, 8x DVD/RW

Dell M1710
Intel Core 2 Duo 2.33 GHz, Vista Ultimate, 17 inch WUXGA LCD, 4 GB SDRAM, NVIDIA GeForce Go 7950 GTX 512MB, 160 GB HD @ 5400 rpm, 8x DVD/RW

Sager NP5960-V
AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-60, Vista Ultimate 64 bit, 20inch WSXGA LCD, 4 GB SDRAM, dual NVIDIA Geo Force Go 7950 GTX 512MB, (2) 100GB SATA HD @ 7200 rpm in RAID 0, 8x DVD/RW

I'm aware of the current Vista/SLI dual mode limitation. I'm also aware that the Sager is apples to oranges with regards to video, hard drives, and screen size.

Thanks!

Felix

Wes Macaulay
2007-04-10, 07:41 PM
The M90 looks like the most likely winner. But let a few others opine before choosing ;-)

fhunziker
2007-04-10, 09:03 PM
Hi Wes. Can you elaborate on your decision? What is it about the M90 that makes it the front-runner?

Thanks!

Felix

Wes Macaulay
2007-04-10, 09:57 PM
I prefer the Quadro cards for CAD work -- the GeForce cards don't have drivers that have been tested with CAD apps.

I would order your computer with XP if possible. We don't know how well Revit 2008 will run with Vista, and 9.1 rarely works with Vista from all reports.

zanzibarbob7
2007-04-10, 09:59 PM
I have the M90 and love it for when I'm away from the desktop machine. I think as I get caught up I can us it for rendering. Great machine. I'm glad I waited, I think I got one of the first available.

fhunziker
2007-04-11, 12:12 AM
Hi Thomas. I intend to use this as my desktop replacement so your comment about "loving it while away from your desktop" makes me wonder if this is a good idea.

Would you use it as a desktop replacement? And, BTW, do you use the advanced port replicator?

Thanks!

Felix

dbaldacchino
2007-04-11, 12:14 AM
I have a D820 and use it AS my desktop. The problem is the video with OpenGL. I finally disabled openGL and set everything for optimum performance. It runs fast but forget shadows.

We're thinking about the M90 and was wondering if zanzi has tested it extensively with OpenGL. Do you get fatal errors or is it stable?

zanzibarbob7
2007-04-11, 10:41 AM
Fhunziker,

My desktop is an XI with 4GB RAM and two 21" monitors. Which one whould you work on? The M90 is fine but only has one screen. I only wish that Revit used both screens like Photohsop does so I could drag a few windows onto the other screen instead of tiling.

I don't know what the other thing is you mentioned but I had it set up so I can synchronize both compters so my important files are the same on both machines. Saves using a jump drive.

David, I have open GL turned on with the M90 and have no problems. A freind got an HP for cheaper (about the same specs) but I'm told that the M90 is of a higher (workstation) standard, therefore the extra expense. I can't confirm that but I would rather error on the side of reliability than expense. Maybe Wes could comment. He certainly has a better grasp of computer than I do.

fhunziker
2007-04-11, 08:46 PM
Thanks for the reply Thomas.

The M90 I have in mind will have 4 GB RAM and I'll run (1) 24" flat panel off it. FYI, the port replicator is part of a docking station. The laptop snaps into a socket and - voila - you have all your external connections in a single procedure. The monitor sits on top of the docking station.

Felix

Wes Macaulay
2007-04-11, 09:13 PM
I'm having second thoughts on notebooks altogether. I think if I had the option now, I'd try to afford one with a FireGL card that would run using ATI's constantly-updating drivers. With Dell, you have to generally have use their drivers, and their drivers are not updated very often, if ever after a certain point. In fact, it's a problem with all the notebooks. Do they use ATI drivers, or their own? It's an important question, and I don't know the answer presently.

cstanley
2007-04-12, 02:00 PM
Thanks for the reply Thomas.

The M90 I have in mind will have 4 GB RAM and I'll run (1) 24" flat panel off it. FYI, the port replicator is part of a docking station. The laptop snaps into a socket and - voila - you have all your external connections in a single procedure. The monitor sits on top of the docking station.

Felix

that's how i roll with my latitude D820, 4 gig. Runs like a scalded dog (if you leave OpenGL off) and just pop it on and off the docking station. makes for quick getaways on sunny days ;)

dbaldacchino
2007-04-12, 03:08 PM
For some odd reason (which leads me to believe that the problem is due to some other Dell driver), the D820 doesn't crash (or at least not as often) when running OpenGL and not docked (using the laptop screen only). Once you dock it and use it in dual monitor mode, all hell breaks loose.

Wes Macaulay
2007-04-12, 03:23 PM
David, see if your notebook allows you to make the monitor your primary display. That will save your notebook screen for when you really need it...

dbaldacchino
2007-04-13, 03:34 PM
It does....I use both screens. I make the monitor as the primary and the laptop screen as secondary. When I work at home on the laptop only (1 screen, not docked), I rarely (if ever) experience crashes due to OpenGL. When I'm docked at work with an LCD as primary and the laptop screen as secondary, it crashes constantly. So I finally gave in :( I've increased all my settings for top performance and quality and disabled OpenGL. From testing RAC earlier, crashes occurred too, so we're no longer buying D820's (or at least I hope not!!) and I suggested testing an M90.

Wes Macaulay
2007-04-13, 07:21 PM
How about when docked, you turn off the notebook screen altogether?

dbaldacchino
2007-04-15, 12:31 AM
No, when docked I use the Samsung LCD monitor as primary and the laptop screen as secondary (dual screen). I move the project browser to the secondary screen.

Wes Macaulay
2007-04-15, 01:29 PM
I'm just thinking -- when you're docked, if you disable the secondary screen, your problems might go away...

dbaldacchino
2007-04-16, 03:04 PM
But, but, But...I like my dual screen :(
I'll give it a shot in a couple of weeks and post back. Cannot afford more crashes at the moment....deadline fast approaching. I'll also install some updated monitor drivers.

dbaldacchino
2007-04-16, 03:50 PM
Well, I couldn't resist, so I tried.....didn't last long as you can see. It crashed when nudging a filled region. Soooo, I'll get my dual screen but no OpenGL with this machine :cry:

dtownsend
2007-04-20, 04:57 PM
We currently have Dell M90 set-ups with 2 19" Monitors and a docking station.

Intel Core 2 2.16GHz 994MHz
4GB Ram
NVIDIA Quadro FX 2500M 512MB
100 GB Hard Drive
Windows XP Pro 32 Bit

Works very well with Revit and the other programs that we use.

barry.138467
2007-04-27, 06:28 PM
We currently have Dell M90 set-ups with 2 19" Monitors and a docking station.

Intel Core 2 2.16GHz 994MHz
4GB Ram
NVIDIA Quadro FX 2500M 512MB
100 GB Hard Drive
Windows XP Pro 32 Bit

Works very well with Revit and the other programs that we use.

I had the exact same system @ my last job with the exception of (2) 24" flatscreens, and it was great.

dtownsend
2007-04-28, 03:08 AM
I had the exact same system @ my last job with the exception of (2) 24" flatscreens, and it was great.Nice - they seem to be great machines and are much better then being tied to our old desktops.

We are trying to get 1or2 30" flatscreens, but we just got the 2 19"s about 4 months ago - so maybe in a year or two...

dbaldacchino
2007-06-07, 04:55 AM
Ok, somehow I got my laptop to play nicely with OpenGL!

We tried installing some "Omega drivers" that we downloaded and they didn't work (lost dual screen capability, etc). So I needed to reinstall my original driver (latest was downloaded from the Dell website, dated June 2006). Anyway, I decided to install the one from the CD that came with the laptop, dated January 2006 and guess what......Revit with OpenGL and Overlay planes turned on doesn't crash Revit Building 9.1 anymore! And I didn't even touch any default 3D settings, contrary to what I suggested in previous posts.

So there goes the theory to "update to the latest drivers". Here's a screenshot of the details. If you have a D820 and cannot find this driver, I'll be happy to give it to you. Now I'm hoping to have the same level of success with 2008.

Wes Macaulay
2007-06-07, 06:20 AM
Funny you mention that. Another Dell laptop I had only worked with the A03 drivers, but none of the later models (that went up to A08). So newer is not always better...

rookwood
2007-06-07, 08:05 AM
I spent an extended amount of time, about 18 months ago, on this site and others, researching notebook workstations and finally made the decision to go with the BOXX Technology GoBoxx 2300. This is the very common chinese made Clevo D900 unit as sold by Sager, Alienware, Voodoo, Eurocom and others.

The unit is equipped as follows:
P4 3.8 EM64HT, 3GB RAM, Nvidia Quadro FX Go1400, (2) 100Gb HDD, RAID 0, (2) DVD...$6,000 with software added.

First off, I thought the 13 pounds wouldn't be a problem. Well, I am currently on my third laptop case. It took about 3 months to rip thru my Swiss Army bag. Then the rolling cart lasted a little longer. Now, my 4 month old OGIO is about to bite the dust...weight DOES matter. When travelling, the accessories (battery, charger, etc.) add a substantial amount of weight.

2 weeks the motherboard went bad

6 months the motherboard went bad

12 months and out of warranty. BOXX no longer sells or repairs notebooks. Referred me to an outfit in Houston (I'm in Cincinnati). This is not a rip against BOXX, they are an incredible company and treated me with the same service as their large movie industry clients. Their extreme boxes are upwards of $45,000. Small, quality targeted company.

My unit totally died this weekend. Sent to Houston. If another chinese made motherboard failure, minimum 4 weeks and $1,200. The problem, as I'm told by the repair company, is that these units run so hot it just fries the insides. I can attest to this as most of the unit component tags have turned brown from the heat...and this is with 4 built in fans.

Until RAC 2008, this had been a remarkable machine. Revit 9.1 worked flawlessly, as well as all Adobe including their audio/video creation software. RAC 2008 will not (would not) open, even from the early Beta versions.

Cad Digest just completed a test on the new XI mobile workstation and said it was the fasted ever to be tested by them. However, I believe I am back to Dell and with no regrets whatsoever. As pointed out, their support for driver updates, from my experience with 3 Inspirons, times out. But now, I need some security and the Dell 3 year next day on-site repair and Complete Care Warranty is comforting.

In summary, I believe mobile workstations are not the solution if they can be avoided. Expense of mobility is just too great, but for me and others who spend as much time away from the office as they do at their desks, it's the only option.

DELL M90 with every thing and the new Lenovo tablet seem to be a winning combo!!!

Wes Macaulay
2007-06-07, 04:18 PM
One of the great things about Dell is ruggedness. As much as I think Dells looks stupid, their laptops stand up much better than HP, Toshiba, Sony and many others -- Lenovo being an exception. The fact that you can spec out your own machine is brilliant; few others allow any customisation and none offer the degree of customisation that Dell affords. There have been horror stories about Dell laptops being DOA and customers not getting great satisfaction in the solution, but of the 12 or so Dell laptops I've dealt with only one model (the 5150 -- a P4 model with a glitchy motherboard) that was ever a problem.

Sadly none of the Dell notebooks provide a numeric keypad on their 17" models. HP and Toshiba do...

dbaldacchino
2007-06-07, 05:56 PM
My only frustration with the D820 (almost same specs of the M90 but with less weight) started when I installed 9.1 and couldn't do OpenGL without constant crashing. That apart, it's a very stable machine, good battery life and runs cool (your problem with the BOXX was the P4! Duos run much cooler). Anyway, I've talked to some people with M90s and they still had problems with OpenGL. Somehow this driver saga needs to be fixed and the Factory is surely not to blame for it. Autodesk needs to leverage their power to get card manufacturers to come up with stable drivers.

Wes Macaulay
2007-06-07, 06:39 PM
David, have you tried the Omega drivers yet?

Given the tweaking the Factory did with this latest build, it makes me wonder if they might be more able to address the problem in-house than I previously thought...

c-hawk
2007-06-07, 07:59 PM
I have a loaded M90 that I run the laptop's lcd in dual mode w/ a next to a 20" widescreen. Revit is running fine w/ OpenGL, but there's something amiss with the video card's ability to display a certian color range w/o the color range 'dancing' on the screen ... if that makes sense. It may just be a bum card. It hasn't bothered me that much. It'll be just my luck that I get Dell to fix this issue and then Revit's success w/o OpenGL will take a nose dive.

dbaldacchino
2007-06-07, 10:05 PM
Wes I did, but somehow they're not compatible with this laptop. I lost the dual screen capability and had a few other hitches so I uninstalled immediately. That's when I decided to install the old CD version to give it a try and realised that it solved the instability (turned on OpenGL and forgot about it....then I was in a view with shadows on and ralized it was moving way faster than usual and remembered I had OG on and also realized I hadn't received any crashes!). Both my current driver and the updated one were available through DELL....my current from the shipped CD (Jan 2006) and the other through their support site (June 2006).

rookwood
2007-06-07, 11:17 PM
The 'consensus' best unit out there may be the Dell M90, so how do you justify $5,000 - $6,000 for a computer that most likely will not (given Dell's track record of timing out their driver updates) support Revit 18-24 months down the road?

Do you 'dumb down' and select an inferior unit just because it can be configured with ATI graphics?

It would be difficult to ask a company to fork out this much money every 2 years. Am I reading this thread correctly?

Wes Macaulay
2007-06-07, 11:35 PM
The problem is pretty much all notebook mfr's don't update their drivers, and don't allow reference (mfr's) drivers to be used on their hardware. There are mod tools that allow desktop card drivers to be used on notebook hardware, but that may not always be necessary. Once you find a driver that works with Revit, 9/10 times you'll be good with that driver for the life of the computer. It's not so much necessary to have new drivers all the time as much as just having one that works. The ATI Radeon driver I use on my Dell is frozen at version A03 from June '06 and it will probably work fine for the life of the laptop. And David reverted to an older driver and had more luck with it than a newer version... who knew??

rookwood
2007-06-08, 12:08 AM
I know BOXX always had me using older drivers and they seemed to operate better than the newer ones. BOXX certifies all their equipment before releasing and sometimes will not certify newer releases, including driver updates.

However, as I said before, my Nvidia Quadro FX Go1400 worked fine thru 9.1 while RAC 2008 could never be opened. Don't know if this was the graphics card or not but something in RAC 2008 didn't like something in my laptop. Autodesk has yet to address the issue. Do you believe this is NOT video related?

It is of great concern and a major reason for returning to Dell. Perhaps my feeling of security is misplaced?

Wes Macaulay
2007-06-08, 02:05 AM
Too bad your laptop is dead -- it would be interesting to see if you could get the new 0524 build to work on it.

Your confidence in Dell as a quality product is on solid-enough ground; but as for drivers? Harder to say. Stick with XP and you're likely to fare better. If you want to save a few clams (about $300), get an Inspiron with XP and the Radeon X1400 and you're going to be fine. With 2Gb of RAM (you can buy 2Gb RAM sticks separately if you want to go higher than 2Gb with only two RAM bays) you should be in good shape. The Inspirons aren't ISV certified, but the Precisions aren't even certified for Revit anyway! An Inspiron 9400 with the X1400 and 2Gb of RAM tips at $1450US; the M90 at nearly $1800...

rookwood
2007-06-08, 06:42 AM
Thanks. I borrowed my son's XPS over the weekend...very nice machine.

I don't believe my confidence in DELL is about quality as much as the service I had received from them with 3 earlier Inspirons. The 3 year warranty with Complete Care for a couple hundred extra $$$ is the hook and I know from experience that it works and works well. If they couldn't solve the problem over the phone, there would be a technician or replacement part in my office the next day.

This WORKSTATION stuff is a bunch of BULL & HYPE? So what's the catch? You can run my Adobe stuff on pretty much any machine, same for AutoCAD. Why spend the extra $$$ on an unattractive, heavy, user unfriendly piece of equipment? I'm temporarily using a 3 year old office hand-me-down no name laptop with a P4, 2.6, 40 GB HDD, 1 GB RAM and a Mobility M10 and doing fairly well with AutoCAD 2008, Adobe CS2 (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, etc.). I am using a 500GB 7,200 external HDD with the programs and files loaded onto that drive. But the point is, apparently it's all about REVIT!

I should go back and load RAC 2008 onto my son's XPS with a 6800 to see how well, if at all, Revit performs on that. Certainly more options available on non workstation laptops for those of of who use only 1 computer.

Wes Macaulay
2007-06-08, 01:53 PM
Just like we pay extra for a FireGL card that's essentially a Radeon that's been tested with CAD software and has custom drivers, the workstation laptops have been tested with CAD apps through some sort of rigorous process and thus give the buyer certainty that the machine works with their software. You don't get any more performance (really) for these machines over consumer machines with the same specs. And because there is no ISV certification for Revit (other than just the FireGL desktop cards) having a notebook or desktop with ISV certification is a waste of money if Revit is your main workhorse.

rookwood
2007-06-12, 11:40 AM
I received word late friday from Houston that my 18 month old very expensive and out of warranty workstation notebook from BOXX was dead and not worth the cost to repair.

Having cruised various websites over the past week, it appears that new technology is being brought to market shortly (or recently has been) in the area of notebook computers. The end of the year seems to be a better time to buy a replacement workstation. In an effort to get a temp unit that would be minimal in both cost and performance, I went to the local CompUSA store on Saturday and found an HP Pavilion dv9000 with a 17" screen, dual core T2250 (1.73 GHz), 1 GB RAM (I upgraded to 2 GB @ $90), 120 GB HDD (I have an external 500 GB drive), Nvidia GeForce Go 7600 (256 Mb) AND Windows Vista Home Premium for $799 after mail-in rebates. The sales person said I could return for any reason within 30 days for a full refund...great deal if it works!

Well now, for the first time since the Beta version, I can open RAC 2008. I opened an existing 80GB file, enabled OpenGL Hardware Acceleration and Overlay Planes, played around with the 3D view, re-rendered several views (INTERIOR and EXTERIOR files attached and reduced to 100 DPI) and can report that the performance of this $900 machine is at least comparable, if not speedier, than my $6,000 BOXX unit with the specs I posted earlier. I haven't started a new project as yet, but am encouraged so far.

With the Vista OS, I had only 2 programs out of many that were not compatible (Adobe Encore and Audition) and SketchUp Pro 6.0 froze on the welcome screen. An Nvidia driver update fixed that issue. My hope was that this machine would provide minimum performance just to get me to the end of the year. I did not expect it to run as well as it does with the CPU and graphics installed. IF, and that's a big IF, this unit proves out, my options have certainly been increased over the typical brick and "f'ew options available' workstation notebooks on the market.

Wes Macaulay
2007-06-12, 04:17 PM
Someone in my office has that same HP computer with the nVidia card in it and it's working great with 2008 and Vista. (Note that with the new builds of 2008 overlay planes can be turned off, allowing annotations with transparent backgrounds to display more clearly.)

So it's good news, and you may not need to upgrade your laptop for a while...

Lashers
2007-07-16, 08:04 PM
Got my new M90 yesterday . . . ahhhhh . . .

Just going to take off all the dell junk it comes with and get it set up! Thats the trouble with working for yourself, you can't play with new toys . . erk! . . equiptment on company time! ha . .

Andrew Dobson
2007-07-26, 10:26 AM
After talking to Colin Stanley (see post above), I played around a bit with the graphics settings in the Nvidia control panel and I have been able to work with OpenGL turned on with no fatal errors, so perhaps the NVS 120M WILL work with Revit, if the right settings are chosen. I'm still trying to figure out which setting is the main source of the crashes, but I tried a few things:

Under the Nvidia Control Panel, 3D Settings->Adjust all image settings: first I tried checking "Extension Limit" but Revit still crashed. Then, I left this setting turned on and set the "Image Settings" to Best Performance and changed "Vertical Sync" to Force Off. Trilinear optimization and Anisotropic optimization are also unchecked. So far this setup has enabled me to use OpenGL and I worked for 4 hours straight with shadows turned on in 3D, rotating around etc. and it's been working flawlessly and very fast. I'll tweak the settings again in the coming days to see what happens. I'm honestly not sure what most settings do, so I'll experiment and post back here, but results look promising so far.

The above solution has been working well on my Sony Vaio SZ2-XP with nvidia GeForceGo 7400 driver 8.4.9.1 for the last few months but I still get the attached message occasionally (using latest build of RAC 2008). Does anyone know how to stop the error message occurring?

Thanks

Wes Macaulay
2007-07-31, 06:28 PM
Just wanted to post that I ordered a 15" Macbook Pro (it was the best thing available in our area on short notice) for one of my users and it's an amazing machine. Boot Camp 1.3, Windows XP, Radeon X1600, backlit keyboard in low light conditions (I LOVE that). Makes my Dell look like a kludge!

sultarc
2007-08-15, 05:32 PM
I just got my apple macbook pro 17 up and running and so far it's a dream. It does not however seem to like the open gl activated. Everything just disappears off the screen when that is activated. I've got parallels on my machine.

ita
2007-08-29, 01:45 AM
The Thinkpads use ATI video cards

Unfortunately they now come only with nVidia chipsets - usually the nVidia NB8M-GS chipset - which I cannot find any information reference to and Lenovo cannot help! Any ATI chipsets are on old stock and usually with smaller graphics resolution and processing power.

Sigh!

Is anyone using a Lenovo T61 646073M ThinkPad or a VAIO AR Digital Studio Notebook AR2008 that can comment on compatibility and Open GL performance ? Chose these because of flatscreen sizes power and graphics resolution - but there may be other alternatives.

Wes Macaulay
2007-08-29, 01:19 PM
The Australian Lenovo website has a T60 (model #8741HAM) that has a new Core 2 Duo CPU on it along with an X1400 Radeon (which I have on my year-old Dell) that will likely work very well with OpenGL in Revit. Of course, it comes only with Vista :?

PS: you'd think they'd allow you to put on the FireGL if you called them!

dbaldacchino
2007-08-29, 03:01 PM
Update on the D820 and Nvidia display: Dell has released an updated driver dated June 2007 and it seems to work perfectly in Revit 2008. I have both Overlay Planes and OpenGL running and it is very stable. Other drivers issued after January 2006 and before June 2007 have caused instability.

cstanley
2007-08-29, 03:06 PM
Update on the D820 and Nvidia display: Dell has released an updated driver dated June 2007 and it seems to work perfectly in Revit 2008. I have both Overlay Planes and OpenGL running and it is very stable. Other drivers issued after January 2006 and before June 2007 have caused instability.

That's very good to know! I'll be sure to check that out...:mrgreen:

mnisbett
2007-09-11, 11:23 AM
The Dell M90 looks like a solid performer. But it looks like its replacement the Precision M6300 is even better. It still lacks the Keypad and it looks like an M90 But the specs look like it Rocks. Core 2 Duo at 800Mhz, 4 Gig of Ram, Quadro 1600M with 512mb Turbocache, and a 200 gig 7200rpm drive. I just wish they had a dual drive setup for a raid config. I think I may go for this one and pass off my HP NW9440, its been a good machine but I just lost a Ram slot. Time to Upgrade!:)

Simon.Whitbread
2007-09-12, 01:15 AM
We have an HP nw9440 laptop in the office. I've always been a fan of Dell laptops - but this HP is nice. It has 2 gig ram and a wide screen running Nvidia 256 mb graphics card. It has a nice low profile and good keyboard layout. If I needed a new system my self - I'd strongly consider one of these. Runs Revit quite well.

But I'll wait till I can afford decked out MacBook....

Now I've crossed to the 'dark side', I'm actually using this model for all demo's and support work. I have ALL flavours of Revit installed and regularly troubleshoot problem files without... problems!
I have 2 critisms

1. The 17" screen makes this too big for a normal laptop bag. It JUST fits into the ADESK backpack / laptop case.
2. Standard harddrive 80GB - I'm running out of space!

I love this machine - it goes everywhere and can do anything

architectureguy
2007-11-08, 12:38 AM
I'm looking for a Desktop replacement notebook and have been searching for a long time now. I've been looking at Sager & Clevo models primarily. I've looked at Dell (Precision M90) and Alienware M9750 (built on the Clevo D900C). Asus uses Clevo for their models as well. The configuration below is actually better than my current desktop at work. It has Quad Core availability but they haven't worked out all the bugs just yet, so I went with the Core 2 Duo 2.66ghz. Using 4gb of RAM and Vista 64 Ultimate. Looking to buy in January so they might have the Quad Core issues worked out by then.

Full Specs available here: http://www.xoticpc.com/sager-np9260-clevo-d900c-review-a-36.html
Thoughts?

-Gordon

Sager NP9260 (Built on the Clevo D901C) -17" WUXGA (1920x1200) Widescreen "Super Clear Glossy" LCD Display
-Intel® Core™2 Duo "Conroe" E6700 2.66GHz
-1066 MHz System Front Side Bus Speed
-2 SATA/150 Hard Drives Raid 1 200 GB 7200RPM
-DUAL Layer Combo 8x8x6x4x Dual Layer DVD +/-R/RW 5x DVD-RAM 24x CD-R/RW
-7-in-1 Card Reader (SD/MMC/MS/MS PRO/CF/MD/SM)
-4096MB DDR2/800MHz Memory
-Single nVIDIA® GeForce® Go 7950 GTX PCI-Express™ 512MB GDDR3 -Built in Ethernet 10/100/1000BaseT Network
-Built-in mini-PCI Intel® PRO/Wireless 4965AGN 802.11a/g/n Wireless LAN
-Built-in Bluetooth
-DVI & VGA External Monitor Output
-S-Video TV output
-TV-in Port (Requires Optional TV-Tuner Module) -11.75"W x 15.5"D x 2.35"H
-11.55 lb. including battery
-Integrated Digital 1.3Megapixel Video Camera
-Vista 64 Ultimate Edition

Wes Macaulay
2007-11-08, 02:29 AM
I'd still order it with XP, but it's up to you...

architectureguy
2007-11-08, 02:31 AM
I'd still order it with XP, but it's up to you...

XP 64 or 32 bit?

Wes Macaulay
2007-11-08, 03:53 PM
ehhhh... 32 bit, just because of drivers. Eventually, Revit and the rest of the CAD world will have all the wrinkles ironed out with Vista, and I expect we'll all be migrating in time.

Chirag Mistry
2008-04-21, 02:31 PM
Wes and team any suggestions on this laptop ?

- XPS M1530
- Intel® Core™ 2 Duo T5750 (2.0GHz/667Mhz FSB/2MB cache)
- Genuine Windows Vista® Home Premium - English
- 4GB Shared Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 667MHz (2 Dimms)
- High Resolution, glossy widescreen 15.4 inch LCD(1440x900)
- 256MB NVIDIA® GeForce® 8600M GT
- 250GB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive

Wes Macaulay
2008-04-21, 04:32 PM
Other than the GeForce card (see the nVidia vertical sync tip (http://forums.augi.com/showthread.php?t=70896)about this), this will make a great Revit workstation. There are driver modifications being done out there to allow GeForce cards to run Quadro drivers, but it may not work on a laptop.

dbaldacchino
2008-04-21, 10:30 PM
Glossy screens look cool and flashy, but I don't want them for myself. Since I've been working on matte LCDs, I found that I'm not straining my eyes as much as I used to due to glare issues with glossy screens. Just my 2c.

Chirag Mistry
2008-04-24, 06:28 PM
Thanks Wes and David for the input.

The laptop comes with an option for,
128MB NVIDIA® GeForce® 8400M GS or
256MB NVIDIA® GeForce® 8600M GT

I understand that 256MB will be a better choice, but that pushes me over the edge with my budget. Do you guys know if 128MB works fine ?

architectureguy
2008-04-24, 06:55 PM
After some consideration on my last laptop I decided to wait, and now have been presented with either the Dell Precision M4300 or XPS 1530.

The M4300 has the Quadro FX 360M 256Mb Graphics Card while the XPS1530 has the GeForce 8600M GT 256 Mb card. But pretty much I've set them up the same.

Also the M4300 I can get Windows XP on, while I'd go Vista Ultimate on the XPS. But other hardware would be the same. The cost comparison leans to the Precision with a small discount being offered right now, while the XPS even has a large discount, and I could get it through the EPP with an additional 12% off. Still the Precision comes out ahead on price.

Suggestions?

Wes Macaulay
2008-04-24, 07:44 PM
Chirag, either will be fine; we use the 128Mb FireGL cards around here and it's never a problem.

Arch guy -- go for the Precision with the Quadro powered laptop. The graphics are built for CAD, not gaming.

mlgatzke
2008-04-25, 02:59 AM
I second Wes' recommendation. I've been running Revit 2008 and now 2009 on a M90 and it's been running cool and smooth without any problems. I used to have a 17" XPS, but prefer the M90 WAY over the XPS. The XPS was bigger, heavier, and ran much hotter.

Also, I have to say that the M90 games pretty well too. I play COD4 on mine and maintain 60-120 fps consistantly. When it's time for me to buy another notebook, to replace this one, I'll be buying another Precision Notebook. As a matter of fact, I have a full Precision 490, but prefer my M90 over the full-size station - though the larger screens (2@24"ea) on the 490 is nice.

mick_espiritu
2008-05-01, 06:22 PM
H H H H E E E E E L L L L L L L P P P P ! ! ! ! ! !

hi, im going to use Revit 2008, and im currently looking for some affordable laptops to be used with Revit and i found this:

acer as4520G-552G16

Processor: AMD Turion™ 64 X2 Mobile Technology
Processor Type : AMD Turion TL-62 (2.1Ghz, 1MB L2Cache)
Chipset: NVIDIA nForce® 610M (MCP67-MV)
Memory: 2 GB DDR2 ( Upgradeable up to 4 GB )
Display Screen: 14.1" WXGA TFT Crystalbrite LCD, 1280 x 800 pixel resolution
Video Type: NVIDIA GeForce® 8400M G with up to 1 GB of TurboCache
Video Memory: 128 MB Dedicated Memory, up to 896 MB Shared memory
Hard Disk: 160 GB SATA HDD

is this okay.??? please help....
thanks in advance.!

-mick

mick_espiritu
2008-05-01, 06:47 PM
how about Mobile Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator X3100 ??? can i use this with Revit2008.?

architectureguy
2008-05-01, 08:21 PM
Well I ended up going the XPS route because of price.
Completely Maxed out system, Blue Ray, max RAM, Graphics, etc, was $650 off instantly, plus 12% off Employee Pricing Program through my office. That took $1,100 off the price.
Placed my order online. Then the next day Dell in it's infinite wisdom sent out a "2 Day Mystery Sale" email with a coupon code that gave me 30% off any Precision or Inspiron laptop. Moving quickly, I killed the XPS order on the phone. Called Small Business and ordered the M6300 (M90 updated), so I'll be lugging 2 milk jugs worth of laptop instead of 1, but I'll be way happier. 30% was over $1,250 off the price.

Went all out:
Windows Vista Ultimate (I plan to strip out it's "features" to make it glorified XP)
Intel Core Duo 2 2.60 Ghz, 6Mb L2 Cache, 800Mhz FSB
Nvidia Quadro FX 3600M 512Mb graphics card
Blue-Ray/CD/DVD +/- RW drive
4 Gb of RAM
17" WXUGA Truelife 1920x1200 Screen
160Gb Hard Drive

Drive out with taxes was right at $3,050

iru69
2008-05-01, 11:03 PM
I don't have any specific experience with that laptop, but purely from a technical specification, yes, it should run Revit okay (compatibility with the video card is always a wild card, especially with laptops, but it's performance should be okay, though on the lower end).

That CPU is pretty long in the tooth... I would think this laptop is under ~US$750? Probably not a bad laptop in a "tide-me-over" sense, or as a home/secondary computer, but not really ideal as a primary Revit workstation.


is this okay.??? please help....
thanks in advance.!

This is probably okay for Revit until your start using shadows. I'm guessing it's going to struggle with shadows a bit (even with OpenGL turned on), but it's all relative to what you expect. I would recommend something with a little more pop.

how about Mobile Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator X3100 ??? can i use this with Revit2008.?

architectureguy
2008-05-02, 12:42 AM
H H H H E E E E E L L L L L L L P P P P ! ! ! ! ! !

hi, im going to use Revit 2008, and im currently looking for some affordable laptops to be used with Revit and i found this:

acer as4520G-552G16

Processor: AMD Turion™ 64 X2 Mobile Technology
Processor Type : AMD Turion TL-62 (2.1Ghz, 1MB L2Cache)
Chipset: NVIDIA nForce® 610M (MCP67-MV)
Memory: 2 GB DDR2 ( Upgradeable up to 4 GB )
Display Screen: 14.1" WXGA TFT Crystalbrite LCD, 1280 x 800 pixel resolution
Video Type: NVIDIA GeForce® 8400M G with up to 1 GB of TurboCache
Video Memory: 128 MB Dedicated Memory, up to 896 MB Shared memory
Hard Disk: 160 GB SATA HDD

is this okay.??? please help....
thanks in advance.!

-mick

Mick,
A Vostro or Inspiron from Dell would be on the lower end of a price point, and still give you the basics for what you need with Revit 2008. The Acer you list would move rather slowly, and rendering or any animation would almost be impossible. You didn't give a price your sticking to, but prices I found for the Acer were about ~$700. You could get a much better machine for around $950 and get a larger screen at 15.4". Make sure you read this thread: http://forums.augi.com/showthread.php?t=70738&referrerid=151173 for some guidelines to consider.

mick_espiritu
2008-05-02, 02:23 AM
wow.! thanks for the replies.!!! it really helped me a lot.!ü thanks thanks thanks.!!!

iru69
2008-05-02, 03:21 AM
I don't at all disagree with your conclusion, but the Athlon X2 (dual core) @ 2.1GHz is hardly as poor a performer as you suggest. Based on benchmarks, it would probably fall somewhere between a 1.6 - 1.8GHz Core2.

The Acer you list would move rather slowly, and rendering or any animation would almost be impossible.

architectureguy
2008-05-02, 03:34 AM
I don't at all disagree with your conclusion, but the Athlon X2 (dual core) @ 2.1GHz is hardly as poor a performer as you suggest. Based on benchmarks, it would probably fall somewhere between a 1.6 - 1.8GHz Core2.

Very true on the benchmarks, I was more pointing out that for the money he could spend it better on a higher quality machine. I love the AMD chipsets, and wished all my Dells were available with them. I've seen renderings with only 1mb of L2 cache and a 512fsb and it's painful to watch. Bumping to 2mb L2 on a 667fsb chip would at least allow him to render some low to medium size models without too much headache.

rookwood
2008-05-02, 04:47 AM
I'm using an HP Pavilion dv9000 (about 8 months old) that I bought at Circuit City for $900. My $7,000 custom built mobile workstation died one Friday afternoon and I had a critical deadline to meet on Monday morning. It has been an absolute jewel, as has been HP. Vista Ultimate. No problem with complex renderings either. I am still shocked to see how well this laptop performs.

I'd be hardpressed to ever again spend much money on a mobile unit. I also have a new $10,000 custom built dual quad core Xeon workstation at the office that I rarely use because the Pavilion works so well. Can't recommend this enough. Make sure you get the Intel dual core. Most of the retailers carry the AMD units.

iru69
2008-05-02, 05:39 AM
Right, I completely agree on the bang for the buck. The Athlon architecture simply cannot compete with Core2.

However, the CPU architecture of Athlon X2s is quite different from the Core2. Athlon's don't rely on massive cache like Core2 does (and the P4 before it). Just about all the Athlon X2s currently only come with 512KB cache (per core) and it's incorrect to suggest that they're at a huge disadvantage when rendering. Sorry, I'm not trying to be argumentative, but the benchmarks back that up.

I've seen renderings with only 1mb of L2 cache and a 512fsb and it's painful to watch. Bumping to 2mb L2 on a 667fsb chip would at least allow him to render some low to medium size models without too much headache.

architectureguy
2008-05-02, 05:44 AM
Right, I completely agree on the bang for the buck. The Athlon architecture simply cannot compete with Core2.

However, the CPU architecture of Athlon X2s is quite different from the Core2. Athlon's don't rely on massive cache like Core2 does (and the P4 before it). Just about all the Athlon X2s currently only come with 512KB cache (per core) and it's incorrect to suggest that they're at a huge disadvantage when rendering. Sorry, I'm not trying to be argumentative, but the benchmarks back that up.

I should edit my statement. I wasn't thinking and was referring to another Intel chip as comparison. It is apples and oranges comparing AMD to Intel. Benchmarks are the only way to really compare them side by side. I'm still waiting for AMD to up there 512 higher as they hinted at in a tech brief I read. Maybe in the next gen of Turion or if the Phenom line goes mobile.

mnisbett
2008-06-24, 01:29 AM
Here I go Again.. I posted back in Sept. of 07. At that time I had decided on the Dell Precision M6300. It has been a great machine running flawlessly, I am currently running XP Pro, AutoCAD 2009, RAC 2009, MAX Design, Photoshop CS3, Sketchup, Rhino, Archicad, Chief Architect, Inventor 2008, Itunes, and others. All of these programs work great. I've been doing the research again as I am passing on this beauty on to another. I am stuck in DELL LAND, the XPS, the Precision, and Alienware Area 51. These are all great machines each having pluses and minuses. The XPS and Area 51 can support multiple hard drives for raid performance, but they are using SLI Gforce video cards. The Precision has the Quadro Card but has only one HD. I am planning on calling up dell to see about Quadro's in the other two because they seem like superior systems, plus alienware is just cool.:mrgreen:
I'll keep you posted on the final decision.

Tobie
2008-06-24, 01:41 AM
I used to have Alienware and loved it, but am on a MackBook Pro at the moment with Bootcamp. Apple is a lot easier to carry around than my old Alienware. I can have 3 Apples in my old Alienware backpack.

mnisbett
2008-06-24, 12:18 PM
Tobie,
I was also considering a MAC book Pro but, was unsure how well bootcamp worked. I've heard that it was buggy. Also will all the CAD programs I listed work as well on the MAC as they do on a PC?
Thanks

Wes Macaulay
2008-06-24, 01:09 PM
We have a MBP in our office with Bootcamp. Bootcamp means you're booting into and thus running Windows natively, so no bugs other than what you get in Windows ;-)

The new MBPs come with nVidia video; ours is the older version with the Radeon video hardware. We also have a new iMac with Radeon hardware; both of these are using the latest Catalyst drivers and Revit runs very happily on both of them.

I have reservations about nVidia hardware now because after having 3 computers with nVidia video cards in them, they would crash out of views in Revit. Since Catalyst 8+ doesn't seem to have this problem, I'm still partial to nVidia. That said, I'd still get a MBP over ANY laptop and then I'd work out the driver issue with some experimentation.

AP23
2008-06-24, 07:31 PM
Do you guys use bootcamp or OS X as your main boot partition? I'm thinking of just using bootcamp Vista as my main os and OS X just to run some updates from time to time. The constant booting between two os is a pain.

Nicole B.
2008-07-18, 09:29 PM
I'm on the verge of picking up a Lenovo (used to be IBM) Thinkpad T61 (laptop) - any last minute warnings, suggestions, comments...?

iru69
2008-07-18, 10:35 PM
They just announced a lineup replacement a couple days ago using the new Centrino2 platform. They look pretty nice. If you can wait a few weeks, might be worth doing (though I wouldn't count on it before late August).

The T61 is being replaced by the T500 (and W500 which is basically the same thing but comes with a FireGL video chip and a 1920x1200 display as an option).

This link has a brief overview with links to the new models:
http://laptoping.com/lenovo-thinkpad-t400-t500-r400-r500-w500-intel-montevina.html

We were ordered a T61p on the day the new lineup was announced, but canceled it in favor of waiting a few weeks for the new ones.


I'm on the verge of picking up a Lenovo (used to be IBM) Thinkpad T61 (laptop) - any last minute warnings, suggestions, comments...?

Wes Macaulay
2008-07-20, 03:46 AM
Do you guys use bootcamp or OS X as your main boot partition? I'm thinking of just using bootcamp Vista as my main os and OS X just to run some updates from time to time. The constant booting between two os is a pain.
We default-boot to Windows. Never use the Mac OS -- ever, which is kind of sad since I love the Mac office apps. Keynote is the bomb.

rookwood
2008-07-20, 05:37 AM
They just announced a lineup replacement a couple days ago using the new Centrino2 platform. They look pretty nice. If you can wait a few weeks, might be worth doing (though I wouldn't count on it before late August).

The T61 is being replaced by the T500 (and W500 which is basically the same thing but comes with a FireGL video chip and a 1920x1200 display as an option).

This link has a brief overview with links to the new models:
http://laptoping.com/lenovo-thinkpad-t400-t500-r400-r500-w500-intel-montevina.html

We were ordered a T61p on the day the new lineup was announced, but cancelled it in favor of waiting a few weeks for the new ones.

Unfortunately, WiMax will not be available on the Centrino 2 platform until later this year...oh well. I am holding out for the Lenovo x200t tablet, which has not as yet announced, although the non-tablet x200 was presented on 15 July. The x200 series is replacing the x61, x200t will replace the x61t tablet. Several people have reported using Revit 2009 with success on the x61t (integrated graphics), so I must assume that it will only be better with the x200t which includes the new GMA X4500 integrated graphics (reportedly equivalent to low end dedicated graphics). The compelling reason for me to consider this particular tablet is the integrated broadband, otherwise I would go for the HP tx2500z with the PUMA platform and ATI Radeon(TM) HD 3200 graphics at much less $$$. Since I have a dual quad core xeon workstation at the office, I need this tablet to allow me to "manage" Revit (including rendering) and CS3 while I am away from the office. Initial tests on the x200 give battery life at an impressive 9 hours and with the new graphics capabilites, certainly worth waiting for. I would look for Lenovo, as well as all others, to have their offerings available for order mid-August. This is critical for the back-to-school orders, a huge portion of annual sales. Most all are offering pretty nice sales (25% off) in an effort to deplete their inventories.

ed.76566
2008-07-22, 12:22 AM
I am running a Dell M6300 with 8 gigs of RAM with a Quadra FX 3600 512mg and I love it.
Ed

Steve_Stafford
2008-08-13, 07:29 PM
I am running a Dell M6300 with 8 gigs of RAM with a Quadra FX 3600 512mg and I love it.
EdEcho...echo... I just purchased the M6300 too, after wrangling with Dell about how I wanted to pay for it but that's another story. Came with XP64bit installed, 8 gigs of RAM, Nvidia Quadro FX1600m and nearly all is well. Full Vista came with it on DVD so I can upgrade to it...if I dare :smile: Went with the smaller but faster hardrive too...

Neat Receipts doesn't support 64 bit os and iTunes is also not properly supporting it either so a couple of gotchas changing over but all else quite good. It is nice to see the worksharing monitor showing 4gb of ram available for Revit!!!

I came THIS close to buying a MAC but caved in favor of more RAM and 64bit....sorry Phil and thanks for the help. I can always buy another laptop too! :smile: I need one to play iTunes on now!!! other than myPhone.

iru69
2008-08-13, 08:09 PM
iTunes is supported on Vista 64.

I need one to play iTunes on now!!! other than myPhone.

dbaldacchino
2008-08-13, 09:37 PM
We have some M6300's and installed Vista64 on one to test it out. Installation went fine and Dell directed us to some 11 drivers, which we installed in the order they told us to. All is well, except that network transfers are very slow (it literally feels like dial-up). Anyone had any experience with this issue? No one seems to be able to figure it out and we're about to ditch testing and try XP64 instead.

iru69
2008-08-13, 10:45 PM
I noticed this with Vista 32 on a visiting Dell laptop (don't remember the model). Like, ridiculously slow... we were getting less than 1MB/s transfer rates.

Have you installed SP1? If that doesn't do it, try turning off firewalls, etc. Google "vista autotuning". Google "vista slow network transfer speed". Good luck!

We have some M6300's and installed Vista64 on one to test it out. Installation went fine and Dell directed us to some 11 drivers, which we installed in the order they told us to. All is well, except that network transfers are very slow (it literally feels like dial-up). Anyone had any experience with this issue? No one seems to be able to figure it out and we're about to ditch testing and try XP64 instead.

dbaldacchino
2008-08-13, 10:46 PM
We'll give it a shot. What you described is exactly what's happening. We can't install software off the network that way, nor can we do any work. I believe we have SP1 installed. I'll post back when we find out more. And oh, the Dell D820 does not support 64 bit....the D830 does.

dbaldacchino
2008-11-19, 08:49 PM
We finally figured out what was going on with the slow connection speeds. Well, actually we're not 100% sure but we figured ways to get around it. There's some network interaction causing it. To resolve, we have been right-clicking on the LAN and repairing the connection. After that, it starts working fast. This only happens after installation of Vista and it soon quits doing this. It's very annoying and happening on both laptops and desktops. I'm not sure if it's an indexing problem. When I checked the settings, it wasn't supposed to be indexing network drives.

Anyway, I'm finally running the Dell M6400 with 8GB RAM, the Nvidia Quadro FX 2700M and Vista Business 64 with Revit 64. So far the issues I'm running into have to do with the display being unstable. The latest Dell driver did not fix it. Often, the driver stops responding and recovers. If I'm lucky that is. Otherwise, it's out to the blue screen of death and you have to restart. Other times I get dots...lots of them....and I have to reboot once again. I'm not sure if this has to do with the Aero display or not. I've found several mentions to this problem of display drivers that stop responding, even ATI but Nvidia seems prevalent. These issues are independent of Revit.

As to Revit, unless you're using shadows, you're better off with OpenGL turned off. 3D views with shadows and OpenGL enabled regenerate fast, but plans take longer and panning & zooming is jumpy. I'm still observing that panning and zooming with OpenGL enabled is faster and smoother if the Steering Wheel is used vs. the middle mouse button pressed down and using the CTRL & Shift buttons. Go figure! I have not had the traditional "unrecoverable error" associated with OpenGL crashing Revit, so at least that looks pretty stable, but I'm opting for leaving OpenGL turned off to make overall navigation faster and smoother.

Thanks to GuyR, I went to this website (http://www.laptopvideo2go.com/) and dowloaded the Nvidia driver version 178.08 for Vista 64. So far I have not had the hideous dots or unresponsiveness, even though the driver is older then Dell has on their site. Thanks a lot Dell....NOT! Anyway, with these drivers you have to use the modded INF file to replace the original one that will be in the unzipped files; otherwise it won't install. I'll post again if the display issues come back. So far I have left everything at the default settings.