The best 'off the shelf' laptop for seti@home

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Profile Swabbie

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Message 1924626 - Posted: 14 Mar 2018, 22:31:39 UTC

I'm about to acquire a laptop primarily for use on boinc/seti@home.
I'm wondering if anyone here knows a make/model of laptop that
will do a good job at crunching numbers.

I know that naming a specific laptop is a long shot, in an effort to
'shop' for the best machine, what are the top 3-4 features that I
should look for? Things like CPUs graphics boards, memory, etc.

Thanks for the benefit of sharing your seasoned experience.
Joe
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Message 1924631 - Posted: 14 Mar 2018, 22:38:50 UTC

You want one with a dedicated graphics chip and not just the embedded graphics controller in the cpu.
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Message 1924635 - Posted: 14 Mar 2018, 23:04:04 UTC

I'd suggest that you get a "Desktop Replacement" laptop as you'll not only get a dedicated GPU (or 2) but also better cooling that normal laptops don't provide.

Cheers.
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Message 1924636 - Posted: 14 Mar 2018, 23:08:20 UTC

Some folks will condemn notebooks/laptops but I ran mine 24/7 for years with no issues. You will have to remove dust bunnies every now and then or they will thermal out. I reapply thermal paste ever two years.

I've had good luck with Sager Notebooks. Their high end notebooks are a bit $pendy though.
http://www.sagernotebook.com/Notebook-NP9877.html

My current Sager NP9873S and NP9172S with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (4095MB). The NP9877 has a faster cpu then mine but basically the same notebook.
https://setiathome.berkeley.edu/show_host_detail.php?hostid=8094874 2x GTX 1080
https://setiathome.berkeley.edu/show_host_detail.php?hostid=8096263 1x GTX 1080

Before the Sager Notebooks I ran Alienware notebooks which I dropped after they were bought out by Dell.
https://setiathome.berkeley.edu/show_host_detail.php?hostid=4466614
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Message 1924646 - Posted: 15 Mar 2018, 0:07:25 UTC - in response to Message 1924635.  

The problem with laptops is cooling. They tend to run hot as they don't have great airflow.
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Message 1924668 - Posted: 15 Mar 2018, 2:23:52 UTC - in response to Message 1924646.  

Do those laptop cooling platforms with the embedded fans really work?
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Message 1924669 - Posted: 15 Mar 2018, 2:28:36 UTC - in response to Message 1924668.  

I saw one from last year that had a external liquid cooling setup. You docked it and it connected the 2 external radiators and fans. Only problem is it's an old 980 system. Wonder if they updated that for the 10x0s GPUs.
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Message 1924670 - Posted: 15 Mar 2018, 3:16:44 UTC - in response to Message 1924646.  

Over the years I've run 8 different laptops crunching optimized SETI. They do run hot but not one has failed from over heating. They are gaming laptops, not plain Jane. Use a run of the mill laptop, it will over heat. Over clock them and they will over heat. Let them get dusty they over heat. I monitor them with HWMonitor. I had a Alienware laptop with a Pentium 4, 3.8GHz cu that ranked 62nd for a while back in the day before GPUs took off.

When I retired I cut back on my 24/7 crunching farm, 8 rigs, and only run a couple rigs a few days at a time now so I'm not running big numbers. Every four to six years I buy the wife and I the latest and greatest gaming notebooks.

And lastly my laptops cost less to run. My 2x GTX 1080 is pushed by a 300W AC brick. Do I get the high end water cooled box crunch numbers, no. If I wanted that I would buy/build a box. Boxes give you more flexibility for upgrading/cooling and such where with most laptops your stuck with what you get unless you send it back to factory.

I like the mobility and small foot print of laptops. My 2x GTX 1080 is 4K video and can easily pushes my 65" OLED 4K TV at full rez.

Just remembered, long ago I had a plain Jane laptop that did overheat. Sorry don't remember the name but there is a throttling program that slowed the crunching down some and kept it from overheating.

It is all what you are looking for. Either way it is a serious and expensive decision to make.

User results will vary, wink wink, but the information from folks here is the best.

.
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Message 1924671 - Posted: 15 Mar 2018, 3:30:35 UTC - in response to Message 1924668.  

Yes, they have come a long ways. High end gaming rigs can crunch. Check some of the Sager links I posted. Fast rigs.

Can they compete with high end water cooled boxes, no. Would I dedicate one of these high end laptops to just crunching, no. After I have upgrade to new laptops I turned the old ones to 24/7. Would strip them back to factory setup and crunch away. Stand them on edge like a half open book with exhaust pointed up.

Check my profile and look at all my rigs old and new. Most are laptops/notebooks with a couple old boxes and a couple of tablets.
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Message 1924672 - Posted: 15 Mar 2018, 3:48:20 UTC - in response to Message 1924635.  

Spot on Wiggo. That's the term I couldn't remember, "Desktop Replacement" laptop/notebook.

Workstation/gaming laptop/notebook are considered desktop these days but I find gaming rigs can be faster and take more abuse.

My current rig came with overclocking cpu/memory/gpu/fan utilities but I haven't bothered push it. When I retire it as a daily driver I'll see how fast and long I can push it.
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Message 1924693 - Posted: 15 Mar 2018, 8:09:35 UTC - in response to Message 1924668.  

Do those laptop cooling platforms with the embedded fans really work?

Good ones do a very good job, but some maybe a bit noisy (they do push air where it's most needed though). ;-)

Cheers.
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Message 1924721 - Posted: 15 Mar 2018, 13:07:34 UTC

From what I can tell modern CPUs hit a thermal limit and throttle the clock-rate which is especially bad for laptops -- short sprints are fine but endurance runs get too hot and the chip slows down. My Kaby Lake quad laptop does 20-minute builds at almost exactly the same speed as a 4 year old dual laptop and diagnostics indicate that the chip has down-clocked to cope with the heat.
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Message 1924988 - Posted: 17 Mar 2018, 1:12:45 UTC - in response to Message 1924721.  

From what I can tell modern CPUs hit a thermal limit and throttle the clock-rate which is especially bad for laptops -- short sprints are fine but endurance runs get too hot and the chip slows down. My Kaby Lake quad laptop does 20-minute builds at almost exactly the same speed as a 4 year old dual laptop and diagnostics indicate that the chip has down-clocked to cope with the heat.

Why is this bad? The thermal design limits are managed properly.

For those of us who are not in any competition or race over RAC and just want to help crunch, this works quite well. I've been crunching since 1999. har...
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Message 1925020 - Posted: 17 Mar 2018, 5:47:39 UTC

One small remark regarding low-end laptop/netbook setup for SETI.
It turns out that mobile versions of APUs from both AMD and Intel currently have relatively good GPU part vs CPU one (for SETI crunching).
So usual advise on these boards "not to use iGPU app at all" should not be applied on mobile APUs. Their iGPU (Intel N3050 for example) runs considerably faster than both cores:
http://setiathome.berkeley.edu/show_host_detail.php?hostid=8333406
SETI apps news
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Message 1925425 - Posted: 19 Mar 2018, 21:01:06 UTC

Can anyone suggest a specific make/model of computer system
that 'hits the sweet spot' in terms of mining units per dollar?


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Message 1925429 - Posted: 19 Mar 2018, 21:27:05 UTC - in response to Message 1925425.  

'hits the sweet spot' in terms of mining units per dollar?


Do you mean crunching units per dollar or Bitcoin mining?

Not sure if anyone has actually looked into that for laptops for either.
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Message 1925438 - Posted: 20 Mar 2018, 0:03:22 UTC
Last modified: 20 Mar 2018, 0:04:38 UTC

Just have a look at what "Desktop Replacement" or "Gaming" laptops are available to you over there, but an i7 CPU with a GTX 1060m look to be the go from the manufacturers here down under ATM, and what suits your budget.

Just google them up and then check reviews on your results.

Cheers.
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Message 1925450 - Posted: 20 Mar 2018, 1:40:38 UTC - in response to Message 1925429.  

Primarily, I'm interested in crunching for credits here,
but it'd be a plus to be able to use it on bitcoin, etc.
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Message 1929245 - Posted: 10 Apr 2018, 14:10:54 UTC - in response to Message 1925450.  

Just to 'tie the ribbons' on this thread, I bought a MSI gaming laptop,
(MS-1785 - GT72VR). It seems to do a good job at Boinc - SETI@home.

Thanks for the direction and all the comments.
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Message 1929247 - Posted: 10 Apr 2018, 14:15:36 UTC - in response to Message 1929245.  

Excellent choice. Just keep an eye on the temps.
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Message boards : Number crunching : The best 'off the shelf' laptop for seti@home


 
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