Advice for Purchasing laptop

re: tensorbook
Laptop preferable specs: gtx1070, 32ram, 1TB ssd, i7 8750 processor.
Hi all, I returned after some research and a final purchase.
After much pondering, I decided not to go with the tensorbook as it was just to expensive and the lead time to get the laptop was a little long (I am from Singapore)

A bit more research and I managed to find these laptop that fit my criteria.

  1. MSI P65 Creator 8RF – SGD3308 ~ USD2442
    Specs: i7-8750, 32GB ram, 1TB Samsung 970 Evo Plus sdd, gtx 1070, battery 82whr
  2. MSI GS65 – SGD3295 ~ USD2432
    Specs: i7-8750, 32GB ram, 1TB ssd (2 x 512 Super Raid 4) , gtx 1070, battery 82whr
  3. Dell G7 15 Gaming Laptop (7590) – SGD2899 ~ USD2140 (on offer)
    Specs: i7-8750, 16GB ram, 512GB ssd, rtx 2070, battery 90whr
  4. Alienware 15 r4, (older version with gtx 1070) – SGD2799 ~ USD2066
    Specs: i7-8750, 16GB ram, 128gb ssd + 1TB hdd, gtx 1070, battery 68whr
  5. Aftershock Apex 17 – SGD2699 ~ USD1992
    Specs:i7-8750, RTX 2070, 8GB, 512 nvme ssd, battery 68whr (components are customizable)

In the end, I went with Aftershock Apex 17 as it was the cheapest and the company is also a home grown customized laptop dealers (supporting my own country hahah). Some comments for the others are:

  1. MSI laptop had all the specs that I wanted with reasonable price. However, I had also found online that there are a lot of hiccups during installation of ubuntu on the msi laptop, somehow it does not play well with msi hardware so I decided to skip this even though they are very attractive with the prices and specs offer. Also, I was a owner of a slim msi gaming laptop before and it has brought me hell with the sub par build quality and frequent visit to warranty to get those parts change. However, these recent design seems good and people had pretty good review. There is also a github page that tells us how to install ubuntu on msi laptop so I guess it might be worth a try.

  2. Dell and Alienware was a great option and I was actually having a hard time choosing this and aftershock. Reason been that 1. Dell has better ubuntu support. You know your dell hardware will play well with ubuntu and there is some support. 2. Dell laptop had an amazing build quality and installing your own ram / storage for future upgrade is very easy with their design.3. Excellent thermal design. during the time i was looking, there was an IT show in Singapore and much of the price I had stated was after offer discount so its looks extremely affordable to get it. The only issue I had was the weight. The Dell G7 was weighting at almost 3kg ! (no surprise due to the battery cell it is carrying). If you are not so mobile, then Dell G7 might make some sense. Otherwise, its a great laptop for deep learning.

  3. Lastly we come to Aftershock laptops. They are a relatively small customised laptop builder based here in Singapore. Was actually looking into customized laptop builder and lucky enough found one here. The price they provide seems very competitive and they allow customization of components. However battery is not fantastic in this machine. I opt for the final specs of i7-8750, RTX 2070, 16GB x 1, 512 nvme ssd, battery 68whr (components are customizable) without windows 10 and comes up to around SGD 2655 = 1960, allowing me to have some cash to upgrade it further where rams and storage are cheaper in the future. FYI aftershock laptops are actually clevo / tong fang / eluktronics / wallmart overppowered laptop. All are from the same manufacturer tong fang.

I had been using the Aftershock Apex 17 with ubuntu 18.04 installed for the past 2 weeks and I must say, its performing well with not much of difficulty setting up. all hardware working, Only issue is the backlight customizable is not available in ubuntu but hopefully in the future there will be.

Highly recommend for deep learning is to look into customized laptop that allow you to pick components and not waste money on getting a default windows installation unless you need it. Also pick a laptop with additional slot for upgrade.

Hope this helps in anyone trying to buy a laptop for deep learning.

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Hi fellas,
i noticed this is quite the old thread but my problem is quite similar.
I am currently a comp. sci masters student from europe and I am going to china (Chengdu) for an internship and my masters thesis. This might be up to a year. I started getting into ML in my free time, since my university does not offer specialized degrees in this field. So far I did Andrews DL course, fast.ai, a few university projects on self driving and weather prediction and I am currently working with the carla simulator on intelligent agents. At home i have my TR / 32gb ram / 1080ti workstation, but i definitely want to be able to continue learning/training and then starting to focus on kaggle challenges while I am abroad. Now my budget for hardware is somewhere around 2000±300 Euros.

This leaves me with 2 options: (ultra)book + eGPU or a gaming Laptop:

(Iam excluding cloud solutions here because Iam not sure how this is gonna work out in china)

For the first option Iam looking at a Laptop from Tuxedo Computers:

for around 1250 euros I am getting:
-i7 8565U
-32 GB DDR4 (2*16)
-full 4 PCIe lanes TB3
as eGPU iam currently looking at the Aorus Gaming Box with an RTX 2070 for around 750 euros.

As for a gaming Laptop in this price-range the specs are somewhere around this:

Intel Core i7-9 9750H
32GB 2666MHz DDR4
RTX 2070 8GB max-q

-What Iam mostly worried about is that those gaming Laptop wont cope with training DL models for hours and hours, whereas in the gaming box the graphics card has its own enclosure, therefore better cooling

  • I feel like I pay a lot of money for useless tech on gaming laptops like 144+ Hz, G-sync, useless RGB. Gsync even makes one lose optimus, so worse battery life when in uni or on the go in general.

-Using eGPU gives somewhat more flexibility.

-performancewise I imagine both setups to be somewhat equal (when cpu is no bottleneck) because laptop 2070 (assuming non maxq) is somehwat slower than desktop, but eGPU is limited by TB3, has anyone experience with that?

-I have a 13" xiaomi air laptop atm which i can use for any uni related stuff where i need portability, or if i need to train models for longer and need a second device

Has anyone been in a similar situation or regularly training models on Laptops? Iam happy for any input and discussion :slight_smile:

EDIT: good thing, when i come back home i could plug the 2070 from egpu enclosure into myworkstation. the gaming laptop would not serve too much purpose then, only if i sell the thing completly!?

@larrykirschner Sorry for the late follow up. Has your experience improved? Did you purchase the one with the RTX 2080? I have quite some funds left and I was seriously considering ordering some tensorbooks until I read your post … Short notice would be highly appreciated. Cheers.

I just bought a tensorbook today. I got the Max version, which comes with RTX 2080. I ordered it this morning and it arrived the same day! (I live near SF.)

I like it so far - it seems fast, and is not as heavy as I feared. Keyboard and screen are good. Unlike @larrykirschner I was able to connect an external monitor (standard LG model) via HDMI just fine. (I also connected my mac keyboard via USB-C and my mouse via bluetooth.) And it’s great to have a real unix machine, instead of the somewhat bloated macbook I normally use.

Tensorflow and pytorch work out of the box, but the TF version is v1 not v2. (They told me they will update to TF2.0 in 2 weeks.) Also sklearn was not totally up to date, and the system python is 2.7 (it has python3 installed too but it’s not the default). So I made a miniconda3 environment and installed the latest versions of all the stuff I wanted (Spyder, TF, PyTorch, Jax, texlive-full, etc). It took a few hours but was fairly easy.

IMHO, the main advantage of tensorbook is that most gaming laptops come with windows, and installing ubuntu and cuda on them is non trivial. The tensorbook Just Works. But if you’re a hacker, there may be cheaper solutions.

How’s the Acer Helios 300 i7 9th gen?
Intel i7-9750H,
GTX 1660 Ti 6GB,
16GB DDR4,
256GB PCIe NVMe SSD,
Backlit Keyboard, PH315-52-78VL

@jeremy is GTX 1660 Ti 6GB good enough?
also, any1 what’s the difference b/w ti, Q-max, RTX, GTX ?? Like which one is needed for Deep Learning?
Also, what kind of training is a laptop actually able to handle. I have seen most people say that get a decent laptop and cloud GPU, and I have > $500 GCP credit. So, those who have done work on laptop, how does it exactly help in deep learning? Like does it help in the initial data exploration phase, or maybe training as well when dataset is small , or Kaggle? Anecdotes would be nice. @init_27 How’s been your experience doing ML/DL on laptop?

The current trend now is to get a ok laptop with some min requirement + a cloud GPU instance such as colab , GCP or AWS. Take note that if you are using a GPU instance, you will quickly blow through your free credits. The thing to consider is how much of a processing you need for experimentation before pushing to cloud to train fully. For image related application, I am currently using RTX2070 with 8GB locally before pushing anything to cloud for more heavy duty training. Most laptop with GPU will definitely encounter thermal issue during training hence some here suggested using a eGPU instead.

with the GTX1660 Ti you should be able to implement some training with small batch size though convergence will take longer due to the small batch size. if you dataset is not that huge, it should work fine.

Laptops are better in cases wherein one is using pretrained model/weights ,i am guessing. May i know, which laptop model you use?
I mostly saw MSI laptops with 8 gb/16gb VRAM(gpu).

I’ll be mainly using it for Kaggle, hackathon projects, personal projects, fastai courses.

I use an aftershock apex 17. This is a rebrand of the cleo/tongfang laptop, similar in specs to MSI and Dell. I think for image related stuff, I dont recommend going below 8Gb if your budget allow. MSI laptop are definitely cheaper although getting it to working will take a bit of time. I prefer anything that works nicely out of the box. With these laptops you wouldnt want to carry it everywhere as they might weigh a little so do take that into consideration. lastly is the battery. that been said, this laptop of yours should usually be pluck into the power at most time.

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I am considering an Oryx Pro from System 76 in the $1.5-3k price range, which supports both the hardware and software (with their Ubuntu-like Pop!_OS). I have dealt with many headaches getting Ubuntu to work nicely with hardware and it seems like System 76 is in a good position to eliminate/mitigate these issues. I haven’t been able to find many reviews, but those that I have found are overwhelmingly positive.

Does anyone here have any experience with System 76’s computers or with their Pop!_OS?

Hi everyone,
as a quick followup I want to say what I decided on:
I decided to get the Gigabyte Aero 15 v8, initially this one was way out of my price range but suddenly a new version came out and the price dropped from 2800 euros to 1999. I had to get it. Specs are:
CPU: 8750H 6 cores / 12 Threads
GPU: RTX 2070 max-q with 8 GB VRAM
RAM: 32 GB 2667 MHz Samsung RAM
Harddrive: 1000 GB Intel NVME
battery: 94 Whrs
weight: 2.1 kg

Initially this machine had 16 GB RAM, but due to ongoing promo they offered a free 16 GB stick on top. Also I like that they are generally selling single channel RAM configs, meaning when u get 16 GB you have only 1 RAM slot used and can easily upgrade to 32, whereas with most laptops you get 16 GB through 2x8 GB sticks and then you have to buy another 2x16 GB for upgrading. Plus upgrading is super easy, only a few screws for RAM and NVME (aero has 2 NVME slots) upgrade. Battery is also massive. There are also other custom cheap systems with the same specs but often rly lack the battery life for when you are on the go like the tensorbook for example.
As a quick note, I was also looking at the GS65 and the Acer Predator Triton 500. They are quite similar and weigh 200-300 grams less. If u want to upgrade any of those though (ram or ssd for example) you have to do a complete disassembly because the motherboard is upside down.

FINALLY, CAN IT RUN UBUNTU?
It does, i just got it working yesterday, not rly a big hassle. I can also switch between internal and external graphics depending on whether I need more power or battery life. I still have to do some testing with battery life but so far everything seems to be just fine on ubuntu. For installations quick guide:

  1. Download latest Ubuntu 18.04
  2. Make bootable USB with RUFUS
  3. Change to boot from USB drive in BIOS on startup
  4. Highlight the option ‘Try Ubuntu without installing’ and press the E key.
    Add nouveau.modeset=0 just behind quiet splash like this ..... quiet splash nouveau.modeset=0 -- and press F10 to boot.

U will be asked to create a MOK key while installing Ubuntu that u have to reenter once ur restarting the Laptop to confirm the driver changes. Lastly install the Nvidia driver by opening Software&Drivers, go to additional drivers tab and select Nvidia proprietary driver. Then restart again.

So this was maybe also a bit OT, sry for that :wink:

4 Likes

@MJPansa who did you buy the Aero 15 through, seems like a great deal from the research I have done so far!!

Hi @MJPansa,
Eluktroincs Mag 15




Review : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YlkFUB_XLVs

I just saw this new laptop that also comes similar in specs and at a relative cheap price. (around 2.9k SGD for 1 TB and 32 GB ram on Amazon)
what is important is that its thermal cooling is really good and in a relative small form factor. The laptop has a rtx2070 max q in it (not sure if this fits the requirement for some.). It packs a 93 Wh battery and quite similar to the AERO 15.

So far there is only 1 review but do check this out! (Sadly it hasn’t start shipping to Singapore but its available for pre order in the US)

If anyone can get the hands on it, please give a review here!

Hi Everyone!

I think I’ve had a good amount of experience with my laptop and a rig as well do derive some thoughts (I’ve used both for >6 months now).

Would anyone be interested in doing a discussion about Laptops for DL for a podcast conversation to create essentially an audio/video version of all the great advices here?

Thanks in advance!

2 Likes

Hi @MJPansa!
I am considering also the Gigabyte Aero. Any comments after this time using it? Issues installing DL related software? Did you try the thunderbolt port for eGPU? Battery life is more or less what expected?
Thanks!

@morgan Sry for the late reply. I made a little mistake with the product code. I actually have the AERO 15-X9. I am based in germany, so got it from an online retailer here (nonetheless the link https://www.caseking.de/gigabyte-aero-15-x9-7de0310p-39-62-cm-15-6-zoll-gaming-notebook-nbgb-100.html). The only downside i have to live with is the german keyboard. It has very awkward placements for ‘[’, ‘]’, ‘{’ and ‘}’.

@Joan
Iam very pleased with it so far running dual boot, doing everything DL related on Ubuntu works great. I have also let it run epochs over night without running too hot, that was one of the fears i had generally with laptops. One downside though, but that is valid for almost all laptops I think is the fans. There is no way of changing fanspeed manually in Ubuntu. You can only change fan modes with the gigabyte software in windows and when u reboot and log into ubuntu it seems to keep this profile. So for longer training i would recommend the gaming profile for example where fans ramp up quite significantly. Theres also a quite mode, which can be quite useful when onl;y doing light programming or little testing, then fans are rly silent even when load is sometimes at 100%.
One more useful thing is CPU undervolting, can also be done easily in windows with Intel XTU. Keeps the CPU from throttling down, but since cpu and gpu heatpipes are connected it has also a cooling effect on ur gpu.

@init_27
Cool idea! I would be happy to help since I spent a lot of hours researching every laptop there is on the market. However Iam busy with exams until next month. Let me know what ur timeframe for this is.

3 Likes

hey Sanyam,
may i know which laptop have you been using ? I myself will be purchasing one in 2 weeks( Flipkart Big Billion Days). I think it’s basically going to come down to some Acer model. Personally, as it’ll be a powerful laptop, heat/cooling/fan speed is the main issue for me.
And the GPU, of course. 6 GB to 8GB = lot of price diff.
Also, have you written any blogpost about your rig build, cost , experience?

EDIT: never mind, I found out that you purchased HP Omen. and about the heating situation too.

But 1 question remains. is it better to get a GPU with 8 GB VRAM or a slightly better GPU with 6 GB VRAM? I am convinced that making a rig is the best option now, but, for now I am buying a laptop so, gonna make sure it balances all variables, in case I don’t buy a rig.
My work type: Kaggle, personal projects, fastai.
I guess, when I see 6GB vs 8GB, i basically want to know what kind of tasks 6GB won’t be able to do, or would be slow at.
Also, is there a specific preference in terms of RTX vs GTX in Deep Learning? I think the GPU models 1080,2080 have messed up my mind :sweat_smile: , I’ll start looking them up(benchmarks etc) with a fresh mind.

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I want to purchase a laptop in Jan 2020, which one should I purchase for deep learning projects. Planning to purchase in a day or two. Jeremy has purchased Surface Book, Is this surface book good for us https://www.costco.com/CatalogSearch?dept=All&keyword=surface+book
I saw this list https://www.huntlaptop.com/best-laptops-for-deep-learning/ is there any you guys recommend. Any help is greatly appreciated.
Thanks so much!!

Hi Everyone,

You’re really going to be limited to what kind of work you’ll be able to do with a laptop when it comes to training neural networks. Even a modest size training dataset will eat up 8GB of gpu memory (the most you’ll probably be able to get in a laptop) and slow things down. The reality is that you’re probably better off building a desktop and accessing it with a remote desktop client or ssh (Chrome remote desktop works pretty well). Gaming laptops are generally not upgradeable and you’re stuck with what you buy. Desktops can be upgraded over the years, getting you a lot more value for your money.

Also, you can log into it with any old laptop that you already have.

Why not setup dynamic DNS on that system and ssh into it remotely from anywhere in the world? That’s assuming you can leave it powered on and connected to the internet when you’re away

Any crew is using Lenovo Legion Y740? I pretty like its performance so far, except it takes a lot of efforts to make a stable dual boot build for it…