Laptops and rendering

I have a question for anyone who can help. How can I lower render times on a laptop? I’ve been using a laptop for two years now, and I havnt produced anything good because I don’t have the time to render. Just a simple scene with a cube takes almost an hour!

I have persistantly asked my mother to allow me to buy a desktop computer, and I found a quad core, touchscreen for only $794, but she refuses to buy it…

Is there anyway possible that i can still produce a good looking render, faster on my laptop?

Learn how to cheat, instead of using ray-tracing use environment maps (reflections), use buffer shadows (Spot lamp) instead of ray-traced shadows, also use lights with negative values to replicate a small amount of Ambient Occlusion. EDIT: Very important!! Make use of render layers and split up your scene so instead of rendering everything at once (including various passes), you are just rendering foreground, middle ground and background along with custom layers. I.e. Diffuse, shadow, spec, depth for background and so on so forth.

You can make good renders with limited hardware, for example render out a scene with a number of passes, take those passes into Photoshop or GIMP and combine the layers with additional layers that include filter FX, painting, layer effects etc.

Don’t let hardware limit you, think outside the box and be creative.

As for hardware you could get a quad-core machine with 4GB+ RAM and a good video card, plus 19"+ TFT with keyboard and mouse for much less than $794, I’d be willing to bet you could get a machine much more capable for about $450-500.

I work on laptops as well and no big issue here.

Maybe you just need to be patient and also consider what is a good rendering.
does it always need to be GI? What is the purpose of the rendering for?

Plus do you render during the night when you sleep?

cekuanan is right. You can try rendering when you aren’t “using” it. Sometime back I generated some animations which took a month of Sundays per frame, so I just let it run for a week.

These are some good posts… I cannot render at night, because my laptop has a tendency to overheat. It’s not really the best thing for 3d modeling but i wasn’t really interested when i bought it. Because of the other stuff I do, which is nothing, I need my computer, so I must unfortunatly render and utalize the computer at the same time…

here are some of my laptops stat…

Nvidia geforce 8200m g graphics card

AMD athelon x2 64 processor

it’s an hp laptop… im not sure much else… i have no idea how much ram i have, and I dont even now what kind of laptop it is… I have a 4.8 on graphics in the windows index experience…

I have no problem with waiting for still images, but rendering animations is next to impossible… this lack of speed caused me to lose a recent competion where we had a short time to render an animation.

Your machine should do just fine to render smaller jobs tbh.
And a notebook is nice to render during night because its rather silent =)

I suggest you get yourself a fan cooling pad for your notebook and you are good to render all night. They are quite cheap and usb powered - cheaper than a desktop.
For rendering animations I suggest you look into distrubuted cloudrendering, like vSwarm.

For complex animations and impatient natures also a desktop is not the answer. Smaller stuff I render on 30 cores, still you got to make cutbacks and cheat here and there. If you want it all, you got to pay for time on a renderfarm.

But where there´s a will, there´s a way.


why when you have a working laptop do you want to get a new laptop
when render speed is all that is concerned.

why dont you save the money and invest it into a cheaper solution
a small render cube.

just get an i5 or amd x6 ram, and maybe a 20 dollar graphic card.

than you can control that cube via the network and just render on it.
you can also with software like teamviewer log onto the computer and
remote work on it. works great!

We tested it with a lot of success.


Yeah, hps suck for heat… I find that if i get mine off the desk it drops the temperature significantly. Also, removing the battery helps some. Turning the battery upside down so that the computer is at an angle helps a lot if I am plugged in and don’t need to charge the battery.

Then again, my computer is a lot less powerful than yours.

you can do the following:

  1. run it without the batter plug-ed in.
    this reduces the heat.

  2. maybe get a 15 $ laptop table with a build in fan to cool the lower
    part of the laptop and reduce the heat more.


Sounds like you need a new laptop to start with…

I try really hard on my laptop to keep render times to under 5mins per frame, it can be done most of the time with some logical thinking and efficent 3D work. Most of it is just trial and error in the beginning, Im not going to spell it all out for you cause it will take forever, but to start with I constantly render things after changing anything - materials, lighting, effects etc etc and compare the rendertimes, then u get a good idea of what sucks the power out of your laptop and makes rendertimes soar.

I also leave my computer on overnight, and along with cekuhen’s ideas I find its good to put my laptop up on a cake-mesh stand. Which is pretty much a mesh tray that holds the laptop up above the table, i keep it on that every time I turn it on really, just turned into a habbit, lets the air flow underneath and cool the laptop properly. Also stops things like tablecloths etc folding up against the back of the laptop and blocking off the fan.

a few things

  • render passes
  • quality
  • region render
  • what are you rendering

In reverse order.

What are you rendering? :
maybe describe the types of scenes or show some images or (.blend) of what you are doing, when i started out
in 3d i often had settings that where increasing render times by ridiculous amounts because i didnt know what the parameters for lighting/materials where intended for. Upon closer inspection, the settings where not improving visibly/usefully the render quality…

Region Render

a few scenarios

  • sometimes we want to do a render to see only how one small element of a scene turns out…
  • sometimes we have rendered for a while, come back to it…and see that one part doesn’t look good
    in these and other cases we do not want to render a large image just to see how one tiny bit changes once
    we model/material edit it…

while in cam mode, hit shift B, to draw the rectangle. then render will only render that rect,


While you develop a design / model stuff, stay away from materials until the whole model is satisfying to the eye,
then apply materials one by one, and render in between adding new materials, this helps you see what materials are taking longest to render ( usually raytraced stuff…) If your machine is taking ages to render even untextured/standard material objects… this is an indication that maybe your environment settings are way over the top for your needs.

Render Passes

as you progress in render techniques you begin to learn the intricacies and tricks of the trade. Blender allows you to render passes individually, a pass can be considered a layer (f.ex : specularity, z-depth, shadow, AO, reflections, refractions…etc,

Look at your Render Layers dropdown in the Render tab, all those tick-boxes mean they can be rendered separately ) The strength and weakness of this approach is that you must composite these layers manually. I’m new to Blender, by not 3d, I think 2.5 has a node based renderer that can plug these layers one by one, so you can render an entire scene’s specularity layer with different settings over and over until you are happy…without having to render colour and shadows too each time.


and a technical note, some laptops have energy saving options, set it to high performance while you render :slight_smile:

If I were in your shoes, this is what I would do:
Next time a show like the Oskars (or any other big award show) is on, watch it with her. When the winner goes up to accept the award, she/he will thank all those who believed in her/him …
That’s when you turn to your mom, look her in the eyes and say: “Mom, one day, when I’m a famous designer and accept my award for “best visual FX”, I will thank you for supporting me”. Wait a few seconds and then ask her again for a faster computer!

Keep us posted how that goes?

… or you could “man up”, save up and get it yourself…

Ok, really good ideas,however I have no idea whatsome of them mean… Someone mentioned a render cube? whatexactly is that? Also, I cannot get network rendering to work. I have plenty of older, and just simple computer lieing around, but I cant make it work…

One problem I forgot tomention, is subsurf and multi resmodifiers… anything that requires subdiving the mesh multiple times crashes blender. I’m really limited to how detailed my models and animations are, because Blender either crashes or justlagsso bad I cant even review what I’ve done.

as for upgrading my graphics card and other hardware…I’ve been told thateverything is built into the laptop, and cannot be removed. I have not actually cheched because I dont want to damage my laptopin anyway,but Im pretty sure thatits allbuilt in.

ok, a subsurf can be set to very low ( 0, 1, or 2 ) in preview mode, so you can still work with more complex models and have things go smooth while you navigate around the place, the downfall of that is that you will see a very lame version of your model until you render.

You can temporarily set the preview/viewport subsurf for that mesh to high to have some idea of what it will look like… and decrease the value when you want to work on another part…

ok, a subsurf can be set to very low ( 0, 1, or 2 ) in preview mode, so you can still work with more complex models and have things go smooth while you navigate around the place, the downfall of that is that you will see a very lame version of your model until you render.

You can temporarily set the preview/viewport subsurf for that mesh to high to have some idea of what it will look like… and decrease the value when you want to work on another part…

@zeffii–blender has had nodes for a long time. :wink:

I found a quad core, touchscreen for only $794

funny, that’s way overpriced, and you don’t need or want a touchscreen.

she refuses to buy it

why would you want her to buy you an overpriced computer?
for the same price, you could buy this

for the first ~8 mo. that I used blender, I was using a 5 year old laptop with 512 MB RAM and a 1.73 GHZ centrino processor.
I did just fine. And I learned patience.

nothing will teach you patience like luxrender :slight_smile:

Spacetug… you rock!!! Thankyou for posting that link, I agree that this is a way better deal, and kicks the snot out of what I was looking at. The graphics carditself isnt all that, but it can be changed out and it makes up for it with the six core processor!!

Breaking news!!! Of course, when I showed the pc suggested by Spacetug, which I find to be a really good deal, to my mom… she said"Well, we’ll just wait and see… I’m not buying anything right now, I’m too tired." I didn’t even ask her to buy it right now, it’s not her money, I need the computer, and she still will not buy it. The money is in an account, and she has control over it because I recieve it from where my dad passed away. So basically, I have no control over if I get a new computer or not. Whenever she says we’ll wait and see, she means no…

Sounds like a better specced pc than mine. Try to avoid using AO, I bet you’re using it in absolutely everything? Careful lighting will give the same look with much reduced render times