Making a workstation more mobile

My company is giving me the chance to build a workstation that is suitable for good blender renders but there is this a problem. I’m supposed to be making a laptop that can render very well, and afaik laptops are pretty much the worst you can get to render things on (maybe next to an old gameboy).

Specificlly when it comes to hardware, laptops are a generation behind on desktops.
The reason we want a laptop is because we need to put it in the safe at the end of the day for security’s sake, and it’s a real hastle to move a desktop in & out every day.

I’ve already found a “decent” laptop setup, but right now I’m looking into an desktop solution. I’m looking for options to make a desktop more mobile or remotely controllable.

Does anyone have an idea or solution for this?

If it’s just about rendering, network render nodes might be your friend. However neither Cycles nor Blender Internal have a good facility for this regarding single frames. (Unlike Luxrender or Mitsuba, where this is very straightforward)
Also, accessing a remote workstation through RDP might be an option for rendering (not so much for working)
If you have a way to externalize PCIe from your laptop, there are adapters for that into which you could put an external GPU. I believe someone confirmed this to be working… hazy memory

These puppies might be the sort of thing your looking for…

@Zalamander You’re right, I still need to work on the same system. It’s a fine idea but less practical.

@dahjoat Impressive stuff, I’m checking it out.

I’ve been looking into similar things. I live in a small apartment and want a desktop PC that can be put out of view when not in use.

This is what I came up with :

You can get all the components separately, but I’m guessing this will be too big for your safe though :slight_smile:

EDIT: If you are DIY inclined you could make something like in the post above, but simply get a regular (but sturdy) PC case, put a handle on the top and a vesa monitor mount on the side…

Locked / secure room + A few (one or two) well cooled machines = Sorted.

It’ll be better than using a laptop to render, and you can leave the machine(s) going 24/7, and over the weekend to render very demanding projects.


You can do this with machines, and use cable extensions / KVM’s to work very far away from the machines, and switch between them if you only run one set of cables.

Something like this?

Edit: Or…

I bet it’s cheap. At least cheaper than buying Poland. Or Hungary. ;D

But if you have Internet, why not render on Amazon EC2? It's actually not that expensive and compared to buying any kind of computer it's even less expensive, hehe... It's not really that hard to create a renderbox (or even an array of them) on EC2. Then you pay for hourly usage and if you're not in a hurry you can set it to render on low hourly rates only - prices are from $0.01 and up.

Moved from “General Forums > Blender and CG Discussions” to “Support > Technical Support”

KVM is the way to go. Build your beast and run cables from it to your regular workstation. Then just use a switch next to your desktop to switch to it when needed.

Thanks for all the suggestions, I’m looking into all of them to find the one best suited for me. I’ll probably try to push a desktop through since it’ll be more powerfull than a laptop at the same price. You can’t argue with that.

However on a sidenote, those quadro extensions look like a fine idea, however in this post it seems that quadro cards might not be the best to use when rendering.

A valid solution though since i’ll still be able to use a laptop.

I’ll let you know what i picked in the end and why.