The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
Fanless notebooks with less CPU power?
Old 4th August 2018
  #1
Gear Addict
 
johannburkard's Avatar
Fanless notebooks with less CPU power?

I'm planning on buying a new notebook this year and I'm interested in fanless notebooks.

The issue with fanless notebooks is that their CPU power is rather low on average.

For example, I was interested in the Acer Swift 7 SF713-51-M3BP, which has an Intel Core i5-7Y54, 2x 1.20GHz CPU. According to cpubenchmark.net, this thing has 3626 points.

For comparison, I have a GPD Pocket which has 1904 points, and that thing is feeling fairly slow.

On the upper side of things, you can get notebooks with the Intel Core i7-8550U @ 1.80GHz CPU which has 8323 points. But those will have fans.

Does somebody here deliberately use a fanless, but lower-powered notebook? Or does somebody here use a notebook at around 3500 PassMark points? Is that enough to run a couple dozen plugins and a couple dozen tracks with?

Thanks!
Old 4th August 2018
  #2
Lives for gear
 

What do you need your laptop to do?
Old 5th August 2018
  #3
Lives for gear
An i5 will run 12 plugins no problem but I never heard of an i5 running without a fan. I could be wrong on that as I'm never looking in that direction. Most low power notebooks have an i3 or the AMD equivalent. My brother and my good friend both have Dell internet notebooks with an i3 and they are pretty weak for audio. In fact I have a Lenovo notebook I use for internet myself that has an AMD A4 APU Quad core. Occasionally I use it for fooling around with trying out virtual instruments and it's totally silent but for anything more than that it's a dog. My friends i3 based Dell was running very slow and he asked me to see if I could solve that so I uninstalled all of the included bloatware and start up items and it was still using 3gb of ram out of 6gb. So if you can find an i5 fanless notebook go for it. I would replace the 5400 rpm SATA drive with an SSD and load my own copy of Windows without the bloatware and hidden bloatware and avoid ACER.
Old 5th August 2018
  #4
Gear Addict
 
johannburkard's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mister Karloff View Post
What do you need your laptop to do?
Ableton probably, let's say 20 tracks maybe, a couple of dozen plugins. Recording and playback through an RME Fireface UCX but that's probably less a problem.
Old 5th August 2018
  #5
Would a MS Surface be an option or is it excessively compromised?
Old 6th August 2018
  #6
Lives for gear
 

I bought a new Acer Predator Helios 300 laptop (the 572 model) a few months ago just for daw work. It's an i7 designed for gamers I guess. In looking at the Acer PredatorSense control panel for the fan and graphics internal/nvidia switching, it appears to me that I can turn the cpu and gpu fans completely off if I want. Don't know that I'd want to do that, but the controls are there.

Have you looked at this model? It's pretty dead quiet to me in its auto mode for the fans, although my dedicated Intel graphics is generally on more often than the Nvidia 1060. I'm running an nvme ssd C drive and a 7200rpm sata D drive inside.

My Acer definitely seems quieter than my Elitebooks.
Old 6th August 2018
  #7
Gear Addict
 
johannburkard's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Diogo C View Post
Would a MS Surface be an option or is it excessively compromised?
You are talking about the Surface Pro with Intel m3s or i5s, right?
Old 6th August 2018
  #8
Gear Addict
 
johannburkard's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by thenoodle View Post
Have you looked at this model?
I've a few things that I'd like to have but I've not yet narrowed it down too much. I want to know if the approach makes sense first.
Old 6th August 2018
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by johannburkard View Post
You are talking about the Surface Pro with Intel m3s or i5s, right?
Yep. Both the recent Pro 5 and Go models use passive cooling.
Old 6th August 2018
  #10
Gear Addict
 
johannburkard's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Diogo C View Post
Yep. Both the recent Pro 5 and Go models use passive cooling.
Got it, looks like the Surface Pro may be another option, and slightly higher PassMark CPU rank, too. Thanks.
Old 8th December 2018
  #11
Gear Addict
 
johannburkard's Avatar
FWIW Microsoft is now making the
Surface Pro 6
of which the Intel i5 variant is fanless again.

The Intel Core i5-8250U and the Intel Core i5-8350U they use have 7671 and 8248 PassMark points.
Old 9th December 2018
  #12
Gear Nut
 
HexRanger's Avatar
 

If this is purely a noise thing, I'd suggest getting the horsepower you want and then dialing back the fan/power to taste...

It's easy switch cooling policy to passive under power options in Windows (Advanced power settings > Processor power management > System cooling policy). I think the fan will still kick in during an emergency, but generally will throttle the CPU back instead.

Most BIOS options also have fan speed controls, many with an option to disable the fan altogether.

This way, in a year or two, you're not wishing you had purchased a faster CPU later... No one ever said "I wish I bought a slower CPU."
Old 9th December 2018
  #13
Deleted 46dc28f
Guest
I'd avoid the fanless MS Surface Pros. I was gonna buy one but ended up with Lenovo Miix 520. It's not fanless, but I can't hear it with headphones, and the i5-8250U is fast. Runs Bitwig demo songs without breaking a sweat. My buddy at work went through a couple of the fanless Surface Pros. Had them replaced under warranty 'cause they kept heating up and warping the whole chassis and screen. His latest one is starting to warp, too. Do an image search on warped Surface Pro. It's ugly.


Last edited by Deleted 46dc28f; 9th December 2018 at 10:37 AM..
Old 3rd February 2019
  #14
Gear Addict
 
johannburkard's Avatar
Here's an update: I bought a Surface Pro 6 with a Intel Core i5-8250U -- I would have preferred the "Commercial" () edition with the Intel Core i5-8350U but couldn't find it.

I have to give it to Microsoft that with Windows 10, they've produced an operating system that's much less annoying than I had expected.

I didn't have to do much to bring the memory usage down to 2/8 GB. A few autostart apps, a few services. Nothing major.

This guy has a few good tips on power settings and other tweaks that help when working with audio software, not only for the Surface Pro 6:



I've used LatencyMon to measure the noise in the box. I can't really compare the numbers as this is the first computer that I used this tool on, but I'm attaching them. If you're interested, compare them to your computer's.

The only half-problem I have with the Surface Pro 6 is that I think that Tracktion 7 (which is what I'm using as DAW for now) seems to be running on one "core" only, including its plugins. I may be wrong, but with Hyper-Threading, the power of the full CPU is spread awfully thin across eight "cores" if you're a single-CPU application.

Apart from that, I am using an RME Fireface UCX which is super nice and stable. No dropouts whatsoever, but I haven't tested how low I can go with the buffer size.
Attached Thumbnails
Fanless notebooks with less CPU power?-latencymon.jpg  
Topic:
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump