Best affordable laptop that can run Blender and do a bit of gaming?
March 20, 2020 1:12 PM   Subscribe

We are stuck in the house indefinitely and need to order - ASAP! - a new laptop so the older kid can do schoolwork and also spend time doing 3D rendering on Blender and to a lesser extent some gaming. Looking in the $1000 range. Help.

The obvious choice from a performance standpoint is a gaming laptop. But that means excessive heat and limited battery life. This laptop will eventually be toted to school every day, so I want one that's lighter and has longer battery life, even if that means sacrificing brute performance. The kid is more interested in Blender and gaming is mostly a "nice to have." Or maybe I'm projecting, but I'm the parent and I control the budget.

Trying to stick to around $1000.

I've spent hours looking at options on Wirecutter, Laptop Mag, PC mag, etc., but don't see a clear frontrunner and honestly I'm exhausted by life right now. Any recommendations?
posted by bassomatic to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I’ve been using Lenovo P series laptops for the last five years as a desktop replacement for intensive 3D modeling and some rendering. They work great. If you want save $$$ maybe look at a new old stock P51. New P53s start at around $1200. Be warned that they’re kind of heavy (tho a lot better than a gaming laptop).
posted by q*ben at 2:09 PM on March 20, 2020 [1 favorite]

I would suggest that overanalysis is the enemy of decision. Whatever you decide now will be superceded, often in weeks or months. The Wirecutter budget gaming laptop recommendations are very good choices. In particular the Acer Nitro 5 they recommend seems perfectly reasonable.
posted by blob at 8:21 AM on March 21, 2020

I just bought a lighter-duty Lenovo IdeaPad and it's working great.
posted by 8603 at 3:18 PM on March 21, 2020

Hmm, the lower tier Lenovo Legion Y series might do--they weigh about five pounds but are about an inch thick which feels decent for portability. Spend $50 more than the Y540 for the Y545 and you can double the RAM it has while having a little bit less of a graphics card, which I think is a good trade off in your case. It's available to ship now but low stock. The battery life isn't amazing but they can last for four hours; if you're not making it work hard then it shouldn't get overly hot. I was able to look at one in this line in person at CostCo before getting one for my homebody sister this past month, and it had a nice feel.
posted by foxfirefey at 3:11 PM on March 22, 2020

Response by poster: Thanks all! Lots of good recommendations here. We went with an HP Envy 13, skewing more toward a lighter all-rounder with good battery life, but it does have an NVIDIA GPU. Working fine so far.
posted by bassomatic at 11:59 AM on March 26, 2020

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