Laptop Recommendation for heavy deep learning projects


I’m in my last year or undergraduate studies and I’m going to be joining graduate school next year, for which I am looking to buy a new laptop.

I currently use Colab to run most of my machine learning projects mostly because of the free GPU, but as I’m starting to take on bigger projects I’m having to migrate to using terminal due to Colab’s time and memory limit. I currently have a pretty old MacBook Pro (mid 2012) so I’m looking to upgrade. What do you think about a MacBook Pro 2017?

If this isn’t the right place then I’d be happy to be redirected!

Hi Grizzly!

I don’t have a specific recommendation, but if you insist on getting a
laptop, I would suggest that you consider getting a “gaming” laptop.
Look for the biggest, fastest (nvidia, pytorch-compatible) gpu that you
are comfortable spending the money on.

However, there is a lot to be said for setting up a comparatively
inexpensive workstation / server. You could, for example, buy (or
get as a hand-me-down) a second-hand box to which you add the
biggest, fastest gpu that fits your budget (and maybe some more
cpu memory). Put linux on it, set it up with ssh, and run your jobs
“remotely” on it.

As you tackle more realistic projects (big data sets, big models, long
run times) any laptop you get (again, think gaming) is really more
likely to be a so-called “desktop replacement” – heavy, power-hungry,
runs hot – and not really conducive to shlepping to class. You won’t
be able to run real jobs off battery, so what’s the point of a laptop if
you have to leave it plugged in all the time? Real training on big gpu
is a major power-suck and source of heat. You’ll be better off running
your days-long training jobs on your server at home, while you run off
to class with a slick, portable laptop.


K. Frank

1 Like

Awesome! Thanks for the detailed response!! makes so much more sense to run via ssh!

It is necessary to be careful with gaming laptops. If you prefer to work on Windows it should be ok but if you want to work with Linux, you can meet a lot of problems with great gaming laptops. Most of them are configured for Windows and they don’t support drivers for Linux e.g. I bought Asus (cpu ryzen + gpu-nvidia) and first of all I have problem with built-in laptop keyboard - it useless under Linux (strange behavior and sometimes system crash) because it looks like some keyboard drivers are enabled during Windows boot… Besides, I have problems with Nvidia drivers on this device - after driver’s installation Ubuntu is not able to run - freezes during booting… Just - be careful…