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New laptop: better i7-7920hq or Xeon E3-1535M v6 for matlab?

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Hi All,
I'm in the process of buying a new laptop (a dell precision 7520), and I've two options regarding the architecture/processor, namely:
1) Xeon E3-1535M v6: quad core, 3.1GHz/4.2GHz turbo, 8MB cache, integrated graphics intel HD P630
2) i7-7920hq: 3.1GHz/4.1GHz turbo, 8MB cache, integrated graphics intel HD 630
Unfortunately, I could not find any relevant benchmark information regarding matlab with the two processors above. However, according to, the Xeon should have better performances, and therefore, considering the small price difference, I would be inclined to select it.
However, I'm a bit worried about possible compatibility/performance issues regarding matlab, which is my main working tool. I'm particularly doubtful regarding the graphic card which is P630. Although, according to what I could understand from online info, P630 and 630 should basically be almost the same animal, with P630 being the certified version of the 630, I had bad experiences between matlab and "certified" graphics cards (particularly matlab and NVIDIA quadro).
Moreover, I'm not totally sure that a processor which is well performing on general benchmarks, in this case the Xeon, is also well performing with matlab.
I therefore look for some advice in this respect.
Did anyone have some positive/bad experience with the same/similar processors?
Can I safely go with the Xeon+P630 without expecting matlab compatibility/performance issues, or is it advised to stay in the "i7 mainstream"?
Even if with i7 I'd potentially loose a 10% or so in performance, I'd accept it without problems for the sake of robustness of the configuration. It is much better loosing a bit of performance than having a useless laptop with potential continuous compatibility issues...
Thanks, Gabriele
  1 Comment
José-Luis on 2 Aug 2017
Edited: José-Luis on 2 Aug 2017
There's no clear-cut answer to your question.
It very much depends.
  1. Are the functions you use the most parallelized? If not a plethora of cores won't help you.
  2. Is blazing fast performance an issue? Then you should be running your stuff in a cluster. If down-to-the-metal performance is an issue, then you probably shouldn't use Matlab anyway.
I have no comment or expertise on the graphic card side of things.
That being said, I understand Xeons are pretty expensive because they are very reliable and can be left running a long time. Are you going to be running long simulations and will small children die if your processor barfs? If not, you probably can spare the expense.
In all, I wouldn't worry about it since the performance looks so similar on paper.

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Answers (1)

Anthony Barone
Anthony Barone on 2 Aug 2017
Edited: Anthony Barone on 2 Aug 2017
I doubt there will be much of a difference. They both use the same generation of CPU Architecture (Kaby Lake) and have effectively the same clock speed (the extra 0.1 GHZ boost clock for the xeon effectively makes no difference, since you're unlikely to hit that (especially in a laptop where thermal constraints are more restrictive) unless you are running single threaded). The only way they might be slightly different is if they have different frequency--vs--core-count settings (these CPU's always run faster for single threaded tasks and slow down a little each time another core gets activated). In my couple minutes searching I didnt see any info on this, but I doubt the difference (assuming there is one at all) would matter much.
From a couple minutes on google, it seems the HD P630 (in the xeon) is the same as the HD 630 (in the i7), only the P630 is "certified" with some professional applications (like AutoCAD). For Matlab this too makes no difference.
Other than the certified iGPU, the only thing that is really substantially different is the xeon supports ECC memory, which is kind of nice but (as far as I know) wont effect Matlab performance at all.
That said, if Matlab performance is a moderately large concern you would really be better off with a desktop. CPU performance will be considerably better: for the price of the CPU's you listed you can get: an 8 core i7-7820x OR for a few hundred less a 8-core ryzen 7 OR (if you wait a little) for about the same price a 12-core threadripper OR for a few hundred more an i7-7900x that has AVX-512 fully supported. On the GPU front you have more powerful options as well. Everything is easily upgradable too, whereas is not in a laptop.
A few years back I went the "heavy duty laptop" route (i7-3600HQ, 16gb ram, gtx-660m) and in hindsight really wish that I had instead bought a cheap-ish ultraportable laptop (to use when I'm on the go) and a more powerful desktop (to use when Im home). If you will be constantly using this laptop whe you arn't home for compute intensive tasks (like running Matlab) then a laptop like this might make sense; but, if you only want a laptop so you have access to microsoft office and an internet browser when you arent home not I would seriously consider getting a cheap light-weight low-power laptop and a desktop instead.
  1 Comment
Gabriele on 7 Aug 2017
Unfortunately my activity involves working both at office and at home more or less at the same level. As a result, I am a bit stuck with the option of a "movable workstation" ;-)
My future ideal would be a desktop at work with RDP from home using a light portable. Unfortunately, network conditions between home and work are not yet sufficient for going with this option. It is likely/hopefully the option for the next round ;-)
I've noticed that, basically, the intel graphics drivers are exactly the same package for the 630+i7-7920hq and the P630+xeon E3-1535M v6 (, which also indicates that the two option are equivalent from the perspective of graphic drivers' update.
Perhaps the i7+630 option, which is more mainstream, could be more robust from the point of view of bug checking&resolving compared to xeon+p630 which might be a little bit less common configuration. And this could be a pro for the i7 option. But this is just a guess from my side.
It would be nice if there would be some benchmark data regarding matlab performances on the two architectures, but I couldn't find any :-(

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