Best cad laptop 2016

Best cad laptop 2016 DEFAULT

Solidworks can be very demanding even for a dedicated PC. That makes it problematic if you want to keep your budget low. Also, Solidworks is designed to take advantage of professional CAD graphics cards which introduce even more variables when looking for a proper laptop. Despite this, I’ve decided to take up the challenge to find the best laptop for Solidworks even if you have to keep your spending tight! So without further ado, let’s jump right in..

Quick Preview

In this post, I’ll attempt to reverse engineer the best laptops for Solidworks from various use cases and general Solidworks experience. Down the road, you’ll also get to know what is and what isn’t essential for a great Solidworks laptop. I’ll also identify the corners you can cut if your budget is limited but you still want a solid workstation.

At the second part of the post, I’ll list a few top-notch suggestions according to your specific budget. Finally, if you’re in doubt – drop a comment. It was my pleasure to personally answer roughly 50 of you in the AutoCAD post.


What should be your top priority for any Solidworks laptop

The Essentials for Solidworks are the same. However, the priority of these bread-and-butter requirements depends on your particular type of work. You can also evaluate this list depending on what you have to deal most often or even what part of your work frustrates you.

Processor and Memory

Modeling, Drawing and Simulations

Quad-core Processor @3GHz+

Modeling, a single-threaded task, relies heavily on a sheer clock rate your processor can provide. That’s why You should consider only processors that can offer at least 3Ghz frequency. At the same time, drawings and simulations will benefit tremendously from any additional cores/threads you can throw at them.

It gets better – processors with 4 cores and Hyper-Threading have become a standard even in budget laptops. The real question is whether you can afford ones with a higher clock rate and more internal cache.

Good reference points for a processor:

  • under 1000$: Intel i5-6300HQ (4 Cores @3.2GHz)
  • 1000$ – 2000$: Intel i7-4810MQ (4×2 Threads @3.8GHz)
  • 2000$ and up: Intel i7-4980HQ (4×2 Threads @4GHz, vPro)

I would not recommend going below 4th-gen processors. Right now you can get great options with Broadwell/Haswell Intel CPUs like i7-6700HQ, i7-6820HQ or i7-5950HQ.

There’re plenty of resources to compare processors, like PassMark benchmarks and NotebookCheck CPU benchmarks.

A lot of memory for Assemblies

Solidworks has ramped up its memory consumption in the past years and I’d be surprised if in the next 2 years it won’t start recommending 12 GB as a starting point. That’s why it’s the starting point for us apart from a few budget options.

To note, you could technically get away with getting an 8GB MacBook Pro model. But if you like to multi-task or you like having a lot of tabs open in your browser – you’ll regret not getting, at least, 12GB. Recently, I have upgraded my laptop from 8 to 12 GB and it was definitely worth it.

Final Rendering

If you’ll need to do that often – consider investing in a separate small mini-ATX PC? Yes, laptops these days are a lot better than they used to but desktops are still far superior when it comes to CPU/GPU performance.

Graphics Card

There are two main options you’ll need to choose from:

  • Certified cards for SolidWorks – more stable + RealView
  • Consumer grade (gaming) cards – a lot cheaper &

The choice becomes even less clear when considering that you can enable RealView in Solidworks via RealHack (basic Windows registry editing) even if you don’t have a certified card. At the same time, you might not even need RealView anyways (or at least not as often as you’d expect).

The choice comes down to budget and purpose.

If you can’t go over 1800$ – just go for consumer grade card. End of discussion. This includes most students, part-time freelancers, and hobbyists.

If you’ll be working full-time or your part-time gig justifies getting 2000$ – 3000$+ laptop – a certified Quadro/FirePro chip might be exactly what you need, though, not always.

By now you might be wondering what’s so magical about these cards. Quite bluntly, there’s no fairy dust behind them. They’re based on the same architectures and chips that gaming cards have.

The main 2 differences are:

  • stability – the most stable chips are reserved for Quadro/FirePro lines
  • custom drivers for Solidworks* that are specifically tweaked and tested to work with all the features Solidworks can offer

*and other professional software

What’s the bottom line?

Under $2000, consumer-grade GeForce/Radeon card will be mostly fine. There are some easy ways to enable RealView or a non-certified graphics card (a.k.a RealHack). Quadro/FirePro cards cost so much more that on a limited budget you end up having a low-end card or every other component in your laptop being sub-par.

10th-gen Nvidia GeForce cards are a lot faster than previous-gen cards. And since Quadro cards are released later than GeForce – we have a lot more options choosing between consumer-grade products than trying to find the right laptop with Quadro/FirePro card.

I recommend these GeForce/Radeon cards:

  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070
  • AMD Radeon RX 570X, 470X, M485X

For a laptop over $2000, a certified video card is a viable choice – though still not always necessary. These are the cards I recommend:

  • under 2000$: FirePro M6100, Quadro M2000M
  • under 3000$: Quadro M3000M
  • 3000$+ : Quadro M4000M, P3000, FirePro W7170M
  • 4000$+ : Quadro M5000M, P4000, P5000


SSDs have become a must for almost any type of professional. The real question is whether you can use SSDs as your only storage. That would be ideal – having multiple SSDs and preferably the main one running via M.2/PCIe for unmatched performance.

To quickly make a judgment on a laptop’s storage refer to its size and its type/port:

  1. PCIe/M.2 SSD (best)
  2. SATA SSD (good)
  3. hybrid HDD (HDD with flash storage buffer) (decent)
  4. HDD (bad)

And here are my recommended storage requirements according to your budget:
Under 1000$

  • small SSD (250GB) + 1 TB HDD

Under 2000$

  • 500GB SSD (medium-sized)
  • 500GB SSD + 1TB HDD

Under 3000$

  • 1 TB SSD
  • 0.5-1 TB SSD & 1-2 TB HDD


  • 1-2 TB SSD (& 1-2 TB HDD)
  • For simplicity’s sake, when mentioning M.2, I also refer to PCIe drives and I assume NVMe support on both ends.

    RAID configuration

    If you’ll looking for a large 3000$+ laptop, you could consider getting some sort of a RAID setup. RAID can be used to either increase performance (i.e. RAID0) or stability (i.e. RAID1).

    I would advise against performance setups in this particular case. SSDs, especially those going straight through PCIe, will offer more than enough performance as it is. At the same time, you can’t expect to have 4-5 hard drives on one laptop (though that’s certainly possible). And even if you had them, they would cut down battery running time dramatically. That leaves RAID1 as the only viable option unless you’re absolutely certain you need a different setup.

    Additional requirements

    Essential requirements were all about maximizing the potential of the laptop. And now I’ll describe what you should be looking at to maximize usability and general experience of using Solidworks and other professional software.

    Quality screen

    No surprise here. Most of you’ll be staring at your screen for 6-10 hours a day (and sometimes more if you’re anything like me).

    Quality of a screen can be broken down to:

    • type of panel
    • resolution
    • luminosity a.k.a brightness
    • contrast
    • color gamut

    Follow these 5 metrics and you’ll be able to judge quite accurately ~90% of screens on the market.

    Now, what I should be looking for and where do I find it?

    • panel – IPS
    • resolution – Full HD (1920×1080)
    • luminosity – average of 280 cd or more
    • contrast – 800:1 or greater
    • color gamut – 90%+ sRGB

    If a laptop has an IPS panel – it will be a part of the description. Some laptops will have a “wide-angle” or some other gizmo, which means they made something similar to an IPS panel and didn’t buy a license from LG for the use of IPS.

    Sadly, even Solidworks 2017 has problems with high-resolution screens (above FHD). Solidworks uses a lot of fonts and custom padding/margins which bug out even when using Windows scaling. That means getting a 2K/4K might not be worthwhile after all. From my position, Full HD is enough for Solidworks. Though that might change in 2017/18 as the number of 4K/Ultra HD displays is shooting up.

    Luminosity and

    My recommendations for a screen:
    Under 1000$

    • non-IPS, Full HD, 250 cd, 800:1

    Under 2000$

    • IPS, Full HD, 300 cd, 1000:1


    • IPS, Full HD, 320 cd, 1000:1, mostly accurate colors

    External monitors

    The sky is the limit when it comes to additional monitors. Or 6… 6 is also a good limit.

    Additional monitors are not a part of the laptop itself but knowing ahead of time how many you might need will help to refine our requirements.

    If you’re OK with 0-2 external monitors, any laptop with a basic HDMI port will be good enough.

    Meanwhile, wide-angle enthusiasts should look out for:

    • DisplayPort or HDMI 2.0 (or even both)
    • Quadro/FirePro card (recommended)

    High Capacity Battery

    This one comes down to your workflow.

    For example, I almost always work in a place where a power socket is nearby. In my particular scenario, I can dodge this problem without a worry. Though, it would be nice if my laptop wouldn’t die after watching one episode of Game of Thrones…

    If you’re working on-the-go – your laptop will need a lot more juice than I do.

    There’s quite a few metrics that are used to judge a battery but luckily for all of us – only 2 matter at the end of the day.

    First and foremost, you need a long battery runtime.

    Secondly, a good battery should have a long lifetime. There’s no full-proof way to measure it but the number of cells is a good indication of battery lifetime. The main takeaway – prefer batteries with more cells – 6 or more.

    And if you want to be ready for the worst case scenario – know what will happen when a battery fails. Can it be easily removed and replaced? If it can, how much will it cost? If it can’t – what are manufacturer’s guarantees and policies?

    If you need a solid battery and you’re not tight on your budget – you need either 8+ cell battery or an ability to easily replace it. Best case scenario – 8+ cell battery which can be replaced and is still in production.

    Selection Process for finding the best Solidworks laptop

    Now that the research is done and we have requirements in front, it’s time to find some specific models! Get hyped for Solidworks laptops!

    There’s nothing special about the process:

    1. Research potential options
      • recommended laptops in SolidWorks/CAD communities (those tend to be rather old)
      • best sellers & hot releases
      • latest releases in established product lines
    2. Select best suiting models/builds
    3. Measure up every laptop against requirements
    4. Read reviews and scrutinize small details
    5. Mercilessly narrow down to a handful of best options

    Suggestions for Solidworks

    Since we got our theoretical part done, it’s time to show what exact models are the best laptops for SolidWorks.

    Under $1000

    Dell Inspiron i7559-763BLK


    Intel [email protected] | NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M 4GB | 8 GB DDR3L | 15.6″ FHD IPS | 256 GB SSD | SD, MMC, 3x USB 3.0, HDMI

    Dell Inspiron i7559-763BLK is the cheapest yet still pretty good model you can get for Solidworks.

    It comes with Quad-core Intel i5 processor capable of reaching 3.2GHz, which should match a lot of more expensive notebooks when it comes to modeling performance. Solid GTX 960M graphics card, and a small SSD.

    You could even upgrade the modest 8 GB of RAM it comes with up to 16GB of RAM for just under 35$.

    This particular model has been selling like hotcakes as it nails down most of the recent trends in the laptop market. Close to all notebooks in this range, cheap out on 1-2 specs to keep their price tag low. Somehow, Dell managed to get performance and usability just right.

    Of course, don’t expect business class build quality or a long battery life, but even in those areas, Dell does not stay behind other similarly priced models.

    View on Amazon

    MSI GL62


    Intel [email protected] | NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M 2GB | 16 GB DDR4 | 15.6″ FHD eDP | 256 GB PCIe SSD + 1 TB 7200RPM HDD | SD, 1x USB 3.1 Type C, 2x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0, mini DisplayPort, HDMI 1.4

    View on Amazon

    Under $2000

    Lenovo ThinkPad P50


    i7-6820HQ | NVIDIA Quadro M2000M 4GB | 16 GB | 15.6″ FHD IPS, 235 cd, 774:1, 58% sRGB, calibrated | 256 SSD | 4 USB 3.0, USB Type C/Thunderbolt, HDMI, mini DisplayPort6-cell (8h Wi-Fi surfing)

    This laptop has a great processor and a certified mid-range graphics card. It also doesn’t lack memory and it has a decently fast SSD with built-in data encryption to enhance security and privacy. Lenovo also did not cheap out on connections – it has plenty of USBs, Thunderbolt, HDMI and mini DisplayPort, which should be sufficient to connect up to 2-5 monitors depending on their resolution/refresh rate.

    It gets even better – it packs a solid 90Wh battery. If you’re not going to buy this model from Amazon, check if you’re getting 90Wh and not a 66Wh battery.

    Though it has some caveats that may concern you:

    • limiting screen color gamut which can be a deal-breaker if you also have to do photo/video editing
    • some reported problems with Intel Turbo Boost which might limit its performance.
    • steep fall in performance when working not plugged in
    • no RAID support
    View on Amazon

    Under $3000

    Dell Precision 5510 (custom build)


    i7-6820HQ | NVIDIA Quadro M1000M 2GB | 16 GB | 15.6″ FHD IPS | 256GB M.2 SSD + 1TB HDD | Thunderbolt 3, 2 USB 3.0, HDMI5h Wi-Fi surfing

    [r] [c small=”12″]

    NotebookCheck Review

    [/c] [/r]

    This Dell Precision definitely takes the crown when it comes to looks. I know, it took some time for manufacturers to understand that just because a laptop is a workstation, it must be bulky and heavy.

    Want to know the best part?

    The screen looks even better. 5510 comes with an IPS Full HD screen by default and if you want, there’s a 4K option which manages to cover the whole sRGB range for outstanding colors.

    This laptop covers all the bases with maybe one exception – limiting graphics card. Don’t get me wrong, it’s certified and will support RealView and high model size and complexity but you’ll have to limit visualization and simulation settings. If that’s OK with you – you won’t find a better option.

    View on Dell website

    Over 3000$

    Dell Precision 7710


    Intel i7-6820HQ | AMD FirePro W7170M 4GB | 32GB | 17.3″ FHD IPS, 307 cd, 1006:1, 97% sRGB | 512GB M.2 PCIe SSD + 512 SATA SSD | 4x USB 3.0, mini DisplayPort, HDMI | 91 Wh battery (6h Wi-Fi browsing)

    [r] [c small=”12″]


    NotebookCheck Review |

    [/c] [/r]

    For this custom build, there are 2 viable options for a graphics card:

    • AMD FirePro W7170M
    • Nvidia Quadro M4000M (for 400$ extra)

    Nvidia Quadro M5000M might be an overkill for most as Solidworks sadly can’t fully take advantage of best graphics cards. But if you’re planning to work with very large assemblies, that might pay off in the long-run.

    Apart from that, this is an absolutely great laptop. There’s plenty of storage and it’s blazingly fast due to M.2 PCIe interface.

    HDMI and mini DisplayPort are enough to connect more than a healthy amount of monitors (heh) for all your productivity needs.

    If needed, this particular setup can be easily upgraded upwards and with the right setup, it will be the best laptop for SolidWorks 2017.

    View on Dell website

    Table of Best Laptops for Solidworks

    Finally, you can explore some custom Lenovo builds for a 17″ workstation. They’re similar to what Dell offers and I simply did not want to include a section for both of them as they can be customized to have practically the same parts.

    That’s about it, folks! I think this is all you need to know to get the best laptop for Solidworks or even find your own. Don’t forget to share, leave a comment or ask a question down below.


    How to Choose the Best Laptop for CAD

    Computer-aided design, or CAD, is a very distinct computing category that’s all about one thing: precision. CAD applications can make things look good, just like image and video editing applications, but that’s not their purpose. Rather, CAD applications must create virtual constructs that mimic physical reality precisely. After all, if you’re designing an aircraft wing, you want to ensure that the application is correctly modeling how that wing will perform in-flight — not simply that it looks pretty.

    Choosing the best laptop for CAD applications, therefore, requires some careful planning. That’s true for a Windows desktop computer, where components can be replaced and upgraded in the future. It’s doubly true for a laptop PC, where most components cannot be upgraded — thus making your initial purchasing decisions that much more important.

    The following are some laptop configurations that would provide sufficient performance depending on whether you’re going to be conducting 2D or 3D drafting and the overall complexity of your projects.

     CPUVideo CardStorageMemory
    Standard 2D Consumer
    Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 5 MobileIntel or AMD integrated graphics512GB SSD
    16 GB DDR4
    Standard 2D Workstation
    Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 5 MobileIntel or AMD integrated graphics512GB SSD16GB DDR4
    Entry 3D Consumer
    Intel Core i7 H-series or AMD Ryzen 7 MobileUp to NVIDIA RTX 2080 Super1TB SSD32 GB DDR4
    Entry 3D Workstation
    Intel Xeon W-10855MNVIDIA Quadro RTX 50002TB SSD32 GB DDR4
    High-End 3D Consumer
    Intel Core i9 H-series or AMD Ryzen 9 MobileUp to NVIDIA RTX 30802TB SSD64 GB DDR4
    High-End 3D Workstation
    Intel Xeon W-10885MNVIDIA Quadro RTX 60002x 2TB SSD128GB DDR4

    CAD applications

    There are a host of CAD applications available, from free to use version to those costing in the thousands. The most popular include Autodesk AutoCAD and its newer 3D modeling tool Revit, SolidWorks, and Vectorworks. These applications can vary in their target markets and their stated objectives — SolidWorks, for example, is all about 3D — but they have similar requirements.

    If you read the basic requirements for these applications, you’ll be tempted to think they’ll run on low-end laptops. For example, AutoCAD’s requirements are as follows:

    • CPU Basic: 2.5-2.9GHz processor
      CPU Recommended: 3+ GHz processor
    • RAM Basic: 8GB RAM
      RAM Recommended: 16GB RAM
    • Conventional display: Full HD display (1,920 x 1,080)
      High-resolution and 4K display: UHD (3,840 x 2,160) supported on Windows 10 64-bit
    • GPU Basic: 1GB GPU with 29GB/s bandwidth and DirectX 11 compliant
      GPU Recommended: 4GB GPU with 106GB/s bandwidth and DirectX 11 compliant

    Those aren’t very stringent requirements, and you won’t want to limit yourself to these specifications. Interestingly, Autodesk doesn’t specify much higher requirements for 3D modeling, but we’re going to recommend much more powerful components.

    Our recommendation is to buy significantly more laptop than the manufacturer requires. You’ll get faster and more reliable performance, which eventually will pay for itself through greater productivity and more completed work.

    2D versus 3D

    One of the most basic criteria in determining your laptop requirements for CAD work include whether you’ll be working primarily in 2D or whether you’ll be delving into 3D modeling. The computing power for the latter is significantly greater than the former.

    That’s particularly true when it comes to the GPU you’ll want to look for in a laptop. 3D CAD work is incredibly demanding, both in creating 3D drawings and in rendering those drawings to realistic depictions of whatever it is you’re designing. A legitimate discrete GPU is a requirement for 3D CAD, and the faster, the better. NVIDIA RTX GPUs of various power are popular choices, as are NVIDIA Quadro commercial GPUs for workstations (see below).

    3D CAD also places greater stress on the CPU, meaning that you’ll want to get as fast a processor as you can to make sure your laptop can keep up. If you choose an Intel Core CPU, then you’ll want a 45-watt H-series. If your preference is AMD, then the new AMD Ryzen 5000 series will meet your needs well, particularly if you choose the Ryzen 7. If you’re looking at a workstation, then you’ll have the choice of Intel Xeon processors or AMD Threadripper CPUs.

    Consumer Laptop versus Workstation

    One of the more important decisions you’ll make is between consumer laptops and commercial workstations. The latter are designed specifically for the kind of work that you’ll be performing, with thermal designs that can keep the heat down and processor speed up, and commercial components — like Xeon CPUs and NVIDIA Quadro GPUs, as mentioned above — that offer increased reliability through both system design and specialized driver support.

    Workstations are also more expensive, with displays that are often a cut above those found on the average consumer laptop in terms of color support and the ability to configure more storage (including multiple drives) and more RAM. Some examples of workstation laptops include the HP Z Workstation, Lenovo’s ThinkPad P-series, and Dell’s Precision line.

    The right consumer laptop can also work, and interestingly, many CAD users choose gaming laptops thanks to their high-performance tuning. Gaming machines tend to offer the fastest CPUs and cutting-edge GPUs like the NVIDIA RTX 3080. Where gaming laptops don’t always do as well is with display quality — they’re made for gaming, after all, not for applications that demand accurate colors and wide color gamuts. That limitation can be overcome by adding a high-quality external display if you’re going to be primarily working in an office location.

    Fortunately, there are mainstream laptops that can often provide sufficient power for all but the most demanding users, along with excellent displays that rival workstation quality. The Dell XPS 17, for example, can be equipped with an Intel 11th-gen Core i9-10885H CPU, an NVIDIA RTX 2060 GPU, and up to 64GB of RAM. You’ll spend close to $4000 for the machine, but it’s capable of churning through 2D tasks and working fairly efficiently with 3D modeling as well.

    Finally, there’s a new crop of creative-oriented consumer laptops that offer close to workstation specifications with specialized designs that can be real boons to productivity in applications like CAD. The Acer ConceptD 7 Ezel, for example, can morph from a standard clamshell into a drawing tablet (which may or may not come in handy for CAD work, depending on the application), while offering fast components like a Core i7-10857H CPU, NVIDIA RTX 2080 Super GPU, and up to 32GB of RAM.


    There’s never been a better time to buy the best laptop for CAD applications. CPUs and CPUs are more powerful than ever, and manufacturers are offering more variety in laptop designs to go with greater specifications including more RAM and storage. And while we indicated earlier that laptops aren’t as upgradeable as desktop PCs — and that’s true — many laptops are more upgradable than you might imagine, allowing you to add more RAM and storage as your needs grow.

    1. Facebook/react github
    2. Gl manga books
    3. Jet ski ebay
    4. Car rental renton washington
    5. Old havana serving bowl

    Professional CAD Workstations

    CAD software’s are becoming increasingly demanding and the tasks are becoming more resource intensive consuming a lot of processing power and memory. So, depending upon the type of CAD software and the type of work you do with it the hardware and software need to be optimized to get the best performance from your investment.

    In this article, I have tried to discuss the importance of processor, memory, storage, and software in your PC and how they impact the performance of your CAD software. We have not included mice in this discussion and we have a separate article where you can see our recommended list of best CAD mouse.

    You can also directly jump to our recommended list of best CAD laptops and workstations by clicking here


    It’s the heart of your machine which does all the computing work. Intel series like i3, i5, and i7 are predominantly used in the consumer grade PC and laptops and Xeon is almost entirely dominant in enterprise/drawing offices.

    But Intel is not the only dominant player in the processor market. More recently, AMD has made a return to the high-end market with their Ryzen and Ryzen Threadripper CPUs although they’ve yet to become a staple in corporate workstation configurators.

    Cores and Threads

    The processors come with many cores and the speed with which these cores can perform calculations is referred as clock speed which is measured in gigahertz (GHz). Single and Dual-core processors are rare now, and most common processors these days have a minimum of four cores with the high-end i7 having 6 cores, Ryzen with 8 cores, and Xeons/Threadripper having over 12 cores and beyond.

    The simple 3D modeling and drafting software like AutoCAD is mostly single threaded, that means it only uses one core to perform the task so in this case higher clock speed is obviously recommended.

    Though Autodesk is continuously developing and rewriting their source code to enable multi-threaded support for more features, there are now many features within 2D and 3D CAD applications which can utilize multiple cores.

    But if you are working with newer rendering software like Vray, Maya or blender then they are generally multithreaded and hence, in this case, a processor with more cores would be better.

    More cores will allow multiple simultaneous operations and hence faster processing. In case of multithreaded software, I would recommend a standard consumer grade quad-core processor with hyperthreading or SMT (simultaneous multithreading). This should be sufficient for almost all light to medium CAD workflows.

    However, if you use simulation software like Ansys or rendering software like Keyshot, you will gain a big benefit from the additional cores which over time will bring a good return on investment for the price premium of a higher end CPU.

    Overclocking in CPU

    You might have heard about overclocking, which apparently improves your processor’s performance. but I always say to never ever overclock a PC that you rely on to make money i.e. if you do commercial project work on it or if it’s in a professional office, I do not recommend overclocking.

    It’s an objective fact that overclocking increases the instability of a computer, it doesn’t matter how many stress tests that person has done and passed, an overclock increases the chance of the computer completely crashing.

    So, for home users or students it is fine, but I would never recommend a business user performs an overclock. The gains are typically minimal to CAD software and not worth the risk of losing work.

    Moreover not all processors support overclocking for example Xeons are not supported for overclocking and all AMD Ryzen based CPUs support overclocking. Additionally, you need to also ensure that your motherboard supports overclocking not only the processor.

    Memory (RAM)

    RAM or the physical memory installed in your PC dictates the number of and size of concurrent programs and datasets you can have open at any one time.  As modern software grows more complex, the need for more RAM becomes a factor but as always, your budget can be a limitation.

    For simple 2D CAD workflows, 8GB RAM should be the absolute minimum you should consider.  For 3D CAD applications, we always recommend a minimum of 16GB RAM.  But as always, more RAM will allow you to work with more programs at once and open bigger datasets.

    If your CAD program requires more RAM than you have installed then windows redirects the allocation to virtual memory (section of the hard disk that is set up to emulate computer’s RAM) that will allow you to continue to work, but you’ll find operations are slower and sluggish.

    A common mistake is to assume more RAM will automatically make your computer run faster in every department, this is incorrect.  More RAM simply means you have more breathing space to work on bigger datasets before Windows begins to use the virtual memory.

    If you have 32GB RAM installed but your programs are only using 9GB RAM, your computer will perform the same as if you had 16GB RAM installed or 64GB.

    RAM must be matched to be compatible with your CPU, you can find this info on your CPU vendors website.  RAM can be classified as DDR3/DDR4 and has a frequency rating in Megahertz.

    So, my recommendation, in this case, is to consider a minimum of 8GB for 2D CAD, 16GB for 3D CAD, ensure the RAM is supported by your CPU and if possible buy large modules to leave free memory slots on your motherboard for potential future upgrades if required.

    Hard Drive

    There are currently two main types of hard drives commercially available, solid state drive(SSD) and hard disk drive(HDD). The HDD is the traditional option and it is generally seen in older laptops as well as desktops. All modern laptops and desktops are offered with an SSD, it’s up to the user to make sure they specify it when buying.

    Mechanical HDD contains a metal disk drive platter and they store data on their magnetic surface which rotates at high speed. The data is directly read from this fast-rotating disk and as a result, these drives are clunky, noisy, slower, and less reliable (due to moving parts).

    SSD addresses the issues faced by HDD and in this case, there are no moving parts in SSD hence these are more compact and almost silent and far more reliable than HDD and obviously have a faster data transfer rate then HDD.

    SSDs are generally separated into two categories identified by the communication bus they use, that being SATA or PCIe. SATA solid-state drives are limited to roughly around 600mb/s data transfer rate which is the limit of the SATA interface, whereas PCIe based solid state drives can read and write at over 2500mb/s.  There are many SSD’s on the market that can read and write at 3500mb/s too.

    Most high-end systems are default equipped with an SSD boot drive (the drive where the operating system is installed) and I also recommend SSD at least for the boot drive of your CAD laptop or workstation.

    Graphics Card (GPU)

    It is generally considered and preached that CAD is one of the most demanding graphical workflows and that the very expensive and powerful graphics cards (GPU) are designed with CAD in mind.  This is not always true; however, it can vary based on the vendor of the software.

    For example, Autodesk CAD applications graphics engine is heavily CPU dependent.  Performance increases in a linear fashion when CPU clock speed is increased, with little reliance on the GPU.  Many CAD applications use the CPU for calculating what should be displayed on the screen, with the GPU mostly being used for storing texture information in the video memory on the card (VRAM).

    Most Autodesk CAD applications support both the gaming (GeForce & Radeon) and professional (Quadro & Radeon Pro WX/FirePro) graphics cards, we generally recommend that home users purchase a gaming grade card whereas professional end users purchase a professional card.

    There are many other factors to consider when deciding on a GPU i.e. do you plan to use a variety of applications. So, it’s impossible to suggest on what to go for, but as a rule for CAD, ensure the GPU has at least 4GB VRAM.


    When it comes to monitors the rule is simple, the bigger the better. I highly recommend using ultrawide monitors for CAD, look at the LG 34UC79G for example.  This is a 21:9 aspect ratio and is 1440p mid-way between regular 1080p and 4K.  The screen space you get for CAD on a monitor like this is absolutely breathtaking and far better than what 4K at a regular 16:9 ratio can offer.

    Widescreen displays are expensive and difficult to justify buying in business environments, but it allows for incredible multi-tasking and gives you an insane amount of CAD modeling or drafting space.

    It’s also worth mentioning that if someone is considering a 4K monitor, that resolution is not supported by many programs and can result in very messy dialog boxes and tiny unreadable text.

    It also requires a much more powerful CPU and GPU as there’s roughly 4 times the number of pixels to send to generate and send to the monitor.  Although AutoCAD does handle 4K quite well still I would not recommend 4K for CAD.

    Recommended CAD Laptops

    As you have just seen that there is a lot to keep in mind before you decide on your ideal type of CAD hardware and hence recommending a laptop which is suitable for all type of CAD requirements is simply ambiguous. So, here we have prepared some recommended laptops which are suitable for most mainstream CAD software with the common type of CAD workflows.

    Dell 15.6 inch gaming Laptop

    This laptop has a quad-core Intel i5 processor with 8GB DDR3 RAM and Nvidia Geforce GTX 960M graphics card with 4GB VRAM and 256 GB SSD. It also comes with preinstalled Windows 10 operating system. So, in short, this is a complete package at an affordable price point and a great Laptop for AutoCAD and other 2D/3D CAD software.

    Buy from amazon

    HP Omen 17.3″

    One of the distinguishing factors in this laptop is its 17.3″ widescreen and 128GB SSD for boot drive along with 1 TB HDD. It also has Intel i7 7700HQ processor which has 4 cores and 8GB DDR4 RAM and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050Ti 4GB graphics card. This also comes with Windows 10 preinstalled and boasts other features like backlit keyboard and FHD IPS display. This truly is a laptop for almost any CAD software including softwares having rendering and simulation intensive tasks.

    Buy from amazon

    Dell Inspiron Gaming Laptop

    This laptop comes with Inteli7 7700HQ processor which has four cores and it also has 8GB DDR4 RAM with 128GB SSD and 1TB HDD. It also comes with NVIDIA GTX 1050 4GB graphics card and preinstalled windows 10. All of these features at an affordable price point are simply making this laptop a perfect choice for CAD software for your personal use.

    Buy from amazon

    MSI GL72M

    MSI is obviously a reliable name when it comes to professional laptops and this laptop is no exception. This also has Intel i7 quad-core processor with 8GB DDR4 RAM and 2GB NVIDIA GeForce Graphics. although the graphics VRAM is little less here it does have SSD for the boot drive and additional 1 TB of HDD. This laptop also comes with preinstalled windows 10 and is good for 2D drafting and 3D modeling softwares including AutoCAD.

    Buy from amazon

    Razer Blade 14″

    This one is another great laptop with Intel Core i7 processor with four cores and the laptop has 16GB DDR4 RAM with 6GB of NVIDIA VRAM and 256 GB SSD. And this too comes with pre-installed Windows 10 operating system. So, this is definitely a feature-packed laptop for graphics-intensive tasks like rendering and simulation.

    Buy from amazon

    Lenovo Thinkpad P50 and P51

    Thinkpads are thought to be probably the most reliable professional laptops currently available in the market and this feature-packed Thinkpad is no exception. It comes with Intel Xeon processor with four cores 16GB DDR4 RAM and 4GB NVIDIA Quadro VRAM. It also has 256GB SSD and comes pre-installed with windows 7 professional.

    The slightly upgraded version of P50 is Thinkpad P51 and it comes with 32GB DDR4 RAM, 512GB SSD, Fingerprint reader and windows 10 professional. There are more upgraded P series of Lenovo thinkpads are also available in the market like Thinkpad P71.

    Buy from amazon

    Workstations are even more difficult to recommend and there is absolutely no “one size fits all” workstation. So, here I am recommending some CAD workstations which you can use for moderate to intermediate type of CAD workflows involving 2D/3D modeling, rendering, and simulation software.

    OMEN 25L Desktop

    This workstation comes with 10th generation Intel Core i7 eight-core processor with 2.9 GHZ base frequency (4.8 with turbo boost), HyperX 16 GB RAM, and 6GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX1660 Ti. It also comes with 512 GB SSD and preinstalled windows 10. This workstation is good for light to moderate CAD, Graphics and simulation work.

    Buy from amazon

    CUK Continuum Liquid-cooled Desktop

    This workstation can be used for heavy processor and graphics-intensive CAD modelling, Rendering or simulation works as it comes with an Intel i9 ten-core 10900F processor and 32 GB DDR4 2933MHz RAM with NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 GDDR6 12 GB graphics. It also comes with 512GB  NVMe SSD and 2 TB HDD with preinstalled windows 10 Home.

    Buy from amazon

    As mentioned earlier, for CAD larger display is always better as it provides you with more screen area allowing simultaneous work on multiple drawing tabs. So, these are some of our recommendations based on the discussion we had earlier.

    LG 34″ Ultrawide Curved Monitor

    This curved ultra-wide 34″ LED monitor comes with a resolution of 2560×1080 and anti-glare protection for long hours of work and is perfect for CAD workflow. It also comes with adjustable height and USB type C connectivity.

    Buy from amazon

    HP Pavilion 27 inch IPS LED monitor

    This 27″ monitor from HP is one of the most highly rated monitors on Amazon. This monitor is a 1920x1080P 16:9 aspect ratio monitor with a 60Hz of refresh rate. The panel is antiglare IPS backlit and ideal for long hours of CAD usage. It is “plug and play” for both Mac and Windows operating system with no additional software installation required.

    Buy from amazon

    Samsung 27 inch Curved Monitor

    The curved monitor may not be everyone but once you get a hang of it, there is no turning back. It gives a much more immersive feeling when working with your CAD application with only a downside that initially you may find it difficult to see straight lines on the curved display but as time goes by your eyes will automatically adjust to the curved display. This one is a 1920x1080P, 27-inch curved display with a refresh rate of 60 Hz.

    Buy from amazon

    LG 34″ Full HD Monitor

    If you are not a fan of curved monitors then you can use this 34″ LG ultrawide monitor which has 2560×1080 resolution with 21:9 aspect ratio. The ultrawide monitor is ideal for CAD software and can be used for multiple applications simultaneously.

    Buy from amazon

    Do you agree with our recommendations? what is the configuration of your workstation and which laptop you use primarily for your CAD software? Let us know in the comments below. We keep this post updated with the latest hardware so keep checking this page for fresh updates.


    Top 6 Best Laptops for SolidWorks

    Finding the best laptop for solidworks can very subjective.

    Solidworks is a very versatile software, people will need different hardware specs depending on the kind of projects they are working with.

    Most users(like engineering students) will deal with projects  that will need nothing more than a consumer grade laptop with a dGPU (which costs aprox. ~700$) , while some professionals (like those working for an automobile company) may need to buy a workstation laptop that has a workstation GPU with plenty of vRAM (which can cost  anywhere from ~1500-4000$). 

    That’s where it usually gets tricky…

    What kind of user am I? What kind of hardware specifications will my projects need? We’ll answer that soon.

    A more important question however is…

    Where can I get reliable and accurate information without making the fatal mistake of wasting hundrds of dollars on a computer that will simply not handle the size and complexity of my models ?

    For one,

    You could start with the official website which will list a bunch of certified workstation laptops and there’s nothing wrong with their recommendations.

    However, that’s all you’d get from the official website. They’re not as detailed as you’d want them to be. They don’t tell you what workstations will give you the best bang for your buck nor if you really need those heavy bricks.

    And chances are you probably won’t.

    What can you do then?

    The best thing you can do is to talk to people who have used the software on both regular computers and workstations. 

    I’m going to be honest here and I don’t use Solidworks on a regular basis however I deal with projects of different size scales from time to time on different machines

    So I have a pretty good idea of what CPU, GPU, RAM and storage specs you need based on the type of user you are (student or pro), the size of your projects(creating/modifying large assemblies with +1000 parts or simple parts+low assemblies with some drawing) or the tasks you perform most regularly (modeling, drafting or rendering w/ simulations).


    Recommended Hardware For SolidWorks

    Just to avoid all the jargon and make it easier for you I’ve put up a table where you can see the specifications you will need for a model of a given size.

    If you want all the details, jump to last section using the TOC.

    If this will be your main tool of work, I think it’d be helpful to learn why solidworks requires this or that.

    Beware it’s not only long but quite technical so you’ll need to understand a few computer terms beforehand. I’d recommend reading my posts on the sidebar if you are a newbie to computers first.


    Laptops listed here can be separated into student laptops (by this i mean people getting started with solidworks or using the software for some engineering class) and professional laptops (those working for a company or just dealing with very large assemblies).

    A student of SolidWorks does not have to buy any workstations at all. They can settle with most gaming/consumer laptops well below 800$.

    Professionals should only consider buying workstation laptops after they’ve done the research and know for sure they’ll specifically need the specifict features and stability of “workstation GPUs” because chances are they will be fine with a consumer laptop above 1000$ which is a lot cheaper than a good/recent workstation laptop

    This table isn’t 100% detailed but this should give you a rough idea of the specs you should be after according to the models you are working with.

       Small ~100  Large +500
      Modeling/DrawingSimulation/Rendering Modeling/Drawing Simulation/Rendering
    GPUAnyNVIDIA MX350,Intel Xe Max ,AMD RX 555* NVIDIA RTX Series
    Quadro T/RTX Series
    NVIDIA RTX Series
    Quadro T/RTX Series
    Storage 256GB SSD 1TB HDD +X size PCIe SSD
    RAM8GB RAM  16-32GB
    CPUIntel Core i3 8th+
    AMD Ryzen 3+
     Core i5 8,9,10th gen 
     Ryzen 5 3rd 4th gen
      Intel Core i7 H 8th+
    Ryzen 7 H 8th+
     Core i7 /Core i9
    Ryzen 7 / Ryzen 9


    Why is the hardware for modeling different than rendering?

    If you’re going to use your laptop not only for modeling and rendering, then get the specs based on the recommendations on the right. If you’re going to use it for modeling only and use another machine to render, then use the specs on the left if you want to save a few bucks of course. If not, just go for the specs on the right regardless of what you plan on doing.


    In this list I’ve tried to assmeble a laptop for every type of user: from the newbie in college getting started with solidworks to the professional working on the most intricate and detail model for a company.

    Note that I’m aware there are thousands of models to choose from but I’ve already compared them on a spreadsheet and found the ones with the best bang for your buck. This is ESPECIALLY true for the last two laptops which are workstation laptops, they can be very tricky to buy because the terminology behind their hardware can be quite confusing so vendors (not the companies) take advantage of this and sell them for a lot more money than they are worth.

    If you want to buy the right machine, don’t skip the reviews/descriptions as I will go over the most important points in a laptop.

    1. Acer Predator Helios 300

    Best Laptop For SolidWorks & 3D Modeling

      Core i7-10750H

      16GB DDR4

       NVIDIA RTX 2060

      512GB PCIe NVMe

      15” full HD 120Hz IPS


      4 hours


    This year, I want to start with a 2060RTX laptop because the GPU has the best performance/money ratio AND it’s the most ideal if we are talking about performance against investment.

    What I mean by this, surely, you’ll have better performance with 2070RTX. 2080RTX and maybe the new GPUs of the RTX 3000 series coming up. But the jump from say a 1650 to a 2060RTX is abysmal for a relatively low increase in price.  On the other hand, the jump from a 2060RTX to a  2070RTX/2080RTX isn’t and will cost you a lot more IF you decide to get it with the same CPU shown here. It might be worth going for a 2070RTX though (the extra 2GB vRAM will help way more than having more CUDA cores which is what the even more expensive 2080RTX has to offer).

    By the way, you should note that this laptop has a 10th generation Core i7 CPU w/ 16GB RAM, which is excellent hardware for solidworks. You can find cheaper laptops with a 2060RTX but the will most definitely won’t have these same specs.


     I would not recommend it to engineering students doing the occasional project in Solidworks (it’s too much even for the average senior project). 

    This laptop is geared more towards professionals and those dealing with models in the +500 parts category and it can even handle larger models depending on exactly how you’re doing it.

    Again this is definitely kind of overkill for an students and more useful to those working with Solidworks independently or those doing a concentration with SolidWorks.

    Upgrading the RAM:

    16GB should be plenty of RAM. However…

    If you ever find yourself bogged down when you increase the mechanics of your simulation, you could upgrade it to 32GB on your own which will make a huge difference when handling much bigger and complex projects. It is very unlikely for those getting started with Solidworks to ever run into anything like that, at least not in a foreseable future.

    Let me reiterate that this has a consumer GPU and you will sacrifice a little stability if you use it for SolidWorks but if you want the same power as this model with a workstation GPU, check the last three laptops.

    Buy Now

    2. Acer Nitro 5

    3. Surface Book 3

    Portable Certified Laptop For SolidWorks

      Quad Core i7 8th gen Processor Up to 4.2GHz

      16GB RAM

      NVIDIA GTX 1050 2GB GDDR5 vRAM

      1TB NVMe PCIe SSD

      13.5” Pixel Sense (3000×2000) 


      17 hours

    If you need something portable to take everywhere with you and budget is not an issue, you should really consider the Surface Book 3.

    This is an option for both professionals and those getting started with Solidworks.

    It’s the most powerful portable machine that can run SolidWork and  it’s actually the only official “certified” non workstation laptop to run Solidworks.

    There are two models to pick, the 13” model with a 1650GTX which is a great choice for students and has the same power as the Acer Nitro 5.

    And the 15” version with the 1660Ti  which has about the same power as the 2060RTX (it has the same amount of vRAM just less CUDA cores).

    . If you are a student and can’t afford the highest 1650GTX configuration, you could lower the RAM to 8GB and a 256GB, it will be just as useful.

    Buy Now

    Quick Workstation Laptop Lesson!

    There’s a huge caveat when shopping for workstation laptops. No it’s not that they suck, it’s quite the oppossite.

    Now because these puppies are known to be “very powerful” because of their very confusing GPU names and sizes, not ALL of them are powerful and vendors take advantage of the ignorance behind their power AND they will charge you way more than their actual price.

    Take a look at this table before you shop for workstation laptops and make sure you use it when you shop for one. You can see that some workstation GPUs have about the same power or even less than the weakest consumer GPU. And only a few are way more powerful than the latest consumer cards (look at the last one).

    Workstation GPUConsumer EquivalentCores/ShadersClock SpeedvRAM
    K2100MGT 750M576 6672GB
    M620M950M-512 1018 4GB
    Pro WX 3200RX 550 10826404GB
    RTX 30002070RTX+128013806GB
    RTX 40002070/2080256015608GB
    RTX 50002080RTX+++3072135016GB

    With that in mind, let’s go over the workstation laptops we picked:

    4. Lenovo ThinkPad P17

    Best Workstation Laptop For SolidWorks

      Intel Core i7 10750H


       NVIDIA Quadro T2000 4GB

      1TB PCIe

      17” full HD IPS Anti-Glare


      4 hours

    Workstation laptops today come equipped with a GPU from the T, P,K and RTX Series.

    We’ll leave the P and K series aside because they’re too weak and old and we’ll focus instead on the Quadro RTX and T workstation series which have way more vRAMwhich the biggest advantage of getting a workstation GPU over a gaming GPU.

    This Lenovo P17 is the cheapest workstation laptop with an OKAYISH and MODERN workstation GPU. It could’ve been cheaper and you can probably find cheaper models but they won’t have a 10th gen Core i7 CPU.

    Which means this puppy will have 6 cores/12 threads all barking at aprox. 5GHz which should make rendering a walk in the park. Note that this won’t affect drawing because SolidWorks is largely single threaded! 

    Also note that this GPU is aproxximately as powerful as the 1660Ti. But the great part is that solidworks doesn’t care much about the architecture or how “powerful your GPU” is as long as it’s something DECENT.

    This is actually more True with workstation GPUs apparently as long as you get a decent workstation GPU, you should be getting about the same performance regardless if you go for a higher workstation GPU.

    This baby right should let run and draw models in the 500 parts range.

    It’s going to be more useful than the Acer Predator due to the stability the ability to unlock special functions in the software.

    Buy Now

    5. ASUS ProArt StudioBook Pro 17

    Best Workstation Laptop For SolidWorks 

      Core i7-9750H 8 Core up to 5GHz

      16GB RAM DDR4 (Up to 64GB)

       NVIDIA Quadro RTX 3000


      17” full HD IPS


      3 hours

    Buy Now

    6.MSI WS66 10TMT-207

    The Best Workstation Laptop For SolidWorks

      Intel Core i9-9880H

      16GB DDR4 (MAX 32GB)

       Nvidia Quadro RTX 5000 6GB

      512GB NVMe SSD

      15” full HD IPS


      2 hours

    Lastly, one of the most expensive and most powerful workstation as of 2021.

    Both the 10th Core i9 and the RTX 5000 series are the latest components released by each of these companies. 

    This is without doubt the most powerful workstation laptop you’ll find in 2021 (before the new workstation  series come up which should be by the end of 2021).

    You have here the most powerful series of CPUs and the most powerful workstation GPU so far:

    Core i9 CPUs usually have 8 cores which means 16 threads with a clock speed substantially above 5GHz. This is going to reduce rendering massively for example a 500 part model would take less than 20 minutes.

    As for the GPU, you’re getting the highest amount of vRAM currently available on gaming cards! And since as you know vRAM is where the model’s data is allocated.

    But you should keep in mind what I said earlier, performance increase with both consumer and workstation GPUs, aren’t that huge if you go for more powerful GPUs. That may be true for Revit, AutoCAD and other 3D modeling software but as of 2021…Solidworks still isn’t well programmed to utilize every bit of power in the hardware available today.

    You should go for this model if you really have the budget and want to minimize issues and lag with large scale assembles (~1000s) which you will have anyways but it’ll be reduced to some extent with the huge increase of vRAM and CUDA cores.

    Buy Now

    In this section I’ll go through everything you need to know regarding how solidworks uses computer hardware for each different function and what kind of specs will benefit that specfic function the most. Those functions are drawing/sketching/viewporting/rendering/drafting, etc.

    Knowing this section by heart will make sure  you always buy the right machie for your career company or your studies.

    Before that, a few questions you must answer are: how much CAE will you be doing? How large are your assemblies? Will you do keyshot rendering? And what are exactly are you going to render?


    CPUs on laptops have a lot of features but there’s only two you need to look at: cores, which are basically “more brains inside a CPU for calculations” and clock frequency, “how fast they can think”.

    The question then comes down to whether you should go for a faster “single core CPU” or a slower “multicore CPU”.


    This is measured in GHz, it dictates how fast your computer can runcalculations.

    Solidworks is a frequency-bound application  because it uses parametric modeling, in other words, almost all tasks: parts modeling & assembling, rotating models, opening & saving assemblies are linear, meaning, calculations need to be done step by step (one process needs to be solved before the next) , this translates to the need of a CPU with the highest clock frequency.

    So the clock frequency of your CPU will determine the overall performance when modeling more than any other variable.

    Number of Cores

    When we say a CPU has 2 or 4 cores, we mean that CPU is composed of  individual mini processors (calculators).

    But the number of cores(calculators) only has a positive effect on a few tasks. The two most important are rendering and simulation.

    SOLIDWORK simulation:  The software can run and solve studies with multiple cores so it will benefit in the most complex simulations becayse they’ll be solved much faster due too multiple calculators working simultaneously. 

    Photoview 360:  uses multiple cores to generate faster renderings. Most CPU based-renderers (Ex: KeyShot) will use up to 10 cores, benefits after that will level off. Laptops are limited to 8 cores as of 2020.

    Multiple-sheet drawing will benefit somewhat from a multiple cores.

    10 cores is the limit,  more cores will just start giving you diminishing returns so it might be pretty useless to waste more money on them. In the world of laptops though, you are limited to 8 cores.

    What kind of CPU should I get then?

    i3 10050G1 1.2GHz3.4GHz  2
    i3 8130U 2.2GHz3.4Ghz  2
     i3 8145U 2.1GHz3.9GHz 2
     i3 10100U 2.1GHz4.1GHz  2
    i5 8265U 1.6GHz4.9GHz 4
    i5 8250U1.6GHz3.4GHz4
    i5 8300H2.3GHz4GHz4
    i7 7700HQ*2.8GHz3.8GHz4
    i7 8550U1.8GHz4.0GHz4
    i7 8750H2.2GHz4.1GHz6
    i7 9750H2.6 GHz4.5 GHz6
    i9 8950K2.9 GHz4.8 GHz6
    i5 9600K3.7 GHz4.6 GHz6
    i7 9700K3.6 GHz4.9 GHz8
    i9 9900K3.6 GHz5.1 GHz8
    i7 10750H2.6GHz5GHz8
    i9 10890K2.4GHz5.3GHz8


    AMD Ryzen 9 4800HS2.24.4GHz8
    AMD Ryzen 7 3750H2.34.04
    AMD Ryzen 7 3700U2.34.04
    AMD Ryzen 5 3550H2.13.74
    AMD Ryzen 5 3500U2.13.74
    AMD Ryzen 3 3300U2.13.54
    1. If most of your work in Solidworks consists of designing/drafting/drawing/modeling get the CPU w/ the highest clock speed. 

    Students: get whatever gives you the highest clock speed making sure it’s cheap. Don’t go below Core i3 8th generation processor or Ryzen 3 processors. If you want to higher grab any of the orange CPUs.
    Professionals: Get the highest clock speed you can afford. Preferably something like a 10th generation Core i7 CPU or an AMD Ryzen 7/9. They’ll do wonders to your productivity and severely reduce the time it takes to draft a model. Green and even Purple CPUs are recommended adjust to your budget accordingly.

        2. If you render & simulate a ton and if you don’t have another machine for rendering (not even willing to use a cloud service), then get a multicore processor.

    Student: Processors with 4 cores is enough make sure. Core i3 is pushing it, stay out of it and get the orange CPUs.
    Professional: At least a green CPU but purples recommended.
    Best are the AMD Ryzen 9 with 8 cores or the Core i7 10th generation with 8 cores, the Core i9 10th generation is nice but  expensive!


    As of 2020, RAM in laptops can range from 8 GB, 16 GB, 32 GB and rarely 64GB.

    How much you need is dictated by the size of your assembly, multi sheet drawing and how many invididual windows you plan on using.

    RAM basically acts like temporary storage for project you are working on (the CPU can calculate and move around data a lot faster when your entire project is placed on RAM).

    The larger the RAM, the larger the assembly size your computer will be able to manipulate at fast speeds. Not having enough RAM, doesn’t mean you won’t be able to work with larger assemblies, it just means it’ll be slower.

    Small Assembly Sizes

     Solidworks generally will need between 4-8GB of RAM for tasks such as rotating models, simulations, and renders. So start with 8GB if you’re only creating simple parts, assemblies and drawings.

    Large Assembly Sizes

    Complex models and drawings in SOLIDWORKS will require more RAM in order to load effectively. Running regular, data-heavy simulations, for example, increases the need for RAM, because these large amounts of data typically need to be loaded during calculations.

    This applies mainly to the size of datasets that need to be loaded when using the software.

    If a machine runs out of memory the load time for files can increase drastically due to hard drive caching(basically solidworks will start using your storage device as RAM because it just run out of it, and will run calculations with a CPU-Storage connection, this is much much slower!)

    As a minimum get 16GB but I would get 32GB just in case.  64 GB is rarely needed.

    RAM Summary

    8GBEntry LevelSimple parts, small assemblies, single page drawings
    16GBMidrangeComplex parts, larger assemblies, multi-sheet drawings
    24-32GBHigh EndVery complex parts, very large assemblies,
    64GBExtremeAll of the above with the addition of very complex simulations

    In terms of file size :

    Assembly size<500MB500MB-1.25GB1.25GB-3GB
    Minimum RAM capacity8-16GB32GB*64GB*

    *These rules are not strict. Computers with lower RAM should be able to run a large assembly fast if the file contains only a few errors, SpeedPak & Large Assembly Mode are used, and all other best practices are kept in place. 


    Choosing a laptop with an unsupported (or undersupported) video card can be disastrous because an unsupported video card is one of the most common causes of slowdowns and crashes in the software—and this card cannot be removed and replaced

    Pretty much what you read above. You’re also going to be stuck with this graphics card for the lifetime of your laptop, obviously you’ll want it to be good enough to handle your models and hopefully last you through many future versions of the software.

    One word I would take with a grain of salt in that pargraph is “supported”.

    All GPUs are supported by Solidworks, it’s just that some are “certified” to run Solidworks and some are not.

    Those “certified” cards will give you zero errors especially if you are a pro working with crazy models and those “not supported” will give you some errors here and there (that you can just ignore, click OK and keep working…most of the time) and almost no errors if you are just a beginner.

    But…if you are already an engineer or someone specialized in SolidWorks you may want to invest on a “workstation GPU” because you plug-ins, special functions and simulations will only be able to work with those.

    If you already made the decision to go for a consumer or a workstation GPU, here are my recommendations starting with consumer GPUs:

    Which (Consumer) Graphics Card ?


    1660 Ti15366GB1590
    2060 Super2,1768GB1650 MHz
    207023048GB1620 MHz
    2070 Super25608GB1770
    2080 Super30728GB1815 MHz
    2080 Ti435211GB1650



    NameShadersvRAMSpeedNVIDIA Equivalent
    Radeon 6103202GB1030 Intel UHD 620
    Pro RX 555X7682GB855 MX150/MX250
    RadeonRX 5405124GB1219~950M
    Radeon RX 5506404GB1287 – 1476+950M
    Radeon RX 560X10244GB1172 – 12751050GTX
    RX 58015366GB1077~1060GTX
    RX5500M14088GB1327 – 1645~1660Ti

    a)University Student: You can grab any of the green GPUs and you can even grab the cheapest if you’re on a budget, you will be okay. Models won’t go past 300 parts. 2GB of vRAM is enough.

    b) Starting Engineer: At least an orange GPU. Radeon/NVIDIA don’t make much difference, shaders or cores are pretty much the same ram is what will dictate perfomance more (4GB at least). If budget is not an issue grab any of the blue CPUs whichever is the cheapest but try to stay with 20th generation GPUs: RTX 2060 unless the 10th generation ones are on a deal.

    c) Pro company engineer: Purple GPUs. Preferably the 2070/2080 Super non-max Q. This will ensure decent FPS with models in the thousands.

    Which Workstation GPU?

    NVIDIA QuadroCoresClock Speed(Hz)vRAM(GB)Equivalent
    RTX 30001920138062070-
    RTX 40002560165082070/2080
    RTX 500030721770162080RTX

    From the table you can see that almost half of these GPUs are equivalent to “mid-range” and even low end cheap consumer NVIDIA GPUs. These workstation cards will perform a lot better in the “error” department and support more functions down the road(although giving you the same framerates and support the same model sizes as their equivalent consumer GPUs)

    However, they’re way too expensive for a student and I don’t think it’s worth opting for one unless you are a professional. So only working engineers and professionals should look at these cards and even then weight 

    Then, why buy a card a “high end” workstation gfx over regular workstation cards?

    Certain applications within the Solidworks realm will require you to have one such as photorealistic rendering, animation and simulation post-processing (particularly CFD fluid flow post-processing, visualizing streamlines/particle flow, etc). 

    Another reason is that they are certified and tested by SolidWorks . This means that bugs have been reduced to a minimum, less crashes and also you’ll get customer support for any errors or performance issues (if they ever happen).

    Lastly, the vRAM, only workstation GPUs (only the RTX 5000 really) have monstrous amounts of vRAM so if you’re going to deal with extremely large assemblies, you’re going to need it.


    There are AMD workstation GPUs. So which brand is better?

    The choice really comes down to whether or not you’ll run photo rendering with SOLIDWORKS Visualize.

    This tool is not only limited to CPU usage to render but can also use your GPU – but it has to be a CUDA capable card. and that’s NVIDIA.

    • AMD cards are not supported by visualize, it’s that simple. Visualize will run, of course, but it will only use  the CPU.
    • For GPU accelerated rendering, it needs CUDA (= nvidia cards).

    Consumer Cards VS Workstation 

    If you are a student, starting with SolidWorks or on a tight budget , consumer or gaming GPU are the way to go and they’re not that expensive.

    Yeah, I know there is this deep fear that if you don’t buy a “supported” workstation GPU you’re not going to run SolidWorks. Its nonsense. Solidworks has been shown to work on consumer/gaming cards, don’t believe me?

    SOLIDWORKS now offers limited support GeForce series GPUs in special cases. As of this writing the new Microsoft Surface Book is the only laptop on it. This doesn’t mean only the Surface Book can run SolidWorks but it just goes to shows you that you can run Solidworks on gaming machines.

    A consumer GPU is more of an even better choice  if:

    – You are limited to Drafting/Modeling/Drawing (these do not need a high end dedicated GPU but more of a beefy CPU)

    – You are rendering/simulating assemblys that do not exceed thousands of parts.


    • RealView will work with consumer/gaming cards by using RealHack.
    • Get as much vRAM as you can from “consumer GPUs” if you want to work with more visually complex models(larger patterns/textures). 

    Problems with your Graphics Card?

    Most problems with GPUs (even w/ workstation cards) are actually caused by the fact that the driver installed is not compatible with SolidWorks.

    The latest driver may not be the best driver – even if you download it from the manufacturer’s website, so you may have to download an old driver version and that goes for workstation cards too.



    The storage capacity of +700$ laptops will never be an issue for Solidworks or your project files. They’ll come with at least 1TB for HDDs and 256GB-512GB for SSDs.

    The real issue is whether or not buying or upgrading to the latest SSD(Solid State Driver) is a good investment.

    Storage Speed (Solid State Drives vs Hard Disk Drives)

    Don’t try to save money by buying  7200RPM HDDs(the fastest hard disk drives).

    It would seem tempting to choose one because of the 1TB capacity, the “faster speed than 5400RPM” description and the price.

    However, that’s a bad move for nearly every modern software including  CAD. 

    Solid State Drives (SSDs) are now a must for CAD work & they don’t make computers as expensive as before. If you do find them expensive, then you can try and grab the slower version (SATA III) which is still many times faster than the fastest HDD (7200RPM)


    If you are still bummed out by the low storage capacity of SSDs, you can have both types installed and virtually ALL laptops now allow you to upgrade your storage set up to this combo and in some cases they already have both installed.

    Have the SSD will hold your operating system, SolidWorks and any files you are currently working on and use the HDD for files of long term storage and data retrieval.

    SSDs on Solidworks Performance

    Assembly Size

    An SSD will decrease the time it takes to open/save assemblies. So If you do deal with very large assemblies,  get the fastest: PCIe NVMe SDDs.

    Medium sized assemblies,(>1000), either SATA III or PCIe NVMe SSDs is fine. Same “SSD” acceleration, if we can call it like that.

    Low sized assembles(<300), not a very a subtantial speed increase but there is still an increase with any SSD.

    Launching SolidWorks

    Accoding to pudget systems benchmark studies on SolidWorks:

    • if you go for an HDD, Solidworks will take considerably long to load up the interfaces/files
    • The software has to wait for your hard disk drive to wake up if it’s launching SolidWorks for the first time or if SolidWorks has gone to iddle mode(that is, unused for~20 min) before it can access the program files which can take several seconds (~10sec). All of these issues are also eliminated with SSDs.

    It’s the difference between your computer taking 30-40 seconds and 10-13 seconds to boot. Opening SolidWorks is a lot faster and saving data is on average 30% faster with an SSD vs. a mechanical HDD including opening/saving assemblies. That translates to a lot less time spent working in one week.

    So, If you’re a Pro dealing with large & complex models, there’s no question: PCIe NVME SSDs.

    If you are a student or working with low sized assemblies: grab any SSD. 

    Last Words

    Remember it is always prudent to buy a more capable machine as there will be situations that will need a bit more increase in performance (if you want to finish your projects on time). 

    If you are a student whos already dealt with a few projetcts (and now know the size & complexity), however, the situation won’t likely change much and these projects will keep with the same level through your curriculum. So your laptop doesn’t really need to be future proof.



    Laptop best 2016 cad

    Top 5 Best Mobile Workstations in 2016

    Mobile workstations have changed the way we work on-the-go. Instead of being locked down to your high-powered desktop computer, you can work and play anywhere thanks to mobile workstations.

    From ultrabooks to high-powered tablets to computers you can use 3,000 feet underneath an oil drilling rig, there are plenty of mobile workstations from which to choose. Which one is the best choice for you?

    Mobile Workstations

    Dell Precision M6800 ($2,300)

    The Dell Precision may be a bit pricey, but it’s designed for a niche audience. Chances are, you’re not paying the $2,300 price tag on your own: your company is paying for it.

    Even with its high price tag, the Dell Precision M6800’s enormous tech specs easily make it worth it for buyers who require high levels of performance.

    Some of the Dell Precision’s key specs include:

    -Processor: Quad-core Intel Core i7

    -Video Card: AMD FirePro M6100 Mobility Pro with 2GB GDDR5 dedicated memory

    -RAM: 32GB

    -Display: 17.3 inch with 1600×900 resolution

    -Storage: 750GB HDD

    -Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0

    -Camera: 720p

    -Weight: 7.86 pounds (3.57kg)

    -Dimensions: 1.71× inches

    Understandably, these specs deliver impressive performance. That’s the main benefit of the Dell Precision. The other key benefit is its sturdy design suited for a diverse range of situations.

    On the flip side of things, that sturdy design comes at a cost: with its thick frame and heavy weight, the Dell Precision M6800 isn’t the most portable mobile workstation. It also has less than stellar battery life – but what can you expect from a laptop with more performance power than most desktop computers?

    Lenovo ThinkPad W550s ($1500)

    The Lenovo ThinkPad W550s is more within the budget of an average workstation user. It’s a high-end laptop with an impressive display and excellent tech specs for its price – these are the same traits that have made Lenovo the world’s bestselling PC manufacturer.

    Here’s what the ThinkPad W550s has to offer for tech specs:

    -Processor: 2.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i7-5600U

    -Video Card: Nvidia Quadro K2100M

    -RAM: 16GB

    -Display: 15.5 inch with 2880×1620 (3K) resolution (multi touch)

    -Storage: 512GB SSD

    -Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0

    -Camera: 720p

    -Weight: 5.47 pounds (2.48kg)

    -Dimensions: 15×10.2×0.92 inches

    The ThinkPad W550s’s strengths lie in its lengthy battery life and strong overall performance at a variety of tasks. It won’t offer the same extremely-high-end performance of the Dell Precision – but it also doesn’t cost $12,000.

    The high battery life, however, comes at a cost: Lenovo has been forced to add a bulky extended battery onto the laptop that somewhat diminishes its portability. It’s still lighter and less bulky than the Dell Precision, however.

    HP ZBook 14 G2 ($1,800)

    You can debate the durability of HP’s standard laptops however much you like, but the company’s higher end workstations pack surprisingly good power and performance at an affordable price tag.

    Called “the belle of the mobile workstation ball” in its TechRadar review, the ZBook 14 G2 is easily the most stylish mobile workstation on this list. If you look sleek curves and a lightweight package over hardcore durability, then the HP ZBook 14 G2 might have what you’re looking for.

    Here’s how the tech specs break down:

    -Processor: 2.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i7-5600

    -Video Card: AMD FirePro M4150 (1GB GDDR5)

    -RAM: 16GB DDR3L (1600MHz)

    -Display: 13.3-inch full HD screen with 1920×1080 resolution

    -Storage: 256GB SSD

    -Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0

    -Camera: 720p

    -Weight: 3.77 pounds

    -Dimensions: 13.35×9.33×0.83 inches

    If you don’t need it for high-intensity tasks, and you’re simply taking your workstation from office to clients to home and back, then the HP ZBook 14 G2 provides a strong balance of style, function, and performance.

    If we had one complaint about the ZBook 14 G2, is that the battery life leaves little to be desired. If you require or appreciate a touchscreen for your job, then please note that the 14 G2 also does not have a touchscreen.

    HP ZBook 17 G2

    Do you like the price, style, and performance of the HP ZBook 14 G2 – but could use a bigger screen and more muscle?

    Enter the HP ZBook 17 G2.

    In addition to a 17 inch screen (17.3 inches, to be exact), the HP ZBook 17 G2 includes a vastly superior processor and a beefier graphics card. It also weighs twice as much as its little brother.

    Here are the tech specs you’re getting with the HP ZBook 17 G2:

    -Processor: 3.10 and 3.30 GHz Intel Core i7-4940MX (both are available)

    -Video Card: Nvidia Quadro K5100M

    -RAM: 16GB

    -Display: 17.3-inch Full HD screen with 1920×1080 resolution

    -Storage: 1TB 7200 RPM SATA and a 256GB PCIe SSD

    -Connectivity: 802.11a/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0

    -Camera: 720p

    -Weight: 7.42 pounds

    -Dimensions: 16.37×10.7×1.33 inches

    Like the HP ZBook 14 G2, the 17 G2’s battery life isn’t as great as it could be – that’s the tradeoff of having a slimmer, sexier chassis.

    MSI Prestige PE60 2QD & WT72

    MSI is known for its powerful gaming laptops. As you’ve probably realized, many powerful gaming laptops also make perfectly capable mobile workstations (as long as you don’t get too distracted by Steam).

    The MSI Prestige PE60 2QD is one laptop that can handle the latest games and the most complicated spreadsheets at the same time with ease. And now, with the new Micro-Star International WT72 just being released and fully Virtual Reality headset ready, you can bet on MSI's newest model to take the cake.

    The Prestige as well as the MSI WT72 features powerful performance and a top-of-the-line video cards that beat out most gaming laptops and computers. The screen also has a helpful anti-glare feature that is particularly useful if you’re working (or gaming) outside.

    Here’s the specs:

    -Processor: 2.6 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7-4720HQ

    -Video Card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M 2GB

    -RAM: 12GB

    -Display: 15.6-inch full HD screen with 1920×1080 resolution and anti-glare

    -Storage: 1TB HDD, 7200 RPM

    -Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0

    -Camera: 720p

    -Weight: 5.29 pounds

    -Dimensions: 5.07×10.23×1.06 inches

    If you need graphics processing for your job (or your games), then this laptop is your best mid-range choice on this list. That GTX 960M is one of the most powerful mobile video cards available today within this budget. Paired with the beautiful 15-inch LCD screen, it’s a winning combination.

    Tips and Tricks for Buying Mobile Workstations

    Shopping around for other mobile workstations? Here are some tips you can use to compare mobile workstations for your job:

    Pay Attention to Independent Software Vendor (ISV) Certification

    One of the most important things to look for when shopping for mobile workstations is ISV certification.

    Many people who buy mobile workstations have unique software needs – like intense graphics or other computationally difficult features. Think CAD/CAM software, for example.

    That’s why many mobile workstation manufacturers put their hardware through a certification process called ISV certification. ISV certification ensures that the company’s hardware works with a particular software program. Then, that manufacturer lists all of its compatible software. In any case, you can use ISV certification to ensure your mobile workstation works with whichever unique software you need for work.

    Graphics Power and Battery Life Don’t Get Along

    Some people require high-end graphics cards for their mobile workstations. Others don’t.

    If you don’t require high-end graphics cards, then you should look for a computer with an embedded graphics card – like Intel’s Graphics HD systems. High-end graphics processing destroys battery life.

    Of course, many mobile workstations have dual graphics processing systems: like an embedded card for economic battery life and a discrete (separate) video card for high-powered tasks.

    To put this battery consumption into perspective, an average laptop consumes 40 watts of power total. The Quadro K5100M graphics card on some mobile workstations consumes 100 watts of power alone. Even lower-powered discrete cards, like the Quadro K2100M, consume 55 watts of power on their own.

    Application-Specific Benchmarks

    Are you going to use your mobile workstation for a specific task – like CAD/CAM software? You may be able to find benchmark tests that specifically address that software program – or one like it.

    Use these benchmark tests to help narrow down your selection. Some mobile workstations are particularly good at CAD/CAM software, for example, but may offer poor 4K video editing.

    By balancing all of these requirements, you can find the mobile workstation that works best for your unique needs.


    HP ZBook 15 G3 Mobile Workstation - Best Autocad Laptop of 2016?

    8 Best Laptops for AutoCad, 3D Modeling, and other CAD Works.

    Here I have shortlisted the 8 best laptops for CAD and 3D modelling applications like Solidworks, AutoCAD, ArchiCAD, Revit, Catia, MAYA and other Autodesk versions. Apart from powerful processor, high RAM and FHD screen, the important component that matters the most is the GPU (Graphics Processing Unit). Every CAD software defines the minimum hardware requirements that you must take into consideration. All the laptops picked here in the list are compatible to work with any 2D or 3D modeling and provide the necessary precision and speed required to render these graphics-rich tasks.

    8 Best CAD Laptops

    1. MSI WS65 Workstation Laptop


    You can’t resist this workstation machine after reading its specifications. Manufactured for architects and professional designers, this CAD laptop has IPS 15.6inches’ anti-glare screen(FHD) for better viewing. The graphics are taken care of by NVIDIA Quadro with a whopping 6GB video memory for optimum precision in drawings. The high performance is delivered by Intel ninth generation i7  processor and 32Gb RAM. Check Other Vital Specifications.

    2. Lenovo P53

    Lenovo Thinkpad p52

    Lenovo P53 is the best CAD laptop that comes pre-installed with Windows 10 64-bit professional edition. Work on various CAD software with its powerful and latest 9th generation Intel i7-9750H, 32 GB RAM and a high capacity 1TB SSD storage drive. The graphics are handled by powerful NVIDIA Quadro T1000 GPU. It comes with full HD screen powered by IPS panel. Check More Details.

    3. Lenovo Thinkpad P71 Workstation Laptop

    lenovo CAD laptop

    This is again the best workstation laptop that is optimum for autocad and architecture applications. It has a large hybrid storage drive of 1TB SSD and 2TB SATA hard disk. The processing power is provided by 7th generation Intel core i7 and is equipped with a RAM of 16 GB. Loaded with Windows 10 Pro, the laptop is capable for 3D modeling and other designing fields. Other key features include a powerful GPU in the form of NVIDIA Quadro M620 with 2GB DDR5 memory and a three-year warranty. Check the Price of Laptop.

    4. DELL PRECISION Mobile Workstation

    dell laptop for revit

    No other laptop can beat this high performance beast that is perfect for AutoCAD and Solidworks. It is loaded with a powerful 9th gen Intel i7, a large 16 GB RAM, and an SSD of 512GB capacity. Required for CAD programs, the laptop is equipped with dedicated NVIDIA Quadro T2000 4GB GDDR5 graphics chip. It has a beautiful bezel-less 15.6 Inches screen with UHD resolution of 3840×2160 pixels. Explore More Details Here.

    5. HP Zbook G7 Workstation

    image of zbook

    HP Zbook is specially designed for CAD, Revit and other architecture drawings. The laptop consists of 1.80 GHz Intel i7 10th generation processor. Additionally, it is equipped with 16 GB DDR4 RAM and 512 GB SSD. Pre-loaded with windows 10 Pro (64-bit), the laptop has a full HD screen size of 15.6”. Click for More Information

    6. Microsoft Surface Book

    screenshot of surfacebook

    This is the latest in the series of surface book from Microsoft that is equipped with an 10th generation i7 processor, 32 GB RAM, and storage capacity of 512GB SSD. To run the graphics hungry programs smoothly, it has NVIDIA GeForce GPU . The touchscreen is available in both 13 and 15 Inches size. Click for More Information

    7. Dell Mobile Workstation

    image of Dell laptop

    Dell is a known brand for producing state-of-the-art laptops for AutoCAD and other CAD software. The laptop comes with hybrid storage that consists of a 256 GB SSD for faster booting. The graphics processing unit is comprised of discrete NVIDIA Quadro T 1000 with 4GB GDDR5 video memory. Powered by Intel Core i5 (9th gen) and 8 Gb RAM, the laptop is highly recommended for beginners as well as professional CAD software users. Check All the Features of Laptop.

    8. HP Spectre x360 Mobile Workstation


    Hp Spectre is a convertible 2-in-1 Ultrabook that has all the necessary features to use it for CAD, modeling and animation works. This sleek and lightweight mobile gadget comes with six core i7 processor, 16GB memory, and lightning fast 512GB SSD. It has a screen with a size of 15.6 Inches with a resolution of 3840×2160 pixels. The crisp and precise graphics are supported by NVIDIA GeForce 1050 Ti with dedicated graphics memory of 4 GB. Check More Specifications.

    Best CAD Workstation Laptops You Can Buy

    All the laptops listed here are high performing workstations that are ideal for all the architecture and 3D modeling tasks. If you want to upgrade your old workstation laptop or planning to buy a new one, pick the one that is best for your needs this year.

    Filed Under: Best-OfTagged With: best laptops


    Similar news:

    Compared: The Best Laptops for CAD

    Cast your mind back to the mid-2000s. It was a very different era in many fields—particularly when it came to CAD. At that time, working with CAD meant working at a desktop computer. Laptops simply didn’t have the capabilities to deal with the CPU-intensive tasks that come part and parcel with any CAD software. However, workstation-grade laptops are now widely available, giving you the power to complete even the most complex of modeling and rendering tasks while on the go.

    In this article, we’re going to run through some of the top laptops for CAD available on the market today. We’ll compare budget and high-end options, showcasing some of the best machines for professionals and hobbyists alike.

    Dell Precision 7730

    MemoryUp to 128 GB
    StorageUp to 5 TB
    CPUUp to Intel Core Xeon
    CoresUp to 6
    GPUUp to NVIDIA Quadro P5200
    PriceFrom $1,399.00
    → Check availability on Amazon

    The Dell Precision 7730 is a behemoth of a laptop, with a 17″ screen and weighing in at a pretty hefty 7.5 lb. Now, we know they say that size doesn’t matter—but in this case, bigger might just be better. In fact, this powerful laptop isn’t merely a great choice for a mobile workstation, but might even be able to take the place of your existing desktop.

    Getting your machine up to the maximum possible specs will, of course, require a spend far higher than the minimum listed above. If you’re willing to make the investment, though, you’ll be rewarded with an incredibly powerful machine—the world’s most powerful 17″ mobile workstation, according to Dell, with the Intel Core and Xeon range of chips offering outstanding performance.

    You’ll also be able to benefit from a crisp, 4K, VR-ready display, driven by NVIDIA professional graphics cards. Add all of these features up, and you get a machine that’s capable of taking on even the toughest of CAD tasks.

    HP ZBook Studio x360 G5

    HP ZBook Studio x360 G5

    Didn’t think a 2-in-1 could deliver workstation-standard performance? HP wants to prove you wrong. Image source: HP.

    Since the arrival of 2-in-1 laptops on the stage, many a CAD user has been dreaming of the day they can finally buy a convertible workstation. There was something of a false dawn in 2016 when Lenovo released the ThinkPad P40 Yoga—and, even now, we may not yet be at the point where a 2-in-1 can go pound-for-pound with a desktop machine. Nonetheless, HP’s ZBook Studio x360 G5 is, at the very least, a sign of fantastic things to come.

    HP’s x360 model is (according to their analysis) the most powerful convertible workstation on the market. This isn’t just a case of HP blowing their own trumpet, though—reviewers have agreed that this machine packs a punch, with the 8th-generation Intel Core and Xeon processors able to complete CPU-intensive tasks lickety-split.

    Being a convertible machine, the Studio x360 G5 comes with an inbuilt advantage: its Wacom AES pen. This handy tool is designed to feel more natural—invaluable for anyone who enjoys the more organic feel of drawing on paper, but needs to work with CAD software, too. As an extra bonus, the machine packs in the world’s brightest 4K UHD display found on a laptop, ensuring that your designs come to life in full color.

    Lenovo ThinkPad P52

    Lenovo ThinkPad P52

    Lenovo’s ThinkPad P52 was built for CAD. Image source: Lenovo.

    MemoryUp to 128 GB
    StorageUp to 5 TB
    CPUUp to 8th Gen Intel Core i7
    GPUUp to NVIDIA Quadro P3200
    PriceFrom $1,244.00
    → Check availability on Amazon

    One of the most surefire ways to check whether a potential new laptop will be right for your CAD needs is to check for ISV certifications. In layman’s terms, this means that independent vendors have tested the model with specific software, and approved that everything is in ship-shape condition. If you decide to use these certifications as your benchmark, then you’ll definitely want to take a look at the Lenovo ThinkPad P52.

    With certifications for CAD applications including CATIA, SolidWorks, AutoCAD, Vectorworks and PTC Creo, this is a solid choice for even the most hardcore power users. Indeed, this is a machine built with CAD in mind, with Lenovo packing in up to 128 GB of memory, helping to ensure that even complex rendering tasks run smoothly.

    Lenovo promise a ‘dazzling’ screen, complete with super-vibrant color, with touch-screen options available. It’s also got some interesting security options, including encryption with TPM, a fingerprint reader, and facial login.

    MacBook Pro

    While so many software manufacturers focus near-exclusively on the Windows operating system, there are a host of great CAD software packages for Mac, too. With this in mind, it’s good to learn that the MacBook Pro functions brilliantly as a mobile workstation, offering excellent performance alongside classic Apple design.

    The 15″ MacBook Pro offers great battery life, with around 10 hours’ usage time (though your mileage may vary depending on the applications you run). When it comes to performance, the model has excelled on benchmark tests, and its Radeon Pro graphics cards allow you to complete 3D rendering and video editing tasks with ease.

    Features unique to the MacBook Pro include the Touch Bar. Far from just providing an easier way to type emoji, the Touch Bar acts as a turbo-charged version of the old function bar, and brings on-screen menus into physical space. It even adapts to show relevant tools for the app you’re using—helping to make memorizing lists of SolidWorks keyboard shortcuts a thing of the past.

    MSI WS63 8SK

    MSI WS63 8SK

    The world’s slimmest VR-ready workstation. Image source: MSI.

    MemoryUp to 64 GB
    StorageUp to 4 TB
    CPUUp to 8th Gen Intel Core i7
    GPUNVIDIA Quadro P3200
    PriceFrom $2,299.00
    → Check availability on Amazon

    The MSI WS63 8SK may have a decidedly uncatchy name, but you’ll be willing to overlook this nomenclatural faux pas once you take a look at the model itself. Despite coming in at just 17.7 mm thick, this machine’s slim frame is still bursting with excellent features.

    The WS63 8SK was the first notebook ever to come with Hexa Core processors. This means a performance boost of up to 40%—ideal for rendering. From a graphics standpoint, meanwhile, MSI knocks its rivals into a cocked hat, with its unique Matrix Display technology allowing you to use up to 3 external monitors and output to 4K display.

    The machine’s NVIDIA Quadro-powered graphics will be useful for designers across a range of fields, while CAD users will be particularly pleased by ISV certifications for SolidWorks, AutoCAD and Fusion 360, amongst other software. In short: don’t judge a book by its cover (or a laptop by a generic name).

    Razer Blade Pro

    Razer Blade Pro

    Not just for fun. Image source: Razer.

    MemoryUp to 32 GB
    StorageUp to 6 TB
    CPU7th Gen Intel Core i7
    CoresUp to 4
    GPUNVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080
    PriceFrom $1,799.99
    → Check availability on Amazon

    If you’ve previously checked out our guide to the best workstations for CAD, this item on our list will be familiar. Yep, it’s the Razer Blade Pro: the gaming laptop that’s just as good for work as it is for play.

    Take a look at this machine’s chops, though, and you’ll see why we deemed it worthy of a repeat inclusion. The Razer Blade Pro was the world’s first THX Certified Mobile Device, with the laptop’s THX mode delivering what the company describes as ‘an unrivaled viewing experience’. Its use of gaming GPUs rather than specialized graphics cards for CAD is nothing to fear, with Razer confirming they work just as well on creative apps as on games.

    The Razer Blade Pro comes with up to 32 GB of memory, enabling you to multitask without worrying about slowdown. Plus, this VR-ready machine is powerful enough to function as a desktop replacement laptop, including a huge 17.3″ display and Intel Core i7 processing unit. With this machine, Razer aren’t playing around.

    Lenovo ThinkPad P1

    MemoryUp to 64 GB
    StorageUp to 4 TB
    CPUUp to 8th Gen Intel Xeon
    GPUNVIDIA Quadro P1000
    PriceFrom $1,545.70
    → Check availability on Amazon

    We return to Lenovo’s ThinkPad family of laptops for the final item on our list: the ThinkPad P1. Thinner and lighter than its related models, the P1 is far from the runt of the litter, with NVIDIA Quadro graphics and Intel Core/Xeon processing units showing why this is one machine worth taking seriously.

    As is the case with its sister machine, the P1 boasts ISV certifications for a wide range of CAD software. This is a premium-looking machine, but also a durable one, with Lenovo having run tests to prove that it’s capable of withstanding everything from “arctic wilderness to desert dust storms”. Thankfully, this survivor of a machine does just as well cooped up in an office.

    A 4K display is optionally available with the P1, and reviewers have raved about its vibrant colors. With useful extras including a fingerprint scanner and plenty of ports, the P1 offers practically everything you could ask for from a mobile workstation.

    Prefer to build your own machine? Check out our guide covering how to build the ultimate CAD PC.


    6082 6083 6084 6085 6086