Running an application like AutoCAD requires a laptop with high-end specifications. As an AutoCAD user, you might also want to run SolidWorks, Revit, 3D Max, and Adobe for 3D modeling on your laptop.
Based on the requirements specified by Autodesk and user-experience research, we have put together an ultimate buying guide to choose the best laptop for AutoCAD.
The latest version of AutoCAD is the AutoCAD 2021. Starting from AutoCAD 2019, every version till AutoCAD 2021 includes Specialised Toolsets.
These toolsets consist of AutoCAD Plant 3D, AutoCAD Map 3D, AutoCAD Architecture, and AutoCAD Electrical. While these are “Windows Only” features, they have additional hardware requirements.
Other aspects taken into consideration while compiling this buyer’s guide for the best laptops for AutoCAD are the additional requirements for large datasets, point clouds, and 3D modeling.
What to look for in the best laptop for cad?
A multi-core processor with a clock speed of up 3+ GHz is ideal for running AutoCAD applications. While a 1 GHz or faster processor works well for the AutoCAD 2018 version, all the subsequent versions including AutoCAD 2020 and 2021 recommend a 3+ GHz processor.
Multi-core processors are better suited for CAD works. A quad-core or Hexa-core CPU is a better choice than a dual-core for running heavy applications like AutoCAD Architecture and Map 3D.
While a 3+GHz processor is recommended for AutoCAD, Solidworks requires a 3.3 + GHz CPU. Intel i5 10th Generation processors clock up to 4.2 GHz with Turbo Boost Technology. Laptops with i5 and i7 processors are good options for budget laptops for AutoCAD.
While a 2GB graphic card is sufficient for basic AutoCAD works, Autodesk recommends a 4GB graphic card to run the advanced toolset. NVIDIA GPUs are specifically designed for AEC works i.e. Architecture, Engineering, and Construction.
NVIDIA Quadro RTX is the most sought after GPU for desktop and mobile workstations for advanced AEC projects.
When looking for the best laptop for CAD, in addition to a powerful CPU, RAM also plays an important role in the hardware specifications. 8 GB of RAM is enough for basic CAD works while advanced CAD uses like 3D modeling requires 16 GB of RAM. However, SolidWorks recommends RAM of 16 GB or more.
As mentioned above, the latest AutoCAD versions include specialized toolsets. When working on large datasets, point clouds and specialized toolsets you may find 32 GB of RAM more useful in handling heavy tasks.
Faster reading and writing speeds are what you must look for in the kind of storage available in a laptop. SSD enhances laptop performance as compared to HDD. The best laptop for Solidworks and AutoCAD is one with at least 512 GB of SSD.
Whether you are an architect or a student, your CAD projects are serious business. A shoddy display is the last thing you want when toiling away on your laptop for hours perfecting a 3D model for your next project. Full HD or 4K display with IPS technology is ideal for your CAD works.
Best Laptops for AutoCAD and Solidworks
1. Lenovo Ideapad L340
This gaming laptop is the best option for AutoCAD users. Lenovo Ideapad L340 is a powerhouse capable of running heavy AutoCAD applications. A sleek design powered by a 9-hour battery life makes this gaming laptop a perfect choice for gamers and designers alike.
Being a gaming laptop, Ideapad L340 is powered by the latest 9th Gen Intel Core i5-9300H processor. In addition to a powerful processor clocking up to 4.10 GHz, the laptop comes with a 4 GB of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 dedicated graphics card.
This gaming laptop from Lenovo has 8 GB of DDR4 RAM under the hood. This, coupled with 512 GB of faster SSD makes for a powerful, faster and reliable laptop for AutoCAD users.
Whether you choose to play games or build 3 models for your project, you will surely enjoy the display on this laptop. A 15.6 inches of Full HD anti-glare display with IPS technology makes for an ideal viewing experience.
The hardware specifications of the Ideapad L340 checks all the points when you’re looking for the best laptop for architects and students working with AutoCAD.
- Processor: 9th Generation Core Intel i5-9300H, 4.1 GHz max speed, 4 Cores.
- RAM : 8 GB DDR4
- Storage: 512 GB SSD
- Display: 15.6-inch screen with full HD display, Anti Glare technology with IPS Panel
- Graphics: 4 GB NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 1650 GDDR5
- OS: Windows 10
- Battery Life: 9 Hours
- CPU can clock up to 4.10GHz with 4 GB GPU from NVIDIA
- Backlit keyboard to enhance your working experience at night.
- Display with wide-viewing angle support.
- 8GB Ram may not be enough for advanced CAD Toolset and 3D modeling.
2. Lenovo ThinkPad P53 Mobile Workstation
A mobile workstation is the closest you can get to owning the best laptop for 3D modeling. The ThinkPad P53 uses one of the most sought after GPUs by NVIDIA. Great graphics rendering coupled with a best in class display, Lenovo ThinkPad P53 is the top choice for Architects, Engineers and Designers using AutoCAD and Solidworks.
This mobile workstation is powered by the 9th Gen Intel Core i7-9750h processor Hexa-core processor. In addition to a 6-core CPU that clocks a max frequency of 4.5 GHz, the Thinkpad P53 comes with an NVIDIA Quadro T2000 graphics coprocessor with a 4GB GDDR5 VRAM.
To run-heavy designing applications like AutoCAD and Solidworks, the mobile workstation is equipped with 16 GB DDR4 RAM.
The 4K UHD display with anti-glare technology sets this laptop a class apart in the race to the best laptop for AutoCAD. You can expect great performance with smooth rendering when dealing with 3D modeling and other advanced toolsets in AutoCAD.
A backlit keyboard with a full number pad will add to the overall experience. The 512 GB of SSD is also a big plus point considering the AutoCAD hardware requirements.
- Processor: 9th Gen Intel 6-core i7-9750H (up to 4.50 GHz)
- RAM: 16GB DIMM DDR4-2666 RAM
- Storage: 512GB PCIe SSD
- Display: 15.6″ UHD 4K anti-glare display with 3840 x 2160 max display resolution
- Graphics: 4GB dedicated NVIDIA Quadro T2000
- OS: Windows 10
- Ports: 2 x USB 3.1 Gen1 (1 Always on), 2 x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C/ Thunderbolt 3, 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C, 4-in-1 media card Reader (MMC, SD, SDHC, SDXC) HDMI, 2.0 RJ45
- 4GB of dedicated NVIDIA Quadro T2000 graphic card is the best graphics option for AutoCAD.
- The fingerprint login works flawlessly.
- Heavier (3.86 kg) than other gaming or AutoCAD laptops.
3. HP ZBook 15u G5 Mobile Workstation
When it comes to architects and designers, HP laptops are a popular choice. If you’re big on design, you’ll admire the HP series laptops for their intelligent design. The Zbook series is created specifically for users seeking a powerful performance like creators (animators, filmmakers), architects, and engineers.
The 15u G5 Mobile Workstations is powered by a quad-core Intel i7 processor. The CPU is impressive given the number of cores and clocks up to a max frequency of 3.40 GHz.
While the CPU meets your AutoCAD and Solidworks needs, the GPU is powered by best in class Graphics coprocessor AMD RadeonTM Pro WX 3100 with 2GB of dedicated GDDR5 RAM.
This mobile workstation from HP is one of the Solidworks certified laptops that comes with a 3-year onsite warranty by HP. A 512 GB of SSD storage makes for a user experience for AutoCAD applications.
- Processor: 8th Gen. Intel Core i7 with 3.40 Hz max frequency
- RAM: 8 GB DDR DRAM
- Storage: 512 GB SSD
- Display: 15.6-inch Full HD display
- Graphics: 2 GB dedicated AMD RadeonTM Pro WX 3100 Graphics
- OS: Windows 10 Professional
- Battery Life: up to 10 hours.
- It has an impressive battery life that lasts up to 10 hours.
- 3-Year on-site warranty by HP.
- 8GB RAM only allows basic AutoCAD works like reviewing 2D and 3D models.
- 2 GB graphics card may not be enough for advanced CAD and 3D modeling.
4. ASUS ROG Zephyrus M
The ASUS ROG Zephyrus M is a powerful gaming laptop with an ultra-slim and lightweight frame. This laptop from ASUS is the best laptop for 3D modeling in this list.
With 512 GB of SSD storage, you can rest assured your CAD applications will load at an ultra-fast speed. The ROG Zephyrus M is powered by the 9th Gen Intel i7 processor and a 6 GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX graphics coprocessor.
The Full HD display with anti-glare and IPS technology gives you a much-enhanced viewing experience that’s recommended for AutoCAD and Solidworks. The intelligent cooling allows for a better experience working on heavy CAD projects.
- Processor: 9th Gen Intel Core i7-9750H 6-cores Processor max speed up to 4.5GHz
- RAM: 16 GB of DDR4 RAM, upgradeable up to 32 GB
- Storage: 512 GB SSD storage
- Display: 15.6-inch Full HD display with anti-glare technology
- Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GDDR6 6GB VRAM
- OS: Windows 10
- Battery Life: up to 8 hours
- Cooling system with Anti-Dust Self-Cleaning Tunnels and 5 heat pipes to pull the heat away from CPU, GPU, and the internal circuitry
- 25% thinner and 45% lighter than the typical 15-inch laptops
- No webcam
- No card reader
5. DELL Alienware M15 R2
Next in our list of best laptops for AutoCAD is DELL Alienware M15 R2. The Alienware series is specifically designed for gaming needs. This Alienware laptop is heavy on graphics and well suited for AutoCAD and Solidworks requirements.
The 2019 Alienware M15 is powered by the 8th Generation Intel Core i7-8750H processor with a max turbo frequency of 4.1 GHz. Being a gaming laptop, the Alienware M15 R2 has 6 GB of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 graphic card.
This combination of CPU and GPU coupled with 32 GB of DDR4 RAM will give you the best CAD experience. Whether you are working with basic CAD or advanced projects for 3D modeling and 3D Map, 32 GB of RAM along with a Hexa core CPU will render a smooth user-experience.
- Processor:8th Generation Intel Core i7-8750H Processor, max frequency up to 4.10 GHz
- RAM: 32GB DDR4 Memory
- Storage: 1TB SSD Boot + 1 TB HDD
- Display: 15.6-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS Widescreen LCD Display
- Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB GDDR5
- OS: Windows 10
- Ports: 1 x Thunderbolt-3, 3 x USB 3.0 Type-A, 1 x HDMI, 1 x Headphone/microphone Combo Jack, 1 x RJ-45
- The backlit keyboard and full HD display with IPS technology make for a great viewing experience.
- Powerful CPU and GPU that meet AutoCAD hardware specifications
- Hybrid storage offers 1TB SSD Boot + 1TB HDD. The large application files will be stored in HDD and may result in slower reading and writing speeds than SSD.
6. MSI Modern 15
With a sleek and lightweight aluminum frame, this laptop is a good choice for your AutoCAD needs. If you’re a student starting with AutoCAD and Solidworks, this MSI laptop will give you the necessary armor to deal with your CAD projects.
The 9-hour long battery life and a 15.6-inch full HD anti-glare wide-view display makes your AutoCAD experience a smooth one.
While the viewing experience is ideal, the laptop is powered by a 10th Gen Intel Core i7 processor with a top frequency of 4.90 GHz. Another essential specification to ease your CAD experience is the 512 GB of SSD storage.
MSI Modern 5 checks all the boxes for CPU and storage while lagging on the GPU front. The 2 GB of NVIDIA GeForce MX250 works well for basic CAD while larger datasets while advanced toolsets like Map 3D work better with a 4GB dedicated graphic card.
If you look beyond the graphic card, the rest of the hardware specifications are apt for any AutoCAD user. 16 GB of DDR4 RAM renders Solidworks and AutoCAD applications efficiently and the 512 GB of SSD aids faster loading of the application files.
- Processor: Intel Core i7-10510U 10th Gen processor, up to 4.9 GHz
- RAM: 16GB DDR4 Memory
- Storage: 512GB NVMe SSD
- Display: 15.6-inch Full HD wide-view anti-glare screen
- Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce MX250, 2GB Graphics
- OS: Windows 10
- Battery Life: up to 9 hours
- 90% screen-to-body ratio with 180 degrees flip function
- Very lightweight for such powerful hardware specifications
- 2GB Graphics card isn’t enough for advanced AutoCAD projects.
7. Acer Predator Helios 500
This gaming laptop from Acer packs a punch for power-users with its brilliant hardware specifications designed specifically for gamers. The backlit four-zoned keyboard is something one cannot miss when looking at the design.
While this gaming laptop is a lot different in design as compared to other laptops on this list, it is one of the most powerful.
As an architect or engineer working on AutoCAD, you are going to need a powerful CPU along with a dedicated graphics card. Acer Predator Helios 500 is powered by an overclocking capable processor up to 4.80 GHz.
The graphics coprocessor is also overclockable with 8 GB of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 graphic card.
If that wasn’t enough, this Acer laptop comes with a 17.3-inch full HD LED-backlit IPS display. This makes for a great gaming experience though the design may not be a big hit among users looking for a slim and lightweight frame.
- Processor: 8th Generation Intel Core i9-8950HK 6-Core unlocked overclock capable (Up to 4.8GHz)
- RAM: 16GB DDR4 2666MHz Memory
- Storage: 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD + 2TB 5400RPM HDD
- Display: 17.3-inch Full HD LED-backlit IPS display
- Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Overclockable Graphics with 8GB of dedicated GDDR5 VRAM
- OS: Windows 10 Home
- GPU with 8GB dedicated NVIDIA GeForce GTX graphics renders optimum performance for 3D modeling and Solidworks use.
- 512 GB of SSD and 2 TB HDD allows storing large project files and ultra-fast reading and writing speed.
- 2 Thunderbolt 3 (Full USB 3.1 Type C) Port
- Customers have complained about poor battery life
- Big and bulky
8. ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo
If you’re looking for a premium laptop for advanced AutoCAD and Solidworks projects, ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo is the top choice.
The ASUS Screenpad Plus offers a 4K secondary touchscreen in addition to the 15.6-inch 4K UHD OLED touchscreen. These display and touchscreen specifications make this laptop stand out from the rest on this list.
While a majority of the best laptops for AutoCAD on this list are gaming laptops, the ZenBook Pro Duo is exclusively designed for creators and designers.
On the graphics front, the laptop uses 6 GB of dedicated NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 graphic card. Don’t let the looks deceive you.
The attractive and sleek design is powered by the 9th Gen Intel Core i7-9750H processor. The Hexa-core CPU clocks up to 4.50 GHz frequency and lets you run your 3D modeling and Solidworks applications efficiently.
- Processor: 9th Gen Intel Core i7-9750H Processor 2.6 GHz (upto 4.5 GHz, 6 Cores)
- RAM: 32GB 2666MHz DDR4
- Storage: PCIe Gen3x4 NVMe 1TB SSD
- Display: 15.6” OLED 4K UHD 16:9 touchscreen, 5mm-thin bezel with 89% screen-to-body ratio, 178-degree wide-view technology
- Graphics: Discrete NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 GDDR6 6GB VRAM
- OS: Windows 10 Home
- Battery Life: up to 7.5 hours
- ScreenPad Plus – full-width 4K secondary touchscreen
- 4K UHD NanoEdge OLED HDR display
- Hands-free login with face unlock with Infrared Camera
- Military standard reliability and durability
- The price might be a deterrent for students and novices of CAD applications.
9. Apple Macbook Pro
Apple has always been at the front font of making laptops for designers and innovators. Also, if you’ve worked with only Windows so far and are looking for a change, Apple’s Macbook Pro is a great choice.
This laptop is power-packed with the right hardware specifications for AutoCAD.
The new Apple Macbook Pro comes with a 15-inch display with True Tone technology. The 9th Generation Intel Core i9 processor with 8 cores powers the new Macbook pro.
The CPU will make AutoCAD and Solidworks users happy while 4 GB of Radeon Pro 555X seals the deal for an ideal GPU.
16GB of RAM and 512GB of ultra-fast SSD allow faster rendering of CAD projects and faster loading of project files. The octa-core processor has a boost speed of up to 4.80 GHz.
- Processor: 9th Generation Intel Core i9 processor with 8 cores, up to 4.80 GHz
- RAM: 16GB of DDR4 Memory
- Storage: 512GB of ultra-fast SSD
- Graphics: Radeon Pro 555X graphics with 4GB of video memory
- Display: 15-inch Retina display with True Tone technology
- OS: Mac OS
- Battery Life: up to 10 Hours
- Four Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports
- Brilliant build quality and excellent performance
- Since both SSD and RAM are soldered directly on the chip set, they are not up-gradable.
10. Lenovo ThinkPad P73 Mobile Workstation
While being last in this list, the ThinkPad P73 is certainly not the least. It is the most powerful mobile workstation with unmatched hardware specifications.
While this is not a necessary choice for students and beginners of AutoCAD and Solidworks, it is certainly a great choice for experts requiring power use.
This laptop can render any AutoCAD toolset including large datasets, point clusters, and 3D modeling. It does this with the Intel Xeon E-2276M processor which is specifically designed for CAD works.
Now those are some badass hardware specifications for the best laptop for 3D modeling.Whether you want to build 2D or 3D architecture models or play high graphics games, this laptop has got you covered.
- Processor: Intel Xeon E-2276M with vPro, 2.80GHz, up to 4.70GHz with Turbo Boost
- RAM: 128 GB DDR4 2666 MHz Memory
- Storage: 2TB NVME SSD
- Display: 17.3-inch UHD IPS, anti-glare, Dolby Vision HDR
- Graphics: NVIDIA Quadro RTX 5000 16GB
- OS: Windows 10 Pro
- Ports: 3 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 (1 always on), 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C / Intel Thunderbolt 3 (DisplayPort, Data transfer), 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C (DisplayPort, Data transfer), 4-in-1 media card reader
- Xeon Processors and NVIDIA Quadro RTX graphics card are the best choice for AutoCAD laptops.
- 128GB of RAM and 2GB of SSD is a huge plus for rendering big AutoCAD projects and 3D modeling
- Decent battery life
- Bulky construction
- CPU and GPU are overheated when running heavy tasks
- Fan creates noise
Are gaming laptops good for AutoCAD?
Yes. They have a dedicated graphics card from NVIDIA with a 4GB or plus VRAM which is essential for AutoCAD works. Also, gaming laptops are powered by multi-core processors that clock over 4.50 GHz turbo frequency. Since most of the gaming laptops meet the hardware requirements for CAD works, they make a great choice for AutoCAD applications.
Which laptop is best for AutoCAD and Solidworks?
Lenovo ThinkPad P73 Mobile Workstation is the best laptop for AutoCAD and Solidworks out there. While this is the best choice for experts working on advanced level projects, ThinkPad P53 is a good choice for students and beginners.
Is 4GB RAM enough for AutoCAD?
The minimum RAM requirement to run AutoCAD applications is 8 GB. While 8 GB of RAM is enough for basic AutoCAD works, we recommend 16 GB or more RAM to make the best use of complete AutoCAD toolsets. 2D projects can be run using 8 GB of RAM while a laptop with 16 GB or 32 GB RAM will render 3D models and large datasets efficiently.
Is a graphic card necessary for AutoCAD?
Yes, a graphic card is an essential hardware specification for running AutoCAD and Solidworks applications. NVIDIA graphic coprocessors are designed for AEC – Architecture, Engineering, and Construction projects. NVIDIA Quadro and AMD Radeon Pro are two of the highly recommended graphic cards for AutoCAD needs.
AutoCAD and Solidworks users are students, architects, designers, and engineers who need a reliable and powerful laptop. The latest AutoCAD versions include additional toolsets and they have additional requirements for memory and storage. As a user, you should know if you’re looking for basic AutoCAD or some advanced level 3D modeling with large datasets and point clusters.
Based on your requirements, you have a choice between an 8GB, 16GB or 32 GB RAM. However, you must look for at least 512 GB of SSD and a minimum of 2 GB graphic card for basic AutoCAD work. We have listed many laptops with NVIDIA graphic coprocessors with 4 GB and 6GB VRAM.
When it comes to design and the frame of the laptop, it all comes down to personal preference. If you’re someone who wants a lightweight laptop with a slim design that you can carry along with you and work from anywhere with ease, a laptop like ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo is a great fit. Whereas if you’re someone looking for a powerful machine and doesn’t mind a heavy-looking design can opt for Acer Predator Helios 500.
Remember the top parameters discussed in the article when deciding on which laptop to choose for Autocad. With the necessary information and references, you are all set to grab the best laptop for AutoCAD and toil away with your 3D modeling projects.