The Best Laptops for CAD – Our Most Recommended Laptops for AutoCAD & SOLIDWORKS
Buying a business laptop or the laptop for school might be an easy task, but when it comes to buying a laptop for specific niches such as CAD and 3D modeling, you need to check a lot of different things. These are the kinds of works carried out by professional architects by using CPU throttling software like AutoCAD, Solidworks, and various other heavy applications. These softwares require a workstation-like powerful laptop with a stellar set of configuration. So, what are the important things to check in a laptop which will be used specifically for CAD by architects? And, what are the best laptops for CAD and 3D modeling available to buy in the market right now? Let’s find them out.
So, if you are an architect or a student in an architecture major, then these are the few important things to check before purchasing the laptop for yourself.
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Now let’s have a look at few of the laptops which are hand-picked by our team of laptop experts to reduce your efforts in finding the best laptops for CAD from a lot. We will have a look at laptops in all budget constraints, from $600 budget laptops to stellar configured $3000 workstation laptops because not everyone would be able to afford those high-end workstation laptops, especially students. So, let’s begin.
Best Laptops For CAD – Top Picks
|Acer Aspire E5-576G-5762 Laptop||Intel Core i5-8250U 1.6GHz – 3.4GHz||NVIDIA GeForce MX150|
|Dell G5 Series Laptop (Best in Mid-Range)||Intel Core i5-8300H 2.3GHz – 3.9GHz||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060|
|Apple MacBook Pro 15 with Touchbar (Portable and Powerful)||Intel Core i7 Six-Core 2.2GHz – 4.1GHz||AMD Radeon Pro 555x|
|Lenovo ThinkPad P52 (The Best Laptop for CAD)||Intel Xeon E-2176M Six-Core 2.7GHz – 4.4GHz||NVIDIA Quadro P2000|
|MSI WS65 Light Workstation Notebook||Intel Core i9-8950HK 2.9GHz – 4.8GHz||NVIDIA Quadro P3200|
|Dell Precision 3530 Laptop (Best Value for Money)||Intel Core i5-8400H 2.5GHz – 4.2GHz||NVIDIA Quadro P600|
|HP ZBook 15 G5 Workstation Laptop||Intel Core i7-8750H 2.2GHz – 4.1GHz||NVIDIA Quadro P1000|
|Lenovo ThinkPad P72 (Pro Workstation Laptop)||Intel Xeon E-2186M 2.9GHz – 4.0GHz||NVIDIA Quadro P5200|
1. Acer Aspire 5 A515-54G-53H6 Laptop
Acer Aspire 5 is not just one of the highest selling laptop from Acer, it is also the most user admired series of laptop ever made by Acer. The Aspire series doesn’t just offer a strong set of configuration in its laptops, they offer them at affordable costs.
Speaking about this laptop, in particular, it sports a standard 15.6-inch Full HD display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, which is bright and vivid. Under the hood, the laptop is powered by a 10th Gen Intel Core i5 quad-core processor paired with 8GB of RAM. The laptop offers ample memory for multitasking and is bolstered by a 512GB of SSD drive. On the graphics front, the laptop comes with a 2GB of Nvidia GeForce MX250 dedicated graphics.
So ideally for everyone who needs to use their laptop as a designing tool, a large, bright and vivid 15.6-inch Full HD display, powerful graphics performance is what makes or breaks a deal. And in the case of Acer Aspire 5, the laptop makes a lot more hits. What makes the deal even better, is its affordable pricing, which is ideal for all the students and professionals looking for laptops for 2D CAD applications. However, if you need an even more powerful laptop for 3D CAD and rendering, then drill down to the bottom of our list to find an ideal laptop.
|Hardware Specifications of Acer Aspire 5 – Best Budget Laptop for CAD and 2D Modeling|
|Processor||Intel Core i5-10210U 10th Generation 1.6 GHz (Turbo up to 4.2 GHz) Quad-Core Processor|
|Graphics||NVIDIA GeForce MX250 with 2GB DDR5 VRAM|
|Display||15.6 Inch LED-backlit Full HD IPS display with 1920 × 1080 Resolution|
|Operating System||Windows 10 Home 64-bit OS|
|Battery Life||Up to 9 hours|
The Acer Aspire 5 is also available with an 8th Gen Intel Core i7 quad-core processor, so if you can spend up to $700 then this variant will be better choice overall with exact same other specifications. | Check it out on Amazon
2. Dell G5 5590 Laptop Best in Mid-Range
Are you a novice in CAD and looking for a perfect laptop to start your career in designing? Then the New Dell G5 is an ideal laptop for CAD works, which is now available at an even attractive price. The laptop is not just a power-packed machine but is also a graphics-driven one, which is ideal for multiple uses such as gaming, designing, rendering and more.
Speaking about the innards of this laptop, it is powered by the latest 9th Gen Intel Core i5 quad-core processor clocked at 2.4GHz – 4.1GHz. For multitasking, it comes with an abundant 8GB of RAM which can be upgraded up to 32GB. Storage department on the laptop is handled by a massive 1TB of HDD and 128GB SSD for faster file transferring and accessing speeds. On the graphics front, the laptop comes with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti 6GB DDR6 graphics coprocessor with 1536 CUDA cores. The laptop sports a 15.6-inch Full HD IPS display which has decent color coverage and is bright enough to use outdoors.
All in all, a powerful processor and graphics processor, a bright and vivid display along with a decent battery life in the Dell G5 makes it an ideal choice of laptop for AutoCAD, Solidworks, and other CAD applications.
|Hardware Specifications of Dell G5 5590 – Affordable Pro Laptop for CAD/2D Modeling/3D Modeling|
|Processor||Intel Core i5-9300H 9th Generation 2.4 GHz Coffee Lake Processor (Turbo up to 4.1GHz)|
|RAM||8 GB DDR4 RAM (Upgradable up to 32GB)|
|Storage||1TB 5400RPM HDD + 128GB SSD Drive Storage|
|Graphics||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti 6GB DDR6 VRAM|
|Display||15.6-Inch LED-backlit Full HD IPS display with 1920 × 1080 Resolution|
|Operating System||Windows 10 Home 64-bit OS|
|Battery Life||Up to 8 hours|
3. Apple MacBook Pro 16 Best MacBook for CAD
Tired of using Windows? Looking for an unmatched user experience with the world’s most refined and polished operating system? Then the New MacBook Pro 16″ is undoubtedly an unmatched option if budget is not the problem.
The latest MacBook Pro 16 bundles all the right essential one would expect in terms of graphics, productivity, and most other vital aspects. It is powered by a hexa-core Intel Core i7 processor paired with a massive 16GB of RAM. The laptop also offers a fast 512GB of SSD storage unit. As far as the graphics on this work machine is concerned, it comes with a 4GB of dedicated AMD Radeon Pro 5300M. All these powerful specs comes in a chassis that weighs just 4.3 pounds which gains it an upper hand when compared with other laptops in its segment.
Moreover, it can be configured with up to Intel Core i9 processor, 64GB of RAM, 8TB SSD and 8GB of latest AMD Radeon Pro graphics card, but all these options will run you over $6000 which is very steep. There are other options which offer similar specs at half the price, but they don’t come in such slim and lightweight form-factor.
What makes the MacBook unique is its macOS Mojave which offers the best resource utilization and the best-in-class battery backup of up to 10 hours of continuous usage. Thanks to all the aforementioned list of specifications Apple’s latest MacBook Pro is ideal for both 2D and 3D CAD applications.
|Hardware Specifications of Apple MacBook Pro 16|
|Processor||Intel Core i7 2.6GHz Hexa-Core Processor (Turbo up to 4.5 GHz)|
|RAM||16GB DDR4 RAM|
|Graphics||AMD Radeon Pro 5300M with 4GB DDR6 Graphics|
|Display||16-Inch LED-backlit IPS True Tone Retina display with 3072 x 1920 Resolution|
|Operating System||macOS Mojave|
|Battery Life||Up to 10 hours|
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4. Lenovo ThinkPad P53 Workstation Laptop Most Recommended Laptop for CAD
The Lenovo Thinkpad P53 is the latest addition to the Thinkpad’s P series of laptops from Lenovo. The laptop is well-known to provide a workstation-class performance along with a long-lasting battery backup. Speaking about the configuration of this laptop, it is powered by a six-core 2.6GHz Intel i7-9850H Processor coupled with a best in class 32GB of RAM. It offers 512GB of SSD for storage, but we would advise buyers to add another storage drive in one of its two empty slots inside.
Sporting a 15.6-inch Full HD display, the laptop offers great depth in colors and viewing angles, which is best for designing and drawing based applications such as CAD. Moreover, the display is also a perfect choice for multimedia. Additionally, the laptop offers a 6GB of NVIDIA Quadro RTX 3000 6GB dedicated graphics which is the most recommended and specially designed graphics processor for CAD works only.
Now comes the unique selling aspect of this laptop, its battery backup, which is the best we’ve ever seen on a stellar laptop like this. The laptop can run up to 13 hours even while running CPU throttling CAD applications. That’s really impressive, and hence Lenovo ThinkPad P53 is one of our most recommended laptop for CAD works, 2D modeling and for 3D modeling right now.
|Hardware Specifications of Lenovo Thinkpad P53 – Best Workstation Laptop for AutoCAD and Solidworks|
|Processor||Intel Core i7-9850H 2.6GHz Hexa Core Processor (Turbo up to 4.4GHz)|
|RAM||32GB DDR4 RAM|
|Storage||512 M.2 PCIe SSD|
|Graphics||Nvidia Quadro RTX 3000 6GB DDR6 GPU|
|Display||15.6 Inch Full HD IPS Anti-Glare display with Dolby Vision|
|Operating System||Windows 10 Pro 64-bit OS|
|Battery Life||Up to 13 hours|
If you’re not willing to dig deep into your pockets, then you can also configure the ThinkPad P53 as per your requirements and budget. You can get it with the six-core Intel Core i7 processor and Nvidia Quadro T1000 for under $1500. You can select the RAM and storage options as per your requirements or upgrade it later on your own. | Configure P53 at Lenovo
Moreover, if you are looking for a lightweight workstation laptop then you can check out the Lenovo ThinkPad P1 which weighs less than 4 pounds and still can also be configured up to Intel Xeon processors and Nvidia Quadro T2000 graphics. | Check Price on Lenovo
Irrespective of which version you choose, both of them are perfect for both 2D and 3D CAD applications.
5. MSI WS65 Lightweight Workstation Notebook for CAD & 3D Modeling
When you’re in search of a laptop, you need to research for all the possibilities out in the market. But there are some laptops in the market, which can be opted without any further references and MSI is one such laptop maker. The brand has a very firm grip in the market, in terms of its powerful gaming laptops. That said, the laptop comes with a compelling graphics performance aiding the CAD softwares, and as an added feature, it also comes with a beautiful 15-inch full HD display with thin bezels.
Speaking about the innards of this laptop, it draws its power from an Octa Core Intel i9 processor (2.3 – 4.8 GHz) paired with 32GB of RAM. As far as the graphics on this beastly laptop is concerned, it comes with a powerful 6GB of Nvidia Quadro RTX 3000 dedicated graphics.
You’ll be amazed to know that all these really mammoth lists of specifications come in a lightweight, slim chassis that weighs just 4.1 pounds. Overall MSI WS65 is the best workstation laptop for CAD work with the powerful set of specifications and portable outfit.
|Hardware Specifications of MSI WS65 Laptop for CAD, 3D Modeling & Rendering|
|Processor||Intel Core i9-9880H 2.3GHz Octa Core Processor (Turbo up to 4.8GHz)|
|RAM||32 GB RAM|
|Storage||1TB PCIe NVMe SSD|
|Graphics||Nvidia Quadro RTX 3000 with 6GB DDR5 memory|
|Display||15.6 Inch Full HD IPS-Level Display (100% sRGB)|
|Operating System||Windows 10 Pro 64-bit OS|
|Battery Life||Up to 7 hours|
MSI WE65 15 Inch Workstation Affordable Laptop for CAD/3D Modeling with NVidia Quadro Graphics
Have a soft corner on MSI series of laptops and tight on budget? Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. The MSI WE65 is a slightly cheaper alternative for the aforementioned laptop, which although is a slightly stripped down variant, but is nevertheless, an able laptop for CAD and both 2D and 3D modeling because it has an Nvidia Quadro T1000 GPU inside. This laptop also has an interesting set of specifications such as newest generation Intel Core i7 six-core processor paired with a 32GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD. Thankfully, this laptop also comes with a beautifully crafted slim and lightweight chassis. | $1,699.00 from Amazon
6. Dell Precision 3541 Budget Laptop for AutoCAD/SOLIDWORKS
Dell Precision 3541 is a truly powerful laptop by all means. Its powerful performance along with flawless graphics performance makes it one of the ideal laptops for SolidWorks for CAD work. It can be configured with up to 8-core Intel Core i9 processor, but if you are on a budget, then it can also be configured with the ninth gen Intel Core i5 or i7 processor.
As far as the graphics are concerned, it comes with a dedicated NVIDIA Quadro P620 graphics processor. The laptop sports a 15-inch full HD display and comes with a best-in-class performance. The bright and vivid screen paired with a powerful graphical ability of the GPU gains it a clear upper hand over various other laptops in the segment.
Moreover, the cut-throat pricing of this laptop is what makes it unique from its competitors. Whatsoever may be the application or niche is, the Precision 3530 is a powerful device which can handle all the graphics related applications such as both 2D and 3D CAD, architecture, gaming, and more.
|Hardware Specifications of Dell Precision 3541 15″ Budget Notebook for CAD work|
|Processor||Intel Core i5-9400H 9th Generation 2.5 GHz Coffee Lake Processor (Turbo up to 4.3 GHz)|
|RAM||8GB DDR4 RAM|
|Storage||500GB 7200RPM HDD|
|Graphics||NVIDIA Quadro P620 with 4GB DDR5 Graphics|
|Display||15.6-Inch Full HD Anti Glare Display with 1920 × 1080 Resolution|
|Operating System||Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit|
|Battery Life||Up to 8 hours|
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7. HP ZBook 15 G5 Workstation Laptop
HP ZBook series of workstation laptops have earned a lot of fame among the architects. They are known to provide the mobility and extreme level of performance for doing extensive CAD works on the go.
The newest HP ZBook 15 G5 is a power-packed workstation laptop, and it is perfect for running high-end CAD software. It comes with a 15-inch full HD IPS display with an anti-glare coating, so it is good for eyes, and it is also a color accurate panel with excellent viewing angles.
On the hardware front, the laptop bolsters a powerful hexa-core Intel Core i7 processor paired with 16GB of RAM and 256GB of SSD for storage. Pretty standard specs right? Well, the graphics processor on the laptop is what differentiates it from the rest and makes HP ZBook one of the best laptops for CAD. It has Nvidia Quadro P1000 GPU with 4GB DDR5 dedicated graphics memory so no matter how much big is your CAD project, this laptop is going to make everything buttery smooth.
Coming to the price, this particular variant of HP ZBook 15 G5 is available for $1,849 right now which is an excellent price considering the specs and its other notable features such as backlit keyboard and a wide selection of ports and slots. The single only drawback of this laptop is its weight. It weighs around 6 pounds which is higher than its competitors, hence this laptop may not be the right choice to work on-the-go but you can travel with it in a backpack quite easily.
|Hardware Specifications of HP ZBook 15 G5 Workstation Laptop|
|Processor||Intel Core i7-8750H Hexa-Core 2.2GHz Processor (Turbo up to 4.1GHz)|
|RAM||16 GB DDR4 SDRAM|
|Graphics||NVIDIA Quadro P1000 Discrete Graphics with 4GB VRAM|
|Display||15.6 Inch Full HD IPS Anti-Glare Display with 1920×1080 Resolution|
|Operating System||Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit|
|Battery Life||5 hours|
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8. Lenovo ThinkPad P72 Pro Workstation Laptop for CAD and 3D Modeling
If money is not your concern and you’re expecting an impeccable performance for your use, then the Lenovo ThinkPad P72 Mobile Workstation laptop is the best anyone can recommend. Before we start elaborating about this laptop, we’d like to say don’t get amazed looking at its beastly specifications.
The laptop is powered by an Intel Xeon E-2186M processor paired with a mammoth 64GB of RAM. Yes, you’ve heard it right. Storage is managed by a 512GB of SSD drive but it has three storage drives inside so you can configure it as per your requirements. The laptop comes with a 17.3-inch UHD 4K display to provide an excellent viewing experience. Graphics on this laptop is bolstered by a 16GB of Nvidia Quadro P5200 dedicated graphics.
The laptop also packs in a long list of specifications and additional softwares which well-suits for most of the graphics handling applications such as CAD (both 2D and 3D), architecture, gaming, and many more.
|Hardware Specifications of Lenovo ThinkPad P72 – Pro Workstation Laptop for CAD & 3D Modeling|
|Processor||Intel Xeon E-2186M 2.9 GHz Hexa Core Processor (Turbo up to 4.0 GHz)|
|RAM||64 GB DDR4 SDRAM|
|Graphics||NVIDIA Quadro P5200 Discrete Graphics with 16GB VRAM|
|Display||17.3 Inch 4K UHD IPS Display with 3840×2160 Resolution|
|Operating System||Windows 10 Pro for Workstations 64-Bit|
|Battery Life||Up to 18 hours|
We really hope that this extensive guide from us will help you to get the perfect laptop for your CAD work. We’ve not only brought the best laptops for your usage but have also covered all the various budgets, to make it efficient and effective for the users of all categories. So, it’s now up to you to choose your ideal laptop from our list. Finally, we’d like to advise all architects and students in architecture major that, you don’t often end up buying a laptop. That said, it is a one-time investment. So you better extend your budget before buying a laptop.
Do visit back for updated and new listings of laptops. If you feel we’ve missed out on any better deal, do comment!