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 which are carried out by professional architects by using cpu throttling softwares like AutoCAD, Solidworks and various other heavy applications. These softwares requires a workstation-like powerful laptop with a stellar set of configuration. So, which 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? Let’s find them out!

Choosing Hardware Specifications of The Laptop for CAD Works


You might be thinking of spending over $1000 bucks and getting a powerful laptop with quad core Intel i7 processor and latest NVidia 10 series GPU for CAD works, that would definitely work but CAD softwares such as Solidworks and AutoCAD do not actually recommend this CPUs and GPUs for running their softwares. What they recommend is, Intel Xeon or AMD FX series of processors and NVidia Quadro or AMD FirePro series of GPUs because they are specifically designed for CAD, 3D modeling and rendering.

These aren’t the normal CPUs and GPUs and they are not even used in a normal laptops. These are the multi-core hyper threaded CPUs and GPUs which are found on workstation laptops and they are perfect for running heavy applications.

Note -

The laptops with Intel i5 and i7 processors can also be used for CAD. In Fact, they are the perfect options for students and the architects on budget. But, make sure that you buy the laptop with quad core CPUs because dual-cores are considered to be very weak to handle CAD applications. You can find all the quad core i5 and i7 processor model numbers and their detailed comparisons in our guides to buy the laptops with i5 processor and laptops with i7 processor.

Well, if you are into 3D modeling and complex CAD works then we would recommend you to buy a portable workstation laptop for yourself. They will be costly but all the CAD applications will just fly on those laptops (You will find them in our list of recommended laptops for CAD below).

Although CPU and GPU are the most important things to check in a laptop for CAD, there are many other things such as RAM, storage and display which plays a huge role in overall performance and user experience of the laptop for CAD and 2D/3D modeling. So, let’s discuss each of them in detail…

  • RAM – The amount of RAM installed on the laptop makes a huge difference on performance of the laptop. Most of the CAD software vendors recommends minimum 8GB of RAM but we think that’s for 2D modeling and basic CAD works. For 3D modeling and rendering atleast 16GB of RAM is necessary.
  • Storage – For storage, SSD is strictly recommended in a laptop for CAD because its reading and writing speeds, dramatically increases the overall performance of the laptop. You can choose the amount of storage as per your requirements and budget.
  • Display – Display is the another crucial thing to check in a CAD laptop. Display of the laptop should be glare-resistant with rich viewing angles and should also be color accurate. We recommend IPS display with full HD or 4K resolution for CAD and 3D modeling works because they are good at every aforementioned aspects.

Source – Solidworks blog, AutoCAD, NVidia, Intel Workstation Configurator, AMD.

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.

Recommended for students – The Best Laptops for College Students for Every Budget and College Majors

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

1) Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG Laptop

Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG - cheap laptop for cad work and 2d modeling for studentsAcer Aspire E 15 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 E 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 2.3 GHz Intel Core i5 processor paired with 8GB of RAM. The laptop offers ample memory for multi-tasking and is bolstered by a 256GB of SSD drive. On the graphics front, the laptop comes with a 2GB of NVIDIA GeForce 940MX 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 E 15, 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 till the bottom of our list to find an ideal laptop.

Read Full Review of Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG Laptop

Hardware Specifications of Acer Aspire E 15 – Best Budget Laptop for CAD and 2D Modeling
Processor Intel Core i5-6200U 6th Generation 2.3 GHz (Turbo up to 2.7 GHz) Skylake Processor
RAM 8GB RAM
Storage 256GB SSD
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce 940MX with 2GB DDR5 VRAM
Display 15.6 Inch LED-backlit Full HD display with 1920 × 1080 Resolution
Operating System Windows 10 Home 64-bit OS
Battery Life 12 hours
Weight 5.3 lbs

$549.99 | Buy at Amazon

MORE: The Best Laptops Under $600 – Buying Guide

2) Dell Inspiron i7559-2512BLK Laptop

Dell-Inspiron-i7559-2512BLK - Affordable laptops for CAD work and 2D/3D modeling

Are you a novice in CAD and looking for a perfect laptop to start your career in designing? Then the Dell Inspiron i7559 is an ideal laptop for CAD works now available at an even handsome 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, architecture, designing, graphics processing and more. Speaking about the innards of this laptop, it is powered by the latest 6th Gen Intel Core i7 processor clocked at 2.6GHz. For multitasking it comes with an abundant 8GB of RAM. Storage department on the laptop is handled by a large 1TB of hybrid HDD which also includes flash cache for faster file transferring and accessing speeds. On the graphics front, the laptop comes with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M GDDR5 graphics coprocessor with 4GB of dedicated graphics memory. The laptop sports a bright 15.6-inch Full HD display powered by BrightView technology for detailed viewing experience. All in all, a powerful processor and graphics processor, a bright and vivid display along with a really long-lasting battery in the Dell Inspiron makes it an ideal choice of laptop for AutoCAD, Solidworks and other CAD applications.

Hardware Specifications of Dell Inspiron i7559-2512BLK – Affordable Pro Laptop for CAD/2D Modeling/3D Modeling
Processor Intel Core i7-6700HQ 6th Generation 2.6 GHz Skylake Processor
RAM 8 GB DDR3L RAM
Storage 1 TB HDD + 8GB SSD Hybrid Drive Storage
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M 4GB GDDR5 RAM
Display 15.6 Inch LED-backlit Full HD display with 1920 × 1080 Resolution
Operating System Windows 10 64-bit OS
Battery Life 10 hours
Weight 4.6 lbs

$799.99 | Buy Now From Amazon

MORE: Top 10 Best Gaming Laptops Under $1000 – Pro Guide

3) Apple MacBook Pro

Apple MacBook Pro with 15-Inch Retina Display - Best Mac for CAD works and 3D Modeling

Tired using Windows? Looking for an unmatched user experience with the world’s most refined and polished operating system? Then a MacBook is undoubtedly an unmatched asset. The latest MacBook Pro bundles all the right essential one would expect in terms of graphics, productivity, and most other vital aspects. The all new Macbook Pro MJLQ2LL/A is powered by an intel core i7 processor paired with a massive 16GB of RAM. The laptop also offers a 512GB of SSD storage unit. As far as the graphics on this work machine is concerned, it comes with a 2GB of dedicated AMD Radeon R9 M370X, which gains it a powerful upper hand when compared with other laptops in its segment. What makes the MacBook unique is its MAC OS X, which offers the best resource utilisation and the best-in-class battery backup of up to 12 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 – Best MacBook for CAD Works
Processor Intel Core i7 2.5 GHz Quad Core Processor (Turbo upto 3.7 GHz)
RAM 16 GB RAM
Storage 512GB PCIe-based flash storage
Graphics AMD Radeon R9 M370X with 2GB GDDR5 Memory
Display 15.4 Inch Retina display with 2880 x 1800 Resolution
Operating System Mac OS X Sierra
Battery Life 9 hours
Weight 4.5 lbs

$2,299.00 | Buy Now at Amazon

4) Lenovo ThinkPad P50 Workstation Laptop

Lenovo ThinkPad P50 - best laptop for solidworks and autocad

The Lenovo Thinkpad P50 is the latest addition to the Thinkpad 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 2.8 GHz Intel Xeon Processor coupled with a best in class 16GB of RAM. It comes with a 256GB of SSD drive which is on lower side but you can always have an external hard drive with you to get some extra storage. Sporting a 15.6-inch Full HD display, the laptop offers great depth in colours 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 4GB of NVIDIA Quadro 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 P50 is one of the most recommended laptop for CAD works, 2D modeling and for 3D modeling by our experts.

Hardware Specifications of Lenovo Thinkpad P50 – Best Workstation Laptop for AutoCAD and Solidworks
Processor Intel Xeon e3-1505mv5 2.8 GHz Quad Core Processor (Turbo up to 3.7 GHz)
RAM 16 GB RAM
Storage 256 GB SSD
Graphics NVIDIA Quadro M2000M with 4GB memory
Display 15.6 Inch LED-backlit display with 1920×1080 Resolution
Operating System Windows 7 Pro 64-bit OS
Battery Life 13.2 hours
Weight 8.65 lbs

$1,717.32 | Buy From Amazon

Lenovo ThinkPad P50 15 inch Workstation Laptop - best laptop for autocad and solidworks

Lenovo ThinkPad P50 – $1,174.99 on Amazon

Lenovo ThinkPad P50 Workstation Laptop (Cheaper Variant)

If you’re not willing to dig deep into your pockets, then this cheaper alternative might be worth a look. The laptop comes with a slightly stripped down set of configuration such as an Intel core i7 processor and 8GB of RAM. On the graphics front, it comes with 2GB of NVIDIA Quadro M1000M dedicated graphics. Moreover, the hard disk is increased to a 500GB of HDD when compared with a 256GB of SSD in the above variant. Irrespective of which version you choose, both of them are perfect for both 2D and 3D CAD applications. | See full specs and read reviews on Amazon.

5) MSI WT72 Light Workstation Notebook for CAD & 3D Modeling

msi-wt72 slim and light workstation notebook for CAD works 3D modeling and rendering

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 very powerful graphics performance and as an added feature, it comes with a large 17-inch bright Full HD display. Speaking about the innards of this laptop, it draws its power from a 2.6GHz intel core i7 processor paired with 16GB of RAM. As far as the graphics on this beastly laptop is concerned about, it comes with a powerful 4GB of NVIDIA Quadro M3000M dedicated graphics. You’ll be amazed to know that all these really mammoth list of specifications comes in a really light weight slim chassis. Overall MSI WT72 is the best workstation laptop for CAD work with powerful set of specifications and huge 17 inch display.

Hardware Specifications of MSI WT72 Laptop for CAD, 3D Modeling & Rendering
Processor Intel Core i7-6700HQ 2.6 GHz Quad Core Processor
RAM 16 GB RAM
Storage 128 GB SSD + 1TB 7200 RPM Hard Drive
Graphics NVIDIA Quadro M3000M with 4GB memory
Display 17.3 Inch IPS LCD with 1920×1080 Resolution
Operating System Windows 10
Battery Life 8 hours
Weight 8.4 lbs

$2,499.00 | Buy at Amazon

MSI WS60 15 Inch Workstation – Affordable Laptop for CAD/3D Modeling with NVidia Quadro Graphics

MSI WS60 Workstation Laptop for CAD works

MSI WS60 Portable Workstation Notebook ($1,499 on Amazon)

Have a soft corner on MSI series of laptops and tight on budget? Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. Here is a 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. This laptop also has an interesting set of specifications such as an intel core i7 processor paired with an 8GB of RAM and 1TB of SATA HDD. Thankfully, this laptop also comes with a beautifully crafted slim and light weight chassis. | See full specifications and review on Amazon.

6) Gigabyte P55Wv6-PC3D – Powerful Laptop for AutoCAD/SOLIDWORKS

Gigabyte P55Wv6-PC3D - best laptops for cad works and 3d modeling

Gigabyte’s P55Wv6-PC3D is a truly powerful laptop by all means. It is ideal for solidworks, powerful performance along with flawless graphic performance for gamers, designers and architects. It comes with the latest sixth gen intel core i7 processor paired with a massive 16GB of RAM. As far as the graphics is concerned, it comes with a dedicated NVIDIA GeForce 1060 graphics processor. The laptop sports a 15.6-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 P55W 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 computers. Whatsoever may be the application or niche is, the P55W 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 GIGABYTE P55Wv6-PC3D Powerful Notebook for CAD work
Processor Intel Core i7-6700 HQ 6th Generation 2.6 GHz Skylake Processor (Turbo up to 3.5 GHz)
RAM 16 GB DDR4 RAM
Storage 256 GB SSD + 1TB 7200 RPM Hard Drive
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 GDDR5 6GB Dedicated Graphics
Display 15.6 Inch Full HD IPS LCD with 1920×1080 Resolution
Operating System Windows 10 Home 64-Bit
Battery Life 8 hours
Weight 5.73 lbs

$1,449 | Buy Now from Amazon

MORE: Top 10 Best Gaming Laptops Under $1500 (Best for CAD as well)

7) Lenovo ThinkPad P50 – Pro Workstation Laptop for CAD and 3D Modeling

Lenovo ThinkPad P50 (Maxed Specced) - Best Workstation Laptop for CAD works 3D modeling and Rendering

If money is not your concern and you’re expecting an impeccable performance for your use, then the Lenovo ThinkPad P50 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 E3-1505M processor paired with a mammoth 64GB of RAM. Yes, you’ve heard it right. Storage is managed by a 2TB of SSD drive. The laptop comes with a 15.6-inch UHD 4K display to provide an impeccable viewing experience. Graphics on this laptop is bolstered by a 4GB of NVIDIA Quadro M2000M 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 P50 – Pro Workstation Laptop for CAD & 3D Modeling
Processor Intel Xeon E3-1505M 2.80 GHz Qaud Core Processor
RAM 64 GB DDR4 SDRAM
Storage 2 TB GB SSD
Graphics NVIDIA Quadro M2000M Discrete Graphics with 4GB VRAM
Display 15.6 Inch 4K UHD IPS Display with 3840×2160 Resolution
Operating System Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit
Battery Life 9 hours
Weight 5.8 lbs

$3,399.53 | Buy Now From Amazon

We really hope that this extensive work from us have given you 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, its now up to you to choose your ideal laptop from our list. Finally, we’d like to advice 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!

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