The best laptop for AutoCAD (Updated 2017 August)

So you are searching for the best laptop for the new AutoCAD 2017 (or 2018, as Autodesk apparently lives in the future)? Well, be prepared to spend extra cash on the laptop as AutoCAD demands a lot of performance.

Best laptop for AutoCAD LT

First off, if you want to use AutoCAD LT for 2D drawing and drafting you do not have to buy high-end machines for that. I’ve run AutoCAD LT 2015 and 2016 without a problem on laptops priced just under 500$. It took a while to load AutoCAD, but it still worked. At the same time, if you are like most, you’ll probably need the full AutoCAD package, which works with 3D graphics (architecture, 3D design and etc). In this article, I’ll focus mostly on full AutoCAD version and its requirements.

What is essential for a good laptop for AutoCAD

The Essentials

AutoCAD can be surely demanding and if you can, buy a more high-end machine as AutoCAD will be able to take advantage of your extra spending through more lag-free (and stress-free) workflow with complex structures. But let’s start off with the bare minimum – what do you need to run AutoCAD without ripping your hair off? These requirements are roughly based on official minimum requirements for AutoCAD 2018. These requirements haven’t changed much since last year.

So what you should be looking for is:

Multi-core processor

If you’ll work with 2D drawings – this criterion is hard to mess up. Any non-entry tier processor will suffice. But if you can spend more than let’s say 700$, you should aim for higher-end processors. 3D work (architecture, 3D models and design) can put a lot more stress on this part so you should aim for 4 core processors with clock speeds above 3 GHz.

For raw performance under $2000, i7-6700HQ, i7-7700HQ and i5-7300HQ are the best options. The good news – these processors can be found in laptops as cheap as $700 (though I would not recommend these models as they sacrifice every other aspect to squeeze in these processors). But in the $1000-$2000, it is the best pick. At the same time, if you are looking for a laptop that offers a balance of battery life and performance – i7 U line of processors would be better. For example, i7-7500U, i7-6500U, i7-6600U, i5-7200U. In short:

  • For best performance look for i7-****HQ (or HK) processors (or at least i5-7300HQ)
  • For good performance and battery life balance look for i7-****U processors

Simple enough?

8 GB of RAM (16 GB recommended)

I would not recommend buying anything below 8 GB for any type of laptop for a professional. This is especially the case for performance hungry programs such as AutoCAD. So do not skimp over memory and get at least 8 GB and if you can try to get it to 12 – 16 GB range if you are running more apps than just AutoCAD at the same time (like browser, music player, MS Word and etc.). Even if you are a heavy multitasker – that 16 GB should be enough.

Large screen

When it comes to any visual work – the bigger the better. You surely do not want to squint your eyes to select lines, especially if you go for a higher resolution laptop. Unless you’ll use a laptop for only small touch ups you should not go below 15″. I would even recommend going for desktop-replacement class 17″ laptop if you’re going to work on it primarily. This can come at an expense of portability, so use your best judgement for that – 17″ if you’ll work mostly in the same place; 15″ if you’ll need to work in several places. Also, be sure not to buy a lower-end HD screen (with a resolution of 1366×768). Nowadays anything below 1920×1080 for a 15-17″ laptops is sub par.

This recommendation has been reinforced with every AutoCAD release. This is the only major Autodesk recommendation change since the previous AutoCAD release.

Do you need a 4K display? No, but with AutoCAD 2017.1 and 2018 versions – it is a viable option.

These high resolutions are not yet well supported in every professional application and you’re likely to have at least 1 program in your application suite misbehaving under a high 4K/QHD/UHD resolution. But there’s no reason to deliberately avoid these displays. They can be downgraded to the standard FHD (1920×1080) resolution and when applications under your belt start supporting 4K – you’ll be able to upgrade to these ultra-high resolutions without changing your laptop.

Where it would be wise to spend your money but not essential

The Good Investments

Dedicated graphics card

If you’re working with complex 3D models, your processor will surely be thankful for the help it can get from a dedicated graphics card, which is specifically optimised to handle such tasks. Applications like AutoCAD rely on these graphics cards to deliver the smooth workflow we all want. So if you have covered the essentials, grab the best graphics card you can within your budget. Nearly all dedicated video cards are produced by Nvidia and AMD (Radeon line). Meanwhile, majority of integrated graphics chips for laptops are produced by Intel and AMD.

Bad graphics cards for AutoCAD:

  • Anything in Intel HD line
  • Any graphics chip in AMD APU
  • Entry-tier Nvidia chips: 920M, 930M, 940MX

Good graphics cards for AutoCAD:

  • Intel Iris 540 or better
  • Intel HD Graphics 610 or better
  • Nvidia GeForce 960M or better
  • AMD FirePro W4190M or AMD R9 M370X or better
  • Nvidia Quadro M1000M or better

Best graphics cards for AutoCAD:

  • Nvidia GeForce 1060 or better (1070, 1080)
  • Nvidia Quadro M5000M or even M5500M

Of course, I have not covered all cards here, just the most popular on the market right now (August 2017).

Solid State Drive (SSD)

SSDs have been named by many as the best investment you can make to make your machine faster and a lot more responsive. Whether other bloggers whether my personal friends – everyone says that installing a Solid State Drive as the main system drive made them regret not pulling the trigger on HDD sooner.

SSD will not improve AutoCAD’s performance as much as it will improve the responsiveness of the whole system. So if you do have everything covered to run AutoCAD, make sure you can launch it fast with an SSD. I would discourage going for hybrid solutions where you get a regular hard drive and a small “buffer” of SSD as they do not deliver the full benefits of SSD and make it not worth the extra spending. It’s worth reminding that if you do not have enough money for an SSD, you can buy a laptop with an extra empty slot for it. Then you’ll be able to buy an SSD down the road and retire your older drive as your “archive”. But once again, if you can afford it, buy an SSD from the start as moving between drives can be a painful hassle.

Battery life

This one is more up to your situation than others. If you’ll work at the same place most of the time taking your laptop out only when it is necessary or taking it out to places where there’ll always be a power source, you can treat battery life only as “nice to have”. On the other hand, if you’ll be working on the go or you’ll need to work without a guaranteed power source – spend almost everything else you have left in your budget for a better battery. Nowadays manufacturer estimates of battery lifetime are a bit more accurate than they used to, so even that can be a good way to compare two or more laptops. If you want to be sure of real battery lifetime, check the laptop list or search for reviews of laptops online.

What would be nice addition to fully round out the laptop for AutoCAD-type software?

Nice-to-Have

Extra memory (16GB+)

I have already talked a bit about the importance of RAM and how you should don’t go below 8 GB even on a strict budget. But if you want to be future-proof, having 16 GB (or even 24 – 32 GB in some rare cases) will make your life easier down the road. As time goes on, the software uses more and more memory (which is also true for AutoCAD) and having more of it will ensure you won’t be in trouble when you have to run 2 or 3 memory-hungry applications. It is worth mentioning that there’s a way to reach a compromise without adding more memory and not breaking your budget – buy a laptop with an additional empty slot for extending RAM. That way, when you’ll need to buy more RAM, you’ll be able to just add a new memory module without breaking the bank.

High resolution IPS screen

By high resolution I mean screens beyond Full HD (1920×1080). Just a few years ago these resolutions were hard to come by, but now high resolution is a key part of a high-end laptop. But not only the pixels count – some screens have high resolutions but still look like ****. To be more certain of the quality the screen can deliver, be sure it has an IPS panel.

Compact mouse (and keyboard)

Do not forget to get a mouse, you’ll be using it a lot, even if you buy the best laptop for AutoCAD and you remember every single keyword in AutoCAD command line. Do not skimp on investing in comfort! It is often underrated as it can be hard to measure, but if you’ll be working with a laptop for most of your day, you sure want something that makes it feel as effortless as possible.

Suggestions

I updated my recommended laptops 2016 January 26th, July 12th, 2017 January 5th and 2017 August 2nd!

Suggestions under $800

MSI GL72 7QF-1057

Best laptop under 800$ for AutoCAD

  • Additional slot for extra storage
  • Neutral design
  • Steel Series keyboard with a number pad

This is a well-rounded mid-range laptop that has amazing performance looking at its price. It has 4 USB ports, high range CPU/GPU which will run close to anything you desire, but it might take a longer time to startup compared to more expensive laptops due to its mechanical hard drive.

Overall, if you have a tight budget – be aware of its weak battery life and weight which might limit your portability.

Dell Inspiron i7559-763BLK

Best Dell under 800$ for AutoCAD

  • Bright and sharp IPS screen
  • Easily upgradable (SSD/RAM)
  • Suitable for gaming

This Dell Inspiron is very similar to the ASUS K501UX above with a few notable exception.

Firstly, it has a better graphics chip and a bit weaker processor. Usually, I would advise going for a faster processor but if you see yourself gaming on a laptop – getting this Dell would be a smart choice.

Secondly, it is very easy to upgrade – even if you’ve never had to deal with PC upgrades, adding extra RAM and more storage is a piece of cake.

Talking about storage, it falls short in the same category where ASUS K501UX did. That’s understandable, 512GB SSDs are still not cheap and manufacturers are forced to put in 256GB for that lower pricetag. Nevertheless, if you plan to use it as your main workstation – be ready to spend up to 160$ for extra storage.

Finally, Dell has a bright and vivid IPS screen which is superior to the one Asus offers if you don’t have to deal with bright reflections.

Suggestions under $1500

Dell Inspiron i7559-7512GRY

Dell Inspiron i7559-7512GRY

  • 4K Resolution
  • Sleek backlit keyboard
  • Below average battery life (~4 hours)

Performance wise, this laptop is a well-rounded machine. If you can sacrifice battery life and you don’t mind carrying a bit of extra weight – it’s a great machine for its price. It has Intel Core i7-6700HQ (Skylake), GTX 960M and 16 GB RAM and a 1 TB + 128 GB SSD storage.

A few things to note – a touchscreen which may allow you to use AutoCAD or other software in a different way and it has SSD where you can save your essential software and project files for faster load times.

ASUS ZenBook Pro UX501VW

ASUS ZenBook Pro for modelling and architecture

  • Blazingly fast
  • Sleek and lightweight
  • Stunning screen – Multi-touch, IPS, 4K resolution

If you don’t absolutely need a FirePro/Quadro, this laptop is as good as it gets.

It packs a few cutting edge technologies like SSD over PCI-Express. This ensures performance that isn’t possible for 95% laptops on the market no matter how fast their SSD drive is. It also comes with USB-C (and thus Thunderbolt III) which might be a life-saver for some external hardware.

HP ZBook 15U G3

HP ZBook for CAD

  • One of the cheapest laptops with CAD-certified graphics card
  • 4K Resolution with IPS Technology
  • 128 GB SSD for OS and 2 TB storage for everything else
  • OK-ish battery life of ~5h
  • No HDMI port (but it has DisplayPort and even VGA)

I would consider this a great option if you absolutely need a CAD-certified card but you don’t need an expensive higher-range model.

This HP ZBook 15U G3 Workstation laptop comes with many other useful features such as a full spill-resistant keyboard, low noise and temperature levels, NVMe SSD and it is considered to be one of the best lightweight laptops for AutoCAD. However, less weight comes with a cost. Though this laptop lacks a spacious SSD.

DELL XPS 15

Dell XPS for CAD work

  • HDMI and USB 3.1C Ports
  • High quality display
  • Touchscreen support

DELL XPS 15 comes with a popular i7-6700HQ and NVIDIA 960M GPU which is enough for complex 3D modeling and drawing. Display ports are included which make setting up multiple displays a no-brainer.

The laptop supports 4K Resolution, has 500 GB SSD PCIe Storage and a healthy battery life while staying just under 4 lbs. If you want to have a laptop that is close to highest performance levels but is not inflated in its price by some highly-priced professional features – DELL XPS 15 is the right choice.

Lenovo Thinkpad P50

Lenovo Thinkpad P50 - best laptop for AutoCAD

  • Great performance (Intel Xeon processor, Nvidia Quadro card & SSD)
  • Plenty of ports: HDMI, DisplayPort, USB 3.1C, 4x USB 3.0
  • Massive long-lasting 9-cell battery (8.5 hours)

Just under $2000, we can find this Lenovo workstation. Thinkpad P50 comes with a high-end Intel Xeon E3-1505M processor and Nvidia Quadro M2000M card which is ~1.5 times faster than M1000M. Also, this is one of the best-reviewed workstations with a great keyboard for long work sessions.

Finally, to make it perfect, I would add 500 GB SSD and/or additional 2 TB HDD.

Suggestions over $2000

Dell Precision M5510

Dell Precision M5510 for CAD design

  • Wide viewing angle (IPS panel)
  • Lightweight AutoCAD laptop
  • Average battery life (5 hours)

Simple, stylish and performant laptop for AutoCAD users. It has a spacious SSD (500 GB), CAD-Verified GPU and a full-sized backlit keyboard. For productivity purposes, this choice is the best as it comes with all of the features you may require using AutoCAD.

However, it comes with only 8 GB of RAM which at some point will definitely won’t be enough. Thankfully it is possible to expand it up to 16 GB and then your laptop will be fully future-proof.

MSI WT72 6QN-219US

MSI WT72 6QN-219US for AutoCAD and Revit

  • Great performance
  • Best CAD-certified laptop graphics card on the market (NVIDIA Quadro M5500M)
  • 6 USB Ports
  • Best laptop for AutoCAD, Revit and other CAD/modelling software

Time to bring out the big guns. This laptop has some of the best specs on the market and probably THE best when you consider Quadro graphics chip. If you can settle for 2nd-best GPU and you’d rather add a 500 GB SSD – you might as well go for a slightly cheaper model.

252 thoughts on “The best laptop for AutoCAD (Updated 2017 August)

    1. Very informative. I now use Autocad LT after years of full Autocad. I am looking for a light weight laptop for travel use only. My PC is a Lenovo, and I am very happy with it, so I will look at the Lenovo Y40. Any other suggestions???????Thank you

      1. Glad to hear you found this useful, Annick! I have added Dell XPS13 and ASUS N550JX as two new suggestions. XPS13 is great if you’re looking for light 13-inch laptop for AutoCAD LT. Meanwhile ASUS is best at handling full AutoCAD on the go (but it costs a few extra hundred dollars).

          1. Yes, it’s OK performance-wise. Just remember it won’t last a whole day at school. Lenovo E560 battery can last up to ~5h 30min on Wi-Fi. Also, its screen is quite dim. Apart from that, it’s a good deal.

  1. very useful information.
    Fujitsu AH544M12B, what do you think about this model, removable dvd driver, extra ssd can be added. wait for your comment , thanks

    1. Seems as a good option for the price.

      All around good specs but be aware that its’ screen is outdated – low resolution, limited viewing angles and it is rather dim – it has lighting power of 200 nits which will make it problematic to work with this laptop outside. For example ASUS N550JX is lit by 275 nits.

      So if you value a bright and crisp screen – this is not the best computer for you. But if you do not care about the screen, it is a great laptop in most other aspects.

    1. I’d say Dell XPS13 is a great option in this case if you spend most of your time driving from client to client. In that case you could also Google for Asus ZenBook. You’ll need something light. To answer your question: Dell and Asus are the best right now due to their freshly released laptops.

      Meanwhile, if you spend most of your time working with geodetic software back home, you can either get ASUS N550JX or Lenovo. Some would argue in case for HP, but they’re usually overpriced if you don’t need a workstation with Nvidia Quadro.

      TL;DR: Dell and Asus for smaller laptops, and Asus and Lenovo for larger laptops.

        1. If you don’t need SSD, you’re OK with a rather heavy frame and 90% of the time you’ll be working near a power socket – it’s a good option especially when working with CAD. Lenovo W series is made with that type of work in mind.

          Usually I wouldn’t ever recommend buying laptops from 2011 era but W520 aged surprisingly well. It has a pair of USB 3 ports, has a Display Port and even an old 2nd generation Intel processor is equivalent to mid-high range of current generation processors.

          How does it do it? It is very power hungry. That’s might seem not big deal as this model has a great battery. But the problem is not in battery life time. W520 limits the processor to protect its battery from heating up. And in result you’ll experience a significant dip in performance when you’re working on the go. So keep that in mind.

          Unless you’re tight on budget, you should look into current line of Lenovo W-series laptops: W541 and W550s.

          Just make sure to buy a model with at least 8 GB of RAM.

          1. W520 can be easily upgraded to msata SSD alone or msata SSD along with one or two additional platter drives. It is quite fast with SSD but its called the beast for a reason. It is heavy. I wouldn’t suggest it for someone less than 5’6″ and/or less than 16olbs.

            Killer app 1 of the W520 is the keyboard. 2011 was the last year of the great IBM keyboards. Killer app 2 of the W520 is the port replicator. Get one off of e-Bay and hook up your external monitor through dp and you have both a useful desktop and a useful laptop.

    1. Alienware models are a good option if you do not care that the laptop itself weighs a lot more than any regular consumer class laptop. A close friend has been using Alienware for 3 years and he summed it up as “if you need a “portable desktop” laptop – Alienware is great”. He’s satisfied with his notebook as this exactly what he needed.

      Alienware models have good build quality, reliability, well balanced specs and are easy to maintain (unscrewing 2 screws opens up the inside of the laptop for cleaning or installing extra RAM/storage) – though that might be different for 13 inch models.

      All that comes at a cost in weight, size and… actual price. In short, you shouldn’t think about getting an Alienware if you can’t spend at least 1400$.

      Firstly, I would not recommend getting a low-end Alienware. Models around ~1000$ are always worse then their competition. Right now these cheaper Alienwares come with an i5-4210H processor. And that defeats the whole purpose of buying an Alienware.

      You should take a look at models like Alienware 17 ANW17-2143SLV which have Intel i7 4710 processor. You still might be better off with a little more RAM and you might prefer getting a 15.6 inch version, but these things come down to your own budget and personal preference. And anyways, Alienware laptops are one of the best when it comes to upgrading memory – so you DON’T HAVE to spend extra money on RAM above 8 GB. You’ll be able to add more later on if you’ll actually need it. Just make sure to get a model with an i7 processor.

      Getting an older or even a slightly used Alienware laptop also can be viable option as these Dell laptops are still considered powerful for many years to come.

      1. Hello!
        I am in desperate need of advice. I am a mechanical engineering student and I am looking for a light (preferably thin) laptop that can handle Inventor. Now I won’t be using it 24/7 since I have a desktop that can do that but I need it to have it with me while I am on campus. I have considered Dell Inspiron 15.6″ with 4K, HP Envy x360, Asus UX501JW. I have even thought about MSI but it might be too expensive for me. Please help me :(

  2. I am a new landscape designer looking to purchase a laptop that can run Vectorworks, and SketchUp. Are your recommendations for AutoCAD transferrable to those two programs? I have read that SketchUp has some differing needs than CAD type of programs, so this is where I get a bit lost with all the requirements. Any recommendations are much appreciated.

    1. Yes, the requirements are (mostly) transferable.

      Probably the only exception would be getting a lower or mid-tier laptop (usually anything under 1000$). Then these laptops might not be good enough to run SketchUp in particular.

      But if you’re getting a laptop over ~1000$ with a dedicated graphics card, a processor with ~2.6 GHz clock speed and 8 GB of RAM, you shouldn’t worry about AutoCAD and SketchUp. The differences are negligible when buying anything above recommended requirements.

      1. Thx for the feedback on the SketchUp and VectorWorks suggestions. Any thoughts on which specfic laptop to choose from for a bigger screen than the Asus you recommend? Or worthwhile to get that and then get a big monitor to plug into down the road? I’m used to having full time tech support, so doing this all on my own is new for me!

  3. Hello! I am in desperate need of some professional opinion, what would you recommend to a college student: the lenovo y40, y50, or the ASUS N550JX? I need it for autocad, but will also need to transport it regularly, not to mention the constant use (and typing) I will be doing.

  4. I’d nudge you towards Asus N550JX.

    In short, Asus gives ~1h more of battery life and a better touchpad. And if you’re getting an SSD version for an extra ~250$, you’ll be ~1 min quicker to boot up and launch AutoCAD.

    One exception – if you’re planning to get it with Windows 10 – there’re some problems with its speakers while running Win’10. I believe Asus/Windows will fix this issue but for now – it’s something you should know.

  5. Thanks for the great advice if my budget were 1500 and I wanted to run the full version of autocad what would be your recommendation I wouldn’t mind going over the budget if it is worth it.
    PS I have the n55jxds74t it runs great although the browser can be a little slow at times I have chrome, mozilla, and ie it also runs a.c. fairly well but does lag from time to time of there’s another choice out there for a little more I’ll gladly exchange it.

    1. ASUS N550JX-DS74T shouldn’t lag at all with a browser.

      Make sure you have an SSD (and use it for the whole system).

      That laptop is good enough to run smoothly with a hundred tabs open in your browser. It should have absolutely no problem with any type of software.

      If you have a model with Intel Core i7-4720HQ, 16 GB of RAM and SSD, you really don’t need anything much better. A laptop for 5000$ will run just a little bit better than that laptop.

      Make sure there’s nothing else bottlenecking your performance.

      Make sure there’s nothing using your CPU and that it actually goes all the way up to 3.6 GHz.

  6. Hi,
    I’m a piping designer in the UK and will be running AutoCAD 2015 (2D and 3D) or AutoCAD Plant 3D. My old laptop now needs replacing and so I’m looking for a laptop with a 17 inch screen to use everyday. I’m not concerned with weight and I am happy to spend between £1200 to £2000.
    I was looking at the HP Z Book 17 as i was recommended this laptop by a colleague, but as this is around £2000 I was wondering if there was a slightly cheaper option that was more value for money or slightly had better spec for what I actually need it for.
    Many thanks,
    Lee

  7. Hi I am a mechanical design major and need a smaller laptop to carry back and forth. I currently have a asus Republic of gamers laptop that will take just about anything. But it’s heavy. I am looking for a smaller machine I have heavily considered a asus transformer book flip with an Nvidia graphics card. It has 2 gigs of dedicated ram and 8 gigs of regular ram. 8f If I were to purchase it I would upgrade the ram to 12 and put a SSD in it. Is this a good idea? I wold use the tablet made a lot.

    1. That’s a good idea.

      It’s a solid plan if you know what you’re doing. Having an SSD with such type of laptop makes a lot of sense.

      There’re people that have upgraded Asus 2-in-1s with SSD without any problems so go ahead :)

  8. Hello, I will be entering university soon and would like to know a good laptop. I’d prefer something under $1000 that can run AutoCAD 3D as well as whatever is common in the drafting world.

  9. I am looking at a Dell Inspiron model I55588574SLV for $900. The price seems great for all it has to offer. The only thing I question is the processor speed of 2.4 ghz. I will be a landscape architecture student using AutoCAD. What is your opinion?

  10. Hi Žygimantai,
    Need your advice. I’m after ASUS N550JX to run AutoCAD and Tekla, but where I am (London) I only can find N551JX which has less SSD memory (128GB) and only 12GB RAM. I presume it’s a same/similar laptop for European market? Do you think It’s worth to consider this one? Please advice. Ačiu

  11. How is this one for Autocad?Asus – ROG 17.3″ Laptop – Intel Core i7 – 16GB Memory – 1TB Hard Drive – Black. It is at best buy.

  12. I’d love it if you could recommend a few desktop models. I need to get the best that I can for my daughter, who’s a CAD student, for a ridiculously low price :) $500? -ish? LOVED your info, by the way!!!

  13. EZ. 500$ is not ridiculously low for a PC.

    MB : 55$ : Gigabyte AM3+ AMD 970 SATA III USB 3.0
    CPU : 100$ : AMD FX-6300 6-Core 3.5 – 4.1 Ghz Black Edition
    RAM : 38$ : Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB DDR3 1600
    VGA : 125$ : ASUS GeForce GTX 750Ti GDDR5 2GB
    SSD : 90$ : Samsung 850 EVO 250GB
    CADDY : 7$ : SABRENT 2.5 to 3.5″ HDD Mounting Kit
    CASE : 60$ : Case with 500W power supply
    SATA 3 CABLE : 5$ : Pack of 2 – 1 for the future
    SCREWS : 8$ : Computer Mounting Screws Box Kit
    Total: 488$

    You could get it for ~400$ if you went for 500 GB HDD instead of SSD and if you got a bit weaker graphics card.

  14. Hi, I want to ask for your opinion. I want to purchase a laptop mostly for work and maybe can double up for personal use. I will be using AutoCAD 2015 and TurboCAD Pro version primary. As for myself, I use Lightroom 5 and Photoshop for photo editing.
    First question i have is, of all the laptop with i7 processor, they are using the 4th generation, are there any that use a later generation like the 5th or 6th or that does not matter at all? Secondly, i would prefer one with IPS screen and a higher resolution screen. Lastly. On dedicated graphic chip.. do I really need the latest GTX970M/980M?
    Please point to me some options that you know of.. Thank you for your time.

    1. My apologies for a late answer.

      1. It matters only when considering power consumption and integrated graphics.
      2. Ok
      3. No, you don’t need it. It would help if you’ll be building very large and complex 3D models and you’ll need to render them often. But since you’ll be working with TurboCAD, having a weaker graphics card won’t be a problem at all. And if you’ll be working with 2D drawings for CNC machine, then even having integrated graphics should do. But in that case it would make sense getting 5th/6th gen processor as they come with a bit better integrated graphics.

      Take a look at these 3 laptops for ~1200$:
      Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon (14″, i7-4600U, 2560 x 1440) – very light
      ASUS Zenbook UX303LB (13.3″, i7-5500U, 3200×1800) – battery life
      AORUS X3Plus-CF2 (13.9″, Core i7-4860HQ, 3200×1800) – performance – 4860HQ is an absolute beast.

      I’ll update the guide with these laptops soon-ish.

  15. Hi. I’m an architecture student. Is it wise to invest my money on a macbook? Because the ASUS N550JX is more expensive here in my country plus with macbook, there’s a student discount. Thank you :)

    1. You should buy them only if you actually need their portability because they have pretty bad performance-to-price ratio. If you need a tablet and you have the money to get mid-tier Surfaces, you can go for it.

  16. What about refurbished laptops of top of the line laptops? I need the best possible, for as low as possible. I’m wondering if maybe a refurbished LT would be a smart possibility?

    Thank you! :)

  17. Hi,

    I’m a design consultant that makes full use of Adobe Premium Suite and Autodesk AutoCAD architectural. (I’ll be upgrading from 2012 with this laptop.)
    I do graphics and photo editing as well as 3D design on Autodesk. I do not do any kind of gaming.

    I’ve been pushing my last laptop, a loaded HP Pavilion dv6 bought in 2010 till now. it had Intel Core i7 CPU Q720 1.6 Ghz 8 GB RAM, 64 bit. NVidia GeForce GT 320M graphics. To HP’s credit, it’s lasted but I’m now well past ready to invest for the next 3 years.

    What would you buy if you could go over $2000? Over $3,000 ?

    I’m 75% on the road. I make extensive use of a G-drive to stay connected to my office. I multi-task constantly and often have 6-8 programs open at once. It’s just what needs to happen for workflow.

    When I’m not on the road, connect to a local large screen monitor.
    I’d love to Wifi over to a smartTV/Monitor.

    Please share your thoughts on a new option for me. Thank you.

    1. I’d recommend a custom MSI GS60 Ghost Pro 4K-605.

      I has a great 5th-gen processor, 16 GB of RAM, 2 SSDs in pre-configured M.2 slots (!). That provides even better response times than regular SSDs. SATA is used for 1 TB HDD, which you can disconnect if it’s not needed – you’ll save 10-20 mins of battery life.

      It comes with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M (6 GB of memory), HDMI 1.4 and mini DisplayPort for best external display capabilities you’ll find in a laptop. It should support Intel WiDi for wireless display mirroring but if you need Intel Pro WiDi (for security and IT reasons), you can aim for i7 48xx/49xx/58xx as they have vPro. Sadly those models weigh a lot more.

      All of that with a better battery life and lighter frame than HP Pavilion dv6. If you’re getting a new laptop, it should be better in every way :)

      1. I have a msi i7 6th generation 4k screen you need to realise auto desk products are not supported for 4k display you can Google it there are a lot of forum’s talking about it u can work around it but it’s not perfect you shouldn’t spec a 4 screen for autocad

  18. Hi

    We are needing to buy a laptop as my husband is a Draftsman using AutoCAD and he is needing to do overtime at home. I have no idea what I need to be looking at… please help? We are in Australia is that makes a difference and not wanting to spend more that $1500 but if needed we will. Thanks so much

  19. Hi there.
    Would you be able to give me your thoughts on a customized HP Envy 17t-n100? I run lightroom, photoshop, sony vegas pro and cad. Found it for $1,100. Is it well suited or should I go with something else? Looking for performance and willing to spend more. Thanks in advance!

    Windows 7 pro
    6th Gen Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-6700HQ Quad Core Processor + NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M 4GB
    16GB DDR3
    17.3-inch diagonal Full HD WLED-backlit IPS Display (1920×1080)
    1TB 5400 rpm Hard Drive + 256GB Flash Solid State Drive

    1. That’s a great laptop for the price, especially if you don’t need a 4K screen.

      If you’d like to have a clearly better laptop, you’ll need to prepare for a steep price jump (up to ~2000$).

  20. Hey,
    I’ve always used Macintosh my whole life, so im not comfortable with changing to windows. Do you have some experience with Apple products having the same configurations as those laptops you listed up?
    Always I’m a bit uncertain about the graphic cards of the mac Book pro’s under 1,5k.
    Can you help me….

    1. It depends. If you’ll be using AutoCAD for large 3D projects – getting a higher-end MacBook Pro (preferably 15″) will go a long way. Otherwise, even a 13″ MacBook Pro is good enough. Cheaper MacBooks have Intel Iris Graphics 6100 which is an integrated graphics chip. Even a year ago that would be a deal-breaker but that’s not the case anymore. Don’t get me wrong – if AutoCAD is bringing bread the table – dedicated graphics card is still the way to go, otherwise – you can get away with latest gen integrated chips.

      1. Hi I m ajay I am buying lenovo ideapad300 6th generation with 4gb ram but I m unhappy for buying that laptop . Buying laptop from dehradun lenovo showroom that man not solve my problem of laptop no any designing software is supporting so I wnt to day don’t buy lenovo laptop

  21. Hi! Its very helpful to me since I’m studying in an institute where AutoCAD is the main software that we use. But basically I’m a working student and I’m lack of budget. I can only afford lower than 200$. I want to ask.. Is there a/What laptop that suits my budget? I wish you reply as soon as possible. Thanks!

  22. Great article!

    What are your thoughts on a high end laptop, used primarily at home, for architecture/interior design CAD work and renderings? Mostly 3d AutoCAD and Photoshop, some Revit and 3ds Max – and often at the same time, jumping back and forth between programs? My budget is $2000(ish).

    I ask because I just ordered the MSI Stealth Pro-006 but am second guessing myself, which brought me to your article. I have been reading about the MSI workstations – any thoughts on those? Worth the price?

    1. It comes down to the simply question of “Do I need workstation-grade graphics card?”

      Usually for AutoCAD and Photoshop it is not needed. But if you’ll be rendering a lot of graphics in 3ds Max – then you might consider investing in a workstation. Usually, if you’d need a Quadro/FirePro card, you’d already know it – or at least you’d know precise reason why Geforce/Radeon just doesn’t cut it for you anymore.

      Apart from that, MSI Stealth Pro-006 is a great laptop, at least spec-wise, and you might need to spend 200-400$ extra on a workstation level machine if you want a laptop that could match Pro-006’s sheer performance.

  23. Hi,

    I am a civil Engineer that uses autocad civil 3d.
    Dell recommend Precision m4800 model with the following spec:

    Intel® Core™ i7-4910MQ Processor (Quad Core 2.90GHz, 3.90GHz Turbo, 8MB 47W, w/HD Graphics 4600)
    Operating System: Windows 7 Professional
    Memory: 16GB (2x8GB) 1600MHz DDR3L
    Hard Drive: 256GB 2.5inch SATA Solid State Drive
    Video Card: NVIDIA® Quadro® K2100M w/2GB GDDR5
    Display: 15.6″ UltraSharp IGZO UHD (3840×2160) 100% Color Gamut LED-backlit with Premium Panel Guarantee
    Primary Battery: 9-cell (97Wh) Lithium Ion battery with ExpressCharge

    Please can you give me your opinion, can I get away with a laptop with less spec?

    1. It depends on your budget.

      This laptop seems to be precisely targeted at 3D professionals.

      Let’s break it down.

      This processor is in the top 5 laptop processors in the world. And not just when comparing performance; when comparing prices too.

      Windows? OK. 16GB RAM? Great!

      If you need extra space (256 GB might not be enough) – this would be the only spec I’d suggest raising.

      UHD display with 100% Color Gamut? Well, if you NEED UHD and your work depends on seeing the exact colors – than I have nothing against this panel. Otherwise, you can get away with a cheaper one (but still IPS)

      Graphics card is somewhere in-between GT 755M and GTX 760M and costs more than both of them, combined.

      Battery seems to have a lot of capacity – which is exactly what you’ll need with a powerful laptop like this.

      So yes, you could get away with lower specs. You could at least get a model with a cheaper processor and quite likely you can get a Geforce graphics card instead of Quadro.

  24. How is this laptop? Lenovo Z70 17.3 inch Laptop, 80FG0037US I am looking to use this laptop for AutoCAD and 3D design programs along with everyday use. Do you recommend 17″ or 15″ screen?

    Any other laptops that you can recommend would be helpful I would like to spend around $1000 give or take.

    Thank you in advance.

    1. 15″/17″ depends entirely on what you prefer – more screen space or a lighter/smaller laptop. For example I highly value every extra inch I can get – that’s why I have a 17″ laptop as my primary workstation and I don’t have to carry it on a daily basis. On the other hand, if you already have a dedicated stationary machine and you need a laptop only when working on the go (and that’s only a small part of your workweek) – 15″ will be more than fine.

      This particular Z70 is pretty good, though take a look at this Dell i7559-763. It comes with newer gen components that are only by a fraction slower than Z70 but it can save you ~200$.

      If you’re looking for a 15″ laptop ~1000$ – take a look at this MSI Prestige notebook. And if you prefer a 17″ laptop – this Asus ROG machine is a very solid pick.

  25. Good day!

    I’m thinking of spending my money on a new notebook and I’m looking for an opportunity to model 3D/render stuff on it. Basically, I’m concerned whether the new i7 processors (no dedicated graphic card) will be good enough to handle some basic 3D applications?

    The choice boils down to the new ASUS UX303UB and ASUS UX305UA. Both of them have some prominent differences, but the main one is: one has a GeForce 940, 12 GB of RAM on board and a 5-7h battery life, while the other doesn’t have dedicated graphic, it’s slightly lower on RAM, but has 12h worth of battery life.

    Could you please share your thoughts on both choices?

    1. If AutoCAD will be the most demanding software you’ll be using – ASUS UX305UA can still be enough.

      But if 3ds Max will be part of your software stack (or equivalent) – then this integrated chip will not be enough. Only the best integrated graphics are on par to In that case you should definitely go for ASUS UX303UB.

      Maybe you could just try out ASUS UX305UA with a few of your basic projects and then return it if it doesn’t feel comfortable for you.

    1. If you’re referring to a modeling with Radeon R9 M370X – yes it’s more than enough. If you’re talking about Intel Iris Graphics model – that’s not good enough for 3ds Max.

  26. Hi,

    I’m a student and I would like to buy a laptop. I’ll use it for Autocad, Etabs, SAP2000 and I’m thinking about Asus F550JX-DM169D:

    Intel® Core™ i7-4720HQ 2.60GHz up to 3.60
    nVidia GeForce GTX 950M 4GB
    8GB RAM
    Full HD LED backlight Anti-Glare, 15.6, 1920 x 1080

    http://www.cel.ro/laptop-laptopuri/laptop-asus-f550jx_dm169d-i7_4720hq-1tb-8gb-gtx950m-4gb-dvd_rw-fhd-l/

    What do you think ?
    Do I really need GeForce GTX 950M 4GB or can i go lower ?

    Thanks

    1. I think it’s a good choice. Go for it.

      Getting something below GTX 950M would still be OK, but you could start noticing lack of smoothness when working with high quality rendering or when you apply lighting/shading to your structures.

      This laptop has a really good CPU and getting a laptop w/ a weaker GPU would make it a bottleneck which would not be a wise choice in the long run.

  27. Hi,
    Thanks for the great article. I’m a designer/architect looking for a new laptop. I will be running AutoCAD and Photoshop/Illustrator concurrently (as well as working with many chrome windows open). What would you recommend? I’m looking at both the Dell XPS13 and the AsusN550JX. Someone else has recommended the Dell Precision laptops as well due to the graphics card (Nvidia Quadro) as well as other things…what are your thoughts? Not sure how to determine which graphics cards are better than others? Any thoughts on the Samsung ATIV books or the Asus Zenbooks?

    Thanks in advance,
    Jennifer

    1. I would Dell XPS13 if you want a small portable laptop as your secondary machine and Asus N550JX if you want a more “long-term” laptop for work.

      Nvidia Quadro is not necessary. It makes little difference in Photoshop/Illustrator and not enough in AutoCAD to justify the price jump. Usually, if in doubt – don’t go for Quadro. If you’ll need Quadro – you’ll definitely know it in advance.

      For comparing video cards, you can use http://www.notebookcheck.net/Mobile-Graphics-Cards-Benchmark-List.844.0.html – this is one of the resouces I use to compare laptop GPU performance.

      Asus Zenbooks are great if you can sacrifice a bit of performance for other gains in screen/audio/mobility departments. In your case I doubt you whether you should consider them, unless you’re looking at the best flagship models (and they cost quite a bit). In that case, they are great laptops outmatching others in categories that are harder to quantify.

      Samsung ATIV depends very much on a particular model – if you have one in mind, please leave its model name – I’ll make sure to take less time to respond :)

  28. Hi,
    Thank you for this great article. I was wondering if the ASUS N550JX would be powerful enough to run Revit as well?
    Thank you,
    Jennifer

  29. Thank you for your information! I would value your advice purchasing a laptop for my landscape design business. I will be using Dynascape, sketch up and quick books. Budget is under $1500. What would be your recommendation?

  30. may be a bit redundant to the previous posts..
    i need a good laptop to run autocad for MEP design.
    Used to have an alienware m15/17x with max specs (4k cost) ended up being useless… (no more dell/alienware)
    looking towards to asus and i’m pretty new to msi. big multitasker on the comp. and need something fast to keep up with me.

    1. If you need a Quadro/FirePro, take a look at custom builds of MSI WT72 6QL and Lenovo ThinkPad P70/P50.

      If you don’t need them, then you could grab one of the MSI Apache or Asus ROG. For example, for 3.5K you could grab ASUS ROG G752VY-DH78K. That laptop is a beast: i7-6820HK, 64 GB DDR4 RAM, GTX 980M.

      1. Hi I need a laptop for autocad 2017, revi, I am architect and I like the Dell model XPS 15 recommended here instead ASUs since Is more easy for spare parts in my country. But please le me know about any disadvantage, also price is something that I want to maintain below $1500.

  31. I am a senior level architect – not necessarily working on 3D models but I have to able to open and view (manipulate) 3D files as well as a full Revit AutoCAD suite. I am constantly on the road and pulling together graphics from the 3D renderings to drawing sheets to be formatted in to proposals and presentations. I was recommended ThinkPad T450s with Intel® Core™ i7-5600U Processor (4M Cache, up to 3.20 GHz), 128GB / 512GB SSD, SATA 3, would like to stay on Windows 7 Professional OS. Working often on large projects with multiple consultants – on the road with multiple applications opens.
    thanks! very good article.

    1. A solid choice with one big drawback – integrated graphics chip.

      I’d suggest going for a dedicated graphics solution (but no need for Quadro/FirePro).

      If 1500$ is still in your budget, getting ASUS ZenBook Pro UX501VW would be perfect.

  32. Thanks for this article! It is excellent! I have one more question! I am an active user of AutoCAD and as usual I use work’s PC but I want to change my home laptop and to install it to it, i have an opportunity to work from my house! I was looking for apple macbook but one more problem – there are too different opinions on this topic. On the one hand people say that it doesn’t slow down with this program and on the other hand people complain on it! I will be very thankful for comments on this topic! Thank you!

      1. I just bought a Asus Q553UB new at AutoCAD was wondering if I got the right laptop would really appreciate feed back really don’t know what I’m looking for first year back to school

  33. Which one is better for interior design student?

    Dell Precision M6800 or Asus N550JX?

    I don’t have budget issues,can you suggest a laptop for the best result when using autocad?

    Thanks.

    1. If you have no budget limit, Dell Precision series is better. But not this particular one. Take a look at Dell Precision 7710 series. Just remember to customize – choose a spacious SSD, 16 GB of RAM and AMD FirePro W7170M or Nvidia Quadro M4000M/M5000M.

      1. I(girl) have no budget constraints and need to choose a laptop for 3D modelling in SketchUp & Vectorworks & then rendering. It should not be too heavy&bulky, good battery life. So far I’ve decided to buy Dell Precision 5510, MSI not interested in (look ugly, get too hot, bad sound, twice thicker than Dell). Any good alternatives out there now?

  34. Hi! Do you think cad would work smoothly on a gaming laptop? Like lenovo y700? Im planning to get one but id also like to use it for light games. If not, can you suggest any other lenovo brand laptop? Thank you very much! Great review by the way!

  35. Hi,
    Fantastic information, thank you for the article. I am a student looking to purchase a new laptop. I will want to run AutoCad/Photoshop and Sketch up. I am looking at the Dell Inspiron series. Any thoughts? Specifically Dell Inspiron 15 7000 or 17 5000. I am worried about the i5 processor. I like the 17″ screen, but will sacrifice smaller screen for better performance. Thanks!

    1. If I was in your position, I’d opt for Dell Inspiron 15 7000 – the i5 processor on the 5000 series is too much of a crutch.

      While we’re at it, you could consider Dell Inspiron i5759-8835SLV – 17″, similar price and performance comparable with Dell Inspiron 15 7000.

  36. Hello.
    I am looking for a laptop that can run with autocad very well. I was thinking of lenovo ideapad 300. What can you say on this model.

    1. For the most part, it depends on what specific Ideapad you’re referring. If you’re talking about i3 model – you might as well forget about them. i5 model can be considered if you need a AutoCAD laptop $500. But even then, steer away from models with 1366×768 resolution!

      If you’re talking about i7 model – on paper it’s pretty good, but I’ve checked that there’s quite a few complaints on build quality (might be due to Lenovo trying to squeeze in high-level hardware to for an entry budget).

      I’d suggest taking a look at Lenovo Ideapad 500 models or even other brands.

  37. As a long time user of cad products, predominately Autodesk, the only other recommendation I would make is that your minimum screen size be 17″. As we all know if you are using any computer, whether it be pc or laptop screen size is very important, it becomes very tedious zooming in and out constantly when viewing a drawing or model. Hope this helps.

  38. Nice article. For light to medium AutoCAD work we recommend our Xi PowerGo starting at $999 with the latest 6th gen Intel CPU and Nvidia GTX 950M. But for more demanding AutoCAD like Civil 3D or Solidworks our best seller is the Xi PowerGo XT using desktop i7 CPU and Quadro starting at $1,699

  39. Does Asus Zenbook UX305UA with i7 6500U processor, Intel HD Graphic 5500 and 8GB RAM support for AutoCAD and others design program? Thanks!

    1. Yes, it would work.
      Intel Core i7 6500U is on the low-end of the i7 processor but it’s still enough for AutoCAD and other similar software.

      Intel HD Graphics 5500 could be an issue, but it probably won’t. For example, Autodesk’s Revit could care less about a graphics card.

      HD Graphics will be a limiting factor for real-time “life-like” previews that could be find in a lot of architecture/design software (as these tend to rely on graphics chip).

      8 GB RAM should not limit you IF you do not have many (4 or more) programs open at the same time.

  40. Good day sir. I’m a civil engineer in profession back here in the Philippines. I would like to buy a Dell laptop i5 5548 with 8gb Ram 500ssd and 2gb video card nvidia Geforce840, is it usable for autocadd 2016?

    1. Yes, yes it is. I wouldn’t go as far to recommend it for AutoCAD, but it definitely can be a right choice for you if it matches your budget.

      Processor is a slight bottleneck – I’d look at i7 models. Otherwise, this Dell is a very solid laptop.

  41. Hello sir .I’m an architecture student going this year..as you know I need a laptop for AutoCAD.sketchbook.and stuff I want a suggestion for which laptop to buy ..and is the thinkpad good or lenovo yoga 3 pro…I can spend around $2000 for laptops…..and sorry for my bad english

  42. Hi. I’m interior architecture student. I would like to get 13″ MacBook Pro with Retina display, is that ok for it? Which and what software should I add on for the macbook? :) please reply as soon as possible

  43. Hi there! I’m currently making use of the Macbook Pro 13″ Retina for 2D AutoCad, SketchUp and Photoshop. We’re gonna start learning about 3DCad, Revit, 3DSMax and such so I was thinking of shifting to a Windows laptop. I’m interested in the ASUS ZenBook Pro UX501VW but what difference does having a Quadro make?

    1. You can absolutely still use a MacBook Pro 13″ for AutoCad, Revit and 3DSMax if 13″ screen is enough for you and if you’re talking about high-end MacBook Pro models (usually with 512 GB flash storage).

      But Windows offers a lot of flexibility and it would be a great way to add another tool under your belt if you need a large display. ASUS ZenBook Pro is a great choice for AutoCAD. There isn’t much of a difference whether you get a Quadro/FirePro graphics card or not. Usually, 3D software utilizes it for better performance for live video previews, especially when you demand high quality (due to industry-standard OpenGL drivers). For the most part, benefits of a Quadro/FirePro are only really noticeable when working with huuuge engineering projects.

      Unless you can put down ~$2,500 for a AutoCAD laptop, I’d recommend a GeForce graphics card.

  44. Hey i’m an interior designer looking for a new laptop (currently using Asus K451L) thats able run autocad, revit etc smoothly. The current one gets the done but it’s laggy at times. budget is not an issue. thank you!

    1. The last few suggestions I gave in this post still stand. If these do not match your needs, please tell me what are you looking for exactly – then I’ll be able to give a custom recommendation.

  45. Sir,
    I am an architectural student and would like to Practice AutoCAD / Revit etc. I want to purchase a Lap. as per my budget , I have seen a Lap, Lenovo idea300 i7- 6500u (model 80q7 series) 4 GB Ram with 500 HDD . this model does not have Graphic card. Is this sufficient . Adding 4 gb Ram is it valuable . pls advise

    1. Yes, you definitely need 4 more GB of RAM – no doubt about it. Get it as soon as possible.

      This model has an integrated graphics card HD Graphics 520. It is suitable for light work (not very large projects). It is absolutely fine to learn AutoCAD/Revit. Just remember to get more memory.

  46. Hello there :)
    Well I am a foundation student who is going to go for architecture next year, so i have decided to get a new laptop as my current one will not help me. So, I would love to ask your advice, is it ok if I get the dell xps 15(1080p, glossy, 8gb ram, 1tb 5400rpm hard drive+32gb solid state drive) rather than the asus ux501(1080p, 512gb ssd, 8gb ram, matte). Moreover, I do photo editing as well with lightroom and photoshop. Basically, I am very confused right now. I hope you can reply me asap as I might need it real soon. Thank You.

    1. Asus ZenBook model will definitely perform better than this Dell XPS 15. Dell has a better looking screen but not much more apart from that. This XPS does not actually have 32 GB SSD – it’s a type of intermediate storage between regular hard drive, which only slightly improves the performance compared to a full-blown Solid Storage Drive.

      For Lightroom and Photoshop, SSD is even a bigger requirement. You can still get a Dell XPS 15 but I strongly recommend looking only at Intel Core i7 models with SSD storage.

  47. I am beginner for autocad. So can you tell me the minimum price laptop as possible. I just want it to learn and doesnt using it as professional.
    Waiting for your reply.

  48. hi

    wish you great day friend…..my name is dinil from india ,kerala. i am working in hvac designing include planning, This month i try to buy a best laptop. so now i am totally disappointed because i cant fix laptop models.i am using autocadd, revit mep and primvera softwere. these softwere takes specification is already checked by internet. but could not fix brand and their model…..so please helps to suggest better brand and there good model…..

    1. For a professional like you, I’d recommend either a high-end laptop laptop with GeForce or a laptop with CAD-certified graphics. First one would be the HP ZBook 17 G2 already described in the post.

      If you need a laptop to carry around a lot, Dell XPS 15 would be your best option. But if you need a laptop with a large screen and CAD-certified graphics, you should look at the HP ZBook 17 G2 already mentioned in the article.

      Also, you might find a few newer laptops on my post on Revit.

  49. Hello,

    Thank you for having all this great information. I do have a question. I’m considering getting a desktop since I’d like to have enough power to run AutoCAD or Catia V5. Can you recommend the set up? Should I have someone build it for me to save the most money?

    Thank you
    Stacey Kim

    1. A good example of a CAD PC would be this custom Dell Precision T5500 workstation. Of course, you don’t have to buy the whole setup with screens and the Xeon processor is entirely optional. But overall you should aim for similar specs:

      – 500 GB – 1 TB SSD + 2 TB – 4 TB HDD
      – 32 GB RAM
      – Intel Core i7 (ex. 4790K) or Xeon
      – Nvidia Quadro (ex. NVIDIA Quadro K4200)/AMD FirePro or high-end GeForce model

      Of course, you could ask someone to build the PC for you. Just hand them the specs and ask them to tell how much it would cost to build.

      On the other hand, the benefit of buying a whole setup is that you get a warranty on the whole PC and it’s a lot easier to get free repairs from the manufacturer instead of trying to isolate the problem to one specific part, then contacting its representative and dragging to their place only to hear that it might be some other problem. Though that happens very rarely, but if you can’t save more than $100 for a custom build – you might as well buy a whole setup.

  50. starting my first year AutoCAD and I just bought an Asus q553ub new to all this is this a great laptop or did I make a bad decision

    1. Overall, it’s a good choice, I wouldn’t regret buying it. But the lack of SSD is not ideal. I’d recommend to upgrade the hard drive to an SSD if you can spend ~180$ for that.

  51. Hi!
    I’m going into college for a Mechanical Engineering Degree and will be working a lot with 3D Printers, full AutoCAD 2016 and full Inventor 2016. What laptop would you recommend to run both autocad and inventor? And also some light gaming as well. I don’t have a desktop so this laptop would be my main computer. Anything for under $1000? Thanks

    1. In your case, MSI GE62 would be a great choice. It has a fast i7-5700HQ processor, mid-range 960M graphics card which is more than what’s needed for casual gaming and 12-to-16 GB of RAM depending on the exact model. Both are under or exactly $1000.

      There is no SSD, but you shouldn’t expect to have a fast processor, a good graphics card and SSD for $1K. You’d need ~200$ extra to get all 3. But at the same time, you’ll be able to upgrade MSI GE62 with a Solid State Drive for the same price whenever you want.

  52. we run a welding shop and just purchased a CNC plasma table. We decided to go with the Autodesk Fusion 360, but we are looking for a laptop that will work good with that. What would be some suggestions there?

    1. Make sure you’re buying a laptop with dedicated graphics card (not Intel).

      There are a few extra points to consider:
      – bright screen is a big plus when working with plasma
      – check reviews for Wi-Fi reception if you’ll be using it to transfer drawings/etc
      – prefer SSD over HDD (especially, if you’re in a colder climate)
      – Bonus: get a protective case and preferably a screen filter to preserve the laptop

      I have only worked with a stationary computers connected to CNC tables (some older ESAB/Burny systems) and my expertise in this area is quite limited.

  53. Hello there! Thanks alot for all your kind and great advices!! I’m an interior design student using Auto Cad,3D max and Photoshop….someone recommend me Lenovo Z5170,what u think about this model?! And if I wanted u choose between this Lenovo and Asus which one I go for?! And which model? Please help,its confusing…thanks alot

    1. Lenovo Z51-70 should be alright to work with Photoshop and AutoCad but not with 3Ds Max. For that, you’d need to spend at least ~$800 and get one of the models recommended here.

  54. Hi! I’m an aeronautical engineering student and I am looking for a good deal laptop for cad works. My budget is only around 500 usd. I saw all your suggestions in other comments and I am choosing between Dell inspiron 15 i5558-5718SLV, Acer laptop aspire E5-573G-56RG, Toshiba satellite S55-B5266 and Asus X555DA-WS11. Pls help me decide. Thanks for all of your help!

    1. Looking at these laptops, it seems like Toshiba Satellite S55-B5266 is your best bet. It’s not as good as Acer’s model when it comes to graphics, but on a low budget you should always prioritize processor over a GPU. Just don’t forget to uninstall all the 3rd party software Toshiba adds.

  55. I am looking for easy to take any where like xps 13 i7 6500u with 256 ssd and 8gb ram do you recommend it for using heavy application like auto cad or solid works?

    1. It should fare just fine with AutoCAD and Solidworks. It would be best to have a faster processor but those drain a lot of battery life. In your base, if you want a 13-inch laptop – Dell XPS 13 should be one of the best options.

      Of course, it is not the fastest laptop out there but it’s enough to handle these applications in most cases. For very large projects Dell XPS 13 can be limiting – you’d need to get a laptop with 16 GB of RAM and a dedicated Nvidia graphics card with plenty of CUDA cores. But apart from that, this laptop is good enough if you need a 13″ model.

      Also, I would consider going for 512GB SSD if your budget allows it.

  56. Hi,I’m a product design student and I am looking for laptops for autocad, 3 d studio max,solidwork,Adobe illustrator,Photoshop,premium pro… and someone recommend me dell inspiron 5559,inspiring 7559 fhd,msi ge62 6qd and asus rog series. Please help me decide. Thank you. And any other machine suggest.thank for all of your help.

  57. Hello! Thank you so much for your review. I’ve read through your article, along with the Q & A’s. It’s definitely helped me narrow down my search a bit. Like many of the other site visitors, I too am looking for a new laptop.

    I’m an interior designer and will be using AutoCAD, Revit, Adobe Creative Suite, 3Ds Max, and SketchUp. I travel quite a bit, so I would really like to stick to a laptop that is not bigger than 15.6″ or heavier than 5lbs. I would also like to keep it for a few years and not have to worry about it overheating and crashing while running multiple programs. I had a HP Pavilion dv6 previously and was not too happy with that and I would like to stick to windows. I have narrowed it down to ASUS or MSI from your suggestions and additional research. I’m willing to spend up to $2500 on it, but I’m fine with anything that will get me the most bang for my buck and will last while getting multiple projects done. Could you please help me pick between the following?
    ASUS ZenBook Pro UX501VW
    ASUS ROG GL552VW
    MSI GE62 Apache Pro
    MSI GS60 Ghost Pro 4K-605
    MSI WS60 6QJ-025
    MSI WS60 6QJ-430

    Thanks a bunch!

    1. If you want the best value deal – go for ASUS ZenBook Pro UX501VW. It weighs exactly 5 lbs and overall is a great laptop in all key aspects (it has underwhelming camera and audio speakers but these are mostly irrelevant).

      If you want the best performance, this MSI GS60 Ghost Pro 4K-605 is a better option – it has more storage, a better graphics card (with significantly more CUDA cores but that’s only relevant when working with huge projects) and it is significantly lighter (4.2 lbs) . But it cost $2200 and you might need to clean it after ~1 or ~1.5 years of usage to prevent heating as it is very slim. Sadly, all slim and portable laptops suffer from overheating at one point or another.

      In your position, I’d go for Asus, if you’re OK with a 5 lbs laptop. It delivers ~85% performance of what you’d get from more expensive models while keeping itself cool enough to last a year or 2 without cleaning its filters and fans.

  58. Hi!
    I was talked into purchasing an MSI GT72S Dominator Pro G-037. I was planning on purchasing an MSI WT72 6QI. I run AutoCAD 2017 full. Will the GT72S actually run AutoCAD as well as the WT72 6QI? Does the GeForce GTX 970M GPU compair to the Quadro 1000M? In short would you return the GT72 for the WT72?

  59. I wouldn’t return it. If GT72S had 960M and the same i7-6700HQ, I’d return it. But if we’re talking about the same model, MSI GT72S has i7-6820HK and GTX 970M which is enough to compensate for not having Quadro M1000M.

  60. Hey, your article was very helpful. Thanks! My work is building me a new laptop that can better handle AutoCAD and Adobe Creative because my current laptop, a Lenova T420 is not happy. They propose a Lenovo T460, so I’m doing research. Will the T460 handle the work I do? Mostly 2D, but hope to do more 3D if my computer will let me! Thanks!

    1. Hi! It could handle 2D work but only limited amount of 3D. It would be better to know which model you have in mind, because they are multiple variations. You should definitely go with 8 GB RAM version w/ i7 processor and, optionally, SSD drive.

      It’s a good option if you need a light laptop and you can pay a bit extra for it.

  61. Hi! This article was very helpful. I am an architecture student and so am expecting that I’ll need to use AutoCAD, along with other design softwares a lot in the future. Photoshop and Illustrator are also some of the softwares I’ll be using. I was thinking of getting Asus P2530UJ, Asus N551VW or DELL INSPIRON 15-5559 , how good do you think these will be? And which one is the better choice? Or if these aren’t sufficient which ones do you recommend within this price range? I want autocad to run smoothly but being a student, I’m also on a somewhat tight budget.

    Thanks :)

    1. Wow, these are some great options to start with!

      You actually couldn’t go wrong with any of these laptops – each is sufficient to run AutoCAD, Photoshop and Illustrator. Of course, I’m comparing their Core i7 versions, though Asus N551VW version with i5-6300HQ is just as viable.

      Out of these, I would recommend Asus P2540UJ (Core i7, 8 GB, SSD) as a “value” pick and Asus N551VW as a better pick if you can stretch your budget a bit more.

      Worth noting, recent Asus models are prone to have hardware issues, so buy from a store that has a good return-policy.

  62. the asus laptop does not run Autocad 2017 well…the menu and login screen come in so small u need a magnifying glass to read…ASUS ZenBook Pro UX501VW …call tech support and eventually after an hour on hold a few questions about serial number they transferred me to a survey about their tech support…priceless. So I reset, updated, and reloaded…nothing what a waste of time…..
    Its fast if you want to use with windows programs….or play solitaire….

    1. Sad to hear that.

      If I’m correct, reducing screen resolution to 1920×1080 could solve this issue. Problem is that the Asus model comes in with a super high resolution to begin with. If it’s not reduced manually, some software, including AutoCAD can look out of proportion. But if the resolution is changed to the standard 1080p, this shouldn’t be a problem.

  63. I am interested in purchasing a new laptop. I will need to run In Design, Photoshop, Sketch-up, Revit, 3DMax, and AutoCad.
    This unit will be for work and personal and will travel back and forth to clients.
    What would you recommend?
    I would prefer to stay under 2000, if possible but will increase if necessary. I would rather focus on best quality first and go from there.

    1. If you’re OK with a heavier but sturdier machine – Lenovo Thinkpad P50 (just under $2K) with Xeon processor and Quadro M2000M would be ideal, as it’s more battery efficient than Core models. This would be the best classic business laptop for heavy visual work and travel (as it can last up to 8 hours if you get the version with a larger battery).

      In contrast, if you want a lighter laptop, Dell XPS 15 w/ 6700HQ, 16 GB of RAM and GTX 960M is a better option (just above $2K). It’s especially good for visual work due to its high-quality screen (400 cd/m brightness, 1600:1 contrast and 98% sRGB coverage). There are less than 10 laptops under $2000 that have a screen of this quality.

      And, ASUS ZenBook Pro UX501VW ($1500) is a budget option of Dell XPS 15. It has the same performance but a shorter battery life and a noticeably dimmer display.

  64. Interested in a laptop that is less than $2000 focused on AutoCad 2D and 3D,Video Editing and Photoshop, I’m choosing between Dell XPS 15 and ASUS ZENBOOK Pro UX501VW-DS71T. Do you have any more suggestions?

    1. Asus UX501VW, relatively, is the budget option. It still performs as well as Dell XPS 15 but it has only an average display. Depending on your exact type of work, having a bright and color-accurate screen might not be crucial. Then, Asus ZenBook Pro is a great way to save ~500$.

      You might want to consider workstations like Dell Precision M5510 and Lenovo Thinkpad P50. These usually offer a bit better build quality and CAD-certified graphics cards.

      In short, if you need a good CAD-ready laptop with great screen, go for Dell XPS 15. If the high-quality screen is not necessary, go for Asus ZenBook Pro UX501VW. That will save you quite a bit of money. And if you don’t need a light laptop, you should consider bulkier workstation-level options.

  65. Hi,
    I’m an I’m looking at the Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Yoga to run cad, rhino, revit and such.
    Do you think these could run well? In a previous reply you mentioned that a thinkpad would stand better than a yoga but the thinkpad x1 yoga is both.
    What are your thought?
    Thanks

    1. It all depends on the exact Thinkpad X1 Yoga model we’re talking about.

      First off, you should only consider the i7 model (with i7-6600U). But even then, lack of a dedicated graphics card is not ideal. For Revit that’s not a problem, for AutoCAD – it’s a slight problem, but for Rhino, I would not recommend a laptop without an Nvidia GPU (or AMD’s for that matter).

      To put it simply, Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Yoga model with i7 is quite fine for basic CAD work but not for highly demanding work with 3D models.

  66. Lenovo Y700 17.3-Inch Gaming Laptop (Intel Core i7, 16 GB DDR4-SDRAM, 256 GB SSD, Windows 10) is this good for architecture works? please help

    1. It should work OK with AutoCAD. I didn’t recommend MacBooks as there is not MacOS version of Revit, which often goes hand in hand with AutoCAD. But even then, it’s possible to run it via Parallels.

      But for the most part, this MacBook Pro should work decently well with AutoCAD. It won’t score medals as it has no dedicated graphics card (if we’re talking about the smaller MacBook Pro models) but it will do it job.

  67. Hello there…
    I am an interior designer and looking for a laptop…
    i work on AutoCAD, Revit, 3Dmax, Photoshop, Dialux & Lumion…
    which could be the best laptop? Dell & Asus

    1. You have 2 main options: consumer-oriented laptop or a workstation.

      Consumer-grade laptops include Dell XPS 15 (best option, expensive), Asus ZenBook Pro (good performance, average screen, ~$1500) and gaming laptops (heavy and with a short battery life but usually quite cheap). What you choose out of them depends entirely on your budget and whether you need a light laptop.

      CAD-certified workstations usually are heavier and more expensive than popular Asus/Dell models, but they offer a Quadro graphics card.

      In short:
      – you’re on a budget? Go for a heavy gaming laptop
      – you need a light laptop? Go for Asus ZenBook Pro or even Dell XPS 15 (if you can spend $2000)
      – you need a Quadro graphics card (if you don’t know if you need one – you probably don’t) – go for Dell Precision or Lenovo ThinkPad P model

  68. Hi, what do you think of the Dell Inspiron 15-7000? I was recently toying between buying this and the Dell Precision 15-7000 with custom spec and went for the (much) cheaper option. When I was comparing what you could get it seemed like the precision was a lot more expensive for not a huge difference in spec (battery life, more gb of ssd and probably higher end nvidea graphics card aside). I hope I haven’t made a mistake on this. Will the model I’ve bought be fast enough for complex rendering? It has i7 quad core, nvidea graphics 930m, 16gb ram, 124gb ssd/1tb hdd, 4k hd 15.6″ screen.

    1. Let’s start with the good news.

      Yes, workstations usually are not a great choice if you have a restricted budget. They offer only a marginal benefit for professionals that need that extra edge (or they know why exactly they need what they need).

      At the same time, could you double check that this laptop has Nvidia GeForce GTX 930M? Because that graphics card is not ready for smooth stress-free professional work. It is barely any better than integrated Intel graphics chips. I’m a bit surprised since most Dell Inspiron 15 7000 models I know have 960M which can handle complex renderings (though not as fast as 970M or 980M, but still OK).

      To put it simply, if you got a laptop with 960M – you’re in the clear. If you got one with 930M or 930MX – well… anything dependent on OpenGL and CUDA performance will take a while to render.

  69. Great article! I use autocad 2d, never 3d. I am an interior designer. I use the full version, not light. I also use Photoshop. I currently have autocad 2015, the last “perpetual” version which does not require the autodesk $1,500/yr fee. However, I was told that autocad 2015 version does not work with Windows 10 –only with Windows 7 (do you know if this is correct?). If so, this would mean that I would have to buy a laptop with Windows 7. Can you recommend a laptop that is light (5 lbs. or less), not bigger than 15.6″, in the $1,500 or so range with plenty of USB’s, and does not overheat.

    1. AutoCAD 2015 works with Windows 10, but not necessarily out of the box. If it was updated from Windows 7/8 – it should work, but for new Windows 10 machines, you might need to update .NET framework. At least, according to AutoDesk, recent Windows updates have fixed most issues with AutoCAD 2015 and Windows 10.

      As for laptops:
      ASUS ZenBook Pro UX501VW (15.6″, 5 lbs, 4 USB)
      Eluktronics P640RE (1TB SSD) (14.0″, 4.5 lbs, 4 USB)
      Dell Inspiron i7559-7512GRY (15.6″, 4.6 lbs, 3 USB)

  70. Hello, I am a grad student studying landscape architecture and am currently shopping for a new laptop. I was directed towards two at Microcenter. One is an Acer Aspire V15 VN7-592G-70EN. The other is twice the price, a Dell Precision 15 5000 series (5510) mobile workstation. The former has 128 SSD with 16 GB RAM, the latter has 256 SSD with 8 GB RAM. I’m running AutoCAD, Sketchup, Adobe, etc., both computers have a dedicated graphics card. Would you recommend either of these and which way would you go if so?
    Thanks!

    1. I think the main difference between them is that Dell Precision has (or should have considering its price) a CAD-certified graphics card, such as Quadro M1000M.

      For a student, I think it’s entirely OK to go for the Acer Aspire V15.

      For a student, spending twice as much for a marginally better laptop might not be the best investment. And the thing is, when you’ll be a pro, you might even want to get a better laptop than Dell Precision 15.

  71. Hi, I’m looking at the HP OMEN 15-ax003na with i7-6700HQ, Full-HD (1920 x 1080) display, 16GB DDR4 RAM with 128GB SSD and 1TB storage, GTX 965M (4 GB GDDR5 dedicated).
    I’d use this laptop for AutoCAD and Solidworks as well as adobe programmes. I’m worried the 128ssd SATA isn’t going to cut it… what are your thoughts?

    Great blog, it’s very informative and has helped me a lot!

    1. All other specs seem good. But you correctly identified that the SSD is its weak point.

      If you’ll only store Windows, AutoCAD, SolidWorks and their project files on the SSD – you’ll be fine. Since it has 16 GB of RAM, the laptop will not use a lot of SSD for memory overflow. That basically means that you will be able to almost fully fill up it with projects. That wouldn’t be the case if you had 8 GB RAM (- you’d start experiencing lag).

      Of course, I can’t really tell how much SSD storage you need. But I think most people can fit into 128 GB if they store their downloads/non-essential software in an external hard drive.

  72. hii
    i just wanna ask that will apple macbook air will ne a good choice for cad work.?
    coz their is no dedicated grafics in it.
    can u suggest.

  73. what HP laptop will be OK for a light handed architect…… it’s urgent please…. I’ld really appreciate your reply

    1. Yes, it will perform similarly well on AutoCAD and Revit.

      But right now I would recommend going for new similar laptops like ASUS UX501VW-DS71T or Dell Inspiron i7559-7512GRY.

  74. Hi guys, i just bought the asus zenbook pro to install autocad and revit but revit isnt working well! I tried to download it on my old laptop and its working so i dont know why it always freeze .. i uninstalled the program and tried a second time but still bug.. do you have and idea why and what can i do to fix that? Im so lost with that new laptop :(

  75. DONT BUY 4K MONITOR FOR AUTOCAD
    Just bought a good laptop tought bigger resolution is better, buy autocad dont support 4k monitors and everyting in autocad is mesed up! :(

    1. I wouldn’t say that buying a 4K display is particularly bad – you can always downgrade to Full HD resolution in Windows settings. But for the most part, if a laptop has a non-4K version, buying it instead of a 4K model would save quite a bit of money and it is recommended for AutoCAD.

    1. Hello, Emil! Glad to see readers from Bulgaria – you have wonderful weather down there in the Sunny Beach :)

      You’re right – it has a very good processor. The GPU is not as good but it is still sufficient for AutoCAD. It is just below 960M and it’s comparable to Quadro K1100M in its OpenGL performance (which is important for CAD applications).

      It’s a nice pick for AutoCAD for the price.

    1. That’s a good question. Though, I don’t know what you’d define as “cost effective” so forgive me if I get the answer a bit off from what you’d expect.

      For me, cost effective would mean spending up to a point where spending more would only result in marginal or non-essential improvements. Or in other words, what laptop would fulfill the 80/20 law.

      I’ve went through my laptop sheet and these 3 laptops look to match that principle:
      HP Pavilion 17 (~$860) – great CPU performance, integrated GPU, small SSD
      ASUS G751JL (~$1000) – great CPU and GPU, large HDD, no SSD, good display
      HP Pavilion 17t (~$1150) – great CPU and GPU, large HDD, small SSD, good display

      Hope that helps!

  76. Screen size is non-negotiable. Beyond that, I wanted something with the best combination of components at the most reasonable price for AutoCAD LT 2017 software operation.
    Very thankful for the expert information.
    Thanks so much!

  77. You are so helpful! My Hubby needs a laptop for using Inventor for 3d design. Budget is limited (mostly because of 2 children! 😄) would the HP pavilion 15-ab130 stand up to the job? All help gratefully received.

    1. Thanks!

      Sadly HP pavilion 15-ab130 is not suitable for that kind of work. At a similar price you can get HP 455 G3 with 2x the memory and A10-8700P which is ~40% faster than the CPU in 15-ab130. That would be OK for very basic 3D work.

      Ideally, you would need this HP Pavilion 15 with i5-6300HQ, SSD and a dedicated Nvidia 950M card. But that’s an extra $300 and it’s for you to decide if it’s worth it.

      If you need any additional help, let me know! :)

  78. Looking to purchase a laptop to run AutoCAD 2016 and was wondering if this computer would be good to start off with? •HP OMEN 15.6″ Laptop – Intel Core i7 – 8GB Memory – NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M – 1TB HDD + 128GB SSD I’m hoping to purchase a computer that has expandability for future AutoCAD versions. I’m also wondering if it’s a good price versus other computers in that range of power? I do know that you can expand both the SSD & RAM

    1. Overall it’s a rather good laptop for AutoCAD. If we’re talking about the i7-6700HQ version, it should last for years to come. I’ve got a laptop with 3630QM (soon to be 4 generations behind the latest i7 processors) but still stands strong in most benchmarks.

      If you just get the right CPU and GPU – the laptop will last for a long time.

      Generally, for AutoCAD, the CPU and GPU is good enough. If you’re not in the rush, I might wait a month or 2 for more 10th gen laptops to be released and possibly snatch a good laptop with GeForce 1060. But those will cost at the very least $1500. So if you’ll not be working with high-end 3D applications – you can easily go for the 960M in the Omen.

      Well, it can be upgraded but you’ll need to replace its SSD, which might as well be done right from the start as it’s only 128 GB. Another option would be to replace the 1 TB HDD in a year or so with 500 GB – 1 TB SSD.

      One upgrade I’d make from the start is the memory. I’d add another 8 GB or even 16 GB RAM DIMM as there are 2 RAM slots available. RAM is cheap and a difference between 8 GB and 16 GB is noticeable for power users.

      Please let me know where you found it and at what price to give a better judgement on its price/value ratio :)

      1. Thank you for the information and suggestions. I ran into this unit today and think its a better unit with greater expandability than the Omen. It’s the Lenovo ideapad Y700. This particular unit can be upgraded in the HDD to SSD, 256 GB SSD to 512 or greater, and be converted to 4K HD. The only thing that can’t be upgraded is the 16 GB memory.

        1. Yep, Y700 models with an HDD have a free M.2 (over SATA III) slot so you could easily get an SSD without replacing the 2.5″ hard drive.

          It’s the 3rd time Y700 gets mentioned in this comment section – a rather popular choice :)

  79. Hello. Greet from Slovakia. I am looking for laptop to work with AutoCad 2D only too for working with SketchUp and Photoshop. I am landscape architect. I need a docking station. The price ceiling is around € 1,200. Sorry for my english. :) Thanks

  80. Hi Zyg.

    I am in Architecture and presently use a Macbook Pro (which i love for everything that doesn’t have to do with architecture). I downloaded the windows and it is very uncomfortable to switch between Oper. Syst.’s.

    I am always on the go but need an aggressive lightweight computer. I work on it all the time for school and off school projects in 2D and 3D. I looked at the ASUS, MSI and Lenovo you recommended. I need your help to recommend a 15” and a 17” that best meets my needs under 2500$

    P.S. i am willing to sacrifice battery life for now since plugs are readily available practically everywhere.

  81. Hi I am an interior design student I’ll be using 3D studio max and auto cad I have just been advised to get a Lenovo ideapad 510 and bought it today, will it be okay?

    Thanks

    Leanne

    1. It will be OK, but I wouldn’t consider it a particularly good laptop for what you need. Of course, I don’t know your budget limitations so Lenovo Ideapad might be OK after all when we consider its price.

      It would be nice to know its exact specs as there are multiple variations of this model. If you’ve got a model with SSD and Nvidia graphics – it’s good enough.

    1. Yes, MacBook Pro line, especially their higher-end i7 options, are very good for Photoshop and Illustrator. But working with CAD can be problematic if you want to use Autodesk Revit which is Windows-only. There are ways to get around this issue but it’s not ideal.

      In short, if you know you will not need to use Revit (or any other Windows-only software) – MacBook Pro can be a good pick.

  82. Hi Zyg, thanks for this great article. I am a thinkpad fan but saw an ideapad Y700 gaming laptop that was well priced with the following specs:

    6th gen Notebook Intel i7-6700HQ/ nVidia Geforce GTX 960M 4GB/ 16GB DDR3/ 1TB 5400RPM + 128GB SSD

    What is your opinion..would we run Autocad/ Inventor etc comfortably on these? and what are the basic differences between a gaming and a CAD laptop. Much appreciated.

    peet.

    1. Hello, Peet!

      This Y700 can run AutoCAD and Inventor without much of a problem. In fact, i7-6700HQ is the best performance processor for its price until high-end 7th gen CPUs hit the market (in ~6 months).

      The only thing I’d like to point out is its small SSD – check if there is an option with a 256 GB SSD.

      128 GB SSD can still work but it can get quickly filled with project files, downloads, additional software, etc. As we all know, 128 GB means only ~80GB of actual usable storage space.

      The main difference between gaming and CAD laptops is the graphics card. Gaming laptops have a consumer-grade Nvidia GeForce (or AMD Radeon) chips, while CAD/professional 3D laptops come with Nvidia Quadro (or AMD FirePro) chips. These are not particularly faster, in fact, they use the same system architecture as the cheaper gaming chips.

      So why are they so much more expensive? Well, they have a few unlocked features as double floating point precision, better OpenGL drivers (which deliver better performance for CAD/3D applications but not for gaming). Also, a few applications disable a few premium features if there is no Quadro/FirePro card inside. A good example of that would be SolidWorks, which disables RealView – realistic 3D model preview in real-time (without rendering). There are ways to get enable these features on gaming cards but it’s way beyond the scope of this comment.

      There are a few small differences, as CAD (and business-class) laptops come with better data encryption capabilities, possibly a fingerprint reader, usually longer warranties and priority customer support.

      How to know whether you should get a laptop with it? In my opinion, very few people absolutely need to get a business-grade CAD laptop. Usually, the answer to the “should I get a business-grade (Quadro) laptop” is the same as the answer to “is my budget unlimited”. If you need the best laptop under $2000 and you don’t actually know a reason why you’d need a CAD certified laptop – you’re better off going for a consumer-level/gaming laptop with good specs. But if you can get a top of the line professional laptop ~$2500 (or even up to $4000) with all bells and whistles without emptying your pockets – then why not.

  83. Thanks Zyg for your quick reply.
    This may not be the right forum, but I wanted to know your opinion on the ultimate laptop for Building design where complex multilayer 2D, 3D and video rendering. if a budget of 4KMax is set

    1. 3 options:
      – [$2800] Lenovo ThinkPad P50
      – [$3400] MSI WT72 6QK
      – [$3500-$4000] Dell Precision 17 7000 (custom)

      Even the “cheapest” Lenovo option has all you’d need for building design. But since you’ve asked for an ultimate laptop, you might as well consider either the MSI or Dell laptop.

      The very best setup for $4000 would be the custom Dell with these options:
      – Xeon E3-1535M v5
      – Quadro M5000M w/8GB GDDR5
      – 17.3″ … with camera and microphone (default option has no webcam)
      – 32GB non-ECC

  84. I’m a student looking for a laptop to work with fusion 360 and Featurecam under $1000. Looking for a 15inch 256ssd i7 processor 8gb ram dedicated graphics windows 10. Can you please offer any options

    1. Yes, there’re 9 laptops with these specifications.

      Out of them, the best one seems to be Lenovo Y700:
      – i7-6700HQ (one of the better i7s)
      – Nvidia GTX 960M (best card you can get under $1000)
      – 12 GB RAM
      – 256 GB SSD
      – Comes with Windows 10
      – $920

      If you’d rather get a larger SSD over a better CPU, you could go for Asus K501UW-AB78:
      – i7-6500U
      – GTX 960M
      – 8 GB RAM
      – 512 GB SSD
      – Windows 10
      – $870

  85. Thanks Zyg. i went on the website for the custom precision Dell. I wanted to know your opinion about the RAID. what is your recommendation?

    1. Sorry it took a while to get down to your comment :(

      RAID is pretty much irrelevant unless you already know you need it. In most basic terms RAID allows to:
      – [RAID0] double the speed of (mostly) data writing by writing to 2 drives in parallel. But that doubles the risk of data loss, as multiple drives have to work together to write/read data
      – [RAID1] reduce the amount of usable storage in half, while keeping the other half as a backup

      You can use different RAID configurations to reach triple/quadruple effects but all of them offer a trade off of either amount of storage or reliability.

      Unless you’re running a server (which I could only guess you’re aren’t), RAID is mostly irrelevant. No RAID setup works for 99% of cases. It’s one of the things you should already know that you need before getting it.

    1. Any of the laptops in my recommendation list would work out. In fact, I would recommend going for a mid-range laptop – AutoCAD LT does not need a high-end laptop. Also, 32-bit version does not have an impact – if you’re using Windows 7, 8 or 10, 32-bit AutoCAD will work just as the 64-bit (for the most part). And usually, if you’re buying a new laptop, I would advise installing the 64-bit version for some potential performance improvements.

  86. Hi Zyg,

    I have a MacBook Air i7 configuration with 2.2Ghz Dual Core. It also has a 512GB PCIe-flash based storage.

    I was reading about downloading Windows on to it using boot camp…

    What is your recommendation and advice if i will be using the Autocad and Revit on it.

  87. Sorry Zyg..Forgot something else.

    if you do recommend windows on MacBook Air how do you recommend to do it.

    Parallel from Apple

    or

    is “Boot camp ” sufficient?

  88. Hi Zgy,
    I am about to give a decision to buy one of these:
    1) LENOVO YOGA700 CORE İ7 6500U 2.5GHZ-8GB-256GB SSD-14”-2GB
    2) APPLE MF839TU/A MacBook PRO Retina 13″ i5/8GB/128GB SSD

    The purpose of the computer will be daily office works and 3D/Rhino and various ship building/design software which all works with Windows. If I buy the MAC, then all these programs are to be used parallel with MAC and this will bring difficulties if I buy this MAC (I don’t care with the SSD capacity which can be increased).

    The thing what I want to refer is if I use the MAC parallel with the windows, I believe the performance will be lower than the Yoga 700 since the processor of MAC is an older version and I will work with Intel Iris 6100 instead GeForce GT 940MX which is installed on Yoga 700, whereas processor and ram speed of MAC are faster than the Yoga. On the other side, the daily office works maybe easier with MF839TU and I can switch between operating systems.

    While I was reviewing the both computers yesterday and tends to buy the yoga 700, the sales personnel insisted that the MF839TU will certainly give better, faster results for Rhino in parallel windows. Interestingly he also insisted that rendering performance of the MF839 will be better even it has integrated Iris 6100 graphic card.

    Could you please advise whether the advises of sales personnel are correct or I can go with Yoga 700.

    Thanks a lot
    Kerem

  89. Hi zyg:
    The Asus – 17.3″ Laptop – Intel Core i5 – 12GB Memory – NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M – 1TB Hard Drive, works for autocad and civil 3D?
    Thank you

  90. Hi Zyg,

    Thanks in advance for your help!

    I run Artcam and Reality Capture and would really appreciate a recommendation for a laptop under $2,000.

    Hope you have a great New Year!

    Joe

  91. Hello,
    Please advise on the performance of the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 yoga, reference 20FQ001VUS, for the autocad application.

  92. I just installed LT 2011 on a brand new Dell XPS-13 and the buttons on the toolbars are so small that if I didn’t have them all memorized, there would be no way I could use them. The layers pull down menu shows only parts of each layer name and the buttons on each layer are smaller still. Is there any way around this?

  93. my nephew is helping me order a new computer. i want to go to a laptop with docking station so i can get out of my house to work some.
    i feel like i am paying too much. i use photoshop and autocadlt primarily for my business.
    this total cost is around 2500$
    can you give me your input on this? thanks!

    Description
    New Precision 5520

    SYSTEM COMPONENTS
    New Precision 5520 Qty 1

    Dell Mobile Precision Workstation 5520 XCTO, Windows 10 Pro 64bit English, French,

    Save 30% on the Dell Precision 5520

    Processor Intel Core Xeon E3-1505M v6 (Quad Core Xeon 3.00GHz, 4.00GHz Turbo, 8MB 45W, w/Intel HD Graphics 630
    Operating System Windows 10 Pro 64bit English, French, Spanish
    Base Options Intel Core Xeon E3-1505M v6 (Quad Core Xeon 3.00GHz, 4.00GHz Turbo, 8MB 45W, w/Intel HD Graphics 630
    Office Productivity Software No Productivity Software
    Video Card Nvidia Quadro M1200 w/4GB GDDR5
    Energy Efficiancy Options ESTAR Label not included
    LCD 15.6″ UltraSharp™ FHD IPS (1920×1080) Wide View Anti-Glare LED-backlit with Premium Panel Guarantee
    Memory 16GB, DDR4-2400MHz SDRAM, 1 DIMMS
    Primary Storage M.2 PCIe 256GB SSD Class 40
    Secondary Storage Additional 2TB 2.5 inch 5400rpm HDD
    Wireless Dell Wireless 1820 Card (802.11AC Dual-Band Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 4.2), 2×2
    Keyboard Internal Single Pointing Backlit Keyboard, English
    Mouse No Mouse Selected
    Primary Battery 3-cell (56Wh) Lithium Ion battery with ExpressCharge™
    Power Supply MOD,ADPT,AC,130W,DLTA,V2,L6,E5
    Diagnostic CD / Diskette No Resource DVD
    Security Palmrest Keyboard
    Systems Management No Out-of-Band Systems Management
    Dell Threat Protection and Endpoint Security Suite
    No Dell Data Protection | Endpoint Security Suite Software
    Dell Data Security Encryption No DDPE Encryption Software
    Operating System Recovery Options No Media
    Placemat Quick Reference Guide
    FGA Module No FGA
    Dell Mobile Precision Workstations 5520 Dell Mobile Precision Workstation 5520 XCTO
    Packaging Mix Model Shipping Material
    Documentation/Disks Safety/Environment and Regulatory Guide (English/French Multi-language)
    Transportation from ODM to region Standard Shipment
    Driver Dell Wireless 1820,5520
    Carrying Cases No Carrying Case
    Docking Station No Docking Station
    Processor Branding Intel XEON Label
    Support Tech Sheet and Powercord No UPC Label
    Non-Microsoft Application Software Windows 10
    TAA No TAA
    Label Regulatory Label Included
    Stands and Mounts No Stand
    Canada Ship Options US No Canada Ship Charge
    Cable Power Cord, US
    Removable CD/DVD Drives USB External DVD+/-RW Drive
    Optimizer Dell Precision Optimizer
    Service 3 Year Hardware Service with Onsite/In-Home Service After Remote Diagnosis
    Support 3 Years Accidental Damage Service

    ACCESSORIES
    Dell Dock – WD15 with 180W Adapter Qty 1

    Dell Part# 450-AEUO Unit Price $199.99

  94. Hi.
    That’s something great to read, thank you.
    I wanted to purchase a barely used asus rog g751jy with i7-4750hq and 16gb ram ddr3 1600mhz
    1terra hdd + 256 ssd
    Gtx 980m 8gb
    Will that work smoothly witg 3Dsmax abd autocad 2017 with vray rendering for architecture projects modeling and rendering?
    Thanks in advance.
    regards

  95. Hello my friend!

    I am looking to purchase xps 13 and i am between i7 (6th gen) with iris 540 graphics and 2.2MHz processor and i7 (7th gen) with hd 620 graphics and 3.5MHz processor.

    I use autocad only with 2D graphics to read the drawing and count distances with polylines.

    Am I going to face any problem with those laptops?the flow is smooth when I work on autocad? Which one of those 2 you advise me that is better? The worse hd620 with better proseccor or the better iris 540 with significantly slower processor?

    Thank you very much in advance!

  96. Hello.

    I’m planning to buy a laptop, mainly for Autocad but with some gaming and stuff. I think I’m gonna get an Acer Predator 15. I know it’s bulky but its fine since the cooling system works great.

    My brother got one, i7-6700HQ with GTX1070 8Gb Vram, 16GB ram. He said there was another model, one with i7-7700HQ but with GTX 1060 6GB VRAM.

    I wonder if what would be the best model for me. I know that 7700HQ delivers 2.8GHz to 3.8GHz, so its faster than the 6700 but my problem is the Graphics card. Would the difference be really noticeable between the 1060 and 1070?

  97. What about surface book with performance base with core i7 and 16gb of ram? Is it good enough to take on AUTOCAD?

  98. Hi There. Needing to replace my elderly laptop. I run Autocad LT and Sketchup Pro and need a 17″ screen. Will the MSI WE72 7RJ-1032US do the job? Any other recommendations for a 17″ screen? Weight is not a problem as I don’t move it but occasionally. Many thanks for your help.

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  100. Starting architecture school later this month, need to purchase new laptop to handle AutoCad, Rhino, Revit, Adobe Suite, etc. School is recommending:

    Dell Precision 5520

    I’ve never been a big fan of Dell’s, but in all fairness have never worked with a higher end model. That said. If this is what the school is recommending, what can I get as an alternate that will perform at least as well as this one (or better) and be able to handle everything that is thrown at us in Architecture. Or should I stay with school recommendations and just get the Dell??

  101. Choosing a laptop for Autocad is difficult. This is a great post!

    At this time I’m drawing Autocad 2016 all day, on a desktop i7 2600K + 20GB memory + ATI V3800 512GB without any problems.

    What botters me… If i replace the desktop i7 2600 (from 2011) with the 2017 Kabylake i7 7600U i loose a lot of computing power.

    Otherwise when i choose a laptop with quad core i7 processor , like the zbook 15 G4 with i7 7700HQ, with a quadro graphic card, the cpu performance is simular then the i7 2600 (from 2011)

    But then i am afraid of the cooling/noise level of the laptop. There are some posts online that the noise levels of the zbooks can be annoying.

    Am i too concerned about the cpu perfomance of i7-7600U ?
    Any experience with noise levels on quad core laptops with a dedicated graphic card ?

    much apreciated,
    Tom

  102. Hi, I was just wondering if the newest hp spectre with the I7 around the 1,300$ price or 1,400$ price would be good I can’t remember all the specs but it is a touch screen 2-in-1 would it be a good choice for auto car and all that.

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