A multi-core processor with a clock speed of up 3+ GHz is ideal for running AutoCAD applications. While a 1 GHz or faster processor works well for the AutoCAD 2018 version, all the subsequent versions including AutoCAD 2020 and 2021 recommend a 3+ GHz processor.
Multi-core processors are better suited for CAD work. A quad-core or Hexa-core CPU is a better choice than a dual-core for running heavy applications like AutoCAD Architecture and Map 3D.
While a 3+GHz processor is recommended for AutoCAD, Solidworks requires a 3.3 + GHz CPU. The 10th Gen Intel Core i5 processors clock up to 4.2 GHz with Turbo Boost Technology.
Laptops with i5 and i7 processors are good options for budget laptops for AutoCAD.
CPU usage is one of the bottlenecks for 3D modeling software and apps, so you’ll need to make sure that you get processors that run with a higher clock speed.
Graphics: GeForce, Quadro, or Radeon
Graphics cards are something you need in a laptop for AutoCAD. It helps that you have a solid one so you can preview the model you’re working on smoothly.
For laptops, there are mainly 3 types of graphics cards to choose from, GeForce, Quadro, or Radeon. Each has its own in and outs with regard to performance with AutoCAD.
NVIDIA’s GeForce line is a consumer-grade graphics card, while their Quadro is for creative professionals.
While a 2GB graphic card is sufficient for basic AutoCAD work, Autodesk recommends a 4GB graphic card to run the advanced toolset.
NVIDIA GPUs are specifically designed for AEC works i.e. Architecture, Engineering, and Construction.
NVIDIA Quadro RTX is the most sought-after GPU for desktop and mobile workstations for advanced AEC projects.
Quadro GPUs, especially for mobile devices, are quite hard to find. So, if you can’t get one, but still one the best experience, you can also go for its consumer-grade counterpart, the GeForce RTX.
Cards like the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 should give you enough graphical power to run AutoCAD and allow you to build your models without experiencing any sluggishness.
RAM: How Much RAM Do You Need?
When looking for the best laptop for CAD, in addition to a powerful CPU, RAM also plays an important role in the hardware specifications.
8 GB of RAM is enough for basic CAD tasks while advanced CAD uses like 3D modeling require 16GB of RAM. However, SolidWorks recommends RAM of 16GB or more.
As mentioned above, the latest AutoCAD versions include specialized toolsets. When working on large datasets, point clouds, and specialized tool sets you may find 32 GB of RAM more useful in handling heavy tasks.
Storage: HDD or SSD
Faster reading and writing speeds are what you must look for in the kind of storage available in a laptop. SSD enhances laptop performance as compared to HDD. The best laptop for Solidworks and AutoCAD is one with at least 512 GB of SSD.
Display: HD or 4K
Whether you are an architect or a student, your CAD projects are serious business. A shoddy display is the last thing you want when toiling away on your laptop for hours perfecting a 3D model for your next project. Full HD or 4K display with IPS technology is ideal for your CAD works.
This gaming laptop is the best option for AutoCAD users. Lenovo Ideapad L340 is a powerhouse capable of running heavy AutoCAD applications. A sleek design powered by a 9-hour battery life makes this device a perfect choice as an AutoCAD laptop.
Being a gaming laptop, Ideapad L340 is powered by the latest 9th Gen Intel Core i5-9300H processor.
In addition to a powerful processor clocking up to 4.10 GHz, the laptop comes with a 4 GB of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 dedicated graphics card.
This gaming laptop from Lenovo has 8 GB of DDR4 RAM under the hood. This, coupled with 512 GB of faster SSD makes for a powerful, faster, and reliable laptop for AutoCAD users.
The overall specs of the Ideapad L340 allow it to run AutoCAD with ease. It’s certainly a good laptop for those trying their hands on the software. Although it’s not the best one for professionals, students should find a lot more value in it.
Whether you choose to play games or build 3D models for your project, you will surely enjoy the display on this laptop.
A 15.6 inches Full HD anti-glare display with IPS technology makes for an ideal viewing experience.
The hardware specifications of this Lenovo laptop checks all the points when you’re looking for the best laptop for architects and students working with AutoCAD.
A mobile workstation is the closest you can get to owning the best laptop for AutoCAD, particularly 3D modeling. The ThinkPad P53 uses one of the most sought-after GPUs by NVIDIA.
Great graphics rendering coupled with a best-in-class display, Lenovo ThinkPad P53 is the top choice for Architects, Engineers and Designers using AutoCAD and Solidworks.
This mobile workstation is powered by the 9th Gen Intel Core i7-9750h processor Hexa-core processor.
In addition to a 6-core CPU that clocks a max frequency of 4.5 GHz, the Thinkpad P53 comes with an NVIDIA Quadro T2000 dedicated GPU with a 4GB GDDR5 VRAM.
To run-heavy designing applications like AutoCAD and Solidworks, the mobile workstation is equipped with 16GB DDR4 RAM.
The 4K UHD display with anti-glare technology sets this laptop a class apart in the race to the best laptop for AutoCAD. You can expect great performance with smooth rendering when dealing with 3D modeling and other advanced tool sets in AutoCAD.
A backlit keyboard with a full number pad will add to the overall experience. The 512 GB of SSD is also a big plus point considering the AutoCAD hardware requirements.
Processor: 9th Gen Intel Core i7-9750H (clock speed up to 4.50 GHz)
RAM: 16GB DIMM DDR4-2666 RAM
Storage: 512GB PCIe SSD
Display: 15.6-inch UHD 4K anti-glare display with 3840 x 2160 max display resolution
Graphics: 4GB dedicated NVIDIA Quadro T2000
OS: Windows 10
Ports: 2 x USB 3.1 Gen1 (1 Always on), 2 x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C/ Thunderbolt 3, 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C, 4-in-1 media card reader (MMC, SD, SDHC, SDXC) HDMI, 2.0 RJ45
When it comes to architects and designers, HP laptops are a popular choice. If you’re big on design, you’ll admire the HP series laptops for their intelligent design.
The Zbook series is created specifically for users seeking a powerful performance like creators (animators, filmmakers), architects, and engineers.
The 15u G5 Mobile Workstations is powered by an Intel Core i7 processor. The CPU is impressive given the number of cores and clocks up to 3.40 GHz.
The quad-core processor, which means it does give you a good opportunity to multi-task. This is helpful when you’re creating your designs in AutoCAD while looking at different specifications on a browser or email.
While the CPU meets your AutoCAD and Solidworks needs, the GPU is powered by an AMD RadeonTM Pro WX 3100 with 2GB of dedicated GDDR5 RAM.
This mobile workstation from HP is one of the Solidworks certified laptops that comes with a 3-year onsite warranty by HP. A 512 GB of SSD storage makes for a user experience for AutoCAD applications.
Processor: 8th Gen. Intel Core i7 with max clock speed up to 3.40 GHz
RAM: 8 GB DDR DRAM
Storage: 512 GB SSD
Display: 15.6-inch Full HD display
Graphics: 2 GB dedicated AMD RadeonTM Pro WX 3100 Graphics
Next in our list of best laptops for AutoCAD is DELL Alienware M15 R2. The Alienware series is specifically designed for gaming needs. This Alienware laptop is heavy on graphics and well suited for AutoCAD and Solidworks requirements.
The 2019 Alienware M15 is powered by the 8th Generation Intel Core i7-8750H processor with a max turbo frequency of 4.1 GHz. Being a gaming laptop, the Alienware M15 R2 comes with a 6 GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060.
You’ll also get to enjoy a 144 Hz display, which you might think is solely a number that’s for gamers. Creatives, especially those that work in 3D can also take advantage of the high refresh rate as you’ll be able to have a much smoother experience as you’re working with your models.
This combination of CPU and GPU coupled with 32 GB of DDR4 RAM will give you the best CAD experience. Whether you are working with basic CAD or advanced projects for 3D modeling and 3D Map, 32 GB of RAM along with a Hexa core CPU for fast loading times and rendering.
If you’re looking for a solid AutoCAD laptop for professionals and enthusiasts, this is certainly worth the bucks.
Processor:8th Generation Intel Core i7-8750H Processor, max clock speed up to 4.10 GHz
RAM: 32GB DDR4 Memory
Storage: 1TB SSD Boot + 1 TB HDD
Display: 15.6-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS Widescreen LCD Display, 144 Hz refresh rate
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB GDDR5
OS: Windows 10
Ports: 1 x Thunderbolt-3, 3 x USB 3.0 Type-A, 1 x HDMI, 1 x Headphone/microphone Combo Jack, 1 x RJ-45
With a sleek and lightweight aluminum frame, this laptop is a good choice for your AutoCAD needs. If you’re a student starting with AutoCAD and Solidworks, this MSI laptop will give you the necessary armor to deal with your CAD projects.
The 9-hour long battery life and a 15.6-inch full HD anti-glare wide-view display make your AutoCAD experience a smooth one with this MSI laptop.
While the viewing experience is ideal, the laptop is powered by a 10th Gen Intel Core i7 processor with a top frequency of 4.90 GHz. Another essential specification to ease your CAD experience is the 512 GB of SSD storage.
MSI Modern 5 checks all the boxes for CPU and storage while lagging on the GPU front. The 2 GB of NVIDIA GeForce MX250 works well for basic CAD with larger datasets while advanced tool sets like Map 3D work better with a 4GB dedicated graphic card.
If you look beyond the graphic card, the rest of the hardware specifications are apt for any AutoCAD user.
16GB of DDR4 RAM renders Solidworks and AutoCAD applications efficiently and the 512 GB of SSD aids faster loading of the application files.
Processor: 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10510U processor, clock speed up to 4.9 GHz
RAM: 16GB DDR4 Memory
Storage: 512GB NVMe SSD
Display: 15.6-inch Full HD wide-view anti-glare screen
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce MX250, 2GB Graphics
OS: Windows 10
Battery Life: up to 9 hours
90% screen-to-body ratio with 180 degrees flip function
This gaming laptop from Acer packs a punch for power-users with its brilliant hardware specifications designed specifically for gamers. The backlit four-zoned keyboard is something one cannot miss when looking at the design.
While this gaming laptop is a lot different in design as compared to other laptops on this list, it is one of the most powerful.
As an architect or engineer working on AutoCAD, you are going to need a powerful CPU along with a dedicated graphics card. Acer Predator Helios 500 is powered by an overclocking capable processor up to 4.80 GHz.
The graphics coprocessor is also overclockable with 8 GB of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 graphic card.
If that wasn’t enough, this Acer laptop comes with a 17.3-inch full HD LED-backlit IPS display.
This makes for a great gaming experience though the design may not be a big hit among users looking for a slim and lightweight frame.
Processor: 8th Generation Intel Core i9-8950 HK 6-Core unlocked overclock capable (Clock Speed up to 4.8GHz)
RAM: 16GB DDR4 2666MHz Memory
Storage: 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD + 2TB 5400RPM HDD
Display: 17.3-inch Full HD LED-backlit IPS display
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Overclockable Graphics with 8GB of dedicated GDDR5 VRAM
Best Premium Laptop for AutoCAD and Digital Artists
If you’re looking for a premium laptop for advanced AutoCAD and Solidworks projects, ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo is the top choice.
The laptop features a secondary 4K touchscreen called the ScreenPad Plus in addition to the 15.6-inch OLED touchscreen. These display and touchscreen specifications make this laptop stand out from the rest on this list.
While a majority of the best laptops for AutoCAD on this list are gaming laptops, the ZenBook Pro Duo is exclusively designed for creators and designers.
On the graphics front, the laptop uses 6 GB of dedicated NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 dedicated graphics card. Don’t let the looks deceive you.
The attractive and sleek design is powered by the 9th Gen Intel Core i7-9750H processor. The Hexa-core CPU clocks up to 4.50 GHz frequency and lets you run your 3D modeling and Solidworks applications efficiently.
Processor: 9th Gen Intel Core i7-9750H Processor 2.6 GHz (Clock speed up to 4.5 GHz, 6 Cores)
The Acer Nitro 5 is one of the best budget laptops for AutoCAD. Looking at its specs, it’s a pretty decent gaming machine, too. It certainly has more than enough juice to run AutoCAD smoothly, especially for beginners and students.
What makes the Acer Nitro 5 stand out is the latest gen AMD Ryzen 7 processor that it comes with.
This octa-core processor will give you enough power to multi-task since you’ll be able to do more while you’re designing with the AutoCAD software.
The Acer Nitro comes with 16GB RAM. This is certainly enough for you to create complex 3D models on your CAD software.
The Nitro 5 comes with the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060, a powerful dedicated GPU for a laptop. This makes it an excellent device for your AutoCAD work.p
Now, if you’re using other CAD software like Solidworks and Revit, the Nitro should be able to run those. This should be enough for most of your CAD work.
Moreover, it’s also a gaming laptop, so if you want to take a break from your AutoCAD tasks, then you can fire up a few games.
It’s an excellent laptop that can equal dedicated CAD workstations for a price that’s significantly more affordable compared to dedicated machines.
Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 5800H, 3.20GHz, up to 4.40GHz with Precision Boost
RAM: 16GB DDR4 3200MHz Memory
Storage: 1TB NVME SSD
Display: 17.3-inch FHD IPS, 144Hz Refresh Rate
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 6GB
Operating System: Windows 10 Home
Ports: 3 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 (1 always on), 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C / Intel Thunderbolt 3 (DisplayPort, Data transfer), 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C (DisplayPort, Data transfer, Charging)
Yes. They have a dedicated graphics card from NVIDIA with a 4GB or plus VRAM which is essential for AutoCAD. Also, gaming laptops are powered by multi-core processors that clock over 4.50 GHz turbo frequency.
Since most of the gaming laptops meet the hardware requirements for CAD works, they make a great choice for AutoCAD applications.
Q. Which laptop is best for AutoCAD and Solidworks?
Lenovo ThinkPad P73 Mobile Workstation is the best laptop for AutoCAD and Solidworks out there. While this is the best choice for experts working on advanced-level projects, ThinkPad P53 is a good choice for students and beginners.
Q. Is 4GB RAM enough for AutoCAD?
The minimum RAM requirement to run AutoCAD applications is 8 GB. While 8 GB of RAM is enough for basic AutoCAD, we recommend 16GB or more RAM to make the best use of complete AutoCAD tool sets.
2D projects can be run using 8 GB of RAM while a laptop with 16GB or 32GB RAM will render 3D models and large datasets efficiently.
Q. Is a graphic card necessary for AutoCAD?
Yes, a graphic card is an essential hardware specification for running AutoCAD and Solidworks applications. NVIDIA graphic coprocessors are designed for AEC – Architecture, Engineering, and Construction projects.
NVIDIA Quadro and AMD Radeon Pro are two of the highly recommended graphic cards for AutoCAD needs. You can also go for NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 or even their later models for the best experience.
AutoCAD and Solidworks users are students, architects, designers, and engineers who need a reliable and powerful laptop. The latest AutoCAD versions include additional toolsets and they have additional requirements for memory and storage.
As a user, you should know if you’re looking for basic AutoCAD or some advanced-level 3D modeling with large datasets and point clusters.
Based on your requirements, you have a choice between 8GB, 16GB, or 32 GB RAM. However, you must look for at least 512 GB of SSD and a minimum of 2 GB graphic card for basic AutoCAD work.
We have listed many laptops with NVIDIA graphic coprocessors with 4 GB and 6GB VRAM.
When it comes to design and the frame of the laptop, it all comes down to personal preference. If you’re someone who wants a lightweight laptop with a slim design that you can carry along with you and work from anywhere with ease, a laptop like ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo is a great fit.
Whereas if you’re someone looking for a powerful machine and don’t mind a heavy-looking design, you can opt for Acer Predator Helios 500.
Remember the top parameters discussed in the article when deciding on which laptop to choose for Autocad. With the necessary information and references, you are all set to grab the best laptop configuration for AutoCAD and toil away with your 3D modeling projects.