If you’re in search of the best laptops for AutoCAD, then you likely are an architect, engineer, or a designer that requires the right device.
The AutoCAD software is used to create 2D and 3D drawings and models for on-demand design projects. We must therefore consider the CPU, especially the secondary core, memory, storage, and the clock speed when selecting the right choice.
These laptops are tested and aimed to meet your requirements for CAD & AutoCAD related tasks such as drawings, floor plan creation, sculptures, road design, experimental art and much more.
Requirements may not vary much, whether you’re a beginner or professional in 3d designing, you’ll still need similar technical specs.
In this post I’ll cover the best laptops for AutoCAD as well as the benefits and disadvantages certain laptop models may pose based on your specific type of CAD work.
- At a Glance – Top Picks
- Best Laptops for AutoCAD
- 1. Asus ROG Strix: Best AutoCad Laptop for Designers (Overall)
- 2. MacBook Pro 14-inch: The ultimate laptop for AutoCad (Balanced Pick)
- 3. Acer Nitro 5: Best Budget Laptop to Run Autocad
- 4. Lenovo Ideapad 3 Best Lenovo Laptop that can run Autocad
- 5. ASUS ProArt StudioBook Pro: Best Laptop for Autocad Professionals
- 6. Dell G7: Best Dell Laptop for AutoCad
- 7. Asus Zephyrus: Best Laptop for Autocad & Gaming (Engineers)
- 8. MSI GS65: Best Laptop for CAD work (3d modeling, drafting)
- 9. ASUS Tuf: Best Laptop for Autocad (Beginners)
- 10. MSI GF75: Best Cheap laptop for Autocad (Students)
- How to Choose a Laptop for AutoCAD
- Recommended requirements of an AutoCad Laptop
- Other Devices to Use with AutoCAD
- How we tested & picked the best laptops for Autocad
At a Glance – Top Picks
Below are our top picks for the best laptops for AutoCAD:
- Asus ROG Strix: Best AutoCad Laptop for Designers (Overall)
- MacBook Pro 14-inch: The ultimate laptop for AutoCad (Balanced Pick)
- Acer Nitro 5: Best Budget Laptop to Run Autocad
- Lenovo Ideapad 3 Best Lenovo Laptop that can run Autocad
- ASUS ProArt StudioBook Pro: Best Laptop for Autocad Professionals
- Dell G7: Best Dell Laptop for AutoCad
- Asus Zephyrus: Best Laptop for Autocad & Gaming (Engineers)
We have tested and compared these laptops to previous models to make sure you get the best laptop for the job.
Also see: Best Laptops for Animation Students
Best Laptops for AutoCAD
These laptops are our top picks and are thoroughly reviewed in this list. Specifically designed to run AutoCad and other designer & architecture applications, these computers & laptops feature the required processor, graphics card, RAM, and design.
View the Best laptops for Cricut maker
1. Asus ROG Strix: Best AutoCad Laptop for Designers (Overall)
If you need a laptop that can quickly manipulate every AutoCAD project then Asus ROG Strix is the perfect all-rounder.
An inexpensive alternative to The ROG Strix is the Dell Inspiron 13.
No matter if you are an engineering student or an experienced pro designer, the Strix will prove to be a smart investment. In a few words, Asus has managed to create one of the best laptops for 3D designers while offering it at a reasonable price.
Performance: Performance-wise, ROG Strix includes everything a 3D modeler needs and more. The brand-new, Octa-Core i7 CPU can quickly handle a significant amount of 3d modeling tasks without any lags or unpleasant delays.
Due to its Turbo Boost Technology, you can clock the CPU to run up to 5GHz, which is more than enough for every CPU-intensive process.
Ram: Strix’s i7 CPU is combined with a vast amount (32GB) of RAM. This is way more than most of us need for 3D modeling, but it is extremely suitable for running multiple editing software simultaneously.
Finally, Asus completed this high-end set by including the extremely strong RTX 2060 GPU. The 6GB of VRAM is perfect for the manipulation of 3D models. Likewise, this GPU can easily cope with the most challenging modeling steps, like mesh creation and constructing high-quality textures. The Asus Rog Strix laptop is also available on Ebay.
Display & Storage: The provided 15.6 IPS display is extremely vibrant, works well for modeling, and is also big enough for 3D designers. When it comes to storage capacity, most 3D designers use external hard drives to save their projects. Likewise, the ROG Strix includes a 512GB SSD, which is perfect to quickly run the OS and any modeling software.
Note: an NVMe SSD (1TB) is fantastic, but only certain ROG Strix models have this type of SSD.
If you’re in college and also using other un-related programs along with Autocad (like those for computer science), then our post on the 7 Best Desktops for Computer Science (Students and Professionals)
Battery Life: When it comes to other features, Strix has a good battery (up to 5 hours of editing), a beautiful backlit keyboard, and the only flaw users mention is its (not great) sound. To sum up, Asus Strix proves to be an amazing laptop for AutoCAD, extremely suitable for designers of all levels.
2. MacBook Pro 14-inch: The ultimate laptop for AutoCad (Balanced Pick)
When it comes to AutoCAD, the MacBook Pro is unbeatable. It has features that allow for both intuitive navigation with CAD applications. For example, its 8-core CPU (6 performance cores, 2 efficiency) allows you to work with minimal lag and delays.
Performance: We tested and compared the M1 and M2 chips to the older model Macbook Pro that used the intel processors, and we found a significant increase in overall performance when using AutoCAD.
It also provides 16 – 64GB choice of memory (RAM), and configurable storage (up to 8TB), which is extremely important to consider.
Display: A Larger display is nearly required for serious designers, and this means the Apple Macbook Pro’s 14-inch Liquid Retina XDR Display will not only enable a large surface area to use Autocad on, but will also allow for a high resolution with over 1 billion colors.
The 16-inch model Macbook Pro is also ideal. It provides similar specs & a larger display, but is more expensive.
It’s extended lithium battery allows for max 17 hours of use, but we found the Macbook Pro battery average was slightly lower after a year or so of heavy use (unplugged).
AutoCAD is compatible with many Mac types, including Mac Pros, MacBook Pros, iMacs, and MacBook Airs. Through Rosetta, Macs with M1 chips, which previously had difficulty running AutoCAD, can now successfully run it.
Macs can run AutoCAD, but Rosetta was required to install and run it (for M1 Macs). Laptops running Mac OS were natively capable of running AutoCAD. Our research has shown that the Macbook Pro can last 5-7 years on average before needing replacement.
There is the ability to run multiple apps at once. Several experts have revealed that AutoCAD and 3D modeling software such as Maya, Blender, Fusion 360 are easily run simultaneously. The AutoCAD mobile app is also available here for iOS users, so you can open that if it helps with your workflow.
3. Acer Nitro 5: Best Budget Laptop to Run Autocad
Keeping in mind that many of our readers are students and thus beginners at AutoCAD, it would be a shame if we didn’t include the latest Acer Nitro 5. This is one of the most versatile and economical laptops you can buy if you are new to the world of 3D modeling.
Performance: The model comes equipped with a powerful Intel Core i5 CPU and 8GB of RAM (which can be also upgraded). This set is ideal for anyone who wants to purchase a laptop for simple 3D models. Nitro 5 can easily run AutoCAD and you won’t face any lags when drawing in 3D mode.
If you’re experienced and want to run large projects, then one of the 16Gb Ram laptops mentioned is a ideal choice. You don’
Graphics: Nitro 5 also includes the dedicated GTX 1650 GPU which is a great entry-level card for numerous tasks.
Therefore, performance will not be a problem for you, as this build can easily handle small projects on AutoCAD, other editing software like Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom, and pretty much everything else a student needs (browsing, streaming, etc).
Note: There are alternative devices, like the iPad which may work with some CAD softwares. However, can it really replace your laptop?
Display & Storage: The laptop’s 256GB SSD is big and quick enough and the 15.6’’ FHD IPS display is amazing for 3D modeling, streaming, and gaming. If you consider yourself a gamer, Nitro 5 also has a gaming design, a stunning backlit keyboard and allows to play all modern games like PUBG in Ultra settings. The Acer Nitro is also available on ebay.
When it comes to battery backup, Acer Nitro promises to offer up to 6 hours of editing at one go.
Thus, even though this laptop is not suitable for vast, demanding AutoCAD projects, it is the perfect choice for beginners. However, for those of you that look for an alternate similar laptop, HP Pavilion is also a great solution for a designer, developed by a different brand.
4. Lenovo Ideapad 3 Best Lenovo Laptop that can run Autocad
Lenovo is one of the most credible brands on the market that became extremely popular for its value for money computers. Security is what makes this device one of the best computers for autocad.
Accordingly, they designed Ideapad 3, a great laptop for those who want to use a portable, slim device for Autocad and 3d modeling or drafting design in general. It’s also ideal for most drawing softwares as well, such as Krita or Sketchbook.
The fact that this is one of the most affordable laptops on the list, doesn’t mean that Lenovo compromised performance-wise. In fact, the Ideapad includes a Quad-Core AMD Ryzen 5 CPU, which outshines some i7 intel processors. Especially for 3D modeling, the Ryzen CPUs prove to be better than their Intel equivalents in most cases.
Performance: Thus, the Ideapad’s CPU is great for simple AutoCAD projects, and because the laptop has 20GB of RAM, it offers a no-lag experience. On the other hand, the Ideapad’s most important disadvantage is that it doesn’t utilize a dedicated GPU. Although the integrated RX Vega 8 graphics is very powerful, you should avoid this choice if you want a laptop for heavy 3D modeling.
Display & Storage: Apart from that flaw, the Ideapad is an amazing budget choice. It has a vivid, accurate 15.6’’ inches FHD screen, a vast 1TB SSD drive, and one of the best batteries on the list (up to 7 hours of editing).
Related: 8 Best Digital Writing Pads – These are devices that let you write on a standalone notebook in case you want to use a laptop, monitor, and drawing tablet combination to draft 3d models.
In a few words, this is a great solution for students who want a lightweight, portable device to carry with you everywhere while creating simple drawings in AutoCAD or Revit.
5. ASUS ProArt StudioBook Pro: Best Laptop for Autocad Professionals
While reviewing laptops for AutoCAD, this ASUS ProArt laptop simply proved to be the best laptop for cad work. ASUS has designed this laptop for professionals and created a device that offers the ultimate 3D modeling experience.
Of course, the fact that the StudioBook Pro is created for large-scale modeling projects is reflected in its price, as this is the most expensive laptop on the list. However, this is the only disadvantage of this device.
Performance: The StudioBook Pro 17 is by far the most powerful laptop on the list. ASUS included a hexa-core i7-9750H CPU, which is one of the best processors on the market, and 16GB of RAM. This set might seem similar to others on the list, but with the addition of the Quadro RTX 3000 GPU, this laptop can easily manipulate everything.
The RTX 3000 is a workstation GPU, meaning it can handle huge 3D files. Thus, with StudioBook you won’t face any problems when creating, reopening, and exporting enormous AutoCAD projects.
Display: If you add to that, the amazing 17’’ NanoEdge Bezel screen, the laptop’s premium design, and the great battery, you will understand why this is the best laptop on the list. Even though the StudioBook has the biggest screen on the list, it is also extremely sleek (18.4 mm) and lightweight (5 pounds) for its size.
For all the things mentioned above, this is the perfect solution for professional designers or relevant businesses who need a laptop that can handle every project. If you are one of those people, the StudioBook Pro 17 has all you need and more.
6. Dell G7: Best Dell Laptop for AutoCad
Dell is one of the most reliable and premium brands on the market and it became extremely well-known for their amazing workstations and laptops. Likewise, they have carefully designed the G7 and made it the perfect alternative to Asus ROG Strix.
As with Asus’s model, the G7 is ideal for both beginner designers, students, and more experienced modelers. Thus, it is a great choice for different categories of people and it is also cheaper than ROG Strix.
Performance: When it comes to performance, the G7 has a slightly slower i5 CPU, which is however powerful enough to handle small and medium-scale AutoCAD projects. Although ROG Strix has double the size of RAM, the 16GB of G7 is more than enough for multitasking while editing a 3D model, rendering and exporting. It’s also useful for Revit.
Compare this to a Macbook and you’ll find you’ll get somewhat similar power for (typically) a much lower price point.
Those who are still learning Autocad may also be studying other subjects such as programming, coding, and more. Even so, the Macbook would still be an ideal choice for both – because it is versatile. See our post on Is the MacBook Air Good for Programming? (The Truth)
We recommend Dell G7 as an alternative to ROG Strix as they both have similar performance and the same GPU, the strong RTX 2060. As mentioned above, this GPU is ideal for modeling, and you will have no lag when working in AutoCAD. This RTX model can also handle more demanding software than AutoCAD like 3ds Max, Maya, etc.
Display: The great difference between the G7 and the Strix is the 17.3’’ Dell screen. For some designers, this is a great advantage for the modeling process. However, if you want a portable laptop, you should probably go for the Asus one. In any case, the G7 has an amazing FHD, IPS display.
Storage: A certain advantage of the G7 is the existence of two different hard drives. This will allow you as a designer to install the OS and all software in the 256GB SSD while saving your latest modeling project in the vast, 1TB HDD.
If you add to all these features, the amazing Dell battery, and the beautiful design, Dell G7 is an amazing laptop, for those of you that want great specs and a big screen at a sensible price.
7. Asus Zephyrus: Best Laptop for Autocad & Gaming (Engineers)
For those of you who need a laptop for large-scale modeling projects, ASUS developed Zephyrus, a more premium alternative to Strix. Zephyrus is ideal for top-level engineers, architects and mechanical engineers and has everything a professional asks for.
Performance: Although Zephyrus’ intel core i7 CPU is older than Strix’s, it is equally (if not more) powerful when it comes to handling 3D modeling tasks. To be more precise, according to cpu-monkey, the CPU mark values of Zephyrus’s i7 are better. For that reason, Zephyrus is faster than Strix, even though it has 16GB of RAM, instead of 32.
On the other hand, where Zephyrus outshines most laptops on the market is the GPU. Asus included the high-end RTX 2070, which will easily handle every photorealistic model or 3D project. This graphics card comes with 8GB of VRAM, which is not only beneficial for top-tier games but also for large 3D models with demanding textures.
- Related: Best Touch Screen Laptops for Drawing – you’ll be drawing on Autocad and some users may prefer touch screens rather than combining their laptop choice with a graphics tablet or pen tablet with a screen.
Display: Moreover, Zephyrus has the best screen on the list. The Pantone Validated 15.6’’ display is amazing, mainly because it reveals 100% of the sRGB color gamut and has a 3ms response time. Apart from that, this laptop is ultra-slim (18.9 mm) and lightweight (4.4 pounds). This means it is a great choice for a professional who needs an ultimately-portable device.
Storage: Its 1TB SSD is the biggest on our list, and it allows you to also store the 3D project you are working on. Finally, as specially designed for gamers, Zephyrus has a futuristic design and a stunning backlit keyboard.
Overall, the latest Asus Zephyrus is worth your attention, especially if you are a professional designer who wants one of the most powerful, portable laptops for AutoCAD.
8. MSI GS65: Best Laptop for CAD work (3d modeling, drafting)
MSI gained popularity amongst gaming and design communities because of its top-tier laptops. Accordingly, the latest GS65 Stealth is one of the best (yet expensive) laptops on our list. This device is great for professional Engineers & 3D modelers that need a laptop to cope with high-end 3d modeling and drafting for CAD work.
Performance: The Stealth has the same CPU as Asus Zephyrus, the extremely powerful i7-9750H. This CPU is combined with 16GB of RAM and one of the best GPUs on the list, the RTX 2060. It becomes obvious that, apart from the GPU, Stealth’s specs are the same as Asus’s device.
Even though RTX 2060 is worse than 2070, this MSI laptop can easily handle large 3D modeling projects, designing, or even mechanical prototyping. If you choose to purchase Stealth, you won’t face any problem running all 3D software.
Likewise, while reviewing this laptop, the processing of large projects on AutoCAD, Maya, 3ds Max, and Agisoft Photoscan felt like a piece of cake. If you’re using Sketchup, see our post on the best laptops for sketchup.
Display: When it comes to the device’s display, it is also similar to Zephyrus. The 15.6’’ FHD panel has a great response time of 3ms and an amazing refresh rate of 240Hz. Thus, the 3D modeling experience with MSI Stealth is simply amazing.
Stealth is better than Zephyrus when it comes to design and portability. MSI developed the thinnest, lightweight laptop in this category. . Thus, if you consider portability more important than having the most-advanced GPU, then Stealth is the best laptop for you.
9. ASUS Tuf: Best Laptop for Autocad (Beginners)
Keeping in mind that we have already listed Acer Nitro 5, Asus Tuf is a great contestant. It is one of the best laptops for architecture, engineering, or archaeology students who spend some time in gaming but also wants a laptop for their AutoCAD classes. See our full post: on the best Laptops for Architecture.
We suggest this laptop for beginners, as Asus has managed to create one of the most versatile, budget laptops that can run AutoCAD. Although Tuf’s performance is similar to Nitro’s, this model comes equipped with a powerful Ryzen 5, quad-core CPU, and 8GB of RAM.
Performance: As mentioned earlier, the AMD Ryzen CPU family proves to be equal, and in some cases better than Intel CPUs for AutoCAD. However, during our review, both laptops did extremely well when coping with AutoCAD basic 3D drawing tasks.
Tuf has the same GTX 1650 graphics card as Nitro 5, which is ideal for processing medium-quality textures and small to medium-scale 3D projects on AutoCAD. You can grab you’re laptop, download AutoCAD, its textures, line types, hatch patterns, and get to work with full compatibility.
Display & Storage: The TUF also has a bigger, 512GB SSD, which is a noticeable update from 256GB. Its FHD, IPS 15.6’’ screen is equal to Nitro’s display. Like Nitro’s battery, the Tuf has an autonomy of 5-6 hours of editing. When it comes to design and portability, both devices have a beautiful design, are around 5pounds, and have similar dimensions.
It becomes obvious that those two laptops are quite similar. For this reason, we would suggest spending the extra $100 for TUF, if you need a bigger SSD disk and you are a fan of Asus’s reliability.
10. MSI GF75: Best Cheap laptop for Autocad (Students)
As an entry-level laptop for AutoCAD, the MSI GF75 is an amazing alternative to Nitro 5 and TUF. As with the other two laptops, this MSI device is one of the cheapest laptops you can purchase for AutoCAD.
Performance: The GF75 has a reliable i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and the GTX 1650 GPU. Therefore, this laptop has the same kit as Nitro. Thus, performance-wise the GF75 is perfect for students or beginners who need a reliable device that won’t lag when processing small-scale 3D projects.
As with Nitro 5 and TUF, this MSI laptop can easily run AutoCAD and you won’t face any lags when drawing in 3D mode. The laptop can also cope with different (photo and video) editing software like Adobe Lightroom or Premiere PRO, and pretty much everything else a student needs (browsing, streaming, etc).
The laptop has a vast 512GB SSD, which is extremely rare for this price range, and the biggest screen amongst the three entry-level competitors.
See our post on the fastest Sd Cards if you plan on utilizing memory of this form. (ex. photographers who are also graphic artists may also use AutoCAD and similar softwares)
Display: Accordingly, the 17.3’’ FHD IPS display the number one reason to buy this laptop over the other two. The display has a whopping (for the price) refresh rate of 120Hz. That means that this screen is also great for the depiction of 3D simulations and renders, and a great choice for gamers.
Our last two (picks 11 and 12) are the MSI Pulse, and Dell Inspiron, which both work well for autoCAD. If you are working with small data sets, a modest configuration will be fine for most professionals.
A faster laptop like the MSI laptops and MacBook Pro models discussed earlier in this post will make your work significantly less frustrating due to faster rendering. For example, when you are working with very large files, particularly 3D drawings that contain several materials and textures.
How to Choose a Laptop for AutoCAD
All popular brands argue that most of their medium-range and top-tier laptops can handle design and 3d modeling software like AutoCAD. Nevertheless, choosing the right laptop for your projects on AutoCAD isn’t easy. The most important parameter is your level of expertise and what kind of models you construct.
To be more precise, it would be easy for us to say that all laptops with a dedicated graphics card can fluidly run the latest Autodesk modeling software. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. AutoCAD’s requirements are conditional on the scale of the project you are dealing with.
Which processor is best for AutoCAD
What processor to run Autocad on a laptop smoothly? If you are a more experienced designer, you should purchase a laptop with at least 16GB of RAM and a powerful (i7 or higher, for example)
A 2.5-2.9GHz processor is required, but anything over 3 GHz is the processor power professionals will desire to have a smooth experience running the 3software.
- A processor of this speed will let you 2d model smoothly; enabling snapping, drawing lines & shapes, and using objects without lag, stutter or delay on the software.
At minimum, a i5 will be fine, but as the demands for resource from design software get raised as technology grows, having a i7 or higher will keep you future proof from needing to upgrade too soon.
Related: Learn how Drawing digitally works
It’s also important to note that AutoDesk doesn’t support more than 10,000 files per folder, regardless of the hard drive you have. (source)
How much RAM do I need for AutoCad
8GB RAM is the absolute minimum recommend when using AutoCAD on a laptop or desktop. 16GB is recommended, but 32GB RAM is ideal for professionals when your looking to future proof your laptop for this software.
For example if you’re an architect, interior designer, artists engineer, or real estate developer that needs AutoCAD for work, then you’ll want 16GB Memory at minimum on your laptop. This amount of RAM will also make 3D modeling easier by allowing the creation of visuals, shapes, rotating, and more.
A Higher RAM amount of 16GB or 32GB also works well if you are a student designer, architect or someone who plans on learning the software over the next couple of years and wants a laptop tha
Can you use a Tablet for AutoCAD?
While this post covered the top laptops for autocad, you may be wondering if you can use a Tablet for Autocad? The answer is yes, but there may be a few drawbacks that will make you want to use a laptop.
For example, when compared to sketching softwares such as Sketchup and Krita, AutoCAD is fairly demanding. It’s likely you will have lag, stuttering, and speed issues using AutoCAD on an entry-level, budget laptop or tablet.
However, this does not mean that you cannot use AutoCAD on a tablet. In fact, AutoCAD works on Tablets and is available on mobile & iOS devices such as the iPad Pro. Due to its ability to run more demanding software, Apple iPads can run more demanding applications.
AutoCAD works best on a powerful tablet if you want to experience it smoothly and without lag. Specifically, AutoCAD projects can only be handled by more powerful tablets, such as the iPad and Samsung models.
On the other hand, if you prefer to work with the AutoCAD software on larger screens, you could opt for a Dell G7 or MSI laptops, which have large displays and powerful processors.
Choosing between an iPad or a Laptop for Autocad?
If you’re Debating between an iPad and laptop for your projects? We also compare the Ipad vs Laptop and cover their pros and cons in greater detail.
This could be useful if you find a laptop or 2-in-1 laptop is too bulky or large. For example, I used to bring a large laptop to class and there were times all I needed was a lightweight iPad or tablet instead.
In most cases, you’ll want to use an iPad for when you don’t need to run any heavy programs, but some autoCAD softwares could be ran successfully on powerful tablets.
Also see if an can an iPad Replace a Laptop for a College Student? This would mostly be relevant to those who are learning autoCAD still and are also taking classes.
Recommended requirements of an AutoCad Laptop
When using AutoCad on a laptop for engineering, 2d work, sculpting, architecture, automobile engineering, and many other design related tasks, you’ll want to have the most powerful graphics card that is within your budget.
With the right laptop, you’ll be able to draft your designs much quicker with less delay, lag, and frustration. Choosing one with the minimum requirements below will help you solve this problem.
The absolute minimum requirement of a laptop for Autocad goes as follows:
- 16GB recommended ram for multitasking, but only 8GB minimum is needed
- i7 processor or better to handle CPU intensive tasks, but i5 is the minimum.
- Battery life over 7+ hours is preferred, but is based on your workload. 3 hours battery life minimum if its not plugged into a power supply.
- Large display with high resolution so you can clearly see your work.
This is particularly useful as an interior design, fashion designer, mechanical drafting, and almost all other CAD related tasks that are being used for professional purposes.
AutoCad Software – System Requirements (Windows & Mac)
As far as operating system compatibility goes, AutoCAD can be installed on both windows and mac. For Windows, a 64-bit operating systema and windows 10 or 11 is required. For Mac, things are a bit different since Monterey, Big Sur, Catalina and Mojave were able to run Autocad. So if you have an older mac, be sure you’re updated.
We found that 9 out of 10 laptops we tested that were a 2022 model or later in this guide were completely compatible and run Autodesk softwares with ease. Since this information is updated so frequently, we advise you check the requirements for Autocad on the official website.
Minimum requirements: Most projects are small, mainly created by beginners in 3D modeling (for example a student in architecture or archaeology). For a basic model that includes basic 2D or 3D drawing, an entry level dedicated GPU is more than enough to manipulate the model’s creation, rendering, export, etc.
Graphics: For this reason, laptops with graphic cards like the GTX 1650 (or better), are a great choice for beginners, as they are not expensive and will run tasks smoothly.
On the other hand, if you are an intermediate designer and you need a laptop to manipulate more complicated models in different software, you should go for a mid-tier laptop. Apple
Macbook Pro and Air users using the M1 chip will also come with a graphics card that runs design & drawing apps very efficiently.
Display: Getting the proper display is crucial, since you’ll need a video display adapter that supports 4G VRAM, Pixel Shader 3.0, and DirectX-capable graphics cards for workstation use. If you do not get the proper display type and size, AutoCAD may not provide the results you desire.
Although the GTX 1650 is powerful enough for more demanding tasks (like photogrammetry via Agisoft Photoscan or complicated modeling via 3ds Max and Maya) you should also invest in other specs.
Memory & Ram: For those of you who have tried to deal with photogrammetric or complicated 3D projects, you would know that 8GB of RAM translates into many hours of waiting for the computer to render the model.
Processor: A 2 GHZ Processor or stronger is ideal for AutoCad, but considered the minimum from industry experts I’ve worked with. The high-end processors have a linear correlation as far as perform lag-free with these types of softwares. (source)
Storage: Ideally 1TB or larger is a good choice because the application requires 10GB roughly to download, install, and run on both Mac and Windows. Be sure to have over 20GB of storage available depending on the type of toolset you’re running. The Raster design requires 1GB of space.
When considering a laptop for Autocad, keep in mind there are specialized toolsets that are Windows only. These include different types of AutoCAD softwares:
- AutoCAD Map 3d
- Raster Design,
- Plant 3d.
Disk space requirement for the above software range between 1GB and 20GB.
Finally, top-level professionals like experienced engineers need the best laptops on the market. GPUs like RTX 2070 are simply the only way to cope with this kind of project.
Thus, If you constantly deal with designing mechanical parts, or processes like prototyping and wire framing, you should go for a performance-beast like ASUS Zephyrus.
A graphics card as powerful as the RTX 3070 at minimum for smooth rendering. If this card is not in your budget, a 3d Class video card (1GB memory), and hardware acceleration support is ideal.
See our informative guide on: How do Drawing Tablets Work? – You may prefer a drawing tablet depending on you projects.
Other Devices to Use with AutoCAD
There are a few accessories as well as other devices you can use with an AutoCAD laptop. For example, certain mouses & monitors provide a more comfortable experience when using the software for long periods of time. The best graphic cards for AutoCAD are also discussed.
SpaceMouse Pro 3D: Best Mouse for AutoCAD
The best mouse for AutoCAD and other CAD software will work with Solidworks, Fusion 360, and the works.
In order to determine the best mouse for CAD software, we consulted industry experts and professionals who have been working with a mouse for over a year as well as testing the product ourselves for over a year.
- Software-specific programmable keys.
- The most desired feature is that it is a large, ergonomically designed mouse that fits comfortably in the hand and is comfortable to use.
- Using a wired mouse means you won’t need to replace batteries or recharge them, but it makes your desk look more crowded.
- Has quick view keys
- An intelligent function key rotation toggle key, and 3dconnexion sensor ensure reliablity.
What this has that other mouse models don’t have for Autocad is that you can use custom view keys.
The only downside is the arrangement of the buttons, depending on what your used to. However after a few days I got used to using it. Competitor models include the Logitech MX. If you’re having an issue with one, see How to Fix a Logitech Mx Master 3 Mouse Not working on Mac
BenQ 24 Inch: Best Monitor for Autocad
When using a monitor that is attached to a laptop while you were running auto cad, you will want a clear display with a high resolution. You’ll also want the monitor to have accurate color based on the type of cat work that you are performing.
It can be tough to find something in your budget because this type of software is highly visual, but the ben Q provides quality that feels affordable.
- Generally, BenQ is a great product for AutoCAD users when it comes to displays.
- Color accuracy of the product reaches 100% in RGB and Rec. 2K QHD resolution, 709 color space. The images and videos I create and edit are always highly accurate when I use these parameters.
- It is also impressive to note that this monitor model offers CAM and animation modes. You may find this feature useful if you are a graphic designer of any type.
- An external monitor like the benQ works wonders when you need a workstation for autoCAD.
In addition to its ergonomic design, eye-protecting blue light mode, and many other impressive features, the BenQ product won me over and poses minimal disadvantages outside of the cost.
Best Graphic Card for AutoCad
There are graphic cards that are suitable for Autodesk products such as AutoCAD. However there are certified video cards for specific software’s. You’ll need to check if the laptop you choose has the proper graphics card is supported for AutoCAD.
The AMD Radeon Pro VII, W5500, W5700, 3100 are just to name a few that are confirmed working from AutoCad. Certain Nvidia Quadro models also work.
Any one of the three GPUs listed above would be a good option as an AutoCAD graphics card.
There are several different products from AutoDesk with varying requirements, as you will see in the system requirements. For example, AutoCAD architecture has slightly different requirements than Plant 3D in general.
How to use a laptop for AutoCAD
You’ll want to first be sure your laptop is the operating system that is compatible with not only autocad, but also applications and drafting software you plan to use simultaneously.
If you’re an architect you may also be using Sketchup and other related CAD softwares. Designers, Architects, engineers, civil design professionals, will likely be using Autodesk and industry-specific AutoCAD toolsets on their laptop.
You’ll want to first download the software, install it, then follow the onscreen guide. After this , you can finally begin drafting.
Sketchup vs AutoCAD: Which is easier to use?
Both SketchUp and AutoCAD are considered easy-to-use by professional designers and architect students. Based on our studies, most users agreed that both SketchUp and AutoCad are ideal for its specific, intended purposes
Autocad’s focus is to be used for daily projects that require a 2D drafting environment. However, with Sketchup Pro, users can access a 2D drawing environment titled ‘LayOut’ which appears to ultimately be used as a complete architecture tool for drafting, For standard 2D drafting, Autocad was the simpler of the two tools to use from our hands-on experience.
SketchUp is a popular 3D modeling design tool. It’s especially good for architects and builders because it allows you. Autocad does offer a wide variety of tools, but many people find SketchUp’s tools easier to use when it comes to 3D modeling of building & structures.
For more on this, you can view the best laptops for sketchup to see which laptops suit your needs, as well as comparisons and expert opinions.
How we tested & picked the best laptops for Autocad
We Tested processor speed, memory, graphics card, and harddrive, cooling vents & even ports.
In our tests, we found that laptops with 2GHz processors or stronger, as well as 8GB minimum memory, were ideal for working with cad and Autocad.
For those who plan to use Autocad simultaneously with apps like Maya or Blender (or 3d Animation) a processor that is stronger than 2GHz is ideal. This is because it is common for artists to multi-tas (ex. with many internet browser tabs open, music playing, etc).
- As a consequence, we gave slightly higher ratings to those with stronger processors.
- As industry experts explain, laptops with long lasting batteries, good audio, and powerful graphics cards should naturally be rated higher.
- It was also considered and rated accordingly if a laptop had an HD display or a display with a high resolution. On the other hand, if it lacked the recommended graphics card of 1GB memory and 3d Class video card, we rated that computer or laptop lower for Autocad.
Availability for ports (such as a Micro SD Card port) was also considered since some laptops do not include these types of ports anymore and expect you to have an adapter.
As we are familiar with the previous version, the models which have evolved from that are rated higher on a reliability scale of the list since we know what to expect from big name brands, and less from newer brands without much credentials.
Overall, the top laptop for using autocad will be more powerful than the average laptop because you’ll need to handle more demanding tasks that require drafting 3d models, designing visual floor plans or architecture designs, and even engineering focused work.
Sometimes gaming laptops can also be used for CAD designer work and can handle these requirements, but there are other options as well depending on how much you want to spend and what operating system you prefer.
In most cases, Windows is ideal for designing and drafting. This is because the Microsoft Windows operating system has a wide range of compatible applications that are specifically created for AutoCAD & drafting designs on a laptop.
For more complex designs that are professional level, many experts recommend to grab the most powerful laptop that your budget affords rather than get the minimum requirements since you’ll likely be using the laptop for many days straight for years to come.