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9 Best Laptops for AutoCAD (Designers Guide) 2021

9 Best Laptops for AutoCAD (Designers Guide) 2021

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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. 

These laptops for autocad are tested and aimed to meet your requirements for CAD related tasks such as floor plans, sculptures, mapping roads, experimental art and much more. 

Your requirements of the right autocad laptop may vary based on your requirements, which I will go over in greater detail throughout this post.

In this post I’ll go over the benefits of the best laptops for AutoCad as well as the disadvantages certain models may pose. We’ve tested and compared each model to provide a comprehensive buyers guide.

At a Glance – Top Picks

Below are our top laptops for AutoCAD:

  1. ASUS ProArt StudioBook Pro: Best Laptop for Autocad Professionals
  2. Asus ROG Strix Best AutoCad Laptop for Designers (Overall most affordable)
  3. Acer Nitro 5: Best Budget Laptop to Run Autocad
  4. Lenovo Ideapad 3 Best Lenovo Laptop that can run Autocad
  5. Dell G7: Best Dell Laptop for AutoCad
  6. Asus Zephyrus: Best Laptop for Autocad & Gaming (Engineers)

How to Choose a Laptop for AutoCAD

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. 

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Most AutoCAD 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. 

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 AutoCAD 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.

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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. 

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. Thus, 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) CPU.

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 wireframing, you should go for a performance-beast like ASUS Zephyrus. 

1. Asus ROG Strix: Best AutoCad Laptop for Designers (Overall)

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.

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 all AutoCAD 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. 

Related: 9 Best Laptops for Architecture Students

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. 

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, 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. 

Battery: 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.

Related: 7 Best Desktops for Computer Science (Students and Professionals)

2. Acer Nitro 5: Best Budget Laptop to Run Autocad

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’

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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). 

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. 

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.

3. Lenovo Ideapad 3 Best Lenovo Laptop that can run Autocad

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.

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.

Performance: The latest Ideapad 3 has multiple versions, from which we recommend the most advanced one, with 20GB of RAM. However, the 12GB RAM option is also a great choice, suitable for beginners who don’t expect to run super-large, heavy 3D projects. 

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. 

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). 

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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. 

4. ASUS ProArt StudioBook Pro: Best Laptop for Autocad Professionals

ASUS ProArt StudioBook Pro_ Best Laptop for Autocad Professionals

While reviewing laptops for AutoCAD, this ASUS ProArt laptop simply proved to be the best. 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. 

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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.  

5. Dell G7: Best Dell Laptop for AutoCad

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 & RAM: 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. See more on this: 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.

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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.

6. Asus Zephyrus: Best Laptop for Autocad & Gaming (Engineers)

Asus Zephyrus_ Best Laptop for Autocad and 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’ 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.

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. 

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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.

7. MSI GS65: Best Laptop for CAD work (3d modeling, drafting)

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.

8. ASUS Tuf: Best Laptop for Autocad (Beginners)

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: 9 Best Laptops for Architecture Students [Buyers Guide]

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.

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. 

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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.

9. MSI GF75: Best Cheap laptop for Autocad (Students)

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). 

Thus, if you are a student and you frequently use modeling software like AutoCAD and the Adobe Suite for your class’s needs, this is a great laptop for you. 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. 

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.

Although this laptop is heavier and bigger than its competitors, its design is amazing and the device looks amazing. If you consider a premium, comfortable screen more important than portability, then GF75 is the perfect choice for you. 

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. 

On a good laptop for autocad, you’ll be able to draft your designs much quicker with less delay, lag, and frustration. So, which is the best laptop for autocad? Choosing one with the minimum requirements below will help you solve this problem. 

The absolute minimum requirement of a laptop for autocad is as follows:

  • 16Gb Ram for multitasking.
  • i7 processor or better to handle CPU intensive tasks
  • Battery life over 7+ hours
  • 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. If you’re doing more of drawing related tasks on a touchscreen laptop, than check out our post: Best Stylus Pens for Touch Screen Laptops | 2021

How to use a laptop for AutoCAD

How to use a laptop for AutoCAD

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 autocad, install the application by following the onscreen guide, and then finally begin drafting.

Sketchup vs AutoCAD: Which is easier to use?

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.

Conclusion

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.