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page title icon Best Laptop for AutoCAD: My Top 9 Picks and An In-Depth Buyer’s Guide

By
| Updated on November 16, 2021

Choosing a laptop that can handle AutoCAD can become a chore thanks to the countless options available. My guide will help you find YOUR best laptop for AutoCAD!

With countless options available, finding the best laptop for AutoCAD can become more of a chore. From mobile workstations to gaming machines, how do you know which machine will perfectly fit your needs?

I’ll answer that question for you in this guide I wrote. So don’t worry.

First, I’ll take you through my list of best laptops. After that, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know about finding the right one. Let’s go!

The 9 Best Laptops for AutoCAD

Best Laptop for AutoCAD: My Top 9 Picks and An In-Depth Buyer's Guide
Image feature: Autocad; HP, Lenovo

I’ll jump straight into it and show you the 9 best laptops for AutoCAD.

1.) ASUS ProArt StudioBook Pro X – Best Laptop for AutoCAD

ASUS ProArt StudioBook Pro X

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I’m kicking my list off with my top pick among the best laptops for AutoCAD, the ASUS ProArt StudioBook Pro X. This powerful mobile workstation was made specifically for professional use.

AutoCAD professionals – whether it’s professional designers or architects – will have MORE THAN ENOUGH power to handle all their 2D to 3D modeling tasks.

The size of your projects won’t matter because of the power this workstation has, it can handle them like it’s nothing!

Laptop Specifications:

  • Processor: Intel Core i7-9750H (Up to 4.5 GHz) to i9-9980HK (Up to 5.0 GHz)
  • RAM: 16GB to 64GB DDR4 Memory
  • GPU: Nvidia Quadro RTX 3000 to Quadro RTX 6000
  • Storage: 1TB+1TB to 2TB+2TB PCIe NVMe SSD with RAID 0 with Physical TPM chip
  • Display: 15.6 to 17 inches; Full HD to 4K UHD

Other Features:

  • Connectivity: LAN and Wi-Fi; HDMI, USB-C Thunderbolt 3
  • Controls: ScreenPad 2.0
  • Build: MIL-STD 810G military-grade durability

My Overall Thoughts

Based on its specifications alone, you know you get top-of-the-line hardware. What makes it even better is you’re confident in its long-term use thanks to its military-grade durability!

The choices of processors available are all capable of handling AutoCAD tasks with ease. With each having a high clock speed, your workflows will be handled more swiftly and efficiently!

Its RAM capacity is also a key component of its performance. Not only can it run AutoCAD, but it can even run very demanding software alongside it!

As for another clincher, your dedicated graphics card choices are all high-tier. You get professional-grade GPUs that can manipulate tasks like 3D modeling, rendering, and editing without issue!

Let’s not forget your high-speed storage.

Loading up applications, files, and transferring data can be done in a flash!

As for the display, it can comfortably fit all your desired tools and interface options. This laptop even has a ScreenPad 2.0 that makes navigation more convenient!

Overall, you can’t go wrong with choosing this powerful machine. The only downside is, being a top-tier machine, it costs a lot!

ASUS ProArt StudioBook Pro X Mobile...
  • 17.0'' Full HD 16:10 ratio panel (1920*1200) 4-Way NanoEdge matte display; 97%...
  • Intel Xeon E-2276M Hexa-core Processor 2.8 GHz (12M Cache, up to 4.7GHz) with...
  • NVIDIA Quadro RTX 5000 16GB GDDR6 VRAM - RTX Studio Ready

Pros

  • Made for professional use
  • Extremely durable
  • Uses top-of-the-line hardware

Cons

  • Most expensive option

2.) MSI WF65 10TI-444 Mobile Workstation – Best Value Laptop for AutoCAD

MSI WF65 10TI-444 Mobile Workstation

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The second option on my list of candidates for the best laptop for AutoCAD is quite affordable and even, a lightweight mobile workstation from MSI.

In fact, I think it offers any user the best value among the best laptops on my list!

The MSI WF65 10TI-444 is a cheaper alternative for professionals in need of workstation-level performance. It’s a sleek and stylish machine too!

Laptop Specifications:

  • Processor: Intel Core i7-10750H (Up to 5.0 GHz)
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4 Memory
  • GPU: Nvidia Quadro T1000
  • Storage: 512GB NVMe SSD
  • Display: 15.6 inches; Full HD
  • Weight: 4.10 pounds

My Overall Thoughts

Getting an Intel Core processor that can maintain clock speeds of 5.0GHz at an affordable price is a HUGE STEAL.

Once you experience smooth workflows and seamless drafting or editing, you’ll know the price you paid is worth it!

Its RAM capacity is perfect for multitasking and running other applications alongside AutoCAD. You’ll be able to maximize productivity and efficiency with this machine!

A professional-grade GPU is no joke. Graphics-card-intensive textures and tasks won’t be a problem with the MSI WF65. You’ll even be able to work on large to industry-level 3D modeling!

As for storage, you get a nice high-speed SSD. 512GB may not be enough though, especially if you have other applications installed and your files are for huge projects. Getting a storage upgrade would be ideal.

But What About the Display?

You’ll have the perfect size of 15.6-inches and an ideal full HD resolution. Working around your interface will be comfortable, you’ll even be able to fit in some of your preferred tools!

What’s most impressive about this mobile workstation is its weight. 4.10 pounds is very light for a workstation. Carrying this thing around won’t hurt your back or your shoulders!

Other Features:

  • Connectivity: LAN and Wi-Fi; Bluetooth
  • Aesthetics: White backlit keyboard

You have your typical connectivity options, which is great. As for aesthetics, you get a stylish white backlit keyboard giving your workstation a look that’s akin to a gaming machine!

Sale
MSI WF65 10TI-444 Mobile Workstation...
  • 15.6" FHD (1920*1080), IPS-Level 60Hz 45%NTSC Thin Bezel | NVIDIA Quadro T1000...
  • Intel Core i7-10750H 2.6 - 5.0GHz | Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201(2*2 ax)
  • 16GB (8G*2) DDR4 2666MHz, 2 Sockets; Max Memory 64GB | 512GB NVMe SSD

Pros

  • Affordable option
  • Extremely durable
  • Has a large display for a budget laptop

Cons

  • Can reach high temperatures

3.) Acer Nitro 5 – Best Budget Laptop for AutoCAD

Acer Nitro 5

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If you’re a bit strapped for cash, the Acer Nitro 5 is a laptop I highly recommend. I know it’s a gaming laptop, but that doesn’t make it any less capable of handling demanding software like AutoCAD.

It’s a cheap laptop that combines performance, a bit of style, and has a decent battery life perfect for instances where there aren’t any power outlets close by.

Even students taking CAD classes can afford this budget laptop!

Laptop Specifications:

  • Processor: Intel Core i5-9300H (Up to 4.1 GHz) to i7-11800H (Up to 4.6 GHz)
  • RAM: 8GB to 16GB DDR4 Memory
  • GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 to RTX 3050Ti
  • Storage: 256GB to 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD
  • Display: 15.6 to 17.3 inches; Full HD; 144Hz refresh rate
  • Battery Life: 8 hours

Other Features:

  • Connectivity: LAN and Wi-Fi
  • Aesthetics: Backlit keyboard
  • Cooling: Acer Cool Boost technology; twin fans and dual exhaust ports

My Overall Thoughts

The selection of processors is impressive. With the high clock speed each of them have, it can easily handle drafting and editing.

The Acer Nitro 5 is even CHEAPER than most laptops offering the same CPU!

In terms of RAM, 8GB is understandable when you’re on a budget. That’s enough for AutoCAD though.

Just watch out for other applications running in the background to avoid slowdowns. If your budget allows it, upgrade it to 16GB!

Its graphics card selection is also no joke for the price you pay. It has enough video memory to handle medium to large-size projects. It’s also more affordable than premium laptops with the same GPU!

This laptop features high-speed SSD storage too. Booting up your laptop, launching applications, and loading files will be quick!

Its display is also perfect for working comfortably. It can easily fit any user interface or tool customizations you want!

If keeping your laptop cool for long work sessions is a concern, don’t worry. It may be a budget option, but cooling isn’t an issue. Acer’s Cool Boost Technology ensures your machine’s steady temperatures!

The only downside is it’s not the most powerful laptop. If you’re handling larger industry-level projects, I recommend saving up for something more powerful!

Acer Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop, 9th Gen...
  • 9th Generation Intel Core i5-9300H Processor (Up to 4.1 GHz)
  • 15.6 inches Full HD Widescreen IPS LED-backlit display; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650...
  • 8GB DDR4 2666MHz Memory; 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD (2 x PCIe M.2 slots - 1 slot open...

Pros

  • Budget-friendly
  • Good for medium to large projects
  • Offers latest hardware

Cons

  • Lacks power for larger industry-level work

4.) Lenovo ThinkPad P15s Gen 2

Lenovo ThinkPad P15s Gen 2

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Are you looking for an option that strikes a middle ground between CAD workstations and budget laptops? If so, the Lenovo ThinkPad P15s Gen 2 is what you’re looking for!

This is the ideal laptop for any AutoCAD user who needs a workstation-level machine, but can’t afford to spend as much money.

It provides enough power to handle 2D and 3D modeling and the price is pretty reasonable!

Laptop Specifications:

  • Processor: Intel Core i7-1165G7 (Up to 4.7GHz)
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4 Memory
  • GPU: Nvidia Quadro T500 4GB
  • Storage: 512GB PCIe OPAL2 SSD
  • Display: 15.6 inches; Full HD
  • Battery Life: Up to 10+ hours

Other Features:

  • Connectivity: LAN and Wi-Fi
  • Display: Anti-glare
  • Security: Fingerprint reader

My Overall Thoughts

Its processor offers enough power to handle drafting and editing with ease. Intel’s Turbo Boost Technology helps maintain its clock speeds too!

Now, let’s talk RAM capacity.

You can run whatever applications you need alongside AutoCAD, and you won’t run into any issues multitasking!

Its GPU is no joke either. It’s enough to handle GPU-intensive tasks, especially for medium to large-scale projects.

And let’s not forget its high-speed storage that helps you load all your applications and files swiftly.

Its capacity of 512GB may not be enough though, especially for professionals who work with larger-scale CAD projects. Upgrade it if you can!

Its display is also quite comfortable to work with. Its size and resolution are sufficient, you even have an anti-glare screen that allows you to work in bright environments!

The Best Part?

The battery life is what I love the most about it though. Lasting for up to more than 10 hours, it has enough to get you through a full work day!

If you’re worried about security, there’s no need to worry! Only you can have access to this laptop thanks to its fingerprint reader. This biometrics security system will alleviate all your fears!

Lenovo ThinkPad P15s Gen 2 15.6" FHD...
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-1165G7 (4C / 8T, 2.8 / 4.7GHz, 12MB)
  • Memory: 16GB DDR4 3200; Storage: 512GB PCIe OPAL2
  • Display: 15.6" FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS, anti-glare, 300 nits; Graphics: NVIDIA...

Pros

  • Affordable workstation-level laptop
  • Easily handles medium to large CAD projects
  • Has added security features and excellent battery life

Cons

  • May need more storage for users who work with large and numerous CAD projects

5.) Acer Predator Helios 300

Acer Predator Helios 300

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Based on my previous recommendations, it should be obvious by now that gaming laptops are actually a great option for running AutoCAD. That’s why I have the Acer Predator Helios 300 next on my list.

It’s one of the best laptops for AutoCAD, especially for any CAD user who wants a machine that can cater to both their work and their hobby. It easily fits your 2D and 3D modeling needs, it even lets you scratch that gaming itch of yours!

Laptop Specifications:

  • Processor: Intel Core i7-10750H (Up to 5.0 GHz)
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4 Memory
  • GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060, RTX 2070 Max-Q, or RTX 3060
  • Storage: 512GB NVMe SSD (2 x M.2 slots; 1 slot open for easy upgrades)
  • Display: 15.6 to 17.3 inches; Full HD; 144 to 240Hz
  • Battery Life: Up to 6 hours
  • Weight: 5.07 pounds

My Overall Thoughts

I’ll tackle its processing capabilities first.

With its clock speed, getting AutoCAD to run smoothly will never be an issue. Being a predominantly single-threaded application, 5.0GHz for AutoCAD is more than enough!

You can also see that I’m recommending another machine with 16GB of RAM. It’s the obvious choice, especially if you work with other applications besides AutoCAD!

But What About Graphics Card Choices?

All three are more than capable of handling the GPU-intensive functions of your AutoCAD software. It has more than enough power for mid-range gaming at high refresh rates!

Storage will probably be your main concern. Having only 512GB is enough for ONLY AutoCAD.

If you’re going to install games though, consider purchasing additional storage. Thankfully, the Helios 300 comes with an additional M.2 slot!

Working with the display isn’t a concern either. Its size and resolution are enough to comfortably work with AutoCAD. It even has high refresh rates for a smooth gaming experience!

As for its downside, this laptop’s battery life isn’t enough to get you through a whole work day. Although I would like to point out that this laptop is a bit lighter than mobile workstations!

Other Features:

  • Connectivity: LAN and Wi-Fi; Bluetooth; HDMI 2.0; USB 3.2 Type C
  • Aesthetics: 4-Zone RGB Backlit Keyboard
  • Cooling: 4th Generation All-Metal AeroBlade 3D Fan

Other features like multiple connectivity options offer you some flexibility. You can easily plug this machine into external peripherals if the need arises! You can work with larger displays for a better view of your layout viewports!

Having a backlit keyboard just adds a bit of style to this machine. Its AeroBlade fan also maximizes airflow to keep your laptop cool!

Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop,...
  • 10th Generation Intel Core i7-10750H 6-Core Processor (Up to 5.0 GHz) with...
  • Overclockable NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 with 6 GB of dedicated GDDR6 VRAM
  • 15.6" Full HD (1920 x 1080) Widescreen LED-backlit IPS display (144Hz Refresh...

Pros

  • A good option for an AutoCAD user who also wants a laptop for gaming
  • Can handle large to industry-level work
  • A little lighter than workstation-tier laptops

Cons

  • Battery life isn’t so impressive

6.) Lenovo Laptop: IdeaPad 3 14

Lenovo Laptop: IdeaPad 3 14

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If you’re looking for a CHEAP laptop, this is probably as low as the price can get.

Out of all the laptops on my list, the Lenovo Laptop: IdeaPad 3 14 is the cheapest option I can recommend with enough power to run AutoCAD.

There’s a catch though. I only suggest going for this Lenovo laptop if you’re limited to working ONLY on 2D CAD work. I’ll elaborate more on this below.

Laptop Specifications:

  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 5500U (Up to 4.0 GHz)
  • RAM: 8GB DDR4 Memory
  • Integrated GPU: AMD Radeon 7 Graphics
  • Storage: 256GB SSD
  • Display: 14 inches; Full HD

Other Features:

  • Connectivity: LAN and Wi-Fi; Bluetooth
  • Display: 4-side narrow bezels
  • Cooling: Intelligent thermals; Q-control for adjustable performance

My Overall Thoughts

In terms of processing power, you won’t have any problems.

Honestly speaking, its clock speed is decent for running AutoCAD. AMD Ryzen is also a reliable brand for maintaining a high clock speed.

What’s going to limit you to doing 2D work is it only features integrated graphics. You won’t have a dedicated GPU that can better handle 3D modeling!

Plus, given its price point, you’re only limited to 8GB of RAM. It won’t be able to smoothly run AutoCAD alongside additional applications!

If you’re worried about storage, don’t worry. Your 256GB SSD storage is enough to host your 2D work.

With the display, you’ll have to deal with not being able to fit all the tools and interface changes you want on-screen. It’s still workable, just not as comfortable or efficient as larger screens.

Overall, it may not be the most powerful laptop, I still recommend this to any AutoCAD user more focused on using its 2D versions. A bonus upside is this laptop stays cool and quiet as you use it!

Sale
Lenovo IdeaPad 3 14 Laptop, AMD Ryzen 5...
  • Powerhouse performance from AMD Ryzen 5 5500U mobile processor, 8GB DDR4 RAM,...
  • The IdeaPad 3 14-inch laptop has 4-side narrow bezels that let you see more of...
  • Quieter and cooler with intelligent thermals, plus you can calibrate performance...

Pros

  • Cheapest option
  • Perfect for those who only need it for 2D AutoCAD work
  • Efficient and silent cooling

Cons

  • Cannot handle 3D modeling

7.) Microsoft Surface Book 3 

Microsoft Surface Book 3

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Most laptops that I’ve covered so far are heavier options with powerful hardware. This one’s a little different.

The Microsoft Surface Book 3 is a 2-in-1 laptop for users looking for lightweight portability and the design flexibility a touchscreen provides.

It’s not the most powerful option, but it’s enough for 2D to light 3D modeling!

Laptop Specifications:

  • Processor: Intel Core i7-1065G7 (Up to 3.90 GHz)
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4 Memory
  • GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660Ti
  • Storage: 256GB SSD
  • Display: 15 inches; UHD
  • Weight: 3.62 pounds
  • Battery Life: Up to 17.5 hours connected to keyboard base

My Overall Thoughts

I’ll be honest and tell you that the processor isn’t the most impressive option on this list. However, it’s enough to take care of mostly 2D and light 3D work.

As for its RAM capacity, it’s enough for multitasking. This option is perfect for designers who run other editing software alongside AutoCAD, like Adobe Photoshop for example.

Its graphics card is also enough for the tasks it will be focusing on. An Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660Ti is more than enough for small to medium 3D projects. 2D work, on the other hand, won’t be a problem!

As for storage, 256GB is fine if you’re focused on the 2D side of AutoCAD. If you’re working on some 3D projects, you might want to find something with more space, especially if you have other applications installed.

The display size provides you with adequate space to work comfortably. As for its resolution, it’s quite high, to be honest. You’ll have crisp and clear images, but your tools and interface might seem a bit small.

It will take some getting used to.

Its weight and battery life is what’s most impressive. Weighing only 3.62 pounds, carrying around this laptop is easy. As for its battery backup, it can last you for a little more than two work days!

Other Features:

  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi; Bluetooth
  • Display: Touchscreen
  • Security: Face authentication

This device has your typical connectivity options.

Its touchscreen is what makes it stand out. Designing, editing, and other creative tasks will be more flexible. As for security, there won’t be any worries with its face authentication feature!

Sale
NEW Microsoft Surface Book 3 - 15"...
  • Most powerful Surface laptop yet, with quad-core powered, 10th Gen Intel Core...
  • Fastest graphics on Surface, powered by NVIDIA GTX GeForce GPU.
  • Power when you need it. Up to 17.5 hours battery life[1] — plus improved...

Pros

  • Lightweight and portable
  • Touchscreen provides designers more flexibility
  • Impressive battery life

Cons

  • Lacks power for heavier AutoCAD work

8.) ASUS TUF Gaming F17

ASUS TUF Gaming F17

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The ASUS TUF Gaming F17 gives the Acer Nitro 5 a run for its money as the best budget option on my list.

At the end of the day, the price difference is why it didn’t make the cut.

That doesn’t take anything away from this machine though. You can still easily choose this as the best laptop for AutoCAD, especially if you’re on a budget! Think of it as an ALTERNATIVE to the Acer Nitro 5.

Laptop Specifications:

  • Processor: Intel Core i5-10300H (Up to 4.5 GHz)
  • RAM: 8GB DDR4 Memory
  • GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650Ti
  • Storage: 512GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
  • Display: 17.3 inches; Full HD

My Overall Thoughts

The Asus TUF provides you with a powerful processor that can smoothly run AutoCAD. It’s a viable option for handling workflows with high CPU usage!

Its RAM capacity may hold it back a bit though.

With only 8GB, running any applications alongside it may be an issue. Multitasking could be a bit slow, so a RAM upgrade will do you good!

The available graphics card is quite decent. A GTX 1650Ti can handle 2D to 3D modeling. For tasks that are more hardware-intensive though, like large industry-level projects, it might have a bit of trouble.

Storage isn’t much of a problem. 512GB is quite enough for small to large 2D and 3D AutoCAD files. If you work with numerous projects and applications though, you might want to get a bigger SSD.

As for display, the Full HD resolution is already the standard you get in gaming machines. What’s impressive is the larger 17.3-inch display that makes working more comfortable!

Other Features:

  • Connectivity: LAN and Wi-Fi; Bluetooth; HDMI 2.0b; USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type C
  • Build: MIL-STD-810H military standard construction

For connectivity, you get your typical selection of options a gaming machine has, and connecting it to external peripherals is easy. What’s EYE-CATCHING about the Asus TUF is its durability.

Built with military-standard toughness, this machine will last you a looong time. This makes it an ideal choice for the best AutoCAD laptop!

ASUS TUF Gaming F17 Gaming Laptop,...
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Ti 4GB GDDR6 Graphics up to 1585MHz at 80W TGP
  • Quad-core Intel Core 15-10300H Processor (8M Cache, up to 4.5 GHz, 4 cores)
  • 17.3” Full HD (1920x1080) IPS-Type display

Pros

  • Affordable option
  • Extremely durable
  • Has a large display for a budget option

Cons

  • Can reach high temperatures

9.) Dell Gaming G15 5510

Dell Gaming G15 5510

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My last pick is one of the best laptops for people looking for a mid-range option. It also strikes a nice balance between performance and price!

The Dell Gaming G15 5510 is a gaming laptop, but that doesn’t mean it can’t run AutoCAD. In fact, it’s perfectly fine for it. It packs enough power to handle larger projects!

Laptop Specifications:

  • Processor: Intel Core i7-10870H (Up to 5.0 GHz)
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4 Memory
  • GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060
  • Storage: 512 GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD
  • Display: 15.6 inches; Full HD; 120Hz refresh rate

Other Features:

  • Connectivity: LAN and Wi-Fi; Bluetooth 5.1

My Overall Thoughts

For the price you pay, getting a nice 10th-generation Intel Core i7 that can maintain a clock speed of up to 5.0 GHz is definitely a bargain.

Say goodbye to worrying about workflows slowing down because of high CPU usage!

As for RAM, its capacity of 16GB allows you to run some applications alongside AutoCAD.

A laptop that can provide you with multitasking capabilities at a decent price is always a STEAL! Just make sure your other applications aren’t as memory-hungry.

You also get a great dedicated graphics card which is a good fit for most AutoCAD laptops. It can handle both your 2D and 3D modeling tasks with ease. It packs enough power to work with industry-level projects too!

Your storage option is also nothing to scoff at. Its read and write speeds ensure efficient loading times and data transfer.

Its Only Drawback?

If you work with huge projects and other applications, is you may need additional storage for your files. If you can afford to spend a bit more, try to upgrade your SSD storage!

As for its display, you won’t have any issues. It has just the right size and resolution to work with AutoCAD comfortably!

Dell Gaming G15 5510, 15.6 Inch RTX 3060...
  • 15.6 inch FHD (1920 x 1080) 120Hz 250 nits WVA Anti- Glare LED Backlit Narrow...
  • 10th Generation Intel Core i7-10870H (16MB Cache, up to 5.0 GHz, 8 cores)
  • 16GB 2933MHz DDR4 , 512 GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD

Pros

  • A mobile workstation available at a still-affordable price range
  • Has enough power to handle industry-level projects
  • Fast storage option

Cons

  • May lack storage space for those who work on huge projects

A Guide to Finding the Right AutoCAD Laptop

Now that you’ve seen my list of the best laptops for AutoCAD, let me take you through how you can choose the right one.

I’ll give you a short brief about the different types of CAD software first, then I’ll talk about laptop-specific information.

Different Types of CAD Software

AutoCAD is a term that actually covers different products from Autodesk. Each of them has different system requirements and focuses on either 2D or 3D capabilities.

For 2D and 3D CAD Work: AutoCAD

You probably know this version of AutoCAD already. This is the typical, also original, version that lets you design and model 2D and 3D objects.

It’s probably the most well-known and widely used CAD software, but there are versions designed for more specialized uses.

For 2D CAD Work

These are the 2D varieties of CAD software.

AutoCAD LT

This is a lighter variety of the previously mentioned AutoCAD. It allows for modeling a

nd designing ONLY in 2D.

AutoCAD Electrical

The name speaks for itself. This version of AutoCAD is a 2D CAD software mostly used for circuit design. If you’re wondering why it’s 2D, it’s because you only need a 2D rendering of circuitry.

For 3D CAD Work

On the other hand, here are the 3D versions of CAD software.

AutoCAD Architecture

This 3D version of AutoCAD is a bit different. It’s for architecture, yes, but what makes this unique is you don’t have to design everything from scratch like the original AutoCAD.

It provides you with tools made specifically for architectural design. You even have access to ready-made objects (like windows, doors, and walls) to use for your 3D models!

AutoCAD Civil 3D

As its name implies, this version was designed for civil engineering. It’s specifically made for planning roads, bridges, landscapes, etc.

Choosing the Right AutoCAD Laptop Components

Now that you have an idea about the different types of AutoCAD software, it’s time to get into some laptop-specific information.

I’ll cover the different laptop components you should know about before picking your best laptop for AutoCAD.

1. Processor

Your laptop’s processor plays a major role in how AutoCAD performs. It’s mainly what it uses when you’re drafting or editing your design/model. I’ll highlight two main considerations below.

AutoCAD Only Supports Multi-Core Technology in 2D Regeneration

What does this mean?

You’ll only reap the benefits of a processor with multiple cores and threads for this aspect of AutoCAD. So for 2D-related work, more cores and threads are better!

For Better Performance, Choose a Processor With a Higher Clock Speed

This might surprise you, but having a dual-core processor or quad-core processor won’t matter as much as you think. Why is that?

It’s because AutoCAD is a predominantly single-threaded application. With a better clock speed, you’ll have faster workflows and better-performing software.

There’s nothing to worry about though. The best laptops for AutoCAD all have processors that can provide you with the high clock speeds you need!

Processor Tip: Clock speed is measured in GHz. An example would be 2.5GHz which is AutoCAD’s minimum requirement.

2. RAM

This might surprise you, but did you know that Autodesk only recommends 8GB of RAM to run AutoCAD? This includes Mental Ray rendering too!

If you’re wondering why it’s because AutoCAD is actually quite light when it comes to RAM requirements. However, we recommend getting 16GB of RAM as a great starting point.

But Autodesk recommends 8GB… Why tell us to go for 16?

The first thing I’d like to point out is that RAM doesn’t cost too much. Getting 16GB should be relatively light on your budget.

Secondly, most AutoCAD users surely run other applications alongside AutoCAD. You’ll need some RAM for them to run smoothly too!

3. Storage

In terms of storage, there are two types available for you to choose from. You can get either a solid state drive (SSD) or a hard disk drive (HDD). Let me differentiate the two for you.

SSD’s Have Faster Read and Write Speeds

If you have the budget, I recommend getting SSD storage since they’re faster overall. A good idea would be to have it serve as the primary drive for your OS, AutoCAD, and any other projects you’re working on.

Why is that?

It’s because booting up your system, launching programs, and loading files will be a cinch for your laptop since an SSD can read and write data faster!

HDD’s Are Cheaper

SSD’s may be faster, but they’re pricier. If you’re on a bit of a budget, you can save some of your money by choosing a laptop with a hard disk drive!

You can also afford to purchase more storage if you want! The only downside is they’re the slower form of storage for your laptop.

Storage Tip: You can get the best of both worlds by getting an SSD with less storage to host your OS and applications while your HDD hosts all your other files!

4. Graphics Card

To give you a heads up, a dedicated graphics processing unit (GPU) isn’t necessary if you’re limited to doing ONLY 2D designs and models.

However, having a GPU makes a HUGE difference when working on 3D modeling and designing.

To make it easier for you to choose, let me differentiate between two types of GPUs: an integrated GPU and a dedicated GPU.

Integrated Graphics Cards Are Cheaper

The main reason these GPUs are called integrated is that they’re attached to your processor. That also means they share the same memory as your CPU though.

They’re cheaper but weaker. It’s perfectly fine for running AutoCAD, but I’d recommend this option if you’re working with ONLY 2D CAD work.

GPU Tip: If you’re choosing an integrated graphics card, make sure you get at least an Intel i5 or Ryzen 5 APU!

Dedicated Graphics Cards Pack More Punch

A dedicated GPU may be pricier, but it’s the best for graphics-intensive tasks like 3D modeling, designing, and rendering.

This choice is automatic, especially for AutoCAD professionals!

5. Display

A good laptop display is one of the most important aspects of finding the best AutoCAD laptop. Having a great display makes working more comfortable and this also improves efficiency.

I’ll elaborate on a couple of considerations to keep in mind when choosing the ideal display for your laptop below.

A Larger Display is Always Better

This one is an obvious and important aspect of your laptop display. A bigger display means more space for your toolbars, your model, and your design!

I recommend you aim for at least a 15-inch laptop screen. Any smaller will make your AutoCAD workspace cramped! You can even go bigger if you don’t care about portability!

A Higher Resolution Gives You More Flexibility

An HD display is just as important as a larger screen. With it, you can squeeze in a larger part of your user interface next to your workspace. It can even fit more tools!

Having a bigger portion of your interface and more tools on your screen makes accessing commands easier and you can work more efficiently. You’ll be clicking on menus far less!

As for my resolution recommendation, you’ll need at least a full-HD (1080p) display. You’ll have no problem finding one though.

You can also go higher if you want but AVOID a 4K display. AutoCAD hasn’t been properly optimized to work at that resolution yet!

Battery Life

This is more of a consideration for people who work on-the-go most of the time. Having a decent battery backup is most important for long work sessions without any power outlets in close proximity!

AutoCAD Laptop FAQs

This section is just to answer any possible leftover questions you have.

What Specs Should My Laptop Have to Use AutoCAD?

To be honest, AutoCAD’s system requirements aren’t as high as you might think. Here are AutoCAD 2022’s minimum system requirements:

  • Operating System: 64-bit Windows 10
  • Processor: 2.5 GHz
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • Disk space: 10.0 GB
  • Display: 1920 x 1080 resolution with True Color

Which Processor Should I Get for AutoCAD?

If you look at AutoCAD’s minimum system requirements, it doesn’t need heavy processing power to run.

Talking about workstation-level performance though, I suggest going for an Intel Core i7 to i9 or an AMD Ryzen 7 or 9 processor.

It’s a huge jump compared to the minimum specs needed, but these top-of-the-line processors will maximize the performance of your workstation and properly utilize AutoCAD. They can easily handle any other applications running alongside AutoCAD too!

Which CPU Brand Should I Choose for AutoCAD: AMD or Intel?

My honest recommendation would be to go for an AMD-based workstation rather than Intel. If you’re wondering why, here are a few points:

  • AMD Ryzen processors offer more cores and threads which is better for AutoCAD’s 2D functions
  • AMD also offers better value for money
  • Ryzen CPUs can maintain high clock speeds that can easily handle 2D and 3D modeling or designing workloads

The above-mentioned combined make AMD Ryzen ideal for multi-threaded workflows in applications, just like rendering in AutoCAD.

There are, however, other factors that could alter a machine’s performance with AutoCAD such as:

  • Your laptop’s SSD
  • Its motherboard
  • How much RAM it has
  • The dedicated graphics card you went for

Most of my picks actually contradict this bit of advice.

Intel Core processors are some of the most powerful options available, but you’re going to have to part with a huge sum of money to get one!

Summing it up, don’t just look at the processor’s brand or model. Other components also play a role in AutoCAD’s overall performance.

Is a Gaming Laptop Good for AutoCAD?

Most gaming laptops will run AutoCAD smoothly since they’re built with powerful hardware.

Although, on a side note, there are some graphics cards that can run it slow despite their performance on paper.

Most AutoCAD applications support both gaming and professional graphics cards though. Here’s how you can differentiate them:

  • Gaming graphics card brands: Nvidia GeForce & AMD Radeon
  • Professional graphics card brands: Nvidia’s Quadro GPU’s & AMD’s Radeon Pro WX/FirePro lineup

This is where your research should kick in. Make sure you don’t end up choosing a gaming graphics card that can have a bit of trouble with AutoCAD.

As for our recommendation, typically the ideal choice would be a gaming graphics processing unit for home users and a professional graphics card for, of course, professionals.

How Much Storage Does My AutoCAD Laptop Need?

AutoCAD as a software doesn’t really take up much space. It’s actually your projects that will need plenty of room.

Ideally, 256GB should do if you use your laptop only for AutoCAD work. If you have a ton of projects and use your laptop for other things, might as well go for 1TB of storage!

Storage Tip: If you’re going for an SSD and HDD setup, 128 to 256GB on your SSD and 512GB to 1TB on your HHD should do the trick!

How Much Video Memory Should My Graphics Card Have?

Honestly speaking, AutoCAD only benefits somewhat from large video memory. So to answer your question, there’s no concrete capacity you should go for.

However, I’ll introduce you to an AutoCAD feature where your GPU will play a huge role. I’ll first introduce you to AutoCAD’s layout viewports, then I’ll elaborate on what your GPU has to do with them.

Layout Viewports

What you should know about AutoCAD’s layout viewports is that they’re objects that display views of model space. They’re what you create, place, and scale in paper space on your layouts.

Another thing I should point out is you can create one or more of them on each of your layouts. Think of layout viewports as monitors that provide you different views of your models.

The view of the model each of these monitors provides you comes at a scale and orientation that you specify!

Your GPU’s Role

The frame rates of these layout viewports rely mostly on your GPU, but AutoCAD only benefits somewhat from video memory.

What’s more important is actually the combination of your processor’s clock speed and your GPU’s number of cores!

So my honest recommendation is to try to get the best and latest GPU within your budget. The better it is, the more cores, shaders, and video memory it has!

Here are some suggestions based on the size of projects your work with:

  • Small projects: Any dedicated graphics card will do, even if it’s entry-level!
  • Medium to large projects: Mid-range options are your best bet!
  • Larger industry-level projects: Go for mid-range to high-end graphics cards!

Should My Laptop Display Have a Good Refresh Rate for AutoCAD?

When it comes to AutoCAD, your display’s refresh rate isn’t important. Having a decent refresh rate is always good, but there’s no use for high-refresh-rate displays in CAD-based work.

You’ll do fine with a standard 60Hz full HD display. It’s also something you won’t have to worry about since any AutoCAD laptop always has a good refresh rate.

Wrapping It Up: My Winners

You probably know how to find the best laptop for AutoCAD by now, so let me just end this article by – again – going through my top picks.

Best Budget Laptop for AutoCAD – Acer Nitro 5

This one was a no-brainer. Aside from it being absurdly cheap, the powerful hardware you get in this machine will run AutoCAD smoothly.

From 2D to 3D modeling, you’ll rarely experience any issues. Its price is so easy on the budget that I’d even recommend it for both professionals and students!

Best Value Laptop for AutoCAD – MSI WF65 10TI-444 Mobile Workstation

You can’t question workstation-level performance at an affordable price, ever. It still blows my mind there’s a laptop out there that gives you the perfect balance of power and price in one package!

You get top-tier clock speed, a capacity for multitasking, and a professional-grade graphics card in your laptop for AutoCAD. What more can you ask for?

Best Laptop for AutoCAD – ASUS ProArt StudioBook Pro X

Of course, I saved the overall winner for last. Top-tier workstation performance and military-grade durability all in one package.

This machine can guarantee you smooth AutoCAD operation for years to come. Nothing can beat that!

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