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page title icon Best Laptop for AutoCAD 2020

| Updated on March 1, 2020

When it’s crunch time, AutoCAD drafters need to have the right tools for the right project. That includes a good laptop. You may think that laptops aren’t powerful enough for the high-intensity demands of the AutoCAD software.

We had to search low and high, but we found the ASUS ZenBook Pro and four other high-performance machines that make the grade – and they’re portable enough to travel with. Read on to learn how we narrowed down the field.

ASUS ZenBook Pro UX501VW-US71 15.6-Inch...
  • 15.6" Touch IPS 4K Ultra­-HD display, 3840 x 2160 resolution
  • Powerful Intel Skylake Core i7­-6700HQ 2.6 GHz Quad­core CPU (turbo to...
  • 512GB SSD with transfer speeds of 1400MB/s and 16GB DDR4 RAM

How we chose the best laptop for AutoCAD

For most CAD designers or drafters, the ideal working condition is in an air-conditioned office at a comfy workstation with two spacious monitors.

But in the course of your work, you might be required to travel or go out into the field. You’ll need a robust, feature-heavy laptop to accommodate AutoCAD’s demanding functions, so that you can keep up your productivity and not fall behind on your workload.

As you know, AutoCAD and similar drafting software has specific requirements, and you need a laptop with high performance.

CAD files are big, and produce high-demand and complex layered graphics. And even navigating through all the software tools requires a spacious screen size.

We’ve reviewed several laptops in conjunction with the AutoCAD system requirements, and we have found that the following features are most important.

  • Memory
  • Graphics Card
  • Processor
  • Screen Size
  • Battery Life
  • We determined this final list by combing through dozens of reviews, both by users and by well-respected reviewers and bloggers.

    Then we looked at how each of the key features matched up. Using these methods we were able to narrow it down to our top five.

    And because most of us are on a budget, we made sure the features each laptop offered were worth the price.

    The five best laptops for CAD drafters

    Here’s a list of the five best laptops for AutoCAD:

    The most important consideration when choosing the best CAD laptop

    AutoCAD and other drafting software are notoriously demanding, especially in terms of RAM. You need sufficient RAM to operate the software and render 2D and even 3D graphics successfully and without excessive downtime.

    Also, you’ll definitely need it if you plan to multitask and switch between multiple programs running at once. 8GB of RAM is recommended, but for the best possible performance we’d recommend 16GB.

    Other considerations when choosing the best autoCAD laptop

    Graphics Card

    Whether you’re creating 2D or 3D files, you will be generating large, complex images that could take forever to render, or not render at all.

    A reliable dedicated graphics card is crucial to properly display the files you are creating and viewing.


    Look for a multicore processor that clocks at minimum 3GHz. A lightning fast processor can keep up with the system demands without being overtaxed or burning too hot.

    Only top-of-the-line processors will be compatible with most CAD software. Get a laptop that can provide you with optimal performance and professional reliability.

    Screen Size

    One of the major drawbacks in using a laptop for drafting is the downgrade in your screen size. While laptop screens can get fairly large, you’re still going to have to adjust to working in a more cramped area.

    At minimum you’re going to want a 15” display. You might prefer to have something larger, but then keep in mind you’ll need a special laptop bag to transport it.

    Battery Life

    When you’re hard at work on a project just hours before deadline, the last thing you need is for your battery to go flat with no charger in sight.

    AutoCAD is a hungry beast that loves to suck up battery life. Look for a laptop with a reliable battery and longer life, so that you can work more efficiently and get everything accomplished.

    The best laptop for AutoCAD

    Asus Zenbook Pro UX501VWOur #1 pick was the ASUS ZenBook Pro UX501VW. It has fast and responsive performance thanks to the Intel Skylake i7-6700HQ Quad-Core processor.

    The ZenBook UX501VW has blazing fast PCIe x4 SSD for quick startup, and is equipped with 16GB DDR4 RAM for streamlined and responsive operation.

    Graphic rendering and quality is tremendous on an IPS 15.6” VisualMaster display, with a maximum resolution of 3840×2860. The dedicated Nvidia GTX 960M graphics card effortlessly handles detailed, high-resolution images.

    This ASUS ZenBook Pro is designed to stay cool, with its signature aluminum uni-body design that wards off heat build-up. In addition, a built-in active and passive cooling system is efficient and state-of-the-art.

    The ASUS ZenBook Pro has a long-lasting battery that allows you to work a full workday without having to recharge. In tests this battery has been observed to last 8 hours.

    Besides all these great features, the best thing about the ASUS ZenBook Pro, and the reason it’s at the top of our list, is because it can be had for a very reasonable price. Get all-around tip-top performance that’s easy on your wallet.

    ASUS ZenBook Pro UX501VW-US71 15.6-Inch...
    • 15.6" Touch IPS 4K Ultra­-HD display, 3840 x 2160 resolution
    • Powerful Intel Skylake Core i7­-6700HQ 2.6 GHz Quad­core CPU (turbo to...
    • 512GB SSD with transfer speeds of 1400MB/s and 16GB DDR4 RAM

    The four other CAD capable laptops we tested

    Razer Blade Pro

    Razer Blade Pro LaptopThe Razer Blade Pro is designed to be a gaming laptop, and it looks like one with exciting Chroma lighting behind the keyboard.

    Don’t be put off by the unorthodox styling, as the Razer Blade Pro is billed as a “desktop in a laptop” with powerful and innovative features to make it a true workhorse for the professional user.

    In terms of memory, the Razer Blade Pro comes with 8GB VRAM and 32GB of DDR4 RAM. A 6th-gen Intel Core i6700HQ processor delivers superior flawless performance. It also is available with a 1TB PCI-e SSD.

    Graphics are displayed with an Nvidia GTX 1080 GTU, and the 4K touchscreen display measures 17”, which is just about as big as you’ll find in a laptop. This high-end display provides crisp and high-fidelity images.

    The laptop comes loaded with Thunderbolt, USB, and USB-C ports. All these amazing capabilities come in an ultraslim package that’s only 0.88 inches thick, with a chassis of CNC aluminum.

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    Lenovo Thinkpad P50

    Lenovo Thinkpad P50The Lenovo Thinkpad P50 appears on a number of reviewers’ lists as an excellent AutoCAD laptop. You certainly will have a hard time beating the price on this one.

    Lenovo’s P50 comes with a solid 16GB RAM. This will be more than sufficient to run the AutoCAD programs of your choice.

    The processor is solid, being a cutting-edge Intel 2.8GHz Xeon Processor. This machine also includes a 256GB SSD hard drive. You’ll be able to multitask between different programs, even play simultaneous videos, without noticing any lag.

    The Thinkpad P50 has an Nvidia Quadro M2000M 4GB dedicated graphics card, as well as a 16:9 display at 1920×1080. The screen is 15.6”, which means you’ll have enough room to operate, while still keeping the laptop small and light enough to fit in a standard laptop bag.

    The P50 ThinkPad is wonderfully versatile to connect with all your external devices. In particular, it incorporates HDMI, 3xUSB 3.0, a Thunderbolt 3 input, and Mini DisplayPort. It also supports Bluetooth.

    For improved security, this model comes with a fingerprint reader. One nice feature is that the keypad is spillproof, for those of you who like to down energy drinks while you work.

    Lenovo ThinkPad P50 20En 15.6" Notebook,...
    • Intel Xeon E3-1505M v5 Quad-Core Processor (4 cores, 2.8 GHz up to 3.70 GHz, 8MB...
    • Nvidia Quadro M2000M 4GB GDDR5 | 256 GB SSD M.2 Opal2 | 16GB DDR4 (MAX 32GB)
    • 15.6" FHD (1920x1080) IPS | Backlit Keys | FingerPrint Reader

    ASUS ROG G752VS-XB72K – OC Editionn

    Asus ROG G752VSIf you like ASUS products and have the extra capital, you can spend a little extra and buy this ROG G725VS with more advanced specs.

    This robust system is highly agile and responsive to help you complete your projects faster. In addition, it incorporates a variety of ports and jacks for any add-ons you need to connect.

    Onboard ports include HDMI 2.0, Displayport, Thunderbolt III, USB 3.1-Type C, and mini display port.

    This ASUS ROG G725VS includes a 7th-generation Kaby Lake Core i7 processor. It gives you performance speed improvement over the Nvidia 980 GPU, of up to 10-15%.

    For storing large image, video, and vector files, this system comes with a substantial 1TB HDD.

    The OC Edition of the G725VS comes with 32GB overclocked RAM. Get faster performance and startup, thanks to a 256GB SSD. The Mobile Vapor Chamber has a stylish, futuristic look, and provides effective cooling for performance improvements of up to 6%.

    You’ll have no problem viewing high-fidelity graphics, because this system has an Nvidia GTX 1070 GPU. The high contrast wide panel screen is perfect for displaying large graphics files with clarity and precision.

    ASUS ROG G752VS-XB72K - OC Edition...
    • Latest-generation NVIDIA GTX 1070 8GB Graphics Card, Overclocked Intel Core...
    • Overclocked 32GB DDR4 RAM, 256GB NVMe PCIe SSD + 1TB 7200RPM HDD
    • 17.3” FHD 1920x1080 G-SYNC Display with 178-degree viewing angles. Powerful...

    MSI WS72 6QI-026US

    MSI WS72 LaptopThe WS72 from MSI is an exceptional workstation that packs a lot of robust functionality into a lightweight frame. Enjoy incredibly fast and responsive operation, powered by an Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor that clocks at 2.6 GHz.

    16GB DDR4 RAM should allow you to work with most files without any performance lag whatsoever. You’ll notice significant improvements to workflow performance and data processing in multiple applications.

    The MSI WS72 Workstation comes with a 128GB SSD and 1TB SATA drive, in addition to a 1024GB hard drive.

    Super Raid 4 delivers amazing speeds to get your system and programs running within seconds. It’s double the speed of the previous generation. So you can be sure it can cope easily with opening and storing your largest files.

    This MSI portable workstation incorporates an Nvidia Quadro m1000M Graphics Card. The 17” FHD IPS display is roomy enough for navigation and produces high-fidelity graphics without stuttering or lag. You can work comfortably thanks to the screen’s anti-glare quality.

    The MSI WS72 stays cool and your system won’t be stressed even in high-demand conditions. The dual fan cooling system is intelligently designed to reduce and redirect heat.

    MSI machines are recognized by major ISVs who specialize in 3D modeling, and praised for system compatibility with a wide variety of specialized software such as AutoCAD.

    MSI WS72 6QI-026US 17.3" SLIM AND LIGHT...
    • Intel Core i7-6700HQ 2.6 GHz
    • 16GB (8G*2) DDR4 2133MHz
    • 1024 GB 7200 rpm Hard Drive

    The bottom line

    An investment in a top of the line laptop is an investment toward your professional future. To really deliver for your clients and coworkers, you’ll need a laptop with state-of-the-art features.

    Choose any of the laptops on this list, and you can trust them not to fail at the wrong time – like just before a deadline.

    Our top pick was the ASUS ZenBook Pro for its stupendous capacity, ultra-powerful processor, and well engineered components that combine to give you the best possible AutoCAD experience at a reasonable price.

    But you have to know it was a very difficult choice. Any of the laptops in our top five will perform in the most demanding of conditions.

    We’d just recommend that you double check your flavor of AutoCAD for the system requirements, to make sure the laptop you want will work.

    If you’re on a budget and need to keep it affordable, you can make do with the bare minimum. But if you’ll be spending a lot of time in AutoCAD, particularly 3D rendering or multitasking, go ahead and aim a little higher.

    The trade-off will be worth it for the improved productivity and efficiency of your workflow. Get more done in less time – that’s what leads to a satisfied client.

    ASUS ZenBook Pro UX501VW-US71 15.6-Inch...
    • 15.6" Touch IPS 4K Ultra­-HD display, 3840 x 2160 resolution
    • Powerful Intel Skylake Core i7­-6700HQ 2.6 GHz Quad­core CPU (turbo to...
    • 512GB SSD with transfer speeds of 1400MB/s and 16GB DDR4 RAM

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