8 best Laptops and workstations for CAD software and how to choose one

CAD software’s have gotten more and more demanding and the duties have gotten more resource intensive consuming numerous processing energy and reminiscence. So, depending upon the kind of CAD software and the kind of work you do with it the hardware and software want to be optimized to get the best performance out of your funding.

On this article, I have tried to talk about the importance of processor, reminiscence, storage, and software in your PC and how they impression the performance of your CAD software. We’ve got not included mice on this discussion and we now have a separate article the place you possibly can see our really helpful listing of best CAD mouse.

You can too instantly leap to our advisable listing of best CAD laptops and workstations by clicking right here


It’s the guts of your machine which does all the computing work. Intel collection like i3, i5, and i7 are predominantly used within the shopper grade PC and laptops and Xeon is nearly completely dominant in enterprise/drawing workplaces.

But Intel is just not the one dominant player within the processor market. Extra lately, AMD has made a return to the high-end market with their Ryzen and Ryzen Threadripper CPUs although they’ve yet to turn into a staple in company workstation configurators.

Cores and Threads

The processors include many cores and the velocity with which these cores can perform calculations is referred as clock velocity which is measured in gigahertz (GHz). Single and Twin-core processors are rare now, and commonest processors nowadays have a minimal of four cores with the high-end i7 having 6 cores, Ryzen with 8 cores, and Xeons/Threadripper having over 12 cores and beyond.

The straightforward 3D modeling and drafting software like AutoCAD is usually single threaded, meaning it solely makes use of one core to perform the duty so on this case larger clock velocity is clearly really helpful.

Although Autodesk is constantly creating and rewriting their source code to enable multi-threaded help for extra options, there at the moment are many options inside 2D and 3D CAD purposes which may utilize a number of cores.

However in case you are working with newer rendering software like Vray, Maya or blender then they are usually multithreaded and therefore, in this case, a processor with extra cores can be higher.

Extra cores will permit multiple simultaneous operations and therefore quicker processing. In case of multithreaded software, I might advocate a normal shopper grade quad-core processor with hyperthreading or SMT (simultaneous multithreading). This ought to be enough for virtually all mild to medium CAD workflows.

Nevertheless, should you use simulation software like Ansys or rendering software like Keyshot, you will achieve an enormous benefit from the additional cores which over time will deliver an excellent return on funding for the worth premium of a better finish CPU.

Overclocking in CPU

You may need heard about overclocking, which apparently improves your processor’s performance. but I all the time say to by no means ever overclock a PC that you simply rely on to become profitable i.e. for those who do business venture work on it or if it’s in knowledgeable workplace, I do not advocate overclocking.

It’s an objective proven fact that overclocking will increase the instability of a computer, it doesn’t matter how many stress checks that individual has carried out and passed, an overclock will increase the prospect of the pc utterly crashing.

So, for residence users or students it’s fantastic, however I might by no means advocate a enterprise consumer performs an overclock. The positive factors are sometimes minimal to CAD software and not well worth the danger of dropping work.

Furthermore not all processors help overclocking for instance Xeons are usually not supported for overclocking and all AMD Ryzen based mostly CPUs help overclocking. Additionally, you need to also make sure that your motherboard helps overclocking not solely the processor.

Memory (RAM)

RAM or the bodily reminiscence put in in your PC dictates the variety of and measurement of concurrent packages and datasets you’ll be able to have open at any one time.  As trendy software grows more complicated, the need for extra RAM turns into an element however as all the time, your price range is usually a limitation.

For simple 2D CAD workflows, 8GB RAM ought to be absolutely the minimum you must think about.  For 3D CAD purposes, we all the time advocate a minimum of 16GB RAM.  However as all the time, more RAM will permit you to work with more packages directly and open greater datasets.

If your CAD program requires more RAM than you have got installed then windows redirects the allocation to virtual reminiscence (part of the exhausting disk that is arrange to emulate pc’s RAM) that may permit you to proceed to work, but you’ll discover operations are slower and sluggish.

A standard mistake is to assume more RAM will mechanically make your pc run quicker in every division, this is incorrect.  Extra RAM merely means you’ve gotten more respiration area to work on greater datasets earlier than Windows begins to use the virtual reminiscence.

If in case you have 32GB RAM installed but your packages are only using 9GB RAM, your pc will carry out the same as should you had 16GB RAM installed or 64GB.

RAM have to be matched to be suitable together with your CPU, yow will discover this information in your CPU distributors web site.  RAM may be categorised as DDR3/DDR4 and has a frequency score in Megahertz.

So, my suggestion, on this case, is to think about a minimum of 8GB for 2D CAD, 16GB for 3D CAD, ensure the RAM is supported by your CPU and if attainable purchase giant modules to depart free reminiscence slots in your motherboard for potential future upgrades if required.

Arduous Drive

There are at present two foremost varieties of onerous drives commercially out there, strong state drive(SSD) and exhausting disk drive(HDD). The HDD is the normal choice and it’s usually seen in older laptops in addition to desktops. All trendy laptops and desktops are provided with an SSD, it’s up to the consumer to ensure that they specify it when shopping for.

Mechanical HDD incorporates a metallic disk drive platter and they store knowledge on their magnetic floor which rotates at excessive velocity. The info is immediately read from this fast-rotating disk and in consequence, these drives are clunky, noisy, slower, and much less reliable (due to shifting elements).

SSD addresses the problems faced by HDD and in this case, there are not any shifting elements in SSD hence these are more compact and virtually silent and much more dependable than HDD and obviously have a quicker knowledge switch fee then HDD.

SSDs are usually separated into two classes recognized by the communication bus they use, that being SATA or PCIe. SATA solid-state drives are limited to roughly round 600mb/s knowledge transfer price which is the restrict of the SATA interface, whereas PCIe based mostly strong state drives can read and write at over 2500mb/s.  There are lots of SSD’s available on the market that may learn and write at 3500mb/s too.

Most high-end techniques are default outfitted with an SSD boot drive (the drive where the working system is put in) and I additionally advocate SSD a minimum of for the boot drive of your CAD laptop computer or workstation.

Graphics Card (GPU)

It’s usually thought-about and preached that CAD is one of probably the most demanding graphical workflows and that the very costly and highly effective graphics playing cards (GPU) are designed with CAD in mind.  This isn’t all the time true; nevertheless, it could range based mostly on the seller of the software.

For example, Autodesk CAD purposes graphics engine is heavily CPU dependent.  Performance increases in a linear trend when CPU clock velocity is elevated, with little reliance on the GPU.  Many CAD purposes use the CPU for calculating what ought to be displayed on the display, with the GPU principally getting used for storing texture info in the video memory on the cardboard (VRAM).

Most Autodesk CAD purposes help each the gaming (GeForce & Radeon) and professional (Quadro & Radeon Professional WX/FirePro) graphics playing cards, we usually advocate that house users buy a gaming grade card whereas skilled finish users buy knowledgeable card.

There are lots of other elements to think about when deciding on a GPU i.e. do you propose to use quite a lot of purposes. So, it’s inconceivable to recommend on what to go for, however as a rule for CAD, make sure the GPU has at the very least 4GB VRAM.


When it comes to screens the rule is straightforward, the bigger the higher. I extremely advocate using ultrawide screens for CAD, take a look at the LG 34UC79G for example.  This can be a 21:9 facet ratio and is 1440p mid-way between regular 1080p and 4K.  The display area you get for CAD on a monitor like that is absolutely breathtaking and much better than what 4K at a daily 16:9 ratio can supply.

Widescreen displays are costly and troublesome to justify buying in business environments, however it permits for unimaginable multi-tasking and provides you an insane quantity of CAD modeling or drafting area.

It’s additionally value mentioning that if someone is contemplating a 4K monitor, that decision just isn’t supported by many packages and may end up in very messy dialog packing containers and tiny unreadable textual content.

It additionally requires a much more powerful CPU and GPU as there’s roughly four occasions the number of pixels to send to generate and ship to the monitor.  Though AutoCAD does handle 4K fairly nicely nonetheless I might not advocate 4K for CAD.

Advisable CAD Laptops

As you could have just seen that there’s a lot to be mindful before you determine in your superb sort of CAD hardware and therefore recommending a laptop which is appropriate for all sort of CAD requirements is just ambiguous. So, right here we’ve got prepared some beneficial laptops that are appropriate for most mainstream CAD software with the widespread sort of CAD workflows.

Dell 15.6 inch gaming Laptop computer

This laptop computer has a quad-core Intel i5 processor with 8GB DDR3 RAM and Nvidia Geforce GTX 960M graphics card with 4GB VRAM and 256 GB SSD. It also comes with preinstalled Home windows 10 working system. So, briefly, this can be a full package deal at an reasonably priced worth level and an excellent Laptop for AutoCAD and different 2D/3D CAD software.