Although, it isn’t hard to purchase laptops for general productivity tasks, identifying the right one for intricate tasks such as 3D modeling could be difficult. It requires experience and familiarity with the latest tools and popular applications. That’s why we interviewed 67 CAD professionals to make this list.
When it comes to understanding the preferences and requirements of CAD professionals and 3D modelers, it is necessary to take Revit, AutoCAD, 3D Max, Modo, Lightwave 3D, Maya, Solidworks and other software into consideration. Each one of the mentioned applications and software sets is precisely designed to handle 3D modeling like a charm.
For these industrial-grade tools for performing to their potential, it is necessary to opt for a device that features an excellent GPU and obviously a powerful CPU. While a good GPU is necessary to minimize the pressure on the processor, you must not undermine the importance of a visually empowering display to initiate most 3D modeling tasks with ease.
Although it is always advisable to go for a larger screen, you must concentrate on higher refresh rates, i.e. something in the ballpark of 144Hz or more, to process frames faster than usual. That said; never let a mediocre display act as a deal-breaker as you can always pair external units if the machine comes with a Thunderbolt 3.
Besides GPU, SoC, and Display, there are quite a few aspects that you need to consider before purchasing a workstation that’s fit for 3D modeling. You must opt for a device with a higher portion of RAM and an excellent storage unit that is both fast and sizeable, at the same time. Lastly, you must prioritize a portable device with a slimmer chassis, to remain productive, even when on the move.
- Minimum & Recommended System Requirements
- Best Laptops for 3D Modeling in 2020
- 1. Best Workstation: HP Zbook 15V G5
- 2. Best For CAD: Lenovo ThinkPad P71
- 3. Best Gaming Laptop for 3D Modeling: Asus ROG Zephyrus M
- 4. Best For Battery Life: Razer Blade 15
- 5. Best For CPU Rendering: Asus ZenBook Pro Duo
- 6. Best For Professional Work: MSI P65 Creator
- 7. Best 4K Laptop For 3D Modeling: Gigabyte AERO 15
- 8. Best Under Budget: MSI GS65 Stealth-006
- 9. Best with 17-inch Display: Dell G7 17
- 10. Best For Thermal Management: Acer Predator Helios 300
- 11. Best with NVIDIA GTX 1650: Lenovo IdeaPad L340
- 12. Best For Beginners: Microsoft Surface Book 2
- Frequently Asked Questions
- The Verdict
Minimum & Recommended System Requirements
|Minimum System Requirements||Recommended System Requirements|
|CPU||Intel Core i7||Intel Core i7 or better|
|RAM||16GB||16GB or better|
|Storage||512GB SSD and/or HDD||1TB SSD or Dual Storage|
|Display||15.6-inch FHD IPS (1920 x 1080)||15.6-inch 4K UHD IPS (3840 x 2160)|
|GPU||NVIDIA GeForce GTX with 4GB VRAM||NVIDIA Quadro with 2GB+ VRAM|
|Battery||Up to 4 Hours||Up to 8 hours|
Best Laptops for 3D Modeling in 2020
|HP Zbook 15V G5|
|Lenovo ThinkPad P71|
|Asus ROG Zephyrus M|
|Razer Blade 15|
|Asus ZenBook Pro Duo|
|MSI P65 Creator|
|Gigabyte AERO 15|
|MSI GS65 Stealth-006|
|Dell G7 17|
|Acer Predator Helios 300|
|Lenovo IdeaPad L340|
|Microsoft Surface Book 2|
While some of the most demanding software units for 3D modeling and CAD already list out their recommended system settings before installation, this list includes machines that are highly compatible with all the 3D modeling software.
Our experts have evaluated around 57 different laptops based on the complex set of requirements and demands, put forth by 67 professional designers and modelers, we interviewed. After an in-depth research and testing here’s a final list of 12 best options.
1. Best Workstation: HP Zbook 15V G5
If you seek an insanely powerful and perfectly balanced workstation, it’s time to give the HP Zbook 15V G5 a try. Although this is a dream laptop for the 3D modelers, it is the 3TB storage capacity that stands out from the rest.
Firstly, the performances are determined by the Intel Core i7-8750 CPU that can be turbo clocked up to 4.10GHz. It also comes with a 9MB cache that readily minimizes the access times for important tasks. In case you’re looking for a more powerful processor, consider getting a laptop that comes with Intel i9.
It is the Quadro P600 GPU from NVIDIA that makes GPU-intensive 3D modeling possible while supporting the likes of Otoy Octane renderers. The existing GPU is clubbed with 4GB of built-in VRAM.
In terms of flash memory, you get 16GB RAM whereas the dual-storage unit on this workstation is probably the most advanced in the market. HP brings forth a 1TB SSD and a 2TB HDD unit for handling any kind of storage requirement associated with professional 3D modeling. For the best results, you must install the 3D modeling applications on the SSD partition (as it’s faster than the HDD storage module.)
The 15.6-inch FHD display looks great and complements the already beefed up specs sheet. The multi-touch support further improves the productivity of this powerful workstation. Many modern 3D modeling software come with touch support these days thereby the touch display shall be very helpful.
HP brings forth a backlit keyboard, minimalistic touchpad clubbed with fingerprint reader, an HD webcam, integrated microphone array, and built-in B&O speakers. Besides that, this workstation also flaunts a highly durable chassis. In terms of port management, you get access to three USB 3.1 ports, solitary Thunderbolt 3 port, and a host of other legacy outputs.
The existing battery offers a 5-hour backup which is still quite standard for a professional workstation. Therefore, it wouldn’t be wrong to consider the HP Zbook 15V G5 as the perfect gadget for product managers and architects who need to work with AutoCAD, Solid Edge, and other tools for finalizing 3D models and renders.
- Powerful GPU that makes 3D rendering a walk in the park
- Dependable processor for CPU-GPU cohesion
- Brilliant storage module
- Exceptional build quality
- Perfect device for high-end professional work like clash detection, construction planning, and more
- Underwhelming display
2. Best For CAD: Lenovo ThinkPad P71
If you are looking for a massive, killer workstation that sits on the desk and doesn’t need to be carried around much, the ThinkPad P71 from Lenovo is worth considering.
Driving the same is a powerful Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor with a base clocking speed of 2.8GHz. However, Lenovo ditches the NVIDIA GTX and RTX units on this one for the CAD-optimized Quadro M620M GPU clubbed with 2GB VRAM. While this graphics unit isn’t meant for gaming, OpenGL 4.5 and DirectX 12 compatibility make it the best bet for 3D modeling and rendering.
With 512 CUDA cores to work with, this gadget can also handle CGI and DCC requirements with considerable ease. In terms of memory, you get access to 16GB RAM. There is a dual storage unit at the helm with a 128GB SSD and a 500GB HDD module. It is advisable to install the Windows 10 Pro OS and the 3D modeling applications on the SSD storage for faster output.
The 17.30-inch screen is perfect as a workstation, featuring an overall display resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. The Matte IPS panel also boasts of decent viewing angles and a standard refresh rate.
Lenovo adds to the productivity with a backlit keyboard with precision technology at the helm. Besides that, you also get a decent touchpad clubbed with a fingerprint scanner for added security. The company also packs in a 720p webcam and a decent set of speakers.
From a structural point of view, this ThinkPad weighs a mere 7.3 pounds which is quite light for a 17” device. Lenovo also features a generous gamut of ports with 4 USB 3.0 Type-A and 2 Thunderbolt 3 slots to account for. Legacy video connections are supported by HDMI and Mini DisplayPort. The powerful battery lasts up to 6 hours which is quite commendable considering the nature of the tasks.
- Task-Centric Quadro GPU from NVIDIA
- Decent processor
- Dual storage unit
- A handy set of ports
- Slower SSD as compared to other models
- Not meant for users seeking portability
3. Best Gaming Laptop for 3D Modeling: Asus ROG Zephyrus M
The inclusion of the all-encompassing ROG Zephyrus M is always expected, if we are considering high-end gaming and 3D modeling. While you might find the RAM support a bit basic for the existing set of requirements, the gadget performs just fine courtesy of an advanced specs sheet.
The existing 9th Gen Intel Core i7-9750H SoC brings in six cores and a turbo clocking speed of 4.5GHz. While it supports multithreading for handling Auto CAD and other demanding applications with ease, the show-stealer is the powerful GeForce RTX 2070 GPU from NVIDIA. The existing GPU clubbed with 8GB VRAM is capable of supporting viewport rendering that involves GPU accelerometer.
The 16GB RAM support is conventional but highly resourceful. Asus takes care of the storage requirements with the 1TB PCIe solid-state unit (Fact: PCIe is the fastest type of SSD).
The 15.6-inch 1080p display is great to look at. However, ASUS eliminates motion blur and response issues completely with the 240Hz 3ms refresh rate on display. The quality of the existing IPS panel is further amplified by the 6.2mm ultra-slim bezels.
The already empowered ROG Zephyrus M also features a highly innovative backlit RGB keyboard. In addition to that, Asus also features a responsive and intuitive touchpad that allows you to change between different work profiles and scenarios, including the Silent mode, Turbo mode, and the balanced mode.
The structural innovation is exemplary with Asus featuring an anti-dust cooling technology, clubbed with heat pipes and enhanced cooling fans. This gadget weighs a mere 4.4 pounds and even flaunts a metallic chassis. The port management is pretty exhaustive with the company offering USB 3.1 Gen 1, Gen 2, and other essential output slots.
The battery life at 4 hours isn’t great and you would want to remain plugged in if there are deadlines to be adhered to. Besides existing system settings, you also get integrated speakers, HD webcam, and standard microphones. To sum things up, the ROG Zephyrus M is an excellent device with a more than powerful GPU at the helm.
- Decent processing conglomerate
- Portable and slim chassis
- No screen jitters while handling demanding tasks
- Vivid display with more than 144Hz refresh rate
- Heats up a lot
- Underwhelming battery
- Lacks Thunderbolt 3 port
4. Best For Battery Life: Razer Blade 15
Here is another feature-packed device capable of running demanding 3D modeling applications, renderers, and tools with seamless ease. The Razer Blade 15 boasts of excellent processing performance and even shelters a pretty standard battery.
As mentioned, the performances are commendable with the Intel Core i7-10750H capable of attaining turbo clocking speeds of up to 5GHz. 3D modeling on platforms like ANSYS works like charm as this device is capable of handling CPU-intensive simulations and tasks with ease.
The GeForce RTX 2070 GPU with 8GB of VRAM support is equally powerful. Software units like Blender that prefer CUDA cores run smoothly with this graphics processing unit at the helm. If you still feel that the GPU is not enough, consider getting a RTX 2080 laptop.
Razer brings forth 16GB RAM that is capable of handling multitasking with ease. Besides that, the 512GB SSD unit is fast, expansive, and capable of booting up the supplied Windows 10 OS faster than usual.
In terms of display, the 15.6-Inch Matte panel is great for 3D modeling courtesy of the 144Hz refresh rate, 10% sRGB palette, and an overall resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. Apart from that, the company throws in an RGB backlit keyboard clubbed with a host of other specs in touchpad, webcam, microphone array, and speakers.
This aluminum-clad device is exceedingly slim at less than 0.80-inch. Moreover, the Max-Q NVIDIA graphics design allows the company to pack in a lot of hardware without compromising on portability. Razer offers USB Type-C, Type-A, and Thunderbolt 3 ports followed by enviable Gig Ethernet support and Wi-Fi 6 connectivity standards.
The existing battery offers a 6-hour backup, making it one of the best gadgets on the list, especially when CPU and GPU intensive 3D modeling, CAD, and rendering are concerned.
- Powerful, multi-core CPU
- Resourceful GPU
- Excellent display
- Excellent port arrangement
- Intuitive thermal design
- Underperforming RAM support for 3D rendering
- Inadequate storage support for professionals
5. Best For CPU Rendering: Asus ZenBook Pro Duo
If you seek power, precision, and performance all at once, the ZenBook Pro Duo from Asus is the perfect gadget in the market. Despite the high-end gaming intensive hardware, it is the dual-display module that gets most of the attention.
The Intel Core i9-9980HK CPU is a the fastest processor for 3D modeling. While the 9th gen Intel chipsets offer a decent base clocking and significant turbo clocking speeds, the availability of 8 processor cores is enough to handle demanding modeling and rendering tasks.
Besides the turbocharged clocking speeds of up to 5.0GHz and multithreading technology, the machine also stacks in a powerful NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 GPU with 6GB of VRAM. This unit helps you run complex CAD applications like CATIA and Maya better besides assisting seamless 3D renderers that make use of the GPU accelerometer.
Most 3D modelers work on massive data sets and this is why the 32GB RAM support on this device is expected to work wonders. Moreover, final renders and 3D files can take up a lot of disk space. This is why Asus brings forth a 1TB SSD unit that even loads the Windows 10 OS, faster than expected.
Asus ZenBook Pro Duo comes equipped with two 4K touch panels. For starters, the 15.6-inch primary display offers 3840 x 2160 pixels in total and features a 60Hz refresh rate. The 14-inch ScreenPad plus brings 3840 x 1100 pixels to your attention and features a matte-screen to optimize multitasking further, especially when graphics-intensive tasks are concerned.
The company also brings forth several functional tweaks, including the advanced, LED illuminated keyboard, intuitive ScreenPad Plus with the palm resting support, a decent set of speakers, enhanced webcam, and a microphone array. This powerful gadget also flaunts a notable thermal cooling design to minimize heat generation.
Asus ZenBook Pro Duo is a perfectly designed workstation-centric laptop, weighing a mere 5.50 pounds. Despite packing in a lot of hardware, the gadget is still quite sleek and can be carried around with ease. The existing set of ports and connectivity options, including USB 3.1 Gen 2, HDMI, and Thunderbolt 3 allows you to pair additional displays with faster refresh rates with ease.
Other heartening specs include the Wi-Fi 6 support followed by the support for Accelerated Ray Tracing, courtesy of the CPU-GPU cohesion. The device seems to be underpowered in the battery department with the module capable of offering only 4 hours of steady backup.
Overall, this gadget from Asus is a perfect bet for the 3D modelers and CAD experts courtesy of an exceptional processing conglomerate and the unparalleled ability to run demanding software and renderers.
- Beefy processor
- Brilliant GPU
- Display offers stellar visual experience
- Massive RAM support
- Lower screen refresh rate
- Middling battery unit
6. Best For Professional Work: MSI P65 Creator
If you are specifically interested in 3D modeling and rendering, this gadget from MSI is probably your perfect ally.
To start with, MSI P65 Creator brings forth a powerful Intel Core i7-9750H CPU with a base clocking speed of up to 2.6GHz. Besides that, you also get a feature-packed NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 GPU clubbed with 6GB of VRAM. The excellent processing hardware makes it easier for you to make use of renderers like IRAY that utilize both CPU and GPU firepower for the best output.
MSI offers 32GB RAM which backups up the CPU-GPU combination in the best possible manner. 3D Modelers require sizeable RAM and VRAM support to handle demanding projects followed by the availability of ultra-fast SSD units. Therefore, this device doesn’t let you down and offers a 1TB solid-state storage unit for handling bigger files.
Although you get Windows 10 Pro version as the featured OS, the company offers several additional perks for the creator. These include multiple system modes, ray tracing support for 3D modeling and rendering, AI-Assisted photo enhancements, up-resing, and more.
The 15.6-inch UHD display looks enthralling. The overall screen resolution at 3840×2160 pixels makes way for sharper viewing angles. MSI also features the anti-glare technology which minimizes the ocular straining. The company also allows you to decode 8K videos via the REDCINE-X Pro graphics support.
Other highly innovative specs include a backlit keyboard, integrated gesture-determining touchpad, powerful HD webcam, built-in speakers, and an integrated microphone array. Despite being crafted meticulously using industry-grade aluminum, this durable workstation still weighs more than 8 pounds. The port arrangement is pretty holistic as well with the gadget flaunting USB 3.1 Type-A slots, Thunderbolt 3 port, and other legacy outputs.
The 8-hour battery backup is more than decent, especially if you are into 3D modeling with applications like Maya, Corona, Otoy, and more constantly draining the system. Overall, this is more than a competent device for indulging in CAD and other graphic-intensive tasks.
- The Six-Core Processing muscle is worth taking note of
- Excellent GPU
- Decent RAM support
- Excellent Visuals
- Competent Battery
- Integrated fingerprint reader
- Middling speakers
- Heavier than usual
7. Best 4K Laptop For 3D Modeling: Gigabyte AERO 15
For professionals seeking power without compromising on mobility, the Gigabyte AERO 15 is the best device to consider. While its appearance in this list automatically validates the 3D modeling compatibility, it is the exceptional display that is actually the scene-stealer.
At the helm, you get the Intel Core i7-9750 CPU that makes high-end processing and CPU-intensive task easy to initiate. The base clocking speed of 2.6GHz can be turbocharged, if and when required. The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 GPU is a force to reckon with and is faster than any GTX module in the market. Graphics-intensive modeling, shading, and up-resing are made easier with the 6GB VRAM.
The AERO 15 packs in 16GB RAM that works in tandem with the processor. In terms of storage, you get the ultra-fast, 512GB SSD module. The storage space, however, can be expanded, if necessary. Gigabyte features Windows 10 Pro as the existing operating system.
The 15.6-inch 4K display panel is responsive and boasts of the DisplayHDR technology. The existing AMOLED screen also makes way for a cumulative resolution of 3840×2160 pixels. Besides that, Gigabyte boasts of the 100 percent DCI-PC3 color gamut followed by the 1ms response time for blur-free working and viewing experience. The X-Rite Pantone display technology further amplifies the visuals.
Other specs include the high-end RGB Fusion, backlit keyboard followed by a responsive touchpad with fingerprint access. Besides that, Windows Hello integration makes it easier to interact with the device. Gigabyte keeps up with the productivity by pairing stereo speakers and a powerful webcam into the mix.
This gadget weighs 8.65 but can still be considered portable courtesy of the sleekness on display. The thermal cooling layout is exceptional and flaunts the super cool 2 technology for keeping heat dissipation on the lower side. When it comes to the connectivity, not many gadgets can match up to the three Thunderbolt 3 and 3 USB Type-C ports on offer.
Other legacy outputs are also available in addition to Wi-Fi 6 and Gig Ethernet support.
Gigabyte flaunts a class-leading battery with 8-hours of extended backup. The Azure AI helps you optimize performances and save battery according to the nature of indulgences. Overall, AERO 15 is smart, powerful, and the most perfect device for content creation and 3D modeling.
- Long-lasting battery
- Dependable processor
- Exceptional GPU
- Enthralling AMOLED display
- Innovative cooling
- An excellent conglomerate of ports
- On the heavier side
- Built-in storage capacity isn’t adequate for pro designers
8. Best Under Budget: MSI GS65 Stealth-006
When it comes to efficient and productive 3D modeling, designers usually rely on MSI notebooks. One such device is the GS65 Stealth-006, featuring an extraordinary lineup of relevant, graphics-supportive specifications.
Powering the laptop is the Intel Core i7-8750 processor with a base clocking speed of 2.2GHz. However, the device brings forth a powerful NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 GPU with 6GB of VRAM, capable of handling graphics-intensive modeling and viewport rendering with ease. For instance, if you are into animations, this device will certainly be a handful.
The existing GPU flaunts the Turing Architecture which aids in better CAD and 3D modeling. The hardware makes sure that programmable shading, ray tracing, and AI-centric Up-resing is handled with precision.
The memory support is offered by the 16GB RAM, which is upgradeable, if and when deemed necessary. The 512GB SSD unit is fast and loads the Windows 10 OS faster than some of the other high-end gadgets in the market.
The 15.6-inch display is perfect for 3D modeling courtesy of the refresh rate of 144Hz. The existing 1080p panel also boasts of the anti-glare technology which minimizes the pressure on your eyes.
This gadget also flaunts a handy, backlit keyboard followed by a responsive touchpad. Be it the speaker set or the innovative HD webcam, MSI leaves no stone unturned when it comes to improving laptop productivity.
The GS65 Stealth-006 is a portable notebook that weighs a mere 4.19 pounds. Despite packing in the Whirlwind fans and brilliant thermal hardware, the gadget is still quite sleek and easy to carry around. In terms of the port arrangement, MSI brings USB 3.1 Type-A, Thunderbolt 3, and other slots into the mix.
The battery on display offers 8-hours of backup. Therefore, the MSI GS65 Stealth-006 is one of the more portable laptops in the market that can support 3D modeling sans lags or hiccups.
- Excellent battery
- Dependable processing unit
- Extraordinary NVIDIA GPU based on Turing architecture
- Revolutionary set of ports
- Prone to heating
9. Best with 17-inch Display: Dell G7 17
Your liking for 17” workstations brings another resourceful gadget to the limelight i.e. the Dell G7 17. For starters, this is an extremely powerful device that is perfect for CAD illustrations, 3D modeling, and even intricate graphic designing.
Powering the same is the Intel Core i7-9750H CPU with a commendable base clocking speed of up to 2.6GHz. The hexa-core architecture makes it a good fit for CPU-intensive 3D modeling tasks. Besides that, you also get 12MB of cache memory which is also a handful when it comes to faster processing. The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GPU is on-board with 6GB VRAM support. This module is precisely designed for content creation and can easily handle graphics-intensive 3D rendering.
Besides the turning shading prowess associated with the GPU, the device also brings forth 16GB of RAM and an ultra-fast 512GB SSD storage unit. The 17.3-inch IPS screen is a commendable addition, featuring a cumulative display resolution of 1920×1080 pixels. With a display quality of 300-nits, this is one of the more vibrant gadgets on our list, albeit with a larger screen real-estate.
Dell focuses on productivity and therefore features a standard backlit keyboard with RGB compatibility. Besides that, there is a responsive touchpad integrated along, followed by HD webcam, dual speaker system, and powerful microphones. Other specs include the availability of the dual-fan setup for efficient cooling. Note: The in-built HD webcam isn’t suitable for high-quality video conferencing or decent video calling, we recommend you to purchase a webcam.
This is a durable gadget weighing 7.28 pounds to be exact. Besides that, Dell packs in USB Type-A, HDMI, and the important Thunderbolt 3 port for accentuating the overall functionality. The battery on this device lives up to the expectations and offers a 6-hour backup, upon heavy usage.
Overall, the Dell G7 17 isn’t the best-looking device in the market but it certainly does the job of handling professional 3D modeling responsibilities with ease.
- Decent GPU with Turing Architecture
- 12MB cache memory for faster processing
- Dependable processor
- Decent screen
- Exceptional screen real-estate for the professional 3D modelers
10. Best For Thermal Management: Acer Predator Helios 300
The Acer Predator Helios 300 from Acer is one of the best gadgets for 3D modeling when most consider it as a gaming device. Be it high-end 3D modeling applications like 3D Max, Maya, and Revit, this gadget has the processing firepower to handle modeling and renderers with seamless ease.
The Intel Core i7-9750 processor makes room for faster modeling courtesy of the turbo clocking speeds that can reach up to 4.5GHz. The load on the chipset is significantly reduced by the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GPU that is clubbed with 6GB of VRAM.
Acer features 16GB of RAM which makes processing easier for the concerned SoC. Most of the modern-day applications involved in 3D modeling use multiprocessors which eventually make way for faster renders. Therefore, sizeable RAM support is necessary.
Moreover, the final models require a lot of storage space and Acer takes care of the same with the 512GB SSD unit. The existing ultra-fast storage unit also loads the Windows 10 Pro OS faster than usual.
The 17.3-inch 1080p display is more of a visual treat. However, there are no lags and motion blurs as the IPS panel features a refresh rate of 144Hz followed by an excellent overdrive response of 3ms. Acer also makes room for the 72 percent color gamut, thereby making way for sharper viewing angles.
Other innovative specs include the 4-zone RGB-powered backlit keyboard followed by the innovative Predator Sense console that allows you to modify fan speed, profiles, and the overclocking frequency based on requirements. Apart from that, Acer also features integrated speakers, powerful webcam, interactive touchpad, and an efficient array of microphones.
The gadget looks durable and is still quite portable at 6.39 pounds. In addition to that, Acer also features an innovative cooling technology, powered by the AeroBlade 3-Dimensional Fan. The port management is pretty intuitive with the company featuring USB 3.1 Gen 2, Gen 1, and other functional slots for improved productivity. The existing battery boasts of a 6-hour backup.
Overall, the Predator Helios 300 from Acer deserves a special mention, courtesy of the powerful GPU, and an interactive display that is best suited for free-flowing 3D modeling and other forms of computer-aided design.
- Responsive GPU with 6GB VRAM
- Dependable processor
- 144Hz refresh rate on a sizeable display
- Decent battery backup
- Innovative cooling tech
- Boring design
- The display isn’t the brightest
11. Best with NVIDIA GTX 1650: Lenovo IdeaPad L340
Based on popular public opinion and the inference of our experts, the Lenovo IdeaPad L340 is probably the best laptop to run AutoCAD on. Moreover, it wouldn’t be wrong to assume that if you are into using other high-end CAD tools or 3D modeling platforms, this laptop will perform as per expectations.
For starters, the Intel Core i7-9750 processor is a stand-out performer, capable of reaching turbo clocking speeds of up to 4.5GHz. The multi-core processor supports multithreading and is perfect for CPU-intensive tasks. The SoC is well-assisted by 12MB of cache memory and the intuitive NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 GPU and 4GB of VRAM support.
The 16GB RAM lends ample support to the processor. The Dual SSD+HDD module takes care of the storage requirements. When it comes to the processing platform, Windows 10 Home edition is at the helm.
The 17.3-inch display is an excellent inclusion for the 3D modelers and computer-aided designers. Besides that, the IPS panel brings forth the anti-glare technology, thereby allowing you to work relentlessly without putting additional strain on the eyes.
Lenovo also features a backlit keyboard followed by a highly responsive touchpad. You also get two 1.5W speakers on this gadget followed by an HD webcam with a dual-microphone array. Despite packing in powerful hardware, this gadget is still quite portable at 6.13 pounds. In terms of port management, the company incorporates USB 3.1, Type-C output, and a host of other functional slots.
The existing battery unit offers a steady backup of up to 5.5 hours which further adds to the credibility of this device. Without a doubt, the IdeaPad L340 is a potent selection, especially when working with AutoCAD and other relevant tools.
- Excellent processor
- Dual-storage module
- Decent battery
- Multi-core processor with 12MB of built-in cache
- Lack of a Thunderbolt port
12. Best For Beginners: Microsoft Surface Book 2
If you had enough of the bulky gadgets for 3D modeling, it’s time to consider something sleeker in the Microsoft Surface Book 2.
Powering the device is the multi-core Intel Core i7-8650U processor with a base clocking speed of up to 1.9GHz. Despite the average base clocking speed, this 2-in-1 performs as per expectations courtesy of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 GPU. Besides that, you also get 6GB VRAM; thereby making this one of the best devices in the market for 3D viewport rendering.
Microsoft brings in 16GB RAM which assists the multi-core processor with 3D modeling and allows you to handle high-end applications from Autodesk and ANSYS with ease. However, it is still safe to say that this device mostly supports basic 3D modeling and CAD indulgences. Storage requirements are perfectly handled by the 512GB SSD unit which also makes sure that the Windows 10 OS loads as quickly as possible.
The PixelSense 15-inch display with multi-touch support is one of the more powerful additions, making way for sharper visuals. The existing PixelSense technology is exceedingly bright and makes way for excellent color reproduction.
Content creation is now easier than ever with this gadget featuring a removable backlit keyboard. Microsoft sweetens the pot further for the 3D modelers with a responsive touchpad at the helm. Besides that, you also get high-end speakers, a handy webcam, and an integrated microphone for improved productivity.
Microsoft Surface Book 2 is one of the most aesthetic gadgets on our list weighing a manageable 4.20pounds. There is no dearth of connectivity specs with the Surface Book 2 throwing in four USB Type-C ports for increasing the functionality. However, it is the battery that stands out, courtesy of the 17-hour backup.
Surface Book 2 is playful and powerful at the same time, best suited towards handling basic 3D modeling tasks.
- Brilliant aesthetics
- Excellent battery backup
- Sizeable storage unit
- Vibrant display
- Functional GPU
- Lower base clocking processor
- Not meant for high-end modeling involving SolidWorks, Lumion, and more
Frequently Asked Questions
Although there are several features like display refresh rate, GPU, and more, the most prior attribute has to be the CPU albeit with a higher base and turbo clocking speed. Improved clocking speeds help you unlock the hidden features and performances of the CPU, which assist with better animations, 3D modeling, and computer-aided designs.
In most cases, a gaming laptop is a good choice for basic 3D modeling and rendering. However, when it comes to handling high-end AI-assisted rendering or viewport rendering, even gaming laptops can fall behind, in terms of power, OpenGL and DirectX compatibility, and lack of upgradeability.
In most cases, professional 3D artists prefer at least 32GB RAM, especially when poly-meshes, complex rendering, ray tracing, and other intricate activities are concerned. However, for professionals who are looking to start with 3D modeling or basic forms of graphic designing, 16GB will also suffice.
Despite similar architecture, Quadro GPUs feature additional computational muscle as the drivers are designed to suit graphics-intensive 3D modeling. GeForce cards, including RTX and GTX, are powerful but mostly restricted to gaming indulgences. Quadro cards are workstation standard units, mainly used by production managers, architects, and other 3D modelers.
Selecting the best laptop or workstation for 3D modeling isn’t as easy as it seems. You need to take care of several aspects while understanding the technical superiorities and inadequacies of select processing modules before moving ahead with the selection.
- If you want to set all speculations aside and concentrate on an all-encompassing device, the Asus ROG Zephyrus M is a pretty competent selection.
- For workstation seekers, HP Zbook 15V G5 is a perfect choice.
- Moreover, if you are looking for a bigger screen real-estate without compromising on performance, readily opt for the Dell G7 17.
- Last but not least, if you are novice and new to 3D modeling and CAD, a portable convertible in Surface Book 2 is also up for grabs.
Let us know which one are you getting?