As a mechanical engineer, product designer, or construction planner, you must have had a rendezvous with the top-of-the-line software, AutoCAD. Although it is one of the oldest tools for handling computer-aided designs, its efficacy when it comes to 3D modeling, 2D or even basic drawing, drafting, annotations, lighting, edge-shaping, and almost every form of interface customization is unmatched.
If you are looking to purchase a laptop for working with AutoCAD, it is advisable to weigh in all the software requirements, usage of computing resources, and nature of the initiated processes, from the processor perspective.
AutoCAD isn’t just limited to creating 2D and 3D formats, drawings, and models for products and software applications. Instead, it also assists with photorealistic and Mental Ray rendering, 3D navigation, 2D regeneration, and even object storing in databases.
Professional designers often need other software units to work in cohesion with AutoCAD. Although it supports rendering and basic levels of simulations, top-levels professionals who are into production management, designing mechanical parts, prototyping, envisioning bigger infrastructure projects, forecasting project outcomes, wireframing, and more usually resort to VRay, Blender, and Maya for rendering, SolidWorks for advanced 3D modeling, and even KeyShot for high-end simulations.
Moreover, when it comes to choosing the perfect laptop/workstation for software like AutoCAD, you need to concentrate the most on the CPU, especially the number of cores and the clock speed. Next in line is the RAM that offers the requisite breathing space to your applications while allowing them to run in cohesion.
While GPU with sizeable VRAM is necessary, this component comes into the picture only when you are invested in large-scale 3D, Photorealistic, and Mental Ray Rendering (which requires a VRAM having to store multiple textures during the drawing and drafting stage.) Apart from that, a laptop with SSD storage is desirable, followed by a vibrant and sizeable display.
AutoCAD is a professional design, drawing, and drafting tool for architecture professionals, city planners, and engineers, comes with a lot of potentials and therefore, besides the mentioned specs, you also need to take the battery, keyboard, cooling, and other features into account, before zeroing in on the product.
- Minimum & Recommended System Requirements
- 11 Best Laptops for AutoCAD in 2021
- 1. Best Overall: ASUS ROG Zephyrus M Thin
- 2. Best Runner Up: Alienware M15
- 3. Best for CAD & Gaming: MSI GS65 Stealth-483
- 4. Best Value for Money: Acer Predator Helios 300
- 5. Best Workstation for AutoCAD: HP Zbook 15 G5
- 6. Best from Lenovo: Lenovo ThinkPad P52s
- 7. Best with GTX 1660 Ti: Razer Blade 15
- 8. Best with Dual Storage: Dell G5 15
- 9. Best Under Budget: Lenovo IdeaPad L340
- 10. Best for Students: Asus TUF FX505GT
- 11. Cheapest Option: Acer Aspire 5
- Frequently Asked Questions
Minimum & Recommended System Requirements
While the minimum and recommended system requirements proposed by Autodesk i.e. the AutoCAD publisher might be different, our experts have enlisted feature preferences, to ensure optimal performance levels at the lowest possible configuration.
|Minimum System Requirements||Recommended System Requirements|
|CPU||7th Gen Intel Core i5||9th Gen Intel Core i7|
|Storage||256GB SSD||512GB SSD or more|
|Display||15.6-inch HD (1366 x 768)||15.6-inch FHD IPS (1920 x 1080)|
|Graphics||2GB NVIDIA GeForce MX350||4GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650|
|Battery||Up to 4 hours||Up to 7 hours|
11 Best Laptops for AutoCAD in 2021
|ROG Zephyrus M|
|MSI GS65 Stealth|
|Acer Predator Helios 300|
|HP ZBook 15 G5|
|Lenovo ThinkPad P52s|
|Razer Blade 15|
|Dell G5 15|
|Lenovo Ideapad L340|
|ASUS TUF FX505GT|
|Acer Aspire 5|
Every individual uses the existing AutoCAD features based on the skill sets, professional hierarchy, and even the organizational or personal requirements. Our experts have, therefore, handpicked 11 of the best laptops in the market that come with all the AutoCAD requisites while even allowing you to indulge in other productivity tasks using diverse modeling, rendering, and simulation software units.
Before reading on, you must note that we have extensively used each one of the laptops and eventually listed them based on relevance, functionality, productivity, and certainly, the budget.
1. Best Overall: ASUS ROG Zephyrus M Thin
Indeed, top-level professionals, architects, infrastructure planners, and mechanical designers require every possible computing resource to get the most out of the AutoCAD application software. However, if you want an all-encompassing device for the same, without compromising on portability, the ASUS ROG Zephyrus M Thin is the perfect gadget to invest in.
Asus brings forth an Intel Core i7-9750H processor which is extremely capable when it comes to handling the most CPU-intensive 2D and 3D modeling tasks. The Hexa-Core architecture and turbo clock speed of up to 4.5GHz make sure that the ROG Zephyrus M Thin can handle some of the more basic drawing, drafting, database storage, data extraction, 2D annotation, and object layering with ease.
When it comes to the GPU, you get the insanely powerful NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070, which allows you to handle photorealistic and 3D rendering with comparative ease. The real-time and advanced Ray-Tracing capabilities of the concerned GPU clubbed with Intel’s Hyper-threading technology allows you to indulge in Mental Ray rendering, sans issues. The graphics processing unit comes integrated with 8GB VRAM, which can effectively store and process high-end graphics textures with ease.
While 8GB Video RAM might be overkill for most, it comes in handy if you are neck-deep into more advanced applications like SolidWorks and Ansys. Anything that concerns 3D mesh modeling and visualization might bring VRAM into the mix.
When it comes to RAM, you get 16GB of system memory, which is adequate for running multiple datasets and programs, simultaneously. When it comes to storage, there is a 1TB PCIe Solid State Drive to work with, allowing you to load files, application software, and the Windows 10 OS at a faster tick.
Working with AutoCAD on the Pantone-Certified 15.6-inch display feels like a charm. While the existing screen features 1920 x 1080 pixels, it is the 3ms overdrive response time that comes across as a valuable asset if you are handling multiple renders and basic simulations with ease. The IPS panel also exhibits the 100 percent sRGB color gamut followed by a screen-to-chassis ratio of almost 81 percent.
The ASUS ROG Zephyrus M Thin also comes equipped with a durable backlit keyboard, smoothest possible trackpad, powerful speakers, and other productivity specs like webcam and digital microphones. What stands out though is the innovative, low-noise cooling setup, featuring anti-dust technology and 17 percent better airflow as compared to similarly structured gadgets.
The M Thin justifies its name with a sleek metallic chassis. At 4.39 pounds, this isn’t an insanely hefty gadget and can be carried around for ensuring productivity while traveling. When it comes to ports, you get Gen 1 Type-A, Gen-2 Type-A, Gen 2 Type-C with charging support, and other functional data and display centric legacy ports. The existing battery, despite the beefed-up specs sheet, churns out a steady, 6-hour backup.
Overall, the ROG Zephyrus M This is one of the pricier and more powerful gadgets in the market for running AutoCAD. However, with a powerful GPU on-board, occasional gaming, and other forms of content creation are also possible to indulge in.
- Exceedingly powerful H-series processor
- Powerful GPU that supports Ray Tracing
- Comes with a higher number of Tensor and CUDA cores
- Brilliant and sharp display
- Sizeable storage space
- No NVMe support on the SSD
2. Best Runner Up: Alienware M15
The new and improved Alienware M15 is one of the more competent gaming laptops in the market that even doubles down as a handy productivity resource. While the gadget boasts of a pretty expansive specs sheet, it is the intuitive AlienFX UI and creative control center that justifies your inclination towards AutoCAD for all your 2D and 3D drafting, rendering, and prototyping requirements.
At the onset, we have the Intel Core i7-9750H SoC, featuring partial overclocking and Hexa-Core architecture. With six cores to work with, any basic or even more complex AutoCAD application like 2D text customization, data pairing from spreadsheets, creating dynamic blocks for prototyping, and setting geographical locations is possible. Not just that, the Intel H-series chipset turbo clocks at up to 4.5GHz which helps the laptop sustain remarkable CPU-intensive performances for longer stretches.
The GeForce RTX 2060 GPU from NVIDIA is a resourceful addition for the CAD specialists. Be it importing 3D models or envisioning Mental Ray rendering, the Ray Tracing compatibility of the concerned GPU takes care of every professional requirement. Moreover, if you are looking to process more complex textures during 3D drawing, modeling, or rendering, the 6GB VRAM integrated with this consumer-grade GPU comes in handy.
When it comes to RAM allocation, Alienware offers 16GB of the same which is upgradable up to 32GB, provided you have larger datasets, spreadsheets, 3D files, and prototypes to work with. Storage-centric requirements are handled by the 512GB PCIe SSD that comes equipped with fast data and file rendering speeds. In terms of OS, you get Windows 10 Home edition, right out of the box.
The display on the Alienware M15 is enthralling and complements all your professional indulgences, courtesy of the 72 percent NTSC color gamut, and a decent response time of 25ms. The 15.6-inch screen exhibits a display resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, which is a handy resource if you are looking to view the 2D and 3D drawings in the truest possible tone.
DELL makes sure that there is no shortage of productivity-amplifying features, including a durable keyboard, boasting of the Per-Key RGB backlighting, anti-ghosting support, and a decent 1.7mm travel. There is a high-end precision touchpad at the helm, followed by a powerful webcam, bolstered further by the Tobii ‘Eye-tracking’ technology.
This innovative gaming notebook also flaunts excellent thermals with dual exhaust fans and a copper fin stack, leading the way. Despite packing some of the best internal hardware in the market, the Alienware M15 is still pretty light at 4.75 pounds.
In terms of ports, you get Thunderbolt 3, Mini DisplayPort, HDMI 2.0b with HDCP compatibility, and a few additional slots for legacy peripherals. In terms of connectivity, you get the Killer Wired and Wireless standards for making professional and leisure gaming indulgences, even more productive.
The existing 76Whr battery offers a 6-hour backup which readily justifies the claimed portability. Nevertheless, this notebook is quite impactful, if you are looking for something more reliable for 3D modeling, 2D designing, engineering drawing, and anything or everything associated with the entire AutoCAD professional suite.
- Powerful processor with HyperThreading
- Upgradeable system memory
- Powerful GPU for AI-Assisted activities
- Innovative cooling tech courtesy of Honeycomb structure
- Durable backlit keyboard
- Middling battery
- No NVMe storage support
3. Best for CAD & Gaming: MSI GS65 Stealth-483
A good laptop for 2D and 3D CAD indulgences isn’t only about the specs-sheet but also takes portability and aesthetics into account. The MSI GS65 Stealth-483 is one such high-end notebook that comes at a higher price point but lives up to the hype, courtesy of the firepower, and innovative design accents.
Powering the gadget is an Intel Core i7-9750H CPU that turbo clocks at 4.5GHz and features six-functional cores. The existing processing arrangement is capable of handling even some of the more intricate 2D and 3D modeling, drawing, designing, and prototyping with ease.
The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 GPU is also a powerful addition that comes loaded with 6GB VRAM. The existing combination allows you to work on more graphics-intensive 3D projects without worrying about performance issues.
When it comes to memory, there is 16GB of DDR4 dual-channel RAM. While the allocated RAM is adequate to handle larger files and data sets with ease for immediate CPU usage, storage-wise, you get a 512GB NVMe solid-state unit for amplifying the Windows 10 OS and file loading speeds.
The 15.6-inch display is of immense help when mesh modeling and drawing are concerned. Besides offering a full HD panel with 1920 x 1080 pixels, MSI also offers anti-glare properties for minimizing the stress on your eyes. The response time of 3ms and a whopping 240Hz screen refresh rate come in handy, especially for simulations, renders, and playing games like Fortnite, World of Warcraft, PUBG, LOL, Civ 6, and more.
Other productivity specs include a backlit keyboard, silky smooth touchpad, integrated webcams, and a powerful set of speakers with audio boost and higher fidelity. What stands out though is the excellent choice of thermal hardware, featuring the Cooler Boost technology and the innovative Whirlwind fans.
When it comes to heft, this notebook weighs a respectable 4.19 pounds. However, despite being sleek, there is a shortage of ports with MSI featuring one Thunderbolt 3, three USB 3.1 Gen 3 ports, and other slots for legacy peripherals. There is a top-of-the-line battery in place, capable of lasting up to 8 hours on a single charge.
Overall, if you are looking for a sleek and feathery notebook for running the AutoCAD on, without any speed or performance trade-offs, the MSI GS65 Stealth-483 is the one to consider.
- Feature-packed i7 processor
- 240Hz screen refresh rate
- GPU comes with Ray Tracing architecture
- Ultra-fast NVMe-powered storage unit
- Thunderbolt 3 support
- Intuitive cooling technology
- 512GB SSD is slightly restrictive
4. Best Value for Money: Acer Predator Helios 300
For CAD professionals, it is important to strike the perfect balance between the featured CPU and the dedicated GPU. Acer Predator Helios 300 is one such notebook that brings a lot of processing power to the table, courtesy of a high-end CPU, and an exceptional gaming-focused GPU, that too at a great price point!
The Intel Core i7-10750H is one of the best chipsets in the given price bracket, allowing the Predator Helios 300 to support basic data migration, data extraction, layout viewports, and even the more intricate processes like 2D regeneration and photorealistic rendering. With a turbo clock speed of up to 4.5GHz, this is a competent chipset that boasts of reliability and better performances.
When it comes to graphics support, you get the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060, based on the Turing architecture. Despite being hailed as the near-perfect gaming-centric GPU at 1080p, courtesy of 6GB Video RAM, this processing unit is a handy AutoCAD resource courtesy of additional CUDA cores, better clock speeds, external display pairing attributes, and class-leading cooling options.
The machine features a 16GB RAM that is quite sufficient for loading and working with several data sheets and interfaces at once. When it comes to storage, there is a sizeable 512GB NVMe SSD in place that supports faster Windows 10 OS and software loading.
The 15.6-inch 1080p display comes with widescreen viewing capabilities that come in handy for a designer or professional CAD artist. The 300-nit screen brightness clubbed with a 72 percent NTSC color gamut further enhances the visual clarity making it highly suitable for watching videos or online schooling sessions. Most importantly, Acer flaunts a 3ms overdrive response time, and a 144Hz screen refresh rate features that are handy during simulations and rendering.
The Predator Helios 300 also features a durable backlit keyboard, smooth touchpad, integrated webcam, and functional microphones. The acoustic setup is top-notch with Acer featuring powerful speakers that boast of True Harmony audio technology, MaxxAudio support, and other powerful enhancements.
What stands out is the advanced cooling tech, courtesy of the bigger 3D Fan setup from AeroBlade. Last but not least, if you are looking for some overclocking juice, the Predator Sense UI can be extremely useful and allows you to allocate resources based on the complexity of the tasks in hand.
This gadget weighs a significant 5.07 pounds and comes equipped with exceptional Killer E2500 Gig Ethernet and Killer AX1650 Wireless Wi-Fi 6 connectivity standards. When it comes to ports, Acer features USB Gen 2 Type-C, USB 3.1 Gen 1, and a few additional slots for USB transfers and connecting external displays. When it comes to battery backup, Acer offers 6 hours at one go.
Overall, the Predator Helios 300 from Acer is an exceptional mid-range device for professional CAD designers, provided you are willing to let go of ray tracing benefits.
- Stellar display
- Decent display with 144Hz refresh rate
- Powerful processor with HyperThreading capabilities
- Exceptional GPU based on Turing Architecture
- Additional Hard drive bay for upgrading the existing storage
- No Thunderbolt 3
- Underwhelming battery
5. Best Workstation for AutoCAD: HP Zbook 15 G5
Although gaming notebooks can efficiently handle AutoCAD and other 2D or 3D modeling, simulating, and rendering software sets like MAYA, Blender, Revit, or KeyShot, nothing beats the performances exhibited by a powerful CAD workstation like the HP Zbook 15 G5.
At the core, HP features the Intel Core i7-8850H chipset, capable of turbo clocking speeds of up to 4.3GHz. The Hexa-Core architecture and Hyper-threading support allow you to handle basic single-core applications and even multi-core processes like 2D regeneration and Mental Ray Tracing with ease. HP ditches the consumer-grade GPU for the powerful NVIDIA Quadro P2000 clubbed with 4GB VRAM.
The existing graphics processing features the Pascal-architecture and is more reliable as compared to any consumer-grade GPU courtesy of 24 texture supporting units, built-in error correction code, and additional CUDA cores for GPU accelerated rendering. The 4GB VRAM is way faster as compared to that on other GPUs, which is critical for complex GPU-assisted rendering.
When it comes to memory allocation, the HP Zbook 15 G5 comes with 32GB RAM, which is more than adequate for larger datasets and more complex 2D and 3D renders. Storage-centric requirements are handled by the 1TB SSD unit and a 1TB hard disk drive. HP brings forth Windows 10 Pro as the featured operating platform.
The 15.6-inch IPS display comes with multi-touch functionality and a display resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. Despite flaunting a glossy panel, the HP Zbook 15 G5 fares well, when it comes to sunlight visibility.
HP keeps the productivity intact with a standard backlit keyboard that also comes with a dedicated numeric keypad, smooth and responsive touchpad, integrated fingerprint scanner, and a dual speaker system. You also get a vibrant webcam, clubbed with serviceable microphones. This CAD workstation comes equipped with a decent thermal layout, best characterized by the back-firing vents.
From a structural point of view, this gadget lacks portability as it weighs 7 pounds. The port arrangement on display is quite exhaustive with HP featuring two Thunderbolt 3, three USB 3.0, DisplayPort, and additional functional slots. The Thunderbolt 3 allows you to pair external displays for creating mesh modeling workflows. The Gig Ethernet, Bluetooth 5.0, and Dual-Band Wi-Fi 5 connectivity further validate the credibility of this powerful workstation.
The existing 90Wh battery performs decently for a workstation as powerful as the HP Zbook 15 G5, thereby offering up to 6 hours of backup. To sum it up, this gadget is certainly one of the best bets for running AutoCAD one, if you are looking for extreme levels of graphical and processing precision.
- Powerful GPU
- Decent Display
- Reliable processor with HyperThreading support
- A massive chunk of RAM
- Massive dual-Storage units
- Inclusion of Thunderbolt 3 ports
- Fingerprint reader for more privacy
- Middling battery
- No WiFi 6
6. Best from Lenovo: Lenovo ThinkPad P52s
The ThinkPad P52s is yet another workstation that is in sync with your CAD-specific indulgences. While the battery might be a deal-breaker, the processing conglomerate makes up for this bottleneck.
At the core, you get the power-efficient Intel Core i7-8550U processor that comes with a decent turbo clock speed of up to 4GHz. The existing quad-core CPU boasts of Hyper-threading technology and translates the existing set of cores into 8 parallel treads for intricate rendering and regeneration. The Quadro P500 from NVIDIA is an excellent entry-level GPU featuring 2GB VRAM and 384 Shaders for applying lights and effects to manufacturing products in real-time.
Multitasking is never an issue with the 32GB RAM that works in cohesion with the 1TB Solid-state drive. The existing storage module is faster than a conventional HDD and loads the Windows 10 Pro OS, AutoCAD, and other demanding application software units in the quickest possible time.
The 15.6-inch display flaunts the In-Plane switching technology and comes equipped with a display resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. The existing LED-Backlit panel is power-efficient and helps extend the battery backup, significantly.
Lenovo makes sure that structural features aren’t compromised by pairing along with a backlit keyboard, responsive trackpad with an integrated fingerprint scanner, and a serviceable HD webcam. You also get a decent acoustic arrangement with amplified speakers and dual microphones for additional productivity.
If you are an architect or designer who is always on the move, this workstation laptop is the perfect companion to carry along, courtesy of 4.3 pounds worth of heft. Lenovo also features Thunderbolt 3, USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C, Type-A, HDMI, docking support, and other legacy ports for improved productivity. The battery, however, is middling, to say the least with the 32Wh unit barely churning out 4 hours on moderate to heavy usage.
To sum it up, the ThinkPad P52s from Lenovo is a mid-range workstation for CAD professionals and can be considered if you are willing to compromise on the battery.
- Intuitive GPU
- Minimal heat generation courtesy of power-efficient processor
- Faster, lag-free multitasking with 32GB RAM
- Sizeable storage module
- Decent collection of ports
- Underwhelming battery
7. Best with GTX 1660 Ti: Razer Blade 15
It isn’t necessary to purchase a workstation for your AutoCAD indulgences if you can get your hands on the insanely powerful Razer Blade 15. Despite being a gaming notebook, the Blade 15 doesn’t let its guard down even when intricate 2D and 3D drawing, basic simulations, and creations are concerned.
Razer features the insanely powerful Intel Core i7-9750H chipset, that turbo clocks at 4.5GHz. The existing SoC comes equipped with a 12MB cache that efficiently minimizes application access and process times. The existing GTX 1660 Ti GPU from NVIDIA allows you to handle 3D modeling, scanning, navigation, and rendering with precision. The existing GPU also features 6GB of Video RAM for deciphering intricate textures without hiccups.
When it comes to multitasking, Razer Blade 15 brings forth 16GB RAM, which effectively complements the existing CPU. When it comes to storage, you get a slightly restrictive yet fast 256GB PCIe SSD module. For minimizing the AutoCAD loading times, it is advisable to install the same on the Solid-State drive, along with the Windows 10 OS.
The 15.6-inch panel offers a decent screen real-estate to the AutoCAD professionals. What stands out though is the Full HD display resolution followed by the thinnest possible bezels which significantly increase the screen-to-chassis ratio. If you are planning to use AutoCAD for product designing, shading, and lighting, the vibrant screen allows you to experience the truest textures and patterns, without resorting to external displays.
Razer continues to innovate by pairing the class-leading Backlit keyboard with Chroma compatibility. You also get a silky touchpad, powerful speakers, and a top-of-the-line webcam. Razer also brings home an advanced cooling tech that pairs perfectly with the aluminum unibody chassis.
At 4.56 pounds, this is one of the most compact professional gadgets on our list. The company keeps the thickness to a minimum at 0.78 inches but doesn’t compromise on the number of ports, thereby featuring Thunderbolt 3, Mini DisplayPort, HDMI, and additional legacy solutions. You also get a 6-hour battery backup, on moderate usage. To wrap things up, we can state that Razer Blade 15 is an efficient CAD-focused notebook that is best known for its brilliant design accents.
- Brilliant keyboard
- Vibrant display with a refresh rate of 144Hz
- Upgradeable memory
- Thunderbolt 3 for connecting external displays
- Class-leading aesthetics
- Restricted storage space
8. Best with Dual Storage: Dell G5 15
The Dell G5 15 is one of the better and more appropriate gaming notebooks, doubling down as a handy CAD-centric laptop.
When it comes to raw processing power, the Intel Core i7-9750H comes across as a pretty resourceful component. Be it designing structures or essential product parts, it is the Hexa-core processor with 12MB cache memory that makes an impression. Graphics-intensive tasks like the visualization of constructed parts in 3D make the best use of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 GPU and the integrated 4GB VRAM.
Next in line is the 16GB built-in RAM that allows you to multitask with ease. However, it is the dual-storage module that steals the show, courtesy of the 256GB SSD unit, and a 1TB hard disk drive. When it comes to OS, Dell features Windows 10 Home edition, right out of the box.
The 15.6-inch display comes with anti-glare properties. That said, Dell also flaunts slimmer bezels followed by a cumulative display resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. When 3D modeling and other complex textures are concerned, this is a pretty well-saturated and vibrant platform to interact with.
Other impactful specs include the WASD keyboard, serviceable touchpad with a high-end palm rest that furnishes metallic accents, integrated Nahimic Speakers, and a professional webcam. Dell also flaunts a high-end cooling system and a pretty aesthetic thermal layout that keeps the gadget cool despite high-end professional indulgences.
The Dell G5 15 isn’t a light-weighted device and weighs almost 6 pounds. While the chunkiness hampers portability, productivity is taken care of by the intuitive arrangement of ports and connectivity standards. Dell comes equipped with USB 3.1, Thunderbolt 3, HDMI 2.0, USB 3.1 with charging support, SD card reader, and even a headphone jack. Apart from that, you also get Gig Ethernet and exceptional Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity standards on this device.
The featured battery offers an 8-hour backup, making the Dell G5 15 one of the more reliable gadgets for professional designing, drawing, drafting, and CAD-specific tasks.
- Powerful processor with Hexa-Core architecture
- Class-leading GPU with 896 CUDA cores
- Vibrant display
- Powerful battery
- Dual-storage support
- Predictable design
- Heavier than expected
9. Best Under Budget: Lenovo IdeaPad L340
Despite being a powerful gaming notebook, the Lenovo IdeaPad L340 can also make way for exceptional professional productivity, provided you are using the same for CAD-designing, drafting, and modeling.
The Intel Core i5-9300H chipset performs satisfactorily, courtesy of the 4 cores, 45W TDP, and a turbo clock speed of up to 4.1GHz. Besides assisting you with drafting, drawing, basic simulations, and rendering, the existing SoC also assists with SHF recognition. When it comes to more graphics-centric tasks involving 3D models and renders, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 GPU with 4GB RAM can come across a useful resource.
The 8GB RAM in place allows you to work with sizeable spreadsheets and datasets besides indulging in productive multitasking. Storage-centric requirements are handled by the 512GB NVMe SSD that comes with ultra-fast ‘Read & Write’ capabilities. When it comes to the OS, you get Windows 10 OS.
Lenovo comes forth with a brilliant 15.6-inch 1080p screen that offers exceptional viewing angles. The In-Plane switching technology makes the display vibrant and makes sure that all screen colors come to life, regardless of the task in hand.
Usability gets a massive boost with the integrated backlit keyboard that works in tandem with a responsive and smooth touchpad. When it comes to acoustics, you get powerful speakers with Dolby audio support.
Other productivity-enhancing specs include the HD webcam, serviceable microphones, and Lenovo’s proprietary Vantage ‘Eye Care’ mode for lowering emissions. Lenovo also boasts of innovative thermals and at 4.84 pounds, it is still quite portable for the given price point.
As far as the ports and connectivity specs are concerned, you get USB 3.1 Type-C, USB 3.0, HDMI 2.0, and a host of other functional slots followed by decent wireless and wired standards. The existing battery offers a 9-hour backup, thereby making the IdeaPad L340, one of the more powerful mid-range notebooks for the CAD professionals.
- Reliable processor
- Decent GPU with 4GB RAM
- Ultra-fast SSD
- Powerful battery
- Anti-glare display
- Restricted RAM can be an issue for top-level professionals
10. Best for Students: Asus TUF FX505GT
An advanced modeling tool like AutoCAD deserves the best mid-range machine, and this is where the Asus TUF FX505GT comes into the mix. While the gadget isn’t as beefed up as HP and Lenovo’s workstations, you still get ample firepower to run advanced professional tasks without hiccups.
It is the Intel Core i5-9300H processor that powers the gadget and allows it to make faster and more reliable design-centric calculations, courtesy of the turbo clock speed of up to 4.1GHz. The quad-core processor features a TDP of 45W and the TDP down of 35W, allowing you to change the operating modes, according to the complexity of tasks.
Software sets like AutoCAD require decent graphics-intensive computing resources to handle 3D modeling and other photorealistic tasks with ease. This is where the GTX 1650 GPU and 4GB of integrated VRAM come in handy.
Next in line is the 8GB RAM that can be upgraded, as per preferences. When it comes to storage, there is a 512GB SSD storage unit in place, with the ultra-fast NVMe support that helps load the Windows 10 OS and the application software in the least possible time.
The 15.6-inch display is bright and offers a decent screen real-estate for the professional to work. The slimmer bezels courtesy of the NanoEdge technology are the standout performers followed by the overall display resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels.
When it comes to productivity, Asus stacks in the Hyperstrike keyboard with enhanced keystroke durability. Other specs include a responsive touchpad, high-end speakers with DTS: X support and surround sound technology, and a professional webcam-microphone combo. Apart from these essential elements, Asus also boasts of the ADC technology for amplifying heat dissipation when demanding AutoCAD tasks are being initiated.
ThisMIL-STD-810G certified notebook is tested for drop durability and weighs 4.85 pounds. You also get a host of innovative ports, including USB 3.2 Gen 1, USB 2.0, RJ45 LAN, audio jack, HDMI 2.0, and a few more. When it comes to connectivity, the Asus TUF FX505GT supports Wi-Fi 5. Lastly, the battery on this mid-range notebook isn’t long-lasting and can only churn out 5 hours, upon moderate usage.
Overall, this is a powerful notebook that allows you to pursue AutoCAD, without exceeding the sub-$800 budget.
- Durable chassis
- Decent processor with low TDP
- Excellent cooling technology
- Excellent iGPU and Dedicated GPU performances
- Sizeable storage space
- Middling battery
11. Cheapest Option: Acer Aspire 5
Sleek, efficient, and portable notebooks catering to CAD-professionals are rare. However, the Acer Aspire 5 changes this perception by offering some of the best drawing, modeling, and rendering features, paired together in an aesthetic and light-weighted chassis.
Powering the same is the Intel Core i5-1035G1 processor that is capable of handling professional and academic tasks such as web browsing, online schooling, accounting, and more. Despite the lower base clock speed, the existing chipset can turbo clock at 3.6GHz. This attribute allows the Aspire 5 to handle more intricate product designs, regeneration, modeling, and rendering requirements with precision.
When it comes to graphics-intensive tasks, AutoCAD can do just fine without a dedicated GPU. However, the GeForce MX350 graphics processing unit and 2GB of VRAM can come in handy during photorealistic rendering and 3D mesh modeling.
Acer Aspire 5 handles multitasking with efficiency courtesy of the 8GB RAM whereas file and Windows 10 OS loading speeds get a massive boost with the 512GB NVMe-powered solid-state storage drive.
The 15.6-inch backlit panel is sharp and comes with exceptional levels of visual clarity. Moreover, the Widescreen viewing support helps the architects get the most out of the 2D and 3D models. What stands out is the overall display resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels that makes room for better color reproduction levels and sharp viewing angles.
Acer features a standard backlit keyboard for improving gadget functionality followed by an HD webcam, integrated touchpad, serviceable microphones, and high-end stereo speakers featuring Acer’s ‘Purified Voice’ and True Harmony technology.
From a structural point of view, Acer weighs less than 4 pounds and comes across as an extremely sleek notebook. Besides that, the company also accommodates a decent conglomerate of ports and connectivity options, including USB Type-C, USB 3.1 Gen 1, USB 2.0, HDMI, MU-MIMO Wireless standards, and Bluetooth 4.2. Acer also features other legacy ports and a powerful battery that offers a steady 8-hour backup.
Nevertheless, despite the sleekest possible form factor and a power-efficient CPU, the Acer Aspire 5 performs adequately when CAD-designs, drawing, and modeling are concerned.
- Decent processing conglomerate
- Adequate storage support
- Powerful battery
- Aesthetic design
- Brilliant display with Acer’s Color Intelligence
- No Thunderbolt 3
- Low power processor with minimal capabilities
Frequently Asked Questions
When it comes to processing, AutoCAD relies more on the CPU, courtesy of logic decoding, and calculations. Even 2D modeling or rendering can be initiated perfectly with the On-Chip, integrated GPU. Therefore, your laptop selection should take your preferences and AutoCAD preferences into account.
AutoCAD comes with diverse tool sets including Map 3D, Plant 3D, electrical, and architectural enhancements. As a general rule of thumb, 8GB is sufficient to run a single process with minimal multitasking. However, if you are a top-level professional, 16GB is a bare minimum that might even go up to 32GB in case of workstation-centric workloads.
An integrated GPU, associated with most high-end processors is powerful enough to run 2D renders and modeling with ease. However, when 3D modeling, mesh modeling, photorealistic rendering, and mental ray rendering are concerned, it is advisable to get a Ray-tracing supported GPU i.e. hailing from the RTX 20-series for covering every graphics-intensive process.
Although the latest Intel i7 processors hailing from the 9th and 10th generation are extremely competent, it wouldn’t be wrong to state that in terms of power and performance, the i9-10900K is one of the best chipsets in the market courtesy of a higher base clock speed of 3.7GHz and a massive turbo clock boosted speed of up to 5.3GHz. Besides that, the K-Suffix makes sure overclocking is possible.
A workstation for CAD is an advanced machine with a powerful ECC or Error-Correcting Code compatible processor. Moreover, these gadgets feature workstation-grade GPUs that come with better graphics processing support. These machines come with a significant amount of RAM for handling multiple processes, tasks, and external displays with ease.
AutoCAD is one interactive and functional tool that caters effectively to real-estate developers, production managers, architects, and other professionals, who need to draw, draft, and model 2D and 3D renders. However, not every laptop can handle the resource-centric demand of AutoCAD and this is why our experts have enlisted 11 of the best machines for the job.
- If you are looking for raw power while keeping the option of leisure gaming and entertainment open, we would advise you to go for the Alienware M15.
- If you are looking to set up a CAD workstation for high-end modeling, rendering, and simulation of AutoCAD and other demanding software units, it is advisable to opt for the HP Zbook 15 G5.
- Last but not least, if you are on a budget and still seeking portability, the Acer Aspire 5 is a worthy ally.
Which one are you getting?