Be it pursuing entry-level mechanical coursework or envisioning designs and prototype development of large-scale mechanical products, SolidWorks is the perfect software to work with. Unlike some of the other CAD tools, it is an all-encompassing software that is handy to most manufacturing units! This is why, as a prospective user, you require a powerful machine to run this software on.
Put simply, SolidWorks is a high-end modeling platform that extrapolates the 2D designs via integrated parametric innovations. Most importantly, this productive 3-dimensional, Computer-Aided Design tool brings forth intelligent, analytical technologies into the mix besides helping professionals stimulate the purported physical tendencies like temperature, deflection, vibration, stress, fluid flow, and more.
There is hardly any tool in the market that can compete with SolidWorks when it comes to the veracity of assemblies, rendering quality, and modeling innovation. However, you can still install a few relevant software units on your high-end laptop, just for the sale of exploring. The most popular choices include FreeCAD, Catia, and OnShape, precisely for parametric modeling.
If you are only looking to concentrate on assemblies, Fusion 360 is also a good choice, as you do not need to refer to multiple assets and files, as in the case of SolidWorks.
The choice of laptop for SolidWorks depends on the usage and expertise level of an individual. For a college student or just a 2D modeler, a workstation isn’t necessary, and a basic consumer-grade notebook would suffice. However, if you are an industry-level professional with a penchant for mechatronics, you would require a workstation, precisely for handling rendering and simulations along with 2D and 3D modeling.
Although you can always opt for the pricey notebook to take care of backward compatibility, it is necessary to understand which features actually play a part while running the software. Based on priority, consider going for a laptop with a high-clocking processor, a massive chunk of RAM, industry-grade GPU, and a functional yet fast SSD.
- Minimum & Recommended System Requirements
- Best Laptops for SolidWorks in 2021
- 1. Best Workstation: HP Zbook 15 G5
- 2. Best Runner Up: Lenovo ThinkPad P53
- 3. Best Gaming Laptop: Razer Blade 15
- 4. Best from ASUS: Asus ROG Zephyrus S
- 5. Best with RTX 2060: Omen by HP
- 6. Best with Dual Storage: Dell G5 15
- 7. Best Under Budget: Lenovo IdeaPad L340
- 8. Best AMD-Powered: Asus TUF FX505DT
- 9. Best Battery Life: Microsoft Surface Book 2
- 10. Best with Intel Core i9: Dell XPS 15 9570
- 11. Cheapest Option: Acer Aspire 5
- Frequently Asked Questions
- The Verdict
Minimum & Recommended System Requirements
The minimum system requirements are enlisted, keeping the basic academic and 2D modeling requirements in mind. SolidWorks comes with several resources, and the system requirements are different for each. The recommended set of specifications is provided as the baseline for 3D modeling, simulations, and rendering.
|Minimum System Requirements||Recommended System Requirements|
|CPU||9th Gen Intel Core i5||10th Gen Intel Core i7 or better|
|Storage||256GB SSD||1TB SSD or Dual Storage|
|Display||15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080)||15.6-inch IPS type FHD / UHD (1920 x 1080)|
|GPU||2GB NVIDIA GeForce MX150||2GB+ NVIDIA Quadro or 4GB+ NVIDIA RTX|
|Battery||Up to 4 Hours||Up to 8 hours|
Best Laptops for SolidWorks in 2021
|HP Zbook 15 G5|
|Lenovo ThinkPad P53|
|Razer Blade 15|
|ROG Zephyrus S|
|Omen by HP|
|Dell G5 15|
|Lenovo IdeaPad L340|
|Asus TUF FX505DT|
|Microsoft Surface Book 2|
|Dell XPS 15 9570|
|Acer Aspire 5|
In the subsequent sections, we shall enlist 11 of the best laptops and workstations, which are precisely manufactured for handling tools and applications as demanding as SolidWorks. Our selections are restricted to heavy and pricey workstations or only high-end professional requirements.
Our experienced laptop experts keep your exact preference in mind while listing out high-end gadgets, mid-range notebooks, and even select budget models that are still relevant for basic drawing, part simulation, modeling, and rendering.
1. Best Workstation: HP Zbook 15 G5
If you are looking for a flawless workstation notebook for your academic and professional requirements, it is appropriate to consider the HP Zbook 15 G5.
Powered by a standard Intel Core i7-8850H processor, this workstation laptop is all about faster calculations. Besides that, the existing chipset can Turbo clock at a speed of up to 4.3GHz. There is 9MB cache storage on display, which speeds up the processes, further. All the SolidWorks requirements, regardless of the number of parts and assemblies, can be perfectly handled by the Quadro P2000 GPU from NVIDIA. GPU-intensive rendering is possible with 4GB of VRAM.
In terms of memory allocation, the device offers 32GB of built-in RAM, which can be expanded, if and when deemed necessary. The dual-storage module, however, steals the show, with HP boasting of a 1TB PCIe SSD and a 1TB HDD to enhance the speed of Windows 10 OS loading and render even the largest of assemblies with ease.
This workstation boasts of a 15.6-inch FHD screen with 1920 x 1080 pixels to work with. Despite not featuring an Ultra HD 4K panel, the Zbook 15 G5 features excellent color accuracy and sunlight visibility standards.
Other productive specs include a backlit keyboard, functional touchpad, 2MP FHD webcam, integrated microphone, and a decent set of speakers. The Zbook 15 G5 weighs 7 pounds. Thereby you can use it as a desktop replacement. Port arrangement is pretty innovative, with HP featuring three USB 3.0, two USB 3.1, an ethernet port, one HDMI 2.0, and a headphone jack. However, it misses out on a Thunderbolt 3 slot.
While the gadget claims a 5-hour battery backup, we could only churn out 3 to 4 hours on extended usage. Nevertheless, this is an extremely powerful workstation notebook capable of running high-end renders and SolidWorks simulations with ease.
- Exceptional workstation graphics card
- Upgradeable RAM
- Massive storage for handling larger assemblies
- Decent cache memory for faster calculations
- Ethernet port feels stiff
- No Thunderbolt 3 port
2. Best Runner Up: Lenovo ThinkPad P53
Your quest for the perfect SolidWorks supported workstation ends with the Lenovo ThinkPad P53. Here is a machine that stacks all the relevant features, including brilliant workstation-compatibility, high-end processing components, storage upgradeability, and more.
The Intel Core i7-9750H processor is a standout performer, capable of reaching clock speeds of up to 4.5GHz. However, it is the 12MB onboard cache memory that stands out as it offers ample space for the CPU to pull in data from the RAM. Besides that, the existing CPU is specifically calibrated with Error Correcting Code, making it one of the best choices for intricate SolidWorks-centric computing.
In our tests, we found out that the chipset is more than capable of handling some of the most complex aspects of SolidWorks, including Finite Element Analysis and Computational Fluid Dynamics.
You also get a decent workstation GPU in NVIDIA Quadro T1000 that is clubbed with 4GB VRAM. This unit helps you handle large assemblies with ease, besides using the existing CUDA cores for exceptional GPU-accelerated rendering performances. When it comes to RAM support, 32GB seems more than enough to start with. You can always upgrade the same to 64GB, down the road.
The storage, on the other hand, is handled by a minimalistic SATA SSD, which isn’t as fast as a PCIe NVMe module but still does an excellent job. In terms of OS, you get Windows 10 Pro pre-installed on the device.
The 15.6-inch display is a standard addition with Lenovo making way for 1920 x 1080 pixels as the cumulative display resolution. The Full HD IPS panel is sharp and boasts of excellent viewing angles.
Other productivity specs include a backlit keyboard, responsive touchpad, integrated fingerprint scanner, and an HD webcam. The gadget feels more like a workstation and weighs almost 6 pounds. When it comes to ports, Lenovo does a good job by featuring two Thunderbolt 3 ports in addition to other USB legacy slots. The 90Whr battery on this device is capable of lasting for up to 10 hours.
To sum it up, the ThinkPad P53 from Lenovo is probably the most ideal laptop for using SolidWorks, courtesy of the 9th Gen processor. However, if you are looking for a similar model, consider the ThinkPad P53s from the same company, featuring an Intel Core i7-8565U processor, capable of clocking at 4.6GHz.
That said, unlike Quadro T1000, you get Quadro P520 with 2GB VRAM. Although most of the other features are comparable, the ThinkPad P53s is more of a student-centric, SolidWorks laptop.
- Exceptional processor with ECC memory
- Quadro GPU is workstation grade
- HHandles Photorealistic rendering with ease
- Upgradeable RAM for bigger assemblies
- 2 Thunderbolt 3 ports
- Brilliant battery module
3. Best Gaming Laptop: Razer Blade 15
The 10th gen Intel Core i7-10750H processor with 5GHz of attainable turbo clock speed makes way for faster calculations. The 6 cores on this chipset are capable of Hyper-Threading and make sure you are at ease with the basic simulations. With this processor at the helm, you can also work on multi-sheet modeling and drawing sans lags or hiccups.
The existing NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 GPU works in tandem with the processor and helps you handle larger assemblies and GPU-accelerated 3D rendering. Handling assemblies for more than 500 parts is possible courtesy of the CUDA cores and 8GB of VRAM. Besides that, the Max-Q layout and Turing architecture help improve the power-efficiency.
The 16GB RAM might not sound like a lot but can still handle error-free assemblies with ease. The 512GB SSD storage unit is capable of rendering data faster than while quickly booting up the Windows 10 OS.
When it comes to the display, the 15.6-inch panel is extremely vibrant and boasts of excellent visibility, especially if you are looking to view the renders with clarity. The Full HD Panel offers a cumulative display resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels while boasting of slimmer bezels and the edge-to-edge structural attribute.
The renders, simulations, and 3D models look better with the 144Hz refresh rate which also helps improve the gaming experiences. So if you casually end up gaming on this machine, you won’t be disappointed with the visual experience.
Razer brings forth an excellent keyboard with Chroma Per-Key RGB backlit support, followed by a responsive touchpad, integrated speakers, and a functional webcam. This notebook weighs 4.63 pounds and features a host of functional ports, including USB 3.1, Thunderbolt 3, and more. The battery on display also offers a steady 6-hour backup.
This version of the Razer Blade 15 is an exceptional gadget that supports SolidWorks and other advanced CAD and 3D modeling and rendering applications with ease.
- Powerful GPU featuring Turing Architecture
- Supports RAY Tracing and AI-Assisted Rendering
- Class-leading display
- Decent battery
- Sleek chassis
- CPU Performance could have been better
4. Best from ASUS: Asus ROG Zephyrus S
The Asus ROG Zephyrus S is a high-end gaming notebook that doubles down as the perfect machine for SolidWorks. That said, any mid-range simulator or renderer using Catia, or Fusion 360 would enjoy working on this highly portable yet powerful device.
Powering the same is an Intel Core i7-8750H CPU, capable of clocking at 3.9GHz when turbo-boosted. This makes the chipset worthy enough for the more intricate calculations. There are 6 cores at the helm for initiating ‘multi-sheet drawings,’ rendering, and simulations with more than 500 parts. The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 GPU with 8GB VRAM is a pretty significant addition, allowing you to take care of larger assemblies and photorealistic rendering.
The 16GB RAM is a decent addition, even if you are a mechanical engineer associated with the intricate design and development of products. The 512GB solid-state storage drive loads assemblies quicker than HDDs and also makes way for fast boot-ups. Asus features Windows 10 Home edition as the featured OS.
The display on this laptop is pretty standard with Asus featuring a 15.6-inch full HD screen, based on the In-Plane Switching technology. However, with a display resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and a screen refresh rate of 144Hz at the helm, you can certainly expect sharper visuals. The 178-degree Wide-angle display and the 100 percent sRGB color gamut are other commendable additions.
You get access to the famed Aura Sync physical keyboard, featuring enhanced durability, RGB backlighting, and the n-key rollover support. The touchpad, on the other hand, is resourceful enough, followed by the inclusion of a decent webcam, integrated microphones, and professional-grade speakers. The Max-Q GPU design and the Turing architecture ensure that the cooling system on this device is sleek and efficient, with anti-dust technology being the more preferred option.
When it comes to structural innovation, this is a productive and portable gadget, measuring a mere 0.60-inch, in terms of thickness. The gadget weighs 4.63 pounds and stacks in USB Type-C, USB 3.0, USB 3.1, and other functional ports. The battery is decent but not class-apart, and only capable of offering 5 hours on a single charge.
Nevertheless, the Asus ROG Zephyrus is a resourceful device for SolidWorks Professionals provided you prefer working on the move.
If you seek a more affordable option, the TUF Gaming A15 comes across as a worthy alternative. The AMD Ryzen 7 4800H is a powerful CPU, capable of achieving decent SolidWorks performances, courtesy of the 8 cores and a max clocking speed of up to 4.2GHz. Besides that, this notebook comes with a more serviceable battery that can churn out almost 9 hours at once.
Another good thing about the alternative is that it comes with upgradeable memory slots, provided you want to add some more meat, once you start moving up the professional order.
- Excellent GPU with ample VRAM
- Fast PCIe SSD
- FHD IPS panel with 144Hz refresh rate
- Commendable Keyboard
- Brilliant aesthetics
- Average battery life
- Expected a better processor for the price
5. Best with RTX 2060: Omen by HP
It wouldn’t be wrong to infer that most high-end gaming notebooks like Omen by HP will allow you to work with SolidWorks and even some of the other demanding CAD-centric software. However, this device is a game-changer and brings forth a lot of computing prowess for enhanced professional productivity.
Powering this device is a standard Intel Core i7-10750H processor, capable of turbo clocking at a speed of up to 5GHz. The Hexa-core processor is capable of handling larger assemblies with ease. HP offers you access to the intuitive GeForce RTX 2060 GPU from NVIDIA, clubbed with 6GB of VRAM. The best thing about this GPU is that it offers OpenGL support and even makes way for Al-Enhanced 3D modeling, photo editing, Ray tracing, and other GPU-intensive tasks.
The 16GB RAM is a decent addition and allows you to handle basic simulation and rendering with ease. Even if there are more than 500 parts to work with, when it comes to creating assemblies, the RAM expandable slots come in handy. The existing 512SSD PCIe storage unit is one of the fastest in the market, allowing you to save and open larger assemblies with ease. In terms of OS, HP offers Windows 10 Home edition, straight out of the box.
HP boasts of a 15.6-inch IPS screen, with a display resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. The Full HD panel comes with a whopping 300Hz screen refresh rate, which is pretty great if you are looking to indulge in hard-core gaming, in addition to modeling and rendering. The Full HD display also features edge-to-edge paneling, making way for slimmer bezels.
The custom backlit keyboard is a decent productivity add-on, followed by a responsive touchpad and a brilliant speaker system. HP comes with a built-in command unit that dedicates processing steam based on requirements. You also get a handy webcam-microphone combo on this gadget.
HP Omen 15 is a chunky notebook that weighs a massive 5.4 pounds. The port arrangement is decent enough, with the company featuring one Thunderbolt 3, USB 3.1 Type-A, an HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.4, and other essential slots for improving functionality. The battery isn’t class-leading but still manages to churn out slightly less than 5 hours on moderate usage.
The HP Omen 15 is a gaming notebook that can be accommodated by mid-level SolidWorks experts.
- 300Hz screen refresh rate
- CPU supports multithreading and can handle multi-sheet drafts
- Decent GPU for 3D modeling
- Fast PCIe SSD
- Supports AI-Assisted Modeling
6. Best with Dual Storage: Dell G5 15
Like most of the gaming laptops on our list, the Dell G5 15 is easily one of the better choices for running 2D and 3D modeling CAD applications, like SolidWorks, Fusion 360, and more. Despite being a gaming notebook, the feature sets are aligned with diverse professional requirements.
As SolidWorks is more of a CPU-intensive application, the Intel Core i7-9750H chipset is certainly a feature to look at. At 4.5GHz, the turbo clock frequency of this mobile SoC readily validates the single-core prowess of the same. The hexa-core chipset is ably assisted by the GTX 1650 GPU. The existing graphics card and 4GB of video RAM, work in tandem to project the best possible CAD renders.
While the Turing-based GPU takes care of GPU-accelerated modeling tasks, especially the industry-grade renditions, it gets adequate support from the 16GB DDR4 RAM. Dell incorporates a decent chunk of system memory to speed up the CAD processes, whilst making it easier for the device to lend assistance to the featured processor.
As far as storage requirements are concerned, the Dell G5 15 is probably the best option to invest in. While the smaller, 256GB SSD boot-drive is good enough for managing Windows 10 OS and the associated applications, the 1TB HDD is more than capable of accommodating completed projects and renders. Besides, Dell also accommodates a pretty reliable, 15.6-inch screen, exhibiting an overall resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels.
Other relevant display-centric attributes include anti-glare properties followed by the power-efficient LED-backlit technology and narrow bezels, sitting atop the IPS panel. When it comes to professional productivity, you get access to a WASD-compatible backlit keyboard, metallic palm rest, and an innovative thermal layout that is led by dual fans and strategic vents.
However, the laptop is everything but portable as it weighs close to 6 pounds. However, the port arrangement adheres to a host of professional requirements, with Type-C, USB 3.1, HDMI 2.0, and the elusive Thunderbolt 3 being the standard inclusions. You can also expect Dell to make way for Gig Ethernet and Wi-Fi 5 support for establishing faster connections.
The battery life at close to 7 hours is more than adequate for a gaming behemoth, which readily establishes the Dell G5 15 as a reliable machine for SolidWorks and relevant 2D and 3D processes, regardless of the vertical.
- Hexa-core processor
- Mid-range GPU
- A decent chunk of RAM
- Dual-storage module
- Class-leading thermal layout
- Alienware Command Center for gadget control
- Heavier than usual
- Not suitable for high-end gaming
7. Best Under Budget: Lenovo IdeaPad L340
Are you looking for a budget notebook that can handle entry-level SolidWorks requirements with ease? The new IdeaPad L340 from Lenovo is one such gadget that makes it easier for you to indulge in 2D and 3D drawing, modeling, and even basic level rendering.
Processing power is rendered by the Intel Core i5-9300H that can reach turbo clock speeds of up to 4.1GHz. What stands out is the 8MB cache memory, capable of speeding up the calculations, by a significant margin! Despite being an i5 chipset, you get OpenGL and DirectX support. Besides this HyperThreading SoC, Lenovo also packs in the mid-range GTX 1650 GPU from NVIDIA, clubbed with 4GB of video RAM.
The existing GPU, clubbed with the processor, supports Turing shading and even makes way for cooler gaming and professional performances. Besides that, Lenovo offers 8GB of built-in RAM that allows you to handle smaller assemblies with ease. The 512GB solid-state storage unit is fast and loads the existing Windows 10 OS faster as compared to a conventional HDD.
In terms of display, you get access to a decent 15.6-inch screen with full HD capabilities. The existing 1920 x 1080-pixel resolution makes way for sharper viewing angles and advanced clarity. Apart from that, you get a near-perfect backlit keyboard on this gadget clubbed with a revolutionary touchpad and an integrated webcam-microphone combo. However, the stereo speakers with Dolby Audio support are the standout performers.
This innovative laptop weighs 4.84 pounds and brings forth a decent arrangement of ports, including USB 3.1 Type-C, USB 3.2 Type-C, and a few more. The battery on this device is capable of a 9-hour backup. Overall, IdeaPad L340 is an entry-level notebook if you are looking to work on the SolidWorks platform, either as a student or a basic trainee.
- Decent processor with HyperThreading support
- Upgradeable memory
- Decent keyboard
- Sharp and vibrant display
- Resourceful battery
- Only for entry-level SolidWorks indulgence
8. Best AMD-Powered: Asus TUF FX505DT
Although the Asus TUF FX505DT isn’t the most beefed-up notebook for your SolidWorks and relevant parametric modeling indulgences, it is still one of the best options under the sub-$800 in the market. Besides, the processing conglomerate is capable of developing basic mechatronics systems, sans hassles. Not just that, this standard clamshell notebook from Asus also features a host of relevant productivity-enhancing attributes for making 2D and 3D modeling more rewarding in nature.
With an AMD Ryzen 5-3550H processor at the helm, this gadget is at least 12 percent faster than a comparable i7 processor, specifically the i7-8550U CPU. Besides, the Zen+ cores and SMT support relevant to this mobile SoC ensure better designing ideation, planning, and prototyping. As certain SolidWorks processes are capable of using multiple threads at once, the octa-threaded architecture seems like a plausible addition.
For single-threaded modeling and rendering of complex electrical and mechanical components, the boosted clock speed of 3.7GHz comes in as a handy resource. As far as the graphics-intensive workload is concerned, SolidWorks can immensely benefit from the GTX 1650 GPU and 4GB of dedicated VRAM. Despite a majority of parametric modeling software solutions being processor-intensive, a good GPU can speed up renders and projects in a virtualized environment.
When it comes to memory allocation, the 8GB RAM is pretty fast and can manage basic files and prototypes. Besides, the 256GB SSD is more of a restrictive allotment as a majority of projects, files, and renders take up quite a lot of space. However, the storage unit is still fast enough to be a boot-drive for the Windows 10 Home OS.
The 15.6-inch screen is adequately bright, courtesy of a standard, 1920 x 1080-pixel count. However, Asus brings in the NanoEdge paneling to increase the functional screen real-estate and amplify the visual quality, further. Besides, if you are into leisure gaming, display-centric attributes like 120Hz refresh rate, come in handy.
The Asus TUF FX505DT also assumes a more productive form factor, courtesy of the durable MIL-STD-graded chassis, reliable keyboard with backlit support, and the advanced ADC-powered thermal layout. Despite being a rugged inclusion, the gadget still weighs less than 5 pounds. Besides, this is one of the few gadgets in the market that allows you to choose between gaming and professional modes, as per the SenseMI enhancement, to allocate resources and modify autonomy, accordingly.
However, the standard battery backup of up to 5 hours is still pretty middling but acceptable, considering the higher TDP levels exhibited by the AMD processor. As far as connectivity is concerned, you get access to USB Type-C, USB 3.1, HDMI 2.0, and Wi-Fi 5 support. Overall, the Asus TUF FX505DT is strictly a budget-centric notebook for running SolidWorks and other relevant CAD applications like Catia, eDrawings, and more.
- Powerful processor
- Mid-range GPU
- Durable structure
- Efficient thermal layout
- Reliable keyboard
- Heats up a fair bit
- Not for advanced 3D designs and renders
9. Best Battery Life: Microsoft Surface Book 2
So we finally list a high-end convertible that is also worthy enough when SolidWorks functionality is concerned. Most importantly, this is a detachable laptop that allows you to indulge in modeling and rendering, even on the move.
Here is a convertible ultrabook that can handle any CAD project with ease. The Intel Core i7-8650U processor is capable enough and can clock at a speed of up to 4.2GHz. The 15-inch model also features the premium GeForce 1060 GTX GPU with 6GB of VRAM, offering better support when it comes to handling bigger assemblies.
The 16GB RAM isn’t upgradeable but works just fine if you are primarily drawing, drafting, or even simulating and rendering assemblies with less than 100 parts. The 1TB PCIe Solid-state storage module loads the assemblies, stored renders, and the existing Windows 10 Pro OS, quicker than the conventional SATA units.
The 15-inch PixelSense display is nothing short of exemplary, with the multi-touch support adding to the functionality. Besides that, you get an overall resolution of 3240 x 2160 pixels, followed by the sharpest possible viewing angles.
When it comes to other productivity-centric features, Microsoft brings forth a standard keyboard, serviceable touchpad, and two functional shooters, including a 5MP front-facing unit and the 8MP rear camera. You also get front-firing speakers clubbed with a dual-microphone setup. From a structural point of view, the gadget is magnesium clad and weighs a respectable 4.20 pounds.
In terms of port management, you get access to the USB Type-A, Type-C, and other functional slots. While Microsoft promises a 17-hour battery backup, running renders and simulations will pull it down to almost 9 hours. Overall, the Surface Book 2 is one of the more premium gadgets for running SolidWorks, best suitable for students and entry-level professionals.
- Brilliant display
- Excellent mid-range processor
- Stellar aesthetics
- Commendable GPU for entry-level SolidWorks rendering
- Comes with Xbox compatibility
- RAM isn’t upgradeable
10. Best with Intel Core i9: Dell XPS 15 9570
The Dell XPS 15 9570 is one of the most appropriate machines for professional SolidWorks users. While the processing components match up to the insanely high firepower requirements necessary to drive assemblies with more than 500 parts, the aesthetics are also enthralling, to say the least.
In this notebook, you get a high-end Intel Core i9-8950HK processor, best suited for modeling, drawing, drafting, and designing. There are 6 HyperThreading cores to work with, that can easily support more CPU-intensive SolidWorks indulgences, including Photoview 360. The turbo clocking speed of up to 4.8GHz is class-leading and helps you handle intricate calculations with ease.
The existing NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti is a consumer-grade GPU that still works well for entry-level professionals. While the company, i.e., Dassault Systemes, will only recommend workstation-grade GPUs, the 1050 Ti with Max-Q layout is also handy, especially if you are mostly drawing, modeling, or even simulating with less than 100 parts in an assembly. The 4GB VRAM is pretty efficient when it comes to models that are visually more complex. The existing GPU also supports OpenGL 4.5.
You cannot complain about the 32GB RAM support, which allows you to handle several large-sized assemblies with ease. 1TB SSD storage module is also a pretty significant addition, considering the existing specs-sheet. In terms of OS, you get Windows 10, straight out of the box.
The existing 15.6-inch touch screen panel flaunts 4K resolution, with 3840 x 2160 pixels in total. The glossy screen is exceptionally vibrant and comes with decent sunlight visibility. Dell boasts a standard backlit keyboard with a dedicated numeric keypad, a responsive touchpad, an HD webcam, decent stereo speakers, and a functional microphone.
From a structural point of view, the XPS 15 9570 is aesthetic enough and still quite light at a mere 4.44 pounds. When it comes to ports, you get USB 3.0, USB 3.1 Gen 2, Thunderbolt 3, and even a few other legacy slots. The battery on this device gets slightly overwhelmed by the processing and visual power but still delivers up to 7 hours of backup on a single charge.
Overall, this notebook from Dell might not be perfect for a 1000 part, parametric 3D rendering or simulation, but it still works fine for other high-end professional requirements.
- Higher Clocking Processor
- A sizeable chunk of RAM
- Brilliant 4K display
- Thunderbolt 3 for pairing eGPUs, if needed
- Expandable RAM
- Ill-fitted webcam
- Consumer-grade GPU that hinders GPU accelerated rendering
11. Cheapest Option: Acer Aspire 5
The Acer Aspire 5 is probably the best notebook for a student or entry-level professional who is new to SolidWorks and looking to gain some expertise.
Powering the gadget is an Intel Core i5-1035G1 processor, capable of turbo clocking at 3.6GHz. Despite packing in only four cores, the HyperThreading technology allows you to perform intricate SolidWorks modeling with ease. The 6MB cache memory is another standout feature that speeds up the calculations.
When it comes to the GPU, you get the GeForce MX350 from NVIDIA. Despite being an entry-level consumer-grade GPU, 2GB VRAM comes across as a decent addition, when it comes to handling basic 2D modeling and drawing.
In terms of memory, you get 8GB RAM with expandable dual-channel compatibility. While this processing configuration is decent enough for assemblies that comprise 100 parts or less, it is the 256GB SSD unit that restricts storage.
The 15.6-inch screen supports the In-Plane Switching technology and offers a cumulative display resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. The Full HD panel also offers a wide-screen viewing experience. Productivity takes center stage with Acer featuring a full-sized keyboard and a responsive trackpad. You also get access to high-end speakers with minimal audio distortion, paired with an HD webcam and resourceful microphone array.
This gadget flaunts an aesthetic chassis and weighs an acceptable 3.96 pounds. In terms of the port arrangement, you get hold of USB 3.1 Type-C, USB 3.0, and other functional slots. In terms of connectivity, Acer offers decent premium wireless standards, including dual-band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.1. The battery on this gadget offers a 8-hour backup.
Overall, this is the best budget-friendly notebook for students and professionals who are primarily interested in drawing, drafting, and modeling using the SolidWorks tool. Assemblies can be simulated and rendered easily for less than 100 parts.
- Excellent processor for the price point
- Upgradeable memory
- More than decent screen
- Backlit keyboard
- Good battery life
- Basic GPU
- Underwhelming base clock speed
Frequently Asked Questions
SolidWorks is primarily a CPU-intensive tool, and therefore you need to concentrate the most on the processor. The best approach is to opt for a processor that has a higher turbo clocking speed for facilitating faster calculations, decent cache memory, and ECC memory if you are into more intricate simulations.
When it comes to the choice of GPUs, only the workstation-grade models offer the best performance for SolidWorks. While some of the more preferred ones include AMD Fire Pro, AMD Radeon Pro, and NVIDIA Quadro, we would suggest NVIDIA for better GPU accelerated rendering, courtesy of CUDA cores.
If the CPU comes with decent cache memory, it becomes easier to pick computational data from RAM and process it way faster. Cache access is quicker as compared to RAM access, and for a good SolidWorks, the notebook must have a minimum of 6MB to speed up calculations.
Initially, 16GB is more than enough for all the basic rendering, simulations, modeling, drawing, and operational analysis. However, if your assemblies have errors and they keep growing in size courtesy of more complex prototypes, you might have to consider expanding the same.
If you have a powerful CPU and an integrated GPU like Intel HD 4000, you can run a majority of SolidWorks operations like flow simulations, stress analysis, 2D drawing, and more. Unless you are working with a lot of assemblies with photorealistic modeling, integrated GPU would also suffice. However, it is always good to have a dedicated GPU to minimize pressure on the CPU and make 3D modeling and viewing possible.
A majority of operations initiated using SolidWorks are largely sequential, which uses single threads. This is why unless you are rendering larger assemblies while using multiple cores are once or indulging in multi-sheet drawing, HyperThreading isn’t of much use.
Intel Xeon Processor comes with decent clock speed, but the actual advantage is the built-in ECC or Error Correcting Code memory, which helps you with intricate calculations involving concepts like Fluid Dynamics and Error Analysis.
If you have a mid-range notebook and you are looking to optimize the performance of SolidWorks, move to the Visual effect section of Windows and select the best performance while setting the option for it to optimal. Disable add-ins, boost clock speed of the processor, and enable the Rigid more for subassembly solving. This optimizes performances by 10 to even 15 percent.
Although each one of the mentioned laptops supports SolidWorks based on your level of expertise, the final selection takes your budget, professional possibilities, and portability-preferences into account.
If you want power while envisioning a lot of space for the sizeable assemblies, nothing beats the workstation laptop HP Zbook 15 G5. Besides that, if you are deep into mechatronics, the Lenovo ThinkPad P53 is a good resource to have, primarily due to the high-end processor.
If you are looking for a complete, future-proof device for running CAD software, consider getting the Razer Blade 15, which even works as a high-end gaming machine.
For portability seekers, the Surface Book 2 from Microsoft, XPS15 from Dell are handy gadgets. In contrast, budget-centric students and professionals can opt for the Asus TUF FX505DT for entry-level working.