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 device for SolidWorks depends on the usage and expertise level. For a 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 2020
- 1. Best Workstation: MSI WE72 7RJ
- 2. Best Runner Up: Lenovo ThinkPad P50
- 3. Best HP Workstation: HP Zbook 15v G5
- 4. Best Gaming Laptop: Razer Blade 15
- 5. Best with NVIDIA RTX 2070: Asus ROG Zephyrus S
- 6. Best 17-inch: Omen by HP
- 7. Best with NVIDIA GTX 1650: Lenovo IdeaPad L340
- 8. Best Ultrabook: Microsoft Surface Book 2
- 9. Best with Intel Core i9: Dell XPS 15 9570
- 10. Best For Students: Dell Inspiron i5577
- 11. Cheapest Option: Acer Aspire E15
- 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 2020
|MSI WE72 7RJ|
|Lenovo ThinkPad P50|
|HP Zbook 15v G5|
|Razer Blade 15|
|Asus ROG Zephyrus S|
|Omen by HP|
|Lenovo IdeaPad L340|
|Microsoft Surface Book 2|
|Dell XPS 15 9570|
|Dell Inspiron i5577|
|Acer Aspire E15|
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 experience 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: MSI WE72 7RJ
The MSI WE72 7RJ is a virtual beast, both in terms of design and computing prowess. Strictly, a workstation notebook, this gadget is capable of running every aspect, simulation, and render synonymous with SolidWorks.
When it comes to the processor, you get a powerful Intel Core i7-7700HQ unit with a maximum clocking speed of up to 3.8GHz. This chipset is perfect when it comes to handling larger assemblies with ease, especially from simulating and rendering perspectives. However, it is the NVIDIA Quadro M2200 GPU clubbed with 4GB RAM that fits in rather perfectly. This combination allows you to use the OpenGL functionality while indulging in GPU accelerated rendering.
As a high-end workstation GPU, the Quadro M2200 unit allows you to handle photorealistic rendering, streamlined visualizations, and post-processing of computational fluid dynamics and other associated models. In terms of memory support, The device packs in 32GB of RAM, which is adequate enough for handling larger simulations and complex part rendering with ease.
If you are good at designing and make minimal errors, 32GB RAM is more than sufficient. Storage requirements are handled by a 512GB SSD storage unit. The existing SATA SSD unit might be on the slower than the PCIe based SSDs but it quickly loads the Windows 10 OS, supplied straight out of the box.
The existing 17.3-inch screen is perfect as a workstation display and even features 1920 x 1080 pixels as the cumulative resolution. Despite being a vibrant display, you cannot term the IPS panel as the brightest star in the sky. What stands out, though, is the 196 percent sRGB color gamut.
There is a SteelSeries Keyboard at the helm with excellent travel and actuation. Besides that, MSI also features a purposeful touchpad, basic webcam, and decent set of speakers. At 5.95 pounds, this isn’t the lightest laptop in the market but is still quite sleek despite being a durable and productivity-centric workstation. In terms of ports, you get all the basic units in USB Type-C, HDMI Out, Mini DisplayPort, and more.
The battery is barely serviceable and hardly churns out a 4-hour backup. Quite appropriately, you can use the MSI WE72 7RJ as a desktop replacement, courtesy of the brilliant processing performances.
- Exceptional processor with OpenGL support
- Powerful processor with multiple cores
- Great GPU for CAD software
- Sizeable screen real-estate
- Brilliant keyboard
- Basic port arrangement
- Disappointing battery backup
2. Best Runner Up: Lenovo ThinkPad P50
Your quest for the perfect SolidWorks supported laptop ends with the Lenovo ThinkPad P50. Here is a machine that stacks in all the relevant features, including brilliant workstation-compatibility, high-end processing components, storage upgradeability, and more.
The Intel Xeon E3-1505M v5 processor is a standout performer, capable of reaching clock speeds of up to 3.70GHz. However, it is the 8MB onboard cache memory that stands out as it offers ample space for the CPU to pull in data from the RAM. Besides that, the Xeon Processor 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 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 M2000M 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, 16GB seems enough to start with. You can always upgrade the same to 32GB, down the road.
The storage, on the other hand, is handled by a minimalistic M.2 SSD, which isn’t as fast as a PCIe NVMe module but still does the job. In terms of OS, you get Windows 7 Pro pre-installed on the device, but you can easily upgrade the same to Windows 10 Pro (if needed).
The 15.6-inch display is a standard addition with Lenovo making way for 1920×1080 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 a Thunderbolt 3 in addition to other USB legacy slots. The 90Whr battery on this device is capable of lasting for up to 13 hours.
To sum it up, the ThinkPad P50 from Lenovo is probably the most ideal laptop for using SolidWorks, courtesy of the Xeon processor. However, if you are looking for a newer model, consider the ThinkPad P53s from the same company, featuring an Intel Core i7-8565U processor, capable of clocking at 4.60GHz.
That said, unlike Quadro M2000M, 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
- 4GB Video RAM helps with Photorealistic rendering
- 16GB upgradeable RAM for bigger assemblies
- Thunderbolt 3 port exists
- Brilliant battery module
- Only 256GB storage
3. Best HP Workstation: HP Zbook 15v G5
If you are looking for a flawless workstation notebook for your academic and professional requirements, it is appropriate to consider the Zbook 15v G5 from HP.
Powered by a standard Intel Core i7-8750H processor, this workstation laptop is all about faster calculations. Besides that, the existing chipset can clock at a speed of up to 4.10GHz. 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 P600 GPU from NVIDIA. GPU-intensive rendering is possible with 4GB of VRAM.
In terms of memory allocation, the device offers 16GB 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 512GB 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 featuring a glossy panel with multi-touch support, the Zbook 15V G5 features excellent sunlight visibility standards.
Other productive specs include a backlit keyboard, functional touchpad, 2MP FHD webcam, integrated microphone, brilliant speakers, and a decent set of speakers. Despite qualifying as a workstation laptop, the Zbook 15V G5 only weighs 4.72 pounds, thereby supporting productivity on the move. Port arrangement is pretty innovative with HP featuring three USB 3.1 Type-A, one Thunderbolt 3, and other functional slots.
While the gadget claims a 10-hour battery backup, we could only churn out 7 to 8 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
- Includes Thunderbolt 3 for external pairings
- Decent cache memory for faster calculations
- Ethernet port feels stiff
4. Best Gaming Laptop: Razer Blade 15
The new and improved Razer Blade 15 is a pretty good choice if you are looking for a drawing and modeling-centric SolidWorks supported notebook that also doubles down as an exceptional gaming device.
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
5. Best with NVIDIA RTX 2070: 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 RAM 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 professional associated with intricate designing 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
6. Best 17-inch: 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 tools. 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 i7-9750H processor, capable of turbo clocking at a speed of up to 4.5GHz. 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, 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 workstation like a 17.3-inch IPS screen, with a display resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. The WLED panel comes with a refresh rate of 60Hz, which is pretty standard, if you are looking to indulge in mid-range 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 2019 is a chunky 17-inch notebook that weighs a massive 7.09 pounds. The port arrangement is decent enough with the company featuring USB 3.1 Type-A, Type-C, and other essential slots for improving functionality. The battery isn’t class-leading but still manages to churn out slightly less than 6 hours on moderate usage.
The HP Omen 17” is a gaming notebook that can be accommodated by mid-level SolidWorks experts.
- Processor supports multithreading and can handle multi-sheet drafts
- Decent GPU for 3D modeling
- Upgradeable RAM
- Fast PCIe SSD
- Supports AI-Assisted Modeling
- No Thunderbolt 3 Port
7. Best with NVIDIA GTX 1650: 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 4.10GHz. 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 Ultrabook: 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 3240×2160 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
9. 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 1050Ti 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 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 of a standard backlit Chiclet keyboard with decent actuation, a responsive touchpad, HD webcam, decent stereo speakers, and 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
10. Best For Students: Dell Inspiron i5577
For mechanical students and entry-level engineers, getting overburdened with a pricey and premium laptop is no way to approach SolidWorks. Instead, you can opt for the Dell Inspiron i5577 that brings forth a decent processor even supports high-end 3D drawing, and basic level graphic rendering and simulations.
The Intel Core i5-7300HQ might be a 7th gen unit but can achieve a turbo clocking speed of up to 3.50GHz. What stands out is 6MB of cache memory followed by a quad-core setup. Despite lacking HyperThreading support, the processor is still a commendable addition.
The graphics are handled by the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 GPU that comes paired with 4GB VRAM, completely capable of handling GPU accelerated rendering and photorealistic modeling on SolidWorks.
You get 8GB RAM on this device that can be upgraded to 32GB, if and when required. The 256GB SSD unit is quite functional but leaves a lot to be desired in terms of storage capability. When it comes to the OS, Dell features Windows 10 Home edition, straight out of the box.
In terms of display, you get a 15.6-inch screen that comes with a built-in anti-glare panel. The existing Full HD screen offers a cumulative display resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, which is still quite good for an entry-level gaming and professional gadget.
Dell also features a decent backlit keyboard followed by a serviceable and purposeful touchpad. You also get a handy webcam and integrated speakers for improved productivity. When it comes to structural innovation, the durable palm rest comes across as a standout performer.
The gadget weighs 5.66 pounds and features USB 3.0, USB 2.0, and other functional legacy ports. The battery on this gadget is capable of offering a 12-hour backup on moderate usage, but with renders and simulation, it churns out 7 to 8 hours at max.
The Inspiron i5577 from Dell is an exceptional, SolidWorks compatible gadget, which can be purchased if you seek an entry-level performer and that too on a budget.
- Exceptional entry-level GPU
- Upgradeable RAM
- Decent display
- Long-lasting battery
- No HyperThreading support on the processor
- Lacks Thunderbolt 3
- Minor stability compromises due to consumer-grade GPU
11. Cheapest Option: Acer Aspire E15
The Acer Aspire E15 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 i7-8550U processor, capable of turbo clocking at 4.0GHz. Despite packing in only four cores, the HyperThreading technology allows you to perform intricate SolidWorks modeling with ease. The 8MB cache memory is another standout feature that speeds up the calculations.
When it comes to the GPU, you get the GeForce MX150 from NVIDIA. Despite being a mid-range 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 5.27 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 15-hour backup.
Overall, this is the best budget 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
- Brilliant battery
- Basic GPU
- Underwhelming storage space
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 HP Zbook 15v G5. Besides that, if you are deep into mechatronics, the ThinkPad P50 is a good resource to have, primarily due to the Xeon processor.
If you are looking for a complete, future-proof device for running CAD software, consider getting the MSI WE72 7RJ, which even offers a 17.3-inch screen to work on.
For portability seekers, the Surface Book 2 from Microsoft, XPS15 from Dell are handy gadgets, whereas budget-centric students and professionals can opt for the Acer Aspire E15 for entry-level working.