Have you ever wondered how to find the best computer for AutoCAD? Of course you have, you’re reading this article. Thing is, looking for a laptop to serve this purpose is not much different than looking for a gaming laptop. You’ll need high performance, top speed, good RAM, big screen, ergonomic keyboard, the works. Also, you’ll need to shell out some serious cash, but don’t worry – the laptop will pay for itself in a matter of months if you do it right.
Best Laptop for AutoCAD – how to choose ?
So, what are the crucial things for an AutoCAD laptop?
For starters, definitely go for a multicore processor, preferably clocking high (in the neighborhood of 3GHz),especially if you mean to do lots of 3D work, so you don’t overtax the CPU.
Next, you’ll need at least 8GB of RAM, especially for work, especially for performance-hungry programs like AutoCAD. Plus, you’ll need it for multitasking (having multiple running programs).
Additionally, go for a large screen, the bigger the better. Don’t go below 15 inches, no matter what.
There are also a few things that are not as crucial, but highly recommended, such as a dedicated GPU (just like for gaming), an SSD (enhanced speed and responsiveness), and a decent battery life.
5 Best Laptops for AutoCAD Reviews
1. ASUS K501UX
We’ll kick off the list with the most affordable beastie and also the best laptop for autocad under $1000, and then work our way up. The ASUS K501UX started its life as a dedicated gaming laptop, but it soon found its way into the workspace, due to similar requirements CPU heavy programs like newer games and, well, computer-aided designing.
This little fella has a 6th Gen Intel Core i7-6500U Dual-Core Processor with 2.5GHz base frequency (boost up to 3.1GHz) and 4MB Cache. This is a Skylake processor, which translates into plain English as “DDR-4 support and a slight performance boost”, but nothing momentous.
It has an 8GB RAM, 256GB of SSD storage, as well as a dedicated NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M graphics card, which pretty much meets the base system requirements for AutoCAD.
Out of the rest of the doo-das, this puppy has Gigabit Dual-Band 802.11AC ultra-fast Wi-Fi for accessing the interwebz, as well as two 3.0 and 2.0 USB ports, one HDMI port and Bluetooth 4.0 for added connectivity.
The screen measures 15.6 inches, is Matte-finished, and has great res (1920 x 1080).
- Meets the system requirements with room to spare
- Excellent value for money
- Quiet as Lordaeron when Arthas returned
- Great battery life
- The hinge is too tight, requires two hands to open
- The trackpad is subpar
If you’re working on a budget, but absolutely need an AutoCAD laptop, turn to the ASUS K501UX before you try anything else. The computer comes with a one-year International Warranty with one-year Accidental Damage Protection.
2. XOTIC MSI GE62 Apache Pro-001
A tad beyond the previous item, the XOTIC MSI GE62 Apache Pro-001 comes with a price to match the quality (it is the best laptop for AutoCAD under $1500). With it, not only do you get a beast under the hood, but also all the bells and whistles of a great gaming platform, which, incidentally, makes it ideal for AutoCAD.
The heart and soul of this beauty is the Intel Skylake Core i7-6700HQ Quad-Core Processor, with base frequency of 2.6GHz, and ability to Turbo it to 3.5GHz, as well as a 6MB SmartCache.
The graphic card is dedicated NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M, with 3GB of its own GDDR5 PCI-Express (Maxwell) RAM.
This baby also holds 16GB DDR4 2133MHz of RAM (with Dual Channel Memory (2x8GB SODIMMS)), one m.2 slot accommodating 128GB SSD, plus monstrous 2TB HDD at 5400rpm for storing things you’ll probably never need, but what the hell!
As far as odds and ends, the MSI GE62 also comes with 8x Super Multi DVDRW/CDRW Combo Drive, Intel 3165 Stone Peak 1, one USB 3.1, two USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0 ports, as well as Bluetooth 4.0. You also get 64-Bit Windows 10, pre-installed.
As far as the screen goes, it’s a 15.6-inch full HD LED, with 1920 x 1080 screen res.
- Easily upgradable
- Incredible storage capacity
- Backlit keyboard
- Solid battery life
- Trackpad sounds hollow and thud-y
- Didn’t come to the market sooner[/intense_column] [/intense_row]
This is a great laptop for engineering and architecture students, but also young professionals still working on a sort-of budget. The computer comes with a two-year (US and Canada only) warranty for parts and labor, plus a one-year Accidental Damage Protection.
3. ASUS ZenBook Pro UX501VW
Moving a whole order of magnitude from our previous two items, we get to the Asus ZenBook Pro UX501VW, a dedicated workstation laptop, ideal for CPU taxing software like AutoCAD.
The quintessence of this bad boy is the vigorous Intel Skylake i7-6700HQ Quad-Core Processor with 2.6GHz base frequency that sups up to 3.5GHz and 6MB Cache.
As far as memory goes, the hood holds 512GB of SSD with transfer speeds of 1400MB per second, as well as brutal 16GB DDR4 RAM. The dedicated graphic card is NVidia GTX960, an upper mid-range, DirectX 11-compatible card.
Of the features non-essential for an AutoCAD laptop, this fella sports 802.11 ac Wi-Fi, one Thunderbolt III port, one 2nd gen 3.1 USB ports, 3 USB 3.0 ports, one HDMI port, Bluetooth 4.0 and SDXC card-reader.
The monitor features a 15.6-inch Touch IPS 4K Ultra-HD display, with amazing resolution (3840 x 2160).
- By far the best bang for buck
- Brutally crisp screen
- Up to 7 hours of battery life
- Backlit keyboard
- No bloatware
- The trackpad is beyond uncomfortable
- The hinge is too stiff
In essence, if you’re ready to go over the magical 1k mark, this laptop will repay every penny with interest. Clearly the best value for money laptop for AutoCAD.
4. Lenovo ThinkPad P50 Mobile Workstation
If you’re ready to shell out some serous moolah, but still want to remain under the 2k ceiling, the Lenovo ThinkPad P50 is the perfect thing for you. It’s an investment, but one that pays for itself, ideal for professionals at the start of their careers. Goes in the category best laptop for AutoCAD under 2000.
The engine beneath the hood of this workhorse is the 6th Gen Intel Core i7-6700HQ Quad Core Processor with 6MB Cache and 2.6GHz base frequency, with Turbo boost up to 3.5GHz.
This is a utility laptop for CPU heavy programs, with 16GB DDR4 RAM with 2133MHz frequency, one 128GB SSD drive, plus 500GB HDD with 7200rpm rotational speed.
The dedicated GPU is the NVIDIA Quadro M1000M with 2GB of its own RAM, while the display is a 15.6-inch Full HD display with crisp res (1920 x 1080).
Sadly, there’s no optical drive, but the laptop does come with a pre-installed Windows 7 Professional OS, with upgrade to Windows 10.
- Dedicated professional workstation laptop
- Pre-installed Windows 7 Professional
- Great value for money
- Up to seven hours of battery life
- No optical drive
- Not versatile
If you’re a professional designer, through and through, in search of a tool rather than a media device, the Lenovo ThinkPad P50 Mobile Workstation is the horse to bet on. The purpose is even in the name, for crying out loud!
Best Laptop for AutoCAD just over $2,000
5. HP Zbook 15 G3 Workstation
If you’re set on shelling out some serious cash, why not ante up and pass the 2k mark? With the HP Zbook 15 G3, you won’t have to pass it by much.
This pretty portable powerhouse allows it to configure it whichever way you like; for the optimal balance between power and price, however, you should go for the Intel® Xeon® Processor E7-8893 v4, with brutal 60MB Cache and clocking at 3.20GHz base frequency, and ability to sup it up to 3.5GHz.
This puppy is a tabula rasa, allowing for an easy upgrade, with memory options of up to 64GB EEC and dual 1TB HP Z Turbo Drive GD for up to 3TB storage. The configuration, as is, has 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of SSD storage.
The monitor features a 15.6-inch FHD SVA AntiGlare LED display panel with 1920 x 1080 maximum resolution and 16:9 aspect ratio. For general purpose, the laptop features integrated Intel® HD graphics 530, while the dedicated graphics card is the NVIDIA® Quadro® M2000M with 4GB GDDR5 RAM of its own.
- Professional-grade graphics
- Great to-go configuration selection
- Dedicated workstation
- Up to 14 hours of battery life
- Other than price, not much
- And even price is not that big of a problem, if you can save the money[/intense_column] [/intense_row]
The HP Zbook 15 G3 is a dedicated workhorse, ideal for professional AutoCAD engineers.
When all is said and done, and combined, the list of top laptops and notebooks for AutoCAD has a little bit of something for everyone. Keep in mind, though, to neither underpay nor overpay your rig. On the one hand, going Scrooge won’t give you the configuration you need, but on the other, after a couple of k’s, you’re just paying for bells and whistles.
If you don’t find anything that fits your bill here, feel free to look around, but read through the recommendations to get at least an idea of where to go from here.
For the absolute quality and ease of upgrade, go for the HP Zbook; If you like having your rig pre-configured and work-dedicated, take the Lenovo ThinkPad; the ASUS ZenBook is for those who want to get the most bang for the buck, while the MSI XOTIC gives you the best offer at approachable prices; conversely, the cheapest laptop here, although meeting only the barest system requirements for AutoCAD, still rocks some big guns, and it’s on the cheap-cheap, compared to the rest of the list.
Shortcut to our review to the best gaming laptop under 2000.