AutoCAD is the most popular computer-aided design software for creating precise drawings in 2D and 3D formats. It also offers valuable design features such as 2D regeneration, 3D drawing, photorealistic and mental ray rendering, and design automation. If you aspire to or currently do work in a job that uses AutoCAD, you’ll likely be interested in knowing about the best laptops for AutoCAD to accomplish your daily goals.
In this article, we will talk about some powerful AutoCAD laptops, considering major factors such as cost, storage space, graphic cards, RAM, and processor strength. With this information, you will be able to make the right choice as you look to buy a laptop for AutoCAD. We’ve also included some of the best laptops for AutoCAD under $1,000, in case you’re on a budget.
How to Choose the Best AutoCAD Laptop
You may have all the AutoCAD knowledge in the world, but without a powerful laptop to provide the tech infrastructure to execute AutoCAD projects, you’ll run into some issues as you use the application. There are some system requirements that a laptop needs to satisfy before it can run AutoCAD smoothly.
Running AutoCAD on a weak laptop could cause the app to crash or your laptop to overheat and shut down. You can prevent this by making sure that your laptop satisfies, and ideally exceeds, the minimum requirements and specifications for AutoCAD. Below are the variables you should consider before you make your purchase.
AutoCAD is an application with high CPU usage. The strength of the computer processor (CPU) is the first thing you should consider and is determined by its number of cores and clock speed. The clock speed is the number of iterations that the computer can make in a second and the number of cores is how many physical cores there are in the processor.
AutoCAD is a single core application, meaning it isn’t multithreaded. Having more cores will not improve the performance so having a laptop with higher clock speeds is more important. According to Autodesk, the software creator, AutoCAD only supports multicore processor technology during 2D regeneration. The minimum processor speed for AutoCAD is 2.5-2.9 GHz but we recommend having a processor speed higher than 3.0GHz for optimal performance.
RAM, short for random access memory, is the computer’s workspace to access data and interact with it. While you work on your computer, your computer places information in your RAM so you can access it easier and faster. As a rule of thumb, more RAM equals a faster processing speed. By having sufficient RAM, you will be able to seamlessly transfer information to other components.
Despite the high CPU requirement, the application requires just 8GB of RAM to run basic tasks on the AutoCAD application. Autodesk recommends 16GB, however, as more advanced tasks can be taxing. Despite the additional cost, it’s advisable to go with as much RAM storage as you can afford.
There are two types of storage – hard disk drives (HDD) and solid-state drives (SSD). HDDs employ magnetic spinning platters and write heads to store and access data while SDDs use flash memory to store data. We recommend SSD storage options because they are faster at launching the AutoCAD application and running basic tasks. HDDs can still do the job, but they are slower, noisier, and more easily damaged than SSD drives.
A graphic card may not be an as-important requirement to run AutoCAD, but it sure improves the performance. Some laptops can run AutoCAD seamlessly with the inbuilt laptop graphics adapter. Others may need a bit of help from graphics cards to run high graphics-intensive tasks on AutoCAD effectively.
How to Find Cheap Laptops for AutoCAD
- Find Discounts. Timing is everything and the same thing applies to buying laptops. You can find laptops selling for a reduced price around Black Friday, Boxing Day, or the back-to-school months. The general prices of laptops also reduce whenever a newer model comes out and sellers are looking to offload the older models.
- Buy Refurbished Laptops. A good way to save costs on laptop purchases is to buy refurbished laptops. Refurbished, or open-box, laptops are pre-owned laptops that are returned to the manufacturer, then resold at a lower price. You can get refurbished laptops from laptop manufacturers like Apple and Dell. They come with warranty protection and guarantees
- Subscribe to Promotional Newsletters. You can often find good deals on laptops thanks to the promotional newsletters that retailers send out by mail or online. Subscribing to newsletters can keep you up to date on price drops you might otherwise have missed. There are also online services that let you track the price of certain laptops and notify you if they get within your price range.
The Best Laptops for AutoCAD in 2023
|Lenovo ThinkPad P15||Lenovo||$2,759.00||11th Generation Intel Core i9-11950H, 15.6” FHD (1920 X1080) touch screen, NVIDIA T1200 4GB GDDR6|
|HP ZBook Power Mobile Workstation PC||HP||$2,314.00||Sleek Design, Intel Core i5-1150H, 1 TB PCIe SSD|
|Asus ROG Zephyrus G14||ASUS||$1,999.99||Intel UHD Graphics, AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS, 6 GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060|
|Acer Nitro 5||Acer||$1,349.98||11th Gen Intel Core i7 Processor, High Speed IPS FHD Display, GeForce RTX SO Series GPU|
|Acer Predator Helios 300||Acer||$1199.99||Intel Core i7-10750H processor, 512 GB NVMe SSD, Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060|
|MSI GF63||MSI||$999.00||15.6-INCH Full HD display, Intel Core i7-10770H, 8 GB memory/512 GB SSD|
|Asus Tuf FX505DT||Asus||$949.00||AMD Ryzen 7 3750H, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660Ti, 8 GB DDR4-2400|
|Acer Aspire 5||Acer||$899.99||Intel Core i7-1165G7, Intel Xe Graphics, 12 GB of DDR4 SDRAM|
|Microsoft Surface Pro 7||Microsoft||$849.99||Quad-core 10th Gen Intel Core i5-1035G4 Processor, Intel Iris Plus Graphics, 12.3-inch touchscreen display|
|Lenovo IdeaPad 5i||Lenovo||$686.37||11th Generation Intel Core i5-1135G7, 15.6” Full HD(1920 × 1080) IPS, 8 GB DDR4 3200 MHz|
Top Rated Laptops for AutoCAD: In Detail
Lenovo ThinkPad P15
- Best for: Heavy workloads
- Price: $2,759.00
If you are looking for a laptop that can handle any AutoCAD task, then the Lenovo ThinkPad P15 is an ideal option. Its reliable processor strength makes it the perfect laptop for engineers, students, and architects. It offers 11th generation Intel Core processor with a base clock speed of 2.60GHz and up to 5.0GHz with turbo boost. It also comes with a dedicated graphics card which helps it to seamlessly perform high-graphics intensive tasks.
HP ZBook Power Mobile Workstation
- Best for: Professional designers who want a powerful laptop with a portable design
- Price: $2,314.00
The HP ZBook power mobile workstation offers professional performance at an affordable price. It provides superior power to blaze through 3D modeling workloads by combining NVIDIA graphics with an Intel Core i5 processor. It also comes with a 256 GB PCIe NVMe SSD internal drive, which provides fast storage and large memory configurations.
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 GA401QEC
- Best for: CAD professionals who need high computing power
- Price: $1,999.99
Asus Zephyrus is a popular choice among top CAD professionals, architects, mechanical designers, and infrastructure planners. Its AMD Ryzen 9 processor offers high computing power to efficiently handle CPU-intensive 2D and 3D modeling tasks and comes with a hexa-core architecture and a turbo clock speed that can get as high as 4.6 GHz. It also has the latest NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 dedicated graphics card to easily perform photorealistic and 3D rendering.
Acer Nitro 5
- Best for: People who want speed and power
- Price: $1349.98
In terms of performance for price, the Acer Nitro 5 is one of the best gaming laptops in the world. It offers the right combination of speed and power to seamlessly run AutoCAD using an 11th generation Intel Core processor and a high-performance Nvidia GeForce GTX graphics card. Even when you use the laptop continuously for hours, it stays cool thanks to Acer CoolBoost technology and twin fans.
Acer Predator Helios 300
- Best for: People who want exceptional performance at an affordable price
- Price: $1199.99
The Acer Predator Helios 300 is reputed as one of the best gaming laptops in the market and perfect for AutoCAD. AutoCAD users need a powerful laptop that can efficiently strike a balance between the processing unit and the dedicated graphics cards and the Acer Predator Helios 300 is one of the few laptops that can conveniently do this.
It offers high processing power, courtesy of its Intel Core i7 processor. It also has a Nvidia GeForce 2060 that can conveniently handle heavy-duty tasks like 2D regeneration and photorealistic rendering. The laptop also comes with a 15.6-inch display with an overdrive response time of 3ms and a 144Hz screen refresh rate display, which aids AutoCAD users during rendering and simulation tasks.
Best Laptops for AutoCAD Under $1,000
- Best for: CAD professionals who perform heavy-duty design tasks
- Price: $999.00
If you want a laptop with a powerful processor that lets you create high-end 3D modeling, designing, and mechanical prototyping seamlessly, then the MSI GF63 is your ideal choice. Its ample RAM, SSD storage, and 60 Hz guarantees that you enjoy a high level of performance for a low price. It also comes with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 graphic card which supports performance during heavy-duty tasks.
Asus Tuf FX505DT
- Best for: People who want a powerful mid-range laptop under $1000
- Price: $949.00
This is one of the most powerful budget laptops. It comes with an AMD Ryzen quad-core processor and GeForce GTX 1660 Ti for smooth gaming, designing, and live-streaming. It also provides 8GB of RAM storage and 512GB SSD storage, which helps it load the AutoCAD application in a short time.
Acer Aspire 5
- Best for: Anyone looking for a high-performance, lightweight laptop on a budget
- Price: $899.99
The Acer Aspire is a slim, portable, and effective laptop with an aluminum cover. It can cater to the software and hardware demands of the AutoCAD application and comes with a choice of either Intel or AMD processors and either Nvidia or AMD graphics. The fast-loading M.2 PCIe SSD provides plenty of space to perform your AutoCAD tasks.
Microsoft Surface Pro 7
- Best for: CAD professionals who want a portable laptop
- Price: $849.99
Microsoft Surface Pro 7 is a professional-grade laptop built for maximum performance. Its 10th Gen Intel Core processor allows you to run various software programs all day without hassle. It features a 12.3’ touchscreen display, 8 GB LPDDR4 RAM, and Intel Iris Plus Graphics. Even more impressive, it is versatile and can be converted to a tablet. The battery offers around 10 hours of battery life without connection to power.
Lenovo IdeaPad 5i
- Best for: People who want to work on the go
- Price: $686.37
Lenovo IdeaPad efficiently handles the hardware and software requirement of the AutoCAD application thanks to its 11th generation Core i5 processor that can go as high as 4.20 GHz with turbo boost. Its Intel Iris Xe Graphics also offers advanced GPU infrastructure to handle AutoCAD tasks. It has other features such as a USB-C port, 512 GB PCIe SSD, fingerprint reader, and a Novo button
Should I Use a Laptop for AutoCAD?
Yes, you should. AutoCAD is one of the most popular CAD software applications in the engineering and architectural disciplines. As a budding or professional engineer, you’ll need to get a laptop that satisfies the minimum requirement of a laptop for AutoCAD for when you’re working on the go.
AutoCAD is a CPU-intensive application, meaning that it’s more dependent on its processor than its other laptop components. We recommend that you place an emphasis on high-powered CPU laptops. Make sure that the other parts, like the RAM, GPU, and memory, also satisfy the minimum requirements. We recommend that you research the features and specifications of your preferred laptops before making a choice.
Best Laptops for AutoCAD FAQ
All of the laptops mentioned above are some of the best laptops for AutoCAD in the market. Other notable mentions are Acer Aspire 5, LG Gram 17, Razer Blade 15, HP Spectre X360, and MacBook Air
Yes, laptops can run AutoCAD. Like all computers, laptops need to meet the software and hardware requirements before they can run AutoCAD effectively.
AutoCAD costs $220 per month or $1,775 per year. AutoCAD users have to pay for an AutoCAD subscription monthly or annually.
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Yes, there is a free version of AutoCAD. Autodesk offers free AutoCAD trials in its design suites. You can enjoy complete access to AutoCAD features in the trial version.
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