The best laptop for 3D modelling in 2023: CAD, AutoCAD

Use the best laptop for CAD to run AutoCAD and other 3D modelling programs.
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The best laptop for 3D modelling in 2023: CAD, AutoCAD - W3Tekno

If you use computer-aided software for your project, choosing the best laptop for CAD is an important first step. Architects, engineers or students need to choose carefully to avoid choosing a device that fails to meet the needs of the industry.

We spent many hours with each laptop on this list and gained a thorough understanding of the CAD laptop usage requirements of creatives to determine which ones can handle the demanding workload associated with this type of work. Our testers tested these laptops, examining their power, mobility and speed and determining whether their specifications meet the requirements of CAD software (read our guide on how we test laptops for more information). Not sure of your search criteria? Avoid choosing a device that won't meet the needs of your business by reading the recommendations of our guide to the best laptops for AutoCAD, CAD and 3D modelling.

Apple MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021) - The best budget laptop for CAD.

Apple MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021)

The best budget laptop for CAD.
  • Processor: Apple M1 Pro or Max chip
  • Graphics: M1 Pro 14-Core-GPU
  • RAM: 16-64GB
  • Screen: 14 inche
  • Resolution: 3024 x 1964
  • Storage: 512GB-8TB
  • Weight: 3.5lbs
  • Reasons To Buy
  • Huge battery life
  • Incredible performance
  • Reasons To Avoid
  • Expensive direct from Apple
  • If you don't need the latest model and want a reasonable budget option, the MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021) is a great laptop for CAD.

    This laptop was Apple's most powerful model ever before the M2 release, running macOS Big Sur on its custom octa-core M1 Pro or Max processor with up to 64GB of RAM. In our evaluation, we found that it could easily run AutoCAD, as well as resource-demanding 3D modelling programs such as Maya, 3DS Max and Fusion 360. Also note that you can run iOS here, allowing you to use the AutoCAD mobile app if that will boost your productivity.

    The MacBook Pro has the longest battery life of any Mac ever, up to 17 hours. You'll probably get less sleep than that when you're working intensively in AutoCAD, but you'll definitely get through a workday without needing a break. You'll also have access to the most stunning, ultra-high resolution display and an incredible storage of up to 8TB.

    It was previously out of reach for the majority of people, but since it's no longer the newest model on the street, there are now significant discounts available.

    Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio - A touch screen Windows 11 laptop that's great for CAD.

    Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio

    A touch screen Windows 11 laptop that's great for CAD.
  • CPU: 11th Gen Intel Core H
  • Graphics: Intel Iris Xe / NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti  laptop GPU
  • RAM: 16GB or 32GB
  • Screen: PixelSense Flow 14.4in 2400 x 1600 touch display
  • Storage: 256GB – 2TB SSD
  • Reasons To Buy
  • Comfortable keyboard
  • Beautiful touch screen with stylus compatibility
  • Reasons To Avoid
  • A little heavy
  • Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio, biraz benzersiz bir şey arıyorsanız müthiş bir seçenektir.

    Sadece çarpıcı, uyarlanabilir bir tasarıma sahip olmakla kalmaz, aynı zamanda işinizi çarpıcı hale getirecek harika bir PixelSense dokunmatik ekrana sahiptir. Ayrıca, ekran 120Hz'e kadar hızlı bir yenileme hızına sahiptir. Kalem uyumluluğu sayesinde (kalemi ayrıca satın almanız gerekmesine rağmen), özellikle bu dokunmatik ekran birçok kişi için cazip olacaktır.

    There's also a lot to like. All CAD applications run smoothly thanks to its superior keyboard and powerful technical features, including state-of-the-art integrated graphics from Intel or NVIDIA, depending on the configuration you choose. Plus, the battery life is truly excellent.

    LG Gram 17 (2022) - Best thin and light laptop for CAD

    LG Gram 17 (2022)

    Best thin and light laptop for CAD
  • Processor: Intel 12th-gen Alder Lake Core i7-1260P, 4PC+8Ec/16T
  • Graphics: Intel Iris Xe
  • RAM: 16GB LPDDR5 (Dual Channel, 5200 MHz)
  • Screen: 17-inch
  • Resolution: WQXGA 2560 x 1600
  • Storage: 1TB NVMe M.2(2280) Dual SSD slots
  • Weight: 1.350kg (GM) / 1.435kg (PM)
  • Reasons To Buy
  • Thin
  • Powerful enough
  • Ultra lightweight
  • Reasons To Avoid
  • Wobbly screen
  • No discrete graphics card
  • The LG Gram 17 (2022) is, according to our reviewer, "one of the thinnest and lightest laptops ever made, with enough performance for serious design work". It's extremely thin and light, and offers excellent performance for creative work. Our reviewer praised the ability to fit a 17-inch display in a 15.6-inch body, as well as the use of a special chassis made of a combination of carbon and magnesium and extremely compact internal components to make the device lighter. This naturally suggests that people who prioritise portability will find the device great.

    While the power is not as great as found in other machines with discrete graphics cards, the LG Gram will handle most of the CAD tasks.

    Acer Swift Edge 16 - The best Chromebook for CAD.

    Acer Swift Edge 16

    The best Chromebook for CAD.
  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 6800U
  • Graphics: AMD Radeon Graphics 680M
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Screen: 16in OLED
  • Resolution: 3840x2400
  • Storage: 1TB
  • Reasons To Buy
  • Looks great
  • Thin and light
  • Decent processor
  • Reasons To Avoid
  • Reflective screen
  • No Windows Hello
  • Average battery life
  • A Chromebook suitable for CAD? We can hear your sarcastic sneer. Don't, though, because we've discovered one that will do the job quite well.

    The Acer Swift Edge 16 is an all-round great laptop with a powerful CPU and plenty of RAM. Its 16-inch, 16:10 OLED display is bright, crisp and colourful, making it ideal for viewing your drawings on a gorgeous scale. Creative software runs smoothly on it.

    While you need something more powerful if your CAD projects are particularly demanding, it lacks the graphics capacity for 4K gaming or intense 3D rendering work, but it's incredibly light and portable thanks to its aluminium-magnesium alloy chassis covered with a black plastic coating. The Acer Swift Edge 16 is a powerful tool if you need to work with several open programs or want to do CAD on the go.

    ASUS ROG Zephyrus M16 - The most powerful Windows laptop for CAD.

    ASUS ROG Zephyrus M16

    The most powerful Windows laptop for CAD.
  • Processor: Intel Core i9-13900H
  • Graphics: NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 4090 16GB
  • RAM: 32GB DDR5
  • Screen: 16 in WQXGA 240Hz
  • Resolution: 2560x1600
  • Storage: 2TB NVMe M.2 SSD
  • Reasons To Buy
  • 8K video output
  • Large and powerful
  • Excellent touchscreen
  • Reasons To Avoid
  • Large and heavy
  • Short battery life
  • Needs a lot of cooling
  • You may need the power of this beast if you're managing large and complex CAD projects, but be prepared to pay for it. Even for the most strenuous jobs, this ASUS laptop provides all the power you could ever need. The battery can't quite keep up with its powerful specs, but if you don't mind spending more money and don't mind being plugged in more often, it could be an all-purpose computer for that creative project you're working on. If you're a gamer, it can also be quite useful.

    ASUS ROG Zephyrus M16 is very powerful, stylish and fashionable. It has the latest, best Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 graphics card, a powerful processor, a dazzling LED display on top and a high price tag, but that last one is expected.

    Apple MacBook Pro (M2, 2022) - The best laptop for CAD overall.

    Apple MacBook Pro (M2, 2022)

    The best laptop for CAD overall.
  • CPU: M2 Pro (10-core CPU, 16-core GPU or 12-core CPU, 19-core GPU), with optional M2 Max with up to 12-core CPU and 38-core GPU
  • Graphics: Integrated 16-core GPU
  • RAM: 16GB-96GB
  • Screen: 14.2-inch, 3,024 x 1,964 Liquid Retina XDR display
  • Storage: 512GB-8TB SSD
  • Reasons To Buy
  • Almost silent in use
  • Excellent battery life
  • Beautiful, sharp screen
  • Reasons To Avoid
  • Still only two Thunderbolt ports
  • The latest MacBook Pro is the best laptop for AutoCAD or CAD. You can choose between 14-inch, 16-inch and 13-inch versions depending on the screen size you want (we called 14-inch "the king of laptops" in our MacBook Pro 14-inch (M2 2022) review), and you can upgrade to the Max chip if you need superpower. However, even the basic M2 chip handles CAD programmes without a problem.

    The latest MacBook Pro also has incredibly long battery life. We tested it ourselves and it allows you to work all day and still have battery left. This means you can visit clients, work on the road and much more without worrying about plugging it in.

    Razer Blade 17 (2022) - A big-screen Windows laptop for CAD.

    Razer Blade 17 (2022)

    A big-screen Windows laptop for CAD.
  • CPU: 12th-generation Intel Core i7
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti
  • RAM: 32GB DDR5
  • Screen: 17.3-inch QHD, 240Hz, G-Sync
  • Storage: 1TB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD
  • Reasons To Buy
  • Incredibly powerful
  • Modern design with great keyboard
  • Reasons To Avoid
  • Very expensive
  • Short battery life
  • The Razer Blade 17 is the perfect laptop for CAD work that requires a lot of power. While Razer is best known for its gaming hardware, laptops like the Blade 17 are equipped with some of the best and most powerful components currently available. One of those components is Nvidia's top-of-the-line laptop GPU, the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti, which is not only great for gaming, but also makes difficult CAD projects a breeze.

    Although incredibly expensive, you get some of the best mobile technology currently available on the market for your money. For those who want a lot of power, this is the perfect creative workstation thanks to its excellent build quality and gorgeous 17-inch screen.

    Dell XPS 17  (2022)  - The best Dell laptop for CAD.

    Dell XPS 17 (2022)

    The best Dell laptop for CAD.
  • CPU: 11th-gen Intel Core i7-11800H (8 cores)
  • Graphics: Up to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 6GB GDDR6
  • RAM: Up to 64GB DDR4-3200MHz
  • Screen: 17.0
  • Storage: Up to 4TB M.2 PCIe NVMe
  • Reasons To Buy
  • Thin for a 17-inch laptop
  • Excellent display with HDR
  • Reasons To Avoid
  • Unimpressive battery life
  • When using CAD software, having a lovely, huge screen with a high quality may be really helpful. It will provide you more workspace and allow you to wow customers and coworkers with your projects. Because of its amazing 17-inch UHD+ screen with HDR, which is brilliant, colorful, and pleasant to work on, the Dell XPS 17 is a laptop that is worth considering.

    Another example of how a big-screen laptop doesn't have to be big and bulky is the Dell XPS 17. This laptop is incredibly thin and light and has the same sleek look as the smaller Dell XPS 13 and XPS 15 models. As well as powerful hardware, it has Nvidia RTX GeForce 3060 graphics, 11th-generation Intel Core CPUs and up to 64GB of RAM. In our review, we discovered it has more than enough power for even the heaviest CAD tasks. For more information, visit our Dell XPS 17 9710 review.

    What laptop is best for CAD?

    The ideal laptop for running AutoCAD has the latest Intel Core i5 or Core i7 processors, but how powerful a computer do you really need in everyday life? This really depends on the type of CAD work you do.

    The ideal machine will have high-end components such as plenty of RAM, a multi-core processor, and a dedicated graphics card that can handle complex jobs. For design work, you'll also want a large screen for eye comfort and optimal viewing of your work. While you'll need to consider battery life, the power in these laptops means you may have to compromise on this. Here, we've selected laptops with enough battery to last all day long.

    If you are a student working on fairly simple assignments, you will probably have no problem reaching the minimum standards. But if you're working professionally in CAD, you might want a more powerful CPU. Generally speaking, you'll need to spend more money for bigger, more sophisticated projects, especially if you want your laptop to use 3D modelling programs other than AutoCAD. Naturally, in general, the more power you need, the more expensive it will be.

    Can all laptops run AutoCAD?

    AutoCAD, a programme created by Autodesk for computer-aided design and drawing, will need to be used by almost everyone interested in CAD. AutoCAD has been in use since 1982 and is essentially the industry standard for all the professions we have discussed. It is used to create both 2D and 3D drawings. Below are the prerequisites for the latest version of AutoCAD:

    System requirements
    Processor2.5GHz (3+ GHz recommended)
    Memory8GB (16GB recommended)
    Disk space10GB
    Display1920 x 1080 resolution

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