Top 8 laptop for AutoCAD and CAD in 2024

Top 8 laptop for AutoCAD and CAD in 2024

Choosing the best laptop for CAD has never been simpler, so rejoice, architects, engineers, and students. Why? As the legwork has already been done for you! It’s crucial to complete your homework before making the pricey and crucial decision to get the ideal gadget for your needs. For example, a very strong GPU might help with some 3D processes but is not necessary for 2D CAD operations.

To make sure we’re only recommending the finest, we’ve thoroughly tested every laptop on this list, fusing our knowledge of technology with our comprehension of the demands of creatives. We’ve covered laptops with different power levels, price ranges, and operating systems in recognition of the diverse needs of different CAD users. Our list is informed by our own in-depth experience and the knowledge of our sister sites; for more information, check our guide on how we test laptops.

It’s important to note that not all software works with Macs, so before purchasing an Apple product, make sure you have the Mac version. (Note: only the AutoCAD 2024 version is natively compatible with Apple silicon; for more information, see the FAQs at the bottom.) It still lacks a few capabilities that may be essential to your workflow. You can get AutoCAD from the Autodesk website if you require it. See our guide to the best laptop for graphic design if you’re looking for a laptop for other purposes.

BEST CAD LAPTOPS OVERALL

Asus ProArt Studiobook OLED

The best overall laptop for CAD, AutoCAD, and 3D modeling

Processor: Intel i9-13980HX
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 8GB Laptop GPU
RAM: 16GB – 32GB
Screen: 16in 3.2K OLED 100% DCI-P3
Resolution: 3200 x 2000
Storage: Up to 2TB

The Asus ProArt Studiobook OLED is a magnificent, cutting-edge 16-inch laptop equipped with a potent Nvidia GPU, Intel’s best 13th Gen CPU, and an amazing OLED display. All of it is housed in a top-notch chassis made to do significant tasks. We enjoyed using the customizable ASUS Dial rotary control, which is a great tool for CAD work when we were doing any creative work on the device throughout our testing. In addition to having 3,200 by 2,000 pixels and touch input capabilities, the OLED panel boasts exceptional 100% coverage of the DCI-P3 color space, making it extremely accurate and displaying your computer-aided designs in vibrant detail.

The Intel i9-13980HX processor and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 graphics card can now function to the fullest thanks to ASUS’s complete 160W of total CPU and GPU cooling, which, as our tests revealed, is almost all the power you’ll ever need. Additional RAM options reach up to 32GB, which should be plenty for even the busiest CAD processes. SSD storage options reach up to 2TB of lightning-fast PCIe Gen 4 standard. It’s an amazing tool for completing large-scale CAD work.

BEST MAC FOR CAD

Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch M3 (2023)

The newest MacBook Pro 16 is a great laptop for CAD

CPU: M3 Pro/M3 Max, 12-core/16-core CPU
Graphics: M3 Pro, 18-core GPU / M3 Max, 40-core GPU
RAM: M3 Pro, 18-128GB / M3 Max, 36-128GB
Screen: 16.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR display
Storage: 512GB-8TB SSD

For Mac-compatible CAD, the M3 MacBook Pro is an excellent choice (keep in mind that AutoCAD on the Mac is not the same as the Windows version; the 2024 version is very close, but it still misses several features that might be important to you; see more at the bottom of the page). Depending on the screen size you like, you can choose between the 14- and 16-inch models. If you require supercharged power, you can upgrade to the M3 Max CPU. Before purchasing a Mac, review the specs of your software. While many have Mac-compatible versions, some CAD programs aren’t compatible with MacBooks.

Because the 16-inch model has more screen real estate for CAD work, we tend to prefer it. You can’t go wrong in terms of performance, though. Even the entry-level M3 in the standard 14-inch is no slich, as we discovered in our review, and the M3 Max is a true beast. Not only do all MacBook Pros have exceptional battery life, but most high-end Windows laptops can only hope to match it. This implies that you won’t have to bother about plugging it in when you visit clients, operate while on the go, and much more. Get the details in our comprehensive analysis of the MacBook Pro M3.

Do you desire a more affordable, lighter, and thinner Mac device? View our evaluation of the MacBook Air (M2) 2022.

BEST TOUCHSCREEN FOR CAD

Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio 2

A touchscreen Windows 11 laptop that’s great for CAD.

CPU: 13th Gen Intel Core H
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe / NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4060 and RTX 200 Ada  laptop GPU
RAM: 16GB – 64GB
Screen: PixelSense Flow 14.4in 2400 x 1600 touch display
Storage: 512GB – 1TB SSD

A wonderful option for those seeking something a little different is the Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio.

Its outstanding PixelSense touchscreen and its exquisite and adaptable design will ensure that your work looks its best. Additionally, the screen may provide a rapid refresh rate of up to 120Hz. Many people will be interested in that touch screen especially because it is compatible with a stylus (albeit you will need to purchase the stylus separately).

There are many other things to enjoy. We believe it has a great keyboard and strong specifications (with either cutting-edge integrated graphics from NVIDIA or Intel, depending on your choice of setup), making it easy to use any CAD application. This is particularly true now that the Nvidia RTX 40 series graphics and the newest Intel CPUs have been added to this second-generation gadget.

In our testing, we discovered that it also has an extremely long battery life, excellent build quality, and ergonomics that are to die for. Overall, it’s an excellent introduction to Windows 11. See our review of the Surface Laptop Studio 2 for additional information on why we think this Microsoft portable is so great.

BEST UNDER $1000 FOR CAD

Acer Swift X 16

The best CAD laptop under £1000

CPU: Intel Core i7-1260P 2.10GHz
Graphics: 4GB Intel Arc A370M
RAM: 16GB
Screen: 16-inch 1920 x 1200 / 2560 x 1600 WUXGA display (16:10)
Storage: 1TB SSD

If affordability and a large screen are your top laptop objectives, the Acer Swift X 16 is a great option. Additionally, you’ll want something extremely practical that won’t break the bank if you’re just getting started with CAD or 3D modeling work.

Particularly considering that costs are starting to drop below $1k, it manages to provide a sizable screen and respectable power for a relatively affordable price. Its look and battery life may not be the best, but what’s inside matters, and the Acer Swift X 16 delivers in that area, as we discovered when we reviewed it. This laptop is rather good; it has an abundance of networking choices, a high-quality 2.5K display that lets you see your ideas in amazing clarity and a comfortable keyboard.

BEST CAD LAPTOP FOR PORTABILITY

LG Gram SuperSlim

Best thin and light laptop for CAD

Processor: 13th Gen Intel Core i7-1360P 2.20GHz
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
RAM: 16GB LPDDR5 (Dual Channel, 6000MHz)
Screen: 16in
Resolution: 1920 x 1080p
Storage: 1TB NVMe Gen4
Weight: 990g

In the past, thin and light also meant weak and weedy. But that’s not the case now. Most users will be impressed by the LG Gram SuperSlim. It’s thin, light, and aesthetically pleasing. This gadget has a gorgeous 15.6-inch OLED display, which makes it enjoyable to look at while you work on your designs. It isn’t a standalone graphics card, but it’s good enough for most CAD workloads. Even with its maximum 1920×1080 Full HD resolution, the OLED display is clear and bright, and our reviewer noted that it’s ideal for artists.

A speedy NVMe SSD and a robust 16GB of RAM are also included. Additionally, it comes in a remarkably lightweight package that weighs just 990g. This is a complete laptop, and that’s not that much more than an iPad Pro. In our tests, we were able to get about 15 hours between charges, so battery life is also good if you need to work on the go. Even with intense work, you can still run on battery power for the duration of the workday. The LG Gramme SuperSlim is a great option provided the resolution and speakers aren’t a deal breaker. The resolution could be greater, especially considering the price you’re paying.

BEST BIG SCREEN FOR CAD

Dell XPS 17

The best large laptop for CAD.

CPU: 13th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-13700H 14 cores
Graphics: NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 4060, 8 GB GDDR6
RAM: Up to 64 GB: 2 x 32 GB, DDR5, 4800 MT/s
Screen: 17″, UHD+ 3840×2400, 60Hz, Touch, Anti-Reflect, 500 nit, InfinityEdge
Storage: Up to 4TB M.2 PCIe NVMe

When using CAD software, having a nice, huge screen with high quality may be helpful as it gives you more workspace and allows you to showcase your designs to clients and coworkers. In light of this, the Dell XPS 17 is a laptop that is worth taking into consideration. Our testing revealed that it has an amazing 17-inch UHD+ screen with HDR that is vivid, bright, and pleasant to work on.

Another example of how a large-screen laptop doesn’t have to be enormous and unwieldy is the Dell XPS 17. The sleek design of this laptop, which is remarkably light and thin, is shared by the smaller Dell XPS 13 and XPS 15 notebooks. It also includes some powerful components, such as NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 with 12 GB GDDR6 and 13th generation Intel Core processors with up to 64GB of RAM.

MOST POWERFUL FOR CAD

MSI Creator Z17

The most powerful pro-Windows laptop for CAD.

Processor: Intel Core i9-12900H
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080Ti
RAM: Up to 64GB DDR5
Screen: 17in IPS touchscreen
Resolution: 2560x1600p
Storage: 2TB PCIe 4.0 SSD
Weight: 2.49kg

With up to 64GB of RAM, tonnes of storage, and a wide, bright touchscreen, the MSI Creator Z17 is a powerful laptop designed for professional creatives. This laptop may be overkill for most CAD workflows, but it can crush any work requiring high-end design, particularly if motion rendering is required. It can handle even the most taxing tasks with ease. In our tests, it easily handled all we threw at it.

If you want to work directly on the screen, it features a touchscreen with 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity and 100% coverage of the DCI-P3 gamut. Our tests of performance compare it favorably to the M2 MacBook Pro.

Unfortunately, its 2.5kg weight makes it anything from ultraportable. Furthermore, even while the battery is large, the internal components’ power demands cause it to drain more quickly than we’d like, so if you’re out and about, you’ll need to keep an eye out for the closest charging outlet and chiropractors. Regretfully, that is typical of this category of incredibly powerful Windows laptops.

BEST BUDGET FOR CAD

Acer Chromebook 516 GE

The best budget laptop for CAD and AutoCAD

Processor: 12th Gen Intel Core i5
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe graphics
RAM: 8GB
Screen: 16in
Resolution: 2560×1600
Storage: 256GB NVMe SSD
Weight: 1.8kg

Design using a computer on a Chromebook? Have we all lost our marbles together? Not really. The truth is that you can now run AutoCAD and other CAD programs on Chromebooks without having to resort to several questionable workarounds or risk having the laptop melt under pressure. Although the Acer Chromebook 516 GE is advertised as a “gaming Chromebook,” meaning it can run AAA games, it can also run CAD programs, such as AutoCAD and Fusion 360, among others.

Along with plenty of visual real estate to work on, the huge 16-inch screen’s 16:10 aspect ratio and 2560 x 1600 resolution provide plenty of information. Colour reproduction and vibrancy won’t be compromised either thanks to its 100% sRGB and 350 nits of brightness. If you’re careful where you buy it, it can be had for less than $/£600, making it a reasonable low-cost solution for CAD work.

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