Note: Prices of the best laptop for CAD 2017, best laptop for autocad 2017 and Best Desktops for CAD 2017 listed here were correct during the last update. Because of how market operates, prices could fluctuate in a matter of days.



This article will help you find the best laptop for AutoCad, Solidworks and any other computer aided design software. If you want to skip the introduction, you can directly jump to the table list of the best laptops for CAD 2017.

As an architect, an underperforming laptop is the last thing you can wish for when you are already overwhelmed with the CAD workload.

To help you avoid that situation, we will review 5 best laptops for CAD work. Having any one of these laptops can make your CAD work a lot easier, faster and precise! These are the best workstation laptops for CAD applications out there. Luckily, they are also ideal for you if you are looking for the best 2017 laptop for AutoCad.

More likely than not, you probably already know the system requirements on a laptop for AutoCad or similar CAD laptop.

In case you don’t, in most cases, you will need a high end mobile workstation laptop that has a lightning fast processor, plenty of RAM (professionals recommend 16GB) and a FHD (or better) display that is at least 13 inch wide.

Video card is the single most important factor that differentiate CAD laptop from the others. Before purchasing a laptop for CAD, you must check the system requirements of the CAD software in question. You must make sure the video card on the laptop is compatible or is certified by the developers to run the software in question.


Solidworks video card test

Autodesk Video card test

There are some software that support gaming video cards but others require or recommend NVIDIA Quadro or AMD FirePro GPUs for precision.

The 3D modeling with lots of graphics and light will need powerful specs while the 2D modeling can be done on medium range laptops.

Generally, these best laptops for 3D modeling and rendering cost in excess of $1000, simply because of the type of hardware installed and the precision they are able to offer. They even send these laptops on space stations!

For each reviewed best CAD laptop below, we will tell you which CAD programs are compatible on them. So, pay close attention if you are using this guide to buy a CAD laptop now or anytime soon!

Best laptops for CAD 2017 | Best Laptop for AutoCad 2017

Processor | RAM | Storage
HP ZBook G3
Quadro M1000M
Intel i7 | 16GB | 512GB SSD
About 2k
Lenovo P50***
Quadro M1000M
Intel i7 | Varies | Varies
Under $2000
HP ZBook 15.6″
AMD FirePro M4170
AMD A10 | 8GB | 256GB SSD
Under $1000
Quadro M2000M
i7 | 16GB | 1TB+256SSD
Under $2000
Surface Book
Varies | Varies | Varies


HP ZBook Studio G3 – Best laptop for AutoCAD 2017 | Best Laptop For CAD 2017

HP Zbook Studio G3 is an awesome workstation! Image Source:
HP Zbook Studio G3 is an awesome workstation! Image Source:

The HP ZBook Studio G3 is  a very good deal when you look at the specs it offers. This is a solid laptop to run many CAD programs.

This laptop is compatible with several CAD programs including most latest Autodesk products and solidworks. This is one of the best laptops for AutoCad as well.

This is a windows 7 pro laptop with 15.6 inch screen and has a FHD screen.

NVIDIA Quadro M1000M is the graphic card (2GB) installed in this laptop and the processor is quad core Intel i7 with 6MB cache. The HP ZBook Studio G3 has 16GB RAM which is essential for every CAD program. You can also upgrade the RAM on this laptop if need be.

This HP ZBook comes with 512GB SSD memory. You can buy a cheap external SSD drive if you need more space.

This notebook was made specifically for 2D and 3D designers and it will process the CAD program just fine.

Besides, its pricing is fair given the specs it has to offer. As long as your software supports NVIDIA Quadro M1000M graphic card and if you are looking for an optimal laptop for cad, this probably is your best bet.

This top laptop for CAD supports many programs which includes (but not limited to):

  • BricsCAD
  • SolidWorks
  • AutoCad latest versions
  • TurboCAD
  • Keyshot 6 Pro
  • Moi3d

Price & More Details – Best HP Laptop For AutoCad

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Lenovo ThinkPad P50- One of the best workstation laptop for CAD work under $2000 in 2017

This is a windows 7 pro the best AutoCad laptop that is also compatible for running other CAD applications. This laptop comes with NVIDIA Quadro M1000M video graphic card, compatible with most CAD software out there. By the way, M1000M is one of the latest workstation GPU from NVIDIA.

Many professionals prefer and choose windows 7 over windows 8 or 8.1, thus the operating system should be least of your worries as long as your particular program supports it.

The Lenovo ThinkPad P50 has Screen resolution of 1920×1080.

It has 16GB RAM (you can also choose to get 32GB RAM for an additional cost), which in combination with the quad core intel i7-6700HQ will assure the precision of your CAD work.

We Highly recommended the Lenovo ThinkPad P50 for 3D modeling projects.

This laptop is excellent for students, beginners and the professionals. This Lenovo ThinkPad P50 is the best workstation laptop under $1500.

Following are the compatible software that you can run on this workstation laptop under $1500.

  • ArchiCad 19 and earlier versions
  • Solidworks 2014, 2015 and 2016
  • TurboCAD
  • AutoCAD Lt, AutoCAD 16, Autocad 15 and earlier versions.
  • Autodesk composite 2014, Autodesk inventor 2016 and earlier versions, Autodesk Maya 2016 and earlier versions, Motionbuilder 2016, Revit, Softimage and most other Autodesk products. Autodesk users can go here and see if NVIDIA Quadro M1000M is listed under certified card and you will instantly figure out if you should get this laptop or not.

This is out favorite choice when it comes to choosing the best laptop for AutoCad, Best laptop for Solidworks students and to run virtually any CAD application out there!

More Details – Lenovo P50 – Best Laptop For Solidworks, AutoCad

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HP ZBook 15.6″- Best workstation laptop for Solidworks, Autocad and other CAD software under $1000

This is “the” best deal if you are looking for the best CAD laptop under $1000!

Although this is not the most powerful workstation, both Solidworks and Autodesk are compatible with the video card of this laptop. Its graphic cards are even certified by the Autodesk. Should seamlessly work for later versions too!

Many other programs besides Solidworks and Autodesk products will run just fine in this cheap mobile workstation for CAD under $1000.

This laptop comes with the AMD FirePro M4170 video card (compatible with many Software) along with the AMD A10 processor, 8GB RAM (you might want to upgrade it), a 15.6 inch FHD screen, and is powered by Win 7 pro OS.

We have no doubt that this HP ZBook is the best workstation laptop under $1000 that is ideal for running CAD programs.

More Details – HP Zbook- Best AutoCad Laptop

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MSI WS72- Best workstation Laptop for 3D modeling – 2017

best laptop for cad
Image Credit: Amazon/MSI

This is a great mobile workstation  laptop from MSI corp which is compatible with literally EVERY CAD program ever made. MSI is well known and highly rated laptop manufacturer for professionals and gamers.

Since this laptop was introduced for professionals, designers, architects and engineers just like you, you sure can take advantage of its features for your use.

Price of the MSI WS72 is about $2000, but as a professional, you must already be aware that the cheap laptops simply won’t cut it and you will lag behind on your work with cheap laptops.

This best workstation laptop for Autocad is compatible with other autodesk products, solidworks, solidedge, creo, catia or any other CAD applications.

Here is the breakdown of its specs; windows 10 pro, NVIDIA Quadro M2000M graphic card, 15.6 inch high resolution and full HD display, 16GB RAM, 1TB HDD along with 256GB SSD flash memory, quad core Intel i7 processor and a fabulous design. This best workstation laptop under $2000 is also the:

  • The best laptop for AutoCad
  • Best laptop for solidworks
  • Best Laptop for 3D modeling


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Microsoft Surface Book- Best Laptop for CAD and Gaming

A lot of people are expressing satisfaction of using their CAD software in Microsoft Surface book all over the internet and after going through its manual, we can confidently recommend the surface book for CAD.

The Surface book is a relatively new laptop. It has been tested with many CAD software. Microsoft specifically says that it is compatible to run AutoCAD, solidworks and other software without any compromise.

If buying, please make sure you get the right version of Surface book that comes with discreet GPU.

This laptop is very lightweight weighing under 4 lbs, which is way lighter than most of the CAD workstation laptops out there. If you decide to buy it, please check your software requirements and buy the one with the required processor and RAM. This is one of the best laptops for AutoCad, CAD and gaming. It can run the following software:

  • AutoCad
  • Visual Studio
  • Solidworks
  • TurboCAD


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Best laptop for CAD under $500 and other choices-2017

Finding the CAD laptops under $500 is tricky, if not impossible. You will need high end specs to run your graphics and in reality most laptops under $500 do not come with such features.

What you can do instead is try to find a refurbished or a used laptop for a cheaper price. To be on the safe side, try finding a refurbished deal with some kind of warranty. Or, buy a used laptop from one of the reputed sellers.

Another choice is to upgrade your laptop and tailoring it according to your need.

And if you are Mac person, these days most of the CAD programs support MAC OS. You can navigate different MacBook For CAD.

Conclusion – Best Laptops for AutoCad, Best Laptop for Solidworks, Best workstation for 3D modeling

That concludes this article about best laptops for CAD 2017. All of those laptops are ideal if you were looking for the best laptop for autocad or solidworks. Use the comment section below to ask us any questions. Please share this article about the best CAD laptops among your colleagues!


Are you wondering what are the best desktop computer for CAD work-2017? If you are, we present you 8 of the best desktops for CAD programs like AutoCAD and solidworks. While we will review 5 of them, we will actually provide a list of 8 computers for CAD.

All CAD programs are hardware intensive and require powerful components in the system for them to give a better output. If you think a regular home use desktop is all it takes to run CAD programs, you are sadly mistaken. That is more true if you need a perfect pc configuration for 3D rendering.

Without wasting too much of your time, let’s get into the minimum system requirements on a Desktop PC for CAD applications.

  • Processor: At least Intel i5 or equally competent AMD processor
  • RAM: 16 GB or more is ideal but it really depends on how complex your work is going to be.
  • Storage: At least 500GB HDD or more. These days SSDs are more popular and rightly so. System with SSDs are faster and more reliable. Although not compulsory we recommend SSD over HDD.
  • Monitor: All of these desktop comes without monitor, you will have to buy them separately. You can do so here.

The Million Dollar Question : GTX or Quadro/FirePro on the desktop to effectively run CAD Programs

Graphic card is the single most important computer component to run any CAD program seamlessly. There are often huge debates on whether CAD programs run better on a system with GTX GPU or NVIDIA Quadro series GPU. The answer is it depends. It all comes down to what you are trying to achieve, what your budget is and what specific CAD application you are going to use.

In monetary terms, desktops with gaming series GTX cards cost way cheaper than those with Quadro or FirePro cards. While GTX cards can be used to operate both 3D and 2D AutoCAD, Solidworks and Maya runs seamlessly only on systems with Quadro or FirePro graphic cards. Also, you will experience more crashes on desktops with gaming GPUs. But then again, you can play games on your system during off hours if you have one of the gaming GPUs on your system.

Our Verdict

This is going to be a huge investment and better safe than sorry. Go with a desktop with Quadro GPU unless you are really tight on your budget and/or you are only going to operate AutoCAD now or in the future.

Now, it’s time to help you determine the best desktops for CAD work for 2017 and beyond. We will list several best desktop computers for AutoCad, best Desktops for solidworks, best desktops for 3D modeling and rendering and other CAD applications. We will review 5 of them in more details.

Desktops GPU Recommended Use Price
CPU Solutions 3D* Quadro M4000 Any CAD program Under $3000
Dell Precision Tower 5810* Quadro K620 Any CAD Program Under $2500
Lenovo ThinkStation P410 Quadro M2000 Any CAD Program Under $2000
HP Workstation Z840* Quadro M6000 Any CAD Program $7000+
CybertronPC Blueprint* Quadro K420 Any CAD Program Under $1000
HP L9K24UT FirePro W2100 Any CAD Program Under $1500
iBUYPOWER AM009i GTX 1060 Solidworks, Maya Under $1200
ASUS ROG-G20CB-DB71* GTX 1070 Solidworks, Maya Under $1500

*These top desktop computers for CAD will be reviewed below.

1. CPU Solutions Express 3D Desktop

best desktop computer for cad
Image credit:

Custom built especially for CAD, the CPU solution express 3D desktop is one of the best desktops for any program.

Although this system cost in excess of $2000, it is actually a cheap desktop given its configurations. Compatible with AutoCAD, Solidworks, Revit, Maya and any other CAD applications, this machine is for serious professionals.

This desktop has NVIDIA Quadro M2000 which is tested and certified by solidworks. It will also run any other 2D or 3D applications seamlessly.

The CPU Solutions Express 3D Desktop qualifies to be the:

  • The Best desktop for AutoCAD 2017
  • Best desktop computer for 3D Modeling and rendering 2017
  • Top Desktop for Solidworks 2017
Other Configurations
  • Processor: Intel Quad Core i7-6700k
  • RAM: 32GB
  • Storage: 1TB SSD, 2TB HDD
  • Operating System: Windows 7 Pro

More Details & Price

 2. Dell XTV1N Precision Tower 5810

best desktop for solidworks
Image Credit:

The Dell XTV1N Precision Tower 5810 is another great alternative if you are looking for a similar price range of CPU solutions CAD desktop. This too is packed with enough power to render your 3D modeling seamlessly.

This tower comes with a NVIDIA Quadro K620 graphic card which is certified by almost all of the programs out there. Many professionals agree that NVIDIA Quadro K620 is a good graphic card to run various applications without crashing the system.

Given its specs, this too is fairly priced and can be used for complex projects without having to worry about performance.

The Dell XTV1N Precision Tower 5810 qualifies to be the:

  • Best desktop computers for Maya 2017
  • Best Desktops for almost every Autodesk products including Revit and Autocad
  • Rest of other applications
Other Configurations
  • Processor: Xeon E5-1620 v4
  • RAM: 32GB
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Operating System: Windows 10 Pro

Price & More Details

Recommended: Laptops with 16GB Random Access Memory

3. HP Workstation Z840

The HP Workstation Z840 almost qualifies to be a mini super computer. If CAD is your bread and butter and you are looking for a long term investment, you should take a look at the HP Workstation Z840. If you can afford that is. I could’t. This monster costs more than $7000! But if you can afford it, you should give a serious consideration to this CAD desktop.

This CAD desktop comes with a M6000 GPU with its own internal memory of 24GB. Combine that with the powerful Intel Xeon processor and you will get the performance of lifetime!

This computer is for true-no-kidding-professionals and qualifies to be:

  • Best Computer for CAD work using ANY software
  • Best desktop for 3D Modeling and rendering 2017
Other Configurations
  • Processor: Intel Xeon E5-2637 v4
  • RAM: 32GB
  • Storage: 1280GB SSD 
  • Operating System: Windows 10 Pro

Price and More Details

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4. CybertronPC Blueprint

best desktop for cad under $1000
Image Credit:

If you are tight on your budget and looking for a cheap desktop for CAD, the CybertronPC Blueprint would be your option. This is one of the best computers for CAD under $1000.

No worries if you need a powerful system but cannot afford several thousands of dollars. The CybertronPC Blueprint got you covered.

This CAD desktop comes with a Quadro K420 GPU. Not the most powerful and efficient GPU out there but will get the job done without crashing your system too much. You can run AutoCad, Solidworks, Maya, Revit and other programs without having any compatibility issues.

This is the best CAD desktop under $1000 for 2017.

Other Configurations
  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 1700
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 1TB HDD 
  • Operating System: Windows 10 Pro

Price & other Information


This is another great alternative if you need a multipurpose system where you can also play games in your leisure time as this computer comes with a gaming series GTX 1070 GPU and is VR ready. Please note that this desktop will have compatibility issues with many programs. Solidworks and Maya are known to have compatibility issues with GTX series cards. But, users have reported that AutoCAD works much better on the desktops with GTX GPUs. Know what you are diving into before spending money!

This desktop qualifies to be the:

  • Best Desktop for AutoCAD 2017

Buy this if you plan to just use AutoCAD in the foreseeable future, are tight on budget and enjoy playing games every now and then. Rest assured, it is a perfect desktop computer for AutoCAD.

Other Configurations
  • Processor: Intel i7-6700, Quad core
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 1TB HDD 
  • Operating System: Windows 10

Price and Other Information

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It is a serious investment and you should think of years ahead when choosing the best desktop computer to work on CAD. Using this guide, your decision making will be much easier. Please share this article in your community as well!

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