Best Laptops For AutoCAD In 2020 (+Buying Guide)

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Whether you are a seasoned pro or just getting to know AutoCAD, having a solid laptop in your arsenal is a must.

AutoCAD is a resource-hungry application that needs some serious hardware for good performance. Finding the best laptop for AutoCAD might be more challenging than you would have imagined.

ASUS-ROG-Scar-III table

In a hurry?
Here’s our Editor’s choice:
ASUS ROG Strix Scar

Get a laptop with the wrong specs and you’re stuck with a machine that gives you slow performance or worst, a really bad user experience. Nailing the right hardware is something you can achieve only after proper research.

To be honest, research takes a lot of time. That’s where we can help you. We’ve already done all the research for you so that you don’t have to spend useful hours on laptop research.

Without wasting any more of your time, let’s dive in and take a look at our well-researched list.

Best Laptops For AutoCAD


ASUS ROG Strix Scar
(Editor’s Choice)

ASUS-ROG-Scar-III table
15.6″ FHD
Intel Core i7
16GB RAM
512GB SSD

MacBook Pro 16
(Best Mac Choice)

MacBook Pro 16 table
16″ Retina
Intel Core i7
16GB RAM
512GB SSD

Acer Predator Helios 300
(Best Budget Choice)

Acer Predator Helios 300 table
15.6″ FHD
Intel Core i7
16GB RAM
512GB SSD

Best Laptop For AutoCAD – ASUS ROG Strix Scar

ASUS-ROG-Scar-III

This ASUS ROG Strix Scar is our Editor’s choice for the best laptop for auto CAD. The laptop from Asus comes with spectacular specs and absolutely kills it when it comes to performance.

Right from the display, the laptop takes every single checkbox you will have for a premium device. The display we have here is a 15.6-inch display that comes with full HD resolution, an IPS panel, and a refresh rate of 240Hz. As this is a gaming display, you get a much better display which is a win in our books.

The 10th generation Intel Core i7 processor does a pretty good job when it comes to running AutoCAD. With a maximum clock speed of 5.10 GHz, there is no lack of processing power and you certainly can push your limits when it comes to modeling and rendering. You can run pretty much anything on this laptop, thanks to this Intel silicon.

The memory on this device is made up of 16 gigs of DDR4 type memory and they are very fast with a clock speed of 3200MHz. When it comes to handling multiple applications at the same time, this memory gives you a better smooth experience.

The performance of the processor and RAM is well complemented by the storage. We have a 512 GB SSD storage on this laptop and it does a fantastic job when it comes to giving you space and performance at the same time. This SSD loads the operating system and AutoCAD very quickly saving you a lot of time that you waste waiting.

Overall, this ASUS ROG Strix Scar is a brilliant laptop that comes with some amazing specs. The Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 super graphics card alone gives you your bang for the buck when it comes to handling an application like AutoCAD. Without a doubt, this laptop is easily one of the best laptops for auto CAD as it brings the best performance despite having a slightly expensive price tag.

Pros

Stunning performance
Gorgeous display
Incredible graphics

Cons

A bit expensive

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Best Mac For AutoCAD – MacBook Pro 16

MacBook Pro 16

The MacBook Pro 16 is the best Apple laptop for AutoCAD. If you like using Apple laptops over Windows devices, then this MacBook pro model is the right choice for you as it comes with the right specs to tackle an application like AutoCAD.

An Intel Core i7 processor, 16 gigs of RAM, and a 512 GB SSD, this MacBook Pro 16 is a fantastic laptop that comes with an out of the world performance. These specs offer you nothing but an unadulterated performance when it comes to running an application like AutoCAD or similar applications.

The display on this MacBook deserves a special mention, the 16-inch LED-backlit display comes with retina resolution which is one of the best resolutions you can get on a laptop. The true tone technology on the laptop screen gives you perfect colors depending upon the color temperature around you.

The MacBook also comes with excellent battery life. This is very good considering we have a high-performance laptop on your hands and most high-performance devices have poor battery life. With simple use, this MacBook and lasts for about 8 to 10 hours which is nice. Even when you’re working on AutoCAD, you can expect the laptop to hang on for about 4 to 5 hours which is still pretty impressive

The graphics card here is an AMD Radeon pro 5300M graphics card. This graphics card comes with 6 GB of dedicated video memory which is fantastic when it comes to dealing with modeling and rendering applications. You will find the GPU to be very useful here and no complaints when it comes to performance.

Overall, the MacBook Pro 16 is a fantastic model from Apple. You will be able to run auto CAD and other similar applications without any issues whatsoever. The hardware on this device gives you a well-rounded experience. The laptop is a bit expensive but the performance you get out of it makes it worth it.

Pros

Gorgeous display
Excellent design
Fantastic performance

Cons

Expensive

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Best Convertible Laptop For AutoCAD – Surface Book 2

Surface Book 2

Surface Book 2 is the best convertible laptop when it comes to running AutoCAD. This two in one laptop from Microsoft is an excellent device that does not compromise when it comes to performance. It also comes with a decent price tag which makes it a laptop that gives you a good performance per dollar.

Surface Book 2 is an awesome laptop for students as it comes with fantastic battery life. So if you’re just learning the art of modeling, then this laptop would serve you the best. With light use, the laptop can last for about 17 hours which is insane. However, working on an application like AutoCAD might bring down the battery significantly so expect around 4 to 5 hours and that’s an area.

The display on this laptop is a 15.6-inch one that comes with pixel sense resolution. This is an LED-backlit IPS display that gives you excellent colors and the accuracy is also on point. The viewing angles are pretty impressive, thanks to the IPS panel. When it comes to modeling, this display gives you excellent clarity and you will be able to squeeze more elements onto the screen which is preferred.

The processing power on this laptop is fantastic. You have an Intel Core i7 processor, 16 gigs of RAM, and a 512 GB solid-state drive for storage. These specs work brilliantly together and deliver an amazing user experience. You will be able to run AutoCAD without any performance issues whatsoever.

The graphics card we have here is an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060. This is an upper mainstream graphics card from Nvidia and it comes with a dedicated video memory of 4 GB. This graphics card is not the best you can get on the market but still delivers very good performance when it comes to modeling and rendering. When it comes to AutoCAD, you will be fine with this GPU as long as you don’t work on extremely complex projects.

Overall, Microsoft Surface Book 2 is an excellent convertible laptop. You can completely detach the keyboard from the laptop giving you a pure tablet experience and we cannot say this about every single convertible laptop out there. For the money, this convertible laptop gives you amazing performance making it one of the best laptops for AutoCAD.

Pros

Awesome display
Solid performance
Incredible battery life

Cons

Limited number of ports

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Best Budget Laptop For AutoCAD – Acer Predator Helios 300

Acer Predator Helios 300

If you don’t have a lot of money, then you can always go for an affordable laptop. In this case, the Acer predator Helios 300 cost you around the thousand dollar range but gives you still a performance when it comes to AutoCAD making it our best budget option.

Can’t you go with a much cheaper laptop? Yes, you can. But with cheaper laptops, you’re not going to get a dedicated graphics card and that is a deal-breaker in most cases. Cheaper laptops can come with a good processor, memory, and even storage, but the lack of a discrete graphics card will definitely restrictive in more ways than one. If you are a student or if you’re going to work on light projects, then you can go with something like an Acer Aspire 5 laptop which comes around $550.

The display on this laptop has a 15.6-inch one that is LED-backlit and comes with an IPS panel. The resolution we have here is 1920 x 1080 pixels and it gives you clear pictures and sharp text. The display also comes with a refresh rate of 144Hz and an overdrive response time of 3ms which gives you a fluid experience not only in gaming but also when you’re rendering your model.

With an Intel Core i7 processor and 16 gigs of RAM, the Acer predator Helios 300 tonnes a stunning job when it comes to running AutoCAD. You can handle pretty much anything from a simple project to the most complex ones as this combination is capable of handling it without any issues. The solid-state drive with a capacity of 512 GB definitely chips and improves the performance wherever possible.

The graphics card on this Acer laptop is an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card. This is an upper mainstream graphics card and it comes with a dedicated memory of 4GB that is of GDDR5 type. When it comes to handling AutoCAD or other similar applications, this GPU does a pretty good job and you will have a fine experience that is smooth and hiccup-free.

Overall, the Acer Predator Helios 300 is an affordable gaming laptop that comes with excellent performance. If you are going to work on an application like AutoCAD, then a laptop like this will save you a lot of money and at the same time will give you fast and experience at modeling as well as rendering. Without a doubt, this Acer predator Helios 300 is one of the best laptops for AutoCAD for those on a budget.

Pros

Affordable
Excellent specs
Impressive graphics

Cons

None at this price point

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What To Look For In The Best Laptop For AutoCAD?

If you’re not impressed with any of the laptops in the list above, then you can find the right laptop by yourself.

The following section is our buyer’s guide for those who want to pick the best laptop for AutoCAD. All these points are carefully aggregated to give you a good starting point so that you don’t waste a lot of time with useless laptop models.

Let’s jump right in.

Display

Display plays a major role when it comes to using an application like AutoCAD. Since you’ll be making models and a lot of renders, having a nice display will surely make your workday better.

First, let’s talk about the size of the display. This is mostly personal preference but it does affect the amount of information you see on the screen.

Our suggestion is to go with a 15.6″ display. This size is perfect for running an application that is design-focused. You will get a good widescreen, and with that, you’ll see more details preventing you from wasting time in trying new user interfaces.

You might if a 17.3″ display is okay? Well, it is okay but this size is going to add a lot of bulk to your laptop. You will have a huge laptop that completely lacks any portability. This is fine if you’re not going to move it around a lot or if you have a home office where most of your work will be done.

If portability is very important to you, then we recommend getting a 13.3″ display. This display is a bit too small to see all the details on the screen, but you can get work done. However, we do recommend using an external high-end display that is much bigger so that you can connect your laptop to it and work at a bigger scale.

Next, let’s take a look at the resolution of your display.

Regardless of how tiny your budget, avoid anything less than 1080p. Most budget laptops come with a 1366 x 768 pixels resolution and it is probably the worst resolution when it comes to modeling and rendering with an application like AutoCAD.

Having full HD resolution on your display gives you more clarity when it comes to pictures and text. Viewing even smaller elements on your screen with easier with a good resolution which is what we have in this case.

If you don’t have a budget problem, then you might want to get a QHD or a UHD display. These are high-resolution displays and they pack more pixels on the display giving you a stunning pixel density. The picture quality will be splendid and you’ll have a much better viewing experience with these screens.

Another question you should ask yourself is if you want a matte or a glossy display. Glossy displays are very accurate in terms of color but will be super reflective when you’re in a bright environment. This can be very distracting and even annoying at times.

To avoid this, you can always opt for matte displays. They have an anti-reflective coating on the screen and reduce the reflections to a minimum. The problem is that you might lose a little bit of color accuracy here. To make things a little better, you can always go for a display that has a good maximum brightness. Anything above 400 nits will be a good choice.

Processor

The processor is the most prominent component in a laptop meant for AutoCAD. The better the processor you have, the better your performance will be.

First, let’s take a look at all the things you should avoid. Do not go for dual-core processors as they won’t have enough power to handle an application that is meant for modeling and rendering. Also, avoid entry-level processors like the Intel Pentium, Celeron, and Atom chips. You can also avoid Intel Core i3 processors as they are not cut out for handling serious projects in an application like AutoCAD.

Our suggestion is to go for an Intel Core i5 or i7 processor that has 4 physical cores or more. The more cores you have on your processor, the more power it can exhibit when dealing with multithreaded applications. Most high-performance laptops come with an Intel Core i7 processor that has six physical cores and 12 threads. Most laptops on the list also have a similar configuration.

The clock speed of your processor is also a very important factor. You should make sure that the processor has a good base clocking frequency. Anything above 2.0 GHz is a good choice. Taking base frequency seriously is important as your laptop can provide you decent performance without having to go into Turbo boost mode.

Having said that, the process and should also be able to utilize the function like to boost to get you much higher clock speeds. This will come in handy when you need extra power to get things done. Regardless of what processor you go with, just make sure that the processor you choose won’t be the bottleneck when it comes to performance.

Next, let’s address the classic question of whether you should go with Intel or AMD processors. Without a doubt, Intel processors are the most famous ones here. Pretty much every Windows laptop we know has an Intel processor and it and they have really good performance depending upon the chip.

You can say that Intel has almost been a monopoly in the processor field. But, AMD has been making some solid improvements to the processor’s line and it is worth considering now.

By choosing an AMD processor, you have several advantages. One, you can get the same performance as an Intel processor by spending lesser money. To, you can get much superior performance from an AMD chip by paying the same amount as the Intel processor. But be aware that AMD processors are notorious for getting hot. So make sure that the laptop you go with has a good cooling system in place for more optimized performance.

RAM

The memory on your laptop plays a crucial role when it comes to running an application like AutoCAD. This also has an impact on your multitasking abilities and improving your productivity.

If you are going to work on medium-sized projects or if you are a professional, then you should not settle for anything less than 16GB of RAM. This should be the minimum memory you should shoot for if you are going to be dealing with complex projects. You can even go for 32 gigs of memory If you know that it is going to make a difference to your daily workflow.

If you are just a student or if you’re just learning the art of modeling, then you might want to start with just eight gigs of RAM. Just make sure that the laptop can upgrade so that you can add more Ram in the future later.

When getting memory, make sure that you are going for DDR4 RAM. This RAM is much faster than the previous version and gives you better performance per dollar.

Storage

Whichever model you go with, make sure it has a good storage device. When it comes to storage, you can go with either a mechanical hard drive or a solid-state drive. The former is a lot cheaper and can get you a lot of storage for very little money. But mechanical hard drives suffer from slow speed and can make you bleed when you’re working.

Solid-state drives on the other hand are very fast. When compared to an average mechanical hard drive, the best ones are at least 15 to 17 times faster. This is mainly because there are no moving parts inside an SSD. But SSDs are very expensive which makes a decision a bit challenging.

Our suggestion is to go with a solid-state drive as it gives you excellent speed and performance even if it costs a lot of money. This speed and performance is something that will take your work to the next level and help you do great things. If you’re coming from a mechanical hard drive, the SSD’s performance will absolutely knock you off your socks.

If you don’t have the budget for pure solid-state drive storage, then you can always go for a hybrid option. This hybrid drives come as a combination of both a solid-state drive and a mechanical hard drive. You can get a cheaper 128GB SSD and complement it with a 512GB mechanical hard drive. This way you get the right balance between both speeds as well as storage space which you will definitely need over time.

Regardless of what stories are going with, it is always important to have backup storage as well. For backup storage, we recommend going with a cheap external hard drive. Speed is not going to be a concern here as you will be backing up all your work to this device every week or so. Having a back up as a professional way to go about things as you can lose all your data due to hardware failure which is not something you control.

Graphics

A good graphics card will make your life so much better when it comes to using an application like AutoCAD. Having a dedicated graphics card on your laptop will surely improve your rendering pace and will also make modeling how much is your process.

Most Ultrabooks come with an integrated graphics card. If you want to make portability a priority come on then you have to settle with an integrated graphics card. The problem here is that this limits your abilities to work with AutoCAD significantly. Without a dedicated graphics card, you are going to have a bottleneck that will affect your work.

When going for a dedicated graphics card make sure it is from one of the recent generations. Also, see if the graphics card has the latest architecture so that you get very good performance out of it.

Most people will always go for an Nvidia graphics card and there is nothing wrong with it. Nvidia has a proven track record of good graphics cards and the chances of you going wrong with it or very less. You can also opt for AMD graphics cards as they are also very capable and might cost you a lot less.

Input Devices

The keyboard and trackpad on your laptop are as important as any other hardware. Having a good keyboard will make your life smooth and less annoying. Show that the keyboard comes with a neat layout and well-spaced keys.

The typing experience on your keyboard should be present without being very noisy. Having backlighting on your keyboard is definitely a nice addition but it is not something you need unless you’re going to work in a lot of lowlight environments.

The trackpad on your laptop also has to be precise and perfect. A smooth surface to glide your fingers on would be fantastic. Ensure that the trackpad is a Windows precision trackpad And see if it supports all your Windows operating system gestures.

If you’re planning to go with a Mac, then you don’t have to put that much effort into finding a good keyboard or a trackpad as both of them are pretty good in MacBooks.

Connectivity

Having good connectivity options on your laptop is always a nice thing. Make sure your laptop comes with all the essential ports so that you can do things like data transfer, connectivity, and charging your laptop with ice.

Having a port like a thunderbolt port gives you so much versatility and allows you to do multiple things with a single port. The presence of an HDMI port or a DisplayPort will help you connect your laptop to an external display that is much bigger and has a much better resolution.

When it comes to wireless connectivity, you want your laptop to have the most recent Wi-Fi cards and Bluetooth built-in. If you can manage to get WiFi 6 on your laptop, then you can be assured of very high-speed internet with absolutely minimum latency. Having Bluetooth 5.0 absolutely changes the way you connect to external devices but anything about 4.2 should be more than enough.

Battery Life

If you’re going for a portable 13.3“ laptop, then you must consider battery life before making a purchase decision.

Always go for a laptop that has all-day battery life. These laptops rarely need recharging in the middle of the day as they can comfortably last till your day ends most of the time. These laptops are great for students as you don’t have to look for a free charging point in the middle of the day.

Even if you can’t get a laptop that lasts an entire day, go for one that gives you at least six hours of backup.

If you’re going for a 15.6“ laptop, Then don’t stress much about battery life. Having a bigger screen is going to drain your battery a lot faster and most laptops will need a power source when running a heavy application like AutoCAD. Having said that, you can still find laptops that can last an entire day if you are willing to pay a premium price.

Regardless of the size of the laptop, it is smart to plug your laptop to a power source when using AutoCAD. This way your laptop will not suddenly run out of juice when you’re working on an important project.

Operating System

When it comes to AutoCAD, it is mostly a question of Windows vs macOS.

Windows is a popular operating system and has a much larger user base when compared to macOS. Naturally, a lot of people will be inclined to get a Windows machine, and there is nothing wrong if that’s your personal preference.

Windows operating system has excellent compatibility when it comes to AutoCAD and the application runs butter smooth on the OS with the right hardware.

macOS is pretty much the same as Windows. The Mac operating system also has good compatibility when it comes to AutoCAD. You can have the same experience which means you really can’t go wrong with either of the operating systems.

If you want to an Nvidia GPU, then you have to go with a Windows laptop as current generation MacBooks come only with AMD Radeon graphics cards.

Budget

The laptop you get is based on your budget making this the most important factor in this list.

If you’re on a budget, then you’re hands are tied up in what laptop you can choose. Your options are limited and the choices aren’t going to give you the most impressive performance.

If you have a tight budget, then do refer to your budget laptop section. We have researched a lot and have come up with the Acer Aspire 5 laptop as your budget choice. This device is very affordable and you’ll be able to get impressive performance without spending a lot of money.

If budget is no concern for you, then you get a premium laptop like the ASUS ROG Strix Scar or the MacBook Pro. With models like these, you get excellent performance and can use AutoCAD to the fullest without holding yourself back.


That’s all we have for this post.

We truly believe that this guide is accurately made for people who are in pursuit of the best laptop for AutoCAD. Hopefully, you found the right model that suits your needs like a T.

If you have any questions or doubts, do not hesitate and shoot us an email. We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.


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