6 Best Laptops for CAD and SolidWorks in 2023

By: Editorial Team

Only a few laptops have the right features to run powerful computer-aided design software such as SolidWorks. The only way to end up with the right one is by researching and seeking feedback- two time and effort-consuming tasks. For an easy shopping experience, we will share highly recommended laptops for CAD and Solidworks based on expert reviews, customer feedback, and developer opinions. Before our recommendations, we will answer frequently asked questions regarding the best laptops for Cad and SolidWorks and discuss an extensive buying guide. Let’s get started!

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Runner Up
Best Budget
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HP ZBook Studio 16 G9 16" Mobile Workstation - WQUXGA - Intel Core i7 12th Gen i7-12800H Tetradeca-core (14 Core) - 32 GB Total RAM - 1 TB SSD
HP Zbook Firefly G10 Business Mobile Workstation, 14” FHD+ Display, Intel Core i7-1355U, NVIDIA Quadro RTX A500, 64GB DDR5 RAM, 1TB SSD, IR Camera, Backlit KB, FP Reader, Wi-Fi 6, HDMI, Windows 11 Pro
OEM Lenovo ThinkPad P15s Gen 2 15.6” FHD IPS, Intel Quad Core i7-1165G7, 40GB RAM, 2TB NVMe, Fingerprint Reader, WiFi 6, BT, Backlit KB, RJ-45, W10P, 3YR, Business Laptop
What You Need To Know About The Laptops

It has an insanely powerful graphics card, making it suited for complex CAD tasks and projects.

It has an expandable high-bandwidth RAM (up to 64GB). Its storage can also be upgraded to 2TB.

It has 40GB RAM and a fast 11th Gen processor.

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Amazon Prime
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Position
First Place
Snapshot
HP ZBook Studio 16 G9 16" Mobile Workstation - WQUXGA - Intel Core i7 12th Gen i7-12800H Tetradeca-core (14 Core) - 32 GB Total RAM - 1 TB SSD
What You Need To Know About The Laptops

It has an insanely powerful graphics card, making it suited for complex CAD tasks and projects.

Prime
Amazon Prime
Rating
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Position
Runner Up
Snapshot
HP Zbook Firefly G10 Business Mobile Workstation, 14” FHD+ Display, Intel Core i7-1355U, NVIDIA Quadro RTX A500, 64GB DDR5 RAM, 1TB SSD, IR Camera, Backlit KB, FP Reader, Wi-Fi 6, HDMI, Windows 11 Pro
What You Need To Know About The Laptops

It has an expandable high-bandwidth RAM (up to 64GB). Its storage can also be upgraded to 2TB.

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Rating
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Position
Best Budget
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OEM Lenovo ThinkPad P15s Gen 2 15.6” FHD IPS, Intel Quad Core i7-1165G7, 40GB RAM, 2TB NVMe, Fingerprint Reader, WiFi 6, BT, Backlit KB, RJ-45, W10P, 3YR, Business Laptop
What You Need To Know About The Laptops

It has 40GB RAM and a fast 11th Gen processor.

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Rating

Last update on 2024-02-29 at 16:55 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Best Laptops for CAD and SolidWorks Reviewed

When dealing with the requirements of CAD and SolidWorks tasks, selecting the optimal laptop can be a daunting task. You need a device that strikes a balance between portability and robust performance to accommodate the demands of these design applications. Here’s a roundup of the top laptops tailored for CAD and SolidWorks, blending sleek design, functionality, and high efficiency, ensuring a worthwhile investment for your professional endeavors. The recommended laptops are:


Buying Guide for the Best Laptop for CAD and SolidWorks

Considering the following factors when getting a laptop can assure you of an excellent computer-aided design (CAD) or SolidWorks experience:

Processor Performance

Computer-aided design (CAD) platforms such as SolidWorks only run efficiently when backed by powerful processors. We highly recommend fast multicore processors such as Intel Core i7 and i9  or AMD Ryzen 7 and 9 when buying a laptop for computer-aided design (CAD) and SolidWorks.

RAM

You need a laptop with a large random access memory (RAM) for a fast and seamless computer-aided design process. Although 16GB RAM can support entry-level CAD on SolidWorks, we highly recommend laptops with 32GB RAM (or more) so that you can enjoy extra room for other programs.

Storage

Your laptop’s storage determines the number and quantity of files it can hold and its overall system responsiveness. Get a laptop with a 512GB (or higher) NVMe solid state drive (SSD) for quick software loading and faster file access. Such an option will also accommodate your SolidWorks files and project backups.

Display

A laptop’s display size, quality, and resolution can significantly affect your overall design experience. For example, large displays save you from straining or feeling cramped, eliminating the need for external displays, and display technologies such as IPS offer better viewer angles and promote accurate color reproduction.

Cooling System

Don’t forget to ascertain the cooling system when buying a laptop for computer-aided design. Remember, the excess heat generated by heavy CAD workloads when using SolidWorks’ programs can significantly impact your laptop’s performance or destroy its internal components. For the best experience and results, choose a laptop with a quality cooling system and efficient heat dissipation features, such as multiple fans and well-placed vents.


The Best Laptops for CAD and Solidworks

Here are the most recommended laptops for Cad and Solidworks:


Pros

  • It has a powerful graphics card
  • It offers a high-resolution display
  • It has expandable RAM and storage

Cons

  • Its battery life is relatively shorter

The HP Zbook Studio G9 mobile workstation is one of the few powerful laptops with the needed level of graphics for a comfortable, enhanced SolidWorks or computer-aided design (CAD) experience. It is powered by a performance-enhancing Intel Core i7- 12800H vPro CPU, which ensures a lag-free and lightning-speed computer-aided design experience.

This device boasts the powerful dedicated NVIDIA RTX A3000 GPU with 12GB RAM, which only a few processors, such as the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060, can rival. This extremely powerful graphics card ensures a smooth 3D modeling and simulation experience. We also have to mention that this device has the best possible display, a 16-inch WQUXGA LED UWVA Anti-glare DreamColor display with a refresh rate of 120Hz.

Other features worth highlighting include 64GB DDR5 RAM, expandable storage (up to 2TB), and several configurations. Do not hesitate to get this laptop if you have a flexible budget.


Pros

  • It has a powerful processor
  • It is equipped with high-speed RAM and enormous space
  • It has a powerful display

Cons

  • It is quite pricey

HP outdid itself with its Zbook product line. Like the Zbook Studio G9, the Firefly G10 has powerful features for graphic and resource-intensive operations such as 3D modeling and computer-aided design. For example, users get enormous storage and high-speed operation thanks to the expandable high-bandwidth RAM ( up to 64GB) and SSD (up to 2TB).

This product also has a 13th Gen Intel i7-1355U processor with ten cores, 12 threads, and up to 5.0 GHz max turbo frequency for guaranteed enhanced performance during several tasks. Users also enjoy an NVIDIA RTX A500 processor for graphic-intensive computer-aided design tasks. However, unlike our first recommendation, this product only has a 4GB GDDR6 dedicated graphics card.

We must add that it has an equally good display. The 14-inch diagonal WUXGA IPS anti-glare screen guarantees a comfortable viewing experience during time-intensive computer-aided design tasks and projects. Users also love the multiple connectivity options, thanks to the  Thunderbolt, super-speed USB Type-A ports, HDMI ports, and a Bluetooth- Wi-Fi combo.


Pros

  • It is affordable
  • It has powerful specs for intensive tasks
  • It is durable

Cons

  • Check for overheating

The OEM Lenovo Thinkpad P15s is a great choice if you need an affordable laptop for CAD and SolidWorks. It has several powerful and impressive features despite its affordable price range worth reviewing. First, it is backed by a powerful Intel Quad Core i7-1165G7 processor with a 12MB cache and a frequency range of 2.8-4.7GHz for fast execution of resource-intensive tasks.

The 40GB RAM and 11th Gen Intel Core processor offer unmatched speed and performance, while the 65W USB-C slim (2-pin) power supply guarantees fast recharge during intensive tasks. This product also has built-in security features to protect your data and keep hackers at bay. For example, it has a discrete Trusted Platform Module (dTPM) for password and data encryption.

Besides offering excellent performance, this laptop is highly durable. It is tested against 12 military-grade requirements and 200+ military checks.


Pros

  • It has powerful specs
  • It has a lightweight design
  • It has an FHD camera

Cons

  • It may not be the best option if you need a sleek laptop

The Lenovo ThinkPad P1 is an excellent option if you need a light, portable workstation laptop for computer-aided design (CAD) and SolidWorks. Like all the products on our list, it has powerful features that set it apart from most laptops, hence the heavy price tag. For example, it is equipped with a 13th Generation 3.7/ 5.0 GHz Intel Core i7-13700H processor for lightning-speed performance.

The included NVIDIA RTX A1000 GPU with a 6GB GDDR6 VRAM guarantees superior graphics for computer-aided design and SolidWorks, while the 32GB DDR5-5600MHz (SODIMM) RAM offers an excellent multitasking ability. We also have to mention that this device has a 1 TB M.2 2280 PCle Gen 4 performance SSD for enhanced storage and file retrieval.

Other notable features include a 1080p FHD IR/RGB Hybrid camera with a privacy shutter, a fingerprint reader, and a backlit keyboard.


Pros

  • It has a high color gamut OLED display
  • It has several powerful components for demanding creative tasks
  • It features the unique Asus Dial

Cons

  • It has a truncated keyboard

The Asus ProArt Studibook is one of the best and most expensive laptops you can get for CAD and SolidWorks. It is packed with several premium features for intensive, high-performance task execution. Firstly, it is powered by an Intel Core i9- 13980HX processor with 36MB cache, 24 cores, 32 threads, and up to 36 MB cache for guaranteed multitasking.

The included NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 GPU with 8GB GDDR6 VRAM makes it a force to reckon with for graphic-intensive designing. It also features a 32GB DDR5 SO-DIMM memory and a 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe 4.0 performance SSD for lightning speeds and multiple file storage. Let’s now discuss the display, one of this laptop’s most notable features.

The Asus ProArt StudioBook has a 16-inch OLED 3.2K 16:10 touch display with a refresh rate of 120Hz, response time of 0.2ms, stylus support, DCI-P3 color gamut, and 4096 pressure level. Lastly, this product has a US MIL-STD 810H military-grade standard durability certification.


Pros

  • It can be used both as a laptop and tablet
  • It comes with a range of powerful accessories, including a precision mouse.
  • It is powered by a powerful, quality GPU

Cons

  • Although its storage can be expanded to 2TB, this device only offers 256GB storage.

Our last option is compact, lightweight, and highly portable for on-the-go computer-aided design. It has equally powerful features for guaranteed performance during different tasks, including graphics-intensive CAD. For example, it is powered by 10th Gen Intel Core processors, making it 30% faster than previous versions and well-suited for heavy projects and tasks such as editing large videos and 3D modeling.

It offers super-fast graphics, thanks to the included NVIDIA GTX GeForce GPU, and offers up to 17.5 hours of battery life thanks to its energy-efficient operation and improved standby, allowing you to go about your design tasks undisturbed even in environments with unreliable power. This laptop is also highly versatile as it can be used as a robust, powerful tablet and a portable studio device, depending on various needs.

We must also mention that it has a large, responsive trackpad and full keyboard for easy, natural navigation. You will enjoy a 15-inch 1080p LCD for an excellent viewing experience and extra accessories, including a surface pen, surface dock two, and surface precision mouse.


Conclusion

Not all laptops can handle computer-aided design of run programs such as SolidWorks. Luckily, we’ve discussed a detailed buying guide and reviewed several options that can guarantee an excellent experience. Of all the options we’ve reviewed, we highly recommend the HP Zbook G9, thanks to its powerful dedicated graphics card, expandable storage and RAM, and multiple configurations. The HP ZBook Firefly G10 is in second position, a premium flagship laptop with equally impressive features, including a 13th Gen Intel Core i7 processor, powerful graphics, and multiple thunderbolt ports.

We have also included Lenovo’s OEM ThinkPad p15s if you need an affordable laptop for computer-aided design with several powerful features. Remember to check out the Lenovo ThinkPad P1, Asus ProArt StudioBook, and Microsoft Surface Book 3 before deciding.


Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Minimum Required Specs for CAD and SolidWorks?

For seamless computer-aided design and Solidworks operation, settle for at least 16GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, an Intel Core i5/ AMD Ryzen 5 processor, and a dedicated GPU with at least 4GB VRAM. Note that higher specifications are recommended for the best results.

Can My Regular Laptop Handle CAD and SolidWorks?

Whether your laptop can handle CAD and SolidWorks depends on its features and specifications. Since computer-aided design tasks are resource-intensive, only laptops with the previously discussed (or higher) specifications are recommended. However, SolidWorks offers a cloud-based alternative accessible to several devices through a web browser, although it’s advisable to contact them before setting it up for compatibility testing.

Can I Use a MacBook to Run SolidWorks?

Yes. SolidWorks programs such as DraftSight and eDrawings Viewer are compatible with macOs, allowing you to develop applications using a MacBook. You can also use virtualization software to run SolidWorks programs only compatible with Windows 10 or 11. Note that virtualization software is usually bought and sold separately.

Is Display Critical for CAD Work?

Yes. You need a laptop with a quality display for excellent computer-aided design (CAD) results. Prioritize displays with Full HD or higher resolutions and IPS or similar technologies for enhanced design accuracy and wide viewing angles. We also recommend large screens for a comfortable design experience.

Which is the Best GPU for CAD and SolidWorks?

CAD and SolidWorks are graphic-intensive. For optimized performance, settle on laptops with stable and precise 3D modeling and simulation GPUs, such as AMD Radeon Pro or NVIDIA Quadro.

Should I Consider the CPU’s Clock Speed and the Number of Cores When Buying a Laptop for CAD and SolidWorks?

Although it’s important to consider both CPU specifications, computer-aided design tasks such as 3D modeling and simulation mostly rely on CPU clock speed rather than core count. Get a laptop with a quad-core or higher processor and a base clock speed of 2.6GHz+ for the best results.

Does My Laptop’s RAM Affect How It Runs CAD Applications?

Yes, especially when handling complex assemblies and large models. For the best results, settle on at least 16GB of RAM. Note that 32GB RAM or more is recommended for demanding projects as they allow your laptop to handle large datasets without slowing down for a smooth and efficient experience.