Alright, so you’re looking to get into CAD and want a nice laptop that can handle all your projects in SolidWorks.
After all, that’s one of the most popular and feature-rich CAD programs around for 3D modeling and simulation purposes. Well, we’ve got some good news for you- running SolidWorks doesn’t require a tremendously powerful system.
You can get by with a simple Core i5/ Ryzen 5 laptop and 8GB of RAM. But, if you want the best laptop for SolidWorks, that’s a totally different story.
We’re talking i7’s, Ryzen 7’s, 16+ GB of RAM, Quadro GPUs, etc. Which can get very pricey, so it all depends on exactly what you wish to do with your laptop. If you’re just a hobbyist or student, you don’t need top-shelf hardware.
However, if you’re working with SolidWorks on a somewhat professional level and make money out of your designs you shouldn’t skimp out on the hardware.
So, we have compiled a list of laptops that cover the entire spectrum- basic users all the way to power users.
Our top choice is the Razer Blade 15 Studio. In the end, you must decide what’s right for you based on your experience with SolidWorks as well as your budget. So let’s get started, shall we?
Here is our list of 7 best laptops for SolidWorks:
Hands down, one of THE best CAD laptops you can get. It’s designed for prosumer and studio use, which is why you have all this juicy hardware underneath the sleek machined aluminum chassis.
This is a very expensive laptop, but not a single penny is wasted on fluff or bloatware. Every part of the Razer Blade 15 Studio has been crafted to give you maximum performance in software such as SolidWorks, 3ds Max, AutoCAD, etc.
Let’s start with the processor- you get an i7-10875H, which is an 8 core beast of CPU based on Intel’s Comet Lake architecture. Yes, it’s 14nm and doesn’t have the efficiency of Ice Lake.
But in terms of single-core performance, it blows every Ice Lake chip out of the water without even trying. Thanks to the mature 14nm process, Intel can push this chip to way higher clock speeds and that’s clear when you look at the boost clocks- a blistering 5.1Ghz.
Then, you’ve got the graphics card- a Quadro RTX 5000, with 16GB of GDDR6 VRAM. That’s enough graphics horsepower to absolutely demolish any workload you throw at it within SolidWorks.
Quadro GPUs with certified drivers are recommended for SolidWorks because you get superior stability via industry-certified drivers that are developed by NVIDIA in collaboration with SolidWorks. This additional GPU horsepower comes in handy, especially for simulation and rendering workloads.
Finally, you’ve got the RAM and storage- 32GB of fast DDR4 memory in combination with a 1TB SSD. All this muscle helps you save thousands over the period of just a couple of months if you’re working in a studio.
And you get a much better view of what you’re working on, thanks to the 15.6” 4K OLED touch display. Everything is packed into a sleek machined aluminum chassis to improve structural rigidity while simultaneously reducing weight.
Think of this as a more boring, bulkier Razer Blade 15. It has a similar processor from Intel and Quadro RTX 4000 graphics which is one tier below RTX 5000 in terms of performance.
You also get an FHD display instead of a 4K UHD touch display. However, what you lose in terms of graphics muscle and display resolution, you gain back in RAM and storage.
This ThinkPad P15 is loaded with a whopping 64GB of RAM and twin 1TB NVMe SSDs. That’s literally twice the memory and storage of the Razer Blade 15.
This is very useful if you’re running giant simulations or working on designs/ models with several hundred parts within SolidWorks. You could also transform this into a beastly Photoshop machine since it already has the processor and RAM for professional-grade work.
Even the display is exceptional, it uses an IPS panel and is Dolby Vision HDR 400 certified. Plus, the i7-10885H in this laptop is slightly faster than the i7-10875H in the Razer Blade (thanks to the higher base and boost clock).
The laptop is MIL-STD-810G certified, which means it can handle a bit of rough handling (dust, drops, etc.).
At 6.05 lbs., this is a heavy 15-inch laptop. But all that heft results in a solid, extremely tough workstation that you can confidently carry into the field. It also has more ports than thin & light laptops like the Razer Blade 15.
The AERO 17 laptop is somewhat of an all-rounder as it can handle both gaming and professional workloads such as CAD or rendering.
The Intel Core i7-10870H processor is at the center of it all, establishing a platform upon which you can build anything. It is transformed into an excellent CAD and gaming machine by adding in a GeForce RTX 3060 graphics card.
And when you throw in the X-Rite Pantone certified FHD IPS-level display with excellent color accuracy, you’ve now got a Photoshop laptop.
Whether you’re creating 3D models or playing the latest AAA games, the AERO 17 is a sleek and powerful laptop that is ideal for you. The robust cooling system and excellent Nahimic Audio elevate a good laptop into the realms of “truly exceptional”.
What’s the difference between buying a TUF Dash F15 directly from ASUS as opposed to buying one from HIDevolution? Well, you see- HIDevolution is an authorized Built To Order (BTO) retailer for ASUS.
They take an ASUS laptop like the TUF Dash F15 and upgrade its RAM + storage according to a buyer’s requests. They also replace the stock thermal paste on the CPU and GPU with Gelid GC Extreme which lowers temperatures by 5 to 7 degrees on average.
This prevents thermal throttling while running hardware-intensive applications, and extends the life of your laptop.
The lower temperatures aren’t a massive improvement for casual users who do light gaming or browse the web.
But if you’re a prosumer or heavy user who works with 3D models and does a lot of video encoding/ rendering you’ll appreciate the lower temps since you probably use the laptop for 10+ hours a day.
HIDevolution inspects each ASUS laptop for defects, like scratches on the chassis (or malfunctioning ports).
They do their own testing to make sure temperatures are looking normal under stress, and they update the BIOS + drivers to ensure a seamless experience out of the box.
HIDevolution also tests the keyboard and trackpad to make sure that everything is working as intended. And you get a 1-year warranty from these guys, including access to their tech support team which is better than the default tech support you get from OEMs like HP, Dell, ASUS, etc.
For the money, this is one of the best CAD laptops you can purchase, period. The build quality is exceptional and the display is more than acceptable.
Most importantly, you’re getting an Intel Core i7-10750H hexacore processor with hyperthreading and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1605ti graphics. Laptops just a couple of hundred dollars below this one don’t even have dedicated graphics.
The i7-10750H is no octacore but it’s faster than any 10th generation Ice Lake processor by virtue of sheer single-core performance (and it has 2 more cores than Ice Lake chips).
In multi-core performance, it matches or beats out even Intel’s 11th generation Tiger Lake i7 processors which are limited to just 4 cores.
The GeForce GTX 1650ti is a nice entry-level graphics card for people looking to get into CAD and 3D modeling/ animation.
It’s not a powerhouse, but more than gets the job done. Plus, you get more battery life since it sips on power unlike the higher-end GPUs such as RTX 3070s.
A “gaming laptop” that hits all the checkmarks in our list when it comes to deciding whether a laptop is suitable for SolidWorks.
It’s not just “okay”, rather the performance of this laptop in SolidWorks makes it excellent value for the money. The RTX 3060 in particular is something you don’t see until you go a price tier above what this laptop normally retails at.
And while the super flashy gamer styling isn’t for everyone, if you’re just a person who sits at home doing a lot of 3D modeling and rendering, it shouldn’t be an issue.
If you want a laptop for conference meetings and school, this may not be it. It isn’t that slim or light and is way too flashy.
But we guess it all depends on what you like because some consider this to be a perfectly fine laptop for work or school.
If you’re into internet meme culture, you know what “THICC” means. And this is indeed a very THICC laptop at close to 6lbs and over an inch in thickness.
Still, it isn’t nearly as bulky or unwieldy as full-size gaming laptops from just a couple of years ago. Remember those monsters with dual GPUs and desktop tier mechanical keyboards? Yeah, those were the days.
Nevertheless, the Covert Gamer THICC-15 is actually a very good laptop for carrying around if you have a decent laptop carry bag. It isn’t THAT bulky or heavy.
And when you consider the fact that it packs a desktop Ryzen 7 3700X processor, you are more likely to excuse the size and weight complications.
A desktop R7 3700X is a completely different beast from a laptop processor. It is way faster and consumes a lot more power.
Even the Ryzen 7 4800H and 4900HS can’t match up to a desktop R7 3700X. It is the ideal laptop for SolidWorks if you are willing to sacrifice a bit of battery life and portability.
This laptop is faster than the Razer Blade 15 Studio which costs significantly more. If you upgrade the RAM and storage with a couple of hundred bucks out of your pocket, the THICC-15 transforms into a beast of a CAD workstation that beats out any other laptop on this list.
You could also buy the slightly more expensive variant of this laptop which comes with 1TB of NVMe storage and 32GB of RAM.
How To Select The Best Laptop For SolidWorks
If you want a good SolidWorks laptop, you need to focus on two things: single-core processor speed, and tons of RAM. The graphics card doesn’t have to be super high-end, you can get by with a low to mid-range GPU if you’re a hobbyist or student.
But if you’re doing serious work on models involving hundreds or even thousands of parts, you need something like a Quadro or RTX graphics card.
Make sure you have at least 16GB of system memory (RAM), increase that number to 32 or even 64 if you work with models that have 500+ parts.
Make sure you have 8GB or more of VRAM if you work with larger models. For rendering and simulation, you need at least 6 or 8 CPU cores (with hyperthreading or SMT).
Make sure your processor isn’t more than 1 generation old. The display resolution isn’t super important, although you might want a larger display (17 inches) if you’re looking to use your laptop for complex projects.
If your laptop has an HDR display with good DCI-P3 coverage, excellent- you can use it for color-critical work.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Can I get by with a budget laptop for SolidWorks?
A. We don’t think you need a laptop with a dedicated GPU just for creating and manipulating models within SolidWorks, as long as they are low on detail/ complexity (under 100 parts). Even a simple Core i7 laptop with no dedicated graphics and 8GB of VRAM will be enough to get you through engineering 101.
But as you ramp up the complexity and details, start getting into simulation and rendering, AI, etc. you will need a dedicated graphics card. And laptops with those cost at least 800 dollars. If you can’t afford that kind of money, we recommend you look into the 2nd hand market.
Q. Will my laptop for SolidWorks also work in AutoCAD or Blender?
A. Absolutely! There is no specific type of hardware that you need for one program or the other. As long as you’ve got a good processor with plenty of RAM, you will be able to run any CAD software smoothly.
Q. When is a Quadro necessary?
A. There is no circumstance under which a Quadro becomes “necessary”. Quadros are generally for people who don’t consider themselves hobbyists or students, rather professionals working as part of a team in some studio. When you do thousands of operations within SolidWorks on a daily basis, every millisecond you can shave off will result in lots of money saved per year.
Stability also becomes a concern, which is why you use pro-grade certified drivers. Quadros come with drivers that are developed by NVIDIA in cooperation with SolidWorks for maximum stability. You can get the same feature set for less money in a GeForce RTX GPU, and more raw performance for your dollar.
Some institutions and companies do use GeForce instead of Quadro. Quadro generally has more VRAM which comes in handy for simulations and renders, so you need to decide what you want based on the type of work you’re doing within SolidWorks.
Q. Can I get by with a TN display?
A. Absolutely. Unless you’re doing color-critical work. A lot of the cheaper gaming laptops have what they call “IPS-level” displays. These are not actually IPS panels, but they do offer better colors than cheap TN panels. For SolidWorks, you don’t need a high degree of color accuracy unless you are working in a professional environment.
Q. Is refresh rate important in a laptop for Solid Works?
A. Not really, 60Hz is the standard for pro-grade displays as they value resolution and color accuracy over refresh rate. A high refresh rate is a byproduct of purchasing a gaming laptop. Where possible, value resolution and features like HDR or higher DCI-P3 color gamut coverage over refresh rate.
We hope this article was informative and gave you an idea of what to look for in a laptop for SolidWorks. As it stands, right now the best laptop for SolidWorks in our opinion is the Razer Blade 15 Studio.
It has the best display of any laptop on this list and comes with a Quadro RTX 5000 graphics card for professional usage. If you can afford this laptop, go for it- you won’t be disappointed. Everything from the build quality to the design feels luxurious and premium.
For more budget-minded buyers, the Dell G5 is an excellent choice as it packs a GTX 1650ti and hexacore Intel processor for less than half the price of most workstation laptops.
And if you are concerned with raw performance over everything else, it’s hard to beat the Covert Gamer THICC-15. You sacrifice portability, battery life, and display quality compared to something like the Razer Blade 15. But you gain CPU speed, lots of it.
Saurav has been writing about technology for the past 4 years, but has been a fan of all things computer related since he was 7 years old. He is a ghostwriter for multiple sites, and covers everything from PC hardware to chainsaws and mobile game development (yep, the guy has a lot of range).