Best Workstation PC / Laptop for CAD, Autocad, Solidworks, Revit, Inventor
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Best Workstation PC / Laptop for CAD, Autocad, Solidworks, Revit, Inventor

CG Director Author Alex  by Alex   ⋮   ⋮   81 comments
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What is the best Computer or Laptop for CAD Software such as Autocad, Solidworks, Inventor, Revit or many others?

What is CAD Software anyway, and why is it so difficult to find reliable information on what type of Hardware Components you need to build a greatly performing PC for CAD?

Well, let’s dive right in!

What is CAD Software and what is it not?

You might have already read some of the Articles on this blog that talk about building the best Computers for DCC (Digital Content Creation) Software such as Cinema 4D, After Effects or for Video Editing and 3D Modeling & Rendering.

The thing is though, I do not consider Software such as Cinema 4D, Maya, 3DS Max or Blender, CAD Software.

The reason is, that the mentioned Apps are targeted at Content Creation for visual purposes that don’t necessarily need high precision but rather should make an Image or Animation look believable or photorealistic, but not mathematically correct.

Because, hey, when I am sitting in the Movie Theaters and watching a VFX Movie, that Space ship hovering over the Earth is quite believable, but if it is Mathematically correct and possible, is not really the issue here.

Another important factor in DCC Softwares such as Cinema 4D, Maya and the like is, that they are mainly based on Polygons and not Curves.

Yes, there are tools that let you create curves and NURBS Objects, but the main work is usually done with polygons that at a certain Polygon resolution suffice for making an object believable and smooth.

Image-Source: AutodeskCAD Software though is targeted at mathematically precise Forms of content creation.

Content that simulates real-life properties. It is of utmost importance that e.g. a rocket nozzle on a SpaceX Booster Engine is modeled to an extremely high mathematical precision, otherwise, the Rocket might not last very long after launch. If it launches at all.

Nurbs vs Polygons - Best PC for CAD

Image-Source: Autodesk

For the sake of this article let’s name the polygon 3D Softwares “DCC” and the Precision Softwares “CAD”.

CAD Softwares come in many forms and Brands, some open source, some whoppingly expensive.

In this Article on building the best PC for CAD Applications, I’ll focus on Autocad, Solidworks, Inventor, and Revit, as these are some of the most popular ones out there.

Of course, lots of the theory and Part Recommendations can also be applied to other CAD Software as they all tend to work very similarly.

How do CAD Apps utilize the Hardware?

Very Similar to 3D Modeling and Rendering in DCC Apps, CAD Software relies on high clocking Hardware, especially in the CPU and GPU for active work.

Active work meaning, you are sitting in front of your workstation and actively modeling and working on a project.

These I call attended tasks and they require you to interact and be present at all times, otherwise, your project does not progress.

The other type of task is the unattended task. This includes things like Rendering and Simulation caching and other processing tasks.

These tasks run on their own and usually take longer than a few milliseconds to process (often hours and days).

Tasks that take days to process have a high probability to be targeted by developers earlier for making them ready for multi-processing. And of course, as soon as they are possible to be worked on by multiple cores, they can be processed much faster.

Look at this Single VS Multi-Core Performance scaling to get a feel for how more Cores can improve performance in multi-threaded workloads:

Cinebench Multi-Core Scaling


For these type of tasks, you will need the maximum number of Cores and not necessarily a high core clock.

Of course, having both, a high core clock and lots of cores is best, but not always possible.

So to recap: Your Active Work and snappiness performance require a high-clocking CPU and GPU, whereas parallelizable tasks such as Rendering and Processing needs lots of Cores.

Best Hardware for CAD

So let’s apply this to some real Hardware. What parts do we need for a PC anyway and what components make the CAD work we do the fastest:

Best Processor (CPU) for CAD Software

As you can see in these benchmarks that measure the CPU performance in Autocad, Solidworks, Inventor and Revit, the tendency is quite clear.

The higher the IPC a CPU has the better it performs in the respective CAD Software.

IPC - Best Computer for CAD


IPC (Instructions per Cycle) of course is something that is not openly advertised by the manufacturer, so let’s take the Boost clock as an indicator.

The Turbo Boost Clock of a CPU is probably the closest we can match the IPC indicator of a CPU, with the benefit, that Boost Clocks are advertised on CPUs and this lets us easily buy and compare CPU Performance.

CPUs are clocked at a predefined Base Clock and can automatically overclock a Core or multiple cores to a higher Clock as long as the entire CPU with all its Cores does not exceed a power or temperature limit.

Cinebench Scores - Laptop for CAD


In the above Cinebench Benchmark, the single-core performance was measured at the maximum possible clocks the CPU will automatically clock at.

Let’s make an example: an Intel i7 8700K CPU has a base clock of 3,6GHz and a Boost Clock of 4,7GHz.

In this specific case the CPU can overclock 1 Core up to 4,7GHz, 2 Cores up to 4,6GHz 3C: 4,5GHz, 2-5C: 4,4GHz and all 6 Cores up to 4,3GHz.

This means, when we work in a Software that currently utilizes only 1 Core of a CPU, this CPU Core can and will most probably run at its advertised max Turbo Boost Clock.

The higher the Clock, the better the Performance.

Look at these Inventor Benchmarks of Finite Element Analysis Meshing. High-Core-Clocks with High Turbo-Boost Clocks win all the way (Lower is better):

Best CAD PC - Inventor Benchmark

Image-Source: Autodesk-Forum

Here are some Revit Benchmarks made by Again, in Single-Thread Workloads a High-Core Clock (IPC) wins, in multi-threaded workloads such as Rendering, More Cores win.

Performance relative to an i7 7700K that has 4,5GHz Boost Clock, 4 Cores, 8 Threads

Workstation for CAD - Revit Benchmark


These Autocad 2D and 3D Performance Benchmarks were taken with the Cadalyst Benchmark Tool and show how high-core-clocks win every time.

Best Computer for CAD - Cadalyst Benchmark Autocad

Image-Source: tomshardware

Best Computer for CAD - Cadalyst Benchmark Autocad

Image-Source: tomshardware

And one last CPU Benchmark for Solidworks, confirming what we have already seen:

Best Computer for CAD - Solidworks Benchmark

Image-Source: tomshardware

Turbo Boost and IPC are so important because many tasks cannot be parallelized.

Either because a Software’s Code is old and hasn’t been updated or optimized in a long time, or because certain Tasks just can’t be parallelized, because of things like dependencies.

Think about this example concerning dependencies: You are modeling a House in Revit and have your Scene nicely optimized in Hierarchical Categories.

It looks a bit like this:

  • House Wall Extrusion
    • Room1
      • Window Boolean
        • Edge Bevel
          • screw Booleans on Edge Bevel

Now we will thicken the House Wall Extrusion a bit. We have 5 different Objects and would think that having a CPU with (in this case) 5 Cores would speed up the thickening of the House Wall Extrusion, because every core can work on one object, right?

Wouldn’t that speed things up nicely?

It would, but unfortunately, because the Objects are dependent on each other as they are in a hierarchical chain, The CPU will have to step through the top-most Hierarchie first and then move on to the lower ones.

There is no way the screw Booleans can already be calculated before the Edge Bevel has been finished processing and so on. Because of dependencies. A single CPU-Core will have to work through the entire hierarchy chain by itself.

A single CPU will have to first calculate the thicker Wall Extrusion, after that it can calculate the Window Boolean, then the Edge Bevel on The Window Boolean, then the Edge Bevel on that Window Boolean Edge, and only after all of these have been stepped through can the CPU calculate the screw Booleans that are in the Edge Bevel.

And this is quite a simple example made for easy understanding. What usually goes on inside a CAD Software is much more complex.

So long story short: We need a high clocking CPU, that optimally has a nice Boost Clock on one or more cores, to be able to work as fast as possible with a responsive and snappy Viewport in CAD Applications.

Only considering IPC and Core-Clocks, the currently best CPU for CAD Apps when actively working on projects is the Intel i9 9900K which Turbo Boosts up to 5GHz on one Core.

Some more great runner ups are:

  • AMD Threadripper 1900X
  • AMD Ryzen 2700X
  • Intel i7 8700K, 8086K
  • Intel i9 9900X
  • Intel i7 7740X

These are all high-clocking CPUs that will give you a smooth working experience.

What about Xeon?

What’s the deal with Xeon? It seems to be recommended very often on CAD Software Manufacturers Sites, so it should perform well, shouldn’t it?

Well, the thing with Xeon is, you usually trade Reliability, Durability & Support and a high Price for Performance.

Intel Xeons are a lot pricier than i7 or i9 CPUs (or AMD CPUs of course for that matter), their clocks are lower, IPC is lower & the Turbo Boost Clocks are lower.

BUT, XEONs have ECC Memory Support (Error Correcting memory) that CAN in some cases make your CAD Software a bit more stable.

Also, often times expensive CAD Software Manufacturers only offer support when you actually have a XEON (that they recommend and then, of course, should also support) and not a mainstream or HEDT CPU.

So if you absolutely need reliability and need immediate support for your systems, then you would have to go the Xeon Route for many of the top tier CAD Apps out there.

Then again, if you value performance over reliability and can support yourself by googling or asking in forums, you should be getting a performance CPU as mentioned above, such as the Intel i7, i9 or AMD Ryzen / Threadripper CPUs.

Best Graphics Card for CAD Software

Let’s clear up this Quadro vs. Geforce debate once and for all.

The Benchmarks will support my writing: The Geforce GTX or RTX Cards are faster in almost all CAD Benchmarks. Autocad, Inventor, (Solidworks = special case), Revit you name it.

BUT, again, as with CPUs, the Quadro Cards have other things to offer.

They have different Drivers than their Mainstream counterparts that enable some features in various CAD apps and also offer 10Bit Color support for your Monitors.

Also, again, the question of Support is not to be neglected.

Many CAD Application Manufacturers only offer (good) support if you have Hardware that matches their Hardware Recommendations, and that is usually Xeon + Quadro or an AMD Radeon Pro WX counterpart.

Ask yourself, do you value stability and professional support over performance, go with a Quadro / WX.

If it’s just your own Workstation you have to worry about and you can help yourself and want the fastest experience possible and would like to save some money (because Quadros are so much more expensive) go with a Geforce GTX or RTX GPU.

As seen in the Benchmarks, an Nvidia RTX 2080Ti is on top of the charts pretty much everywhere but followed closely by some lower-tier cards such as the 2080 RTX and 2070 RTX.

Quadro Benchmark CAD Computer


Even High-End Cards such as the Quadro P6000 that cost about 4000$ can’t compete with a 1200$ RTX 2080Ti in AutoCAD.

Quadro Benchmark CAD Computer


That said, Solidworks does benefit vom Quadro cards very much. It seems this software has been well optimized to make use of the additional Features that Nvidia Quadros have to offer. Take a look at these recent Benchmarks here by Pugetsystems:

Solidworks GPU Performance

Image-Source: Pugetsystems

Even the smallest Quadro seems to be quite a lot faster than a strong 1080Ti.

Now that we have the most controversial Parts of a CAD Computer out of the way lets move on to some standards:

Best Mainboard for CAD Applications

Different Mainboards won’t influence your performance all that much, but you should make sure the Motherboard you are getting supports all the features you need and matches the Hardware that you are going to plug into it.

Of course, you should match the Mainboard Socket to the CPU you chose earlier. Get an LGA 1151 Mainboard for an i7 8700K, and an AM4 Mainboard for a Ryzen 2700X CPU and so on.

MSI Mainboard for CAD


Other features you should look out for might be the amount of PCIe-Slots that you can plug Graphics Cards into, the amount of USB connectors, the amount of supported RAM and RAM Slots as well as the number of Storage Devices such as M.2 Slots you have available to use.

For the Intel i9 9900K, that I currently recommend highly for CAD Apps, you will need an LGA 1151 v2 Mainboard such as the ASUS Prime Z390-A ATX 1151.

Best RAM (Memory) for CAD Software

CAD Work is very similar to working in 3D Applications like Cinema 4D or Maya.

The amount of RAM needed depends very much on how complex your projects and models are and how many you have opened at the same time.

Another factor of course always is how many different Applications you have opened at any given time.

Running Windows 10, for example, and having Chrome, a Mail Program, some other DCC Softwares like Photoshop and Illustrator and a Word-Processing App open together with your CAD Software will surely eat away at your RAM much more than when you have only one App open at a time.

But it is ease of use that we are looking for, and closing down other Applications just so we can use our CAD Software is not what we have in mind.

For lighter CAD work you should be looking to buy at least 16GB of RAM. Yes, you can get away with 8GB, but it might get nasty very quickly, so better to be on the safe side!

With more complex assemblies you should be leaning towards 32GB of RAM over 16GB.

Corsair RAM for Computer for CAD Applications

Image-Source: Corsair

If money is no Object, of course, go with 64GB of RAM which should settle it once and for all.

If you are going the Xeon CPU route you can get ECC RAM that will correct some calculation errors and might make your CAD Software slightly stabler.

Good non-ECC RAM for Mainstream or HEDT CPUs such as the i7, i9 or Ryzen / Threadripper Line-up, that I can recommend include the Corsair LPX DDR4 Vengeance RAM that comes in all sorts of sizes.

As Clock Speed in RAM is usually negligible as a performance influencer, you can start with the cheapest, which is usually DDR4-2400MHz and work your way up from there if you want to.

Concerning ECC RAM, I have had good experiences with Kingston as in the Kingston ValueRAM DIMM 16 GB DDR4-2400 ECC RAM.

Best SSD / HDD / Storage for CAD Work

Assemblies and other Project Files can get quite big, especially on complex projects, and you will be happy to have enough space to keep the entire projects saved in multiple revisions as well as a fast drive to read and write the Data from and to the storage Device.

The currently best type of storage Device for a lot of PC-Users, including CAD purposes, are the NVME M.2 SSDs.

This stands for Non-Volatile Memory Express M.2 (the form factor) Solid State Drive and basically is an SSD that has been further developed to

  1. be smaller
  2. use a faster interface and
  3. be much faster in reading and writing data.


An NVME SSD you can plug into the motherboard without needing any cables. It is smaller than a candy bar and about 5 times as fast as a regular SATA SSD and even about 25x faster than a mechanical HDD.

I recommend getting a Samsung 970 EVO M.2 SSD that come in different sizes.

Of course, NVME Drives are somewhat more expensive than HDDs or SATA SSDs and the best plan usually is to get both.

A smaller NVME SSD for active projects, apps, and the OS. And a large HDD for Backup and Archiving.

Best Case for CAD Work

The Computer-Case, of course, will not influence the performance of your CAD Build in any way. Well maybe in terms of air-flow, but that can usually be neglected as CAD Work tends not to make your CPU or GPU overheat all that fast.

There are lots of Cases out there in all kinds of Colors, Sizes and from all kinds of Brands.

There is not much you can do wrong here. Be sure to get a big enough case for your components, usually ATX Midi-Tower or bigger.

A nice Case that I keep coming back to is the be quiet! Silent Base 601 orange, as it looks professional and has some noise dampening features that will make your best Computer for CAD quieter.

bequiet PC Case 601

Image-Source: be quiet

Best PSU for CAD

The Power Supply Unit should have enough Wattage to be able to Power your Components.

If you are unsure as to how much Watt your selected Components actually need, check out this easy to use Wattage-Calculator over on bequiet’s Website.

Some reliable Brands to look out for are Corsair, beQuiet, and Seasonic that I have all been able to successfully use and test for quite some while now.

It is wise to get a somewhat stronger than needed PSU in case you upgrade your Computer in the future either with added hardware components or with new components all-together.

That way you can keep your PSU across different builds for several more years, as PSUs usually don’t go out of date and are always compatible with Hardware in the years to come.

For the Build that we are putting together in this Article, Intel i9 9900K, Asus Z390-A Mainboard, 32GB RAM, Samsung 970 EVO SSD, I’d recommend a 650 Watt PSU (or higher) such as the Seasonic Focus Plus Gold 650W ATX 2.4, but there are lots of others that you might prefer.

Finished PC Builds

That’s about it for the Main Hardware Components needed for a great Computer for CAD Work!

Let’s take a look at some finished Builds at different price points, that will work well with CAD Apps such as Autocad, Solidworks, Inventor, Revit and lots of others.

Keep in mind, that these are Performance builds and not Reliability/Support Builds. If you are responsible for CAD Computers at a large Company you might want to trade performance for reliability and support, but that, of course, is up to you.

Performance Builds: Best Computers for CAD

Best Performance Computer for CAD, AMD ~700$

PCPartPicker part list

Some Build notes:

If you are experienced enough to do a BIOS upgrade you should consider the AMD Ryzen 2600 that will work on this board with a BIOS upgrade. If you still want a second Generation Ryzen CPU but don’t want to flash your BIOS, go with a 400 Series Chipset that supports these already.

Consider upgrading to an Nvidia GTX 1060, if you can spare some more cash.

Best Performance Computer for CAD, AMD ~1500$

PCPartPicker part list

Some Build notes:

This is a basic AMD build that you can build upon. The Case is professional looking, minimalistic and quiet. There is no room for Optical drives, you will need a different Case if you want to have DVD/CD Drives.

The AMD Ryzen 2700X is the fastest of the second Generation Ryzen CPUs with excellent Multi-Core and good Single Core performance. All AMD Ryzen CPUs usually come with included CPU coolers, so no extra Cooler needed here.

I added a Samsung 970 EVO M.2 NVMe Drive in this build that will give you extreme Storage Performance. The Asus Turbo Series GPUs are Blower-Style GPUs, meaning you can stack them on top of each other in Multi-GPU Builds, without loosing too much Cooling performance.

Best Performance Computer for CAD, Intel ~1900$

Some Build notes: This is a basic build that you can build upon. The Case is professional looking, minimalistic and quiet. There is no room for Optical drives, you will need a different Case if you want to have DVD/CD Drives.

The Intel CPUs need additional CPU Coolers, so I added an excellent CPU Air Cooler from BeQuiet here. Air Coolers are usually quieter than AIO or Water Cooling solutions, as they only have one Fan. If you are planning on some more extreme overclocking, you might want to consider getting a different CPU cooling solution though.

Reliability Build: Best Computer for CAD

Best reliability Computer for CAD, Intel XEON / Nvidia Quadro ~6350$

  • CPU: Intel Xeon W-2145, 8x 3.70GHz
  • CPU-Cooler: be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4
  • Motherboard: ASUS WS C422 Pro/SE
  • Memory: 2x (or 4x) Kingston Server Premier DIMM 16GB, DDR4-2666, CL19-19-19, reg ECC (KSM26RS4/16HAI)
  • Storage: Samsung – 970 Evo 500GB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive
  • GPU: PNY Quadro P6000, 24GB GDDR5X, DVI, 4x DP
  • Case: Fractal Design Define S – ATX Midi Tower
  • Power Supply: Corsair Professional Series Platinum AX760 760W

This is an excellent Reliability / Durability / Stability Computer for CAD Applications with the potential of being granted Support from more picky Software Manufacturers. The Xeon gets you ECC RAM Support and the Quadro offers Drivers with additional Features in many CAD Apps as well as 10bit Monitor Color output. The price tag sure is hefty, but that is what you pay nowadays for reliability.

Custom PC-Builder Tool

Head on over to the Web-Based CGDirector Custom PC-Builder Tool that lets you configure your Computer at custom price points for all kinds of purposes. It suggests parts that work well together and gets the maximum performance out of your budget.

CGDirector PC-Builder Tool

PC-Builder Facebook Title Image

Build your own Computer

Assembling your Computer yourself has many benefits. It is much cheaper to buy the individual hardware Components and assemble them on your own. It is lot’s of fun, it’s easy and you learn a lot.

With that knowledge, you might be able to troubleshoot any problems that might arise later on yourself, without having to bring your Computer back to a shop to have it fixed.

You can upgrade yourself when newer and faster hardware is available and you learn a lot about how computers work, which is always great to know!

Start by taking a look at what parts you need for building your own Computer. After that, here is an easy to follow Video Tutorial on how to build/assemble your own Computer:

Best Laptops for CAD Software such as Autocad, Solidworks, Inventor, Revit and more

So what about Laptops? We have been talking about Desktop Computers all this time but fortunately, everything we discussed above can also be applied to a Laptop.

The Theory behind what is important to create a greatly performing Laptop for CAD Work is the same as in desktop Computers for CAD.

We will need a high-clocking CPU, a GTX or RTX GPU, 16-32GB of RAM and a fast M.2 SSD.

In Laptops, as the Hardware components are usually supposed to draw much less power the components will not reach the performance of Desktop Computer Parts.

But that is to be expected from such a small enclosure. In a Laptop, you get the benefit of Mobility but trade it for performance.

In Laptops too, we will differentiate between performance vs reliability/support, as both the Xeon CPUs and the Quadro GPUs are available for Laptops.

Best Performance Laptop for CAD Software

If it’s Performance you are after, you will want to lean towards a high-clocking CPU and a higher-end GPU such as the GTX 1070 as you will find in the following Laptop:

The GIGABYTE Aero 15X v8-BK4 15″ Ultra Slim Laptop.

Best Laptop for Animation - Gigabyte


The Specifications on this Gigabyte Laptop are:

  • CPU: i7-8750H
  • GPU: GeForce GTX 1070 with 8GB of VRAM
  • RAM: 16GB RAM
  • SSD: 512GB PCIe SSD
  • Win 10 Home
  • 15,6″ IPS Screen with a FullHD Resolution

Check the current Price here.

Some notes on this Laptop:

This Gigabyte Laptop has the “Gaming” branding in its Title. This can be misleading to many looking for a workstation Laptop.

The reason Laptops are often-times advertised as Gaming-Laptops is because of the strong Graphics Card. The Area of 3D and CAD is not big enough to have its own branding name. This Laptop though will be excellent for CAD work as well because we need a strong GPU for CAD.

It even has a higher Tier Graphics Card, the Nvidia 1070 GTX with 8 GB of VRAM. It weighs just slightly over 2KG.

Two more great choices with similar Hardware are the Asus GX531GS (Zephyrus S) and the Raze Blade 15.

Best Reliability / Support / Stability Laptop for CAD Software

The Lenovo ThinkPad P52 (2018) 15.6″ Business Laptop.

Best Laptop for CAD Work - Lenovo P52

Image-Source: Lenovo

The Specifications on this Gigabyte Laptop are:

  • CPU: Xeon E-2176
  • GPU: Quadro P2000 (4GB)
  • RAM: 16GB RAM
  • SSD: 512GB PCIe SSD
  • Win 10 Pro
  • 15,6″ IPS Screen with a FullHD Resolution

Check the current Price here.

Some notes on this Laptop:

The Lenovo ThinkPad P52 has a 6-Core Intel Xeon CPU that boosts up to 4.4GHz. With 16GB of Ram, an Nvidia Quadro P2000 GPU and a PCIe-M.2 SSD you will get the Reliability Workstation Experience inside a mobile Form factor.

That’s about it! What Computer or Laptop for CAD are you thinking of buying?

Alex from CGDirector - post author

Hi, I'm Alex, a Freelance 3D Generalist, Motion Designer and Compositor.

I've built a multitude of Computers, Workstations and Renderfarms and love to optimize them as much as possible.

Feel free to comment and ask for suggestions on your PC-Build or 3D-related Problem, I'll do my best to help out!



I use a variety of CAD programs from BricsysCAD,(similar to AutoCAD) 2020 specification software, to Chief Architect, and my little Lenova Yoga can’t handle the 3d in Chief very well. I’ll be passing it to my daughter. As was done with my old Dell Precision M70 Price is not a huge concern but I want a sweet spot so I can have a machine that I can use for awhile. I anticipate using more 3d rendering into the future, and I am trying to figure if i need to go 17″ also. Even though i can work at my desktop I will need to show clients their projects in an interactive environment. I am not into building my own, but would be ok with someone who can, or an off the shelf name brand pre-loaded would be fine also. Just looking for some help.Thanks!

Earl Alfaro

I need a machine that is optimized to run a CFD (computational fluid dynamics) program – Simerics-MP+ for Marine, at higher than average speeds. At the same time I may be multitasking having AutoCAD 2018 and/or Rhino3D open at the same time. My work involves 2D/3D cad modeling, rendering, and occasional use of the CFD software I mentioned earlier. There is so much to take into consideration and I need experienced guidance. My budget will be between $1900 and $2500. Thank you in advance, for the specification you might provide.

Thein Htike Oo

I am a mechanical engineer and I need a laptop for AutoCAD work. I already have Desktop pc (R5 1600X, RX570 4GB, 8GB RAM). My budget is $1000. Which laptop should I buy? One more question, does Ryzen mobile CPU such as Ryzen 7 3750H can run AutoCAD for my light CAD work?

Thanks for your time.

Hi Thein Htike Oo,

Thanks for asking!

With your budget, the best laptop you can get four your AutoCAD work is the [2019] Dell G5 5587 Gaming Laptop. Below are the specs of the laptop:

CPU Intel Core i7-8750H 2.20GHz 6-Core Processor
Graphics Card NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB
Memory(RAM) 16GB DDR4-2666
SSD 256GB M.2 Solid State Drive
HDD 1TB Hard Disk Drive
Weight 2.4 kg (~5.28pounds)
Display 15.6″, 1920×1080

The [2019] Dell G5 5587 Gaming Laptop is priced at around $1,029.99 which is a little above your budget of $1K but in exchange, you get a decent i7-8750H CPU working in conjunction with 16GB of RAM to guarantee task responsiveness when you’re actively working inside the software. In addition to that, you get a 256GB M.2 SSD for your operating system and commonly used programs and a 1TB hard drive for your other files.

As for your question regarding the Ryzen 7 3750H, this particular CPU has a base clock of 2.3 GHz and a Max Boost of up to 4GHz. The minimum processor requirement of AutoCad is a CPU with a clock speed of 2.5-2.9 GHz while the recommended processor requirement is a clock speed of 3+ GHz. Given those numbers, the Ryzen 7 3750H can certainly run AutoCAD for that matter.

And if you haven’t done so, you might want to check the site’s PC Builder Tool for other recommendations based on your budget and use case. You can find it here:



Hi Alex, thank you so much for this article it is incredibly helpful.
In your experience do part prices drop around black Friday or Cyber Monday?
Any suggestions on what screen should I buy to go with the $2000 built?

Alexis Aguilar

Hi Alex,
I’m a high school student with a max budget of $1,000 but f possible I would prefer it to be less. What laptops are good for their price? A few with different price ranges would be greatly appreciated. I’m gonna be using it mostly for SolidWorks and the occasional gamin sesh, thank you for reading my question and answering!


Hi Alex,

Thank you so much for the outstanding article. I will be a mechanical engineer soon and I’m looking for a workstation laptop which is compatible with Autodesk Inventor 2020. But I’m a bit confused with lots of choices in the market. Which type/brand of laptop do you think matches with the following System-requirements?

-CPU Type: 3.30 GHz or more with 4 cores
-Memory: at least 24 GB RAM
-Graphics: 4 GB GPU with 106 GB/S Bandwidth and DirectX 11 compliant
-Display Resolution: 3840 x 2160 (4K); Scaling: 100%, 125%, 150% or 200%
-Pointing Device: MS-Mouse compliant (3DConnexion 3D Mouse optional) with a productivity of 3DConnexion SpaceMouse®, driver version 10.5.12 or later
-Keyboard: illuminated
-Display size: 15,6
-Weight: <=2Kg
-Operating System: without or Windows 10 Pro 64Bit
-HDMI Port

And what is the lifetime of workstations in general?

Best regards


Hi Aya,

Thanks for asking!

If I may ask, how much are you willing to spend on the laptop with your required specs?

Anyway, with your requirements, you might want to take a look at the MSI Laptop P Series P65 Creator-654 which goes for around $2,899.00. Below are its specs:

CPU Intel Core i9 9th Gen 9880H (2.30 GHz)
Graphics Card NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070
Memory(RAM) 32GB (2x 16GB) DDR4 2400MHz
SSD 1 TB NVMe Solid State Drive
Weight 1.9 kg (~4.19pounds)
Display 15.6″ 4K/UHD, 3840×2160

The MSI Laptop P Series P65 Creator-654 comes with a snappy i9-9880H CPU with 8 cores and 2.3 GHz base clock and Turbo Boost of 4.8 GHz working in conjunction with 32GB of RAM to ensure that you get task responsiveness when you’re working actively inside the software. In addition to that, this laptop features an RTX 2070 GPU with 8GB of GDDR6 VRAM. In addition to having the best price to performance ratio among GPUs at the moment, the RTX 2070 packs support for CUDA core acceleration which would come in handy in case you plan on using the GPU render engines. All in all, the MSI Laptop P Series P65 Creator-654 will be able to handle Autodesk Inventor 2020 with relative ease.

In terms of lifetime, this is rather subjective and would depend on a lot of factors but with this type of specifications, I’d say the MSI Laptop P Series P65 Creator-654 would be able to last at the very least 2-3 years for that matter.

Also, you might want to check the site’s PC Builder Tool. It’s a web-based tool that gives you the best recommendations based on your budget and use case scenario. You can find it at


Joe Rosewicz

Hi Alex,

Thank you for writing this article it has been very helpful as I start my first PC build.
I am still a bit unsure in what direction to go. As an industrial designer I primarily work in Solidworks or fusion360 and render in keyshot (CPU). But I also do a lot of ideation in 3DS/rhino and Octane as well as graphic work in photoshop. My budget starting out is pretty low in the $1000 range but I would like to be able to possibly upgrade the components as time goes on.

My current thought process is to include a higher end main board in my initial assembly and less expensive CPU and GPUs (also making sure I have multiple slots for GPU). This way I am able to upgrade along the way.

What would you recommend as a good starting solution? I do understand I am looking for a “jack of all trades” here. But just wondering what a good direction would be.

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

Thank you,


Hi Joe,

Thanks for dropping a line!

Your budget of around $1,000 is a little low and might limit you on the type of components that will go into your planned build. Please see below for what I came up with:

Parts List:
CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 2700 3.2GHz 8-Core Processor ($169.99)
CPU Cooler: be quiet! Pure Rock AM4 ($36.90)
Motherboard: Gigabyte X470 Aorus Ultra Gaming AM4 ($139.99)
GPU: NVIDIA GTX 1660TI 6GB – Gigabyte Windforce ($279.99)
Memory: 16GB (2 x 8GB) Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-3000 CL15 ($77.99)
Storage PCIe-SSD: Samsung 970 EVO 500GB M.2 Solid State Drive ($89.99)
Power Supply: Corsair CX Series CX550 550W ATX 2.4 Power Supply ($64.99)
Case: Phanteks Enthoo Pro ATX Full Tower Case ($103.31)

The total of the build comes up to around $963.15 and gives you a decent Ryzen 7 2700 CPU and 16GB of RAM which should give you task responsiveness when you’re working actively inside the software. It also comes with a GTX 1660 Ti GPU with CUDA core acceleration which should help bring about better render performance should you need to use the GPU render engines.

More importantly, the Gigabyte X470 Aorus Ultra Gaming motherboard comes with 3 PCIe slots that will allow you to add more GPUs in the future. Be advised though that you may need to update the BIOS of the motherboard should you plan on upgrading the CPU to a 3rd gen or later version of the Ryzen CPU for that matter.



Hi Alex,

I’m a college freshman takign up architecture. I need a desktop that can run autocad and solidworks. is $1,500 enough for what i need? look forward to your recommendations/suggestions


Hey Edison,

Thanks for asking!

A budget of $1,500 is actually enough. Please take a look at the build I put together for you:

Parts List:
CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 3700X 3.6GHz 8-Core Processor ($327.99)
CPU Cooler: be quiet! Pure Rock AM4 ($36.90)
Motherboard: Gigabyte X570 Gaming X ATX AM4 ($169.99)
GPU: NVIDIA RTX 2070 8GB – MSI Gaming ($491.99)
Memory: 32GB (2 x 16GB) Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-3200 CL16 ($139.99)
Storage PCIe-SSD: Samsung 970 PRO 512GB M.2 Solid State Drive ($159.99)
Power Supply: Corsair CX Series CX550 550W ATX 2.4 Power Supply ($64.99)
Case: Corsair Carbide Series 200R ATX Mid Tower Case ($91.95)

The total of the build comes up to around $1483.79. With this build, you get a snappy 3700X CPU at the heart of your system that will deliver task responsiveness whenever you’re actively working inside the software. You also get an RTX 2070 GPU which not only brings the best price to performance ratio among GPUs at the moment but also supports CUDA core acceleration for faster rendering speeds should you use the GPU render engines. By the way, you have the option of dropping the be quiet! Pure Rock AM4 CPU cooler because the Wraith PRISM stock cooler that is bundled with the 3700X is more than capable in handling the CPU cooling tasks.

If you haven’t done so, you may want to check the site’s PC Builder Tool at It is a web-based tool that will give you the best parts based on your budget and use case scenario.



if i increase my budget to around $2000, will there be a signinficant increase in performance?
what monitor can you recommend?
thanks for all your help!

Hi Edison,

If you increase your budget to around $2,000, there will be an increase in performance but it won’t be so significant to be a game-changer, so to speak.

For example, a $2,000 build will get you something like the below:

Parts List:
CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 3800X 3.9GHz 8-Core Processor ($369.99)
CPU Cooler: be quiet! Dark Rock 4 AM4 ($74.90)
Motherboard: ASUS TUF Gaming x570-Plus (Wifi) ATX AM4 ($199.99)
GPU: NVIDIA RTX 2080 8GB – Asus Turbo ($819.95)
Memory: 32GB (2 x 16GB) Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-3200 CL16 ($154.99)
Storage PCIe-SSD: Samsung 970 EVO 1TB M.2 Solid State Drive ($168.48)
Power Supply: Corsair CX Series CX550 550W ATX 2.4 Power Supply ($64.99)
Case: Corsair Carbide Series 200R ATX Mid Tower Case ($88.20)

The total comes up to around $1941.49 but the only significant change in the parts list is the RTX 2080 GPU whereas your $1,500 build only has an RTX 2070 GPU. But as mentioned in my earlier comment, the RTX 2070 can’t be beat in terms of price to performance ratio and anything higher-tiered than the 2070 is too expensive for the increase in performance in brings to the table. That said, I suggest that you stick to a $1,500 build and instead use the supposedly additional $500 for a nice monitor. And in terms of monitor recommendations, feel free to check this article out:


Susan O'Connor

Hi Alex,

Thanks so much for this article. The information you provide is very helpful, but there are so many options out there it is hard to make a final choice! My needs are relatively modest- I’m looking for a laptop to use for (re)learning Autocad, as well as Sketchup and Revit, and my teenage son wants to do some 3D modeling and undoubtedly play some games- but I don’t want to be frustrated by poor performance or feel that the computer will be quickly out of date. I find the Razer Blade 15 quite appealing but am unsure whether it would be worthwhile to upgrade the processor and graphics from the base level. For example, I especially like the “Mercury White” color, which has the following specs:
8th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-8750H 6 Core (2.2GHz/4.1GHz)
NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 2070 with Max-Q Design (8GB GDDR6 VRAM)
15.6″ Full HD 144Hz, 100% sRGB, 4.9mm bezel, factory calibrated
512GB SSD (NVMe)
16GB Dual-Channel (8GB x 2) DDR4 2667MHz

Would that be a noticeable improvement over the base model with the following specs?
9th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-9750H 6 Core (2.6GHz/4.5GHz)
NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1660 Ti (6GB GDDR6 VRAM)
15.6″ Full HD 60Hz, 100% sRGB, 4.9mm bezel, factory calibrated
128GB SSD (NVMe) + 1TB HDD
16GB Dual-Channel (8GB x 2) DDR4 2667MHz

The cost of the Mercury White model, at $2600, is about the maximum I’d like to pay, but less would be great too. Overkill is not necessary.! Any insights or other recommendations would be much appreciated!
Thank you!

Hey Susan,

Thanks for dropping a comment and thank you for the kind words!

Based on the specs you listed for the Base and Mercury White editions of the Razer Blade 15, going for the Mercury White edition will be a significant upgrade especially when it comes to the graphics card because this comes with an RTX 2070 compared to the 1660 Ti of the base model. You may also want to double-check the specs on your Mercury White Edition as it only comes with an older 8th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-8750H 6 Core (2.2GHz/4.1GHz) CPU. You may want to change that to the newer and slightly faster 9th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-9750H 6 Core (2.6GHz/4.5GHz) processor.

However, if you’re not too dead set on the Razer Blade 15 just yet, you may also want to take a look at the Gigabyte AERO 15-X9-9RT5. Please see the specs below:

CPU Intel Core i9-8950HK 2.90GHz 6-Core Processor
Graphics Card NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 8GB
Memory(RAM) 16GB DDR4-2666
SSD 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe Solid State Drive
Weight 2.1 kg (~4.62pounds)
Display 15.6″, 1920×1080

The Gigabyte AERO 15-X9-9RT5 is currently available for around $2,177.48. In addition to having the same RTX 2070 GPU as the Razer Blade 15 Mercury White Edition, the AERO 15 boasts of an Intel Core i9-8950HK 2.90GHz 6-Core Processor which is slightly better and faster than the i7-9750H of the Razer, not to mention that it is around $400 and some change cheaper.

If you haven’t done so, please take a look at the site’s PC Builder Tool at for workstation and laptop recommendations at different price points based on your budget and use case scenario.


Susan O'Connor

Thank you! I’m going with the Gigabyte AERO you (and the PC Builder Tool) recommended. I’m sure it will be great- thanks for your help!


Alex, thank you for writing this.
I’m an architect/designer (revit, adobe, etc.)
Biased to the Lenovo brand; my old W-series laptop has been reliable, and ‘looks’ professional. But I’m open to something new.
I’d like to upgrade to a 17 in monitor. Any suggestions?
Given the slim profile of the models you suggested, I’m also concerned about cooling during long hours. Should I be concerned? Thanks again.

Hey Mike,

Thanks for asking!

How much are you looking to spend for your new laptop?

Proper cooling in laptops is very important. Improper or insufficient cooling, especially among laptops that use flagship components, is commonly associated with the pitfalls of throttling. Improper cooling can result in significant performance loss and I’ve seen people who end up paying more for a laptop that performs less when certain temperature thresholds are reached.



WOW! Grateful for your response, Alex.
I’m looking at spending around 2-2.5k. I feel that that should get me specs for something that can perform through a relatively sizable revit model, and perhaps some rendering and graphic design work.

In most cases I work on several stages of one or more projects, and inevitably will want the option access two/three files without risk of crashing.

17inch monitor would have the benefit of display real estate, but the shorter battery life and added weight are a real compromise. Cost is higher, and I expect the work rate would suffer, even if a little. Still on the fence… so much to consider.

Am I correct for being concerned about a relationship between physical dimension and heat build-up?

Hi Mosca,

I agree – going for a laptop with 17-inch display has its downsides. But if you are intent on a 17-incher, my recommendation is the 2019 model of the ASUS ROG Zephyrus S GX701 which can be had for around $2,320.58. Below are its specs:

CPU Intel Core i7-9750H
Graphics Card NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 8GB
Memory(RAM) 16GB DDR4
SSD 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe Solid State Drive
Weight ~5.73pounds
Display 17.3″, 1920×1080

If you are willing to compromise with a slightly smaller 15.6-inch display, you can’t go wrong with the Gigabyte AERO 15-X9-9RT5 priced at around $2,102.49. Below are its specs:

CPU Intel Core i9-8950HK 2.90GHz 6-Core Processor
Graphics Card NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 8GB
Memory(RAM) 16GB DDR4-2666
SSD 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe Solid State Drive
Weight 2.1 kg (~4.62pounds)
Display 15.6″, 1920×1080

The Gigabyte AERO 15-X9-9RT5 is slightly cheaper than the ASUS ROG Zephyrus S GX701 but it does come with a slightly smaller 15.6-inch display. However the AERO comes with a snappier i9-8950HK CPU compared to the i7-9750H CPU of the GX701. Regardless, whichever you choose between these two laptops, whether you go for a larger display or a better CPU for that matter, I’m sure your choice of laptop will be more than capable of handling whatever task you throw at it.

As for physical dimension and heat build-up, there is a correlation between the two. Just like in desktop computers, the bigger the case is and the better the cooling solution is, the better heat dissipation becomes. In the case of laptops, the same holds true but high-end laptops nowadays come with better cooling solutions in their internals so heat build-up is no longer that concerning compared to laptops from say, 5-7 years ago.