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

CG Director Author Alex  by Alex   ⋮   ⋮   136 comments
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Best Workstation PC / Laptop for CAD, Autocad, Solidworks, Revit, Inventor

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!



Hi Alex,

This is the most helpful information I have found on my journey to build a CAD computer.

This will be my first PC build so all of this information is very helpful.

I mainly do work with large assemblies in Solid Works as well as large high definition renderings in Revit.

I am looking to spend around $800 – $1,000. Can you help me out with a build!

I did use the PC builder and came up with this.

What are your thoughts? Would you alter anything to accommodate the programs I mostly us?

Thank you!!


Hi Alex.
Thank you so much for this, I’ve learnt a lot with your site!
I’m going to build my first PC by myself and this is huge.
First I have a general question: is it harmful to transport a PC in an airplane or to move it in general?

Second, I’m having trouble deciding on what set up to go… I was planning to spend $1000-$1800 USD.(although I’m stuck in quarentine in Italy right now and I’ll be buying in Euros, so everything must be different. I just moved to the EU and not sure where I’ll end up, that’s why I made the previous question).
I work mostly modeling in Revit, Rhinoceros, Autocad and rendering in Lumion which mostly uses GPU.
Since I’ll be rendering on GPU, I’m heavily inclined towards your build:

Best Performance Computer for CAD, Intel ~1900$
CPU: Intel – Core i9-9900K 3.6GHz 8-Core Processor
CPU-Cooler: be quiet! – Dark Rock 3 67.8 CFM Fluid Dynamic Bearing CPU Cooler
Motherboard: ASUS Prime Z390-A ATX 1151
Memory: Corsair – Vengeance LPX 32GB (2 x 16GB) DDR4-3000 Memory
Storage: Samsung – 970 Evo 500GB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive
GPU: Asus – GeForce RTX 2070 8GB Turbo Video Card
Case: Fractal Design Define S – ATX Midi Tower
Power Supply: Corsair – RMx 650W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX

Is this the way to go for mostly modelling and ocasional GPU rendering and gaming?

Thank you!


Hi Vicente,

Thanks for dropping a line!

First off, it depends on where the PC will be if you transport it in an airplane. If the case is small enough that it can be declared as part of your carry-on luggage and you can ensure that it doesn’t get bumped or anything like that, I think it’s perfectly fine. However, if your PC will be in your checked luggage, you just can’t ensure that it won’t get damaged. I heard a lot of horror stories about electronics getting damaged because of baggage handlers not really taking care of handling the plane’s cargo. You can opt to have your checked luggage marked as “Fragile” and cross your fingers that that would help.

As for your build, your list of components look great. The i9-9900K CPU and 32GB of RAM will surely give you a fast and smooth workflow experience while the RTX 2070 graphics card will come in handy in terms of delivering a better render performance thanks to its support for CUDA core acceleration. If there’s one thing I’d change in your list, that would be your CPU cooler. While the Dark Rock 3 is a good HSF, I recommend that you get the be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 1151 for that extra cooling performance. Other than that, your good to go!



Thank you very, VERY much for your reply.

Today I spent a few hours deciding between i9 9900k and Ryzen 9 3900x. Even when Jerry suggested the Ryzen 9 in, I decided for Intel given your explanation here. It’s going to cost me 40 Eur more but I guess it’s much better in the long run (although I’m still not 200% sure whether picking up the Ryzen would have saved me from buying a cooler…)

For air transport safety and the eventual possibility of its reduced size allowing to get a smaller case, I’ve been considering the Corsair Hydro H100X over Be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4. Right now I can buy the AIO for just 10 Eur more than the Air version… I still haven’t looked at cases and sizes… would it be possible to get a smaller case with the Corsair AIO if I pick it over the Be Quiet?
I’ve read it’s safer for constant movement since it won’t make much pressure with it’s heaviness on the motherboard. What do you think?
Sound is also somewhat important, it will be used in an office most of the time.

Do you have any case recommendation with any of these 2 coolers that has a handle or something like that?

Another question I have is regarding the Motherboard. I’m heavily lost in this department, as most reviews I read talk about compatibility with X or Y component. Given the components I’m telling you and my hopes for a build as small as possible (although saving $ is more important for me), is there any motherboard you’d suggest over the Asus PRIME Z390-A? The cheaper Gigabyte Z390 UD, for example?

HUGE thanx again.



Thank you very, VERY much for your reply.
I still have some doubts which I’ll arrange on numbered topics.

1. i9 9900k vs Ryzen 9 390x
Today I spent a few hours deciding between i9 9900k and Ryzen 9 3900x. Even when Jerry suggested the Ryzen 9 in, I decided for Intel given your explanation here. It’s going to cost me 40 Eur more but I guess it’s much better in the long run (although I’m still not 200% sure whether picking up the Ryzen would have saved me from buying a cooler…)

2. Be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 vs Corsair H100x. Case implications? Transport implications?
For air transport safety and the eventual possibility of its reduced size allowing to get a smaller case, I’ve been considering the Corsair Hydro H100X over Be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4. Right now I can buy the AIO for just 10 Eur more than the Air version… I still haven’t looked at cases and sizes… would it be possible to get a smaller case with the Corsair AIO if I pick it over the Be Quiet?
I’ve read it’s safer for constant movement since it won’t make much pressure with it’s heaviness on the motherboard. What do you think?
Sound is also somewhat important, it will be used in an office most of the time.

3. Case for transport (in relation with the last topic)
Do you have any case recommendation that would work with any of these 2 coolers that has a handle or something like that?

4. Motherboard?
Another question I have is regarding the Motherboard. Read but I’m heavily lost in this department, as most reviews I read talk about compatibility with X or Y component. Given the components I’m telling you and my hopes for a build as small as possible (although saving $ is more important for me), is there any motherboard you’d suggest over the Asus PRIME Z390-A? The cheaper Gigabyte Z390 UD, for example?

5. Am i going to be near 1900 USD as you suggested on this i9 9900k build on this page?
This is what I have sort of sorted out for now:
-CPU: i9 9900K
-GPU: RTX 2070 Super (Asus Dual Evo or EVGA P4-3071-KR. Asus cheaper in amazon, EVGA cheaper on Bm-Power.)
-PSU: Corsair RM750X 750W (upgraded your 650W recommendation cuz its just 10EUR more expensive)
-Cooler: Corsair H100x (AIO, to be determined as I told you above)

So far, that accounts for:
Amazon; 1412 EUR or 1520usd
Bm-Power (Italian site): 1281 EUR or 1380usd

Thought this build would run on around 1900 usd… I’m still to add Case, RAM, SSD, Motherboard… I don’t think it will be possible is it?

HUGE thanx again. And I hope your reply here can help orient others as other replies have done for me!



Hi Alex,

Thanks for your detailed explanation on the matter. I am a full time CAD designer from past 15 years with mostly working in AutoCAD or Civil 3D environment. I have worked on several workstations during this time with my first one based on Pentium4 CPU. I have read numerous articles like this before where we compare single thread performance based on benchmarks.

Here is my 2 cents on it from practical experience only. I am not a IT graduate so I don’t know how CPU IPC’s are utilized but I have always found that CPUs with higher base clocks are much more snappier than the ones with higher boost clock. In other words CPU with Base Clock of 3.5 GHz and boost clock of say 4.7 GHz will be much faster in real life than CPU with Base Clock of 3.1 GHz and boost of 4.7 GHz.

I have found that no one makes such comparisons and everything is based on number crunching benchmarks. This can sometimes be misleading IT individuals who have no practical experience with the software in real life. Again I don’t know how or why but this is reality.

I would appreciate if you could look into this and explain why is this happening? My good guess is CPU clock itself down to base clock to save energy until I move a cursor or start a new command ( I was keeping an eye on performance monitor). All this happening within milliseconds but still causing AutoCAD to act up or stutter. Hence my recommendations based on my own personal practical experience is that it is beneficial to have a higher boost clock on CPUs for CAD workstations but base clock of CPU matters most if you want a fluid and snappy working experience.

Please correct me if I got it all wrong or if I am missing out on something.

many thanks,



Hi Alex.
Thank you very much for your great work, your article is above all praise.
Please help me make a choice.
I have a computer with this configuration:
– i7-6700
– Asus B150M-A motherboard
– 16GB memory
– 256 GB SSD
– Quadro P400.
I work in the Fusion 360 program. These are mainly cad / cam modules. Sometimes rendering. My models have over 2000 elements. At such large assemblies, Fusion began to slow down when rebuilding the model in the cad module.
Please advise the replacement of the motherboard and processor.
I opted for the Rayzen 3800x with a motherboard based on the B450 chipset.
Will it give me a significant performance boost over my i7-6700?
Thanks in advance.
Sincerely, Alexander.

Hi UkrSasha,

Thanks for asking!

The Ryzen 7 3800X is an excellent choice for your CPU upgrade and will surely deliver a significant performance boost over your old i7-6700 CPU. The 3800X not only has more cores (8 cores versus the 4 cores of the i7-6700) but it also boasts of higher clock speeds with its base 3.9GHz clock speed and Max Boost of up to 4.5GHz compared to the base 3.4 GHz clock speed and 4.0 GHz Turbo Boost of the i7-6700.

As for your choice of motherboard, it’s perfectly fine to go for a B450 motherboard but be advised that you may need to have its BIOS updated to ensure that you don’t run into any issues later on. If you’re not comfortable updating the BIOS of the motherboard, I suggest that you skip a B450 motherboard and instead get an X570 motherboard so you won’t need to tinker with its BIOS.



Alex thanks for the advice !!!
Your experience is invaluable.
Sincerely, UkrSasha.

Oren Dothan

Hi Alex
Thanks for the article, that’s very helpful. Do you have a good resource for someone who can build a PC based on your specs noted above. I’ would like to have one put together, but I rather not do it myself. I’m in the LA area, but obviously it could be shipped from anywhere.


Hey Oren,

Happy to hear you found the article helpful!

You can try talking to the guys over at iBUYPOWER or Puget Systems. They might be able to build a workstation based on the specs I recommended. But if you’d like to try your hand on PC building, I got a good article that walks you through the nitty-gritty. Have a look here:


Oren Dothan

Great thank you Alex.

Marty Karow

Hi Alex!

First thank you for such a well thought out and written article. Your effort was greatly appreciated.

I normally purchase HP laptops. I like the zbook workstations but they are not available now in a configuration I was looking for. However their gaming laptop the Omen is. I can get a 9880H processor with a GTX 2080 graphics card. 32meg memory, 2Tb SSD. It comes with an extra screen I don’t need or really want. It comes with a thunderbolt3 port which I use. It does not have the expand ability I would like.

My budget is more like $4000, it needs to be a laptop 15″, 4K maybe (not sure that is worth it) have at least 1 thunderbolt 3 port, a 1TB SSD minimum, 32 or 64GB ram, and be as stable / supportable as possible. (One man office here).

How would you fill that requirement?

Thanks in advance for any effort you put in to this response:)

P.S. will $4000 yield better results? Maybe I should back it down a bit…

Hi Marty,

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

If you need a laptop with an i9-9880H CPU, at least 32GB of RAM, and an RTX 2080 GPU, you are bound to spend $4,000 or more in some cases. This is one of those cases because the laptop I have in mind is priced at around $4,099.00. Take a look at the Gigabyte AERO 15 OLED YA-9US5750SP, a beast of a laptop and its specs are below:

CPU Intel Core i9-9980HK 2.40GHz 8-Core Processor
Graphics Card NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q 8GB
Memory(RAM) 64GB DDR4-2666
SSD 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe Solid State Drive
Weight 1.9 kg (~4.18pounds)
Display 15.6″, 3840×2160

Again, it costs a hundred bucks more than your budget but I think it’s a good compromise. After all, the Gigabyte AERO 15 OLED YA-9US5750SP boasts of an i9-9980HK and an RTX 2080 Max-Q GPU. Not only that, this laptop comes with a whopping 64GB of RAM and a 1TB NVMe SSD. Also, it features a Thunderbolt 3 port plus it gives you the option to add another M.2 Type 2280 SSD as it comes with 2 slots for its storage. All in all, the Gigabyte AERO 15 OLED YA-9US5750SP may be a hundred bucks more than what you’re willing to spend but you can expect this laptop to be more than powerful enough for what you need it for!



Hi Alex,

I’m searching for a laptop that is <$1500, has a good build quality (aluminum or magnesium), 15.6" or less and decent battery life. Currently my frontrunner is the MSI Prestige 15. It uses a GTX 1650 and Intel 10710U. What are your thoughts on this? I use Autodesk Fusion 360 and the Adobe Photo/Video suite.

Thanks for any insight you can provide!



Another option I’m looking at is the Lenovo P53. With a President’s Day discount I can get one with Intel i7-9750H, NVIDIA T2000 gpu, 16GB ram and 512 GB SSD for just under $1500.

My understanding is that the 9750H is a little faster than the 10710U but with significantly more power consumption. The ThinkPad seems to have a reputation for better build quality, but I don’t have any firsthand experience with it. Thoughts?

Thanks again for your help


Hi Jacob,

Thanks for asking!

The MSI Prestige 15 and Lenovo ThinkPad P53 are both great options. However, the MSI Prestige 15 is slightly limited by its GTX 1650 GPU while the Lenovo ThinkPad P53 comes with an NVIDIA Quadro T2000 GPU. As an aside, I don’t usually recommend the use of Quadro GPUs unless the software you use specifically requires a Quadro GPU. In addition to that, Quadro GPUs tend to be more expensive than their consumer RTX counterparts and yet RTX GPUs perform better than Quadro GPUs.

If you have a budget of $1,500, I suggest you take a look at the Gigabyte AERO 15 Classic-SA-U73ADW. Below are its specs:

CPU Intel Core i7-9750H 2.60GHz 6-Core Processor
Graphics Card NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti 6GB
Memory(RAM) 16GB DDR4-2666
SSD 256GB M.2 NVMe PCIe Solid State Drive
Weight 3.7 kg (~8.14pounds)
Display 15.6″, 3840×2160

The Gigabyte AERO 15 Classic-SA-U73ADW, priced at $1,453.02, comes with an i7-9750H CPU and 16GB which are basically at par with what the MSI Prestige 15 and Lenovo ThinkPad P53 have. It does have a little advantage in the GPU department with its GTX 1660 Ti graphics card.

By comparison, the MSI Prestige 15 only has a GTX 1650 while the Quadro T2000 of the Lenovo ThinkPad P53 is based on the consumer desktop GTX 1650 Ti with comparable clock speeds and therefore currently between a mobile GTX 1650 and GTX 1660 Ti. Taking all that into consideration, the Gigabyte AERO 15 Classic-SA-U73ADW is your best bet.



Your $1500 build no longer is listed properly. What are your thoughts on a build like this? I am looking to stay around the $1500 price.


There is 3 generation of Ryzen CPU?
And new threadripper?


hello Alex

I am Sculptor that Uses Fusion 360 and Blender to make my models and then 3D print them. As i look at getting different printers and other CNC/ Additive tech, Plus the software they use. I find my laptop lacking. I also don’t have too much to spend. Is there a build out there just for these programs. I there a tower or laptop. i am currently using an ASUS Harman/Kardon from about 2016 it has an intel core i7 7gen and a nvida geforce gtx 950m but it has started to lag out. any advise would be great.



Hey Cornelius,

Thanks for dropping a line!

If I may ask, how much are you willing to spend? Please let me know so I can give you the best recommendations based on your budget and use case.

Alternatively, you can go ahead and check the site’s PC Builder Tool at Just input your budget and select the most appropriate use case and the tool will automatically give you the best laptop recommendation based on your inputs.


Cornelius A. Hugo

I am trying to keep it under 1500 but at best to get a new printer along with it 750 would be best.


It’s a good build. Try increasing the RAM to 32 Gb and switch to an SSD. The whole update will cost you 200$ (tops) and will triple your speed.