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Note: Prices of the best laptop for CAD 2021 or the best laptop for autocad 2021 listed here were correct during the last update. Because of how market operates, prices could fluctuate in a matter of days.

This article will help you find the best laptop for AutoCad or any other computer aided design software. If you want to skip the introduction, you can directly jump to the table list of the best laptops for CAD 2021.

As an architect, an underperforming laptop is the last thing you can wish for when you are already overwhelmed with the CAD workload.

To help you avoid that situation, we will review several best laptops for CAD work. Having any one of these laptops will make your project outcome effective, professional and precise. These are the best laptops for CAD applications like AutoCad, Revit and others. 

More likely than not, you probably already know the system requirements on a CAD laptop. In case you don’t, in most cases, you will need a high end mobile workstation laptop that has a lightning fast processor, plenty of RAM (professionals recommend 16GB) and a FHD (or better) display that is at least 13 inch wide.

Video card is the single most important factor that differentiate CAD laptop from the others. Before purchasing a laptop for CAD, you must check the system requirements of the CAD software in question. You must make sure the video card on the laptop is compatible or is certified by the developers to run the software in question.

All of the laptops on our list of best laptops for AutoCad have minimum requirements to run any CAD program.


Autodesk Video card test

There are some software that support gaming video cards but others require or recommend NVIDIA Quadro or AMD FirePro GPUs for precision.

The 3D design with lots of graphics and light will need powerful specs while the 2D design can be done on medium range laptops.

Generally, these workstations cost in excess of $1000, simply because of the type of hardware installed and the precision they are able to offer. They even send these laptops to space stations!

For each reviewed best CAD laptop below, we will tell you which CAD programs are compatible on them. So, pay close attention if you are using this guide to buy a CAD laptop now or anytime soon!

Best laptops for CAD | Best Laptop for AutoCad

Processor | RAM | Storage
Lenovo P50**
Quadro M1000M
Intel i7 | Varies | Varies
Under $2000
Dell Precision
Quadro M1000M
Intel Xeon E3 | 32GB | 512GB
Under 2k
Lenovo P50¹
Quadro M1000M
Intel i7 | 8GB | 500GB HDD
Under $1500
HP ZBook G3
Quadro M1000M
Intel i7 | 16GB | 512GB SSD
About 2k
HP ZBook 14 G2
AMD FirePro M4150
Intel i5 | 16GB | 256GB SSD
Under $1000
Quadro M2000M
i7 | 16GB | 1TB+256SSD
Under $2000
Surface Book
Varies | Varies | Varies

***OUR FAVORITE LAPTOP FOR CAD. ¹We will not be reviewing this laptop as it mainly differs only in terms of storage and RAM. 

Lenovo ThinkPad P50- One of the best workstation CAD laptop 2021

This is a windows 7 pro the best AutoCad laptop that is also compatible for running other CAD applications. This laptop comes with NVIDIA Quadro M1000M video graphic card, compatible with most CAD software out there. By the way, M1000M is one of the latest workstation GPU from NVIDIA.

Many professionals prefer and choose windows 7 over windows 8 or 8.1, thus the operating system should be least of your worries as long as your particular program supports it.

The Lenovo ThinkPad P50 has Screen resolution of 1920×1080.

It has 16GB RAM (you can also choose to get 32GB RAM for an additional cost), which in combination with the quad core intel i7-6700HQ will assure the precision of your CAD work.

We Highly recommend the Lenovo ThinkPad P50 for 3D projects.

This laptop is excellent for students, beginners and the professionals. This Lenovo ThinkPad P50 is the best workstation laptop for CAD programs.

Following are the compatible software that you can run on this workstation laptop under $1500.

  • ArchiCad 19 and earlier versions
  • TurboCAD
  • AutoCAD Lt, AutoCAD 16, Autocad 15 and earlier versions.
  • Autodesk composite 2014, Autodesk inventor 2016 and earlier versions, Autodesk Maya 2016 and earlier versions, Motionbuilder 2016, Revit, Softimage and most other Autodesk products. Autodesk users can go here and see if NVIDIA Quadro M1000M is listed under certified card and you will instantly figure out if you should get this laptop or not.

This is out favorite choice when it comes to choosing the best laptop for AutoCad.

More Details – Lenovo P50

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Dell Precision M5510 – Another best workstation laptop for AutoCAD and other CAD software

Dell’s Precision line models have always been the most popular choice to run CAD programs. Matter of fact, Dell particularly make them for just that. Given that fact, it was a pretty straight forward decision for us to list this workstation laptop as one of the best laptops for AutoCad and other similar programs. 

Specs wise, this top CAD workstation laptop comes with a powerful Intel Xeon E3 processor in combination with 32GB DDR4 RAM and 512 GB SSD. 

It has M1000M graphic card which is compatible with most if not all of the CAD programs out there. It has 15.6″ IPS FHD screen for better viewing. 

HP ZBook Studio G3 – Best laptop for AutoCAD

HP Zbook Studio G3 is an awesome workstation! Image Source: Amazon.com
HP Zbook Studio G3 is an awesome workstation! Image Source: Amazon.com

The HP ZBook Studio G3 is  a very good deal when you look at the specs it offers. This is a solid laptop to run many CAD programs.

This laptop is compatible with several CAD programs including most latest Autodesk products. This is one of the best laptops for AutoCad as well.

This is a windows 7 pro laptop with 15.6 inch screen and has a FHD screen.

NVIDIA Quadro M1000M is the graphic card (2GB) installed in this laptop and the processor is quad core Intel i7 with 6MB cache. The HP ZBook Studio G3 has 16GB RAM which is essential for every CAD program. You can also upgrade the RAM on this laptop if need be.

This HP ZBook comes with 512GB SSD memory. You can buy a cheap external SSD drive if you need more space.

This notebook was made specifically for 2D and 3D designers and it will process the CAD program just fine.

Besides, its pricing is fair given the specs it has to offer. As long as your software supports NVIDIA Quadro M1000M graphic card and if you are looking for an optimal laptop for cad, this probably is your best bet.

This top laptop for CAD supports many programs which includes (but not limited to):

  • BricsCAD
  • AutoCad latest versions
  • TurboCAD
  • Keyshot 6 Pro
  • Moi3d

Price & More Details – Best HP Laptop For AutoCad

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HP ZBook 14 G2- Best workstation laptop for Autocad under $1000

This is “the” best deal if you are looking for the best CAD laptop under $1000!

Although this is not the most powerful workstation, Autodesk products are compatible with the video card of this laptop. Its graphic cards are even certified by the Autodesk. Should seamlessly work for later versions too!

Many other programs besides Autodesk products will run just fine in this cheap mobile workstation for CAD under $1000.

This laptop comes with the AMD FirePro M4150 video card (compatible with many Software) along with an Intel i5 processor, 16GB RAM, a 15.6 inch FHD screen, and is powered by Win 7 pro OS.

We have no doubt that this HP ZBook is the best workstation laptop under $1000 that is ideal for running CAD programs.

More Details – HP Zbook- Best AutoCad Laptop

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best laptop for cad
Image Credit: Amazon/MSI

This is a great mobile workstation  laptop from MSI corp which is compatible with literally EVERY CAD program ever made. MSI is well known and highly rated laptop manufacturer for professionals and gamers.

Since this laptop was introduced for professionals, designers, architects and engineers just like you, you sure can take advantage of its features for your use.

Price of the MSI WE72 is about $2000, but as a professional, you must already be aware that the cheap laptops simply won’t cut it and you will lag behind on your work with cheap laptops.

This best workstation laptop for Autocad is compatible with other autodesk products, solidedge, creo, catia or any other CAD applications.

Here is the breakdown of its specs; windows 10 pro, NVIDIA Quadro M2200 graphic card, 17.3″ inch high resolution and full HD display, 32GB RAM, 512GB SSD flash memory, quad core Intel i7 processor and a fabulous design.


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Microsoft Surface Book- Best Laptop for CAD and Gaming 2021

A lot of people are expressing satisfaction of using their CAD software in Microsoft Surface book all over the internet and after going through its manual, we can confidently recommend the surface book for CAD.

The Surface book is a relatively new laptop. It has been tested with many CAD software. Microsoft specifically says that it is compatible to run AutoCAD and other software without any compromise.

If buying, please make sure you get the right version of Surface book that comes with discreet GPU.

This laptop is very lightweight weighing under 4 lbs, which is way lighter than most of the CAD workstation laptops out there. If you decide to buy it, please check your software requirements and buy the one with the required processor and RAM. This is one of the best laptops for AutoCad, CAD and gaming. It can run the following software:

  • AutoCad
  • Visual Studio
  • TurboCAD


Best laptop for CAD under $500 and other choices

Finding the CAD laptops under $500 is tricky, if not impossible. You will need high end specs to run your graphics and in reality most laptops under $500 do not come with such features.

What you can do instead is try to find a refurbished or a used laptop for a cheaper price. To be on the safe side, try finding a refurbished deal with some kind of warranty. Or, buy a used laptop from one of the reputed sellers.

Another choice is to upgrade your laptop and tailoring it according to your need.

And if you are Mac person, these days most of the CAD programs support MAC OS. You can navigate different MacBook For CAD.

Conclusion – Best Laptops for AutoCad

That concludes this article about best laptops for CAD. All of those laptops are ideal if you were looking for the best laptop for autocad. Use the comment section below to ask us any questions. Please share this article about the best CAD laptops among your colleagues!

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