3D Modelling and CAD drawing entails the use of some of the most resource intensive applications that you could possibly run on your computer. When you started off with your career, you may have listened to people advising you to invest your money on a personal computer, so you can capitalize on the power output of desktop computer hardware.
Well, the good news is that thanks to continuous technological developments from organizations like Intel and Nvidia for starters, we now have compact laptop hardware, that can easily rival the performance of PCs, with the added advantage of mobility and portability.
What’s essential for a good laptop for CAD or 3D modeling?
From a designer’s perspective it is imperative to understand that most of the tools that you use, like Auto CAD, 3d Max, Maya, Blender, Revit and more, are all graphics intensive applications which require the presence of an on board GPU(Graphics Processing unit) so that the load on the CPU and RAM modules are reduced. Modern CAD softwares, especially take full advantage of multicore processors, enabling you to render models in a short period of time.
Besides this, having copious amounts of RAM is also a necessity if you want to make sure that you do not get caught off guard, by lags. A large amount of hard drive space is equally important since project files generated by these tools that you use daily will be quite large. Ultimately, a great high definition screen is what really shows you how good your work is, once rendering is complete. So being able to find the right balance between performance and price for your requirement is the key to making a great purchase.
Having discussed what the salient features of a good laptop for CAD and 3D modeling are, let us now take a closer look at some good choices.
ASUS ROG G752VY
Pro: Absolutely locked and loaded with performance hardware, visually pleasing HD Screen, super fast dedicated graphics card, this is a superb comprehensive package that should last many years without the need for upgrades.
Con: Quite heavy and bulky and at 17.3 inches large, this may not be the ideal choice for on the go professionals but great choice for desktop replacement laptop.
The Asus ROG is a system that you can proudly show off to a purist who believes that a laptop simply does not get the job done, like a desktop PC that is custom made for modeling. The choice of hardware used by Asus on this computer is truly worthy of appreciation. This is a well made purpose built machine for gaming, which means that it is a raging powerhouse! It all begins with the power packed punch of the Intel i7- 6700HQ processor, which is a quad core. The “i” series from Intel are popular for their ability to multi task and the i7 just happens to be the flagship model of this series from Intel. Loaded with a mind blowing 16GB of RAM, this beast of a machine is going to devour any graphics and RAM intensive applications that you are going to run on this.
With the ROG, you do not have to worry about watching your pixels, especially when you are working with something like particles, in your scene, all thanks to the NVIDIA GTX 980M. The laptop is equipped with a 128GB SSD and 2TB 5400 rpm SATA hard drive, giving you the best of lightning fast speed and vast storage space. All of this thoroughbred performance is complemented with a full HD 17.3 b inch screen. There is more than enough connectivity with the USB 3.0,USB 3.1 ports and Bluetooth 4.0. If you were looking for a future proof system for your CAD work, this is it!
Pro: Unbeatable price for a laptop that is loaded with so many specs, rock solid construction and future proof hardware, 4k resolution screen.
Con: Bad microphone and speaker quality, at close to 6 pounds in weight, it is not exactly ‘lightweight’, like a laptop ideally should be.
Widely recognized as the one of the best laptop in the 15 inch segment, Aorus have managed to create and absolute sensation with the X5S. This blockbuster of a system has a whole slew of secret weapons under the hood. The Nvidia GTX980 M is the star of the show with a whooping 4GB of video memory that has no problems running any 3D modeling softwares. While it comes with 16GB of RAM on board, there is a provision to bump the grand total to 64GB! The screen is 15.6 inches large and is a 4K resolution display. The data storage needs are handled by the 256GB SSD and a 1TB SATA hard drive. With so many performance oriented hardware and provision for a lot more, this is an unbeatable package by Aorus that will not show any signs of weakness, especially when you are rendering your models on Maya, 3D max and AutoCad 3d alike. After all Aorus do specialize in making gaming laptops and they know what it takes to extract performance from computer hardware.
VAIO Z Canvas
Pro: High performance in a compact package, high definition screen, i7 processor, good value for money, digitizer pen.
Con: No stand alone GPU, this may frustrate some 3d artists who like depth and power during rendering.
With a name like Sony, you can be certain of getting a great quality product. That is exactly what the Vaio Canvas Z is, a top quality product that is quite unique in its own regard. Making no compromises in the hardware department, the Vaio is powered by the Intel i7-4770. Although not as categorically powerful as the 6 series of the i7, the 4770 is certainly not a slouch. Equipped with a 12.3 inch touch screen, you are going to absolutely love the Vaio, if you enjoy mobility with power. This system shows no lag when running 3d modelling and sketching tools and now you can take your work with you, thanks to the all compact design of this computer. Retrofitted with a digitizer pen, this is more of a high performance tablet, than it is a laptop and complementing this compact package is the 250GB SSD, 16GB of ddr3 RAM and the integrated Intel 5200 graphics chip. With the standard set of USB 3.0, Bluetooth 4.0 and Rj45 Lan connections on board, this is a superbly good looking package for the creative brainiac in you, who loves mobility.
DELL PRECISION M5510
Pro: Well balanced system at a great affordable price, dedicated GPU ( Nvidia M1000M with 2gb gddr5 memory) to run 3D tools that require a good dedicated card, sleek and good looking.
Con: i7 processor would have made this future proof and a flawless system to own, at such an attractive price point.
Finding the right balance of power, good form factor and value for money is key to being happy with your purchase. The Dell precision M5510 is a fine example of a great system that is certain to make you smile. Equipped with the Nvidia M1000M, this is an i5 based laptop computer that strikes the right balance between practicality and performance. The screen is an LED that is 15.6 inches large and has a maximum resolution of 1920*1080. The system is outfitted with 8GB ddr4 RAM modules which operate at a higher bus speed than the ddr3 type. The hard drive is a mechanical 500GB SATA, operating at 7200rpm. Dell were looking to create a cost effective system that can be used by a wide range of 3D modeling professionals. The precision achieves this vision of Dell in a brilliant fashion, by being a system that can run both CPU and GPU intensive modeling and rendering engines comfortably.
ASUS ZenBook Pro
Asus have been making waves with their latest products and the ZenBook Pro shows why. Asus seem to have got everything right with the ZenBook Pro. To begin with, this is a stunningly beautiful system that looks remarkably classy with its polished and thin appearance. Equipped with an i7-6700 and 16gb ddr4 RAM, the ASUS is guaranteed to be a multi tasker and the Nvidia GTX 960M ensures that is a graphics intensive champ as well. The perfect combination for a professional who is using 3d and 2d modeling tools on a daily basis, all of this performance is supported by a 15.6 inches touch screen 4k display which looks stunningly beautiful. The hard disk is a 512 gb SSD and last but not the least, this laptop puts out close to 7 hours of battery life under moderate use. A laptop computer package simply can’t get any better than this! Certainly our pick for best CAD and 3D modeling laptop.