12 Best Laptops for AutoCAD in 2017

AutoCAD is not the only architecture software around, but it is by far the most popular. It’s effortless to use once you learn the ropes and is what we would refer to as spec-friendly when it comes to system requirements. You don’t need to spend a small fortune to find the best laptop for AutoCAD, but you do need to consider several areas of your new machine.

The laptops on our list are all built for speed and will be larger than the popular 13-inch models. They will all be easy on your eyes with extended periods of usage, but some have bells & whistles that help separate them from the rest. Before we get to the tech talk, here are our top choices.

Top 12 Laptops for AutoCAD Ultimate Table

DesignNameDisplay SizeMemoryRating (1-5)
  1. HP Pavilion 14’’ HD WLED-backlit Display 14-inch 12GB 4.2
  2. Acer Aspire E 15, 7th Gen Intel Core i7 15.6-inch 8GB 4.1
  3. Dell Inspiron 15.6″ Full HD touchscreen 15.6-inch 8GB 4.1
  4. ASUS ROG G752VL-UH71T 17.3-Inch FHD Touchscreen Gaming Laptop 17.3-inch 24GB 4.1
  5. Lenovo Ideapad 510s 14.0″ Laptop 14-inch 8GB 4.0
6. Dell Inspiron i7559-7512GRY 15.6 Inch UHD Touchscreen Laptop 15.6-inch 16GB 4.0
7. Newest HP Flagship Premium 17.3″ HD+ 17.3-inch 16GB 4.0
8. Apple 15″ MacBook Pro 15-inch 16GB 4.0
  9. Lenovo 17.3″ HD+ High Performance Premium Laptop 17.3-inch 8GB 4.0
  10. Dell Inspiron Flagship 15.6-Inch FHD Touchscreen Backlit Keyboard Laptop PC 15.6-inch 8GB 3.8
  11. Acer Aspire R 15 Convertible Laptop 15.6-inch 12GB 3.8
  12. Dell Flagship Premium High Performance Inspiron 15.6″ 15.6-inch 8GB 3.8

Are you a Student or Professional?

Let’s face it, college is expensive, and engineering schools are far from cheap. If you are just getting started in design, you may need to save a few dollars. That means you don’t need a machine that can run top-tier games or has a 4K display, especially given the system requirements of AutoCAD. If you fall into that class, have no fear as the best laptop for AutoCAD doesn’t have to break open your piggy bank.

Professional designers are going to need something more from their machine as they are past the learning stage and a master of the software. Options you did not consider before may be more attractive now including large touchscreen displays and more horsepower. In other words, you can look for more of an all-around machine that can also run AutoCAD instead of one that can run that program and little else.

Display

While this is a matter of preference, we are going to offer up a few tips. There is no “minimum requirement” when it comes to display size for AutoCAD. That said, do you really want to stare at an 11 or 13-inch screen for 8 hours a day? Probably not, unless you take plenty of breaks or have an eye doctor on retainer. We’ll we have left anything below 13.3-inches off our list as to ease your buying burden.

With the resolution, you don’t have to have the best display on the market but want something easy on your eyes. You can certainly go for a 4K UHD display with a blistering resolution of 3,840 x 2,160, but that may be overkill for CAD. The company recommends a laptop with FHD resolution at 1,920 x 1,080, but you can get by with HD or HD+ at around 1,360 x 768. Again, it’s a matter of preference, but we feel a 15-inch FHD display will strike the sweet spot for most.

Horsepower

Out of all the design oriented programs on earth, CAD is one that doesn’t require much horsepower. That’s due to its 2D sensibilities, which means it’s a program you could run on almost any machine providing the OS supports it. If you want the full feature set, you will want to go with Windows, but CAD for Macs has come a long way in a relatively short amount of time as well.

Memory and the processor are the two most important components when it comes to running CAD. You can actually get by with 4GB of RAM and a 1GHz processor, but we’re going to recommend you go for something a little stronger than that. We have included a few models with 4GB of RAM for those on a budget, but 8GB is what you’ll want along with an Intel Core i5 for large datasets and any 3D modeling.

Storage capacity is also important, but not as much as the components that drive the program. You’ll only need 4GB of space to install AutoCAD although the type of hard drive you have may affect the speed in which you access that data. Solid-state drives are ideal for speed while hard disk drives offer up more space.

Top 5 Best Laptop for AutoCAD Reviews

1. HP Pavilion HD WLED Laptop PC

The HP brand still carries plenty of weight in the laptop world, even if they are best known for producing affordable family-friendly units these days. This HP Pavilion HD Laptop is going to be easy on your wallet, and it’s also the type of laptop that’s perfect for general use. It is our top pick for the best laptop for AutoCAD as well.

This laptop comes in two form factors with a 14-inch display and a 15.6-inch panel. They both have a resolution of 13266 x 768 although the former doesn’t have a touchscreen. That’s not a requirement for CAD, but a nice option to have if you want to pay a few extra bucks for a larger touchscreen panel. The Core i5-6200U will run the show while backed by 12GB of RAM. Storage is more than sufficient with a 1TB HDD under the hood, and you’ll get a two USB 3.0 ports as well. You can expect all the usual connectivity along with a 10/100 LAN port and a set of sweet sounding B&O speakers.

As you’d expect, the HP Pavilion HD WLED laptop will run Windows 10 out of the box, so you will have no issue finding CAD-based alternatives or running the program itself. While the battery life on the 15.6-inch model will take a bit of a hit, the 14-inch laptop can get you through a full day at the office with around 10 hours of power.

2. Acer Aspire E Full HD Notebook

When working on a project, sometimes you need to get to your data fast. Boot-up times can drag you down as well – we all have to shut down our PCs eventually. If loading times are key for you, we think you’ll appreciate the speedy Acer Aspire E 15.

While the Aspire E is rather unremarkable in the design department, it will allow you to pull up your project and boot up your PC with haste. That’s because it has a 256GB solid-state drive which handles the storage while an Intel i7-7500U help keeps the light on. Given the speed of the chip, the RAM is a bit disappointing at only 8GB but is more than enough to handle AutoCAD or similar programs. Other perks for this model include a dedicated graphics card in the GeForce 940MX, a 15.6-inch widescreen display with HDR support and two USB 3.0 ports.

If you are in the market for a laptop that can (almost) do it all, you can’t go wrong with the Aspire E FHD Notebook. These tend to hold up very well over time as they have a solid build, and they even kicked in a DVD burner, something we don’t see too much of these days. The laptop is also available in two more configurations if you would rather have the slower i5 processor.

3. Dell Inspiron Full HD Touchscreen PC

Our first laptop from Dell comes from their Signature Series and brings something to the table that may be of great use to future architects. The Intel RealSense 3D camera is built into the chassis, which is going to allow for some interesting applications when it comes to the design field.

Depth perception aside, this laptop has plenty of pop with 8GB of RAM and the Core i5-6200U processor with 4MB of L3 cache. The hard drive is large at 1TB but is a hard disk drive so that it won’t be as fast as its solid-state brethren. You can expand through the USB ports and load up any software through the DVD drive or SD card reader on the side. Your creations will come alive on the display as well considering it has a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 with backlighting. You can also adjust your masterpieces in a unique way – a 10-finger touchscreen.

Unlike some of our other choices, what you see is what you get with this Dell Signature Series PC. There are no additional configurations available, but that isn’t a bad thing. This laptop will be able to run CAD with ease, but there is one big negative. The battery life is rated at 4-6 hours depending on your usage, which is not going to work for everyone.

4. ASUS ROG G752VL Gaming Laptop

Gaming laptops aren’t just for gamers anymore, so don’t let that tag throw you off. That or the fact the company was not known for making high-end gaming rigs. While the ROG G752VL is far from the best gaming laptop around, it will run any graphics program you want with ease.

Power is the first word to come to mind with the ASUS ROG. Well, that and its size as it has a large 17.3-inch FHD display that is of the touchscreen variety. The Core i7-6700U is just one peg down from their top-tier processor but can still hit speeds of up to 3.5GHz and 24GB of RAM means you will not have to worry about multitasking. Need lots of storage? Not a problem as you will get a 1TB hard disk drive and a 256GB solid-state drive for speed. Other tech specs worth note are a built-in subwoofer, the GeForce GTX 965M, and 64-bit Windows 10.

This laptop hits all the right notes when it comes to style, performance, and reliability. The drawbacks are twofold however as it weighs over 9 pounds, so it is massive, and the battery life is less than stellar due to the display. That said, if you’re not gaming and actually working, you can stretch that considerably and still have juice left over for play time.

5. Lenovo Ideapad 510s Laptop

For every PC we see with great all-around specifications, there are going to be a few oddballs. Prepare to meet one in the Lenovo Ideapad 510s. It’s a fantastic option for AutoCAD and works well for general usage, but was one component shy of being the best of the best.

When it comes to processing power, the Intel Core i7 is the fastest chip around. The Ideapad 510s has one of those and a nimble 256GB solid-state drive that allows you to access your data in seconds. If you don’t care about speed, you can opt for a 1TB hard disk drive, but you can’t change the RAM which is only 8GB. While that’s ideal for CAD, it holds back his laptop overall as everything else is top of the line for this class. The lightweight laptop also has a dedicated video card in the Radeon R7 M460 and an audio system by Harman.

There’s a lot to like about the Ideapad 510s considering it’s easy to tote around and has enough power to function as your daily driver. The battery life is only average at around 5-6 hours depending on your usage although you can dial things back through one of Windows many power saving modes.