9 Best Laptops for SolidWorks Computer-Aided Prototyping

Best Laptops for SolidWorks

SolidWorks is a high-end, all-encompassing 3D computer-aided design tool that’s handy for entry-level mechanical work and prototyping large-scale mechanical products.  You need a powerful machine to run this software.  It’s not difficult to find high-powered laptops these days.  A quick Google search will yield so many results, your head will spin.  But the best laptops for SolidWorks depend on your usage and expertise level.  Students and 2D modelers can likely get by with a basic consumer-grade notebook.  But industry-level professional work needs a workstation precisely for handling renderings and simulations along with 2D and 3D modeling.  But enough talk.  Let’s dive in.

IN A HURRY?  HERE’S OUR TOP PICKS…

CPURAMGraphics
1.Microsoft Surface Book 2Intel Quad-Core i7-8650U 16GBNVIDIA GTX 1060 w/ 6GB vRAMCheck
2.Lenovo ThinkPad P53Intel Hexa-Core i7-9750H 32GBNVIDIA Quadro T1000 w/ 4GB vRAM Check
3.Razer Blade 15 (Base Model)Intel Hexa-Core i7-10750H 16GBNVIDIA RTX 2070 Max-Q w/ 8GB vRAM Check
4.HP ZBook 15v G5Intel Hexa-Core i7-8750H 16GBNVIDA Quadro P600 w/ 4GB vRAMCheck
5.Acer Aspire 5 A515Intel Quad-Core i5-1035G1 8GBNVIDIA GeForce MX350 w/ 2GB vRAMCheck
6.Lenovo ThinkPad P50 Intel Xeon Quad-Core E3-1505M 16GBNVIDIA Quadro M2000M w/ 4GB vRAM Check
7.Dell Inspiron 15 i5577Intel Quad-Core i5-7300HQ 8GBNVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 w/ 2GB vRAMCheck
8.Acer Predator Helios 300Intel Quad-Core i7-7700HQ 16GBNVIDIA GTX 1060 w/ 6GB vRAMCheck
9.Asus ROG Strix GL703GMIntel’s Hexa-Core i7-8750H 16GBNVIDIA GTX 1060 w/ 6GB vRAMCheck

Best Laptops for SolidWorks Review

1. Microsoft Surface Book 2

Sale
Microsoft Surface Book 2 15"(Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, 1 TB, RAM), Silver
  • Microsoft Surface Book 2 Features a 8th generation Intel Quad Core i7 Processor, 1 TB of storage, 16 GB RAM, and up to 17 hours of video playback
  • Enhanced Graphics performance with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 discrete GPU w/6GB GDDR5 Graphics Memory
  • The fastest Surface Book yet, with 4x more power. Battery type : 4-cell Lithium-ion
  • Vibrant PixelSense Display: now available with a new 15" touchscreen
  • Four versatile modes of use and new USB-C port

Last update on 2021-11-17 at 13:46 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Microsoft Surface Book 2 is a high-end, top-of-the-line premium detachable with the right hardware capabilities for SolidWorks delivering near workstation levels of performance.  Here’s why it’s one of our top choices!

BUILD:  One of the ways it makes a compelling case for itself as a premium mobile computer is because it’s designed to be more laptop than tablet, which means more power for you.  It follows its predecessors’ footsteps by offering a premium magnesium alloy build that’s thin and relatively light with a reassuringly expensive feel of something substantial.  It even retains the unique watch band hinge from the previous generation.

DISPLAY:  The whole new experience of the Surface Book 2 centers around the new vibrant 15-inch PixelSense touchscreen.  It has a 3240 x 2160 resolution with a 3:2 aspect ratio for a very sharp picture quality that’s bright at maximum settings.

SPECS:  The feature set includes an 8th generation Intel Core i7-8650U CPU, 16GB RAM, a speedy 1TB SSD and a capable NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 with 6GB GDDR5 vRAM.

KEYBOARD:  The backlit keys are quiet and comfortable to type on without feeling mushy.  The touchpad is also responsive but not as quiet as the keys.

PORTS:  Besides the headphone jack, all other ports like the two USB 3.1 ports, a USB Type-C port, an SD card slot, WiFi and Bluetooth are located on the keyboard dock.

BATTERY LIFE:  On a full charge, the 4-cell battery manages a phenomenal 17-hours before the lights go out.

Pros:

  • premium alloy construction
  • sharp, high-res display
  • very long-lasting battery life

Cons:

  • Surface Pen sold separately

2. Lenovo ThinkPad P53

Last update on 2021-11-17 at 13:46 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Looking for a professional mobile workstation laptop for SolidWorks?  Would you also like to save thousands of dollars?  The NVIDIA Quadro T1000 makes the Lenovo ThinkPad P53 one of the most powerful mobile workstations on the list.

BUILD:  At 5.5-pounds, it’s no lightweight.  But it’s lighter than the more expensive HP ZBook 15 G5 below.  And you get the benefit of a chassis that’s passed a dozen MIL-STD tests for durability.  And it’s ISV-certified.

DISPLAY:  The 15.6-inch IPS non-touch screen offers an FHD (1920 x 1080) resolution.  It’s one of the better ones with plenty of contrast, brightness, lively color reproduction and crisp detail.

SPECS:  Under the hood is a 9th generation Intel Hexa-Core i7-9750H CPU, 32GB DDR4 RAM, 1TB SATA SSD for a fast workflow.  And an NVIDIA Quadro T1000 with 4GB vRAM which means more FPS for obliterating the load of bigger simulations.

KEYBOARD:  It’s impossible to find fault with the LED backlit keyboard:  Equipped with a dedicated numberpad the typing feel is exemplary.  Pointing devices include the familiar red TrackPoint at the intersection of the G, H and B keys and a smooth-gliding Clickpad with a set of soft, silent mouse buttons.  There’s a discrete fingerprint reader off to the right for easy login.

PORTS:  Got ports?  You get one USB Type-C port, two USB 3.1 Type-A ports, HDMI, Ethernet, SD card reader, a SIM tray, a 3.5mm combo jack, WiFi and Bluetooth 5.

BATTERY LIFE:  The 3-cell 90WHr battery has a mediocre runtime of only 5-hours.

Pros:

  • colossal NVIDIA Quadro T1000 graphics card
  • high memory and storage ceiling
  • excellent Lenovo keyboard

Cons:

  • marginal battery life

3. Razer Blade 15 (Base Model)

Razer Blade 15 Base Gaming Laptop 2020: Intel Core i7-10750H 6 Core, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q, 15.6" FHD 1080p 144Hz, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, CNC Aluminum, Chroma RGB Lighting, Thunderbolt 3, Black
  • More power: The 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10750H processor provides the ultimate level of performance with up to 5.0 GHz max turbo and 6 cores
  • Ray-tracing: The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 with Max-Q Design is powered by the NVIDIA Turing GPU architecture and brings cinematic-quality rendering to the most visually intense games
  • More frames: Incredible performance paired with the fast 144Hz 15. 6" full HD thin bezel display helps edge out the win
  • Thin and compact: The CNC aluminum unibody frame houses incredible performance in the most compact footprint possible, while remaining remarkably durable and just 0.78" thin
  • Ready to connect: Fully loaded with Wi-Fi 6, Gigabit Ethernet, Thunderbolt 3, USB type-A and type-C ports, and HDMI, for a desktop-class experience

Last update on 2021-11-17 at 11:17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Razer Blade 15 base model is a rather exceptional choice for SolidWorks.  While the base model was created to be a more affordable version of the advanced model, that doesn’t mean you’re getting less of a laptop.

BUILD:  Most of what makes the advanced model such a formidable machine found their way to this base model refresh, including an attractive CNC aluminum unibody.  It incorporates a smooth, minimalist design that feels stronger and more rigid than the competition.

DISPLAY:  This unit comes with a 15.6-inch FHD matte panel with a 144Hz refresh rate.  While it’s vivid a brightness level of only 275-nits means it’s not super bright. 

SPECS:  The 10th generation Intel Hexa-Core i7-10750H CPU makes for way faster calculations.  You also get 16GB RAM with a 512GB SSD to handle large assemblies.  And the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q graphics with 8GB vRAM is adept at crushing GPU-accelerated 3D rendering.

KEYBOARD:  Along with a customizable Chroma RGB lighting, the keys have a shallow, yet not all-together un-pleasant typing feel.  The massive touchpad is smooth and responsive to Windows 10 gesture controls.

PORTS:  The selection includes a Thunderbolt 3 port, three USB 3.0 Type-A ports, a USB Type-C port, HMDI 2.0, Gigabit Ethernet, a MiniDisplay port, a 3.5mm combo audio and Wi-Fi 6.

BATTERY LIFE:  Another facet of the advanced model that trickled down to the base model is a long battery life.  The Blade 15 has a runtime of almost 6-hours which is commendable for a gaming laptop.

Pros:

  • attractive aluminum chassis
  • strong performance
  • impressive battery life

Cons:

  • runs hot

4. HP ZBook 15v G5

HP ZBook 15v G5 Mobile Workstation Laptop (Core i7-8750H, 16GB RAM, 1TB HDD + 512GB PCIe SSD, 15.6" Touch FHD 1920x1080, Quadro P600 4GB GDDR5, Thunderbolt 3, HDMI 2, RJ45, WiFi, Bluetooth, Win10 Pro)
  • 8th Generation Intel i7-8750H 6-Core (2.20 GHz up to 4.10GHz, 9 MB Cache), NVIDIA Quadro P600 with 4 GB GDDR5 VRAM
  • 15.6" Full HD (1920 x 1080) Touchscreen Glossy Display, 1 x 10/100/1000 Mb/s Gigabit Ethernet (RJ45), Wi-Fi 5; Dual-Band (2.4 & 5 GHz), 2 x 2, Bluetooth 5.0
  • 16GB DDR4 SDRAM Memory, Standard Backlight notebook keyboard with numeric keypad, Kensington Lock Slot, Fingerprint Reader
  • 1TB HDD + 512GB PCIe SSD, 1 x Thunderbolt 3, 3 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A, 1 x DisplayPort 1.2 via Thunderbolt Port, 1 x HDMI 2.0, 1 x 1/8" (3.5 mm) Headphone/Microphone Combo Jack, 2 x Integrated Speaker, 1 x Integrated Microphone, SD/SDHC/SDXC
  • Windows 10 Professional (Win 10 Pro), 1 Year Manufacture warranty from GreatPriceTech (Professionaly Upgraded by GreatPriceTech)

Last update on 2021-11-17 at 13:46 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The HP ZBook 15v G5 is a bruiser of a mobile workstation laptop with practically flawless performance for SolidWorks – This 5th gen has the distinction of being able to hold twice as much memory and storage as the competition.

BUILD:  The revised CNC-machined aluminum chassis is sturdy and has passed MIL-STD 810G tests against shock, vibration, temperature extremes and more.  But at 5.8 pounds it’s heavier than the Lenovo ThinkPad P53 above.

DISPLAY:  A feature borrowed from HP’s EliteBooks is a 15.6-inch FHD touchscreen with built-in Sure View privacy filter (the viewing experience is dramatically improved with the SureView disabled).  The glossy finish offers vivid colors with high contrast, fine detail, and wide viewing angles.

SPECS:  Configured with an 8th generation Intel Hexa-Core i7-8750H CPU, 16GB RAM, 512GB PCIe SSD plus 1TB MHD, and the NVIDA Quadro P600 graphics with 4GB GDDR5 vRAM, this unit meets SolidWorks requirements regardless of the number of parts or assemblies.

KEYBOARD:  The backlit keyboard has adequate travel and a crisp typing feel along with a dedicated numeric keypad.  For cursor control, the ZenBook 15v G5 follows the same layout as the ThinkPad P53 with a somewhat slippery touchpad.

PORTS:  Connectivity options include a Thunderbolt 3 port with DisplayPort 1.2, three USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A ports, HDMI 2.0, an SD card reader, RJ45 Ethernet, headphone/microphone combo jack, Wifi 5 and Bluetooth 5.

BATTERY LIFE:  Even with its six-core strength, the ZBook does not disappoint with an almost 9-hour battery life.

Pros:

  • hexa-core performance
  • snappy keyboard
  • two Thunderbolt 3 ports
  • impressive battery endurance

Cons:

  • big and heavy
  • SureView makes things too dark

5. Acer Aspire 5 A515

Acer Aspire 5 A515-55G-57H8, 15.6" Full HD IPS Display, 10th Gen Intel Core i5-1035G1, NVIDIA GeForce MX350, 8GB DDR4, 512GB NVMe SSD, Intel Wireless WiFi 6 AX201, Backlit KB, Windows 10 Home
  • 10th Generation Intel Core i5-1035G1 Processor (Up to 3.6GHz)| 8GB DDR4 Memory | 512GB NVMe SSD
  • 15.6" Full HD (1920 x 1080) widescreen LED backlit IPS Display | NVIDIA GeForce MX350 with 2 GB of dedicated GDDR5 VRAM
  • Intel Wireless Wi-Fi 6 AX201 802.11ax | Backlit Keyboard | HD Webcam | Up to 8 Hours Battery Life
  • 1 - USB 3.1 (Type-C) Gen 1 port (up to 5 Gbps), 2 - USB 3.1 Gen 1 Port (one with Power-off Charging), 1 - USB 2.0 Port & 1 - HDMI Port with HDCP Support
  • Windows 10 Home

Last update on 2021-11-17 at 12:56 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

But if you consider the amount of power offered by workstations like the HP ZenBook 15v G5 and Lenovo ThinkPad P53 overkill.  The Acer Aspire 5 A515 offers a much cheaper alternative for SolidWorks.  And yet it’s still a solid workhorse laptop with a good selection of ports.

BUILD:  First off, the styling is inoffensive to say the least making it a perfect contender for the workplace environment.  But one of our favorite features is that the chassis makes upgrading components easy.

DISPLAY:  The 15.6-inch Full HD IPS display is bright with good color saturation that’s warm and riche with equally good contrast.  And the 258 nits of brightness is brighter than competing notebooks. 

SPECS:  It has a reasonable configuration for SolidWorks consisting of a 10th Gen Intel Core i5-1035G1 CPU, 8GB DDR4 RAM, 512GB NVMe SSD and NVIDIA GeForce MX350.  And when your work becomes more complex, you can always open it up to add more robust hardware.

KEYBOARD:  One drawback is a backlit, full-size chiclet keyboard that’s a bit mushy but it’s highly responsive.  The smooth touchpad is also responsive when navigating websites or documents for SolidWorks.

PORTS:  It comes with a healthy amount of connections including one USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C port, two USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A ports, a USB 2.0 port, microSD card reader, HDMI with HDCP Support and headset jack.

BATTERY LIFE:  It comes with a 48Whr, 3-cell battery that manages a runtime of almost 7-hour which is below the 9-hour mainstream average.

Pros:

  • upgradable
  • full selection of ports
  • great performance

Cons:

  • below average battery life

6. Lenovo ThinkPad P50

Sale
Lenovo ThinkPad P50 20En 15.6" Notebook, 16 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD, NVIDIA Quadro M2000M, Black (20EN001SUS)
  • Intel Xeon E3-1505M v5 Quad-Core Processor (4 cores, 2.8 GHz up to 3.70 GHz, 8MB SmartCache) with vPro Technology
  • Nvidia Quadro M2000M 4GB GDDR5 | 256 GB SSD M.2 Opal2 | 16GB DDR4 (MAX 32GB)
  • 15.6" FHD (1920x1080) IPS | Backlit Keys | FingerPrint Reader
  • Thunderbolt 3 Type-C | 4xUSB3.0 | RJ-45 | Mini DisplayPort | HDMI
  • Pre-installed Windows 7 Professional 64-bit upgradeable to Windows 10 Pro

Last update on 2021-11-17 at 13:46 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Lenovo ThinkPad P50 is a machine with all the relevant features for SolidWorks including brilliant workstation compatibility, the ability to upgrade storage and a scarce commodity in this segment:  all-day battery life.

BUILD:  The raven-black, rectangular chassis weighs 5.8 pounds with a staid ThinkPad design language featuring splashes of bright red with a soft-touch a glass-reinforced plastic lid.  Add a magnesium/aluminum base and it’s easy to see how the P50 passed MIL-STD 810G durability tests. 

DISPLAY:  This unit has a 15.6-inch 1920 x 1080p resolution.  It’s bright with vivid colors, wide viewing angles and decent contrast for an IPS panel.

SPECS:  The Intel Xeon Quad-Core E3-1505M CPU is a standout performer for SolidWorks with Error Correcting Code calibration for intricate computing.  You also get 16GB RAM, a 256GB SSD and an NVIDIA Quadro M2000M with 4GB of vRAM poised to handle large assemblies with ease.

KEYBOARD: It’s kitted out with the kind of best-in-class backlit keyboard we come to expect from Lenovo.  Like the matte-textured touchpad, the familiar TrackPoint provides accurate navigation. Security features include vPro management technology and TPM encryption as well as a single-touch fingerprint reader.

PORTS:  The P50 comes with a generous array of ports with most of them on the back, including four USB 3.0 ports, one Thunderbolt 3 Type-C port, Mini DisplayPort, SD card reader, RJ45 Ethernet, HDMI out, and headphone/microphone combo jack.

BATTERY LIFE:  Unique to the ThinkPad P50 is a battery runtime of almost 8 and a half hours on a charge.

Pros:

  • long battery life
  • world-class Lenovo keyboard
  • a no-compromise CPU and graphics
  • vibrant display

Cons:

  • heavier than its competitors
  • screen is dimmer than average

7. Dell Inspiron 15 i5577

Dell i5577-5335BLK-PUS Inspiron 15" Full HD Gaming Laptop - 7th Gen Intel Core i5 - 8GB Memory - 256GB SSD - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 - Black
  • 7th Generation Intel Core i5-7300HQ Quad Core (6MB Cache, up to 3.5 GHz)
  • 8GB 2400MHz DDR4 up to 32GB (additional memory sold separately)
  • 256GB Solid State Drive , No Optical Drive option
  • 15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) Anti-Glare LED-Backlit Display
  • Windows 10 Home 64-bit English

Last update on 2021-11-17 at 13:46 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Gaming laptops often make a good choice for working with high-end software.  And the Dell Inspiron 15 i5577 is such a laptop with the right components for SolidWorks that’s perfect for entry-level engineering.

BUILD:  If you’re an engineer that values portability and performance, this ultraportable entry-level gaming laptop is the one to get.  Although the soft-touch body is all-plastic, the design feels sturdy with red on black accents.  But you feel the compromise when it comes to the 5.7-pound weight which rivals many of the mobile workstations on the list.

DISPLAY:  The 15.6-inch anti-glare screen is LED-lit with a Full HD resolution.  The result is decent color reproduction with acceptable viewing angles.

SPECS:  The high-end 7th Gen Intel Core i5-7300HQ CPU supports resource-heavy 3D drawing.  The package also includes an 8GB DDR4 RAM, a 256GB SSD and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 to support basic level graphics rendering and simulations.

KEYBOARD:  The backlit keyboard feels good quality though with an albeit short amount of travel.  The touchpad quality is generally good featuring smooth performance.

PORTS:  Connectivity options are excellent too:  The Inspiron 15 i5577 comes with three USB 3.0 ports, HDMI out, RJ45 Ethernet, 802.11ac Wifi and Bluetooth 4.2.

BATTERY LIFE:  The over 7-and-a-half-hour runtime is remarkable outpacing most other competing gaming-focused laptops in this category.

Pros:

  • upgradable RAM
  • decent display for SolidWorks
  • exceptional entry-level GPU
  • long-lasting battery

Cons:

  • lacks Thunderbolt 3 port

8. Acer Predator Helios 300

Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop, 15.6" Full HD IPS, Intel i7 CPU, 16GB DDR4 RAM, 256GB SSD, GeForce GTX 1060-6GB, VR Ready, Red Backlit KB, Metal Chassis, Windows 10 64-bit, G3-571-77QK
  • Latest 7th Generation Intel Core i7 Processor 2.8GHz with Turbo Boost Technology up to 3.8GHz | Windows 10 Home 64-bit
  • Latest NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 with 6 GB of dedicated GDDR5 VRAM
  • 15.6" Full HD (1920 x 1080) widescreen IPS display, Red Backlit Keyboard
  • 16GB DDR4 DRAM Memory & 256GB SSD | Extra empty expandable hard drive slot for 2.5" hard drives
  • Up to 7-hours of battery life

Last update on 2021-11-17 at 13:46 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Acer Predator Helios 300 makes the list of the best laptops for SolidWorks for being one of the most powerful gaming laptops you can get cheaper than the competition.

BUILD:  It sports an edgy, futuristic design courtesy of a metal and plastic construction.  You can open the notebook to increase the amount of RAM and upgrade the size of the hard drive.  But at 5.5-pounds it’s a little heavier than mainstream gaming laptops.

DISPLAY:  Thin bezels surround a 15.6-inch, Full HD IPS panel that looks sharp but otherwise lackluster.  Since it only covers 81% of the sRGB gamut, colors don’t pop.  There’s not a ton of contrast.  And with a brightness level that’s only 226 nits compared to the 274-nit category average, it could be brighter.

SPECS:  Under the skin of this powerhouse is an Intel i7-7700HQ CPU, 16GB DDR4 RAM, 256GB SSD and powerful VR-ready NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 with 6GB vRAM.

KEYBOARD:  A beautifully laid out backlit keyboard welcomes you to type on the slightly concave keys which have a satisfyingly clicky feel but without a responsive feel.  But the touchpad feels responsive to Windows 10 gesture controls.

PORTS:  The chassis supports a workstation-level of ports including one USB 3.1 Type-C port, one USB 3.0 port, two USB 2.0 ports, HDMI 2.0 with HDCP support, an SD card reader, Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.

BATTERY LIFE:  A huge reason to consider this laptop is because of the 4-cell battery with it’s favorable almost 7-hour runtime.

Pros:

  • chassis design allows for upgrades
  • fantastically long-lasting battery life for a gaming laptop
  • overall strong performance

Cons:

  • dim display

9. Asus ROG Strix GL703GM

ASUS ROG Strix Scar Edition Gaming Laptop, 17.3” 120Hz 3ms Full HD, Intel Core i7-8750H Processor, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB, 16GB DDR4, 256GB PCIe SSD + 1TB FireCuda, Windows 10 - GL703GM-DS74
  • GeForce Fortnight bundle – offer valid through may 22, 2019. For a limited time, purchase a ROG device with qualifying GTX graphics and get the GeForce Fortnight Counterattack set!
  • NVidia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB GDDR5 | powerful gaming performance
  • Tackle any task with the Intel Core i7-8750H (up to 3. 9GHz) processor
  • 17. 3" 120Hz Full HD display | Ultra-fast 3ms response time
  • 16GB DDR4 2666MHz RAM | 256GB Pie NV Me SSD + 1TB FireCuda SSHD | Windows 10 Home

Last update on 2021-11-17 at 13:46 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Asus proves once again that they’re capable of making some very heavy-duty laptops.  So, what makes the ROG Strix GL703GM a good contender for SolidWorks?

BUILD:  While the chassis looks similar to its predecessor, what’s notable about this mid-2018 edition refresh is a significantly re-designed cooling system.  The thin design is well constructed and rigid with a brushed aluminum lid.  But there is some flex in the lid and keyboard deck.

DISPLAY:  The 17.3-inch 120Hz 3ms IPS panel is more responsive than before.  It has a Full HD resolution that covers 85% of the sRGB color gamut.  But contrast and brightness are not the hallmarks of this screen.

SPECS:  The amazing configuration sees a CPU upgrade to Intel’s Hexa-Core i7-8750H CPU.  You also get 16GB DDR4 RAM for SolidWorks and other memory-hungry applications, a 256GB PCIe SSD plus 1TB FireCuda SSHD and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 with 6GB vRAM.

KEYBOARD:  The RGB Aura keyboard features customizable lighting with 3 brightness levels.  Although key travel is short, it’s deeper than most notebooks.  The Clickpad utilizes Windows 10 precision drivers for reasonable cursor control and gesture response.

PORTS:  Connectivity placement is well thought out and includes four USB 3.0 ports and a single Type-C USB 3.1 Gen 1 port.  It also comes with a mini DisplayPort, HDMI, RJ45 Ethernet, an SD Card Reader, headphone jack, 802.11ac Wifi and Bluetooth 4.2.

BATTERY LIFE:  Battery capacity is increased too!  But the new 74Whr battery (up from 64Whr) still only gets about a 3.5-hour runtime.

Pros:

  • great computational performance with “H” series treatment
  • 120Hz display with improved response time
  • good input devices

Cons:

  • mediocre battery life
  • dim display
Laptop
Our Top Choice
Microsoft Surface Book 2 15"(Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, 1 TB, RAM), Silver
Lenovo ThinkPad P53 Workstation Laptop (Intel i7-9750H 6-Core, 32GB RAM, 1TB SATA SSD, Quadro T1000, 15.6" Full HD (1920x1080), Fingerprint, Bluetooth, Webcam, 2xUSB 3.1, 1xHDMI, SD Card, Win 10 Pro)
Razer Blade 15 Base Gaming Laptop 2020: Intel Core i7-10750H 6 Core, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q, 15.6" FHD 1080p 144Hz, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, CNC Aluminum, Chroma RGB Lighting, Thunderbolt 3, Black
Specs
Microsoft Surface Book 2 15"(Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, 1 TB, RAM), Silver
Lenovo ThinkPad P53 Workstation Laptop (Intel i7-9750H 6-Core, 32GB RAM, 1TB SATA SSD, Quadro T1000, 15.6" Full HD (1920x1080), Fingerprint, Bluetooth, Webcam, 2xUSB 3.1, 1xHDMI, SD Card, Win 10 Pro)
Razer Blade 15 Base Gaming Laptop 2020: Intel Core i7-10750H 6 Core, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q, 15.6" FHD 1080p 144Hz, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, CNC Aluminum, Chroma RGB Lighting, Thunderbolt 3, Black
Rating
Our Top Choice
Laptop
Microsoft Surface Book 2 15"(Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, 1 TB, RAM), Silver
Specs
Microsoft Surface Book 2 15"(Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, 1 TB, RAM), Silver
Rating
Customer Reviews
Laptop
Lenovo ThinkPad P53 Workstation Laptop (Intel i7-9750H 6-Core, 32GB RAM, 1TB SATA SSD, Quadro T1000, 15.6" Full HD (1920x1080), Fingerprint, Bluetooth, Webcam, 2xUSB 3.1, 1xHDMI, SD Card, Win 10 Pro)
Specs
Lenovo ThinkPad P53 Workstation Laptop (Intel i7-9750H 6-Core, 32GB RAM, 1TB SATA SSD, Quadro T1000, 15.6" Full HD (1920x1080), Fingerprint, Bluetooth, Webcam, 2xUSB 3.1, 1xHDMI, SD Card, Win 10 Pro)
Rating
Customer Reviews
Laptop
Razer Blade 15 Base Gaming Laptop 2020: Intel Core i7-10750H 6 Core, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q, 15.6" FHD 1080p 144Hz, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, CNC Aluminum, Chroma RGB Lighting, Thunderbolt 3, Black
Specs
Razer Blade 15 Base Gaming Laptop 2020: Intel Core i7-10750H 6 Core, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q, 15.6" FHD 1080p 144Hz, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, CNC Aluminum, Chroma RGB Lighting, Thunderbolt 3, Black
Rating
Customer Reviews

Last update on 2021-11-17 at 13:46 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Best Laptops for SolidWorks Buying Guide

There’s hardly anything else like SolidWorks on the marketwhen it comes to the veracity of assemblies, rendering quality and modeling innovations you can accomplish.  Besides virtualizing the physical tendencies of facets like temperature, deflation, vibration, and fluid flow, it brings analytical technologies into the mix. 

You could just opt for the most expensive laptop.  But understanding which features actually play a role in running the software along with having an idea of how much CAE you’ll be doing.  How large your assemblies will be.  If you’ll be doing KeyShot rendering.  And what you’ll be rendering is still important.  

SolidWorks comes with several resources with different system requirements for each.  Here’s everything you need to prioritize to choose the best laptops for SolidWorks.  It’ll be the go-to resource you can bookmark and reference again and again. 

CPU

The two most important components to focus on when it comes to processors for SolidWorks is the number of Cores and clock speed, measured in GHz.  More Cores is like having more than one CPU working for you at a time.  Clock speed will determine how quickly those Cores will be able to work.

SolidWorks utilizes clock speed for tasks like parts modeling and assembly, rotating models, opening and saving assemblies.  And since calculations are linear:  meaning they’re done one step at a time.  A laptop with a high clock speed will help you work faster.

And what about the number of Cores?

More Cores means your laptop can work on numerous complex process simultaneous.  This once again translates to speed.  Photoveiew 360 for example utilizes multiple Cores to generate renderings faster.  CPU based renders like KeyShot use up to 10 Cores.  Even multiple sheet drawing benefits from more Cores.

RAM

You’ll need a massive chunk of RAM.  The amount of memory you need depends on how many windows you like to have open as you work, multi-sheet drawing and the size of the assembly you work with (more on this later).

RAM acts like a form of temporary storage which is highly beneficial for working with a program as complex as SolidWorks.  Plus, more memory helps the CPU perform calculations and move data around a lot faster.

More RAM means your laptop will be able to manipulate a larger assembly size at fast speeds.  Not having enough RAM won’t prohibit you from working with larger assemblies.  The process will just be slow.

8GB of RAM will help you create simple parts, assemblies, drawings, rotate models, run simulations and renders.  Loading complex models and drawing effectively, running data-heavy simulations increases the need for RAM since these large amounts of data typically need to be loaded during calculations.  At bare minimum get 16GB of memory; 32GB will future proof your machine.

STORAGE

To keep everything humming along, you need a fast SSD.  Seriously, don’t try to cut corners here.  Even a 7200RPM MHD (mechanical hard drive) will not help you.  A SSD (solid-state drive) is practically a must have for working with modern software like this, including CAD.

If you’re on a budget, try to find a system with at least a SATA III SSD.  While the PCIe and NVMe variants are faster, SATA III is much faster than a 7200RPM disk drive.

An option we often suggest for mitigating cost is to go with a laptop with a hybrid storage solution like the Asus ROG Strix GL703GM.  Choose one that offers a smaller SSD capacity but a larger (preferably 7200RPM) MHD.

Almost all new laptops will let you add dual storage, so that’s another option.  Buy the laptop with the storage you can afford and add to the capacity in the future as your needs increase.

GRAPHICS

You can’t go wrong with an industry-grade GPU for SolidWorks.  Without a doubt, the laptop you choose should also come with dedicated graphics.  Not only will you get the best performance, but a graphics card without its own resources is a common cause for slowdowns and crashes in SolidWorks.  And since we’re talking about laptops, you can’t always upgrade this feature later.

SolidWorks supports all graphic card types.  But some are “Certified” to run SolidWorks.  They’ll give you zero errors, which is a boon especially if you’re a professional working with insane models.  If you’re a pro like an engineer, you should invest in a workstation-level graphics card like NVIDIA’s Quadro cards.  Plug-ins as well as special functions and simulations will ONLY work with this type of discrete graphics card.

DISPLAY

The screen on the best laptop for Solidworks needs to provide utility to the work you’re doing.  By that we mean you should focus on laptops that offer at least a Full HD (1920 x 1080) pixel resolution.  You’re going to be staring at the screen for hours.  So, a poor-quality display is no Bueno.  Other considerations regarding the display are:  the brightness level, contrast and color reproduction. 

BATTERY LIFE

If you’re a traveler or commuter, another area of focus is battery endurance.  Now, right off the bat, these laptops aren’t going to get the best runtime.  We don’t’ have much of a suggestion here when it comes to these kinds of laptops other than to say you may consider carrying a backup battery so you can work on the fly.  Or a portable laptop charger.

Best Laptops for SolidWorks Brands

MICROSOFT

While offering a solid lineup of laptops and tablets, Microsoft improves its selection by adding the budget-friendly Surface Go.  The Surface Book 2 with one of the best battery endurance times also helps this brand earn a spot on the list.  They take a best of both worlds approach to deliver formidable laptops like the Surface line.  They don’t offer Chromebooks.  But you can choose from many 2 in 1 laptops.  Not all the company’s offerings are amazing, however.  But as Microsoft continues to establish itself as a competitive brand, we can’t wait to see what they come up with next.

LENOVO

Thanks to some innovative new features and a wide selection of laptops, Lenovo is one of the best laptop brands.  Their most popular line is the ThinkPad.  And while they don’t offer many Chromebooks, their line of 2 in 1s – like the Yoga and Flex series – is TOTALLY worth checking out.  Prices are reflective of their premium laptop brand status.  But their offerings are ideal for all types of users.  Most recognized for business class laptops that offer extreme performance and a super flexible design, this brand has all but perfected graphics, touchpads, keyboard, display and audio quality.  Their Legion series gaming notebooks competes against the Asus ROG and Acer Predator series.

RAZER

Due to their high-performance hardware, it’s likely not surprising to see another gaming laptop brand make it on many top 10 list laptop lists.  Razer laptops come with the best graphics on some of the best displays.  The brand’s most popular line is the Blade with the Stealth delivering incredible performance in a sleek design.  Due to a focus on power and performance, Razer is considered one of the top laptop brands in the world.  And perhaps due to this power and performance, they don’t offer any Chromebooks or 2 in 1 designs. 

HP

One of the oldest electronics brands, HP has very strong reviews, stellar designs, impressive innovations, top-notch value and selection.  All of which has helped it go head to head with the best laptop brands in the world.  The latest laptops take design cues from their contemporaries to raise standards even higher.  These notebooks are fast, powerful, and supported by a very competent customer service.  Innovations include an AMOLED version of the Spectre x360, which delivers a brighter and more vibrant display than the standard version.

ACER

This is one of the largest manufacturers in the world and their laptops are extremely popular among budget users.  Acer continues to offer one of the best overall selections around, with mainstream and gaming options catering to every budget.  You get Chromebooks that are available from just $150 as well as affordable 2 in 1s.  But they also produce high-end gaming laptops like the Predator series and premium notebooks.  You get what you pay for, and Acer laptops are usually the best value for the money.  Their most popular line is the E series and Aspire notebooks like the amazing Aspire 7.  Support for their notebooks leaves plenty to be desired, though.

MSI

The brand is well-known for delivering the best high-end gaming laptops — More than 95% of the notebooks get treated to high-end graphics cards as well as the latest, powerful hardware.  If you’re on a budget MSI is not for you.  Laptops here are usually very expensive with $1000 being the median price range.  But if you get what you pay for, then we have to say that the quality is unbelievable.  Like Dell, they’re consistently innovative with offerings like eye-tracking sensorunique gaming keyboards, and amazing designs to attract gamers.  They even offer laptops made exclusively for power users!  But it’s not all powerful graphics cards and CPUs, options are limited:  The company struggles to breakout of its familiar designs.  And the tech support is laughable; you don’t even get 24/7 support.    

DELL

This is one of the most consistently forward-thinking laptop brands!  Dell has some of the slimmest notebooks you could possibly want.  The most popular line is Inspiron.  But the XPS line is one of the best laptops to buy and gets the notoriety of doing everything surprisingly well with the latest screen resolutions, connections, premium materials, all topped-off with a solid battery life.  The company’s innovation in Ultrabooks yields a wonderful army of ultraportable laptops with powerful specs.  You can even find 2 in 1s and Chromebooks under this moniker with loads of style and hardware.  The after sale and technical support is worthy of so much praise. 

 

FAQs

Are there any areas where I can compromise when it comes to choosing laptops for SolidWorks?

There are exactly two areas where you might be able to compromise to lower the cost of the machine – RAM and display size.

When it comes to memory size, we don’t recommend working with SolidWorks with anything less than 8GB.  That said, many laptops in this category have an access hatch or otherwise allow you to upgrade the system with more RAM in the future.

Screen real estate might be another area where you’ll be able to shave off a few dollars depending on the laptop.  A laptop with a 15-inch display is a good size for working with this program.  But going with a 13- to 14-inch screen size may be cheaper without compromising hardware specifications.

What’s the most important component for a laptop I’ll be using for CAD programs for professional use?

SolidWorks makes heavy use of the CPU.  This is where you need to spend most of your money.  Look for a laptop with a processor that offers high turbo-powered clocking speeds for faster calculations, decent cache and ECC (Error Correcting Code).  This especially will be monumentally helpful for more intricate simulations.  Intel’s Xeon is one of the best processors for this line of work because it offers decent clock speed, and it has a built-in ECC to help with intricate calculations for concepts like Fluid Dynamics and Error Analysis.

I’m on a limited budget, will SolidWorks perform well on laptops with integrated graphics?

Dedicated graphics for SolidWorks only really come into play if you’re working with a lot of assemblies with photorealistic modeling.  Fortunately for you, the latest integrated graphics from Intel since their 8th generation show a promising amount of power for running the majority of SolidWorks’ operations like stress analysis, flow simulation and 2D drawing.  Just make sure the CPU is also powerful enough to deal.  Another way to think about it is that a dedicated graphics card will have its own resources to take pressure off the CPU.

Can you tell me, what the best graphics card is for high-end SolidWorks functionality?

Workstation-grade models like the NVDIA Quadro offer the best GPU performance for SolidWorks, bar-non.  Alternatives include AMD’s Fire Pro and Radeon Pro.  But for our money, in NVIDIA chips are the best for accelerated GPU rendering thanks to the number of CUDA cores.

What if the CPU doesn’t support HyperThreading?

Most of the operations initiated when using SolidWorks are largely sequential, which means they’re mostly single-threaded activities.  Now for something like multi-sheet drawing and rendering large assemblies your laptop will be using multiple cores; hyper-threading will be highly useful.

How much RAM do I really need for SolidWorks?

No joke, as much as you can get. 

But 16GB seems sufficient enough for all basic rendering, simulations, modeling, drawing and operational analytics.  If your assemblies grow in size and increase in number of errors, however.  You’ll want to consider expanding memory to accommodate these more complex prototypes.

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To Sum Up

SolidWorks is one of the most demanding computer aided design software around.  There’s a good chance you’ll be adding relevant software to it like FreeCAD, Catia, OnShape, AutoCAD, Revit, Lumion and even Fusion 360 if you’re focused on assemblies.  Since the software is so versatile, the hardware specs you’ll need depend on the kind of projects you work on.  Our favorite is the Microsoft Surface Book 2, a 2-in-1 laptop with the hardware for Solidworks.  The Lenovo ThinkPad P53 comes with the mighty NVIDIA Quadro T1000 discrete graphics card.  And the base model Razer Blade 15 a slim laptop packing the power for design work.