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Best Laptop for SolidWorks [2020 Review]

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Finding a good laptop for SolidWorks can be tricky since SolidWorks is a versatile software. Inaccurate information can lead you to choose a laptop that can’t handle the complexity and size of your projects. To make things easier for you, we have reviewed several models on the market make sure you pick the best laptop for SolidWorks.

Our Top Laptop for SolidWorks Reviews

Brand
Best Overall
Gigabyte Aero 15-X9-RT5P
Best for the Money
Asus ROG Strix Scar II
Best Cheap Pick
Acer Predator Helios 300
Product
Gigabyte AERO 15-X9-RT5P 15" Thin Bezel FHD 144Hz...
Asus ROG Strix Scar II Gaming Laptop, 17.3”...
Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop PC, 15.6"...
Processor
4.1 GHz Intel Mobile CPU
3.9 GHz Intel Core i7
4.5 GHz Intel Core i7
RAM
16 GB SO-DIMM
16 GB DDR4
16 GB DDR4
Rating
Best Overall
Brand
Gigabyte Aero 15-X9-RT5P
Product
Gigabyte AERO 15-X9-RT5P 15" Thin Bezel FHD 144Hz...
Processor
4.1 GHz Intel Mobile CPU
RAM
16 GB SO-DIMM
Rating
Price
Best for the Money
Brand
Asus ROG Strix Scar II
Product
Asus ROG Strix Scar II Gaming Laptop, 17.3”...
Processor
3.9 GHz Intel Core i7
RAM
16 GB DDR4
Rating
Price
Best Cheap Pick
Brand
Acer Predator Helios 300
Product
Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop PC, 15.6"...
Processor
4.5 GHz Intel Core i7
RAM
16 GB DDR4
Rating
Price

Best Overall Laptop for SolidWorks: Gigabyte Aero 15-X9-RT5P

Gigabyte AERO 15-X9-RT5P 15' Thin Bezel FHD 144Hz...

Gigabyte challenges the dominance of other famous brands by producing high-quality laptops capable of competing with its rivals. The Gigabyte Aero-15-X9-RT5P is its flagship SolidWorks ultra-thin laptop. It has thin bezels around the screen and boasts of solid design with 15.6 inches FHD screen.   

When it comes to processing power, the Gigabyte Aero-15-X9-RT5P Laptop features a powerful 2.2 gigahertz Intel Core i7-8750H CPU with six cores for processing data. You can also boost the processor to 4.1 gigahertz using turbo if you need some extra juice. 

In terms of memory, you can use the model’s 16 GB RAM to run SolidWorks effectively. The system’s RAM is derived from a single channel and the SO-Dim technology. Dim uses integrated circuits that consume little power while delivering impressive output.

This 5.6 inches FHD screen uses IPS technology with an impressive 144-hertz refresh rate to allow you to view data and other content from different angles with great color depth accuracy. Additionally, the laptop also comes with anti-glare technology that makes sure the content displayed is not distorted in any way. If you like working late at night, its backlit keyboard will help you brave it out while you’re burning the midnight oil. 

Regarding storage, its NVMe SSD 1TB storage capacity is large enough to allow you to store a large amount of your data. NVMe is an advanced level of standard SSD that enables you to store your files in large quantities without slowing down your system. That way, you won’t have to wait for the files to boot because of the heavy workload.

To speed things up, this laptop features an amazing NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 graphics card. This card is the third-fastest GPU and boasts of a 8 GB capacity to enable you to work with difficult graphics interfaces. 

With so much power, it’s only natural this model heats up over extended periods. However, the Gigabyte Aero-15-X9-RT5P comes with two uniquely designed cooling systems and inbuilt fans for GPU and CPU to dissipate the heat effectively.

Finally, the Gigabyte Aero-15-X9-RT5P comes with a 94.24 watt-hour battery that runs for 8 hours to make things easier for you, especially when working on those power-intensive projects to make sure your tasks are not interrupted by short battery life. 

What We Like 

  • Two fans for cooling the system
  • Six cores for processing data
  • NVMe SSD 1TB storage
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Graphics card
  • 15.6 inches FHD screen
  • 8 Hours Battery Life 
  • Slim and compact

What We Don’t Like

  • No dual-channel RAM
  • Heats up easily
  • The fan can be a bit noisy sometimes
Gigabyte AERO 15-X9-RT5P 15" Thin Bezel FHD 144Hz...
  • 15.6" 3mm Ultra-thin bezel | LG FHD 144Hz 1920x1080 IPS Anti-Glare display LCD | X-Rite Pantone...
  • Intel Core i7-8750H (2.2Ghz-4.1GHz) | NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 GDDR6 8GB Supports NVIDIA Optimus...
  • 16GB DDR4 2666MHz Samsung DRAM module | M.2 NVMe PCIe 1TB Intel 760P SSD | Windows 10 Pro

Best SolidWorks Laptop for the Money: Asus ROG Strix Scar II

Asus ROG Strix Scar II Gaming Laptop, 17.3”...

Asus is a well-known laptop brand that manufactures heavy-duty laptops for a range of purposes. The Asus ROG Strix Scar II model laptop is an excellent choice for running SolidWorks as well as other intensive tasks such as video editing or gaming. The laptop comes with a 9th generation Intel Core i7-8750H CPU and a 512 GB SSD that can give you enough power to tackle any project easily. 

If you are the type of person that likes multi-tasking when working on SolidWorks, then you need a good RAM. Fortunately, with this model, you will get 16 GB DDR4 RAM. This will give you an impressive performance for RAM hungry applications such as Google Chrome.

When it comes to storage, the model features a  combination of a 1TB FireCuda Hybrid drive and a 512 GB PCIe SSD. This amount of storage gives you both enough space to store your data and five times more speed compared to the standard HDD.  

The 17.3 inches Full HD display screen of this laptop allows for a larger view of your SolidWorks projects to give you better viewing experience. Additionally, the customizable RGB keyboard on the Asus laptop will enable you to work comfortably in low-light conditions. So, you won’t have to strain your eyes when working in dimly lit places.

Apart from the amazing configuration, this laptop comes with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 2070 graphics card with 8 GB vRAM that further improves the speed to ensure the ROG model delivers a powerful performance.

Although you may expect a 17.3 inches laptop to be a little bulky, surprisingly, this product only weighs 6.5 pounds. The large display and powerful specifications make the Strix Scar II laptop a perfect machine for having several windows open side to side and multi-tasking. Despite the size, the laptop’s body is only 1-inch thin, which means it won’t occupy a lot of space in your workstation. 

One remarkable feature you may like is the anti-dust technology that keeps out the dust. The laptop features two powerful fans and anti-dust tunnels that ensure the internal components of your machine are in good condition.

If you are thinking about committing to SolidWorks professionally or even if you’re only a student, this is a great model worth your consideration.  

What We Like 

  • Intel Core i7-8750H processor 
  • Customizable RGB keyboard
  • 1TB FireCuda Hybrid drive with 512 GB PCIe SSD
  • 17.3 inches Full HD display
  • Lightweight and wide display
  • 16 GB DDR4 RAM

What We Don’t Like

  • Fans can get louder during heavy workload
  • The keypad requires time to master it
  • Difficult to find upgrading hardware
Asus ROG Strix Scar II Gaming Laptop, 17.3”...
  • Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 8GB GDDR6
  • Intel Core i7-8750H Hexa-Core Processor
  • 144Hz 3ms 17.3” FHD (1920x1080) IPS Type Display

Best Cheap Laptop for SolidWorks: Acer Predator Helios 300

Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop PC, 15.6'...

Everything that makes the Acer Predator Helios 300 an excellent gaming laptop also makes it one of the best laptops for SolidWorks. The Helios 300 laptop comes with a 9th generation Intel Core i7-9750H CPU, a 256 GB SSD, and 16 GB RAM. It also comes with a 6 GB VRAM NVIDIA GXT 1660 Ti graphics card.

The 15.6 inches screen is great while the 1080 pixels resolution is high enough to give you crisp imagery without straining the graphics core. Its IPS panel has a 144-hertz refresh rate, which you will enjoy if you plan to play some games after completing your studies or work.

When it comes to port selection, you will get a sole audio jack, one Type-C connection, and three USB ports. There are also mini-display and HDMI ports. However, this model has no thunderbolt or card reader.

While its build quality is average (you can flex the screen forward and back easily while the wrist-rest metal moves a lot) this SolidWorks laptop is not weak. That being said, buying a protective sleeve would be a great idea. 

The keyboard boasts of a good layout. There is the cursor, a number pad, and full-size return keys. The typing action is also good since the base is firm, which makes hammering the buttons feel more satisfying.

Additionally, the keyboard has a good amount of key travel distance that helps it to feel robust when typing. However, it is not all good news. Despite the reasonable travel and the firm base, the buttons are a bit soft. This means they are a little spongy than the keyboards of high-quality SolidWorks laptops.

The slightly soft buttons aren’t much of an issue for mainstream gaming, typing, and eSports. However, you may want to check elsewhere if you are a professional that likes a firm touch. 

The Helios trackpad has a smooth surface for supporting gestures. However, if you enjoy working on your projects, you will have to look for a USB mouse. If you only handle small jobs on SolidWorks, you will find the Acer laptop an ideal choice. Although you may feel the storage capacity is a bit limited, it comes with a Hard Drive Bay and a free SSD slot for easy upgrades

What We Like 

  • Smooth trackpad surface that supports gestures
  • 9th generation Intel Core i7-9750H CPU
  • 6 GB VRAM NVIDIA GXT 1660 Ti graphics card
  • 16GB RAM
  • Free SSD slot for easy upgrades 
  • Reasonable travel and firm base
  • Excellent screen quality
  • Solid 1080 pixels gaming ability

What We Don’t Like

  • Heavy and weak exterior
  • No card reader or thunderbolt
  • Average build quality
Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop PC, 15.6"...
  • 9th Generation Intel Core i7 9750H 6 Core Processor (Up to 4.5GHz) with Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Graphics with 6GB of dedicated GDDR6 VRAM
  • 15.6 inches Full HD (1920 x 1080) Widescreen LED backlit IPS Display (144Hz Refresh Rate, 3ms...

Best Compact Laptop for SolidWorks: Microsoft Surface Book 2

Microsoft Surface Book 2 13.5' (Intel Core i7, 8GB...

Students or professionals looking for the smallest laptop that supports the SolidWorks software may find the Microsoft Surface Book 2 model an excellent option. The laptop delivers impressive speed and performance, thanks to its 8th generation Intel Core i7-8650U CPU that ensures every program runs smoothly. The processor can be turbo-boost to 4.2 gigahertz to enhance the performance of the laptop. 

The model is perfect for CAD as it’s the only non-workstation laptop certified for SolidWorks. It’s also well-engineered to meet the demanding needs of heavy-duty applications. The laptop’s 8 GB RAM makes it an ideal choice for people that like multi-tasking and those that prefer machines that load data fast. 

It also comes with 1 TB HDD and 256 GB SSD to allow you to store all your professional or personal data. The storage capacity provides the Microsoft laptop with both speed and space as it reduces the time the SolidWorks software and other applications take to load.

The laptop also comes with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 powerful graphics card a 13.5 inches FHD display. Calibrated display colors make sure you have eye-soothing working experience. In addition, this SolidWorks laptop boasts of a 144-hertz refresh rate and has an IPS panel. 

}Its island-style keyboard has smooth keys while the large touchpad is smooth to your fingers. However, the keyboard is slightly loud. There is also the surface pen that delivers natural drawing and writing experience. The camera and sound system are also of good quality to give you an enjoyable experience when using this laptop. 

The only major issue with this laptop is that it tends to heat up quickly. However, it has a cooling system to deal with this flaw even though some users complain that the system is not well developed. The model is also lightweight as it only weighs 4 pounds.

The Surface Book 2 laptop also comes with a battery that will give you up to 18 working hours. However, the performance depends on the tasks you will be working on since some jobs consume a lot of power while others use less power. Overall, it is a great laptop that deserves your attention. 

What We Like 

  • Perfect for heavy-duty tasks
  • Intel Core i7-8650H processor
  • 1 TB HDD and 256 GB SSD storage capacity
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 graphics card
  • 13.5 inches Full HD display
  • Ideal for SolidWorks 
  • Surface pen

What We Don’t Like

  • Poor cooling system
  • Heats up quickly
  • Slightly loud keyboard
Sale
Microsoft Surface Book 2 13.5" (Intel Core i7, 8GB...
  • Processor: 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8650U (quad-core) with up to 4.20 GHz Max Turbo
  • Memory: 8GB RAM 1866Mhz LPDDR3
  • Storage: 256GB Solid State Drive. Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 discrete GPU w/2GB GDDR5...

Best Portable Laptop for SolidWorks: Acer Predator Triton 500

Acer Predator Triton 500 Thin & Light Gaming...

If you are looking for a powerful and ultra-thin SolidWorks laptop, you may want to check out the Acer PredatorTriton 500 model. It comes with some enough power for your SolidWorks projects, high- quality speakers, and great features. The laptop features NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 graphics card, 512GB NVMe PCIe SSD, DDR4 2666 megahertz RAM with 32 GB and an Intel Core i7-9750H CPU.

The Triton 500 laptop also features a fast, standard NVMe SSD drive as it allows the laptop to boot into windows quickly. Unfortunately, these can fill up quickly if you have large amounts of data or files. If that’s your case you can always upgrade to 1TB.

Such decent specs allow this laptop to run all the latest games and support the SolidWorks software on ultra settings with 20-series GPU. One area that the Acer laptop does not disappoint is with its connections. It has a standard Ethernet port, which is rare on most compact laptops. Also, the DoubleShot Pro networking technology means you will enjoy a stress-free Wi-Fi connection. 

There are also four USB ports, the DisplayPort mini connection on one side, and an HDMI port on the other side to make the model flexible and nice. Plugging in the HTC Vive is also easy to allow you to work on your projects, game on this laptop, or set it up with your favorite keyboard and gaming mouse on a desk.

We’ve found that one area that most thin laptops tend to ignore is the cooling system. However, our experience with this model shows that it performs well in this area. Although the laptop heats up when using it on your laps, it copes well when used on a desk. There is also a bit of fan noise; however, under standard use, you won’t notice the fans.

Another downside is its battery life that can only power your laptop for three hours. So, you will have to be plugged in when working on your projects or carry the power cable with you if you plan to work on your projects throughout the entire day. 

Finally, this model has a 15.6 inches screen with a 144-hertz refresh rate and 1080 pixels IPS panel. The screen is also bright enough to allow you to view your content, rich in color, and provides decent viewing angles. 

What We Like 

  • Great graphics performance 
  • Fast file transfer speed
  • Portable design
  • Multiple USB ports
  • Comfortable keyboard

What We Don’t Like

  • Short battery life
  • Weak audio
  • Loud fans 
Sale
Acer Predator Triton 500 Thin & Light Gaming...
  • 8th Generation Intel Core i7 8750H 6 Core Processor (Upto 4.1GHz) with Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
  • Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 overclock Graphics with Max Q design and 8 GB of dedicated GDDR6 DRAM....
  • 15.6 inches Full HD (1920 x 1080) LED backlit IPS 144Hz refresh rate display with NVIDIA G SYNC...

Laptop for SolidWorks Features and Considerations

Before buying a new laptop, it will be a good idea to figure out the types of projects you will be working on. This is because it is not easy to tell the hardware specifications that will suit you due to diversity in project sizes. That said, here is what to look for when shopping for the best laptop for SolidWorks:

Person using a laptop

GPU (Graphics Card)

There are moments when the SolidWorks software slows down and crashes. One of the major causes of this is usually the GPU. Since it’s a chip embedded directly on the motherboard, this means you can’t simply replace it and that it’ll cause you a considerable problem if it’s damaged.

Since you will be stuck with this card for the entire duration you will be using your laptop; you should ensure it is compatible with the latest versions of the SolidWorks software. Like other requirements, the GPU you require depends on your level of experience when it comes to using SolidWorks and your projects. 

For instance, if you are an engineer or student getting started with SolidWorks and looking for low budget models, then an excellent option would be a consumer card. 

Consumer Cards

If you are on a tight budget or are new to SolidWorks, then consumer cards are a perfect choice because they are affordable. You don’t have to worry that you will not be able to run SolidWorks if you do not buy a supported card. This is because nowadays, SolidWorks is compatible with gaming/consumer cards. You can choose a consumer card if:

  • You are not working on intensive simulation or rendering. So, any Nvidia and AMD graphics card or gaming card will work for you.
  • You only do drafting, drawing, and modeling because they do not require a high-end graphics card.

However, bear in mind that opting for a large amount of VRAM is only recommended when you are working with large textures and patterns. Also, if you want to work RealView with the gaming/consumer cards, you will have to use RealHack.

So, what are the challenges of using consumer cards?

  • They’re not designed for CAD applications even though they provide the same programming interface as workstation cards. 
  • They’re not ideal for professionals that work with several parts in their assemblies. 
  • If you face any challenges, you won’t get any support from SolidWorks of the GPU manufacturer. 

Workstation Cards 

On the other hand, if you are a professional, you will have to look for a high-end workstation card or graphics card to get the highest fps (frames per second) with extremely complex and large assemblies.

It’s easy to pick these cards; however, you have to ensure they are tested and certified by SolidWorks. One advantage of using these cards is that they work flawlessly without any issues since they are tested to minimize crashes and bugs.

It’s also important to mention that GPU drivers cause most graphics card problems. For example, the latest driver may not work as expected, even if it is downloaded from the official GPU manufacturer website. Make sure to download the older version, which also applies to the workstation cards.

RAM

This is another important factor worth considering when looking for a laptop for SolidWorks because RAM works as temporary storage for current projects or files. Also, the CPU can retrieve data very fast when it’s stored in the RAM. Additionally, it defines the number of individual windows the laptop can handle and the size of multi-sheet drawing as well as assembly. 

For example, a large RAM will enable you to tackle larger assembly while modeling. RAM requirements depend on whether the assembly size is large or small. 

Large Assembly 

If you intend to load complex drawings and models in SolidWorks, you will require a larger RAM size. When running a heavy simulation, a large amount of data will have to be loaded during the calculation. This also applies to the dataset sizes that have to be loaded. 

In case your laptop runs out of memory because of the hard drive caching, then the load time will increase since the hard drive will become slower than the RAM. In addition, if you are working with large assemblies, we recommend choosing 16 GB to 32 GB RAM 

Man using a laptop while sitting on the floor

Small Assembly 

If you are creating simple drawings, assembly, and parts, then 8 GB RAM will be enough. Some projects, such as rendering, simulations, and rotating models, require 4 GB to 8 GB RAM to work properly.

Storage Capacity

When considering the storage capacity of your laptop, you will have to choose between HDDs (Hard Disk Drives) and SSDs (Solid State Drives). Nowadays, SSDs are not as costly as before and have become standard for CAD works. So, there is no reason for opting for the HDDs. 

Also, do not be lured by a 7200 RPM (Revolutions Per Minute) drive just because they provide larger capacity and seem to be faster than 5400 RPM drives. This is because HDDs are slower than SSD, and even the sluggish SSD is many times faster than a 7,200 RPM drive (fastest HDD).

For this reason, we highly recommend going for an SSD laptop for SolidWorks as it delivers faster performance. In case you run out of storage because of low SSD storage capacity, you can use both HDD and SSD hard drives or even an external drive. Some workstations provide this feature during purchase while you may have to upgrade it on other laptops. 

Using both hard drives is a good idea because you can use HDD to store long-term data and SSD to install any project files you may be working on, SolidWorks and the operating system. SDD is highly recommended for SolidWorks laptops because of its assembly size. SDDs reduce the saving and opening time for assembly since they have faster data retrieval speed.

It’s important to mention that if the assembly is large, it will take longer to open. So, you will have to invest in a laptop with the fastest drives, such as the PCIe NVMe SSDs, if you are working on large assemblies. On the other hand, you can go for SATA (Serial Advanced Technology Attachment) III which are standard SSDs and easily found in most high-end workstations

Processor

This is an important factor to consider when choosing a SolidWorks Laptop because the processor’s specification will determine the tasks you can use it to perform regularly. For instance, modeling is a single-threaded application that relies heavily on the clock rate of your laptop’s processor. So, you will require a 3Ghz (gigahertz) frequency processor for smooth working. 

Additionally, the extra processor threads or cores are useful for simulations and drawing tasks. The good thing is that nowadays, you can easily get a processor with Hyper-Threading and four cores in the budget laptops. However, a laptop with more internal cache and a higher clock rate is much better. So, what is the clock rate, and how does it impact performance?

Clock rate refers to the amount of time your laptop can take to perform calculations. If the clock rate is higher, the processor will carry out the calculations quickly. SolidWorks is a frequency-bound software since it uses parametric modeling. As such, a higher frequency processor will be ideal because it can perform better with the software. Also, you should consider the number of cores because a CPU with many cores can perform several calculations faster compared to a single-core CPU.  

Screen Quality and Size

Since you will be spending more time staring at the screen of your laptop while working on your tasks, it’s important to consider the quality of the display. You can judge the quality of your screen using the following metrics:

  • Color Gamut
  • Panel type
  • Brightness
  • Resolution 
  • Contrast

These attributes can help you to judge most laptop screens available on the market accurately. For instance, IPS panels are an excellent choice for providing wide view angles and color-sensitive projects. So, it’s good to select an IPS display for a SolidWorks workstation. You can find this information in the description of the product. 

However, SolidWorks versions released before 2019 have an issue with high-resolution screens that are above FHD. This is because SolidWorks uses lots of custom margins//padding and fonts, which tend to create problems, especially when using Windows scaling. To solve this issue, get full HD for SolidWorks as it won’t cause DPI scaling issues.

When it comes to contrast and brightness, more is better. For example, 300 cd is found on most laptops while others offer above 350 cd. Additionally, an 800:1 contrast ratio is ideal for CAD workstations.

Man programming using a laptop

Battery Life

This will depend on your working style. For instance, if your working environment has a power source, you can plug in to avoid short battery runtime. However, you will appreciate it if your workstation can last for some hours. So, your laptop will require more backup power, especially if you are always on the go. As such, a battery with a long runtime will be ideal as it will allow you to complete working on your projects.

Since there is no way to measure the duration your battery can last, the number of cells can give you an idea of how long the battery can serve you. Generally, laptops for SolidWorks tend to have higher performance, so you will have to use more than six-cell batteries to balance the backup time.

Intended Use

It’s important to think about the tasks you will be handling, as this will help you buy a laptop with the right specifications for your projects. For example, a laptop with 8 GB RAM is an excellent choice for people that handle light-duty tasks occasionally since SolidWorks occupies 4 GB on its own. On the other hand, professionals will need 32 GB RAM to tackle complex assemblies because they rely on their laptops for job assignments. 

Wrap Up

All the laptops on our list have different specifications based on their price. However, the price does not affect the performance of the laptops. One thing they have in common is that they work great with the SolidWorks software. Their specs are enough to run this software effectively. Therefore, before choosing your preferred laptop, read the specs carefully to help you pick a model that can serve your needs.