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Laptop for CAD Software (Entry Level)

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  1. Nov 21, 2012 #1
    As suggested on my last post 'how to become a design engineer' self practice is the key to learn a design program to a competent level.. At this point, I am looking for a computer so to be able to train myself, refresh my pro/E skills, and be able to apply what I read in tutorials and watch videos online.
    As my current status allows only a portable device, (and not looking to invest for a workstation that early) my question is if a decent core i5 laptop with an Inter HD4000 graphic card and 4, 6 or even 8 GB RAM is strong enough to run design software (SolidWorks, pro/E, Inventor, AutoCAD, CATIA, etc), so i can design parts and assembly.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2012
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 21, 2012 #2
    Pretty much any new laptop will handle those programs fairly well.
    The laptop I'm typing this on is a 5 year old Sony Vaio laptop, 2GHz dual core, 32 bit Vista (Ya-ya-ya, I know Vista is rubbish), 3GB of RAM, a 256MB ATI graphics card and 500 GB hard drive. It has handled Autodesk AutoCAD and Inventor 2008 and 2010 with ease, only lagging when a large number of assembly files are being run simultaneously.
    Most new laptops will meet or exceed this spec easily.
    The only really constructive advice I can give you is "what size laptop are you willing to lug around." A high resolution screen is a must have and a bigger screen is always nice except for the fact that the weight goes up and so does the power consumption.
     
  4. Nov 21, 2012 #3
    Oh, good to know... does the same apply for a new core i3 then? if it could handle that software, I would be happy to reduce cost...
     
  5. Nov 21, 2012 #4
    I'm not too familiar with the new Intel products but just a quick glance says it should. However I would say try to get the best processor, graphics card (if applicable) and screen you can. The RAM and hard drive can always be upgraded at a later date but the first three are are either very difficult if not impossible to replace.
     
  6. Nov 21, 2012 #5

    boneh3ad

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    On the contrary, I have had nothing but trouble running newer versions of SolidWorks and Pro/E on my laptop, even when it was new and the software was current to that time.

    For reference, I have a Lenovo ThinkPad T400:
    Intel Core 2 Duo P9500 @ 2.53 GHz
    4 GB RAM
    Windows 7 Pro x64
    ATI Radeon HD3400 Series GPU

    It really struggled then and it really struggles now, largely on account of the GPU having a hard time rendering the parts. Laptops just really aren't all that good for CAD work with any of the newer 3-D programs. It kind of sucks because it means I am pretty well tethered to my workstation when I need to do some design work.
     
  7. Nov 22, 2012 #6
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  8. Nov 22, 2012 #7
    Im using a HP pavillion DV6 running Core i5 2450m, 6GB ram, AMD Radeon HD 7490M and 750GB hard drive and it runs solidworks and AutoCAD flawlessly. Good thing is that as well as the dedicated Radeon HD graphics card, it also has onboard Intel HD3000 and it automatically switches over to the dedicated Radeon Card if the intel HD struggles. Was £450 about 3 months ago by the way
     
  9. Nov 22, 2012 #8

    boneh3ad

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    Couldn't really do any processes. Like I said, I don't think the video card had the strength to render the parts even fast enough to rotate the part without lagging horribly. It's fine though, since there are very few reasons to ever do CAD on a laptop.
     
  10. Nov 23, 2012 #9
    i've found a Dell, core i5 3210M, ati radeon 7670 1GB, and 6GB or RAM
    is it strong enough to run these programs?
     
  11. Nov 25, 2012 #10
    It's better than my work laptop that runs Autodesk Inventor, so it should be fine.
     
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