Professional Laptop Recommendations

g-unit1111

Titan
Moderator
So my cousin asked me to look for a laptop because he wants to do some freelance Autodesk work - mainly Revit 3-D and AutoCAD. But since I mostly buy gaming / consumer laptops then I have absolutely no idea what to look for. I know that MSI and Asus both have professional grade laptops. But is there anything I should start with as a reference? Like laptop GPUs and CPUs I know are not the same as a desktop, and he really should be using a desktop for heavy duty AutoCAD, but I don't want to subject him to the insanity of having to find a desktop GPU with the current shortage. But what should I at least be looking for with a professional laptop CPU and GPU?

I don't have a set budget yet but I imagine that he would be getting some reimbursement / assistance for doing this. I would put the budget at a bout $2500 minimum.
 
So my cousin asked me to look for a laptop because he wants to do some freelance Autodesk work - mainly Revit 3-D and AutoCAD. But since I mostly buy gaming / consumer laptops then I have absolutely no idea what to look for. I know that MSI and Asus both have professional grade laptops. But is there anything I should start with as a reference? Like laptop GPUs and CPUs I know are not the same as a desktop, and he really should be using a desktop for heavy duty AutoCAD, but I don't want to subject him to the insanity of having to find a desktop GPU with the current shortage. But what should I at least be looking for with a professional laptop CPU and GPU?

I don't have a set budget yet but I imagine that he would be getting some reimbursement / assistance for doing this. I would put the budget at a bout $2500 minimum.
In terms of professional laptops you can also look at the Dell Precision workstations and HP Z book range. These typically still use standard CPU's but offer workstation class graphics solutions (typically an nVidia Quadro card or AMD Radeon PRO) which have certified drivers for CAD software.
 

g-unit1111

Titan
Moderator
In terms of professional laptops you can also look at the Dell Precision workstations and HP Z book range. These typically still use standard CPU's but offer workstation class graphics solutions (typically an nVidia Quadro card or AMD Radeon PRO) which have certified drivers for CAD software.
So what level of Quadro would I be looking at? I know the MSI laptops had the Quadro 3000 series and they were in the price range we're looking at.

https://us-store.msi.com/Laptops/Workstations/WS-Series?product_id=463
 
So what level of Quadro would I be looking at? I know the MSI laptops had the Quadro 3000 series and they were in the price range we're looking at.

https://us-store.msi.com/Laptops/Workstations/WS-Series?product_id=463
Here is the comparison chart between various models:
https://www.nvidia.com/content/dam/en-zz/Solutions/design-visualization/documents/quadro-line-card-for-mobile-workstation.pdf

I think the specific quadro card used doesn't make that much difference to either Autocad or Revit - both are more limited by CPU / Memory performance (that is based on the following):
https://www.pugetsystems.com/recommended/Recommended-Systems-for-Autodesk-Revit-171/Hardware-Recommendations

I think the Quadro RTX 3000 would be plenty (to give you an idea how that card performs more generally, it's essentially the same GPU as used in the desktop RTX 2060, so quite a capable card).
 
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logainofhades

Titan
Moderator
Puget systems builds such pc's.
Here is their discussion of hardware for Autocad.
https://www.pugetsystems.com/recommended/Recommended-Systems-for-Autodesk-AutoCAD-134/Hardware-Recommendations

Since single thread performance is the most important spec, it might be good to see what intel 11th gen brings to the table.

Graphics may not be the issue it is with gaming.
Possibly integrated graphics can do the job.
More likely a workstation card will be best, and they are available.

Since portability does not seem to be a requirement, a desktop solution will get you more for your money.

It might be worth configuring a autocad pc to be built by Puget.
 

g-unit1111

Titan
Moderator
Puget systems builds such pc's.
Here is their discussion of hardware for Autocad.
https://www.pugetsystems.com/recommended/Recommended-Systems-for-Autodesk-AutoCAD-134/Hardware-Recommendations

Since single thread performance is the most important spec, it might be good to see what intel 11th gen brings to the table.

Graphics may not be the issue it is with gaming.
Possibly integrated graphics can do the job.
More likely a workstation card will be best, and they are available.

Since portability does not seem to be a requirement, a desktop solution will get you more for your money.

It might be worth configuring a autocad pc to be built by Puget.
I think my cousin is looking for something more portable so a desktop would be out. I would personally recommend a desktop in this application, but considering the fact that any GPUs are impossible to find right now, a laptop is probably a better choice. Especially since he wants to start going right away, I wouldn't want to put together a system for him and then spend 6 months waiting on a GPU to arrive. Just don't have that kind of time.
 

erik_h

Distinguished
Feb 2, 2010
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Any of the workstation laptops are fine.

15 or 17"? 17 = More screen space better cooling and often a lot heavier. It depends is they are looking for portability or not.
 
I think my cousin is looking for something more portable so a desktop would be out. I would personally recommend a desktop in this application, but considering the fact that any GPUs are impossible to find right now, a laptop is probably a better choice. Especially since he wants to start going right away, I wouldn't want to put together a system for him and then spend 6 months waiting on a GPU to arrive. Just don't have that kind of time.
Ironically if it's a workstation setup you are after you'll have no issue getting a GPU, I was looking at Workstation gpu's the other day and lots of Radon Pro / nVidia Quadro cards available at the moment. Keep in mind gamers won't buy they as they are terrible value for money vs gaming cards as you are roughly paying double the price of the equivalent gpu in a gaming card.
 

g-unit1111

Titan
Moderator
Ironically if it's a workstation setup you are after you'll have no issue getting a GPU, I was looking at Workstation gpu's the other day and lots of Radon Pro / nVidia Quadro cards available at the moment. Keep in mind gamers won't buy they as they are terrible value for money vs gaming cards as you are roughly paying double the price of the equivalent gpu in a gaming card.
OK that is good to know!
 

robertbhart

Distinguished
Sep 12, 2012
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Here is the comparison chart between various models:
https://www.nvidia.com/content/dam/en-zz/Solutions/design-visualization/documents/quadro-line-card-for-mobile-workstation.pdf

I think the specific quadro card used doesn't make that much difference to either Autocad or Revit - both are more limited by CPU / Memory performance (that is based on the following):
https://www.pugetsystems.com/recommended/Recommended-Systems-for-Autodesk-Revit-171/Hardware-Recommendations

I think the Quadro RTX 3000 would be plenty (to give you an idea how that card performs more generally, it's essentially the same GPU as used in the desktop RTX 2060, so quite a capable card).

That is not entirely accurate.

The GPU is incredibly important for 3d graphics programs. It's true that most high quality rendering is done by the CPU but while you're actually creating and viewing 3d graphics / cad files it's all GPU.

With a low end GPU it will be very slow, jerky and more complex scenes will crash when you exceed the graphics memory.

In my experience from using various Autodesk software, if given a choice between a high end gaming GPU or a low-mid level Quadro card, you're better off with the gaming GPU.

Depending on which Autodesk cad software you're using, some have optimizations in the Quadro drivers. In my experience these are nowhere near enough to compensate for the massive difference in speed and memory found on top gaming GPUs vs low to mid level Quadro cards.

I use HP workstation laptops. I found them to be the easiest to upgrade. I've had one for 9 years still going strong with periodic GPU upgrades (with used MXM b Quadro cards off ebay).

I've used a few different brands but in all honesty, I wouldn't recommend any workstation laptop. They are massive and heavy. Forget portable. Unless you do a lot of travel and have no choice, you should get a desktop with the fastest GPU with the most graphics memory and the fastest CPU (without overclocking) you can afford.

With a workstation (or gaming) laptop you're paying a good deal more for inferior performance. If your budget is so tight that you'd have to go with a cheaper GPU, you should avoid laptops IMO.
 

jamzkang

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Oct 3, 2012
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Puget systems builds such pc's.
Here is their discussion of hardware for Autocad.
https://www.pugetsystems.com/recommended/Recommended-Systems-for-Autodesk-AutoCAD-134/Hardware-Recommendations

Since single thread performance is the most important spec, it might be good to see what intel 11th gen brings to the table.

Graphics may not be the issue it is with gaming.
Possibly integrated graphics can do the job.
More likely a workstation card will be best, and they are available.

Since portability does not seem to be a requirement, a desktop solution will get you more for your money.

It might be worth configuring a autocad pc to be built by Puget.
Right now it seems Ryzen 3 are doing a better job with the single application threads....
 
May 10, 2021
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In terms of professional laptops you can also look at the Dell Precision workstations and HP Z book range. These typically still use standard CPU's but offer workstation class graphics solutions (typically an nVidia Quadro card or AMD Radeon PRO) which have certified drivers for CAD software.
for AutoCAD, the amount of memory and storage SSD is of great importance, a good video card, of course, is also not superfluous
 

g-unit1111

Titan
Moderator
for AutoCAD, the amount of memory and storage SSD is of great importance, a good video card, of course, is also not superfluous
Trust me, as someone who works for a smaller firm with a limited budget, I've got Autodesk products to run on way less than the minimum system requirements. I'm not, in any way, shape or form recommending you try this, but let's just say it can be done.
 
So my cousin asked me to look for a laptop because he wants to do some freelance Autodesk work - mainly Revit 3-D and AutoCAD. But since I mostly buy gaming / consumer laptops then I have absolutely no idea what to look for. I know that MSI and Asus both have professional grade laptops. But is there anything I should start with as a reference? Like laptop GPUs and CPUs I know are not the same as a desktop, and he really should be using a desktop for heavy duty AutoCAD, but I don't want to subject him to the insanity of having to find a desktop GPU with the current shortage. But what should I at least be looking for with a professional laptop CPU and GPU?

I don't have a set budget yet but I imagine that he would be getting some reimbursement / assistance for doing this. I would put the budget at a bout $2500 minimum.
If you’re doing cad you can look for quadro GPUs which haven’t really been affected by mining. I use dell laptops for work (provided by work) and they’re not great.
 

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