When you are shopping for a laptop that can work with SolidWorks, you really have to be looking for the best laptop for SolidWorks possible.
But what does that mean? There are so many great laptops on the market, how can you find the right one?
SolidWorks is a CAD computer program that usually runs in Microsoft Windows. Because of the design element of the program, you need a computer that can handle the level of graphics that it requires.
Beyond the graphics and processor, consider the amount of storage that you will need to handle SolidWorks and the creations that you make.
The best laptop for SolidWorks will come with a dedicated GPU, like Nvidia and AMD. You should also be looking for an Intel CPU to ensure that the laptop will be able to keep up with your needs.
But, beyond those specifications, you need to consider the design, performance, and what your individual needs are.
SolidWorks 2020 System Requirements
- CPU: 3.3 Ghz or higher
- Memory: 16 GB or more
- Operating System: Windows 10, 64-bit
- HDD: SSD for best performance
- PDM Contributor/Viewer: 8 GB or more
7 Best Laptops For SolidWorks (2020)
1. Lenovo ThinkPad P52s
2. MSI GL65 Leopard
3. Asus VivoBook 15
4. Dell Inspirion 5000
5. Acer Aspire 5
6. HP Envy Laptop
7. Microsoft Surface
1. Lenovo ThinkPad P52s Laptop
Best Laptop For SolidWorks (Editor's Choice)
Our recommendation for the best laptop for SolidWorks is the Lenovo ThinkPad P52s. This is one of Lenovo’s Ultrabooks that are incredibly portable with great performance.
The ThinkPad P52s has a 15.6 inch display. This is a great size if you are a designer, because you should still be able to see a lot from a laptop. You can always add on a display for your home computer if you needed to.
Additionally, the resolution is HD, with 1920 x 1080 pixels, so the images will be crystal-clear. It weighs 4.3 pounds, which is light enough to carry around if you need to.
The ThinkPad also has a USB 3.1 Type-C port as well as two USB 3.1 Type-As ports to work with. There is also an HDMI cable to hook up a display as well as a docking connector.
The keyboard that comes with it is also backlit, so you will be able to see the keys even in a dark space. It has a fingerprint security feature as well, keeping unwanted guests out of your computer.
The ThinkPad P52s has an Intel i7 quad-core processor with 1.8 GHz up to 4.0 GHz of power with an 8 MB cache. The GPU of this computer is an Nvidia Quadro P500 with 2 GB GDDR5 of VRAM, so it will be able to handle SolidWorks without any kind of trouble.
The ThinkPad comes with a 1 TB SSD, which is really huge and should be a relief if you are working with large design documents. The operating system is Windows 10 Pro and it will work very nicely with the SolidWorks program.
2. MSI GL65 Leopard Laptop For SolidWorks
For a laptop that is high performance, take a look at the MSI GL54 Leopard. This laptop should perform exactly the way that any designer would want it to, making it an excellent option.
To begin with, the Leopard has a 15.6 inch display, which is about what you should be looking for in your laptop. The added bonus with this is that the bezel around the display is incredibly thin to the point of being nearly invisible. The display is HD as well with 1920 x 1080 pixels to display all of your SolidWorks creations.
The Leopard comes with a couple of different types of USB ports, including a USB 3.1 Type-C port and a USB 3.2 Gen 1 port. These are incredibly fast with anything that you will plug into them. There are also three USB 3.0 ports. The laptop does weight 9.78 pounds, which is incredibly heavy for a laptop, so do not expect to be carrying it all over the place.
The Leopard comes with an impressive 6 processors and runs with a CPU speed of 2.6 GHz. The CPU is an Intel Core i7-10750H. You can expect high performance without any kind of overheating with that kind of CPU.
The graphics coprocessor that you will get is an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070. The RAM size of the GPU is 8 GB, so you should have no trouble with speeds with the Leopard.
The RAM type for this laptop is a DDR4 SDRAM that runs at an impressive 2,666 MHz. It has an 802.11ax wireless type, which is the best that you can get right now. You can expect high-speed wireless connectivity from this laptop.
3. ASUS VivoBook 15 Laptop
Great laptop for SolidWorks when you are working on a budget is the ASUS VivoBook. This is a nice, lightweight laptop that should still be able to work with SolidWorks, without all of the features other laptops offer.
The VivoBook comes with a 15.6 inch display, which is what you want to have for a laptop that can use SolidWorks. The VivoBook has a 4-way NanoEdge bezel display. It has an impressive 88 percent screen-to-body ratio.
The display is HD as well with 1920 x 1080 pixels. The keyboard that comes with it is an ergonomic backlit keyboard with a fingerprint sensor. The computer only weighs 3.75 pounds, making it lightweight and easy to transport.
The VivoBook comes with a USB 3.2 Type-C, a USB 3.2 Type-A, and a USB 2.0 port, so you should have all of the connectivity that you need. There is also a place for HDMI cables. There is not an Ethernet port with this laptop, which might be a problem if you wanted to wire it directly to your router.
The VivoBook has an Intel i5-1025G1 CPU, which is still pretty powerful. The Operating System that you will get is Windows 10, completely with Windows Hello. Windows Hello is nice, because it can recognize your face and unlock the computer when you want it to. The GPU is an Intel UHD Graphics processor.
The computer also comes with 8 GB DDR4 RAM and a 512 GB PCle SSD. The Wireless standard is an 802.11ac, which will work well with most routers. There is Bluetooth connectivity as well, if that is something that you are looking for.
In addition, you should consider getting a refurbished laptop if you want something that's very cost effective.
4. Dell Inspiron 15 5000 Laptop For SolidWorks
Another great laptop choice is the Dell Inspiron 15 5000. This Premium Flagship laptop has all of the features that you will need to operate SolidWorks efficiently.
The Inspiron comes with a 15.6 inch display that is HD, with a pixel ratio of 1920 x 1080. It has a Truelife LED-Backlit on-cell touch display.
That means that it lights up well and is easy to see, but it also has a touchscreen capability. The only real downside as far as design goes is that the touchpad with this laptop is a little bit on the weak side, but you could use one of the USB ports to attach another one.
Speaking of USB ports, the Inspiron also has two USB 3.1 ports and a USB 2.0 port, so you will be able to connect whatever USB devices that you really want to connect. It does have a headphone/microphone jack as well as an HDMI port. It weighs 4.8 pounds, which puts it a little on the heavy side.
Moving onto its performance, the Inspiron has an Intel quad-core i7 CPU, which will be able to keep up with the demands that come with SolidWorks. The GPU is an AMD Radeon 530, which is also the kind of GPU that you should be looking for with your SolidWorks laptop.
It has 16 GB DDR4 2400 MHz RAM as well as a 512 GB SSD and a 1 TB SATA Hard Drive. The operating system that you will get with the laptop is the Windows 10 Pro, which comes with all of the features that you really want from a laptop.
5. Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop
Another great laptop choice for SolidWorks is the Acer Aspire 5. This is a slim laptop that has a good processor and is a powerful enough to handle SolidWorks.
Let’s start with the design of the Aspire 5. It has a 15.6 inch display, which we already said was essential for being able to run SolidWorks successfully. The screen is a FHD as well, so the image should be pretty clear on it. It does have a fingerprint reader, but by all reports, the fingerprint reader is not as effective as it should be.
Looking at its port situation, the Aspire 5 comes with a USB 3.1 Type-C Gen 1 port as well as two SUB 3.1 Gen 1 ports. One of the powers has a power-off charging ability. It does have a USB 2.0 port as well as an HDMI port, so really, you should be able to connect whatever you need to.
Moving onto is performance, the Aspire 5 comes with an Intel Core i5-8265U CPU, which might not be the fastest CPU on the market, but it will still run SolidWorks effectively. The GPU with this laptop is an Intel UHD Graphics 620, which should still be able to run SolidWorks effectively.
The Aspire 5 comes with 6 GB of DDR4 RAM as well as a 256 GB PCle NVMe SSD, which is a decent size. It does have good battery life as well, reaching up to 9.5 hours without needing a charge, but it will take a little of time to charge up when it does get drained to the point of dying.
6. HP Envy Laptop For SolidWorks
The HP Envy is another laptop that you might want to consider if you are looking for a solid laptop for SolidWorks. This one has a huge capacity and will be capable of a lot.
Let’s start with the design of this laptop. It has a 17 inch display, which is much larger than the other laptops that we have looked at. In fact, it is huge.
The size will make it harder to find a case that will fit it, if you have an intention of carrying it around, but it also means that you will have a much easier time using SolidWorks on it, since there is more screen to work with. It is a touchscreen as well, which is always nice for designing.
Looking at its ports, the Envy has a USB 3.1 Gen 1 port for HP sleep and charge as well as two USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports that work for data transfer only. It does have a headphone/microphone jack as well.
This is a laptop made for multitasking. It comes with an Intel i7 CPU, which will handle whatever kinds of demands that you want to put on it. It has a 16 GB DDR4 RAM. But, the fastest performance feature with this laptop comes from the 1 GB PCle NVMe M.2 SSD which will get things moving without any trouble.
The GPU that you will get with this laptop is an Nvidia MX250 with a 4 GB RAM. It also has wireless type 802.11ac as well as Bluetooth connectivity. You will get the Windows 10 Pro operating system with this laptop as well, which will pair nicely with the SolidWorks program.
7. Microsoft Surface Laptop
The last laptop that we are going to suggest is the Microsoft Surface. Now, there have been a few generations to come out of the Surface line, but we are going to review the original, though the other generations also deserve merit.
Starting with its design, the Surface has a 13.5 inch HD display. It has a resolution of 2256 x 1504 pixels, which is some of the best resolution that you will be able to get from a laptop. It uses LCD technology as well.
The laptop is incredibly lightweight, coming in at only 2.83 pounds, making it portable. Since the display is a little smaller than other laptops, it will fit easily into a laptop bag as well.
The Surface only has one USB 3.0 ports to work with, which might not be ideal for all users.
Let’s look at its performance. The Surface comes with an Intel Core i7 CPU, which means that it will be able to run efficiently without slowing down or getting overheated. The GPU with the surface is an Intel HD 620, which will be able to get the job done with SolidWorks without any trouble. It uses the Windows 10 S operating system as well.
The Surface also comes with 8 GB of RAM, which might not be as much as other laptops, but will still be able to efficiently run SolidWorks. The wireless communication standard that it comes with is a little lower than the newer versions, coming in with 802.11g, 802.11b, and 802.11a, but that only depends on the level of wireless speeds that you need.
Factors To Consider When Choosing A Laptop For SolidWorks
The first factor that you need to consider when choosing a laptop for SolidWorks is the GPU. GPU stands for “graphics processing unit,” and it is a circuit within the laptop that will handle all of the graphics-related processing within the computer.
You need to look for a laptop with either an Nvidia or AMD GPU if you are to have one that is made of high quality. The NVIDIA RTX Series and the AMD RX 555 are specifically great. Getting a mediocre GPU when you are hoping to use SolidWorks is only going to frustrate you and show you what your limitations are.
The next factor should you be considering for your SolidWorks laptop is the CPU. The CPU really handles the heavy demands you put on your computer. The better the CPU, the cooler and faster your system will be.
For a SolidWorks laptop, you should be looking for an Intel CPU, whether it is the Intel Core i3, the Intel Core i5, or even the Intel Core i7. Going with a lesser-known CPU might be less expensive, but the potential for loss of quality is too great. Combined with a good GPU, your quality CPU will keep you up and running.
RAM is another factor that you should not be overlooked when it comes to buying a laptop for SolidWorks. RAM is your computer’s short-term data storage, so programs use it temporarily while they are running.
When you are running a program as involved as SolidWorks, you need a bigger RAM that will be able to take that on. A lot of laptops only come with 4 GB or 8 GB of RAM, but you really need to look for the higher numbers, like 16 GB of RAM, to get the right amount in order to efficiently run your program.
When you are looking at your storage abilities with your laptop for SolidWorks, you really need to hone in on your SSD. The amount of SSD storage that you get varies widely between laptops, but if you consider the immense size of SolidWorks, you should know that you need a large amount of SSD in order to run it.
Ideally, you should be looking for 256 GB of SSD or greater, depending on your individual needs. Never settle for a smaller amount, however. You can also opt to have more SSD, which will only give you more options to work with.
Screen Resolution & Size
The final factor that we will look at for a SolidWorks laptop is the screen resolution and the size of the screen. You really should be looking for an HD display if you are hoping to see what is happening with your graphics.
Otherwise, you will never know what your complete capabilities are. The resolution you should go for is 1920 x 1080. Anything less will only irritate you. For screen size, you will likely want the largest screen that you can get in order for you to see where you are on your project. Large screens do mean that it will be harder to transport, however.
While there are a lot of great laptops out there that will work fine with SolidWorks, our choice for the best laptop for SolidWorks overall is the Lenovo ThinkPad P52. This laptop is the ultimate mobile workstation, bringing with it all of the features that you really need to have for SolidWorks.
Remember that if the ThinkPad is not your choice, you should just look for a laptop that might suit you better. Don’t forget to check out if the GPU will easily handle the program or not, but once you find one that meets system requirements, see what other features you will get.
Hey, it’s James here. I’m the founder and editor here at RiverstoneNet.com. I’m a network engineer during the day and a blogger at night. Let me know if I can help you with choosing a new modem/router or troubleshooting your Internet connection.