Home Buying Guides Best Laptops for SolidWorks : a 2020 Buyers’ Guide!

Best Laptops for SolidWorks : a 2020 Buyers’ Guide!

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Best laptops for Solidworks

If you’re a little familiar with the realm of 3D CAD designing, you must have heard of SolidWorks, the popular CAD software published by Dassault Systèmes. With a user base almost as large as AutoCAD’s, SolidWorks is a favorite in the fashion, sports, and automobile industry. Other notable uses stretch as far as the space exploration industry, or the design of medical equipment. For those who are new to this software, don’t be fooled by the clean user interface. SolidWorks gets deep and complicated the more you’re willing to play with it.
SolidWorks is particularly demanding on your hardware. It’s a common misconception, though, that you absolutely need a high-end workstation to get it running smoothly. If you’re buying into that, you’re going to spend several thousands of dollars on a certified workstation, when you could have done with a way cheaper laptop. SolidWorks is a hugely versatile software, with performance shifting as the assemblies you work on get larger and larger. For example, a university student dealing with small assemblies (around 100 parts) can get their assignments done with a consumer level laptop, or one that is designed for gaming.

How to choose a laptop for SolidWorks?

A good thing to start with is by checking the official system requirements of SolidWorks for Widnows, which you can access here.

  • Processor:3.3 GHz or higher
  • RAM:16 GB or more
    PDM Contributor or Viewer: 8 GB or more
    ECC RAM recommended
  • Graphics Card : Certified cards and drivers
  • Storage:SSD drives recommended for optimal performance

As you can see, the official system requirements are similar with many other CAD programs, but they don’t provide a lot of info for users who don’t necessarily plan to buy a Workstation laptop.

So, before making an investment with a new laptop for running SolidWorks, it’s best that you figure out which kind of projects you’re going to work on. The diversity in project sizes is the reason why there’s no easy telling which hardware specifications will suit you. Speaking about RAM, SolidWorks will occupy 4 GB on its own, meaning a laptop with 8 GB of RAM is the minimum for using SolidWorks. Although professional users, who rely on their machine for job assignments, will need up to 32 GB of RAM to handle complex assemblies. Thus, we’ll deal with consumer and professional laptops separately.

CONSUMER LAPTOPS:

Processor: while modeling with SolidWorks is doable on an Intel Core i5 processor, an i7 is going to be necessary for rendering and simulations. It might be best to up your game here, since you won’t be able to upgrade your processor once you’ve bought the laptop. Also, as with many other CAD programs, SolidWorks performs best with a higher frequency Processor. When opening and saving files, rebuilding assemblies, and rotating models, SolidWorks will mostly be using a single core, so a higher frequency will help a lot.
RAM: as stated above, go for a laptop with 8GB of RAM if you’re on a budget. Most consumer laptops, especially in the gaming department, come with a free slot to easily upgrade your RAM as you see the need for it, especially if your SolidWorks projects get larger.
GPU: we’d recommend picking a laptop with a graphics card as low as a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti, with 4 GB of VRAM.
Storage: aim for a 256 GB SSD. Despite costing a little more than a traditional HDD, a solid state drive is going to have a huge impact on the loading time of your assemblies, as well as the laptop’s booting.

PROFESSIONAL WORKSTATIONS

Processor: you could get your work done with the latest generation Intel Core i7 processor. And as stated above, SolidWorks performs better with a higher frequency processor. If you’re a professional and if you’re working on complex projects, you can also consider a laptop with a Xeon processor.
RAM: depending on your usual assembly size, you’re going to need at least 16 GB of RAM. 32 GB is the recommended amount for SolidWorks professionals.
GPU: stick with the Nvidia Quadro series of graphics card for workstation. Before purchasing, you can make sure your graphics card of choice is certified on the Dassault Systèmes website.
Storage: for complex projects, a larger storage unit is going to come in handy. You should still aim for a SSD as the booting unit, but consider upgrading your laptop with a 1TB HDD for the additional space. Hybrid workstations are also available in the market.
To get you started in your search for the perfect companion, here are ten great laptops suitable for SolidWorks, both consumer level and workstations.

These are our recommendation in order to choose a laptop for running SolidWorks. Don’t forget to take into consideration other important factor, such as the display size, battery life, ports…etc. And now, let’s check some of the best laptops for SolidWorks we selected for you:

Best Laptops for SolidWorks:

HP Pavilion dk0010nr

First on our list, the HP Pavilion dk0010nr is primarily an entry level gaming laptop designed for casual gamers in search of an affordable laptop. However, it’s also a great option if you’re looking for a budget laptop for SolidWorks, but want something that’s more powerful than the Acer Aspire E15.  It’s packed with a 9th generation Intel Core i5-9300H processor, 8 GB of RAM, a 256 GB SSD,  and a dedicated Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 with 3GB of video memory. The new 9th gen processor has base clock speed of 2.4 GHz and can go up to Up to 4.1 GHz if needed.

The HP Pavilion dk0010nr also comes in a rather good looking black chassis with green trims around the keys and the logo. There are also a few other cool features, such as the 144Hz IPS display (which you won’t really be taking benefit of with a GTX 1050), and the amount of I/O ports, including a USB type C. Battery life is also good, with HP claiming up to 10 hours of use; but most users got a consistent 8 hours from a single charge.

Processor Intel Core i5-9300H Processor
RAM 8GB
Storage  256GB, SSD
Graphics Dedicated, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050
Screen 15,6 inch, 1920X1080
Connectivity and Ports 1 – USB Type C

3- USB 3.1 port

1 – HDMI port, Ethernet

Card reader, Bluetooth 4.1

Battery up to 10 hours battery life

 

Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-52-78VL

Next, we have the Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-52-78VL, a 15.6” Full HD gaming laptop. The IPS display has a refresh rate of 144Hz, which you’ll definitely enjoy if you play a few games on the side of your work and studies. The Helios 300 features a 9th generation Intel Core i7 processor, 16 GB of RAM, and a 256 GB SSD. It comes with the Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti graphics card, with 6 GB of VRAM.
If you’re only dealing with small projects on SolidWorks, the Helios 300 is going to be a futureproof laptop for you. You might feel the storage space is a little limited, but it comes with a free SSD slot and a Hard Drive Bay for easy upgrades. This is a fully-fledged machine, including a backlit keyboard, an effective cooling system and modern connectivity options.

Processor Intel Core i7-9750H Processor
RAM 16GB
Storage 256GB, SSD
Graphics Dedicated, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti
Screen 15,6 inch, 1920X1080, IPS
Connectivity and Ports 1 – USB Type C  port

3- USB 3.1 port

1 – HDMI port, Mini Display Port 1.4

Card reader, Bluetooth 4.1

Battery up to 6 hours battery life

MSI GS65 Stealth-007


We’re getting at a higher budget range with the MSI GS65 Stealth-007, a 15.6” Full HD gaming laptop with a narrow bezel, 144Hz display. It features an 8th generation Intel Core i7 processor, 16 GB of RAM, and a 256 GB SSD. The Stealth-007 is equipped with the Nvidia RTX 2060 dedicated graphics card, with 6 GB of VRAM. It also comes with the Windows 10 Professional operating system included.
Just like the label says, this is a machine that could suit a professional user of SolidWorks. Depending on the size of your assemblies, you might need to upgrade the RAM, which is easily done with this model (up to 32 GB). Despite being a powerful laptop, the Stealth-007 is a portable one, being 1.2” thin. This is a great option to consider if your job requires you to travel a lot.

Processor Intel Core i7-8750H Processor
RAM 16GB
Storage 256GB, SSD
Graphics Dedicated, NVidia GeForce RTX 2060
Screen 15,6 inch, 1920X1080, IPS
Connectivity and Ports 1 – USB Type C  port // Thunderbolt

3- USB 3.1 port

1 – HDMI port, Mini Display Port, Ethernet

Card reader, Bluetooth 4.1

Battery Up to 8 hrs battery life

Acer Predator Triton 500 PT515-51-75L8


The Acer Predator Triton 500 PT515-51-75L8 is a similarly slim, 15.6” Full HD gaming laptop, with a 144Hz narrow bezel display. It features an 8th generation Intel Core i7 processor, 16 GB of RAM, and a 512 GB SSD. The dedicated graphics card is the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, with 8 GB of VRAM.
The slightly higher amount of storage space and more powerful graphics card gives the Triton 500 an edge over competitors in this budget range. Like other Acer products, it offers great value for your money. Special features include an all metal cooling system, a backlit keyboard, up-to-date connectivity and a display with G-Sync technology. If you’re not that much into gaming, you’ll appreciate the 0.7” thin body.

Processor Intel Core i7-8750H Processor
RAM 16GB
Storage 512GB, SSD
Graphics Dedicated, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080
Screen 15,6 inch, 1920X1080, IPS
Connectivity and Ports 1 – USB Type C  port // Thunderbolt

3- USB 3.1 port

1 – HDMI port, Mini Display Port

Card reader, Bluetooth 4.1

Battery up to 8 hours battery life

Asus ROG Strix Hero III G731GV-DB74


The Asus ROG Strix Hero III G731GV-DB74 is an affordable and modern option when it comes to 17.3” gaming laptops. The Full HD, 144Hz display comes with a narrow bezel design, allowing for an even larger view for your SolidWorks projects. The Strix Hero III features a 9th generation Intel Core i7 processor, 16 GB of RAM, and a 512 GB SSD. The dedicated graphics card is the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060, with 6 GB of VRAM.
Thanks to the powerful specifications and the large display, the Strix Hero III makes for a perfect machine for multitasking and having multiple windows opened side-to-side. Despite the size, its body is only 1” thin, meaning it won’t take as much space as a workstation. It’s a model to look out for if you’re a student, or you’re just starting to commit to SolidWorks professionally.

Processor Intel Core i7-9750h Processor
RAM 16GB
Storage 512GB, SSD
Graphics Dedicated, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080
Screen 17,3 inch, 1920X1080, IPS
Connectivity and Ports 1 – USB Type C  port

3- USB 3.1 port

1 – HDMI port, Ethernet

Card reader, Bluetooth 4.1

Battery up to 6 hours battery life

Lenovo Legion Y740 17


The Lenovo Legion Y740 17 is a more expensive 17.3” gaming laptop, coming with a Full HD, 144Hz display. It features an 8th generation Intel Core i7 processor, 16 GB of RAM, and a 512 GB SSD. The reason for its higher price mainly lies on the graphics card, a high-end Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080, with 8 GB of VRAM. Capable of handling the latest AAA games on high graphic settings, the Lenovo Legion Y740 17 is also one of the best laptops for SolidWorks.
The Y740 17 is also relatively “thin”, at 0.91 inch and includes a backlit keyboard, modern connectivity with a thunderbolt 3 port, on top of a sleek all black chassis design. There are plenty of good reasons why this is a customer favorite!

Processor Intel Core i7-8750H Processor
RAM 16GB
Storage 512GB, SSD
Graphics Dedicated, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080
Screen 17,3 inch, 1920X1080, IPS
Connectivity and Ports 1 – USB Type C  port/ Thunderbolt 3

3- USB 3.1 port

1 – HDMI port, Mini Display port, Ethernet

Card reader, Bluetooth 4.1

Battery up to 6 hours battery life

MSI P65 Creator-654


The MSI P65 Creator-654 is a high-end productivity laptop, featuring a 15.6” 4K small bezel display and a 0.69” thin profile, the P65 is one of the most powerful laptops on this list. The 9th generation Intel Core i9 processor is good enough to run your software smoothly on the high-definition display. The Creator-654 is equipped with 32 GB of RAM and a 1 TB SSD, which is a large enough amount for storing big files. It also comes with the Windows 10 Professional operating system.
Coming at a similar price range as that of a workstation, the Creator-654 is going to be a better choice if you care for portability the most. The dedicated graphics card is the Nvidia RTX 2070 Max-Q, with 8 GB of VRAM. There’s a chance you won’t see a thin laptop with similar specifications for a while.

Processor Intel Core i9-9880H Processor
RAM 32GB
Storage 1TB, SSD
Graphics Dedicated, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080
Screen 15,6 inch, 3840×2160, IPS
Connectivity and Ports 1 – USB Type C  port/ Thunderbolt 3

3- USB 3.1 port

1 – HDMI port, Mini Display port, Ethernet

Card reader, Bluetooth 4.1

Battery up to 6 hours battery life

Best Workstation laptops for SolidWorks:

The following laptops are some of certified workstation laptops for SolidWorks.

Dell Precision 5530


The Dell precision 5530 is a 15.6” UHD (3840×2160) mid-range workstation, coming with a touchscreen display. It features an 8th generation Intel Core i7 processor, 32 GB of RAM, and a 512 GB SSD. This laptop is equipped with the Nvidia Quadro P1000 graphics card, with 4 GB of VRAM. Without saying, it comes with the Windows 10 Professional operating system, and it’s also one of the best laptops for SolidWorks.
When it comes down to workstations, Dell is a trustworthy manufacturer. The comfortable keyboard of this model includes a pointing stick, giving you another layer of control over your files. The reason you should pick the Precision 5530 over other competitors is the high-definition display, that’s still going to feel new in half a decade.

Processor Intel Core i7-8850H Processor
RAM 32GB
Storage 512GB, SSD
Graphics Dedicated, NVIDIA Quadro P1000
Screen 15,6 inch, 3840×2160, IPS
Connectivity and Ports 1 – USB Type C  port/ Thunderbolt 3

2- USB 3.1 port

1 – HDMI port,  Ethernet

Card reader, Bluetooth 4.1

Battery up to 6 hours battery life

MSI WS65 9TL-685


The MSI WS65 9TL-685 is the workstation with the highest specifications in our list, suiting professionals who regularly deal with massive assemblies on SolidWorks. This 15.6” Full HD computer features a 9th generation Intel Core i9 processor, 32 GB of RAM, and a 1 TB SSD. The dedicated graphics card is the Nvidia Quadro RTX 4000, with 8 GB of VRAM. It includes the Windows 10 Professional operating system.
Despite being a fully-fledged workstation, the 9TL-685 is as thin as a typical Ultrabook. The high budget is worth it for having unparalleled performance in a rather compact body. If you need a higher definition display to work on, the HDMI port of this model supports one 4K monitor at 60Hz. Other than that, the 9TL-685 includes futureproof connectivity with a Thunderbolt 3 port.

Processor Intel Core i9-9880H Processor
RAM 32GB
Storage 1TB, SSD
Graphics Dedicated, NVIDIA Quadro RTX 4000
Screen 15,6 inch, 1920X1080, IPS
Connectivity and Ports 1 – USB Type C  port/ Thunderbolt 3

3- USB 3.1 port

1 – HDMI port, Mini Display Port, Ethernet

Card reader, Bluetooth 5

Battery up to 6 hours battery life

Lenovo ThinkPad P72


The Lenovo ThinkPad P72 is the most affordable workstation in our list, featuring a 17.3” Full HD display. It’s equipped with an 8th generation Intel Core i7 processor, 32 GB of RAM, a 1 TB Sata SSD and 2 TB of HDD storage. The dedicated graphics card is the Nvidia Quadro P600, with 4 GB of VRAM, which is going to perform smoothly in mid-to-high assemblies on SolidWorks. Of course, the ThinkPad P72 comes with the Windows 10 Professional operating system.
The exceptional amount of storage space is going to come in handy, especially if you don’t trust cloud-based storage enough to take care of your files. The comfortable ThinkPad series keyboard is also fully backlit. Featuring modern connectivity, the ThinkPad p72 is a futureproof machine both for high educational purposes as professional ones.

Processor Intel Core i7-8750H Processor
RAM 32GB
Storage 1TB, SSD +2TB HDD
Graphics Dedicated, NVIDIA Quadro P600
Screen 17,3 inch, 1920X1080, IPS
Connectivity and Ports 2 – USB Type C  port/ Thunderbolt 3

4- USB 3.1 port

1 – HDMI port, Mini Display Port, Ethernet

Card reader, Bluetooth 5

Battery up to 5 hours battery life

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