Computer-Aided Design (or CAD) is crucial for many industries of today, especially mechatronics and even hobby applications.
However, CAD software is quite demanding when it comes to hardware requirements. The latest versions of software like Autocad, SolidWorks, and Revit not only require a lot of storage space but also need beefy components to run smoothly.
Every piece of software has some minimal software requirements that you can achieve. Still, in most cases, those are not good enough for various reasons: The minimum requirements are good enough only if you want to perform basic tasks with low complexity. However, once your schematic or design gets a bit more complicated, or some animations are involved, you’ll notice your rig struggling to keep up.
Thankfully, we are here to show you some options to step up your CAD performance.
First of all, you must decide what you need from your computer. Performance is crucial, but you might also be interested in portability.
A desktop computer is undoubtedly a more affordable choice when you compare performance to price.
However, laptops have the sweet advantage of allowing you to take your work anywhere and continue working while on the go. Still, excellent performance and decent portability usually come with a considerably higher pricing point in comparison to desktops.
What To Look For
Several factors come into play when it comes to a computer’s performance in general.
First of all, the processor. It does most of the thinking, as you know. However, you don’t necessarily need the latest chipset to run CAD software efficiently. You need to make sure that it’s at least decent.
Second of all, the graphics card. Sometimes a graphics card makes the difference between pleasant working experience and a laggy mess. Animations often play a significant role in CAD design. Those are the task of a graphics card. Memory size is important, but speed is also crucial.
Another essential hardware component is the RAM. It’s simple – the more of it, the better. More RAM usually means increased speed, but that highly depends on the components you use.
Storage is often overlooked when picking a computer. Solid-state drives are superior to traditional hard disks. The difference is undoubtedly notable – Software loads faster from SSD. Saving files is quicker and can save you precious time.
Here is a list of laptops that are good for CAD software:
Acer Predator Helios 300
The Acer Predator Helios 300 is a fancy looking gaming laptop that is capable of compiling advanced programs and rendering complex models.
It has an Intel Core i7-8750H CPU that has a core frequency of 2.2 GHz, as well as six cores and 12 threads. Also, it has a Turbo Boost option that boosts its performance.
It has 16GB of RAM from the factory and a 256GB NVMe SSD that makes a breeze out of working with large files.
Also, its NVIDIA GeForce GTX – 1060 has embedded VR support.
Apple MacBook Pro
There’s no denying that Apple makes some of the most powerful laptops on the market. The MacBookPro has a crisp 15.4 inches display with a resolution of 2880 x 1800 pixels. It looks impressive, it’s slim and stylish, and it is capable of rendering 4K video without breaking a sweat.
It packs an Intel Core i7 with a base frequency of 2.2 GHz that can be boosted to 4.1 GHz when required to.
It has 16 GB of DDR3 RAM with a frequency of 2133 MHz. It also includes the newest Touch Bar and Touch ID.
The Apple MacBook Pro is one of the best choices if you can bear the price. No program can slow it down, and its 10-hour autonomy takes productivity to a new level.
ASUS ZenBook Flip
The Asus ZenBook Flip is a direct competitor to the likes of the Apple MacBook Pro. It has a similar processor, the same RAM size and frequency, and SSD storage. However, the similarities stop there.
The ZenBook Flip is a more affordable machine, and it has corresponding specifications: It has an Nvidia GeForce MX150 graphics card, which is certainly not as powerful as the likes of a GeForce 1060. However, it is still good enough to run AutoCAD and other programs. You shouldn’t throw away your money with high spec hardware if you’re not going to need the enhanced performance.
However, if you’re not interested in laptops, there’s always the option to customize a desktop PC.
Acer Aspire TC-780
The significant aspect of desktop PCs is that, if you decide that you need extra processing power, you can easily swap the processor for a better one, which is impossible on a laptop.
The Aspire TC-780 is a fantastic performer for those who aren’t keen on spending a fortune on a computer.
It has a 7th generation Intel Core i5 that can be boosted to 3.5 GHz via Turbo Boost.
It has 12GB of DDR4 RAM, which is more than enough for multitasking. It is optimized for modeling and video-intensive applications in general. Also, it packs a 2TB hard disk, which, though slower than an SSD, compensates with its generous storage capacity.
The only downside is that it has an integrated Intel HD Graphics 630 chipset instead of a dedicated one. However, that’s not necessarily an issue as it can handle regular tasks with ease.
The Lenovo H50 runs on an Intel Core i5 processor, clocked at 3.2 GHz, has 8 gigabytes of RAM, and 1TB hard disk. It is one of the most affordable entries on this list, and its Intel HD graphics 4400 video card performs honorably.
However, technology evolves quickly, and prices will drop in a matter of months or maybe weeks. You should consider building a PC yourself if neither of the ones on this list is appealing to you. Just source the parts you need and put them all together. The internet is full of tutorials that make such a task a lot easier.