Best laptop for Solidworks 2020

Best Laptop for Solidworks 2020 (It’s not what you think!)

Solidworks 2020

This guide focuses on the best laptop for Solidworks 2020, what you need to know before you buy, precautions, tips, and general information for buyers.

This review is also for you if you are looking for the best laptop for mechanical engineering students, the best laptop for computer engineering students, and Solidworks recommended laptops. We have delved deep to research these laptops to enable you to make an intelligent buying decision.

Solidworks, developed by Dassault Systèmes is a Computer-Aided Design (CAD) / Computer-Aided Engineering Design (CAE) software for design and prototyping of engineering equipment and tools. It is used by over 2 million engineers plus over 165,000 companies all over the world. Presently, Solidworks 2020 retails for $3,995, and they have packages for students for as low as $64.

With Solidworks, you’d be able to design complex engineering designs prototypes. Over the years, Solidworks has evolved into a solid application that engineers cannot do without. Before we proceed with the reviews for the best laptop for Solidworks 2020, let’s look at some hardware requirements for running Solidworks.  

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Comparison Table for Best Laptop for Solidworks 2020

Photo
BEST VALUE FOR MONEY
Lenovo ThinkPad P53 i9 Mobile Workstation Laptop (Intel...
BEST IN STYLE/BATTERY LIFE
MSI WS75 9TL-497 17.3" FHD Thin and Light Mobile Workstation...
BEST WITH i9 CPU
New Precision 5540 Mobile Workstation Laptop 9th Gen...
2020 HP ZBook 15 G5 15.6" FHD (1920x1080) Mobile Workstation...
BEST VALUE
Lenovo_ThinkPad_P17 Gen 1 17 Inch Professional Mobile...
BEST VALUE/BATTERY LIFE
Dell Precision 5530 Mobile Workstation |15.6" FHD IGZO4 |...
Brand/Model
Lenovo ThinkPad P53 i9 Mobile Workstation Laptop (Intel...
MSI WS75 9TL-497 17.3" FHD Thin and Light Mobile Workstation...
New Precision 5540 Mobile Workstation Laptop 9th Gen...
2020 HP ZBook 15 G5 15.6" FHD (1920x1080) Mobile Workstation...
Lenovo_ThinkPad_P17 Gen 1 17 Inch Professional Mobile...
Dell Precision 5530 Mobile Workstation |15.6" FHD IGZO4 |...
Prime Status
-
-
-
-
-
Star Rating
-
-
-
Category
High-End
High End
High-End
High-End
Mid-Range
Mid-Range
Quick Specs
CPU: 9th Gen Intel Core i9-9880H 2.3GHz Processor (up to 4.80 GHz, 16MB Cache, 8-Cores)
GPU: NVIDIA Quadro RTX 4000 8GB GDDR6 Graphics
RAM: 128GB DDR4 2666MHz
Display: 15.6" Full HD (1920x1080) 16:9 Aspect Ratio Display
Storage: 2TB NVMe SSD
CPU: Intel Core i7-9750H 2.6 - 4.5GHz
GPU: NVIDIA Quadro RTX 4000 8GB GDDR5
RAM: 32GB DDR4 2666MHz
Display: 17.3" Thin Bezel FHD IPS
Storage: 512GB M.2 NVMe SSD
CPU: Intel Core Processor i9-9880H, 8 Core, 2.30GHz-4.80GHz Turbo
GPU: NVIDIA Quadro T2000 4GB GDDR5
RAM: 64GB DDR4-2666MHz
Display: 15.6" 4K Ultra HD 3840 x 2160 InfinityEdge
Storage: 2TB M.2 PCIe SSD
CPU: Intel 6-Core i9-8950HK clock speed 2.9GHz, max turbo to 4.8GHz, 12MB L3 Cache)
GPU: NVIDIA Quadro P1000 4GB GDDR5
RAM: 64GB DDR4 2400MHz
Display: 15.6" FHD (1920x1080) IPS Anti-glare
Storage: 4TB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD+2TB HDD
CPU: Intel Core i7-9750H Six Core Processor (12MB Cache, 2.6GHz-4.5GHz)
GPU: NVIDIA Quadro T1000 4GB GDDR5
RAM: 64GB DDR4 2666 MHz
Display: 15.6” IPS FHD Screen
Storage: 1TB NVMe SSD, 1 TB HDD
CPU: Intel Six-Core i7-8850H
GPU: NVIDIA Quadro P1000 4GB
RAM: 32GB DDR4
Display: 15.6” FHD
Storage: 512GB NVMe PCIe SSD+2TB HDD
Price
$3,649.99
Price not available
$4,777.77
$3,299.99
$2,179.99
$1,699.99
BEST VALUE FOR MONEY
Photo
Lenovo ThinkPad P53 i9 Mobile Workstation Laptop (Intel...
Brand/Model
Lenovo ThinkPad P53 i9 Mobile Workstation Laptop (Intel...
Prime Status
-
Star Rating
-
Category
High-End
Quick Specs
CPU: 9th Gen Intel Core i9-9880H 2.3GHz Processor (up to 4.80 GHz, 16MB Cache, 8-Cores)
GPU: NVIDIA Quadro RTX 4000 8GB GDDR6 Graphics
RAM: 128GB DDR4 2666MHz
Display: 15.6" Full HD (1920x1080) 16:9 Aspect Ratio Display
Storage: 2TB NVMe SSD
Price
$3,649.99
BEST IN STYLE/BATTERY LIFE
Photo
MSI WS75 9TL-497 17.3" FHD Thin and Light Mobile Workstation...
Brand/Model
MSI WS75 9TL-497 17.3" FHD Thin and Light Mobile Workstation...
Prime Status
-
Star Rating
Category
High End
Quick Specs
CPU: Intel Core i7-9750H 2.6 - 4.5GHz
GPU: NVIDIA Quadro RTX 4000 8GB GDDR5
RAM: 32GB DDR4 2666MHz
Display: 17.3" Thin Bezel FHD IPS
Storage: 512GB M.2 NVMe SSD
Price
Price not available
BEST WITH i9 CPU
Photo
New Precision 5540 Mobile Workstation Laptop 9th Gen...
Brand/Model
New Precision 5540 Mobile Workstation Laptop 9th Gen...
Prime Status
-
Star Rating
-
Category
High-End
Quick Specs
CPU: Intel Core Processor i9-9880H, 8 Core, 2.30GHz-4.80GHz Turbo
GPU: NVIDIA Quadro T2000 4GB GDDR5
RAM: 64GB DDR4-2666MHz
Display: 15.6" 4K Ultra HD 3840 x 2160 InfinityEdge
Storage: 2TB M.2 PCIe SSD
Price
$4,777.77
Photo
2020 HP ZBook 15 G5 15.6" FHD (1920x1080) Mobile Workstation...
Brand/Model
2020 HP ZBook 15 G5 15.6" FHD (1920x1080) Mobile Workstation...
Prime Status
-
Star Rating
Category
High-End
Quick Specs
CPU: Intel 6-Core i9-8950HK clock speed 2.9GHz, max turbo to 4.8GHz, 12MB L3 Cache)
GPU: NVIDIA Quadro P1000 4GB GDDR5
RAM: 64GB DDR4 2400MHz
Display: 15.6" FHD (1920x1080) IPS Anti-glare
Storage: 4TB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD+2TB HDD
Price
$3,299.99
BEST VALUE
Photo
Lenovo_ThinkPad_P17 Gen 1 17 Inch Professional Mobile...
Brand/Model
Lenovo_ThinkPad_P17 Gen 1 17 Inch Professional Mobile...
Prime Status
Star Rating
Category
Mid-Range
Quick Specs
CPU: Intel Core i7-9750H Six Core Processor (12MB Cache, 2.6GHz-4.5GHz)
GPU: NVIDIA Quadro T1000 4GB GDDR5
RAM: 64GB DDR4 2666 MHz
Display: 15.6” IPS FHD Screen
Storage: 1TB NVMe SSD, 1 TB HDD
Price
$2,179.99
BEST VALUE/BATTERY LIFE
Photo
Dell Precision 5530 Mobile Workstation |15.6" FHD IGZO4 |...
Brand/Model
Dell Precision 5530 Mobile Workstation |15.6" FHD IGZO4 |...
Prime Status
-
Star Rating
-
Category
Mid-Range
Quick Specs
CPU: Intel Six-Core i7-8850H
GPU: NVIDIA Quadro P1000 4GB
RAM: 32GB DDR4
Display: 15.6” FHD
Storage: 512GB NVMe PCIe SSD+2TB HDD
Price
$1,699.99

Photo
BEST IN STYLE
HP ZBook 15v G5 Mobile Workstation Laptop (Core i7-8750H,...
CUK WF75 by_MSI 17 inch Mobile Workstation Laptop (Intel...
BEST BUDGET
Dell Precision M5510 WorkStation, 15.6inch UHD IGZO...
Lenovo ThinkPad P53s Workstation Laptop (Intel i7-8565U...
BEST VALUE FOR MONEY
MSI WF65 10TH-1201 Mobile Workstation...
BEST IN STYLE/BATTERY LIFE
HP ZBook 14u G5 14" LCD Mobile Workstation - Intel Core i7...
Brand/Model
HP ZBook 15v G5 Mobile Workstation Laptop (Core i7-8750H,...
CUK WF75 by_MSI 17 inch Mobile Workstation Laptop (Intel...
Dell Precision M5510 WorkStation, 15.6inch UHD IGZO...
Lenovo ThinkPad P53s Workstation Laptop (Intel i7-8565U...
MSI WF65 10TH-1201 Mobile Workstation...
HP ZBook 14u G5 14" LCD Mobile Workstation - Intel Core i7...
Prime Status
-
-
-
Star Rating
Category
Mid-Range
Mid-Range
Budget
Budget
Budget
Budget
Quick Specs
CPU: Intel Six-Core i7-8750H, 2.2GHz up to 4.1 GHz
GPU: NVIDIA Quadro P600 4GB
RAM: 64GB DDR4
Display: 15.6” FHD Touchscreen
Storage: 2TB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD+2TB HDD
CPU: Intel Core i7-10750H Six Core Processor (12MB Cache, 2.6GHz-5.0GHz
GPU: NVIDIA Quadro RTX 3000 6GB GDDR6
RAM: 32GB DDR4
Display: 17.3" Full HD IPS 144Hz Display
Storage: 1TB NVMe SSD
CPU: Intel Core i7-6820HQ Quad Core, up to 3.6 GHz, 8M Cache
GPU: NVIDIA Quadro M1000M 2GB GDDR5
RAM: 16GB DDR4 2666MHz
Display: 15.5" UltraSharp UHD
Storage: 512 GB SATA SSD
CPU: Intel Core i7-8565U 1.80GHz Processor (8th Gen, upto 4.60 GHz, 8MB Smart Cache, 4-Cores)
GPU: P520 2GB GDDR5 Integrated Graphics
RAM: 16GB DDR3
Display: 15.6" Full HD (1920x1080) Display
Storage: 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD
CPU: Intel Core i7-10750H 2.6 - 5.0GHz
GPU: NVIDIA Quadro P620 4GB GDDR6
RAM: 16GB DDR4 2666 MHz
Display: 15.6" FHD (1920*1080), IPS-Level 60Hz Thin Bezel
Storage: 512GB NVMe SSD
CPU: 6 Core Intel i7-8650U Processor
GPU: NVIDIA Quadro P600 4GB
RAM: 8 GB DDR4-2666 SDRAM
Display: 15.6" Full HD Touch Display
Storage: 256 GB PCIe NVMe SSD
Price
$2,599.99
$2,199.00
$779.00
$1,349.95
$1,233.99
$1,374.29
BEST IN STYLE
Photo
HP ZBook 15v G5 Mobile Workstation Laptop (Core i7-8750H,...
Brand/Model
HP ZBook 15v G5 Mobile Workstation Laptop (Core i7-8750H,...
Prime Status
-
Star Rating
Category
Mid-Range
Quick Specs
CPU: Intel Six-Core i7-8750H, 2.2GHz up to 4.1 GHz
GPU: NVIDIA Quadro P600 4GB
RAM: 64GB DDR4
Display: 15.6” FHD Touchscreen
Storage: 2TB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD+2TB HDD
Price
$2,599.99
Photo
CUK WF75 by_MSI 17 inch Mobile Workstation Laptop (Intel...
Brand/Model
CUK WF75 by_MSI 17 inch Mobile Workstation Laptop (Intel...
Prime Status
-
Star Rating
Category
Mid-Range
Quick Specs
CPU: Intel Core i7-10750H Six Core Processor (12MB Cache, 2.6GHz-5.0GHz
GPU: NVIDIA Quadro RTX 3000 6GB GDDR6
RAM: 32GB DDR4
Display: 17.3" Full HD IPS 144Hz Display
Storage: 1TB NVMe SSD
Price
$2,199.00
BEST BUDGET
Photo
Dell Precision M5510 WorkStation, 15.6inch UHD IGZO...
Brand/Model
Dell Precision M5510 WorkStation, 15.6inch UHD IGZO...
Prime Status
-
Star Rating
Category
Budget
Quick Specs
CPU: Intel Core i7-6820HQ Quad Core, up to 3.6 GHz, 8M Cache
GPU: NVIDIA Quadro M1000M 2GB GDDR5
RAM: 16GB DDR4 2666MHz
Display: 15.5" UltraSharp UHD
Storage: 512 GB SATA SSD
Price
$779.00
Photo
Lenovo ThinkPad P53s Workstation Laptop (Intel i7-8565U...
Brand/Model
Lenovo ThinkPad P53s Workstation Laptop (Intel i7-8565U...
Prime Status
Star Rating
Category
Budget
Quick Specs
CPU: Intel Core i7-8565U 1.80GHz Processor (8th Gen, upto 4.60 GHz, 8MB Smart Cache, 4-Cores)
GPU: P520 2GB GDDR5 Integrated Graphics
RAM: 16GB DDR3
Display: 15.6" Full HD (1920x1080) Display
Storage: 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD
Price
$1,349.95
BEST VALUE FOR MONEY
Photo
MSI WF65 10TH-1201 Mobile Workstation...
Brand/Model
MSI WF65 10TH-1201 Mobile Workstation...
Prime Status
Star Rating
Category
Budget
Quick Specs
CPU: Intel Core i7-10750H 2.6 - 5.0GHz
GPU: NVIDIA Quadro P620 4GB GDDR6
RAM: 16GB DDR4 2666 MHz
Display: 15.6" FHD (1920*1080), IPS-Level 60Hz Thin Bezel
Storage: 512GB NVMe SSD
Price
$1,233.99
BEST IN STYLE/BATTERY LIFE
Photo
HP ZBook 14u G5 14" LCD Mobile Workstation - Intel Core i7...
Brand/Model
HP ZBook 14u G5 14" LCD Mobile Workstation - Intel Core i7...
Prime Status
Star Rating
Category
Budget
Quick Specs
CPU: 6 Core Intel i7-8650U Processor
GPU: NVIDIA Quadro P600 4GB
RAM: 8 GB DDR4-2666 SDRAM
Display: 15.6" Full HD Touch Display
Storage: 256 GB PCIe NVMe SSD
Price
$1,374.29

Solidworks 2020
Solidworks 2020 allows you to model and render engineering component parts and assemblies for the engineering industry.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
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Most users think just about any laptop is suitable for Solidworks 2020; they quickly buy any laptop that catches their fancy and expect to get the best performance in Solidworks. It doesn’t work that way. So here’s a breakdown of the minimum laptop hardware requirements for Solidworks.

CPU or Processor

Solidworks requires a multi-core processor with up to 3.3Ghz or better clock speed. In fact, the more cores, the better the performance you can expect. From Solidworks specifications, Intel Xeon class of processors is highly recommended because of the way they are engineered to handle data processing.

Intel Core i3 or i5 class of CPUs are not suited for this kind of workload, not necessarily because they won’t work, but they are not optimized for that kind of heavy workload that Solidworks require. You may go for an i3 or i5 laptop if you are on a budget, but you would be severely limited in productivity and speed. In fact, it is not recommended to buy a laptop with an i3 or i5 chip. All our budget workstation laptops have either an i7 or Xeon processors.

Your workflow will benefit considerably with a multi-core processor, compared to a single or dual-core processor. Applications such as Solidworks Simulation and Photoview 360 require a laptop equipped with a multi-core processor (at least six cores) for optimum performance.

However, please bear in mind that good design practices such as minimizing in-context references, utilizing large assembly modes and other performance tools can significantly reduce the load on the processor, thereby improving performance.  

Operating System

Solidworks is officially supported on Windows 7 Service Pack 1 64-bit and Windows 10, 64-bit. Windows Home Editions are not supported, but this doesn’t mean you can’t run it on this OS.

It simply means that the best performance is not guaranteed because the engineers at Solidworks did not approve it officially. Windows 8.1 is also not supported, as support for the OS ended with Solidworks 2018 SP5.  

RAM

Solidworks 2020 requires a minimum of 16GB of RAM. This is ideal. However, if your machine has 8GB of RAM, please bear in mind you are going to be working with small to medium models at most. Anything larger will probably slow down your work or even crash the application.

If you are going to be handling large and massive models and simulations, you should consider going for a laptop with 32GB of RAM or upgrading your current machine. 3D design requires large amounts of fast RAM, preferably DDR4 RAM.  

Hard Drive

An SSD drive of at least 512GB is recommended for better performance, compared to a traditional hard drive. This is important because your 128 or 256GB SSD will quickly fill up due to the typically large sizes of CAD files, including renders.

You may want to consider adding one if your laptop doesn’t come equipped with one. A PCIe NVMe SSD drive offers even better performance when compared to a SATA SSD.

You should also consider adding RAID storage for storage. Network storage is not advisable to use, because access speeds drop significantly when compared to local storage on the laptop.

As you’ll discover, all our reviewed workstation laptops have either an SSD or NVMe drives installed. So this is not really an issue, but it’s worth mentioning in case you might want to do an upgrade later.  

Graphics Card

Solidworks as a modeling/rendering application requires a powerful compute-capable graphics card, preferably a workstation-class, Open GL enabled GPU, and they have released a list of certified cards including NVIDIA Quadro, AMD FirePro, and AMD Radeon Pro WX series cards. These cards are workstation-class GPUs, offering better performance in Solidworks when compared to graphics cards for gaming.

On the low end, Solidworks supports the Quadro P600 or Radeon Pro WX3100 cards. These cards are meant for the budget segment. Mid-range cards include the Quadro P1000/2000 or Radeon WX 4100. On the high-end segment, we have the NVidia Quadro P4000 or Radeon WX5100 or higher models. The new RTX Quadros offer top-level performance, compared to the previous generation Quadros.

If you are on a low budget when shopping for a laptop for Solidworks 2020, it is better to buy a machine with a low to the mid-range graphics card, and a more powerful CPU and SSD drive. This is advisable if you are going to be working on small models from time to time. However, if you are going to be working with huge model assemblies, you might consider going for a laptop with a high-end workstation card.  

What about Gaming Graphics Cards?

Gaming cards are not recommended, even though Solidworks offer limited support for the GeForce series of graphics cards. This is because they are optimized for high frame rates and low polygon scenes, as is obtainable in games.

Solidworks require a card optimized for handling large polygon count scenes, whilst maintaining low frame rates. This is typical of all CAD application workflows. If your laptop is equipped with a GeForce graphics card, Solidworks will run, but performance will be reduced. Go for this:

  • If you don’t plan on carrying out intensive simulation and rendering. Gaming graphics cards from AMD or NVIDIA will serve you.
  • You are limited to only Drafting, Modeling, and Drawing small assemblies.
  • You are rendering and simulating assemblies that are in the region of a few hundred.

 CUDA Specific Workloads

If you plan on using Solidworks Visualize, then you must purchase a laptop with only NVidia cards because this particular application is designed to run on NVIDIA GPUs. If you try to run the software on a laptop without an NVIDIA GPU, then the application switches to the CPU, which can impair performance because other apps rely on the CPU.

Similar products that utilize only NVIDIA GPUs include Solidworks Conceptual Designer and Solidworks Industrial Designer. Bear this in mind when choosing a workstation laptop.

What about dual GPU configurations? Even though you hardly find this setup in a laptop, yet it’s instructive to note that Solidworks doesn’t utilize the second card. Apart from this fact, graphics issues may arise from processing conflicts.

When it comes to workstation graphics cards, it comes down to just two choices: AMD and NVIDIA. Solidworks seems to favor NVIDIA graphics cards because of CUDA, the proprietary computational engine available on only NVIDIA workstation graphics cards. Solidworks has a component called Visualize, which depends on CUDA architecture to run.

If you are getting a laptop with AMD workstation graphics, please bear in mind that Visualize will switch over to the CPU for computations because AMD cards are not supported.

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Best Laptop for Solidworks 2020: 12 Machines Reviewed

Having gone through the system requirements for the best laptop for Solidworks 2020, let’s look at the 12 best laptops you can get for this purpose. We are going to break them down into 3 categories; 4 for low-end, 4 for mid-range, and 4 for high-end.

If you are on a budget, you should consider the low-end or mid-range options. Students and beginners should consider these options. However, if your pocket is quite deep, you can go for the high-end options. If you’re ready, let’s get to it.

For the record, we are only going to review laptops from HP, Dell, MSI, and Lenovo. These are the major manufacturers of the kind of laptops we are reviewing.    

4 High-End Machines – Best Laptop for Solidworks 2020

Lenovo ThinkPad P53 Mobile Workstation LaptopBest Value for Money (High-End Category)

This is a solid and rugged workstation laptop with premium hardware that every serious Solidworks user like you should seriously consider. Lenovo has always held up its reputation as a manufacturer of workstations and business laptops for both serious business executives and enthusiast professionals.

The Lenovo ThinkPad P53 Premium Workstation Laptop doesn’t disappoint in any way, as it is crammed with top of the line hardware every CAD professional will love. The rugged and sturdy chassis is well built, featuring a full layout keyboard, a beautiful 15.6″ Full HD IPS screen, and of course, the familiar Thinkpad etching on the lid and beside the keyboard and the trademark red trackpad.

For starters, it is equipped with Intel’s 10th Gen mobile processor, the six-core Intel Core i9-9880H Processor featuring a clock speed of 2.30GHz, up to 4.6GHz with Turbo Boost and 12MB SmartCache. This processor is more than enough to handle your modeling and rendering tasks, especially because it is officially certified by Solidworks.

On the graphics front, there is the NVIDIA Quadro RTX 4000 Graphics card with 8GB GDDR6 VRAM, a workstation-class graphics card designed just for CAD applications like Solidworks 2020, and will allow you to view models in Real View with no lag. Well, this is a high-range Quadro, you should expect awesome performance, especially when handling large models in Solidworks 2020. If you plan to do some VR by the side, then rest assured because this Quadro is VR-Ready.

The P53 also sports a bright 15.6″ FHD display, which produces vivid colors, thanks to the 72% sRGB color gamut coverage. The panel is also anti-glare coated and IPS display, which allows for better viewing from virtually any angle. For memory, there is more than enough with a whopping 128GB of fast DDR4 RAM. Heck, you can even pluck out 64GB and list it on eBay, and still have a generous 64GB to play around with. With this much RAM, you won’t have any performance issues with Solidworks. Seriously.

In the storage department, the P53 accommodates a 2TB NVMe SSD. You can re-partition the large capacity drive with a 3:1 ratio, using the smaller capacity partition for the OS, and the larger partition for file storage. As you already know, NVMe drives offer blisteringly fast data transfer speeds. Your workflow will fly, as you don’t have to keep waiting for that file transfer to end. You don’t need additional storage with this configuration. Really.

And, oh, lest we forget. The keyboard is a spill-resistant, precision keyboard with a numeric pad. In addition, you have a 90Wh Lithium-Ion Battery which has been reported to last up to 6 hours, on typical usage scenarios.

You’ve got Windows 10 Professional (Win 10 Pro) pre-installed when you purchase, and, to cap it all off, there’re lots of connectivity options including a card reader, Bluetooth 5, Thunderbolt 3, USB 3 and 3.1, HDMI, and integrated mic/headphone jack, and, last but not the least, Gigabit Ethernet featuring the latest Intel WiFi 6 (802.11ax). In addition, there is also a 720p HD Webcam, and Fingerprint Security System. All these are housed in a chassis weighing 6 lb which we consider average.


PROS


  • Large Storage
  • Adequate RAM
  • ISV certified
  • Impressive graphics performance




CONS


  • Average battery life



HP ZBook 15 G5 Workstation Laptop

HP’s flagship workstation laptop is a badass heavy lifter for applications such as Solidworks 2020. This laptop is engineered for extreme performance to meet extraordinary demands. With the ZBook 15 G5, you can edit multiple content streams, manipulate complex data, and develop in VR.

You’d be hard-pressed to find an equally fascinating machine that captured our hearts. Oh yes, it did! From its beautiful silver finish chassis to its impressive 15” screen, we surely love this machine, and you should too! This machine is by popular opinion one of the best laptops for CAD.

So what’s under the hood? For starters, it’s powered by the 6-core Intel Core i9 8950HK processor with a 2.9GHz base frequency and 4.8GHz Turbo. In addition to this, we find a handsome 64GB of fast DDR4 RAM for handling all those large assemblies.

The graphics is handled by the NVIDIA Quadro P1000 with 4GB of graphics memory. This is a workstation-grade graphics card that enables your simulations and demanding scenes will fly on this thing.

You have a beautiful 15” display with IPS Technology and a screen resolution of 1920×1080 Full HD to display crisp and sharp images. The display features eDP anti-glare technology, outputting one billion colors on the HD laptop display.

There’s also a built-in color calibration system for better color output, and anti-glare with an ambient light sensor which makes it easier to work in any lighting setting, automatically adjusting to the surrounding ambient light.

For storage, we have a handsome combination of 4TB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD and a 2TB HDD . This is ample enough for running your OS and storing your files. For connectivity, the ZBook has an array of options, including 3x Type C Thunderbolt 3, 3x USB 3, RJ-45 network interface, Gigabit Ethernet featuring Wi-Fi 6, HDMI, and a 90Whr six-cell battery for power supply. However, we noticed a lack of a DisplayPort. For security, there’s also a Fingerprint Reader and audio combo jack.

The battery life of the machine is not bad, clocking up to 9 hours in continuous usage scenarios. This is impressive by workstation standards. It’s a pleasant surprise given the power-hungry nature of these kinds of laptops.

Finally, the whole package weighs in at 6 pounds. Then there is the spill-resistant keyboard which means you don’t have to worry about your coffee spilling accidentally on the keypad. With a better airflow design, the ZBook 15 G5 has 20% better thermals, which ensures it stays cool and quiet even under intense multi-application workloads like Solidworks 2020 demands.

We think the G5 is an impressive machine, with stylish looks and high-end hardware to boot. If you are comfortable with it, click through the link below.


PROS


  • Superior design
  • Impressive hardware
  • Expandability
  • Great battery life
  • Ample storage




CONS


  • Weighty
  • No DisplayPort



MSI WS75 Enthusiast Workstation LaptopBest in Style/Battery Life (High-End Category)

MSI’s flagship workstation laptop is a beast of a machine. Get ready to be wowed by its sleek looks, of which its slim form factor is a strong point. The WS75 is in a class of its own. Let’s look at the specs. The beastly processor powering this machine is an 8-Core Intel Core i7 9750H chip. What you are eventually getting is 16 threads for maximum performance with rendering and similar workloads.

With the 12MB SmartCache which facilitates fast data transfers, this chip scores high on performance, especially Solidworks rendering and computation. Apart from this, it is VR-Ready. The i9 9880H runs at a base clock speed of 2.6GHz and ramps up to 4.5GHz with Turbo Boost.

With its absurdly low TDP, a miserly 45Watts, this processor runs cool, even at maxed out stress tests. Also note that this processor is VR-Ready, if you are going to be running VR apps, that is.

Then you’ve got graphics powered by an NVIDIA Quadro RTX 4000 with 8GB GDDR5 graphics memory. This mean next-gen workstation-class GPU is engineered for running applications like Solidworks, with its 8GB of VRAM, it can take on your heavy model assemblies without lag. It’s that powerful. It’s got 2,304 CUDA cores at your disposal. Besides, it’s also got 288 NVIDIA Tensor Cores and 36 Nvidia RT Cores for heavy ray-tracing computation workloads.

For storage, we’ve got a 512GB M.2 NVMe SSD for insane data transfer speeds. This top of the line SSD has scored Sequential Read speeds of 3500MB/s and write speed of 2500MB/s. With this, you’ve got yourself a speedy machine per data transfer.

This machine has a beautiful 17.3” IPS display at full HD (1920×1080) with a thin bezel and 100% sRGB for accurate color reproduction. The RAM is an installed capacity of 32GB, more than enough for the demanding workloads that we’ve come to expect this machine to handle. However, if you need more RAM, there’s an additional slot to accommodate another 32G for a total of 64GB.

Other features we love include the beautiful keyboard with a single white backlight with Anti-Ghost Key and Silver Lining for working in the dark. Connectivity options include Qualcomm Atheros wireless LAN, Intel 9560 Thunder Peak wireless LAN, Bluetooth 5, Thunderbolt 3, USB 3.1 Type-C, USB 3.1 Type-A, HDMI with an output of 4K resolution, Ethernet LAN, Mic + Headphone-out and Micro SD Card Reader. There’s also a fingerprint reader for added security.

On the software side, there’s good old Windows 10 Professional and Creator Center software which allows you to adjust performance settings for the ISV application you intend to run such as SolidWorks, CATIA, AutoCAD, ANSYS, and more. This is a handy utility for an efficient workflow.

Battery life? This machine is equipped with an 82WHr battery and clocked up to 8 hours. By standards, this is not bad at all, especially with the array of high-end hardware it has. We found this mean workstation laptop sexy and a high performer, with its high specifications. You won’t get it wrong with this machine. Honestly.

Want to check it out? Use the link below.  


PROS


  • Slim design
  • ISV Certified
  • Powerful Processor and Graphics
  • Good looks
  • Average weight




CONS


  • No DVD Drive (Does it matter anyway?)



Dell Precision 5540 Mobile WorkstationBest with i9 Processor (High-End Category)

best laptop for Solidworks

One of Dell’s flagship professional workstation laptops, the 15″ Precision 5540, with upgraded configuration, will power your Solidworks modeling and rendering workflow effortlessly. This is one of the machines in this round up with some of the best high-end configurations, with upgraded processors, graphics, and storage. Dell holds a rock-solid reputation as a technology company that makes solid laptops, and this is no exception. The 5540 owes its design and looks to the XPS 15, and if you use that machine and love it, then you are going to love this workstation.

The Precision 5540 sports a 4K OLED Ultra-HD display and is powered by a 9th Gen i9-9880H eight-core processor with 16 threads, a base clock of 2.3GHz, and a max turbo frequency of 4.80GHz. This is a powerful processor in its own right, delivering blistering speeds in handling and manipulating Solidworks assemblies, and rendering. The graphics system is powered by a workstation-class Video Card, the NVIDIA Quadro T2000 with 4GB GDDR5 graphics memory. With such a powerful combo of the i9 processor and Quadro at your disposal, you won’t be lagging behind in modeling and rendering in Solidworks.

The system RAM is maxed out at 64GB Dual Channel DDR4-2666MHz RAM, and it allows you to run Solidworks smoothly, even when running multiple apps. This is far higher than the minimum recommended 16GB of RAM for Solidworks.

best laptop for Solidworks

The display is stunningly beautiful. Let’s not forget this is a 4K OLED display, which means you can connect to an external 4K monitor for the best viewing experience. The display is also equipped with InfinityEdge Anti-Reflective Touch IPS, so you can see images better, swipe, zoom, and pinch away. At this much resolution, images stand out in much greater clarity and detail. The display also has up to 400nits of brightness. This is quite impressive and should provide adequate brightness even in daylight conditions.

The Storage features a 2TB PCIe NVMe Class 40 Solid State Drive for speedy data access and performance, plus a host of connectivity options including USB 3.1, Thunderbolt, HDMI, RJ45 and card reader slots. It also has Intel Dual Band Wireless with the AX200 specification, and Bluetooth 5. There are also high-quality speakers and an HD-camera for video conferencing installed. Well, if you want to do some voice recording on the go, there is a microphone to do just that.

The battery is a six-cell 97Wh with ExpressCharge for faster charging, with a battery life of just about 6+ hours. This is not bad, as we don’t expect a very long battery life with this level of configuration. Also, note the cooling system; dual fans keep the system cool even under heavy workloads. What about weight? There’s a total weight of 3.9lbs, which we consider lightweight after all, thanks to its 100% Aluminum chassis.

These features combine together to make this machine a CAD powerhouse, you can’t afford to not get your hands on one! Click on the link below to check it out.  


PROS


  • High-end graphics
  • Powerful processor
  • Beautiful ultra-HD Display
  • Light-weight
  • Good battery life




CONS


  • Could get hot under load in some areas



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4 Mid-Range Machines – Best Laptop for Solidworks 2020

Lenovo ThinkPad P53 Workstation LaptopBest Value (Mid-Range Category)

best laptop for Solidworks

Our first candidate, though not necessarily the best of all, the Lenovo P52 makes a bold statement with its impressive specifications. Let’s look at its performance and specifications.

For starters, the processor is a six-core i7 9750H with some serious clock speeds – 2.6GHz base frequency and up to 4.5GHz turbo frequency. This is impressive for a laptop machine, as it far exceeds the minimum requirement for running Solidworks which is 3.3GHz clock speed. There’s also a generous 12MB Smart Cache for speding up calculations in Solidworks. Interestingly, this processor supports hyper-threading – meaning that you’ve got a total of 12 threads for handling the rendering and visualizations.

The graphics department is handled by an NVIDIA Quadro T1000 with 4GB of dedicated graphics memory. Well, for a laptop of this caliber, we expected a much better graphics chip such as the P4200 or P5200.

Nevertheless, it’s not a bad performer altogether, with up to 768 CUDA cores, it can still handle low to medium model count assemblies with ease. It’s comforting to note that you can actually output to a 4K display using the provided mini-Display or HDMI port if you want a bigger screen, that is.

The RAM allocated to this machine is 64GB of fast DDR4 RAM for serious multi-tasking and heavy modeling tasks. This is more than enough as it far exceeds the minimum requirement of 16GB of RAM. Then we’ve got the big 15.6” screen with IPS with anti-glare which enables you to view the screen from far angles. Our particular test machine is full HD, but if you look around, you can actually get a 4K resolution Thinkpad P72 model.

For storage, we’ve got a total of 1TB NVMe SSD and 1TB mechanical hard drive storage. The speedy NVMe drive of course houses the Windows 10 Professional OS. Plenty of connectivity options abound, with Bluetooth 5, Thunderbolt 3, 3 USB 3.0 ports, 2 USB Type-C ports, 1 HDMI, and mini-Display ports, a 3.5 mm audio combo jack, and Intel Wireless 9560 protocol with the 802.11a/b/g/n/ac specification. There’s also an integrated 4-in-1 media card reader.

Other goodies include the backlit keyboard for easy work-in-the-dark convenience, a fingerprint reader for additional security, and a 720p HD webcam which comes in handy for video chats. The total weight of this machine is 5.4 pounds, which we consider light by standards. It also sports dual speakers with Dolby Audio Premium sound.

On the Lenovo website, this machine is touted to last up to 8.9 hours on tests with MobileMark 2014, but tests reveal that the P52 lasts a little over 5.59 hours on video playback tests. When utilizing Solidworks for modeling and rendering, expect much lower battery life in the region of 4 hours.

You might want to check out the following accessories for your Thinkpad P53 which includes ThinkPad Thunderbolt 3 Workstation Dock, ThinkVision P27h-10 27 inch Wide QHD IPS Type-C Monitor, Lenovo Passage Backpack, and ThinkPad 230W AC Adapter Slim Tip.

Even though the P53 is not one of the flagship machines by the manufacturer, it still has some decent features that qualify it as a mid-range machine. Besides, it’s one of the  Solidworks recommended laptops with ISV certification. All the same, it’s not a bad option either. Check out the link below for pricing.  


PROS


  • Independent Software Vendor (ISV) certified
  • Beautiful  keyboard and display
  • Workstation grade performance
  • High-grade keyboard




CONS


  • A bit heavy
  • Not too impressive battery life



Dell Precision 5530 Mobile WorkstationBest Value/Battery Life (Mid-Range Category)

best laptop for Solidworks

So we’ve got this beautifully crafted workstation lappie with amazing specs. For a mid-range machine, it’s a great bargain. For starters, it sports an i7 processor, the 6-core Intel Core i7 8850H Processor clocked at 2.6GHz up to 4.30GHz Turbo, 9M Cache and 45W power rating.

It’s a hyper-threaded chip, meaning you can finish renders in a reasonable time with 12 threads at your disposal. Yes. You’ll get better performance when running Photoview 360 and Solidworks Simulation, after all, this is a mid-range configuration.

Then we’ve got an Nvidia Quadro P1000M with 4GB GDDR5 RAM powering the graphics. This graphics chip will allow you to comfortably run Solidworks Conceptual Designer and Solidworks Industrial Designer with its 640 CUDA cores but don’t expect the best results though. It’s a mid-range workstation graphics chip after all.

The M7510 is fitted with 32GB of fast DDR4 RAM which we consider impressive. No need for an upgrade if you are handling medium to large model assemblies. We’ve also got the 512GB SSD drive for holding your OS and data. Then you’ve got the beautiful 15.6” ultra-sharp full HD Display at 1920×1080 pixels with Premium Panel Guarantee.

Other options include the fact that this machine has provision for two storage devices: one M.2 PCIe solid-state drive and one 2.5” PCIe/SATA drive which is already occupied by the 512GB SSD drive. So you might want to add an M.2 SSD for even better storage performance.

Connectivity options include 4 USB 3.0 with PowerShare, 1 Thunderbolt 3, 1 mini-Display Port, 1 HDMI, 1 Headphone and microphone combo jack, and a SmartCard Reader. There’s also an SD Card Reader for SD, SDHC, and SDXC variants, supporting up to 64GB, and Intel Dual Band Wireless 8260 (802.11ac) with Bluetooth.

The unit is powered by a 6-cell 91WHr battery, with battery life topping roughly 13 hours, which we found quite impressive for a workstation laptop.

Finally, the total weight of this lappie is 6.16lbs, and you’d get 3 Years of Hardware Service Warranty with this purchase. For the specs, we think this is a good deal. So don’t hesitate to check out the price with the link below.  


PROS


  • Large RAM
  • Impressive battery life
  • Impressive performance
  • Expandable




CONS


  • Weight on the heavy side



HP ZBook 15V G5 Workstation LaptopBest in Style (Mid-Range Category)

best laptop for Solidworks

Here comes this stylish laptop from HP which, for a mid-range machine, fits the bill perfectly. This machine lives up to the HP tradition of functionality, form, and performance. The ZBook 15V G5 is designed with aesthetics and performance in mind.

Firstly, you’ve got an Intel Core i7-8750U Six-Core clocked at 2.20GHz, up to 4.1GHz turbo with 9MB SmartCache for faster data access. It’s interesting to know that this processor features hyper-threading, which means you get a total of 12 threads for speedier rendering tasks.

In the RAM department, we’ve got a total of 32B DDR4 RAM for serious multi-tasking. Solidworks requires a minimum of 16GB RAM; with this configuration, you are in a safe zone, which means no RAM upgrade is required.

For the graphics, we’ve got the NVIDIA Quadro P600 with 4GB of GDDR5 VRAM. This is just enough to handle simple to medium model assemblies in Solidworks. We think this is adequate if you don’t plan to work on large assemblies and render with this machine.

The storage drive is a 2TB NVMe PCIe SSD plus a 2TB hard drive. This is quite adequate if you plan to save lots of large Solidworks model assemblies. The display features a Full HD panel at 1920×1080 pixels with IPS which enables you to view the screen from wide angles. It’s also a touchscreen panel.

Now here’s the sweet spot of this machine: the battery. One of the downsides of a workstation laptop is the average to poor battery life which we have come to accept as normal. But wait, this machine equipped with just a 3-cell, 56 Wh battery has clocked up to 8 hours during stress tests.  According to release notes, it is reported to last up to 10 hours. This is remarkable. It comes as no surprise though. It’s explainable. For starters, this lappie doesn’t have a DVD drive.

For connectivity, there’s two USB Type-A, one USB Type C, HDMI, Bluetooth 4.2, WiFi with the 802.11ac protocol, Gigabit Ethernet, one Thunderbolt 3 port, audio jack. To crown it all, the keyboard has beautiful LED-lighting for working in the dark. Oh, another beauty spot; this machine just weighs 3.94 lbs.

We consider this to be on the lighter side, compared to similar workstation laptops. Windows 10 Professional comes bundled with the machine, allowing you to work seamlessly across apps.

The ZBook 15V G5 is a real beauty. That’s our verdict. If you don’t plan to do heavy modeling and rendering, for now, this is the laptop to own. Besides, it’s thin and ultra-light. Click on the link below to check it out.  


PROS


  • Elegant design
  • Amazing battery life
  • Decent performance
  • Expandable
  • Ultra-light




CONS


  • No DVD Drive



MSI WF75 Workstation Laptop

So we’ve got this sleek workstation laptop from MSI, and, did we say we are impressed. The WF75 represents most of what we expect from a workstation mobile PC, and it is one of the latest models of workstation laptops from MSI.

This machine, like its siblings, is designed for CAD applications like Solidworks, so if your budget is around $2,000, and you are doing serious CAD design and rendering, get your hands on this machine by all means. Design-wise, this machine has it all. Sleek looks, lightweight, thin profile. The smooth gray metallic chassis is sturdy and compact, with the MSI logo etched on the lid.

This machine is loaded with powerful hardware. For starters, there’s a six-core, 12-thread Intel Core i7 9750H chip powering the processing. Even though this isn’t a Xeon, but it still packs some firepower for intensive rendering. When the chips are down, th10th Gen i7 CPU can ramp up its frequency to 5GHz on turbo. It has up to 12MB Smart Cache which means faster data access during processing.

Then here’s the sweet spot of this machine: the graphics powered by an NVIDIA Quadro RTX 3000 with 6GB GDDR5 Graphics Memory. This is a powerful VR-Ready GPU designed for computational purposes, and the large 6GB of RAM on this graphics chip would ensure your designs and large model assemblies remain responsive.

The RTX 3000 has an array of impressive features such as effectively enhancing anti-aliasing by up to 64 times full-scene antialiasing, supporting 16K texture and render processing and Pascal memory compression, increasing bandwidth up to 20% by reducing the amount of data fetched from memory for each frame.

There’s also a 32GB allocation of DDR4 RAM, enough to hold your complex models while you work on them without lag. If you need more RAM, go ahead and grab another 32GB because this machine can accommodate 64GB.

For storage, you have a 1TB NVMe SSD, enough to store your models and other files. It might interest you to know that NVMe drives are speedier than regular SSD drives.

The WF75 is equipped with a wide variety of connectivity options, which will enhance your workflow. You’ll find Gigabit LAN, Bluetooth 5.1, USB 3 Type A and Type C, Thunderbolt, HDMI, Card Reader, and Headphone/Mic. Windows 10 Professional 64-bit comes pre-installed on this machine, and there’s a fingerprint reader for security. The HD webcam is also great for video conferencing and chats.

MSI WF75 Workstation Laptop features a slim and sleek design

Let’s not forget the 17.3” Full HD Display featuring Anti-Glare Technology. Then, here’s what gladdens our heart about this machine: it’s weight and thin design. With a chassis crammed with all these high-end hardware, this machine weighs a paltry 4.8lbs. We are surprised anyway, for a 17-inch laptop this is impressive.

MSI sure lived up to their reputation for quality with a solid workstation laptop as this; we consider buying this a worthy investment. Did we forget to mention it has an LED keyboard to help you work in the dark? There’s also the useful MSI Creator Software which allows you to customize the way your machine handles apps, especially CAD apps like Solidworks.

The MSI WF75 is an impressive machine, has plenty of connectivity options (though there’s no DisplayPort), and is well-built. It also has a decent battery life, clocking in at 7 hours plus in productivity tests. For design and performance, the WF75 scores high for a mid-range system. We think this is a good buy. Don’t you think so?  


PROS


  • High-end graphics/Processor
  • Impressively lightweight
  • Beautiful slim design
  • Decent battery life
  • Plenty of connectivity options




CONS


  • No DisplayPort



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4 Budget Machines – Best Laptop for Solidworks 2020

In this section, we’re going to look at workstation laptops in the budget category. Specifically, if you are a mechanical engineering student and you use Solidworks, you can get the best laptop for mechanical engineering drawing at a cheaper cost.  

Dell Precision M5510 Mobile Workstation Laptop Best Budget (Budget Category)

When it comes to budget options, it usually seems you are getting the lowest features there are. But it’s not usually the case, as we discover with this cheap but formidable workstation lappie from Dell. It’s listed as renewed, which according to Amazon, has been “professionally inspected and tested to work and look like new by Amazon-qualified and performance-managed suppliers”.

So what you are getting is a good deal because it’s as good as new. We chose to review this laptop because of the low price tag (a little less than $800) and the quality hardware crammed into it. Ok, let’s go!

The Dell M5510 is powered by the Intel Core i7-6820HQ cranking out 2.4GHz up to 3.6Ghz clock speed on Turbo. Besides, it’s hyper-threaded, meaning you have 8 threads to run your light renders. Build-wise, this machine screams rugged and tough. The chassis is a metal-plastic combo, with the keyboard deck made from carbon fiber. The attractive design is not weighty at all, with the machine clocking in at just 3.93 lbs.

Dell M5500 Back view

For graphics, we’ve got an NVIDIA Quadro M1000M with 2GB of total graphics memory. This is a low-profile workstation graphics card with 512 CUDA cores. Don’t expect much from this baby. It will not be able to handle large model assemblies, just small to medium assemblies with simple parts.

Next, we’ve got 16GB DDR4 RAM. With this much RAM, the laptop is still powerful enough to power your multi-tasking. For storage, we’ve got a 512GB SSD hard drive. This may not be adequate for your needs, and you may want to upgrade to a bigger one. We recommend the Samsung EVO 1TB model for an upgrade.

For the display, we’ve got a UHD (3840×2160) Touch Wide View LED-backlit with Premium Panel Guarantee. Connectivity options include Bluetooth, WiFi, HDMI, and USB 3 Thunderbolt ports with Power Delivery. There’s also a standard 3.5mm audio jack, a microphone jack, and SD Card Reader.

Battery life stands at up to 11 hours at normal usage. However, if you are rendering or doing a heavy workload, expect the battery life to drop to like 5 hours. In addition, its weight stands at just about 3.9 pounds. There’s a Windows 10 Pro installation that comes with this machine. The most important thing; it’s a value laptop for the price point. If you’re OK with this machine, check it out through the link below.  


PROS


  • Impressive specs for the price
  • Upgradeable
  • Lightweight
  • Long battery life
  • Thunderbolt connectivity




CONS


  • No DisplayPort
  • Low-powered GPU



Lenovo ThinkPad P53s Mobile Workstation

best laptop for Solidworks

Even though this is a budget laptop and isn’t future proof and all, but it still packs some decent punch. At least it will allow you to model simple assemblies and render, without punching a huge hole in your pocket. This is our pick from Lenovo in the budget workstation laptop range.

The processor is an i7, the 8565U with a frequency of up to 4.6GHz on turbo. It’s a 4-core, 8-thread chip with 8MB of cache for fast data access. Your renders should finish in less time, thanks to the hyper-threading, with the integrated Intel Turbo Boost technology delivering dynamic extra power when you need it.

The graphics chip is an NVIDIA Quadro P520 with 2GB of graphics memory. This is an entry-level workstation graphics card, so don’t expect sterling performance. At least, it will handle low model assemblies with ease.

For storage, we have a 256GB NVMe SSD. This is nice, as it’ll drastically speed up your workflow, compared to a traditional hard drive. We’ve also got 16GB DDR4 RAM installed. If you’re not satisfied, you may wish to add more RAM. The display features a 15.6″ FHD (1920 x 1080) with Anti-Glare Technology, and we observed the crispness of the colors during tests.

There are several connectivity options available, including Intel Wireless LAN with Bluetooth 5, 1 Thunderbolt port, 1 HDMI port, 2 USB 3.1 ports, 1 USB type C port, 4 in 1 card reader, mic/headphone combo, among others.

The audio department is powered by Stereo Speakers with Dolby Home Theater, which delivered crisp sounds during audio playback. Battery life stands at almost 8 hours of continuous use, which we consider average, though on the Lenovo website it is rated at up 15 hours. The weight of this laptop at 3.87 lbs which is not bad at all. There’s also the ThinkPad Fingerprint Security System and Backlit Keyboard with a Full Number pad. To crown it all, there’s Windows 10 Professional 64-bit installed.

We think this is a decent performer with decent hardware configuration, but heck, it’s a budget lappie after all. You may also want to step up to a more recent model, the Lenovo P72 if you want a higher configuration option.

Otherwise, click through below to check the price on Amazon if you like the Thinkpad P53s Mobile Workstation Laptop.  


PROS


  • Average battery life
  • Lightweight
  • Beautiful keyboard
  • Great value for the price




CONS


  • Unimpressive dedicated graphics



MSI WF65 10TH-1201 Mobile WorkstationBest Value (Budget Category)

This is one of the recent line of workstation laptops MSI just released. The fact that we classified it as a budget laptop, even though it’s over $1000 is due to the price tag of MSI products, which we found to be higher than average. However, if the price tag is justifiable, we will find out. For starters, the processor is the latest 10th Gen. Intel Core i7-10750H rated at 2.6 – 5GHz on Turbo Boost, with 6 cores and a total of 12 threads for multi-threaded applications like Solidworks. It performs quite well in Solidworks when it comes to modeling and rendering. This processor actually provides up to a 15% performance boost compared to the previous 9th Gen.

The graphics department is powered by an NVIDIA Quadro P100 with 4GB of VRAM. This is an entry-level workstation graphics card that should power low-medium level model assemblies in Solidworks. Next, we’ve got storage comprising a 512GB NVMe SSD, which is quite speedy. You have file transfer speeds in the region of 3000 MB/s which is quite impressive.

The RAM is a 16GB DDR4 capacity, just enough to power your Solidworks modeling and rendering operations. By the way, Solidworks requires a minimum of 16GB of RAM. So we are good with this, but if you want to up the RAM to 32GB, it’s possible because this laptop supports up to 64GB of RAM. So go ahead and grab this kit from Corsair on Amazon.

The WF65 sports a full HD 15.6” display at 1920×1080 pixels with a very thin bezel that gives it a stylish outlook. As for aesthetics, it boasts of an all-black exterior look, featuring a hair-brushed aluminum chassis, with the beautiful MSI logo etched on the cover in black. It also features a thin bezel display design for more viewing area.

Connectivity options include two USB 3 Type-C ports, 3 USB 3 Type-A ports, a 720p HD webcam, and HDMI. Others include Ethernet port, wireless LAN based on the Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201 2x2ax protocol, Bluetooth 5.1, and mic/headphone combo. This unit also has a white-colored backlit keyboard for working-in-the-dark scenarios.

The battery life of this unit is impressive, with the battery averaging 9+ hours plus on typical Windows workflows. If you’re are going to be modeling and rendering for long, the battery life isn’t going to be that high. It’s adequate, nonetheless. Finally, there’s a Windows 10 Professional and 3-year Limited warranty included with this purchase. This unit sports a meager 4.1lbs; we find this on the lighter side.

This machine is designed modeling and rendering on the go, with the integrated MSI Creator Center software which takes optimization to the next level with easy adjustable system modes and resources for a wide range of scenarios and needs. What this means is that you can tune the processor and RAM for increased rendering output, and vice versa. In addition, this machine is ISV certified. So whether you are using is solely for Solidworks, or running other CAD software such as CATIA or AutoCAD, you are covered in terms of performance.

We are comfortable with this laptop, especially its looks and weight (more like an Ultrabook) and performance, and the price is just around $1200. Anyways, if you are a fan of MSI, go for it by clicking the link below.  


PROS


  • Decent hardware + performance
  • Pleasant aesthetics
  • ISV certified
  • Good battery life
  • Upgradeable RAM
  • Lightweight




CONS


  • No fingerprint reader
  • No card reader
  • Price out of the budget range



HP Zbook 14U G5 Workstation LaptopBest in Style/Battery Life (Budget Category)

We present to you this budget workstation laptop from good old HP: the ZBook 14U G5. It’s a beauty indeed. With a blend of form and function, you’ll surely enjoy working with this machine. Whether you are a student on a budget, or just starting out in the engineering field, you can’t go wrong with this machine.

The ZBook 14U G5 enables you to supercharge your projects on a high-performance laptop that packs a punch at a low cost, with an Intel Core i7 8650U processor and Integrated UHD graphics 620 certified for peak performance, you’ll get the job done on time on a budget.

So what does this machine offer you? First of all, there’s a quad-core Intel processor clocked at 1.9GHz and with a Turbo frequency of 4.2GHz. Impressive huh. Let’s not forget that Solidworks requires at least a six-core processor. Well, for a budget workstation laptop, this is a winner.

Next, we have 620 UHD chip running the graphics. For this entry-level graphics card, you should get an okay level of performance. Just that you can’t expect it to handle large model assemblies. For light to medium modeling, this is adequate. However, if you are thinking of rendering large assemblies, then you better look elsewhere because with this laptop, you shouldn’t expect the best performance in Solidworks.

The storage drive is a 512GB SSD for speedy and responsive file handling and storage. You may wish to upgrade to a 1TB SSD if you want more storage.

This machine shines in its display with a 14” IPS touchscreen display with 1920 x 1080 pixels full HD resolution. We found the display rather pleasing, as it works great on Windows 10. The wide viewing angles are also a plus.

The memory is an installed capacity of 16GB of DDR4 RAM. Well, if you want you can upgrade it to 32GB version. Just know you have to remove the existing RAM modules.

For connectivity, you’ve got a host of ‘em. These include Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI, three USB 3.0, USB Type-C, Thunderbolt 3, Display Port 1.3, USB 3.1, RJ-45 port and mic/headphone combo. There’s also an SD card reader and fingerprint sensor installed for added security.

What about battery life? This machine produced decent results during tests, with battery life topping 10-12 hours! This is impressive for a workstation laptop. Expect this machine to last throughout a normal work period during the day. What more can we say? The weight is 2.68lbs. This is feather-light; the lightest in this review. The operating system is Windows 10 Professional.

All in all, the ZBook 14U G5 is a beauty to behold, and we also love the specs. The only issue we found out was the rather small display. At 14″, the screen is the smallest in this review. However, if you don’t mind, it’s a super-responsive machine for Solidworks 2020 users on a budget.

We highly recommend this machine, meaning you can go ahead and grab it by clicking the link below.  


PROS


  • ISV Certified Premium hardware
  • Good Looks
  • Touchscreen
  • Lightweight




CONS


  • Smaller display
  • No DVD drive



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The Lowdown: Final Verdict

Having reviewed all these machines, it’s instructive that we recommend our choices in the various categories. We have the high end, mid-range and budget categories, with each category having 4 laptops from the major players reviewed. So let’s get to it!  

High-End Category

Here we have four players, namely:

  • Lenovo ThinkPad P73 Workstation Laptop
  • MSI WS75 Enthusiast Workstation Laptop
  • Dell Precision 5540 Mobile Workstation
  • HP ZBook 15 G5 15″ Mobile Workstation

Now all these are heavyweights in their own right. Each has its strong points and weak points. So we round up our reviews by examining the following:  

  • Best Value for Money Workstation
  • Best in Style
  • Best Battery Life

Best Value for Money Workstation in the High-End Category

Here we look at the specifications versus the price across all 4 machines. This takes into consideration the value of the laptop with respect to the price, taking into consideration the hardware specifications. And the winner is…

best laptop for solidworks

Lenovo Thinkpad P73 Mobile Workstation

We chose this amazing machine because it is loaded with high-end hardware at a very reasonable price, compared to the other 3 options.

Best in Style Workstation in the High-End Category

Here we look at the best-designed machine, with aesthetics and form being the deciding factors. The weight is also a factor to consider. After careful consideration, we chose the…

best laptop for solidworks

MSI WS75 Enthusiast Workstation Laptop

This is a beautiful machine we fell in love with its looks immediately. It’s a clear winner with the best design, and also the lightweight.  

Best Battery Life Workstation in the High-End Category

After undergoing several tests and benchmarks, we present to you the best laptop in this category with the best battery life which is…

HP ZBook 15 G5 Workstation Laptop

Yes. This beast of a machine clocked up to 9 hours on productivity use, and we find this impressive.

Compare to others below:  

Breakdown of Battery Life

BRAND BATTERY LIFE
Lenovo ThinkPad P73 6 hours
MSI WS75 8 hours
Dell Precision 5540 6 hours
HP ZBook 15 G5 9 hours

Mid-Range Category

The contestants in this category include:

  • Lenovo ThinkPad P53 Workstation Laptop
  • Dell Precision Mobile Workstation Laptop
  • HP ZBook 15v G5 Workstation Laptop
  • MSI WF75 Mobile Workstation Laptop

As usual, we are going to be giving our verdict on the following factors:

  • Best Value for Money Workstation
  • Best in Style
  • Best Battery Life

Best Value for Money Workstation in the Mid-Range Category

Again, we look at the specifications vs the price point across all 4 machines, taking into consideration the value of the laptop with respect to the price and the hardware specifications. The winner is…

Dell Precision 5530 Mobile Workstation Laptop

Dell again at this point, as its overall the least pricey of all the 4 options, even though it has some serious hardware specs. Yea. Dell’s the winner!   

Best in Style Workstation in the Mid-Range Category

Here again, we look at the design factor, with aesthetics and form being the deciding factors. We also look at the weight. We chose the…

HP ZBook 15V G5 Workstation Laptop

Wow! HP’s got it again. We love its looks, its slim chassis, and its weight. It’s a clear winner with the best design, and also the lightest among the four of them.  

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Best Battery Life Workstation in the Mid-Range Category

After undergoing several tests and benchmarks, we present to you the best laptop in this category with the best battery life which is…

best laptop for solidworks

Dell Precision 5530 Mobile Workstation Laptop

The Dell Precision is our clear winner for battery life in this category, with a whopping 13 hours of continuous output. That’s amazing!

Breakdown of battery life:

BRAND BATTERY LIFE
Lenovo ThinkPad P53        4.19 hours
Dell Precision 5530 13 hours
HP ZBook 15V G5 8 hours
MSI WF75  7 hours

The Dell machine clearly wins when it comes to battery life.  

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Budget Category

The contestants in this category include:

  • Dell M4800 Ultra-Powerful Mobile Workstation Laptop
  • Lenovo ThinkPad P50 Mobile Workstation
  • MSI WF65 Workstation Laptop
  • HP Zbook 14U G5 Workstation Laptop

Best Value for Money Workstation in the Budget Category

Again, we look at the specifications vs the price point across all 4 machines, taking into consideration the value of the laptop with respect to the price and the hardware specifications. The winner is…

best laptop for solidworks

Lenovo Thinkpad P53s Mobile Workstation Laptop

Yes. This is a powerful budget laptop in this category, with a price point of less than $750! We think it’s the best value for money. 

 Best in Style Workstation in the Budget Category

Here again, we look at the design factor, with aesthetics and form being the deciding factors. We also look at the weight. We chose the…

best laptop for solidworks

HP ZBook 14u G5Workstation Laptop

HP is our choice, because of its elegant looks, its slim chassis, and its weight. It’s a clear winner with the best design, and also the lightest among the four of them, weighing just 2.6lbs.

Best Battery Life Workstation in the Budget Category

After undergoing several tests and benchmarks, we present to you the best laptop in this category with the best battery life which is…

best laptop for solidworks

HP Zbook 15V G5 Workstation Laptop

The HP machine is the winner for battery life in this category, with 14 hours of continuous output. We find that amazing!  

Breakdown of Battery Life

BRAND BATTERY LIFE
Lenovo ThinkPad P53s 8 hours
Dell M5500 11 hours
HP Zbook 14U G5 14 hours
MSI WF65 9 hours +

Frequently Asked Questions on the Best Laptop for Solidworks

Conclusion

Phew! We’ve so far reviewed a total of 12 laptops in this guide for the best laptop for Solidworks 2020 and we totally enjoyed it. We hope this comprehensive guide has afforded you the opportunity to make an intelligent buying decision. Don’t forget to check out our PC build guides. Our other reviews are also full of content you might like.

Don’t hesitate to drop your comments below. Let’s know your thoughts.

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My passion for PC hardware is my greatest motivation. I love technology and how it can make life easier and less complicated! When I’m not tinkering with hardware, I’m reading. I love to travel and I usually can’t wait to sit down on my PC to work.

I’m also a copywriter, designer, video editor, and writer. I also do some 3D with 3DS Max. Do you want to reach me? Use the Social Media buttons, or shoot me an email. I’ll be glad to hear from you!

2 thoughts on “Best Laptop for Solidworks 2020 (It’s not what you think!)”

  1. Good options here… I was thinking, what about the Surface Book? Will it run Solidworks? I’m asking because a friend of mine has it and I was thinking of getting one. Great article though…

    1. Thanks Lloyd. Ok, as for your question, don’t really know which model of Surface Book you are referring to. Yea actually, the Surface Book 3 has a 10th Gen Core i7 Processor and GTX 1650Ti GPU. The processor is ok, but the problem might be with the GPU.
      Solidworks runs better on a Quadro card, compared to a Geforce GPU. The Geforce series are engineered to run games excellently, not CAD apps. Surface Book 3 will still run Solidworks, but performance is not guaranteed because the GTX cards are not certified for Solidworks.
      Thanks

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