Best Laptop for Solidworks

Best Laptop for Solidworks 2021 (It’s not what you think!)

Solidworks 2021

This guide focuses on the best laptop for Solidworks 2021, what you need to know before you buy, precautions, tips, and general information for buyers.

You’ll also find this article useful if you are an engineering student looking to get a suitable laptop for coursework, or maybe you are just a freelancer.

This is because laptops we recommended for Solidworks will equally work fine for other CAD software. We have delved deep to research these laptops to enable you to make an intelligent buying decision.

Solidworks as we know it is developed by Dassault Systèmes, 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 2021 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 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 2021, let’s look at some hardware requirements for running Solidworks.  

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Comparison Table for Best Laptop for Solidworks 2021

Photo
BEST VALUE (HIGH END)
2021 Lenovo Thinkpad P17 17.3" FHD (1920x1080) Mobile...
BEST DESIGN/BATTERY LIFE
MSI WS66 10TKT-081 Mobile Workstation...
BEST WITH i9 CPU
New Precision 5540 Mobile Workstation Laptop 9th Gen...
HP ZBook Power G7 Workstation Laptop (Intel i7-10750H...
Lenovo ThinkPad P51 Mobile Workstation Laptop - Windows 10...
BEST VALUE/BATTERY LIFE
Dell Precision 5530 Mobile Workstation |15.6" FHD IGZO4 |...
Brand/Model
2021 Lenovo Thinkpad P17 17.3" FHD (1920x1080) Mobile...
MSI WS66 10TKT-081 Mobile Workstation...
New Precision 5540 Mobile Workstation Laptop 9th Gen...
HP ZBook Power G7 Workstation Laptop (Intel i7-10750H...
Lenovo ThinkPad P51 Mobile Workstation Laptop - Windows 10...
Dell Precision 5530 Mobile Workstation |15.6" FHD IGZO4 |...
Prime Status
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-
-
-
-
-
Star Rating
-
-
-
Category
High-End
High End
High-End
High-End
Mid-Range
Mid-Range
Quick Specs
CPU: 10th Gen. Intel Core i7-10750H Processor (2.60 - 5.00 GHz with Turbo Boost, 6 Cores, 12 Threads, 12 MB Cache)
GPU: NVIDIA Quadro T2000 GPU 4GB
RAM: 128GB DDR4 SDRAM
Display: 17.3" FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS, anti-glare, 300 nits, expandable to 1-4 monitors. Max resolution of 4K
Storage: 4TB, 2 x 2TB PCIe M.2 SSD
CPU: Intel Core i9-10980HK 2.4 - 5.3GHz
GPU:NVIDIA Quadro RTX 3000 6GB GDDR6
RAM: 32GB DDR4 2666MHz
Display: 15.6" FHD (1920*1080), Finger Touch panel, 60Hz
Storage: 1TB 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: 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10750H 2.60GHz Processor (upto 5 GHz, 12MB Cache, 6-core
GPU: NVIDIA Quadro P620 4GB GDDR5
RAM: 64GB DDR4 2400MHz
Display: 15.6" Full HD (1920x1080) 60Hz 16:9 Display
Storage: 8TB PCIe SSD
CPU: Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6 (8M Cache, up to 4.0 GHz)
GPU: NVIDIA Quadro M2200M 4GB VRAM
RAM: 64GB DDR4 2666 MHz
Display: 15.6" Full HD IPS (1920x1080) Anti-Glare, Non-Touch Display
Storage: 1TB Solid State Drive
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
$3,599.99
$3,287.10
$2,749.95
Price not available
$3,079.99
$1,609.99
BEST VALUE (HIGH END)
Photo
2021 Lenovo Thinkpad P17 17.3" FHD (1920x1080) Mobile...
Brand/Model
2021 Lenovo Thinkpad P17 17.3" FHD (1920x1080) Mobile...
Prime Status
-
Star Rating
Category
High-End
Quick Specs
CPU: 10th Gen. Intel Core i7-10750H Processor (2.60 - 5.00 GHz with Turbo Boost, 6 Cores, 12 Threads, 12 MB Cache)
GPU: NVIDIA Quadro T2000 GPU 4GB
RAM: 128GB DDR4 SDRAM
Display: 17.3" FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS, anti-glare, 300 nits, expandable to 1-4 monitors. Max resolution of 4K
Storage: 4TB, 2 x 2TB PCIe M.2 SSD
Price
$3,599.99
BEST DESIGN/BATTERY LIFE
Photo
MSI WS66 10TKT-081 Mobile Workstation...
Brand/Model
MSI WS66 10TKT-081 Mobile Workstation...
Prime Status
-
Star Rating
Category
High End
Quick Specs
CPU: Intel Core i9-10980HK 2.4 - 5.3GHz
GPU:NVIDIA Quadro RTX 3000 6GB GDDR6
RAM: 32GB DDR4 2666MHz
Display: 15.6" FHD (1920*1080), Finger Touch panel, 60Hz
Storage: 1TB NVMe SSD
Price
$3,287.10
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
$2,749.95
Photo
HP ZBook Power G7 Workstation Laptop (Intel i7-10750H...
Brand/Model
HP ZBook Power G7 Workstation Laptop (Intel i7-10750H...
Prime Status
-
Star Rating
-
Category
High-End
Quick Specs
CPU: 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10750H 2.60GHz Processor (upto 5 GHz, 12MB Cache, 6-core
GPU: NVIDIA Quadro P620 4GB GDDR5
RAM: 64GB DDR4 2400MHz
Display: 15.6" Full HD (1920x1080) 60Hz 16:9 Display
Storage: 8TB PCIe SSD
Price
Price not available
Photo
Lenovo ThinkPad P51 Mobile Workstation Laptop - Windows 10...
Brand/Model
Lenovo ThinkPad P51 Mobile Workstation Laptop - Windows 10...
Prime Status
-
Star Rating
Category
Mid-Range
Quick Specs
CPU: Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6 (8M Cache, up to 4.0 GHz)
GPU: NVIDIA Quadro M2200M 4GB VRAM
RAM: 64GB DDR4 2666 MHz
Display: 15.6" Full HD IPS (1920x1080) Anti-Glare, Non-Touch Display
Storage: 1TB Solid State Drive
Price
$3,079.99
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
$1,609.99

Last update on 2021-10-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Photo
BEST DESIGN (MID-RANGE)
2019 Newest HP Zbook 15V G5 15.6" FHD Touchscreen Mobile...
MSI WF75 10TK-250 Mobile Workstation...
BEST BUDGET
Dell Precision M5510 WorkStation, 15.6inch UHD IGZO...
BEST BATTERY LIFE
Lenovo ThinkPad P52s Mobile Workstation Ultrabook Laptop...
BEST VALUE (BUDGET)
MSI WF65 10TH-1201 Mobile Workstation...
BEST DESIGN (BUDGET)
HP ZBook 15v G5 Mobile Workstation Laptop (Core i7-8750H,...
Brand/Model
2019 Newest HP Zbook 15V G5 15.6" FHD Touchscreen Mobile...
MSI WF75 10TK-250 Mobile Workstation...
Dell Precision M5510 WorkStation, 15.6inch UHD IGZO...
Lenovo ThinkPad P52s Mobile Workstation Ultrabook Laptop...
MSI WF65 10TH-1201 Mobile Workstation...
HP ZBook 15v G5 Mobile Workstation Laptop (Core i7-8750H,...
Prime Status
-
-
-
-
-
Star Rating
Category
Mid-Range
Mid-Range
Budget
Budget
Budget
Budget
Quick Specs
CPU: Intel i7-8750H 6-Core (2.20 GHz up to 4.10GHz, 9 MB Cache)
GPU: NVIDIA Quadro P600 4GB
RAM: 32GB DDR4
Display: 15.6" Full HD (1920 x 1080) Touchscreen Glossy Display
Storage: 2TB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD+2TB HDD
CPU:Intel Core i7-10750H 2.6 - 5.0GHz
GPU: NVIDIA Quadro RTX 3000 6GB GDDR6
RAM: 32GB DDR4 2666MHz
Display: 17.3" FHD (1920*1080), IPS-Level 144Hz 72%NTSC Thin Bezel, close to 100%sRGB
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 i7-8550U Quad-Cores Processor (1.8 GHz up to 4.0GHz, 8 MB Cache)
GPU: P520 2GB GDDR5 Graphics
RAM: 16GB DDR4
Display: 15.6" Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS Technology LED Backlight Display
Storage: 512GB 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: Intel i7-8750H 6-Core (2.20 GHz up to 4.10GHz, 9 MB Cache
GPU: NVIDIA Quadro P600 with 4 GB GDDR5 VRAM
RAM: 16GB DDR4 SDRAM
Display: 15.6" Full HD (1920 x 1080) Touchscreen Glossy Display
Storage:256GB PCIe SSD
Price
$2,028.99
$2,199.00
$769.98
$1,850.99
$999.99
Price not available
BEST DESIGN (MID-RANGE)
Photo
2019 Newest HP Zbook 15V G5 15.6" FHD Touchscreen Mobile...
Brand/Model
2019 Newest HP Zbook 15V G5 15.6" FHD Touchscreen Mobile...
Prime Status
-
Star Rating
Category
Mid-Range
Quick Specs
CPU: Intel i7-8750H 6-Core (2.20 GHz up to 4.10GHz, 9 MB Cache)
GPU: NVIDIA Quadro P600 4GB
RAM: 32GB DDR4
Display: 15.6" Full HD (1920 x 1080) Touchscreen Glossy Display
Storage: 2TB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD+2TB HDD
Price
$2,028.99
Photo
MSI WF75 10TK-250 Mobile Workstation...
Brand/Model
MSI WF75 10TK-250 Mobile Workstation...
Prime Status
Star Rating
Category
Mid-Range
Quick Specs
CPU:Intel Core i7-10750H 2.6 - 5.0GHz
GPU: NVIDIA Quadro RTX 3000 6GB GDDR6
RAM: 32GB DDR4 2666MHz
Display: 17.3" FHD (1920*1080), IPS-Level 144Hz 72%NTSC Thin Bezel, close to 100%sRGB
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
$769.98
BEST BATTERY LIFE
Photo
Lenovo ThinkPad P52s Mobile Workstation Ultrabook Laptop...
Brand/Model
Lenovo ThinkPad P52s Mobile Workstation Ultrabook Laptop...
Prime Status
-
Star Rating
Category
Budget
Quick Specs
CPU: Intel Core i7-8550U Quad-Cores Processor (1.8 GHz up to 4.0GHz, 8 MB Cache)
GPU: P520 2GB GDDR5 Graphics
RAM: 16GB DDR4
Display: 15.6" Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS Technology LED Backlight Display
Storage: 512GB SSD
Price
$1,850.99
BEST VALUE (BUDGET)
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
$999.99
BEST DESIGN (BUDGET)
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
Budget
Quick Specs
CPU: Intel i7-8750H 6-Core (2.20 GHz up to 4.10GHz, 9 MB Cache
GPU: NVIDIA Quadro P600 with 4 GB GDDR5 VRAM
RAM: 16GB DDR4 SDRAM
Display: 15.6" Full HD (1920 x 1080) Touchscreen Glossy Display
Storage:256GB PCIe SSD
Price
Price not available

Last update on 2021-10-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Recommended Gaming/Convertible Laptops for Solidworks 2021

Photo
BEST BUDGET
Lenovo Ideapad L340 Gaming Laptop, 15.6 Inch FHD (1920 X...
BEST RYZEN LAPTOP
ASUS TUF Gaming Laptop, 15.6” 120hz Full HD IPS-Type, AMD...
BEST BRAND
Razer Blade 15 Base Gaming Laptop 2020: Intel Core i7-10750H...
BEST CONVERTIBLE
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 – 15" Touch-Screen – AMD...
MOST POPULAR
Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop, Intel Core i7-9750H,...
BEST DESIGN
MSI GL65 Leopard 10SFK-062 15.6" FHD 144Hz 3ms Thin Bezel...
Brand/Model
Lenovo Ideapad L340 Gaming Laptop, 15.6 Inch FHD (1920 X...
ASUS TUF Gaming Laptop, 15.6” 120hz Full HD IPS-Type, AMD...
Razer Blade 15 Base Gaming Laptop 2020: Intel Core i7-10750H...
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 – 15" Touch-Screen – AMD...
Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop, Intel Core i7-9750H,...
MSI GL65 Leopard 10SFK-062 15.6" FHD 144Hz 3ms Thin Bezel...
Prime Status
-
-
-
-
-
Star Rating
Category
-
-
-
-
-
-
Quick Specs
CPU: Intel Core i5-9300H
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 4GB
RAM: 8GB DDR4 RAM
Display: 15.6 Inch FHD (1920 X 1080) IPS Display
Storage: 512GB Nvme SSD
CPU:AMD Ryzen 7 R7-3750H
GPU:Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti 6GB
RAM: 16GB DDR4 RAM
Display: 15.6” full HD (1920x1080) 120Hz IPS type display
Storage:256GB PCIe NVMe SSD + 1TB HDD
CPU:Intel Core i7-10750H 6 Core
GPU: GeForce RTX 2070 MQ 8GB
RAM: 16GB DDR4 2666MHz
Display: 5.6" FHD 1080p 144Hz
Storage: 512 GB SATA SSD
CPU:AMD Ryzen 5 Microsoft Surface Edition
GPU:Intel Iris Plus Graphics/AMD Radeon RX Vega 11 Graphics
RAM: 8GB
Display: 15” touchscreen Full HD (1920x1080) Display
Storage: 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD
CPU: Intel Core i7-9750H 6-Core
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Graphics with 6 GB
RAM: 16GB DDR4 2666 MHz
Display:15. 6" Full HD (1920 x 1080) Widescreen LED-backlit IPS display
Storage: 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD
CPU: Intel Core i7-10750H 2.6-5.0GHz
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 8G GDDR6
RAM: 16GB DDR4 2666MHz
Display:15.6" FHD IPS-Level 144Hz
Storage:512GB NVMe SSD
Price
$788.00
$1,143.65
$1,599.99
$1,229.00
$1,393.00
$1,999.99
BEST BUDGET
Photo
Lenovo Ideapad L340 Gaming Laptop, 15.6 Inch FHD (1920 X...
Brand/Model
Lenovo Ideapad L340 Gaming Laptop, 15.6 Inch FHD (1920 X...
Prime Status
-
Star Rating
Category
-
Quick Specs
CPU: Intel Core i5-9300H
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 4GB
RAM: 8GB DDR4 RAM
Display: 15.6 Inch FHD (1920 X 1080) IPS Display
Storage: 512GB Nvme SSD
Price
$788.00
BEST RYZEN LAPTOP
Photo
ASUS TUF Gaming Laptop, 15.6” 120hz Full HD IPS-Type, AMD...
Brand/Model
ASUS TUF Gaming Laptop, 15.6” 120hz Full HD IPS-Type, AMD...
Prime Status
-
Star Rating
Category
-
Quick Specs
CPU:AMD Ryzen 7 R7-3750H
GPU:Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti 6GB
RAM: 16GB DDR4 RAM
Display: 15.6” full HD (1920x1080) 120Hz IPS type display
Storage:256GB PCIe NVMe SSD + 1TB HDD
Price
$1,143.65
BEST BRAND
Photo
Razer Blade 15 Base Gaming Laptop 2020: Intel Core i7-10750H...
Brand/Model
Razer Blade 15 Base Gaming Laptop 2020: Intel Core i7-10750H...
Prime Status
Star Rating
Category
-
Quick Specs
CPU:Intel Core i7-10750H 6 Core
GPU: GeForce RTX 2070 MQ 8GB
RAM: 16GB DDR4 2666MHz
Display: 5.6" FHD 1080p 144Hz
Storage: 512 GB SATA SSD
Price
$1,599.99
BEST CONVERTIBLE
Photo
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 – 15" Touch-Screen – AMD...
Brand/Model
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 – 15" Touch-Screen – AMD...
Prime Status
-
Star Rating
Category
-
Quick Specs
CPU:AMD Ryzen 5 Microsoft Surface Edition
GPU:Intel Iris Plus Graphics/AMD Radeon RX Vega 11 Graphics
RAM: 8GB
Display: 15” touchscreen Full HD (1920x1080) Display
Storage: 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD
Price
$1,229.00
MOST POPULAR
Photo
Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop, Intel Core i7-9750H,...
Brand/Model
Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop, Intel Core i7-9750H,...
Prime Status
-
Star Rating
Category
-
Quick Specs
CPU: Intel Core i7-9750H 6-Core
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Graphics with 6 GB
RAM: 16GB DDR4 2666 MHz
Display:15. 6" Full HD (1920 x 1080) Widescreen LED-backlit IPS display
Storage: 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD
Price
$1,393.00
BEST DESIGN
Photo
MSI GL65 Leopard 10SFK-062 15.6" FHD 144Hz 3ms Thin Bezel...
Brand/Model
MSI GL65 Leopard 10SFK-062 15.6" FHD 144Hz 3ms Thin Bezel...
Prime Status
-
Star Rating
Category
-
Quick Specs
CPU: Intel Core i7-10750H 2.6-5.0GHz
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 8G GDDR6
RAM: 16GB DDR4 2666MHz
Display:15.6" FHD IPS-Level 144Hz
Storage:512GB NVMe SSD
Price
$1,999.99

Last update on 2021-10-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Solidworks 2020
Solidworks 2021 allows you to model and render engineering component parts and assemblies for the engineering industry.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
 [show]

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Most users think just about any laptop is suitable for Solidworks 2021; 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 higher the clock speed, the better the performance you can expect. This is because modeling and manipulating assemblies require more processing power.

A laptop equipped with a Core i7 or i9 processor with at least six cores will provide the best performance. A quad-core i7 processor will still work great, all things being equal. Intel Core i3 or i5 class of CPUs are also good, as long as the clock speed is at least 3.3GHz.

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 2021 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 offers top-level performance, compared to the previous generation Quadros.

Granted, you can run Solidworks with a gaming laptop just to save money, or maybe for the purpose of playing games alongside. The truth is you’ll run into performance problems down the road when you take on projects that require a certified GPU. So, before you go for a gaming laptop, think about your needs and factor them into your purchase.

If you are on a low budget when shopping for a laptop for Solidworks 2021, it is better to buy a machine with a low to 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 2021: 12 Machines Reviewed

Having gone through the system requirements for the best laptop for Solidworks 2021, 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 budget can accommodate it, 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 2021

Lenovo ThinkPad P17 Workstation LaptopBest Value (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 P17 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 17.3″ Full HD IPS screen with Anti-Glare, and of course, the familiar Thinkpad etching on the lid and beside the keyboard and the trademark red trackpad.

The P17 is ISV certified for various CAD applications such as ArcGIS, AutoCAD, Creo, Decision Space, McKesson, Revit, SolidWorks, 3dsMax, and more, so you can as well use it to run these apps.

For starters, it is equipped with a 10th Generation Intel Core i7-10750H Processor featuring a clock speed of up to 5GHz 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 Quadro T2000 Graphics card with 4GB GDDR5 VRAM, a workstation-class graphics card designed just for CAD applications like Solidworks 2021, and will allow you to view models in Real View with decent performance.

This card offers decent graphics performance when handling large models in Solidworks 2021. In addition, if you plan to do some VR by the side, then rest assured because this Quadro is VR-Ready.

The P17 also sports a bright (300 nits of brightness) and large 17.3″ FHD display, which produces vivid colors. The panel is also anti-glare coated and an IPS display, which allows for better viewing from virtually any angle.

For memory, there is more than enough with 128GB of fast DDR4 RAM which allows you to multitask effectively while handling complex model assemblies.

In the storage department, the P17 accommodates a 4TB NVMe SSD. 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 backlit keyboard. However, there’s no numeric pad. In addition, you have a 6-cell, 90Wh Lithium-polymer battery which can last anywhere between 9-14 hours on typical usage scenarios.

Finally, 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 4-in-1 card reader (SD/SDHC/SDXC), Bluetooth 5.1, USB Type C Thunderbolt 3, USB 3 and 3.1, HDMI, DisplayPort, and integrated mic/headphone jack. The integrated IR camera for Windows Hello is quite handy for biometric facial recognition.

There’s also Gigabit Ethernet, and Wi-Fi featuring the latest Intel WiFi 6 (802.11ax). In addition, there is also a HD 720p Webcam with ThinkShutter, and Fingerprint Security System.

All these are housed in a chassis weighing 7.1 lb which we consider quite heavy.


PROS


  • Powerful processor
  • Humungous RAM
  • Huge storage
  • ISV certified
  • Wide connectivity options




CONS


  • No numeric keypad
  • Quite heavy



HP ZBook Power G7 Workstation Laptop

HP’s flagship workstation laptop is a badass heavy lifter for applications such as Solidworks 2021. This laptop is engineered for extreme performance to meet extraordinary demands. With the ZBook Power G7 Workstation Laptop, you can create and edit multiple Solidworks assemblies, manipulate complex data, and render your work beautifully.

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 i7-10750H processor with a 2.6GHz base frequency and 5GHz 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 P620 with 4GB of graphics memory. This is a workstation-grade graphics card that enables your simulations in Solidworks. However, we expected to see at least an RTX GPU on this machine, given its price tag.

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 humongous 8TB PCIe NVMe SSD drive. This is ample enough for running your OS and storing your files. For connectivity, the ZBook Power G7 has an array of options, including 1x Type C Thunderbolt 3, 3x USB 3.1, RJ-45 network interface, Gigabit Ethernet featuring Wi-Fi 6 AX201 Wifi, HDMI, Bluetooth 5.0, Smart Card Reader, and a Headphone/Microphone Combo Jack. There’s also a 720p HD Webcam.

It is also equipped with a six-cell 83Whr for power supply. However, we noticed a lack of a DisplayPort. For security, there’s also a Fingerprint Reader. The keyboard is a beautiful backlit keyboard.

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. However, when you switch to rendering, the battery life drops significantly, which is expected, of course.

Finally, the whole package weighs in at a little over 4 pounds. With a better airflow design, the ZBook Power G7 has 20% better thermals, which ensures it stays cool and quiet even under intense multi-application workloads like Solidworks 2021 demands.

The laptop comes with Windows 10 Pro 64-bit pre-installed, and Microsoft 365 Personal 1 Year Subscription for 1 User. The included Dockztorm USB Hub is great for attaching it to your desktop.

We think the G7 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


  • No DisplayPort
  • Pricey
  • Not a high-end GPU



MSI WS66 Mobile Workstation LaptopBest Design/Battery Life (High-End Category)

best laptop for Solidworks

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 WS66 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 i9-10980HK chip. What you are eventually getting is 16 threads for maximum performance with rendering and similar workloads.

With the 16MB 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 10980HK runs at a base clock speed of 2.4GHz and ramps up to 5.3GHz 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 3000 with 6GB GDDR6 graphics memory. This mean next-gen workstation-class GPU is engineered for running applications like Solidworks, with its 6GB of VRAM, it can take on your heavy model assemblies without lag. It’s that powerful. It’s got 1,920 CUDA cores at your disposal. Besides, it’s also got 240 NVIDIA Tensor Cores and 30 Nvidia RT Cores for heavy ray-tracing computation workloads.

For storage, we’ve got a 1TB M.2 NVMe SSD for insane data transfer speeds. With this, you’ve got yourself a speedy machine per data transfer.

The display is a beautiful 15.6” IPS display at full HD (1920×1080) with a thin bezel and 72% NTSC color gamut. It also has touch capabilities.

The RAM is an installed capacity of 64GB, more than enough for the demanding workloads that we’ve come to expect this machine to handle.

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 Intel WiFi 6, Wireless LAN, Bluetooth, speakers, a 720p webcam among others. 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 100WHr battery and clocked up to 10 hours. By standards, this is not bad at all, especially with the array of high-end hardware it has. It is also lightweight at just over 4.5lbs.

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
  • Touchscreen




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 2021

Lenovo ThinkPad P51 Mobile Workstation LaptopBest Value (Mid-Range Category)

Our first candidate the Lenovo P51 makes a bold statement with its impressive specifications. Let’s look at its performance and specifications.

For starters, the processor is an Intel Xeon E3-1505M with up to 4GHz clock speed. The 4 cores is a little letdown; we expected at least a 6 core CPU. There’s also a generous 8MB Smart Cache for speeding up calculations in Solidworks.

This processor supports hyper-threading – meaning that you’ve got a total of 8 threads for handling the rendering and visualizations.

The graphics department is handled by an NVIDIA Quadro M2200M 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 1024 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 installed 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 SSD. We expected a speedy NVMe, but there’s just plain SSD. The drive of course houses the Windows 10 Professional OS.

Plenty of connectivity options abound, with Bluetooth 4, Thunderbolt, 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 Dual-band Wireless AC 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 5.8 pounds, which we consider average by standards.

On the Lenovo website, this machine is touted to last up to 8 hours on tests with MobileMark 2014. When utilizing Solidworks for modeling and rendering, expect the battery life in the region of 6 – 7 hours, depending on your workload.

You might want to check out the following accessories for your Thinkpad P51 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 P51 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
  • Generous RAM




CONS


  • A bit aged CPU
  • No NVMe drive
  • 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 Design (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 i7-8750H 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 4.94 lbs.

The integrated Bang & Olufsen speakers do justice to sound, and the Fingerprint reader and 720p webcam makes this a feature-laden machine. However, the absence of a DisplayPort and DVD drive are what’s lacking.

We consider this to be on the lighter side in terms of weight, compared to similar workstation laptops. Windows 10 Professional comes bundled with the machine, allowing you to work with your favorite apps seamlessly.

The ZBook 15V G5 is a real beauty. That’s our verdict. If you 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
  • No DisplayPort



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 2021

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 M5510 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 P52s Mobile WorkstationBest Battery Life (Budget Category)

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 8550U with a frequency of up to 4GHz on turbo. It’s a 4-core, 8-thread chip with 8MB of cache for fast data access. The hyper-threading, with the integrated Intel Turbo Boost technology delivering dynamic extra power when you need it. The only snag here is that this is a low-powered CPU, so don’t expect much here.

The graphics chip is an NVIDIA Quadro P500 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 512GB 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 renders images and colors crisply.

There are several connectivity options available, including Intel Wireless LAN with Bluetooth 4.1, 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 2-watt Stereo Speakers with lackluster sound output. If you want better sound, please connect a headphone.

Battery life stands at almost 17 hours of continuous use, which is insane. The weight of this laptop at 4.3 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 higher model, the Lenovo P17 if you want better performance.

Otherwise, click through below to check the price on Amazon if you like the Thinkpad P52s Mobile Workstation Laptop.  


PROS


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




CONS


  • Unimpressive dedicated graphics
  • Low-power CPU



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 15v G5 Workstation Laptop Best Design (Budget Category)

We present to you this budget workstation laptop from good old HP: the ZBook 15v 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 15v G5 enables you to supercharge your projects on a high-performance laptop that packs a punch at a low cost, with an Intel Six-Core i7-8750H processor for peak performance, you’ll always get the job done on time on a budget.

So what does this machine offer you? First of all, there’s a six-core Intel processor clocked at 2.20 GHz up to 4.10GHz on Turbo. 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 an Nvidia P600 4GB chip running the graphics. With this workstation graphics card, you should get a decent level of performance in Solidworks simulations. Just that you can’t expect it to handle large model assemblies. For light to medium modeling, this is adequate.

The primary storage drive is a 256GB SSD for speedy and responsive file handling and storage.

This machine shines with its 15” touchscreen display featuring 1920 x 1080 pixels full HD resolution. We found the display rather pleasing, as it works great on Windows 10. However, the glossy screen suffers from reflections a lot. The memory is an installed capacity of 16GB of DDR4 RAM which is more than adequate.

For connectivity, you’ve got a host of ‘em. These include Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi 5, HDMI, Bluetooth 5, three USB 3.1, Thunderbolt 3, Display Port 1.3, RJ-45 port and mic/headphone combo. There’s also an SD card reader and fingerprint sensor installed for added security. The 1080p webcam comes in handy for video conferencing.

We noticed that the ethernet port is just too tight, and unplugging the cable was a bit of a hassle.

What about battery life? This machine produced decent results during tests, with battery life topping 10 hours! This is impressive for a workstation laptop. Expect this machine to last throughout a normal work period during the day. The weight is typical at 4.7lbs. The operating system is Windows 10 Professional.

All in all, the ZBook 15v G5 is a beauty to behold, and we also love the specs. 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
  • Great battery life
  • Good value for the price
  • Lightweight




CONS


  • Reflections on glossy display
  • No DisplayPort
  • No DVD drive
  • Ethernet port too tight



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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 P17 Workstation Laptop
  • MSI WS75 Enthusiast Workstation Laptop
  • Dell Precision 5540 Mobile Workstation
  • HP ZBook Power G7 Workstation Laptop

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 Design
  • 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 P17 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 Designed 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 Power G7 Workstation Laptop

Yes. This beast of a machine clocked up to 9 hours on productivity use, and we find this impressive. However, it ties in with the Lenovo P17 as both of them have the same battery life

Compare to others below:  

Breakdown of Battery Life

BRAND BATTERY LIFE
Lenovo ThinkPad P17 9 hours
MSI WS75 8 hours
Dell Precision 5540 6 hours
HP ZBook Power G7 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 Design
  • 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 Designed 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 M5510 Ultra-Powerful Mobile Workstation Laptop
  • Lenovo ThinkPad P52s Mobile Workstation
  • MSI WF65 Workstation Laptop
  • HP Zbook 15v 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…

Dell M5510 Mobile Workstation Laptop

Yes. This is a powerful budget laptop in this category, with a price point of less than $800! We think it’s the best value for money. 

 Best Designed 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…

Dell M5510 Workstation Laptop

Dell 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 3.9lbs.

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…

Lenovo P52s Workstation Laptop

The Lenovo P52s is the winner for battery life in this category, with up to 17 hours of continuous output. We find that amazing!  

Breakdown of Battery Life

BRAND BATTERY LIFE
Lenovo ThinkPad P52s 17 hours
Dell M5510 11 hours
HP Zbook 15v G5 10 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 2021 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 2021 (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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