Best Rated Laptops for 2020 and 2021

Best Rated Laptops for AutoCAD 2020 and 2021 Review

Since its release in 1982 as a desktop app for drafting and prototyping, AutoCAD has come a long way, with up to 20 updates to the original version. This article looks at the best rated laptops for AutoCAD 2021 which you can get right now.

AutoCAD is used by artists, engineers, architects, graphic designers, and other professionals. Its popularity spans across the engineering, architectural, printing, and fashion industries. Thousands of professionals rely on AutoCAD for preparing 2D and 3D designs of prototypes, plans, schematics, blueprints, and samples of products or architectural structures.

Presently, there are over 8 million licensed users of AutoCAD, and the number is growing. The app has the standard edition and a student edition which is quite cheaper to procure.

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Comparison table for the best rated Laptops for AutoCAD 2020 and 2021

Photo
BEST VALUE
Dell XPS 15 7590 Laptop 15.6 inch, 4K UHD OLED InfinityEdge,...
MSI P65 Creator-1084 15.6" 4K UHD Display, Ultra-Thin and...
BEST 14" OPTION
Asus ZenBook 14 Ultra-Slim Laptop 14” Full HD NanoEdge...
BEST TOUCHSCREEN
HP Envy - 17t (2020) 10th Gen Laptop (Intel i7-10510U...
BEST BATTERY LIFE
LG Gram Laptop - 17" IPS WQXGA (2560 x 1600) Intel 10th Gen...
BEST BUDGET
Acer Swift 3 Thin & Light Laptop, 14" Full HD IPS, AMD Ryzen...
Brand/Model
Dell XPS 15 7590 Laptop 15.6 inch, 4K UHD OLED InfinityEdge,...
MSI P65 Creator-1084 15.6" 4K UHD Display, Ultra-Thin and...
Asus ZenBook 14 Ultra-Slim Laptop 14” Full HD NanoEdge...
HP Envy - 17t (2020) 10th Gen Laptop (Intel i7-10510U...
LG Gram Laptop - 17" IPS WQXGA (2560 x 1600) Intel 10th Gen...
Acer Swift 3 Thin & Light Laptop, 14" Full HD IPS, AMD Ryzen...
Prime Status
-
-
-
Star Rating
-
-
-
-
-
-
Weight
4lbs
4.1lbs
2.7lbs
6.4lbs
2.98lbs
2.6lbs
Typical Battery Life
~9 hours
~6 hours
~9 hours
~4 hours
~17 hours
~12 hours
Quick Specs
CPU: 9th Gen Intel Core i7 9750H 2.6 - 4.5GHz
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 4GB GDDR5
RAM: 16GB DDR4 2666MHz
Display: 15.6" 4K IPS
Storage: 256GB NVMe SSD
CPU: Intel Core i7-9750H 2.6GHz - 4.50GHz
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 6GB GDDR6
RAM: 32GB DDR4 2666MHz
Display: 15.6" 4K UHD anti-glare
Storage: 1TB NVMe SSD
CPU: Intel Core i7-10510U
GPU: NVIDIA MX250 2GB GDDR5
RAM: 16GB DDR3
Display: 14" FHD NanoEdge
Storage:512GB PCIe Intel Optane SSD
CPU:Intel Core i7 10510U, up to 4GHz Turbo, 12MB Smart Cache
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce MX250 2GB
RAM: 32GB DDR4 2666 MHz
Display: 17” IPS FHD Screen, Touch enabled
Storage: 1TB PCIe SSD, 1 TB HDD
CPU: 10th Gen. Intel Core i7-1065G7
GPU:Intel Iris Plus graphics
RAM: 16GB DDR4
Display: 17.3” 2560 x 1600 pixels IPS Screen, 16x10 aspect ratio
Storage: x2 512GB NMVe SSD
CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 4700U
GPU: Radeon RX Vega 7
RAM: 8GB DDR4
Display: 14” FHD
Storage:512GB PCIe NVMe SSD
Price
$1,766.00
$1,755.86
$1,149.00
$1,828.00
$1,379.00
$1,199.77
BEST VALUE
Photo
Dell XPS 15 7590 Laptop 15.6 inch, 4K UHD OLED InfinityEdge,...
Brand/Model
Dell XPS 15 7590 Laptop 15.6 inch, 4K UHD OLED InfinityEdge,...
Prime Status
-
Star Rating
-
Weight
4lbs
Typical Battery Life
~9 hours
Quick Specs
CPU: 9th Gen Intel Core i7 9750H 2.6 - 4.5GHz
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 4GB GDDR5
RAM: 16GB DDR4 2666MHz
Display: 15.6" 4K IPS
Storage: 256GB NVMe SSD
Price
$1,766.00
Photo
MSI P65 Creator-1084 15.6" 4K UHD Display, Ultra-Thin and...
Brand/Model
MSI P65 Creator-1084 15.6" 4K UHD Display, Ultra-Thin and...
Prime Status
Star Rating
-
Weight
4.1lbs
Typical Battery Life
~6 hours
Quick Specs
CPU: Intel Core i7-9750H 2.6GHz - 4.50GHz
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 6GB GDDR6
RAM: 32GB DDR4 2666MHz
Display: 15.6" 4K UHD anti-glare
Storage: 1TB NVMe SSD
Price
$1,755.86
BEST 14" OPTION
Photo
Asus ZenBook 14 Ultra-Slim Laptop 14” Full HD NanoEdge...
Brand/Model
Asus ZenBook 14 Ultra-Slim Laptop 14” Full HD NanoEdge...
Prime Status
Star Rating
-
Weight
2.7lbs
Typical Battery Life
~9 hours
Quick Specs
CPU: Intel Core i7-10510U
GPU: NVIDIA MX250 2GB GDDR5
RAM: 16GB DDR3
Display: 14" FHD NanoEdge
Storage:512GB PCIe Intel Optane SSD
Price
$1,149.00
BEST TOUCHSCREEN
Photo
HP Envy - 17t (2020) 10th Gen Laptop (Intel i7-10510U...
Brand/Model
HP Envy - 17t (2020) 10th Gen Laptop (Intel i7-10510U...
Prime Status
-
Star Rating
-
Weight
6.4lbs
Typical Battery Life
~4 hours
Quick Specs
CPU:Intel Core i7 10510U, up to 4GHz Turbo, 12MB Smart Cache
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce MX250 2GB
RAM: 32GB DDR4 2666 MHz
Display: 17” IPS FHD Screen, Touch enabled
Storage: 1TB PCIe SSD, 1 TB HDD
Price
$1,828.00
BEST BATTERY LIFE
Photo
LG Gram Laptop - 17" IPS WQXGA (2560 x 1600) Intel 10th Gen...
Brand/Model
LG Gram Laptop - 17" IPS WQXGA (2560 x 1600) Intel 10th Gen...
Prime Status
Star Rating
-
Weight
2.98lbs
Typical Battery Life
~17 hours
Quick Specs
CPU: 10th Gen. Intel Core i7-1065G7
GPU:Intel Iris Plus graphics
RAM: 16GB DDR4
Display: 17.3” 2560 x 1600 pixels IPS Screen, 16x10 aspect ratio
Storage: x2 512GB NMVe SSD
Price
$1,379.00
BEST BUDGET
Photo
Acer Swift 3 Thin & Light Laptop, 14" Full HD IPS, AMD Ryzen...
Brand/Model
Acer Swift 3 Thin & Light Laptop, 14" Full HD IPS, AMD Ryzen...
Prime Status
-
Star Rating
-
Weight
2.6lbs
Typical Battery Life
~12 hours
Quick Specs
CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 4700U
GPU: Radeon RX Vega 7
RAM: 8GB DDR4
Display: 14” FHD
Storage:512GB PCIe NVMe SSD
Price
$1,199.77

Photo
BEST MAC OPTION
New Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, 16GB RAM, 1TB Storage,...
BEST CONVERTIBLE
Microsoft Surface Laptop (1st Gen) EUP-00001 Laptop (Windows...
BEST RTX OPTION
ASUS ProArt StudioBook 17 Mobile Workstation Laptop, 17”...
ASUS VivoBook S17 S712 Thin and Light 17.3” FHD, Intel...
BEST LIGHTWEIGHT
ASUS ExpertBook B9450 Thin and Light Business Laptop, 14”...
OEM Lenovo ThinkPad E15 15.6" FHD Display 1920x1080, Intel...
Brand/Model
New Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, 16GB RAM, 1TB Storage,...
Microsoft Surface Laptop (1st Gen) EUP-00001 Laptop (Windows...
ASUS ProArt StudioBook 17 Mobile Workstation Laptop, 17”...
ASUS VivoBook S17 S712 Thin and Light 17.3” FHD, Intel...
ASUS ExpertBook B9450 Thin and Light Business Laptop, 14”...
OEM Lenovo ThinkPad E15 15.6" FHD Display 1920x1080, Intel...
Prime Status
-
-
-
Star Rating
-
-
-
-
-
-
Weight
4.3lbs
2.83lbs
4.1lbs
5.07lbs
2.2lbs
4.2lbs
Typical Battery Life
~12 hours
~8 hours
~3.30 hours
~6 hours
~17 hours
~8.30 hours
Quick Specs
CPU: Intel Core i9-9880H 2.2GHz - 4.8GHz
GPU: AMD Radeon Pro 5500M 4GB GDDR6 / Intel UHD Graphics 630
RAM: 16GB DDR4 2666MHz
Display: 16" 3072x1920 pixel IPS Retina Display
Storage: 1TB NVMe SSD
CPU: Intel Core i7 7660U 2.5 - 4GHz
GPU: Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640
RAM: 16GB DDR4 2666MHz
Display: 13.5” PixelSense Display at 2256x1504 pixels
Storage: 1TB NVMe SSD
CPU: Intel Core i7-9750H, up to 4.5GHz
GPU: Geforce RTX 2060 26GB GDDR6
RAM: 32GB DDR4
Display: 17.3" 1920x1200 pixels, 16x10 aspect ratio
Storage:x2 512GB PCIe NVMe M.2
CPU: Intel Core i7-10510U, up to 4GHz Turbo, 12MB Smart Cache
GPU:Intel UHD Graphics 620
RAM: 8GB DDR4 2666 MHz
Display: 17” IPS FHD Screen, NanoEdge frameless display
Storage: 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD, 1 TB HDD
CPU: 10th Intel Core i7-10510U, 1.8-4.9GHz, 8MB Smart Cache
GPU: Intel UHD Graphics 620
RAM: 16GB DDR3
Display: 14” IPS Full HD
Storage: x2 1TB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
CPU:Intel Core i5 10210U, 1.6GHz - 4.2GHz, 6MB Smart Cache
GPU: Intel UHD Graphics
RAM: 16GB DDR4
Display: 15.6” FHD IPS
Storage:500GB SSD
Price
$2,499.00
$1,469.99
$3,498.95
$999.00
$1,767.26
$929.95
BEST MAC OPTION
Photo
New Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, 16GB RAM, 1TB Storage,...
Brand/Model
New Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, 16GB RAM, 1TB Storage,...
Prime Status
Star Rating
-
Weight
4.3lbs
Typical Battery Life
~12 hours
Quick Specs
CPU: Intel Core i9-9880H 2.2GHz - 4.8GHz
GPU: AMD Radeon Pro 5500M 4GB GDDR6 / Intel UHD Graphics 630
RAM: 16GB DDR4 2666MHz
Display: 16" 3072x1920 pixel IPS Retina Display
Storage: 1TB NVMe SSD
Price
$2,499.00
BEST CONVERTIBLE
Photo
Microsoft Surface Laptop (1st Gen) EUP-00001 Laptop (Windows...
Brand/Model
Microsoft Surface Laptop (1st Gen) EUP-00001 Laptop (Windows...
Prime Status
-
Star Rating
-
Weight
2.83lbs
Typical Battery Life
~8 hours
Quick Specs
CPU: Intel Core i7 7660U 2.5 - 4GHz
GPU: Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640
RAM: 16GB DDR4 2666MHz
Display: 13.5” PixelSense Display at 2256x1504 pixels
Storage: 1TB NVMe SSD
Price
$1,469.99
BEST RTX OPTION
Photo
ASUS ProArt StudioBook 17 Mobile Workstation Laptop, 17”...
Brand/Model
ASUS ProArt StudioBook 17 Mobile Workstation Laptop, 17”...
Prime Status
-
Star Rating
-
Weight
4.1lbs
Typical Battery Life
~3.30 hours
Quick Specs
CPU: Intel Core i7-9750H, up to 4.5GHz
GPU: Geforce RTX 2060 26GB GDDR6
RAM: 32GB DDR4
Display: 17.3" 1920x1200 pixels, 16x10 aspect ratio
Storage:x2 512GB PCIe NVMe M.2
Price
$3,498.95
Photo
ASUS VivoBook S17 S712 Thin and Light 17.3” FHD, Intel...
Brand/Model
ASUS VivoBook S17 S712 Thin and Light 17.3” FHD, Intel...
Prime Status
-
Star Rating
-
Weight
5.07lbs
Typical Battery Life
~6 hours
Quick Specs
CPU: Intel Core i7-10510U, up to 4GHz Turbo, 12MB Smart Cache
GPU:Intel UHD Graphics 620
RAM: 8GB DDR4 2666 MHz
Display: 17” IPS FHD Screen, NanoEdge frameless display
Storage: 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD, 1 TB HDD
Price
$999.00
BEST LIGHTWEIGHT
Photo
ASUS ExpertBook B9450 Thin and Light Business Laptop, 14”...
Brand/Model
ASUS ExpertBook B9450 Thin and Light Business Laptop, 14”...
Prime Status
Star Rating
-
Weight
2.2lbs
Typical Battery Life
~17 hours
Quick Specs
CPU: 10th Intel Core i7-10510U, 1.8-4.9GHz, 8MB Smart Cache
GPU: Intel UHD Graphics 620
RAM: 16GB DDR3
Display: 14” IPS Full HD
Storage: x2 1TB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
Price
$1,767.26
Photo
OEM Lenovo ThinkPad E15 15.6" FHD Display 1920x1080, Intel...
Brand/Model
OEM Lenovo ThinkPad E15 15.6" FHD Display 1920x1080, Intel...
Prime Status
Star Rating
-
Weight
4.2lbs
Typical Battery Life
~8.30 hours
Quick Specs
CPU:Intel Core i5 10210U, 1.6GHz - 4.2GHz, 6MB Smart Cache
GPU: Intel UHD Graphics
RAM: 16GB DDR4
Display: 15.6” FHD IPS
Storage:500GB SSD
Price
$929.95

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How to get AutoCAD 2021 trial?

AutoCAD is available as a subscription software, and you can subscribe monthly, yearly and triennially. The subscription costs are as follows –

  • Monthly at $210
  • Annually at $1,690
  • Triennially at $4,565

To download a working trial of AutoCAD 2021, click on the button below.

The download is about 4GB, and will remain functional for 30 days. After the trial, you must sign up for a subscription in order to continue using the app. AutoCAD is a professional application, and as such the cost is justified to a large extent. However, there are other applications that offer similar functionality, at a reduced cost.

This article looks at the best rated laptops for AutoCAD 2021, and will guide you in making a choice of which laptop to use. We will look at laptops for any budget, whether you want a budget laptop, or have the money to spend on a high-end workstation laptop.

Required hardware specifications for AutoCAD 2020 and 2021

Before we proceed, let’s look at some basic hardware requirements for AutoCAD. AutoCAD is basically a drawing tool, but it can also render models in 3D. In simple terms, AutoCAD utilizes the system hardware in two ways, active and passive. In active mode, AutoCAD utilizes the processor for rendering the models, whereas in passive mode, the graphics card is utilized for displaying the models as they are created and manipulated.

In selecting the best laptop for AutoCAD 2021, here are the most important components to consider, and how they are utilized in AutoCAD for the best performance.

Processor

On the Autodesk website, they recommend a processor with a clock speed of 2.5Ghz and above. The app also does well on multi-core processors. Most of the modern processors will run appreciably well on AutoCAD, with minimal performance issues. You can opt for an Intel or AMD processor laptop with respect to this.

RAM

AutoCAD requires a minimum of 8GB of RAM, and a recommended RAM of 16GB. It doesn’t matter whether the RAM is DDR3 or DDR4, although most laptops released in the last couple of years have DDR4, which is faster than DDR3.

Graphics Card

Your laptop must have at least a 1GB graphics card with support for DirectX 11. This is the minimum specification. For the best performance, your graphics card should have at least 4GB of memory. Most modern GPUs have at least 4GB of RAM, including most of the models in this review.

It is interesting to note that AutoCAD doesn’t require workstation-class powerful graphics cards in order to function effectively. Any basic GPU with just 1GB of RAM will do just fine, which of course includes integrated graphics. However, getting a high-end Laptop is great especially if you plan to use it for other things, such as video editing and transcoding, apart from AutoCAD.

Display

AutoCAD requires a full HD display, but also has support for 4K displays. Almost all current generation of laptops have full HD display and so this is not really a big deal.

Storage

Your system should have at least 6GB free disk space in order to install AutoCAD. The app occupies quite a sizeable disk space. It is not recommended to run AutoCAD on limited disk space to avoid running into performance issues.

Other things to consider include having an active network connection for activation and licensing, a pointing device such as a mouse, a browser, Microsoft .NET Framework 4.7 or later, and DirectX 11.

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Best rated laptops for AutoCAD 2020 and 2021

If you are an AutoCAD user and are looking for a suitable laptop to get for AutoCAD design and drafting, we’ve lined up 12 machines you can get right now, with full review and specifications. With a laptop, you are not constrained to a regular desktop, which means you can draft and design on the go.

MSI P65 Creator

MSI’s P65 Creator Laptop is optimized for running CAD applications such as AutoCAD 2020, with its well-designed chassis and impressive specs. But does it live up to the hype in terms of performance? This laptop is ISV certified, meaning you won’t run into performance issues while using it. So how does it stack up?

best rated Laptops for AutoCAD 2020 and 2021

Key Hardware/Performance

The P65 Creator is loaded with impressive hardware. The processor is a 6-core Intel Core i7-9750H clocked at 2.6 GHz with a turbo speed of 4.5 GHz. This is more than enough to handle your AutoCAD drawing and rendering workflows.

The RAM is 32GB of fast DDR4 RAM that is more than capable of running multiple applications, while you draw and render inside AutoCAD. The graphics is powered by NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 featuring 6GB DDR6 RAM running on NVIDIA Studio drivers for optimized performance and stability. The RTX 2060 GPU is also able to render ray-traced effects in real-time, thanks to the NVIDIA RT cores integrated into the GPU.

The storage is a 1TB Intel Optane Teton Glacier SSD helps to speed up apps, and has some respectable read and write speeds, up to 2400MB/s read and 1800MB/s write speeds respectively. Interestingly, this laptop can be used for gaming, design, 3D rendering/modeling, in addition to CAD workflows. It’s a great choice for creators.

Design

It has a pleasant aluminum unibody which contributes to its lightweight, and also gives it a solid and sturdy feel. According to MSI, this laptop has undergone strict MIL-STD 810G standards for reliability and durability. The cool grey-white color is also pleasant, with the MSI emblem on the lid.

The display features thin bezels except on the bottom. The matte display has anti-glare for reducing the problem of incident light, and the full-layout keyboard is nice to type on. The hinges are also pretty firm and allow the display to tilt back to a full 180o.

Display

The display on the P65 Creator is a 4K color accurate matte display with anti-glare. The display is factory color-calibrated with MSI True Color Technology, and the colors come off looking vivid and sharp.

The laptop is capable of driving up to 3 external displays at 4K resolution. This is a great option if you want to see your work on a bigger monitor in the office.

Heat Management

The P65 does get hot mostly on the undersides, but with the proper tuning in MSI Creator Center, you can be able to lower the temps and keep them at 75-85oC under load. The Cooler Boost Trinity+ does a decent job of cooling the unit, though under load the temps can really shoot up.

Battery Life

The P65 can deliver up to 6 hours battery life during normal usage, but it drops to 2+ hours under load. This is quite typical of laptops with similar powerful hardware.

Connectivity

There are lots of connectivity options including Thunderbolt, USB 3, mini display port, and audio ports. There’s also Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. However, there’s no card reader and a USB Type C charging port.


PROS


  • Good performance
  • Great display
  • Lightweight
  • Fast storage
  • ISV certified
  • Thin chassis




CONS


  • No USB-C charging
  • Noisy fan
  • Overly bright keyboard backlight
  • Fingerprint sensor gets in the way
  • No Card reader



Dell XPS 15 7590 – Best Value Laptop for AutoCAD

Dell’s XPS laptops are known for performance, sleek design, and a healthy set of features that set them apart in the world of laptops. The XPS 7590 is no exception. This unit is a 15.6-inch premium laptop with a beautiful OLED display and a set of hardware that runs AutoCAD flawlessly. It’s true the laptop isn’t ISV certified, but AutoCAD will run on this machine quite easily without issues.

It’s a good choice if you need a machine primarily for office-related tasks, AutoCAD work, and multimedia content creation, but still need to be able to do video or photo editing sometimes. Besides, you should also be able to jump into a game or two in between.

best rated Laptops for AutoCAD 2020 and 2021

Key Hardware/Performance

Our review unit has a six-core 9th Gen Intel Core i7 9750H processor with clock speed of 2.6 to 4.5 GHz and 12MB cache. This is more than enough to run AutoCAD 2020 or 2021 version. Also, the RAM is quite adequate, with 16GB of fast DDR4 RAM, drawing and rendering in AutoCAD will be effortless, even if you have tons of windows open.

For graphics, you have the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 with 4GB GDDR5 memory. AutoCAD requires a minimum of 1GB graphics memory with a DX11 compliant GPU. This card far exceeds the minimum requirements for AutoCAD. Add to these is a fast 256GB NVMe SSD for fast file handling and system responsiveness.

To really get the best of this laptop, downloading the NVIDIA Studio drivers will go a long way to fine tune the components for content creation and multimedia work.

Design

Sturdy build, pleasant color combination, and premium materials. The XPS 7590 has a well-designed aluminum chassis featuring a silver colored top, with the Dell logo imprinted on it. The carbon fiber keyboard deck has a nice textured feel which is great as it doesn’t pick up stains easily.

At just 4lbs, this model is light-weight by standards. What about the screen area? The beautiful screen features quite thin bezels on 3 sides, except the bottom part which has the Dell logo etched there. The screen is virtually borderless, maximizing screen space so you can see more and make a stylish statement at the same time.

The keyboard is a full-layout chiclet-style keyboard. The travel depth isn’t that high, but it still allows for a decent typing experience. The glass touchpad is smooth and performs great too.

Display

The InfinityEdge display on the XPS 7590 is nothing short of fantastic. The colors stand out, are sharp and vibrant. You’ll really appreciate this display when watching HDR content. Besides, it’s a 4K display. Working with AutoCAD doesn’t really make any difference, but you’ll appreciate the higher resolution and rich colors.

The black levels are also outstanding, with its high contrast ratio. However, the issue of light bleeding is ever present in such OLED displays, as such it’s not a major issue. Another outstanding feature of this display is the brightness levels, at 400 nits. You could easily use this in sunlight, but then you have to turn the brightness to the highest level.

Heat Management

The system does get quite hot under load. Temperatures can shoot up to a hundred degrees Celsius. This is an area that does need improvement. The fans also get quite noisy when running processor-intensive tasks, such as rendering. However, when running on batteries, selecting a battery saver profile lowers the heat output to tolerable levels.

Battery Life

Battery life on this machine is quite impressive. With a 6-Cell 97Whr battery, it can power your drawings for hours. At normal usage, such as drawing inside AutoCAD, without running demanding operations, such as rendering, you can be sure of at least 7 – 9 hours’ battery life. Under load, such as intense rendering and gaming, the battery life drops to around 3 or 4 hours. This is quite ok.

Connectivity

There are plenty of ports to work with. Here is a breakdown of connectivity options.

  • 2x USB 3 Type A
  • 1x USB 3 Type C
  • 1x HDMI
  • Speaker/Mic
  • SD Card
  • Wireless/Networking: Killer 1650x 2.4/5GHz
  • Wi-Fi 6
  • Bluetooth 5


PROS


  • Great build quality
  • Lightweight
  • Great performance
  • Fantastic display
  • Great battery life
  • Bright screen




CONS


  • Bloatware
  • Thermals need improvement



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Asus ZenBook 14 – Best 14″ Laptop for AutoCAD

The new ZenBook 14 combines the sleekness and stylishness of an ultra-book with powerful hardware to give you a machine that you will enjoy working with, whether you are an AutoCAD user or not. It’s a compact laptop packed with a ton of features that will enable you to work for extended periods of time away from the office.

It’s a 14” laptop with a full HD display, perfect for working on the go. It has loads of useful features that will make your AutoCAD working hours enjoyable and more productive.

best rated Laptops for AutoCAD 2020 and 2021

Key Hardware/Performance

This laptop is fitted with a 4-core i7 processor, the 10510U. this is actually a low-powered processor, but it still packs quite a punch. It’s an eight-core/16-thread processor. This class of Intel mobile processors are relatively low-powered, but don’t let that fool you. They perform well enough even in demanding applications, such as rendering AutoCAD models.

The ZenBook 14 flaunts the NVIDIA MX250 GPU with 2GB VRAM. Though this is an entry-level graphics card, it does the job quite perfectly while working with AutoCAD, since it passes the minimum GPU requirements.

The unit also comes with 16GB DDR3 RAM which is more than adequate for running AutoCAD. The storage is a 512GB PCIe Intel Optane SSD which speeds up frequently accessed applications, making the system response time much snappier.

Mind you, only the storage drive is upgradable; all the other major components such as the CPU, RAM and GPU are all soldered into the mainboard. So if you plan on upgrading, you might want to take note of this.

Design

This is one of the best-designed ultrabooks out there. One of its strong selling points is the compact form factor. It features ultra-thin bezels, a beautifully crafted lid with the ASUS logo etched in a nice coppery color. The color is a muted Royal blue, and we love the brushed metal texture on the lid. However, one downside is the ease with which the chassis gathers fingerprints.

The hinges are also quite strong and well-implemented. You can open the lid with one hand, though the lid can tilt back to only 145 degrees. Would have been better if the lid can go up to 180 degrees. There is also some little flex on the lid, around the imprinted logo. All in all, the build is quite sturdy and doesn’t feel and look cheap.

The keyboard deck is also made of the same material, though the brushed texture feel isn’t there. The white backlit keyboard is nice but provides poor feedback, due to the deep positioning of the actuation points. You might get mistypes if you are a fast typer. Also, there is no number pad. The number pad has been moved and integrated into the trackpad. Asus completely redesigned the trackpad into something else – the Screenpad 2.0.

This takes the place of the traditional trackpad, and adds loads of functionalities. The Screenpad is a touchscreen trackpad and features an App Navigator, Quick Key, Handwriting functionality, Slide Xpert, and the regular number pad keys. If you are going to be using this for AutoCAD, then you might add a proper mouse for the best working experience.  

The Screenpad looks good, but it’s an unnecessary utility. Apart from the learning curve you are subjected to while trying to use it, it also drains battery power. Most of the functions are already present in Windows, which renders it unneeded.

The ZenBook 14 is also one the most lightweight ultrabooks for AutoCAD you can get, weighing just 2.7lbs. Other features include an IR Hello Camera, a HD Webcam, and integrated mics.

Display

The touch-enabled 14” FHD display does a good job of displaying images. The brightness level is ok, at 289 nits. It works ok indoors, though you can’t use it in sunlit environments. The display has not anti-glare, so you have to cope with glare while in use.

The color output is also quite good, with up to 89% sRGB, 62.4% NTSC, and 64.7% AdobeRGB coverage.

Heat Management

The heat dissipation system keeps this machine’s temperatures at manageable levels. Much of the heat is concentrated at the top of the keyboard deck, and under the laptop towards the back. In normal use, temperatures rise to 33/34oC, while under load you’d expect temps in the region of 43-47oC.

Battery Life

The ZenBook 14 has fantastic battery life. Standard tests reveal a battery life of up to 9 hours, while you can expect 2-3 hours on heavy load. While running on battery, turning of the Screenpad helps to elongate the battery life.

Connectivity

Connectivity options on the ZenBook 14 include HDMI, microSD card reader, mic/headphone, USB 3.1 Type A, USB 3.1 Type C (data only, no video or power), and USB 2. Wireless connectivity options include Wi-Fi 6 (Intel AX200), and Bluetooth 5.0.


PROS


  • Great design and looks
  • Lightweight
  • Decent battery life
  • Great value for the price
  • Runs cool and quiet
  • Good performance




CONS


  • Chassis gather fingerprints easily
  • No USB-C charging
  • No anti-glare screen
  • Unnecessary Screenpad



HP Envy – 17t – Best Touchscreen Laptop for AutoCAD

The Envy series features some good laptops for business professionals and gamers. The 17t is a 17” machine that you can use for AutoCAD work, both at the office and on the go.

The combination of a Comet Lake-U processor and the entry-level GPU, combined with a hefty 32GB of RAM should provide enough horsepower to run your AutoCAD work any day. The large display is also a plus as it allows you to view your work better. The unit comes with Windows 10 Pro pre-installed.

best rated Laptops for AutoCAD 2020 and 2021

Key Hardware/Performance

Key features of the Envy 17t include a 10th Gen. Comet Lake processor, the Intel Core i7 10510U 4-core processor, an NVIDIA GeForce MX250 GPU, 32 GB of RAM, a 1TB PCIe SSD and another 1TB mechanical hard drive. The 4-core processor can turbo up to 4.9GHz on Turbo, and combined with the 12MB Smart Cache, you should be able to handle any sort of AutoCAD design, and render faster too.

The GPU is adequate for running AutoCAD. The large RAM is also an advantage, and you’ll hardly need to upgrade the RAM. Also, with up to 2TB of storage, you’ll never need to upgrade that. At least for the time being.

However, the processor is not a very powerful one, and will struggle at some heavy workloads, though it will work great on AutoCAD. Also, the entry level GPU will not cut it if you plan to game with this laptop.

Design

The Envy 17t looks good, at least, with its silver colored chassis. It’s also sturdy and doesn’t feel cheap one bit. The metallic silver color does a good job of showcasing the glossy metallic HP logo on the lid. One thing though; this machine is heavy, even though it might be considered a slim laptop. It weighs about 6.4lbs.

There’s a DVD drive included, which is rare nowadays. The keyboard is a full layout one, with 2-stage white backlighting. The keys are quiet and respond to the right amount of pressure. There’s also a large smooth trackpad installed, which clicks with a dull sound.

One design flaw we noticed was the sharp angular edges, which could easily cause injury. This could have been chamfered off for a much blunt edge.

Display

The 17-inch display has touch capabilities and is also Full HD capable. The anti-glare feature helps to cut out harsh light when working in well-lit conditions. The panel is an IPS panel with good viewing angles.

The brightness of this display is about 280 nits. Don’t expect to use this in sunlight, you’ll not enjoy it. Working indoors presents no problems with this though. The display has poor contrast ratio, meaning your images wouldn’t be as rich as you’d expect them to be. However, it’s still viewable to a large extent. Just don’t expect stellar display performance.

Heat Management

This machine manages to remain cool during use, whether during regular usage, or running stuff like rendering. On idle, the temperatures remain about 28OC, and shoot up to 43OC on load. This is quite tolerable and wouldn’t be considered hot.

Also, the fans remain quiet, even during heavy usage such as rendering or serious multitasking. The palm rests remain relatively cool during even heavy usage, while most of the temperature rise happens around the screen area, above and under the chassis.

Battery Life

The Envy 17t manages to clock up to 4 hours plus on standard battery tests. Under load however, the battery life diminishes to almost half of that figure. We would consider this poor. It’s not surprising however, given the size of this machine and the paltry 3-Cell 52WHr Battery it comes with.

Connectivity

The 17t comes with a host of connectivity options including 3 USB 3.1 Gen1, 1 HDMI, 1xUSB 3.1 Type-C Gen1, SD Card Reader, Optical Drive, and a Headphone/Microphone Combo Jack. Networking includes a 802.11ac Wifi, Bluetooth 5.0, and Ethernet LAN (RJ-45). Other features include a 720p HD Webcam, and a Fingerprint Security System.

There is also a pair of stereo speakers powered by Bang & Olufsen, which can get loud during playback, but are poor on reproducing bass frequencies. There’s no Kensington lock device however. On purchase, you get a free Portable USB 3.0 Data Hub.


PROS


  • Sturdy chassis/ Good looks
  • Large RAM
  • Big screen
  • Stays cool
  • Touchscreen capability




CONS


  • No Kensington lock
  • Heavy
  • Sharp edges
  • Short battery life
  • Below par hardware for some workloads



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LG Gram Business Laptop – Best Battery Life

The LG Gram 17-inch business laptop is in a class of itself with its outstanding low weight, svelte form factor coupled with the latest Intel processor and a distinctive 16:10 screen aspect ratio. Whether you are an architectural or engineering student or professional, if you care for ultimate portability and style, the Gram could be the machine you are looking for.

best rated Laptops for AutoCAD 2020 and 2021

Key Hardware/Performance

This unit is armed with an Intel 10th Generation i7-1065G7 CPU with Iris Plus graphics, 16GB of RAM, a pair of 512GB NMVe SSDs giving you a total of 1TB storage, Windows 10 Home Edition, and plenty of ports such as Thunderbolt 3, and an expansive 17” screen.

The processor isn’t super-fast, but it will power your AutoCAD drawing and renders satisfactorily. Added to that, if you want a 17-inch laptop that is featherweight, and has stellar battery life, then the Gram is for you.

Another noteworthy feature is a fingerprint reader which allows you to boot up and log in instantly by simply touching the power button to login or reawaken your laptop from sleep mode. In terms of ruggedness and stability, the LG Gram passed seven military-grade (MIL-STD 810G) tests for durability, which includes shock, vibration, pressure, dust, temperature, and salt fog.

Finally, there’s a HD webcam installed for video capture.

Design

On first impressions, you might think the chassis of the LG Gram is made of plastic. Nope. What you see is a magnesium alloy which is responsible for the extreme light weight of this laptop. The chassis is precision CNC cut, with no gaps and sharp edges. Truly, the craftsmanship of this laptop chassis is top notch.

The lid has Gram etched on it, and can be opened with one hand. The finish is matte, and it does a good job of minimizing fingerprints. The hinges are also solid and hold the lid firmly, and allows the lid to open to a maximum of 140o.

The display is expansive, and features very thin bezels. The keyboard is a full-layout chiclet, illuminated, and provide good tactile response. The keys are concave and smooth, with a slight bounce when typed upon. The large touchpad is also well positioned and offer lots of multi-touch functionality.

True to its name, the Gram is one of the lightest business laptops available, clocking in at just 2.98lbs. This is despite its large size, which is a minus for laptops in this size category. They usually weigh a ton.

Display

The LG Gram laptop features a reflective 17-inch display with a 16:10 aspect ratio, and a native resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixels. It also has a contrast ratio of 1077:1 and brightness of 354 nits which is above the laptop average. While running on batteries, the maximum brightness drops slightly, though it is still more than 300 nits.

The display also has good color reproduction, with the colors coming off vivid and bright. The Gram also has an IPS panel with great viewing angles, allowing you to read the display from any position. The brightness and contrast are quite good for using the display outdoors, though the reflective display surface usually makes this quite difficult.

Heat Management

One of the high points of the Gram is its low temps, even during sustained load. It remains stable around the region of 40OC. The palm rests remain relatively cool, as much of the heat is concentrated near the screen, but on top and under the chassis.

Battery Life

Talk about excellent battery life, the Gram scores high on this. It is equipped with a non-removable 80 Whr battery, which LG claims can last up to 17 hours. This is not an exaggeration. This machine is able to last up to 12 hours under load.

However, during normal system usage such as web browsing, AutoCAD drawing, or typing, battery life could last up to 20 hours, depending on other variables such as screen brightness. The Intel Iris Plus integrated graphics goes a long way to help in achieving such fantastic battery life.

One thing to note though, the charging process take too long.

Ports/Network

The LG Gram comes with a generous selection of connections including three USB Type-A ports (USB 3.2 Gen 1), one Thunderbolt-3 port that allows connecting a docking solution or an external GPU. Power delivery and DisplayPort are supported via USB-C, so together with the HDMI port, the notebook offers two video ports for connecting up to a 5K external display.

The ports are placed in the back area on the left and right sides, thereby keeping the areas next to the palm rests free of cables. There’s also a micro-SD card reader for connecting micro-SD cards. There’s also an Intel WLAN chip (Wi-Fi 6 AX201) which supports the 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax WLAN standards plus Bluetooth 5.


PROS


  • Lightweight
  • Slim form
  • Excellent battery life
  • Great display
  • Runs cool
  • Plenty of ports




CONS


  • Chassis could be sturdier
  • Too reflective display
  • CPU performance below average
  • Difficult to access components
  • Bad warranty terms



Acer Swift 3 – Best Budget Laptop for AutoCAD

With the rave that AMD powered laptops have become lately, it’s not surprising to find a couple of them in this review of the best rated laptops for AutoCAD 2020 and 2021. But then, the Acer Swift 3 business laptop is a great choice for AutoCAD drawing and rendering. It’s compact, lightweight (probably the lightest in this roundup), and offers great value in terms of price to performance ratio.

Though this is a budget 14” business laptop you should consider for AutoCAD, don’t let the budget tag fool you. It has some nice features (like Amazon Alexa) that might win your heart.

best rated Laptops for AutoCAD 2020 and 2021

Key Hardware/Performance

This model is a 14” laptop fitted with a Renoir APU, the 8-core AMD Ryzen 7 4700U with Radeon RX Vega 7 graphics. The RAM is soldered 8GB DDR4, while the storage is a fast 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD.

The processor offers good performance, with clock speeds of 2GHz-4.2GHz on turbo. There is no multi-threading though, which means it can execute one thread per core. The relatively powerful integrated graphics offers decent performance in light gaming. It should power your AutoCAD designs pretty well.

The laptop also comes with a speedy 512GB NVMe SSD for storage, which offers fast file transfers and system boot-up speeds. There’s also a fingerprint reader for secure logins and Amazon Alexa which allows you to do more, like setting reminders, timers and alarms. The HD webcam is also nice, though the quality leaves much to be desired. Upgradability is limited to just the storage drive. The RAM cannot be upgraded.

There’s a nice feature that helps in usability; with just your voice, you can wake up the system quickly using the integrated mic. Nice

Design

The laptop features a compact and sturdy metal chassis. The material is a sleek aluminum & magnesium-aluminum metal chassis which delivers a high screen-to-body ratio. This ultra-portable notebook is only 2.6 lbs. and only 0.63 inches thin. The design approach is quite minimalistic. The lid can be opened with one hand up to 180o.

The display features slim bezels, though the display frame is plastic. The keyboard deck is also made of the same metal material. The keyboard is not full-layout (we don’t expect one for this size of laptop). The backlit chiclet keyboard is flat, with smooth keys that offer a short drop and a clear pressure point.

The keys have an acceptable level of resistance, though the travel depth is not deep (typical). The keys have a single-stage backlight which can be controlled using a function key. The keyboard is nice though, but large handed folks will find it almost unusable, because it is very compact. So if you have large fingers, you might have to consider getting an external keyboard.

The touchpad is smooth and presents a large-enough area for performing gesture operations, and the integrated mouse works OK for clicking and selecting.

Display

The display is a Full HD matte display with a good contrast ratio of 1,170:1. The brightness is 244nits, which is below the average of 300nits. Color reproduction isn’t top-notch, with sRGB coverage of just 56%. The IPS display provides good viewing angles, but the low brightness makes it impossible to use the laptop in daylight conditions.

Heat Management

The laptop runs cool generally, averaging up to 40oc even under load. The fan noise is also quite low.

Battery Life

The Acer Swift has fantastic battery life. Standard battery tests reveal that you can extract up to 12 hours from this machine. However, you can get more hours by disabling Wi-Fi and reducing the screen brightness. If you are doing light work however, the machine can last up to 17 hours on a charge.

Ports/Network

There’s a decent number of ports, such as 2 USB Type-A ports, with one operating at the USB 2.0 standard and the other on the newer USB 3.2 Gen1 standard. There is also a USB Type-C port that supports both DisplayPort and USB Power Delivery (PD), meaning that the device can output audio and video while being charged.

There’s also a full-sized HDMI port and a power connector though, giving the Swift 3 two charging and video outputs. The laptop can also be secured with the single Kensington lock. However, there’s no memory card reader.

The wireless department is equipped with an Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200 module which supports Wi-Fi 6. There’s also Bluetooth 5 functionality.


PROS


  • Nice usability features
  • Runs cool and quiet
  • Lightweight and slim
  • Amazing battery life




CONS


  • RAM not upgradeable
  • Keyboard not for large hands
  • No card reader
  • Low display color coverage



Apple MacBook Pro 16 – Best Mac Laptop for AutoCAD

Apple’s MacBook Pro 16 is its latest flagship laptop for multimedia enthusiasts and professionals, and it lives up to its billing with its excellent craftsmanship and premium hardware crammed inside. If the price isn’t a problem at all, then this should be your choice among our best rated laptops for AutoCAD 2020 and 2021 if you are excited about Macs.

Apple made some changes to this model since the MacBook Pro 15 such as the larger screen and the scissor-switch keyboard, instead of the butterfly keyboard which users of the previous MacBook Pro versions complained about.

But then, this machine will provide top-notch performance in AutoCAD for Mac, allowing you to not only draw and design, but render your work with ease and seamless performance, whether in the office or on the go. This machine is loaded with a ton of useful features which will enhance your productivity.

best rated Laptops for AutoCAD 2020 and 2021

Key Hardware/Performance

This unit comes with a 9th-generation 8-core/16-thread Core i9-9880H processor, clocked at 2.3GHz with Turbo Boost up to 4.8GHz, enough to handle the most demanding workflows in AutoCAD, or practically any type of productivity workflow including design, video editing, transcoding, rendering, etc.

The GPU is the AMD Radeon Pro 5500M with 4GB of GDDR6 memory and automatic graphics switching, Intel UHD Graphics 630. The Radeon Pro GPU exceeds the minimum requirements for AutoCAD, and if you are running on batteries, you shouldn’t lose any performance due to the system switching to the integrated graphics. What you get is even more battery life for extended working time.

The system also comes with an ultrafast 1TB SSD drive for fast and responsive system performance. The drive is able to rack up transfer speeds of up to 1959/sequential write speeds and 1762/ sequential read speeds. Other hardware includes the 16GB of fast DDR4 RAM which allows you to multi-task seamlessly without hangups and slowdowns.

In terms of upgrade, there isn’t much you can do here. If you are thinking of upgrading any component all, then you might as well perish the thought. All the components are soldered on the mainboard, with no options for upgrading them. So if any of the major components develop a fault, you are left with the only option of replacing the mainboard.

Let’s not forget the Touch Bar and Touch ID for enhanced usability and authentication respectively. The keyboard feels and works nice, and the large trackpad allows you to do a whole lot more.

Design

The MacBook Pro doesn’t depart so much from the previous generation of MacBook Pros which we are used to. The chassis is still the high-grade aluminum metal material which does a great job of not picking up fingerprints. The chassis has a premium feel to it, and is quite sturdy and solid. The colors can be either Silver or Space Gray.

The familiar Apple logo can be found on the lid, with illumination. The lid is held in place by a rigid hinge, which allows the laptop to be opened with one hand up to about 135o. Opening the lid reveals the large 16” glossy display and the Mac keyboard and large trackpad.

The underside can be removed by unscrewing the screws holding it in place. In terms of weight, the MacBook Pro 16 weighs an impressive 4.3lbs.

Display

The MacBook Pro 16 has a great 3072×1920 pixel IPS panel which reproduces color quite accurately, thanks to its full coverage of the sRGB and Adobe RGB color spectrum. This is a huge advantage if you plan on using this machine for video or photo editing. Apple still maintains its Retina Display, with ultra-sharp and crisp images.

The brightness is up to 470 nits, though Apple states it is 500 nits on its website. The IPS features helps a lot for great viewing angles. However, the display refresh rate of 60Hz is quite low for serious gaming. If you want to do gaming on this machine, then expect below par performance because you can get better performance on a Windows laptop. In addition, there is not sync feature.

The high contrast ratio of 1,331:1 also helps to display rich blacks, but there’s no HDR support. Another downside is the glossy display which doesn’t do anything to cut out the reflections it picks up. So you’re better off minimizing the reflections manually.

Heat Management

This laptop has impressive heat management design, which goes a long way to minimize heat emmisions. The machine remains cool on idle and even under load. The palm rests remain cool even under load. Much of the heat emissions are concentrated near the screen area on the keyboard deck.

The system cooling fans also perform quite admirably; they remain relatively quiet and do not whistle under load.

Battery Life

The battery life of this device is quite commendable, given the top-performing hardware it comes with. The 100Wh battery is able to sustain the laptop on battery for almost 12hours in standard tests. If you are running power-intensive operations, then expect the battery life to drop to about 2 hours.

Ports/Network

It has a shortage of ports and connectivity options, in contrast to the plenty of ports the MacBook Pro 15 has. There are just 4 Thunderbolt 3 ports and an audio jack. The wireless modem is a Broadcom wireless card, though it doesn’t support Wi-Fi 6.


PROS


  • Amazing battery life
  • Great image quality
  • Great build quality
  • Great keyboard/trackpad
  • Runs cool and quiet
  • Powerful hardware




CONS


  • No upgrade options
  • No Wi-Fi 6
  • Pricey
  • Glossy display
  • Low refresh rate/no sync
  • Scanty connectivity options



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Microsoft Surface Laptop – Best Convertible

The Microsoft Surface Laptop is a great proposition for business professionals who desires great performance and style combined with ultimate portability. This is one of the stylish laptops you can get right now. It gives you desktop-class performance, with a bunch of features and accessories to enhance your productivity. This machine performs great in AutoCAD 2020/2021, allowing you to work with it as a standalone laptop, or docked to an external display.

best rated Laptops for AutoCAD 2020 and 2021

Key Hardware/Performance

The Surface laptop comes equipped with a Kaby Lake Intel Core i7 7660U processor with a clock speed of 2.5GHz. On demand, the processor is capable of increasing its clock speed via Turbo Boost up to 4GHz. This is a powerful processor that should perform incredibly well, at least in principle.

The power is only limited by throttling which cuts back on the output, probably due to thermal design constraints, or to protect the processor from overheating. This is the only issue with this laptop. However, running AutoCAD with it will present little to no performance issues because it exceeds the minimum requirements for running the app.

Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640 provides better performance than the Intel HD Graphics hardware. It will power your AutoCAD drawings effortlessly, even though it’s not an ISV certified graphics hardware. Nevertheless, it meets and exceeds the minimum requirements for AutoCAD 2020/2021.

However, if you plan to game with this laptop, don’t expect the best gaming performance. It will run most titles at reduced settings. Increased settings will render most games unplayable.

The Surface Laptop also comes with 16GB of fast DDR4 RAM for maximum multitasking. Also, don’t expect to upgrade this RAM as it is hard-soldered to the mainboard. The 1TB SSD also performs fairly well, though it doesn’t offer the performance of top-tier SSDs we have seen. It is able to garner transfer speeds of 1020.7/972.6MB/s sequential read/write speeds respectively.

In terms of performance, the Surface Laptop scores average for laptops in its class for most demanding workloads including gaming, rendering. For AutoCAD modeling and drawings, your output is only limited by your time because this machine will enhance your productivity, whether at your desk or away.

The device comes with Windows 10 S pre-installed. AutoCAD needs Windows 10 Professional, which you can get easily and at no cost any time through the Windows Store. The keyboard and Microsoft Precision glass touchpad are a delight to use. The keys travel up to 1.5mm depth, which is acceptable.

Other key features include the handwriting support which enables you to draw with the Surface Pen. If you are also art inclined, then you will appreciate this device. Then there’s also Cortana in Windows which helps a lot with voice commands and online/offline search. You also get free cloud storage with the Microsoft OneDrive with which you can back-up your stuff.

best rated Laptops for AutoCAD 2020 and 2021

Design

The Surface Laptop comes in Platinum grey, burgundy, graphite gold and cobalt blue colors. The chassis material looks and feels elegant and nice to the touch. The material for the chassis is aluminum, while the keyboard deck is overlaid with Alcantara fabric material which virtually eliminates finger marks and prints.

The design is quite minimalistic. The build quality is nonetheless excellent. The lid opens effortlessly, revealing the display with thin bezels. The maximum tilt angle of 140o is sufficient enough for most viewing angles, though it could be better.

This device is also quite lightweight, at just 2.83lbs. It is also thin enough to slip into a bag. This laptop is well-designed and crafted in our opinion.

Display

The display on this laptop is beautiful, with the edge-to-edge 13.5” PixelSense Display and touch-enabled and ultra-thin bezel. The maximum display resolution is 2256 x 1504 pixels. The colors are crisp, clear, and vibrant. It’s also bright, at about 400nits of brightness.

Heat Management

The temperatures hardly cross over 40oC under load, and around 26-28oc on idle. Overall, the Surface Laptop runs cool and quiet even in demanding workloads.

Battery Life

The battery life of this laptop is quite impressive. Microsoft puts it at 14.5 hours. However, in practical tests, the machine was able to clock up to 8 hours. Battery life is subject to many variables, including screen brightness. If you are able to minimize this and engage in simple tasks, you should have marginal improvement in battery life, and probably achieve up to 14 hours or more.

Ports/Network

One of its downsides. This laptop lacks in this area. There is only one USB port, an audio port, and the Surface dock port for connecting it to an external dock.


PROS


  • Ultra-light
  • Excellent build quality
  • Runs cool and quiet
  • Remarkable battery life




CONS


  • Lack of major ports
  • Performance throttling
  • Lack of upgrade options



ASUS ProArt StudioBook 17 – Best RTX Laptop for AutoCAD

The ASUS ProArt series makes a strong appeal to content creators and designers who want top performance in a laptop at a competitive price. No doubt, Asus makes great gaming laptops. This is no exception.

The ProArt StudioBook 17 is a 17” workstation laptop with premium hardware that you can use for not just AutoCAD, but just about any CAD software (it’s ISV certified), or any 3D design or graphic design application. However, there are a few issues you must be aware of if you plan to get this machine. so let’s get to it.

Key Hardware/Performance

This unit is powered by the powerful Intel Core i7-9750H, a six core/twelve thread chip which is able to clock up to 4.5GHz on Turbo. It is paired with 32GB of fast DDR4 RAM for maximum multitasking. The graphics sub-system is powered by a Geforce RTX 2060 with 6GB GDDR6 VRAM. The addition of RTX Studio drivers which are optimized to take advantage of this graphics hardware is great for creative/multimedia workflows.

The storage comprises dual 512GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSDs in RAID 0 configuration for high performance and reliability. Transfer speeds are in the region of 628MB/s sequential write speed.

Now in terms of performance, this laptop packs quite a punch. It can handle serious workflows such as rendering and even gaming. Everything works snappy right off the bat, and the heat and fan noise levels aren’t annoying.

Design

This machine screams style; right from its stylish brushed metal lid to the cool edge-to-edge display and color accents. The chassis is crafted from a dark-grey metallic material, and feels solid too. The whole chassis is expertly designed with sharp lines and angles which accentuate the sleek look.

The screen is held in place by thin bezels, and the hinge is also solid and quite flexible. The keyboard deck has a textured feel which helps in reducing fingerprints, unlike the lid. The front section has a lip that allows you to open the lid with just one hand. The keyboard lacks the number pad section, but the keys are kinda small for a laptop this big.

The typing experience is average on this keyboard, and the touchpad is also nice and smooth. It can also perform multi-touch gestures which helps in usability. This laptop is truly well-designed, weighing just over 4lbs, and is quite slim and sleek. This is unusual for laptops this size, which usually means they are bulky and unwieldy.

In terms of durability, the StudioBook 17 meets the military grade MIL-STD 810G durability tests, and you can be sure it will withstand stressful conditions and environments.

best rated Laptops for AutoCAD 2020 and 2021

Display

The display on this laptop is beautiful. The colors are crisp and well-defined, thanks to the factory Pantone validated color accuracy. It has a resolution of 1920×1200 pixels (WUXGA) with a 16:10 aspect ratio panel. The NanoEdge matte display is great for viewing both indoors and outdoors. Glossy displays have a problem of reflections, which you won’t find here.

This display has good color reproduction, which is most suitable for photo or video editing. The screen has a 171% coverage of the sRGB color gamut, and the brightness is around 340nits. This is above the average of 300nits for laptops. Another great feature is the wide angle hinge, which is able to open the display to a 180-degree angle for collaborative work.

Heat Management

This laptop gets fairly hot, especially on the underside. On heavy load, the temperatures get as high as 41oC. It is advisable to get a cooling pad when in use.

Battery Life

The battery life is typical of similar laptops. Standard battery test reveal this laptop is able to last up to 3:30 hours. On serious load, expect a battery life of around 1 hour plus. Again, this is typical for laptops with such configuration and size.

Ports/Network

There’s a USB Type C Thunderbolt 3 port for connecting an external display and data transfer, 3 USB Type A ports, an RJ-45 Ethernet port, a HDMI port, and audio ports, and an SD card reader. Wireless connectivity options include Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) and Bluetooth 5.


PROS


  • Great design
  • Great hardware
  • Great display
  • Varied connectivity options
  • Lightweight and sleek




CONS


  • Unimpressive battery life
  • Can get uncomfortably warm



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ASUS VivoBook S17

The VivoBook S17 is one of the laptops in the VivoBook family with a 17” display. It’s big, light and is reasonably priced. It comes in both Intel and AMD versions. It also has a great number of features that make it a good 17” choice for working in AutoCAD.

Key Hardware/Performance

This model combines a Comet Lake Intel Core i7-10510U with 4 cores. It can turbo boost up to 4.8GHz. The integrated graphics Intel UHD Graphics 620 is quite capable of running AutoCard 2020. The processor is paired with 8GB of RAM, and there is a 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD and 1TB mechanical hard drive.

In terms of upgrading the hardware, you have the option to add an extra RAM stick to the vacant RAM slot. The 8GB is soldered to the mainboard. You can also upgrade the storage drives. The unit also has Windows 10 Home edition, an integrated HD webcam, and an array of ports.

In terms of system performance, the laptop handles tasks fairly well. Windows boots fast, thanks to the speedy SSD. File transfer speeds are also typically fast. The laptop also has fingerprint scanning on the touchpad, which eliminates the need for a password every time you log in.

The keyboard is a full layout white backlit keyboard, though the key feedback is light and travel is shallow at just 1.4mm. Typing on this keyboard will leave you typing with more force than is necessary just for the typing to register. The touchpad works flawlessly and can perform gestures. There is a fingerprint scanner at the upper right corner of the keyboard.

Design

Though made of plastic, the chassis is rigid and sturdy. The brushed silver-like look is also pleasant, with matte texture which looks cool. The lid is also rigid, offering little flex when pressure is applied. There’s also a fancy ASUS logo etching on the center of the lid. The keyboard deck, which also has dotted design which adds texture to an otherwise dull plastic surface, is also quite sturdy.

The corners and edges are rounded, while the lid opens to a maximum of 140 degrees. This could be better though, as we have laptops in this review which can open up to 180o. However, this limitation serves a purpose; it helps to tilt the laptop behind a bit higher, thereby helping in typing ergonomics.

At just 5.07 pounds, the VivoBook S17 is lightweight, especially given the size. Most 17” laptops are far weightier.

Display

This laptop boasts of an 85% screen to body ratio. The NanoEdge frameless display is matte, which helps to cut down on reflections. The bezels are not thin by latest standards, though it might be considered average.

The Full HD display is crisp, though the contrast levels aren’t high. The colors though aren’t vivid enough due to the relatively love sRGB coverage. Screen brightness is also low, at just 263nits. This renders the display unviewable in sunlit conditions, though it is indoors. The IPS panel also has decent viewing angles, though the display degrades at extreme angles. Overall, the display has a fair dose of strengths and weaknesses.

Heat Management

The laptop remains relatively cool when in use, even under load. Temperatures can get up to 40oC on the right side of the keyboard and underneath. The fan noise is quite audible, though we expect the system to run silent because there is no dedicated graphics card.

Battery Life

The 37 Wh battery can sustain power off the mains for at least 6 hours in standard usage. Under intensive workflows, this drops to around 3 hours. Not bad.

Ports/Network

Ports include USB 3 Type A and Type C, HDMI, USB 2, microSD card reader, and an audio jack. There’s no full-size SD Card reader and Thunderbolt. Network connectivity makes use of the Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) and Bluetooth 4.


PROS


  • Relatively lightweight for its size
  • Good CPU performance
  • Easily upgradeable
  • Matte display eliminates reflections
  • Accurate fingerprint sensor




CONS


  • No full-sized SD Card reader
  • Low screen contrast ratio
  • Average color reproduction
  • No dedicated graphics
  • The keyboard could be better



ASUS ExpertBook – Best Lightweight Laptop for AutoCAD

The ASUS ExpertBook is the lightest business notebook in the world, according to the company. Well, this sounds plausible enough, given that the laptop weighs a tad over 2lbs – 2.2lbs precisely. Apart from its impressive feather weight, it comes with the latest Intel processor, boasts an outstanding battery life, and is MIL-STD 810G certified.

If you desire a sleek 14” ultra-light business notebook with the latest hardware to power your AutoCAD design and render routines, then this might just be for you. In addition, the price is not prohibitive. It offers matching value to the price, actually. However, it’s not ISV certified and isn’t a gaming laptop. So don’t get your hopes high if you intend to use it for serious gaming. It will still perform well in CAD applications, but there’s no dedicated GPU for some CAD workflows.

Key Hardware/Performance

The processor is an Intel Core i7-10510U Processor with clock speeds of 1.8 – 4.9 GHz, and 8MB SmartCache. The processor is a 4-core/8-thread processor with consistently good performance in handling typical productivity app workflows. In addition, the integrated graphics adapter Intel UHD Graphics 620 powers the graphics.

This graphics processor is only suitable for applications with very low GPU demands like AutoCAD. It can also power simple image processing and similar workloads.  However, there is no dedicated GPU.

The RAM is 16GB DDR3, enough for serious multi-tasking and improved performance. Don’t even think of upgrading the RAM because it is soldered onto the mainboard. The storage comprises dual 1TB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD, making a total of 2TB of fast storage. The laptop performs incredibly great in normal everyday tasks, without lag or any hangups.

The storage drive maintains a reasonable performance metric, as read and write speeds average 2152MB/s and 2091MB/s respectively. This may not be the best speeds, but it sure is impressive. File copy operations are snappy and Windows boots up and resumes in seconds.

There’s also a HD webcam on top of the lid which allows for video capture. By the way, it has a physical shutter for blocking the cam when not in use. There’s also a Fingerprint sensor, a Kensington Lock slot, a TPM security chip and backlit spill-resistant keyboard with ASUS Number Pad. There’s also a Light Bar which is compatible with Alexa for voice commands.

The keyboard has good actuation point and is excellent for typing. The travel distance is also good. The 3-stage backlight is also a nice addition for working in the dark. The Touchpad is also nice, clicks great, and has an integrated Number pad. The available ports and connectivity options are found below.

Design

The Lithium magnesium alloy chassis contributes the light weight of this device, and also offers high stability. It is tough and durable due to the MIL-STD 810G certification. This ensures that the laptop can be able to withstand extreme conditions such as shock, vibrations and sudden drops. It can also withstand extreme cold and humidity.

The lid bears the ASUS logo in its center and is hinged to the base with good and stable hinges. The display can be able to open up to 180o, allowing for team presentations. In terms of weight, this is the strongest point of this laptop, at just 2.2lbs, you might even forget you’re carrying something in the bag.

The lid can be opened with one hand, and provides little flex due to the durability of the chassis material. Overall, this machine is sleek, lightweight and slim.

Display

The display of the Asus ExpertBook is a Full HD 14-inch IPS panel with brightness is of about 286 nits.  The color reproduction is great, with its contrast ratio of 2450:1. Colors are deep and crisp, and blacks are truly black and full. The IPS also provides great viewing angles. Color space coverage stands at 99% sRGB, which is responsible for the great color output.

Heat Management

Heat levels remain quite tolerable during normal case use scenarios, averaging around 42oc. The machine doesn’t get uncomfortably hot or warm, even when carried on the laps. Well, this is not surprising due to the absence of a dedicated GPU. We all know they are responsible for increased heat output on laptops.

Battery Life

Now to the big one. This laptop boasts an exceptional 17 hours on standard battery tests. Now if you tune down the brightness, and just do light work such as typing or reading, you should expect this thing to last the whole day without recharging. This is one of the best in terms of battery life. Astounding.

Ports/Network

Ports include 2 Thunderbolt 3 ports, one of which can be used for charging the laptop. There’s also an HDMI and micro-HDMI port, which also doubles as a Gigabit LAN port. There’s also another USB 3.1 port and an audio jack. Also included is a micro-SD card reader. The absence of an SD Card Reader is not nice though. For networking and wireless connectivity, there’s Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.


PROS


  • Great battery life
  • Excellent chassis design
  • Lightweight
  • Good performance
  • Alexa compatible




CONS


  • No dedicated graphics
  • RAM not upgradeable
  • No SD Card Reader
  • The fan can be noisy in turbo mode



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Lenovo ThinkPad E15

The ThinkPad series from Lenovo has always cranked out respectable business and productivity laptops for all cadres of users, from budget to enthusiast. The Lenovo ThinkPad E15 is a stylish, affordable and business oriented productivity laptop which you can also utilize for AutoCAD drawing and rendering.

There are plenty of reasons to consider this laptop for AutoCAD design, and one of them is the rugged and durable build quality, and its battery life. The form factor is the regular 15.6 inch, and it features a 10th Gen Core i5 processor.

Key Hardware/Performance

The 4-core Core i5 10210U is paired with 16GB of fast DDR4 RAM, and 500GB SSD for storage. The processor’s clock speed ranges from 1.6GHz – 4.2GHz, with 6MB SmartCache for enhanced data processing. The 4 cores of this processor translate to 8 threads due to its hyper-threading ability.

The graphics is powered by the integrated Intel UHD Graphics processor. This is the only graphics co-processor on this laptop, as there is no dedicated graphics.

Other hardware includes a 720p HD webcam with ThinkShutter camera privacy, stereo speakers, the keyboard, and the signature ThinkPad TrackPoint/Trackpad. The laptop also has loads of connectivity options which are stated below.

The fingerprint reader embedded in the power button is also a nice addition for security, allowing for seamless logon in Windows.

Design

The chassis is made of plastic, but it doesn’t feel cheap either. While the lid is made of aluminum material, it does offer little flex. Also, the lid cannot be opened with one hand. The display is held in place solidly at the hinges. The display bezels are typically wide, which is one area Lenovo has to improve on with their ThinkPad line.

The keyboard is full-layout, and provides great typing experience. Key travel is deep enough. However, the keyboard isn’t backlit. Underneath the unit, you’ll find a bank of ventilation inlets for cooling the machine.

The trackpad is shifted a little to the left, which is the traditional location by the way. It is smooth and provides accurate feedback. Same with the familiar red trackpoint. The weight is on the light side, at just 4.2lbs.

Display

The screen is a Full HD IPS panel. It does a poor job of reproducing colors. You could run everyday apps on this and not notice the difference. though for professional applications such as photo editing, it doesn’t give the best results. This is due to its 51% coverage of the sRGB color gamut.

It also has good contrast ratio for better viewing experience. This ensures that blacks come off truly black. The IPS feature ensures consistent views from any angle. The measured brightness is around 256 nits, which is below average. Because of this, you seriously can’t use this laptop in sunlit conditions, even at the highest brightness settings. Usage is restricted to shade and indoors.

The Anti-glare feature also helps to cut out undesirable reflections. Now if you want to use this laptop for gaming, don’t even try. The display response time is a measured at 34ms which is too poor for serious gaming.

Heat Management

The cooling system on this laptop isn’t that sophisticated like we see in the best gaming laptops, but this could also be as a result of absence of high end components like the CPU and GPU. The laptop lacks a dedicated GPU and the processor isn’t a high performance model.

During normal usage, temperatures average 70oC, while under load it could climb up to 90oC. This is quite hot. Thankfully, the heat is concentrated near the hinges and upper keyboard area, which gets warm during use. The palm rests are relatively cooler.

Battery Life

The battery life of this laptop is impressive, being able to power through standard battery tests at 8.30 hours. Under intense load however, you should expect to get around 3 hours.

Ports/Network

There is a wide selection of ports for enhanced productivity. These include 1 USB 2.0, 2 USB 3.1 Gen 1 (one Always On), 1 USB 3.1 Type-C Gen 1 (for Power Delivery and DisplayPort), HDMI 1.4b, RJ-45, audio, and mic combo jack, and security keyhole. Wireless connectivity includes Wi-Fi (802.11ac) and Bluetooth 5. There is no SD Card Reader.


PROS


  • Lightweight
  • Power delivery through Thunderbolt port
  • Easy login using Fingerprint reader
  • Easily upgradable RAM and storage
  • Great keyboard and touchpad
  • Good system performance




CONS


  • Poor display color reproduction
  • Can get hot during heavy use
  • No SD Card Reader
  • No dedicated graphics



Buying Guide for best Rated Laptops for AutoCAD 2020 and 2021

This section gives you an overview of what to expect in a suitable laptop for AutoCAD 2020 and 2021, and we’ll be covering the following:

  1. Battery Life
  2. Processor/GPU performance
  3. Weight
  4. Heat Management
  5. Rendering Performance

Battery Life

Battery life is a big deal with productivity laptops, and you want to make sure the laptop should be able to carry you for extended working periods away from your desk. Most laptops are dubbed ‘desktop replacements’. This means that the laptop is at par with a similar specced desktop, and can compete with it in terms of processing power.

There’s an obvious relationship between the battery life of a laptop and the CPU/GPU power and performance. The more powerful your CPU/GPU are, then the less battery life you are bound to get, and vice versa. It could be tempting to go for the highest specced laptop with powerful CPU and GPU, but you should understand that there will be a trade-off of battery life.

The best buying decision when it comes to productivity laptops is to get a laptop that will do the job, without the high-end, top of the line hardware, and still get decent battery life. In this case, AutoCAD doesn’t require very powerful laptops with the best components to function. Even a laptop with integrated graphics can still give you good performance in AutoCAD.

If you are going to be using the laptop for AutoCAD alone, and you want long battery life, then go for the laptops without dedicated graphics, such as the LG Gram or Microsoft Surface Laptop. However, if you want to use the laptop for other things, such as gaming, video editing, and other CAD software, then get a high-end workstation laptop such as the MSI Creator.

Processor and GPU Performance

AutoCAD requires a processor that clocks at least 2.1GHz, and is also optimized to utilize multicore processors. Now there is no hard and fast rule for this, because most processors released in the last couple of years meet this requirement.

For the GPU, AutoCAD doesn’t actually utilize the GPU for active work, such as drawing and rendering. So any type of GPU with at least 1GB graphics memory will do just fine. AutoCAD doesn’t perform GPU rendering, so there’s no question of getting a laptop with a powerful GPU for that purpose.

Weight

The weight of the laptop you intend to use for AutoCAD work is also another factor worth considering. If you are always on the road, and need something that will serve you, then it is best to go for the low weight options above.

On the other hand, if you just want a desktop replacement, which will hardly be moved around, then a heavy workstation laptop is suitable. However, you should weigh your options before making a decision.

Heat management

You should also consider the heat output of the laptop. You don’t want to buy a laptop for AutoCAD only to find out that it produces much heat underneath, and you are going to be carrying it on your laps often. The thing with heat is that all laptops produce it, just that some produce more, while others produce less. To mitigate such issues, it is best to get a cooling pad which will also help to further cool the laptop.

Concluding Thoughts

Having come this far, it’s quite obvious you should have made your choice for the best rated Laptops for AutoCAD 2020 and 2021, from our curated list of productivity laptops. Is there any laptop that deserves to be in this list? Use the comment section to let us know.

AutoCAD drafting and drawing works great on the laptops we have reviewed so far, and we hope you made the right choice. However, if you still need help, drop a comment and we’ll respond to you.

We have also reviewed 12 Workstation Laptops for Solidworks, and 12 Gaming Laptops under 3000 dollars. You might want to check them out.

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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!

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