How to choose a laptop for CAD applications

Written by jeff pennington
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Choosing a laptop for CAD applications can be a daunting task. It requires knowledge not only of the most reliable computer systems but a familiarity with the demands that CAD applications can make on a laptop as well. These demands make premium graphics cards that are geared specifically toward these applications a vital requirement.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Choose a computer that is fast enough to run CAD application. CPU speed is an extremely important element in deciding what model laptop you need for CAD applications. An excellent example of a model machine for CAD applications is one with an Intel Pentium 4 processor 2.2 GHz, 2 GB of RAM and 80 GB of free space on your hard drive.

  2. 2

    Select a laptop with a numeric keypad. Engineers or 3D modelers who work with CAD applications usually prefer laptops with keypads since it makes entering calculations a lot easier than using one with a standard keyboard.

  3. 3

    Look for a laptop with an appropriate graphics card that can handle the stiff demands of CAD applications. One of the best is one with the Nvidia Quadro chipset. It is a line of GPUs that can render graphics at the highest level. They provide real-time video processing produces an extraordinary realism in Computer-aided design.

Tips and warnings

  • Be sure to get a laptop with an optical drive that burns dual layer DVDs. This will allow you to burn large amounts of data should you need to send your work to a colleague. A larger, standalone monitor is a good investment also, since it will give you the option of more screen real estate.
  • Be careful not to buy a machine that barely meets the requirements of CAD applications. While it is a more expensive option, purchasing a late model laptop that far exceeds the system requirements will lead to far less headaches about upgrading later.

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