The answers to these questions will make sure you get the best bang for your buck when you shop for the best laptop for Revit.
- Are you in college, taking a Revit class? Are you a working Interior Designer/Architect?
- Are you someone on the move? going from site to site? Or are you working at a small office?
- What are the size of your projects? less than 50MB? close to 1GB?
Yes, there is no single best laptop for revit, it all depends on where you are in your career or what projects you plan on working.
Let me tell you that if you are a student, 99% of what you’ll be working on is going to be something simple and weight less 50MB. So you’ll probably be okay with any LAPTOP that has a dGPU and in some cases you might not even need a dGPU.
If you are starting your career and Revit’s your first 3D design software, files will get bigger than 50MB in no time and you will probably get up to 700MB in a year (though well designed models no matter how large should weigh ~200MBs).
In which case
A very high clock speed CPU is a must and of course a decent mid-range dedicated GPU too.
And contrary to what some people are saying somewhere else…
YOU DO NOT NEED A WORKSTATION LAPTOP, hell , you probably don’t even need the latest high-tier GeForce GPUs either.
Revit is one of the least hardware demanding CAD software released by AutoDesk (it’s mostly CPU bound, makes little use of dGPU besides viewport) so do you do not need to pay 2000-3000$ for a workstation GPU (though you might in a very very few rare cases, we’ll talk about that).
If you can just use this laptop to draft/draw (say a 20 story building) even those 700-800$ laptops with a dGPU will give you ZERO lag whatsover when you pan zoom and navigate through all this scenario.
If you’re just limited to models below that size, your options become much cheaper, because even a budget laptop with no dedicated GPU will perform just as fine.
Revit Laptop Requirements
Anyways…I don’t want you to understimate Revit either…
So before I show you the 5 best laptops for Revit in 2022, let me be a little more clear of what I mean and get a little more specific about the hardware you need for Revit.*
I’m going to be brief here. If you want more details, check the last section*
As of 2022, unlike past versions, there are a few functions in (besides rendering) which benefit from multi core CPUs (see the last section for more details).
However, it’s still mostly “frequency bound” . This means clock speeds are the most important single factor if you want a speedy workflow.
As usual, rendering will be faster with more and more cores (Up to ~6-8).
Based on that…
Students/small models: 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th gen Core i5 OR 3rd, 4th ,5th gen Ryzen 5 Chips are highly recommended. Basically anything w/ at least 3.5GHz.
Pros / bigger models: 8th, 9th, 10th,11th gen “High Performance” Core i5/Core i7 OR 3rd 4th 5th gen Ryzen 7 “High Perfomane” chips w/ at least 4GHz of clock speed (High Performance chips have the “H”, “HS”, “HK” letterso on them Ex: At least Core i5 11300H / Ryzen 5 5600H )
The truth is the difference between a laptop with discrete GPU and a cheap integrated GPU isn’t significant if you are working with small sized models and you do not use viewport that much.
- It becomes PARAMOUNT for high performance viewport(zooming/navigating/rotating).
- It will slightly help with rendering in 3DS Max but not in Revit. Rendering in Revit is also CPU bound.
Student or small models: At least MX350,MX450,1050, AMD Radeon RX 55X (540,550,555,560).
Pros or large models: At least 1050Ti,1650,1060,1660Ti,AMD Radeon 580, AMD Radeon RX5500M, RTX 2060, RTX 3060. The last three are a bit too much for just Revit (they are useful for other 3D modeling software though).
Quadros/FirePros are a waste of money. A 1660Ti will perform just about the same for most people you can get a 1050ti and will be the same,
SSD is just as important as graphics cards. A speedy workflow also comes from writing on big files FAST.
So only use SSDs as your primary drive. They are almost universal on laptops but some budget laptops try to sneak in an HDD(this is several times slower). Double check.
8GB: it’s okay for ~50MB files .
16GB: A must if you’re still generating ~700MB files OR if you have PhotoShop, AutoCAD open too.
You’re going to be staring at this thing for how many hours a day? Right. So be kind to your eyeballs and get a 15” display with FHD AT LEAST.
17” displays are the best but they’re heavy and they kind of make a laptop even more expensive. Go get AND either get a Matte Display or Screen Protector if you are worried about eye strain.
Top 5 Best Laptops For Revit
There are two ways of going about purchasing the best laptop for Revit:
A) If this is your ONLY tool of work, where project files are in the 500-1GB range(either due to super large models or due to bad practice drafting) you will need laptop with at least 6 GBvRAM. These can cost anywhere from 1000 to 1500$.
B) If this is for relatively small projects for a small firm with files in the ~50MB range, you probably just need a laptop with a modern 2020,2021,2022 CPU & any of the recently released dGPUs (even the weakest 2GB-4GB vRAM GPUs will be fine).
Since 80% of the people reading this fall into the B category, we’ll start with budget laptops.
AMD Ryzen 5 5600H
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 4GB vRAM
256GB PCIe NVMe
15” Full HD IPS 120Hz refresh rates
I’m aware most people reading this are not working in a sector that’s overflowing with cash and they’re mostly limited to small to moderately large projects (medical buildings, HVACs, MEDGAS).
For these purposes, an entry level laptop with ANY dGPU will work just fine.
This year I’m starting with a 1650GTX and that’s because the most budget friendly laptops with GeForce GPUs have a 1650GTX as opposed to a MX450. You will find MX450 selling for either the same price and as you probably know the 1650GTX has 4GB vRAM (as opposed to 2GB vRAM) and has way more shaders (this helps in viewport).
It’s really a no brainer.
What’s really COOL about this year’s budget GeForce laptops is their CPU. They either come equipped with a AMD Ryzen 5 5600H OR a Core i5 10300H (and soon a Core i5 11300H).
These CPUs despite being available on budget laptops have actually pretty insane clock speeds (when turbo boost is activated).
I chose the AMD Ryzen 5 5600H over the Core i5 11300H/10300H because it has +2 cores (this is going to speed up rendering significantly) AND the AMD Ryzen 5 5600H single core performance is pretty close to the Core i5 11300H’s meaning that going for a Core i5 10300H for the extra speed isn’t going to make a difference you can notice plus Core i5 11300H laptops are currently selling for about +100 bucks.
If you want to speed up rendering a bit, you can upgrade the RAM to 16GB. We like this model because it’s easy to do so on it.. You can buy the second memory stick here .
The Best Laptop For Revit in 2022
Core i7-11800H 4.6GHz
NVIDIA RTX 3060 6GB vRAM
512GB PCIe NVMe
15” full HD 144Hz IPS
Going for slightly better CPUs than the Core i5 9300H/AMD Ryzen 5 4600H isn’t very wise if we are talking about what the best bang for the buck is. 10th Core i7 CPUs and 4th AMD Ryzen 7 CPUs are only a few percent away from the single core performance of those budget CPUs.
It’s a much smarter investment (if you want to get a better workflow with very large models) to go for an 11th intel CPU or 5th generation Ryzen 7 CPU to see an appreciable amount of performance gains.
If we are talking about small projects, 1650GTX vs 3060RTX will make little to no difference. However, if you end up working with hospital sized projects, then any upgrades you can do to your GPU will help tremendously especially if it has more vRAM.
To be more clear you will get buttery smooth performance from this upgrade if your files range from 900MB to 1.5GB or if you are working with a 30-storey residential buildings.
Best Cheap Laptop for Revit
AMD Ryzen 3 3200U
256GB SSD NVMe PCIe
I’m aware a lot of you reading here may have nothing more than 500$ to invest on a laptop. It’s understandable the global health crisis has put several small firms out of business and perhaps you’d like to get back on your feet.
The good news is that Revit is not a very GPU demanding software, RAM and CPU will choke long before GPU does.
And remember GPUs are solely for viewport since rendering in Revit is still CPU based.
So if you can only afford laptops with integrated GPUs (300-600$) the best you can do at this point is to aim for the most RAM and the best processor your budget can afford. Note that Revit is also not multithreaded so it is wise to pick laptops with higher clock speeds.
CPU: Core i5/Ryzen 5 vs Core i3/Ryzen 3
If you can afford it, you should go for Ryzen 5/Core i5 laptops over Core i3/Ryzen 3 chips. They have slightly more clock speed but like I said every bit is going to help in this no-dGPU-situation. These also have at least 4 cores and this is good for rendering (it’ll take 1/2 the time).
Good BIM Practice:
If you are on a budget and can only use laptops with low hardware resources, this may also be the best time to develop discipline when designing. The truth is that it’s very bad practice to even have 200MB models, they either need a good purge/clean up or they need to be split.
Anyways, this is not the best laptop for a speedy workflow but provided you take the necessary steps and as long your models stay low (houses/buildings) then you will just have to deal with some visualization issues. Do remember to up your RAM , 4GB is not going to let you do anything. RAM sticks aren’t expensive so you can even upgrade it all the way to 16GB.
Best Portable Windows Laptop For Revit
11th gen Core i7 / Core i5
NVIDIA GTX 3050Ti /Intel Xe Graphics
256-2TB NVMe PCIe SSD
14.4” 2400 x 1600
The Surface Devices are basically 2 in 1 laptops that can be customized to have eithier entry level or high-tier CPUs/GPUs.
For Revit and any architect, you obviously want the models with a dedicated GPU.
If you pick a model with a dGPU, it’ll automatically come equipped with a high clock speed CPU (core i5 or Core i7) and 8-16GB RAM, depending on what your budget is.
Surface Laptop Studio and Surface Book:
Both are 2 in 1 convertible laptops. You can draw/draft/design using the stylus just like you would on a piece of paper. They are very very portable so they’re the ideal choice if you want to take your laptop to construction sites or maybe if you just want to have the ultimate presentation machine when you move into a client’s office.
4GB vRAM vs 6GB vRAM: 1660Ti / 2060RTX / 3050Ti
Only these two models (Book & Studio) have the option to set you up with dGPU.
GPUs are usually 4-6GB vRAM so for all Revit purposes they should handle very large and complex models as long as you get enoguh and opt for the Core i7 CPUs.
The current Surface Studio only boasts a 4GB vRAM GPU but which for most people should be fine. I’ve had the chance to work with a 4GB vRAM GPU in the past (now using a 6GB vRAM) and even when multitasking between Revit/PhotoShop/AutoCAD I saw no issues whatsoever.
How about the less Expensive Surface Pro?
The Less Surface Pro only comes with an integrated GPU. Luckily, it can be customized to have a Core i5 GPU and 8GB RAM. Other than that, it has the exact same functionality as these two bad boys with dGPUs except that it’s even lighter and has way more battery.
If you can only afford the Surface Pro be sure to get ANY model with at least 8GB RAM and a Core i5 CPU, provided you work with models >4500 sq feet, you should have no lag when viewporting. I myself have tried it out (for small models) and found out that main problem was viewport but not to the point that will slown down the speed of workflow.
Anyways, if it slows down for some reason, remember there are also lots of strategies (which is good practice anyway) to speed up performance( getting rid of nested files, making use of the section box and purge unused families).
Surface Book/Surface Studio:
If you have the cash however, there’s no reason to skip on the Surface Book/Surface Studio, that is if you want ZERO lag no matter what you do and something that’s VERY lightweight to carry around.
Intel Core i9-11980HK
NVIDIA Quadro RTX A5000 16GB GDDR6
17.3″ FHD IPS 144Hz
I have come across workstation laptops in the past and to be honest they made ZERO difference when compared to the current gaming laptop I have right now.
I have yet to see any of those “visual innacuracy”, “unrecognized hardware”, “artifacts floating around”, “errors when using a function” that some people claim you’ll get if you don’t get a workstation GPU.
I believe there’s one single reason why you should opt for a workstation laptop: more vRAM and more clock speed. You don’t necessarily need the “architecture of Quadro cards” from workstation laptops but you MAY need the insane amount of some these workstations GPUs have like the RTX A5000 shown here (the most powerful GeForce GPU only has 8GB vRAM).
The only reason you might need that much vRAM is if you want to viewport through an extremely complex facility that’s extremely detailed inside. It’s not going to be pretty anyways because although the extra vRAM will help significantly, you will probably have your CPU choke and there’s not really a way to get anything higher than Core i9/Ryzen 9 CPU like the one shown here (at least on laptops).
I think a desktop would do you much much better but if you really need a laptop, this is as much power as you’re going to get from one.
Beware of some workstation laptops!!
I’ve put a table in the last secion where I list “most” workstation GPUs you’ll find on laptops. It looks more or less like this:
If you’re really set on getting a workstation GPU no matter what, be sure to compare how it stands against similar consumer gaming GPUs.
Most sellers take advantage of the fact that people do not know how powerful they are and they will charge an extra 500$ or 1000$ dollars for something they could’ve gotten at half the price in a gaming laptopMost people fall for it because they see the magical “QUADRO” word on the description and BAM they go crazy.
What about MacBooks? Which is the best apple laptop for Revit ?
The most powerful MacBook Air is pretty much the same as the Acer Aspire with a Ryzen 3 CPU, not the best performance for Revit but good enough for those students.
As for the MacBook Pros. You won’t find them Pros with a better graphics card than the 1060GTX that the Dell Inspiron Above has. In other words, the best apple laptop for revit right now will have a performance just below the Dell Inspiron and above the Acer Aspire with the MX150 first on the list. You’ll also have to rely on bootcamp (since Revit can only run on Windows).
How To Buy The Best Laptops For Revit
The best place to start is by reminding ourselves that there’s no single best laptop for Revit, what’s best for you will depend on…
Building models are very small when you start out either in school or on your first job at a small firm and you only need to spend 700$ to get through all of that.
If you move onto collaborative projects , then you will have models that will be bogged down to 1 frame per second when viewporting if you don’t get a high-tier CPU and a high-end CPU.
Revit System Requirements For Laptops
*These recommendations are based on a lecture by AutoDesk University, my past experience and input from several users through our facebook page. They apply to all Revit packages: Revit Structure, Revit Architecture & Revit MEP.
If there’s anything you don’t understand or you’d like more detail about the all hardware available (CPUs and GPUs) from 2017 to 2022, check my posts on the side bar.
This is the single most important factor for high speed performance in Revit more so than dGPUs or RAM.
Revit started as a single-threaded application, that is, CPUs with “4 cores” or “2 cores” never improved performance.
If you do some quick search around the web, almost everyone is still saying that the software is mostly frequency bound, aka, it only depends on the processor’s speed (measured in GHz) and not the # of cores.
As of 2022, Revit 2021 does take advantage of multi-core CPUs though not as you’d expected it to. It’s really only for visuals (calculating walls and pipes intersections) and loading all elements in views.
Here’s a complete list of all functions in Revit that take advantage of multi core CPUs.
Since it’s still mostly limited to a few functions. One cay say the software is still single threaded and that means you should still buy the CPU (if you’re building a desktop) or get the laptop with the biggest clock speed you can afford.
3.5GHz: the bare minimum to work with small buildings. If you are a student, you can safely get this much clock speed and still be productive.
4.0GHz: This is a must if you work with at least +20 story buildings.
Rendering has always been and will always be a multicore function.
- If you are a student, it’s only going to take you 30min to render a house if you get any modern Intel Core i5 or Ryzen 5 CPU from the 9th (Intel) or 3rd (AMD) generation. As opposed to 2 hours if you have an outdated Core i3 CPU.
- If you are a professional, you probably want to render things fast so you can have your team or your client check your work as quickly as possible. So get at least one of those CPUs with at least 6 cores. Ryzen CPUs have more cores and better multicore perfomance but they’re not always available on laptops with high-end dGPU.
Like I’ve mentioned in the intro. Dedicated GPUs are solely for viewport performance and by viewport I mean panning, zooming, orbiting, navigating through a 3D building.
If you have a pretty complex model, this process is going to move from your CPU to your GPU and if it doesn’t have enough resources, it’s going to be extremely taxing to it. As a result, Revit will become unresponsive and this is what will slow down your workflow.
Dedicated GPUs vRAM
The reason why you need a dedicated GPU is because these have their own memory also called “vRAM”. When 3D Objects are stored in this memory, you will significantly improve frames per second when viewporting in it.
So how much vRAM you need depends on big your object is.
2GB vRAM: For small building and houses, 2GB vRAM is quite a lot of space. As long as you don’t have too many revit links, you should be able to quickly navigate through these scenarios.
I personally used to run a mix of Quadro (K2000) at my office and the old NVIDIA 860GTX (equivalent to the 1050Ti). I can honestly say that I did have lag when viewporting through ~20 story very detailed buildings however a quick check on hardware usage (CTRL+ALT+DEL) showed me that the CPU and RAM were choking before even the dGPU came into play (%50) . A quick CPU+RAM upgrade did the trick and that’s exactly what you should do too here.
The main takeaway here is that CPU+RAM is far more important in Revit than dGPU and for most people 4-6GB vRAM will do the trick as Revit doesn’t seem to use more than that.
Revit does not use the GPU for rendering.
If you have to wait 30 min to render a house, you’ll still have to wait 30 min even if you get a laptop with the latest GeForce GPU on it.
D) GeForce “Consumer grade” GPUs vs Workstation GPUs
Ok here’s the truth, Revit has an option for activating “hardware accelerated graphics” and if you know a thing or two about computers that means “using a dedicated GPU to improve performance”.
If you buy a consumer dGPU, turning ON “hardware acceleration”, will do pretty much nothing because these GPUs are designed for 3D vector operations which is not how Revit works (floating point operations). Workstation Cards , however, are specifically designed for floating point operations which should, at least on paper, improve performance dramatically.
However, it doesn’t. You will notice almost zero performance gains with workstation cards. Why? I’m not so sure but my guess is that the latest GeForce GPUs released by NVIDIA work with floating operations too OR Revit just doesn’t know how to use them (workstation GPUs) very well.
Why opt for GeForce “gaming” GPUs ?
Performance: Like I said, going for either (workstation or gaming GPU) will practically make zero difference. For most people, they will perform equally well so you can ignore “Autodesk video card recommendations”. Just so you have an idea how much AutoDesk cares about their “recommendations”, I had issues with an RTX GPU not being recognized by Revit despite having the GPU listed on AutoDesk’s list of “compartible GPUs”.
Once updates fixed the issue, I saw no difference between my 860M desktop and the new RTX laptop I used before. No “visual artifacts” “no lag when viewporting”, nothing, they both performed equally well.
Price: Because the ultra competitive gaming industry, these cards prices are getting cheaper and cheaper every 4 months or so for basically the same performance of workstation GPUs. In fact, as of 2022, the 1650GTX which was considered almost a “mid-range” GPU is now universally found on “budget” gaming laptops despite the fact that it will actually be more than enough for 90% of CAD engineers.
When is a Workstation GPU useful?
|Workstation GPU||Consumer Equivalent||Cores/Shaders||Clock Speed||vRAM|
|Pro WX 3200||RX 550||1082||640||4GB|
A) When your super large 15 000 square feet facility is choking on 8GB vRAM GeForce GPUs, you will then NEED to upgrade to a workstation GPU that has MORE vRA than that. Currently, ONLY the RTX A5000 has more vRAM than ALL GeForce GPUs found on laptops AND desktops too.
Viewport also depends on RAM
Adding objects or items is way more taxing on the CPU as opposed to adding simple shapes so if you want to keep your 3D Viewport buttery smooth, you must get at least 16GB RAM.
In fact, you could up your RAM, before you attemp to upgrade the GPU or buy a new laptop (as Revit isn’t very GPU dependent). That could actually do the trick if you are working with small models.
So for those coming here from an old laptop/computer, try and see if an upgrade does the trick.
- Revit comes stocked with a library of materials for your diagrams (surfaces, textures, lightnings,etc).
- You’ll also be creating your own materials further expanding your library.
All of these written in huge data file sizes which need to load up when you start up the program and open up a model. In other words, you need to write/read files FAST.
And SSD can read up to x17 faster than traditional HDDs.
Upgrade your Storage to an SSD (Solid State Drive)
Again y’all before you upgrade a set up you have with a dGPU, try upgrading the storage (if you’ve been working with an HDD) after you’ve upped your RAM to 16GB to what’s mainstream now: Solid State drives.
The problem with SSDs is their storage capacity, higher storage gets more expensive.
512GB: You will run out of space pretty quickly if you are already out of school. You should be aiming for 1TB NVMe but 512GB should also work for most people, if you run out of space you can do the upgrade (even if its a laptop) by buying a separate 1TB NVMe.
Forget contrast ratios, brightness levels and all of that nonsense. Get at least a 15” display.
Besides that, only consider resolution and the type of display you’re getting.
Matte vs Glossy
My personal intake on this to opt for Matte display whenever possible as these will protect your eyes from glares.
I’m saying whenever possible because matte displays are quite rare.
IPS displays are more common (these do not filter blue light and these make you more prone to eyes strain from glares too) and you should always prioritize hardware goodness over a matte display.
If you do end up with an IPS, which is what will most likely happen anyways, you can always get yourself a screen protector.
The New Autodesk layout does not do well with 768p or 900p resolution displays but recently it’s been working with 2k and 4k resolution displays.
Either way 1080p, which almost mainstream right now on both laptops and desktops, will work just fine.
If somehow Revit isn’t working on yours, just set the resolution to 1080p and BOOM , Revit will work better than ever.
4k resolution: some laptops and a lot of monitors have 4k resolutions now and since Revit now fully supports this much, you may find it advantageous depending on how good your eyesight. Icons/Interfaces will be very very small but this is good because tools will take less space and leave you with way more space for modeling.
Working on large projects in Revit is more about file management than brute force. Use worksets, linked files, and a clean family library and you will find almost no need to spend so much money on a computer for Revit.