6 Best Laptops For SolidWorks (+Hardware Guide) – 2024

The best laptop for solidworks should make software stable and lagless as you viewport , simulate and part-model.

The hardware needed will depend on the size of your projects.

A small project (<100 part) is less likely to crash with most laptops that have a 2GB vRAM GPU.

But a large assembly (500+) is very prone to crash when you viewport unless you have a laptop with a 6GB vRAM.

This is the typical projects of a student of solidworks:

The best laptop for solidworks for a project in #parts in the 100s would have a 4GB vRAM GPU. 

This is easily handled by a consumer (gaming) laptop with a 2-4GB vRAM GPU. 


Once you step into the 1000s say for a project given by an automobile company, then you need to start looking at 6-8 vRAM laptops.

Basically the bigger the assembly , the more vRAM you’ll need.

A project  close to in the 500-1000 parts requires a 6GB vRAM for ultra fast viewport performance. 


How do you get reliable information about the GPU needed for solidworks?

  1. The official site site recommends certified workstation laptops . They work better than any ‘gaming GPU’ but they’re overkill and unnecessarily expensive for most of the people reading here.
  2. You can ask people the subreddit of Solidworks. You have to be specific on what exactly you’re doing with Solidworks. The problem is many will recommend workstation GPUs regardless of what you say.


I have used Solidworks since my 3rd year in college and have used the software thereafter on different rigs with increasingly higher assmbly sizes (50-1000 parts). 

Recommended Laptop Specs For Solidworks

In my company we have a lab and a personal laptop in the office, the lab gives me access to different rigs with different hardware and since my assemblies usually range from 100 to 1000 parts, this has naturally forced me to benchmark the software under different hardware configurations.

The following table is based on my experience benchmarking Solidworks under several different hardware configurations during my lab years:

Small 100-300 Large 500-1000+
Modeling & Drawing Simulation & Rendering Modeling & Drawing Simulation & Rendering


6-16GB vRAM RTX  workstation GPU: Ex. RTX Ada 3000, 5000
CPU  10th, 11th, 12th, 13th gen Core i5
5th, 6th, 7th Ryzen 5
 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th gen Core i5
5th, 6th, 7th Ryzen 5
Intel Core i7 H 11th 12th gen 13th gen
Ryzen 7 H 5th 6th 7th gen
5th 6th gen
Core i7 or Core i9
Ryzen i7 or Ryzen 9 
RAM 8GB 16GB 16GB 32-64GB

[1] More specifically 100 parts = 4GB vRAM.  500-1000=6GB vRAM +1000-5000=8GB-16GB vRAM

This table is not very hardware specific but as long as you hover around the requirements for your project sizes, you will be alright . Remember to be strict about the vRAM size according to your assembly size and the rest of the hardware will take care of itself automatically (these GPUs are automatically paired with required remaining hardware most of the time).

Q: Why do you separate Modeling and Rendering? 

Modeling is much less hardware demanding. One can model, draw , design on a less powerful machine (a laptop), then use a desktop to render or even a cloud service. 

Don’t worry, the following laptops can do both on the same machine.

Top 6 Best Laptops for SolidWorks

Before you buy a laptop please keep in mind that the requirements for a student are v different from a professional. 

Student: Only needs a 4GB vRAM GPU (100-300 parts projects) at the most. If you’re in college taking a solidworks class as an elective you may only need a 2GB vRAM GPU.

Professional: Bare bone minimum is 6GB vRAM GPU on a laptop with a very recent Ryzen 7/Core i7 CPU.

What about workstation laptops and GPUs? 

Workstation GPUs offer ‘more stability’ over convential consumer GPUs when assemblies are very large but they are extremely expensive. Sometimes x3 times as much as laptops with consumer GPUs despite having the same amount of ‘vRAM’

Stability is needed when you work on very very large assemblies because the software becomes more and more unstable the more complexity there is in the mechanics. I go into detail in the last section, give it a quick read if you’re interested. 

1. Acer Nitro 17

The Best Laptop For SolidWorks – 6GB vRAM GPU

  AMD Ryzen 7 7840HS


  NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4060 Laptop GPU

  1TB GB PCIe NVMe SSD (Free Slot for upgrade)

  17.3″ QHD 165Hz IPS

  6.61 lbs

 2  hours

  GPU: 4060RTX (8GB vRAM) vs 3060RTX (6GB vRAM)

A laptop aimed for everyone reading this (students and pros) would be somewhere in between in terms of performance and that would be a laptop with a mid-tier GPU which is basically the 60 series of the RTX GPUs : 3060RTX, 4060RTX, etc. This year’s mid-tier RTX GPU has 8GB vRAM, a little overkill for students but the price is almost the same as last year’s mid-tier 3060RTX which had 6GB vRAM.

The relase of the 4th generation RTX GPUs has also made the 3rd generation RTX GPUs much cheaper so if you are a student and if you can find the 3060RTX on a laptop that’s much cheaper, by all means go for it. It isn’t likely you’ll put 8GB vRAM to good use during your courses. Assuming you get out of them quite quickly and start working on companies projects then it does become a good investment.  Only you can tell. If you don’t see yourself working for a company that uses Solidworks anytime soon ,  head over to the next laptop and leave this one to the Pros.

CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 7840HS

The cool thing about this laptop is the fact that the CPU is up-to-date. As far as laptops are concerned this is the latest Ryzen 7 found on laptops as of Q1 2024 though the 8th generation Ryzen CPUs should be released sometime this year. The Ryzen 7 CPUs usually have more multi-core performance that means faster rendering. Ideally, however, you would want an Intel Core i7 of the 13th gen which has at least for Solidworks better clock speed performance.

Since the clock speed perforamnce between these two CPUs isn’t significant, you won’t notice performance loss with the Ryzen 7 and  that’s also because the Ryzen 7 brings DDR5 to the table AND it’s paired up with an insane GPU.

RAM: 16GB vs 32GB

This laptop comes with 16GB of that RAM. That should be PLENTY for most professionals however it isn’t rare to need 32GB RAM. In the off you work with: 

– Models with +1000 parts
– Or need to constantly render

Then you might want to upgrade the RAM manually (after purchase) to 32GB RAM. You’ll see more performance gains in the second scenario (when rendering) since you have render a lot then you’re going save yourself quiet a lot of time because rendering will at least be  minutes shorter with 32GB RAM.  Going beyond 64GB RAM is also useful but it isn’t like you’ll come across a project that will need that much RAM. If you do, you’ll probably lack CPU & GPU power too and a desktop might be needed.

QHD + 17”

Another striking feature of this laptop is the display. It’s one thing to have a 17” display but it’s another thing to have it with QHD as this will add a tremendous amount of workspace so you can have a bigger view of your 3D model while you part model AND even enough space to have more toolbars be it from the software or plugins RIGHT next to your canvas. This is also possible with smaller displays of course but you’ll have a reduced view of your model the more interface/toolbars you try to fit it the screen.


This is not a laptop I’d buy for an engineering student nor a laptop for someone in solidworks school. This is a workhorse for someone already in the field or someone whose about to get in the field and even then it may be too much.

As for how much this laptop can tolerate before lagging. I’d say up to 1000 parts you’ll see no lag with a 6GB vRAM GPU and 1500 parts no lag with this GPU and by no lag I mean having a very smooth viewport as you edit/add more and more parts.

A cool example is shown in the following video. The video is quiet old but the example is relevant to show you what a big project looks like:

Notice how the user can easily viewport and part model through the large assembly. Rendering a project like this may take up 5-10 minutes when you max out RAM to 32GB but it would take longer with Core i5/Ryzen 5 CPUs that only have 4-6GB vRAM.

Acer Nitro 17
  • Latest Ryzen 7
  • 6GB vRAM dGPU
  • Large resolution + Large display  
  • Good for both students & Pros
  • 16GB RAM DDR5 out of the box
  • Very Heavy
  • Somewhat Expensive
  • May be overkill for students

2. HP Victus Gaming 3

Budget Laptop for Solidworks

  Intel Core i5-13420H


  3050  RTX (4GB vRAM)


  15.6″ FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS display

  5.06 lbs

  3 hours

This is a more suitable laptop for those in engineering school or learning solidworks at some institute.

For engineering students, it’s a little overkill since the course of solidworks in engineering school doesn’t go beyond 50-100 parts.

However, it does become useful at least for the first year after graduating (that is if get a job in the 3D modeling department).


Now what makes this laptop ideal for beginners is the 4GB vRAM GPU.

It’s not too weak and it’s not too powerful and it’s found on budget laptops.

Now you could go for the cheaper 4GB vRAM GPUs like the RTX 2050 or the 1650GTX if you want and if you can find them cheaper of course.

But do keep in mind that this laptop ALSO has the latest latest Core i5 which has MORE clock speed performance than the previous generation CPUs which you’ll probably find on the cheaper 4GB vRAM laptops.

The 1650GTX is rarely paired with a 13th or even 12th generation CPU for example.

As for RAM & Storage: it’s basic. It’s not 16GB RAM but it’s 1TB SSD. You won’t have to upgrade storage but the upgrade to 16GBRAM will give you a significant boost when viewporting and rendering models with parts above 100. The uprade is easy since this is a gaming laptop.


Performance should be very smooth when working with projects in the 50-100 and lag will start to show up when working with parts in the 200-300.  As for rendering, if parts stay below 100, it should take no more than 5 minutes.


This may be overkill if you’re staying below 100 parts and you mighit start thinking that 2GB vRAM laptops will work just as well and you are not WRONG. They will have similar performance with such small projects.

But if you check the prices of these laptops (laptops with MX450 or 1050GTX) , they’re not really that much cheaper than this 3050 RTX laptop. It’s only about 100 dollars more expensive.

Of course, if you know you’re using this laptop for school purposes only then the extra 100 dollar investment is not worth it. But if you know for sure you’ll start working with solidworks right after school then it’s a good idea to pour in the extra 100 dollars. 

Q: I’ve heard some people ran SOLIDWORKS on integrated GPUs which cost much less is that true?

Actually that’s true but two conditions have to be met:

  • You must have a recent CPU which automatically gets you a recent/fast integrated GPU (excluding 7th gen Ryzen 3 and Ryzen 5 for reasons explained later).
  • You must be working on a project with an assembly size below 80. 

Now this doesn’t assure you that you won’t be having lag when using viewport even with these two conditons are met. However, since these projects are a one or two time thing only (for engineering school) , you can make DO and save yourself hundreds of bucks by avoiding a dedicated graphics.

HP Victus Gaming 3
  • 16GB RAM out of the box
  • Relatively Cheap
  • Perfect for solidwork students
  • Latest Core i5
  • Decent battery for a gaming laptop
  • Heavy
  • Not enough for Pros

3. MSI Raider GE78 500 SE

Best Laptop For Solidworks – 4090RTX

  Intel Core i9-13980HX




  16” QHD+ 240Hz

  6.83 lbs

  2 hours

The truth is the 14th generation Core i9 has been released and this laptop’s Core i9 is a generation older but throwing that 14th gen CPU out of the equation, this CPU+GPU combo is the most powerful hardware configuration you’ll find.


As of Q1 2024, there hasn’t been a release for GPUs more powerful than the 4090RTX.

This time the 4th generation RTX GPU has a WHOOPING 16GB vRAM! These are DESKTOP numbers now foound on laptops and this is bullet proof for solidwork projects even with parts in the 5000-10000 parts. 


Now I haven’t had the chance to work with projects with parts in the several thousands. But I’m guessing if an 8GB vRAM which Itested could handle a 2000 part model with 60fps . A 3000 part with half the framerates then my estimates is that the 4090RTX (2x 8GB vRAM = 2x 2000 parts) can take on 5000 parts with a smooth 60 frames per second when viewporting and with diminishing framerates (smootheness) as you step into 6000, 7000 and 10 000 parts.  These are all estimates because luckily I’ve never seen a project made up of that many parts (hopefully you won’t either).

PhotoRealistic renderers like Photoview360 are also going to get a significant boost though not as much as ‘vRAM’ compared to GPUs of the third generation because there’s only an extra 2000 CUDA cores or so on the 4th generation RTX 4090.

Let’s not forget the fact that this laptop has a recent Core i9 (though not the latest)  which should speed up all instances of the 3D modeling process especiall RENDERING. 

Now because the GPU on this laptop is STILL a non-workstation GPU  there will be  some features disabled but not RealView . It’s mostly plugins that will be disabled. (for more details see the last section).

Acer Predator Triton 500 SE
  • Second Most powerful CPU as of 2024
  • 16GB vRAM (GPU memory)
  • Can handle models up to 5000 parts with no lag
  • Large high resolution display
  • Very Expensive
  • May be overkill for most Pros
  • Very Heavy
  • Very low Battery

Quick Workstation GPU Lesson !

The next section will talk about three workstation GPUs. It’s important you keep the following table in mind when shopping for workstation laptops, it gives you the relative performance of each workstation GPU found in 2024 workstation laptops compared to the more common and cheaper ‘consumer’ or ‘gaming’ GPUs. You can get an idea of their actual value  & performance with this comparison. The conclusion however is that unless you use special plugins, features that only workstation GPUs can enable in Solidworks…

Workstation GPUs only become better when they have the same  ‘vRAM’ and ‘#Cores’ than their gaming counterparts

Workstation GPU Consumer Equivalent Cores/Shaders Clock Speed vRAM
P500 MX150- 256 1519 2GB
P520 MX150 384 1493 2GB
K2100M GT 750M 576  667 2GB
K3100 765M- 768 706 4GB
P620 MX250/1050 512 1442 4GB
M620M 950M- 512  1018  4GB
M1000M 950M 512 1072 4GB
Pro WX 3200 RX 550  1082 640 4GB
M2000M 950M/960M 640 1197 4GB
M1200 960GTX 640 1150 4GB
P1000 1050GTX 512 1519 4GB
P2000 1050Ti 768 1468 4GB
T2000 1650/1660Ti 1024 1785 4GB
T1000 1650- 768 1455 4GB
RTX 3000 2070RTX+ 1280 1380 6GB
RTX 4000 2070/2080 2560 1560 8GB
RTX 5000 2080RTX+++ 3072 1350 16GB
RTX A2000 ~3050Ti 2560 1200 4GB
RTX A3000 ~3060RTX 4096 1560 6GB
RTX A4000 ~3070RTX 5120  1560  8GB
RTX A5000 ~3080RTX 6144 1695   16GB
RTX A5500 ~380Ti RTX 7424  16GB
RTX Ada 3000 –4070RTX 4608   8GB
RTX Ada 4000 ==4080RTX 5120   12GB
RTX Ada 5000 4090 RTX – 7424 1680 16GB

We’ll only go over some of the most recent and powerful workstation GPUs, the purple ones in the table. The rest are too weak thus they are not worth the extra-features when you have large assemblies that will lag due to poor vRAM.

4. Dell Precision 7000 7680 

Certified Workstation Laptop For SolidWorks – Ada 3500

  Intel Core i7-13850H


  NVIDIA RTX 3500 Ada 

  256GB NVMe SSD

  16” FHD+ IPS Anti-Glare

  4.2 lbs

  1 hours


RTX 3000 Ada 8GB vRAM

Not every workstation GPU is recent. Most of the ones you find online are very old. Once you step out of the purples ones in the table or outside the “RTX” labels they become very weak to the point of being  weaker than the average 4GB vRAM GPU (see those label in blue).

Now even among the RTX workstation GPUs you have to be careful because the labels and numbers used are similar. Currently the Ada RTX GPUs are the fastest ones and the only ones that can rival the performance of 4th generation RTX gaming GPUs.

If you want to talk about best bang for your buck, it would actually be the much more expensive RTX Ada 5000 but this GPU also has other purposes.


Assuming you’re working and you’re always be working with models in the 1000 part range (anything higher will start to lag though much less than gaming GPUs), it’s a good investment to use plugins/special functions on 1000-2000 part models. However outside of those instances, it is very likely you’ll better performance out of a gaming laptop with a similar GPU (on the table) especially if it has a better CPU as this model featured here only has a Core i7.

Dell Precision 7000
  • Fast Core i7 “H” CPU
  • 16GB RAM out of the box
  • Workstation GPU for 1000-2000 models
  • Very Expensive
  • Not best bang/buck compared to gaming rigs
  • Only useful for special functions and plugins in Solidworks

5. Lenovo ThinkPad P16 Gen 2 – RTX 4000 Ada

Certified Laptop For Solidworks

  Intel Core i9-13980HX

  64GB RAM DDR5 (Up to 64GB)

  NVIDIA RTX 4000 Ada 12GB vRAM


  16″ WQUXGA (3840 x 2400) IPS

  6.5 lbs

  2 hours

This laptop is significantly more expensive. You can find them at Dell’s website or Lenovo’s website and the price should be around 3500 dollars.


Performance of this GPU is SIGNIFICANTLY higher than the Ada RTX 3500 we just went over because it has 4GB vRAM.  This creates space for larger models and if I have to estimate it would be around the 2000-3000 parts anything higher will probably start lagging. Of course I’m talking about viewporting through the entire model if you start working on a section by setion basis it should still be smooth if the entire model is in the 2k-3k parts. Again very unlikely you’ll work with such models so you should also buy this GPU for the simple reason of having the ability to have more stability and plugins/special functions readily available.

For maximum performance with very very large models you have to upgrade RAM to 32-64GB RAM. You don’t have to do any upgrades here since RAM is maxed out. As for storage, very unlikely you’ll need more than 1TB. However, if you decide to buy the weaker A3000 you’ll have to do the RAM upgrade otherwise it’s  going to have issues with models in the 1000-2000.

Lenovo Think P16 Gen 2 Ada 4000 
  • Second most powerful CPU as of 2024
  • 12GB vRAM workstation GPU
  • Best for 2000-3000 part models
  • 64GB RAM out of the box
  • Too expensive
  • Still beaten by cheaper 4090-4080RTX gaming laptops
  • Useful for plugins/functions

6. Lenovo ThinkPad P16 Gen 2 – RTX 5000 Ada

Most Powerful Certified Workstation For Solidworks

  Core i9-13950HX

  128GB RAM

  NVIDIA RTX 5000 Ada 16GB vRAM


  16″  UHD (3840 x 2400) TouchScreen  

  8 lbs

  1 hours


This is the most powerful workstation laptop for solidworks as of Q1 2024 and it is likely to be the most powerful at least until the beginning of 2025. That’s because it hasn’t been long since the  RTX Ada Architecture for workstation GPUs has been released.

This will handle MUCH higher parts than the most powerful workstation graphics (4090RTX). If I have to estimate it should handle models in the 5k-10k range. Viewport may start lagging more and more as you get closer to 10 000.

But here’s something you should know if you aren’t adept with computers yet. When you get to those 5k-10k numbers, you may want to consider desktops because their GPUs , although with the same architecture, will give you much much higher performance.

CPU, RAM and SSD: 

CPU is not the most powerful on laptops as of 2024 however it’s still one of the top three. As for the price, this laptop should be around 5000 dollars. If you’re wondering why, that’s because the RAM & Storage are maxed out. If you can find the same RTX Ada 5000 with lower RAM & Storage, it will probably be a lot less and as you know by know you can just upgrade it yourself after purchase and save a lot of money. 

128GB RAM is a bit extreme but it does become useful when you start rendering models in the 5k-10k parts range, that is, if you want things to render quickly. The 4TB is definitely a bit extreme you may just need 1TB to store old and new projects. 

Warning: Xeon CPUs

Now before we wrap it up, let me talk about some models that have the Xeon CPUs as opposed to the Core i9 shown here. 

You may find these laptops more expensive than laptops with the Core i9 shown here. Be very careful of these because they’re really not better than Core i9 or Ryzen 9 for part modeling and viewport.

They may be useful however for faster renderings because the extra cores have higher speeds than the extra cores on the Core i9 CPUs but since you don’t spend most of the time rendering with Solidworks but rather part modeling or designing…the Core i9 here will always be the better choice.

Lenovo Think P16 Gen 2 Ada 5000
  • Most powerful dedicated GPU for solidworks
  • Beats all previous workstation GPUs & gaming GPUs
  • Second most powerful CPU
  • Doesn’t lag significantly until 10 000 parts
  • Superb high resolution & large display
  • Maxed out storage & RAM
  • Extremely Heavy
  • Extremely Expensive

Solidworks Laptop Hardware Guide

This section will be specially dedicated to Solidwork’s hardware utilization. We’ll go through the four major computer components (CPU, GPU, RAM & SSD) and how solidworks uses each of this for different functions: rendering, drawing, modeling, viewport, etc. 

This information can be useful when you say you want to maximize performance when using viewport because you’ve got a super large model etc…or just to get the best bang for your buck when you shop for a laptop or computer for solidworks.

A few questions you must ask yourself before you read any computer guide on solidworks are:

  • How much CAE software and how many will I be using?
  • How large are the typical assemblies in my school or company?
  • Will I use thirdparty renders like  keyshot?
  • What do my typical renderings look like? 

The following is based on this solidwork performance guide here.

1. CPU

As you can see in the picture below, CPUs come with lots of features & charateristics.

Clock frequency and # cores are the only two specifications to be concerned for Solidworks. Image taken from Intel website.

All specifications are pretty much irrelevant (for our purposes) except for max clock speed and #cores (highlighted in red).

Cores: these are basically how many ‘processing entities’ you have in a CPU. Each is basically a separate person, the more you have, the faster the calculations will be carried out (at least on some tasks). Some calculations need to be done step by step thus they do not benefit from more ‘processors’.

Frequency: This measures how fast a processor can run calculations in GHz. Likewise, the faster the clock-frequency, the faster calculations will be run.

Clock Frequency vs Cores: Which one to focus on?

When you shop for a CPU, you may be inclinced to choose the one with more cores.

In an ideal world, # cores will speed up all instances of the software: rendering, viewport, drawing, functions and less loading bars and so on.

Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. #Cores helps in some instances only.

However, clock-frequency is always useful in every instance of Solidworks.

The reason for this is that Solidworks, like every 3D modeling application, uses parametric modeling . This 

means calculations have to be done step by step in the following instances: part modeling, opening & saving assemblies , most of the toolbar actions and viewport.

Step by step means you have to wait for the step before in order to calculate the next step, thus having more cores will not help jump to the next step because you still have to wait.

When are the #cores useful then?

The two most important are rendering and simulation. There’s a somewhat useful performance gain when using working with multiple-sheet drawing.

SOLIDWORK simulation:  the mechanics and physics behind moving parts in a simulation is multi-threaded (it uses multiple cores).

Rendering: regardless of what plug-in, software and method of rendering you use (Ex: PhotoView360). Rendering will always be a multi-threaded process, the more cores you have the faster the rendering. The performance gains for rendering are more or less multiplied each time a core is added. So if 2 cores take 10 min to render something, 4 cores will take 5.

It is said that rendering has no performance limits, the more you have the less time it’ll take. However, benchmarks by pudget systems have shown the oppossite. It’s shown that 10 cores (20 threads) is the limit.

Most laptops have 4-6 cores (the latest Ryzen 9 and Core i9 have 8).

Recommended CPUs (Laptop) For Solidworks

Intel CPUs

CPU Base Turbo Cores
i3-1115G4 3 4.1 2
i3-1215U 3.3 4.4 2/4
i3 1305U
3.3 4.5 1 / 4
i5 1115G4 2.4 4.2 4
i5 1235U 3.3 4.4 10
i7 1165G7 2.8 4.7 4
i5 1235U 3.3 4.4 2/8
i5 1240P 3.3 4.4 12
i5 1345U
3.5 4.7 2/8
i5-11300H 2.6 4.4 4
i5 11260H 2.6 4.4 6
i5 12450H 3.3 4.4 8
i5 12500H 3.3 4.5 8
i5 13420H 1.5 4.6 8
i5 13500H 1.5 4.9  8
i7-11375H 3.3 5 4
i7 1260P 3.4 4.7 12
i7-11370H 3.3 4.8 4
i7-11800H 3.3 5.0 6
i9-11900H 2.5 4.9 8
i9-11980HK 3.3 5 8
i9 12900HK*
i9 12900H
i9 13900H



CPU Max Speed Cores(Threads)
Ryzen 9 7940HS 5.2 8-16
Ryzen 9 6980HX  5 8 – 16
Ryzen 9 6900HS
8 – 16
Ryzen 7 7745HX 5.1 8 – 16
Ryzen 7 7840HS 5.1 8 – 16
Ryzen 7 6800HS 4.7 8 – 16 
Ryzen 7 6800H 4.7 8 – 16
Ryzen 9 5900HX 4.6 8 – 16
Ryzen 7 5800H 4.4 8.- 16
Ryzen 5 7535HS
4.5 6 – 12
Ryzen 5 5600H 4.2 6 – 12
Ryzen 5 4600H 4.0 6 – 12
Ryzen 3 7320U 3.7 4 – 8
Ryzen 3 5300U 3.8 4 – 8
Ryzen 3 4300U 3.7 4 – 8

If most of your work in Solidworks consists of designing/drafting/drawing/modeling get the CPU w/ the highest clock speed. 


Since you’ll be still experimenting and learning the software before doing actual useful stuff you’re likely to spend most of your time designing and part modeling rather than rendering . Thus if budget is an issue, favor clock speeds over #cores.

Core i5 as a minimum from any generation shown in the table. 


Rendering & simulations of mechanical parts can get quite complex and some may even get up to 1000 parts. Thus…

You want to grab the Core i7 / Ryzen 7 and Core i9 / Ryzen 9 CPUs on the list on the list. The more recent  the better

As for rendering you don’t have to worry because the above laptops are limited to 6-8 cores for which after rendering starts to show diminishing returns and almost no returns beyond 10 cores (thats a number relevant for desktops).

2. RAM

Laptops may come with 4GB, 8GB, 16GB, 32GB and in some rare cases 64GB. 

It is , however, not a concern since RAM is always upgradeable (unless you buy a very thin-ultrabook which is not easy to upgrade). This means that if you buy a laptop with 8GB RAM and you need 16GB, you just buy an additional RAM stick and have someone or yourself do the upgrade.

How much RAM do you need?

It depends on :

  • Size of assembly
  • Multi-sheet drawing or not
  • How many windows you use
  • What other software are you running in the background
  • Rendering

The two most important ones are: Size of Assembly & Rendering.

Size of assembly

RAM is another word for memory and your computer uses this memory to temporarily store your simulation. Thus the larger your simulation or model the more RAM you’ll need  if you want you that to manipulate that model with buttery smooth performance (rotating, zooming, adding parts, etc). 

If you have a large mode and low RAM, there’s not going to be ERRORs, things are just going to be slower.

Small Assembly Sizes: 8GB

For simple parts & assemblies (less than 50) you only need 8GB RAM. 

Large Assembly Sizes +16GB

The moment you step into 100s parts you will lag unless you get 16GB. If you regularly run data heavy simulations, lots of RAM is also a requirement.  

If you have multiple models open (files) and then decide to open another one but the system runs out of RAM, the system will use your storage drive as ’emergency RAM’, once it does this you will lag massively. This is called hard-drive caching and this is exactly what you want to avoid b.

RAM vs Size of Models

8GB Entry Level Simple parts, small assemblies, single page drawings
16GB Midrange Complex parts, larger assemblies, multi-sheet drawings
24-32GB High End Very complex parts, very large assemblies,
64GB Extreme All of the above with the addition of very complex simulations

RAM vs File Size

Another way to look at it is from a filesize standpoint. Larger data files mean more complex simulations after all.

Assembly size <500MB 500MB-1.25GB 1.25GB-3GB
Minimum RAM capacity 8-16GB 32GB* 64GB*

*You can install large file sizes with insufficient RAM okay, it’s really a case by case situation. So don’t get alarmed if you think not getting 64GB will mean you have wasted a lot of moeny. There are things that can mitigate the effect of low ram: getting rid of errors, speedpak & activating large assembly mode to name a few.

3. GPU (Graphics Card)

You may have heard a variation of the following quote:

  (Choosing a laptop with) unsupported (or undersupported) video cards can be disastrous and it is one of the most common causes of slowdowns and crashes in the software—and this card cannot be removed and replaced

Only the last part is true…you cannot remove or replace the graphics part. But the first part is balooney, solidworks supports all video cards including consumer gaming cards, not just workstation cards.

Certified vs Non-Certified GPUs

The main difference is that certified cards ‘workstation’ GPUs will never give you any errors which are more and more likely to happen  as your assemblies get bigger and bigger (the complexitiy behind the physics equations here get more and more dependent on the floating-point architecture of workstation GPUs)


Although there may be some errors popping up, it doesn’t mean you won’t be able to move forward with your project. All of these errors are not going to crash the software, you just click OK and move on.


Im not saying everyone should favor gaming GPUs over certified ‘workstation’ GPUs but chances are you don’t fall into the category where workstation GPUs are a must…at least now.

If you were, you would not be reading this post.

My advice is to get started with a gaming GPU with as much vRAM as you can afford and only move on to workstation GPUs if you are not happy. If you’re a beginner or intermediate with Solidworks, you won’t find workstation GPUs useful. If you’re a professional, you won’t be wasting money if the gaming GPU does not work for you as workstation laptops with the highest vRAM are several several times more expensive. It’ll be a cheap experiment so to speak


Name Cores vRAM Speed
MX150 384 2GB-4GB 1532
MX250 384 2GB-4GB 1582
1050 640 2GB-4GB 1493
1050Ti 768 4GB 1620
1650 1024 4GB 1560
2050 2048 4GB 1477
1060 1280 6GB 1670
1660 Ti 1536 6GB 1590
1070 2048 8GB 1645
1080 2560 8GB 1733
2060 1,920 6GB 1680MHz
2070 2304 8GB 1620 MHz
2080 2944 8GB 1710
2080 Ti 4352 11GB 1650
3060 3840 6GB 1702
4050 RTX 2560 6GB 237
3070 5120 8GB 1620
4060RTX 3072 8GB 2370
3080 6144 8GB 1710
4070 RTX 4608 8GB 2175
3080Ti 7424 16GB 1590
4080 RTX 7424  12GB 2280 
4090 RTX 9728 16GB 2040


Name Shaders vRAM Speed NVIDIA Equivalent
Radeon 610 320 2GB 1030  Intel UHD 620
Pro RX 555X 768 2GB 855  MX150/MX250
RadeonRX 540 512 4GB 1219 ~950M
Radeon RX 550 640 4GB 1287 – 1476 +950M
Radeon RX 560X 1024 4GB 1172 – 1275 1050GTX
RX 580 1536 6GB 1077 ~1060GTX
RX 5500M 1408 8GB 1327 – 1645 ~1660Ti
RX 6700M 2304 10GB 1792 ~3060RTX
RX 6800M 2560 12GB 2116 – 2300 ~3070RTX++

a)University Student: 2GB vRAM GPUs will suffice. They’re the ones labeled with green. Projects are usually in the 100 parts or less and if they go higher, 2GB vRAM GPUs will still work. Since 2GB vRAM GPUs cost just as much as 4GB vRAM, aim for latter. 

Ex: MX450 min, 2050RTX max.

b) Engineer: You want to grab at least a 4GB vRAM GPU. However, 6GB vRAM dGPU is the ideal choice. If budget is an issue, you can try and grab the older generation GPUs but remember to keep the same amount of vRAM.

Ex:  3060RTX vs 4050RTX (both have 6GB vRAM).   4060RTX vs 3070RTX (both have 8GB vRAM).

c) Pro company engineer: Purple GPUs. Preferably the ones with 8GB-16GB vRAM. This will ensure smooth viewport and part modeling with models that have # of parts in the thousands.

Workstation GPUs: Warning!

Now not every workstation card is faster than a regular dedicated ‘gaming’ graphics card.

This is the most important point of this post because…

most people see a workstation card and they just throw money at the seller thinking they found gold when in reality they could be weaker than a laptop with a GPU that’s 3x cheaper.

Use the following table to get a rough idea where a workstation GPU sits relative to a gaming GPU.

NVIDIA Quadro Cores Clock Speed(Hz) vRAM(GB) Equivalent
P500 256 1500 2 MX150
P600 384 1620 4 MX150
p520 384 1493 2 MX150
P620 512 1442 4 MX150/1050
P1000 512 1519 4 1050
T1000 768 1495 4 1650-
P2000 768 1468 4 1050ti
T2000 1024 1785 4 1650/1660
RTX 3000 1920 1380 6 2070-
RTX 4000 2560 1650 8 2070/2080
RTX 5000 3072 1770 16 2080RTX
TX A2000 2560 1200 4 ~3050Ti
RTX A3000 4096 1560 6 ~3060RTX
RTX A4000 5120  1560 8 ~3070RTX
RTX A5000 6144 1695  16  ~3080RTX
RTX A5500 7424 1695  16 ~3080Ti RTX
RTX Ada 3000 4608   8 GB 4070RTX–
RTX Ada 3500 5120   12GB 4070RTX-
RTX Ada 4000 7424   12GB ==4080RTX
RTX Ada 5000 9728 1680 16GB 4090 RTX –

– slower, + faster, ++much faster, –much slower, = almost the same, ~approximately

From the table you can see that there’s not a single workstation GPU that has more vRAM or more ‘CUDA cores’ than a gaming GPU. The former is used to fit in bigger mechanical simulations and the latter is to accelerate rendering (somewhat). 

Thus it is pointless to go for a workstation GPU with low vRAM & CUDA cores as you can get a gaming GPU with way more vRAM & CUDA Cores at a much cheaper price

When to buy a workstation GPU?

The only instance you should consider a workstation GPU is when you want to max out on vRAM and CUDA cores, basically a point where the specs become almost the same as the most powerful gaming GPU by time you read this.

That way you’ll have a much greater chance of reducing errors and bugs than a gaming GPU.

Don’t understand what Im saying?

OK, think about this example. Imagine having two buckets of equal size, once both of them are full, one of them may be more steady to avoid any dripping of the water (the water would be your model and the bucket will be your GPU).

The 16GB vRAM workstation GPU is will be more stable than the gaming GPU when most of the vRAM on both GPUs have been mostly used up. 

Besides the case described above, workstation GPUs are the better choice in the following specific instances of Solidworks. If all things are equal specs wise (vRAM, CUDA Cores) between a gaming GPU and a workstation GPU, you will get performance gains with the workstation GPU in the following situations: 

  • Photorealistic rendering
  • Animation
  • Simulation post-processing (particularly CFD fluid flow post-processing, visualizing streamlines/particle flow, etc). 


NVIDIA is slightly better for rendering specially for photo rendering with SOLIDWORKS Visualize. I know I said rendering is a CPU-task but some particular renderers like are GPU-dependent too, that is, the more CUDA cores it has, the faster it’ll render.

AMD GPUs are not supported by Visualize. If you buy a laptop that has an AMD GPU, it doesn’t mean you won’t be able to use Visualize but the performance gains you would get when redendering from a GPU  will be gone.

Last tips:

  • RealView will work with ANY GPU as long as you activate it with one of the many methods available.
  • Whether you get a workstation or gaming GPU just pick the one with the highest vRAM you can afford.
  • If you have any problems with your GPU. just update the drivers or try a different set of drivers that’s more compatible with Solidworks
    • Sometimes that may mean to download an older version of a driver.
    • This is mostly an issue for older generation GPUs (9th, 10th).
    • It is rarely an issue with modern (RTX) GPUs such as the ones found in the laptops above.

4. Storage

Storages come into two types : SSD (Solid State Drive) vs Hard Disk Drive(Hard Disk Drive). 

Solid state drives are universal on laptops these days so we’ll mostly focus on that. HDDs are almost non-existent on laptops unless you buy much much older rigs due to budget constraints.

Storage Speed: SSD is fastest

Even if you do end up with an HDD (Hard Disk Drive) as your ‘main drive’,  you must replace it by an SSD at some point or another otherwise Solidworks will be considerably when launching, opening and saving files or any process that relies on read/writing data from the hard drive. 

According to pudget systems benchmark studies on SolidWorks:

  • HDDs will take a much longer time to load interface tools, toolbars and solidworks too.
  • When launching solidworks, the software has to wait for HDDs to ‘wake up’ which places additional loading times.
    • When you go iddle with the software, it also has to wait for the HDD to ‘wake up’
    • This usually takes 10 sec .
    • All these issues are eliminated once you get a SSD.

Since you’re going to open and close the software constantly, boot up the machine constantly over the course of weeks, all these seconds may add to hours. Remember that.

Faster SSDs for Solid 

Most laptops use a PCIe NVMe SSD as the main drive swhile the second storage is usually a M.2 SSD so there’s no need to worry about “HDD” ruining the performance of your laptop.

Now, PCIe NVMe SSDs have generations too. There’s PCie NVMe 3.0, 4.0 and the latest 5.0 each double the transfer speeds of the previous. If by the time you read this, the PCIe 5.0 is out, you should choose that one. However as of 2024 Q1, the PCie 5.0 SSDs haven’t been fully implemented yet but they should be available  by the end of this year. 

The advantage of faster storage drives is mostly seen when you work with very very large assemblies (1000< parts). 

For Medium or small  sized assemblies,(parts<1000). No difference is seen between types of SSDs.


If you have any questions or suggestions or something just isn’t very clear to you , please leave a comment below and I will be sure to get back to you and update the post accordingly .



Author Profile

Miguel Salas
Miguel Salas
I am physicist and electrical engineer. My knowledge in computer software and hardware stems for my years spent doing research in optics and photonics devices and running simulations through various programming languages. My goal was to work for the quantum computing research team at IBM but Im now working with Astrophysical Simulations through Python. Most of the science related posts are written by me, the rest have different authors but I edited the final versions to fit the site's format.

Miguel Salas

I am physicist and electrical engineer. My knowledge in computer software and hardware stems for my years spent doing research in optics and photonics devices and running simulations through various programming languages. My goal was to work for the quantum computing research team at IBM but Im now working with Astrophysical Simulations through Python. Most of the science related posts are written by me, the rest have different authors but I edited the final versions to fit the site's format.

2 thoughts on “6 Best Laptops For SolidWorks (+Hardware Guide) – 2024

  • February 8, 2023 at 11:08 am

    Thank you so much for your recommendations! I’ve been really looking for a clear answer about workstation GPU versus gaming GPU and you guys have given a great explanation.
    I do my 3D modelling in Solidworks and a lot of renderings in Keyshot, and especially renderings of translucent materials is a huge headache and a time killer. I have fallen in love with new Nvidia RTX4090 GPU (which is not cheap, but still affordable comparing to the ridiculously expensive A6000), but wasn’t sure how it would work with Solidworks. Now I dare to give it a try 🙂 My Solidworks models are never more then 100 parts, so I guess it should work just fine.
    Again, thanks a lot!

    • February 7, 2024 at 6:13 pm

      That is kind of overkill. I don’t think you need that much power for solidworks. Hope you didn’t go for it


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