Help with finding a suitable laptop - Architecture/Design student (so 3D modelling, etc)


Oct 2, 2013
Hello people of the Forum world,
I’m looking to buy a laptop that would suit my Architecture/Design student needs (besides usual laptop stuff, I need something that can handle CAD drawing – AutoCAD, SolidWorks, etc and not die in the middle of rendering final projects or something). The question list is below (sorry it’s a long post!!) and excuse me ahead of time if I seem clueless about RAM, GB, CPUs and stuff, I’m not very computer savvy. Thanks!

1. Budget: Up to $850-875(max)
2. Size: 14-15.6"
3. No specific screen resolution, the best for the price I guess.
4. Portable laptop needed
5. 4-5 hours (or more) of battery life
6. I don't play games
7. Besides the basic stuff, I'll use it for design work (AutoCAD, SolidWorks, Revit, etc.)
8. Storage - depends on system requirements for Autodesk, etc. Probably around 750GB
10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
Through college, maybe a bit longer (so like 4-5 years).

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?

12. Please tell us about the brands that you prefer to buy from them and the brands that you don't like and explain the reasons.

No preference of brands right now, probably something light, portable but that also has sufficient power. No Macs (not really compatible with AutoCAD, etc., and I don’t like them – besides being expensive).

13. What country do you live in?

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.
I’m studying Design/Architecture in college and need to use CAD programs. I’m new to all this so I’m including the system requirements for the softwares I’m using now (AutoCad & SolidWorks) as well as InDesign:

AutoCAD 2014 (64-bit)
Windows 8 Standard, Enterprise, or Professional edition, Windows 7 Enterprise, Ultimate, Professional, or Home Premium edition (compare Windows versions), or Windows XP Professional (SP2 or later)
Athlon 64 with SSE2 technology, AMD Opteron™ processor with SSE2 technology, Intel® Xeon® processor with Intel EM64T support and SSE2 technology, or Pentium 4 with Intel EM64T support and SSE2 technology
2 GB RAM (4 GB recommended)
6 GB free space for installation
1,024 x 768 display resolution with true color (1,600 x 1,050 recommended)
Internet Explorer 7 or later
Install from download or DVD

SolidWorks 2013 (64-bit)
Windows 7, 8 (64-bit only), Vista
Minimum Hardware
RAM - 2 GB or more
Disk Space - 5 GB or more
Processor - Intel or AMD with SSE2 support – 64-bit recommended
DVD Drive or Broadband Internet Connection
Internet Explorer 7, 8, 9, 10
Excel and Word 2007, 2010

InDesign CS6
Intel® Pentium® 4 or AMD Athlon® 64 processor
Microsoft® Windows® XP with Service Pack 3 or Windows 7 with Service Pack 1. Adobe® Creative Suite® 5.5 and CS6 applications also support Windows 8. See the CS6 FAQ for more information about Windows 8 support.*
1 GB of RAM (2 GB recommended)
1.6 GB of available hard-disk space for installation; additional free space required during installation (cannot install on removable flash storage devices)
1024 x 768 display (1280 x 800 recommended) with 16-bit graphics adapter
DVD-ROM drive
Adobe® Flash® Player 10 software required to export SWF files
Some features in Adobe Bridge rely on a DirectX 9–capable graphics adapter with at least 64 MB of VRAM

I’m hoping someone will be able to come up with good suggestions! I know nothing about PC builds or whatever so I probably won’t go for that.
Thanks again for any help!! It will be very appreciated


Sep 15, 2012
I think the most important part when using CAD programs,would be Graphics so just try to find a Laptop with a good graphics solution(dedicated graphics card) and a performance CPU(Core i5). Also try 4GB of RAM as minimal(2x2GB dual channel activated)