Laptop for Autocad drawing 3D and 2D


Jun 23, 2015
Hey all at Tomshardware,

It's been many years since i looked at laptops so i have little knowledge on which brands to go for.

This is really searching for my dad. He is a mechanical engineer who works in the plastic molding industry who needs his laptop a lot as he reviews and give pointers to designers/fabricators on their drawing mainly on AutoCAD / Unigraphics they are sometimes 3d drawings but most of the times 2D line drawings (architects and engineers would know how these look like)

He previously used a Macbook Pro 21 inch ( i know its a little silly but thats what his previous employer liked so everyone uses a mac )
He is a mildly tech savvy person, i'd score him somewhere around 6/10 for someone his age (he's 56 this year )

So he is looking for a new laptop, this might be a little hard to find but im hoping to get him something with the following pointers in mind if possible, listed in order of most important to least important.

  • - Performance, ability to run autocad and Unigraphics at ease (he opens up the file and inspect/comment)
    - Weight/Size preferably around the same if not lighter than macbook pro
    - USB-3 to have at least 3 of them
    - DVD drive ( im not sure if its worth it , but i think it should be good for him)
If there are any suggestions on the requirements please do mention them, its not cast in stone yet, at this point

I'd think size of the laptop is not an issue, weight is the more important one.

He uses it mainly for work, at home he would sometimes plug into the home theatre system and work / watch off the tv


First thing I'd say if you use AutoCAD you best have a perpetual license because in like 7 days they will cease to be available. The new "rental" structure will be killer on the wallet.

I provide AutoCAD capable laptops to my employees to use on job sites and what you need here is truly a "desktop replacement". We have them all custom built to our specifications which saves us a lotta money. I can relate to your Dad, tho I build all or desktops and service / all IT in the office ... and yes, I been using AutoCAD for about 25 years.

If you visit a high end CAD site or a hi end gaming site for laptops, you will likely wind up with a $2,500 machine that was built by Clevo and sold to that supplier for about 60% of what ya paid. For the last 5 years are so we have used this supplier. I like that the sales guy is the same as the service guy and not having to deal with a continued parade of recent HD graduates, manning the phones following scripts from a 3-ring binder.


17.3" Full HD (1920 x 1080) LED-Backlit Clear Matte type
NVIDIA® GeForce™ GTX 970M with 3GB GDDR5
6th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-6700HQ Processor (6M Cache, up to 3.50 GHz)
IC Diamond Thermal Compound - CPU + GPU - SPECIAL
Windows® 7 Professional 64-Bit Edition Preinstalled, (with 32/64-Bit DVD Recovery Media)
16GB DDR4 PC4-17000 2133MHz Memory (2x8GB) - SPECIAL!
Intel® Dual Band Ultra Wireless-AC 8260 M.2 AC + Bluetooth 4.2 Combo Card - SPECIAL!
Full Range 180W AC Adapter AC-in 100~240V, 50~60Hz, DC output 19.5V, 9.23A
Embedded 4 cells Polymer battery pack 60WH
LIFETIME Limited Labor and 2 Years Premium** Parts Warranty

Now ya prolly wondering why no OS and Storage. Well I didn't have time to search all the models but afrer a good amount of testing we have found SSHDs to be the "Goldilocks" storage subsystem on lappies and the model I first looked at didn't have this option. We bought two identical laptops 2-3 years back ... one had SSD + 7200 rpm HD, the other had 7200 rpm SSHD. The SSD booted less than a second faster. Randomly used by peeps in the office, no would could tell the difference between the two except for one thing. The 128 GB SSDs needed to have the boot drives cleaned out from junk every now and then. Grab a 2 TB SSHD and you are good to go.


As for OS, both Win 10 professional and Win 7 professional are $130 pre-installed. I prefer to do it myself. We are still installing Win 7 ... don't know what Dad's prefernces are but since they the same price, if you get Win 7 pro, you basically get licenses for both (Up thru July 28), so that's the option I like best.

Just about everything is upgradeable...CPU, screen, RAM, you name it. I'm typing from one right now. And was using AutoCAD 16 all day.


Jun 23, 2015
Hey thanks for the detailed reply.

I'm not sure if this makes a difference, but he dont really do any drawing on autocad/ unigraphics mainly opening . From what i recall . his previous machine (provided by his ex company) was nowhere close to this set of spec not exactly sure if he wants to spend that much either but i'll definite show this to him .

Thank you once again though , for the detailed information.

i'll revert back after he has his decision :D
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