1. You may have noticed things look a little different around here - we've switched to a new platform (XenForo) and have some new forum styles and features. This how-to guide will help you find your way around. If you find anything that looks strange, post it in this thread.

What's a good laptop for AutoCad?

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by BaloneyDetector, Jan 26, 2012.

  1. BaloneyDetector

    BaloneyDetector Newbie

    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    5
    Hey everyone, I'm starting college in the Fall as an engineering student, and I need something that I can use in my time there. I won't be playing any graphics-intensive games, but I will be using AutoCad and watching movies through Netflix and DVDs and such.
    So with that in mind, and a budget of about $300-$500, I've narrowed down my choices to:

    the HP Pavilion g6-1b60us
    and
    the Dell Inspiron 15n-2657OBK

    So would those be good choices or would another model be better? Thanks.

    EDIT: Also just came across a Lenovo IdeaPad Z575 on Newegg. Any thoughts?

    1) What is your budget?

    $300-$500, but I may go higher.

    2) What size notebook would you prefer?

    d. Mainstream; 15" - 16" screen

    3) Where will you buying this notebook? You can select the flag of your country as an indicator.
    US
    4) Are there any brands that you prefer or any you really don't like?

    No clue, this is my first laptop.

    5) Would you consider laptops that are refurbished/redistributed?

    Maybe.

    6) What are the primary tasks will you be performing with this notebook?

    Browsing the web, Netflix, watching DVDs, word processing, AutoCad

    7) Will you be taking the notebook with you to different places, leaving it on your desk or both?

    both

    8) Will you be playing games on your notebook? If so, please state which games or types of games?

    Nothing significant. I'm currently addicted to Asteroids, and I'm running that on an old P4 desktop.

    9) How many hours of battery life do you need?

    3 or more.

    10) Would you prefer to see the notebooks you're considering before purchasing it or buying a notebook on-line without seeing it is OK?

    I'd prefer to see it.

    11) What OS do you prefer? Windows (XP or Vista or Windows 7), Mac OS, Linux, etc.

    Win7; I can install Linux myself.

    Screen Specifics

    12) From the choices below, what screen resolution(s) would you prefer? doesn't really matter.

    13) Do you want a Glossy/reflective screen or a Matte/non-glossy screen?
    Doesn't really matter.
    Build Quality and Design

    14) Are the notebook's looks and stylishness important to you?
    Nope.

    15) When are you buying this laptop?
    Anytime from now until August

    16) How long do you want this laptop to last?
    2-4 years

    Notebook Components

    17) How much hard drive space do you need; 80GB to 640GB? Do you want a SSD drive?
    320-500 GB

    18) Do you need an optical drive? If yes, a CDRW/DVD-ROM, DVD Burner or Blu-Ray drive?
    Preferably a DVD burner.
     
  2. Fenom96

    Fenom96 Notebook Evangelist

    Messages:
    319
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    30
    These are some laptops with some of the worst specs I've ever seen in my life. The HP has a dual-core processor with a 1MB L2 Cache size. If you want to be running AutoCAD, please, for you're own sake, get a laptop that's around 700 dollars, with a good processor and a good integrated graphics chip. Look at toshiba on futureshop or tigerdirect, or you can build your own on

    Gaming Laptops - XOTIC PC - Gaming Notebooks - Custom Laptops - Custom Notebooks

    Hope this helps. I'm not being harsh, it's just that those laptops won't be worth your while and I'm just trying to help.
     
  3. Fenom96

    Fenom96 Notebook Evangelist

    Messages:
    319
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    30
    These are some laptops with some of the worst specs I've ever seen in my life. The HP has a dual-core processor with a 1MB L2 Cache size. If you want to be running AutoCAD, please, for you're own sake, get a laptop that's around 700 dollars, with a good processor and a good integrated graphics chip. Look at toshiba on futureshop or tigerdirect, or you can build your own on

    Gaming Laptops - XOTIC PC - Gaming Notebooks - Custom Laptops - Custom Notebooks

    Hope this helps. I'm not being harsh, it's just that those laptops won't be worth your while and I'm just trying to help.
     
  4. Fenom96

    Fenom96 Notebook Evangelist

    Messages:
    319
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    30
    The Dell inspiron that you have listed will be your best bet if you insist on going with the ones that you posted.
     
  5. BaloneyDetector

    BaloneyDetector Newbie

    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    5
    Thanks for the link Fenom. I'm not sure what I would be looking for in a custom laptop though. What would be a good amount of cache, processor, and graphics card? Something like the core i3?
     
  6. Jarhead

    Jarhead Luigi #1

    Messages:
    10,530
    Likes Received:
    983
    Trophy Points:
    531
    From an engineering student to another, those laptops are garbage... My primary concern is that the displays are terrible (low-res, image quality will be crap) and the lack of a decent GPU will make CAD work a pain.

    I'd get something with at least the following specs:

    Any i3 (though an i5 would be better)
    A **high-resolution** display (at least 1600*900, 1920*1080 would be better)
    An actual GPU (something that's not Intel or a Radeon xxxG or xxxD series)

    If budget starts getting tight, upgrade in this order (most important to least):
    DISPLAY > GPU > CPU

    A good suggestion would be the Lenovo Thinkpad T520. Not only will it meet these needs, but business-class laptops are much more rugged and reliable than crap at Bestbuy, etc. I regularly abuse my W520 and there's no major damage in the 8+ months I've owned it.

    T520:
    i5-2520M
    1600*900 display
    nVidia NVS 4200M (bit better than the GPUs in your links)
    4GB RAM
    500GB 5400RPM HDD
    6-cell battery (~6 hours of real battery life)
    everything else is default
    Total: $1149 (plus whatever taxes apply to you)

    I have my rep's contact info that I could PM you in case you are interested in Lenovo. Using the Barnes and Noble discount, email promotion, and haggling over the phone, you should see a nice discount (I got 24% off my W520 this way).

    Another, more powerful laptop (but not business-class) would be the Sager NP5160:
    1600*900 display
    i5-2430M
    nVidia GeForce 540M (slightly below my Quadro 2000M, a card made for CAD)
    4GB RAM
    500GB 7200RPM HDD
    Win7 Home
    Total: $804 (plus tax)
     
  7. Attacking Mid

    Attacking Mid Notebook Enthusiast

    Messages:
    29
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    5
    Your school should have guidelines regarding what you need in terms of computing power. If you're going to need to provide all your own computing needs (i.e., computer labs are not available/convenient), then the units you mentioned are likely to disappoint.

    To back up what privatejarhead said above, here's a link to the current requirement for the engineering school from which my son graduated last year: TSC Home - Laptops - Model Info - 2011 Lenovo W520

    At this particular school, incoming freshmen are required to purchase the specific laptop chosen. Not to say you must have a workstation such as this (they are somewhat more expensive than consumer models), but it should give you an idea what is suggested by an IT departement at one engineering school.

    I will be buying a new machine for my second son who plans to start engineering next fall. Quite the opposite of my oldest son's school, the school my second son is attending offers significant access to campus computer labs. Hence, he could probably get by with a machine like you've looked at since he could go to the lab when more computing power was needed. Still, I'll likely send him with something more like the W520.

    Again, check with your school. Often such info is even clearly stated right on their website.

    Best of luck with your studies!

    AM.
     
  8. BaloneyDetector

    BaloneyDetector Newbie

    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    5
    privatejarhead:Ouch. x.x That would be a lot pricier than I expected. Don't get me wrong though, I'm sure those would be really nice to have, but I'm wondering, do I really need that type of GPU or screen res, or would something like an Intel HD Graphics 3000 integrated card with an 1366 x 768 display work well enough? Specifically something like this. Although I do see it would be more expensive to try to get a cheap model now and have to upgrade later.

    Attacking Mid: Well first I'm planning on going to a community college and transferring to Georgia Tech. The CC shouldn't be a problem at all, they don't even require laptops, but I'd like to get one that would last all throughout college. Tech's laptop requirements are less stringent than your son's school because you can get whatever laptop meets the criteria, you're not bound to one model.

    Thanks a lot everyone!
     
  9. bobsaysblah

    bobsaysblah Newbie

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    5
    If your CC doesn't require laptops, why not wait a little while longer before buying. With hardware updates later this year, you might be able to get a good deal at some point.

    That said, if you want any longevity out of your purchase, don't go with the ones you posted originally.
     
  10. clemenzina

    clemenzina Notebook Consultant

    Messages:
    128
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    31
    What about a used Dell Precision? They are aimed at business CAD users. There is one on eBay.com @ $600 Loaded Dell PRECISION, others refurbished by Dell with a great Next Business Day warranty are more expensive.

    Don't scoff please ;)

    PS - You need to check out the I/O connections, I know they don't have HDMI but a display port instead.
     
  11. danielschoon

    danielschoon das it mane

    Messages:
    1,396
    Likes Received:
    25
    Trophy Points:
    66
    I'd not go for a dell customer laptop. They are not well made and lack quality. The refurb dell Precision looks very nice tho you should defently considder that one, its a beast!

    The intel HD 3000 is not good at all. The intel 4000HD is much better, with much being twice as good. So if you are really on a strict budget i'd look for a i3 with integrated HD4000. I dont know if it is sufficient for running 3D Cad programs it might be for now if you dont plan on doing big projects, so for instance not adding hair and stuff in Maya. For instance the quadro graphics in the presicion are very good for 3D Cad but also very expensive.
    You could considder too going for an AMD laptop as AMD is cheaper than intel and very well suited for graphical use especialy for 3D Cad. AMD scores better than Nvidia in the open cl.

    ThinkPad Edge E535 15.6" Laptop | Shop | Lenovo | (US)

    Asus 15.6" Laptop 4GB Memory 500GB Hard Drive K52DR-BIN6 - Best Buy

    If you are going for intelthe processor you should get atleast i3 i think. i5 vs i3 isnt too much of an upgrade for 3D Cad. An i7 would be a significantly improvement but its much more expensive.

    I started with 600 euro's and ended up with spending 800 on a nice machine. Its really worth it going the extra lot for a satesfying experience.
     
  12. clemenzina

    clemenzina Notebook Consultant

    Messages:
    128
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    31
    That's very interesting, Daniel, thank you! I wouldn't have dreamt of looking at AMD nowadays, that will widen the field. I am also looking for a new (probably secondhand) laptop, but for video editing rather than CAD, but I have read that the Quadro graphics card is also good for that.

    Why oh why do we have to have budgets! :p
     
  13. Quix Omega

    Quix Omega Notebook Evangelist

    Messages:
    444
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    31
    I would recommend a Lenovo Thinkpad W530 for CAD but even with the best discounts you're likely to find it will be at least $1000. You might be able to find last year's model (W520) for less (maybe refurb or used). That would be a decent choice.
     

Share This Page