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Guest Sneblot

Best Laptop For Solidworks.

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Guest Sneblot
Hi I was wondering if anyone could help me out with my choice of laptop? I am about to at Nottingham Trent on their Product Design course and I was wondering what type of specs I should be looking out for when it comes to a mobile workstation capable of running solidworks at its best (for a laptop that is). Also which manufacturers should I be looking at for best build quality/durability at a decent price?

Thanks for any help given to me on this.

Sneblot

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[quote name='Sneblot' post='78911' date='Aug 25 2010, 09:19 AM']Hi I was wondering if anyone could help me out with my choice of laptop? I am about to at Nottingham Trent on their Product Design course and I was wondering what type of specs I should be looking out for when it comes to a mobile workstation capable of running solidworks at its best (for a laptop that is). Also which manufacturers should I be looking at for best build quality/durability at a decent price?

Thanks for any help given to me on this.

Sneblot[/quote]

"Best" is super subjective. It really depends on your needs and your budget.

If you have the budget - any of the Dell Precision or HP Workstations will offer good performance for a mobile workstation.

With that said, as a student you will not be pushing so much data that you necessarily need a workstation. Picking up a good consumer laptop with a fast CPU, fast dedicated consumer (Geforce) video card, and 4-6 gigs of ram should be plenty. Solidworks tends to play pretty well with consumer video cards from what I've seen. You may sacrifice a little on the stability side of things, but most people running workstations need it for very complex assemblies with hundreds of parts, and as a student the chances of you building anything complex are slim to none.

If it were up to me, these days I would spend less on the laptop and put the extra cash towards other design computing necessities like a Wacom Tablet, big display, or large format printer. Those will make a much bigger difference in your design education than a Quadro card or 12 gigs of ram will.

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Guest nicanor
Any of them will run the software just fine. My 7 year old 1.2ghz laptop runs it. Everything else is subjective on what you prefer. For CAD-specific stuff for me: the most amount of processors (ie: dual 2-core processor) would be my priority on my budget, followed by the most amount of RAM.

The only "required" spec I would highly recommend to everyone is get a good multi-button mouse. I have a 12 button mouse that you can program the buttons to do functions (delete, enter, etc), will cost you an extra $100 +/- but makes things faster/easier. You'll be surprise how many college students still use their track-pad to to digital computer work.

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Guest Sneblot
Would it be worth looking into tablet laptops like the Dell Latitude XT2 or a ThinkPad X201 Tablet??

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Guest sambucus
Since I had to find a laptop recently as well, I think I have a good overview of the products on the market these days. [I bought a Mac..]

The new Intel processors (i3, i5, i7) cost quite much these days, that's why I would rather concentrate on good graphics and RAM, where better stuff is cheap and helps with 3D CAD performance.
What I found had best value for money (on Windows) was LG P510 and Toshiba Satellite. These cost about 900$+

Tablet Laptops are not practical for 3D.

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[quote name='sambucus' post='78932' date='Aug 26 2010, 03:47 AM']Since I had to find a laptop recently as well, I think I have a good overview of the products on the market these days. [I bought a Mac..]

The new Intel processors (i3, i5, i7) cost quite much these days, that's why I would rather concentrate on good graphics and RAM, where better stuff is cheap and helps with 3D CAD performance.
What I found had best value for money (on Windows) was LG P510 and Toshiba Satellite. These cost about 900$+

Tablet Laptops are not practical for 3D.[/quote]

The graphics card plays very little in most CAD applications. It helps with realtime rendering and shading, but the processor is the biggest bottleneck for any calculations, renderings, etc.

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Guest nicanor
As above, most CAD and rendering programs are getting away with graphic-card necessities (especially rendering programs/plug-ins). They rely heavily on multiple cores and RAMs more. High-end graphic cards would help, but multi-core processors will help a lot more. Would you rather it look good while you're modeling, or save you hours in final rendering time per image? IMO as long as I can see it enough "info" while modeling, that's good enough for me. The final rendering is the money shot. (On that note, look into 3rd party plug-ins to do your final renders if you want photo-real renders, like Hypershot or VRay. All CAD's default rendering engine are pretty bad, looks obviously like CG renders.)

Also my 7 year old laptop is a tablet. I do my final renderings on my desktop though. There isn't no real difference between a tablet spec and a laptop spec (if spec A is the same for tablet vs laptop, it is still spec A; it won't downgrade to spec B just because its a table). The tablet will help with hand renderings and would highly recommend Alias Sketchbook Pro if you end up buying one (awesome airbrush and sketching capabilities). Toshibas and HPs makes good convertible tablets. There's some good tablet-specific forums there if you want to see which ones are better than others. Also makes Pop-Caps games 10x funner...

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Guest Sneblot
Thanks for the information. Tablets seem to have come a long way since I last looked about 3 years ago I remember them being quite under powered.

I will look into toshiba and HP for machines. Personally I don't care what it looks like as long as it does the does the job well. I don't fancey spending ££££'s on a mac because solidworks and sketch book pro are windows native programmes but before mac fans start harking on about the fact that mac's can now run windows due to their intel chips, I can surely get something cheaper that will run what I need just as well.

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Guest szuhair
well i find myself in a similar situation. need to buy a laptop that can keep up with me for atleast a couple of years. currently am limiting myself to dell,sony and toshiba. heard too many HP horror stories so avoiding that.

please mod or anyone who really knows .. can you tell me which configration to go for.. considering that im a 3D newbie but am learning and do photoshop/illustrator for a living :D this will be my only machine for the next few years so please honest opinion matters..

#1
corei3 processor
4 gb of ram
intel HD (integrated) graphics

#2
corei3 processor
2gb of ram
Nvidia Geforce GT310/330M or ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5650 (dedicated graphics, both having 128bit and 1GB)

#3
corei5
2gb ram
Intel HD Graphics


please do consider that i only have 500£ or 800$ (roughly) and any dime/penny i save will/can be used into buying stuff like a wacom maybe somewhere down the line...oh and it is really true that laptops with dedicated gfx heating up badly? what would be a safe choice?

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[quote name='szuhair' post='79146' date='Sep 10 2010, 09:53 PM']well i find myself in a similar situation. need to buy a laptop that can keep up with me for atleast a couple of years. currently am limiting myself to dell,sony and toshiba. heard too many HP horror stories so avoiding that.

please mod or anyone who really knows .. can you tell me which configration to go for.. considering that im a 3D newbie but am learning and do photoshop/illustrator for a living :P this will be my only machine for the next few years so please honest opinion matters..

#1
corei3 processor
4 gb of ram
intel HD (integrated) graphics

#2
corei3 processor
2gb of ram
Nvidia Geforce GT310/330M or ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5650 (dedicated graphics, both having 128bit and 1GB)

#3
corei5
2gb ram
Intel HD Graphics


please do consider that i only have 500£ or 800$ (roughly) and any dime/penny i save will/can be used into buying stuff like a wacom maybe somewhere down the line...oh and it is really true that laptops with dedicated gfx heating up badly? what would be a safe choice?[/quote]

Without a doubt choice #2. You NEED a dedicated graphics card (out of those two choices, go with the Nvidia solution, their drivers work much better than ATI's consumer level drivers). Ram you can upgrade super cheap, you can get 4 gigs of ram down the road and install it yourself, it will be much cheaper than buying it straight from Dell or whoever else.

If you have the option, the Core I5 would be a good bump even if it costs a little more. It may be worth considering financing options if they are available. I don't recommend debt as a first choice, but I also don't recommend trying to get by 4 years on a computer thats too slow.

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Guest Creative Edge Products

I would look into Alienware. They make some really nice laptops.

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Guest tenman

Would recommend Dell's Workstation laptops. I picked up a refurbished M90 with an Nvidia Quadro FX3500 512mb GFX Card, 4gb RAM, Intel Core 2 Duo 2.33Ghz for £600 quid couple years ago. Practically the same component spec as their most recent M6400 Workstation Laptops. I replaced the RAM for £40 and it has been A1 perfect for everything for everything from SolidWorks to photoshop for design stuff and it's great for games too (which arent great for designing, recommend uninstalling for final year!)

 

Got it from these guys, do some good deals and good support if you need it http://www.mcscom.co.uk/

 

The latest and greatest Dell is the M6500 with the Quadro FX3800 http://www1.euro.dell.com/uk/en/business/D...&cs=ukbsdt1

 

£3300!

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The company I work for have used this company in the past - They specialise in CAD workstations for the design industry. Just viewing the laptops will give a good idea of specs and they will be able to help you with advice if you call them

 

http://www.cad2.com/workstations/quadro-laptop.html

 

May be worth looking here if you require any software:

 

http://www.software4students.co.uk

 

Ronnie

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Guest goodsignal
Would it be worth looking into tablet laptops like the Dell Latitude XT2 or a ThinkPad X201 Tablet??

 

In theory this would be one of the best options. Unfortunately and rather unbelievably, there isn't a single tablet laptop available that has a higher resolution screen and a dedicated graphics card. For anything more than simple models, a low-res screen and integrated graphics chip doesn't quite cut it. Current tablet laptops seem to be designed for doctors, general form fillers, and novelty note takers.

 

I may be biased being in the design arena, but it seems that the major laptop manufacturers have overlooked a fairly large niche of product designers, artists, and architects to which a performance tablet laptop would be a welcome and valuable tool.

 

Someday... One can hope.

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Thanks for all the advice, it turns out I will be getting a toshiba, I can not remember the cpu, but it has 4Gb of ram, and I'm going to upgrade the hdd to a solid state drive as well as probley the ram to some corsair.

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