The Best Computer for AutoCAD

Choosing a computer for AutoCAD is a tough decision considering that you need to select such a computer with the best balance of options, quality, and at the same time price.

However, if money is not a conver, this task will be simple as one will just advice you to go for the fastest and most robust desktop on the market, while considering the fact that you need a relatively large screen, e.g. 17 inches or upward. Unfortunately, most of us fall into the category of having a limited budget and want to find the best option possible.

AutoDesk provides a list of system requirements for its softwares. You should try to purchase a computer that is somewhat close to these requirements. The best computer for AutoCAD will surpass these minimum requirements.

Minimum System Requirements for CAD softwares

Listed below are the system requirements provided by Autodesk for AutoCAD. However, most of these requirements will hold true for other CAD softwares.

System Requirements for 64-bit

  • Microsoft Windows 7 Enterprise, Ultimate, Professional, or Home Premium; Microsoft Windows Vista Enterprise, Business, or Ultimate (SP1 or later); or Microsoft Windows XP Professional (SP2 or later)
  • AMD Athlon 64 with SSE2 technology, AMD Opteron® processor with SSE2 technology, Intel® Xeon® processor with Intel EM64T support and SSE2 technology, or Intel Pentium 4 with Intel EM64T support and SSE2 technology
  • 2 GB RAM
  • 2 GB free space for installation
  • 1,280 x 1,024 true color video display adapter 128 MB or greater, Microsoft® Direct3D®-capable workstation-class graphics card
  • Internet Explorer 7.0 or later
  • Install from download or DVD

System Requirements for 32-bit

best-computer-for-autocad

  • Microsoft Windows 7 Enterprise, Ultimate, Professional, or Home Premium; Microsoft® Windows Vista® Enterprise, Business, Ultimate, or Home Premium (SP1 or later); or Microsoft® Windows® XP Professional or Home edition (SP2 or later)
  • For Windows Vista or Windows 7: Intel Pentium 4 or AMD Athlon dual-core processor, 3.0 GHz or higher with SSE2 technology; for Windows XP: Intel Pentium 4 or AMD Athlon dual-core processor, 1.6 GHz or higher with SSE2 technology
  • 2 GB RAM
  • 1.8 GB free disk space for installation
  • 1,280 x 1,024 true color video display adapter 128 MB or greater, Microsoft® Direct3D®-capable workstation-class graphics card
  • Microsoft® Internet Explorer® 7.0 or later
  • Install from download or DVD

Additional Requirements for 3D Modeling (All Configurations)

  • Intel Pentium 4 processor or AMD Athlon, 3 GHz or greater; or Intel or AMD dual-core processor, 2 GHz or greater
  • 2 GB RAM or more
  • 2 GB hard disk space available in addition to free space required for installation
  • 1,280 x 1,024 true color video display adapter 128 MB or greater, Pixel Shader 3.0 or greater, Microsoft® Direct3D®-capable workstation-class graphics card

You can check the full list below for each version for AutoCAD:

My experiences when choosing the best computer for CAD

Your computer mouse

The mouse is the most crucial parts of a computer. If you are considering ever working on AutoCAD on a desktop, you will need to find a mouse to go along with it. We can find tips about the parts your computer mouse is supposed to have for AutoCAD.

The size of your computer screen

It would be almost impossible to try drawing on a  10″ computer screen. In my opinion, the smallest computer screen size one will want to go for is a 17″. I have tried with a 15.6″ computer screen for a couple of small projects, but I need to admit this screen size made the job more tedious.

The RAM and CPU speed

Yes, it is always nice to work on a computer where you won't worry about the responsiveness when performing various tasks. Lately, I had to manage AutoCAD on a 2GHz, 512 MB, 17″ desktop computer, and I installed the software on this computer and ran some tests with small 3D project for beginners. I found that the experience was not too bad and certainly manageable. These specifications are enough to draw and still be able to produce good standard CAD designs.

A couple of problems I encountered though are:

Constant Errors

While changing the visual style, AutoCAD was having an error which I am sure was due to the computer I was using. It made the software quit and I had to start the drawing over again. The visual style 2D Wireframe was the most stable style I could use.

Slow response

I had to be patient. The computer was too slow to respond when it was not giving errors. I even tried to test some 3D modeling which I know I could not get any result for and of course the computer failed to do so.

If you are in a situation where your computer has specifications below the required ones, try to put your computer to the test. But without a doubt if you are considering buying a new computer for AutoCAD, the best thing you can do yourself is to look for a computer with specifications given by AutoDesk and if you can afford it, try going surpassing the requirements.

In general, if there is choice to be made, a desktop computer is more preferable than a laptop computer.

What is the best computer for AutoCAD?

We have compiled a list of low, medium, and high-end computers that you can buy. These are computers we recommend for you to use.

DesktopDetailsPrice
Dell Inspiron Desktop Computer
Dell Inspiron Computer for CAD
  • Intel core i5 at 3.2 GHz
  • Basic graphics card
  • 8GB RAM
This is a low-end computer that can be used for CAD. However, it is includes a generic graphics card which may cause issues when rendering 2D/3D models.
Click here to check prices on Amazon.com
Dell XPS Desktop Computer
Dell XPS computer for CAD
  • Intel i7 Quad-Core at 3.60 GHz
  • Advanced graphics card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 745 4GB
  • 16 GB RAM
This computer is well balanced for CAD. It has a fast processor, excellent graphics card, and more than enough ram. An overall excellent computer.
Click here to check prices on Amazon.com
Lenovo Desktop Computer
  • 3.5 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7
  • Advanced graphics card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770 2GB
  • 16 GB RAM
Lenovo is well-known for making high-end desktop computers. This computer has an excellent graphics card for rendering and with the extremely fast processor, you will see no issues when using AutoCAD. Highly recommended.
Click here to check prices on Amazon.com

In addition to the above recommended computers for AutoCAD, we have compiled a larger list which you can view below:

>> Click here to see reviews, ratings, specifications and prices on Amazon.com <<

As you can see from the recommended computers, the processing speed, memory, and graphics card are important. However, memory is relatively inexpensive and can be upgraded later. On the other hand, it is wise to choose a processor with enough speed since this upgrade is expensive. As for graphics cards, most base-level computers do not come with high-end graphics card. This is the case because the general population of users do not require it. However, for CAD users this feature is important.. Therefore, if you want the best performance, you will need to replace the graphics card for low-end computers but the ones in the high-end computers will be enough for most CAD projects.