When choosing between a desktop or laptop for Solidworks, there are a few factors you need to consider. And, your choice really comes down to your needs and preferences. But laptops have come a long way in recent years, now packing in powerful components, and offering close to the same power as a desktop PC. Laptops are also portable, so you can take your Solidworks work with you. The main drawback is that laptops are often more expensive than desktop PCs and have a shorter lifespan.
However, desktops have always been the preferred choice for most Solidworks users because they offer more power for the money. Desktops are also more suitable for an office environment and easier to upgrade. But with the advancements in today’s technology and the changes in how we work. Desktop computers are not always the best option for running Solidworks. So read on to see why considering a laptop or PC for Solidworks is now even harder than ever.
- Main Differences: PC Vs Laptop
- Things To Consider For Solidworks
- Best Overall Specs For Solidworks
- Desktop Or Laptop Workstation?
- What’s Best for Running Solidworks?
- Laptop Vs Desktop, Best For Who?
Main Differences: Laptop or Desktop for Solidworks?
Both laptops and desktops can offer a great deal of power for programmes such as Solidworks. However, when it comes to finding the best computer for Solidworks, there are a few main differences between laptops and desktops that you should keep in mind.
First, desktops tend to have more powerful processors and graphics cards than laptops, which can be important for compute-intensive tasks like Solidworks simulations. Additionally, desktops typically have more storage capacity than laptops, so you can store larger assemblies and models on your desktop without running into performance issues.
Another key difference is expandability – because desktops have more internal space, they’re easier to upgrade with additional RAM, storage devices, or graphics cards. So, if you need extra performance beyond what a laptop can offer, a desktop is a better choice.
Laptops, on the other hand, are designed to be lightweight and portable, so they’re not as easy to upgrade. But when it comes to portability, laptops win that battle every time, making them best if you want to work with Solidworks while on the go. Finally, desktops tend to be less expensive than laptops with similar specs. So if you’re on a tight budget, a desktop is usually the better choice.
A Good Reason to Choose a Laptop!
Handpicked related content: If you’re swaying towards choosing a laptop for Solidworks over a PC, we have listed some great options here that can run this software with ease.
Key Differences Between Laptop vs Desktop for Solidworks?
- Laptops are more portable than desktops
- Laptops typically have less powerful processors and graphics cards
- Laptops are usually more expensive than comparable desktops
- Laptops take up less space than desktops, making them a better choice if you don’t have room.
- Laptops are typically easier to set up since there are no additional wires or components.
- Laptops typically have a shorter lifespan than desktops
Here are Some Key Specs to Keep in Mind:
Processor: A laptop or desktop processor (or CPU) handles most of the heavy lifting when it comes to computation. For example, if you’re running a simulation in Solidworks or working on large assemblies. The CPU (processor) will be doing most of the work.
So when shopping for a new computer, either a laptop or desktop, ensure it has a processor with a 3.3GHz base clock speed or higher. Something like a 10th Generation Intel Core i7 10750H or above. For best performance something like an Intel Core i9 or an Intel Xeon processor.
Intel processors are some of the best for Solidworks because they bring additional features such as turbo boost, unlike AMD Ryzen CPUs. Lastly, Solidworks is mostly a single core application but having more CPU cores is beneficial in some scenarios.
It is also worth mentioning that the components inside a laptop or desktop give off heat, and desktop PCs handle this heat much better. So laptop processors don’t run as fast as desktop processors. In an effort to dissipate heat, typically, laptop processors have 50%-60% less performance.
GPU: Graphics processing units (GPUs) are specialised chips that handle graphics rendering. For running Solidworks smoothly, a dedicated GPU is necessary. So if you plan on doing any serious 3D rendering, it’s worth investing in a laptop or desktop with the best GPU you can afford.
It would also be best for Solidworks if it was a fully certified video card. You can find them here. Although, consumer graphics cards (gaming GPUs) like the NVidia GeForce RTX 30 series or AMD Radeon would also be ok. But you may experience frequent graphical glitches in Solidworks, or there could be some features that may not work at all.
As for the difference between laptop GPUs and desktop GPUs? It can be as much as 70-80% in favour of a desktop graphics card. Plus, desktop GPUs are mostly higher quality than laptop GPUs. All that said, whether you choose a laptop or desktop, make sure the GPU has a large amount of onboard memory.
Storage: When it comes to storage, you have two main choices: hard disk drives (HDDs) and solid-state drives (SSDs). HDDs are cheaper and offer more storage space. SSDs are more expensive but offer faster data access and shorter loading times.
For Solidworks users, an SSD is the best option. SSD’s can help reduce the time it takes to open large files or assemblies. Note, if you decide a laptop is for you, make sure you get one with the latest standard. Either an M.2 PCIe SSD or NVMe SSD would be best.
RAM: For Solidworks to run smoothly on your laptop or desktop, you need at least 16GB of RAM. However, if you’re running simulations or working with large sets of data. It is best to have 32GB or even 64GB RAM at your disposal. Note: Complex models and drawings will complete much quicker with more RAM.
The difference between a desktop vs a laptop is that desktops can generally be upgraded with more RAM because they have more slots available. Laptops only have two, but some can have extra RAM soldered to the motherboard. And, you can get some great laptops suitable for Solidworks with as much as 64GB of RAM. But the price difference between a laptop with 16GB RAM (minimum for Solidworks) and 64GB is massive.
Table: Minimum Spec for Solidworks
|For General Drawing and Solidworks 3D CAD, 500 Parts||MOBILE WORKSTATION||DESKTOP WORKSTATION|
|PROCESSOR||Intel Core i7 11800H 2.3GHz (4.60 GHz)||Intel Core i7-10700K 3.8GHz ( 5.1GHz)|
|GRAPHICS||NVIDIA Quadro T1200 4GB||NVIDIA Quadro P2000, 5GB|
|RAM||16GB, 2X8GB, DDR4 2933Mhz Non-ECC||16GB, 2x8GB, DDR4 UDIMM non-ECC|
|STORAGE||M.2 512GB M.2 PCIe SSD||512GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD|
|O/S||Windows 10 Pro 64bit||Windows 10 Pro 64bit|
Table: Mid-Range Spec for Solidworks
|For Medium-sized Datasets with no more than 2000 Parts||MOBILE WORKSTATION||DESKTOP WORKSTATION|
|PROCESSOR||Intel Core i7 11850H 2.5GHz (4.80 GHz)||Intel Core i9-10900X (3.7GHz, 4.7GHz)|
|GRAPHICS||NVIDIA Quadro RTX 3000 6GB||NVIDIA Quadro RTX 4000 8 GB|
|RAM||16GB, 2X8GB, DDR4 2933Mhz Non-ECC||32GB, 4x8GB, DDR4 UDIMM non-ECC|
|STORAGE||M.2 512GB M.2 PCIe SSD||2.5” 512GB SATA Class 20 SSD|
|O/S||Windows 10 Pro 64bit||Windows 10 Pro 64bit|
Table: High-End Spec for Solidworks
|For All, Rendering, large assemblies and complicated simulations||MOBILE WORKSTATION||DESKTOP WORKSTATION|
|PROCESSOR||Intel Core i9 11950H 2.6GHz (5.00 GHz )||Intel Core i9-10900X 3.7GHz (4.7GHz)|
|GRAPHICS||NVIDIA RTX A3000, 6 GB GDDR6||Nvidia RTX A4000, 8GB+|
|RAM||64GB, 2X32GB,DDR4 2933Mhz Non-ECC||64GB 2x32GB DDR4 2666MHz Non-ECC|
|STORAGE||M.2 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD||M.2 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD|
|O/S||Windows 10 Pro 64bit||Windows 10 Pro 64bit|
Desktop Workstation or Mobile Workstation?
Desktop Workstations and Mobile Workstations offer incredible power for all sorts of uses, but they can be extremely expensive. So if you’re on a tight budget they will not be your best option. You would be best to find a more suitable desktop or laptop that meets the minimum system requirements for Solidworks.
CAD Desktop Workstation?
As the name suggests. A Desktop Workstation is a computer designed specifically for running programmes like Solidworks. Desktop Workstations usually have more RAM than a regular desktop. They also have more powerful processors and graphics cards than most computers.
For instance, take the Dell Precision 7920 Workstation, which can cost a mouth-watering $20,000. It comes with, not one but two Intel Xeon Platinum 8260 processors inside, with 24 cores and 48 threads each. The Precision 7920 desktop PC also has up to 96GB of memory and as many as five storage drives.
The graphics are also impressive, packing in a whopping 48GB Nvidia Quadro RTX 8000 graphics card. This makes for a perfect desktop solution for running long simulations. Or for complicated Solidworks rendering tasks at speed. So, if you have money to burn and want the best ever computer for Solidworks this would be a great choice.
Mobile Workstations are also designed specifically for running programmes like Solidworks. AutoCAD and so on. These days they can offer all the power of a desktop computer in a portable form factor. They don’t have dual-processors, unlike desktop workstations. But they can have powerful CPUs like the latest Intel Core i9 or Intel Xeon processors.
Some Mobile Workstations can also pack in the latest NVidia RTX A5000, 16 GB GDDR6 graphics cards. Thus, making them perfect for rendering on the go. Top-end mobile workstations can also have up to 128 GB, Non-ECC RAM. Some models can have up to four M.2 PCIe NVMe solid-state drives in RAID 0. Perfect for those who need the fastest storage possible.
But of course, all this power comes at a price. A top-end mobile workstation like this can cost as much as $7000. But it would make the ultimate workstation laptop for Solidworks that’s for sure. So if you need something more portable and want to take your Solidworks licence with you wherever you go, a Mobile Workstation is the best solution.
What Computer is best for Solidworks?
Choosing the best computer for Solidworks can be a difficult decision. Do you go for a powerful desktop workstation or a portable laptop? There are pros and cons to both options.
Laptops are great for portability. But they often have less powerful processors and limited storage capacity. Desktops can be more powerful, with more storage space, but they are not as portable.
To answer which computer is best for Solidworks. Here are several reasons why you might choose to opt for a laptop over a Desktop Workstation, they are;
Why Choose A Desktop Workstation?
– More powerful processors: as we’ve seen, a desktop PC can have more powerful processors than even the best laptops. Some workstations can even have dual-processors. You can even opt for a dual Xeon Platinum processor that supports much more memory. But for that convenience you would need to be prepared to pat up to $60,000.
– More storage: You can easily add multiple storage drives to a desktop computer. This means you can have multiple SSDs for your operating system and Solidworks files. Plus, a large HDD for storing all your other data like photos, music, and so on. You could even have one spare for a rainy day. Most laptops only have room for two drives and often only have one slot free.
– More memory (RAM): A desktop can take far more memory (RAM) than a even the best laptop for Solidworks. This is important for programmes like Solidworks. The more RAM you have, the more complex simulations you can run.
– Powerful graphics cards: Laptops usually only have one graphics card slot. So, you’re limited to the card that came with the laptop. You might be able to upgrade it, but often it’s not possible. Or it’s just too expensive. Desktops usually have room for multiple graphics cards.
– More expansion slots: Desktops have more expansion slots than laptops. So you can easily add new features like a second graphics card, more memory, storage, or even three or more screens.
– Cheaper: In general, you’ll get more computing power for your money if you opt for a desktop over a laptop.
– Upgradeable: Desktop Workstations have one big advantage over mobile Workstations in that they are far easier to upgrade. So, if you need more power in the future. It is a simple case of adding more RAM, upgrading the graphics card or even adding a second processor (On some models). With a laptop, you’re mostly stuck with the specification you bought (apart from RAM, Storage) unless you want to fork out for an entirely new model.
Why Choose A Laptop For Solidworks?
– Portable: By far the biggest advantage, laptops are, of course, much more portable than desktop computers. So, if you need to take your Solidworks files with you or you want to do some Solidworks rendering on the go then a laptop is obviously the better choice. (You will need a power outlet for rendering tasks)
– Internal Batteries: Laptops have internal batteries, so you can continue doing other tasks like sending emails, browsing the web etc, while away from a power outlet.
– All-in-one: Laptops have everything you need in one compact package. So, you don’t have to worry about buying a separate monitor, keyboard and mouse. This means less storage space, and you don’t necessarily need a desk to work on.
– Easier to set up: Laptops are much easier to set up and there are no additional wires, unlike desktop computers. But you do need to think about how to make the battery last longer while out and about.
Laptop Vs Desktop Best For Who?
Whether you’re a gamer, a professional designer or a student of Solidworks. Each one will have different needs and requirements. So saying which is best for Solidworks, a laptop vs desktop? It is a hard question to answer. So, we have put together some scenarios where one might be better than the other;
Professional Solidworks user
If you are a professional Solidworks user and need to take your work with you or do some rendering on the go. Then a Solidworks laptop is the best choice. A laptop would also be a good choice if you don’t have enough room for a desktop computer or you’re not too technically gifted.
But, if you are looking for the most powerful machine for Solidworks and one that will offer the best possible performance. Then a desktop PC is the way to go. A PC will also be cheaper than a high-end laptop with similar specifications. The only drawback is that you must have the space and the patience to set it up.
If you’re a gamer and want to run Solidworks. Then you should opt for a desktop over a laptop. Most laptops can not match the performance of a desktop computer when it comes to gaming. However, gamers need graphics cards designed for gaming or multimedia applications.
Such as NVIDIA GeForce RTX and AMD Radeon, but these are consumer GPUs and are not recommended for Solidworks. Simply because consumer GPUs won’t offer maximum performance or stability. But they will be ok with some tasks.
Great options for running Solidworks would be gaming laptops like the latest Razer Blade laptops. These laptops have advanced cooling systems and are known to run cooler than most laptops. Which means they can handle heavier lifting much better. They would be suitable for Solidworks projects with fewer parts but not the best for more complex rendering tasks and simulations.
Student of Solidworks
For students who only need Solidworks for college projects. Then either a laptop or desktop will do the job. It really comes down to personal preference and your budget. You don’t necessarily need a powerful workstation laptop or desktop. One with a dedicated graphics card and a speedy processor would be ok and make sure it has at least 16GB RAM.
If you need something that is portable that you can take with you to class or on field trips. Then a laptop is obviously the better choice. On the other hand, if you have a larger budget and want a machine that will last longer, then a desktop is a better investment. (Understand it has to stay in one place)
In conclusion, there is no definitive answer to whether a laptop or desktop is best for Solidworks. It really varies depending on your individual needs and requirements. Yes, a high end Dell Precision 7920 desktop workstation would be the best option overall. But, let’s be honest, there wouldn’t be any laptop in the world that would beat the power and performance of that beast.
However, the Dell Precision 7920 desktop would not be the best option for someone who needs to move around with their Solidworks projects. In that case, the HP ZBook Studio Book or the ASUS ProArt Pro X Mobile Workstation would be best. And for students something like the Razer Blade 15 would make an excellent laptop for Solidworks.
So, there you have it. A Desktop or Laptop for Solidworks? The choice is yours. If you need a powerful computer that can handle any Solidworks project you throw at it. A Desktop Workstation is the best choice. If you need a more portable computer that’s easier to set-up. Then choosing the best Solidworks laptop would be a wise choice.
Thanks for Reading, As always Cya Next Time!