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Good laptop for CAD & FEA?

Good laptop for CAD & FEA?

(OP)
Hi All,

Anybody got any recommendations for a good laptop to run CAD & FEA software?

My last one has finally melted down (HP Pavallon D) the graphics where very good with fast 3D rendering for the price range but it had serious overheating issues.

Price range from £500 to £1000 give or take a couple of hundred.

I've been looking at gaming laptops due to the way they deal with graphics.

Also would like an NVIDIA card so I can make use of CUDA.

Thanks for any help

Nic

RE: Good laptop for CAD & FEA?

My Lenova Thinkpad SS has been good so far.
Don't remember the specs offhand, but it has handled Seimens NX with few problems.

"Know the rules well, so you can break them effectively."
-Dalai Lama XIV

RE: Good laptop for CAD & FEA?

(OP)
Just had a look thanks, no NVIDIA card though but its a possibility as my last one had AMD Radeon graphics & it worked well enough.

RE: Good laptop for CAD & FEA?

I'm using an HP EliteBook 8560w, with i7, 8gb memory, 64bit, Nvidia Quadro 1000m, running SolidWorks. It surprises me how well it handles large, 300+ assemblies.

"Art without engineering is dreaming; Engineering without art is calculating."

Have you read FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies to make the best use of these Forums?

RE: Good laptop for CAD & FEA?

Radeon cards are not certified for CAD systems, they are gaming cards. Nvidia Quadro are used for CAD systems.
The difference is in how the graphics is processed. CAD systems write graphivs comands to the system in OpenGL. Radeon cards have to software process that information to their native DirectX hardware. Nvidia cards use hardware designed for native OpenGL processing.
They can both work, but for CAd, performancxe will be better with a Qudro card. Personally, I prefer Nvidia cards over AMD/ATI cards.

"Wildfires are dangerous, hard to control, and economically catastrophic."

Ben Loosli

RE: Good laptop for CAD & FEA?

(OP)
Thanks looslib you've helped nail down one spec at least :D I'm going to go for a Nvidia card. Will check out the Quadro.

Just had a look at the HP EliteBook 8560w, looking good. My concern is with HP is the cooling issues they seem to have with laptops how are you finding that?

RE: Good laptop for CAD & FEA?

And make sure that you go with an SSD 'hard-drive' as that will also enhance performance and speeds-up not only the launching of the applications but also the loading of large files.

John R. Baker, P.E.
Product 'Evangelist'
Product Engineering Software
Siemens PLM Software Inc.
Digital Factory
Cypress, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

RE: Good laptop for CAD & FEA?

OH, and don't skimp on memory. Install the max that the system will allow, if you can afford it, but at least 8Gb minimum, 16Gb is better.

John R. Baker, P.E.
Product 'Evangelist'
Product Engineering Software
Siemens PLM Software Inc.
Digital Factory
Cypress, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

RE: Good laptop for CAD & FEA?

(OP)
Was looking at SSD hard drives & wondering if they'd be worth it.

RE: Good laptop for CAD & FEA?

No over heating that I have experienced, but I don't use it on my lap either. It is always on a desk, plugged into the dock. I try to keep my coffee on the left side where the fan exhaust is, to keep my coffee warm. Seriously, it puts out noticeably hot air, and it will turn anything chocolate based to mush within the hour if in close proximity. I wouldn't say it is overly hot given how much process crunching it has to do.

"Art without engineering is dreaming; Engineering without art is calculating."

Have you read FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies to make the best use of these Forums?

RE: Good laptop for CAD & FEA?

A series of laptops you might want to look at is the Lenovo W series. Most come with an NVIDIA Quadro graphics card, but the price will probably start around your high end.

As for video cards, in addition to the Quadro series, AMD makes the FirePro series of cards which are direct competition with the Quadro line. So, any laptop with the FirePro card would possibly be a viable substitute. IIRC, I think HP uses the FirePro in place of the Quadro.

RE: Good laptop for CAD & FEA?

I have been happy running Solid Edge, MathCAD, and even games on my Surface Pro 3.

--Scott
www.wertel.pro

RE: Good laptop for CAD & FEA?

A bit question to ask yourself is if you need to have a certified system for the programs you are using or if you are willing to take a chance. Most engineering software vendors will wash their hands of any problems if you don't use certified systems or at least their approved graphics card.

I'm currently using an MSI with a GeForce to run Catia and Abaqus with no issues.

I second the SSD card and also suggest a second HD with more storage. This usually makes you ditch the DVD drive but you can get an external if needed.

Make sure you can return it if performance isn't up to expectations. While the computer is being shipped I download every program I need so I can set it up ASAP to take it through it's paces.

I hope this helps.

Rob Stupplebeen
www.optimaldevice.com
https://sites.google.com/site/robertkstupplebeen/

RE: Good laptop for CAD & FEA?

If you don't want to give-up the internal DVD/CD drive, there are some really good, small profile, external 1T or 2T USB3 drives out there which can be had for a fair price. I have a 1T drive that I run my back-ups on from my laptop.

John R. Baker, P.E.
Product 'Evangelist'
Product Engineering Software
Siemens PLM Software Inc.
Digital Factory
Cypress, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

RE: Good laptop for CAD & FEA?

(OP)
OK I have gone for a HP EliteBook 8540w Core i7-720QM 1.60 GHZ 16GB with NVIDA Quadro.

Will buy another 16GB when I get the money but for now its run everything I've thrown at it with no problem.

Thanks for all the advice, its made the process a lot less painful bigsmile

RE: Good laptop for CAD & FEA?

Did you go for an SSD drive? But I warn you, once you have one, you'll be spoiled for life winky smile

John R. Baker, P.E.
Product 'Evangelist'
Product Engineering Software
Siemens PLM Software Inc.
Digital Factory
Cypress, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

RE: Good laptop for CAD & FEA?

(OP)
Not yet but I'm committed :D Will definitely be swapping out the CD player.

RE: Good laptop for CAD & FEA?

I have never been a fan of using a laptop for serious CAD drawing for one specific reason, Screen Size. Even with a 17" laptop there is not enough screen real estate to work effectively. With AutoCAD or any other CAD program you will spend too much time zooming in and out. At a minimum a 24" screen is a requirement for a good CAD workstation.

A confused student is a good student.
Nathaniel P. Wilkerson, PE
www.medeek.com

RE: Good laptop for CAD & FEA?

When in the office, my laptop is in its 'docking station' attached to a full size keyboard and a 24 inch monitor.

BTW, until a few years ago I felt the same way about laptops and even opted for a 'transportable workstation' for several years before I finally gave in and got a laptop, but by then they had come a long way. I'm currently on my 3rd laptop, the first with an SSD drive. You can't beat the portability and convenience though.

In terms of what I meant by a 'transportable workstation' was basically a full sized workstation in a briefcase-sized package from a company named 'MaxVision'. Now they were not considered to be 'portable' since you had to plug'em into the wall (no batteries), but at the time, they were the only thing that you could run real CAD on.

Here's a photo of me back in 2006 doing a demo on my 3rd, and last, MaxVision workstation (note the folding handle on the top of the case).



And before you ask, no I didn't take it on the plane with me. I had a foam-line 'Pelican' case with wheels that I would send as luggage when I traveled, which was fun getting through customs at times (if you look in the picture you'll see on the back of the case, flags of the countries that that particular unit had been hauled to during my various travels with it). You can see now why I say that laptops are so much more convenient.

John R. Baker, P.E.
Product 'Evangelist'
Product Engineering Software
Siemens PLM Software Inc.
Digital Factory
Cypress, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

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