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Need help deciding on laptop/2-in-1 - CAD


New member
Feb 22, 2017
Hello there Windows people! (Heh, get it? Yellow Submarine reference. No? OK, moving on..). I am currently gathering information on various laptops and 2-in-1's in preparation for making a decision on a new computer. I've done some research on the computers themselves and I reached a junction early on between the Dell XPS 2-in-1 and the HP Spectre x360. At that point I was looking at 13" laptops... That has subsequently fallen through for a very specific reason - power. Please read on through the whole thread - I know it's long.

I would be using this laptop for moderately heavy 3D CAD and realistic rendering work (plus occasional sim, drawing and mesh work all using Fusion 360 (and drawing using AutoCAD) which, I feel, is rather light in terms of a full-fledged CAD package) and moderate school work like spreadsheet creation, word document creation, PowerPoints, note taking, research, email, etc. So all-in-all some moderate to heavy processor-intensive work.

Like I said, I was looking at the XPS 13. I really liked that computer but I had to deconsider (that's not a word, is it?) it when I realized that the i7-7Y75 isn't really that great for what I need and the Intel HD Graphics GPU doesn't really fit my needs either. This after having read an article that said that the Intel graphics card isn't that great for CAD programs and that I need more of a Nvidia card. I was also looking at the HP Spectre x360 13 but, because that too didn't have a Nvidia card, I've begun looking at the 15 which does.

The only computer that fits my needs that I know of right now is the Spectre 15 and x360 15. I'm stuck a bit because I'm not sure which other computers do fit my needs. I'm putting together a spreadsheet that lists various 2-in-1s with their specs so I can discern them more easily but I'd like advice from people who know much more than I do and could gain from raw specs. This is what I'm looking for in a computer:
-Preferably a 2-in-1 for utility sake (and just because they look neat :p) but
-Between 13" and 15.6" screen. Below that it's too small to use and above is too large to be of mobile use for me.
-Core i7 that's not from the Y-line or ex-M-line. Obviously the more cores the better but I'm finding that I can only find dual-core machines.
-Nvidia graphics (940MX? I don't know the names of the cards) or other comparable discreet graphics card that can run 3D CAD programs seamlessly. So basically if it can run high-power 3D games, that's the kind of chip I need.
-12GB or more of RAM (Preferably 16)
-512GB SSD

I'm not asking about price comparison because that will come later. Really just nothing extreme. Nothing like the Surface's with the multi-thousand dollar price tag - under $2k is what I'm asking.

I've looking at the Lenovo Yoga 910 but I don't think that has really met my needs unfortunately. I haven't looked much at Acer so far mainly because of some bad experiences with an Acer notebook in the past.

Now I pose another question: will the HP Spectre x360 15 with Core i7-7500U, 16GB of RAM and Nvidia GeForce 940MX be able to smoothly run CAD programs? I don't have the massively intensive programs like Solidworks to worry about yet. Only Fusion 360, Inventor, AutoCAD, 3DS Max (which I use only one in a blue moon) and SolidEdge (which I use 1.5 times in a blue moon). If it can runs these programs (plus a little light non-3D gaming (are World of Tanks/Warships and Warthunder considered 3D games?)), then that will have made my choice easier.


New member
Nov 24, 2015
It's hard to get a true 2-in-1 that will work well for CAD.
I ended up having a Surface Pro4 (maxed out) as my personal machine and got a maxed out Dell Precision 5510 (touchscreen) as the machine for intensive CAD/3D work.
I can't see having less than 32GB of RAM on anything doing 3D processing IMO. The lack of good GPUs and RAM limits drew me away from true 2-in-1s.


New member
Feb 22, 2017
The program I use actually works reasonably well on the laptop I use. Surprisingly, it runs on a Pentium with 4GB RAM and an Intel Graphics card. (I don't know what model Pentium or graphics card it is, though.)

But the jist of it, from what I understand, is that what's needed is a 14"-15.6" screen (for the best combination of versatility and visibility), Core i7-7500U equivalent or better, 20GB+ RAM, 512GB+ SSD, Nvidia Quadro M1000M or greater and as thin as can be (for portability). All things considered, it seems that almost all 2-in-1's are out of the picture when put into this perspective of needed specs.

Now when it comes to different versions of CPUs and graphics cards, I'm at a complete loss. I have no idea what to look for in those terms. All I know is: the more RAM the better, Core i7 is best AFAIK and 512GB or more SSD is best. And physical specs like height, length, width and weight. But this is where I'm at.

I also found the MSI Stealth Pro 15.6" with the GTX 1060. How does this compare to the Dell Precision 15 with the M1000M? Both have the i7 and 32GB of RAM but one model of the Dell comes with a Xeon E3. The MSI has a 1TB HDD and 128GB SSD or so while the Dell has... Well... More. Would anyone know which is better than the other?

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