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What are the best laptops for 3D modeling? It is quite easy to find one of the best laptops that you want to use for general computing and productivity tasks.
However, if you want to use it for intensive jobs such as 3D modeling, it may be a bit difficult for you to identify the right laptop for your needs.
From your end, it will need some experience and familiarity with the configurations and specs so that it supports the latest tools and popular apps used by professionals for 3D modeling.
In addition to that, you must understand the preferences and needs for 3D modelers as well as the software programs that you need to run on your laptop.
Therefore, system settings and compatibility are two most important things in a laptop to run the most demanding software programs, tools, and apps for 3D modeling on it.
This list includes some of the best machines that will allow both and ensure a high productivity.
Follow this list of best laptop options for 3D modeling and the buying guide to reduce the stress in your selection process.
- Laptops for 3D Modeling – Price
- What is 3D Modeling?
- Minimum & Recommended System Requirements for 3D Modeling
- 5 Best Laptops for 3D Modeling 2021:
- How to Choose Best Laptops for 3D Modeling?
Laptops for 3D Modeling – Price
What is 3D Modeling?
The term ‘3D modeling,’ in simple words, refers to the process which involves creating a three-dimensional representation of any object. In a deeper sense, it means representing the object by conveying its shape, size, and texture.
Such representations are called 3D models and specialized software is used for such creation. A 3D model can not only be created for any existing item but also for project designs that have not been built yet in real life.
3D models and modeling are not only useful for construction purposes but can also be used for machine control, especially in a worksite.
The primary objective of creating a 3D model, also called the replicas, is to incorporate the specific lines, points, and surfaces that make an object and create the physical environment.
In the process, the 3D modelers use different data to coordinate and identify the location of the points, both horizontal as well as vertical.
These points are relative to the object and act as useful reference points. It is this specific spatial relationship that allows a viewer to see the object from all possible angles when represented in a 3D model.
Different software programs are used for 3D modeling as well as different machine controls that come with different positioning sensors.
These sensors send back different feedback on bucket, target grades, and blade position.
The 3D model thus created acts as a reference to ensure the work is completed accurately. GPS technology is also used to find out the specific points on the replica along with the sensors on machines that helps in finding the relationship of these points to the 3D model in question.
All these help in better control processes to transform the 3D model into reality as precisely as described in the model itself with reference to the lines, points and surfaces.
3D models are not used for project designs only. It is also used for environmental compliance reviews as well as during testing out different designs and communicating ideas with other members of the team.
Ideally, to create a 3D modeling project, you will need three things. One, the CAD files, two, the physical paper plans, and three, the scope of the project.
To start 3D modelling, you must conduct a survey first and gather all relevant data for that specific project. You can use various technologies for it such as, aerial photogrammetry and LiDAR.
The survey data will show the physical features, its locations, as well as the key points. This will act as the baseline of your 3D model.
You can also use the LiDAR technology to scan the area and create relevant data point clouds to represent the physical components of the site.
These points are then combined with the 3D modeling software which eventually helps in building the 3D representation.
The 3D model actually ensures that you have all relevant information about the job, its requirements, and the scope of it.
It also helps you in adjusting and eliminating errors in the designs as well as take notes about the necessary and potential changes.
Minimum & Recommended System Requirements for 3D Modeling
If you are into basic 3D modeling, you may not need a laptop with high-end specs. However, as per the minimum system requirements, it should have an Intel Core i5 of a base clock speed of 3 GHz or better or AMD Ryzen 2700 X CPU, 8 GB of RAM, 40 GB of free hard disk space, NVIDIA GeForce GT 520 or AMD Radeon RX 470 or better graphics card with Direct3D 10 or 11 and OpenGL capabilities with 1 Gb of video memory.
If you do not want your laptop to freeze or work very slowly and do much more than the basic performance, you should go for a laptop with recommended specs as below.
This will ensure that all the 3D modeling software performs optimally and keep your laptop up to date to run any app successfully on it.
Minimum system requirements: 7th generation Intel Quad Core i7 7700HQ or higher processor| 8 GB of RAM | 256 GB PCIe NVMe SSD | Dedicated Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 or better graphics | 15.6 inches screen | 1280 x 800 pixels screen resolution
Recommended system requirements: 8th generation Intel Core i7 or higher processor| 16 GB of RAM or higher | 512 GB SSD or larger | Dedicated Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti or higher | 15.6 inches screen or bigger | 1920 x 1080 pixels or higher screen resolution
5 Best Laptops for 3D Modeling 2021:
1. Acer ConceptD 7 – Best Overall
Bottom Line: The 9th generation Intel Core i7 processor along with the high-end Nvidia RTX graphics card from the 20-series has all the ability to handle all 3D modeling software and complex needs most efficiently to offer the best overall performance. The adequate and fast SSD storage also boosts its performance.
- Screen: 15.6 inches
- Storage: 1 TB PCIe NVMe SSD
- RAM: 16 GB DDR4 SDRAM
- Processor: 9th generation Intel Core i7 9750H
- OS: Windows 10 Pro
- GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060
- The very thin bezel of the screen provides 81% body to screen ratio.
- The amber colored backlit keyboard looks stunning and provides a comfortable typing experience.
- The 4th generation Aeroblade 3D fans keep the system cool and quiet.
- The keyboard of the system does not come with a dedicated number keypad.
- The system is very heavy, weighing about 8 pounds.
- There is no optical drive included in the system.
The specs and features of the laptop supports all computing tasks, including 3D modeling.
The 15.6 inches screen comes with IPS technology and a 4K Ultra High Definition resolution that ensures more vivid and bolder images at 3840 x 2160 pixels.
This widescreen, LED-backlit and PANTONE validated display is energy efficient which showcases images at 400 nit brightness as well as 100% Adobe RGB color gamut.
The 9th generation Intel Core i7 processor works at a great speed of 4.5 GHz and its six cores supports the 64-bit architecture of the Windows 10 Professional operating system adequately making it much easier for you to work on this device while 3D modeling.
The 6 GB Nvidia GeForce graphics card of the RTX series comes with GDDR6 VRAM memory, and, being dedicated, it makes this device one of the best and most powerful RTX Studio laptops.
The DDR4 SDRAM also ensures a faster processing with its 2666 MHz bandwidth just like the 1 TB PCIe NVMe SSD storage that not only provides ample storage space for your large 3D models but also ensures a faster accessibility and boot up of the apps.
The system also comes with adequate ports and connectivity options that includes Killer Ethernet E3000 Gigabit LAN up to 2.5 Gbps as well as Killer Double Shot Pro wireless-AC 1550. Check out Acer ConceptD 7 Laptop Review.
2. HP Pavilion CD0030NR – Runner Up
Bottom Line: The larger screen and the equally efficient processor makes this laptop as good as the above for doing 3D modeling jobs but the slightly lower RAM and SSD storage as well as the graphics card makes it the runner up in this list. Also, the weight of this machine is about three times more in comparison.
- Screen: 17.3 inches
- Storage: 256 GB PCIe NVMe M.2 Solid State Drive
- RAM: 8 GB DDR4 SDRAM
- Processor: 9th generation Intel Core i7 9750H
- OS: Windows 10 Home
- GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti with Max Q technology
- The faster 9th generation processor reduces the rendering time significantly.
- The screen of the laptop is very large and of good quality.
- The SSD storage is very fast.
- The screen in this laptop does not come with touch features.
- The system is quite heavy, weighing more than 6 pounds.
- There are no Thunderbolt ports in this system.
This laptop will provide you with the best value, whether you use it for gaming, or for other intensive tasks including 3D modeling.
The features, specs and configuration of this system assures superb rendering performance, and that too, in quick time.
It comes with all that you need for faster and better 3D modelling and rendering videos in the 8 GB DDR4 SDRAM with a high bandwidth of 2666 MHz.
You will also get the assurance of faster boot-up and file transfer due to the superfast internal storage of PCIe NVMe M.2 Solid State Drive type.
The laptop has a more realistic display as well. It comes with real-time ray tracing technology as well as a full HD, In Plane Switching and anti-glare feature.
This VR/MR ready display comes with 60 Hz refresh rate which is quite good for 3D modeling.
3. Razer Blade RZ09 – Ultra Small but Powerful
Bottom Line: This is one of the smallest laptops, in spite of coming with a 15.6-inch screen, that one can use for 3D modelling. It is however quite powerful as this compact laptop comes with a decent set of CPU and graphics card that will ensure faster data processing and image rendering at a higher frame rate.
- Screen: 15.6 inches
- Storage: 512 GB SSD
- RAM: 16 GB
- Processor: 8th generation Intel Core i7 8750H
- OS: Windows 10 Home
- GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 with Max Q technology
- The screen looks bigger due to the thin bezel all around it.
- The keyboard looks impressive with multi-color back lights.
- The cooling system comes with innovative vapor chambers for efficient cooling.
- The battery life could have been better than 6 hours.
- The keyboard does not come with a separate numeric keypad.
- The right ‘shift’ key is pretty small in size.
The large enough screen of this system comes with a high refresh rate of 144 Hz to ensure a better viewing pleasure while doing your 3D modeling projects.
This full HD display comes with a thin bezel of 4.9 mm that provides more viewing space. This screen is perfectly color calibrated to make sure that the images showcased on it are clearer, bolder, and sharper.
The thin and compact design of the system makes it ultra-light and most portable. However, you do not have to worry about its durability due to the CNC aluminum material that makes it very strong.
The 8th generation Intel Core i7 processor comes with six cores and can operate at a base clock speed of up to 4.1 GHz to support the performance of it as well as the latest Nvidia GeForce GTX graphics card that comes with Max Q design.
If you need more power, you can use the gaming mode power boost feature as well.
However, all these will not heat up the innards of the laptop due to the innovative vapor chambers of the cooling system. This makes it all the more efficient in spite of being thin in size for 3D modeling. Check out Razer Blade RZ09 Laptop Review.
4. Acer Predator Helios 300 – Value for Money
Bottom Line: The fairly large screen of good quality, the fast SDD and processor, the dedicated graphics card which is quite decent in 3D rendering will ensure a better performance by this laptop. In addition to that, the useful features of the Windows 10 operating system also add to the value for money.
- Screen: 15.6 inches
- Storage: 256 GB PCIe NVMe SSD
- RAM: 16 GB DDR4 SDRAM
- Processor: 9th generation Intel Core i7 9750H
- OS: Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
- GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti
- The PCIe SSD storage is quite fast.
- The Aeroblade 3D fans provide 45% more airflow for an improved cooling.
- The system offers the fastest network connection with Killer Double Shot Pro technology.
- The trackpad location is shifted on the left side and not at the center of the chassis.
- It weighs more than 5 pounds and is therefore a bit heavier.
- The battery life is quite low.
The Intel Core i7 processor of this laptop belongs to the 9th generation and comes with six cores. The maximum base clock speed of the processor is 4.5 GHz that ensures better and faster processing.
The backlit keyboard allows comfortable and accurate typing in darker settings.
The system allows dual connectivity with its Killer Ethernet E2500 10/100/1000 Gigabit LAN and Killer Double Shot Pro wireless AC 1550.
You will also get all the support and power while working with your 3D modeling software and apps from the 64-bit Windows 10 Home operating system and the Nvidia GeForce GTX graphics card that comes with 6 GB GDDR6 VRAM memory.
This dedicated graphics card produces better images on the full HD, widescreen, LED backlit, IPS display.
The 144 Hz refresh rate and 3 millisecond overdrive response time enables it to deliver images without lags or screen tears at 300-nit brightness and 72% NTSC.
The DDR4 SDRAM of the laptop is quite good enough and operates at 2666 MHz to provide adequate boost to the overall performance of the system.
5. Eluktronics Pro-X P650HS-G – Stunning VR Ready Graphics
Bottom Line: The fairly large screen with G-Sync technology coupled with Nvidia GTX graphics card with better GPU architecture included in this laptop will offer stunning VR ready graphics which will enhance the working experience as well as the usability of this system on the whole for 3D modeling.
- Screen: 15.6 inches
- Storage: 512 GB PCIe NVMe SSD
- RAM: 32 GB DDR4 SDRAM
- Processor: 7th generation Intel Quad Core i7 7700HQ
- OS: Windows 10 Home
- GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070
- The backlit keyboard of the laptop allows easy typing in dimly lit situations.
- There is a dedicated number keypad in the keyboard design.
- The thermal design of this laptop ensures better heat distribution and dissipation.
- The bezel all around the screen is quite thick.
- There is no optical drive in this laptop.
- At 6 pounds, this laptop is pretty heavy.
If you are looking for power as well as high performance from a laptop then this is the right one for you.
The Intel Core i7 processor of this laptop may belong to the 7th generation but the four cores of it allows faster processing and 3D modeling.
The Windows 10 Home operating system comes with a 64-bit architecture which allows easy operation with its features.
The Nvidia GeForce GTX graphics card comes with as high as 8 GB GDDR5 VRAM memory and its G-sync feature makes it VR ready.
The RAM of this system is high and the 2400 MHz bandwidth of this DDR4 SDRAM makes it more reliable.
The PCIe NVMe SSD storage is also very high and ensures an ultra-high performance of the system on the whole with its superfast features.
The screen of this device is full HD and comes with a 120 Hz refresh rate and 5 millisecond overdrive response time.
This matte display is softer to the eyes and comes with G-sync technology allowing you to work on it for a long time causing no strain to your eyes.
Other things that make this laptop a good one to include in the list of best laptops for 3D modeling are, the full-size keyboard with RGB silver-lining backlights, Gigabit LAN connectivity, full HD 2.0-megapixel built-in webcam, Bluetooth v4.2 connectivity as well as Intel wireless AC 8265, and Sound Blaster X-FI MB5 technology for better listening pleasure.
As for the ports, the system includes one HDMI 2.0b, two mini DisplayPort v1.4 and two USB 3.1 Type C ports.
How to Choose Best Laptops for 3D Modeling?
Selecting the best laptop for 3D modeling is certainly not as easy as it seems. There are too many types and brands to choose from, which might confuse you in the process.
Therefore, it is elementary that you will have to take care of your job requirements as well as the several aspects of the laptop.
It is also required by you to understand the technical jargon and superiorities as well as the inadequacies of each type of laptop.
Therefore, before you start with your selection process, it is important that you understand the processing modules first and then plan accordingly.
You must set aside all speculations and focus on an all-encompassing machine that is pretty competent and compatible.
If you are looking for workstations, you must consider the factors like the real estate of the screen and more. For starters and novices in CAD and 3D modeling, the perfect choice would be a portable convertible.
However, irrespective of the model and brand of laptop you choose for your 3D modeling needs, you must make sure that you do not compromise on the performance at any cost.
To ensure that, here are a few things of a laptop that you should specifically lay your focus on while selecting.
The first and probably the most important thing to consider while buying a laptop for 3D modeling is the processor.
It should be capable and powerful enough to support all those essential programs and software that you need to run on it for 3D modeling.
Ideally, a multi-core processor will help your laptop to run smoothly. Therefore, take a note of the number of cores the CPU has when you select an Intel Core i7 or an AMD Ryzen 7 processor, or an i5 or R5 processor.
These processors are highly recommended, but the more cores, the better. It will help the 3D modeling software to make the best use of the multithreading feature of the multicore processors.
Ideally, all 3D software programs will run fine if your laptop processor has a total of four cores, though having six or more cores is highly recommended.
The onboard graphics card in your laptop will also play a major role in your 3D modeling job.
To ensure that you have a better output and your laptop ensures a better graphics performance, you will need a reasonably good and powerful graphics card in your laptop, preferably a dedicated one, but that is not mandatory.
It is only a powerful graphics card that will be able to handle the graphic workload most effectively and seamlessly that 3D modeling imposes on the laptop. In addition to that, a higher-end and better graphics card will also allow you to render your 3D model creations in real time or much quicker.
A good GPU will minimize the pressure on the CPU as well as ensure a better visual experience empowering you to initiate your 3D modeling tasks with much ease and comfort.
However, if you specially work on simple assemblies, you will not need to have one of those ‘top of the line’ graphics cards in your laptop for 3D modeling or rendering.
On the other hand, if you are a pro and work on more complex assemblies, you should surely look for those Nvidia GeForce GTX cards or even the better ones.
In order to make your selection process easier, faster, and narrow down your search, you can choose a gaming laptop.
Ideally, most gaming laptops will be able to handle all your 3D software and programs of your choice, but the workstation laptops that come with more powerful Nvidia Quadro cards are the best choice for creating 3D models and assemblies on a laptop.
Next up, you should focus on the memory of the system if you want to use it for your 3D modeling and stay highly productive.
Most of the time, users usually overlook the RAM or Random-Access Memory of the laptop while choosing a model when it comes to 3D modeling, which is an entirely wrong approach.
Ideally, the RAM of your laptop is very essential to handle the datasets. This means that, the more RAM of your laptop, it will have more power and efficiency to handle bigger datasets in the best ways possible.
With more RAM in your laptop, it will be easier and more effective for you to run not only the design software but all other programs and apps as well alongside it with no problems.
Therefore, in order to ensure that you are able to create your 3D models and assemblies without any issue and in quick time, you must look for those laptops that come with at least 8 GB of RAM in them.
On the other hand, if you can afford and work on high-end projects, you should choose those higher-end models that come with 16 GB of RAM or more to create your 3D models.
However, if you want to start with a laptop with lower RAM, just make sure that it comes with an additional chip slot.
Most of the modern laptops come with such an option which allows you to upgrade the RAM yourself when you are aiming for more of it.
A laptop that allows upgrading the RAM, and even the storage, will save you a lot of money.
When it comes to choosing the storage of the laptop for 3D modeling, it can be a bit more confusing.
This is because you will need to focus on two specific aspects of it, namely, the amount of it required in the laptop as well as the type of storage that will be better for your 3D modeling jobs.
As for the type of storage, there seems to be an ongoing debate between the Hard Disk Drives or HDDs and the Solid-State Drives or SSDs.
However, without going deeper into it, it is recommended that you purchase a laptop with a Solid-State Drive, even if it is a bit more expensive than the standard HDDs.
This is because the SSDs will offer you much more benefits than the HDDs usually do.
The SSDs are much more reliable as compared to the HDDs because they do not come with any moving parts in it, thereby making them less prone to failures and damages.
This feature also makes the lifespan of the Solid-State Drives three times more durable than the Hard Disk Drives as the electrical parts inside it will not spin around and break down.
The SSDs are also much faster in comparison to the HDDs when it comes to booting up and accessing the files. Most importantly, it will not become hot as easily and quickly as the HDDs.
As for the amount of storage, anything less than 256 GB is not feasible, though, higher the better for the laptop that you want to use for 3D modeling.
However, if you are in a dilemma as to which type and amount of storage to choose for your laptop for 3D modeling, the easiest, though not the cheapest, way to go about is to choose a device that comes with a combination of SSD and HDD storage.
Most of such devices available on the market now come with up to 256 GB of SSD storage and 1 TB of HDD storage.
The benefit of such combo storage is that, you can store all your program files and operating system on the SSD and use the HDD storage in your laptop to keep the regular files on.
It is always advised that you go for a laptop with a larger screen for 3D modeling. This will help you to see things better and more clearly.
If it is a touchscreen, it will also allow you to draw and sketch directly on it more comfortably due to the larger real estate.
Apart from the size of the screen, you must also focus on the resolution and refresh rate of the screen, which should be full HD or higher and 144 Hz or higher, respectively.
The overdrive response time is also important and should be not more than 3 milliseconds, ideally.
However, do not consider a mediocre display of a laptop, if you really have to buy one due to financial reasons, as a deal breaker.
This is because you can always connect a larger external monitor and other external units if there is an HDMI or Thunderbolt 3 port in the system.
Other things to consider
Apart from the above-mentioned aspects, there are also a few other important aspects to consider while choosing your laptop for 3D modeling.
You must consider the portability and weight of the device. An aluminum chassis is the best option as it is light and durable as well.
The battery life of the system should be at least 6 to 8 hours to complete most of your work on a single charge.
If you can afford, you can go for the ultra-slim chassis that will help you to carry and stay productive even when you are on the go.
Also, consider the ports and connectivity options of the laptop along with the speakers and webcam quality, security and ease of use of the system when you buy.
Why is CPU speed an important feature to look for in a laptop for 3D modeling?
The CPU speed is more important in a laptop for 3D modeling than the other features such as the graphics card, display refresh rate, and more because the base and turbo clocking speed will determine its performance. Higher and improved clocking speeds is better because it will help you to unlock its hidden features to boost the performances of the CPU to assist you in 3D modeling, animations, and Computer Aided Designs.
Can I use a gaming notebook for 3D Modeling?
Yes, you can. Ideally, in most of the cases, a gaming laptop is found to be a better choice for basic 3D modeling or rendering. However, if you have to deal with high-end and AI-assisted rendering or viewport rendering, these laptops may not suffice your needs. You will need a model that will support OpenGL, DirectX compatible, upgradeable, and provide more power for that.
What is the desired RAM in a laptop for mid-range and high-end 3D modeling?
Ideally, most of the professional 3D modelers and artists prefer a laptop that has at least 32 GB of RAM. This specifically helps them to perform complex tasks such rendering, poly-meshes, ray tracing, and other intricate jobs. However, if you have just started 3D modeling and do not have much project in hand, or your job involves basic forms of graphic designing, and you are on a budget, you can go for a device with 16 or 8 GB of RAM as well.
Why are Nvidia Quadro GPUs better than Nvidia GeForce GPUs for 3D modelling?
The Nvidia Quadro GPUs and the Nvidia GeForce GPUs both have similar architecture. In spite of this similarity, the Quadro GPUs are considered to be workstation standard units and therefore preferred by all production managers, architects, and all 3D modelers due to its added computational muscle that suits graphics intensive 3D modeling. GeForce RTX or GTX graphics cards, on the other hand, are mainly better for gaming indulgences.