The Best Laptop for 3D Software

The best laptop for 3D software is the one that suits the needs of the 3D software, workflow and your budget.

A typical laptop for 3D software and 3D animation will cost at least $1,500 / £1,200. Blender, Lumion, Twinmotion, Vray GPU any other GPU render engine will rely on a GPU. For video rendering (GPU rendering) nVidia is preffered especially for laptops. Video Cards as RTX 4050 or higher with at least 6 GB RAM to handle large scenes more than 1 GB.

For architecture students where most of the work is focused on CAD and BIM, more powerful CPU as i9-13950HX vPro® or Ryzen 7 or 9 is a must along side the GPU. In every situation to run 3ds max and other 3D software you need at least 16 to 32 GB of RAM memory to be able to run smoothly the 3D software.

It’s important to note that with in the GPU category nVidia is the better choice for laptops, in the CPU AMD series outperform by price and speed 95% of the Intel models.

For more complex work with 3Ds MAX, Maya, Houdini, After Effects or Davinci the ram must be at least 32 GB Ram.

Either way for your main OS drive (C:\) minimum requirement is 1 TB m.2 or SSD and an additional SSD drive at at least 4 to 10 TB to accommodate all textures; .exr; .obj etc. and projects files.
Ending up more towards the mid-range pricing at $2,000 / £1,600 and above.

When choosing a laptop, it helps to consider the system requirements and recommendations for the specific 3D modeling, animation, architecture, and interior design software you plan to use.

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, we will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase.

Disclosure: Last information update on 02/01/2024, we’ve got the most up-to-date insights and recommendations to elevate your 3D computing experience. Whether you’re a gamer, designer, or entertainment enthusiast, these 3D laptops are sure to take your digital adventures to the next level.

Disclosure: Last information update on 07/03/2024, Acer Predator Triton 17 X added to the list as great GPU rendering option stacked against the ROG Strix G16 CPU rendering capabilities added to the list.

Disclosure: Last information update on 05/04/2024, The MSI Creator Z17; HP VICTUS 15; MSI 2023 CYBORG 15.6″; DELL G15 5530 and ASUS ROG ZEPHYRUS DUO 16 added to the list

As experienced 3D artists and animators at TALLBOX, we rigorously test the latest laptops to find the top recommendations for running demanding creative software and tools smoothly on the go when we are on a holiday.

In this blog post we have listed some of the average cost-effective and high-end price laptops you can buy as a student or freelancer.

If you wonder how you can generate student income with your laptop capapble of runing 3D software like 3Ds Max, Blender, Maya, SketchUP and more, you can learn how to do virtual staging on a laptop. Visit our 12 on-point HOW TO tutorials for virtual staging software

Can you use a laptop for 3D instead of workstation?

Yes, you can use a laptop for 3D work, although a workstation is better suited for demanding 3D tasks. The main difference lies in performance, with workstations offering more powerful CPUs, GPUs, and superior cooling for sustained heavy workloads.

Laptops provide the benefit of portability, allowing you to work on 3D projects from various locations. If portability is a priority and your 3D tasks are not extremely demanding, a well-equipped laptop can be a viable option. However, if you require the highest level of performance and expandability for intensive 3D work, a dedicated workstation is the way to go.

Why invest in a laptop for 3D?

A key component in creating stunning 3D architectural visualizations is having powerful photorealistic rendering software. 

Applications like Autodesk 3ds Max, Lumion, and Chaos V-Ray or Chaos Corona provide sophisticated rendering capabilities to transform 3D models into lifelike scenes with accurate lighting, shadows, textures, and materials.

Running photorealistic architectural rendering software smoothly requires laptops with high-end specs.

Invest in a potent processor such as an Intel Core i7 or i9 or Ryzen 5 or 7 to render more complex renders. Dedicated GPUs are a must—high-tier but old NVIDIA GeForce or new RTX cards handle graphical tasks efficiently.

16GB RAM is an absolute minimum or higher if you aim to work on a scene larger than 500 MB and with a texture size of more than 2k resolution. Storage is also vital – SSDs of 1TB or more for the OS, programs, and a separate drive for project files.

When investing in a laptop for 3D architectural visualization, be sure it has the horsepower to handle resource-intensive photorealistic rendering software.

This will maximize efficiency and allow you to fully utilize these powerful programs to create pro-grade visualizations showcasing your designs.

Best 3d Workstation laptop

LaptopCPUGPURAMStorageDisplayBetter ForPrice
MSI Katana 15Up to Intel Core i9-13900HUp to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070Up to 32GB DDR5Up to 1TB SSD15.6" FHD 144HzCPU Rendering$1,499.99
ASUS ROG Strix G16Intel Core i9-13980HXNVIDIA GeForce RTX 407016GB DDR51TB PCIe SSD16" FHD 165HzCPU Rendering$1,971.14
Acer Predator Triton 17 XIntel Core i9-13900HXNVIDIA GeForce RTX 409064GB DDR52TB PCIe Gen 4 SSD17" WQXGA 250Hz mini-LEDGPU Rendering$3,775.00
ASUS ROG Zephyrus Duo 16AMD Ryzen 9 7945HXNVIDIA GeForce RTX 409064GB DDR54TB NVMe SSD16" QHD+ 240HzCPU and GPU Rendering$4,719.00
Dell G15 5530Intel Core i7-13650HXNVIDIA GeForce RTX 406016GB DDR51TB NVMe SSD15.6" FHD 165HzBudget 3D Work$1,180.00
MSI Cyborg 15Intel Core i7-13620HNVIDIA GeForce RTX 405016GB DDR5512GB NVMe SSD15.6" FHD 144HzTwinmotion and Lumion$949.99
HP Victus 15Up to Intel Core i7 13700HUp to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4050Up to 16GB DDR4Up to 512GB NVMe SSD15.6" FHD 144HzArchitecture Students$900
ASUS 2023 ProArt StudioBook 16Intel Core i9-13980HXGeForce RTX 406032GB DDR51TB NVMe SSD16" QHD+ 120Hz TouchscreenArchitects$2,199
Razer Blade 16 Studio EditionIntel Core i9-14900HXNVIDIA GeForce RTX 407016GB DDR51TB SSD16" OLED QHD+ 240HzAnimators$2,759.99
MSI Pulse 15Intel Core i7-13620HNVIDIA GeForce RTX 4060Up to 64GB DDR5Up to 2TB SSD15.6" QHD 165HzGraphic Design$1,499.99

Best 3d Workstation laptop

The MSI Katana 15 and ASUS ROG Strix G16 (2023) are both excellent mid-range laptops that are fast and a choice for rendering and modeling. Despite their label “gaming laptops” the MSI Katana 15 and ASUS ROG Strix G16 (2023)’s capabilities match those of mid-range workstation. Ideal for BIM modelling of complex and large scenes, 3D printing or animations and CPU and GPU real-time rendering. The RTX GPU will be able to handle any amount of CAD work.

Both come with 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB with the latest 13th Gen Intel Core i9 Core i9-13900H or 13th Gen Intel Core i9-13980HX in the case of ROG Strix G16; running at 4.7Ghz (MSI Katana) and 5.6Ghz (Asus ROG) with NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 GPU.

In any of their hardware configurations, the laptops can smoothly handle detailed architectural models and walkthroughs.

If you are a newbie, first-year architecture student, or with a limited budget, for starters, the 16GB and 1TB SSD will allow you to work on small to mid-range scenes (interiors, houses with a few rooms and furniture objects, or a building) below 2GB size and under 4K textures.

If your budget is on the mid-low end go for the MSI Katana 15 64GB version, will allow you import complex BIM building models from Archicad or Revit with 8k texture resolution and materials into Chaos Vantage, Twinmotion or Lumion with no slowdowns. If you have, a slightly higher budget the ASUS ROG Strix G16 (2023) is good laptop for rendering and at the same time CAD mobile-workstation. The ASUS ROG Strix G16 currently has a version with RTX 4070 and 16GB but for an additional ~ $200 you can upgrade to 64GB. In case you go for the 16GB ASUS ROG Strix G16, still it will be a great machine to handle well graphic design workloads, the same as MSI 2023 Pulse 15.

It is recommended to work on at least 32GB if not 64GB if you are working with with large vector files on graphic design projects, the more RAM on your laptop the larger the vector files you can load.

Panning, zooming and walking through the photorealistic renderings will be fluid thanks to the dedicated RTX 4070.

The Katana 15’s and ROG’s 144Hz 1080p FHD (Katana) and WUXGA 165Hz 1200p (ROG) displays rendered all the details in my architectural visualizations tests sharply. The matte anti-glare screen is also great for long Twinmotion modeling sessions. It has very good color accuracy that shows materials and textures accurately.

Architects, designers and students who need powerful mobile workstation for smooth CAD work and rendering, the MSI is a good mid-range capable gaming laptop. It provides excellent value and performance for the price.

CPU: 13th Gen Intel Core i9-13900H (up to 5.4 GHz, 14 cores)
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 (8GB GDDR6)
Display: 15.6″ FHD (1920 x 1080) 144Hz
RAM: 32GB DDR5
Storage: 1TB NVMe SSD
Connectivity: USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-C with DisplayPort, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth
Cooling: Cooler Boost 5 (2 fans, 6 heat pipes)
Keyboard: 4-Zone RGB backlit keyboard
Audio: Hi-Res Audio, Nahimic Audio
Software: MSI Center, Discrete Graphics Mode
Operating System: Windows 11 Home
Dimensions: 14.13 x 10.2 x 0.98 inches
Weight: 7.6 pounds

CPU: 13th Gen Intel Core i9-13980HX, 24 cores (8 Performance, 16 Efficient), up to 5.6 GHz
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 Laptop GPU (8GB GDDR6, up to 140W max TGP)
RAM: 16GB DDR5-4800MHz
Storage: 1TB PCIe 4×4 SSD
Display: 16″ 16:10 FHD (1920 x 1200) 165Hz, 100% sRGB, Dolby Vision, Adaptive-Sync
Operating System: Windows 11 Home
Cooling: ROG Intelligent Cooling with Thermal Grizzly’s Conductonaut Extreme liquid metal on CPU and Tri-Fan Technology
Keyboard: Per-key RGB backlit keyboard
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth, MUX switch with Advanced Optimus
Battery Life: Up to 6 hours
Dimensions: 13.94 x 10.39 x 0.89 inches
Weight: 7 pounds

Best Laptop for Rendering

ROG Strix G16 (CPU rendering) vs Predator Triton 17 X (GPU rendering)

The ROG Strix G16 is the top choice because of its price/performance with price just over $1,900. The Core i9-13980HX is ideal for rendering on average under $2,000 budget, while the Acer Predator Triton 17 X with price over $3,500 is better for GPU rendering and strikes a good balance between CPU rendering performance and portability but it comes with a higher price tag.

The choice between the ASUS ROG Strix G16 and Acer Predator Triton 17 X depends on whether you prioritize CPU or GPU rendering, as both laptops are great PC workstations that can almost equally well handle multi-3D workflow.

Here is why:

CPU: 13th Gen Intel Core i9-13980HX, 24 cores (8 Performance, 16 Efficient), up to 5.6 GHz
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 Laptop GPU (8GB GDDR6, up to 140W max TGP)
RAM: 16GB DDR5-4800MHz
Storage: 1TB PCIe 4×4 SSD
Display: 16″ 16:10 FHD (1920 x 1200) 165Hz, 100% sRGB, Dolby Vision, Adaptive-Sync
Operating System: Windows 11 Home
Cooling: ROG Intelligent Cooling with Thermal Grizzly’s Conductonaut Extreme liquid metal on CPU and Tri-Fan Technology
Keyboard: Per-key RGB backlit keyboard
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth, MUX switch with Advanced Optimus
Battery Life: Up to 6 hours
Dimensions: 13.94 x 10.39 x 0.89 inches
Weight: 7 pounds

CPU: 13th Gen Intel Core i9-13900HX (24 cores, 5.4 GHz max turbo)
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 (16GB GDDR6)
Display: 17″ WQXGA (2560 x 1600) mini-LED, 250Hz refresh rate, G-SYNC, 1000 nits peak brightness, 16:10 aspect ratio
RAM: 64GB DDR5
Storage: 2TB PCIe Gen 4 SSD
Connectivity: Intel Killer Wi-Fi 6E AX1690, Intel Killer E3100G Ethernet, Bluetooth
Ports: 2x USB 3.2 Gen2, 2x Thunderbolt 4, HDMI 2.1, SD 7.0 card reader
Keyboard: Per-key RGB backlit keyboard
Cooling: Advanced cooling technology
Operating System: Windows 11 Home
Dimensions: 14.97 x 11.02 x 0.78 inches
Weight: 6.61 pounds

CPU Rendering: Both the i9-13900HX in the Triton 17 X and i9-13980HX in ROG Strix G16 offer exceptional CPU rendering performance thanks to their 24 cores (8 Performance + 16 Efficient) and 32 threads. The ROG Strix G16 appears to have a slight edge in CPU-bound workloads, as evidenced by its 5% faster 64-core Overclocked Multi-Core Speed score in UserBenchmark tests.

This suggests that for heavily multi-threaded CPU rendering tasks like  ray tracing and video encoding, the ROG Strix G16 is able to maintain higher all-core boost clocks for sustained periods, translating to faster render times. The difference is minimal, though, and both laptops excel at CPU rendering and it comes down to budget.

TALLBOX recommends that for laptop rendering the ASUS ROG Strix G16 is the best option making rendering operations in Chaos Corona, Chaos V-ray, Arnold or Blender blazing fast.

GPU Rendering: The Acer Predator Triton 17 X has a clear advantage over the ROG Strix G16 when it comes to GPU rendering performance. Its top-spec NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 Laptop GPU with 16GB GDDR6 VRAM outclasses even the fastest RTX 4080 configuration available in the ROG Strix G16, and will run real-time apps such as Twinmotion, Lumion and Unreal 5 with ease.

It can be configured with up to an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 Laptop GPU, which outperforms the Strix G16’s maximum RTX 4080 option. The RTX 4090 offers more than 26.7% CUDA and RT cores and 26.7% Tensor cores for faster GPU-accelerated real-time 3D graphics, ray tracing, and AI acceleration more efficiently. GPU rendering performs great in applications like Octane, Redshift, Chaos V-Ray GPU, Blender Eevee or fully focused real-time software like Unreal 5, Twinmotion and Lumion.

When we compare both laptop’s GPUs, the RTX 4070 and RTX 4090, the Strix G16’s RTX 4070 with its 115W vs the 4090’s 175W max TGP (the highest TGP limit in most laptops’ RTX GPUs), which allows its GPU to run at higher clock speeds for longer periods, further widens the performance gap with the Acer Predator Triton 17 X’s RTX 4090. The RTX 4090’s superior RT and Tensor core counts make it the clear winner in GPU rendering workloads.

TALLBOX recommends if your whole workflow revolves around ray tracing and AI-related rendering workloads, you can invest the additional budget; the Acer Predator Triton 17 X with its RTX 4090 is the better laptop for GPU rendering over the Rog Strix G16, which is better suited for CPU rendering.

Acer’s advanced cooling system with vapor chamber, Tri-Fan technology, and liquid metal thermal grease keeps the powerful components running optimally, preventing thermal throttling that could slow down rendering.

The 17-inch mini-LED panel with WQXGA resolution, 250Hz refresh rate, and peak brightness of 1000 nits provides a large, high-quality canvas for previewing renders and working with complex scenes.

With support for up to 64GB of DDR5 RAM and a 2TB PCIe Gen 4 SSD, the Predator Triton 17 X can handle large rendering projects and assets with ease.

The 16-inch form factor makes the ROG Strix G16 more portable than the larger 17-inch Predator Triton 17 X, which could be important for users who need to render on-the-go.

Depending on the specific configuration, the ROG Strix G16 may offer better value for money, especially if you don’t require the absolute highest level of GPU rendering performance.

Best Laptop for Rendering on HIGH-BUDGET

Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 16

If CPU and GPU rendering is your main thing, the ASUS ROG Zephyrus Duo 16 is a rendering powerhouse with price close to $4,800, equipped with AMD Ryzen 9 7945HX scoring nearly 35,000 on Cinebench 23.

In comparison the closest Intel Core i9-14900HX contender scores 31,498 on Cinebench 23 and average laptop scores 7,000 points. The combination of extreme hardware, innovative dual-screen setup, and robust cooling makes the ASUS ROG Zephyrus a top choice for professionals and enthusiasts who demand the best in rendering performance.

For prolonged rendering times, AMD CPUs are better because they maintain high clock speeds more consistently under heavy workloads.

  • Price: The Zephyrus Duo 16 is a premium laptop with a corresponding price tag between $3,800 for the RTX 4070 model and over $4,700 for the RTX 4090 model. Weigh the price factor in your budgeting.
  • Portability: While portable for its specifications, this is a relatively bulky laptop compared to thinner and lighter options. If on-the-go mobility is your top priority, there may be more portable (but often less powerful) alternatives.

CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 7945HX, 16 Cores (2.5GHz-5.4GHz, 64MB Cache, 55W)
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 16GB GDDR6 with ROG Boost up to 2090MHz at 175W
RAM: 64GB (2x32GB) DDR5 4800MHz
Storage: 4TB GEN4 NVMe SSD (Read 3500MB/s | Write 2900MB/s)
Display: 16″ 240Hz 3ms QHD+ (2560×1600, WQXGA) Anti-Glare (100% DCI-P3)
Operating System: Windows 11 Pro
Keyboard: Backlit Chiclet Per-Key RGB Keyboard
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6E (802.11ax) (Triple band) 2×2, Bluetooth 5.2, 10/100/1000/2500 Mbps LAN
Ports: 2 USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C (DisplayPort/G-SYNC), 2 USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A, 1 HDMI 2.1 FRL, 1 3.5mm Combo Audio Jack, 1 RJ-45 (2.5Gbps), 1 MicroSD Card Reader (UHS-II, 312MB/s)
Battery: 90WHrs, 4S1P, 4-cell Li-ion
Dimensions: 13.98 x 10.47 x 1.17 inches
Weight: 4.85 pounds

Extreme Performance:

  • Top-end CPUs: Featuring the latest 6nm AMD Ryzen 9 7945HX the Intel Core i9-14900HX contender, built for handling the most demanding rendering workloads. Ryzen 9 7945HX supports hardware raytracing and boasts high core counts (16 cores and 32 threads) and blazing-fast clock speeds at 5.40 GHz for crunching through complex renders. With 65 Mb L3 Cache and 110.3 Gb/s PCie Bandwidth it’s 30% faster than the i9-14900HX.
  • Powerful GPUs: The Zephyrus Duo 16 pairs these powerful CPUs with high-end NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090. RTX GPUs are essential for GPU-accelerated rendering in various software – significantly speeding up render times.
  • RAM: Generous amounts of RAM (up to 64GB) allow you to handle large, detailed scenes, textures, and complex effects within your rendering software without slowdown.
  • Storage: Fast and large 2TB Samsung 990 NVMe SSD ensure snappy load times for your rendering software, projects, and assets.

Innovative Dual-Screen Design:

ScreenPad Plus: The secondary touchscreen above the keyboard significantly enhances your rendering workflow in several ways:

  • Reference Material: Display tutorials, references, and stock assets to streamline your process.
  • Software Toolbars: Place frequently used rendering toolbars on the ScreenPad Plus for quicker access and more primary screen real estate.
  • Monitoring: Keep an eye on render progress, system resource usage, or other key metrics for efficiency.

Screen Tilting: The tilting design of the ScreenPad Plus improves viewing angles and enhances cooling for demanding rendering tasks.

Cooling and Performance:

  • Advanced Cooling System: The Zephyrus Duo 16 features a robust cooling system with liquid metal thermal compound, ensuring sustained high performance under heavy rendering loads.
  • Performance Modes: Tailor power and noise levels to your rendering requirements with adjustable performance modes, but avoid overworking the machine to prevent premature wear.
  • Optimized for Render Engines: The Zephyrus Duo 16 components are ideally suited for popular render engines like Blender Cycles, Chaos Corona or V-Ray, Arnold, Redshift, OctaneRender, and more.

Best Budget Laptop for 3D

Dell G15 5530

The Dell G15 5530 is a decent computer for 3D work on a budget, but it comes with important trade-offs when compared to ROG Strix G16. With a price tag often under $1,200, the Dell is good for light to medium 3D work. The G15 is a good option if your 3D projects are smaller in scale, have less complex models, and less intensive rendering needs.

  • Students and Beginners: If you’re starting with 3D modeling, animation, etc., the Dell G15 could be a budget-friendly entry point.
  • Prioritizing Budget: If your main concern is affordability, the G15 offers a compromise between features and price.

CPU: 13th Generation Intel Core i7-13650HX, 24MB cache, 14 cores, up to 4.9GHz
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4060 8GB GDDR6
RAM: 16GB DDR5 4800MHz (2x8GB)
Storage: 1TB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD
Display: 15.6-inch FHD (1920×1080) 165Hz, 3ms, sRGB-100%, ComfortViewPlus, NVIDIA G-SYNC+DDS
Operating System: Windows 11 Home
Keyboard: 4-zone RGB backlit keyboard
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth, Gigabit Ethernet
Ports: 3 USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, 1 USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 with DisplayPort Alt-Mode, 1 HDMI 2.1, 1 RJ45, 1 headphone/mic combo jack
Cooling: Advanced thermal design with four heat pipes and improved fans
Battery: 3-cell, 56WHr battery
Dimensions: 10.8 x 14.06 x 1.02 inches
Weight: 5.84 pounds

Who it might not be the best choice for:

  • Heavy 3D Workloads: If you work with very complex scenes, simulations, large textures, or need powerful real-time rendering, the G15 will likely struggle.
  • Portability Focused: The weight and size of the G15 make it a less-than-ideal choice for frequent travel or moving between work locations.
  • Maximum Performance for the Price: If raw 3D performance is your priority, workstation-class laptops (new, used, or refurbished) might offer better value, though they’ll be even bulkier.

Pros:

  • Decent Performance: Depending on the configuration, the Dell G15 5530 can come with capable Intel Core i5 or i7 processors and NVIDIA RTX 30 or 40 series graphics cards. This translates to respectable 3D modeling, rendering, and visualization capabilities, especially for the price.
  • Upgradeable: The option to upgrade RAM and storage can be important on a budget. You can boost performance later as your needs and budget allow.
  • Display Options: Choices like 165Hz or even 360Hz refresh rates can be useful for smooth 3D model manipulation and animation.
  • Potential Value: During sales or with specific configurations, you might find good price-to-performance deals within the Dell G15 lineup.

Cons:

  • Weight and Bulk: The G15 series is notably heavier and bulkier than many competing laptops. This impacts portability, which might be important to you.
  • Performance Limits: While capable, the G15 5530 won’t be a powerhouse for very complex 3D work, large-scale rendering, or simulations.
  • Pricing vs. Workstations: Dedicated 3D workstation laptops often offer better performance for the price, although they will likely be even bulkier.

MSI 2023 Cyborg 15.6" - Best Laptop for Twinmotion and Lumion

Twinmotion and Lumion are both popular real-time visualization software acting as immersive 3D architectural visualization software. Architecture students and architects often use laptops such as the under $1,000 MSI 2023 Cyborg when on a budget or, for optimal Twinmotion performance, the Acer Predator Triton 17 X, which is x2.5 more expensive but also 65% more powerful.

The MSI 2023 Cyborg 15.6″ is under $1,000 ideal to run Twinmition thanks to its  RTX 4050 with 6 GB Vram will handle with easy scenes up to 4 GB to 5 GB of projects with texture sizes up to 4K.

CPU: 13th Gen Intel Core i7-13620H, 2.4-4.9 GHz, 10-Core
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4050 laptop GPU with 6GB GDDR6 VRAM
RAM: 16GB DDR5 5200MHz (8GB x2)
Storage: 512GB NVMe SSD
Display: 15.6-inch FHD (1920×1080) IPS-level 144Hz, 45% NTSC, 16:9 aspect ratio
Operating System: Windows 11 Home
Keyboard: Blue backlit keyboard with anti-ghost key (99 keys)
Connectivity: Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201 (2×2 ax), Bluetooth 5.2, Gigabit LAN
Ports: 1 USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-C with DP1.4, 2 USB 3.2 Gen1, 1 HDMI 4K @60Hz, 1 audio combo jack
Battery: 3-cell, 53.5Whr Li-Polymer battery
Dimensions: 14.1 x 9.8 x 0.9 inches
Weight: 4.4 pounds

Main Benefits of the MSI 2023 Cyborg

  • Powerful Performance: The laptop’s 13th Gen Intel Core i-13620H processor with  NVIDIA 6GB RTX 4050 GPU are the most important parts for Twinmotion. They directly accelerate tasks like 3D modeling, real-time ray tracing, rendering, and smooth viewport navigation, improving efficiency.

  • Under $1,000: A key benefit of budget laptops like the MSI 2023 Cyborg is their lower price point compared to high-end workstations. This makes 3D software like Twinmotion more accessible, especially if your projects don’t demand the absolute highest performance.

  • Upgradability: Potential to increase RAM from 16 GB to up to 64GB and storage up to 2TB NVMe SSD as your needs grow, extending the laptop’s useful life.
  • Portability: The MSI 2023 Cyborg is  more portable than dedicated desktop workstation, allowing you to work on Twinmotion projects away from your desk.
  • 144Hz Display: While not essential for Twinmotion, enhances overall user experience with smoother interactions.

How does it compare to a $1,000 PC Workstation?

  • Ultimate Power: Workstations offer even higher CPU core counts, more powerful GPUs, and often support of more RAM, offering the maximum possible performance for very complex Twinmotion projects.
  • Less Budget-Friendly: With a workstation under $1,000, you can get better cooling, larger screen size, and greater performance, but it will not be a mobile station like the MSI 2023 Cyborg.

Best Laptop for AutoCAD

For 2D drafting and 3D modeling in AutoCAD, options like these excel:

  • Lenovo ThinkPad P53 with Quadro RTX 5000 GPU
  • Precision 7780 Workstation with Nvidia RTX 2000 Ata GPU
  • Asus ProArt StudioBook Pro 15 with Quadro RTX 3000 GPU

Best Laptop for 3ds Max + AUTOCAD

3ds Max is the most used 3D software in architectural visualization, the app excels at 3D modeling, animation, simulations and rendering. Top laptop picks include:

  • MSI WS65 9TM-1079 (1TB NVME SSD, i9-9880H, RTX Quadro 5000)
  • Gigabyte AERO 15″ 4K UHD AMOLED i7 RTX 3070 Gaming Laptop
  • Asus Zenbook Pro Duo 15 with RTX 3070 GPU

Best Laptop for Maya

Maya is popular among students working on 3D animation and VFX effects. Great laptops for Maya are:

  • Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition with Quadro RTX 5000 GPU
  • MSI P65 Creator with Quadro RTX 2060 GPU
  • Dell XPS 17 with RTX 3060

Best Laptop for Houdini

Houdini is used for complex VFX and rendering. Laptops capable to handle software like Houdini are:

  • ASUS ProArt StudioBook 16 OLED H7600ZX-L2023W with Quadro RTX 6000 GPU
  • Razer Blade 15 GeForce RTX 3080 Ti GPU and 12th Gen I7
  • PC Specialist Gm 71DM, 17″ AMD Ryzen 5900HX, 32GB RAM

Best Laptop for Interior Design Software

Interior designers mostly use laptops to work on interior design programs like Chief Architect, AutoCAD, and SketchUp benefit from laptops such as:

  • Asus Zenbook Pro Duo 15 with GeForce RTX 3070 GPU
  • HP ZBook Studio x360 G5 with Quadro P1000 GPU
  • Acer ConceptD 7 Ezel with GeForce RTX 2080 GPU

Best Laptop for Architecture Students

HP Victus 15

The HP Victus 15 is an excellent choice for architecture students seeking an affordable laptop under $1,000 that can handle demanding software without breaking the bank. While it may seem unconventional to consider a gaming laptop for architectural studies, the Victus 15 offers a powerful combination of hardware and features that make it well-suited for the task.

CPU: Up to AMD Ryzen 7 5800H/Intel Core i7 13700H
Graphics: Up to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4050
RAM: Up to 16GB DDR4
Storage: Up to 512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD
Screen: 15.6-inch FHD IPS LED display
Refresh Rate: 144Hz
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 11
Dimensions: 14.09 x 10.03 x 0.92 in / 35.79 x 25.5 x 2.35 cm

Equipped with up to an AMD Ryzen 7 5800H or Intel Core i7 13700H CPU and up to an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 4050 dedicated graphics card, the Victus 15 provides the processing power and graphical performance necessary to run resource-intensive applications like BIM, CAD, 3D modeling, and rendering software smoothly.

The laptop can be configured with up to 16GB of DDR4 RAM, ensuring smooth multitasking and efficient handling of large projects.

The 15.6-inch Full HD IPS LED display offers good quality visuals and sufficient screen real estate for working on architectural designs and models. With up to 512GB of M.2 PCIe NVMe storage, students will have ample space for their projects, files, and software

Portability is crucial for architecture students, and while the Victus 15 is slightly heavier than some ultraportable laptops at around 5 pounds, its sturdy build quality ensures it can withstand the rigors of daily use and commutes. The laptop’s modest design allows it to fit in seamlessly in both academic and professional settings.

Although the battery life is mediocre, the Victus 15 makes up for it with its affordable price point, making it an attractive option for budget-conscious students. The laptop also features a comfortable keyboard, quiet operation, a decent webcam, Wi-Fi 6E, and USB-C connectivity, providing students with the necessary tools for collaboration, presentations, and remote learning.

Best Laptops for 3D Design SOFTWARE, Animation, and Architecture Software

Choosing the right laptop is crucial for 3D designers, animators, architects, and students using demanding software like AutoCAD, Revit, 3ds Max, Maya, Blender and more. You need sufficient power and performance to handle complex 3D rendering, animation, CAD work, and multitasking.

This buying guide will help you find your ideal laptop for 3D work based on your budget and needs.

What to Expect When Buying a Laptop for 3D Work

Best laptops for 3D design and animation in 2024.
Play Video about Best laptops for 3D design and animation in 2023.

When investing in a laptop for 3D modeling, rendering, and architecture software, here’s what you can expect:

  • Powerful CPU and GPU: Look for laptops with the latest Intel Core i5/i7/i9 or AMD Ryzen 5/7/9 processors. If you are on a budget, aim for at least an NVIDIA GTX 1660 Ti or AMD Radeon RX 5600M. Higher-end GPUs as RTX/Quadro graphics are ideal for complex 3D, animation, CAD work but have a higher price tag.
  • Abundant RAM: Get at least 16GB RAM, but 32GB or even 64GB is better for smooth multitasking and rendering.
  • Large Storage: 512GB SSD is good, but larger 1TB+ SSD options are preferable for large project files.
  • Vivid Display: Look for a 1080p or 4K display with accurate color reproduction, high brightness, and high refresh rate. A larger 15 to 17-inch screen is useful.
  • Latest Ports: Modern ports like Thunderbolt 3, USB-C, HDMI, SD card reader, etc. allow you to connect accessories.
  • Good Battery Life: Expect at least 5-6 hours of battery for productivity on the go.
A laptop, optimized for architectural design and animation in 2024, sits on top of a blueprint.
A laptop, optimized for architectural design and animation in 2024, sits on top of a blueprint.

What Not to Expect in an Affordable 3D Laptop

Here are a few compromises you may face if your budget is limited:

  • Basic Integrated GPU: Laptops under $800 may only offer integrated graphics like Intel UHD instead of a dedicated GPU. This will limit 3D performance.
  • Lower RAM: Budget options start with just 8GB RAM. While workable, 16GB or more is ideal.
  • Smaller Screens: Cheaper laptops often have smaller 13-14 inch displays. Prioritize at least a 15-inch screen for 3D work.
  • Shorter Battery Life: Inexpensive laptops may last only 3-4 hours on a charge. Look for at least 5+ hours of runtime.
  • Older Ports: Cheaper models may lack newer USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 ports.

Laptop For Architects

ASUS 2023 ProArt StudioBook 16

The ASUS 2023 ProArt StudioBook 16 is a fantastic choice if you’re an architect looking for outstanding performance, a beautiful and accurate display, and features that enhance your design workflow.

Price: ASUS 2023 ProArt StudioBook 16 is a premium laptop with a corresponding price tag at $2,199. Weigh this against your budget requirements.

Battery Life: While suitable for on-the-go work, the powerful components might limit battery life under intensive workloads, but with a 90-watt battery capacity, it should last at least 6 hours of 3D modeling work.

CPU: Intel Core i9-13980HX (2.2 GHz base frequency, up to 5.6 GHz boost, 36MB cache, 24 cores, 32 threads)
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4060 Laptop GPU with 8GB GDDR6 VRAM
Display: 16″ 3.2K OLED touch display (3200 x 2000), 120Hz refresh rate, 0.2ms response time, 100% DCI-P3 color gamut, Pantone validated, 500 nits brightness, Delta E < 2
RAM: 32GB DDR5 SO-DIMM memory (upgradeable)
Storage: 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe 4.0 Performance SSD (upgradeable)
Operating System: Windows 11 Home
Ports: 2x Thunderbolt 4 USB-C with Power Delivery, DisplayPort, and VR support; 2x USB 3.2 Gen 2; 1x HDMI 2.1 FRL; 1x 2.5 Gbps LAN; 1x SD Express 7.0 card reader
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6E (802.11ax), Bluetooth 5.2
Weight: 12.60 lbs
Battery: 90 Watts

Additional features: ASUS Dial rotary controller, large haptic touchpad with stylus support (MPP 2.0, 4096 pressure levels), US MIL-STD 810H military-grade standard

This capable ASUS 2023 ProArt is ideal for architects using Autodesk Revit, Trimble Sketchup, and other demanding BIM and 3D rendering.

Performance:

  • Top-Tier Processors: ASUS 2023 ProArt StudioBook 16 features i9-13980HX , delivering exceptional power for handling demanding architectural software like Revit, 3ds Max, and AutoCAD.
  • Dedicated Graphics: Powerful NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4060 8GB series graphics cards accelerate 3D modeling, rendering, and real-time visualization, ensuring smooth and responsive workflows.
  • Upgradable RAM and Storage: Upgrade RAM (up to 64GB) and storage (expandable SSD slots) future-proofs your investment and ensures the laptop can handle increasingly complex projects.

Display:

  • 16-inch Touchscreen: The large touchscreen provides ample workspace for intricate architectural designs and allows for intuitive interaction.
  • High Resolution and Color Accuracy: ‎3840 x 2160 pixels resolution and 16” OLED 3.2K matrix guarantees stunning visuals and extremely accurate color representation – critical for client presentations and realistic rendering.
  • High Refresh Rate: The 120Hz refresh rate delivers a smooth, buttery experience when navigating models or manipulating views.

Design Features:

  • US MIL-STD 810H military-grade standard body
  • Sleek and Professional Build: The ASUS boasts a slim and sophisticated design suitable for client meetings and presentations, although being on the heavy side with its 12.6 pounds

Laptop For Animators

Razer Blade 16 Studio Edition

Razer Blade 16 Studio Edition is an excellent choice for animators and those working with 3D applications such as Maya, Blender and Cinema 4D. OLED display produces vivid, true-to-life colors for animators.

  • Razer Blade 16 is high-end laptop and carry a premium price tag of over $3,300. Factor this into your budget.
  • The latest Intel Core i9-14900HX 14th Gen can deliver exceptional performance, ensuring your animation and 3D software run smoothly without lag or slowdowns.
  • High-end NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 or 4080 cards are specifically designed for handling the heavy calculations required by 3D modeling, animation, rendering, and real-time visualization.
  • Ability to upgrade RAM (up to 64GB), you can future-proof your system and handle even the most complex and demanding animation projects.
  • Generous and super-fast 1TB SSD storage ensures quick loading of complex 3D models, animation scenes, large texture files with option to expand.

Display: 16″ OLED QHD+ (2560 x 1600) 240Hz, 0.2ms response time, VESA ClearMR 11000 rating, DisplayHDR 500 certified, 1M:1 contrast ratio, 100% DCI-P3 color gamut
CPU: Intel Core i9-14900HX 14th Gen (24 cores, 5.8 GHz max clock speed)
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 Laptop GPU (175W Full TGP)
RAM: 16GB DDR5 (upgradeable)
Storage: 1TB SSD
Cooling: Patented Vapor Chamber with 0.5mm exhaust fins and NASBIS insulating sheets
Build: CNC-milled aluminum unibody with anodized matte black finish
Keyboard: Per-key Chroma RGB backlit keyboard
Connectivity: Intel Wireless Wi-Fi 7 BE200, Thunderbolt 4 (Up to 100W charging), 1x USB-C, 3x USB-A, 1x HDMI 2.1, 1x UHS-II SD Card Reader
Audio: 4 speaker array (2x tweeters, 2x subs) & built-in 2-mic array
Battery: Up to 330W ultra-compact GaN charger
Operating System: Windows 11
Dimensions: 9.61 x 13.98 x 0.87 inches
Weight: 10.53 pounds

  • Large, High-Resolution Screen: The 16-inch display provides ample workspace for working with intricate details in your animations and 3D models. High resolutions, like 4K UHD, ensure exceptional clarity and visual fidelity.
  • Color Accuracy: Color-accurate displays, often with PANTONE validation, guarantee that the colors and shades you see on-screen are accurate to real life. This is critical for producing professional-looking animations and 3D work that translates correctly across different media.
  • High Refresh Rate: Smooth animations are essential, and a high refresh rate (e.g., 165Hz) ensures fluid motion in your work and a responsive experience when manipulating scenes and models.

Optimized for Creativity:

  • Razer Pen Support: Some configurations of the Razer Blade 16 Studio Edition may include the Razer Pen for natural sketching and notetaking directly on the screen, streamlining your workflow during the ideation phase.
  • Software Compatibility: Razer Blade laptops are designed specifically for compatibility with top-tier animation and 3D software like Autodesk Maya, Blender, Adobe After Effects, Substance Painter, and more.
  • NVIDIA Studio Drivers: Razer Blade Studio Edition laptops come with NVIDIA Studio drivers. These drivers are specifically optimized for creative applications, ensuring stability and peak performance.

Premium Build & Design:

  • Sleek and Professional: The Razer Blade 16 Studio Edition boasts a sleek and sophisticated build that looks the part in any professional setting.
  • Portable Workstation: While not the lightest laptops on the market, they strike a balance of portability and power, making them easy to take to client meetings or on location for reference.
A black chair with a laptop and a plant on a desk, showcasing the best laptops for 3D design in 2024.
A black chair with a laptop and a plant on a desk, showcasing the best laptops for 3D design in 2024.

Best laptop with 32gb ram for graphic design

For budget-conscious graphics design and art students or freelancers, the i7-13620H equipped MSI’s Newest 2023 Pulse 15 Gaming Laptop 15.6″ priced at $1,500 with QHD 165 Hz Display is something to consider for all graphic designers with a mid-range budget.

The MSI Pulse 15 is a gaming laptop but is more than good for 2D and 3D graphic design or photo editing work because of its FHD DCI-P3 display, Intel RTX video card, and 32 GB of RAM. The newest 2023 MSI Pulse 15 edition has improved cooling by a margin, and it’s only 5.07 Pounds.

Some key aspects that make MSI 2023 Pulse 15 suitable for vector work and graphic design:

  • The 32GB DDR5 RAM allows working with multiple applications and large files smoothly. This amount of ram RAM reduces lag when working with graphics programs like Affinity Designer, CorelDraw, Adobe Illustrator, Krita and so on. The MSI 2023 Pulse 15 supports up-to 64 GB DDR5 RAM 
  • The dedicated NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4060 GPU handles graphics workloads very well. The RTX cuda cores enables the fast rendering and effects even in the latest Photoshop Beta update, where some user reported older cards are struggling.
  • The 15.6″ 2.5 ms response rate 144Hz FHD display covers the impressive 100% of the DCI-P3 color spectrum, allowing for vivid and accurate color reproduction in all pre-print production workflows. If the 15 inch screen is not enough to handle your workflow, you can easily extend the screen space with a larger monitor, the RTX will easily handle a second monitor with the HDMI 2.1 port, providing good screen real estate for any of your graphic design work.
  • Cooler Boost 5 cooling system ensures optimal thermal performance when graphics workload is high during design work. Despite the Cooler Boost 5 is good solution for prolonged rendering, it’s always good to consider buying a cooling pad with active fans, not passive.
  • As most modern laptops the MSI does not come with Optical Drive, but with the Wi-FI 6 also known as 802.11ax module you can achieve up to 9.6 Gbps (~1200 mb/s) download or upload speed theoretically. In practical home setups with Wi-Fi 6 routers, download speeds over Wi-Fi 6 are typically in the range of 600 Mbps to 1.2 Gbps, under good conditions, provided you use a Wi-Fi 6E router too you will be able to achieve , you can download 10 GB file under a minute (53.33 seconds) in the best case scenario and conditions or 5-6 minutes (300-360 seconds).

All in all according to TALLBOX’s tests the MSI 2023 Newest Pulse 15 Gaming Laptop is good capable laptop for graphic design with 32 GB of ram in the budget range.

CPU: Intel Core i7-13620H (up to 4.9 GHz, 10 cores, 12 threads)
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4060 Laptop GPU (8GB GDDR6)
Display: 15.6″ QHD (2560 x 1440) 165Hz, 100% DCI-P3 color gamut, 2.5ms response time
RAM: Up to 64GB DDR5
Storage: Up to 2TB SSD (NVMe)
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2
Keyboard: Backlit keyboard
Ports: 1x HDMI 2.1, 1x USB 2.0, 2x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, 1x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C w/ DP 1.4, 1x RJ-45 (1Gbps), 1x Headphone/Microphone Combo Jack
Audio: 2x 2W speakers
Webcam: 720p HD webcam
Operating System: Windows 11 Home
Dimensions: 14.13″ x 10.20″ x 1.06″
Weight: 5.07 lbs

Best Portability laptop: HP ZBook 14u G6

A person using animation software on the best laptop for 3D design in 2023, with a phone and a cup of coffee.
A person using animation software on the best laptop for 3D design in 2023, with a phone and a cup of coffee.
  • Light 2.99 lbs weight and durable build
  • Vivid 600 nit 14-inch HP DreamColor display
  • NVIDIA Quadro P620 GPU renders on the go
  • Up to 32GB RAM, 4TB dual SSD storage
  • Lots of security features like Sure Start, TPM

The super portable HP ZBook 14u G6 lets 3D professionals stay productive anywhere. Vibrant 14-inch screen and capable Quadro GPU packed into just 2.99 lbs.

Best Battery Life: LG Gram 17

  • Incredible 17+ hours battery life
  • Quadro RTX 2050 GPU and Core i7 CPU
  • Slim and lightweight for a 17-inch laptop
  • 17-inch WQXGA 16:10 aspect ratio screen
  • 1TB NVMe SSD storage, 16GB RAM

LG’s Gram 17 laptop stands out with amazing battery runtime despite its large screen. Fast performance in an ultralight chassis.

Key Factors for Choosing the Best 3D Laptop

Display

A group of architecture students using the best laptops for 3D design to examine an animated drawing.
A group of architecture students using the best laptops for 3D design to examine an animated drawing.

A good display is essential for 3D work. Look for:

  • Resolution: 1080p for 3D/CAD, 4K for animation/video
  • Color accuracy: 100% sRGB or ideally 100% Adobe RGB coverage
  • Brightness: At least 300 nits, 500+ ideal
  • Screen size: 15 to 17-inch recommended

Best laptop CPU and GPU for 3D

For best performance in 3D software:

  • Laptop CPU: Use the i9 H-series like 13900HX and 13980HX,  AMD Ryzen 7 7845HX or Ryzen 9 7945HX (Zen 4 Dragon Range)
  • GPU: NVIDIA Quadro or RTX 4090 and RTX 4080 or AMD Radeon Pro or RX Vega

How to select the best laptop processor?

To select the best suitable laptop processor processor involves considering several important factors. The main factor is driven by the 80-20 rule. The 80-20 rule means that if 80% of the time you do 3D modeling, animation rendering, CAD work, or a bit of everything (3D generalist rendering) and 20% of the time you focus on other things like gaming, web browsing of else. Focus on a processor that will meet the demand, covering 80% of your day-to-day needs.

For example, Core i9 14900KS will be ideal for 3D modeling and rendering (4% higher Turbo Boost frequency) but more expensive vs the older 13900HX and 13980HX, less expensive but still a powerhouse for rendering, while Ryzen 9 7950X or Ryzen 9 7950X3D, for animation rendering and modeling of large scenes equally well with balanced ratio price/performance.

To ensure that the processor meets your needs in terms of performance, efficiency, and compatibility look at online reviews of laptop processors who passed the Cinebench with high scores.

Cinebench is a standardized benchmarking tool used to evaluate the performance and stability of CPU and GPU hardware for content creation and visual effects workloads.

Specifically, Cinebench stresses the processor and graphics card by rendering a complex 3D scene and evaluating how quickly it can complete the task. It measures both single and multi-threaded CPU performance as it would relate to 3D modeling, animation, video editing, and similar tasks.

Cinebench gives content creators a reliable way to test real-world performance when evaluating new hardware purchases or comparing benchmark numbers after overclocking or optimizing existing systems.

Higher Cinebench scores indicate better performance. As it accurately reflects performance in actual media creation apps like Cinema 4D, Blender, Maya etc., the Cinebench results help predict how efficient the system can handle professional design and editing workflows.

Beyond benchmark numbers, stability during prolonged 100% CPU+GPU loads is also assessed. Performance consistency during the render loop stresses reveals thermal design efficacy and component stability too.

For example in Nanoreview’s chart Core i9 14900KS and Ryzen 9 7950X have difference of 5,993 scores for the benefit of the Intel. The Apple M1 Ultra’s is 40th in the chart, since these processors are mostly optimized for Adobe and specifically video editing but not 3D rendering or modeling work, with makes Apple not ideal 3D laptops.

This does not mean the Ryzen 9 will not be efficient for your specifc tasks, but it does give a general understanding of the CPU’s performance.

Here are the most important factors to consider:

Processor Type and Brand: The two main processor manufacturers for laptops are Intel and AMD. Each offers different series of processors (e.g., Intel Core i3, i5, i7, i9, and AMD Ryzen 3, 5, 7, 9). Each of them have a specific laptop series designed to either yeld performance or save as much as possible the battery for the sake of the performance, similar as ultrabooks; thin, delicate and beautiful and very efficing but will not be a 3D capable laptop.

The choice depends on your specific needs – Intel processors are traditionally known for better single-thread performance, meaning a Intel CPU is best for laptops for 3D modeling and texturing, general 3D laptop and CAD workstation. 3D modeling and CAD applications mostly rely on single-thread operations for hte most part, while multy-thread participating only for specific operations as boolean, particle flows, tyflow simulations, lightbaking and other. AMD processors on the other hand offer better multi-core performance and value, this makes them ideal for laptops for rendering and animation.

Performance Needs: Consider what you’ll be using the laptop for. For the most part if you are a starting architecture student or interior design the first and second year you can get by almost everything. For basic tasks like web browsing and document editing, a mid-range processor like an Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 5 is sufficient and cost-saving.

If you are on the geek side and aim to future-proof for more demanding 2D and 3D tasks like video editing or 3D modeling, you might need a high-end processor like an Intel Core i7 or i9, or an AMD Ryzen 7 or 9.

Core Count and Threads: More cores and threads generally provide better performance for multitasking and multi-threaded applications. A quad-core processor is a good baseline for most users, while six, eight or more cores might be better for demanding applications and multitasking. For exampel the best laptop for 3D modeling does not have to be the one with the most core count, but the one with higher-clock speeds.

Clock Speed: Measured in GHz, the clock speed determines how fast the processor can perform tasks. A higher clock speed is generally better, but it should be considered along with the number of cores and threads. The processors with huge gap between minimum and maximum GHz means they are more optimized for battery-saving instead of performance.

Thermal Design Power (TDP): This refers to the amount of heat a processor generates and can be an indicator of its power consumption. A lower TDP is generally better for battery life but might come with reduced performance. A higher TDP threshold means the processor can sustain greater processing loads and higher speeds, but at the cost of producing more heat and demanding more battery power. 

Some processors like the Recoil series by PCSpecialist have additional capabilities with an external water cooling unit, which can enable even higher sustained clock speeds if you render animations or large resolution images. The water cooling draws heat away from the CPU more rapidly, allowing the chip to run at higher TDP limits without overheating which would force throttling.

This enables excellent multi-core performance for extended periods when plugged in. The tradeoff is that you sacrifice complete portability by needing the cooling hardware connected. But for select professionals requiring uncompromised rendering throughput, an overclockable processor paired with water cooling offers tremendous capability to maximize production efficiency when mobility is not imperative.

When choosing the best laptop processor, it’s important to evaluate the TDP sweet spot that balances your performance and portability requirements.

If you aim at beautifully designed and slim laptop with focus on mobility, a low 15W U-series Intel processor or 8W Y-series processor may suffice. For productivity laptops where speed matters more, a 28-45W H-series processor is preferable despite shorter battery runtimes.

Integrated Graphics vs. Dedicated GPU: Some processors come with integrated graphics, which are sufficient for basic tasks and light gaming. If you plan to do gaming, video editing, or use graphic-intensive applications as 3Ds Max, Maya, Cinema4D, Blender, SketchUp, consider a laptop with a dedicated GPU.

Cache Size: The processor cache is critical for improving the speed of data access. A larger cache size generally results in better performance, especially important if you have to render large 3D scenes above 1GB with textures larger than 2000 pixels wide.

The size of a 1GB 3D scenes along with all textures, proxy objects, xrefs and CAD files will end up at atleast 50 to 150% of the 3D file size. All of this data needs to constantly tranferred from the hard-drive into the ram and then into the processor to be processed into the rendered image, hence more cache is always better.

Processor Generation: Newer generations of processors usually offer improvements in performance and energy efficiency. It’s generally recommended to choose the latest or a recent generation.

Future Proofing: Consider how long you intend to use the laptop and whether the processor will handle future software updates and increasing demands over a few years.

Price-to-Performance Ratio: Balance the cost of the processor with the performance it offers, again in play it’s the 80-20 rule. The most expensive processor is not always the best choice for every user, especially if you won’t utilize its full potential.

How to select the best laptop video card for 3D?

Choosing the right video card (also known as a graphics processing unit or GPU) for a 3D laptop is crucial, especially if you plan to use it for graphic design, video editing, or 3D graphics-intensive applicaitons.

Integrated vs. Dedicated Graphics: 3D modeling laptops require good video cards and integrated graphics won’t be suitable. With built-in GPU into the processor the processor handles the work of a video card too, which makes it less efficient especially in GPU or real time rendering tasks.

With dedicated graphics (separate GPU) from NVIDIA or AMD, offer superior performance for graphics-intensive 3D applications and are preferable for gaming or professional graphic work.

GPU Model and Performance: To select a specific video card model for your laptop, research the performance of various GPUs.

Most architecture students use Lumion, Twinmotion, Blender or V-ray Vantage which are all GPU rendering based and NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX or GTX series will always work better because of their CUDA drivers, on the other side AMD’s Radeon RX series are good options if you do not render GPU and you can buy a larger video card for the same price.

For professional work, look at NVIDIA’s Quadro series or AMD’s Radeon Pro series. Higher model numbers typically indicate better performance.

VRAM (Video RAM): VRAM is the memory used to store image data.

For example, when creating detailed 3D renders of computer-generated scenes, having more VRAM allows you to work with and render more complex models and textures.

When rendering a 3D scene, data including every polygon, texture, shader, lighting effect etc. needs to be processed by the GPU. All of this visual information takes up memory bandwidth.

If the VRAM capacity is too small, the GPU will have to offload some of this rendering data and textures to regular system RAM which is much slower. This leads to significantly worse rendering performance and lag when working on 3D projects.

So for 3D artists or animation studios, having a dedicated graphics card with ample VRAM (8GB to 16GB+) enables handling richer textures, smoother workflows and faster final render output. Large intricate 3D scenes with high polygon counts and ultra HD textures can utilize the extra VRAM when rendering complex frames.

More VRAM future proofs the system as 3D graphics and rendering evolves to higher resolutions too. While overkill for typical users, the added VRAM removes limitations for professionals pushing high visual fidelity boundaries when creating immersive 3D worlds and animation assets. 

The robust memory bandwidth keeps everything GPU-localized avoiding slower system memory bottlenecks.

VRAM (Video RAM): VRAM is the memory used to store image data.

For example, when creating detailed 3D renders of computer-generated scenes, having more VRAM allows you to work with and render more complex models and textures.

When rendering a 3D scene, data including every polygon, texture, shader, lighting effect etc. needs to be processed by the GPU. All of this visual information takes up memory bandwidth.

If the VRAM capacity is too small, the GPU will have to offload some of this rendering data and textures to regular system RAM which is much slower. This leads to significantly worse rendering performance and lag when working on 3D projects.

So for 3D artists or animation studios, having a dedicated graphics card with ample VRAM (8GB to 16GB+) enables handling richer textures, smoother workflows and faster final render output. Large intricate 3D scenes with high polygon counts and ultra HD textures can utilize the extra VRAM when rendering complex frames.

More VRAM future proofs the system as 3D graphics and rendering evolves to higher resolutions too. While overkill for typical users, the added VRAM removes limitations for professionals pushing high visual fidelity boundaries when creating immersive 3D worlds and animation assets. The robust memory bandwidth keeps everything GPU-localized avoiding slower system memory bottlenecks.

Resolution and Settings: Consider the laptop’s screen resolution and the settings you aim to use. Higher resolutions (such as 4K) require more powerful GPUs pushing the laptop’s price further.

Refresh Rate Compatibility: If your laptop has a high refresh rate display (e.g., 120Hz, 144Hz), you’ll want a GPU that can push enough frames per second (FPS) to take advantage of that.

Thermal Management: Powerful GPUs generate more heat and this is a very important factor to consider especially the processor is powerful too. Ensure the laptop has adequate cooling systems to prevent overheating, which can throttle performance.

Power Consumption and Battery Life: More powerful GPUs consume more power, which can significantly impact battery life. If you need longer battery life, consider a laptop with a more efficient GPU or one that allows you to switch between integrated and dedicated graphics.

Future-Proofing: Technology evolves rapidly, so consider getting a GPU that exceeds your current needs to accommodate future software and workflows. If you are for the long game, select video card with at least 8GB of VRAM.

Brand and Software Ecosystem: NVIDIA and AMD GPUs come with their own software ecosystems and features, like ray tracing technology (NVIDIA RTX) or FreeSync (AMD). Consider which features are more beneficial for your needs. Both types of video cards can handle multiple extenal screens, which is always beneficial for multitasking.

Budget: Higher performance generally comes at a higher cost. Balance the GPU’s cost with your budget and the performance level you need.

Reviews and Benchmarks: Look for reviews and benchmark tests of the laptop model you’re interested in. These can give you a realistic idea of the GPU’s performance in real-world scenarios. Most video cards, including processors and laptop brands have their reviews published on Youtube.

Compatibility with Other Components: Ensure the GPU is well-balanced with the laptop’s other components, like the CPU and RAM, to avoid bottlenecks in performance.

Memory and Storage

To work smoothly with large 3D assets, scenes, videos:

  • RAM: Minimum 16GB, ideally 32GB or 64GB
  • Storage: 512GB SSD minimum, 1TB or higher better

How to protect a 3D laptop?

Investing in a quality shockproof and water-resistant laptop sleeve bag is excellent insurance for safeguarding your mobile workstation as a student or freelancer.

The fact that $20 to $30 (that’s how much the DOMISO 17 inch Laptop Sleeve with Handle Shockproof is) can safe all of your projects is a no-brainier. The Domiso is a Chinese brand not well known but it has exceeded my expectations. This is not a backpack, but more a laptop sleeve bag that is a a shockproof & waterproof, which means double safety for the laptop. It has it’s own handle strap which can be used to carry the sleeve without a backpack.

As a person who travels a lot, I have invested $180 in Peak Design Everyday Totepack 20L (V2) to carry my laptop for 3D, thinking I can solve all of my worry when moving around as a student or digital nomad. No matter how expensive your laptop bag is, there’s always something.

Here are some key reasons why it would be beneficial to buy a shockproof, waterproof bag for a high-end 3D laptop:

  1. Protection from drops and impacts: A shockproof laptop bag provides crucial protection if you accidentally drop your laptop or it gets impacted. High-end 3D laptops have delicate components that can get damaged. The padded, shock-absorbing bag helps prevent this.
  2. Shields from spills and moisture: A waterproof bag safeguards your expensive 3D laptop from rain, spills, splashes or other moisture when commuting with it. It prevents short circuits and corrosion that liquid exposure can cause.
  3. Portability for traveling: The protective bag with a sturdy handle lets you securely carry your laptop when traveling. This enables taking the laptop anywhere without worrying about damage.
  4. Peace of mind: Knowing your costly 3D rendering laptop has a protective shield around it provides great peace of mind against accidental damage. You don’t have to worry as much about the safety of a vital device.
  5. Retains resale value: Keeping your high-spec laptop in pristine condition with a protective bag ensures you get a higher price for it if selling it in the future. The bag prevents cosmetic damage over time as well.
  6. Design and Appearance: While the design may not appeal to everyone (hint: it resembles a military laptop bag), it is available in various colors. I love the fact that it looks like a high-tech briefcase made out premium thickened EVA material.
  7. Charger space: I would not recommend storing your laptop charger inside the sleeve, as it can become bulky. When placed in your backpack, this could potentially squeeze the charger against the laptop, causing a dent. However, this is a common issue with 95% of everyday laptop bags as well including the Everyday Totepack V2.

Earn student income with 3D software and learn from our 12 on-point HOW TO tutorials for virtual staging software