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When you are working with an advanced program like AutoCAD®, you need a top-of-the-line PC with the right specs. Those specs are for more than just pure power, though, because they also need to keep your designs safe from software crashes and interruptions. But exactly how much power do you need? And what is the best computer to run AutoCAD?
In this article, we’ll explain what this software is and who uses it while providing a list of the specs to keep in mind while you shop. Then, we’ll provide our picks for the best HP computer workstations for AutoCAD.
AutoCAD is software used to create and develop 2D and 3D drawings and models for a number of different industries. “CAD” stands for “computer-aided design,” and Autodesk provides the most popular, widely used software.
Depending on how you use it, AutoCAD is handy for projects ranging from drafting blueprints for architectural planning to rendering models for graphic design and 3D printing. It allows you to keep a single layer or a number of layers in its database for future use. These layers can take up a lot of space over time, which means you need a powerful computer to render them properly.
From hobbyists to professionals, a multitude of industries use AutoCAD. Some prominent ones include computer engineers, graphic designers, interior designers, process drafters, set designers, and fashion designers. But that’s only scratching the surface.
AutoCAD is flexible in terms of exactly who uses it. You can make architectural plans, or aeronautical, interior, and engineering designs, but you can also make simpler items such as maps and greeting cards.
To run AutoCAD, your computer will need to be able to handle complex software. You’ll also need enough storage to save your designs. These files will take up a significant amount of space, so make sure you have at least 500GB HDD, though more will serve you better.
Consider investing in a cloud storage provider, too, especially if you want to back up your projects. You may also want to consider a hybrid disk drive that combines the speed of an SSD with the capacity of an HDD if you are calling up large files often.
Think about whether you want to take your device with you to class or to and from the office, or if you’d prefer that it has a more permanent location. For many professionals, you’ll want to consider a desktop workstation that offers the best options in specs, but must understand that those same specs often make it less portable.
However, if you don’t plan to work on more resource-heavy projects in AutoCAD and you need flexibility, a laptop workstation may be the right choice.
When it comes to running AutoCAD, a high-quality graphics card is a must. This software requires one to successfully render models, and it also makes your workflow smoother and allows you to work without experiencing lag or slowdown.
Like the performance graphics cards you’ll find in a gaming laptop or desktop, HP workstations come with customizable graphics card options including options like the NVIDIA® Quadro®, allowing you to design models without worrying if your PC will buckle under the pressure.
Finally, you should consider what type of display is best for the type of work you do. If you plan to work on large architectural plans, then you may want to think about either a wide screen or even a pair of monitors so you can see everything at once.
That also applies if you want to take your work with you on a laptop. Just in case you can’t connect to a monitor during a meeting, your laptop’s display should be large enough to comfortably showcase your work to clients and co-workers.
While there are a number of HP computers that can run AutoCAD, HP workstation computers offer an unparalleled experience with this software specifically. Whether you are just starting out or you are a seasoned professional, we have a workstation to fit your needs. Here are our top picks for the best computers for AutoCAD.
With plenty of processing power available, the HP Z6 G4 workstation can be customized to meet your specific needs. Want two processors? You got it. How about up to 768GB of RAM? You can do that, too, in your quest to build one of the most powerful PCs on the planet.
This is one of the best desktops for AutoCAD when it comes to advanced security measures as well, including a self-healing BIOS with signature intrusion detection. Between that and its Windows 10 Pro operating system, this is a perfect option for an expert AutoCAD user. And if you’re a beginner, there is no better way to get a jump on your AutoCAD skills.
For those looking to run simulations as well as render models, the HP Z8 G4 workstation has all the tools necessary for you to get the job done. Not only can you run your 3D models, but you can also do it in outstanding 8K.
Along with up to 56 processing cores and a customizable 3TB of RAM, this computer is built to handle almost anything you can throw at it. It has additional airflow, too, so you can keep your workstation cool during even the most taxing projects.
When you use AutoCAD on a regular basis, chances are it may be your go-to software for a number of different applications. Whether you’re involved in machine learning or engineering, you’ll be glad to know you can customize the HP Z4 G4 to make it work for your specific industry role. This is one of the best computers for CAD, as it allows you to move from 3D CAD to rendering software in a few seconds, giving you the power and precision you need to get the job done right.
Sometimes, the best way to go is mini. The HP Z2 Small Form Factor 64 workstation may have a tiny design, but this CAD workstation houses an incredible amount of power to run a number of programs at once. You can also customize it to your heart’s content while enjoying advanced cooling measures to keep your device running smoothly. You have the option to customize your I/0 ports as well, so you can keep your space as compact as you need it.
Not all of us have space for a large workstation, but that doesn’t mean you have to compromise on quality and power. Enter the HP Z2 Mini G4 workstation, a perfect option for anyone who demands the most space possible in their home or work office.
It’s easy to conceal this PC, too, because you can mount it under a desk or place it on your nearby shelf while still connecting it to several displays. Along with advanced security with HP Client Security Suite G3, this mini workstation has everything you need to create your next big masterpiece with AutoCAD.
For those who are just getting started with AutoCAD but want to have a professional experience, the HP Z1 G6 workstation is perfect for your needs. Not only is it incredibly affordable for its specs, but it even comes with the NVIDIA GeForce® GTX graphics card so you can create in VR and graphic design programs. For beginners, this is the best PC for AutoCAD that balances price and power.
If portability is important to you, then you’ll love the HP ZBook Studio. It combines the best of a laptop with the power of a workstation. Along with a gorgeous 4K Ultra High Definition (UHD) screen, it has HP’s signature DreamColor display and Adobe RGB coverage. This CAD laptop also comes with HP Sure View and Raid 1 for additional security, so you won’t have to worry about losing your work.
Take your desktop with you when you pick the HP ZBook 17 G6 mobile workstation. You’ll see your 3D modeling and rendering work in a new light thanks to the stunning 17-inch screen.
Plus, if you’re running multiple programs at once, this laptop’s unique cooling design keeps your computer cool. It also offers the opportunity to easily upgrade your device by removing the back panel and adding either memory or storage within a few minutes.
The HP ZBook Studio x360 G5 mobile workstation has all the specs you could possibly want from a CAD laptop, with features you may have never known you needed. Using the 5 display modes, you can show off your work by utilizing the 360-degree hinge.
And with the included Wacom AES pen, you can get hands-on with your projects. Whether you work with high-res images or you’re into 3D modeling and rendering, this device offers the speed and precision of HP’s workstation line in a laptop you can easily take with you.
Built for creators, the HP ZBook x2 G4 is powerful enough to let your imagination go wild. In addition to running all your favorite programs at once, you’ll love the Bluetooth keyboard that lets you switch from one action to another with 18 different shortcuts.
This workstation is also completely detachable and comes with the HP ZBook x2 pen, which allows you to work however you want. Just pop off the screen and use it like a tablet, all while enjoying the power you expect from an HP workstation.
When you need the power to comfortably run not just AutoCAD but other heavy-duty programs as well, HP® has workstations to cover the bases for creative pros and hobbyists alike. But what is the best PC for AutoCAD?
If you are looking for a device that balances performance with sleek design, the HP Z2 mini G4 workstation is a great choice. However, all of the workstations on this list are more than capable of meeting your needs as they relate to AutoCAD, so it’s important to weigh other factors, specifically your budget and workspace, to find the best desktop for CAD that works for you.
About the Author: Daniel Horowitz is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Daniel is a New York-based author and has written for publications such as USA Today, Digital Trends, Unwinnable Magazine, and many other media outlets.
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