Best Computer For CAD
We Select The Best PCs To Run CAD On In 2020 & 2021
Desktop PCs, just like most electronics, seem to evolve on a daily basis. You can barely bat an eye between one new release and the next. Along with the ever-improving list of brand new components, we also see an increase in system requirements for many programs or games. One of those that require the most firepower is CAD.
As the software demands rise, the market rises to meet them, and pre-built PCs are no different in that regard. When it comes to choosing the best computer for CAD, many users struggle with making the right choices — and no wonder. How do you choose from a sea of options?
There’s one thing we know for a fact — for CAD, regardless of your software of choice, you’ll need a true powerhouse of a desktop computer. Computers built to handle CAD can also run most of the latest software and games, which makes them highly versatile and sought-after.
We understand that choosing the right build for you can be a daunting prospect. Whether you consider yourself to be tech-savvy or not, there’s a lot to take into consideration when buying any type of PC. The stakes are only higher when you’re going to use your machine to work.
Save yourself the trouble of pouring over benchmarks and Google searches. We’ve taken our passion for PCs and made it our goal to help people like you find their dream desktop. We created this guide with the purpose of finding and recommending the best PCs for CAD, and it’s here for you to take advantage of!
Let’s get right to it and take a closer look at some of the best computers on the market!
Our Top Picks
How We Choose
Even for someone that enjoys it, picking out a new PC is no easy feat. With so many things to consider, it may feel like you’re lost in a jungle of possibilities. Which build do I pick? Is this one better than that one? It may sometimes seem impossible to tell.
Making an informed choice that you’re happy with is something that takes hours of research, but who has the time for that? We do! We expect a lot and thus, we perform meticulous checks before any given product makes it into our top five.
We read benchmarks and user feedback, carefully review each and every component and then move on to real-time stress tests. CAD requires a strong CPU that is able to perform under some serious pressure. Knowing that, we made sure to only include real powerhouses in our buying guide.
It is possible for you to get the computer of your dreams without needing to frustrate yourself with endless research. That’s why we made this guide — to ease the stress and let you enjoy the end result!
How We Test
Prior research is just a part of what we do here at WePC. For most builds or components, a lot of information is waiting to be found online, but not all of it is going to be relevant.
Once we’re done with the initial phase of researching and reviewing user feedback, we move on to the testing. Testing plays a big part in how we pick out the products that we do. While a piece may look good on paper, it may not always hold steady during performance tests.
Other than making sure to put the builds through extensive stress tests, we consider things such as build quality, efficiency, and individual components. It’s often said that a PC is only as good as its weakest parts, and that rings very true in pre-built computers.
Our Best Overall spot is only available to products that we fully believe we can trust. The computer we choose to recommend at the end of the day is going to have a superb performance combined with a matching price. With our thorough testing process, you do not have to worry about being unhappy with your purchase!
Things To Consider
You’ve already had a little sneak peek at our favorite computers for CAD, but before we get into the details, we want to make sure you know what you need. Every PC on our list is a strong contender. In order to pick the one that’ll work best for you, please take a look at our list of things to consider first.
What Type of CPU Do I Need For CAD?
Your processor, also known as CPU, is the heart of your computer. It’s responsible for so many processes within your machine, both big and small, and it affects the performance of the entire build.
While Intel has been the dominant player in the world of CPUs, AMD has made a solid comeback in the past few years with their Ryzen series. This allows buyers to choose between the manufacturer they like best and encourages — but doesn’t force — brand loyalty.
Modern processors come with many cores, with some on our list featuring upwards of eight. However, when it comes to CAD, it’s not the number of cores that matters the most — it’s the clock speed, also known as gigahertz (GHz).
As 3D modeling and drafting software like AutoCAD and others is usually single-threaded, the extra cores are not necessary for your work. They will, however, come in handy for pretty much everything else.
With all that said, your main concern should be the clock speed of your new processor. The builds we have chosen for our guide all feature high clock speeds with the possibility to use Turbo modes to bring them even higher. This ensures that your CAD software will run smoothly.
What Else Is Important In A CAD Computer?
A fantastic processor is one thing, but what other components will affect the performance of your new computer? Don’t worry about having to make sense of it all — we’ve got you covered!
- Memory (RAM) — Memory is a key factor in building or buying a pre-built CAD PC. A lot of basic builds run at 8GB RAM, and while that will be enough, we recommend aiming higher and going for at least 16GB RAM. Keep in mind that more memory allows your machine to do more things at once, so the rule of thumb is usually the more the better.
- Graphics card (GPU) — Most professionals will tell you that CAD ranks amongst the most graphically demanding workflows on the current market. While it varies from software to software, it is true that you need a good GPU. Most GPUs these days are versatile and a gaming card will do fine, but it should have at least 4GB of video RAM.
- Storage — Pre-built computers often come with an SSD (solid-state drive), and if you’ve never had one, you’ve been missing out. SSDs are generally much faster than your typical hard drive and add a lot to the overall performance of your build. However, it’s good to also have a big HDD for storing all your files and projects.
How Big A Budget Do I Need For A Computer For CAD?
We have mentioned that the right PC for CAD is a powerful machine with many capabilities, and other experts echo this sentiment. However, that doesn’t mean you need to break into your savings account. It is possible to pick out a computer that matches every budget. We tried to make sure to include both high-end and budget options on our list.
As an example, if you’re a professional looking to do a lot of 3D work in CAD, you’re going to need a better PC than if you work strictly with 2D. Luckily, while computer parts receive new releases practically every day, software requirements don’t change quite that often. This means that you can obtain what is still considered to be high-end without spending too much.
To make things a bit easier, we’ve analyzed the market and put together an approximate list of price brackets for you.
- Low-end 2D Computer for CAD – $500-800
- Low-end 2D+3D computer for CAD – $600-900
- Mid-end 2D+3D computer for CAD – $1000-1500
- High-end 2D+3D computer for CAD – $1500-3000
- Top-notch computer for CAD – $2500+
As you can see, the prices vary wildly depending on the specs of a given computer, but even a mid-end option is going to be suited for both 2D and 3D work.
The Best Computers For CAD 2020 & 2021
- Built with both gaming and work (CAD) in mind
- Seamless performance
- Can be upgraded to up to 64GB RAM
- The SSD could be bigger
After thorough testing, we aren’t kidding when we say that this PC is good enough to give its competitors a run for their money. Featuring a solid CPU and GPU combined with massive storage, it’s a good fit for everyone that works with CAD.
Dell has a quite unique aesthetic that will suit both an office space and a gamer’s desk at home. The case, a muted silver on the top half, cuts off diagonally into a black and dark blue grid. The elegant look is a good alternative for those that don’t want their PC to be overly shiny with the — rather popular — RGB lighting effects.
We mentioned that the clock speed is one of the most important settings in a CAD PC. This Dell model delivers on that front with its Intel CPU that can be boosted to up to 4.6GHz. It’s a good multitasker too, largely due to the 16GB RAM that you can upgrade all the way to 64GB.
Those of us that are used to having a large SSD may feel a twinge of disappointment here. Dell’s SSD only has 128GB of storage. However, this is made up for by the massive 2TB HDD.
This PC is up there with some of the best builds in terms of performance, but this is not fully reflected in the price, which is still fairly low. If you want to strike the perfect balance between premium and mid-range quality, you should check out Dell Inspiron i5680.
- Powerful on every level
- Won't need upgrades for a long time
- Liquid cooling guarantees stable performance
- It can be a little noisy under heavy loads
When it comes to high-end computers, CUK Stratos is definitely on the list of the best builds out there. It handles every hurdle without breaking a sweat and it performs excellently, even if you push it past the limit.
The design stands out with three circular RGB lights at the front of the case and one inside it. Stratos resembles a gamer’s computer, which it may be at heart, but that doesn’t knock its CAD capabilities. With a CPU like that, it would be hard not to expect it to steamroll through most tasks.
The CPU in this model is Intel Core i9-9900KF that sports eight cores, a 16MB cache, and a 3.6GHz base clock speed. However, you can overclock it to 5.0GHz if you’re looking for power that’s hard to match. To support the capabilities Stratos provides, it’s equipped with a liquid cooling system that keeps it safe even under stress.
As far as the other components go, we haven’t found it to be lacking in any way. The GPU is an RTX 2080 Super 8GB. With 8GB of VRAM, you’re more than covered not only for CAD but also for some quite competitive gaming. 32GB of RAM lends itself to multitasking and promises non-sluggish performance.
While it can get a little noisy if you overclock it to the max and run a lot of things at once, the temperatures remain stable. As such, there are no FPS drops or other issues commonly known to most PC users.
If you’re able to stretch your budget, definitely consider picking up this PC for all your CAD needs, be it 2D or 3D.
- Excellent gaming performance
- Very upgradable
- Solid AMD CPU
- Low storage
When it comes to budget computers, whether they’re upgradable or not should always play a factor in your final decision. You may want to save money now, but perhaps in a year or two, you’ll want to shop around for an upgrade. SkyTech’s Archangel is highly customizable and allows for nearly endless expansions, be it more RAM or a new GPU somewhere down the line.
Like many other SkyTech builds, this PC is quite eye-catching thanks to its unique design. The pure matte white case is highlighted by a stylish strip of color on the front of the tower. Inside the case, huge RGB lights make for a fun addition. In terms of aesthetics, this computer does not seem to be the least bit budget.
Once you peek inside you may also scratch your head and wonder where the “budget” part comes from, because the components are not bad at all. This particular build is a treat for AMD fans with its AMD Ryzen 5 3600 CPU, a powerful multi-threaded processor. Backing up the CPU sits an RTX 2070 GPU, a top of the line card that will rip through most AAA games with ease.
The amount of memory that we get in this build is a perfectly adequate 16GB. As for the graphics card, while it’s no longer one of the absolute newest models, it’s a solid release that will breeze through both CAD and latest games.
We would love it if SkyTech included more storage in this build. The 500GB SSD is more than enough for some users, but if you’re the type to require lots of room, you may want to pick a separate HDD somewhere down the road.
- Great at multitasking
- Remarkably quiet
- Highly upgradable
- Lack of storage space
If you’re looking to buy a computer that is somewhere near the upper-middle or lower high-end of most benchmarks, this might be a solid choice. HP has managed to combine some really solid components while leaving ample room to compromise on the price tag.
This PC is less colorful than the SkyTech option we discussed above, but that gives it an air of elegance that makes it suited both for the office and for home use. The case is a stylish matte black, but behind the tempered glass, you see muted dark red lights.
In terms of pure performance, we have been rather impressed with Omen. The CPU has a base clock speed of 3.00GHz, which is enough for most CAD work — and it can also be overclocked to a whopping 4.7 GHz. You also get 16GB of HyperX RAM to help with all the multitasking you may need.
The dedicated graphics card, NVIDIA’s RTX 2060, has 6GB of VRAM and is more than adequate for not just CAD but also AAA titles for the gamers amongst us.
Like SkyTech, this could use a bit more storage — fortunately, it’s highly upgradable and you should have no issues picking up an extra SSD or HDD when the time calls for it.
For those that really like to get their money’s worth and don’t need an absolute beast of a PC, we recommend HP’s Omen. You get a whole lot of really good components for a moderate price, and you can upgrade as the years go by.
- Capable of running almost all possible software
- Top-notch components
- Suitable choice for both work and gaming
- For a computer this strong, more RAM would be great
Featuring the latest in AMD’s lineup of processors, this build by iBUYPOWER was an easy pick for our list of best computers for CAD. With a long list of good specs, this is a PC for the more demanding AMD fans.
Starting with the design that features three RGB fans at the front of the case, this computer presents itself as more of a high-end model than the price might suggest.
Considering that AMD has closed the gap between their CPUs and those of their competitors, receiving the newest Ryzen 9 3900x is a fantastic deal. The base clock speed measures at 3.8 GHz, but you can use turbo mode to bring it up to 4.6GHz.
The graphics card, yet another nod towards those that prefer AMD, is a Radeon RX5700XT — a model that is well-known on the market and has gathered many positive reviews. Thanks to the 8GB of video RAM, you can be sure that all your CAD-related processes will run smoothly.
Speaking of RAM — you’d almost expect to see a full 32GB supporting such a strong build, but 16GB is perfectly adequate and can easily be upgraded. You’ll also be pleased to know that iBUYPOWER has decked out this computer with plenty of storage. You can use the SSD for necessities and store everything else on the HDD.
As it’s very quiet, it’s suited for both office and at-home usage. We recommend it to those that want the best possible specs for a completely acceptable price.
So there we are. All of the above computers have different strengths and weaknesses, but the model that impressed us the most within its price range was definitely the Dell Inspiron i5680. With its powerful CPU that you can overclock to 4.6GHz, this computer is a dream for any CAD user.
We hope that this adventure into the world of the best computers for CAD was both helpful and entertaining. Most of all, we hope that it helped you take your pick. Leaving all the research to us should save you both time and stress, and that is exactly what we aimed for when preparing this lineup!
Let us know in a comment below if you think there are any other pre-built CAD computers out there for us to consider.
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