Basic Educational Laptop ideas

Good afternoon Rhino community,

I would like to get some laptop suggestions for young kids in educational settings like schools; affordable and ideally built to be robust and resistant.

  1. Basic laptops that will enable simple modelling workflows (no cycles rendering, but can use the ‘Rendered’ view mode with simple materials)

  2. Basic laptops that will allow, both, simple modelling workflows and basic rendering (using cycles)

If you could categorise if they fit in to 1 or 2 above.

All suggestions welcome!


Good morning, does anybody have any suggestions for this question?


Does anybody have experience with the DELL Precision 3480 14" Workstation?

13th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-1360P, vPro® Essentials (18MB, 12 core 16 thread 2.20 - 5.00GHz Turbo, 28W)

NVIDIA® RTX A500, 4GB GDDR6 Graphics Card

16GB, 2x8GB 5200MT/s SODIMM, DDR5, non-ECC

512 GB, M.2 2230, Gen 4 PCIe NVMe, SSD, Class 35


As this is in Dell’s Workstation range I suspect it will carry a price premium compared to other laptops with similar capabilities. Not sure that makes it a wise choice for students.

Thanks @jeremy5

Would you have any other suggestions? I see that ASUS have some student-specific rugged laptops, for example, which seem good for a classroom-type setting. But not sure they are capable enough for (simple) 3D modelling (and basic raytracing would be a bonus!)

Sorry I don’t think you’re gonna get real insightful help, we’re all USING Rhino (or making it,) not benchmarking it. We simply have no authoritative information even if we use it every day. How how many of us even have control over what hardware we use?

Basically anything considered a decent “gaming laptop” will be good for Rhino, that’s the closest analogy. That’s as compared to an “office” machine which will be pathetic or a “workstation” that will be overpriced.

Hi @sach ,
You can purchase virtually any hardware, and it’s likely that Rhino, particularly version 5, will operate smoothly. Unfortunately, the latest versions require more advanced hardware for features that may not be essential, diminishing this compatibility advantage. Nonetheless, currently, even a low-end PC priced between €300-400 should run Rhino without issues.
Hope this helps,

I am assuming you don’t perform light analysis, rendering etc, just straight modelling

Thanks @JimCarruthers
Good analogy and breakdown in to 3 categories. That’s helpful

If you are considering this for children in schools, bear in mind that the schools will have supplier agreements for IT which will probably limit the machines they can buy. Schools may have existing stocks of laptops with no prospect of replacements until they have reached end of life. But old machines may be perfectly capable of running Rhino (see below).

As far as the software goes, given you can only purchase the current release of Rhino, there is no mileage in considering machines for older versions.

I have a reasonably powerful desktop for most Rhino tasks, but still occasionally use a Surface Book laptop from 2016 with this spec: Intel(R) Core™ i7-6600U CPU @ 2.60GHz 2.81 GHz, 16GB RAM, Nvidia GeForce GTX 965M graphics with 1GB memory. This is below the min spec McNeel recommend but still appears to be good enough to do what you are seeking:

So I’d suggest you approach some schools to find out what spec of laptops they have (or can buy) and then seek to establish whether the spec is good enough to run Rhino.

Maybe people successfully using old kit with Rhino 8 can chip in with their specs to give you a working baseline.

Thanks @farouk.serragedine

Could you give examples of non-essential features?
I need to do basic modelling workflows – simple stuff – which as you say low-end ones should be ok for. But, what if I want raytracing at a basic level?


Raytracing at a basic level will be manageable by something like an Intel 12500H CPU, which is a mobile 4P + 8E core config.

If you believe you really need a GPU rendering solution, or you want them to use something more exotic than Cycles, then basically anything over an RTX 3050 (mobile) will be fine. General advice would be to always have a dGPU like an RTX 3050 anyway, and don’t touch laptops with only the CPU’s iGPU doing the graphical work.

Then you need an Nvidia GPU, at least a 1060-level to be useful.

Ultimately, we don’t know what your budget is.

However, I noticed your re-route to ASUS UK.

If you are in the UK, then I can recommend Scan UK. I’ve bought nearly all of my stuff from there to build my own PC. They also gave advice to a friend where they actually talked him down from what I recommended.

I think you need to be clear that you want a discrete GPU. They may have some generic stuff from China that they can supply (Lenovos, Medions…), which should carry 16 GB RAM, an RTX 3050, and the aforementioned CPU for about £700 each.

Consider this will be more basic raytracing, as the RTX 3050, though still in supply, has only 4 GB VRAM, which should be enough for teaching kids.

Thanks @JimCarruthers @David53 for your feedback. I’ll keep RTX in mind and check out Scan.

Do you know what Intel’s Arc Pro GPU is like? Compared to RTXs?

Intel Arc GPUs will not allow you to raytrace render in Rhino using GPU as hardware, you will be only able to use CPU.

There are good things about Intel Arc, I ran one for a while in Rhino, and plan a revisit soon.

However, in general, I would highly recommend that you stick to Nvidia and AMD GPU-eqipped laptops. Specically, it appears to be a forum consensus that Nvidia GPUs are better for Rhino, for whatever reasons. I’m afraid for the sake of simplicity and sanity, one must surrender money to the greedy green cash machine.


Good to know about the CPU thing. I think I’ll stick with the green machine….
RTX A500 seems to be the laptop entry point … hopefully that’s enough!

In Germany a lot of companies are donating old workstations/ laptops to schools. At least they try. For some unknown reason many schools reject 5 year old machines, and rather buy new tablets or other garbage devices. Any outdated professional Workstation or laptop will likely be sufficient to run Rhino and all the other apps you see on an educational laptop. Even if its older than 5 years. Just ask companies in your area and you might only need to buy new SSD‘s.


Great idea. I was thinking about that approach…I will investigate that route.