BEST Laptop for Rhino and CAD? 💻

So Id like to get a Laptop for Rhino, Revit, 3D design and rendering + occasional photo/video editing.
Ideally under 2k. Buying in US.

Considering Razer Blade 15 4k option with GTX 1070, or the newer 2019 model with RTX2080 but without 4k display. Hows rendering performance on RTX cards? Worth the 4k screen trade off?
Open to any other laptop/workstation laptop ideas. Quadro PC’s do seem a bit pricey.

That’s because Quadros are specifically intended for OpenGL based display.

So does mean it still makes sense to say get a laptop with NVIDIA Quadro P2000 card vs RTX gaming series. Is it noticeable improvement? Not sure what open gl display is

That I can’t tell you.
Some of the other guys here watching Hardware may have a better feel for performance.

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We are living in this strange time in which most companies that make laptops, with amazing high performing chips stuck in chassis with cooling solutions that aren’t up the task.

Realtime raytracing is a unique workload. Usually, either people are gaming which is heavy-GPU and light-CPU, or they are crunching something that has heavy-CPU and light-CPU.

Gaming laptops tend to cool themselves comparatively well. Many of the “mobile workstations” are still designed for a bursty not constant work load. Those days are over. Still, my Thinkpads have been exceptionally reliable machines, with the modern equivalent being the “P” series. Though, they still throttle and run warm.

Dell makes a “mobile-workstation” as well, called the “Precision.” Bear in mind that a “mobile-workstation” is gaming computer in a business suit. Companies such as Clevo/Sager used to make some heavy hardware, but their current offerings are more toward Alienware’s designs. Alienware still seems to make good computers–in spite of them having been bought by Dell, some years back.

If you don’t plan to use Cycles much or render much, your selections are wider.

Rhino and CAD in general is lightly threaded, so how fast the process runs and how many instructions it can do at once has a greater bearing on performance than how many cores–until you render something. What muddies the picture is: many newer larger processors also posses a higher clock; this is a new thing. Is a notebook computer. most of the time you may get better performance from a fast quad than a hex-cored computer–if you take into account that the GPU may going to share some heatpipes with the GPU, because sometimes they are bridged together for bursty heat loads.

In desktops, the nVidia Quadro cards often have ECC memory for reliability. On notebook computers, I am entirely unimpressed by the Quadro line. Every once in a while there’s a Quadro chip that has a little faster memory or wider data bus, but often instead they are almost as fast as GTX/RTX.

Also note that for nVidia GPUs, “Max-Q” GPUs are usually slower, and made for smaller chassis.

I recommend reading up on Holo’s everpopular Holomark, where you can find how well a machine performs under Rhino. There’s also Cinebench for CPU testing, for which the R15 and r20 are what’s commonly used… Game frames-per-second scores are a good GPU test. There’s a Cinebench OpenGL benchmark.

Notebookcheck’s lists are a great resource. You can pick a few, and narrow them down, by using “Restrict.” It’s a German site.


Thanks for the indept feedback! It seems that ThinkPad P1 Gen 2 might be the best option for the money. 9 gen i core or xeon, 4k screen, quadro p2000, 32GB ram wrapped in a decent package. Notebookcheck seems the be a fan of it as well. I also like the MSI WS Series WS65 9TK-1014 with Quadro RTX 3000, but that cost lots more and ive heard likes to get rather loud.

While I like Thinkpads, I think if you want a machine that you can draw most things, I might go with a P53 or P73. The P1 and the models with the S suffex would be more for dabbling in design or for passing around the conference room to show your designs.

If you want to do high-performance computing: thin and light is probably not your friend.

If you do get a Thinkpad, sign up for their offers and you get $100 off, as long as you subscribe to the right thing.

I’ve seen some nice MSI laptops, too, and quite powerful. There are likely some performance reviews on LinusTechTips and other channels.

I’m currently using the Asus Zephyrus-M. It’s a great machine. I’m running 60fps on a 4k monitor with no hiccups. I use Rhino 6, Zbrush, VRay with no problems


Also considering MSI WS Series WS65 9TK-1014 Mobile Workstation Intel Core i7 9th Gen 9750H (2.60 GHz) 32 GB Memory 512 GB NVMe SSD NVIDIA Quadro RTX 3000 15.6" 4K/UHD. Although that is double the $$$

i had a sager and it was a beast at the time 19" screen. it was a solid machine, shame to see them go “alienware” then.

I am indeed strongly considering Lenovo P1 gen 2. With 32gb rab, fast i7 and nvidia p2000. That should be sufficient for some rendering work no? I dont want anything bulky so the other option is the more expensive MSI

The title for this thread mentions “BEST” . I don’t feel that that P1 would be a good choice for rendering, but it may balance into the rest of your daily needs, though. For modeling a computer mouse, a bike frame, or a computer case (only), I think it should be okay. I should think that the S models might be slightly cheaper than the P1, perhaps for comparable performance, but with more bulk and weight, but less than the P53/P73.

I am typing this on a 4-year old Lenovo W540 that I have personally carried over 400 miles in a backpack, not all at once. 1.52 miles, round trip, 4-5 days a week, 4 years. I am starting to losing he hinge on the right side because I lift the computer up by the lid sometimes.

As far as rendering and for real-time renders like Cycles, it’s not only the chips but the cooling system itself that matters. This is complicated by Lenovo’s insistence that their computers are quiet and have a low fan noise. That has bitten them lately.

I would get what I almost got: Either a P53 or P73 with a RTX4000, 2 sticks of large memory, LCD, (no OLED), either 4 or six cores of processor–and of course 3 years of Depot warranty. If you drop it and find most of the parts, and at least shake most of the water out of it, they will fix it : )

[I drew part of a machine almost as complicated as riding lawn-mower on a Thinkpad x220. Because it only had an Intel integrated “GPU” with an incomplete instruction set, It had visual artifacts, and it was so slow that I had to constantly change layers and hide things. Still it didn’t overheat, for some reason. That poor little thing : ( ]

Thing is, why I like, in part the P1 is its slimness and better looks then P53 or P74. They’re just too bulky looking for me, plus I would prefer the best screen for color reproduction which seems to be OLED since I do some photo editing as well. Thats why the other alternative seems to be MSI WS Series WS65 or MSI P65 Creator-1084 15.6" 4K Laptop Intel Core i7-9750H, GeForce RTX 2060, 32GB. Just worry about them being too loud. Lenovos do seem to have reputation for being quiet. Its gonna sound a bit silly but I need the machine to look sleak and good looking as well.

My two cents on 4k: worth it. It takes a little effort to customize your view options to make it really usable, but it ends up being a much better experience, both to use and to show clients.

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Dell Precision 75XX…pricey but a workhorse :slight_smile:


OLEDs have been known to suffer from image burn.

For me, it’s lightness and not thickness, as long as I can reach my arms on top of the keyboard.

Ultimately, it will be your choice and your computer. I hope you enjoy whatever you get.

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@bodia27: according to what you mentioned, your work doesn’t seem to do much with rendering and all lighting and material variants to go for photorealistic images.

I love my Lenovo P40 Yoga for its lightweight and considerably small size at 14" with 2560x1440 resolution. But I end up using 1920x1080 for the best font size and details to my eyes. The Quadro M500M inside it gives enough muscle to go with my daily activities (Rhino, Blender, Image Manipulation, Video Editing and office work).

I’m also grateful to have more powerful yet older, HP Zbook Studio with Quadro M1000M, which also equipped with external GPU (AMD W7100 and Nvidia RTX 2080). The Zbook Studio has 4K display, but mostly I’m also using 1920x1080 when not doing video editing. This will handle higher workloads in Blender and Grasshopper. For FEA and CFD, I’m relying on my HP Z820 desktop. The continuous workloads aren’t suitable for my notebooks.

If you’re traveling and carrying the notebook everyday, you’ll appreciate lighter one. CPU performance has gone radical these days. But according to your consideration, I strongly believe Lenovo P1 should be enough.

Another consideration to go for higher CPU is if you have plans to use Grasshopper intensively.

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Lenovo X1 Extreme Gen2? Not as bulky as P series, but mostly as capable…

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yep. same body as P1 actually

Ok, so then:
MSI P65 Creator-1084 15.6" 4K Laptop Intel Core i7-9750H, GeForce RTX 2060, 32GB
ThinkPad P1 Gen 2 Workstation 4K IPS i7-9750H, T2000,32G RAM ?