If you’re anything like me, you’ve been quite interested in learning how to 3D model. It’s a fascinating field that requires a whole new way of thinking. In that regard, Autodesk Fusion 360 seems to be the perfect software to teach one the very basics. Not only is it available for free (trial verzion) but it also offers a wide range of tutorials and projects to tackle along the way. For those willing to take the plunge and put some hours into learning a whole new skill – this might be a great first-step tool.
Once you’ve gone through a few tutorials and have learned the basics, though, there’s no denying that having access to a 3D modeling software from your laptop would be convenient as heck. For those of us looking for that, there are some great options on the market already. So great, in fact, that I’ve prepared a whole guide just for them!
- Autodesk Fusion 360 is a great first step into 3D modeling
- the best laptops for Fusion 360 are in this article
Requirements for a Autodesk Fusion 360 laptop
Major The right graphics card
If you’re on a tight budget and only want to use Fusion 360 occasionally – an integrated graphics chip should be enough.
An integrated graphics chip is the cheapest option for any laptop, so this will likely be your first choice if you’re on a tight budget. You’ll notice performance hitches, especially when dealing with large assemblies. But for small assemblies, an integrated graphics chip should work just fine.
But, if you want to go the extra mile and buy a laptop that has a dedicated GPU – I recommend going for one of these cards:
- GTX 1660 Ti
- RTX 2070
I recommend GTX 1660 Ti over RTX 2070 because it is less expensive and better suited for basic assemblies. However, if you’re looking to get something with RTX and Nvidia Max-Q technology – the RTX 2070 is worth considering.
- if you’re on a tight budget, get an integrated graphics chip (like Intel UHD Graphics 620)
- if you want to spend more money, get a laptop with an Nvidia Max-Q graphics card (like RTX 2070)
Major Deciding on a processor
If you’re on the hunt for a laptop that can run Autodesk Fusion 360 smoothly, then it’s time to dig deep into the specs. A powerful processor is one of the most important features of a laptop, so it should be one of your top priorities.
When choosing a processor for an Autodesk Fusion 360 laptop, it’s crucial to know what the program needs. That’s because most tasks are not parallelizable and will be handled by only one core. That means that more cores won’t help with most Fusion 360 tasks. If you’re primarily using Fusion 360 for CAD or CAM, then go for a high-end processor like Intel Core i9-11900H. It’s worth noting that the number of cores doesn’t matter much for Fusion 360, but single-core speed does – so make sure your CPU is capable of running at least 3.5GHz per core (it will show up in benchmarks). For example, AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS would be perfect – it can clock up to 4.3GHz per core!
Here are some great processors for running Autodesk Fusion 360:
- i5-1135G7 – if you’re looking for the best cheap laptop for Fusion 360
- i7-10875H – if you want a middle-range laptop for Fusion 360
- i9-11900H – if you’re looking for the best laptop for Fusion 360
- if you’re primarily using Fusion 360 for CAD or CAM, go for a high-end processor like Intel Core i9-11900H (but make sure it can run at least 3.5GHz per core)
- if you’re looking for the best cheap laptop for Fusion 360, get an i5 or i7 processor (and make sure it can run at least 3.5GHz per core)
- if you want a middle-range laptop for Fusion 360, get an i7 processor (and make sure it can run at least 3.5GHz per core)
- if you’re looking for the best laptop for Fusion 360, get an i9 processor (and make sure it can run at least 3.5GHz per core)
Major Memory that will work optimally with Autodesk Fusion 360
Minimum (8 GB)
8 GB used to be the standard for RAM capacity for the longest time. In 2021, 16 GB is becoming the new de facto choice for budget laptops, starting at around $650. If you can’t go above that, 8 GB is still alright. In fact, it might be a wise choice if you’re prioritizing the CPU, which is much more critical for Autodesk Fusion 360.
Recommended (16 GB)
If you aren’t limited by a very tight budget – you’ll most likely end up with a 16 GB laptop. It just seems to do the job for most laptops under $2k. That’s the sweet spot for work, gaming, and everything in-between. These days a fast SSD can soften the impact of running out of RAM. That might be one of the reasons why I’ve noticed a slowdown in the continuous climb of RAM capacities in laptops. Especially if you’re buying a bulkier laptop that can be easily upgraded, there’s no need to sweat about getting 16 GB.
Best (32 GB)
If you’re only running Autodesk Fusion 360 on your laptop, 32 GB is only necessary if you typically use lots of sample-based instruments (each running Multi-GB orchestral libraries & ROMpler style plugins, for example). But I doubt any of us are running Autodesk “naked”. I’d guess you’ll have a browser running in the background and then a couple more applications on the side. In that case, 16 GB, while perfectly capable, is not optimal for the best laptop for Autodesk Fusion 360. That’s why I recommend 32 GB for anyone going over $2000, where 32 GB laptops are ubiquitous. On top of that, 32 GB is a sure-fire way to future-proof your laptop.
- you’ll most likely end up with a 16 GB laptop
- 16 GB is a sure-fire way to future-proof your laptop.
Decorations (links, key phrases, TL;DR, images):
Optional requirements for a Autodesk Fusion 360 laptop
Optional The best storage that will work optimally with Autodesk Fusion 360 in 2021
When should you get a laptop with an SSD?
To answer this question, let’s break it down into two simple questions:
- What do you need your laptop for?
- How much are you willing to spend on it?
The answer to the first question is easy – if you’re buying a laptop solely for AutoCAD 2022 or Fusion 360, then an SSD is necessary. If you’re using other programs in addition to CAD software, then there are less rigid requirements. If you need to carry around large files, use specialized software, or edit video – I’d recommend getting a laptop with an SSD.
The answer to the second question is harder – in general, if you can afford it, I’d recommend getting a laptop with an SSD. That said, if your budget is tight and can’t stretch more than $1,000 – then don’t worry about the size of the drive. Instead focus on other aspects like RAM or display quality.
Common storage sizes in SSDs for laptops
The vast majority of laptops come with either 256 GB or 512 GB drives these days. Generally speaking, these are enough for AutoCAD 2022 and Fusion 360 workloads respectively. On the other hand, there are exceptions where AutoCAD 2020 can exceed 1 TB of storage space per year – in which case I would recommend looking at 1 TB or 2 TB laptops.
- SSD is necessary for AutoCAD 2022 and Fusion 360 workloads
- there are less rigid requirements for laptops used for other programs or for file transfer/editing/video editing/etc.
10 Best Laptops for Autodesk Fusion 360
Pros and cons
- Competent processor (i5-10500H)
- Awesome graphics card (RTX 3060)
- Substandard memory amount (8GB)
- Bulky (4.1 lbs)
- Exceptional processor (Ryzen 7 5700U)
- Fair display (14 IPS)
- Not the best graphics card (Radeon RX Vega 8 (Ryzen 40005000))
- Average memory amount (8GB)
Pros and cons
- Up to the mark processor (i7-10750H)
- Great graphics card (GTX 1660 Ti)
- First-class display (15.6 120Hz IPS)
- Fat 1TB SSD
- Garden-variety processor (Ryzen 5 5600H)
- Unexceptional memory amount (16GB)
Pros and cons
- Splendid processor (Ryzen 7 5800H)
- Adequate graphics card (Radeon RX 6600M)
- Very good processor (i7-11800H)
- Sufficient graphics card (RTX 3060)
- No IPS Panel (limited viewing angles)
Pros and cons
- Awesome processor (Ryzen 9 5900HS)
- Superb graphics card (RTX 3080)
- Not the best memory amount (16GB)
- Solid processor (Ryzen 9 5900HX)
- Solid memory amount (64GB)
- Unremarkable graphics card (RTX 3070)
- No IPS Panel (inferior color reproduction)
Pros and cons
- Very good graphics card (RTX 3080)
- Decent display (15.6 300Hz IPS-level G-Sync)
- Mediocre processor (Ryzen 7 5800H)
Pros and cons
- Solid graphics card (RTX 3080)
- Up to the mark display (15.6 165Hz IPS)
- Unremarkable processor (i7-11800H)
Table of Best Laptops for Autodesk Fusion 360
|MSI GF65 Thin 10UE||$690|
|Dell Inspiron 3000||$690|
|HP Pavilion 16 PC||$740|
|Acer Swift X SFX14-41G-R1S6||$920|
|MSI Crosshair 17||$1350|
|MSI Alpha 17 AMD||$1490|
|ASUS ROG Zephyrus G15||$2350|
|ASUS ROG Strix Scar||$2550|
|MSI GE66 Raider||$8850|