A few years ago, I found out about Xactimate. It was so unlike any other application on the market, so I had to write an article about it.
Now, many years later, my expertise is still fresh in my mind. With that in mind, let’s jump into what you need to know about laptops for Xactimate.
There are only a few hardware components which are absolutely essential for Xactimate. On the other hand, there are many less important specs which will make your life easier if you have them – they are simply not crucial to the software’s operation. Finally, there are some highly unnecessary pieces of hardware which can help with your experience, but won’t make you a better Xactimate user.
Before we get started on the hard facts, let me tell you that almost any device which has modern-day hardware can run Xactimate just fine.
Requirements for a Xactimate laptop
Major Choosing a processor
A CPU is the heart of a laptop. It defines the speed and performance, and all other components are balanced around it to show its full prowess.
CPUs come in a few different families, each with their own set of pros and cons. In this article, we’ll be looking at Intel Core i3, i5, and i7 CPUs. Starting with Core i3 – these are more budget-friendly CPUs that perform decently enough for a laptop on a budget. Core i5 CPUs – a midrange CPU that balances single-core performance with more cores to offer a little more for multitasking. Core i7 CPUs – single-core performance at its best – but beware of the pricetag!
When shopping for a laptop, you need to ask yourself what you want it for. If you need an AutoCAD 2021 laptop or an Xactimate computer – then your top priority should be single-core performance. I recommend anything from the newest 2 series of processors: Intel Core i3-1005G1 or AMD Ryzen 3 3250U (i3-1005G1 has better benchmarks). If you’re on a budget and just need something for Xactimate to play with now and then, I’d say go for the cheapest one available. A reliable choice would be any of these: Intel Core i3-1030G1 or AMD Ryzen 3 3300U (Ryzen 3 has better benchmarks). For those on a budget but still want something really good – go for the cheapest one with an Intel Core i5-10300H (same as above). For those who can afford it – grab anything from the latest 2 series: Intel Core i5-10350G1 or AMD Ryzen 5 3600U (Ryzen 5 has better benchmarks). Finally, if you’re willing to spend some money but don’t want to break the bank – go for an Intel Core i7-10870H or AMD Ryzen 7 3700U (Ryzen 7 has better benchmarks).
- Core i3/Ryzen 3 is an affordable option for Xactimate laptops
- Core i5/Ryzen 5 is the best bang for your buck if you’re on a budget but still want quality
- Core i7/Ryzen 7 is pricey but provides the best single-core performance in laptops
Major Choosing a memory
Minimum (8 GB)
If you’re a novice and not expecting to be doing any heavy duty calculations, 8 GB should be just fine.
8 GB has been the standard for quite some time now, but don’t expect it to last long. The new de facto standard for budget laptops is 16 GB, which you can find at around $650.
8 GB might be a wise choice if you’re prioritizing the CPU, which is much more critical for Xactimate.
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.
A fast SSD can soften the impact of running out of RAM, which 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.
But make sure it has enough RAM slots to support an upgrade in the future; otherwise, it will be too hard to swap out with another one when necessary (for example, upgrading from 8GB to 16GB).
Best (32 GB)
If you’re only running Xactimate on your laptop, 32 GB is only necessary if you typically use lots of large plans that take up lots of memory.
But I doubt any of us are running Xactimate “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 would suffice for most needs, but not optimal for professionals who do lots of 3D modelling or CAD-type work on their laptop computers. 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 against any changes in software or hardware requirements that might come up later on down the line.
- 8 GB RAM is just fine for running Xactimate, but you’ll have to be careful with it
- 16 GB RAM is recommended for most laptops under $2k, unless you need more for large plans or running multiple applications at once
- 32 GB RAM is the best choice for anyone going over $2000, where 32 GB laptops are ubiquitous
Major The right graphics card
What kind of graphics do I need for Xactimate?
Graphics cards for Xactimate will depend on your profession and level of experience. If you’re a full-time contractor or a hobbyist, an entry-level card will be enough. Non-workstation cards are good for general assemblies with basic parts. However, if you’re a student or freelancer with access to the latest professional chips – these cards are more stable and you’ll get access to more features.
For those professionals, I recommend these cards:
- GTX 1650 for budget jobs
- RTX 3050 for general work
- RTX 3060 for those who have a bigger budget
If you’re a student or freelancer with a tight budget – go for a GTX 1650 card, as it will work just fine for basic projects. If you have the money – go for a mid-range card, such as RTX 3060.
- Integrated graphics or GTX 1650 will be enough for simple jobs
- RTX 3050 is recommended for most projects
- if you have a bigger budget, go for RTX 3060
Optional requirements for a Xactimate laptop
Optional Choosing the right storage for Xactimate
What is Xactimate?
It’s a software that you might be familiar with if you’re a construction professional. Xactimate is a construction estimating and bidding software that helps you keep track of estimates, bids, expenses, profit margins, and job site progress. It has helped professionals manage their businesses for more than 20 years now.
Minimum storage space
Xactimate requires 30 GB of free space to install and run. 256 GB SSD should be more than enough for the installation itself and the files needed to start working on a project – especially if you’re just starting out or not running other programs in the background.
512 GB SSD is recommended if you’re running other programs at the same time as Xactimate or need to work with large files (video). If your needs exceed this, I recommend upgrading to 1 TB SSD as soon as possible – it will make everything easier and smoother.
- Xactimate is an easy to use software for construction professionals
- It requires 30 GB of free space to install and run
- 256 GB SSD should be enough for most people, 512 GB SSD if you’re running other programs at the same time as Xactimate or need to work with large files (video)
Optional Deciding on a display
Right resolution for Xactimate work
- FHD is the bare minimum.
- 4K is overkill.
- QHD is usually good enough, unless you’re looking for a large screen (15″+).
Panel and image quality
- TN panels are cheap and ubiquitous. They’re also bad. The only benefit of TN panels is that they’re usually brighter than IPS panels.
- IPS panels are great, but they come with a higher price tag and you should make sure to get one with an “AHVA” or “IPS” label (meaning: wide viewing angles). There are also other decent “IPS” displays like eDP, PLS, or TN+Film – which do not offer better image quality, but can provide a slightly wider viewing angle. In other words, it’s a personal preference whether you prefer a display with poorer image quality but wider viewing angle or vice versa.
- OLED screens have been all the rage in recent years and while they’re an absolute pleasure to look at – they’re also much more expensive than any other panel type.
- when it comes to choosing a monitor for Xactimate work, FHD is the bare minimum
- 4K is overkill, unless you’re looking for a large screen (15″+)
- if you’re going for a smaller screen, go for QHD instead of 4K
- IPS panels are great, but you should check the viewing angles before buying them
5 Best Laptops for Xactimate
Pros and cons
- Great processor (Ryzen 7 5800H)
- Very good memory amount (128GB)
- Mediocre graphics card (RTX 3050 Ti)
- No IPS Panel (worse contrast)
Here’s the link to my Xactimate laptop comparison sheet. It contains around 100 best laptops on the market right now.
Table of Best Laptops for Xactimate
|Lenovo IdeaPad 3||$710|
|Dell XPS 9710||$1140|
|Dell XPS 9710||$1410|
|Acer Predator Helios 300||$1840|
|ASUS ROG Strix Scar||$2770|