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The Best CAD Laptop 2022

windchill features best plm software
Written by Chris McHale
Published on June 6, 2022

For decades, mechanical CAD (MCAD) has heavily relied on top of the range workstations, resources and graphics cards. Now, users are moving to more portable options, it’s no surprise they’re searching for the best CAD laptop.

Previously, desktop and laptop CAD users would have to invest in capable, high-powered workstations. This would ensure MCAD apps like SolidWorks, PTC Creo, and Dassault’s CATIA, would run smoothly. 

But, the technology industry has grown, and technology itself has evolved. The introduction of graphical processing units (GPU) and the cloud have become more mainstream. More reliable, higher-powered and easily accessible. Therefore, as more engineers and businesses rely on the Cloud for engineering tasks, the supporting technology is also improving. As we explored in this blog, desktops still have their place, but virtual workstations are now equally important.

Best Options For CAD Laptop 2022.

Remember when MCAD wouldn’t even work on Windows and users would have to rely on Unix?

Technology has changed. Your search criteria today probably is the “best CAD laptop”. Fifteen years ago, you most likely wouldn’t have even looked for a laptop. Instead, you would have been searching for a workstation. Because workstations had the most horse-power for processing MCAD. 

As CAD laptops became more mainstream, with better GPU and power, it became a no-brainer to opt for a laptop instead. Now you have the same experience, but it’s portable. A game-changer for many businesses continued to accelerate during COVID-19. And the desktop users? They were stuck scratching their heads how to mobilize a workforce unable to access their office machines.

It was during the pandemic that SPK and Assosicates created vCAD.

Virtual CAD (vCAD) is a tool that allows the creation of a virtual desktop (or workstation) from a web browser. It provides the ability to use MCAD apps from any physical device. vCAD is pre-configured to all your workstation settings. It’s the next evolution from desktop to laptop to freedom and ultimately working within the cloud. Additionally, it works pretty much exactly the same as the power from your desktop and laptop. Check out how effective it is in this SolidWorks tutorial.

In fact, many users who are searching for the best laptop for CAD may be able to supplement their laptop processing needs by exploring virtual CAD instead.

Are Laptop And Workstation GPU’s Important For CAD?

With the introduction of GPUs (graphical processing units) in the Cloud, a virtual workstation is now a great option for MCAD apps. So do we still need the best CAD laptop? Are the physical workstations even needed anymore

Most engineers still spend a lot of money on powerful physical workstations with expensive graphics cards. After all, achieving your best work in real-time is critical. Especially with the right GPU architecture that drives productivity and quality.

For example, the NVIDIA RTX A4500 is a next-generation workstation graphics processing unit. It’s one of several GPUs bringing NVIDIA Ampere Architecture to life. That architecture is hailed as the heart of the world’s highest-performing elastic data center. It’s the segment of the workstation market where high-performance and a large amount of GPU memory are non-negotiable.

But for the majority of engineers, are expensive and beefy laptop and workstation GPUs that important? After all technology has moved the goal post with the introduction of less expensive virtual GPU and tools like vCAD.

Accessing MCAD Through The Power Of vCAD

vCAD can support most MCAD applications. The processing is done via an off-premises server.  This means you no longer need the highest specification machines. Nor do you need the highest spec GPUs to achieve the same MCAD outputs. In fact, accessing the same MCAD apps through the power of vCAD removes the need for super-powered GPUs. 

vCAD doesn’t just reduce your physical hardware needs either. It has a whole heap of additional benefits. Check out the list of benefits that your company and MCAD design engineers can reap:

vCAD Benefits For MCAD Users
Set up and testing
Remote access and multi-device
Reduced licensing fees
vCAD is a browser-based portal that is pre-configured by the simple click of a button. The virtual desktop environment is created from an “original-state” image. This is not only critical for testing but also allows for the user themselves to reset their test environment without involving IT. This doesn’t just empower your MCAD teams, it also reduces the need to introduce additional labor time and costs.
It’s easy to run out of RAM/GPU/CPU for completing ad-hoc training with groups. Yet effective training is essential to your team’s final outputs. With vCAD for MCAD training, users can bring their own devices, or you can utilize company computer resources and vCAD powered by AWS infrastructure without the worry you’re going to run out of RAM/GPU/CPU. The training environment is also protected, meaning you remove the risk of important files being deleted. It also returns to the same “state” for the next round of training for applications like Creo or SolidWorks.
vCAD is cloud-based. Your engineering teams are empowered to work from just about anywhere in the world. It also works on a device as small as an iPhone or iPad or Samsung devices. You can connect it to a monitor and quickly review designs, or deep dive into designing. Because the GPU and app like SolidWorks are based elsewhere, your physical device power is no longer the crux of designing and productivity.
A vCAD workstation can be created, and a standalone SolidWorks license loaded and configured on it. This one standalone vCAD station can now be shared amongst various users and stretches your licensing fees further. The users can use their own logins, but they can share the same SolidWorks license and device, legally and effectively from one engineering workstation.


If you’re still searching for “the best options for a CAD laptop 2022”, consider if you even still need to ask that. Gone are the days when MCAD and design teams were limited by the investment of their GPU to complete business-critical design work. vCAD is revolutionizing the way MCAD teams work and collaborate – globally.

As vCAD is a browser and cloud-based tool, the processing and MCAD applications like SolidWorks are off-prem. This enables designers to access powerful MCAD software from a device as small as a phone, and as remotely as an internet connection permits.

Whilst both powerful laptops and workstations still have a place, vCAD can now improve your team’s productivity, and lower computer infrastructure and licensing investments.

Want to learn more about how vCAD can help your MCAD teams? Check out these handy resources:

Blog: Utilize Virtual CAD For Mechanical Engineers

Vlog: vCAD Use Cases For Mechanical Engineers

Blog: How To Reduce Engineering Licensing Fees

Blog – vCAD – Virtual CAD Platform

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