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Looking for a "budget" laptop for Revit 2012 (&AutoCAD 2012 rendering)?

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    Looking for a "budget" laptop for Revit 2012 (&AutoCAD 2012 rendering)?

    Hello -

    I'm a student looking for a laptop that can handle Revit 2012 (as well as AutoCAD 2011/12 -- specifically higher resolution rendering). One that I can get the most capability to fit my $1,000 budget. I last worked on a 3D model in AutoCAD on my Vostro 1510, that must have been too much . . . it would eventually just freeze. -- It seems Revit (that I will be starting a class in) requires even more.
    I'm having a hard time understanding what all the technical info is, but I noticed that one of your moderators okay'd a nVidia GeForce graphics card, but I noticed that Autodesk only recommends nVidia Quadro for Revit. Does it actually matter?
    Laptop advice -- with specific models especially -- would be appreciated!

    Don´t worry too much about the graphics card not being on the "recommended" list by Autodesk - Just means that Autodesk have not tested that card, while there´s great chances that the card will be fine anyway. As you noted, the nVidia GeForce cards, in general, works pretty well with Revit. On the other hand, AutoCad would benefit from the Quadro cards...

    Not sure what to recommend within a budget of 1K (Your pricing would be very different from mine) but HP laptops have been great for me. More specificly the HP Mobile Workstations (8710W), but I´d guess those are out of the price range...
    Klaus Munkholm
    "Do. Or do not. There is no try."


      Laptop for Revit/AutoCAD

      Thanks for replying -

      Did I understand you to say that AutoCAD works better with the nVidia Quadro graphics card? If so, then I should probably look for only this (?).

      Also, would the announcemnt (today) that HP will not be making PC's have any bearing if you were contemplating buying a new HP latptop today?

      Thanks again!


        What your opinion(s) about these specifications? Thanks!

        Dell XPS 17
        Item 225-0587

        2nd generation Intel® Core™ i7-2630QM processor 2.00 GHz with Turbo Boost 2.0 up to 2.90 GHz

        8GB Shared Dual Channel DDR3 Memory

        Standard Keyboard - English

        17.3" FHD (1080p) with 2.0MP HD Webcam

        NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 550M 1GB graphics with Optimus

        750GB 7200 RPM SATA Hard Drive

        Elemental Silver Aluminum

        Genuine Windows® Home Premium, 64-Bit, English

        Integrated 10/100/1000 Network Card

        Adobe® Acrobat® Reader

        Tray Load Blu-ray Disc BD-Combo (Reads BD and Writes to DVD/CD)

        JBL 2.1 Speakers with Waves Maxx Audio 3

        Intel® Centrino® Wireless-N 1000

        Microsoft® Office Starter: reduced-functionality Word & Excel w/ ads. No PowerPoint or Outlook

        McAfee SecurityCenter, 15-Months

        56 WHr 6-cell Lithium Ion Primary Battery

        1 Year In-Home Service after Remote Diagnosis

        DataSafe 2.0 Online Backup 2GB for 1 year

        No Mobile Broad Band Selected


          That looks pretty good. I would really like to see you bump the CPU speed up a bit, to the 2720QM (2.2 GHz). However, I appreciate that you are a student, and the extra $125 is a lot of money, and it's certainly going to still be a very fast computer for your needs as a student. If you're going to be doing a lot of renderings, the quad core will really come in handy, but you could consider one of the faster dual cores (the slightly cheaper i5-2520M, or the more expensive i7-2620M) at the expense of rendering performance. However, if it was me as a student, and I had really hit my budget limit, I think I'd stick with what you've got.

          The GF550 should work great, but you just never know until you try it out. Regarding what Munkholm said about GF/Radeon vs. Quadro/FirePro in AutoCAD, at least in the past, it seems that AutoCAD can be rather selective in deciding whether to provide 3D hardware acceleration based on whether the drivers are supported or not. It seems this has gotten better in ACAD2012, but again, no guarantees. I think Dell is pretty good about accepting returns if you're not satisfied with the performance, but you should check with them. If you do get this laptop, please provide an update that the hardware acceleration option is working right in Revit (and AutoCAD).

          Any HP computer you buy now will still be covered under warranty for the life of the warranty, so no worries there. It's not like HP is going out of business (they're still the largest computer maker in the world), they're just looking at spinning off (or selling) the computer division. IBM did the same thing with their PC division to Lenovo a few years back.

          Good luck with school!


            Thank you so much for your feedback! -- And the clarifications.

            I enjoy the rendering aspects of AutoCAD (and may be investigating other rendering programs: 3D Max, Maya?) and so will ask Dell about the price differences in the processors you suggested. Will either of these alternate processors make a difference in large amounts of time (eg, like taking away an hour or so for a higher resolution rendering)? And will the better CPU you suggested also make this kind of difference? Your closest guestimate is appreciated!

            Also, asking Dell if they will accept refund if there is a problem with one of these programs is a very good idea . . . thank you again.


              Sorry, I wasn't very clear about the CPUs.

              Upgrading to the 2720QM is faster in all respects than the 2630QM.
              The i5-2520M and i7-2620M are dual cores, so even though they have a faster clock speed, they'll be slower than the quad core CPUs for rendering. However, for most things other than rendering, they'll be faster in most respects. You might read this post if you want to understand this better, but like I said before, I think you're best off staying with a quad core based on your stated priorities.

              If you're headed into architecture as a student, I think you'll find Revit a far better tool all around than AutoCAD, including renderings. AutoCAD is becoming rather useless in the architectural profession.


                That makes it much clearer. I'm an interior design student, so yes, rendering (surface information) is one of the more intriguing aspects of these programs. I am going to price the 2720QM.

                . . . I've heard that about Revit vs. "aging" CAD; instructor, friend . . . all of whom are architects!

                I'll post my experience in near future -- if all goes as it seems it will -- about Revit with this configuration.

                Thanks so much again!


                  . . . Sorry I just realized I didn't ask a very basic question (that may or may not influence) -- and of course popped into my head at 3am!:
                  I'm assuming the i5-2520M and i7-2620M dual cores will perform somewhat better -- than the 2720QM -- for rotating models?

                  Thanks again, when you have a chance.


                    Originally posted by saraedith View Post
                    I'm assuming the i5-2520M and i7-2620M dual cores will perform somewhat better -- than the 2720QM -- for rotating models?
                    Rotating a model only uses one core... so that's where Turbo Boost comes into play...

                    Using only one core:
                    The i7-2720QM tops out at 3.6 GHz.
                    The i7-2630QM tops out at 3.2 GHz.
                    The i5-2520M tops out at 3.4 GHz.
                    The i7-2620M tops out at 3.6 GHz.

                    So theoretically, the i7-2720QM will rotate a model at about the same speed as the i7-2620M, and faster than the i5-2520 and i7-2630 (I would just throw the i5 out of this discussion entirely - I never should have mentioned it).

                    I've probably started you worrying about something that isn't worth worrying about... I can't imagine you'll be working on really huge models in school, but if you're doing a lot of rendering, the quad core will be a huge time saver. Stick with what you originally suggested, but see if you can scrounge up enough cash to bump it up to the i7-2720QM. If not, no worries - sleep well.


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