Cad laptops: The best laptop for CAD, AutoCAD and 3D modelling in 2023

ASUS ROG Zephyrus M16 review: all the power… for all the money

Our Verdict

Immensely powerful, slick and stylish, the ASUS ROG Zephyrus M16 comes with the latest, greatest Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 graphics card, a powerful processor, a flashy LED display on the lid and a hefty price tag, but that last one is to be expected. If you can afford it, this will serve as both a gaming and creative powerhouse (just as long as you don’t stray too far from an outlet).

  • Amazing screen
  • Cool LED display
  • Immense power
  • Louder fans than advertised
  • Battery life isn’t great
  • Is the LED display needed?

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ASUS ROG Zephyrus M16: Key specs

CPU: Intel Core i9-13900H
GPU: NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 4090 16GB
Screen: 16 in WQXGA 240Hz, 2560×1600
Storage: 2TB NVMe M. 2 SSD
Ports: 1x 3.5mm audio jack, 1x HDMI 2.1, 2x USB-A 3.2 Gen 2, 1x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 (DP/power delivery), 1x Thunderbolt 4 (DP/power delivery)
Dimensions: 35.5 x 24.6 x 1.99-2.23 cm
Weight: 2.1kg

ASUS has been making waves in the gaming laptop scene for years now, and the 2023 model of the Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 is no exception. This high-performance laptop is designed to deliver impressive graphics and processing power, all while sporting a sleek and stylish look, including an eye-catching addition to the exterior, in the form of a customisable LED-powered display.

But will this evolved version of the ROG Zephyrus claim a spot among the best gaming laptops on the market today? Can it slug it out as a creative powerhouse too, considering the massive graphic power under the hood? Or is it all flash, no follow-through? I got a review unit to use for work and play for a few weeks and I am happy to report that it packs a plentiful punch indeed.

(Image credit: Future / Erlingur Einarsson)

Design & screen

  • Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 GU604 (2TB 16GB RAM) at Amazon for £3,599

First impressions of the M16 are nothing short of superlative. Its slim design and metallic finish give it a premium feel, and the RGB-lit keyboard adds a touch of flair that will undoubtedly appeal to gamers (although it’s a single-zone offering only, but I don’t mind that). Despite its relatively slim profile, the laptop is surprisingly sturdy, with minimal flex in the body and a robust hinge that keeps the display securely in place.

The M16 boasts an impressive 16-inch display, in the 16:10 aspect ratio currently taking over the laptop market. The display has a resolution of 2560 x 1600, and it’s capable of producing a refresh rate of up to 240Hz. The result is a visually stunning experience that immerses you in gaming and makes everything from detailed landscapes to fast-paced action sequences look incredible.

The AniME Matrix LED screen on the front of the Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 is one of the laptop’s most unique and eye-catching design features. The LED screen is essentially a customisable display that can be used to display animations, text, and graphics.

The screen is made up of thousands of mini LEDs, which can be programmed using the ASUS Armoury Crate software. The software comes with a range of pre-made animations and graphics, but users can also create their own custom designs using a simple drag-and-drop interface.

The AniME Matrix LED screen is not only a cool visual feature but can also serve a practical purpose. It can display notifications for incoming messages, emails, and other important updates, without interrupting your work or gaming experience. This can be especially useful for users who want to stay up-to-date without having to constantly check their phone or laptop screen. The screen can also be customized to display personalised messages or graphics.

Please note: the cat is not included with the laptop. (Image credit: Future / Erlingur Einarsson)


But the M16 isn’t just about good looks – it’s also packed with power under the hood. The laptop comes equipped with a 12th Gen Intel Core processor, designed to deliver lightning-fast performance and handle even the most demanding games and applications. The laptop also features the latest-generation NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 graphics card, which provides top-of-the-line graphics performance and can handle high-end games and VR content with ease.

In terms of storage, the M16 offers a generous 2TB SSD, which is more than enough space for even the most demanding gamers. The laptop also comes with 32GB of DDR5 RAM, ensuring smooth multitasking and making running multiple applications a breeze.

One of the most impressive-sounding features of the M16 is its cooling system. The laptop uses ASUS’s proprietary ROG Intelligent Cooling Thermal System, designed to increase airflow and keep the laptop cool during intense gaming and creative sessions. The multiple heat pipes and fans then work together to keep the laptop’s internal components cool and prevent overheating. It claims a ‘0db’ fan operation under light load, and for the most part, they stayed very quiet indeed during routine office work, but fire up a game or an application like Photoshop or InDesign, and the considerable cooling power made its presence clearly felt. 

(Image credit: Future / Erlingur Einarsson)


As a latest-generation gaming laptop, anything below ‘blisteringly fast’ would be a disappointment. Thankfully, the M16 easily passed that high bar while I had it. It plays the latest AAA games at max graphics settings without breaking a sweat (but admittedly getting a little loud in the fan department at times, especially in Turbo mode). 

Multitasking was also a breeze, with the laptop operating several demanding applications running at once, with little dropoff in performance for me at any point.

Benchmarking also shows a marked uptick from its previous generation, with both Geekbench 5 and Cinebench R23 scores confirming that this machine is fully capable of high-intensity work and play. Unsurprisingly, the M16 scores among the highest you can get out of any laptop today, and the Cinebench test in particular underlines its graphic prowess, proving that the M16 can pull double duty as a graphic design, 3D, animation or video-editing workhorse, which is especially good news considering the gorgeous, crisp screen it sports.

(Image credit: Future / Erlingur Einarsson)

ASUS ROG Zephyrus M16: Benchmarking scores

Geekbench 5 CPU:
Multi-Core: 14,565
Single-Core: 1,939

Cinebench R23:
Single-Core: 2,020

The keyboard on the M16 is a joy to use, with a comfortable layout and responsive keys that make typing and gaming a breeze. The keyboard is also backlit with RGB lighting, which can be customised to suit your preferences using the ASUS Armoury Crate software.

The laptop’s audio is also relatively impressive, with a pair of speakers that deliver clear and balanced sound, albeit a little bit light on the bass. The speakers are powered by Dolby Atmos technology, which enhances the audio quality and creates a fairly immersive surround sound experience for a laptop.

The M16 comes with a range of connectivity options, including three USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports, a Thunderbolt 4 port, an HDMI 2.0b port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The laptop also supports Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2, which provide fast and reliable wireless connectivity.

One of the few downsides of the M16 is its battery life, which lasts for around five hours on a single charge. This is to be expected with a laptop that packs so much power, but it’s still worth noting if you’re looking for a laptop that can last all day without needing to be charged.

This figure drops even further with high-intensity gaming, where I ran out of juice within two hours of playing on high graphic settings. Again, don’t stray too far from an outlet, my friends.

(Image credit: Future / Erlingur Einarsson)


The ASUS ROG Zephyrus M16 doesn’t come cheap, you’ll be decidedly unsurprised to know. The top-spec GU604 (that’s the one with the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 card) will set you back over £4,000/$3,400. You can get slightly lower-spec Zephyrus models such as the RTX 4070-equipped G16 for about £2,400, but do keep in mind that if it’s the AniME Matrix display you really want, that’s only available on the fully kitted-out flagship GU604 model with the RTX 4090 card.

(Image credit: Future / Erlingur Einarsson)

Should I buy the ASUS ROG Zephyrus M16?

If you want a top-level gaming laptop that has a bit of razzle-dazzle to its presentation (in the form of its AniME Matrix display) and can easily handle heavy-duty creative tasks too, such as 3D software and tough video-editing, the ASUS ROG Zephyrus M16 fits the bill – if you can afford it, that is. 

Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 GU604: Price Comparison

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out of 10

ASUS ROG Zephyrus M16 GU604

Immensely powerful, slick and stylish, the ASUS ROG Zephyrus M16 comes with the latest, greatest Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 graphics card, a powerful processor, a flashy LED display on the lid and a hefty price tag, but that last one is to be expected. If you can afford it, this will serve as both a gaming and creative powerhouse (just as long as you don’t stray too far from an outlet).

Erlingur is the Tech Reviews Editor on Creative Bloq. Having worked on magazines devoted to Photoshop, films, history, and science for over 15 years, as well as working on Digital Camera World and Top Ten Reviews in more recent times, Erlingur has developed a passion for finding tech that helps people do their job, whatever it may be. He loves putting things to the test and seeing if they’re all hyped up to be, to make sure people are getting what they’re promised. Still can’t get his wifi-only printer to connect to his computer. 

Acer Swift Edge 16 review: exceptionally light laptop is a pro performer

Our Verdict

The Acer Swift Edge 16 is an excellent all-around laptop with a strong CPU and plenty of RAM. Creative software runs well, and the 16in, 16:10 OLED screen is bright, sharp and colourful. It may lack the graphics power for 4K gaming or heavy 3D rendering tasks, but is exceptionally light and portable thanks to a frame made from an aluminium-magnesium alloy covered with a black plastic casing. If you’re working with multiple apps open, or want to do image editing on the move, the Acer Swift Edge 16 is a capable tool.

  • Thin and light
  • Looks great
  • Decent processor
  • No Windows Hello
  • Average battery life
  • Reflective screen

Why you can trust Creative Bloq
Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.


Acer Swift Edge 16: Key specs

CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 6800U
GPU: AMD Radeon Graphics 680M
Screen: 16in OLED, 3840×2400
Storage: 1TB
Ports: 2x USB 4 Type-C, 2x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, HDMI 2.1, headphones
Dimensions: 13.95 x 356.7 x 242.3 mm
Weight: 1.17kg

The Acer Swift Edge 16 is remarkably light. You notice it when you take it out of the box, as you’ll put a bit too much force into lifting it in anticipation of greater weight, and end up looking a bit stupid as it lifts up faster than you expected. It’s also thin, perfect for slipping into a stylish shoulder bag or laptop bag .

Inside, there are some decent specs too, and while this isn’t a laptop that’s going to appeal directly to gamers, it should be able to hold its own. It’s a bit of an all-rounder, providing good CPU performance, a nice dollop of internal storage, a glorious OLED screen, and some fast USB 4 ports for connecting to hubs, screens or external SSDs.

A few things about it, however, have been sacrificed in the pursuit of lightness, and we’d have liked to have seen a more potent cooling system and better speakers. However, these are edge cases that will only be of interest to those who push their laptops hard with 3D apps, or like to watch movies with the built-in speakers instead of headphones. Most of the time the Edge 16 is perfectly good enough, and in a few cases, it’s excellent.

(Image credit: Future / Ian Evenden)

Acer Swift Edge 16 review: Design and display

  • Acer Swift Edge (Black OLED) at Currys for £1,199

The second thing you notice about the Edge 16, after the weight, is the screen. It helps that, when you switch it on, the Acer logo appears in a shade of green that’s halfway between ‘toxic waste’ and ‘Tom Jones’ lawn’. It’s an HDR OLED, of course, with a 16:10 resolution that’s not unadjacent to 4K and a brightness output of 500 nits. It hits the DCI-P3 colour gamut, and is generally nice to look at.

The only thing that’s wrong with the screen is that it’s very reflective, and could have done with some sort of extra coating to correct this. Still, it’s bright enough to be easily used in most lighting conditions, and it’s not a touchscreen so won’t get coated in fingerprints. It’s a bit of a dust magnet though.

Otherwise, it’s yet another black rectangle, a discreet silver Acer logo on the lid letting others know your manufacturer of choice. Otherwise the back of the lid is seamless, with no contrasting panels or additional lights. Open it up, and the thin bezel looks stylish, while the backlit keyboard and moderately sized trackpad. 

The screen hinge doesn’t allow the laptop to lay flat, and there is a speaker grille in the top of the casing just below the screen, with a DTS logo next to it. The keyboard has very little travel, but the keys are full-size and we didn’t have a problem typing on it. We do wonder if a small numpad could have been squeezed in by shunting everything left a bit, but that’s a minor gripe.

(Image credit: Future / Ian Evenden)


There’s a scattering of ports on the outside edges of the Edge 16, but it’ll be enough. With two USB 4 Type-C ports, each of which can also connect to a monitor and charge the machine, it’s versatile enough. There’s a full-size HDMI 2.1 port capable of 10K output, should you have a monitor of that resolution laying around, though we couldn’t get a signal out of it on our test machine, the 4K external monitor we tried preferring to be attached to the USB-C port via an adapter. This is almost certainly our fault and not Acer’s.

With two further USB 3 ports there’s plenty of opportunity to hook the Edge 16 up to a docking station if you’re working at a desk, with a Kensington lock socket adding extra physical security. There’s also no Ethernet socket, so you’ll have to add one via a dock if it’s needed. A tiny webcam graces the top edge of the screen, sports a 1080p resolution, and has some clever noise-reduction tech built in to both the sensor and its mics. It doesn’t support Windows Hello, for face-recognition unlocking, but there is a fingerprint reader in the power button.

(Image credit: Future / Ian Evenden)


Acer Swift Edge 16: Benchmark scoring

Cinebench R23
Single-core: 1,411

PCmark 10

Geekbench 6
Multi-core: 7,714

Battery-life test:
7hrs 15m

The CPU inside the Swift Edge 16 is an AMD Ryzen 7 6800U. It’s an eight-core Zen 3+ processor capable of simultaneously processing 16 threads, runs at 2.7GHz with a boost clock of up to 4.7GHz, and comes with a Radeon 680M integrated GPU with 12 of AMD’s RDNA2 cores. 

Paired with 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM, it’s an excellent all-round package that shouldn’t break a sweat at anything short of heavy 3D gaming or high-res rendering. The U-series is the tier of AMD processors that uses the least power, so it’s ideal for a portable.

This CPU makes the Edge 16 more powerful than the Steam Deck, and the 6800U is a common choice in the Steam Deck clones we’re starting to see in the market, but the Edge 16 has a higher resolution screen to push. It’s going to be fine playing games from the last five years at 1080p or 720p and medium to low settings, but don’t go expecting a portable 4K gaming powerhouse, as the integrated GPU just isn’t up to the job. Likewise, while it’s fine adding GPU acceleration to Photoshop and Lightroom, it’s not a chip that’s going to give you huge performance in After Effects or Blender.

Its Geekbench 6 score puts the CPU just behind a 10th-generation Intel i9 chip released in 2020, and it’s only about a thousand points behind the Apple M2 in the MacBook Air, indicative of the jumps forward CPU design has made in the interim. The chip does stress the Edge 16’s cooling system, however, with the fan springing into life even when carrying out light tasks. It’s not particularly noisy, just producing a metallic whooshing sound, but it’s there. The fan is actually visible through the intake grille on the base of the machine, which at least means you know which part should not be clogged with dust.

(Image credit: Future / Ian Evenden)

Should you buy the Acer Swift Edge 16?

If the thinness and lightness of your laptop are important to you, then the Acer Swift Edge 16 is a great choice. It’s a jack of all trades, not specialising in any particular area, and the screen can look spectacular. It also has good connectivity, and starts up remarkably fast. It does, however, come with pre-installed software that nags you to buy a subscription with pop-ups, an annoyance that’s going to mean uninstalling the app or at least clicking the ‘never show again’ button.

At a price that’s skirting the £1,500 mark in the UK, and $1,300 in the US, it’s easily in MacBook Air M2 or even MacBook Pro 13in territory. The screen on the Edge 16 is much larger, but the M2 beats the 6800U in Geekbench tests.

Still, Windows 11 is maturing into an excellent operating system, and as an all-rounder laptop with enough grunt for creative tasks, the Edge 16 would make an excellent choice.

Acer Swift Edge: Price Comparison




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out of 10

Acer Swift Edge

The Acer Swift Edge 16 is an excellent all-around laptop with a strong CPU and plenty of RAM. Creative software runs well, and the 16in, 16:10 OLED screen is bright, sharp and colourful. It may lack the graphics power for 4K gaming or heavy 3D rendering tasks, but is exceptionally light and portable thanks to a frame made from an aluminium-magnesium alloy covered with a black plastic casing. If you’re working with multiple apps open, or want to do image editing on the move, the Acer Swift Edge 16 is a capable tool.

Ian Evenden has been a journalist for over 20 years, starting in the days of QuarkXpress 4 and Photoshop 5. He now mainly works in Creative Cloud and Google Docs, but can always find a use for a powerful laptop or two. When not sweating over page layout or photo editing, you can find him peering at the stars or growing vegetables.

Choosing a laptop for working with CAD systems

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  • How to do it


Sergei Gritsachuk

To avoid compatibility issues and receive full support from software developers, you must choose an ISV-certified model.

The choice of a laptop for deployment and subsequent work with computer-aided design (CAD) systems was determined very simply 10 years ago – according to the principle of finding a “more powerful configuration”, without going into too much detail and focusing more on the budget. The only steadfast requirement is the presence of a discrete graphics card. As a result, gaming systems hit the company more often than workstations/graphics stations.

The confusion arose due to the incorrect interpretation of English terminology: “graphics station” and “workstation” do not always correctly correlate with the term workstation. In reality, it is the workstation that is a full-fledged set of computers designed to support production processes, and does not mean only systems for solving office tasks and surfing the Internet.

All this forced developers of design software to upload lists of tested equipment on their resources, which are guaranteed to provide comfortable and fruitful work with products. For example, the registry of trusted video adapters can be seen at the link. And even make a selection in the context of the required software, finding out that more than 50 types of video cards are recommended for AutoCAD. With this information, it is easier to choose the right laptop configuration. But, as practice has shown, this approach is unreliable: a system that was quite suitable in terms of parameters began to fail for some reason or showed unsatisfactory performance.

As a result, I had to look for another option – the so-called ISV certification, the essence of which is in close cooperation between software developers and hardware designers, acted as it. In general, everything is simple: the laptop manufacturer gives his brainchild “to be torn apart” by programmers, and they conduct the necessary number of tests in order to return the PC to the designers again with the verdict “not suitable” upon completion, or, conversely, issue a certificate “good” “.

Thanks to certification, the selection process has really become trivial: it is enough to ask the supplier for the appropriate product. For example, Aleksey Samoilov, HP Workstation Partner Business Development Manager in Russia, cited the new HP Z1 G3 monoblock as an example of close interaction between HP and software vendors: “On the day of its announcement, the portal published information about obtaining certificates for 50 ISV applications – about 150 tests on different operating systems and configurations,” he explains. (More details can be found in the interview).

What does certification give the end user, besides the ability to not make a mistake when choosing a configuration?

First of all – comprehensive support from the developer of the CAD system in case of difficulties. In particular, the phrase: “The problem is incompatible equipment, contact the supplier” will no longer sound, a certificate is a certificate! So the user only needs to demand from the selected vendor a list of certified laptops, indicating which one they plan to work with. If there is no certificate, you will have to purchase at your own peril and risk.

Let’s turn to specific solutions. We will take the widely used Autodesk AutoCAD 2019 x64 as the base product, and with the intended goal of working with projects of the highest complexity. Therefore, the configuration must be very serious and, of course, certified. Just for such cases, Dell offers the development of the Precision 7730, equipped with a 17.3″ UltraSharp screen with an IPS matrix that supports FullHD (1920 × 1080) resolution. The computing subsystem is built on a six-core Intel Xeon E-2176M processor (2.70 GHz – 4.40 GHz Turbo) and DDR4 Non-ECC memory with a frequency of 2666 MHz with a capacity of 32 GB. The graphic part is recommended by Autodesk Nvidia Quadro P4200 (GDDR5, 8 GB), and the built-in high-speed 1 TB M.2 PCIe NVMe Class 40 storage is provided for information storage.

HP took ISV certification even more seriously, where they not only devoted a separate section of the site to this issue, but also prepared a convenient configuration selection system. In particular, after marking the required options in the indicated positions, they provided a table of recommended models for almost any budget.

So, the HP ZBook 17 G6 is a powerful solution with a 43.9 cm (17.3″) IPS screen. The HP DreamColor 4K has a resolution of 3840×2160, a color gamut of 100% AdobeRGB, providing a very detailed display of information, for which the dodo NVIDIA Quadro RTX5000 discrete graphics card, also on the certified list, is responsible. The processor part is also focused on maximum performance: Intel Xeon E-228176M or E-2186Mi9The -9880H and 128 GB of memory are unlikely to save up for serious tasks. Of course, the corresponding disk subsystem: up to 10 TB capacity, up to 5 drives and support for RAID.

In order not to go far, we note that, in addition to the top ones, more democratic versions of certified devices are also offered. Let’s turn to the same table and extract from it, say, HP ZBook 15u G5. We have a 15-inch FullHD IPS (1920 × 1080) LED-backlit screen, an Intel Core i7-8550U processor and an AMD Radeon Pro WX 3100 graphics adapter, combined with 16 GB of RAM and a 512 GB PCIe NVMe SSD – in short, an excellent working horse.

It is easy to see that A-brands are the first to certify their workstations, which means that it will take a long time to expect inexpensive solutions among them. However, the terms “professional” and “inexpensive” have never been synonymous, so if you prefer reliable, powerful and long-lived tools, it makes no sense to exchange for something else. Well, those who do not work with large-scale tasks and, on the contrary, are ready to sacrifice performance in favor of cost savings, will still have to purchase workstations at their own peril and risk.

As for vendor preference, we give it to HP – not only as an industry pioneer, but also as a developer of an extremely convenient selection system.

IT Expert magazine [No. 07/2019] Journal subscription

Posted on 07/25/2019


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Top 4 Laptops for CAD, AutoCAD and 3D Modeling in 2023 2023

The power of portable equipment continues to increase year by year, and if you looking for an upgrade so you can work on CAD projects on the go there are many options to weigh.

We’ve compiled a list of several laptops that have enough power to handle even the most intense tasks without breaking a sweat, even if you’re has got 3D modeling of on your agenda.

Dell XPS

The XPS laptop fits a variety of needs and budgets, so you can be conservative with your choice or push the boat out if you have deeper pockets.

13″ models may be too small for CAD work, while 17″ models may be too expensive and may not necessarily justify the increase in display area.

This means that the XPS 15 is the ideal solution if you want to realize your CAD projects with CNC woodworking machines, 3D printers or large industrial milling machines.

In addition to screen size, resolution must also be considered. Flagship models get 4K displays, while Full HD 1080p is the limit for the more affordable 15-inch range.

It’s also worth considering which CPU/GPU combination works best. Perhaps pairing a 7th Gen Intel Core i12 processor with one of the NVIDIA RTX graphics cards is best for your CAD and 3D modeling workloads.

Lenovo Thinkpad P-series

In the business world, the long-running ThinkPad line is getting a lot of attention, with serious designs meaning these laptops are more about getting the job done than drawing attention.

Intel and AMD processors are available in this range, so if you prefer a particular chip supplier, you can choose accordingly.

If you’re looking for the latest and greatest display technology, the P16 will grab your attention with its offering of OLED screens, NVIDIA graphics and 12 th generation of Intel processors.

There’s even DDR5 memory and ultra-fast SSD storage so loading and rendering projects doesn’t take long. Just be prepared to increase your budget to unlock this power. And remember, you can always save elsewhere to justify an upgrade.

Acer Nitro

It’s no surprise that there’s a lot of crossover between people who use design and 3D modeling software and those who love to play in their free time. If you’re looking for a laptop that fits both of these areas, take a look at Acer’s Nitro family of products.

The aesthetic is much more flamboyant than the Dell or Lenovo models mentioned above, but for certain audiences, that’s the whole point.

For an uncompromising experience, the Nitro 17 fits the bill as the latest models not only offer 13 th generation Intel chips, but also RTX 40 series graphics provided by NVIDIA. This means you can enjoy unparalleled speed for math-intensive tasks, as well as incredible performance in high-frame-rate games, all in a portable package.

Of course, there is a price to pay for this, and we’re not just talking about pure cash costs. More powerful laptops like this one are also heavier and bulkier to accommodate hardware and cooling. Check the weight and consider your preferences before making a decision.

Apple MacBook Pro

So far we’ve only discussed Windows machines, and for Apple supporters there really is only one choice for CAD and everything else, which of course is the MacBook Pro.

The great thing about these laptops today is that since Apple switched to its own M1 chip architecture, performance has skyrocketed. This means you’re getting more bang for your buck than you’d expect in terms of pure processor power.

Excellent battery life is also guaranteed, great for working on the go. For the design-minded user, either a 14-inch or 16-inch model will do, and the base M1 Pro chip should suffice in terms of power, though the M1 Max is always on hand if you don’t want to sacrifice anything.