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Compared: The Best Graphics Cards for CAD

Graphics Cards for CAD

So, you’ve decided you need to purchase a graphics card for your CAD work. At first you may have thought that you could purchase any graphics card as long as it is powerful—only to realize that the GPU market is more complex than that!

That’s why we’ve created this post as the ultimate reference for purchasing new graphics cards for CAD. We’ll walk you through what you need to know and end with our top 5 picks on the market right now.

Table of Contents

Are Nvidia leading the pack?

Chart Nvidia vs. AMD GPU Market Share

Comparing Nvidia’s vs. AMD’s market share for the PC graphics card market. Source.

The short answer is yes. There is little doubt that if you’re comparing graphics card options, an Nvidia product will be in the shortlist. The dominant brand’s strategy has been to focus purely on the GPU technology by partnering with Intel for their CPU requirements. In comparison, AMD directly competes in both markets by producing CPUs and GPUs.

Nvidia also provide the chips for many graphics cards manufacturers who could be classed as their competitors, but, in reality, are their partners. See our list of graphics cards manufacturers for an insight into Nvidia’s stronghold in the market.

However, this doesn’t mean you should skip the rest of this guide and purchase an Nvidia card. The market is more nuanced than that. 

Nvidia’s domination has forced companies such as AMD to focus on solutions for specific user requirements—CAD being one of them. And, in many like-for-like comparisons, AMD has come out on top for certain uses. This muddies the water, and justifies a lengthy post on the best graphics cards for CAD. So, let’s delve in!

What do the model numbers mean?

numbers on notepad, pen and laptop on desk

You have probably noticed that many graphics cards have a number in their product names. Let’s look at the below table showing 4 graphics cards from 4 different manufacturers, all of which use the same number in their model name.


Model Name

Further Details


GeForce GTX 1080

Product specification


GeForce GTX 1080

Product specification


GeForce GTX 1080

Product specification


GeForce GTX 1080

Product specification

So, why do all these cards reference the same model number? In the above list, all products are using the same GPU produced by Nvidia: the Nvidia 1080 GPU. Therefore, they use the same model number to inform the users of what’s under the hood.

Many brands will use the GPU chips of the market leaders, packaged in their solution. This gives smaller graphics card manufacturers the option not to compete with Nvidia or AMD on chip performance, but instead to offer their customers another option in how it is presented.

Some companies may simply offer a preferable cooling system to that of Nvidia. Meanwhile, the GTX 1080 by Gigabyte, for example, uses Nvidia’s GTX technology but is unique in being much smaller in overall footprint than the Nvidia equivalent.

Do higher model numbers mean better performance?

If purchasing a motorcycle, we would know that a 700cc engine is more powerful than a 300cc engine. The cubic centimeters measurement can’t be gamed; the engine is either the stated volume or it isn’t. Unfortunately, the numbers used in most GPU model names do not relate to any real-world measurement.

As the Logical Increments blog explains, it isn’t always as simple as a higher model number being faster than other lower model numbers. For example, Nvidia’s GTX 680 is faster than the GTX 760 as it has ‘“more raw performance” than the 760.’ Confused? Don’t worry, you’re not the only one.

These numbers should be thought of as nothing more than part of the product name, which in some cases identifies the GPU being used.

Therefore, this is a case of buyer beware! Do not assume that the number indicates the same specifications as other manufacturers. Always carefully read the specifications of the graphics card you’re considering.

Gaming graphics cards for CAD

Computer games controller and PC Monitor

The popularity of gaming graphics cards is difficult to ignore. However, whilst they often come with impressive specs, there are several key factors which differentiate them from workstation graphics cards for CAD. We’ll take a quick look at why they have become so prominent, and the reasons why they may not be a great choice for CAD.

Why are there so many gaming graphics cards?

You will notice that many of the brands you come across will have a prominent offering of gaming-focused graphics cards. This is a simple case of supply and demand; it is an indication of gaming being the highest growth market in GPU sales.

In 2017 Nvidia increased their revenues from gaming products by 49% compared to 2016. They now take roughly $1 billion in sales per year purely from gaming GPUs.

Due to the growth in eSports and the interest in Virtual Reality gaming, the prominence of gaming graphics cards is unlikely to be a fad.

Moreover, this growth in gaming graphics cards should be considered good news for any GPU shopper. With massive investment in R&D and tight competition between manufacturers, the improvements in GPU technology is beneficial for gamers and CAD users alike.

Could I use a gaming graphics card for CAD?

Yes and no. You can use a gaming graphics card for CAD work, but be warned that not all gaming graphics cards will be suitable. Software such as  SolidWorks, for example, will typically only work well with an Nvidia Quadro or AMD FirePro card.

If you need a GPU suitable for both gaming and CAD, the ideal solution would be to have a separate gaming machine from your CAD machine. For many users, however, this simply isn’t practical. Unfortunately, though, graphics cards specifically designed for CAD do not tend to be suitable for the required rendering in gaming.

The better path to follow is to research which gaming graphics cards have been reported to work well with your CAD software.

For example, the Asus Strix GTX 1070 reportedly works well with AutoCAD—and it is also fantastic for shooting zombies.

I can tell you that my graphics card of choice, Nvidia’s Quadro K1200, has been a great CAD graphics card, but it would not be able to handle relatively simple 3D games.

Will my graphics card be ‘future-proof’?

girls wearing virtual reality headset, Nvidia chip, graphic simulation

The definition of ‘future-proof’ is a piece of technology which is ‘unlikely to become obsolete’. Therefore, this question is subjective. Whether or not you consider your graphics card to be obsolete will be dependent on how you wish to use it.

For example, a 10 year old graphics card may still be fantastic at browsing the web, but perhaps not so great if you wish to do anything graphically strenuous. 

When it comes to ensuring your CAD PC is as future-proof as it can be, the best advice is to purchase the best model you can afford. The higher the specifications, the longer the GPU is likely to serve you.

Benchmarks and why they matter

Our guide on graphics cards wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t mention benchmarks. Benchmarks are automated tests run by specially designed software. This software will perform specific tasks whilst measuring the performance and workload of the GPU.

These benchmarks are important because they avert subjective discussions on the best graphics card for a particular use. Instead, you can find empirical data on a GPU’s performance. You can even run a benchmark yourself thanks to software available from Cadalyst.

Benchmark tests can regularly highlight surprising results. Tom’s IT Pro ran benchmark tests on Nvidia’s Quadro M6000 graphics card. They found that, whilst the M6000 outperformed competitors for 3D rendering, the same GPU came third for 2D rendering. These results are demonstrated in the below charts.

Chart benchark results for Nvidia Quadro M6000

Benchmark test results for the Nvidia Quadro M6000 with 2D and 3D AutoCAD rendering. Source.

Certified graphics cards for CAD

A number of the most prominent software developers have made life easier for us by publishing their list of graphics cards which have been tried and tested with popular CAD software. These are often referred to as ‘certified devices’ by the software developer.

If the graphics card you’re considering is supported by the software you intend to use, you will have much more confidence with your purchase.

We’ve collected a list of these published certified devices below.



Certified Devices


Ansys Inc

Search supported devices



Search supported devices



Search supported devices

Bentley MicroStation


Search supported devices


Dassault Systèmes

Search supported devices

Chief Architect

Chief Architect, Inc.

Search supported devices



Search supported devices



Search supported devices



Search supported devices

Siemens PLM


Search supported devices


Dassault Systèmes

Search supported devices

Are we missing software that you’d like to see? Let us know in the comments.

Don’t neglect the rest of your PC

There will be little point in investing in your ideal graphics card if the rest of your PC isn’t suitable for the required workload.

We created a popular post on how to build the ultimate CAD PC, in which you’ll find tips on what to consider when shopping for all PC components. It can take some time to research compatibility with all your PC’s components but the extra work is worthwhile.

Comparison: Our top 5 graphics cards for CAD

So, here’s our pick of the bunch. We’ve chosen to make a shortlist of graphics cards that would be suitable for both 2D and 3D CAD work. As a way of stating their suitability, we have referenced whether they are suitable for AutoCAD (2D) and SolidWorks (3D).

We assume that you’re not too concerned about support for technology such as virtual reality. This isn’t yet a widely accepted requirement in CAD, but I’m sure we will need to update this article in a few years to account for that.

We have also tried not to go too high on the pricing scale whilst still focusing on professional grade options. Yes, you could purchase a phenomenal graphics card for $1,500, but adding that option to our comparison wouldn’t help most readers and it would be overkill for 99% of CAD work.

So, without any further ado, let’s dive into our top 5 graphics cards for CAD!


PNY Nvidia Quadro P2000

GPUs for CAD, Option 1

A very popular choice for CAD users. Nvidia’s Quadro range is known to work solidly for most CAD applications. Reportedly, Dassault Systèmes design the graphic rendering of SolidWorks with Quadro graphic cards in mind. The P2000 is not the highest spec model in the range but it should be suitable for most CAD work.

GPU Manufacturer


Graphics Card Manufacturer


Suitable for AutoCAD (2D)?

Yes (According to Autodesk)

Suitable for SolidWorks (3D)?

Yes (According to Nvidia)


~ $450.00


→ Check availability on Amazon


Asus Geforce Turbo GTX 1080

GPUs for CAD, Option 2

Though this is a comparison of graphics cards for CAD, we’ve decided to go rogue and make things a little more contentious. Yep, we’ve added a gaming graphics card to the list. The GTX 1080 by Nvidia is a very powerful and widely respected GPU, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be suitable for all CAD work. It should handle AutoCAD with ease but we have read warnings of the card’s suitability for SolidWorks.

Bear in mind that this GPU will be offered by many graphics card manufacturers. As previously mentioned, these manufacturers typically partner with Nvidia for their GPUs. We have picked the GTX 1080 from Asus as they are a widely respected brand.

GPU Manufacturer


Graphics Card Manufacturer


Suitable for AutoCAD (2D)?

Yes (According to benchmarks)

Suitable for SolidWorks (3D)?

No (According to the community)


~ $590.00


→ Check availability on Amazon


AMD Radeon Pro WX 7100

GPUs for CAD, Option 3

Our top 5 picks feature offerings from both AMD and Nvidia. There isn’t a realistic third option for CAD. Although Nvidia are leading the market in GPU sales, do not discount AMD. AMD’s Radeon FirePro range offer a range of very powerful graphics cards for CAD. The WX 7100 boasts very impressive performance for SolidWorks in Visualization and Simulation.

GPU Manufacturer


Graphics Card Manufacturer


Suitable for AutoCAD (2D)?

Yes (According to Autodesk)

Suitable for SolidWorks (3D)?

Yes (According to AMD)


 ~ $630.00


→ Check availability on Amazon


Nvidia Quadro K1200

GPUs for CAD, Option 4

This is my graphics card of choice for my CAD PC. This card offers a great balance of cost vs. performance. The K1200 should not falter with 2D CAD rendering (e.g. AutoCAD or Draftsight), but if you predominantly work in 3D, you may experience some performance issues. We have found vendors offering the K1200 as a recommended graphics card for SolidWorks, but I can’t vouch for the performance as I wasn’t able to find benchmark tests for this GPU.

GPU Manufacturer


Graphics Card Manufacturer


Suitable for AutoCAD (2D)?

Yes (According to Autodesk)

Suitable for SolidWorks (3D)?

Yes (According to Vendors)


~ $299.00


 → Check availability on Amazon


AMD Radeon Pro WX 5100

GPUs for CAD, Option 5

Probably my favourite of the bunch. The AMD Radeon Wx 5100 is a healthy chunk cheaper than many other similar options and still offers support for relatively heavy 3D CAD rendering according to AMD. Additionally, this certainly shouldn’t cause you any issues for general 2D CAD work.

GPU Manufacturer


Graphics Card Manufacturer


Suitable for AutoCAD (2D)?

Yes (According to Autodesk)

Suitable for SolidWorks (3D)?

Yes (According to AMD)


 ~ $400


→ Check availability on Amazon

Bonus: List of graphics card brands

We’ve collected a list of the most popular graphics cards manufacturers. You may not have heard of many of these brands, but some of these lesser-known names are producing impressive products.

View the full list




Learn More


AMD (Advanced Micro Devices) are certainly one of the leading lights in GPU manufacturers. Under the leadership of Lisa Su, the company has doubled down on building market leading GPUs.

Learn more


A Chinese brand producing gaming graphics cards with highly desirable specs. Colorful are not a widely adopted brand in the US and UK. Some users have commented on their apparently higher price tag for specifications available from other, cheaper brands.

Learn more


Like Colorful, EVGA are focussing on the growing gaming market. According to some commentators, the EVGA products are highly rated by their customers due to the company’s focus on excellent customer support and warranty service.

Learn more


Headquartered in Taiwan, Gainward’s products are regularly compared to their AMD counterparts. Gainward are known to offer overclocked GPUs which have been tested thoroughly by the manufacturer.

Learn more


In 2017, Gigabyte released what was billed as the ‘world’s smallest GTX 1080—approximately 9cm smaller than Nvidia’s equivalent.

Learn more


Formed in Hong Kong, Inno3D’s iChill range has been well received by many. Notably, Inno3D have produced a product specifically for the significant resources required to mine digital currencies.

Learn more


As well as producing their own graphics cards, MSI produce high-specification laptops and desktop computers. This brand has a strong footprint in the UK and US.

Learn more


Arguably the leader of the pack, with the largest market share in the graphics card market. Producing GPUs for many ‘competitors’ in the market.

Learn more


Palit manufactures their graphics cards in China and has offices in Asia and Europe. They are not a widely known brand but, according to some forum discussions, their quality is impressive at a cheaper comparable price.

Learn more


Like MSI, PNY manufacture a wide range of products from external storage drives to charging cables. They also produce a range of popular graphics cards.

Learn more


Zotac describe themselves as the creator of the original Mini PC. Their range of graphics cards use Nvidia GPUs. Zotac states that their cards ‘perform up to 15% faster than Nvidia reference design’.

Learn more


Are we missing a notable brand producing graphics cards for CAD? Let us know in the comments.


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55 Responses to Compared: The Best Graphics Cards for CAD

  1. Ivy Sok Feb 8, 2018 at 3:42 PM #

    Thank you! . I am an industrial designer and am using a lot Rhino, Cinema4D, Photoscan (Agisoft) and all the adobe suite. When everything is running at the same time , my CAD, my rendrings, my photo editing I need a very powerful machine and am looking to replace my macbook pro 2013.This helped so much!

    • Luke Kennedy Feb 8, 2018 at 4:33 PM #

      Hey Ivy! I’m pleased to hear this helped.

      Yes, each of those apps would be heavy on the visual processing. I would expect things to slow down a little if you had them all open.

  2. Tom Chadwick May 3, 2018 at 5:07 PM #

    We use Carlson Software running in InteliCAD 8. Carlson reports, and I’ve experienced problems using the Nvidia Quadro K2000. Any recommendations for the IntelliCAD/Carlson users? Carlson recommends GeForce but no specific one.

    • Luke Kennedy May 3, 2018 at 5:16 PM #

      GeForce are gaming graphics cards. As this post explains – I would be very wary of a gaming GPU for CAD work. It could work but you’ll need to test with your setup.
      Perhaps Carlson is designed to use the same rendering as in gaming but if so, the same GPU may not perform well with IntelliCAD.

      In this post we recommend trying out the GTX 1080 – (see the links above) a bit of a wildcard but it might suit your needs.

  3. Vincenzo Gentile Jul 18, 2018 at 11:53 PM #

    Hi, I wanna ask if a gtx 1060 is suitable in next years for 3D works(not heavy) with Autocad,or could work better an RX 580??

  4. Mark King Aug 6, 2018 at 8:46 PM #

    So would these cards work well for take off software also. I am looking at Plan Swift.

    • luke Aug 6, 2018 at 8:48 PM #

      Most take off software is 2D so you could compare with cards that support AutoCAD. But always double-check with the specific software developer.

  5. eian Aug 9, 2018 at 11:02 AM #

    in the “Certified graphics cards for CAD” you haven’t made any suggestions for Bentley Systems products. Do you have any recommendations

    • luke Aug 9, 2018 at 11:08 AM #

      There are hundreds of CAD applications out there so I chose to state the support for the most popular 2D and 3D applications. I.e. AutoCAD and SolidWorks.

      As a general rule, if it’s recommended for SolidWorks it would probably be recommended for Bentley Systems but I can’t guarantee that. I would make a shortlist and then contact Bentley Systems to confirm whether your choices would work with their solution.

      Let us know which you choose!

      • Luke Jun 17, 2020 at 12:02 PM #

        Update: We’ve added Bentley to the list 🙂

  6. Kirby Walter Sep 18, 2018 at 3:51 AM #

    As I’m a huge fan of Asus. I work with PC-DMIS. I have a MSI notebook that has I want to say a gt970 graphics card works fine. But looking to build my desktop up. What would be your suggestion. Don’t care about price, just dependability and I’m not looking to break the bank either. Thoughts?

    • luke Sep 18, 2018 at 10:13 AM #

      I’d certainly suggest checking out the 5 recommendations on this post as a first port of call.

      • Kirby Walter Sep 18, 2018 at 11:58 AM #

        Thanks Luke, pretty much you’re saying any will do.

        • luke Sep 18, 2018 at 12:17 PM #

          No, not necessarily. It would depend on the use-case for your graphics cards. Consider what’s most important to you, which software do you use most. As mentioned in the comparison; a card great for AutoCAD won’t necessarily be great for SolidWorks.

  7. Isaac Segura Oct 6, 2018 at 1:39 PM #

    I’m an aspiring Engineer/Architect and have been looking into laptops to take to college with me. I’ll obviously be using CAD software quite a bit but I already have a PC (AMD Ryzen 7 1700 and AMD Vega 64 with 16gb RAM) that I’ve been modeling with for a while now and it provides sufficient CAD results for me to use it as a main “workstation” while in college. As for the laptop, I’m currently torn between the upcoming Microsoft Surface Pro 6 or the Microsoft Surface Book 2 as their versatility will be nearly invaluable in the design space. Since I already have my dedicated desktop PC to handle the bulk of my projects, would you recommend me going with the Surface Pro 6 with integrated graphics, or should I cough up the premium for the Surface Book 2 which has a dedicated GTX1070? Price itself is not an issue, but if I can save money I definitely will.

    • luke Oct 9, 2018 at 1:06 PM #

      Buy the best you can afford and no better.

      If you can afford a higher spec model it will be more future proof. But you’ll of course need to pay more for it. Only you can make the decision on what’s more important to you.

  8. Matthew Schnur Oct 19, 2018 at 8:23 PM #

    Hi Luke,
    Thank u so much for the info. I had a question. As you explain the functionality of a graphics card for 2D, 3D, and gaming are all kind of geared t ok wards one or the other and we must choose the best for our needs. My needs as a small business owner/general contractor are for mostly smaller room additions, decks, and such for 2D/blueprints. I may get into BIM as a side gig ad theres a lot of demand for it. I’d also like to play some video games on my workstation, but I’m certainly not a big gamer. I’d say my needs are 40% 2D Cad, 30% BIM in Revit, and 30% gaming. I’d only be doing single objects in BIM, not entire buildings. Is there any middle ground that you could recommend that isn’t perfect for any one, but functional for all applications as long as I’m not demanding huge performance requirements for any 1? Can I configure a system with multiple graphics cards as in my research I see some systems allow for multiple GPUs? Sorry if my technical background is lacking!

    • luke Oct 22, 2018 at 9:56 AM #

      As the post describes; graphics cards are designed to be specialists rather than generalists. They are great for one use but may be poor for another use. If you need a graphics card which is equally great for 2D drafting, 3D modelling and gaming it doesn’t really exist. I know for a fact that many of the CAD graphics cards just won’t work for gaming. So you might want to start with the gaming graphics card (suggested in the 5 above) and see if it’s supported for Revit etc. But I doubt it is.

  9. Chris Nov 2, 2018 at 8:43 AM #

    Certified graphics cards for CAD Archicad Graphisoft would be interesting to add.

    Would like to know how Archicad 2d and 3d performs with AMD firepro v7900.


  10. Jogi Dwiputra Aloewie Nov 14, 2018 at 3:02 AM #

    Thanks for the article, it helps me as an IT to choose which Graphic Card for users in the Office cause most of them using Autocad, AllPlan, Bentley software

  11. Avi Bm Dec 18, 2018 at 2:05 AM #

    Hi Luke,

    Thank you for posting such a helpful article. Also thank you for posting such details such as a graphic card compatible with both games and CAD!

    You have convinced me into buying a laptop with that particular graphic card! However, I would like to know also if it compatible also with Ansys, PTC Creo and Catia. The first two I use quite often and third one I plan on learning. I am planning on buying a pretty expensive laptop, so I must make sure it is an all rounder one! Desktops are not an option for me since I travel a lot!

    Thank you very much! ?

    • luke Dec 18, 2018 at 12:36 PM #

      I’m really pleased that we were able to help you! Good luck with the new laptop.

    • Patrick James Feb 3, 2019 at 11:59 AM #


      I personally use Catia, Creo, Solid Works, Solid Edge, Autodesk Inventor, Mastercam, and Vericut as well as a couple other modeling/coding/verification software suites. I have been in this business a little over 30 years, I started on a 486 based machine so I’ve seen about every historical development in 2D, 3D, solids…. You name it. Lol.

      That being said of all the different software I use Catia and Vericut are the two which seems to be the most GPU intensive; at least for what I personally do anyway.

      I’ve tried just about every graphics card built since it became a “thing” to have an “aftermarket high performance” graphics card…. I’ve tried them all the way up to the flagship stuff like the Quadro M8000… I also have our business workstations built per my specifications so I am able to swap cards quite frequently when replacing a tower to try and find a “better bang for the buck”. I am usually using a Dell 7810 as a starting point, I usually run 2x Xeon procs with the best specs I can afford at the build, I pack as much ram in as it will physically hold and then use the best graphics card I know of at the time….

      At present my own personal computer is using two Nvidia Quadro P4000 graphics cards, dual 2687 Intel X procs, and I think 128G of RAM…. This box is a quick temporary setup.

      On a performance per dollar shootout using the dual P4000 cards has been the best/fastest setup for me running larger Catia files.

      I run 7-8 monitors and sometimes have multiple softwares cooking at the same time, the dual P4000 cards handle it well and the machine is very stable considering how hard I beat it.

      I did add a home built cooling setup that runs off of a tiny personal air conditioner, I think it was designed to use as a tent biovuac air conditioner… Not exactly sure what it’s design intent was, but plumbed into my workstation with a 3″ duct it works great cooling my computer. ?

      You can also build a nice cad station around a Dell 5810 for a single proc cad setup, but it might require a power supply. I’ve been intending to build a GPU rack setup which would operate simultaneous multiple GPU’s externally, but as of yet I haven’t done this.

      My daughter is also in college studying engineering and the workstation we built her is actually a gaming rig that she is using for her CAD needs.. she is using mostly Autodesk and Solid Edge and her box has an RTX2080Ti card if I remember correctly….. she has been very happy with it so far for both gaming and cad, but I can’t say how complex the stuff she is doing actually is or have any idea of actual size.

      Food for thought

      I don’t see how anyone doing any solid modeling of any size or complexity, any 3d verification, or GP 3d rendering uses a laptop…. I’d lose my mind, I can’t imagine how much slower it would be on the work I do… My productivity would plummet. :/

      • Ethan C Oct 6, 2020 at 12:16 AM #

        Hello Patrick James. I am looking into buying a laptop for cad and simulations. I saw your ealier post saying how you couldnt even think of doing that work on a laptop. You are probably using some huge models or maybe not but I was wondering your advice. I am looking into getting a New Dell xps 15 ( i7-10750H, 32gb ram, 1650 Ti). That would mainly be for when I am not at my desk, I already have a gtx 1080 and a razer core which I would keep at my desk for more powerful needs. What do you think about that? I could bring my pc to college but I do not really want to have a desktop pc at college.

        • Luke Oct 6, 2020 at 10:44 AM #

          If you need help with CAD hardware recommendations I recommend posting a question to the community on CAD Answers.

  12. TS Yong Jan 14, 2019 at 4:55 PM #

    Hi! Great article. I’ve been modelling in 3D since the ’90s hey day of turnkey solutions like Softimage on SGI unix ‘mini-computers’ and Microstation on Intergraph’s Clipper machines. Used to build dual-xeon PC ‘workstations’ in the mid-’90s using 3D Labs cards which used SGI chips.

    This is the first time I’m using a non-pro card – Radeon RX 570 8GB – and would like to get a handle on dialing in the driver & card for CAD, Sketchup, etc. All the “special features” relate to gaming.

  13. Shiva Apr 14, 2019 at 9:08 AM #

    Can you provide information regarding simulation and analysis softwares such as Ansys.

  14. Hitesh May 16, 2019 at 12:38 PM #

    I m planning to buy a new laptop which has
    I7 -8565U 16 gb Ram, Nahida Mx130 4 gb Gn, 512 SSD and convertible laptop.
    My major functions are to use Designing and simulation softwares like Andy’s, solidworks, catia.
    Is this the good choice?
    I am worried abt GPU… Can u please give me some suggestions..?

  15. Hitesh May 16, 2019 at 4:46 PM #

    There is no information abt nvidea Mx 150.
    Can u suggest something?

    • Luke May 16, 2019 at 5:49 PM #

      If that GPU isn’t listed on Solidworks’ recommended devices then it isn’t recommended by them.

      The only thing you can do in this case is to test the software with this GPU personally.

  16. Ivan May 29, 2019 at 2:20 AM #

    hi, i am trying to model with photoscan agisoft and reality capture to build 3D models. I have 1070 Nvidia but most the work seems to go to the CPU. buying new computer and looking to upgrade to rtx 2080 or rtx 208 ti, but cannot tell if the quadro series is better or worth the money?

  17. Manish Sep 9, 2019 at 7:51 PM #

    Hi …can u please suggest me graphic card …for autocad,cad cam ,ansys ,catia ,creo ,ug-nx…i am planning to buy laptop i am engineering student and learning thi all software please recommend me the graphic card…which will be better gaming graphic card or workstations graphic card lik Quadro?

    • Luke Sep 9, 2019 at 9:22 PM #

      All of these questions are answered in this post 🙂

  18. Don Stimson Sep 12, 2019 at 2:06 PM #

    Do you have any updates on top 5 cards since the post is about 2 years old? Workstation based, not laptop. Thanks.

    • Luke Sep 26, 2019 at 11:27 AM #

      Yes, I will be updating this article with new recommendations very soon 🙂

  19. Hunter Stabler Nov 5, 2019 at 3:17 PM #

    Hi, I am wondering about which cards might work best across a variety of digital modeling, CAM and digital imaging software. I primarily use Rhino, RhinoCAM, Zbrush, Photoshop, Illustrator, and Fusion360. I have an intel i9 desktop build with 64GB RAM and a Saphire Radeon RX 580 8GB graphics card. I am wondering if the graphics card is the weak link causing me to crash often in RhinoCAM, or whether RhinoCAM is just super buggy. Zbrush very rarely crashes and I believe Zbrush would be a lot more processing heavy that RhinoCAM, because I am never dealing with 10 million polygons or surfaces in Rhino.

    • Luke Nov 5, 2019 at 5:03 PM #

      My advice: Choose the most graphics-intensive software from the long list of apps you’re using. And find a graphic card that supports this resource-heavy app.

      For example, Photoshop is probably going to require less GPU power than Fusion360.

      Hard to advise if an unsuitable GPU is causing your crashing but I doubt it.

  20. James Duffy Feb 19, 2020 at 8:22 PM #

    Hi Luke,

    I’m putting together my first PC and I’m not sure which graphics card to get. Im a product designer so I use a lot of solidworks (assemblies of around 50 parts) and produce a lot of renders. I’m trying to strike a balance between cost and power and “future proofing”. Would something like the RTX 4000 be worth investing in or is it completely overkill? Any kind of suggestion would be so helpful

    Many thanks

    • Luke Jun 17, 2020 at 12:23 PM #

      As I mention in the post – when you are trying to future-proof your hardware all you can do is buy the best you can afford. The higher the spec, the longer it will likely last you.

  21. James Riggs Jul 8, 2020 at 1:01 PM #

    Luke! Thank you! This is a very thoughtful, cogent, and most importantly HELPFUL analysis!

    • Luke Jul 10, 2020 at 10:29 AM #

      You’re very welcome!

  22. Jonathan McPhee Nov 5, 2020 at 4:12 PM #

    What graphics card would you recommend for users of Chief Architect Premier?

  23. Rick Nov 28, 2020 at 4:08 PM #

    Hi Luke. Thanks for the info. I’m glad to see you’re still ultimatums article. I’m building my first PC and didn’t know I had to consider cards for CAD and games. like most people I thought graphics were graphics.

    Forgive my ignorance and if this question has been asked, but could you install two cards and then ” switch” between the two? For example, I want to game so I tell the PC to use the game card. Man, I don’t even know if I’m asking that Correctly but what do you think?

    • Luke Dec 1, 2020 at 12:06 PM #

      Although theoretically possible, it’s not common to do this and is probably not worth considering giving the cost and complexity.

      You would be better off having 2 different computers altogher.

  24. Justin Dec 5, 2020 at 2:13 PM #

    I have a rather unique question, client uses a 3d scanner for medical application to render an on screen image of teeth in 3d and reccomended specification is a geforce card and quadro. Currently using a T1000 quadro in mobile workstation and rendering works well. An average of 2000 images are required to make an upper jaw model. We are. Looking to purchase another scanner due to workload and. Was. Looking at the mobile workstation with an. Mx230 series geforce card in it. It doesn’t seem to be on the required list even tho the geforce card is confirmed compatible more so than the quadro for various products in the stable. My question is why is what’s missing in the mx230 that is in the T1000

    • Luke Dec 8, 2020 at 11:12 AM #

      “why is what’s missing in the mx230 that is in the T1000”

      I would compare the specifications between the 2 products for that answer.

      Also, here’s a comparison between the Nvidia T1000 vs GeForce MX230

  25. Ben le Roux Feb 13, 2021 at 1:02 PM #

    i would like a recommendation on a suitable graphic card for Freecad 0.19 which will bw released shortly.
    My computer specs:
    Windows 10 pro.
    Processor: Intel (R) Core (TM) i5-2400 cpu @ 3.10 GHz 3.10 GHz

    Installed memory: 8.00GB

    System type: 64 Bit op system, 64 based processor.


  26. Andy MacLeod May 8, 2021 at 12:08 AM #

    I thought you may have done some bench tests and shown the coparison graph.:(
    Dose the graphics make any difference to the speed of the FEA in Solidworks, lnventor or Ansys?

    • Luke Jun 7, 2021 at 9:45 AM #

      Yes of course 🙂

      Go for the recommended GPU’s for whichever software you’re using most. The list of recommended hardware is in the article.

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