CAD Requirements?

@Railgunawesome See if you can find an actual model number for your laptop. Acer touchscreen laptop with Core i7 and no dGPU is not very much to go off of, as there are probably many different laptops meeting those criteria.

Usually the model number is printed on a sticker on the bottom of the laptop. If your laptop has a removable battery, the sticker may also be underneath the battery.

If you can’t find a model number sticker, then find “My Computer” or “This PC” in the Start menu (depending on your version of Windows), right click on it, and select “Properties”. You should find a model number there.


I’ll do that when I get home, I dont have my laptop now so I cant check.

The Quadro series would be more efficient for CAD usages compared to GTX series

Quadro’s are also exorbitantly more expensive and their extra performance will not be noticeable for VEX purposes.


If you’re looking for a cheap laptop that’s able to run CAD software, I’d recommend older thinkpads. for a long time I used a thinkpad x230 with for CAD until I got a good pc, and It did alright, but was so cheap. you can definitely scoop a used one off of ebay for less than $500. It could handle inventor fine mostly, if you kept the fancy graphics settings off, but couldn’t handle solidworks. I’ve never ran fusion on it so I have no idea whether or not it would run well, but if you’re willing to switch to inventor it may be a good choice.


you can make a team on onshape so all files will be accessible to all your teammates.
Detailed description of the onshape team stuff


I’m looking at being in at around $200 for an x230 with 16gb of ram and a 240gb ssd.

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Wait you can get a computer that’s able to run CAD for only 200?
Sign me up!

The X230 or any refurbished Thinkpad’s are amazing.

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So in general any thinkpad would work?
What are the minimum specs that a computer needs in order to run CAD smoothly and quickly?
(I’m so bad at this stuff lol)

No, but most would work as long as they are somewhat recent, and here is a spec sheet from Autodesk inventor which if you can meet these you should be fine.

System Requirements for Autodesk Inventor 2018
Operating System ¹ * 64-bit Microsoft® Windows® 10

  • 64-bit Microsoft Windows 8.1 with Update KB2919355
  • 64-bit Microsoft Windows 7 SP1
    CPU Type ² Recommended:
    Intel® Xeon® E3 or Core i7 or equivalent, 3.0 GHz or greater

64-bit Intel or AMD, 2 GHz or faster
Memory ³ Recommended:
20 GB RAM or more

8 GB RAM for less than 500 part assemblies
Disk Space Installer plus full installation: 40 GB
Graphics Recommended:
Microsoft Direct3D 11® or capable graphics card or higher

Microsoft Direct3D 10® capable graphics card or higher

See the Certified Hardware
Display Resolution 1280 x 1024 or higher.

Recommended scaling: 100%, 125%, 150% or 200%.

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Can the on shape files be shared with fusion 360 teams?

Thank you! This will help me a lot!
Although it’s like I’m reading another language. I’ll try to interpret it the best I can.
Thanks again!

Well, sort of. Onshape can import nearly every file format. Exporting to another system, you’ll need to use a “universal format” like .step or a parasolid (this will work between ANY commercial CAD software). The problem is that CAD models become complex assemblies of mating parts, so there are many files and complex interrelations to deal with that don’t always translate. So it’s better for everyone on the team to be using the same software.


Yeah that means ima be using fusion 369 sadly :frowning:
I’ll change the cad next season if I can.
Thanks for the alyernatives!

If you’re using Fusion 360, you should be able to use the Fusion spec sheets here:

Note that these are a lot lower than the Inventor specs, and most of them look like your computer would be fine (the only potential issue would be the graphics).

Also, Autodesk has an article about how to optimize performance of Fusion:

Try some of the suggestions there, and if that doesn’t work, you can get a newer computer.

Just to be clear, Lenovo has released a fair share of garbage low-end devices under the ThinkPad name that won’t get you any success in CAD modeling.

@Railgunawesome In general though, you should be fine if you get a ThinkPad with a Core i5 or i7 processor and 8 GB (or more) of RAM. Just be aware, though, that some sellers will not include RAM, a hard drive (or even the drive mounting hardware), a power supply, and/or an operating system. So make sure to look out for those things when buying — all of those can be easily installed, but you may want to buy the device ready to use if you are not comfortable doing so.

PSA about the operating system:
I strongly recommend you completely disregard any pre-installed operating system that may be included. You simply cannot trust it to be genuine and legitimate, let alone free of malware. Instead, just (re)install Windows yourself — all you need is an 8 GB or larger flash drive and Microsoft’s media creation tool. You can read more about this process on other websites (search “how to install Windows 10”). Also expect to buy a Windows product key, either on eBay for a few dollars or retail for over $100 (yes, the keys on eBay are generally legitimate).

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Try and find ram sticks from broken computers. Is your system 32 bit?

When reinstalling Windows, can’t you use the exact same product key that shipped with your laptop initially? That would save quite a bit of effort and potentially also quite a bit of money.

I’m not as worried about the pre-installed OS personally, I’m pretty sure Lenovo and others have learned from their mistakes and aren’t shipping any sketchy software. Microsoft already ships Windows with lots of junk in it (why does every new installation have Candy Crush already in the start menu?) so it’s a bit of a lost cause. Reinstalling Windows would also wipe out any drivers installed by the manufacturer, which could lead to a lot of troubleshooting down the road.

Remember that we’re talking about used/refurbished hardware here. A preinstalled OS from Lenovo or Dell is probably fine, but I would never trust anything installed by some random refurbisher/eBay seller.

Reusing the product key that shipped with the laptop requires literally no effort when reinstalling Windows on pretty much any new, modern computer. But the answer isn’t a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ when working with used/refurbished hardware — there are a lot more variables to consider. What you can do, though, is wait and see if Windows automatically activates itself or not before buying a product key, especially since digital delivery of product keys means you can get a key within hours of purchasing it.

Also, most mainstream laptops these days really don’t need any drivers to be manually installed by the user. Windows Update will take care of most everything that doesn’t already have drivers built-in to Windows. The only notable exception is dedicated graphics cards, but that doesn’t matter here. Pretty much any semi-modern T- or X-series ThinkPad will not require user intervention to install drivers.