Best laptops for 3D modeling and rendering

3D modeling and rendering are very demanding applications requiring powerful laptops with beefy specs – so you need to choose carefully when shopping for a computer for this purpose. To help you out, we review the top models in this guide to help you find the best laptop for 3D modeling, rendering, and animation.

Best budget pick
Cheapest Apple Laptop for 3D Models
Premium Pick
$499.99$469.99
$1,198.76
$2,599.99$1,349.94
CPU:
AMD Ryzen 3
CPU:
M1 or M2
CPU:
8-core Intel i7
GPU:
Radeon Vega 6
GPU:
M1 or M2 10-core
GPU:
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070
RAM:
8GB - 32GB
RAM:
8GB-24 GB
RAM:
16GB (up to 32GB)
Storage:
256GB - 2TB
Storage:
256GB - 2TB
Storage:
up to 1TB
OS:
Windows 11
OS:
macOS 13.0.1
OS:
Windows 10
Screen Size:
15.6”
Screen Size:
13.3-13.6”
Screen Size:
15.6”
Resolution:
1920x1080
Resolution:
2560x1664
Resolution:
1920x1080
Best budget pick
$499.99$469.99
CPU:
AMD Ryzen 3
GPU:
Radeon Vega 6
RAM:
8GB - 32GB
Storage:
256GB - 2TB
OS:
Windows 11
Screen Size:
15.6”
Resolution:
1920x1080
Cheapest Apple Laptop for 3D Models
$1,198.76
CPU:
M1 or M2
GPU:
M1 or M2 10-core
RAM:
8GB-24 GB
Storage:
256GB - 2TB
OS:
macOS 13.0.1
Screen Size:
13.3-13.6”
Resolution:
2560x1664
Premium Pick
$2,599.99$1,349.94
CPU:
8-core Intel i7
GPU:
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070
RAM:
16GB (up to 32GB)
Storage:
up to 1TB
OS:
Windows 10
Screen Size:
15.6”
Resolution:
1920x1080
03/20/2023 01:55 pm GMT

We’ll take a look at a variety of laptops, each with different budgets, power, speed, and screen size. So whether you’re looking for a budget option or a premium laptop to run the most powerful 3D modeling software, we’ve got you covered.

Top Picks

Best laptops for 3D modeling and rendering – Full Round-Up

What Makes a Good Laptop For 3D Modeling and Rendering?

The key specs that make a laptop or computer good for 3D modeling or rendering are RAM, CPU, GPU, and resolution, though some others like screen size still help when 3D modeling.

Here’s a look at the minimum laptop specs for 3D modeling software, comparing some of the most popular solutions for modeling and rendering:

Software Minimum RAMRecommended RAMCPU (minimum cores)
Fusion 3604GB6GB 4-core
AutoCAD8GB16GB4-core
Rhino8GB16-32GB2-core
Blender8GB16-32GB4-core
3DS Max8GB16-32GB8-core
Maya16GB32GB8-core
Minimum laptop specs for 3D modeling software

Just like when it comes to finding the best laptops for 3D printing, there are several key specs that have an impact on your laptop’s ability to run 3D modeling and rendering applications:

RAM 

RAM (random access memory) is one of the most important laptop specs for 3D modeling, as it’s the short term memory where the processor stores data as it needs it. So, increasing RAM can improve your laptop’s speed and performance when it comes to running demanding applications and many applications at once.

While some 3D modeling software can run off 4GB RAM, the highest quality programs like Maya require 32GB RAM for optimum performance when working with large, complex models. 

CPU 

The central processing unit is the key component at the heart of your laptop for running 3D modeling and animation software, determining what it can do and how well it can do it. 

There are several aspects of CPUs that affect their performance, including cores. The more cores a chip has, the more instructions it can process at once. You generally need at least four cores for 3D rendering, although six or more is recommended. Some of the most premium laptops for 3D modeling offer 16-core CPUs, offering unrivaled performance.

Another important factor is clock speed, measured in GHz, which determines how fast a CPU can run. For example, this is why the Intel i7 chip is better than the i5 despite having the same number of cores, as it has a higher clock speed (1.8GHz to 1.6GHz), and it’s the same with Apple’s M1 and M2 chips. 

GPU 

Another fundamental component of the best computers for 3D modeling is the graphics processing unit (GPU), commonly referred to as the graphics card. The GPU processes 2D and 3D graphics as well as rendering polygons and mapping textures, so more powerful graphics cards result in improved speed and performance. 

NVIDIA graphics cards are regarded as the best for 3D modeling – with the GeForce RTX 3070, 3080, and 3090 GPUs being the most commonly used.

Resolution

The final key spec is display resolution, which determines how many pixels a screen has. In short, the higher the resolution, the more pixels and therefore the sharper your models and animations appear.

It’s important because laptop’s with low resolution are not going to be able to adequately display complex models or renderings, so make sure you bear this in mind when searching for the best laptop for Blender, Maya, or 3DX Max.

Are Any Specs Not Important for 3D Modeling?

There are other laptop specs, such as display size, touchscreen, and battery life, which don’t directly impact a laptop’s ability to run 3D modeling software. 

However, these specs do impact your own personal experience, so they’re still important to consider when comparing the best computers for rendering.

Best Laptops For 3D Modeling and Rendering

Acer Aspire 5 – Best Budget Laptop for 3D Modeling for Beginners

  • Price: Check latest price at Amazon here
  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 3 
  • GPU: Radeon Vega 6
  • RAM: 8GB – 32GB
  • Storage: 256GB – 2TB
  • OS: Windows 11 
  • Screen size: 15.6”
  • Resolution: 1920×1080
Acer Aspire 5

Unfortunately, virtually any laptop under $1,000 is going to reduce the amount of 3D rendering software you can run. However, with a high-value budget laptop like the Aspire 5, you can perform many 3D modeling applications without breaking the bank.

The price we’ve quoted is for 8GB RAM, but it’s also available with 12GB, 20GB, and 32GB. However, bear in mind that even if you go for 32GB RAM, the quad-core processor still won’t have enough power to efficiently run demanding 3D modeling programs like Maya.

That being said, this cheap laptop for 3D modeling still offers solid performance for small and medium size projects on many 3D rendering software.

The full HD, backlit display is also pretty impressive for the price. In fact, it’s the same quality display used in the Lenovo Legion 5, which we review below and is a fair bit more expensive.

The Aspire 5 also has a number of intuitive features that make it one of the best rendering laptops for beginners, including a fingerprint reader for quick logins, and Amazon Alexa for voice control.

Best budget pick
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03/20/2023 01:55 pm GMT

Lenovo Legion 5 – Best Laptop for 3D Modeling Under $1,000

  • Price: Check latest price at Amazon here
  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 5
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 1650
  • RAM: 16GB – 32GB
  • Storage: 256GB – 2TB
  • OS: Windows 11 
  • Screen size: 15.6-17.3”
  • Resolution: 1920×1080
Lenovo Legion 5

If you’re looking for the most powerful laptop for 3D rendering under $1,000, the Lenovo Legion 5 is certainly one to check out.

This is a really sleek product that packs a punch at good value. It’s marketed primarily as a gaming laptop, but as gaming and 3D modeling are similarly demanding, it’s perfect for modeling, rendering and animation. 

The price we’ve quoted is for 16GB RAM, which will allow you to run most 3D modeling programs smoothly as well as the likes of 3DS Max and Maya. The Legion 5 is also available with 32GB, although this will push the price slightly over $1,000.

Another factor that makes this one of the most capable 3D laptops is the powerful Ryzen chip with 6 ultra-responsive cores, making for super sharp performance. On top of that, the large, full HD, antiglare display allows you to fully immersive yourself within your renderings.

Alternatively, you can go for a cheaper, more portable 15.6” screen. There’s also the chance to choose from numerous NVIDIA GPUs based on your preference.

The Legion 5 is a good option if you’re looking for a great laptop for AutoCAD 2D or 3D modeling, as it provides the specs required at a reasonable price. 

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Macbook Air – Cheapest Apple Laptop for 3D Models

  • Price: Check latest price at Amazon here
  • CPU: M1 or M2
  • GPU: M1 or M2 10-core
  • RAM: 8GB-24 GB
  • Storage: 256GB – 2TB
  • OS: macOS 13.0.1
  • Screen size: 13.3-13.6”
  • Resolution: 2560×1664
Apple Macbook Air

While not as powerful as the Macbook Pro (which we review further down), the Macbook Air still packs enough of a punch to handle many of the best 3D modeling software.

The cheapest option comes with just 8GB RAM, but with the possibility to go up to 24GB, so it can run programs like AutoCAD with ease, along with more demanding software like Blender and Maya (provided you’re not working on huge complex models).

It also boasts an impressive resolution for such a small laptop, making it arguably the best laptop for 3D CAD modeling in terms of weight and portability. 

One thing to bear in mind, though, if you’re choosing an Apple laptop, is that many 3D modeling software haven’t yet been updated to run natively on the latest M1 and M2 chips.

Luckily, you can still run the top programs using Rosetta 2. However, it may require some tinkering in order to get the software to run optimally. You can typically find information on this kind of thing in software and Macbook owner forums. 

Cheapest Apple Laptop for 3D Models
Apple MacBook Air Laptop with M2 chip
$1,198.76

2022 MacBook Air 13.6-inch Liquid Retina Display, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage, Backlit Keyboard, 1080p FaceTime HD Camera. Works with iPhone and iPad; Starlight

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03/20/2023 11:30 am GMT

Asus Zenbook Pro Duo 15 OLED – Powerful Windows Laptop for 3D Modeling & Printing with Dual Touchscreen

Asus Zenbook Pro Duo 15 OLED

The Asus Zenbook Pro Duo is a strong contender for the best laptop for 3D modeling and rendering under $2,000, due to both its powerful components and intuitive features.

The standout feature is the secondary screen, which is touchscreen like the primary display. You can use this in different ways, such as an extension of the main display or as a separate Window for different tasks, so it can both provide a larger display panel for modeling and help you to multitask efficiently. 

Both displays are stunning OLED, 4K matte screens with fantastic resolution, and really bring even highly complex 3D models to life in stunning detail.

You can choose between 16GB and 32GB depending on the programs you want to run and the size of your models. 

However, if you want to use the likes of Maya, 3DS Max, and Blender, it’s recommended to go for the Core i7 12700H CPU rather than the 10870H one. It uses one of NVIDIAs top graphics cards in the RTX 3070, with the RTX 3070-ti and 3060 also available to choose from.

Other nice features include a built-in IR camera for facial recognition, an ergonomic design improving typing position, an optimized cooling system, and a complimentary 3-month subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud.

ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo 15 OLED
$2,399.99 $1,999.99

 UX582 Laptop, 15.6” OLED 4K UHD Touch Display, Intel Core i7-10870H, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD, GeForce RTX 3070, ScreenPad Plus, Windows 10 Pro, Celestial Blue, UX582LR-XS74T

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03/20/2023 12:10 pm GMT

Apple Macbook Pro – Apple’s Best Laptop for 3D CAD Modeling, Best for Long Lasting Battery & Animation

  • Price: Check latest price at Amazon here
  • CPU: M1, M1 Max, or M2 
  • GPU: M1, M1 Max 10-core, 14 core, or 16-core
  • RAM: up to 64GB RAM
  • Storage: 256GB – 2TB
  • OS: macOS Ventura
  • Screen size: 13”, 14”, or 16”
  • Resolution: 2560×1600
Apple Macbook Pro

If you’re looking for the best Apple laptop for 3D modeling, then the Macbook Pro is the one for you.

With Apple’s latest and most powerful processors, graphics cards, and operating system, and up to an incredible 64 RAM, the Macbook Pro makes light work of 3D modeling, rendering, and animation, regardless of the size or complexity of your projects.

Not only that, but with up to 2TB storage, you can get double the memory available in most other premium laptops. Though, choosing all the top specs is going to end up costing a lot of money. 

Luckily, the latest Macbook Pro is highly configurable when purchasing, allowing you to pick the exact specs you need.

You can choose between three different screen sizes, different CPUs and GPUs with a variety of cores, and more. Each comes with Apple’s stunning liquid retina display, allowing you to showcase your 3D work in all its glory.

Another feature that makes the Macbook Pro one of the best laptops for 3D modeling is its incredible battery life, which can last up to 21 hours. Of course, it won’t last that long if you’re doing continuous demanding 3D modeling tasks, but it still provides longer off-charge working than most other 3D rendering laptops.

Apple MacBook Pro Laptop with M2 chip
$1,499.00 $1,349.99

2022 MacBook Pro 13-inch Retina Display, 8GB RAM, 512GB ​​​​​​​SSD ​​​​​​​Storage, Touch Bar, Backlit Keyboard, FaceTime HD Camera. with iPhone and iPad; Silver

.

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03/20/2023 12:25 pm GMT

Razer 15 – Best Laptop for 3D Modeling and Gaming

  • Price: Check latest price at Amazon here
  • CPU: 8-core Intel i7
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070
  • RAM: 16GB (up to 32GB)
  • Storage: up to 1TB
  • OS: Windows 10
  • Screen size: 15.6”
  • Resolution: 1920×1080
Razer 15

The Razer 15 is one of the most premium gaming laptops on the market and is also worthy of the title of best laptop for 3D design.

One of the main things that set this laptop apart from most of the others on our list is the 8-core Intel i7 processor, as most i7 CPUs only have four cores. This vastly increases the chip’s capabilities and means you can run highly demanding 3D rendering programs a lot smoother on 16RAM than you could with a laptop that has a CPU with less cores.

As with many laptops, there are numerous options when purchasing a Razer 15. For example, if you’re able to spend $3,999.99, then you can get 32GB RAM and a higher resolution 3840×21690 for even more powerful performance.

Alternatively, you can save some cash by going for lower specs. We think the price and specs we’ve quoted above are a good sweet spot for many modelers, though.

Premium Pick
Razer Blade 15 Gaming Laptop
$2,599.99 $1,349.94
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03/20/2023 11:15 am GMT

MSI GE76 Raider – Best Laptop for Rendering with Large Display Size 

  • Price: Check latest price at Amazon here
  • CPU: 8-core Intel i9 or 14-core i7
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080
  • RAM: 32GB
  • Storage: up to 1TB
  • OS: Windows 10
  • Screen size: 17.3”
  • Resolution: 1920×1080
MSI GE76 Raider

The MSI GE67 Raider is an absolute monster and is our pick for the best 3D rendering laptop with a large display.

With a huge 17.3”, 360Hz FHD screen, this model is perfect for working on large and complex models. It displays images with a high refresh rate, making it suitable for rendering and animation as well as modeling.

It’s also one of the most powerful laptops on the market. With 32GB RAM, the ability to choose between 14-core i7 and 8-core i9 processors, and one of NVIDIAs top graphics cards, the Raider has no problem running even the most demanding software. This makes it a strong contender for the best laptop for Maya, as well as programs like Blender and 3DS Max.

There are some other great features that help the Raider stand out, including the ability to customize each key as you like for improved efficiency.

It also boats impressive cooling technology with state-of-the-art fans, as well as a super long-lasting 99.99WHr battery (the legal flight limit) to let you model for longer. 

MSI GE76 Raider
$2,995.94

17.3" 360Hz FHD Display, Intel Core i7-11800H, NVIDIA GeForce RTX3080, 32GB, 1TB NVMe SSD, Win10 ,Titanium Blue (11UH-245)

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03/20/2023 12:35 pm GMT

HP ZBook Fury 16 – Best HP Laptop for 3D Modeling, Best Windows Options for Professionals

  • Price: Check latest price at Amazon here
  • CPU: 16-core Intel 
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX A3000
  • RAM: 64GB
  • Storage: up to 1TB
  • OS: Windows 10
  • Screen size: 16”
  • Resolution: 1920×1200
HP ZBook Fury 16, a specialist powerful laptop for 3d modeling and rendering

Last but not least on our list is the exceptionally powerful HP ZBook Fury 16, which offers everything you need as a 3D modeler or animator.

With 64GB RAM and a 16-core processor with Turbo Boost technology, it’s comparable to the most expensive Macbook Pro model in terms of speed and performance. On top of that, it boasts NVIDIA’s RTX A3000 GPU, a professional graphics card for mobile workstations, allowing you to easily run all the top 3D modeling software.

The 16” display also uses a slim bezel design, which provides an enhanced display area and truly allows you to bring even your most complex projects to life in stunning quality.

So whether you’re looking for the best laptop for 3D rendering architecture, character modeling, or animation, the ZBook Fury 16 is worth considering.

The version we’ve reviewed is one of the most expensive 3D modeling laptops on the market, but it’s available in seven other configurations which can save you cash by downgrading certain specs.


Buying Guide – Things to consider when choosing a laptop for 3D modeling and rendering 

Here are the key specs you need to be aware of when searching for the best PC for 3D modeling:

Best laptops for 3D modeling and rendering Buying Guide

Operating System Compatibility with Software

It’s important to note that not all 3D modeling software are compatible with all laptops. For example, Solidworks and 3DS Max aren’t available on Mac, while Fusion 360 and AutoCAD aren’t on Linux. Windows laptops offer the greatest compatibility with 3D modeling programs.

If you’re an Apple user, also bear in mind that many modeling and rendering programs haven’t yet been updated to run on M1 and M2 chips. You can still run them using Rosetta 2, but it may result in some performance issues if you’re not using the right settings.

Power & Speed

The three core specs that determine a laptop’s speed and power are the CPU, GPU, and RAM. 

While less demanding software like AutoCAD and Fusion 360 can run on cheaper CPUs and GPUS, and less than 16GB RAM, the top solutions like Maya and 3DS Max require powerful chips, graphics cards, and 32GB RAM for optimal performance. 

Budget 

One of the hardest things when it comes to finding the best laptop for rendering and modeling for you is getting the most bang for your buck. The key specs for 3D modeling – CPU, GPU, and RAM – have a significant impact on prices, as do factors like screen size.

So, the key here is to know what software you want to use and then determine the exact specs you need in terms of specs. This will help you find a good laptop for 3D modeling without overspending on specs you don’t need, or underspending and then realising you can’t do what you want to.

Display Size & Resolution

Display size doesn’t have a direct impact on a laptop’s ability to run 3D modeling software, but it’s still important to consider. A lot of this comes down to practicality – if you travel a lot with your laptop, then a 14” or 15.6” model is more practical than a 17” one. 

On the other hand, large screens provide bigger displays for your models, so it’s largely down to personal preference.

Resolution, on the other hand, has a more direct impact on a 3D modeling laptop’s capabilities. Simply put, the higher the resolution, the greater the detail models are displayed in, so this is particularly important if you’re working on complex modeling and rendering projects.

Which laptop brand is best for 3D modeling?

Apple Macs, Asus, and Acer laptops are often considered best for 3D modeling, although there are also worthy laptops from brands like Dell and HP.

What laptop specs do I need for 3D modeling?

For a lot of 3D modeling you can get away with 8GB RAM, a 64-bit Core i5 chip or higher, and a decent graphics card. However, demanding programs like Maya require more power and at least 16GB RAM and 32GB for optimal performance, along with at least an 8-core CPU.

Does RAM matter for 3D modeling?

Yes, RAM has a big impact on how smoothly your computer handles 3D modeling. Basic programs like Fusion 360 can run on 4GB RAM, but for programs like Blender and Maya 32GB is recommended.

Which processor is best for 3D modeling?

The 16-core AMD Ryzen 3950 X is one of the most powerful processors for 3D modeling, although 8-core and above Intel chips, as well as Apple’s M1 and M2 chips, are also suitable for many of the top modeling and rendering applications.

What GPU do I need for 3D modeling?

NVIDIA graphics cards are the most popular choice for 3D modeling and rendering, including the GeForce RTX 3070,  GeForce RTX 3080, and GeForce RTX 3090.

What do professionals use for 3D modeling?

Maya, ZBrush, Blender, 3DS Max, AutoCAD, and Houdini are some of the most popular programs used in professional 3D modeling.

Do I need a good graphics card for 3D modeling?

Yes, a powerful graphisc card is required for running demanding 3D modeling programs like Blender and 3DS Max. NVIDIA GPUs are the most popular (particularly the GeForce 3070, 3080, and 3090 graphics cards).

Is a Macbook good for 3D modeling?

Yes, Macbooks are great for 3D modeling, particularly the latest Macbook Pro which can pack up to 64GB RAM. However, Macbooks using M1 and M2 chips may need to run some software using Rosetta 2.

FAQs

Can you do 3D modeling on a laptop?

Yes. There are many laptops, such as the Macbook Pro, MSI Raider, HP ZBook Fury, and Asus Zenbook Duio, that are capable of running the top 3D modeling software.

Is a gaming laptop good for 3D modeling?

Yes. As gaming is a similarly demanding task to 3D modeling and rendering, many modelers choose gaming laptops due to their powerful CPUs, GPUs, and large RAM.

What is the best laptop for Blender?

It’s recommended to have at least 16GB RAM and a quadcore processor for Blender, although 32GB RAM will give better performance, so the Asus Zenbook Duo, Macbook Pro, MSI Raider, and Razer 15 are good options.

What is the best animation laptop?

The Macbook Pro, Asus Zenbook Duo, Razer 15, HP ZBook Fury, and MSI Raider are all extremely powerful laptops that are great for 3D animation.

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