Best Laptops & Computers For 3D Printing

If you want to get into 3D printing, it’s important to ensure you have a laptop or computer powerful enough to handle the jobs you want to do. However, this can often be tricky to determine, particularly if you’re a beginner. So, just how do you go about finding the best laptop for 3D printing for you?

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To help you out, we’ve put together this guide in which we review the best computers for 3D printing. We’ll explain all the key factors and computer specs for 3D printing you need to consider to make sure you find the right model.

We’ll also look at both premium and cheap laptops for 3D printing, so you’ll find a match regardless of your budget. 

Top Picks

Best Laptops & Computers For 3D Printing – Full Round-Up

Do You Need a Laptop Or Computer For 3D Printing? 

Yes, you need a laptop or computer for 3D printing – although can also use tablets and even smartphones. You need a computer or other device for the design, slicing, and printing processes. 

Do you Need a Powerful Computer For 3D Printing? 

Luckily, you don’t need a powerful 3D printing computer or laptop – it’s possible to 3D print on just about any model. 

SoftwareOperating SystemProcessorMemoryStorage
CuraWindows 7, 8, 10 or Mac OS X 10.10 and upIntel Pentium 4 or later / AMD Athlon 64 or later4 GB RAM500 MB available space
Fusion 360Windows 7 SP1 64-bit, Windows 8.1 64-bit, Windows 10 64-bit, or Mac OS X 10.11.6 or higher2.5-2.9 GHz or higher, 4 or more cores8 GB RAM (16 GB or more recommended)4 GB available hard disk space
MayaWindows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 7 SP1, Windows Server 2016, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2012, or Mac OS X 10.11.6 or later64-bit Intel or AMD multi-core processor with SSE4.2 instruction set8 GB RAM (16 GB or more recommended)4 GB available hard disk space
BlenderWindows 7 SP1 or higher, or Mac OS X 10.11 or higher2 GHz or higher8 GB RAM (16 GB or more recommended)2 GB available hard disk space
Minimum system requirements for common 3D printing software, as well as 3D modeling rendering software, so you can gauge whether it’s worth spending more for these functions.

For example, Cura, which is one of the most popular 3D printing software, can be run on a computer with a minimum of 4GB RAM, Intel Core 2 or AMD Athlon 64 or higher CPU, 550 MB disk space, and 1024×768 resolution, which are fairly basic requirements. 

However, bear in mind that although you can run Cura on 4GB RAM, 8GB will give better performance. The Cura system requirements are similar to other popular slicers, such as Simplify3D, Chitubox, and PrusaSilcer.

Plus, the most commonly-used file type for small 3D projects is STL files, which are typically less than 15MB, allowing virtually any laptop to host many files.

However, when it comes to 3D modeling and rendering software, these often have more demanding requirements than slicing programs. For example, powerful software like Maya can run on 16GB RAM but it’s recommended to use 32GB along with a powerful graphics card.

Best Laptops for 3D printing

Now it’s time to review the best 3D printer computers, where we’ll look at laptops and desktops of varying budgets and power to help you find the perfect match.

Lenovo Ideapad 3 – Best Cheap Laptop for 3D Printing 

  • Price: from $395.99
  • CPU: Intel i3
  • GPU: Intel UHD
  • RAM: 8GB
  • OS: Windows 11 Home
  • Screen size: 15.6”
  • Resolution: 1366×768
Lenovo Ideapad 3

If you’re looking for the cheapest laptop for 3D printing, the Lenovo Ideapad 3 is worth considering. This is a very popular budget model that provides the specs needed to handle small STL files for more basic computer-aided 3D printing projects and to run slicing software like Cura. 

The 8GB RAM and Intel i3 processing unit are enough to handle multiple applications at once, including design programs alongside slicing. 

Aside from the core specs, the Ideapad 3 has several other features that make it a popular budget laptop for 3D printing. Perhaps the highlight of these is the touchscreen display, with it being one of the cheapest models that offer this feature. 

Just bear in mind that the Lenovo Ideapad 3 is only really suitable for smaller and more basic 3D printer projects, as the low specs mean it can’t handle demanding 3D modeling and rendering applications. 

This is also one of the highest rated budget laptops on Amazon, with a 4.4 star rating from over 1,200 reviews. 

Recommended for slicing?Recommended for 3D modeling?
YesNo
Best Cheap Laptop for 3D Printing 
Lenovo Ideapad 3
$959.00 $381.00

Lenovo 2022 Newest Ideapad 3 Laptop, 15.6" HD Touchscreen, 11th Gen Intel Core i3-1115G4 Processor, 8GB DDR4 RAM, 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD, HDMI, Webcam, Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth, Windows 11 Home, Almond

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01/09/2023 05:40 pm GMT

OEM Lenovo ThinkCentre M75s – Best Desktop Computer for 3D Printing Under $1,000

  • Price: from $759.95
  • CPU: Ryzen 5 Pro on Intel i5
  • GPU: NVIDIA GT 1030
  • RAM: 16GB-32GB
  • OS: Windows 10 Pro (upgradable to 11 Pro)
OEM Lenovo ThinkCentre M75s

While laptops offer the benefit of portability, desktops also have some advantages of their own, including being typically longer lasting, more customizable, and packing more power at a lower price. So, if you’re looking for the best PC for 3D printing, we recommend checking out the OEM Lenovo ThinkCentre.

This model provides plenty of power at a lower cost than you get with laptops of similar strength. The NVIDIA graphics card has more than enough strength to run demanding 3D modeling applications like Maya and 3DS Max, although to run these most efficiently it’s best to go for a 32GB version of this desktop.

There are plenty of configurable options when buying a ThinkCentre, including the ability to choose from 12 different combinations of CPU, RAM, and SSD or NVMe.

Other benefits that make this a contender for the best computer for 3D printing software are a sleek and environmentally-friendly design that takes up little space, a 3-year warranty, intuitive features like keystroke turn-on, and the ability to manage updates and diagnostics remotely.

Recommended for slicing?Recommended for 3D modeling?
YesYes
Best Desktop Computer for 3D Printing Under $1,000
OEM Lenovo ThinkCentre M75s
$769.95 $729.95

Gen 2 SFF AMD Ryzen 5 Pro 5650G (Beats Intel i7-12700T), 16GB RAM, 1TB NVMe, W10P, WiFi, 3Y, Desktop

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01/09/2023 05:55 pm GMT

Apple Macbook Air / Pro – Cheapest Apple Laptop for 3D Printing

  • Price: $1,049 for 2022 model
  • CPU: M1 or M2
  • GPU: M1 or M2 10-core
  • RAM: 8GB-24 GB
  • OS: macOS 13.0.1
  • Screen size: 13.3-13.6”
  • Resolution: 2560×1664
Apple Macbook Air

For Apple fans who want to use 3D printing, there are two major choices when looking for the best laptop for 3D printing software – the Macbook Air and Macbook Pro. The Air is the more lightweight, cheaper option, while the Pro (which we review below) is the more premium solution.

WIth a super-slim design and weighing just 2.7lb, the Macbook Air is one of the most portable laptops on the market, so it’s great for designing 3D printing projects on the go. 

It’s important to note that, as with most premium laptops, the Macbook Air is configurable with different minimum computer requirements for 3D printing. For example, the cheapest version has just 8GB of RAM, so you’d be restricted to mostly basic printing projects.

The max RAM is 24GB. So, you could run demanding 3D modeling applications like Blender and Maya if you’re working on smaller projects, but you need 32GB to create larger, more complex products.

The 2022 model is available with both the M1 and M2 chip. The M2 chip versions pack more power but are the most expensive. If you want to save some cash, you can always go for older versions of the Macbook Air. 

In fact, some popular software used in 3D printing aren’t compatible with the latest Macbook models. For example, Rhino is one of the most popular 3D modeling software and runs on Mac Intel chips but hasn’t yet been updated to run on M1 and M2 chips, so make sure you bear this in mind. Programs like Maya can run on the M1 and M2 chips in Rosetta 2 mode.

Recommended for slicing?Recommended for 3D modeling?
YesYes, but will struggle with very large and complex projects
Cheapest Apple Laptop for 3D Printing
Apple MacBook Air Laptop with M2 chip
$1,163.99

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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01/09/2023 06:01 am GMT

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

  • Price: from $1,892.99
  • CPU: Intel i7
  • GPU: RTX 3070
  • RAM: 16GB-32GB
  • OS: Windows 11
  • Screen size: 15.6”
  • Resolution: 3840×1140
Asus Zenbook Pro Duo 15 OLED

The Asus Zenbook Pro Duo 15 OLED is one of the most powerful Windows 3D printer laptops on the market.

The ability to choose between 16GB and 32GB of RAM is great, as 16GB can save you some cash but is enough to run computer programs for 3D printing like Fusion 360, Rhino, and AutoCAD, while you can go for 32GB if you want to use the likes of Maya and Blender for complex projects.

Aside from its impressive specs, the Zenbook Pro Duo 15 OLED has some other impressive features that help it stand out from the crowd. These include the stunning OLED, 4k matte touchscreen which is coupled with a secondary display. You can use the secondary screen to either extend the first for a larger display or use it as another Window for optimized multitasking.

Similar to Macbooks, there are a variety of Zenbook versions available to buy, including the Pro models that don’t have the second screen that you can get with the Pro Duos. You can save some cash by going for cheaper models, but bear in mind some are limited to 16 RAM, which can reduce the amount of 3D modeling programs you can run efficiently. 

Recommended for slicing?Recommended for 3D modeling?
YesYes
Powerful Windows Laptop for 3D Modeling & Printing
ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo 15 OLED
$2,399.99 $2,222.00

 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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01/09/2023 06:05 am GMT

Apple Macbook Pro – Best Computer for 3D Printing for Apple Users

  • Price: from $2,348.56
  • CPU: M1 or M1 Max
  • GPU: M1 or M1 Max 10-core or 16-core
  • RAM: up to 64GB RAM
  • OS: macOS Ventura
  • Screen size: 14-16”
  • Resolution: 2560×1600
Apple Macbook Pro

If you’re looking for the overall best laptop for 3D printing from Apple, you can’t look past the 2022 Macbook Pro

With a powerful graphics card, stunning resolution, and Apple’s fastest ever processing unit, the Macbook Pro can handle even the most demanding CAD software and modeling applications. Bear in mind, though, that selecting the strongest specs will cause the price to rise a lot higher than the one we’ve quoted.

One of the highlights is that the Macbook Pro is one of the few laptops to offer up to 64GB RAM. This can make it a true modeling, rendering, and animation workstation that can tackle any project while retaining optimal speed.

The liquid retina XDR display is genuinely stunning, and you can choose between a more portable 14” screen or a larger 16” display.

Another notable point is that the latest Macbook Pro models run on the macOS Ventura operating system, which Apple claims is the most advanced operating system in the world. It has a number of new features like Focus filters and a Spotlight search mechanism that can help to improve productivity and efficiency.

Plus, with up to 21 hours of battery life, the Macbook Pro 2022 is one of the longest lasting laptops on the market.

Recommended for slicing?Recommended for 3D modeling?
YesYes
Best Computer for 3D Printing for Apple Users
Apple MacBook Pro Laptop with M2 chip
$1,499.00 $1,399.00

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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01/09/2023 06:21 am GMT

MSI GE76 – Overall Best Computer for 3D Modeling and Printing 

  • Price: $3,137.96
  • CPU: Intel i9
  • GPU: RTX 3080
  • RAM: 32GB
  • OS: Windows 10/11
  • Screen size: 17.3”
  • Resolution: 1920×1080
MSI GE76

If you’re looking for a truly premium laptop that can handle any type of 3D modeling and animation task, then it’s hard to look past the MSI GE76. This is one of the top gaming laptops with specs that make it perfect for 3D modeling.

The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 graphics card is one of the best on the market, and coupled with the laptop’s huge and stunning FHD 17.3” screen, is perfect for those looking to get into serious, or even professional 3D modeling and printing. Meanwhile, its powerful CPU and 32GB RAM allow you to run all the top 3D modeling, rendering, and animation programs.

It also uses an exclusive Color Boost technology that ensures optimal thermal dissipation, alongside a top quality cooling system to ensure it can perform at its best continuously throughout demanding applications.

The reason we’ve titled this as the overall best laptop for 3D printing and modeling is that, in addition to its stunning strength, it has a benefit over the latest Macbook Pro in being able to run a wider variety of computer software for 3D printing at maximum efficiency.

Recommended for slicing?Recommended for 3D modeling?
YesYes
Overall Best Computer for 3D Modeling and Printing
MSI GE76 Raider
$3,109.94

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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01/09/2023 06:25 am GMT

Buying Guide – Things to Consider When Buying a Laptop for 3D Printing

Buying Guide-Laptop for 3D Printing

Operating System

The first thing is to make sure that your laptop for 3D printing is compatible with the 3D slicing software you want to use, as not all programs are compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Luckily, most the top slicers run on macOS. Here’s a quick look at the operating system compatibility of the five most popular 3D slicers:

Operating SystemCuraChituboxSimplify3DPrusaSlicerSlic3r
Windows 
Mac
Linux

So, you can see that the most popular slicers are all compatible with the three main operating systems. However, this isn’t always the case with CAD and 3D modeling used for 3D printing. 

For example, while AutoCAD, Fusion 360, Rhino, Blender, and Maya all run on Mac and Windows, the likes of 3DS Max and Solidworks aren’t compatible with macOS. 

Linux 3D modeling programs are in even shorter supply, with popular solutions like AutoCAD, Fusion 360, Rhino, and Maya not available, although the likes of Blender and FreeCAD are.

3D Printer Computer Requirements 

While most slicing software can run on less powerful laptops, this isn’t always the case with programs used in the design stage of 3D printing, such as 3D CAD modeling and 3D rendering software.

So, if you’re looking for a laptop for 3D modeling that can handle kind of demanding applications, you need to make sure it has enough power. Here’s a look at the key system requirements of some of the most popular 3D modeling and rendering software to help you find the right computer for your needs:

SoftwareMinimum RAMRecommended RAMSystemProcessor
Fusion 3604GB6GB 64-bit1.7 GHz or greater
AutoCAD8GB16GB64-bit 2.5 GHz or greater
Maya16GB32GB64-bit3.5 GHz for greater

Price

Laptops can be really expensive, and with so many models to choose from, finding the best one for your budget can be very difficult. So, the key here is to define exactly what features you need, and then look at the models within your price range that offer those.

Factors like RAM and screen resolution have a big impact on a computer’s price, so make sure you know exactly what 3D printing PC requirements you need, as this will help prevent you from over or underspending.

Also, it’s worth noting that with most of the good laptops for 3D printing, it’s possible to upgrade RAM. So, if you’re a beginner, you might want to start out with a less expensive model that allows you to upgrade specs later down the line if you so wish.

Budget Pick
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3.5
3.5
$959.00$381.00
$1,499.00$1,399.00
$3,109.94
Budget Pick
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01/09/2023 05:40 pm GMT

FAQs:

Is it possible to 3D print without a computer?

While it’s possible to simply insert an SD card with a 3D print file into a printer and print it that way, this method is very limited and you won’t be able to design anything. It’s more beneficial to 3D print with a desktop or laptop.

Is it worth getting an expensive computer for 3D printing?

If you’re a beginner looking to print small projects, then you can do so with a budget computer. However, if you want to create larger, more complex designs using advanced 3D modeling software, then you’ll need a more powerful and expensive 3D printing laptop.

What is needed to run a 3D printer? 

To run a 3D printer you need a computer or laptop, printing materials, a 3D model in a STL file or a similar, a slicer software, and an SD card for transferring your models into the printer.

Do you need a special computer for a 3D printer?

No, you can use just about any computer to 3D print small STL files. However, if you want to print large files or use powerful 3D design software, then you will need a computer with enough power to handle the requirements.

What computer do I need for a 3D printer?

You don’t need a super expensive computer setup for 3D printing – most laptop and desktop models are fine for more simple projects. However, more complex and larger projects that require 3D modeling may need a computer with a more powerful CPU and GPU as well as lots of RAM.

Can you use a laptop for a 3D printer?

Yes, you can use a laptop or desktop for 3D printing depending on your preference.

What’s a good laptop for 3D printing? 

Some popular laptops for 3D printing include the Macbook Air, Macbook Pro, and Asus Zenbook Duo. The Lenovo Ideapad is a popular cheap computer for 3D printing.

Do you need a powerful laptop for 3D printing?

It depends on what you want to do. Only basic laptop requirements for 3D printing are needed if you’re working on small, simple projects, but if you want to use 3D modeling in the process, you’ll require more power.

What kind of computer for 3D printing?

You don’t need any particular type of computer for 3D printing – most laptops and desktops are suitable for simple jobs. However, if you’re looking for a computer for 3D animation and rendering to use in printing, you’ll need a more powerful model.

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