Specifications when buying your own computer

When choosing your own CAD / design / visualisation machine consider the following broad pointers for specifications.

  • As much RAM as possible; 8Gb bare minimum but 16gb or more recommended
  • Discreet Nvidia GTX or Quadro graphics card – rather than onboard graphics
  • i5/i7 class or AMD Ryzen cpu
  • SSD – solid state hard drive; doesn’t necessarily need to be huge if you store data on an external drive.
  • Warranty – check this is not just a basic return to supplier option which would mean you are without a machine for weeks.

While machines without all these specs will still run the more power hungry applications it will likely be a frustrating and limited experience.


Macs won’t natively run Vray for Rhino or 3D Studio Max – but they do tend to be very well built and long lasting (and there are other renderers available; e.g. Keyshot)

A desktop machine will be cheaper and easier to upgrade – also you can have larger and dual monitor setups which is extremely useful for CAD / design work.

A refurbished or older machine with good specs is likely to be better than a new basic one – these two suppliers currently have refurbished laptops – with warranty – available for delivery:




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