Are you looking for the best laptop for Fusion 360?
Don’t worry because I’ve got you covered.
Most people must have misguided you that you need a powerful laptop system to run Fusion 360. Though it is true but powerful laptop doesn’t necessarily mean making a hole in your pocket.
Hence in this article, I’ve posted some of the best laptops for CAD software that cost less than $1000 but offer top-notch specification and performance.
Since Fusion 360 is cloud-based software, the majority of stuff is being handled by the cloud, this saves you from buying an extremely powerful system, and a laptop itself is just enough when it comes using Fusion 360 to its full potential.
However, there are few quirks that you need to avoid, which I’ve listed below the table:
5 Best Laptop for Fusion 360
5 Things to Avoid when buying the Best Laptop for Fusion 360
In most of my articles, I generally write a section about ‘Things to Consider’ when buying a laptop for a particular reason or price.
However, in this article, I want to make you aware of the features that you should avoid if you want the best experience with Fusion 360.
Say Bye Bye to 13” and 14” Screen Size
Fusion 360 being a Computer Aided Design software has multiple functions and options within it.
Most options are cascaded within the Menu bar, but many other options are right in front; on the main screen.
Hence when working on a laptop having a smaller 13” screen, you get a lot less workspace area to create your 3D models.
Moreover, multiple functions, buttons, and toggles are small in size and would require squinting of eyes to see them clearly.
Hence my recommendation is to get a minimum of 15.6” screen if you want to work on Fusion 360.
Ditch 4K Resolution and Anything under Full HD
4K resolution based laptops and TVs is the latest thing that has hit the market right now, and it would look superb to get a laptop with a 4K screen but only to be disappointed later.
First of all 4K resolution screen are a battery guzzler, they will drain your laptop’s battery a lot faster compared to a Full HD Screen.
Secondly having 4K resolution on 15.6” screen will result in the Fusion 360’s functions and buttons looking smaller due to higher resolution and comparatively smaller screen, which is another significant disadvantage.
Hence my suggestion is to only stick with Full HD Screen laptops and all the laptops mentioned in this list come only with Full HD Screen
On another note, resolution anything below Full HD will result in a pixelated screen.
i7 is the perfect choice (forget i5)
In my previous post, I mentioned how the 8th generation Intel i5 processors are 40-50% faster compared older versions.
Now, most of you would want to settle on an Intel i5 laptop that is coupled with a capable graphics card for Fusion 360.
No doubt, the CAD application will run on it smoothly for basic designs; however, things start to get sloppy when you move on to making complex designs.
Take a look at this book if you want to learn the basics to complex designs in Fusion 360.
On the other hand, the latest 8th generation Intel i7 processor has more cores than the traditional Intel Core i5 and faster processing power required in making complex calculations in Fusion 360.
Do not worry though because all the laptops mentioned in the list come only with Intel Core i7 processors only.
Discard Laptop without a Graphics Card lower than Nvidia GTX 1050
To be honest, Fusion 360 will run on almost any modern laptop you install on it, but as a said earlier, the main concern is running the software smoothly.
Most modern laptops come with Intel HD/UHD graphics, which isn’t enough for Fusion 360, while on the flip side most laptop manufacturers add in a low powered graphics card from Nvidia like MX150 and the increase the laptop price, which is inept as well.
Hence to keep things simple, just get a laptop that has at least Nvidia GTX 1050 graphics card in it because Nvidia GTX 1050 graphics card is almost 50-60% faster compared to say an entry level card like Nvidia MX150 [Check Comparison].
Even when you compare the price to performance ratio, the GTX 1050 is the clear winner among them!
Don’t be bothered as I’ve included laptops that have GTX 1050 or higher graphics card.
Don’t Pay for Fusion 360 Just Yet
Fusion 360 is a paid software, but most of you who haven’t used the software won’t know that you can obtain the CAD software for FREE.
Autodesk being very generous has made the software FREE for upto 3 years for Students and FREE for upto 1 year for Enthusiasts/Hobbyist and Startups (having revenue less than $100K per year).
This is definitely a great move from Autodesk because it will bring a lot of consumers for the platform by providing the first year free (instead people looking for cheaper alternatives) and once most people get used to the software it would be hard switching over the other CAD softwares.
Now let’s move on the list of Top 5 Best Laptop for Fusion 360.
#1: Dell G3
Being the 3rd Largest Laptop Brand in terms of sales, Dell has always reinvented itself and adapted to the needs of modern consumers.
For a long time, Dell has been dependent on its Inspiron and XPS laptop series, however in 2018 Dell launched a new series of Gaming Laptops, christened as ‘G-Series,’ consisting of G3, G5 and G7 series of laptops available in various configuration.
Dell G3 is the cheapest gaming laptop in the lineup but packs in a lot of punch and includes hardware that would give any gaming laptop a run for its money.
But what makes it the Best Laptop for Fusion 360? Priced under $900 (at the time of writing), it contains an extremely powerful Intel Core i7-8750H processor which is coupled with a Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti Graphics Card powerful enough to run Fusion 360 at its full potential.
Being a gaming laptop, the Dell G3 has been styled moderately; hence it doesn’t have a striking design like a Traditional Gaming Laptop.
Build entirely out of plastic, the Dell G3 has a decent design with matte black color that is carried forward over the entire laptop. You get a glossy Blue Dell logo at the top, blue border along the touchpad, and blue color keypad keys.
While once you open the lid, you can’t help but notice the striped-chequered design on the keyboard and touchpad panel. This may have divided opinions, as you may either like or won’t like it.
The Elephant in the room, however, is the laptop’s 17.3” screen, which is big enough to carry out your CAD works without feeling tired of small screen size or squinting your eyes. It may not be the best laptop screen, but its lot better compared to TN display because you get an IPS display with Full HD resolution.
Since Fusion 360 supports Mac OS too, hence if you were thinking of getting a Macbook Pro, then this is your time to shine.
If budget is not a factor, then Apple MacBook Pro is the Best Laptop for Fusion 360 because it comes with a 6-core Intel Core i7 processor. Though Apple doesn’t reveal the model number, but with the limited details one can tell that it’s an Intel Core i7-8750H processor.
Coupled with the processor is an AMD Radeon Pro 555X Graphics processor that is probably one of the best video cards for Fusion 360 and due to excellent optimization of Hardware and Software in Mac OS, the Radeon Pro 555X with Fusion 360 is a match made in heaven.
Being priced north of $2000, Apple should have included a 32GB RAM, but you’re left with a 16GB RAM with possibility to upgrade it in future. Don’t get saddened because 16GB is more than enough to run Fusion 360.
Screen is a big part when it comes to CAD softwares and trust me, you aren’t going to get any better screen in a laptop other than the Macbook Pro.
You get a 15.4” 16:10 aspect ratio screen that has a massive resolution of 2880 x 1880 and offers color output of around 16 Million colors that makes the screen look vibrant and vivid.
However, that is not the only screen you get because this latest model of MacBook Pro has touch bar screen that displays common OS functions and additional options depending on the software you’re using, and the touch bar is easily customizable as well.
If you’re looking for a laptop that is priced close to Dell G3 but with better battery life and less weight, then the Asus Vivobook K570UD is an ideal choice.
Though I must tell you, to increase the battery life and keep the weight low, Asus has included an Intel i7-8550U CPU and Nvidia GTX 1050 2GB DDR5 GPU which is sort of a downgrade compared to Dell G3.
On the design front, both the laptops look similar, and Asus has gone with Mint colored theme on the K570UD. You get a mint color border on the outer screen shell, dual mint colored and glossy Asus logos and mint border surrounding the touch pad too.
Luckily the keyboard is backlit and will help you while working late at night.
In case the battery is down, Asus markets that this laptop will charge upto 60% in under 49 minutes; however, we all know that we should take this statement with a pinch of salt.
Most of you might get confused with IPS branding on the product page, but in reality, Asus mentions IPS-like display technology and doesn’t reveal the actual screen technology.
Nonetheless, the screen is good with vibrant colors and brightness over 250nits that offers wide viewing angles and is much better than TN displays.
Additionally, the laptop includes an 8GB DDR4, an M.2 slot 256GB SSD that offers faster read/write speed compared to a traditional SSD coupled with 1TB 5400RPM HDD.
On the connectivity front, Asus provides USB 3.1 Type-C port, USB 3.0, USB 2.0, HDMI, Dual Band Wifi and Bluetooth 4.0.
If you want a laptop that is complete steal for your money, then getting the Acer Predator Helios is no brainer.
The Predator Helios was one of the highest selling gaming laptop of 2017 due to its excellent hardware priced under the sweet spot of under $1000.
Now the Helios 300 model comes updated with an Intel 8th generation Intel i7-8750H processor and better cooling and hence costs a couple of $100 more but still it’s a steal of a price.
What makes it the best laptop for Fusion 360 is the inclusion of Nvidia GTX 1060 GPU, which is a powerful graphics card that offers over 80-100+ FPS on AAA video game titles.
I always say that Gaming Laptops look gaudy and the Acer Predator Helios 300 is the perfect example. It has a very aggressive gaming laptop look, and a person from mile away can notice it to be a gaming laptop.
Hence this can be a problem in case you need a powerful yet subtle looking laptop for office use.
Another excellent feature on this laptop is the 144Hz refresh rate on the beautiful Full HD IPS screen, this may not be a big advantage for CAD software but nonetheless is a nice addition.
Other features include a more-than-enough 16GB DDR 2666MHz RAM, 256GB NVMe SSD, Dual Metal Fans for faster cooling, 300 nits brightness, inbuilt software to control fan speed, and last but not the least a 5-6 hours of battery life on full charge.
#5: MSI GS65 Stealth
As I said earlier, the design of Acer Predator Helios 300 may put off some people who are impressed by its specification.
Fret not because you can have the similar powerful specifications in a laptop shell that looks virtuous and is lightweight as well.
For starters, the MSI GS65 Stealth boasts a 15.6” screen encapsulated in 14-inch that in turn reduces the body weight naturally.
With proper component placement, careful selection of material and extreme engineering, MSI has managed to keep the weight down to 4.14 lbs that clutches the Ultrabook category, while at the same time offering specifications of a powerful laptop.
Though the laptop is not made from a single block of aluminum, but the brand has used metal panels to give it a premium look and feel.
Unlike the typical black and red theme we’re used to seeing in Gaming Laptops, MSI has used a Matte Black and Golden design.
The MSI GS65 has golden border on the outer screen panel, touchpad border and golden design around the heat vents too.
What adds to the laptop’s premiumness is the thin 4.9mm bezels around the screen and independent per key RGB lighting that can be programmed to light up only when pressed that looks cools but in turn saves battery as well.
Additionally, due to MSI’s excellent cooling capabilities with inclusion of 3 Fans and 4 heat pipes, the laptop runs cool even on full load.
On the battery life front, the MSI GS65 Stealth offers battery life of 6-7 hours which is ideal for using Fusion 360.
Frequently Asked Questions about Fusion 360
What is Fusion 360 software used for?
Fusion 360 is a Computer Aided Design, Manufacturing and Engineering (CAD, CAM, and CAE) software. It is a 3D product design software that helps to bring conceptual design to real life.
You can create your 3D design in Fusion 360, and that design can be used to develop actual products in real life.
It is meant for entire product development process, and since it’s a cloud-based platform, you can use it on your browser too.
Is Fusion 360 Free?
Fusion 360 is a paid software; however, it is free-to-use for students for upto 3 years and free for enthusiasts/hobbyist and startups (w/ revenue less than $100K/year) for upto 1 year.
Otherwise, Fusion 360 is a paid software that can you can either pay monthly, half-yearly or annually.
What are Fusion 360 System Requirements?
Fusion 360 being a CAD software requires a powerful system to do complex calculations. Even while creating complex design, the program requires the prowess of CPU and GPU to work efficiently.
Fusion 360 will work on an average computer system, but you will notice lagging and stuttering. Hence in this article, I have selected only the best laptop for Fusion 360.
However here are the System Requirements specified by AutoDesk.
|System requirements for Autodesk Fusion 360|
|Operating System||Apple® macOS™ High Sierra v10.13; Apple® macOS™ Sierra v10.12; Mac® OS® X v10.11.x (El Capitan)|
Note: Mac OS X v10.10.x (Yosemite) is not supported.Microsoft® Windows® 7 SP1, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10 (64-bit only)
|CPU Type||64-bit processor (32-bit not supported)|
|Memory||3GB RAM (4GB or more recommended)|
|Graphics Card||512MB GDDR RAM or more, except Intel GMA X3100 cards|
|Disk Space||~2.5 GB|
|Pointing Device||Microsoft-compliant mouse, Apple Mouse, Magic Mouse, MacBook Pro trackpad|
|Internet||A DSL internet connection or faster|
Can I use Fusion 360 offline?
Autodesk markets Fusion 360 as cloud-based software, and most of the files are stored on the cloud server, however, with few settings, you can be able to work on Fusion 360 offline too.
Check this article to get to know about using Fusion 360 Offline.
Can I use Fusion 360 for my 3D Printer?
If you’ve recently bought a 3D Printer, then Fusion 360 is the perfect software to create and manufacture 3D models and print them on your 3D printer.
Fusion 360 can export OBJ and STL file formats that can be used by 3D printing software; otherwise, you can use Fusion 360 to print on your printer directly.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article and it gave you a better about choosing the best laptop for Fusion 360 for your own self.
Relatively I bet you must have finalized the laptop by now. If you did, then do let me know in the comment section which laptop you have thought of buying.
In case you are still confused, then you can shoot me your question in the comment section too.
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Last update on 2018-11-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API