What are the best laptops to run Solidworks?
Boxx is very good but among the most pricey. The Dell Precision M-4800 or M-6800 series appear to work quite well.
I have had great success with the Lenovo Thinkpad W520 (the W540 is the current model). This was Lenovo's flagship for professional computing with following spec which I ordered:
Processor: Intel Core i7-2960XM Processor (2.70GHz, 8MB L3, 1333MHz FSB)
Display type: 15.6"
System graphics: NVIDIA Quadro 2000M Graphics with 2GB DDR3 Memory
Total memory: 16GB PC3-10600 DDR3 SDRAM 1333MHz SODIMM Memory (4 DIMM)
Hope this helps.
Sorry to not answer your question directly. I would go with a Desktop wherever possible instead. The last place I worked had 4 Dell Precision workstations with Solid State HDD, 16-24 gigs ECC Ram, &K2000 graphics Cards. They modeled extremely complex cast metal engine block mold patterns, with 100's of fillets, drafts, patterns, lofts, sweeps, etc. At that shop the crashes were about once a week. As a matter of fact one of the designers crashes wereso rare with a crash that he urged the boss to have is HDD reformatted after 3 crashes in 2 weeks. After working at 4 companies a crash a day is doing good for Solidworks. (I'm not faulting Dessault for that its extremely complex software w/a lot going in Windows besides.)
The above is in contrast with the current workplace with 5 designers all of whom use Reseller approved Dell Precision 6600's with SSHD & Quadro 3000M graphics. The department was somewhat forced to buy laptops due to the prospect of working from home(which rarely is necessary) The parts & assemblies here a simple & there are constant graphics issues. & 3-5 crashes/day in SW (with updated driver& windows updates & squeaky clean installs. The guys here would think they died & gone to heaven with the desktop configuration above.
Some other things to consider when working remotely is management of toolbox, standard templates & libraries, PDM, local vs. license server(checking out licenses).
In other words, I would go with a laptop only if working offsite is critical. If you do go with a laptop, 5 designers here not happy with our configuration (although its 2 years old already) Two of our laptop SSHD's failed under 2 years.(they sat on the desk most of the time). Go with the recommendations in the other posts if its working good for them that advice is worth a lot.
I would add to that, never use PCoIP as it is the same as working remotely with all the subtle yet hard to pin down problems and using a local license instead of off a server. I used to use PCoIP but it never functioned properly. I find that using a good laptop suits my needs very well. Boxx or Dell are among the best that I have tried.
Unless necessary i would stick with the power and cooling of a desktop myself.
I have used M6800 & M6700, and although very adequate in smaller assemblies and parts in larger assemblies there is alot to desire and i am certain complicated parts would be an issues. I am fortunate, and my uses are not normally dealing with large asseblies but mostly parts and small assemblies and it is not my primary job to be designing, most of my work is in improvements. I also must be able to travel with my SolidWorks, or even with my responsibilities I would of requested a desktop instead.
Watch out for the Dell 4800 with the higher resolution (3200 x 1800) screen. I think NVidia/Windows 8 is still having issues resolving this high def screen. I have tried all the various drivers and still have an issue, primarily when docking/undocking. You can see the issue below, where I get ghosted magnifying windows when you click your mouse button. Goes away if you wiggle your mouse a bit, but very annoying. Also heard a number of complaints on the higher res version when it comes to installers, etc.
OTHER THAN THAT, my colleagues with the normal res laptop screens are loving this machine. (32GB ram, SSD, 64bit i7-4900 @ 2.8Ghz)
We just upgraded from the Lenovo W530, I loved it.
I have used Dell Precision laptops with some success. Upgrading to a SSD made a big difference in them. My current one has lasted me 5+ years... However, it usually sits docked. Which defeats the purpose of having a mobile workstation. I just built a custom desktop to run SW 2013. The difference is huge. Not only on price but also performance. For just a fraction of the cost of a good laptop you can build a screaming desktop. I find myself traveling with just a tablet now to show e-Drawings using the app and doing the design work on my desktop.
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