Graphics Workstations for AutoCAD

Understand the parameters that make an ideal AutoCAD Workstation

What is AutoCAD

Architects, engineers and construction professionals use to create precise 2D and 3D drawings. AutoCAD contains thousands of standard, intelligent parts, symbols and features within its specialised toolsets allowing the automation of annotations, layers and bills of materials all from the same familiar AutoCAD interface, whether you are using Mechanical, Architectural or Electrical workflows.

What makes the best workstation for AutoCAD?

Although there is no one ideal workstation for AutoCAD, this page will guide you through the most important factors to consider. The best place to start is your intended usage of AutoCAD - simple 2D models will work well on a lower powered workstation whereas large 3D models will require more powerful hardware. Similarly you should also consider whether AutoCAD will be used standalone or whether other design or rendering packages will be used in your workflow - the below recommendations and guidance focus primarily on the requirements for AutoCAD software alone, so you may want to read other application pages to understand how systems specifications may be impacted if multiple software applications are used together.

3XS Workstation

What CPU should I choose for AutoCAD?

Whether you work with 2D or 3D models, AutoCAD will benefit from CPUs with a high frequency and high IPC, so CPUs with lots of cores will have little impact as the application is predominantly single-threaded. Considering these parameters we recommend AMD Ryzen 5 or Intel Core i5 CPUs for entry-level AutoCAD systems, Ryzen 7 and Core i7 for mid-range systems and Ryzen 9 or Core i9 CPUs for high-end systems. These processor families offer clock speeds required but retain value for money.

With larger 3D models and if CPU rendering is intended you may want to consider higher core counts as this does involve multi-threading - processors in the Core i9 X-series and AMD Ryzen Threadripper would be recommended here. There is also a case to consider Intel Xeon or Threadripper PRO CPUs, however aside from the enterprise-class reliability there is little benefit for AutoCAD.

What GPU do I need for AutoCAD?

As we’ve stated AutoCAD is a software application that relies on CPU for the majority of tasks so a basic GPU will suffice if working with 2D models - up to an NVIDIA T1000. When using 3D models, especially larger ones we would recommend a higher specification GPU, such as an RTX A4000 or above, to cope with the more complex graphics, but as AutoCAD doesn’t rely on GPU memory very much there isn’t much need to invest in a card with large memory.

In both cases, we would recommend a professional-grade GPU card, such as NVIDIA RTX or AMD Radeon Pro, as although their consumer counterparts may offer similar performance on paper, they will not be officially certified for AutoCAD usage, so you may struggle to get support from the GPU manufacturer or AutoDesk should you encounter a software issue.

How much RAM is recommended for AutoCAD?

The minimum RAM or memory capacity that we would recommend for AutoCAD use is 16GB. As previously stated, if you require several models open alongside each other, or other applications open together then increasing the memory to 32GB is probably wise. Likewise, if you opt for a higher end CPU, it makes sense to match the RAM to the CPU capability for a more powerful system all round.

What storage does AutoCAD need?

We always recommend using an SSD for the boot drive that will host your OS, AutoCAD itself, and any active projects you are working on. The high speed of SSDs allows your system to boot, launch applications, and load files many times faster than any traditional hard drive. Alternatively, as your work projects increase you may want to consider a second SSD or higher capacity HDD - depending on your budget - so your OS, AutoCAD and live projects benefit from SSD speed, but your archived work uses the HDD where speed isn’t a necessity and costs can be lowered. Another archive solution could be to employ an external NAS device allowing sharing and RAID protection.

When it comes to deciding on drive capacity, this will very much depend on your number of files and the model sizes. The AutoCAD application itself uses at least 10GB of space, not allowing for any specialised toolsets or large datasets that may be accumulated over time. You should also consider the space required by other applications and their associated files too.

Recommended AutoCAD Workstation Specifications

Workstation specifications
High-End Mid-Range Entry-Level
CPU AMD Ryzen 9 / Intel Core i9 AMD Ryzen 7 / Intel Core i7 AMD Ryzen 5 / Intel Core i5
RAM 32GB 32GB 16GB
GPU NVIDIA RTX A4000 NVIDIA T1000 NVIDIA T600
Storage SSD + SSD SSD + HDD SSD

The Best Workstations for AutoCAD

Click the links below to view the range of graphics systems. We offer pre-configured systems that are ready to go or can
custom build a system to your preferred specification.

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