Finding one of the best laptops for 3D modelling and rendering can seem like an uphill struggle. For a machine that can cope with the demands of high-end 3D software, you're going to need a powerful CPU and GPU, plus plenty of fast memory and a lot of storage, and that can mean a lot of time combing through laptop specs to ensure that they're up to scratch in every regard.
We've been testing laptops for years, with our large group of experts focusing on the creative application of the latest tech on the market. In our testing, we also look beyond pure specs or benchmark scoring, and always live and work with our review laptops for an extended period of time, to get a real feel for how they are in everyday use. We run demanding creative software on them, try to find the limits of multitasking load you can put on them, and put a value on how they feel to work on as much as simply what they can do.
Here is our round up of the best laptops for 3D modelling right now. For other high-specced and capable creative options, see our best laptops for graphic design, best laptops for animation, and the best monitors to go with them.
The best laptops for 3D modelling available now
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For 3D artists working on a mac there has never been a better time. The new Macbook Pro is a formidable machine, with lots of scope to spec suitable levels of RAM and storage for your projects. The M2 Pro GPU is more than up to the task for rendered viewports, complex animations and high resolution texture sets. Whether you are running Maya, Cinema 4D, Houdini, Blender or any other mac-compatible software the 2023 MacBook Pro should be high up on your shortlist. Packing this amount of power, we also consider it the best laptop for 3D rendering with ease.Macbook, Houdini, Blender or any other mac-compatible software the 2023 MacBook Pro should be high up on your shortlist. Packing this amount of power, we also consider it the best laptop for 3D rendering with ease.
There are two things I love about the 2023 MacBook Pro: its display and its battery life. The Liquid Retina XDR display on the 16-inch is truly incredible to look at and to use, with its mini-LED backlighting offering 1,600 nits of peak HDR brightness, plus a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio. Throw in P3 wide colour gamut support and you have a display you want to drown yourself in – from photo editing to movie viewing, it looks superb. And you get that with a true all-day battery life of up to 22 hours – and that was certainly the case in our tests.
A laptop that manages to crowbar in some of the most powerful components currently on the market, then keep them cool enough to extract huge levels of performance, the Lenovo Legion Pro 7 is ideal for everything from basic image editing to 3D rendering. It eats up 3D modelling, production design, CAD modelling and anything else you can throw at it. The metal chassis gives it durability but is certainly not the most attractive laptop on the market.
The ASUS TUF Gaming F15 laptop uses Asus' latest laptop tech to make a truly powerful machine. It features Intel's latest 13th Gen CPU with Nvidia RTX 40 Series Graphics. The 15.6-inch screen has a fairly standard refresh rate of 144Hz and full coverage of the DCI-P3 gamut, making it a great choice for creatives in the 3D world. The processors can swiftly handle whatever is thrown at them and switching between demanding apps is easy. This is certainly a high-performing laptop and with its fast performance it's a great choice for 3D modelling.
We've not reviewed the most recent ASUS TUG Gaming F15 but our full ASUS TUF Gaming F15 review of the 2022 edition found it perfect for combining great performance and features with reasonable affordability.
The Acer Concept D7 has some impressive specs: an Intel Core i7-9750H, GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q with 32GB of memory and 1TB PCIe SSD. Its colour coverage is fantastic, as has 100% Adobe RGB, something that makes a big difference when you're creating 3D work. It's also speedy, and has 2,944 shaders, 46 ray tracing cores and 368 Tensor Cores. Overall, it's a solid machine that works well for 3D work, and is good value for the specs you get. Some may find it a tad on the ugly side, though.
While the Acer ConceptD 7 is a pricey investment, we think it's one of the best laptops for 3D work in particular, retaining high performance without costing the earth. Read our full Acer ConceptD 7 review.
The MSI GE76 Raider is a seriously heavyweight gaming laptop, with specs that make it an ideal choice for 3D modelling. It features a gorgeous 17-inch display that'll show off your creations to their very best advantage, and enough CPU and GPU power to deliver near-desktop performance in a reasonably thin form factor.
As a gaming laptop, it naturally has an RGB backlit keyboard, along with an RGB light bar along its front edge, a feature that you'll either love or turn off at the first opportunity. And when we described this laptop as a heavyweight, we meant it quite literally; depending on the configuration it can weigh up to 3kg, which makes it more of a machine for living on your desk than taking out and about with you.
The Razer Blade 18 Model feels squarely aimed at creatives. The design is stark, minimal and pretty good-looking, and the internal specs aren't to be scoffed at either. The touch-sensitive screen is another selling point, it's colour accurate with 100% DCI-P3 coverage. The range of configurations is a little confusing, so make sure you double check exactly what you're looking for before you buy. Overall, it looks great, and sounds great, but it is more expensive than other similar laptops with the same amount of storage.
This laptop smashes through everyday tasks like soft butter thanks to its 32GB of DDR5 RAM, the latest generation of memory.
We haven't tested the Razer Blade 18 yet, but we really rate last year's version, too, – read our Razer Blade 17 review for more information.
There's no denying that the Creator Z17 is an expensive laptop. We’re in 16in Macbook Pro territory here, and while the MSI is no slouch in the performance department, it’s heavy and doesn’t last very long on batteries.
Getting this kind of power into a laptop chassis is no mean feat, however. The cooling system alone consists of three fans and five heatpipes, and MSI has to be congratulated for the engineering that’s gone on here. That’s not a reason to buy it, though – the Creator Z17 is for you if you want a whole lot of computing power that you can pick up and carry with you. Just don’t travel too far away from a charger.
Read our MSI Creator Z17 review where we found this laptop to be good looking and adequately equipped but unfortunately not great in the battery department.
While the Asus Zenbook Pro 14 Duo OLED loses some points thanks to its cramped keyboard and tiny, right-handed touchpad, it won me over both with its speedy processor and by providing a genuinely useful second screen. It’s great for anyone who loves a double-monitor setup but needs to move about a lot or hot-desk, especially if they’re happy to use an external mouse. Lap users beware, however; the lack of wrist-rest may leave you hunching your hands and wrists like a T-rex.
Read our Asus Zenbook Pro 14 Duo OLED review where we found this laptop to be an innovative laptop with features that make it perfect for some and unusable for others.
How to choose the best laptop for 3D modelling?
In short, you're looking for as much power as possible when it comes to the hardware. You want the laptop to have a higher RAM and powerful CPU to make sure it can handle more intense 3D modelling applications like Blender and Maya. You also need to consider if you prefer working with Windows or macOS when purchasing. All of the above picks will be able to handle your 3D software of choice.
Windows laptops have also become a lot stronger in this arena lately, thanks to Nvidia introducing RTX Studio, a platform designed to showcase laptops that meet the right criteria for serious creative work, meaning that they deliver great performance for anyone working with 3D, animation, graphic design, video and photo editing software. For a laptop to meet the RTX Studio performance bar, it needs to have, at the bare minimum, an Intel Core i7 CPU, 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD, plus GeForce RTX 2060, Quadro RTX 3000 or Titan RTX GPU, with a display resolution of at least 1080P. So that RTX Studio badge is an easy sign to look for that a laptop's going to be up 3D work; and of course another option is to look for gaming laptops, as the demands of running AAA video games can be on a par with those of 3D content creation.
The latest graphics cards to look out for are the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 40-series (especially 4070 and 4090), but a 30-series graphics card could offer a more palatable balance between value and performance if you're working on a narrower budget.
If you prefer to create on Apple hardware, things are a little simpler, as the MacBook Pro line packs plenty of power itself.
What hardware is best for 3D Modelling?
Your CPU, GPU, RAM and screen size are some of the most important factors when considering which laptop to buy for 3D project. Here's a simple breakdown of what to look out for within each category.
3D modelling and rendering requires a powerful processor that is 64-bit and multi-threaded. Intel CPUs are great for single-threaded tasks compared to AMD CPUs which are better for multi-threaded tasks. If the majority of your rendering is carried out 'offline' and you deal primarily with large and complex scenes then you'll want a high performing CPU.
Dedicated graphics cards are essential for 3D projects. It is possible to buy XPUs which are a blend of a CPU and a GPU but these will never perform as well as having two dedicated cards. NVIDIA cards are favoured by many artists but they do come at a cost, especially the newer 4000 series. If you are wanting to focus in on GPU interactive real-time rendering then having the best graphics card you can afford the better.
A laptop with at least 16GB is ideal for a smooth working experience especially if you're used to multi-tasking. Ensuring that it's DDR5 will help reduce power consumption while at the same time increasing bandwidth.
This will largely be personal preference. I like as big a screen as possible, ideally a 17-inch for a laptop, to make those complex designs as easy to navigate as possible. If you're going to extend your display to other monitors though, you can get away with a much smaller screen size knowing that you won't be using it for this type of work.