Dell PC Recommendations for 2015

Pretty regularly I get asked by clients what they should get for a laptop.  So, here are my 2015 recommendations. While this is geared towards AutoCAD, these recommendation exceed the basic requirements for most Autodesk products, and should provide good performance for users.  Note that because mobile video cards are not certified, you will not find certified drivers for these products. However, the card chosen is based on a certified video card.

General Comments

Processor – You generally want to go with the fastest processor for your budget. AutoCAD is single core, so the processor speed has a big impact on performance.

RAM – Due to the 3d graphics getting enhanced, file size will remain the same while the number and quality of object increases. This will hit the RAM and Graphics cards harder, so splurging here is a must.  Also, more people are working with point clouds which tend to be large.

SSD and HDD. I’m a big fan of installing key programs on the SSD and maintain bulk file access on the HDD. If you do have the money, buy the largest SSD available, but for our purposes I pretended to have some budget constraints.

Screen Size – While 17.6 is nice, I’ve traveled with one, and it is not fun. I chose 15.6 assuming the laptop would actually have to be moved by a human.

M3800 vs M4800 – The M3800 restricts us on the processor speed and video card, so I only chose it for the low end solution.


Hotdog: Dell Precision M4800 – Listed at $3786.50

Solid mediocre: Dell Precision M4800 – $2534.20

Lowering the bar – Dell Precision M3800.



Solid Mediocre


Lowering the bar





  • Peter Quinn

    +1 for SSDs. Makes a huge difference when loading AutoCAD and get at least one external monitor. I use a docking station with two monitors at work and a single monitor and the laptop screen at home. Can’t get enough screen real estate.