Latest and Greatest ID Student Laptop 2014?

I will first preface this by saying that I am fairly computer illiterate when it comes to the specs and build of a laptop. I have tried to read through most of the threads in this section.
I am studying product design at a community college and plan on transferring at the end of the year to a Bachelor’s program.

So, I have decided to get the best pc laptop possible that will get me through the next 3+ years of ID school, because my mac laptop is 7 years old.

The software I will/am using are the Adobe Creative Suite, Corel Painter, Sketchbook Pro, Solidworks and my Wacom Cintiq13HD.
I’m not sure what other programs I will need to learn in the upcoming semesters but you get the gist.

I have surfed the internets and the following seem like my best options??!?? I don’t know. They were described as mobile CAD workstations.
Please help with explaining the differences between these or what it is that I need exactly.

Lenovo W540 with touchscreen
HP ZBook 17
Dell M3800

Any help is much appreciated.

Hi joseph,

i was just on the quest on finding a new machine as well - but a tower workstation.
Now I just want to say that about 5 years ago when I was studying t the university, I bought the lenovo W5xx something, and i didn´t regret it for a second. Admittedly, it had one downside at first, the display was quite dark. but when I called lenovo support, they send me a guy home on the next day, changing the display on the spot. awesome service at that.
Performance was always top notch and I still work rendering and solidworks and the adobe cs stuff without a problem.
They are really build to last!


You really do not need a professional workstation as a student, most machines will easily tackle the level of work you’ll do as a student, even for CAD so a decent machine with an i7 CPU and a dedicated graphics card should easily be enough to make it through the next 4 years.

If you already have a Mac laptop you can even consider a Macbook Pro if it fits in the budget.

Thank you. Do you recommend any pc laptops specifically?
I’d prefer to get a pc laptop. We have pc workstations at school but with limited availability during the week, and none at all over the weekend.

I bought an Asus UX51 about 6 weeks ago. It replaced a 6-year-old Dell Precision workstation. I bought the Precision at the time because I was consulting and could justify the power of a workstation. Now my computer is for doing some work in crunch times but mainly for personal projects. I have CS6 and Rhino 5 loaded but I really have only used Photoshop and Illustrator heavily. I have just open a file or 2 in Rhino, no heavy CAD lifting.

The Asus is 15.6, 1920x1080 (the newer version has 2880x1620, I didn’t need that), i7, 8gb ram, 2gb dedicated graphics and 256mb of solid-state memory. I got a great deal on a refurb because I am cheap.

While I don’t recall the specs of my old workstation and it’s 6-years-old, it is like bringing a knife to a gun fight. I am very satisfied with Asus and now that I am used to it, Windows8.

Any other suggestions for a powerful PC laptop mainly geared towards CAD, secondarily towards rendering, preferably under US$ 1700?

I’d also prefer to have it refurbished and with extra RAM.
Other wishes: >15" screen, SSD, convertible to tablet, good looks (simple, maybe some bright color) and durable design.