Best Laptop for 3D Modeling and Rendering in 2022

By Iva Mikles •  Updated: Sep 09, 2022 •  Guides

In this guide to the best laptops for 3D modeling and rendering, I’m going to primarily focus on making sure you get the right laptop for your 3D work, to save you time, trouble and money in the long run, and make sure your work is as creative, productive and fun as possible. Let’s have a look!

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Top 4 Laptops for 3D Modeling and Rendering Compare

Here is a quick summary of my favorite 3D modeling and rendering laptops. There are more picks in the overview below.

My Pick
Windows Pick
Also Great
Budget Pick
Description:

Display - 16-inch Liquid Retina XDR :: CPU / GPU - Apple M1 Max 10 Core / 16 Core Neural Engine / 32 Core GPU :: RAM - 32GB Unified Memory :: Storage - 1TB SSD :: Long Battery Life

Description:

15.6” 4K UHD display (3840*2160); 100% Adobe RGB; Pantone validated color accuracy; Delta E<1 with Narrow Bezels :: CPU - Intel Core i9-9980HK Processor (16M Cache, up to 5.0 GHz)  :: RAM - 64GB DDR4 :: GPU - NVIDIA Quadro RTX 6000 with 24GB GDDR6 VRAM :: Storage - 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD :: Long Battery Life

Description:

17.3" 4K UHD HDR1000 mini LED, 1000nits 60Hz 100% DCI-P3 (259ppi) Anti-Glare Wide View Angle :: CPU - Intel Core i9-11900H Octa Core (up to 4.8 GHz) :: RAM - 32GB DDR4 :: GPU - NVIDIA GeForce RTX3080 Laptop GPU with 16G GDDR6 VRAM :: Storage - 2TB NVMe SSD :: Long Battery Life

Description:

Display - 15.6 inch OLED 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) NanoEdge Touchscreen :: Secondary Display - ScreenPad Plus Secondary Screen :: CPU -  Intel Core i7-10750H Processor (12M Cache, up to 5.0 GHz) :: RAM - 16GB DDR4 :: GPU - NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 with 6GB VRAM :: Storage - 1TB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD :: Long Battery Life

My Pick
Description:

Display - 16-inch Liquid Retina XDR :: CPU / GPU - Apple M1 Max 10 Core / 16 Core Neural Engine / 32 Core GPU :: RAM - 32GB Unified Memory :: Storage - 1TB SSD :: Long Battery Life

Windows Pick
Description:

15.6” 4K UHD display (3840*2160); 100% Adobe RGB; Pantone validated color accuracy; Delta E<1 with Narrow Bezels :: CPU - Intel Core i9-9980HK Processor (16M Cache, up to 5.0 GHz)  :: RAM - 64GB DDR4 :: GPU - NVIDIA Quadro RTX 6000 with 24GB GDDR6 VRAM :: Storage - 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD :: Long Battery Life

Also Great
Description:

17.3" 4K UHD HDR1000 mini LED, 1000nits 60Hz 100% DCI-P3 (259ppi) Anti-Glare Wide View Angle :: CPU - Intel Core i9-11900H Octa Core (up to 4.8 GHz) :: RAM - 32GB DDR4 :: GPU - NVIDIA GeForce RTX3080 Laptop GPU with 16G GDDR6 VRAM :: Storage - 2TB NVMe SSD :: Long Battery Life

Budget Pick
Description:

Display - 15.6 inch OLED 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) NanoEdge Touchscreen :: Secondary Display - ScreenPad Plus Secondary Screen :: CPU -  Intel Core i7-10750H Processor (12M Cache, up to 5.0 GHz) :: RAM - 16GB DDR4 :: GPU - NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 with 6GB VRAM :: Storage - 1TB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD :: Long Battery Life

Table of Contents

Overview: Best Laptops for 3D Modeling and Rendering in 2022

Windows Pick: ASUS ProArt Studiobook One

Windows Pick
ASUS ProArt Studiobook One Mobile Workstation Laptop

15.6” 4K UHD display (3840*2160); 100% Adobe RGB; Pantone validated color accuracy; Delta E<1 with Narrow Bezels :: CPU - Intel Core i9-9980HK Processor (16M Cache, up to 5.0 GHz)  :: RAM - 64GB DDR4 :: GPU - NVIDIA Quadro RTX 6000 with 24GB GDDR6 VRAM :: Storage - 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD :: Long Battery Life

Get it on Amazon

Not just the best laptop for 3D modeling, rendering, and even animation, but almost certainly the best and best-performing laptop available for any and all kinds of digital art, graphics, CAD, technical drawing, design and layout, photography, and videography, and editing art digitized from traditional media, the Asus ProArt Studiobook One is a true professional, and truly premium, mobile workstation in every way.

The absolutely stunning and perfectly hand-calibrated 15.6-inch screen allows you to work with absolute confidence that you see your work with perfect detail, color fidelity, and geometry.

But that’s just the start – the Studiobook One has the best and fastest central processor and graphics processor on our list of best laptops for 3D work, tons of memory, and hyper-fast SSD storage, not to mention an amazing proprietary titanium cooling system to ensure no problems, high reliability and long product life even while processing at the highest levels.

The Asus ProArt Studiobook One is quite possibly the best laptop on the market today and is the only one on our list that I can safely say is almost overkill for even the most demanding 3D imaging work.

It will stay with you, though, as 3D modeling software, 3D design, and the industry advance, and if you move into animation, advanced user interface work, engineering or scientific imaging processes or whatever your next step is – you can not possibly throw a task at this amazing machine that will even slow it down.

Easily, and by a wide margin, the ASUS ProArt Studiobook One is the best laptop for 3D modeling and rendering today and the finest Windows laptop for artists.

Value Pick: ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo 15 UX582

Value PIck
ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo 15 OLED UX582 Laptop

Display - 15.6 inch OLED 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) NanoEdge Touchscreen :: Secondary Display - ScreenPad Plus Tilting Secondary Screen :: CPU - Intel Core i9-10980HK Octa Core (up to 5.3 GHz) :: RAM - 32GB DDR4 :: GPU - NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 with 8GB VRAM :: Storage - 1TB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD :: Long Battery Life

Get it on Amazon

I should say right at the start that this ZenBook Pro Duo is not only one of the sharpest and most beautiful laptops I’ve ever used, with its brilliantly designed dual screen and overall premium look and feel, but is also an almost unbelievable bargain.

Yes, it’s almost 3,500 dollars, but if you’ve been researching top-tier laptops or understand what you’ll need for 3D imaging work, you know this isn’t expensive.

But while the ProArt Studiobook is a better performer, a better-built machine, and has a more accurate, clear, and usable display for even the most demanding work, this younger brother is so close as to make the 65 percent lower price quite astounding.

This Asus Zenbook Pro DuoBook is at the top of what you need for any 3D modeling and rendering work.

Ultra-fast RAM and SSD make working with even larger and more complex images easy and trouble-free, and the processors make sure that all work is smooth and glitch-free – even the largest rendering jobs.

The screen is so sharp and deep, with startling life and energy, that it not only displays everything with perfect clarity and accurate color but inspires you. At the same time, you work with its beauty and quality.

And the secondary touchscreen, which can be used as a kind of extended touchpad, a multi-tasking panel or an extension of the main display, is almost worth the price of admission and is a genuinely useful and important innovation.

But while the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo is a slick, clever, and incredibly cool laptop, it is also one of the best performers – a truly top-level machine.

It is up to any 3D imaging and animation work and even more advanced tasks, with performance to spare.

Based on performance, price, and, yes, cool factor, it is the best laptop overall for 3D modeling and rendering today.

Also Great: MSI Creator 17

Also Great
MSI Creator 17 Laptop

17.3" 4K UHD HDR1000 mini LED, 1000nits 60Hz 100% DCI-P3 (259ppi) Anti-Glare Wide View Angle :: CPU - Intel Core i9-11900H Octa Core (up to 4.8 GHz) :: RAM - 32GB DDR4 :: GPU - NVIDIA GeForce RTX3080 Laptop GPU with 16G GDDR6 VRAM :: Storage - 2TB NVMe SSD :: Long Battery Life

Get it on Amazon

Between this wonderful all-business MSI Creator and the Asus Duo above, it is a bit of a toss-up. The Creator has a bigger, brighter screen, better graphics processing, and a larger SSD drive (2 TB!), but the Asus has a slightly faster main processor and a super-cool double screen.

But they are so close in overall performance and usability for 3D imaging work that either would be a brilliant choice.

So how to decide?

Well, the overall performance – actual practical performance when working on complex graphics or any more advanced task – is almost the same.

The Asus has a more exciting presentation, with the main touchscreen, secondary screen, and tilt keyboard, but the MSI is less distracting and may allow more focus for some.

It has a striking, big, extremely bright, and accurate display, a more solid and stable feel overall. It just seems more serious, ready to work, and almost unwilling to do anything else but work.

The MSI Creator is slightly more expensive, but the increase is justified by the larger, brighter screen and larger SSD alone.

It is, like the Asus, a top-tier performer and one of the most powerful laptops available today.

It is also an equally good value as the Asus and happily shares the title of best laptop overall for 3D modeling and rendering on the market today.

Budget Pick: ASUS ZenBOOK Pro Duo 15 UX581

Budget Pick
ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo 15 UX581 Laptop

Display - 15.6 inch OLED 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) NanoEdge Touchscreen :: Secondary Display - ScreenPad Plus Secondary Screen :: CPU -  Intel Core i7-10750H Processor (12M Cache, up to 5.0 GHz) :: RAM - 16GB DDR4 :: GPU - NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 with 6GB VRAM :: Storage - 1TB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD :: Long Battery Life

Get it on Amazon

This Asus ZenBook Pro Duo is the only PC with an i7 processor unit I am recommending on my buyer’s guide to best laptops for 3D modeling and rendering

But when you get a good look at the specs of this machine – or if you are lucky enough to sit down and use it – you will know that this is not just a worthy addition to the list but a stellar performer in its own right, and especially with advanced tasks and complex graphics.

Yes, sure, if you can afford the difference, you will be better served by the higher-end Pro Duo above, which has a far superior processor, graphics card, and more memory.

As the industry and the associated software advance, any of the above computers will more easily and capably advance. It can be thought of as better long-term investments.

And for larger 3D rendering projects, which can take hours or even days, any of the above laptops will certainly be a better choice – more reliable in work, more reliable over the long term, and much faster.

Still, for basic rendering, and for even advanced 3D modeling, or any other graphics work or computer tasks you may want, an Asus ZenBook Pro Duo i7 is fantastic and among the best laptops out there.

It is a powerful, fast, reliable computer, and the main touchscreen is fabulous, with incredible resolution, color accuracy, saturation and energy, brightness, and overall beauty.

And once you get used to the secondary screen and understand how to use it to your best advantage, this ZenBook can be a fantastically fun, intuitive, and productive computer.

The ZenBook Pro Duo i7 laptop is, without question, a very powerful and advanced computer and has one of the most intelligent and exciting designs of any laptop on the market today.

It is up to the challenge of any 3D modeling work and is at least adequate for even larger and more complex rendering work – if not up to the level of the other Windows PCs on this list.

It is a great machine, a great choice at its lower price point, and the best value Windows laptop for 3D modeling and rendering today.

My Picks: MacBook Pro 16 with M1 Max or with M1 Pro

My Pick
Budget Pick
Description:

Display - 16-inch Liquid Retina XDR :: CPU / GPU - Apple M1 Max 10 Core / 16 Core Neural Engine / 32 Core GPU :: RAM - 32GB Unified Memory :: Storage - 1TB SSD :: Long Battery Life

Description:

Display - 16-inch Liquid Retina XDR :: CPU / GPU - Apple M1 Max 10 Core / 16 Core Neural Engine / 16 Core GPU :: RAM - 16GB Unified Memory :: Storage - 1TB SSD :: Long Battery Life

My Pick
Description:

Display - 16-inch Liquid Retina XDR :: CPU / GPU - Apple M1 Max 10 Core / 16 Core Neural Engine / 32 Core GPU :: RAM - 32GB Unified Memory :: Storage - 1TB SSD :: Long Battery Life

Budget Pick
Description:

Display - 16-inch Liquid Retina XDR :: CPU / GPU - Apple M1 Max 10 Core / 16 Core Neural Engine / 16 Core GPU :: RAM - 16GB Unified Memory :: Storage - 1TB SSD :: Long Battery Life

Artists are often Apple Macintosh users, and some of us have wrongly assumed that somehow even the top-end MacBooks are not quite as fast or powerful as the best Windows laptops.

I’m not sure this has ever really been true, but now, we can say with absolute certainty – and real excitement – that it is a misguided assumption, but exactly the opposite is true.

The 2021 MacBook Pro laptops, with the brand new M1 Pro and (especially) M1 Max chips, are so fast in main and graphics processing that not only can they handle the most advanced and power-hungry 3D modeling and rendering processes with ease, they can leave even the best of the best windows machines in the dust doing so!

The M1 Pro processor is twice as fast as the previous generation M1 processor, and the M1 Max is twice as fast. And while they can easily outperform even the best i9 chips, there is something perhaps even more important to keep in mind – they keep much, much cooler doing so.

This means fewer crashes and less internal degradation during those long rendering sessions, and in real terms, this means more productivity, less frustration, and longer computer life.

And we should keep in mind that you also benefit from the stunning liquid retina display, which, it must be said, is so much more beautiful, detailed, deep, and realistic than even the best 4K UHD displays in the Windows world, and a great joy for any artist or designer.

Any Windows PC in my guide for the best laptops for 3D modeling and 3D rendering is more than up to the task. Still, one can’t help that even those big, expensive, latest and greatest i9 machines are a bit of yesterday’s news. At the same time, the MacBook Pro, and its incredible new generation processor, is a computer for the future.

The Apple MacBook Pro with M1 Max chip is the best Apple laptop overall for 3D modeling and rendering or any type of high-level processing or any artistic or creative work of any kind, and the Apple MacBook Pro with M1 Plus chip is not far behind and is the best value Apple laptop for 3D modeling and Rendering.

Either one is a stellar machine, and both receive my highest recommendation on all levels!

Keep Cool with the Laptop Cooling Pads

As if to underline the amount of power it takes to do especially 3D rendering, I thought it important, in closing, to mention probably the single most important accessory you can possibly get for your new high-end Windows machine – a good and effective laptop fan.

You’ll notice I didn’t say “your new high-end machine,” but instead, “your new high-end Windows machine.”

This isn’t due to my personal preference or prejudice for Apple or against Windows, but simply because the newest MacBook Pro computers run substantially cooler than any Windows laptop.

And those top-end Windows laptops do get hot! Larger and more complex 3D rendering processes can take hours and hours, sometimes even days and days, even with the most powerful processors and lots of memory, and the whole time your poor little laptop is being pushed to the limit.

This can cause crashes, of course, and this is something you don’t want, especially if you lose hours or days’ worth of work.

But more importantly, these extended high-power processing sessions can create so much internal heat that they can quickly degrade internal components, causing system failures and requiring costly repairs.

So while even the best cooling fans are not expensive, they are incredibly valuable. And the bottom line is that they are easily one of the best and smartest investments you can make.

The Art of 3D Modeling and Rendering

If you are currently involved in 3D modeling and rendering or are looking into it, you probably already know a couple of things:

  1. First, it is one of the most fascinating, challenging, and powerful forms of digital art today and one of the most important and marketable skills you can possibly have
  2. And second that you need a really powerful computer to do it properly

The most important thing I can impress upon you then is that, while the right computer can be expensive, buying the wrong computer – especially one that is just not powerful enough – can be far more expensive (not to mention incredibly frustrating) in the long run.

3D modeling is creating any three-dimensional object using specialized software that mathematically develops a set of coordinates to present and allow editing of that object in simulated three-dimensional space.

3D rendering transforms one or more of these completed three-dimensional objects, or “assets,” into an often hyper-realistic two-dimensional space for use in various ways.

3D modeling and 3D rendering are incredibly important skills to have these days, and the processes represent clear and lucrative waves of the future.

It used to be that you needed a dedicated and really powerful computer to do these tasks – especially rendering – or at least a big old array of parallel PCs.

This restricted the work to the most highly advanced (and highly funded) laboratories or big art and movie studios. 

Now, though, simple folk like us can do both 3D modeling and 3D rendering at home on our personal computer – given that our computer is a bit of a monster!

Both processes are extremely power-hungry, requiring lots of memory and storage, and 3D rendering requires top-end CPU processors and GPU graphics.

And while this is a little easier to achieve with a task-built desktop computer, it is now also possible with a laptop. While they can be a little more expensive, there are many advantages to using a smaller, more portable computer for this (or any) work.

But I can’t impress you strongly enough that both these processes need memory, speed, power, and storage, and if you are thinking about a laptop, you need top-tier equipment.

How Much RAM and Which Processor is Best for 3D Modeling Laptop?

Here I’ll list the absolute minimum and then the best case specifications you need for the best laptop for 3D modeling.

You can be sure that any of the below recommendations will at least meet these qualifications:

  • RAM: At least 16 GB RAM:: Best 32-64 GB RAM
  • CPU: At least Intel I7, or AMD Ryzen 7:: Best Intel Intel I9, or AMD Ryzen 9, with preferably at least 6 cores
  • GPU: Latest generation of dedicated graphics cards, such as Nvidia GTX, RTX, or GeForce, with at least 6 GB VRAM
  • Storage: At least 1TB SSD

With 3D modeling and 3D rendering, and the associated areas of engineering, CAD, manufacturing, animation, and others, it’s all about power.

The most important thing is to get enough processing power and speed, enough video processing power and speed, enough active memory (RAM), and enough storage space.

Many people think you need a desktop computer for real 3D work, especially lengthy rendering processes, but high-end laptops are more than up for the task these days.

But you have to be careful since it is easy enough to find product listings – or even other buyer’s guides – which swear that this or that lower-level laptop is fine for 3D, but they can’t handle it.

Are Gaming Laptops Good for 3D Rendering?

Other guides will also often recommend gaming laptops.

But 3D rendering, in particular, is one of the most graphics-intensive tasks that can make almost any laptop on the market today slow, hot, and even glitchy, and even the best gaming laptop may not be quite enough.

To be fair, a gaming laptop can have enough processing power and memory, have strikingly beautiful displays, and run cool enough.

But you are often paying for premium sound cards, heavy-duty keyboards, and other gaming-centered interfaces and features which are not important here, and they still may not have the best or fastest CPU.

Besides, gaming laptops also may not have the highest level of accuracy in the display, especially in terms of color fidelity or range.

That’s why this article, unlike other buyer’s guides for the best laptops for 3D graphics work, doesn’t have any gaming laptops.

Instead, we will focus on the best normal laptops in processing and graphics speed, display resolution, color fidelity, speed and smoothness, RAM and storage memory speed, material quality and reliability, and overall usability.

The other big consideration for doing 3D modeling and 3D rendering on a laptop is that you must ensure the computer stays cool.

This is a little easier with a desktop, with its typically large fans, but with laptops, it might be a good idea to get a separate pedestal-style fan or cooling pad.

How Can You Find the Best Laptops for 3D Modeling and 3D Rendering?

I have assembled a list of the best Windows and Apple laptops for 3D imaging work based on my experience and the advice and recommendations I have gotten from trusted colleagues and professionals in the industry.

But I have also based the guide of best 3D laptops on the uncompromising idea that a lesser computer won’t cut it – it won’t do the work and will cost you much more in the long run.

As such, there aren’t any real bargain-basement computers here – they are all, to be sure, pretty costly.

But if you are doing this kind of work, you are sure to find exactly what you need here and have a computer that will serve you well for 3D work and anything else you want or need to do.

And be assured that these laptops are not only as good as it gets in terms of performance but also in terms of material quality, durability, reliability, design, usability, and – despite their premium price tags – absolute value.

I also briefly talk about the most important accessory you can get for your new 3D workstation and one of the best – and cheapest – investments you will ever have make: a good laptop cooling pad.

FAQs – Best Laptops for 3D Modeling and Rendering

Can laptops handle 3D modeling?

Yes, laptops with powerful enough processors, graphics cards, and RAM can handle 3D modeling. I recommend at least 16GB RAM, Intel i7 or AMD Ryzen 7, the latest generation of dedicated graphics cards, such as Nvidia GTX, RTX, or GeForce, with at least 6GB VRAM and 1TB SSD storage.

What laptop specs do I need for 3D modeling?

For the best results, I recommend 32GB RAM, Intel i9 or AMD Ryzen 9, the latest generation of dedicated graphics cards, such as Nvidia GTX, RTX, or GeForce, with at least 6GB VRAM and 1TB SSD storage.

What is the best laptop for 3D rendering?

Based on my experience, the best laptop for 3D rendering is ASUS ProArt Studiobook One Mobile if you like to work in Windows or the newest MacBook Pro 16 with an M1 Max chip.

Is MacBook good for 3D modeling?

Yes, the newest MacBook Pro 16 with M1 Max or M1 Pro chip is fabulous for 3D modeling. It’s so to say, a true workhorse!

I hope my guide helped you get your new laptop for 3D modeling and rendering, and you will have a lot of fun with your creative projects!

Visit my blog – Art Side of Life – for tons of other inspiring ideas, resources, articles, buyer’s guides, and much more!

Other articles in the Laptops for Artists and Designers series:

Lis cet article en français 🇫🇷 Le meilleur PC portable pour la modélisation et le rendu 3D en 2022

Hi, I am Iva (rhymes with “viva”). I am an artist, illustrator, founder of Art Side of Life®, and Top Teacher on Skillshare. Since 2009 I've worked as an illustrator, character designer, art director, and branding specialist focusing on illustration, storytelling, concepts, and animation. I believe that we are all creative in infinite numbers of ways, so I've made it my mission to teach you everything I know and help either wake up or develop your creative genius. Learn more about me.

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