Unleash your creativity with 3D printing!

3D Printing Spot Logo

Best Laptops For 3D Printing

Best Laptops For 3D Printing | 3D Printing Spot

Updated by

William Stone

/

August 30, 2022

You don’t need to have a fancy PC setup to get started with 3D printing, you can even use a laptop! These are the best laptops for 3D printing.

The best laptops that can handle everything necessary for both 3D printing and 3D modeling are the ASUS Zenbook Pro Duo, Apple Macbook Air, Acer Nitro 5, ASUS ROG Strix, Gigabyte AERO 15X V8-BK4, and the Razer Blade Pro 17.

3D printing is becoming more and more popular. Being able to create just about anything that you can set your mind to has a certain appeal to it. But the barrier to entry may not be as high as you think. In this article, we’ll explain why you can 3D print using just a laptop, what the minimum specs needed for 3D printing are, and we’ll go over the best laptops for 3D printing on the market.

Our number one priority is providing our readers with the best, most helpful 3D printing content that they can find on the web. To do this, we combine our own knowledge and experience with input and opinions from other avid 3D printing aficionados in the industry. This way you get the full, unbiased picture and can walk away from this article truly knowing what the best laptops for 3D printing are.

Table of Contents

Can I 3D Print With A Laptop?

The short answer here is a simple yes, you can absolutely 3D print using a laptop. In fact, just about any laptop you can get your hands on will be able to handle the actual printing portion of the 3D printing process. By that I just mean that most laptops available these days have the technical capability to handle the file type necessary for 3D printing (STL files), but that most likely isn’t what you’re actually interested in.

Reverse-engineering the STL file, computers need to be able to actually generate the code that goes into the STL file which is then printed by the 3D printer. This operation is referred to as “slicing” and involves taking a 3D model and slicing it down into layers that can actually be printed. Once the 3D model is sliced, the code can be generated and the final STL file can then be used and fed to the 3D printer itself.

I mentioned it a few times now, but the very first thing necessary for 3D printing is actually coming up with the 3D model itself. For novice 3D printing hobbyists that are more interested in the printing aspect rather than the modeling aspect, you won’t have to worry about this. There are plenty of sites out there that have 3D models available at either no cost to you or for purchase, so you don’t actually ever have to model anything yourself.

But to really take advantage of 3D printing, you probably want to one day start printing your own designs and creations. And the only way to do that is by learning how to 3D model things yourself. This is typically the most computer-intensive aspect of the process and is typically where the specifications of the laptop will really come into play.

So to make a long story short, you can technically 3D print — just process the STL file — with just about any laptop out there. But to really handle the entire 3D printing process, you’re going to need a laptop capable of everything from 3D modeling, to slicing and generating the code, and then also processing the STL file and feeding it to your printer.

We’re going to focus on laptops capable of handling it all.

Minimum Computer Specs Needed For 3D Printing

All that said above, you’ll be happy to hear that even for 3D modeling, you don’t need to get the most expensive computers on the market. The specs needed for 3D printing (including modeling) are not as crazy as you might think. Which really helps to keep the price relatively low for hobbyist 3D printing.

These are the general specs you’ll want to look for in a laptop for 3D printing:

  • AMD Ryzen 5, Intel i5, or equivalent CPU
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050, or equivalent GPU
  • 8GB+ RAM (professionals use 32GB+ RAM)

Again, keep in mind that these are just the common minimums used in the 3D printing world. For some applications, you might be able to scrape by with lesser specs. For many applications, you’ll want something even more capable than this. But while searching for a laptop for 3D printing, you should really aim for something with these specs at a minimum.

What Are The Best Laptops For 3D Printing?

Now that you have a bit of an idea about what’s needed for 3D printing and you know that you can actually use a laptop, let’s get into the good stuff. As noted above, most laptops on the market are capable of simply handling the 3D printing portion of a project. But creating the actual 3D model and subsequently generating the STL file to print is another story.

So we’re going to focus on laptops that can handle everything for you. After all, if you’re here looking for a laptop to begin 3D printing, I’m going to assume you want something that can handle the entire process from start to finish!

These are the best laptops for 3D printing that you can get your hands on.

ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo

asus-zenbook-pro-duo
Picture of the ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo

Specifications

Screen Size: 15.6”

CPU: Intel Core i7-10870H

GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070

RAM: 16GB

Operating System: Windows 10 Pro

We’re starting this guide off strong, we have the ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo. As you can see from the specs, the ZenBook exceeds everything we have listed above as the minimum specs needed. The Intel i7 processor, GeForce RTX 3070, and 16GB of RAM that power this laptop are more than enough for even the most intense 3D modeling and subsequent 3D printing.

The most intriguing feature about this laptop is the dual-screen design. Not only is the main screen vibrant with its 4K OLED screen, but it also has a second tilting screen known as the ScreenPad Plus. This additional screen creates a second work surface, which is perfect for 3D modeling programs. You can put your toolbars on the bottom screen and keep the entire normal screen available solely for the model. A feature you won’t see with any other laptop.

This laptop is certainly impressive, but so is its price tag. So if you’re searching for a budget laptop for 3D printing, then you will have better luck with one of the other more affordable options on this list!

Apple Macbook Air

apple-macbook-air
Picture of the Apple Macbook Air

Specifications

Screen Size: 13.0”

CPU: M1 Chip with 8-Core CPU

GPU: M1 Chip with 8-Core GPU

RAM: 8GB

Operating System: macOS

For the Mac users out there, I had to include the Macbook Air, even though I have always preferred Windows computers myself. But I know that there are die-hard Apple product users that also want to get into 3D printing, and the Macbook Air is more than capable of handling the process from start to finish.

The Macbook Air is a little difficult to compare to any of the more standard Windows devices because Apple uses its own proprietary M1 chip inside. This chip powers the CPU and GPU, which are dissimilar from the typical Intel, AMD, and NVIDIA products components you’ll see in this list. But for the most part, the M1 chip-powered Macbook Air is comparable to a low-end Intel Core i7 CPU and an RTX 3050.

This might come as a bit of a surprise, but it’s also one of the most affordable laptops on this list, although it will still set you back nearly $1,200. The biggest downside to this laptop is its 13.0” screen, which is far smaller than any other laptop in this guide. I personally couldn’t deal with a screen that small, but I know plenty of people who use it with no problems!

Acer Nitro 5

acer-nitro-5
Picture of the Acer Nitro 5

Specifications

Screen Size: 15.6”

CPU: Intel Core i5-10300H

GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050

RAM: 8GB

Operating System: Windows 10 Home

If you’re shopping for a laptop for 3D printing and you’re on a bit of a budget, then the Acer Nitro 5 is the best option for you. It may not have the best performance specs, especially compared to the other laptops we have listed here, but it does meet all of our minimum specs listed above and comes from a reputable brand.

The Acer Nitro 5 has an Intel Core i5 processor, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050, and 8GB of RAM. Which, if you look at the minimum specs above, are basically those exact components. The biggest limiting factor here when it comes to 3D modeling and printing is the 8GB of RAM. If you’re a professional or you’ll be doing a lot of modeling for your prints, you’ll want to get something with a bit more RAM. But for the everyday hobbyist, this should be plenty.

I know that I mentioned this was the best budget laptop for 3D printing, but it does still carry an $800 price tag, which is not a small sum of money! But compared to the other laptops listed here that have price tags in excess of $2,500, the Acer Nitro 5 seems like a steal! For a laptop capable of handling everything necessary for 3D printing, $800 is a great price.

ASUS ROG Strix G15

asus-rog-strix-g15
Picture of the ASUS ROG Strix G15

Specifications

Screen Size: 15.6”

CPU: AMD Ryzen 9-5900HX

GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070

RAM: 32GB

Operating System: Windows 10 Home

Another Windows laptop, next up we have the impressive ASUS ROG Strix G15. This is one of the most popular gaming laptops on the market and comes with a 15.6” screen, 1TB SSD hard drive, 300Hz Type FHD display, and more. As you’ll see with many of the options in this guide, gaming laptops typically make the best laptops for 3D printing since they have great specs.

As the only laptop on this list with an AMD processor, the ROG Strix comes with a Ryzen 9. For all intents and purposes, a Ryzen 9 is roughly equivalent to an Intel Core i7, which is more than sufficient. Paired with the powerful and fast GeForce RTX 3070, you’ll have no issues with 3D modeling and 3D printing with this laptop.

What really sets the ROG Strix apart from the other options in this guide is the insane 32GB of RAM. That’s enough memory to really take advantage of the processor and offer the best speed and capability possible. For the price, the ROG Strix is undoubtedly one of the best laptops on the market for 3D printing.

Gigabyte Aero 15X

gigabyte-aero-15x
Picture of the Gigabyte Aero 15X

Specifications

Screen Size: 15.6”

CPU: Intel Core i7-8750H

GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070

RAM: 16GB

Operating System: Windows 10 Home

We’ve had a couple of ASUS products and some other common brand names, so let’s change things up just a bit with these last two. Starting with an impressive laptop for just under $2,000 we have the Gigabyte Aero 15X. With a 15.6” screen and Windows 10 Home operating system, the barebones of this laptop are comparable to most of the other options listed here.

The Aero 15X is powered by an Intel Core i7 processor and has 16GB of DDR4 RAM as memory. Plenty of processing speed and memory for just about any sort of 3D modeling. It also comes with a GeForce GTX 1070 GPU from NVIDIA, which is nothing to scoff at. My personal computer that I still use to this day has a GTX 1070 and I’ve never had any problems with 3D modeling whatsoever.

For a computer with this much power and capability, the Aero 15X is relatively lightweight and also comes with an above average 10-hour battery life. And while its price tag is certainly more than most normal laptops on the market, it’s actually a great laptop for the price that you’ll be able to use for years to come.

Razer Blade Pro 17

razer-blade-pro-17
Picture of the Razer Blade Pro 17

Specifications

Screen Size: 17.0”

CPU: Intel Core i7-10875H

GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080

RAM: 16GB

Operating System: Windows 10 Home

Just like we started this list off strong, we’re going to finish it off with a banger as well with the Razer Blade Pro 17. First and foremost, this is the only laptop in this guide with a 17.0” screen. All the other Windows laptops had a 15.6” screen. I personally used a 17.0” laptop for a decade, and it was amazing for 3D modeling. The extra screen space really makes a difference when you’re working on this stuff!

The Razer Blade Pro is powered by an Intel Core i7 CPU and the most powerful GPU of any laptop on this list: an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080. These two components combined with the 16GB of RAM will enable you to model, render, and process just about everything that you want to 3D print without an issue.

With how great of a laptop this is, you can expect to pay a pretty penny for it. Depending on which company is offering deals at any given time, the price for this one is going to be comparable with the ASUS ZenBook from above. Apples to apples, I would give the ZenBook a slight edge, but I would love to get my hands on one of these!

3D Printing Laptop Buyer’s Guide

If you opt for any of the laptops on this list, you should be in great shape when it comes to 3D printing. After all, if they couldn’t handle 3D printing, then they wouldn’t be on the list! But if you want to continue your search and see which other laptops you can find, these are the most important things to keep in mind.

Modeling or Just Printing?

This is probably the single biggest thing that you need to think about when you’re looking for a laptop for 3D printing. Because the answer to this question will largely determine the specifications necessary and how much money you’re going to end up having to spend on the right laptop.

If you know for a fact that you won’t be doing any 3D modeling yourself and will instead find pre-made models online, then don’t feel like you have to buy anything fancy. Just about any laptop can process an STL file and feed it to your printer. But if you want to make your own designs, you’ll need a laptop capable of handling 3D modeling, like all of the options listed in this guide.

CPU, GPU, and RAM

When you’re looking at a laptop, these are probably the three most important specifications to keep in mind. The better these three things are, the better performance your laptop will have and the faster (and more capable) your 3D modeling and 3D printing software will be. It’s important to have components that are good enough, but don’t go overboard either.

For example, you could spend thousands of dollars to have 64GB of RAM and get some really fast processing times. But if your CPU and/or GPU can’t keep up, then that’s overkill. Even more so, that much RAM (or similarly overpowered CPUs and GPUs) is entirely unnecessary for the vast majority of us. Most 3D modeling and rendering professionals get by with 32GB of RAM and an Intel i7 processor. So don’t overdo it!

Price

Always a worthy inclusion when you’re considering buying just about anything is the price. But it’s usually even more important to keep in mind when you’re looking at electronics like a laptop. This is because if you start going down the rabbit hole of trying to get better and better specs, you could easily end up pricing out a laptop that costs well over $5,000 or more.

So it’s vital that you start your search with at least some sort of budget in mind. I’m also not saying to go into your laptop search with a $200 budget, because you likely won’t be able to find anything capable of handling 3D modeling and printing. Just have an idea of how much you’re willing to spend, you can even use the prices in this guide as a starting point.

About THE AUTHOR

William Stone

William Stone

William has spent 20 plus years in the custom manufacturing industry as a COO, CEO and Owner of various custom product businesses. His experience has exposed him to all types of manufacturing from die cast, die struck, injection molding, CNC machining, laser etching, engraving and of course 3D printing.

Learn more about William Stone

Home /

Best Laptops For 3D Printing

Similar Posts You Might Like