What Is the Best Rendering System for AutoCAD?

By Microsol Resources | CAD

AutoCAD is not a particularly heavy program to run by itself. The minimum system requirements you will encounter are actually quite low. However, to get the best performance, you will need a machine that goes quite a bit beyond that. For example, rendering multiple 3D models can be quite taxing on your system. If you are aiming for maximum productivity and optimal user experience, you have to analyze your setup and make upgrades and adjustments where needed.

When it comes to building the perfect workstation for AutoCAD, you need to keep in mind the following technical specs.

  • Processor (CPU)
  • Graphics Card (GPU)
  • RAM
  • Storage Configuration


In this article, we will examine each of these factors and how they relate to AutoCAD’s performance. By the end, you will have all the information you need to create the best rendering system for AutoCAD.

What Is the Best Processor for AutoCAD?

When it comes to processors (CPU) for AutoCAD, you need to keep in mind that the software is designed to be single-threaded. That means it uses only a single core of the CPU to perform all rendering operations. Because of this, the number of cores does not affect how smoothly AutoCAD will run — with some exceptions, of course. What does matter, however, is the clock speed — the frequency at which the CPU works. Generally, the best rendering system for AutoCAD will include a processor with high speed.


CPUs such as Intel Core i7 to i9 and AMD Ryzen 7 to 9 are a perfect fit for AutoCAD users. Processors in this range offer good speed while having multiple cores that you can use for efficient multitasking. If you need to do heavy 3D design rendering or Mental Ray rendering, then we advise you to look for a CPU with more cores, in addition to high speed.


Generally, both Intel and AMD processors work great for AutoCAD. However, AMD has a slight advantage due to providing more value for the money. A few years back, Intel Xeon was the most popular CPU for AutoCAD users, as it had many additional features and was quite reliable overall. However, nowadays, both the Intel Core and AMD Ryzen series of processors offer more or less the same performance at a better price point.

When it comes to building the best rendering system for AutoCAD, high speed is essential, and those CPUs offer all that you will need.


Which GPU Is Best for AutoCAD?

If you are doing primarily 2D rendering, you will not need more than a basic GPU to get the job done. However, 3D rendering and high-resolution models require a lot more in terms of GPU power supply. If you are on a tight budget and you do 2D renders, we advise you to not overspend on the GPU and instead invest more in a faster CPU and more RAM. No matter the type of rendering you do, it is highly recommended to invest in a pro graphics card to ensure stability, performance, and reliability.


For 2D workflows, you should get a GPU with at least 2GB VRAM — any mid-range video card will cover that requirement. However, for optimal 3D and pixel rendering, you need to have a GPU with at least 5GB of VRAM. Generally, more frames per second equal better 3D processing power. Keep in mind that AutoCAD is not a particularly heavy program when it comes to VRAM usage, so there is no need to go for top-tier products — all this money is better spent elsewhere.


When it comes to GPUs for 3D rendering workloads in full HD, AutoCAD has officially certified the NVIDIA Quadro range of graphics cards as optimal for the software. While a standard, mid-range NVIDIA GeForce or AMD Radeon chipset will also perform well, if you want to have optimal rendering and visualization power, you need to get a Quadro GPU. Keep in mind, however, that NVIDIA is moving away from Quadro and is now producing the RTX line as its de-facto successor. In addition to offering you the best in terms of compatibility and performance, it will also let you take advantage of NVIDIA’s specialized support in case an issue arises.


What amount of RAM do you need for AutoCAD?

Fortunately, AutoCAD does not require a lot of RAM in order to run smoothly. It all depends on the type of projects you are working on. The bigger and more complex they are, the larger amount of RAM they will use. Generally, running AutoCAD requires at least 8GB of RAM to operate, which is next to nothing in today’s world. However, we recommend you get at least 16GB of RAM for your workstation, as AutoCAD will not be the only software that will use it. In order to get the best rendering system for AutoCAD, you need to have enough RAM for all processes.


Keep in mind that having a huge amount of RAM available will not result in any noticeable performance gains. On the other hand, not enough RAM will severely impact the workflows of not only AutoCAD but your machine as a whole. We recommend 16GB as the optimal starting point. However, if you are dealing with large, complex 3D animation projects, you might want to upgrade to 32GB to ensure system stability and performance. Given the fact that nowadays RAM is cheaper and more accessible than ever, upgrading will not put a huge dent in your budget.


What storage configuration is optimal for AutoCAD?

While the type of storage you are using might not seem like a huge factor in building the best rendering system for AutoCAD, it actually matters way more than you think. Your storage configuration impacts every aspect of your setup — from boot and render times to the performance of each operation. HDD (Hard Disk Drive) is a thing of the past, with SSD (Solid State Drive) configurations offering way more in terms of speed. It is highly recommended that you use an SSD for storing your OS, AutoCAD, and any associated projects you are working on. If you have the budget, it is even better to have one SSD for AutoCAD and the OS, and another for your active projects. That way, your storage resources will be spread in the most optimal, high-performance way.


However, you should not underestimate the benefits a hard drive offers. HDD is way cheaper than SSD and can be used as long-term storage space for your archived projects. It is advisable that you get an HDD in addition to the SSD you will use for your operational work. A 500GB/1TB HDD drive can be exceptionally useful, given the fact that such drives are available at pretty low prices.


List of rendering systems for AutoCAD

Now that you know the factors that determine the best rendering system for AutoCAD, we have some examples for you. Below, you will see some optimal configurations that will ensure you get the best performance from AutoCAD.

1. Optimal Configuration (Heavy 3D Rendering)

  • Operating System: Windows 10/11
  • Processor: 12th Gen Intel Core
  • Cores: 16 / 24
  • Frequency: 5.2 GHz
  • RAM: 64GB DDR4
  • Graphics Card: NVIDIA RTX A6000
  • Storage: 500GB SSD, 1TB HDD

2. Average Configuration (2D and Light 3D Rendering)

  • Operating System: Windows 10
  • Processor: 11th Gen Intel Core
  • Cores: 16 / 24
  • Frequency: 5.2 GHz
  • RAM: 32GB/64GB DDR4
  • Graphics Card: NVIDIA Quadro RTX 4000
  • Storage: 500GB SSD, 1TB HDD

3. AMD Configuration (2D & 3D Rendering)

  • Operating System: Windows 10
  • Processor: AMD Ryzen Zen 2/3
  • Cores: 16 / 24
  • Frequency: 5.2 GHz
  • RAM: 32GB DDR4
  • Graphics Card: AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT
  • Storage: 500GB SSD, 1TB HDD


INDUSTRIES: Architecture, Buildings, Civil Engineering, Civil Infrastructure, Construction, Manufacturing, MEP Engineering, Structural Engineering

Published on March 22, 2022 in CAD.

About the Author

Microsol Resources delivers integrated solutions that help customers design, simulate and analyze their ideas, increase operational efficiencies, and maximize their return on investment in their technology solutions. As a team, we are passionate about helping customers improve their productivity and overall business processes. How can we help? Just reach out.