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I'm looking to buy a laptop before I start my engineering course, but I'm on a tight budget (~ $500). I have to run 3D modeling and design software, namely SolidWorks, MATLAB, Catia, Fusion360 (and probably others), for learning purposes.

My question is, can I run those software resonably well, on a laptop with integrated graphics, like Intel UHD 620 ?

(If I go a little higher I may be able to get one with MX130 2GB, but even then I'm not sure if that would be enough.)

So people, can you please advise?

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  • Personally, I had bad experiences with Fusion 360 on iGPU in i5-4460. The new mobile Radeons (RX 5300M and 5500M) were just announced and notebooks with them should be available for Christmas or early next year. And for this kind of workload I wouldn't even consider a notebook, unless it was one of those mobile workstation series (which cost 5 times your budget). Sustained, high-intensity workloads are a notebooks worst case. – Jan Dorniak Dec 8 '19 at 14:35
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While the other answers are technically correct, I would like to focus on the core of the question: we are dealing with an "engineering course", and the laptop is supposed to be for "learning purposes".
I have been through engineering school, and also held similar courses myself. Nobody in their right mind would choose training examples that a modern integrated graphics solution like the UHD 620 could not handle. Hugely complex training examples would be detrimental to the learning curve, the PCs in the training rooms are often pretty old, and the vast majority of students is equipped with basic laptops, most of them with integrated graphics.

So in my opinion, a modern laptop with integrated graphics is perfectly adequate in the context outlined in the question. But I agree with one of the points made in the other answers: an MX130 is barely an upgrade compared to the UHD 620.

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You can run 3D modeling and designing software, but running and running well is not the same thing

If you want to work well with a computer you need to have a PC build with dedicated graphics card. Desktop will be the best choice for these kinds of works. If you want to buy laptop with 3D modeling capabilities you will have to spend much.

You can check the link below to have a clear understanding of what kind of build do you need to work well with 3D modeling software and designing. You can comment if you need suggestion for a build.

What-Performance-Specs-Should-Your-PC-Have-to-Handle-3D-Rendering

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Consider getting a used laptop.

Simple constructions worked well under CATIA on my Intel m3-7Y30 tablet (HD Graphics 615), but anything beyond that wasn't very usable. """Graphics cards""" like the MX130 are usually worse than modern integrated GPUs like the Vega 8 or Vega 11 found in Ryzen CPUs.

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