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I am hunting for a good bang-for-buck workstation laptop for a friend of mine, he is looking to retire his trusty laptop of 3 years, with a new laptop with a much better GPU. He is a civil and a mechanical engineer, so I would figure he would be designing build support systems, walls and other complex mesh objects.

He uses AutoCAD, CAD, Autodesk, TurboCAD, 3DS Maya and Meshmixer in his line of work. With this in mind, I found two laptops that are within his budget of 2200USD on eBay.

Here are the specs of the first one -->

  • MSI WE72 7RJ
  • Core i7 7700HQ
  • 16GB DDR4 RAM @ 2400MHz
  • Quadro M2200 4GB
  • 512GB SATA SSD with a 1TB 7200RPM Hard Drive.
  • Listed Price - 1900 USD Including Shipping

And here is the specs of the next laptop

  • Asus ROG GL702VI-WB74
  • Core i7 7700HQ
  • 16GB DDR4 RAM @ 2400MHz
  • GTX 1080 8GB Max-Q
  • 256GB NVMe SSD with a 1TB 7200RPM Hard Drive
  • Listed Price - 2190 USD Including Shipping

I would have figured get the GTX 1080 Laptop, as it has more CUDA Cores, more VRAM and a higher clock speed then the Quadro Card, but the GTX 1080 Laptop is optimized for high-end gaming performance, and not CAD Work. But the Quadro is optimized for workstation usage, and should out perform the 1080 in these types of workloads, right?

I did a quick Google search, but that didn't yield the results I was hoping for.

Long story short, which of the two laptops would you recommend for my friend here, and why? If you have a better recommendation than these two laptops that I have listed, please don't hesitate to mention it. I will take all the help I can get!

On a side note and completely irrelevant, I tried convincing him to build a desktop workstation with a better Quadro GPU locally for the same amount, but he insisted that it be a workstation laptop, as he jets around the world and the country on work.

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Definitely the GTX 1080!

I know benchmarks aren't always showing the whole picture but when the benchmarks show 4 times the performance on a card it is obvious which one is better, for any task whatsoever. In Videocard Benchmarks it is a difference between 3376 for the Quadro M2200 and 12185 for the 1080.

While Quadros have some benefits in workstation kind of devices since they are specifically targeted for these kinds of workloads, but not when you compare one of the top latest GTX cards to a mid (if now lower) range and older generation Quadro (you wouldn't even find a lot of "vs." articles online about these two, since the M2200 is compared which much lower-end GTXs.)

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  • Actually the Asus laptop he gave as example has 1080 Max-Q, which has 10280 result, so 3 times performance difference. But one thing you haven't thought of is the fact that Quadro cards have certified drivers tested specifically for CAD and similar programs. I have a friend who is an architect and he got a laptop with GTX 980. He had problems with 2 of the programs he uses - one was crashing on certain tasks, the other one would not run at all. He bought a laptop with quadro and never had a problem since. So compatibility especially when using older version of programs is something to consider – silverchair Feb 10 '19 at 17:44

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