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I am planning to purchase a laptop which could run a complex software such a SolidWorks.

My friend advised me to go for a graphics card. However I am of the view that instead of investing in a graphics card, it is better to invest in a better processor. A better processor will help rendering as well as other computations. Please tell me if I am right on this

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

Yes and no.

Both play an important role, but i'm going to say get the system with the better graphics

If its a laptop with a decent graphics card, chances are it isn't going to come with a terrible CPU. Modern CPUs are fairly powerful - a current generation core i5 is roughly as powerful as a previous generation one, (i don't really use AMD, but the same is likely true - an AMD box with a discrete graphics option isn't going to suck).

As for the direct effect of the graphics card, it depends - a quick check indicates that solidworks IS GPU accelerated, so getting a decent graphics option is a good idea - its more likely the discrete option will be supported.

Also, don't forget you can't 'just' swap out the graphics in a laptop - you're stuck with it (you can't upgrade the CPU either, but i'm supposing the CPU IS powerful enough).

I'd suspect the best system for this would be a gaming laptop, but your milage (and budget) may vary.

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I would agree, but in the long run, the most important is the processor. –  KCotreau Jun 21 '11 at 10:40
    
with a desktop, yes. with a laptop, i disagree. He needs to look at the whole package, since he's stuck with what he buys short of replacing the whole unit - in this case, the better GPU, will likely be part of a better system. –  Journeyman Geek Jun 21 '11 at 10:45
    
I have several companies, who are engineering firms, who use solidworks, and rendering using the CPU is more important. Actually, you brought up a point that crossed my mind: He SHOULD BUY a desktop if at all possible. –  KCotreau Jun 21 '11 at 10:57
    
@journeyman I guess my usage of solidworks will be quit limited as I am a student having amateur interest in solidworks. I really dont think that I will be ever dealing with very highly sophisticated designs which may become a problem for a non GPU based coputer design. –  bubble Jun 21 '11 at 11:28
    
@KCotreau You are absolutely right. In almost every case a desktop wins over a laptop with more features for less money. But I guess I will need to have a laptop as I require computing power on the go. –  bubble Jun 21 '11 at 11:30

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