15.6" CAD Workstation Laptop


I'm looking for a laptop to replace my Dell Precision M65. I'm an Engineering student, don't play games, and use mostly Autocad Civil3D, as well as some hydraulic and structures modeling software that does Finite Element Analysis (the software I use besides Civil3d varies by the class, so I won't list specifics. It doesn't need to be a powerhorse, as I don't use CAD all day everyday, but use it enough that I need some decent performance to save time.

I'm mostly familiar with Nvidia (but am open to AMD) GPU's. Most of the newer generations of laptops (the last two at least) seem to only offer the 460M, 480M, or 485M GPU's, without going to either a 17" model or priced over $3000. Are these decent CAD performers? I can't seem to find any CAD benchmarks within the last 2-3 years. I know in the past, the quadro's were definitely the way to go, but is that still the case?

The gist of what I'm looking for:
15.6" 1080 display
quad core i processor
$1500 price range (open to $1000-$2000 though)

The Clevo's I looked at all seem to have the 460M, 480M, and 485M GPU's. The M4500 from dell and w510 from lenovo have Quadro 880M or 1800M GPU's, and can get them through EPP for $1300-2000.

Are there any other options out there right now with workstation GPU's? And will the 460M, 480M, 485M run cad well?

Edit: I use a dock at home and work, so the 15.6" screen size is not an issue, but I do need to use cad in meetings and class away from an attached monitor.

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  1. If you go to the Dell site, select small business, and then search for the outlet, you can get an outstanding deal on a precision 15 inch- less than new but the same warranty. awesome bang for the buck. they usually are just units that are not actually used, but had a scratch, or for someother reason were bought and returned , often without actually being installed!
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