I will be getting a new laptop soon, for a budget of around £850.
Should I get a custom build?
What kind of specs should I be looking at?
I will not be trying to do massive assemblies or anything, the Inventor usage is really just for school projects.
The largest assemblies will be robots. I do 'Vex Robotics' and this year I will be looking to make multiple CAD models of prototype robots.
I like my Alienware M18.
Get at least a 17" screen for CAD work with numerical keypad.
At least 8 GB of RAM.
I use a Alienware Mx17 for road use. I'm getting to old to lug anything bigger through airports.
I use a Dell Vostro 3700, i5 2.4GHz processor, 8GB of RAM, NVIDIA GT330M 1GB graphics card. I was previously running only 6GB of RAM and it worked ok. This laptop runs the latest Inventor with no problems, even for moderate sized assemblies (though assembly and drawing updates can be slow). You should be able to get something much better than this with your budget but don't think you have to spend more or get a custom build in order to run Inventor.
Check what Autodesk say about Windows 8 though- you might be better off with Windows 7 64bit.
Basically, Inventor uses the same technology as most games (DirectX) and thus a good gaming laptop is a good starting point. But, if you're using other software (like SW) that uses OpenGL then you may need a workstation graphics card.
You really NEED a 1080 screen. Laptops generally seem to be 1080 or 720 (or there abouts) these days - the 720 displays don't have enough vertical resolution to work well (the system requirements do state a 1024 min vertical resolution, and sometimes information and dialog boxes have disappeared off the bottom of the screen for lower resolutions). As for screen size - generally the more the better, at the expense of weight, cost and battery life - personally I'm happy with a lighter weight 15" 1080 screen on the move and use a "proper" monitor (along with a proper keyboard and mouse) connected to the laptop when at home.
8GB ram minimum (can usually easily upgrade to 8gb if you find a cheap deal with 4gb)
i7 and a proper graphics card (not an integrated thing).
BUT... a word of warning... If you're using 2014 then there's mention in the latest readme of concerns with gaming laptops - I've asked for clarrification from AD in this post, but (what a surpise) nothing:
Chances are, with the latest drivers, a gaming laptop should be fine, but so few people have installed 2014 it's impossible to get feedback to assess this. It's just frustrating AD have added that line of warning in the readme but can't be bothered to explain why...
If you're quoting pounds then I'm guessing you're in UK... and thus I would highly recommend Dell's outlet for cheap laptops:
it's basically pc's people have spec'd and ordered but either returned of cancelled their order - so basically new pc's (with a normal Dell warranty) for a massive discount. I got one and the only signs it wasn't brand new was the lack of the cling-film on some of the gloss sections... Due to the nature of the stock being cancelled orders etc. it varies a LOT all the time - need to check a couple times in the day (from memory think the new stock get's added about 3pm and some in the mid-morning too), and good deals go quickly, so have a look what's available over a few days to see what's the norm and thus are prepared to jump on a bargain if/when one appears
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