Needing a new computer

I need to buy a computer that can run 3D software well but not break my bank account. Any suggestions appreciated.

Your most expensive part will be the GPU, and I recommend you wait till the end of September & get the new RTX 3080. It will run between $700 & $900 depends on which model you get. Now, for the computer, it depends if you want to go Intel or AMD. Let me know what software you will be running and I can give you about 3 different options for you to look at.

Fusion360 I think but I’m not really sure yet.

You’re aware that Fusion360 is no longer free.

I recommend signing up for emails and waiting for a sale. They routinely run 40% or more off sales.

I’ve picked up several systems for less than $300 that can run fusion without issue.

Without a budget it is impossible to suggest a computer for your needs. Also we need more details, do you want it to be a desktop, laptop?


Let’s not bend the truth here. Fusion360 still has a free option, it’s just a lot more limited than it was two weeks ago. I’m pretty cheesed at the changes too, but to say there is no free option is just false.


It would help if you defined what Breaking the bank is for you?

I’ve been testing one of these and it seems decent:

It’s Fanless, not sure how the Keyboard would hold up in the shop but that is a easy $10 fix. While it’s intended for teaching coding in a fun way, it is a full on Windows touch screen PC. It arrives in Windows S mode and you have to sign in to switch it out. For anyone not knowing S mode locks you to software in the Windows store. Removing that limitation is a check box and reboot away. Then you can install anything that is compatible with Windows 10. It’s a good bang for the buck and if you feel like it you can also learn to code, but not required.



It can be either since it will be inside and I’ll use an old laptop to run carbide motion. I was thinking 1000 to 1200 tops

Do you need keyboard/mouse/monitor? Also, do you want to build it yourself, or buy something already put together?

Alienware and Digital Storm are PC companies with good warranties. Any product with a 20 series Nvidia card is to be avoided right now. They are all still at Pre 30 series pricing. You should wait for the buy rush on the 30 series to be over, prices are going to go way down on all models.
Laptops are little portable ovens with diminished abilities. I recommend a PC with a good video card and lots of ram for Fusion. CPU speed helps also.
A big 4k monitor is also very very helpful.
My next PC is a Digital Storm.


I’ve purchased a few refurb’d PCs from Tiger Direct. The refurbs are good quality - I’ve not had one die on my yet. Prices are reasonable. Just shop through what they have listed - which changes as things come and go. You should be able to find something suitable.

I started using Fusion on my MB, it couldn’t handle it, at least according to the regular dialog pop ups. So after doing a little looking, I was lead to believe that a decent graphics card was to be at the top of my shopping list. I ordered a bunch of parts and built a AMD windows machine, high end Ryzen something or other, and a 5700XT. But when I run Fusion I log essentially no graphics card utilization, and single core CPU usage. Maybe I am not properly utilizing my system? Seems like a workstation CPU with advanced single core performance would have been money better spent. Regardless, the system looks cool without a bunch of silly lights, and having a number of monitors is radical(a first for me). I am not a computer guy.


What useful options that are still free? NONE

If you need a graphics workstation for professional, money making work, then for sure it will cost you from $1,500 to $4,000.

If you need just a computer that can do some graphics, then go with cheap recommendations that was listed by some members. You can even get a $100 old Dell with quad core CPU.

I have been avoiding this thread for reasons, but will note that I run Fusion on the near lowest end Lenovo mini-tower (AMD A12-9800, which is inexpensive but moderate performance, vintage late 2018 on clearance), integrated video, and the only performance concession is 12GB of RAM. It is marginally better than my several generations old laptop with only 4GB and a 4 core processor, but decent GPU for the time, but only marginally. The memory and core clock speed makes the difference for most tasks. Ditto for Inventor (my most used) and traditional AutoCad. Solidworks is a different animal, and is my preferred except that I all of my clients use AC or Inventor, and I teach Inventor.

I have `better’ performing hardware at work, and it DOES make a difference for a few things, like high quality renders and animations. All of the basic design tools get no meaningful benefit, in my experience, other than a few cases.

As far as I can see, Fusion, like Inventor and ACad, run primarily as single thread, both in the design and in the CAM modules, and neither makes meaningful use of a GPU. I may have someone tell me I am wrong, but I monitor resource usage closely, and this is what I see.

1 Like

Spreading falls information based on your “closely monitoring resources” is not a good thing to do. I worked as an Autodesk instructor for many years, I also worked as an Adobe instructor for the feds for 4 years. Please, do not post such information unless you are qualified technically to do so.

You can still draw (in a much more sophisticated way than carbide create, CC being actually quite capable for “free”), can still generate gcode (single tool, just like carbide create w/o the bitsetter, which is a $ add-on for cc/shapeoko, the alternative for both being to create file per tool gcode), can still have multiple parts with a number of different CAM strategies, can still create assemblies, joints, and complex 3d geometry (cc can do 2.5d)… You still get 2 layer circuit boards and the ability to create enclosures around them, with complete access to the full electronic part library (the integration with fusion 360 actually provides some nice functionality than Eagle didn’t provide on its own) that’s actually quite a lot of “free” capability. A LOT less free capability than there was 2 weeks ago in Fusion 360, as you note, but not zero.

It’s fine to be upset, I am too, but let’s stick to the facts.


I’m a daily user of Inventor and don’t care much about fusion 360. I used Fusion 360 just to be able to answer some questions if needed. But what good is it if you cannot export your work at all. And my understanding, the tool path & G-Code generation been very limited that rendered it useless.

I run a 3900X, 16gb of CL16 3600mhz, and a 1660ti. This is honestly overkill for anything you will do with Fusion, it may help with rending textures, etc. But if you plan on just CAD/CAM, you don’t need anything fancy.

My biggest recommendation would be 16-32gb RAM, and a M.2 NVMe for your OS. With these any any modern CPU with more than four cores, you will do very well. If you want exact specs, I would recommend something with good single core performance, AMD is cheap and probably good enough, so a 3600x would do well, and any Nvidia/AMD video card greater than 10 series for Nvidia, and 5000/Vega for AMD.

Use your budget on a nice 4K monitor if you don’t have one, or multiple monitors. I wouldn’t say I am an expert, but I have been a computer/overclock enthusiast for 15+ years.