Today’s architectural design and drafting require a capable machine either a desktop or a powerful laptop having enough power to handle viewport of large models/designs in CAD software like 3DS Max, Revit, and for the advanced version of “Sketch up”, Rhino.
If you’re an architecture student, you need a portable machine like a laptop, MacBook, or ultrabook. But if you’re a professional architect, you should get a powerful desktop with customized specifications to smoothly run intense architecture software.
An architecture laptop doesn’t have to be the most powerful, heaviest, or most ultra-expensive laptop either. All you need is a considerable hardware laptop/desktop to meet the needs of architectural software.
Recommended Hardware for Architecture
Having sound knowledge of hardware required for architectural programs can help you choose a budget laptop unless you have deep pockets. Let’s take a look at three common mistakes architects make when shopping for laptops.
- Buying the wrong graphics card: This mostly depends on the size of your models and rarely on the special plugins.
- Not getting enough RAM: Equally important like the graphics card
- Getting an awful display: A low-resolution display won’t give you enough workspace area and a very high-resolution display may not scale up some software like AutoDesk, 3DS Max, and Maya.
Let’s discuss these factors in detail to get the best laptop configuration for Architecture.
Students can get the job done with 1050/1050 Ti. While the 1060GTX suits to professionals for huge projects. A Quadro/FirePro only for those dealing with special plug-ins in Revit/3DS Max.
Professional architects need a minimum of 16-32GB of RAM while students can utilize 8GB efficiently.
For drafting and drawing, you need a CPU of +4GHz. For rendering, you need a Quad-Core CPU with at least 6-8 cores like Core i7-9750H/AMD Ryzen 7.
15″ is an ideal screen size for both students and professionals. 17″ would be better but that means more weight to carry. Only advisable for pro architects unless they are moving from site to conferences all the time. Similarly, 4K can be utilized as well for panoramic views.
For students, 256GB SSD is enough. For experienced architects 512GB SSD or 256GH SSD + 1TB HDD is ideal storage. x2 PCIe NVMe SSDs is the best combo: one used for windows and the other for Arc software.
The ideal weight for a laptop is 3lbs. Unfortunately, laptops with dedicated graphics cards & fast CPUs start at 3lb. The lighter the more expensive.
Top 10 Best Laptops For Architecture
In this list I’ve gathered the best laptops for architecture you’ll find on Amazon. All of them are loaded with good specs and are suitable for different budgets and types of projects.
I’ll start with the idea one: high performance yet budget-friendly, then continue with the most premium ones and wrap it up with more budget laptops and workstations.
Acer Nitro 5 – Best Budget Laptop For Architecture
Acer Nitro 5 is the best-selling laptop on Amazon that comes with a mid-range GPU. To be honest, it’s the cheapest laptop with a dedicated GPU.
The laptop comes with an Intel Core i5-9300H having “H” of high performance offering the highest clock speed. Regarding storage, the laptop comes with 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD. Furthermore, the unit brings 8GM of DDR4 RAM to support casual architectural software but requires more RAM for megaprojects rendering.
Regarding display, the unit comes with a 15.6″ FHD IPS display with better color reproduction and a wide color gamut to support a wide array of colors. Regarding graphics, the unit comes with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 which is good for solo architect working on smaller projects.
DELL XPS 15 – Best LightWeight Laptop For Architecture
The next best is DELL XPS 15, an expensive laptop that is suitable for professional architects and packs in serious power. This is the most lightweight 15-inch laptop that comes with a 4K resolution. Having the GTX 1650 graphic card enables it to handle virtually any project size.
The advanced 9th Gen Intel Hexa-Core i7-9750H high-performance processor is capable enough to handle rendering and modeling of bigger projects smoothly. Similarly, it boasts a 32GB DDR4 RAM is more than enough for any type of architectural software.
Regarding storage, the unit brings a 1TB PCIe SSD which offers both speed and plenty of storage at the same time. If you require more storage, there’s an extra slot available to install HDD or SSD.
What really separates any Dell XPS 15 model from a full-blown workstation laptop is the graphics card: they usually hover around a 1050-1650TG TX. Although they’re nothing like the RTX series with their tensor cores/RT cores, they’re real enough to handle every project/file/software you’ll come across in school or either in the office.
In our research, we found that the RTX series isn’t good for rendering, but 1070/1080Ti is a better choice.
The top-notch display is the reason of the higher price tag. The older version of AutoCAD can make compatibility issues with 4K resolution, but the latest version works great.
The best part of this laptop is the 4lbs weight despite having the most powerful hardware, it’s the lightest laptop for architecture having weight/specs close to the latest MacBook Pro.
Regarding connectivity, the laptop is equipped with all essential ports like external displays/extra storage devices/projects, etc.
MacBook Pro – Best Mac Laptop For Architects
MacBooks are becoming increasingly popular among architects. As soon as you step inside your faculty, you’ll see a lot of shiny apples during lectures and offices.
The prime advantage of MacBook Pro is that you can entirely depend on it for pretty much any project. This is the latest model of MacBook Pro equipped with Intel Core i7 with 6 cores having a clock speed of 5GHz, 64GB RAM, and 512GB PCIe NMVe SSD.
Regarding graphics processing, the unit comes with two variations 1050ti and 1660GTX, offering similar power to Dell XPS 15 or any high-end laptop. I would advise against buying a MacBook if you are an architect who specializes in large models with Revit which may go as far as requiring plugins but for anything else, it will do the job.
The design of these laptops doesn’t require an introduction. Everything from trackpad to chassis is of top quality. What requires discussion is the display of the unit. Color depth is also much greater. Furthermore, the thinness and weight of the laptop is appealing as well. Students and professional architects prefer to carry a laptop around that’s extremely portable and lightweight.
The real concern with this unit is the higher price tag. If that’s a problem for you, you can opt for certified refurbished or used MacBook Pros. They are cheaper but capable enough to be used for architecture.
Microsoft Surface Book 3 – Best UltraBook For Architecture Students & Architects
If you’re looking for the best compact laptop for architects, Microsoft Surface Book 3 is the ideal choice for you. This is the standout performer for architectural students and the solid specs of this laptop make it perfect for presenting your ideas to your clients or sketching diagrams in person.
Honestly, Microsoft is reserved for high-end products, and this is the best laptop for architects under $700 and a handful of ratings make it an incredibly popular laptop, thanks to the reliability and versatility of the laptop. This is an expensive unit, not a cheaper option but offers incredible value for money.
There are tons of best laptops and mobile workstations for architects, interior designers, and other creative professionals. But we took only worthy laptops that are suitable for demanding software to help you with day-to-day basis architecture demands. Starting with the advantages of this laptop, it comes with the best of all worlds power, aesthetics, and mobility, quality of the display, power of the processor, the capacity of the SSD.
We have laptops listed ranging from $500, $600, $700, $800, $900, $100 to $2000. This is the true form of power and portability making your trips from studio to site easier. For design professionals, choosing a laptop with powerful specs is a tough decision.
This is a slim model but a powerful unit that is capable to run Revit and 3DS Max, AutoCAD or any other crucial software architectures use, thanks to the advanced technology and design refinements which major laptop manufacturers don’t take seriously.
The number of laptops listed here are premium machines for varying budgets to get the best value for money, you need to think about multiple options in a laptop.
There are a collection of preferences when it comes to the selection of most popular laptops and the preferred choice depends on touchscreen OLED display, sharpest visuals, crisp visualization that makes it the popular surface laptop as well as Best touchscreen laptop for architects.
This is a second-generation machine with more performance packed in this version and the 10th gen processor is capable of handling the majority of modeling, rendering needs. The huge SSD drive offers plenty of space to store huge PSD files produced by Photoshop or Illustrator.
If you have a tight budget then this is not the right option for you. But compared with other units, it’s the best bang for the buck laptop that doesn’t put a dent in your bank even though it offers touchscreen capabilities.
This machine is capable to handle powerful CAD and modeling software thanks to the hardcore graphic software and a formidable graphics card that is responsible for the smooth processing of ArchiCAD, Revit, or Vectorworks. It’s the best 4k laptop for architects and the greatest asset as it comes with a 4K resolution screen with vivid colors that are ideal for designers specializing in the creation of fly-through visualizations and video presentations.
It’s the most powerful laptop for technical professionals having astonishing specs and helps in creating high-res animations, video content, compelling assets for architects. The most capable machine and comes with thermal design, ray-tracing GPU that is demand of technical professionals to tackle intensive design and visualization workload.
This is the Best all-around workstation for architects that comes with a backlit keyboard, fingerprint sensor, HD camera to help experienced practitioner do their work efficiently.
If you’re design-conscious then don’t worry as this machine comes in deep black color that is loved by designers. On the other hand, it’s the world’s most powerful mobile workstation that can easily tackle high-demand software packages, thanks to the necessary specs chosen for this laptop.
This is the best compact laptop for architects and ideal for designers constantly on the go. It packs a punch of power and comes with all-day battery life. Other than that it comes with ISV certifications and brings professional components. You can get your work done with a faster CPU, higher storage, and a bigger GPU.
Although the price tag is higher but it features SSD and HDD or you can get a hybrid drive as well. The mechanical hard drive is prone to get damaged quickly but SSDs are reliable.
The high-capacity battery is ideal for designers allowing them to work on the go without worrying about plugging in. Overall, this is the lighest laptop that is known for versatility and comes with surprisingly strong features. Other than that the narrow bezel of display with clear and crisp visuals are worth the mondy. Honestly, the FHD display for accurate graphic and modeling work.
Either you do multitasking on this laptop or use it for simple tasks, it can deliver optimum performance as like other PC laptops this one is well geared to handle tough challenges.
For some professionals, mobility is the problem if the laptop is heavier. SO, another priority when selecting a laptop is also the weight of the laptop. This laptop is powerful enough compared with other units of the same money range Other than that, the laptop is also aimed at gamers thanks to the high demand for graphics and processing power, and ignoring the necessary attention to detail it’s the best size for architectural rendering.
The next best thing about this laptop is the ethernet ports, specialist ports, wired or wireless computer mice, touchpads. The FHD resolution gives you similar results like 4K (UHD) or even 5K resolution. The higher the resolution is the more you can get attention to details while drawing or sketching.
This isn’t a low-cost laptop. The premium feel of this unit costs money and it’s a popular choice of architects and professionals. The CPU is capable of multithreading and hyperthreading to ensure high-quality rendering and to serve another majority of purposes.
Acer Aspire 5 – Best Budget Laptop For Architecture
Acer Aspire 5 is a modern laptop that comes in a premium look with an extremely modest price tag that is best if you’re starting your studies and want to take care of college works and assignments for long college hours. This laptop is a great benefit to architecture students as it delivers multitasking ability, wide viewing angles, awesome image quality, anti-glare protection, multi-connectivity, and active subwoofers. Having enough bells and whistles this can become the best laptop for architectural students under $800. Other than that, it’s approved by professional communities and is capable to handle graphic-intense software offered for architectural work.
The Acer Aspire 5 comes with a 17-inch IPS panel screen that gives crisp, clear, and great attention to details. The entire system is designed to be safe from overheating and overclocking, thanks to the dedicated dual cooling system. This laptop is a true example of productivity that the architecture students would never be caught procrastinating again.
When you are using computational software for drafting, digital drafting, or longhand drafting, you expect the process to take minimum time to finish. The prime advantage of powerful computers is that it can finish the job in a matter of minutes or seconds. Similarly, this unit is capable to handle powerful CAD and modeling software and comes with various configurations to meet the architectural needs.
Graphic intensive software process complex visuals and required dedicated GPU to eliminate the lagging problem. Either you want hardcore gaming or simply want to perform architectural rendering this is the best laptop for general architectural work. It can take care of demanding programs for architecture students, thanks to the ultra-fast CPU and GPU making this laptop great for architectural software.
Regarding storage, the unit is equipped with 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD that is enough and way better than mechanical hard disk drives which are prone to frequent crashing and slugging read and write speeds and few other drawbacks. Solid-state drive is the fastest data storage type needed by architecture students to fast data transfer speeds. Although there is a slot to insert another drive, but it depends on your pockets. Hard drives are cheaper but the hassle of frequent hard-drive crashing is annoying compared with SSD. On the other hand, SSDs are expensive but extremely fast. This much storage is enough for storing large architectural files and folders.
Other than that, the laptop comes with a backlit keyboard that offers easy and fast typing with shortcut keys. The biggest benefit is the multi-connectivity feature that allows you to do different tasks at the same time. That said this laptop is great for watching movies and listening to music that makes it the best Windows laptop for architectural design.
The terrific NVIDIA graphics card makes it integral to a variety of architectural applications and the capability to handle graphic-intense architectural programs with solid proficiency under the $800 price tag is something you should get your hands on.
When you are waiting for the model to get render is not good. Either you are a practicing architect or a professional one, you cannot wait for the laptop to respond lately. Therefore, Acer Aspire 5 is the best software and entertainment gear that does not offers 4K resolution at 60MHz and also cannot be converted into a tablet.
Even if you get the high rpm hard disk, still SSD is recommended for architecture software computation. To run heavy software and harness great productivity you should be ready to spend a great amount to get high-level performance for daily activities. After effective marketing strategies, the cost-to-value factor of this laptop is increasingly high and the performance and durability enable you to get the laptops entertainment productivity on scale.
This is the thinnest laptop that is good for entertainment and for productive tasks and the fraction of the price for the performance is very high.
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