An Architect friend recently asked my views on a laptop that he wanted to buy for his designing assignments. His query for a reliable laptop for running architecture software and applications efficiently inspired me to compile the ten best laptops for architecture students as well as professional architects. All the shortlisted laptops are capable of running ArchCAD, Revit, Vectorworks, SketchUp, V-Ray, Studio Max, and 2d or 3D modeling applications.
While shortlisting these laptops, due consideration has been given to the specifications and features of the laptops. The minimum hardware requirements to run digital drafting software include at least an Intel i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM, at least 2 Gigabytes of GPU VRAM, a full HD screen of a minimum of 15 inches’ size, and at least 512 GB of storage space. The other metric to take into account is the operating system. I have picked all the laptops with Windows operating system since it is capable of supporting a large number of application types as compared to Mac or Linux systems.
Reviews of laptops best for architecture aspirants
1. Microsoft Surface Book 3
Microsoft Surface book is one of the favorite laptops among Architects right now. This laptop is preferred, thanks to a powerful Intel i7 8th generation processor and detachable pixel sense touch screen with a high resolution of 3240×2160 pixels. The display is pepped to display the digital drafts and designs that even Apple MacBooks can’t do yet. The enhanced graphics is powered by a dedicated NVidia GTX 1660 Ti GPU.
When it comes to its design, there are multiple ports you can put to use. These involve one USB 3.1 Gen 2 USB-C port and USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A ports. Other than these two, there is a Surface Connect port you can use for charging and other purposes like connecting. There is a 3.5mm jack too along with the provision of an SDXC card reader.
- Powerful and cutting-edge Intel processor
- Detachable screen with tablet mode
- Enhanced graphics with NVIDIA chipset
- Massive RAM to handle heavy applications
- Extended battery life up to 17 hours
- No pre-installed Windows 11
- Hard disk space is 512GB
Weight: 3.6 Pounds| OS: Windows 10 Pro | Screen Size: 15 Inch|Screen Resolution: 3240×2160|CPU: i7 processor|RAM: 32 GB |Storage: 512 GB| Battery Life: 17 hours| Price: Check Latest Price on Amazon
2. Lenovo ThinkPad P71
The ThinkPad comes with a scratch-proof matte-finish body and the full numeric keyboard makes it easy to use to feed in the dimensions of your designs. The laptop is powered by a high-end kaby lake i7 processor and 16 GB RAM which is capable of handling Revit, VectorWorks, and other architecture design applications. The high-speed 128GB SSD allows faster booting and lightning-fast file access and downloads whereas the 500 GB SATA HDD takes care of your data files. The FHD screen is powered by the latest IPS technology for better viewing angles much needed by professional architects.
If you compare this one to other laptops, it doesn’t lag even if used continuously for 2-3 days without shutting it off. Also, you will get many ports available on it such as 2 Thunderbolt, HDMI port, mini DisplayPort, etc. along with one SD card reader. Moreover, if I talk about the keyboard it has got, it is pretty comfy and simple to use and provides a good typing speed.
- Scratch-proof matte finish body
- High-end and efficient Kaby Lake processor
- 16 GB of massive LPDDR4 RAM
- GPU with 2GB NVIDIA Chipset
- 1080p FHD screen resolution
- Weighs around 7.3 pounds
- 128GB of SSD storage with HDD 512GB
Weight: 7.3 Lb | OS: Win10 Pro | Screen Size: 17.3 Inches |Screen Resolution: 1920×1080|CPU: i7 processor|RAM: 16 GB |Storage: 128GB SSD+500 GB HDD| GPU: NVidia 2GB| Price: Click Here to Check Price
3. Dell G3 Laptop
This laptop is packed with media-focused features and supports an attractive design. There is solid-state drive storage for instant access to architectural designs while the NVidia GeForce 1650Ti GPU means you can enjoy graphics-hungry applications without any lags. Moreover, the screen exhibits a resolution of 1920×1080 pixels backed by In-Plane Switching technology for enhanced sharpness and wide viewing angles.
Since it’s known as a budget laptop, this doesn’t involve impressive features in its body build/design. Its design is quite simple and portable to carry around but is quite sturdy and compact to use. If I talk about its keypad, it’s pretty basic too, however, it allows a very smooth and fast typing experience. This laptop, if I talk of its ports on the left side, consists of a USB Type-C port, a USB 3.1 port, and an HDMI port. It further has an Ethernet jack on the left and 2 USB ports on the right side.
- Attractive and sleek design
- High graphics support with 4GB GeForce Chipset
- Windows 10 Home preinstalled
- 512 GB of SSD storage for faster processing
- FHD display with a 15.6-inch screen
- No touch-sensitive screen
- The display isn’t 4K supportive
Weight: 6.28 pounds | OS: Win10 Home | Screen Size: 15.6 Inches |Screen Resolution: 1920×1080|CPU: i7 processor| RAM: 16GB |Storage: 512GB SSD| GPU: NVidia 4GB| Price: Check Latest Price on Amazon
4. Acer Aspire 3
The low price and sturdy design make the Acer Aspire a great choice for both amateur and professional architects. Although the laptop is economically priced, the performance far exceeds the expectations with the powerful and latest 10th generation Intel i5 processor, Intel graphics, and full HD display. The laptop is equipped with an HD camera that allows you to chat with colleagues or friends in crystal clear images.
This one comes equipped with a number of ports on both sides of the laptop. However, if you ask me about the battery life it has, it’s pretty average and doesn’t make a good impression on people (especially outside their homes) who work for long hours on a day-to-day basis.
Furthermore, it has an impressive hardware configuration when compared to other laptops in the same price range. If I talk about typing on the keyboard, I have been able to work faster on this. It further comes equipped with a Numpad.
- Affordable and economic price range
- Preinstalled Windows 10 Home support
- Huge screen with IPS LCD Display
- Great processing power with 12GB RAM and SSD storage
- 10th gen Intel processor for efficient project management
- Screen resolution is just 1600*900
- Bulky design with a weight of 7.8 pounds
Weight: 6.1 pounds | OS: Win10 Home | Screen Size: 17.3 Inches |Screen Resolution: 1600×900 |CPU: i5 processor| RAM: 12GB |Storage: 1TB HDD + 512 GB SSD | | Price: Check Latest Price on Amazon
5. ASUS S510UN
Asus is a respected brand that offers high-performance machines at a reasonable price tag and Vivobook is no exception. It features the latest 8th generation i7 processor in conjunction with NVIDIA GeForce MX150 GPU to handle all your architectural work smoothly. Furthermore, the laptop comes with a wide View display which lets you see sharp images even at a wide angle of 178 degrees. It has a thin profile with only 0.7 inches in thickness and the thin bezel measuring 0.3 inches further enriches the viewing experience.
When it comes to connectivity options, this laptop by Asus comes equipped with 2 USB 2.0 ports and the SD-Card Reader on the left side of it. Also, on the other side, it comes with a 3.5mm audio jack, a USB 3.0 port, DC charging port, a USB 3.1 Type-C port, and an HDMI port.
It further comes with not one or two but 4 display modes, which are Normal, Eye Care, Manual, and Vivid. The only thing I wished it had is the keyboard that comes without the Numpad.
- High performance with intel i7 processor
- Wide view display of 178 degrees for greater precision
- SSD-type storage with fast booting
- Thin profile laptop with just 0.7-inch thickness
- NVIDIA GPU for smooth application management
- No Windows 11 support
- Only 8 GB of RAM
Weight: 3.7 pounds | OS: Win10 Home | Screen Size: 15.6 Inches |Screen Resolution: 1920×1080|CPU: i7 processor| RAM: 8GB |Storage: 512 GB SSD | GPU: NVIDIA MX150 2GB| Price: Check Here to Check Price
6. HP ZBook 14 G8 Mobile Workstation
This is a workstation model specially manufactured for professionals in designing fields like architecture and other resource-demanding software programs. The laptop is equipped with high-performing hardware that includes an Intel i7 processor, 16 GB RAM, and dedicated graphics with 4GB VRAM. The comfortable keystrokes help in fast typing which increases productivity at work. Ideal for multitasking you can create and edit blueprints without any lags or slow-downs.
This one by HP is a portable one, however, don’t mistake it for some notebook that is light in weight. This is because it has a battery that is a bit heavy, drives with dual storage, and more. Also, the HP Zbook G8 is equipped with 3 USB 3.0 ports on the left side and a few more on the other as well. If I compare this one to other laptops, the display output quality is pretty impressive.
- Specifically designed for resource-demanding applications
- Dedicated graphics card of 4GB VRAM
- Multitasking support with Windows 10 Pro
- 512GB of SSD storage space
- No 4K screen support
OS: Win10 Pro | Screen Size: 14 Inches |Screen Resolution: 1920×1080|CPU: i7 processor| RAM: 16GB |Storage: 512 GB SSD | GPU: Quadro T500 4GB| Price: Check Latest Price on Amazon
7. Lenovo 330 Ideapad
It is a new model from Lenovo that has the right ingredients required for running the programs related to architectural work. The powerful NVIDIA GeForce 940MX is definitely a plus feature that helps architects to complete their CAD designs effectively. The laptop has speed, vibrant graphics attractive metallic finish, and five hours of battery backup. You can enjoy the mesmerizing sound, thanks to Dolby audio dual audio speakers. You can work for a longer duration since it has an anti-glare screen to protect your eyes from screen radiations.
Newer laptop models hardly come equipped with a DVD drive, nowadays. However, this one is equipped with it. Also, like the newest laptop models, this is not equipped with a touch screen and hence, lacks a good feature in that sense. Moreover, this model has a pretty basic and simple design when it comes to its build, which is again not that uplifting in nature when used.
- Vibrant graphics and attractive metallic finish
- Five hours of battery life
- Dolby audio dual speaker support
- Anti Glare screen protection
- Powerful i7 processor from Intel
- No touch-sensitive display
Weight: 6.16 pounds | OS: Win10 Home | Screen Size: 17.3 Inches |Screen Resolution: 1920×1080|CPU: i7 processor| RAM: 12 GB |Storage: 1TB + 16 GB Optane Memory | GPU: NVIDIA GTX 1050 2GB| Price: Check Latest Price
8. MSI WS65
If you are looking for a lightweight yet high-performing laptop, this laptop model from MSI needs a mention in this list of best laptops for architects. The powerful hardware configuration and robust design of this laptop are perfect for architects who want durability and performance at the same time. MSI workstation is wrapped with 9th gen. Intel i7 processor, 32 GB RAM, and 512 GB SSD. It has a user-friendly full-size keyboard with a numeric pad and moreover, the keyboard comes with backlit keys to let you work in dimly lit areas.
This laptop further ensures a good battery life. Also, it comes with the availability of a lot of ports like HDMI 2.0 port, USB 3.2 Type-A port, a mini DisplayPort, etc. along with a lock slot for security purposes. Also, this laptop is made in such a way that it can handle dust, vibrations, low or high-pressure altitudes, etc.
- Lightweight yet highly efficient design
- Powerful hardware with an i7 processor
- User-friendly full-size multimedia keyboard
- Windows 10 pro pre-installed out of the box
- SSD-type storage space for fast booting
Weight: 7.6 pounds | OS: Win10 Pro | Screen Size: 15.6 Inches |Screen Resolution: 1920×1080|CPU: i7 processor| GPU: NVIDIA Quadro RTX 3000(6GB) | RAM: 32GB |Storage: 512 GB SSD | Price: Check Latest Price
9. Lenovo Y700 17.3″
Both gamers and architects will love the powerful configuration of this beast machine. Designed for gaming and designing, Lenovo Ideapad Y700 is equipped with a powerful Intel i7 processor and a whopping 16 GB RAM. A large 17.3 Full HD Inches screen offers a larger-than-life viewing experience, much needed for analyzing blueprints and digital drafts. It has a hybrid storage space comprising of 1TB SATA hard drive and 512 GB Solid State Drive for quick booting. The state-of-the-art speakers let you enjoy crystal clear music while you work on your drafts.
With the Intel i7 processor, this model by Lenovo offers rapid performance, and hence, a lot of work gets done in less time. The laptop’s top and bottom are equipped with brushed-aluminum panels that ensure smooth finger movement. Moreover, the touchpad which is 4.1 x 2.8-inches in size has a smooth and matte texture to it. Furthermore, the 17.3-inch display that is non-touch is equipped with an anti-glare coating and hence, you will feel comfortable working on it for a longer duration too.
- Good size of FHD display
- Hybrid storage space of 1TB SATA and 512GB SSD, which is good enough
- NVIDIA 4GB GPU chipset for graphics
- State-of-the-art speakers to ensure clear sound
- RAM with great processing power
- No 4K resolution support
- No tablet or touchscreen mode
Weight: 7.72 pounds | OS: Win10 Home | Screen Size: 17.3 Inches |Screen Resolution: 1920×1080|CPU: i7 processor| RAM: 16 GB |Storage: 1TB SATA+ 512 GB SSD | GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GT960M 4GB | Price: Check Latest Price on Amazon
10. Dell Inspiron 5502
This one is the best option for architecture students looking for a budget laptop equipped with high-end specifications. The graphics controller in the form of Intel Iris Xe will not let you feel sluggish performance even when running heavy CAD programs. All the hardware including CPU, RAM, and Hard-drive available in this laptop are generally found on high-priced flagship models. Dell Inspiron 5502 laptop comes in platinum silver color. The laptop comes pre-installed with Windows 10 Home OS.
This one by Dell is equipped with a keyboard just the same as the previous models. And hence, when you opt for a new model, you won’t get issues working on the keyboard and your working speed will remain the same. Also, using an external mouse, with this laptop model, will take your work speed and convenience to another level. The only suggestion that I would like to make here (before investing in this) is to avoid using this model for a longer period of hours if you have eyesight concerns.
- Budget-friendly yet very efficient
- Slim and lightweight design
- Iris Xe graphics card for smooth rendering
- Screen resolution with FHD display
- Preinstalled Windows 10 Home support
- Storage space is limited to 256GB SSD
Weight: 5.74 pounds | OS: Win10 Home | Screen Size: 15.6 Inches |Screen Resolution: 1920×1080|CPU: i7 processor| RAM: 8 GB |Storage: 256 SSD | Price: Check Latest Price on Amazon
How to Choose the Best Laptops for Architects and Architecture Students in 2022? – Buying Guide
There are dozens of laptops available in the market that advertise the best features to all kinds of users, let alone architects and architecture students. But understanding the needs of the user and then selecting a perfect laptop can take some consideration.
If you are an architect or architecture student then below are some points that you should keep in mind before purchasing any laptop:
1. OS for the Laptop
For architects and architecture students one of the key aspects in choosing a laptop is deciding whether to go for Windows laptops or macOS devices. It’s not just that Windows devices come at a more budget-friendly price range than Apple laptops, the number of programs supported in macOS devices is also less.
Architecture applications such as Revit as well as V-Ray are only available for Windows and they are not yet available on Mac. Another benefit of choosing Windows laptops is their architecture application handling capability which is way smoother than Apple laptops.
2. Memory and Processing Power
After you have decided to go for any particular OS, you should pay attention to the processing power of the laptop and the specifications which affect it. Factors such as GPU acceleration and RAM as well as connectivity (SD card slot, USB ports, etc.) should be considered.
For architects and architecture students, going for SSD type storage over HDD type is another key point that can boost the speed of your laptop. Also, the size of the memory drive matters a lot since, with a lot of applications such as Revit and Rhino, a lot of storage space would be required.
The display is another key factor that means a lot to the architecture students and architects. Visualization and 3D modeling mainly depend on the display quality and they can directly affect the results of any project.
If you are going for laptops for running architecture applications, then we recommend choosing an IPS panel with good dynamic color as well as contrast. If you have a high budget, then you can also go for a 4K screen.
4. Touchscreen over Traditional Laptop
A lot of the laptops that are available in the market now come in hybrid configurations where the screen can be detached from the keyboard making it a tablet with touch sensitivity.
Some of these laptops even support a stylus which is handy for architects. So, if you have a well-planned budget, then going for a touch screen hybrid laptop can help in a lot of ways.
5. Battery life
Last but not the least, you should consider the battery life of the laptop and how fast it charges from zero to a hundred. A good battery backup can help you to work remotely for hours and it can directly support maintaining your efficiency.
Also, a good charger with a faster-charging speed can increase the productivity of the laptop by a great margin.
What is the First Thing I Should Consider Before Buying a Laptop for my Architecture Program?
Architecture programs need to be supported by the OS and they need a good amount of processing power. So, you should consider the CPU specifications and memory first for choosing a laptop for architecture programs.
Is LED Type Display Better than the IPS LCD Screen for Architects?
The display is an essential component in designing LED screens though pricier than their alternatives produce better resolution images. Thus, going for an LED screen over LCD ones for any laptop is a better choice for architects and architecture students.
What Should be the Minimum size of RAM and Hard Disc for my Laptop for Architecture Programs?
There isn’t any minimum storage or RAM size that can be defined for architecture programs since all of them have their requirements for running. But safe to say if you go for a laptop with a minimum of 8GB RAM and 512GB of SSD-type storage, then your programs will run smoothly.
Are Graphics Cards Necessary for Laptops that Run Architecture Applications?
Applications such as Revit and Rhino need a sound graphics card or GPU since they are highly demanding applications in terms of processing power. Chipsets such as AMD Radeon or NVIDIA GeForce have the immense capability that can boost the performance of these programs to a great extent.
The Best laptops for Architects to Unleash Creativity
All the laptops that have earned a place on this list are powered to run all the programs required in architecture engineering. So whether you are a drafting professional or an architect, you will find one perfect laptop that meets the hardware specifications and suits your budget. I hope the complications associated with buying the best laptop for your architectural needs will be satisfied by picking any one product from the above list.
I would be glad to answer any technical question that’s been bothering you about the best laptop for your needs. Feel free to mention it in the comments section below.