Best Laptop for Architecture – Buyers Guide

best laptop for architecture

Do you plan on being an architect? Besides the 3D modeling and the knowledge, this career requires more than a standard laptop. With heavy programs and demanding computer assistant design tools, you’re going to need a heavy-duty laptop. 

Some computer assistant design tools for architecture require an intense CPU and memory. Otherwise, running intensive programs and rendering will take hours.

10 Best Laptops for Architecture

If you want to stay focused on hardware tailored for architecture programs, such as a CPU with high processing speed dedicated graphic cards with good processing power, then here are the best laptops to meet your needs on a budget. 

Asus VivoBook S15 

Asus VivoBook S15 is a highly portable laptop that is powerful enough to run your architectural software and programs. This lightweight laptop comes with a 15.5-inch display that is great for your 3D modeling software as it provides good visuals. 

The Asus VivoBook S15 integrates an Intel Core i5 processor with 8GB RAM. With this top-notch processor and RAM, you won’t have to worry about running any architectural programs anymore. 

VivoBook also has good storage backed by a 512 GB SSD card. Asus VivoBook has a quick key function which is handy for architects. This laptop’s innovative screen pad 2.0 comes with a 5.65 inches touchscreen that boosts productivity for on-the-go computing. 

The screenpad has various ASUS utilities. These include Quick Key, Number Key, Slide Xpert, and Handwriting. So the touchpad does double duty because it works like a mini secondary display and a touchpad.

When you have to switch between the two modes, all you have to do is a three-finger swipe or tap on a small icon in the lower-left corner.

So whether you want to make use of the secondary touchscreen for 3D modeling or run essential architecture software, Asus VivoBook S15 is a suitable laptop that architect students can buy on a budget.

Hardware Specifications

  • CPU: Intel Core i5-10210U
  • Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics
  • RAM: 8 GB RAM
  • Screen: 15.6 inch FHD NanoEdge bezel display
  • Storage: 512GB SSD 
  • Battery Life: 7 hours 
  • Weight: 3.97 lbs

Pros

  • Excellent value for performance
  • Wi-Fi 6 gives you wireless futureproofing
  • Improved cooling
  • Sturdy build quality

Cons

  • Bad fingerprint sensor placement
  • Relatively less battery capacity

Microsoft Surface Book Pro 6 – 2 in1 Laptop For Architects

Microsoft Surface Book Pro 6 is a versatile laptop with an outlook of a sleek tablet. You can use this tech-savvy laptop in three different modes. Microsoft integrated it with powerful components but managed to keep it lightweight. 

With a long-lasting battery that lasts about 14 hours, this laptop is suitable for architects that have to spend hours rendering and running programs. The battery is a notable feature for architects because if you don’t have power outlets and you’re running heavy-duty programs, the battery will hinder your work. 

Microsoft also gives you the option to personalize and upgrade Surface Pro 6 with additional accessories. So if you want to jump from the standard components, you can separately purchase accessories to increase the speed or productivity.

Besides the fantastic battery and fast quad-core performance, you can use the laptop in three modes: laptop, tablet, and studio. The black exterior also provides a sleek look to the device. 

The gritty texture of the laptop makes it easy to grip. In addition to that, the Microsoft Surface Pro 6 has a comfortable keyboard that helps with fluid, fast typing.

Overall, this laptop weighs just about 1.7 pounds, making it very light and portable. It is the best laptop for architecture students who prefer a portable workstation. 

Hardware Specifications

  • CPU: Intel Core i5
  • Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 (i5)
  • RAM: 8 GB RAM
  • Screen: 12.3- inch 2736×1824 display
  • Storage: 128 GB SSD 
  • Battery Life: 13.5 hours
  • Weight 1.7 lbs

Pros

  • Powerful internal components
  • Excellent display
  • Lightweight and portable

Cons

  • No USB-C Or Thunderbolt 3 Ports
  • Expensive

Apple MacBook Pro 14/16-inch

If you’re an architecture student who prefers the Mac Operating System over Windows, Apple Macbook Air or Apple Macbook Pro is the best for you. Architects and engineers have to run CAD and other professional software on heavy-duty laptops. 

Running macOS on Apple’s eight-core M1 Pro with 64GB RAM is a good choice. However, if you have a reasonable budget, buying the Macbook Pro will work best for running heavy programs. 

It can run AutoCAD and other 3D modeling software such as Fusion 360, 3DS Max, and Maya. One of the best things about using a MacBook is running iOS. 

Connecting your AutoCAD mobile app with the laptop will also help boost your work productivity. Moreover, you don’t have to worry about the battery anymore. 

Apple MacBook Pro has the most extended mac battery as it offers about 17 hours of battery. If you run heavy programs, the battery will get used up quickly, but you wouldn’t have to charge it while you’re working. 

The MacBook Pro has one of the best displays with super high resolution. In addition, it has 8TB storage. Overall, with good storage, a high-resolution screen, and a great processor, the MacBook Pro is an excellent buy for architecture students. 

Hardware Specifications

  • CPU: Apple M1 Pro
  • Graphics: Radeon Pro 5500M or 5600M
  • RAM: 16GB (can be upgraded to 32GB)
  • Screen: 14 or 16 inches
  • Storage: 8TB 
  • Battery Life: 17 hours
  • Weight 3.5 lbs

Pros

  • Better hardware
  • Apple Magic Keyboard
  • Better audio capabilities

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • Poor upgradability
  • Limited ports

Apple MacBook Air (M1 2020)

For running complex CAD projects, you will need a demanding laptop. MacBook Air is one of the best laptops for professional work if it suits your budget. The Macbook Air is suitable for your needs as it is one of the best Apple laptops in 2022. 

With a record-setting performance due to the M1 chip, the Macbook Air is going to work for your architectural needs. 

This laptop has a great battery that lasts up to 14 hours even if running heavy programs. One minor drawback of the Macbook Air is its 16 GB RAM. 

It also has the Mac Magic Keyboard, reliable and comfortable for fluid, fast typing. With bouncier keys and an improved layout, you’re sure to get most of your professional work done on time. 

The MacBook Air also has a sharp screen with a 2560 x 1600 pixels resolution. The display is also brilliant, with a proper tone that adjusts the temperature of colors on display according to ambient lighting. 

If you like to use the Mac Operating System, the Macbook Air is suitable. With a high-resolution screen, good storage, ability to run iOS apps, 3D modeling software, CAD, and other heavy-duty programs, this mac is an excellent buy for an architecture student.

Hardware Specifications

  • CPU: Apple M1 3.2 GHz
  • Graphics: M1 chip
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • Screen: 13 inches
  • Storage: 256GB-2TB 
  • Battery Life: 14 hours
  • Weight: 2.7 lbs

Pros

  • Good battery capacity
  • Portable
  • Excellent retina display
  • Sufficient internal storage

Cons

  • High price
  • Outdated CPU
  • No USB Type C
  • Limited hardware upgrade

LG Gram

Most laptops have a medium-sized screen. But if you’re an architecture student looking for a laptop with a more prominent display, LG Gram is just what you need. 

LG Gram’s 17-inch display lets you focus on all the small details in your modeling projects. The WQXGA IPS display does not only have a considerable size, but it is also excellent. It displays vivid and rich colors with a resolution of 2560 x 1600. 

This is why the image is very detailed when you work on your 3D models, all thanks to the LG Gram’s top-notch screen. In addition, you can run any modeling software such as Fusion 360, 3DS Max, and Maya.

The LG Gram is also very lightweight, which makes it highly portable. Thus, it is suitable for architecture work if you carry it around for on-the-go computing. 

This laptop is lightweight, but it packs the most powerful components, such as the 11th generation Intel Core processor with 8-16 GB RAM. 

Moreover, it has integrated Iris Xe graphics, so your workstation is responsive and smooth. The full HD IPS touchscreen also offers the best display for landscape architecture. In addition to this, the LG Gram has a long-lasting battery, so you can run your AutoCAD programs without worrying about the performance. 

LG Gram also features a fingerprint ID, so you don’t have to type in your password every time you get to work. Besides that, the fingerprint ID works like two-factor authentication for greater security.

Overall, it is a powerful laptop that works well even if you run heavy-duty programs on it. It also has a great display and storage.

This laptop is lightweight, so it is undoubtedly the best laptop for architecture students concerned about portability and visuals.

Hardware Specifications

  • CPU: Intel Core i7 processor
  • Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620
  • RAM: 16 GB RAM
  • Screen: 15.6-inch FHD IPS Touchscreen display
  • Storage: 256 GB SSD 
  • Battery Life: 18 hours
  • Weight: 2.5 lbs

Pros

  • Ultra-lightweight
  • Fast performance
  • Excellent battery capacity
  • High-quality display

Cons

  • Trackpad has palm rejection problems
  • No HDR
  • No WCG
  • Spongy keyboard

HP Omen 15

The HP Omen is powered by the i5, a powerful laptop for gaming and professional work. In addition, this workstation can easily handle all your complex designing programs because of the compelling features packed into it.

HP Omen has NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650, so you won’t have much to worry about when it comes to the graphics. Moreover, a few configurations are available to optimize the graphics, processing power, and display. 

The HP Omen comes with an IPS display, making the colors vibrant and accurate for all your 3D modeling projects. The 128 GB SSD also ensures that you have fast boot time, while the 1TB HDD allows you maximum storage for your raw files. 

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 graphic card options will let you run demanding projects. Moreover, the 165 Hz display gives you excellent optimization with a greater refresh rate per second. The laptop also has several ports. It has a built-in SD card reader as well. 

Besides this, HP Omen features a backlit keyboard, so you can even work in low-light environments. Overall, it is the best laptop for architecture students who wish to do insanely intense projects. 

Hardware Specifications

  • CPU: Intel Core i5
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
  • RAM: 8 GB RAM
  • Screen: 15.6-inch FHD NanoEdge bezel display
  • Storage: 128 GB SSD & 1TB HDD
  • Battery Life: 4 hours
  • Weight: 5.4 lbs

Pros

  • Amazing graphics
  • Capable performance
  • Good cooling system
  • Versatile port choice

Cons

  • Average battery capacity
  • Moderate speaker output

Dell Inspiron 15

If you want to buy an affordable laptop with minimum specs that will let you do your work by running a couple of complex programs, Dell’s Inspiron 15 is an excellent buy for you. In addition, for the longest time, Dell has made efficient and very sturdy laptops. 

Dell Inspiron 15 possesses powerful features because it has the 10th generation intel core i5 processor with 8GB ram. It also comes under budget laptops, so you don’t have to worry about a price tag. 

With this processor, Inspiron 15 can run most of the architecture software. In addition, it has a 15.6-inch HD display that is excellent for architecture students and their modeling projects.

If you don’t want intensive VR, you can spend a little over $700 to get this laptop to meet your basic architectural needs because it has NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti GPU. 

This budget pick with 256 GB storage and 8GB RAM in a sturdy laptop is a good purchase. However, if you want a laptop for running more complex programs, you should have at least 16 GB of RAM. But, for starters, Dell Inspiron 15 is an excellent workstation for a reasonable price. 

Hardware Specifications

  • CPU: Intel Core i5
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti
  • RAM: 8 GB RAM
  • Screen: 15.6-inch FHD IPS display
  • Storage: 256TB SSD
  • Battery Life: 6 hours
  • Weight: 6.6 lbs

Pros

  • Good price-performance ratio
  • Excellent typing and navigating experience
  • Good configuration
  • Solid build quality
  •  Big widescreen

Cons

  • Slow hard drive
  • Offset keyboard 
  • Plastic chassis

HP ZBook G5 

You need a laptop with at least 16 GB RAM to run heavy programs if you’re studying architecture. On the other hand, many developers suggest buying a PC with 8GB of internal RAM to run modeling software.

With HP ZBook G5, you get a spacious drive and compelling features that help your professional work. 

This small model manages to pack powerful components but remains lightweight. Thus, the HP ZBook G5 is the perfect choice for a laptop if you want portability. Besides that, if you want an even smaller and more portable laptop, you can get the same model in 14 inches. 

This stylish-looking laptop has remarkable performance because it’s not only good-looking but also works efficiently as you can equip it with an intel core i9 or Xeon CPU.

You can also equip your laptop with the UHD Dream Color Display for more clarity. But the integrated display also has good resolution.

It has a 15.6 inches FHD IPS touchscreen display. So you can even use it in sunlight without putting a strain on your eyes. With this laptop, working outdoors isn’t going to be an issue.

Moreover, the keyboard has a nice feel for comfortable typing. Finally, HP ZBook G5 has an internal storage of about 256 GB. Overall the HP ZBook G5 is a good laptop for architecture students because of some solid features.

Hardware Specifications

  • CPU: Intel Core i7 processor
  • Graphics: NVIDIA Quadro P600
  • RAM: 16GB RAM
  • Screen: 15.6-inch FHD IPS Touchscreen display
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Battery Life: 18 hours
  • Weight: 3.94 lbs

Pros

  • 4K screen
  • Xeon processor
  • Good ports and connectors
  • Build quality is amazing

Cons

  • Slightly heavier
  • High price
  • Bad positioning of the fan and exhaust holes
  • Electronic noise

 Acer Predator Helios 300

The Acer Predator Helios 300 is a gaming laptop, so it is suitable for running intense programs. However, if you’re looking for the best laptop for architecture students, you’ll need a powerful GPU.

Acer Predator has a 3060 RTX GPU, which is excellent for most architecture software. 

The RTX 3060 can handle all your demanding projects because this dedicated GPU is one of the most powerful processors. Moreover, this GPU can even handle massive projects with ease. 

Besides the GPU, Acer Predator has a 144Hz display refresh rate and 1920 x 1080 pixels, full HD screen. 

This laptop is available in many configurations. The only drawback of this laptop is the single 256 GB SSD. But it has an empty M2 SSD slot. So you can increase the storage capacity of your gadget.

This laptop also has RGB lighting so that you can work in low-light environments. Overall, it is a compact laptop that packs powerful features affordable. 

Hardware Specifications

  • CPU: Intel Core i7
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060
  • RAM: 32GB DDR4
  • Screen: 15.6 inches, full HD, 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Storage:1000GB SSD + 1000GB HDD
  • Battery Life: 18 hours
  • Weight: 5.1 lbs

Pros

  • 512 GB SSD
  • High performance
  • Good battery for a 17-inch laptop
  • Comfortable keyboard
  • Great price for the GPU

Cons

  • Poor sound system
  • Only one free 2.5-inch slot is available
  • Poor cooling system
  • No USB-C

Lenovo Thinkpad P1 

The Lenovo Thinkpad P1 is an all-time favorite workstation for architects. If your budget isn’t a problem, the Lenovo ThinkPad p1 is the best laptop available for running complex software and programs because it has the best specs. 

Besides long battery life, the Lenovo Thinkpad P1 has a great display. It is equipped with a 15.6-inch HD display that efficiently renders any images. 

Moreover, the slim body of this sleek device is packed with the Intel Core i7 processor with 16 GB RAM, which means that you can efficiently run heavy programs. 

This laptop also has a 256 GB SSD for storage space. If you’re concerned about rendering, the NVIDIA Quadro T1000 GPU has you covered. It ensures that you run your tasks smoothly.

One drawback is that the battery will run out quickly, so you might have to carry the power cord if you’re on the go.

You can buy the Lenovo Thinkpad P1 to render complex videos and run intense software if you have a reasonable budget. Thus, it is one of the best laptops for architecture students. 

Hardware Specifications

  • CPU: Intel Core i7
  • Graphics Card: NVIDIA Quadro T1000
  • RAM: 16 GB
  • Screen:15.6-inch FHD display
  • Storage: 256GB SSD
  • Battery Life: 5 hours
  • Weight: 5.99 lbs

Pros

  • Powerful internal components
  • Lightweight
  • Excellent display

Cons

  • Standard design
  • Expensive

Required Specs in a Laptop for Architecture Students 

Drafting with CAD software is one of the vital skills required for architecture. Whether you’re studying building design or landscape, you’re going to need specific features in your laptop to run your programs. 

While powerful hardware is an essential requirement, there are several other specs that you need to consider before investing in a laptop. Read below to learn about the recommended features of a laptop for architecture students. 

What Are Some System Requirements You Need as an Architecture Student in 2022?

Standard laptops do not fit the needs of architecture students because they have to run some complex programs and work with 3D modeling software. This software requires a heavy-duty pc or powerful specs in a laptop, such as a good GPU. 

Besides the gaming laptops, very few laptops have specs suitable for architecture students. This is why we have discussed the hardware requirements that you should look for before purchasing a laptop.

The best laptops for architecture students combine an excellent processor with a powerful GPU. Moreover, storage space is a concern for storing large project files. 

While you can always use an external hard drive, you would want to invest in a laptop that comes with good storage. For example, look for laptops with a large SSD drive. 

For efficiency, make sure that the laptops for architecture students do not have a lower ram than 8GB; besides these, here are some other aspects that you should consider.

Powerful Graphics Card

Laptops for architects need to have a sound graphics card because they have to run 3D modeling software and work on them. In addition, for better and more demanding visuals, a powerful GPU is required. Thus, an AMD or graphics card Nvidia GeForce with at least 2GB of integrated RAM is suitable.  

Cooling Fans

Such a graphics card will be able to handle the demanding work of architecture. But have you observed that gaming laptops tend to heat up more quickly than standard laptops? 

When your laptop processes heavy tasks, it starts to heat up. This is why the best laptop for architecture will have fans to maintain the working temperature raised by the graphics card. 

Display Quality

Some architects like to use on-the-go workstations with a touchscreen display to boost productivity. However, the primary feature of the best laptop for architects should be screen resolution. 

The screen resolution and quality are vital for architect students as they need demanding visuals. Therefore, high-resolution displays like 2k or 4k displays are ideal for architects. 

You should also opt for IPS and OLED display types because LCDs do not offer the same quality. 

Screen Size & Resolution

Besides system requirements, the screen’s size and resolution are essential for architects. Therefore, the best laptop for architects should usually have a large screen to model efficiently. 

Architects will have better visibility. Combining a good size with the resolution is even better for projects that require attention to detail. This is why you should pick a laptop with at least 15 inches screen size. 

Some of the best laptops for architects have a screen size of 17 inches. However, if you require portability, some good laptops come with a 14 inches screen. This display size is sufficient for everyday work. 

Connectivity

Connectivity is one of the major concerns for architects because they need to connect many peripherals to their laptops. For example, architects require many ports, from a drawing tablet to a 3D printer to a precise mouse. 

This is why the best laptops for architects should have plenty of USB ports because they matter more than the size and build of the laptop. 

Therefore you should look for a laptop with an SSD card reader, HDMI port, USB port, DVD drive, RW drive, and additional ports for peripherals. 

Battery Life

The best laptops for architects come with excellent battery life. Architecture software is quick to drain batteries, and sometimes rendering takes hours. You wouldn’t want your laptop to shut down after every six hours.

This is why you should only invest in a laptop with a high-end battery. Moreover, architects have to be on the go. So if you want a portable gadget, make sure that the battery doesn’t die quickly.

You’re not always going to be near a power outlet. In that case, your laptop might turn off in the middle of your meetings, presentations, or work.

Unfortunately, you can’t always carry a power cord either. This is why you need to buy a laptop with a good battery.

Storage

A laptop for architects needs good storage because if the laptop lacks memory, you can’t store your files and projects on your gadget. Also, you cannot always connect an external hard drive. 

This is why storage is a significant concern when looking for a laptop for architects. Unfortunately, various laptops have different storage ranging from 512GB SSD to 1TB SSD. 

SSD is a must for operating systems with high performance and running smoothly. You can also buy a laptop with two separate SSD drives. 

If you buy a laptop for architecture with one SSD, make sure that it has a slot for you to add another SSD because you will require it. 

External Hard Drive

You can also get an external hard drive to back up your projects to increase your storage capacity. You can backup your Revit files and Rhino files to the hard drive as well. 

If your laptop stops working or you misplace it, you won’t have to worry about your projects as they’ll be secure in a hard drive. 

Moreover, architecture departments are likely to ask you to buy a hard drive with 1TB capacity to back up your projects so your projects don’t go to waste. 

Final Words 

With these ten recommendations for the best laptop for architecture, we are sure you’ll find something that will meet your requirements.

All you have to do is look into some essential features such as the screen size, resolution, GPU, solid-state drive, resolution, and connectivity before you purchase a laptop for architecture. 

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Steve
Steve currently serves as a chief editor at Techdentro, covering all things Tech, from laptops and desktops to keyboards and mice. He's also passionate about solving android mobile issues.