10 Best Laptop for Architects and Designers

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Both architects and architectural students need to make quick, frequent trips between the site of construction, the designing studio, your school,  and of course, back home.

Having a laptop is absolutely crucial to ensuring your workflow does not get disturbed in any way. However, just any run-of-the-mill laptop won’t be up to the task, creatives need extraordinary power in the pursuit of incredible design!

Modern day architecture involves the use of plenty of heavy-duty software and tools like Rhino, 3ds Max, ArchiCAD, Revit or Vectorworks.

These are very resource intensive pieces of software and require a powerful laptop with the right configuration. Thus, companies are now coming up with mobile ‘workstations’ which in theory are basically super-powerful laptops which can handle whatever you throw at them.

After all, there’s no point in sitting around waiting 30 minutes for a project to get rendered, because a more advanced laptop can wrap it up in 5 minutes.

In this article we will present world’s most powerful laptops or mobile workstations for architects, designers, creatives everywhere. These are the laptops that push the boundaries of what is possible in a small form factor with each iterations.

You will find the most beautiful, thin along the world most powerful laptop for architects in this list as well as a few of the most affordable laptop for architects; after our list, a buyer’s guide sums up why we as creatives need all these resources.

Without further ado, let’s get started!

Best Laptop for Architects

  1. Dell Precision 7730 – World’s Most Powerful Mobile Workstation for Architects  

The Dell Precision Series has been touted as the world’s most powerful 17-inch workstation. This product is an absolute powerhouse and can execute the most intense of applications with complete ease. If money’sno factor for you and you just want raw power, then this is the laptop for you.

Test Configuration

  • Processor: Intel Core i9-8950HK
  • Clock Speed: 6 Core 2.90GHz to 4.80GHz Turbo
  • RAM: 64GB DDR4 Memory,4X16GB
  • Graphics Card: Nvidia Quadro P4200 w/8GB GDDR5 Workstation
  • Display: 17.3″ UltraSharp UHD IGZO 3840×2160 AG
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
Dell Precision 7730 17in Mobile Workstation with Intel i9-8950HK 32GB...
  • This Certified Refurbished product is tested and...
  • Intel Core i9-8950HK, Six Core 2.90GHz, 4.80GHz...

Design

The first thing you’ll notice about this laptop is how heavy it is. Coming in at 7. 5 pounds, it is pretty heavy, and you would definitely need a backpack to carry this around.

It is slimmer than it’s predecessors though at only 1.2 inches. The construction looks sleek and sophisticated  -with a carbon-fiber lid, a shiny metal clip around the deck, and the metal frame. Not only is it huge, but the black-and-silver design is also very pleasing to the eyes.

It has dual vents for expedited cooling and,  and an LED battery indicator on the front. The lid does collect a lot of fingerprints though.

Auxiliary Ports

The left side of the laptop has a smart card reader, an SD card slot and two Thunderbolt 3 ports. The right side has two USB 3.1 Type-A ports and a headphone/mic combo jack.

The back of the laptop is equipped with an HDMI, an Ethernet port, a mini DisplayPort, the power jack and another USB 3.1 Type-A port.

Display

The display is absolutely outstanding in this one. The resolution is 4K, and it is incredibly precise, which totally makes you feel like you’re in a movie theater.

The matter display is immensely sharp and does a great job of bringing out every color and small detail. Rest assured, you’ll have no problems as far as the display is concerned.

The keyboard is chiclet-style and is comfortable enough, even under super long typing sessions. The keys are backlit and are decently spaced to ensure that there aren’t a lot of errors while typing.

However, the problem is that the keyboard is kinda small for a laptop of this size. But it makes up for that by including several gesture features like pinch-to-zoom in, and three-finger swiping to change between programmes.

Performance

The Intel Core i9-8950HK CPU with its six cores is an absolute powerhouse, and it will run extremely demanding programs like video encoding and 3D rendering.

Whether it be games, video encoding, CAD software or merely transferring files, this laptop passes with flying colors every time.

The Nvidia Quadro P5200 GPU comes highly recommended by everyone in the business.  The 8GB of GDDR5 memory is powerful enough to run the most graphics-intensive programs or the latest games at high settings.

Audio

The Precision 7730 has some super loud speakers at the bottom, which can make itself heard even at the corners of a very large room. However, when it comes to quality, they don’t seem to be as good.

Vocals were great, but there was definitely something lacking with the quality of the sound when it came to instruments and low drum beats and guitars.

Battery Life

The battery, unfortunately, doesn’t last that long. While continuously using the laptop at a moderate brightness, the battery turned off at about 4 hours.

While that is decent enough, other models at this price range do a lot better.

Heat emitted is another area where Precision can potentially do a lot better. Even with simple HD videos, the laptop heats up within 15 minutes. Putting your hand on the air vents might be a dangerous proposition.We definitely recommend using an external fan with this laptop.

Dell Precision 7730 17in Mobile Workstation with Intel i9-8950HK 32GB...
  • This Certified Refurbished product is tested and...
  • Intel Core i9-8950HK, Six Core 2.90GHz, 4.80GHz...
Pros
  • Super fast processor
  • 64GB of RAM
  • Really Vibrant 4K Display
  • Nvidia Quadro Graphics Card
  • Plenty of Ports
Cons
  • Battery life isn’t that great
  • Heats up easily

Verdict

The Dell Precision 7730 is an excellent laptop for architects and is arguably, the most powerful workstation in the market today. But it’s not just the world-class CPU and graphics processor – the keyboard is very comfortable, and the chassis has an exceptionally sleek design.

I wholeheartedly recommend the Dell Precision 7730, if you can manage to swallow the insanely high price tag though.

  1. Lenovo ThinkPad P72 Mobile Workstation – Best Laptop For Rendering

Test Configuration

  • Processor: 8th Gen Intel Xeon E-2186M vPro
  • Clock Speed: 6 Core 2.90GHz to 4.40GHz
  • RAM: 16GB DDR3 SDRAM
  • Graphics Card: NVIDIA Quadro P5200 Max-Q 16GB GDDR5 VRAM
  • Display: 17.3 inches 3840×2160 (4K UHD) IPS, matte, non-touch
  • Storage: 512GB SSD

Design

This model bears the traditional design of a ThinkPad, which means it has a black soft-touch finish, a fiber lid and a lower chassis made of magnesium.

It weighs a hefty 72 pounds, but the weight is pretty evenly distributed. It does not begin sliding out of your hands when you hold it. It’s also pretty sturdy an can hold up to a fair amount of abuse.

Both the sides and the back of the laptop have a number of ports. There are two Thunderbolt 3 ports along the back edge which can be used with a Thunderbolt 3 docking station for extra connectivity. There are also a few large exhaust vents which ensure the laptop stays nice and cool.

The full-length keyboard has a lot of space around it, and there is a speaker grill between the keyboard and the display. These are dual 2W speakers with Dolby Premium Audio. The audio can be cranked up pretty loud, and there’s no distortion even at the highest levels.

Thinkpad keyboards have made a name for themselves over the years and for good reasons. This keyboard totally lives up to that reputation and is super comfortable and accurate.

The keyboard is spaced out with a numpad as well. The keys aren’t that shallow, so if you like shallow keys, maybe this one isn’t for you. In between the B, G and H keys, you have Lenovo’s iconic trackpoint, which is a lot of fun to use.

The trackpad, however, isn’t clickable much to my dislike. There are two sets of buttons though, above and below the trackpad. Both these sets of buttons seem to do the same thing – I guess the top one is for the TrackPoint and one below for the trackpad.

You might feel that you need to turn your body a little to the left to type or use the trackpad as everything is a bit left-aligned. This isn’t really a problem and shouldn’t cause an issue.

Display

The Lenovo ThinkPad P72 is equipped with a 17.3-inch 4K display. It can, of course, run 1080 just as well, and if you want to save some battery, that might be a good option.

The vivid color screen completely supports 100% Adobe RGB color gamut and has a color depth of 10-bit. The matte display is antiglare, and you won’t have any viewing issues, no matter how you look at the screen.

Unfortunately, it does not support Dolby Vision. But be that as it may, it’s still incredibly accurate – it might not be HDR or OLED, but it still will get the job done. The vivid color and crisp details will ensure all the details in your maps and model will pop out.

Performance

This is the real reason you’re buying this laptop. It’s an absolute beast as far as performance is considered. You can bump up the performance even more by upgrading the RAM to 128GB (it initially comes packaged with just 16GB).

The six core CPU makes light work of 3D rendering software like Adobe Premiere Pro. You can easily let one video compile in the background while working on editing another one. It’s a functionality only a select few laptops can provide.

Then, of course, there’s the NVIDIA Quadro P5200 with 16 GB DDR5 RAM. This is one of the most advanced graphics cards money can buy and can easily match up to the most demanding of software and games. Top that off with the 16 GB of visual memory, and you have a graphics card that will definitely stand the test of time.

Battery Life

Well, to be perfectly frank, this laptop was not designed with power-efficiency in mind and is a definite battery hog. The Intel Xeon E-2186M CPU is a 45W hexacore chip which definitely doesn’t do battery life any favors and nor does the Nvidia Quadro graphics card. The 4K screen also sucks up a lot more power than a usual 1080p display.

The battery in itself is relatively decent because it is a heavy-duty 99Wh battery. However, you’re still only looking at a maximum of two hours of battery life.

Pros
  • Super Fast Processor
  • Nivdia Quadro Graphics Card
  • Comfortable trackpad
  • 4K anti glare, vivid screen
  • Dolby Audio
Cons
  • Big and heavy
  • Battery drains out fast

Verdict

If you’ve got the money to spare and don’t want to make any compromises on performance, a Lenovo Thinkpad definitely makes sense. It’s durable, super powerful and looks neat too. It’s also an absolute delight to work on.

  1. HP ZBook Studio 15 G5 Mobile Workstation – Best Laptop for Student Architects

Test Configuration

  • Processor: Intel Core i7-8850H
  • Clock Speed: 6 Core 2.6 GHz
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4 RAM
  • Graphics Card: Intel UHD Graphics 630 or the Nvidia Quadro P1000
  • Display: 15.6 inches
  • Storage: 512GB SSD

Design

This one from HP is our choice of most student-friendly architectural laptop. The reason for this is that it is very powerful, but it uses slightly obsolete models of all the processors so as to keep the price tag affordable.

It looks pretty neat in silver and grey, and the 15.6-inch screen helps it stay fairly lightweight, unlike the ones which we previously listed which were much heavier. This one is undoubtedly a lot easier to carry around.

As far as external connections go, this one has a card Reader, Thunderbolt 3 connection, USB 3.0 ports, and an HDMI 2.0 port.

Performance

Performance wise, the Intel Core i7-8750H is extremely powerful with 6 CPU cores making it a hexacore chip. Those cores have a clock-speed-range of 2.2 to 4.1 GHz.

When it comes to RAM, it can be upgraded to a maximum of 64GB. It also has two M.2 2280 slots for SSDs as well, so it is definitely very customizable.  The HP laptop can be outfitted with 256 GB, 512 GB, 1 TB or up to 2 TB in SSD.

The best part is that the CPU doesn’t even heat up excessively when you keep on working on it. The clock speed can crank up to 3.9 GHz, but then it again goes down to about 1.9 once the spike is over.

HP makes no compromises when it comes to the graphics and has equipped their laptop with a powerful CAD -optimized Nvidia Quadro P1000. It is a bit slower than the fastest Quadro cards on the market, but it is still very efficient in running CAD software. The GPU performance does not get reduced when you run the laptop on battery.

You can also play almost all of the most modern games should you be so inclined, but you can’t play it with maxed out graphics or in 4K.

Display

The laptop offers a very bright 4K display with exceptionally vivid contrast. Contrast wise, this is one of the best laptop displays available in the market today. The colors cover 96% of the sRGB color scheme and bring out every small and minute detail in myriad detail.

This laptop also offers Bang And Olufsen speakers in between the keyboard and the display hinges. The sound is surprisingly good, better than the Lenovo we reviewed above and at par with the Dell Precision.

Battery Life

The 97Wh battery is a good fit for this laptop as the specifications aren’t all that intense. This laptop certainly has much more battery life than both the Lenovo and Dell laptops we reviewed above, regardless of the type of application we’re running on it.

It can last up to 10 hours if it’s idle with just the wi-fi on, but mostly you can expect it to pull off a good 5 or 6 hours, with moderate intensity usage.

Pros
  • Very Upgradeable
  • Hexacore CPU
  • CAD-optimized Nvidia Quadro Graphics Card
  • Bang And Olufsen speakers
  • 4K display
  • Less heat emission
Cons
  • The screen might be small for some
  • Slightly outdated graphics card

Verdict

There’s not much to dislike about this laptop. The keyboard is comfortable, and touchpad feels pretty smooth too. The CPU performance is on the higher end of mediocre, but you can upgrade it to make it more powerful.

In my book, this one is an absolute win and is probably the best laptop/workstation for a budding architect.

  1. MSI WE63 8SJ-235 15.6″ – Most Balanced Laptop for Architects

Test Configuration

  • Processor: Intel Core i7-8750H
  • Clock Speed: 6 Core 2.2 – 4.1GHz
  • RAM: 32GB (16G*2) DDR4
  • Graphics Card: NVIDIA Quadro P2000 4GB DDR5
  • Display: 15.6 inches
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
MSI WE63 8SJ-235 15.6" Premium Mobile Workstation i7-8750H (6 Cores)...
  • Display: 15.6" FHD (1920*1080), wide view 94%NTSC...
  • Processor: New Intel 8th Gen Core i7-8750H Hexa...

Design

This one holds the honor of being the most balanced laptop for architects. It is powerful yet manages to stay relatively lightweight. It is a super fast workstation but is still fairly inexpensive.

Made with a black gunmetal finish, it looks and feels like a gaming laptop. It is pretty light at only 1.89kg and super thin. The best bit is that felt has been used on the bottom of this laptop. This makes it super comfy when kept on your lap and also ensures a good grip so that it doesn’t slip off.

It has plenty of ports – USB 3.0, USB 2.0, USB Type-C 3.1 port, and SD card readers, HDMI and a miniDisplay port. That should take care of all your connectivity issues.

Display

The 15.6-inch screen is equipped with a 1920*1080 display. It is an anti-glare screen with a very wide view, which makes for added convenience. Color quality is pretty stellar at 94%NTSC, which means all the little details on your architectural maps will be clearly visible.

Performance

This mobile workstation has a lot going for it that it is highly upgradeable. You can upgrade the ram to a total of 32 GB, and the storage SSD goes up to 1TB. The hexacore processor can speed up to a maximum of 4.1 GHz when required, but then it cools back down.

The NVIDIA Quadro P2000 graphics card is one of the most powerful graphics cards available on the market today, and this laptop also happens to be ISV-certified. This means that it’s been designed to run a whole range of applications like AutoDesk, Siemens, and Adobe. This laptop is also VR-equipped, which means it can design and execute VR applications.

Battery Life

For all the power it packs, it’s no surprise that battery life is a little lackluster. You get about 3.5 hours of battery life at the max but if you’re using the NVIDIA Quadro card, don’t expect the battery to last more than an hour.

It’s also highly recommended to keep the laptop plugged in while using graphics intensive software as there could be significant framerate issues. So you can do a few small edits, but anything more than that is a no-go.

MSI WE63 8SJ-235 15.6" Premium Mobile Workstation i7-8750H (6 Cores)...
  • Display: 15.6" FHD (1920*1080), wide view 94%NTSC...
  • Processor: New Intel 8th Gen Core i7-8750H Hexa...
Pros
  • NVIDIA graphics card
  • Upgradeable configurations
  • Felt bottom
  • ISV certification
  • Plenty Of USB ports 
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • Low Battery Life
  • Display isn’t 4K

Verdict

If you don’t mind keeping your laptop plugged, you shouldn’t have much of a problem with this laptop. That being said, if you want to use other applications, the battery is more than capable, and the laptop is also light enough to be lugged anywhere.

  1. Dell XPS 9570 – Laptop Best Mid-Range Laptop For Architects

Test Configuration

  • Processor: Intel Core i7-8750H
  • Clock Speed: 6 Core 2.2 – 4.1GHz
  • RAM: 32GB (16G*2) DDR4
  • Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050Ti with 4GB GDDR5
  • Display: 15.6 inches
  • Storage: 1TB SSD
2018 Dell XPS 9570 Laptop, 15.6" UHD (3840 x 2160) InfinityEdge Touch...
  • 8th Generation Intel Core i7-8750H Processor (9M...
  • 15.6'' 4K Ultra HD (3840 x 2160) InfinityEdge...

Design

The laptop is made out of a single aluminum unibody shell along with a keyboard deck made out of carbon fiber. All of this is connected by a single, sturdy hinge. It is super thin and weighs only 4 pounds.

The keyboard has no space for a number pad, but the keys themselves are chiclet style, backlit and well spaced out. The tracking pad has a matte overlay and makes for a good combination with the touchscreen.

It does not have an optical drive, and the included ports are two USB 3.1with PowerShare, an HDMI 2.0, one Thunderbolt 3 (four lanes of PCI Express Gen 3), a Headset jack, and an SD Card Slot.

The fingerprint sensor on this laptop is pretty great, especially for the way it’s situated on the power button. The sensor can easily be set up, and it works without any problems.

Display

The UHD 4K resolution simply makes all the colors and textures feel like they’re popping out of the screen. The colors have excellent contrast and vividity and meets100% of the Adobe RGB color gamut.  

This is probably the best display on a touchscreen that you have ever seen with its infinity edge and anti-glare features. The XPS 15 is also, totally up to the task of editing 4K media content – it can handle that work wherever and whenever.

Performance

Whether it’s HD video rendering, gaming, or anything else, the 8th-generation H-series processor is designed to provide a complete experience. It does not match up to an i9 processors, but the 32GB RAM does a good job of matching up to most applications.

Mind you, it has an NVIDIA Geforce graphics, not a QUADRO. It’s a powerful GPU but don’t expect to play the latest games in 4K. It can easily pull off 1080p though, at very high settings.

Battery Life

The 97WHr battery is decent enough and will give you about 4 hours of general use, but it definitely is a step up from its previous models. If you’re looking for superior battery life, you’re much better off with a MacBook Pro.

2018 Dell XPS 9570 Laptop, 15.6" UHD (3840 x 2160) InfinityEdge Touch...
  • 8th Generation Intel Core i7-8750H Processor (9M...
  • 15.6'' 4K Ultra HD (3840 x 2160) InfinityEdge...
Pros
  • 4K touchscreen display
  • Powerful processor
  • Fingerprint Sensor on the power button
  • Lightweight
  • Decent battery life 
Cons
  • Bad webcam placement
  • No Quadro Graphics card

Verdict

This is another laptop which has a lot going for it, but because the Quadro graphics card is missing, it isn’t the most powerful model on the market. An architecture student should have no problems whatsoever though, as it can tackle all applications but it might take a little more time.

  1. Microsoft Surface Book 2 – Most Versatile Laptop For Architects

Test Configuration

  • Processor: Intel Core i7
  • Clock Speed: Quad Core 1.9 GHz
  • RAM:16GB
  • Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060
  • Display: 15 inches
  • Storage: 512 GB SSD
Sale
Microsoft Surface Book 2 (Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, 512GB) - 15"
  • Microsoft Surface Book 2 Features a 8th generation...
  • Enhanced Graphics performance with NVIDIA GeForce...

Design

The Microsoft Surface Book is made of all aluminum, looks super sleek and is much bigger than the previous surface book. It is definitely going to turn a few heads. The reason for the Surface book’s popularity is its dual mode usage.

If you don’t want to use the keyboard and you want to use the Surface Book as a studio, you can twist the display all the way back behind the keyboard. This lets you use the full processing power of the laptop into a touchscreen.

If you need to walk around with it and you don’t want to lug something so heavy, the display can be detached from the keyboard. This turns the display into a 15-inch tablet.

The only problem is a fulcrum hinge which makes it a little hard to pack the laptop into a bag. The keyboard itself is backlit and punchy, and the audio speakers are attached to the tablet instead of the keyboard base.

Display

This is where the Microsoft Surface Book is heads and shoulders above the rest of the competition. Pixel-by-pixel nothing comes close to this laptop in the 1080p category. Short of 4K, this is the best display money can buy.

Whether you’re working on something, watching a movie or playing a game, you’ll never miss out on anything because of the excellent contrast. However the 3:2 aspect ratio might be troublesome for a few people.

You can use the Microsoft Surface pen for shading and drawing. The pressure sensor on the screen has pinpoint accuracy, and any stray lines or mistakes will be automatically erased by the software. There is almost no lag at all while moving the pen across the screen.

Performance

This is quite simply, the most powerful 2 in 1 laptop out there, one which would give even a lot of gaming laptops a run for their money. The Nvidia GTX 1060 graphics is totally equipped to handle all CAD-related software and most games at1080p. There’s absolutely no drop in frame rates.

The 16 GB RAM might seem a little on the lower side, and if you have multiple heavy duty applications running, it might cause some lag. But no matter how hard you push this laptop, the best part is that it is totally quiet because the GPU and CPU are kept far apart.

Battery life

If battery life is all you’re looking for, this laptop should definitely be your first choice. The battery can run to 7 hours on moderate usage, which is simply unheard of in most laptops, let alone 2 in 1 types.

It is more than double what the last Microsoft Surface Book could handle, and this could be attributed to the significant increase in the size of this model.

Sale
Microsoft Surface Book 2 (Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, 512GB) - 15"
  • Microsoft Surface Book 2 Features a 8th generation...
  • Enhanced Graphics performance with NVIDIA GeForce...
Pros
  • Superb battery backup
  • Visual Clarity
  • Highly Versatile Modes Of Working
  • No lag while using the surface pen
  • Looks very modern
Cons
  • Screen is a little small
  • Display is not 4K

Verdict

If you are a fan of laptops which are also tablets, this is by far the best model in the market. This laptop might not have the most heavy duty specs, but it does great with what it has.

The display and battery backup is out of this world and in my opinion, this laptop is worth every penny.

  1. Dell G5587-7866BLK-PUS G5 15 5587 Gaming Laptop – Best Architecture Laptop Under $1000

Test Configuration

  • Processor:  Intel Core i7-8750H Processor
  • Clock Speed: 6-Core, up to 3.9GHz
  • RAM:16GB
  • Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB memory
  • Display: 15.6″ LED Display
  • Storage: 128 GB (SSD) Boot + 1 TB 5400 RPM [SATA] HDD Storage
Sale
Dell G5587-7866BLK-PUS G5 15 5587 Gaming Laptop 15.6" LED Display, 8th...
  • 8th Generation Intel Core i7-8750H Processor...
  • 16GB 2666MHz DDR4 up to [32GB], (additional memory...

Design

The Dell G5 certainly looks like a million bucks with its licorice black and red color scheme. The lid of the laptop is a smooth magnesium black with a bold, red Dell logo in the middle. It is kind of prone to scratches, though.

The left side has a USB 3.1 Gen 2 port and an SD card reader. The right side has an HDMI 2.0, one Thunderbolt 3 port, one USB 3.1 Type-A, and the headphone/mic jack. The keyboard itself has all the letters in red font lit up by red backlighting. It totally feels like a gamers laptop with special borders on the W, A, S, D keys.

Display

The 15.6-inch IPS display supports 1920×1080 resolution and is anti-glare. The laptop covers only 58 percent of sRGB color gamut, which is why the contrast isn’t that great. The blacks in the display merge together with dark brown and are indiscernible.

Performance

The quad-core  i7 CPU and the 16 GB of ram made the laptop chug along pretty decently even with multiple applications. However, it does run a risk of lagging slightly on high-end CAD software and video rendering tools.

Fortunately, the RAM can be upgraded to 32 GB, which should make things a lot smoother. Also helping out the performance is the graphics card which always kept everything functioning pretty smoothly. It can maintain a decent frame rate of 50 fps in most games.

Battery Life

When browsing the web with Wi-fi, the battery lasts a good 6 hours, which is a pretty good deal for a mobile gaming rig. It doesn’t even heat up that much either – only the bottom of the laptop sometimes grew to be very hot.

Sale
Dell G5587-7866BLK-PUS G5 15 5587 Gaming Laptop 15.6" LED Display, 8th...
  • 8th Generation Intel Core i7-8750H Processor...
  • 16GB 2666MHz DDR4 up to [32GB], (additional memory...
Pros
  • Affordable
  • Good battery life
  • Epic design
  • Good mid-range graphics card 
Cons
  • Contrast is a bit poor
  • Lags with multiple applications open

Verdict

If you’re an architecture student in his 2nd year, this would definitely be a very good starter rig for you. Because it’s a gaming rig, it can handle most high-duty applications but don’t expect lightning-fast speeds.

  1. Acer Aspire E 15 – Best Laptop For Under $700

Test Configuration

  • Processor: Intel Core i7-8550U
  • Clock Speed: Quad-core 1.8 GHz
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce MX150 with 2 GB VRAM
  • Display: 15.6″ LED Display
  • Storage: 256 GB
Acer Aspire E 15 Laptop, 15.6" Full HD, 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8250U,...
  • 8th Generation Intel Core i5-8250U Processor (Up...
  • 15.6" Full HD (1920 x 1080) widescreen LED-lit IPS...

Design

To be perfectly honest, this is a budget laptop and is made out of chunky plastic, weighing in at 5 pounds. But the brushed exterior and the chrome lining on the touchpad does give it a premium appearance.

The right side of the laptop has a USB 2.0 port and surprisingly, an 8X DVD-RW double-layer drive. The left side has a USB-3.1 Type-C port, a VGA input, HDMI port, two USB 3.0 ports, and a Kensington lock. An SD card reader is also there at the laptop’s front-left edge.

Display

The display is sharp at 1080p, but it does not seem to be as vibrant and colorful. In fact, it covers only 62.3 percent of the sRGB color range. Fortunately, the brightness is excellent, and you’ll have no trouble discerning what’s on the screen.

Performance

Performance wise, it definitely provides a bang for your buck. It will run whatever you throw at it, and it will run it well, as long as you keep the graphics low and have some patience.

The CPU speed can go up to 4 GHz when required, and at this price range, it doesn’t get any better. However, the slow rotating hard disk drive and the mere 8 GB of RAM does make it hard to run high-intensity applications.

Battery Life

Most good budget laptops have excellent batteries, and this one is no different. The 2800 mA battery can last up to 8 hours on simple browsing, which is pretty high for a laptop this cheap.

Acer Aspire E 15 Laptop, 15.6" Full HD, 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8250U,...
  • 8th Generation Intel Core i5-8250U Processor (Up...
  • 15.6" Full HD (1920 x 1080) widescreen LED-lit IPS...
Pros
  • Affordable
  • 1080p display
  • Plenty of ports
  • Great battery
Cons
  • Not that colorful
  • RAM is a bit low

Verdict

This is an excellent laptop for the budget conscious customer, and although it might seem not as high-end as some of the other computers on this list, it delivers just as much and probably more, value for money.

  1. OMEN by HP- Best All-around Laptop Under $1000

Test Configuration

  • Processor: Intel Core i5-8300H
  • Clock Speed: Quad-core 1.8 GHz
  • RAM: 12GB
  • Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti 4GB
  • Display: 15.6″ LED Display
  • Storage: 1TB HDD
Sale
OMEN by HP 2018 15-inch Gaming Laptop, Intel i7-8750H Processor,...
  • Play the latest games, including Fortnite, PUBG,...
  • 8th Generation Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-8750H...

Design

The lid of this laptop looks super amazing – with the glossy Omen logo situated slightly above the crosshairs where the brushed aluminum and carbon fiber meet.

And it’s not just the lid, at the front two hinges hold up the Bezel display, which makes it look like it’s floating in the air. Add to that the black-and-white keys with red backlighting, and you have a very good looking laptop.

As far as ports are concerned, it has one USB 3.0 port, an SD card slot on the left. The right side holds the power jack and one USB 3.0 port. The back has an RJ45 Ethernet port, one USB 3.0, one HDMI 2.0 port, a Mini DisplayPort, a Thunderbolt 3 port and a security lock slot.

Display

The15.6-inch, full HD1080p panel has exceptionally vivid colors and super smooth animations via the 144-Hz refresh rate. The Omen 15’s covers a solid 111 percent of the sRGB color gamut, which is above most gaming laptops.  

The only problem is that the display might seem a bit dim. That is made up for, however by the really smooth and impressive Bang&Olufsen audio system.

Performance

The graphics card with its 4 GB of virtual memory makes everything run like a walk in the park, and it’s antializing, and shading capabilities are on-point. Not only will it run all CAD software, but it can also run the most modern games at medium settings.

The CPU isn’t that impressive, but fortunately, the 12 GB of RAM makes up for what’s lacking in processing power. Rest assured, you’ll have no problems at all when trying to run demanding software.

Battery Life

The RAM and the Graphics card eat up a lot of juice and don’t do the battery any favors. Even so, the battery isn’t that great and will run for about 4 hours on moderate usage.

If you’re playing games or using CAD software, it likely won’t last longer than an hour and a half.

Sale
OMEN by HP 2018 15-inch Gaming Laptop, Intel i7-8750H Processor,...
  • Play the latest games, including Fortnite, PUBG,...
  • 8th Generation Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-8750H...
Pros
  • Laptop looks amazing
  • Powerful graphics card
  • Bang & Olufsen speakers
  • High contrast among colors
  • Affordable
Cons
  • Poor battery life

Verdict

Apart from the poor battery life, this is one of the best offerings by HP, and you’ll be very hard pressed to find a model with a better GPU or a better display at this price range.

  1. Toshiba Satellite E55T-A5320 Ultrabook – Best Laptop For $500

Test Configuration 

  • Processor: 4th Gen Intel Core i5-4200U
  • Clock Speed: 1.6GHz with Turbo Boost up to 2.6GHz.
  • RAM: 4GB DDR3L Memory
  • Graphics Card: Mobile Intel HD graphics
  • Display: 15.6″ LED-backlit TFT display
  • Storage: 500GB Hard Drive
Toshiba Satellite E55T-A5320 Ultrabook 15.6" Touch Screen Laptop - 4th...
  • 4th Gen Intel Core i5-4200U Processor 1.6GHz with...
  • 15.6" LED-backlit TFT high-definition widescreen...

Design

The Toshiba Ultrabook looks and feels like a regular laptop even though it has a touchscreen display. It is made out of silver brushed aluminum which gives it a premium look.

The keyboard has all its keys raised and is backlit as well. It has 2 USB 3.0 ports and 1 USB 2.0 port. From the looks of it, no one would ever guess how cheap this laptop was.

Best Laptop for Architects and Designers

Display

The TFT touch screen display has a 16:9 aspect ratio with a resolution of 1366*768. As far as touchscreens go, it’s pretty detailed and vivid. You won’t have any problems with brightness either, as this is bright enough to light up a room.

Performance

The CPU can boost up to 2.6 GHz however, the RAM is only 4GB, and it lacks a dedicated graphics card. It only has Intel’s mobile graphics so it might have issues running complex AutoCAD software and gaming, but it will definitely be useful for browsing, excel and other computer applications.

Battery Life

The 3-cell lithium-polymer battery can keep it powered up to a good 5 hours and more if you’re just watching a movie with headphones on.

Toshiba Satellite E55T-A5320 Ultrabook 15.6" Touch Screen Laptop - 4th...
  • 4th Gen Intel Core i5-4200U Processor 1.6GHz with...
  • 15.6" LED-backlit TFT high-definition widescreen...
Pros
  • Super affordable
  • Looks very neat
  • Touchscreen display
  • Good battery life 
Cons
  • RAM is a bit low
  • No dedicated graphics card

Verdict

If you already have a powerful laptop, but you’re looking to buy a separate one where you can use the touchscreen to make drawing and maps of your models, this one with its high battery life is a very good choice.

  1. Apple MacBook Pro 15″ Z0V10001W – Best Apple Laptop For Architects

Test Configuration

  • Processor: Intel Core i9 Processor
  • Clock Speed: 2.9GHz 6-core goes up to 4.8GHz
  • RAM: 32GB 2400MHz DDR4 memory
  • Graphics Card: Radeon Pro 560X with 4GB Memory
  • Display: 15.4 inches
  • Storage: 1TB SSD Storage

Design

The new 15-inch MacBook Pro looks a lot like its predecessors – the color scheme is silver and space grey and the slim aluminum finish corners in elegant, tapered edges.

The black lining around the screen might be a little thicker than I expected, but it’s there to accommodate the webcam, so I’m okay with it. The new MacBook Pro is only 0.6 inches in thickness and 4 pounds in weight, which makes it even thinner and lighter than before.

As far as ports go, the MacBook Pro is equipped with only Thunderbolt 3 ports, of which it has four. However, these reversible ports offer super-speedy data transfer and will let you connect two 4K monitors at the same time.

Display

The 15.4-inch display is amazingly crisp and bright and offers the vivid contrast that we’ve come to expect from Macs over the years. The2880 x 1800 display can run 4K flawlessly, and this time around, Apple has added a twist that makes it even better.

The screen is equipped with a number of multichannel sensors which adjust the color and intensity of the screen depending on the ambient conditions – much like all of Apple’s other devices. For example, under intense fluorescent lighting, the colors would get warmer than they would in more natural surroundings.

The MacBook Pro reproducrs117 percent of the sRGB spectrum, which is far higher than the industry average. The maximum brightness is also a lot higher than every other laptop on the market, and this brightness stays constant from every viewing angle.

Performance

The Intel Core i9-8950HK CPU and 32GB of RAM give you blindingly fast performance, faster than you need actually. No matter what software how demanding its requirements may be, the Macbook pro makes it look like taking candy from a baby.

As you switch from one application to another, the interface never stutters or skips a beat. Video editing and model rendering take less than half the time it would take on a different PC, something which is further boosted by the Radeon Pro GPU with 4 GB of virtual memory.

Battery Life

The MacBook Pro battery is far superior to any other we’ve compiled in this list, and it lasts for an incredible 10 hours when you’re just browsing. That’s one complete day at the office and more.

To utilize the battery to the largest extent, remember to keep Automatic Graphics Switching enabled as otherwise, battery life tends to get depleted much faster.

Pros
  • Bright and vivid colors
  • Lightweight and thin
  • Lightning fast performance
  • Battery which will last you all day
Cons
  • Expensive
  • All software might not be compatible on a Mac

Verdict

If it weren’t for the fact that all the software which you use isn’t always compatible with the Max, choosing this one would be an absolute no-brainer. This is quite simply, one of the fastest and the most powerful laptops out there.

And to top it off, it lasts all day, and because it’s so light and thin, it’s super easy to carry around. It’s definitely the laptop of choice for the serious and creative architect.

Best Laptop for Architects Buyer’s Guide

  1. CPU

You will be running hardcore CAD and other modeling software. You don’t want these software to lag or hang up on you. Selecting and applying all the tools for drafting and editing will be a lot smoother with a high-end CPU.

Also, you should definitely get a quad-core or more CPU, the bigger the clock speed the better. If one core renders an image in 1 minute, a dual core will do that in half the time, and a quad-core in a quarter of the time.

All in all, you will want as much CPU as possible.

  1. RAM

Architectural software will totally eat up all your RAM, and if you are running multiple applications, your computer is sure to hang up if you don’t have enough RAM juice.

The bare minimum RAM you need to get is 8 GB, but we recommend that you definitely get 16 GB or more so that everything runs without any hitches.

  1. Storage

Hard Disk Drive Storage

Architectural models and other 3D drafts take up a massive amount of disk space. If you want to ensure that you can store all your files, you’ll need to get a Hard Disk with at least 1TB storage and then use it entirely for your architecture works.

If you run out of space, you can always get an external hard drive as well.  

However, the problem with hard disk storage is that they are limited and are often prone to physical damage. The inside of your laptop isn’t always the safest place, and if god forbid, something befalls your laptop, you’ll lose all your files as well.

Solid State Drive

Solid State Drives are much faster and more reliable than Hard Drive. Architectural CAD software takes up a lot of disk space as well, and it would make sense to install them on the SSD drive because they would load faster.

You can even store some of your essential libraries and works in progress in the SSD too.

We recommend getting a hybrid HDD and SDD so that you can store your non-essential files which you aren’t using at the moment in the HDD and the more important ones in the SSD.  

  1. Screen Size

It helps to have a large field of view when you’re working with 3d maps and models or when you’re trying to design what the interior of a house will look like.

The more screen space you have, the less time you’ll spend scrolling up or down or sideways. Hence we recommend a screen size of at least 15 inches but preferably more, 17 inches or more.

What this means is that all MacBooks, MacBook airs, and Chromebooks are out. There are also plenty of gaming notebooks out there who have the specs but just don’t have the screen size.

Needless to say that creatives often use multi-screen monitors, to make this happen, external GPU’s are being used.

  1. Graphics Cards [GPU]

Having a high-quality graphics card and enough graphics memory is crucial when working with applications where small, minute details carry a lot of importance. The antialiasing has to absolutely spot-on in these cases.

If you’re rendering and editing 3d models, you should definitely get a graphics processor which has a memory of at least 2 GB. If you’re still in college any graphics processor above the 960M range by Nvidia would be okay.

However, there is a particular group of graphics cards made especially for Workstation laptops –  the Nvidia Quadro or the AMD FirePro series. These graphics cards are designed for use in computer-aided design (CAD), computer-generated imagery (CGI), digital content creation (DCC), etc.

Even the companies creating the CAD software themselves recommend that these graphics cards be used. The margin of errors and mistakes while using these graphics card is minimal because of their enhanced Error correcting code memory and floating point precision.

Fortunately for you, there are plenty of laptops which fit this bill, and some of them aren’t even that expensive that you empty your bank.

You also have the option of using an external GPU to enhance the graphic performance of your laptop.

Final Words

Well, there you have it. That concludes our list of the best laptops for architecture students and professionals.

Remember every laptop has a different set of configurations catering to a different set of requirements, so go through the specifications thoroughly to see which one is the best fit for you.

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