Best Laptops For Architecture Students

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Written By Idil Ulucevik

Architecture is often seen as the profession of genius, where people with vast imaginations can dream up buildings so outrageous and complex that they would dazzle reality in their own right. And, much like the fantasies that inspired them, most architecture students don’t know what computer to buy. Due to the nature of their work, professional architects often possess vast resources. They can acquire the most powerful computers that money can buy, but for students, resources are often limited, and they have to compromise between what they can afford and what they need.

Despite a lack of resources, architecture students can still choose a powerful and affordable computer. They need to have a computer that has a cutting-edge processor, high resolutions, powerful graphics cards, and should be able to support 3D modeling software. This is because they will need to render and create highly detailed and complex models using programs such as AutoCAD, 3D Modelling, ArchiCAD, SketchUp, and Revit Architecture.

Best Laptop for Architecture Students

1. HP ZBook Mobile Workstation

The HP ZBook mobile workstation is one of the best laptops for architecture students who love to play around with CAD software. It’s a great machine for students and professionals who are constantly on the move and need to carry their computers around a lot. It is equipped with an Intel Dual Core i9 8-core processor with a base speed of 2.60 GHz, a 17” display, a weight of 6.08 pounds, and 16 GB RAM. The graphics card is an NVIDIA Quadro RTX 4000 8 GB.

With this machine, you can enjoy the following.

Personal Customization

This laptop comes with a wide range of premium features, which allow you to personalize your own laptop. It can be modified to suit your needs and requirements, such as expanding the memory. Most of its components can also be removed, updated, added to, and replaced.

DreamColor Technology

Its DreamColor technology provides a vibrancy and color spectrum you wouldn’t find in most laptops.


This machine has the HP Sure View integrated privacy screen, which allows you to work in a secure environment. It also has a built-in webcam privacy cover. Its screen also provides an integrated privacy display that you can activate, not to mention the built-in malware protection that it comes with.

2. iMac Pro

The iMac Pro is a great machine for architecture students who are looking for a professional and reliable laptop to work on. Its built-in Radeon Pro Vega 16 graphics card and 10 core Intel Xeon processor deliver outstanding performance. It has 32 GB memory, a one TB SSD, and a 27″ Retina 5K display screen.

With this machine, you can enjoy the following.

Retina 5K Display

The 27″ Retina 5K display screen is the best among its competitors and allows you to work on high-resolution projects.

Number Keypad

As an architecture student, you will be working with numbers the whole day. The iMac has a number keypad to make it easy for you to work on spreadsheets.

3. Dell Precision 3510 M5

The Dell Precision 3510 M5 is a great laptop for architecture students who love DIY projects and like to play around with their computers. It’s a sleek and compact laptop with a 15.6″ display screen. It has an Intel Core i7 quad-core processor, 16 GB RAM, and 1 TB SSD storage. It has an AMD FirePro graphics card.

4. Surface Book

The Surface Book is a great laptop for architecture students who like to do art projects. It has a 15” display screen with an Intel i7 quad-core processor, 32 GB RAM, 2 TB SSD storage, and an NVIDIA GeForce 6GB graphics card. It is also a 2-in-1 laptop, meaning it can function as a laptop as well as a tablet.

Its key features include the following.

Studio Mode

This laptop has a built-in studio mode, which allows you to take off the screen from the keyboard, flip it and fold it, creating a tablet surface. This mode caters to artistic work such as sketching.

Presentation Mode

When in presentation mode, the screen is facing away from the keyboard, allowing you to present to your audience.

Factors To Consider When Choosing the Best Laptop for Architecture Students

Decision 1: Mac or PC

The Architecture industry is dominated by computers running on Windows, but Macs are increasingly becoming popular. Both are viable options, but given the fact that some software is only compatible with PCs, Macs cannot meet the demands of some architecture students, meaning that students who end up purchasing Macs will have to improvise.

This decision is always a major decision, especially in countries like the United States, where Macs are a bit common. As an architecture student, you may be tempted to jump onto the bandwagon and go ahead with the purchase. Be sure to do your research on which platform will best serve your needs.


Advantages of Using WindowsDisadvantages of Using Windows
Support for Architecture SoftwareThe Learning Curve
Windows operating systems have been running on computers for many years and run on millions of computers daily. Because of this, manufacturers have the money and resources to add third-party support for certain software.Windows PCs aren’t as user-friendly as MacOS and may take some time to get comfortable with. This can be a disadvantage for students who want to focus on learning different architecture programs rather than how an operating system works.
Windows Support Amazing Hardware NumbersLimited Access to Tech Support
At the time of purchase, you can expect your PC to have a powerful processor, high-resolution display, and a powerful graphics card. These will make rendering jobs faster and easier, avoiding delays that may occur as a result of these additional hurdles.While Apple is known for offering excellent tech support, Windows users often have nowhere to turn to in case of computer or software problems.
Windows Are Usually More Affordable Than MacsProne to Malware Attacks
As already discussed, unlike Macs, PCs are targeted at the general population, meaning that the price will vary according to the manufacturer’s specifications.Software from unknown sources is often used as an avenue for hackers to gain access to computers and steal information. This is because they offer the same services offered by official software at no cost.


Advantages of Using MacsDisadvantages of Using Macs
User-Friendly InterfaceLimited Architecture Software on Their Operating Systems
While using a Mac, users can expect a more approachable user interface. This means they will be able to accomplish tasks without taking much time to learn how the operating system works.macOS is known to lack compatibility with several architectural software such as Autodesk Revit, Rhino, and Lumion. This can be an inconvenience for students who need these programs. We have a curated list of the best laptops to run Lumion if that will be your primary
Apple SupportThe Cost of Macs Is Significantly Higher Than PC
As a student, you may find that your computer does not work as expected. With Apple, you will have easy access to Apple tech support at all hours of the night and day, which can help resolve any difficulties.Macs are pricier than PC, and the price difference can be quite significant. For example, a large 15.4″ MacBook Pro can cost upwards of $2000, whereas a comparable PC can cost as low as $1000. The higher pricing of Macs is often attributed to the fact that they are designed with a specific audience in mind. They are marketed to more sophisticated users and have better graphics capabilities.
Macs Are Known for Their Security Against Malware and VirusesLack of Support by Third-Party Software Developers
Malware attacks are often targeted at Windows computers as they are the most common in the world. This means that Mac users will have an easier time protecting their systems and won’t have to worry about encountering viruses on a much larger scale.Windows operating system is the most popular OS in the world, and it has an enormous number of software developers working for it. However, the number of developers that cater to Mac software is low, meaning that those who want to use macOS are often limited in software support.

Mac Workarounds

Some students are Mac enthusiasts and will opt to compromise on the number of architectural programs they can access. As such, they will need to have one of the following workarounds.

Boot Camp

Boot Camp is a free option for Mac users who want more access to Windows software. This means the user can choose to run Windows on a virtual machine within their Mac and switch back and forth between the two operating systems. When you purchase your Mac, you can allocate a portion of your disk space to Windows. Be careful with this step, as it is irreversible. Architecture students will need to allocate at least eight GB of memory space to Windows for software to run smoothly. This means that their Mac must have at least 16 GB of memory.


Parallels is an $80 software that allows Mac users to run Windows on their computers. This means that you will be able to run Windows programs, such as Autodesk Revit and Rhinos, without the need for a virtual machine.

Decision 2: Desktop or Laptop

Architecture students will also have to decide on whether they want to use a desktop or a laptop. This will directly affect their ability to work in different environments.


A desktop can be defined as a computer that is attached to a large screen. A desktop will have a keyboard, mouse, monitor, and speakers for audio output and a power supply for the monitor and other components. This means that you will need a workstation.


1. Capable of Running Many Programs at the Same Time

A desktop will have more peripherals and can support multiple monitors, allowing students to work on two or more different projects at the same time. This will lead to increased productivity.

2. Better Overall Performance

Desktops usually have better internal components, such as better processors and larger amounts of RAM. This means they provide faster processing speeds and can handle intensive programs that students will use while in training.

3. Provide More Customization Capabilities

There are many parts of a desktop that you can customize, such as the case, side panels, and fans.

4. Cheaper

The price of a desktop can be significantly lower than that of a laptop with the same specification. This is largely due to the fact that desktops only need to have the main components. The secondary parts, such as the speakers, are sold separately and are not essential for their functionality.


1. They Lack Mobility

Desktop computers are often attached to the desk they are placed on, which makes them difficult to move around. They can be quite heavy too. They also can’t store power, meaning they can’t be used on the go.

2. May Need More Space Than a Laptop

Desktops require significant amounts of space and, as such, cannot be used in cramped areas like small apartments or offices.


Laptops are computers designed for portability and can be used anywhere without needing a power outlet. However, they often have smaller screens than desktop computers and may contain fewer ports for connecting different devices such as printers.

Decision 3: Specifications


The processor is basically the brain of your computer, and it controls everything else. It sends instructions to other components and subsystems to complete a specific task, such as sending data from one part of the system to another. A more powerful processor can be great, but it’s more expensive.

Processor Speed

The faster the processor, the smoother a computer will run. That is unless you are only using basic applications or websites. If you want to use professional-level software or run your computer while using advanced programs, then you’ll need a fast CPU. You can determine the speed of your processor by looking at the model number and doing some research online or asking a friend that knows a lot about computers.

Processor Cores

Single-core processors are those that have one processor. Dual-core processors are those that have two processors, and quad-core CPUs have four. These numbers indicate the number of tasks a processor can handle at a specific time. Hence, a computer with more cores usually performs better for running multiple apps and programs simultaneously.

Intel vs. AMD

Intel and AMD are two of the most popular manufacturers of computer processors. Intel has been producing computer processors for years and is what most people opt for because the company is the market leader with its i5, i7, and i9 series processors. AMD is also a better alternative because they are more efficient, but they are more expensive.

Decision 4: Graphics Card

The graphics card is the component that provides for the display of images and videos on your screen. It’s known as a graphics processing unit – GPU. You will also want to consider the video graphics array – VGA, which works in tandem with your monitor to produce an image out of data from your computer.


Also known as random access memory, RAM is a type of memory that is used by the operating system to run open programs. It allows your computer to temporarily store data while the CPU is processing it. The more RAM you have, the more applications and programs you can run simultaneously without affecting their performance.

Decision 5: Monitor

The monitor is what allows you to view all of your computer’s output, such as videos and images. It’s where you’ll be viewing everything you do on your computer, so it’s essential that your monitor is up to the task.

Types of Monitors

There are three basic types of monitors: CRT – Cathode ray tube, especially common in traditional desktops; LCD – Liquid crystal display, mainly used on laptops and modern desktops; and LED – Light emitting diode, which offers crisp image quality but can have limited color range.

Decision 6: Hard Drive

The hard drive is the most important component and is often overlooked. It will store all of your data. This includes school projects, tutorials, documents, software, movies, music, and photos. If you have massive amounts of data to store, you’ll probably want a larger drive, but if you just have files you need to transfer from one place to another regularly, you’ll probably be fine with a smaller drive. It’s also worthwhile to consider the type of drive you get. Some are more efficient and durable than others.

Speed and Size

Once you’ve determined how much space you need to store your data, such as projects, you have to consider speed. This is largely dependent on whether or not the hard drive is a Solid State Drive, SSD, or not. An SSD is much faster than a traditional hard drive. However, they carry the same risk of mechanical failure as hard drives. Desktop hard drives are typically 5400RPM, and laptops are typically either 5400 RPM or 7200 RPM.

Decision 7: Optical Drive

If you are looking for a computer to use for archiving and long-term storage, check your computer’s specifications carefully to ensure it has an optical drive built in. Optical drives have become obsolete over the years because they’re slow, but they keep your data safe once they’re in place.

Decision 8: Ports and Slots

Your computer will most likely have several different ports, usually on the back or sides of a computer. These ports are where you’ll plug in all your devices, such as monitors, printers, and external hard drives. There are also slots that allow you to put in different types of cards.


Your computer may have one or both of these ports. If you’re looking to get onto a network, you’ll need a network interface card – NIC, which will plug into your motherboard. Your computer will also have a number of cameras that you can use for things such as video conferencing and recording.

Decision 9: Case, Fans, and Power Supply

These are also important aspects to take into consideration when selecting a computer. Your case will help protect your components as well as the computer itself. It’s what you’ll be seeing day in and day out, so it needs to look nice and perform well.

Fans can help airflow inside a case and keep components cool. If you are looking for a quiet computer, select one from a company that makes silent or low-noise fans.

Computer components are the most important part of the hardware. They make up the entire computer, and the vast majority of them will be the same for both desktops and laptops. The only thing you need to consider is your budget, but at this point, it’s important to ensure that you’re getting a computer that will last as long as possible and not one that requires constant upgrades.

Decision 10: Choosing a Brand

By now, you should have figured out whether you’re looking for a desktop or laptop and the specifications that you want. It’s now time to select a brand. Plea note that not all companies are equal, and some produce higher quality machines than others. It’s always a good idea to buy from a brand you’ve had experience with or one that is reputable and well-known. Some of the more reputable brands include Dell, Sony, HP, Asus, Toshiba, and Acer.

You will want to make sure that the company you buy from is stable and will likely be in the market for the foreseeable future. This is because you may need to replace a component.
The size of the company is also an indication of their level of customer service; you will want to buy from a company that you can easily contact if you have any questions or concerns.


1. Custom PC

Custom PCs are often the best option and can be a good choice if you have a limited budget. You get to select what component goes into your computer. You’ll need to make sure that everything is compatible and working together and that there’s no unnecessary bloatware added. You will, however, need to be tech-savvy, or you can consult a skillful friend to do the job for you.

2. Alienware

Alienware is a relatively new player on the market, but they have only had very good reviews from customers and reviewers alike. They offer a range of systems, which are available for both desktops and laptops.

3. HP

HP is another large company that has received fantastic reviews from customers and reviewers. They create a range of products from desktops to laptops to mobile workstations.
Their products are particularly well known for their excellent performance and durability.

4. Dell

Dell has been making computers since the early 1980s. They are another big name in the industry and are known for their strong customer support and warranties. They make both desktops and laptops.

5. Acer

Acer is amongst the biggest laptop manufacturers in the market. They are well known for their excellent build quality and reliability.

6. Toshiba

Toshiba has a range of products to choose from that cover all aspects of computing, including laptops, all-in-ones to, desktops, and workstations. The hard drives are also known to be great.

7. Apple

Apple is a big player in the computer industry. They release a huge range of products, but the one you’re looking for is likely to be their Macbook Pro.

8. Lenovo

Lenovo is another big name that offers a great range of products across different sectors, including desktops, gaming PCs, and laptops.

9. Microsoft

Microsoft is a huge company producing desktop and laptop computers and the Windows operating system.


It’s never been easier to find the right computer for you. All you have to do is conduct a little bit of research and decide on your budgets and requirements. It’s also very easy to find reputable computer brands online, such as Dell or Apple, that sell computers of all types.

Once you’ve narrowed down your selection, it’s time to make some decisions about where to purchase your computer. There are many places where you can buy a new computer, not just from the manufacturer. Places such as Best Buy, Walmart, or Target will all have computers that they sell at competitive prices. Another place to purchase a computer is online. You have the option to purchase from a number of retailers online, including Amazon.

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