Architect students know how important a laptop is for their success. It’s the ultimate tool in their toolbox, and a slow or unstable laptop can literally destroy your entire project (as well as your enthusiasm for architecture).
With the rapid advancement of technology, mainly graphics cards, it’s important to stay up to date on the latest models of computers to ensure you’re performing at the maximum, or at least not falling behind. But cost is also important if you are in school.
We’ve outlined our top picks of best laptops for an architect student, and we hope this list helps you to narrow down your search and go with a well known and reliable provider such as the following. You can click each product name to drop down to the section about it if you want to learn more.
|1.||Razer Blade 15||16 GB||12th Gen i-9||GeForce RTX 3070 Ti||4.40 lb||$$|
|2.||MSI Raider GE78||64 GB||13th Gen i-9||GeForce RTX 4080||6.83 lb||$$$|
|3.||Alienware m15 R7||16 GB||12th Gen i-7||GeForce RTX 3070 Ti||5.93 lb||$|
|4.||Asus ROG Flow Z13||16 GB||12th Gen i-7||GeForce RTX 3050||2.60 lb||$|
|5.||Lenovo Legion i7||64 GB||11th Gen i-7||GeForce GTX 3070||5.60 lb||$$$|
|6.||Alienware x17 R1||32 GB||11th Gen i-7||GeForce RTX 3070||7.05 lb||$$|
Considerations For An Architecture Laptop
One of the biggest factors that should go into choosing a laptop is how modern the graphics card is. Most processors these days can run just fine, but the graphics cards are constantly being updated and produce alarmingly improved results. If there is one thing to splurge on, it’s the graphics card.
Outside of a graphics card, RAM is super important for a student, as you will be running intensive software all the time, so be sure to get at least 16 GB of RAM, if not 32 GB where possible. Upgrading is always recommended as well.
Our other important consideration to make is the weight of the laptop. You will be carrying this around all day, maybe even on your back, so you don’t want a sack of bricks. Laptops for architecture are heavy because they aren’t cheap. But we still want to find ones that don’t weigh too much.
How We Rated Each Laptop
We’ve used a 5 point rating system to determine how to grade the laptops on this list. The points we reviewed were RAM, CPU, Graphics Card, Weight, and Price. We’ve placed an equal importance on all as we found that doing so created the most balanced list, though we are sure many students would weigh price as more important.
Additional Considerations To Make When Purchasing A Laptop For Architecture
Architecture students have specific requirements to run major architecture softwares such as Revit, AutoCad or even SketchUp. We’ve curated lists of our top laptops for each individual application as well, as those requirements are more specific.
When purchasing a laptop for architecture, take note of the location of the outlet for charging – behind a laptop is an effective location that keeps your desk less cluttered so you have more space for your tools. Also, be sure to purchase a laptop running the most recent version of Windows that you can, as Linux and Mac operating systems usually don’t have the same level of support for architecture softwares.
The final additional consideration to make is the ease and amount of USB ports a laptop has. As an architecture student, a lot of times you will find yourself saving projects to USB drives, or connecting your laptop to a 3d or wide format printer. Having ample options on USB ports will be crucial for you to be comfortable and not constantly sacrificing functionality for minimalism.
Now, onto our top choices for a laptop for an architecture student in 2023:
1. Razer Blade 15
A gaming classic, the Razer Blade has been around for a while now. With an abundance of support and documentation for common problems online, we love the Razer Blade and how keen they are in keeping up with modern tech. While Razer may not be the largest computer company, they are well known as pioneers in the gaming community, and the Blade is a flagship model for them.
While the Razer Blade is not the most powerful computer on our list or the most up-to-date, it has the best overall balance for the price. Our biggest concern with this particular spec breakdown is the low RAM. If possible, we would recommend upgrading the RAM to at least 32 GB.
Razer Blade 15 Specs
|CPU||12th Gen i-9|
|Graphics Card||GeForce RTX 3070 Ti|
2. MSI Raider GE78
Next on our list is another staple of the gaming community. Anything made by MSI will probably fare well in a modern day architecture class, as their gaming laptops are renowned for their quality.
As the most expensive laptop on our list, this is the best option for those that would rather splurge now and not need to worry about their specs running out of date by the end of their classes. The Raider GE78 has all the latest technical power to ensure you are running at full performance.
As already hinted at, our biggest drawback to this laptop is the price-point. It’s also quite heavy in comparison to the others on the list, but again, has the most impressive specs.
MSI Raider GE78 Specs
|CPU||13th Gen i-9|
|Graphics Card||GeForce RTX 4080|
3. Alienware m15 R7
Anything made by Alienware is ready for battle. As undefeated champions of gaming laptops, Alienware continues to impress on performance, packing so much tech into a little laptop. With copious support for technical issues, the community surrounding Alienware is robust and educated, making it easy to get advice for common issues.
The biggest concerns we have on this laptop is the lack of RAM. At 16 GB, you’re going to be on the lower end, so we strongly recommending upgrading if possible. It’s also on the heavier side, coming in at just under 6 pounds.
Alienware m15 R7 Specs
|CPU||12th Gen i-7|
|Graphics Card||GeForce 3070 Ti|
4. Asus ROG Flow Z13
Asus has created a Republic of Gamers as their gaming headquarters brand. Similar to how Lenovo has the Legion and Dell has Alienware, Asus has the Republic of Gamers. While Asus may not be so stellarly known for their quality laptops, the Republic of Gamers does do a great job of creating quality products that are built to last, and more importantly, built to compete in the highly changing technical landscape of laptops.
Outside of the lower RAM (again, we recommend upgrading), the Asus ROG Flow Z13 has one major thing going for it: price point. That’s right, in true Asus fashion, this laptop is the cheapest on our list. Not only that but it is also the lightest on the list, but only because the keyboard is detachable and not counted in the weight.
We love that you can detach the keyboard. This means this is the most versatile laptop on the list, as you can easily connect it to a greater setup at home or in an office, pairing it with a dedicated keyboard and mouse, a second or third monitor, and anything else you may need.
Asus ROG Flow Z13 Specs
|CPU||12th Gen i-7|
|Graphics Card||GeForce RTX 3050|
5. Lenovo Legion i7
The Lenovo Legion series have been going head to head with MSI and Alienware for years now, and as a laptop for architecture students, this is a serious contender as well. As a great mix of reliability and comfort, Lenovo is well known for pumping out amazingly durable laptops meant to last a long time. While we can’t say the same for some of the specs here, it is overall a very high quality laptop.
The biggest drawback we have on recommending this is the price point. It’s our second most expensive choice on the list, and we feel that if you took the difference in cost from other models and upgraded them you could end up with a higher quality custom build. But the other side to that is when you buy a Lenovo, you know you’re buying quality.
Lenovo Legion i7 Specs
|CPU||11th Gen i-7|
|Graphics Card||GeForce GTX 3070|
6. Alienware x17 R1
Last on our list, but certainly not least, is yet another Alienware. As we’ve already noted, Alienware’s pension for quality build has given it not one, but two great contenders for best laptop for an architect student.
When compared with the m15, this laptop version has more RAM and a slightly older CPU and weighs a bit more. In fact, it’s the heaviest laptop on our list. It’s also a few hundred dollars more expensive, hence it being further down the list. We feel that it’s a lesser value than the m15, but still an amazing option for an architect student looking to purchase a long term tool.
Alienware x17 R1 Specs
|CPU||11th Gen i-7|
|Graphics Card||GeForce RTX 3070|
There you have it, the 6 best laptops that are actually available on the market for an architect student. There’s a lot of talk about the new GeForce RTX 4080 graphics cards, but it’s still too early to reliably see them on laptops, so we’re sure this list will change periodically as newer graphics cards become more widely available.