10 Best Laptops for Architects and Designers
With the advent of technology, most architects have given up on the old school practices of making drawings and renders on paper. They rely on computers (desktop or laptop) for most of their work, from drawing to keeping up with finances, to rendering and even ideating. While the desktops work fine with fixed office spaces, laptops are a flexible option. With the help of a powerful laptop, one can easily work from anywhere they want. The laptops can be carried along for the ease of presentations and discussions. While there is an abundance of options for laptops in the market today, not all laptops work for architects.
While purchasing a laptop the architects and designers should keep in mind the kind of software that would be running on the system. Many people tend not to bother about the specifications and then regret them later. This list will help you choose the best-suited laptop for you. So, without wasting any more time let's uncover some tips that will guide you in your next purchase.
Which one- Traditional Laptop or 2-in-1 Laptop?
While we are all familiar with traditional laptops, there are ample options are available for 2-in-1 laptops in the market today. A 2-in-1 laptop also goes by the names hybrid laptop and convertible laptops. It is basically a laptop that transforms into a tablet as and when required. These devices are convenient for professionals as they can easily transform into a notebook or a tablet according to the requirements. However, considering the profession, one should consider the following points before buying 2-in-1 laptop –
- It is easier to carry during client meetings, presentations and travel.
- The 2-in-1 laptops either have a detachable keyboard or a 360-degree hinge which helps in converting it to a tablet.
- Owing to the sleek build, the hardware may not be in power with the powerful machines that an architect requires for the intensive work.
- The machines with a detachable keyboard are flimsier, therefore need to be handled with care.
- Owing to the compact nature of these machines, the hardware is usually crammed in the display portion leading to compromised levels of performance.
So, which one to go for?
For architecture professionals, while the traditional laptops with higher specifications should be a must-have, the decision is purely based on personal requirements. For instance, if a person wants a high-performance machine and can do without the tablet, then one should go in for a 2-in-1 laptop. While if one requires a device that can serve both the purposes of a laptop and tablet or if one requires a compact machine to be able to carry them for meetings or while travel, a 2-in-1 laptop is a considerable option.
Bonus Tip- Usually for the same amount of money, one can buy a powerful laptop as opposed to a 2-in-1 laptop.
Operating System (Windows vs macOS)
When choosing a laptop, one important factor to filter one’s choices is the operating system it functions with. The two most common operating systems are windows and macOS. To help you decide on the operating system, the following are some comparative points regarding the pros and cons of both operating systems –
- Windows is a more popular operating system, thus making it more approachable and accessible.
- When it comes to software and applications, there are hardly any that are not available for windows, but there are many applications that are not available for Mac.
- macOS is known to be more intuitive when compared with windows.
- Both the operating systems offer user-friendly environments.
- Windows offer backward compatibility thereby enabling a user to operate older versions of software on newer devices.
- When it comes to virus and spyware attacks, windows OS is more susceptible as compared to macOS.
Specifications that one must consider while choosing a laptop –
- CPU Processor: Architecture professionals should prefer going in for processors Core i5 or Ryzen 5 and above for seamless working.
- RAM: One needs to look in for higher Ram (8GB and higher) for efficient and seamless working.
- GPU (Graphics Processing Units): Architects are involved in Graphic intensive work; therefore, they should give due preference to a high-end graphics card for incessant working. If one is running on a stringent budget, then they should go in for an integrated graphic card, else for higher performance, a discreet graphics card should be considered.
- Storage: Storage is one of the primary requirements that one should consider with foresightedness. There are various options available when it comes to storage volumes, starting from 256 GB. However, considering the profession and volume of work, architects should go in for internal storage of 512 GB and above.
- Considering the type of storage (Hard Disk Drives and Solid State Drives) is equally important as the volume of storage. HDDs are gradually becoming hardware of the past with the SSD gaining popularity. SSDs offer enhanced speed and are quieter as compared to HDD.
- Display and Resolution: for architects and designers, colour tonality and image quality are important aspects to consider while looking for laptops. For the same reason, architects should consider going in for an IPS screen with a resolution of 1920 x 1080p (Full HD). There are laptops in the market that offer a resolution of 2560 x 1600, 3200 x 1800 and 3840 x 2160 (4K).
- Screen Size: Owing to the type of work profile of architects one should go for bigger screen sizes (15” and above). If portability is the main concern, then a smaller screen size (12” and above) should be preferred.
- USB ports: The decision between a traditional laptop and a convertible laptop can be also be based on the number and type of USB ports available. Ones going for machines for long-term benefits should opt for devices with USB 3.0 ports.
- Battery Life: Depending on the portability requirements of the individual, the device should have a battery life of 8 hours and more. In addition, one should also look into the rating of the battery, measured in Watt-hours (Wh) or milliamp-hours (mAh). The greater the number, the better the battery life.
- Connectivity: To have a connection at all times, one should go in for a device that supports 4G LTE or 5G network. In addition, try to identify a device that supports Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5 for better and more stable connections.
To make the choice easier, the following article has the 10 best laptops for architects and designers to choose from –
1. Apple MacBook Pro 2020 (16-inch, 16GB RAM, 512GB Storage, 2.6GHz Intel Core i7) - Space Grey
This is one of the most powerful devices by Apple till date. It has a sleek and clean design, it is all set to aid you in your work. This is one device that will help you make a statement among your clients and colleagues. The specifications are as follows –:
- The new Macbook has up to 8TB of Ultrafast SSD storage, highest available in any of the other notebooks.
- Has a 16” Retina display. The screen is built with True tone technology which displays the same tone of colors viewed from any angle.
- Has an octa-core (Intel Core i9) processor to work easily even during intensive workloads.
- Supports RAM of up to 64GB (DDR4), this means more efficient multitasking.
- It comes with a touch bar and touches ID on the keyboard.
- Equipped with AMD Radeon Pro 5300M graphics and 8GB GDDR6 VRAM.
- The sound system has a six-speaker system with dual force canceling woofers.
- It is powered by a 100 Wh Lithium-polymer battery and a battery life of up to 11 hours.
- Has an Apple T2 Security chip for enhanced security and encrypted storage.
- It is equipped with 4 USB-C (Thunderbolt 3) ports, making the data transfer very fast.
2. Microsoft Surface Book 2 13.5" 256GB i5 Bundle with Surface Pen Platinum and Mini Display Port Adapter
This is a powerful laptop by Microsoft. This is a revolutionary laptop that will allow you to work with a pen device owing to the touch screen. The laptop has a clean and sophisticated design. The specifications are as follows –
- It comes in a 13.5” variant also.
- 8th generation Intel quad-core i7 processor.
- Has 16 GB RAM and the SSD storage comes in a variation of 256 GB, 512 GB and 1 TB.
- It has a powerful Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 graphics cars with 6GB graphic memory.
- This is the only powerful laptop that comes with a 15” pixel sense touch screen.
- It has 2 USB 3.1 (1st generation) and 1 USB-C port.
- There are 2 surfaces connect ports, which helps the user to switch from laptop mode to tablet mode.
- The laptop supports a battery life of up to 17 hours of local video playback.
- Supports Surface Pen Platinum and Mini Display Port Adapter.
3. MSI Prestige 15 A10SC-011 15.6" Ultra Thin and Light Professional Laptop Intel Core i7-10710U GTX1650 MAX-Q 16GB DDR4 512GB NVMe SSD Win10Pro
MSI is a brand known for its gaming laptops. Gaming laptops have great specifications that support the usage of high-intensity software and are very efficient.
- It has an Intel Comet Lake Core i7 (10th generation) hexa-core processor.
- It has a 15.6” full HD display. The screen has a vibrant 4K display with IPS level anti-glare wide view angle thin bezel 100% RGB.
- The RAM available is 32GB (2x 16GB).
- The NVMe SSD storage available is 2TB (from Samsung - 970 EVO Plus).
- The laptop has a powerful NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card with 4GB graphic memory.
- It has 2 USB-C (Thunderbolt 3) and 2 USB 3.2 (Gen 1) Type-A ports.
- The 84 key keyboard has a white backlight.
- Has an 82 Wh Lithium-polymer battery with a battery life of up to 7 hours 55 minutes.
4. ASUS TUF 17.3" FHD Gaming Laptop Computer, AMD Ryzen 7 3750H Quad-Core up to 4.0GHz, 16GB DDR4 RAM, 512GB PCIE SSD + 2TB HDD, GeForce GTX 1650 4GB, 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2, HDMI, Windows 10
ASUS has made a name in the field of gaming laptops. These are high duty laptops whose specifications support the high-intensity work of an architect or designer. Its specifications are as follows –
- This laptop has a 17.3” display with an aspect ratio of 16:9. The screen is a LED-backlit FHD, anti-glare IPS level panel with 45% NTSC.
- The screen lid ha patented Trapezoid-cut lid.
- It has a quad-core AMD Ryzen 7 processor that makes everyday multitasking and productivity efficient
- Has a dedicated GPU combined with NVIDIA creator ready drives, that aids in unbound creative pursuits.
- It supports a 16 GB RAM upgradeable to 32 GB.
- Storage capacities - 512GB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD + 2TB HDD.
- It has an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 GDDR5 Graphics card with 4GB VRAM Graphics.
- The laptop has ASUS exclusive HyperCool technology, which has anti-dust cooling and HyperFan to ensure exceptional cooling when being used intensively.
- It has a 1 x USB 3. 1 and 1 x USB 2. 0.
- The battery life is up to 5 hours.
- The keyboard has all zone RGB backlight with the WASD key group highlighted.
5. Dell XPS 15 9570 8thGeneration Corei9,32GB RAM,1TB SSD,4GB 1050ti Graphics,Win10 Home 15.6" Touchscreen
This a powerful laptop from Dell which aces in powerhouse performance for intensive tasks. It supports a virtually borderless display to maximize screen space. This is a good choice for environmentally conscious architects and designers, as this laptop is over 90% recyclable.
- This laptop has hexa-core XPS 15 9570 8th Generation Intel Core i9-8950HK Processor.
- It has a 15.6” 4K Ultra HD Edge Touch screen.
- Supports NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050Ti Graphics card with 4GB GDDR5.
- RAM available is 32 GB dual-channel DDR4 (2x16 Gb) with 1TB M.2 2280 PCIe flash-based SSD.
- Has 32GB Dual Channel DDR4-2666MHz, 2x16GB system memory
- Has the Killer 1535 Wireless AC adapter that provides a strong and reliable wireless connection.
- Has a battery life of up to 21 hours 30 minutes on reader mode.
- It has Thunderbolt™ 3 USB – C port along with USB 3.1 Gen 1 with PowerShare ports.
- The keyboard is a standard backlit keyboard.
6. Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop PC, 17.3" Full HD 144Hz 3ms IPS Display, Intel i7-9750H, GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q, 16GB DDR4, 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD, RGB Backlit Keyboard, PH317-53-79KB
Acer predator is a line of high-intensity and efficient gaming laptops. This one has good graphics card support to aid in all the high-intensity tasks of architects and designers. The specifications are as follows –
- It has a 17.3” FHD widescreen LED-backlit IPS display.
- It supports a 16 GB RAM and a storage of 512 PCIe SSD.
- Its processor is a hexa-core Intel i7 (9th generation).
- It has an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Graphics card with Max-Q Design with 8GB dedicated GDDR6 VRAM.
- It has 2 USB 2.0, 1 USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C and 1 USB 3.0 Type-A ports.
- The laptop has a Killer network E2500 gigabyte ethernet for better connectivity.
- It features a 4-Zone RGB Backlit Keyboard.
- The battery lasts for only up to 4 hours and 37 minutes.
7. MSI GS63VR Stealth Pro 4K-228 15.6" 4K Display Thin and Light Gaming Laptop Core i7-7700HQ GTX 1060 16GB 512GB + 2TB VR Ready
This is yet another powerful and efficient laptop by MSI which the architects and designers would love. The special feature of this system is that this is in line with the future technology i.e. it is VR ready. The specifications are as follows –
- It has a 15.6” Ultra HD display with eDP IPS level.
- The laptop has a quad-core Intel Skylake Core i7 processor.
- It supports a 16 GB RAM (2 x 8 GB).
- The storage capacity is 512GB SSD + 2TB SATA.
- The graphic card is NVIDIA's GTX 1060 with 6GB GDDR5 VRAM.
- The keyboard is backlit with the anti-ghost key.
- Killer network ethernet is provided for better wireless connectivity.
- It has a mini display port, Thunderbolt 3 port and 2 USB 3.0 ports.
- The battery life is up to 2 hours and 54 minutes when used rigorously to browse the internet over Wi-Fi.
8. ASUS ROG Strix GL502VM 15.6" G-SYNC VR Ready Thin and Light Gaming Laptop NVIDIA GTX 1060 6GB Intel Core i7-7700HQ 16GB DDR4 128GB SSD 1TB HDD
This is yet another good choice to consider for architects and designers. This laptop is adept with the technology for the future by being VR ready. The specifications of this laptop are as follows –
- The screen is a 15.6” G-sync full HD 160° view angle display.
- It is powered by the Intel core i7 processor.
- It has a 16 GB RAM and storage support is 128GB SATA III SSD + 1TB HDD.
- It is supported by NVIDIA GTX 1060 6GB Graphics Card with 6GB GDDR5 VRAM.
- It has a Duo-copper thermal module and dual cooling fans for enhanced performance.
- It has a mini display port, 3 x USB 3.0 and 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 (Type C) ports.
- It has an illuminated chiclet keyboard.
- The battery life is up to 3 hours and 40 minutes after a full charge.
9. Lenovo ThinkPad P52 Laptop Computer 15.6 Inch FHD IPS Display 1920x1080, Intel HexaCore (6 cores) i7-8750H, 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD, NVIDIA P1000, Fingerprint, Backlit Keyboard, W10P
This is quite a good choice from Lenovo and is also VR ready. It can be said that it is a powerful machine in a compact chassis. The specifications of this system are –
- This laptop is powered by a hexa-core Intel i7 processor.
- It has a 32 GB RAM and a 1 TB SSD storage.
- This laptop also supports fingerprint reader for enhanced security.
- The touch screen is a 15.6” FHD (4K) IPS display.
- It supports an NVIDIA Quadro P1000 graphics card with 4GB graphics memory.
- It has 3 x USB 3.1 and 2 x USB-C ports.
- Has a chiclet-style keyboard.
- The battery lasts for up to 4 hours and 26 minutes after a full charge.
10. HP Pavilion Gaming 15-Inch Micro-EDGE Laptop, Intel Core i5-9300H, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti with Max-Q (6 GB), 8 GB SDRAM, 256 GB SSD, Windows 10 Home (15-dk0030nr, Shadow Black/Acid Green)
HP’s pavilion is a sleek and powerful laptop with great performance and experience. This is a classy-looking machine that the designers would love to work on. The specifications of this laptop are as follows –
- This is powered by a hexa-core Intel Core i7 (9th generation) processor.
- It has 8GB RAM, upgradable with 2 accessible Memory Slots.
- Storage support is by 256 GB SSD.
- It has a 15.6” diagonal FHD IPS anti-glare micro-edge WLED-Backlit Display screen.
- It has an NVIDIA GTX 1660 Ti Max Q graphics card with 6 GB graphics memory.
- It has USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C(tm), 3 USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A ports.
- It has a full-size island-style acid green keyboard.
- The battery life is up to 6 hours and 15 minutes.
These are the 10 laptops that I think would be best suited for architects and designers. Picking that perfect laptop is a confusing task, but this list aims to help you in making the right choice. With a laptop the specifications are important, so are the requirements. Go ahead and choose the perfect one for you. While all the laptops are powerful and nicely designed, I would choose one out of my order of preference with Microsoft Surface 2 is the most desired, followed by MSI prestige 15 and lastly MacBook Pro.
If there is any laptop that you feel can be added to the list, feel free to post your suggestions!
Join our newsletter!
Enter your email to receive our latest newsletter.
Don't worry, we don't spam
7 Highly-Recommended Drafting Boards for Architects
The Top 7 Most Versatile Self-Healing Cutting Mats
10 Best Measuring Tape for Architects and Designers
10 Must-Have Architect Tools to carry while visiting Architectural Site
The Top 10 Best Drawing Sheet Storage Tube for Architects and Designers
The Top 10 Notebooks to Carry for Architect-Client Meeting
If you're in search of the best drawing tablets out there, look no further! Our top 5 list will
Discover the ultimate creativity and precision with our expert-curated list of the top 10 best smartpens for architects and designers.
Looking for a tablet to aid your design work? Our list includes the top 7 tablets for architects and designers.
Get organized with the top 10 gadgets every architect must have. These tools will help you stay on top of
Are you an Architecture Student and have a budget but still want a great computer? Check out these best budget