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For those looking to get into architecture, the best laptops for architecture students and architects should be acquired. Architecture is made much less complex via computational software, which makes drafting architectural designs more feasible.

However, not any computer will do. While there are any number of computers that can run the software, that doesn’t mean those computers can run it well; or at least, not well enough to make digital drafting more amenable than longhand drafting.

It’s no good waiting half an hour while some simple model gets rendered. Not when that same rendering on a decent computer could take place in a matter of minutes or seconds. So, any best laptops that fit the architecture students’ or professional architects lifestyle, should at least have following key specifications:

How to choose a laptop for Architecture Students and Professional Architects

CPU: Any architecture student or a professional architect will be running powerful CAD and modeling software. It is wise to get at least Intel i5 or above to avoid any hassle.

GPU: You will be using hardcore graphic software like Rhino, Adobe creative suite, Photoshop, 3DsMax, ArchCAD, Revit, Sketchup, Vectorworks that require a formidable graphic card. Thus, we recommend getting at least 2 GB of dedicated GPU for smooth processing. Personally, we prefer NIVIDA and Radeon.

RAM: Architectural software will account for a big chunk of your RAM and particularly in the case when any student or professional are multitasking. Therefore, a laptop with at least 8 GB of RAM, preferably places you on the safe spot.

HDD Vs SSD Vs Hybrid drive: Architecture works files required significant space, hence the higher the storage the better off you are. SSD is faster and reliable than mechanical hard drive, but comes at the expense of higher price tag. So, to enjoy the pros of both SSD and HDD, we recommend getting Hybrid drive. You can install the OS and architecture software in SSD and all other files in HDD for the optimum performance.

Mac VS Windows: It all comes down to your personal preferences. Both are well geared to handle the challenges offered by the job. Windows are more user friendlier as they support a wide array of software, but are exposed to more viruses than Mac. Mac on the other hand is well perceived by professional as great for the graphic use but considered overly priced.

Screen Size and Resolution: Considering the level of mobility yet without ignoring needed attention to detail, a laptop with a screen size between 15 to 17 inches are the best size for architectural rendering.

The FHD resolution will be enough for the work. However, getting higher resolution like UHD, 4K or 5K prepares you for the upcoming future trends.

Before, moving on to our article, let’s take a peek at our list of 8 best laptops for architecture students and architects. If you know your sense of style you are more than welcome to use the “Read Me” link for quick access.

Top 8 laptop for architecture works-2018


Key Spec


Full Review

1. Lenovo ThinkPad P51

NVIDIA Ouadro M1200M

under $2000

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2. Dell Inspiron i557- 15 inch


under $800

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3. Toshiba Satellite C55-C5241- 15 inch

Mobile Intel HD 5500 Graphics

under $500

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4. Acer Aspire E 15

NVIDIA GeForce 940MX

under $600

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5. Microsoft Surface Book

Discrete NVIDIA GeForce

under $2000

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6. HP GBook G2

NVIDIA Quadro K610M

under $1000

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7. MSI WE62 7RJ- 15 inch

NVIDIA Quadro M2200

under $2000

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8. Acer Aspire V15


under $1000

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Now, lets move on to our list! Below are explored best laptops for architecture students/architecture on the market right now. They have a variety of features, and between them architecture students should be able to find that computer which best fits their needs.

1. Lenovo ThinkPad P51 Mobile WorkStation

our top recommended windows laptop for architecture design-2018

Best architecture laptop 2018

When you’re in a market for CAD friendly laptops, one of the brands that don’t go unnoticed is Lenovo ThinkPad. With the goal of ensuring optimum performance and software stability, Lenovo launched P50 & P51. Its seamless user experience is backed by ISV certification as P51 went through many rigorous testing conducted by leading independent vendors.

Lenovo ThinkPad P51  features the 7th gen Intel Core i7-7700HQ Quad Core Processor clocked @ 2.8- 3.8 GHz. With quad core processing, large 6M cache and hyper threading feature, the i7-7700HQ offers blazing fast calculation, as it tends to boost the multi-repetitive task that is often demanded by AutoCAD and 3D design.

To harness the efficiency of its powerful processor, Lenovo has armed this workstation with 4GB of NVIDIA Quadro M1200M. This might not be new to many that NVIDIA has been offering the discrete Quadro line of video cards for the professions that specializes in 3D modeling and design. Basically the Quadro line from NVIDIA is tailored to fast calculate the mathematically intensive work to ensure a high level of accuracy that is the most in the field of architecture.

Quadro M1200M is based on NVIDIA latest Maxwell architecture, which is the successor of their previous Kepler architecture. With the speed clocked at 991-1150 MHz, 640 CUDA, 4GB of VRAM and 80 GB/Sec of bandwidth, it is relatively close to previous generation expensive K2200M video card. Since, many of the 3D designing programs can be run through GPU, this workstation will certainly perform great in 3D modeling and rendering, as 3D programs doesn’t have to involve in power sharing with CPU instead it can use its powerful GPU.

Though it has the various options to upgrade, we recommend getting the faster and durable SSD than mechanical HDD. But if you are on a budget, Hybrid drive might be the best spot for you. Its 4 x USB 3.0, Thunderbolt 3, Mini Display Port, HDMI, and SD card make sure multi connectivity while the 16GB of RAM will sharpen your multi tasking up to 7 hours on a full charge.

This powerhouse workstation is priced around $1500 to $2000. We understand it’s little too much for students who already are on tight budget. Still, we think it is a great deal for students, as they won’t need any better replacement in future because it has all the needed ammunition for your college as well as your professional days.


2. Microsoft Surface Book: best ultrabook for architecture students-2018

With the introduction of the surface book Microsoft has stepped in the turf of laptop industry. For their first generation laptop, the  Microsoft surface book is really a game changer when it comes to meet the need of those who really need powerful 2 in 1 laptop.

There are various configurations of surface book. But for the architecture needs, we recommend the surface book with Custom NVIDIA dedicated GPU with at least 256 SSD, as architects have to use graphic intensive software like 3DsMax, Rhino and so on.

Powered by Dual core 6th Generation skylake 2.4 GHz Intel core i5-6300U, it is well geared to render every tough challenge. With the dedicated GPU from NVIDIA, you will not find a chance to complain about its video graphics and any lagging problem associated with any of your software and entertainment gear. Its custom GPU is based on a Maxwell architecture with 1 GB of GDDR5. Yes! It sure can pull 4K resolutions at 60Hz.

It can be transformed into tablet with a push of a button, which separates it from the keyboard panel. Its tablet is armed with Microsoft’s famous surface pen. It comes handy for student while note taking, designing or drawing. The tablet by itself can go up to 3 hours on a full charge and can be charged separately. But when attach to the keyboard, it will not only triple boost the performance, but also the battery life to a staggering 12 hours.

Aesthetically pleasing design with beast performance is what you get from this ultra book. It has Magnesium alloy casing. This specific model weighs around 3.48 pounds. It has a 13.3 inch display with unique 3:2 aspect ratio. This laptop has full sized keyboard with one of the best trackpad that rivals the Apple MacBook. For connectivity, it has two 3.0 USB ports, and a mini display port.

Image Credit: Amazon
Image Credit: Amazon



3. HP ZBook G2 Mobile Business Workstation: best laptop for architecture work-2018

This computer comes with a fourth generation Intel Core i5-4200M processor with a clock speed 2.6 GHz. It has a Windows 8 Professional 64-Bit Operating System. The screen is 15.6 inches and backlit by LED technology.

It has a full High Definition display featuring anti-glare technology and a 1920 x 1080 FHD resolution. It is armed with SuperMulti DL DVD+/RW drive.

If you are really looking for cheap yet best CAD friendly workstation that is ridiculously    underpriced under $1000, it sure is your best bet. With this mobile workstation, you will get the mighty NVIDIA Quadro K610M graphics card. So, you can expect it to run all your software like 3DsMax, ArchCAD, Revit, Vectorworks with high level of accuracy and precision.

It is geared with needed 8GB of RAM for multitasking. For multi connectivity, it has 3 USB 3.0 ports, a USB 2.0 port, a Display Port 1.2 and VGA slots. It has 500 GB of HDD clocking at 7200 RPM. You can easily upgrade it to SSD for only a fraction of the cost and still ended of having the best value laptop for the money. Thanks to the advancement of the technology, SSDs is now found in fairly reasonable prices than before. Check it out!

Finally the computer has a keyboard, which is also backlit and spill-resistant to boot. The battery is an 8-cell 83Whr battery, and the computer comes with a three-year warranty. The expansive storage space, top-of-the-line graphics card, DTS surround sound system and backlit amenities make it stand out above the rest as far as architectural computers are concerned.


4. MSI WE62 7RJ: Top laptop for architecture rendering-2018

Specially designed for power hungry tasks, professional architecture will definitely find this beast as their next favorite thing. Powered by Intel Core i7-7700HQ 2.8 GHz Processor, it sure can run any programs in ultra fast speed.

Its NVIDIA Quadro M2200 with 4GB GDDR5 VRAM GPU is what makes it great for architectural works. Based on Maxwell architecture, its GPU is undoubtedly one of the powerful GPU that you will find in todays market. Also, the 5th Generation of GDDR offers twice the speed than GDDR3. Just to give you an idea, it can easily run 2 external 4K display simultaneously.

Its dedicated dual cooling system prevents this laptop from overheating and excels your creativity without giving any hassle even when the GPU is Overclocking. With 16 GB DDR4 RAM, the multitasking is limited to you not the laptop anymore. If thats not enough, you can always upgrade your RAM via latest NVMe M.2 SSD slot. With the max speed of 2200 MB/s, it is around 5 times faster than traditional SSD.

Its 15.6-inch IPS panel screen displaying 1920 x 1080 pixels offers the crisp, clear image quality with great attention to details. The colorful backlit full-size keypads are designed for easy and fast typing with all the needed shortcut keys. 

The 512 SSD is enough for storing all the files and folders. The 2 USB 3.0 ports, RJ 45, SD card slot, mini displayport HDMI port and Bluetooth make this laptop ideal for multi-connectivity. Also, fitted with dynamo premium sound speakers with active subwoofers make it great for watching movies and listening music.

Last but not the least, this mobile workstation is ISV certified by major ISVs  such as AutoDesk, Adobe, and Dassault Systems.



5. Acer Aspire V15: best laptop for architecture students under 1000 dollars-2018

Acer’s entry on this list includes an Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor of 2.6 gigahertz. It has 8 GB of DDR4 RAM. The hard-drive is 1 TB in size and has a 5400-RPM hard drive.

The screen of this computer is 15.6 inches, and powerful NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M graphics card is included. This computer has a large screen, and it does include the NVIDIA graphics card, meaning it will be able to run those graphic intense architectural programs with solid proficiency.



Best Budget laptop for architecture students 2018

If you are an architecture major student looking for a laptop that doesn’t break your bank, but offers you better bounce for the ounce than you might want to check this out!

6. Dell Inspiron i5577-5335BLK 15.6″ Full-HD Gaming Laptop

Our top recommended laptop for architecture students-2018

This computer features an Intel i5-7300HQ 3.5 GHz Quad-Core processor with a 6M Cache and Turbo speed up to 3.6 gigahertz. Priced under 800 dollars, this beast includes all the bells and whistle needed by architecture students

To find a laptop with mighty NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 4GB GDDR5 under this price range is something that makes this laptop attractive and admirable. Based on 2st gen Maxwell architecture, GTX 1050 is powerful enough to run any graphic intense software offered by architectural works. This GPU is tested and approved by professional communities for its hardcore graphics processing attributes. The dual cooling fans, three exhausts and large vents prevent this laptop from overheating.

Its 8 GB DDR4 of RAM is perfect for multitasking and running heavy software. Fitted with 256 GB of solid-state drive, it offers faster data transfer speed and eliminate the hassle of frequent hard drive crashing than mechanical HDD.

Its 15.6-inch FHD IPS panel screen offers wide viewing angle, awesome image quality and anti-glare protection. The 3 USB 3.0 ports, HDMI port, Ethernet ports, Bluetooth capable and media card reader slots geared this laptop for multi-connectivity. Furthermore, the MaxxAudio Pro audio system with active subwoofers polishes this laptop’s entertainment productivity.

Weighing around 5.66 pounds, you can expect around 10 hours of battery life from a single charge. With only 1 inch thick, it is one of the thinnest laptops that can harness great productivity.


7. Toshiba Satellite C55-C5241 15.6 Inch

best cheap laptop for students under $500-2018

If you are starting your study as a beginner in the architecture field and want to go easy on your wallet then, this laptop might be your best bet. Don’t let the price tag misjudge its capabilities. Powered by Intel Core i5-5200U Processor, this laptop will avoid any nuisance while running and rendering your college works.

Its Mobile Intel HD 5500 Graphics is obviously not the best in the market but considering the price tag, it is still the one of the best GPU that can get you through your assignments.

Its 15.6-inch screen displays 1366X768 pixels and comes equipped with 1 TB of HDD. The 8 GB of RAM is good enough for multitasking. This laptop was designed to work with windows 10. Furnished with 3 USB ports, HDMI ports, DVD drives and SD card slots, connecting multi-devices will not be an issue.

Weighing around 4.8 pounds with 1 inch thick, this laptop delivers a stylish thin premium look. You can squeeze up to 8 hours of battery life with this beast. It sure is a laptop with a great many features for less of a price.


8. Acer Aspire E 15: best laptop for architecture students under $600-2018

Many of us ended up buying an expensive laptop only to use the fraction of its actual performance. It’s simply because our daily activities doesn’t require that high level performance. The sole reason many of us landed on that spot is the cause of effective marketing strategy that has changed our perspective and inclined us to believe the cost to value factor. If you are one of those individuals who is skeptical about the performance and durability render by budget laptops, then you certainly should check this beast by Acer.

We are not saying this laptop is better than some of the expensive laptops, but if you are on a budget and looking for best value laptop that is powerful enough for mid level modeling and rendering, it will get the job done without any nuisance what so ever.

Acer has geared this laptop with 7th gen Intel Core i5-7200U Processor, which actually meets the standard require to run any architecture software. You will find the 2GB of dedicated GPU from NVIDIA GeForce 940MX inside which is powerful to support any mid level modeling software. These specs have blended with its 256 GB of SSD drive. It will instantly eliminate frequent crashing, sluggish read and write speed that was one of the foremost fall back of the Mechanical hard disk drive.

Its 12 hours of whopping battery life can be the deal breaker for any architecture students who often have to deal with long college hours. Further, it 8GB of RAM make sure to keep up with your multitasking ability. Its 15.6-inch display FHD resolution is not bad for a laptop under $600. You can connect this laptop to many external devices, as it supports USB 3.0, HDMI and digital media card readers.




Thank you for reading all the way through. We hope our article was informative and suffice enough to make your buying decision. All our listed laptops are the best sellers that the reason why they keep showing in the post like this. Since, engineering works demand CAD friendly GPU and other many similar attributes of architecture work, Please feel free to read our post on it! Good luck with your purchase! Shop Smart!

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    • As of today HP Pavilion g6 i7 is pretty old laptop. For the same price range you can find better value laptop in our article. Thank you for considering us!


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