The Best Laptop for Architecture Students on a Budget

Best Laptop for Architecture Students

Looking for the best laptop for architecture students? What if we told you the 9 laptops and workstations below have the power to change your academic career forever? Being a student is tough, we should know. It’s even harder when you don’t have the right tools. CAD (Computer Aided Design) software like Rhino, 3ds, ArchiCAD, Revit and Vectorworks use demanding software. When you need extraordinary power to create incredible designs, but affordability is also a concern. Don’t worry, we got you. We’ve also provided a handy insider’s guide you can use to help you choose the best. So, let’s go!

IN A HURRY?  HERE’S OUR TOP PICKS…

CPURAMGraphics
1.Lenovo ThinkPad P53sIntel Quad-Core i7-8565U 24GBNVIDIA Quadro P520 w/ 2GB vRAMCheck
2.Microsoft Surface Book 2Intel Quad-Core i7-8650U 16GBNVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 w/ 6GB vRAMCheck
3.HP ZBook 15U G6Intel Quad-Core i7-8565U 16GBAMD Radeon Pro WX 3200 w/ 4GB vRAMCheck
4.HP Pavilion 15Intel Hexa-Core i7-9750H 16GBNVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 w/ 6GB vRAM Check
5.Dell Inspiron 15 7000Intel Quad-Core i7-7700HQ 16GBNVIDIA GTX 1060 w/ 6GB vRAMCheck
6.Microsoft Surface Book 3Intel Quad-Core i7-1065G7 32GBNVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 w/ 4GB vRAMCheck
7.Dell Precision M7530Intel Hexa-Core i7-8850H 16GBNVIDIA Quadro P1000 w/ 4GB vRAM Check
8.Acer Aspire 7Intel Quad-Core i7-8705G16GBAMD Mad Radeon RX Vega M GL w/ 4GB vRAM Check
9.Asus VivoBook S15Intel Quad-Core i7-10510U 16GBNVIDIA GeForce MX250 w/ 2GB vRAMCheck

Best Laptop for Architecture Students Reviews

1. Lenovo ThinkPad P53s

Lenovo ThinkPad P15s Home & Business Laptop (Intel i7-1165G7 4-Core, 24GB RAM, 512GB PCIe SSD, NVIDIA Quadro T500, 15.6" Full HD (1920x1080), Fingerprint, WiFi, Bluetooth, Win 10 Pro) with Hub
  • 【Upgraded】 Seal is opened for Hardware/Software upgrade only to enhance performance. 15.6" Full HD (1920x1080) 60Hz IPS Display; Wi-Fi 6E AX210 Wifi, Bluetooth 5.2, 720p HD Webcam, Fingerprint Security System, Backlit Keyboard, .
  • 【Powerful Performance with Intel Core i7-1165G7 Quad Core】 11th Gen Intel Core i7-1165G7 2.80GHz Processor (upto 4.7 GHz, 12MB Cache, 4-Cores) ; NVIDIA Quadro T500 4GB GDDR6 Graphics, .
  • 【High Speed and Multitasking】 24GB DDR4 RAM (16GB Onboard + 8GB SODIMM); 65W Power Supply, 3-Cell 57 WHr Battery; Black Color, Micro SIM Slot.
  • 【Enormous Storage】 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD; 2 USB 3.2 Gen1, 1 HDMI, 2 Thunderbolt 4 (Type-C), Micro SD Reader, Headphone/Microphone Combo Jack., Windows 10 Pro-64., 1 Year Manufacturer warranty from GreatPriceTech (Professionally upgraded by GreatPriceTech)

Last update on 2021-11-17 at 18:36 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Lenovo ThinkPad P53s is a chunky workstation-level laptop that doesn’t skimp on performance to deliver a potent machine for 3D design work.

BUILD:  As a student you want durability.  The ThinkPad 53s passes a dozen MIL-STD tests for durability, so the chassis exhibits almost no flex.  Not only that, but its ISV certified.

DISPLAY:  The 15.6-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080) non-touch display gives you plenty of brightness to see your designs and excellent contrast with lively colors and crisp detail so your models look how you want them to.

SPECS:  It’s kitted with a mid-level hardware configuration consisting of an Intel 8th generation Whisky Lake Quad-Core i7-8565U CPU, a huge 24GB RAM, 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD, and dedicated NVIDIA Quadro P520 graphics with 2GB GDDR5 vRAM. 

KEYBOARD:  Since it’s a Lenovo it’s impossible to find fault with the backlit keyboard; it has an exemplary typing feel.  And you get the familiar red TrackPoint nestled between the G, H, and B keys and a smooth-gliding touchpad for pointing devices.  There’s a fingerprint reader with Windows Hello for secure login.

PORTS:  Want ports?  How about one Thunderbolt port, a USB 3.1 Type-C port, two USB 3.1 Type-A ports (one with device charging), a micro SD card reader and SmartCard slot, HDMI, Ethernet, with USB 3.0 hub, audio/mic combo jack, a SIM tray for optional mobile broadband, 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth 5.

BATTERY LIFE:  With all this on-board performance potency, the 3-cell 57WHr battery only has a runtime of about 2-hours.

Pros:

  • sky-high memory ceiling
  • excellent ThinkPad keyboard
  • picture perfect display
  • fantastic selection of ports

Cons:

  • poor battery life

2. Microsoft Surface Book 2

Microsoft Surface Book 2 15-Inch 256GB i7 2-In-1 Laptop Bundle (16GB RAM, Detachable Touchscreen, Windows 10 Pro) 2017
  • 1.9GHz 8th Generation Intel Core i7-8650U Quad-Core (Up to 4.2GHz)
  • 16GB of RAM, 256GB SSD Storage, Detachable Screen Design, 17 Hour Battery Life
  • 15 Inch (3240 x 2160 Resolution) TouchScreen Display, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 GPU (6GB GDDR5)
  • SDXC Media Card Slot, USB Type-C, USB 3.0 Type-A, 802.11ac Wi-F,| Bluetooth 4.1,Windows 10 Pro (64-Bit)
  • Included in Surface Book 2 15 Inch 256GB i7 Bundle: Microsoft Surface Pen Platinum, USB Type-C to HDMI / VGA / DVI Adapter

Last update on 2021-11-17 at 18:36 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Sometimes you need a tablet.  Sometimes you need a laptop.  Enter the Microsoft Surface Book 2, a top-of-the-line premium hybrid laptop and design masterpiece.

BUILD:  This often imitated, beautifully designed detachable 2-in-1 features a premium magnesium alloy construction that gives a reassuring feeling of value.  And it retains its signature ability to detach the screen from the keyboard.

DISPLAY:  This is the larger 15.6-inch model with a high 3420 x 2160 resolution touchscreen.  It looks so sharp with a Microsoft Surface Pen Platinum included that you’re inclined to think that it works better as a tablet than a laptop.  But the core design is a laptop with ability of turning into a tablet.

SPECS:  Inside is an Intel Quad-Core i7-8650U CPU, 16GB of RAM, 256GB SSD and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 graphics with 6GB of GDDR5 vRAM.  It’s a configuration package that delivers near-workstation level performance; which is saying something for a detachable laptop.

KEYBOARD:  The backlit keyboard provides a satisfying typing experience with a good amount of travel.  The touchpad is responsive but it’s not as quiet as the keys.

PORTS:  All of the connections are located on the keyboard deck, including one USB Type-C port, a USB 3.0 Type- A port, SDXC media card slot, USB Type-C to HDMI/ VGA, DVI adapter which comes in handy for plugging into larger projectors and monitors, 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.1.

BATTERY LIFE:  Given the super high resolution, the system is a supported by a very long 9-hour battery life.

Pros:

  • top-notch battery performance
  • fantastic display
  • incredible specs for a 2-in-1

Cons:

  • it’s not radically different from the first gen, but a notable improvement

3. HP ZBook 15U G6

Last update on 2021-11-17 at 11:17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The HP ZBook 15 G6 is not the lightest or the fastest mobile workstation you can buy.  But it’s a solid machine with a solid build.

BUILD:  It’s bulky.  It’s bigger and heavier than the Lenovo ThinkPad P53s at 5.8 pounds.  But its girded by an aluminum chassis and passed no fewer than 21 MIL-STD tests; you get virtually no chassis flex.  And like the Lenovo, the ZBook is ISV certified.

DISPLAY:  The 15.6-inch Full HD IPS display is surrounded by the same thick bezel as the G5 model before it.  But the matte DreamColor screen provides ample brightness, deep contrast, and razor-sharp detail with rich colors.

SPECS:  Under the hood is an Intel Core i7-8565U CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD and AMD Radeon Pro WX 3200 graphics with 4GB of vRAM.  It’s beautifully engineered but lags the ThinkPad P53s.

KEYBOARD:  The typing feel is comfortable with clicky, snappy feedback.  For cursor control, there’s a Lenovo-like pointing stick at the intersection of the G, H and B keys.  And a touchpad that glides smoothly with three dedicated buttons that feel soft and springy to use.

PORTS:  It has the same layout of ports as the G5 too.  On the sides you’ll find two Thunderbolt 3 ports, three USB 3.1 Type-A ports (one with device charging), HDMI, Ethernet, an SD card slot, a SmartCard slot, an audio jack, 802.11 Wifi and Bluetooth.

BATTERY LIFE:  Battery endurance also lags the ThinkPad P53s with only a 2-hour runtime.

Pros:

  • lots of room to upgrade memory and storage
  • gorgeous display
  • wonderful input features

Cons:

  • bulky design

4. Acer Nitro 5

Acer Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop, 9th Gen Intel Core i7-9750H, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060, 15.6" Full HD IPS 144Hz Display, 16GB DDR4, 256GB NVMe SSD, Wi-Fi 6, Waves MaxxAudio, Backlit Keyboard, AN515-54-728C
  • 9th Generation Intel Core i7-9750H 6-Core Processor (Up to 4.5 GHz)
  • 15.6" Full HD Widescreen IPS LED-backlit display | 144 hertz refresh rate | NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 Graphics with 6 GB of dedicated GDDR6 VRAM
  • 16GB DDR4 2666MHz Memory | 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD (2 x PCIe M.2 slots - 1 slot open for easy upgrades) & 1 - Available hard drive bay
  • LAN: 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet LAN (RJ-45 port) | Wireless: Intel Wireless Wi-Fi 6 AX200 802.11ax
  • Backlit keyboard | Acer CoolBoost technology with twin fans and dual exhaust ports

Last update on 2021-11-17 at 11:17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Positioned below the Predator series, this is one of Acer’s strongest additions to the Nitro 5 lineup.  But you’ll have to get into knowing that its primarily designed to be an affordable gaming laptop.

BUILD:  Disappointingly the chassis is made entirely of plastic.  The surface area is almost entirely smooth except for the imitation of brushed metal on the lid.  Although we wish the lid and keyboard deck had more rigidity for student life, the workmanship is good.

DISPLAY:  The 15.6-inch IPS display operates at a 1920 x 1080 native resolution with a 144Hz refresh rate.  Brightness and contrast levels are acceptable.  As well as color reproduction.

SPECS:  The configuration is pleasing for handling modeling software, including a 9th generation Comet Lake Intel Hexa-Core i7-9750H CPU, 16GB DDR4 RAM, 256GB PCIe M.2 NVMe SSD and dedicated NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 graphics with 6GB of GDDR6 vRAM for whatever the school day throws at you.

KEYBOARD:  The RGB backlit keyboard offers medium travel with a clear pressure point.  The deck yields a bit during typing sessions but its suitable for every-day use.  Dido the multi-touch capable ClickPad – it has a smooth surface and even reacts to inputs in the corners. 

PORTS:  There’s no Thunderbolt 3.  But you get a USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C port, two USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, USB 2.0 port, HDMI 2.0 port with HDCP support, Ethernet, and 802.11 WiFi 6.

BATTERY LIFE:  We consider the battery runtime of 5-hours good for a workstation-like laptop like this.

Pros:

  • 144Hz IPS display
  • good performance
  • good battery life

Cons:

  • no Thunderbolt 3
  • brightness, contrast and color accuracy could be better

5. Dell Inspiron 15 7000

Last update on 2021-11-17 at 18:36 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Below Dell’s acclaimed XPS lineup, one of the major things the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 has going for it is expandability.  And it offers a roomy hybrid drive storage solution, not to mention a beautiful 4K screen!

BUILD:  You get an accessible RAM slot, additional connections for a second PCIe M.2 SSD and even a 2.5inch drive.  It’s a well-built “midrange” laptop with a stamped aluminum chassis that doesn’t show any significant bending or flexing.

DISPLAY:  Ordinarily, a laptop with a 4K screen is difficult for us to recommend, especially with the resource heavy software you’ll be using.  But for the price, the 15.6-inch matte display here will add vividness, vibrancy and crisp detail to your design work. 

SPECS:  This Ultrabook also comes with a powerful 7th generation Sky Lake Intel Quad-Core i7-7700HQ CPU, 16 DDR4 RAM, a 512GB M.2 SSD plus a 1TB MHD (mechanical hard drive) and dedicated NVIDIA GTX 1060 graphics with 6GB GDDR5 vRAM – It’s ability to add a two storage drive is more than any laptop here.

KEYBOARD:  The backlit keyboard is comfortable with plenty of travel and a snappy mechanism that’s good for fast typing.  The Windows 10 touchpad is above average with plenty of space and supports Microsoft Precision drivers. 

PORTS:  Connectivity options include USB 3.1, HDMI 2.0, 2-in-1 media card reader, 802.11ac Wifi and Bluetooth 4.2.

BATTERY LIFE:  You shouldn’t expect any more than a 2-hour battery endurance.  So, you’ll want to keep this machine plugged into a power outlet.

Pros:

  • upgradable hardware
  • solid performance
  • good input devices
  • a 4K screen

Cons:

  • older hardware
  • 4K takes a toll on battery endurance

6. Microsoft Surface Book 3

Microsoft Surface Book 3 13.5 Inch Touch-Screen 512GB i7 32GB RAM with Windows 10 Pro (Wi-Fi, 1.3GHz Quad-Core i7 up to 3.9GHz, Newest Version) SLM-00001
  • Business and Student Edition with Windows 10 Pro, Commercial Packaging, 13.5" 3000 x 2000 Touchscreen
  • 512GB PCIe SSD Storage, 32GB LPDDR4x RAM,
  • 1.3GHz (Up to 3.9GHz) 10th Gen Intel Quad-Core i7-1065G7, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Graphics (4GB GDDR5)
  • Up to 15.5 Hours of Battery Life, Windows 10 Pro, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0
  • Larger Touchpad, SDXC Card Reader, 1 x USB Type-C port, 2 x USB Type-A Ports, 2 x Surface Connect ports, 1 x 3.5 mm Headphone, Compatible with Surface Dial

Last update on 2021-11-17 at 11:17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Microsoft Surface line of laptops is bigger than ever, and the Microsoft Surface Book 3 hits almost every mark for an architecture student.

BUILD:  Competitors like the Dell XPS 13 and the HP Spectre x360 have stepped up their game.  The Surface 3 competes with a chassis that looks and feels like a luxury laptop.  The design is top heavy, like the Surface Book 2.  But like that device it serves as a laptop first and secondly as a tablet. 

DISPLAY:  If you want a smaller notebook to hold in tablet mode than the Surface Book 2, the 13.5-inch screen fits nicely in hand.  The 3000 x 200 resolution touchscreen is spectacularly sharp and bright with excellent color rendering.  But the Surface Pen is not included.

SPECS:  The Surface Book 3 errs on the side of power which is exactly what you want for 3D modeling.  You get a 10th generation Ice Lake Quad-Core i7-1065G7 CPU, 32GB LPDDR4 RAM, 512GB PCIe SSD and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 graphics with 4GB GDDR5 vRAM.

KEYBOARD:  When it comes to 2-in-1 laptop keyboards, Microsoft is second to none.  And the Clickpad is large and fantastic.

PORTS:  You get one USB Type-C port, two USB Type-A ports, SDXC card reader, audio/mic jack, 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6 for improved reception and speed and Bluetooth 5.

BATTERY LIFE:  The battery life isn’t bad for this category, but it falls behind the competition.  Still, you should expect around 9-hours in laptop mode and 3-hours as a tablet.

Pros:

  • finally, a USB Type-C port
  • great keyboard and touchpad
  • long battery life

Cons:

  • no Thunderbolt
  • Surface Pen not included

7. Dell Precision M7530

Dell Precision 7530 VR Ready 15.6" LCD Mobile Workstation with Intel Core i7-8850H Hexa-core 2.6 GHz, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD
  • Available with Windows 10 Pro - for a smooth, versatile PC experience.
  • Part of a complete workstation: with single cable docking and Thunderbolt 3 connectivity, large file transfers are quick and Easy so your productivity remains high
  • Create fully-immersive AR and VR content with next generation NVIDIA Quadro Professional Graphics and powerful performance normally found only in tower workstations.
  • OS : Windows 10 Pro

Last update on 2021-11-17 at 11:17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Precision 7530 represents the top-tier of Dell’s Precision lineup which include the 3000 and 5000 models.  This is a workstation-level laptop with a ton of fairly portable performance.

BUILD:  The overall size is 14% smaller than the previous generation so that at 5.6 pounds it weighs as much as any mobile workstation.  It shares a carbon fiber chassis with Military-standard durability with the Latitude.  But it lacks the thoughtful industrial design of the HP ZBook 15 above. 

DISPLAY:  The 15.6-inch LCD display doesn’t skimp on quality.  Although it’s non-touch, you get a Full HD resolution that looks phenomenal.

SPECS:  An impressive hardware list consists of a Whiskey Lake Intel Hexa-Core i7-8850H CPU, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, and a mighty NVIDIA Quadro P1000 graphics with 4GB of vRAM for creating fully immersive AR and VR models.  And Dell’s Precision Optimizer.

KEYBOARD:  Using the keyboard is a deep and comfortable experience.  But the touchpad isn’t as nice as the increasingly high standards of many of the flagship models.  You get a Lenovo like pointing stick between the G and H keys providing a secondary option for controlling the mouse. 

PORTS:  Standout features also include a ton of I/O ports, including two USB Type-C ports, two USB 3.1 Type-A ports, Ethernet, HDMI, a mini DisplayPort, an SD card reader, a SmartCard reader, a headphone jack, and 802.11g Wifi.

BATTERY LIFE:  The six-cell 97WHr battery nets you around a 3-hours runtime before you’ll need to start scrambling around for a power outlet.

Pros:

  • performance that caters to your needs
  • fantastic selection of ports
  • comfortable keyboard and touchpad

Cons:

  • dimmer than average display
  • wanting touchpad performance

8. Acer Aspire 7

Acer Aspire 7 Laptop, 15.6" Full HD, 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8705G, AMD Radeon RX Vega M GL, 16GB DDR4, 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD, A715-73G-75BW
  • 8th Generation Intel Core i7-8705G 4-Core Processor (Up to 4. 1GHz)
  • Mad Radeon RX Vega M GL with 4 GB of second generation high bandwidth Memory (HBM2)
  • 15. 6" Full HD (1920 x 1080) widescreen LED-backlit IPS display
  • 16GB DDR4 Onboard Memory & 512GB PC NV Me SSD
  • 802. 11AC Wi-Fi | Backlit keyboard | USB 3. 1 Type C Gen 1 port | fingerprint reader | Windows 10 Home

Last update on 2021-11-17 at 11:17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Acer Aspire 7 is a beefier version of the Aspire 5 and a solid choice for AutoCAD and getting things done.

BUILD:  It’s not the slickest looking machine around.  But with its metal chassis mixed with a plastic lid and base, it looks and feels pricier than it is.  And even as big as it is, it’s still a travel-friendly monster. 

DISPLAY:  The 15.6-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080) display is LED-backlit with IPS for wide viewing angles.  You’ll find the colors and contrast pleasing to look at, but it’s not especially bright.

SPECS:  This is the A715-73G-75BW configuration which comes with an 8th generation Whisky Lake Intel Quad-Core i7-8705G CPU, 16GB DDR4 RAM, 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD and dedicated AMD Mad Radeon RX Vega M GL graphics with 4GB of vRAM that works great for 3D modeling software.

KEYBOARD:  The backlit keyboard feels soft to use with a pleasant pop on re-bound.  The precision touchpad is on the soft side too with smooth and responsive performance.  And off to the right under the keys is a fingerprint reader for secure login.

PORTS:  When it comes to I/O ports, you get one USB 3.1 Type C Gen 1 port, two USB Type-A ports, a USB 2.0 port, HDMI, Ethernet, and 802.11ac Wi-Fi.

BATTERY LIFE:  With all this system has going for it when it comes to power and performance.  You should expect a battery runtime of around 6-hours before you’ll need to plug into a power outlet.

Pros:

  • matte IPS display
  • NVMe SSD
  • backlit keyboard

Cons:

  • poorly positioned power jack
  • dark display

9. Asus VivoBook S15

ASUS VivoBook S15 S532 Thin & Light Laptop, 15.6” FHD, Intel Core i7-10510U CPU, 16GB RAM, 1TB PCIe SSD, NVIDIA GeForce MX250 Graphics, IR Camera, Windows 10 Home, S532FL-DS79, Transparent Silver
  • ScreenPad 2.0 adds an interactive secondary 5.65” touchscreen to enhance productivity
  • ScreenPad 2.0 fits a series of handy ASUS utility apps: Quick Key, Number Key, Handwriting, Slide Xpert, etc.
  • 15.6” Full HD NanoEdge bezel display with stunning 88% screen-to-body ratio and 5.65” Full HD ScreenPad 2.0
  • Powerful Intel Core i7-10510U Processor (8M Cache, up to 4.9 GHz)
  • NVIDIA GeForce MX250 discrete graphics with Windows 10 Home

Last update on 2021-11-17 at 11:17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

But if you want a laptop that’s even cheaper with hardware that’s powerful enough for computer aided design.  The Asus VivoBook S15 is an excellent value for what you’re paying. 

BUILD:  The thin and aluminum chassis adds a luxurious feel compared to entry-level laptops made of plastic.  But its bulkier than 13- and 14-inch Ultrabooks.  Yet it slips easily into your bag.

DISPLAY:  The 15.6-inch Full HD display is surrounded by a thin NanoEdge bezel for a stunning 88% screen-to-body ratio.  Colors don’t really pop against the matte finish and you’ll need to turn the brightness up.

SPECS:  Under the hood is a powerful Ice Lake Intel Quad-Core i7-10510U CPU, 16GB DDR4 RAM, 1TB NVMe PCIe M.2 SSD and dedicated NVIDIA GeForce MX250 graphics with 2GB of vRAM. And there’s an IR camera for facial recognition login with Windows Hello.

KEYBOARD:  The “ErgoLift” hinge helps you adjust the backlit keyboard into a comfortable position.  Quirky and unique, the ScreenPad 2.0 adds an interactive, secondary 5.65-inch Full HD touchscreen to enhance productivity with a series of handy Asus utility apps.  The entire assembly is clickable and goes completely black when it’s not in use.

PORTS:  For connections you get two USB 2.0 ports, one USB 3.1 Type-A port, one USB 3.1 Type-C port, HDMI, a MicroSD card reader, 802.11ac Wifi and Bluetooth 4.1.

BATTERY LIFE:  The 42Whr battery has an all-day runtime of 8 hours, even with Screenpad 2.0 on most of the day.

Pros:

  • sleek design
  • innovative ScreenPad 2.0
  • great performance

Cons:

  • dull display
Laptop
Our Top Pick
Lenovo ThinkPad P15s Home & Business Laptop (Intel i7-1165G7 4-Core, 24GB RAM, 512GB PCIe SSD, NVIDIA Quadro T500, 15.6" Full HD (1920x1080), Fingerprint, WiFi, Bluetooth, Win 10 Pro) with Hub
Microsoft Surface Book 2 15-Inch 256GB i7 2-In-1 Laptop Bundle (16GB RAM, Detachable Touchscreen, Windows 10 Pro) 2017
HP Zbook 15U G6 15.6" Mobile Workstation - 1920 X 1080 - Core i7 i7-8565U - 16 GB RAM - 512 GB SSD - Windows 10 Pro 64-bit - AMD Radeon Pro WX 3200 with 4 GB - in-Plane Switching (IPS) Technology
Specs
Lenovo ThinkPad P15s Home & Business Laptop (Intel i7-1165G7 4-Core, 24GB RAM, 512GB PCIe SSD, NVIDIA Quadro T500, 15.6" Full HD (1920x1080), Fingerprint, WiFi, Bluetooth, Win 10 Pro) with Hub
Microsoft Surface Book 2 15-Inch 256GB i7 2-In-1 Laptop Bundle (16GB RAM, Detachable Touchscreen, Windows 10 Pro) 2017
HP Zbook 15U G6 15.6" Mobile Workstation - 1920 X 1080 - Core i7 i7-8565U - 16 GB RAM - 512 GB SSD - Windows 10 Pro 64-bit - AMD Radeon Pro WX 3200 with 4 GB - in-Plane Switching (IPS) Technology
Rating
Our Top Pick
Laptop
Lenovo ThinkPad P15s Home & Business Laptop (Intel i7-1165G7 4-Core, 24GB RAM, 512GB PCIe SSD, NVIDIA Quadro T500, 15.6" Full HD (1920x1080), Fingerprint, WiFi, Bluetooth, Win 10 Pro) with Hub
Specs
Lenovo ThinkPad P15s Home & Business Laptop (Intel i7-1165G7 4-Core, 24GB RAM, 512GB PCIe SSD, NVIDIA Quadro T500, 15.6" Full HD (1920x1080), Fingerprint, WiFi, Bluetooth, Win 10 Pro) with Hub
Rating
Customer Reviews
Laptop
Microsoft Surface Book 2 15-Inch 256GB i7 2-In-1 Laptop Bundle (16GB RAM, Detachable Touchscreen, Windows 10 Pro) 2017
Specs
Microsoft Surface Book 2 15-Inch 256GB i7 2-In-1 Laptop Bundle (16GB RAM, Detachable Touchscreen, Windows 10 Pro) 2017
Rating
Customer Reviews
Laptop
HP Zbook 15U G6 15.6" Mobile Workstation - 1920 X 1080 - Core i7 i7-8565U - 16 GB RAM - 512 GB SSD - Windows 10 Pro 64-bit - AMD Radeon Pro WX 3200 with 4 GB - in-Plane Switching (IPS) Technology
Specs
HP Zbook 15U G6 15.6" Mobile Workstation - 1920 X 1080 - Core i7 i7-8565U - 16 GB RAM - 512 GB SSD - Windows 10 Pro 64-bit - AMD Radeon Pro WX 3200 with 4 GB - in-Plane Switching (IPS) Technology
Rating
Customer Reviews

Last update on 2021-11-17 at 18:36 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Best Laptop for Architecture Students Buying Guide

Not just any laptop will do. The laptop you choose needs to be efficient to make your work easier with enough resources for all your academic tasks.Whether you’re an architecture student. Budding professional. Or experienced practitioner. These are the specifications you’ll want to keep in mind to ensure you get the best system.

CPU

You’ll likely be running a powerful CAD and modeling software.  For that you’ll need at least a Core i5 CPU for hassle-free editing.  Clock speed is important here too.  You also want to prioritize CPUs that that offer quad-cores or more.  The ratio goes something like this:  if one core can render an image in a minute, think about how much time you can save with four or more cores helping to render the same image?

GPU

Hardcore graphics software like Rhino, 3dS Max, ArchiCAD, Revit and Vectorworks require a formidable graphics card.  A laptop with high-quality graphics and plenty of vRAM is essential to your success.  When working with applications where small details carry a lot of importance, the anti-aliasing has to be spot on.  Rendering and editing 3D models requires at least 2GB of vRAM for smooth processing.

The NVIDIA Quadro and AMD FirePro series graphic cards are workstation-level graphics processors that are especially well-suited for CAD, CGI and DCC in general.  Their enhanced Error Correcting Code memory and floating-point precision significantly decrease the mistakes you make.  Even CAD software creators recommend them.

RAM

Architectural software takes a huge bite out of memory, especially when you’re multitasking.  You’ll want a laptop that offers at least 8GB of RAM.  But we recommend 16GB to prevent major bottle necks.

STORAGE

The files used in Architectural design require a substantial amount of space, too.  The more storage you can get with your system the better.  That said an SSD is way faster and more reliable than a laptop with mechanical hard drive. 

A laptop with a hybrid storage solution is even better in that it will allow you to install important programs like the operating system and your Architectural CAD software in the SSD so they can be accessed faster.  Then you can place all your 3D drafts and other files in the larger MHD.

Whatever your decision, we recommend at least 1TB of space, which isn’t difficult to find in today’s laptop landscape.  If you find yourself running out of room, you can always opt for external storage.

SCREEN SIZE

The larger the screen size, the heavier the machine.

However, the larger the screen size, the more of your work you can see all at once without having to scroll all over the place to get the full view of 3D maps and models.  A laptop with a 15 to 17 screen space hits the sweet spot for architectural rendering.  But a 15-inch laptop will generally be more mobile friendly.  That said, we are finding more laptops with a gigantic 17-inch screen with a footprint not much bigger than 15-inch laptop.

RESOLUTION

While a UHD (Ultra High Definition) 4K or 5K laptop might prepare you for future trends.  They’re still difficult to recommend at this time given the fact that this screen resolution usually drives up the cost of the laptop significantly.  Add to that the resources it takes to push a 4K/5K resolution screen and you see why it’s quite difficult to recommend it to any user that travels frequently.

However, since all these laptops have (on average) the same battery runtime and given the specs, relative affordability and the fact that 3D software work well with 4K.  We had to mention the Dell Inspiron 15 7000.

MAC or WINDOWS

Either platform is a good choice for an Architecture student.  But for our money a Windows laptop will support a wider array of software as most programs and applications are built with the Windows OS in mind.  If your worried about viruses, then go with a MacBook.  Although, in recent history MacBooks have been infected with more viruses than they used to.

PORTS

If you know you’ll be connecting to peripherals like projectors and large monitors, consider the connectivity options you need.  The ones you’ll need depends entirely on you.  We recommend checking with your professor or department for more information.

Best Laptop for Architecture Students Brands

LENOVO

Thanks to some innovative new features and a wide selection of laptops, Lenovo is one of the best laptop brands.  Their most popular line is the ThinkPad.  And while they don’t offer many Chromebooks, their line of 2 in 1s – like the Yoga and Flex series – is TOTALLY worth checking out.  Prices are reflective of their premium laptop brand status.  But their offerings are ideal for all types of users.  Most recognized for business class laptops that offer extreme performance and a super flexible design, this brand has all but perfected graphics, touchpads, keyboard, display and audio quality.  Their Legion series gaming notebooks competes against the Asus ROG and Acer Predator series.

MICROSOFT

While offering a solid lineup of laptops and tablets, Microsoft improves its selection by adding the budget-friendly Surface Go.  The Surface Book 2 with one of the best battery endurance times also helps this brand earn a spot on our list of the best laptop brands.  They take a best of both worlds approach to deliver formidable laptops like the Surface line.  They don’t offer Chromebooks.  But you can choose from many 2 in 1 laptops.  Not all the company’s offerings are amazing, however.  But as Microsoft continues to establish itself as competitive brand, we can’t wait to see what they come up with next.

HP

One of the oldest electronics brands, HP has very strong reviews, stellar designs, impressive innovations, top-notch value and selection.  All of which has helped it go head to head with the best laptop brands in the world.  The latest laptops take design cues from contemporaries to raise standards even higher.  HP notebooks are fast, powerful, and supported by a very competent customer service.  Innovations include an AMOLED version of the Spectre x360, which delivers a brighter and more vibrant display than the standard version.

DELL

This is one of the most consistently forward-thinking laptop brands!  Dell has some of the slimmest notebooks you could possibly want.  The most popular line is Inspiron.  But the XPS line is always one of the best laptops to buy and gets the notoriety of doing everything surprisingly well with the latest screen resolutions, connections, premium materials, all topped-off with a solid battery life.  The company’s innovation in Ultrabooks yields a wonderful army of ultraportable laptops with powerful specs.  You can even find 2 in 1s and Chromebooks under this moniker with loads of style and hardware.  And the after sale and technical support is worthy of so much praise. 

ACER

This is one of the largest manufacturers in the world and their laptops are extremely popular among budget users.  Acer continues to offer one of the best overall selections around, with mainstream and gaming options catering to every budget.  You get Chromebooks that are available from just $150 as well as 2 in 1s.  But they also produce high-end gaming laptops like the Predator series and premium notebooks.  You get what you pay for, and Acer laptops are usually the best value for the money.  Their most popular line is the E series and Aspire notebooks like the amazing Aspire 7.  Support for their notebooks leaves plenty to be desired, though. 

Lenovo ThinkPad P15s Home & Business Laptop (Intel i7-1165G7 4-Core, 24GB RAM, 512GB PCIe SSD, NVIDIA Quadro T500, 15.6" Full HD (1920x1080), Fingerprint, WiFi, Bluetooth, Win 10 Pro) with Hub
  • 【Upgraded】 Seal is opened for Hardware/Software upgrade only to enhance performance. 15.6" Full HD (1920x1080) 60Hz IPS Display; Wi-Fi 6E AX210 Wifi, Bluetooth 5.2, 720p HD Webcam, Fingerprint Security System, Backlit Keyboard, .
  • 【Powerful Performance with Intel Core i7-1165G7 Quad Core】 11th Gen Intel Core i7-1165G7 2.80GHz Processor (upto 4.7 GHz, 12MB Cache, 4-Cores) ; NVIDIA Quadro T500 4GB GDDR6 Graphics, .
  • 【High Speed and Multitasking】 24GB DDR4 RAM (16GB Onboard + 8GB SODIMM); 65W Power Supply, 3-Cell 57 WHr Battery; Black Color, Micro SIM Slot.
  • 【Enormous Storage】 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD; 2 USB 3.2 Gen1, 1 HDMI, 2 Thunderbolt 4 (Type-C), Micro SD Reader, Headphone/Microphone Combo Jack., Windows 10 Pro-64., 1 Year Manufacturer warranty from GreatPriceTech (Professionally upgraded by GreatPriceTech)

Last update on 2021-11-17 at 18:36 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Wrapping Up

Remember when you clicked on this post? You had no idea what specs a good laptop for architecture should have.  No clue what specs to even consider.  And no idea how to get started. What a different person you are now! Our favorite laptop is the Lenovo ThinkPad P53s because it’s a military tested workstation with ISV certification.  Runner up is the Microsoft Surface Book 2 because in certain situations all you need is a tablet to get work done. Our third fav is the HP ZBook 15u G6 for being just as robust as the Lenovo, though more expensive.