Best Laptops for Architecture Students in 2018
The field of architecture is considered to be one of the most challenging fields to get into. This should be without a hint of doubt since architects are the ones responsible for making sure our buildings have the correct structure and foundation. As they say, buildings are only as good as the architects that planned them. With that being said, much is expected from architects.
If you are an aspiring architect, you need to keep in mind that it is definitely not a walk in the park. To become an architect, you also need a good set of tools to help you with your journey – one of which is a good laptop.
As an architecture student, you need a laptop that can withstand all the demanding tasks such as loading CAD packages, doing edits with PhotoShop, rendering designs, and more. If you are still unsure about which laptop to buy, then you have come to the right place.
Top Laptops For Architecture Students in 2018
Let’s look at our top picks for the best laptop for architecture students. Rest assured, these points were all taken into consideration when coming up with our list. We will highlight their specifications as well as explain their pros and cons.
1. Microsoft Surface Book 2 – Best Laptop For Architecture Students In 2018
Coming in strong in our list is the Microsoft Surface Book 2. This beast of a laptop is powered by an equally beastly Intel i7 processor. Out of the box, it comes with the latest Windows 10 Operating system.
One of the biggest highlights of the Surface Book 2 is its topnotch display. It dons a PixelSense touchscreen which comes with a resolution of 3260 x 216 pixels. That’s more than enough eye candy when doing your tasks.
Speaking of its graphics capability, it is very much efficient since it is powered by a NVIDIA graphics card. Multitasking will also be a breeze thanks to its onboard 16 GB RAM. To make doing tasks even more convenient and fast, it comes with a 1 TB SSD.
In terms of design, it follows the same sleek and minimalist design from its predecessor. However, to spice things up, the company decided to place in a larger screen reaching up to 15 inches, offering its consumers excellent visual, wider viewing angles and a more accurate color reproduction. This allows you to produce better-looking designs because of the accurate colors.
Since it’s a laptop from the Surface lineup, it comes with no surprise that you can detach the screen and use it like a tablet. Therefore, you have both an easy to use tablet and a powerful workstation. Along with this, you get the usual external ports such as USB ports and USB-C port for faster file transfer.
- Powerful processor
- High-quality screen with high resolution
- Sleek design
- Sturdy build quality
- Can be used as tablet
- Huge onboard storage
- Comes with several ports
- Some do not like the smaller 13.5″ screen size (though larger options are available)
- Can be slightly more expensive than comparable laptops
What sets this laptop above the rest is its scratch proof matte body finish. With this, it can withstand the usual drops or scratches from various materials. To add more stability to this sturdy laptop, it is equipped with a magnesium alloy body below.
Under the hood, it is powered by the speedy and efficient Kaby Lake i7 processor. With this, you can expect no lags when editing your designs and most of all, rendering of designs will be extra fast.
To allow faster file access, it is equipped with a high speed 1 TB SSD. This also allows more storage for large files.
For connectivity purposes, it is equipped with four external ports, thereby giving you the capability of connecting up to 4 monitors. It also dons a reliable NVIDIA GPU for the extra CPU intensive tasks. Thanks to its easily capable SD card reader, you can transfer files at a speed of 200 MB per second.
Its wireless module, which is an upgraded Intel 8265, allows you to transfer files at a rate of 867 MB per seconds, that’s extremely fast.
Along with these excellent set of specifications, it also comes with several additional features such as a 720p webcam, fingerprint reader, dual-band WIFI and a water-resistant touchpad.
- Efficient processor
- Comes with several additional features
- Excellent build quality
- Scratch proof matte finish body
- Fast file transfer
- Large storage space
- Some claim it has a flimsy keyboard
- Price is higher than in comparable brands
Another worthy entry on our list is the Dell Inspiron 7567. Under its hood is a beastly Intel Core i7 processor. To produce a lag free use of highly CPU intensive tasks such as those from architectural apps, this laptop is equipped with a NVIDIA GeForce GPU.
It is equipped with a built in card reader as well as a DVD drive which provides better access to architectural modules from different file transfer devices.
For its screen, it comes with a gorgeous looking display that has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. It also dons an in-plane switching technology which allows for better sharpness, wider angled view as well as a more accurate color reproduction
Throw in highly intensive architectural tasks such as 3d modeling and design rendering, and the Dell Inspiron 7567 can handle them without any sweat. This is also due to its high storage space and capable GPU.
Heat management is also excellent because of its thermal cooling system embedded in its board. External features of the laptop include three USB ports, a jack for Ethernet connection, a slot for SD cards, HDMI outlet as well as a microphone and headset port.
- Powerful and efficient processor
- Can handle highly intensive architectural tasks
- Huge storage
- Comes with several connection ports
- High-quality display
- Thermal cooling system
- Battery life is sub-par
The elegant looking ASUS VivoBook hails from a company that is well known for churning out high-quality products in the market. The VivoBook has stood and reflected the traits that make ASUS one of the leading tech companies in the world.
We consider the ASUS VivoBook as an all-around laptop, boasting top-notch specs at a reasonable price. The laptop comes with a metallic finish and a premium design. Weighing only 3.75 lbs, it is one of the lightest laptops on the market, even besting the MacBook.
The touchpad it comes with is wide enough to allow a more accurate experience. Under its hood, it is powered with the all-new 8th generation Intel Core i7 processor coupled with the NVIDIA GeForce MX 150 GPU. With this set of configurations, doing architectural tasks will be a breeze.
In terms of the screen, it comes with a wide 14-inch display which is smaller than the displays of the other laptops featured in this list. It comes with ASUS SonicMaster technology to allow crispier sound and a better auditory experience. It is also equipped with a backlit keyboard and 8 GB DDR4 onboard RAM.
- Sleek and premium design
- SonicMaster technology for better audio output
- Backlit keyboard
- Speedy processor
- Metallic finish
- Solid GPU
- Screen size is not as large as some alternatives
- Small bezel on the screen which may be more prone to breaking
The last entry on our list is the Apple MacBook Pro. Donning Apple’s technology and its excellent reputation, the MacBook Pro definitely lives up to its company’s promise.
The MacBook’s operating system can raise eyebrows for consumers, especially architects. However, one cannot deny the extreme value the MacBook Pro gives to its users.
Looking at the combination of specs of the MacBook Pro, you can immediately see that it offers excellent convenience to its users. Doing tasks with the MacBook Pro will be a breeze thanks to its Intel Core i7 quad-core processor which is clocked at 2.7 GHz.
It also comes with a 16 GB LPDDR3 RAM and a 512 GB HD. The MacBook Pro comes with MAC OS out of the box. While you may be apprehensive about buying a Mac because of the OS, take note that there is a workaround so that you can still use Windows programs on a MacBook. Programs such as Parallel can let you do just that.
This MacBook comes with a 15.4-inch screen which has an excellent resolution. Granted this, you get a display with better color reproduction and high graphics capability.
Its battery life can last up to 10 hours on a single charge. If you plan on buying this laptop, make sure to shell out a couple more bucks because it does come with a hefty price compared to the others mentioned in the list.
- Powerful processor
- Vivid and high-resolution display
- Superb battery life
- Excellent RAM management
- More expensive
- Smaller storage
- Several programs not supported in Mac OS
Things to Consider when Buying a Laptop for Architecture Classes
When buying a laptop, for any matter, whether you are an architecture student, business student, or medical student, it pays to know which features to look for before handing in your hard earned cash. You just can barge into a store and buy the flashiest looking laptop, that’s just unwise.
For architecture students, the requirements for a laptop are certainly much higher compared to casual buyers. Here are the features that you should consider before buying a laptop.
The operating system is responsible for managing all the software and hardware components of a computer. This also includes taking charge of the files, storage, and connected devices.
Choosing an operating system can be divisive, however, it all boils down to personal preference. Here are the possible options:
Windows is without a doubt the most preferred and most popular operating system, especially for architects. Even though some architectural offices are starting to shift to Apple’s OS X, Windows-powered laptops are still widely used.
An obvious step ahead for Windows compared to other operating systems is the fact that it supports most of the software required for architectural tasks. Another advantage of Windows laptops is that they are more reasonably priced compared to MacBooks. Moreover, there are a lot more options to choose from in the Windows laptop lineup.
Most architecture schools make use of Windows laptop. So if you own one, compatibility is not much of a problem and support and maintenance is much more accessible.
Apple is well renowned for their excellently designed products especially their MacBooks. This excellent quality also translates well into their operating system, the Mac OS. Mac OS boasts excellent multitasking management as well as a convenient user interface. Most MacBook users would say that their laptops are easy to use with a ton of useful apps straight out of the box.
However, one of the biggest deal breakers for Mac OS is the fact that it does not support several programs that are normally run under Windows OS. For example, an important software used by architects, Revit is currently not available for Mac OS. Thankfully, you can do a workaround so that you can run programs like this on an Mac OS powered laptop.
Programs such as Parallels and VMWare Fusion 8, allow you to run Windows programs on Mac OS. They work efficiently and are easy to use. However, you still need to purchase them from the App Store.
If you want to do away with these programs, you can run Windows directly on a Mac. You can do this through Bootcamp. The concept behind Bootcamp is that it allows you to switch between Windows and Mac OS on a Macbook. The switch though from Windows to Mac OS can take some time since you need to shut down the laptop.
While this can turn off some consumers, MacBooks still excel in providing topnotch technology, powerful processors, high-resolution displays and excellent RAM management. So before closing the doors on Mac OS powered MacBooks, take a look at the several merits it comes with. Just make sure to prepare your wallets for they come at a heftier price.
In case you haven’t heard, Google is also producing their own operating system in the form of the Chrome OS. This operating system is embedded in their Chromebooks. While the tech looks promising, Chrome OS sadly does not support Adobe, a program that’s essential for architects. So with that being said, there is no way you can make use of Chromebooks for your business courses.
Size and Weight
In terms of size and weight of laptops, it’s always a matter of personal preference. However, it always pays to get a laptop with a larger screen.
This allows for better visibility and provides you a greater canvass for doing your tasks. It is just more ideal to do tasks such as drafting, image editing, 3d modeling and design rendering on a large screen. Programs used by architects such as CAD, ArchiCAD comes with several toolbars which take up a huge amount of your screen space.
However, a large screen also comes with an extra weight. If you plan or working only in your own study or room then a large screen would not be a problem. However, if you constantly move around from room to room while carrying your laptop, then it’s best that you get one with a moderately sized screen since portability should be considered.
To sum it all up, here are the minimum specifications you need to consider when buying a laptop for your architectural subjects:
- Microsoft: Windows 7 or higher
- MacBooks: OS X or more recent
- Processor: Intel Core i5 or higher, AMD Processor equivalent to i5
- Clock Speed: 2.6 GHz or higher
- RAM: 6 GB or higher, 16 GB can handle all architecture programs without hiccups
- Storage: 250 GB with speed more than 7,200 rpm (preferably SSD)
- Graphics Card: More than 1 GB of Onboard Memory
- Display Resolution: Go for a higher resolution (Higher than 1600×900)
Hopefully this guide helps you find the best laptop for you and your course needs.