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Laptops for Architects and Architecture Students

A laptop has become a necessity for everyone, especially for creative professionals and students, including architects and architecture students. A laptop is essential for completing various architecture tasks, both professional work and academic assignments. As architectural work involves creating two and three-dimensional drawings, the required laptop must have specifications to run software that supports these tasks.


I have previously discussed "Computers for Architects," which consisted of two parts and provided tips on choosing a computer for architectural purposes. This time, I will provide laptop recommendations for architects and architecture students. However, before that, it's essential to discuss architecture software.


Architecture Software


Architects require several software tools for their work. I have chosen four types of software commonly used by architects and architecture students: AutoCAD for two-dimensional drawings, SketchUp for three-dimensional drawings, BIM-based software like ArchiCAD, and Lumion for rendering. Each of these software tools has different functions and, naturally, requires different specifications. Knowing these specifications makes it easier to determine the most suitable laptop for your needs. You can view the specifications for each software below.

Laptop Arsitek, Laptop Mahasiswa Arsitektur
Requirements AutoCAD 2022
Laptop Arsitek, Laptop Mahasiswa Arsitektur
Requirements Sketchup
Laptop Arsitek, Laptop Mahasiswa Arsitektur
Requirements ArchiCAD 25
Laptop Arsitek, Laptop Mahasiswa Arsitektur
Requirements Lumion 12

After reviewing the requirements of these four software tools, I conclude that a recommended laptop should have at least the following specifications:


CPU - 3 GHz Intel Core i5, or AMD Ryzen 5.

RAM - 8GB, or above.

GPU - VRAM 4GB, or 8 GB.

Drive - NVMe SSD.


If you use software other than the mentioned four, make sure to check the specifications required by that software. This ensures that the laptop you purchase can smoothly run the software you intend to use.


I would also like to disclaim that I am not an IT expert. The recommendations below are from my perspective as an architect. All the products listed below can be obtained by clicking on the name or image of each product. I have chosen products from official stores or trusted sellers. Here are the recommended laptops for architects and architecture students.

Budget Laptop


When I mention "budget laptops," it does not mean these laptops are cheap. Even the most budget-friendly laptops for architectural work are still more expensive than laptops designed for lighter tasks.


There are not many options for budget laptops with specifications suitable for architects. One option is gaming laptops. You might wonder, "Why gaming laptops?" Despite their less professional appearance to clients, gaming laptops have specifications suitable for architectural work. Gaming laptops usually come with discrete graphics cards, which are sufficient for architectural tasks that demand high specifications. The following gaming laptops are affordable and have decent specifications.


Spec: Intel Core™ i5-11400H, 8GB RAM, 512GB M.2 NVMe, GTX™ 1650 4GB GDDR6


A budget-friendly entry-level gaming laptop. The Acer Nitro features a 15.6" screen, 11th gen i5 processor, GTX 1650 4GB graphics card, and 8GB RAM. These specifications are adequate for small and lightweight architectural tasks.


Spec: Intel Core™ i5-11300H (up to4.4 GHz), 8GB RAM, 512GB NVMe M.2, RTX™ 3050 4GB GDDR6


Priced under 15 million, this entry-level gaming laptop offers decent specifications. Its advantage lies in the RTX 3050 graphics card and 8GB RAM, making it competitive in its price range. These specifications are powerful enough for non-complex architectural tasks and gaming.

 

Portable Laptop


Architects often travel for surveys or design presentations, and architecture students frequently move around for a change of environment when working on assignments. High-spec laptops are generally heavy and not compact. If you have high mobility, you may consider a lightweight, compact laptop with high specifications.


Spec: AMD Ryzen™ 5 5600U 2.3GHz Up to 4.2GHz, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD PCIe, RTX™ 3050 4GB


This laptop, with a thickness of about 1.7 cm and a weight of 1.5 kg, is an attractive portable option. It is lightweight, has a suitable screen size, and impressive specifications. Powered by AMD Ryzen 5 5600U with a discrete RTX 3050 4GB graphics card, 16GB RAM, and a fingerprint sensor, this laptop is priced around 13 million (as of April 2022) and is worth considering.


Spec: Intel Core™ i7-12700H, 16GB RAM, 1TB M.2 PCINVMe SSD, RTX™ 3050 4GB DDR6


While there are thinner and lighter laptops than the Dell XPS 15, it offers a good balance of portability and high specifications. Weighing 1.8 kg and with a thickness of about 1.8 cm, it features a 12th gen Core i7 processor and an RTX 3050 graphics card, making it more than sufficient for architects working on medium to complex tasks.


 

2-in-1 Laptop


Architects enjoy sketching, and they often purchase additional devices such as tablets or drawing pads for digital sketching. Instead of buying two separate devices, what if you could buy a laptop that also functions as a tablet?


Spec: AMD Ryzen™ 7 6800HS 3.2 GHz, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, RTX™ 3050 4GB GDDR6


The Asus ROG Flow X13 is a recommended convertible 2-in-1 laptop. Its design is sleek and professional, making it suitable for a professional setting, unlike other ROG laptops that have a more gaming-oriented appearance. With a Ryzen 7 processor and RTX 3050, it is more than capable of running architectural software for medium to complex tasks. Being a 2-in-1, the 13.4-inch screen can be folded to function as a tablet, and it comes with the Asus Pen.


 

Mac Laptop


Some people say that MacBooks are not suitable for those in the engineering field, but Apple has released the latest MacBook models that might make you reconsider. If you are already accustomed to using Apple products and its ecosystem, this laptop might be worth considering.


Spec: Chip Apple M2 Pro (CPU 10-core, GPU 16-core), 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD.


The MacBook Pro 14-inch with the M2 Pro chip can handle almost everything needed by architects, from 2D drawing to 3D modeling and rendering. With a 10-core CPU and 16-core GPU, along with 16GB RAM, its Liquid Retina XDR display is sharp with excellent color accuracy. Some creative professionals prefer using Mac due to these features. However, there is a drawback in terms of compatibility with architectural software, as not all software is available for the Mac OS. Therefore, you should check whether the architectural software you use is compatible with Mac OS.


 

Workstation Laptop


If you have a higher budget and want a high-performance laptop for architecture and engineering, a workstation laptop is the choice. Workstation laptops have high capabilities, are more stable, experience fewer errors, and are designed for professionals. Their hardware is optimized to run engineering software commonly used by professionals. Due to these factors, workstation laptops are inevitably priced higher than other laptop types.


Spec: Intel® Core i9-11950H, 32GB RAM, 2TB PCIe SSD, NVIDIA® RTX 3080 16GB GDDR 6


Lenovo Thinkpad has long been known for its professional laptops, and the Thinkpad T15 G2 is no exception. With an Intel Core i9 processor, 32GB RAM, and an NVIDIA RTX 3080 16GB GDDR 6 graphics card, this laptop has powerful specifications for architectural work. It can smoothly run all four architectural software mentioned, even for complex tasks. This is the best laptop recommendation from me.


I hope these recommendations are useful for those seeking a laptop for architectural work. One important thing to note is that because the prices of architectural laptops can be considered high, always align your choice with your budget and capabilities. High-spec laptops are productive tools that can be considered an investment for completing tasks and assignments more efficiently. Completing tasks faster means saving time, and time is something invaluable that cannot be bought with money.


Lastly, as technology advances rapidly, I will regularly update this post every year if there are new laptops that I need to recommend. This way, you will always get the latest recommendations for architectural laptops.


Happy hunting for your dream laptop. Bye!

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