10 Best Laptops for Architects in 2020: Get The Specs You Need


Becoming an architect allows you to contribute to something long-lasting and dependable. The job will enable you to unleash your creativity in an organized and orderly fashion. We’ve been pondering about what are the best laptops for architects?

And for a LONG time now…

Architectural design and drafting are performed on LAPTOPS.

For a long time, desktop PCs were used for high-demanding, intensive work, since laptops sacrificed performance for mobility. While some professional architects still prefer desktops, architecture students have no other choice but to rely on laptops.

These “mobile workstations” proved to be as powerful as desktop workstations, while still being portable. And they are slowly replacing desktops for architectural work and practice.

What To Look For In A Laptop

If you’re an architect or are thinking of becoming one, you’ll need a laptop capable of running design software. Still, that doesn’t mean you need to buy one of the most expensive, most powerful laptops on the market.

Surely, buying an expensive and powerful machine wouldn’t hurt. But the truth is, you’re better off investing in portability rather than power that will never be put to full use. This goes for architecture students and professional architects too.

Laptop SPECIFICATIONS For Architects

Here are some hardware specs you should aim for:

  • Choose a CPU with more than 3GHz for drafting and drawing. Any quad-core CPU should work.
  • Most of the laptops on this list have GPU’s capable of dealing with architectural projects. Aim for NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050, equivalent, or better graphics.
  • 8GB RAM might be enough for a student, but 16GB/32GB is needed for more serious projects.
  • 15” FHD displays allow for better portability, but 17” is preferable for architects.
  • Any storage above 512GB is enough for project files.
  • Most ideal weight is about 3 to 4 pounds, but more powerful laptops weigh more.

Not all laptops are fit for architectural projects. To aid in the choice of your hardware, the list compiled includes a laptop for every budget and project type.

Most of these configurations will fit both architecture students and professional architects.

10 Best Laptops For Architects

1: Microsoft Surface Book 2

Best lap for an architect

Microsoft was really proud of what their original Surface Book accomplished, and that pride is still visible with the new Surface Book 2.

The design hasn’t changed at all. Like it’s predecessor, Surface Book 2 has a sturdy metal chassis coated in an elegant matte silver coat, giving it a professional look.

The screen is detachable, so you can use it as a tablet, which is convenient for project-based work.

Intel’s 8th Gen Quad Core i7 processor offers great multi-core performance since the software for building your blueprints is quite demanding. This CPU, coupled with 16GB RAM and NVIDIA GeForce GTX1050 allows you to complete all the work quite quickly. In essence, you get top performance with this laptop.

The 15-inch display offers a 3240x2160p resolution which is more than enough to provide a sharp image. As far as the colors go, you’ll be amazed by the vibrancy the colors have. Battery life is important, and this laptop offers up to 17 hours of productive work.

Pros

  • Excellent performance
  • Unparalleled battery life
  • Versatile

Cons

  • Expensive
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2: Dell XPS 15 9570

This model might be one of the best and most lightweight Windows-based laptops for students and working architects.

Best laptop for an architect

With Intel’s 8th Generation Core i7-8750h (up to 4.1GHz), 32GB RAM, and NVIDIA GeForce 1050Ti its performance is quite impressive. Working architects won’t be running into trouble when working with a bunch of projects.

The design hasn’t changed much since the original XPS 15 9550. Since it’s a premium laptop, its chassis is made from aluminum and carbon fiber.

The silver anodized aluminum is CNC machined to seamlessly blend with dark-grey carbon fiber. These materials allow for great portability since the whole machine weighs just 0.86 pounds.

The XPS 15 9570 sports a glossy UHD (3840x2160p) touchscreen, which is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass. You can also opt for an FHD (1920x1080p) matte non-touch screen. With all the great hardware, this laptop manages to achieve a respectable 8 hours of battery life.

Pros

  • One of the best-looking 15-inch laptops
  • Great performance
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Limited battery life
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3: Lenovo ThinkPad P51

This 15-inch Lenovo ThinkPad is a full-fledged mobile workstation, supported by a powerful quad-core CPU and NVIDIA Quadro M1200M GPU.

ThinkPad P51 can handle all the demanding tasks when it comes to designing and sketching.  This is up there as one of the best laptops for architects.

Reviews of best laptops for architects

Various project files are going to require a lot of space, which is why this laptop comes equipped with a 1TB of storage space. That’s more than enough space for storing your work files. And despite power-hungry hardware, ThinkPad P51 offers a full 8 hours of work.

The aluminum-magnesium alloy body with a scratch-proof finish offers great stability. However, it’s not exactly the lightest laptop, but rather a bulky one, weighing around 5.8 pounds. The fiber-glass-reinforced lid has a maximum opening angle of 180°.

The FHD IPS panels (1920x1080p) offers vibrant colors, a good-quality picture with wide viewing angles. Lenovo offers a 4K display with this model if you’re willing to pay extra.

Pros

  • Strong performance
  • Great battery life
  • Amazing display
  • Good build

Cons

  • Heavy and bulky
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4: Asus ZenBook 13

If you’re looking for easy portability without sacrificing performance, ZenBook 13 is perfect for you. Weight and thickness are where this laptop really shines. At 2.5 pounds 0.55 inches thick, it allows for great mobility.

Though made of plastic, with a thin and light body, ZenBook 13 is all but flimsy. The keyboard is quite impressive and comfortable to type on. However, the touchpad is usable, but it lacks precise tracking of movement.

This laptop comes with an Intel Core i5-8250U processor, 8GB RAM, and integrated Intel 620 UHD graphics. The configuration is more than capable of handling your designing and sketching tasks. The 13.3 -inch FHD screen has a relatively high definition pixel count, with an anti-glare coat keeping the screen clear and visible.

The lithium-polymer battery provides up to 14 hours of autonomy. ZenBook offers great performance for students who need a budget-priced machine to work on.

Pros

  • Thin and lightweight
  • Solid productivity performance
  • Great battery life

Cons

  • No discrete graphics
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5: Lenovo ThinkPad P1

This might be one of the best, lightweight workstation laptops for architects. P1’s dimensions and weight are its primary asset since it’s very light and thin.

This makes it a very lean, high-performing machine that feels more like an ultrabook than a workstation.

The black carbon-fiber chassis is of beautiful design and high quality. P1 has a uniform, matte-black finish, giving it a stealthy appearance. The also-black, backlit keyboard feels pleasant and comfortable, which is great for hours of writing.

The 4K display is stunning and gives exceptional details and vibrant colors, covering 100% of the sRGB color gamut.

With 8th Gen Intel’s Core i7-8750H CPU, NVIDIA Quadro P1000, and 16GB RAM (32GB optional) packs quite a performance punch. P1 is ISV certified, meaning that it’s compatible with all the designing software you might need in your work.

Pros

  • Vivid 4K display
  • Strong performance, easily upgradeable
  • Outstanding keyboard and touchpad

Cons

  • Chunky, heavy body
  • Short battery life
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6: Apple MacBook Pro

If you’re in the market for a serious laptop and you’re not on a tight budget, you might want to consider getting a MacBook Pro.

It’s one of the most powerful, high-performance hardware configurations capable of running software for your architectural work.

It comes with 2.9GHz Intel Core i7 CPU and Radeon Pro 560 Graphics coupled with a 16GB RAM. The 512GB SSD storage space is just enough for your files and projects.

The overall design of this laptop is an aesthetic piece of art that’s now famous for years. The keyboard is backlit and quiet. The trackpad is enormous and wonderfully responsive. One more great feature is the Touch ID, a fingerprint sensor allowing quick access.

If you’re looking for a powerful and aesthetic notebook, and budget is not an issue, you’ll love MacBook Pro.

Pros

  • Long-lasting battery
  • Amazing performance
  • Beautiful design

Cons

  • Pricey
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7: Dell Inspiron 7567

Inspiron 7567 is a gaming machine, designed for high-intensity gaming done over long periods.

In other words – it’s a workhorse, capable of withstanding the use of heavy programs for your projects. So, overheating and lack of processing power is something you won’t have to worry about.

With 2.5GHz Intel Core i5-7300HQ, 8GB of RAM, and 4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti, you’ll find this laptop more than adequate for productivity and multitasking.

The body is made out of plastic, with a simple, pleasing design. There’s a full-sized keyboard backlit with red lighting that feels good to type on. The screen is 1920x1080p, giving enhanced sharpness with a wide-viewing angle.

While Inspiron 7567’s components are far from the most powerful tech, the combination of performance, battery life, and quality construction is worth the money.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • 11 hours of battery life
  • Attractive design

Cons

  • The display could be better
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8: Dell Precision 5510

The Dell Precision 5510 laptops are amongst the top premium workstation-class laptops on the market.

Like the XPS 15’s, 5510’s case is also made out of machined aluminum and carbon fiber, making it easy to mix these two up. Still, things are pretty different on the hardware side.

The Intel Core i7-6820KH processor, NVIDIA Quadro M1000M, and 32GB DDR4 RAM will give you almost unbeatable performance. Doing your work seamlessly and with ease while streaming wouldn’t be a problem for this configuration.

It allows you to run some games after you’re done working. 512GB Class 20 SSD storage makes sure you have enough room for your files and projects while offering excellent transfer speed.

Precision 5510 is a premium 15″ workstation, offering high performance, beautiful UHD display, and an attractive chassis. Unfortunately, while capable of getting some serious work done, the battery lasts for about 5 to 6 hours.

Pros

  • Gorgeous UHD display
  • Amazing performance
  • Attractive design

Cons

  • Modest battery life
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9: Acer Predator Helios 300

This laptop is aimed towards dedicated professionals who don’t mind using gaming laptops as their work tools.

The Acer Predator Helios 300 is by all accounts, a great laptop. You’ll be pleasantly impressed by this model’s performance, as it can handle pretty much any CAD software and any project size.

Design sticks with gaming aesthetics, sporting a metal chassis, black colors with red accents and geometric cuts. Metal chassis and geometric cuts give this laptop a bold look, but it’s surprisingly lighter than it looks. Keyboard ergonomics are quite comfortable while the touchpad offers enough precision for productivity tasks.

With 7th Gen Intel Core i7-7700HQ, 16GB RAM, and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 everything will load quickly and work seamlessly. This laptop truly packs power at a reasonably affordable price.

Pros

  • Excellent performance, easy to upgrade
  • Attractive design
  • Relatively long battery life

Cons

  • Display brightness could be higher
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10: MSI GL62M

You don’t always have to pay a huge amount of money to get a solid performing system, and GL62M is here to prove that point.

This laptop is designed for high-end gaming, which means architectural software will run like a dream.

MSI GL62M comes with a compelling set of hardware. Intel’s Core i7-8750H and 16GB RAM will handle applications and multitasking with ease. And with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070, it’ll make all the difference when drafting the most complex scenarios.

The device comes with a matte-finished plastic chassis. It’s pretty stylish, compact, slim, and easy to carry. The FHD matte-finish display offers a 1920x1080p resolution, powered by an IPS technology.

Thanks to its powerful hardware, this laptop can pretty much handle everything you throw at it. But there’s a price to pay, as the battery lasts for about 4 hours under heavy load.

Pros

  • Solid gaming and productivity performance
  • Comfortable keyboard
  • Lightweight design

Cons

  • Mediocre battery life
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