If you are into 3D modeling for any application – be it civil and mechanical engineering, architecture and interior design, or even film and video game design – you probably know about Sketchup and Revit. What are the best laptops for running Sketchup and Revit? Read on for our review.
These are serious programs and so they demand some serious computing specifications to run effectively. It goes without saying that the more powerful your machine, the more efficiently you can generate and render your work.
While an average laptop might often not be ideal for SketchUp and Revit, there are well-performing machines out there that can do the job well.
Beyond the basic specifications that you should be looking at – things like processing speed, RAM, and storage capacity – some more specific specs that you need to consider include a quality video card and reliable heat-reduction capacity (as 3D processing puts a strain on the ability of a laptop to cool).
What are the Revit laptop requirements? (And Sketchup)
The official list of requirements recommended for Sketchup and Revit laptops are as follows:
- Intel i5 or i7 Series processor or AMD equivalent with SSE2 technology (2.0+ GHz).
- 8+ GB of RAM.
- Microsoft Windows 10 64-bit Enterprise (or Apple iOS equivalent).
- 3D class video card with 1 GB of memory or higher.
You will be able to get away with more basic modeling with slightly lower specifications, but if you have the above you are sure to run these programs with ease.
Best laptops for Revit and Sketchup in 2020
To make the search for an ideal 3D modeling laptop a little easier, the following list of the ten best Revit certified laptops in 2019 (and related programs as well) has been compiled. It can be daunting to invest the money in higher-end setups, so hopefully, this overview can provide some guidance to any aspiring engineers and architects out there.
1. MSI GL62M
This laptop from MSI is a great addition to the Revit laptop family. This is perfect for running 3D rendering at a reasonable price. It has a 15.6” Full HD display and an aesthetic build that looks professional. It has a processor capable of speeds of up to 2.8 GHz, 8 GB of RAM, and 512 GB of SSD storage space.
These are more than enough to run programs like Sketchup or Revit with ease. Two features really stand out here, however.
- First, the Cooler Boost technology is capable of enhancing the cool-down of your laptop when it is performing at its limit.
- Second, it comes complete with a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 GDDR5 graphics card which has 2 GB of dedicated graphics memory. All of this fits into a build that is only 4.85 pounds. Overall, this should be a great option for architecture professionals.
- Can upgrade RAM if you have the budget.
- Cooling technology aids in high-performance laptop longevity.
- Battery life is short which might be annoying if you wanted to use Revit for a long time or weren’t able to charge your laptop
- Speakers are average.
Numerous other laptop lists include the Acer Predator (like the best gaming laptops list). It is not difficult to see why. This machine is perfect for engineering, architectural, and 3D modeling applications like Revit.
With a 3.8GHz Intel i7 processor, 16 GB of RAM, and 256 GB of SSD storage space, it represents excellent value for the serious Sketchup professional. The 15.6” screen is capable of Full HD and best of all, it comes with an incredible 6 GB of dedicated graphics power with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060.
The red-backlit keyboard and aesthetic build may not be for everyone; however, the build itself is solid and weighs only 2.65 pounds. If you do not mind having a laptop that looks like a gaming laptop, then the Acer Predator Helios is perfect for you.
Revit, in particular, requires a high spec from a laptop, and you NEED to have a good graphics card to run it properly. That’s why this laptop is a common favorite.
- Well priced specifications.
- Reliable with many positive reviews.
- It looks like a gaming computer (may not be for everyone).
- Metallic casing catches fingerprints easily.
This laptop from ASUS is another beast of a laptop encased inside a slim and lightweight build. With an Intel i7 Core capable of 2.8 GHz of processing power, 16 GB of RAM (which can be upgraded), and 1 TB of hybrid drive storage space, it is a wonder that this can all fit inside a 5.6-pound machine that is only 0.9” thin!
Where it really shines for running programs like Sketchup or Revit is in the graphical capabilities. It features a dedicated NVIDIA GeForce graphics card with 4 GB of memory which is sure to run these programs with efficiency and speed. The ROG STRIX comes with the Chrome OS (if you are looking for a Windows alternative) and an estimated 9 hours of battery life. All in all, you cannot go wrong with this thin and light machine.
- Excellent graphical capabilities for the price.
- Lightweight and thin for its hardware (good build).
- Fans are loud if running heavy-duty software.
- Some bloatware (which can be removed for better performance).
4. HP Pavilion
The HP Pavilion series is an excellent high-end graphical machine. It’s Intel i7 Core processor is capable of 1.8 GHz but can be pushed up to 4.0 GHz with Turbo Boost technology. The 16 GB of RAM and 512 GB of SSD storage capacity are nothing to complain about either.
One handy addition with this setup is the 15.6” display which is LED-backlit. The keyboard is also conveniently backlit as well for when inspiration for your next design strikes late at night.
What makes it truly an excellent laptop for Revit and similar programs is its NVIDIA GeForce 940MX graphics card with a dedicated 4 GB of graphical memory. At only 4.67 pounds, it is quite lightweight. All in all, it looks sleek and is perfect for the design professional.
- Good heat control (backend raised for good airflow).
- Excellent graphical capabilities.
- The plastic outer shell is durable but cheap.
5. Lenovo Y700
What makes the Lenovo Y700 a good choice for graphic rendering and design applications is its thermal cooling system. This handy addition can help ensure that your machine is not overheated when running more heavy-duty programs like Sketchup.
That is not to say that its specifications cannot handle these programs! Its 17.3-inch display is ideal and larger than most of the other screens on this list. Better yet is its NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M graphics card with 4 GB of dedicated memory.
The usual high-end specifications are also all here including an Intel Quad-Core i7 processor with a maximum speed of up to 2.6 GHz, 16 GB of RAM, and 1 TB plus 128 GB of SSD hybrid storage space. It has many ports for greater accessory compatibility and a backlit keyboard which can be handy. This flagship model is great for serious high-performance functionality.
- The thermal cooling system can increase the longevity of the laptop.
- The screen size is large.
- The battery can drain fairly quickly.
- Slightly heavy at 7.7 pounds.
6. Dell XPS 15
The Dell XPS 15 is a reasonable (relatively) budget choice for running advanced rendering software. Its specifications are impressive with a 3.5 GHz Intel i7 Core processor, 16 GB of RAM, and 512 GB of SSD storage space. It has decent graphical capabilities supported by the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M which has 2 GB of dedicated memory.
The 15.6” screen is standard for this list, but there are a number of other features that might be attractive for more discriminating professionals out there. These include the touchscreen and the possibility of upgrading the RAM to 32 GB if you so desire.
It also has a number of USB ports and an HDMI port to support an extra monitor if your graphics work requires additional visualization. At only 3.9 pounds, it is also fairly portable and can be carried between home and work with ease.
- Fast processing speed.
- Upgradeable RAM.
- The cooling system is quite basic.
This next setup (also from Dell) is another solid option for running Sketchup, Revit, and similar programs. The included Intel i7 Core processor with up to 3.90 GHz of processing speed is lightning fast. The 16 GB of RAM and 256 GB of SSD storage space are also sufficient to easily meet the recommended requirements for these programs.
Slightly improving on the above offer from Dell is the NVIDIA Quadro M1200M graphics card which has an incredible 4 GB of dedicated graphical memory. The 15.6” UltraSharp wide-view display is a reasonable size and comes complete with antiglare protection.
At only 3.92 pounds and with an estimated 11 hours of battery life with each charge, you should find that it supports your work throughout the day. It is a premium workstation-class laptop and is priced accordingly.
- Truly excellent 3D design specifications.
- Refurbished models more prevalent on Amazon (though can be purchased directly from Dell).
No list would be complete without a solid MacBook, and the Pro variant from the Apple family is one of the best laptops for Revit if you have the budget for it. Its specifications are well worth the price.
The Intel i7 2.6 GHz 6-Core processor is at the top of its class, and the 16 GB of RAM and 512 GB of SSD storage space are enough to run any graphical rendering programs efficiently.
Apple is known for highly aesthetic products and the Space Gray color and thin and light build give this setup a truly professional appearance. The retina display makes images appear sharp and clear (with additional help from the Raedon Pro 555X or 560X graphics card with 4 GB of video memory). It has long battery life and four Thunderbolt USB-C ports for accessory compatibility. Overall, it is a fast machine with all of the quality that users have come to expect from Apple.
- Excellent graphical capabilities.
- Aesthetic design and sharp display.
- Adapters required for charging outside of a power block.
- As with many Apple products, it is on the expensive side.
Can Revit run on a Mac?
Despite a common belief that it can’t, there is now a way for Revit to run on a Mac. You can download a free program called Frame to host the program and this solution has been around for a while now.
The ASUS VivoBook is a trustworthy choice that appears on a variety of “best of” lists. As such, it is no surprise that it appears on a list for graphical rendering programs as well.
It contains an Intel i5 Core processor with up to 1.6 GHz of processing speed, 16 GB of RAM, and 1 TB of HDD storage space. Its graphics capabilities are backed by the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670M which has 3GB of dedicated graphical memory.
Usefully, it has an ergonomic keyboard if you also need to do extensive word processing tasks and includes a built-in fingerprint sensor for enhanced security. The 15.6” antiglare Full HD NanoEdge display provides clear imaging and it is only 0.8” thick and 3.7 pounds in weight. If you need more versatility beyond Sketchup and Revit, the VivoBook is a solid choice.
- This is an excellent price point for a higher-end setup.
- HDD storage is slower than SSD.
10. HP Spectre x360
The HP Spectre is a unique option for those who need something a little different. So the HP Spectre makes the Amazon’s Choice list for many solid reasons, including its sharp 4K-capable 15.6” display and its backlit keyboard.
Fortunately, it also includes a responsive stylus pen/touchscreen (which could be used for specific design applications). It comes complete with an Intel i7 processor (with a processor speed of 3.1GHz), 16 GB of RAM, 512 GB of SSD storage space, and a dedicated graphics card (The Radeon RX Vega M with 4 GB of graphics memory), this laptop is a more powerful option to consider if you are interested (or need) to have the flexibility of using the stylus.
This laptop also features many peripheral ports for any accessories you might need to use and includes a fingerprint reader and facial recognition camera just in case you are concerned about the security of your 3D designs.
- Useful stylus pen.
- The 360-degree convertible hinge allows for greater working flexibility.
- The metal outer case becomes quite warm when running at peak performance.
- Stylus pen runs on a battery.
Finding the best Revit laptop
3D modeling is a complicated skill, but do not overcomplicate it by working with inadequate equipment. Invest some money in a proper workstation to make your job easier and more efficient. Hopefully, this overview has provided good starting points for those looking to run software such as Sketchup or Revit on a new laptop.