Best Laptop for Architecture – 2020 Guide

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There are many architecture software programs that require a decent laptop. Examples include Revit, Sktechup, and Studio Max. The best laptop for architecture is powerful enough to comfortably run these programs, as well as portable enough to bring around. 

In this laptop buying guide we explore the best options that are available for architecture laptops right now. 

List of the best laptops for Architecture

Our pick as the best laptop for architecture is the MSI GS65 STealth-430 (#ad).

MSI GS65 Stealth-430

Image of MSI GS65 Stealth-430. The best laptop for architecture.
OamaTech Score: 10/10

The MSI GS65 Stealth-430 is a great laptop. It offers raw power that few other laptops can match, and it is built by a manufacturer that has a lot of experience in building high end computers. As you will see in most of the laptops on this list, the laptop comes with the Intel Core i7-9750H CPU. This is one of the best CPUs that you get in a laptop these days. Many of the architecture specific software that you might use require a lot of power for all the rendering that takes place, and the CPU plays an important part of that. It is the brain of the computer, and for architecture it might be the most important part of the laptop. Since most other high end laptops also come with this same CPU it is not a unique selling point for the MSI. 

One thing that is a bit unique for this laptop is the GPU that it has. It comes with the Nvidia RTX 2080 GPU. This is one of the most powerful GPUs for laptops, and most other alternatives don’t go this far with the GPU. There are earlier models that are still quite good, but not as powerful as this one. If you want the best laptop for architecture then you want as good of a GPU as you can get. Revit for example can be quite demanding and having a good GPU to offload some of the work from the CPU is important. This is the Max-q version of the RTX 2080 as this is a thin gaming laptop, and doesn’t have space for the GPU or the cooling required for the full sized RTX 2080 version. Most thin gaming laptops will be using the Max-Q version of the GPU.

The MSI GS65 Stealth-430 has 32 GB of RAM. Although this is more than many of the alternatives, it is not so important because you can upgrade the RAM in a laptop quite easily. So even though it has more RAM, you are able to catch up with many of the other computers if you want. 

The reason why the MSI is the top choice is because of the superior parts that if offers, coupled with the manufacturers good reputation for making quality high end laptops. You should really check out all the other features that this computer has to offer. They don’t necessarily impact how good it is for architecture, but all laptops have things that might speak to you as the consumer. 

See the MSI GS65 Stealth-430 (#ad) on Amazon. 

Razor Blade 15

Image of Razer Blade 15
OamaTech Score: 9/10

Another great option for architects is the Razor Blade 15. This is a gaming laptop as well, which offers many of the same qualities that you would want in an architecture laptop. The main reason for getting this laptop over the MSI is the price. It comes in quite a bit lower, but that is also reflected in the parts. It does have the same CPU which is great, as this really is one of the best CPUs out there right now. 

Although not by a lot, one area where the laptop falls behind the MSI is with the GPU. The Razor comes with the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 GPU. It is an excellent GPU, it is just not as powerful as the 2080 model. That being said, you probably won’t notice too much difference between the two. If you want the most powerful option out there, then you really should go with a desktop computer instead of a laptop. 

Another area where this laptop is not quite as good as the MSI is with the RAM. The Razor has 16 GB of RAM, which is still quite decent, but not good enough to meet all the high end requirements. Revit for example recommends 32 GB for the performance plan. You can have a look at their system requirements here. You can upgrade the RAM in the Razor later if you think you will need more. 

Despite some shortcomings compared to the MSI, the Razor is an excellent option. There are also other features that are different among the two laptops which contribute to the difference between them, but they are not as important for architecture directly.

You should have a look at the product page to see more features that might be important to you.

See the Razor Blade 15 (#ad) on Amazon. 

ASUS ROG Zephyrus GX701

Image of ASUS ROG Zephyrus GX701
OamaTech Score: 9/10

The ROG Zephyrus S GX701 is the third gaming laptop to make it onto this list. The parts offered in gaming laptops simply correlates really well to what we want in a laptop for architecture. The main reason to get this laptop over the MSI would be the price. The parts are nearly as good, but it is not quite there. 

As far as the CPU goes it has the same Intel Core i7-9750H. This is a staple in high end laptops which makes it difficult for anyone to stand out in terms of the CPU that is being offered. 

For the GPU it has the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q. As you might imagine, this is nearly as good as the 2080 model, and you probably won’t notice much difference between the two. 

The Asus has a very interesting design in terms of where the keyboard is located, which you might or might not like. One reason why it is good is that when you are typing you don’t have to place your hands on top of the computers, which can get quite hot and sweaty when you are doing resource intensive things such as rendering or playing video games. Another thing that is different about this laptop is that it is a 17 inch laptop. For architecture you might want the extra screen real estate.

Overall this is a great laptop with some interesting design choices, that in my opinion are good. Have a look at the product page for more information about other spec details that you might find interesting. 

See the ASUS ROG Zephyrus GX701 (#ad) on Amazon. 

Dell XPS 15 

Image of Dell XPS 15
OamaTech Score: 8/10

The Dell XPS 15 is the first non-gaming laptop on this list. The Dell XPS is simply a great laptop that would serve you well. AS with many of the others, the main reason for getting this laptop over the MSI is the price. It comes in much lower but also has weaker parts because of it. As with all other laptops on this list, it has the Intel Core i7-9750H CPU. You should really not go for anything with a worse CPU than this, as it is quite common for high end laptops to have it, as well as some medium range ones as you can see further below.

The first area where this laptop can’t compete with the MSI is with the GPU. It has the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1640, which is not as good as the RTX 2080 Max-Q. It is still a good GPU and it will work well for most things. You can also play video games as well on this laptop. I would like to point out that none of the GPUs on this list are on the official certified GPUs for Revit, as they only have dekstop grade GPUs listed.

The laptop also falls a little short with the RAM at 16 GB, but as discussed before, this can be remedied by upgrading it at a later point.

One area where this laptop might be better for you is that it has a 4k screen. If you need super high pixel density for your architecture programs, then this might be the option for you. 

You should check out the product page for other things that might interest you, such as the integrated fingerprint scanner that it has.

See the Dell XPS 15 (#ad) on Amazon. 

MSI GF63 Thin 9RCX-818

Image of MSI GF63 Thin 9RCX-818
OamaTech Score: 7/10

The MSI GF63 Thin 9RCX-818 is on this list as a budget option. It is not as powerful as many of the other options, but it is quite a bit cheaper. The main reason for getting this laptop would be that it is a budget option that still has pretty strong parts. 

As with the others, it comes with the Intel Core i7-9750H CPU. This is around the lowest you price range where you will find this CPU. Anything lower and you will start seeing 8th generation CPUs or Intel Core i5. For architecture I would recommend that you get the best CPU that fits in your budget.

The GPU is not bad, it is a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 TI. As you might imagine, this is pretty far off from the RTX 2080 Max-Q, but it will still provide you a lot of power for rendering based activities. If you really need a lot of power for your architecture programs then you might be better off getting a desktop computer. 

Other than price, there is not much outside of the normal that this laptop has to offer. I do recommend that you check out the product page though as there might be something of interest to you that is not directly important for architecture. 

As far as RAM goes it only has 8 GB, which is quite low for architecture. Some performance settings for architecture software calls for as much as 32 GB, so 8 does not quite cut it in that department. 

See the MSI GF63 Thin 9RCX-818 (#ad) on Amazon. 

Dell Inspiron 7000

Image of Dell Inspiron
OamaTech Score: 7/10

Another budget option is the Dell Inspiron 7000. I won’t compare this laptop directly to the MSI GS65 but rather the GF63 as these are both budget options on this list. Dell is a staple computer manufacturer, and so is MSI, but MSI might be more of a gaming / high end computer manufacturer. The Inspiron also comes with the Intel i7-9750 CPU.

As far as the GPU goes it has the GTX 1050 but the non TI version, so the MSI is a little better in this department. They are both not as powerful as the more high end laptops on this list. 

This laptop also has 8 GB of RAM so they are equal in that sense. 

For cheaper laptops like this there are other things that might set them apart for you, so you should have a look at their product pages to learn more. One thing you might want to consider is that the Inspiron has a fingerprint reader, and the design is quite different. The GF63 has more of a gaming look to it which many people do not like. 

See the Dell Inspiron (#ad) on Amazon. 

HP Omen

Image of HP Omen, one of the best architecture laptops.
OamaTech Score: 9/10

Another good architecture laptop is the HP Omen. This laptop is actually an excellent choice in terms of power. The only drawback is the look, as it looks very much like a gaming laptop. 

As we have come to learn, most high end laptops come with the Intel i7-9750 CPU, and so does this laptop. As far as the GPU goes it has the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070. This puts the laptop on quite equal grounds as the MSI GS65 which is quite a feat for the price of the HP Omen.

As far as RAM goes this laptop has a whopping 32 GB. That is as much as the MSI GS65, and more than all the other options on this list. In terms of power, this laptop can go head to head with the MSI, which makes it an excellent choice that you should consider.

Another good thing about this laptop is the 512 GB SSD that it has. 512 GB should be enough for most of your needs. You can always get more storage later, either an external hard drive or online storage should work well. For keeping assets long term it might be better with a large thumb drive or external hard drive.

You should check out the product page of the HP omen to see if there is anything 

See the HP Omen (#ad) on Amzon.

Laptop for architecture FAQ

What kind of computer do you need for architecture?

For architecture you first and foremost need a computer that meets the requirements of the software that you are going to use. The first thing you should do is look up the system requirements of those programs so that you know what hardware requirements there are. 

In general you need a computer that is quite powerful, as rendering is a resource intensive task and requires a lot of power. We have excellent laptop options listed, but a desktop computer would be the better option if you want the most bang for your buck and performance. 

What laptop is best for rendering?

Our pick as the best laptop for architecture and rendering is the MSI GS65 Stealth-430. For rendering you need a good CPU and a good GPU.

What is the best CPU for rendering?

For a laptop, one of the best ones is the Intel Core i7-9750H. There are better options on desktops, but not in laptops.

How much RAM do you need for rendering?

32 GB of RAM is recommended for best performance. You can get away with 16 GB is many cases, but it will not work as well.

Does more RAM help rendering?

Yes, but only up to a certain point. Many architecture programs such as Revit require 32 GB for the performance plan. 

What graphics card is best for architecture

An RTX card would be ideal in a laptop. Many laptops have either the RTX 2060, 2070 Max-Q, or 2080 Max-Q. These are all good options in a laptop. On a desktop you can find better graphics cards that would work well, but not in a laptop.

Is Intel Core i5 good for architecture?

It is usable, but you want as good of a CPU as you can get. More cores and more power is better for rendering. An i7 series would be best.

What laptop should an architecture student use?

A student should go for a laptop that fits in their budget. The HP Omen, MSI GS65 Stealth-430 or MSI GF63 are good options.

Three main components to look for

There are three things you should be mostly concerned about when looking for the best laptop for architecture. They are the CPU, the GPU, and the RAM. 

What CPU to get for Architecture

As far as the CPU goes you should get the best one that fits in your budget. It is the brain of the computer, and plays a major role in any resource intensive. A really good CPU right now is the Intel Core i7-9750H. You should look for a laptop that has this or better.

What GPU to get for Architecture

The GPU is another important factor when doing resource intensive tasks. A GPU is good for more than just graphics, it is extremely well suited for calculations which is why it is good for rendering. For best laptop performance you should be looking for an RTX series card. RTX 2060, 2070, and 2080 are all good options.

What RAM to get for architecture

You should get as much of the fastest RAM as you can get. Many laptops come with 16 GB, but I would recommend going for 32 GB. If you don’t need to meet the performance system requirements of some of the architecture software then you should be ok with 16 GB. 

Conclusion

Architecture requires a lot of power if you want good results. The best architecture laptop offers good power, but is also flexible enough to bring places. You should look for laptops that reflect the same specs that are listed on the laptop list above.  You might also be interested in our guide on best laptop for Revit.

Last Updated: by Ole Larsen