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This post has been updated to consider the new 2020 models.
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 post we will explore what we think are the best laptops for architecture. You will find that they are pretty similar to what we recommend as engineering laptops.
We recommend that you aim for a laptop with the following specs
|CPU||9th gen i5||10th gen i7|
|GPU||Nvidia GTX model||Nvidia RTX model|
|RAM||8 GB||16 GB or more|
|Storage||256 GB||512 GB or more|
A laptop that fits the recommended system specs is well suited to run most resource intensive programs and should work well for architecture. Laptops that are more around the minimum specs should be okay too but is more intended for those who are shopping on a budget.
Best laptops for Architecture at a glance
I think the following laptops are the best suited for architecture. Not all of these options fit the system recommendations above, but we have included them in case you are looking for something that is a little more budget friendly.
- MSI GS66
- Razer Blade 15
- Acer Predator Helios 300
- MacBook Pro
- Acer Aspire 5
- MSI GF65 Thin
- Dell XPS 15 9500
- Acer Swift 5
- MSI GL65 Leopard
- Acer Spin 5
- Dell Inspiron 15 5593
- ASUS ROG Strix Scar 15
- Acer Nitro 5
- MSI GE75 Raider
- ASUS ZenBook Duo
- Razer Blade Pro 17
16 Best laptops for Architects
Let us dive into the best laptops for architects.
1. MSI GS66 Stealth 10SE-039
The MSI GS66 is a great laptop. Not only does it look amazing, but it also has powerful parts. There are a lot of configurations, but we picked the cheapest option because it provides enough power for most architects. If you are going to be creating a lot of models and doing graphics rendering, then you might want to consider the model that has the RTX 2080.
The model that we picked comes with a brand new Intel Core i7-10750H. This is one of the best laptop CPUs on the market now, and works well for intensive programs such as Revit. The RTX 2060 is also one of the better GPUs right now, although the RTX 2080 would be better.
There is 512 GB of SSD storage which should be plenty for most, and 16 GB of RAM.
This laptop meets recomended system specs that we set and you sould definitely check it out.
See the MSI GS66 on Amazon.
2. Razer Blade 15
The Razer blade 15 is another great laptop for architects. This laptop also has various configurations that you can chose from, but I think the model we picked is a good option for most. You can also chose to add a 4k screen and an RTX 2070 if you want.
The laptop comes with the Intel Core i7-9750H which is really good for resource intensive work on a laptop. They have also packed in an RTX 2060, but you can add an RTX 2070 Max-Q if you want.
The laptop looks great and is of good build quality. Razer has a lo of experience with making gaming focused laptops, something that happens to also be good laptops for architects.
See the Razer Blade 15 on Amazon.
3. Acer Predator Helios 300
The Helios 300 is one of my favorite laptops. The laptop is getting more and more powerful with each iteration, and it is actually on par with a lot more expensive options. The only drawback about the Helios is that it looks like a gaming laptop, which is a negative for many.
It is the inside that counts, and this laptop comes with the same Intel i7-10750H that the MSI and Razer do. This is very good for the price point, and this CPU will be one of the better ones on the market for quite some time.
The laptop also has the RTX 2060 GPU. For resource rendering work it is important that you have a GPU, and one of the RTX models is your best option in a laptop.
There is also 512 GB of SSD storage and 16 GB of RAM. This is about what we are looking for so you should give this laptop a consideration.
See the Acer Predator Helios 300 on Amazon.
4. MacBook Pro
A lot of people really like the MacBook pro, and so do I. It is a beautiful laptop with really high build quality. Although it made it onto this list, it would be better if you got a laptop with a good GPU. If build quality is of more importance to you than pure performance, then this is a great option.
This model of the MacBook comes with a great Intel i9 processor with 8 cores. 8 cores is great, but without the GPU you will still not get the best performance for graphic intensive work. For general purpose use though it is an amazing CPU.
There is 16 GB of RAM and 512 GB of storage. This is on par with the other laptops we have looked at so far.
You also need to consider if the software you are going to be using is supported on Macs. Not all programs are available on Mac OS so you should look that up before purchasing one.
See the MacBook Pro on Amazon.
5. Acer Aspire 5
The Acer Aspire is an option for those who are looking for something a little more budget friendly. This laptop will not give you the best performance, but it will be a good beginner option for many.
The Acer Aspire line has been around for a long time and is a well known budget laptop. There are a few models to pick from but this particular one has an Intel Core i5-10210U. It is not the most powerful CPU but it is a 10th gen and should work for many.
There is 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage. This is a little on the lower side. You can mitigate the storage issue by purchasing a separate external hard drive pretty easily.
Overall this is a decent laptop, and a good option as an architecture laptop on a budget.
See the Acer Aspire 5 on Amazon.
6. MSI GF65 Thin
The MSI GF65 Thin is another mid-level laptop that works well for architecture. It is reasonably priced and provides really good specs. The main drawback that would turn anyone away from this option would be that the CPU is a 9th gen. This is still a really good CPU that was a staple in high end gaming laptops for a long time, but the 10th gen is getting more common.
The laptop also has the RTX 2060, making it well suited for intensive work that can take advantage of a GPU.
There is also 8 GB of RAM and a 512 GB SSD onboard. The 8 GB of RAM could be better, but you can always upgrade it yourself if you are capable, as it can take up to 64 GB of RAM total.
The MSI GF65 is a great option if you are looking for something in the middle of the road for a good price, from a good company.
See the MSI GF65 Thin on Amazon.
7. Dell XPS 15 9500
The new model of the Dell XPS is great. It has powerful parts and offers a UHD (4k) screen for those who want the best possible screen quality. Remember that there are a lot of pixels in a 4k screen, which requires a lot of power to create when doing resource intensive graphics work.
The laptop has an Nvidia GTX 1650 Ti GPU. This is not the most powerful option on this list, but it meets the minimum system recommendations we set for this post.
The CPU is the Intel Core i7-10750H which is one of the better options you will find. There is 16 GB of RAM and a 1 TB SSD which is very good.
Overall the Dell XPS is a great choice for those who want a 4k screen with a decent amount of power. Only the GPU is a little lacking on this laptop.
See the Dell XPS 15 on Amazon.
8. Acer Swift 5
The Acer Swift 5 is a pretty powerful laptop, except that it does not have a GPU. I do recommend that you get a GPU but not everyone want that. If that is the case then this would be a good option.
The laptop comes with an Intel Core i7-1065G7 CPU. This CPU is not as powerful as some of the other options on here, and it only has 4 cores. I recommend you go with one that has at least 6 cores for best performance.
One unique feature is that this is a 14 inch laptop. Most laptops here are 15 inches because I think 15 inches is the best match between productivity and portability. If you want a smaller laptop then 14 inches may be an option you want.
It also has 8GB of LPDDR4 RAM (Low power version for better battery life) and a 512 GB SSD.
Overall I think this laptop is an okay choice, but you are better off going with one of the three recommended at the top of this list.
See the Acer Switft 5 on Amazon.
9. MSI GL65 Leopard
The MSI GL65 Leopard is another laptop that is very well suited for architects. It offers power and it comes at a reasonable price.
The laptop comes with the Intel Core i7-10750H CPU. You might have noticed that a lot of the better laptops out there has this CPU, which should tell you that it is one of the best ones on the market right now. It does have 6 cores which is really good, but there are also 8 core CPUs available, but I don’t think that is necessary for most architects.
There is also the RTX 2070 which is a bit better than some of the other laptops, and also 16 GB of RAM, and a 512 GB SSD. These are quite good specs, and it meets the recommended system specs that we have for architecture laptops.
See the MSI GL65 Leopard on Amazon.
10. Acer Spin 5
The Acer spin is an option for those who want a screen that can be turned all the way around. This offers a laptop that is better for a stylus, and you can more easily make sketches if that is what you want to use the laptop for.
Although the laptop has decent specs, it is not for those who want the most powerful laptop. The unique features is the screen that is well suited for the stylus that it has, and the 13.5 inch screen.
The CPU is an Intel Core i7-1065G7. There are more powerful options in the i7 category, but i7 CPUs are quite powerful and this should be good for most people.
There is also 16 GB of RAM and a 512 GB SSD. This is about what we are looking for. The only thing missing is the GPU, but that is not so important if you want to do mostly stylus based work.
See the Acer Spin 5 on Amazon.
11. Dell Inspiron 15 5593
Another laptop that I like to recommend is the Dell Inspiron 15. This laptop has seen a few iterations now, and I think they make it better every time.
This model comes with a 10th gen Intel Core i7-1065G7 CPU. You could get a more powerful option, but for the price of this laptop is is pretty decent.
One thing that lacks on this model though is that it only has an Nvidia GeForce MTX230 GPU. This is not part of any of the series we would recommend for architecture, but if you are looking for something more budget friendly then it is an option
There is 8 GB of RAM which is a bit little, but a decent 512 GB SSD.
Overall the laptop is a good option if you are on a budget, and are looking for a high quality laptop that has been around for a while.
See the Dell Inspiron 15 on Amazon.
12. ASUS ROG Strix Scar 15
The ASUS ROG Strix Scar 15 is a very powerful laptop, and it is very well suited for architecture tasks. If you want to run anything resource intensive such as Revit then this laptop is a great option.
It is one of the few laptops that comes with an Intel Core i9-1098HK with 8 cores. You can also choose this CPU on the MSI GS66 model. This is one of the best CPU laptops currently and probably will be for some time.
There is 32 GB of RAM. This will be too much for some, but many will be able to take advantage of the increased RAM. Anything above 32 GB is probably not necessary for architecture.
There is 2 TB of SSD storage, so you should have no problem storing a lot of large resource files.
The ASUS laptop is a great choice if it fits your budget.
See the ASUS ROG Strix Scar 15 on Amazon.
13. Acer Nitro 5
The Acer Nitro 5 is a budget gaming laptop. This is an alternative to the Helios 300 further up the list, where the main advantage of this laptop would be the price. The parts of the Helios 300 are better.
This laptop comes with a 9th gen Intel Core i7-9750H. This CPU was very common in high end laptops until the new 10th gen cam around. It is a very good CPU so if you are looking for something a little cheaper then any laptop with this CPU will be a good option.
There is 16 GB of RAM which is good, and a 256 GB SSD which is not so good. 256 GB is a little small when you have to store a lot of files, but you can mitigate this by getting an external hard drive.
The Acer Nitro is a good option if you are looking for a budget gaming laptop.
See the Acer Nitro 5 on Amazon.
14. MSI GE75 Rader
If you want more screen real estate to work on then the MSI GE75 Raider is a good option. This screen is a 17.3 inch with a refresh rate of 300Hz. This is not so important for architecture, but for gaming it is incredible.
The laptop comes with the brand new powerful Intel Core i9-10980HK. This is a gaming laptop, but that is also what works well for architecture because some of the software is really resource intensive. This CPU is one of the best options in a laptop and can handle much of what you can throw at it.
There is 32 GB of RAM and 1 TB of SSD storage. This is all really good, and the laptop even comes with the RTX 2080 Super Max-8, which is one of the best GPUs you can get in a laptop.
If you look at the specs, this is one of the best laptops you will find out there. The specs are great and it is made by a reputable company.
See the MSI GE75 Raider on Amazon.
15. ASUS ZenBook Duo
The ASUS ZenBook Duo is an interesting laptop that can work well if you want to use stylus. It has a sketchpad above the keyboard that you can use when creating drawings. You should check out this laptop if you want to use stylus.
The laptop also has an Intel Core i7-10510U CPU. Not the most powerful one, but still an i7.
There is also 16 GB of RAM and a 1 TB SSD. This should be plenty for most.
One drawback about the laptop is that it only has an Nvidia GeForce MX250 GPU. This laptop is best if you want to use a stylus, not if you want to use resource intensive architecture software.
See the ASUS ZenBook Duo on Amazon.
16. Razer Blade Pro 17
Another 17 inch option is the Razer Blade Pro 17. This laptop has a few configurations you can chose from. The one we picked is the cheapest one.
This version has the Intel Core i7-10875H. This is an 8 core CPU which will be able to run all the architecture software.
There is also the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 GPU. This GPU is powerful enough for most people, but one of the configurations also has the RTX 2080 if you want a little more.
There is 16 GB of RAM and 512 GB SSD which is pretty common for high end laptops. The only thing that could have been better would be a little more RAM and at least 1 TB of SSD storage, although you have those options on the other configs.
See the Razer Blade Pro 17 on Amazon.
Some frequently asked questions
Is Mac good for architects?
A MacBook is okay for architecture, but I recommend that you get a laptop that has a good GPU. The MacBook offers build quality, but if you want the best then you need more power than what a Mac offers.
What laptop should architecture student use?
As a student you should look at the Acer Predator Helios 300 or the Razer bade. They are not cheap, but they are cheaper than the very top options.
How much RAM do I need for architecture?
You should get at least 16 GB of RAM. 8 GB would work to some degree, but more would be better. You probably would not benefit from more than 32 GB.
Are gaming computers good for architecture?
Yes, gaming computers are good for architecture. Gaming laptops have powerful parts, and some architecture software are quite demanding. Therefore, a gaming laptop works well for architecture.
Is an i5 good for architecture
An i5 is okay if you get a newer generation. It would be better if you got an i7 with 6 cores.
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. I think the best laptop for architecture is the MSI GS66 Stealth, but any laptop on the list above would be a good choice. You should select one that fits your budget.