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5 Best Laptops For Architects and Architecture Students (Top Picks For AutoCAD)

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Last updated on July 4th, 2020 at 04:43 am

Looking for a laptop that will render your models very fast is not an easy task. And not all laptops are suited for this task.

Software used in architecture is pretty much demanding. This makes it quite difficult to find the best laptop especially if you are on a budget.

And there are so many things to look out for when searching for the best laptop for architecture. Fortunately, we have done the work for you.

In this article, we list the best laptops for architects, architecture students and AutoCAD.


Position
First Place
Runner Up
Best Budget
Snapshot
CUK ProArt StudioBook Pro 17 by ASUS Business Notebook (Intel Core i7, NVIDIA Quadro RTX 3000 6GB, 64GB RAM, 2TB NVMe SSD, 17" WUXGA, Windows 10 Professional) Mobile Workstation Laptop Computer
2020 HP ZBook 15 G5 15.6" FHD (1920x1080) Mobile Workstation Laptop (Intel 6-Core Xeon E-2176M, 32GB DDR4 RAM, 1TB PCIe SSD+1TB HDD, Quadro P2000) 2 x Thunderbolt 3, HDMI 2.0, Windows 10 Pro
Lenovo Ideapad L340 Gaming Laptop, 15.6 Inch FHD (1920 X 1080) IPS Display, Intel Core i5-9300H Processor, 8GB DDR4 RAM, 512GB Nvme SSD, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650, Windows 10, 81LK00HDUS, Black
What You Need To Know About The Laptop

This is a workstation meant for professional architects. It has more than enough power for CAD, BIM, Rhino, etc.

Plenty of processing and battery life. The HP ZBook 15 won’t disappoint.

The Lenovo IdeaPad l340 is a solid budget laptop for architecture.

Prime
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Rating
-
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Position
First Place
Snapshot
CUK ProArt StudioBook Pro 17 by ASUS Business Notebook (Intel Core i7, NVIDIA Quadro RTX 3000 6GB, 64GB RAM, 2TB NVMe SSD, 17" WUXGA, Windows 10 Professional) Mobile Workstation Laptop Computer
What You Need To Know About The Laptop

This is a workstation meant for professional architects. It has more than enough power for CAD, BIM, Rhino, etc.

Prime
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Rating
-
Position
Runner Up
Snapshot
2020 HP ZBook 15 G5 15.6" FHD (1920x1080) Mobile Workstation Laptop (Intel 6-Core Xeon E-2176M, 32GB DDR4 RAM, 1TB PCIe SSD+1TB HDD, Quadro P2000) 2 x Thunderbolt 3, HDMI 2.0, Windows 10 Pro
What You Need To Know About The Laptop

Plenty of processing and battery life. The HP ZBook 15 won’t disappoint.

Prime
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Rating
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Position
Best Budget
Snapshot
Lenovo Ideapad L340 Gaming Laptop, 15.6 Inch FHD (1920 X 1080) IPS Display, Intel Core i5-9300H Processor, 8GB DDR4 RAM, 512GB Nvme SSD, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650, Windows 10, 81LK00HDUS, Black
What You Need To Know About The Laptop

The Lenovo IdeaPad l340 is a solid budget laptop for architecture.

Prime
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Rating

Last update on 2020-07-14 at 02:25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Preview
Name
Rating
Processor, GPU & RAM
 
CUK ProArt StudioBook Pro 17 by ASUS Business Notebook (Intel Core i7, NVIDIA Quadro RTX 3000 6GB, 64GB RAM, 2TB NVMe SSD, 17' WUXGA, Windows 10 Professional) Mobile Workstation Laptop Computer

Intel Core i7, NVIDIA Quadro RTX 3000, 32GB
2020 HP ZBook 15 G5 15.6' FHD (1920x1080) Mobile Workstation Laptop (Intel 6-Core Xeon E-2176M, 32GB DDR4 RAM, 1TB PCIe SSD+1TB HDD, Quadro P2000) 2 x Thunderbolt 3, HDMI 2.0, Windows 10 Pro

Intel Xeon, NVIDIA Quadro P2000, 32GB
Dell Precision M5530 Laptop, 15.6 inch FHD (1920x1080) Non-Touch, Intel Core 8th Gen i7-8850H, 32GB RAM, 512GB SSD, NVIDIA Quadro P1000, Windows 10 Pro (Renewed)

Intel Core i7, NVIDIA Quadro P1000, 32GB
Lenovo ThinkPad P53s Workstation Laptop (Intel i7-8565U 4-Core, 16GB RAM, 512GB m.2 SATA SSD, Quadro P520, 15.6' Full HD (1920x1080), Fingerprint, WiFi, Bluetooth, Webcam, Win 10 Pro) with USB3.0 Hub

Intel Core i7, NVIDIA Quadro P520, 16GB
Lenovo Ideapad L340 Gaming Laptop, 15.6 Inch FHD (1920 X 1080) IPS Display, Intel Core i5-9300H Processor, 8GB DDR4 RAM, 512GB Nvme SSD, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650, Windows 10, 81LK00HDUS, Black

Intel Core i5, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650, 8GB

Here Are The Best Architecture and AutoCAD Laptops


Pros

  • Insane rendering performance
  • Plenty of storage
  • Solid build quality
  • Beautiful display
  • Thin and light

Cons

  • Runs hot
  • Not the best battery life
  • Pricey

CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: NVIDIA Quadro RTX 3000 | RAM: 32GB | Screen: 17.0″ WUXGA NanoEdge Matte Display (1920 x 1200) | Storage: 2TB NVMe SSD 

The ASUS ProArt StudioBook 17 is an insane powerhouse. Easily one of the best laptops for architecture. Sketchup, Revit, Rhino, etc. this thing will easily render and handle demanding applications. 

Just take a look at the hardware. An Intel Core i7, 32GB and a Quadro RTX 3000 give you little to doubt its processing power. And you have plenty of storage space – 2TB – which is superfast. So processing power won’t be a problem. 

Talking about problems. When you put such powerful hardware in a thin chassis, it’s bound to run hot and the StudioBook is not an exception. You have to undervolt and properly apply the thermal paste for it to run at acceptable temperatures.

Also, the battery life is not the best – 57Wh. You can expect 4-5 hours of use before it dies.

Finally, it’s pricey which is understandable because of its processing power. 

Build quality on this is top-notch. Durable, sturdy and reliable. And for a 17-inch laptop, it is thin and light. It weighs 5.35 lbs (2.4 kg) which you can easily carry to the office. 

And the display on it is amazing. A 17-inch screen that is bright, sharp and has high colour accuracy. More than enough screen for modelling and rendering. 

Overall, the ASUS ProArt StudioBook 17 surpasses the system requirements for architecture. A powerful laptop that gets a lot of things right – power, display, etc.

Highly-recommended as one of the best laptops for architects and AutoCAD. 


Where To Buy

Price not available

Buy On Amazon

Pros

  • Beautiful display
  • Insane processing power
  • Two Thunderbolt 3 ports
  • Solid build quality
  • Plenty of storage
  • Long battery life

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Thick and heavy

CPU: Intel Xeon | Graphics: NVIDIA Quadro P2000 | RAM: 32GB | Screen: 15.6″ 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) Dreamcolor| Storage: 1TB SSD + 1TB HDD

Connecting external monitors to your laptop is something an architect does most of them the time. If you connect several monitors a lot, the HP ZBook 15 is the right laptop for the job. The two Thunderbolt 3 ports allow you to connect to several high-resolution monitors. And that means getting more done. 

Moreover, this workstation has some serious processing power. An Intel Xeon, 32GB RAM, and Quadro P2000. More than enough processing power for AutoCAD and rendering. You also have plenty of storage space – 2TB of storage exactly – to store your large projects. 

The display on this is also amazing. It’s bright, sharp and has great viewing angles. It’s a 15.6-inch 4K (3840 x 2160) display which is superb. 

The biggest benefit of owning the HP ZBook 15 is the battery life. It’s known that powerful workstations have poor battery life. Surprisingly, the HP ZBook 15 has one of the best battery life for a workstation. It easily lasts more than 8 hours under normal use. We don’t know how they did it but they did a great job. 

Out of all the workstations. The HP ZBook 15 is easily the best value one. Plenty of processing power and good battery life. Aside from its price, thickness and weight (2.58 kg).

It’s the best value workstation laptop for architects, architecture students, and AutoCAD. Highly-recommended. 


Where To Buy

$1,799.95

Buy On Amazon

Pros

  • Excellent performance
  • Very lightweight and portable
  • Above-average battery life and great build quality

Cons

  • Webcam placed at an awkward position

CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: NVIDIA Quadro P1000 | RAM: 32GB | Screen: 15.6-inch UltraSharp FHD (1920×1080) | Storage: 512GB SSD 

If you are looking for the best Dell laptop for Architecture. Then the Dell Precision 5530 is that laptop. This workstation has identical looks to the Dell XPS 15.

The Dell Precision 5530 has a similar build quality to that of the Dell XPS 15. An aluminium body with a carbon fibre keyboard deck. Plus, it is slim and lightweight (4 pounds).

When it comes to performance, it has a high-performance Intel Core i7, 32GB RAM and an NVIDIA Quadro P1000. Enough firepower to tear through modelling and rendering.

Moreover, the 32GB RAM is more than enough for multitasking and running demanding applications. Combine that with its high-performance processor. You have a future-proof workstation.

Another great thing about the Dell Precision. It is one of the few workstations to have above-average battery life. To be honest, this is impressive.

Because workstations have powerful hardware which eats a lot of battery power, it can last 8-9 hours under consistent use. Don’t expect the same number of hours under heavy usage.

The display is a 15.6-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080) with thin bezels. A colour accurate and bright display.

Overall, the Dell Precision 5530 is one of the best workstation laptops for architecture.


Pros

  • Great keyboard
  • Good battery life
  • Optimized for architecture work
  • Durable

Cons

  • Runs hot

CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: NVIDIA Quadro P520 | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 15.6″ Full HD (1920×1080) | Storage: 512GB SSD 

The Lenovo ThinkPad P53s is the best affordable workstation for architecture. Because it has a certified graphics card and plenty of performance. Aside from that, it is one of the lightest workstations you can get.

It weighs 4.4 pounds (2 kg) and it’s less than an inch thick. Certainly a lightweight and thin workstation.

The workstation has a similar design and build quality found in all ThinkPads. A clean design with a body made from glass-fibre. There is little or no flex. Moreover, you get a workstation built like a tank.

When it comes to performance. It has an Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM and a Quadro P520. The Intel Core i7 is a low-power processor. Not the most powerful CPU but enough computing power to take care of your projects.

Plus, the 16GB RAM adds to its computing power. Overall, you have a quite powerful machine that can run a lot of programs at the same time. The Nvidia Quadro P520 is also a solid graphics card for rendering. 

Fortunately, the low-power processor also means better battery life. You can consistently work on it for 8-9 hours. Impressive for a workstation laptop.

The display is a 15.6 inch Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS with thin bezels. It is bright and has above-average colour accuracy and reproduction. Viewing angles are also great.

Overall, the Lenovo Thinkpad P53s is a workstation that has been optimized for Architecture software. One of the best workstation laptops for architects, AutoCAD, and architecture students. 


Pros

  • Great performance
  • Affordable
  • Solid build quality

Cons

  • Not the best battery life
  • Dim display

CPU: Intel Core i5 | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 15.6″ Full HD (1920 x 1080) LED-backlit IPS | Storage: 512GB SSD

If you are an architecture student who is on a tight budget. Then the Lenovo Ideapad L340 is the laptop you need. 

An Intel Core i5 quad-core processor, 8GB RAM, and an NVIDIA GTX 1650. The i5 processor has high clock speeds because this has gaming hardware multitasking and running demanding applications won’t be a problem. Although it’s highly recommended to upgrade the RAM to 16GB once you get enough money.

The NVIDIA GTX 1650 is also a decent dedicated graphics card that can do a bit of rendering and running games. 

When it comes to the display, it has a 15.6-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080). To be honest, the display leaves more to be desired because it isn’t bright and the colours are a bit off.

The only redeeming factor is its decent viewing angles because of its IPS display.

The laptop weighs about 4.8 pounds (2.2 kg) and less than an inch thick. Lightweight and thin enough to easily carry around without any problems.

Battery life is below average. Under normal workloads, it is only able to last 4-5 hours.

Overall, the Lenovo Ideapad L340 is the best cheap gaming laptop for architecture students.


Are Gaming Laptops Good For Architecture?

Gaming laptops are not recommended for architecture because their graphics cards haven’t been optimized to handle large quantities of graphical data, polygons, etc.

They are good – not great – up to a certain point. And after that point, their graphics card can’t keep up. Only get a gaming laptop if you play games and render, on a tight budget or both.

Is MacBook Good For Architects?

Apple MacBook Pro is a good laptop for architects. It’s a powerhouse with great build quality, battery life and display. The reason why it wasn’t listed is that not all architecture software is supported by macOS.

The good news is that the popular ones are compatible with macOS. You need to know the system software requirements of your preferred software. Once you know it’s supported by Mac. Then, by all means, go ahead with the purchase.

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$2,399.00 −$467.01 $1,931.99

Last update on 2020-07-14 at 03:55 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

What Laptops Do Architects Use?

Being an architecture student or architect, you need a quite powerful laptop to be able to run demanding software. There are so many architecture software and each have their own requirements, so we provide some guidelines below that can help you out.

Here are some few things you should know when looking for the best laptop for architecture.

What CPU/Processor Do You Need For Architecture?

In choosing a laptop for architecture performance comes first. Ideally, Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 5 and should be the lowest you should go.

Architecture software needs a lot of processing power to run because of the complexity of projects. And these should be the high-performance processors.

In any case, you go for the low-power processor because of the budget make sure to get the top of the line. 

Is 8GB RAM Enough For Architecture

8GB RAM is the minimum amount of RAM needed for architecture. So yes, it is enough. But, the recommended amount is 16GB for the best value performance. 32GB is for future-proof and to max out performance.

In short, though 8GB RAM is enough. You will be better off with 16GB RAM.

What Graphics Card Is Recommended For Architecture

Graphics cards are important because of the role they play in rendering. The NVIDIA Quadro cards are the best for architecture and computer-aided design (CAD) because they have been optimized primarily for AutoCAD software and rendering.

The consumer graphics cards (GeForce GTX and RTX cards) are decent but do not compare well to the Quadro cards. And they also have less performance when it comes to 3D modelling and rendering.

Only consider them if your budget is not enough to get the Quadro cards. 

Budget

Laptops meant for 3D modelling and rendering are expensive because of the Quadro cards. So if you want the best laptop for architecture, you need a substantial budget to purchase one.

Gaming laptops are not recommended because they haven’t been optimised to handle professional graphics. Unless you are on a tight budget, do not consider gaming laptops.

Final Thoughts

You need a powerful laptop or workstation when comes to running architecture software. Fortunately, the laptops we have listed here have the processing power for AutoCAD and more.

That’s it for the best laptops for architects, architecture students and AutoCAD.

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