by Dušan Cvetković
Dušan Cvetković
Published April 8, 2021

Architecture is an intensive field that requires powerful hardware and software. As an architecture student or professional, having a laptop that can handle 3D modeling, rendering, simulations and other demanding tasks is crucial. But with so many options on the market, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one.


In this blog post, we will discuss the best laptops for architecture in 2023 to help you find the perfect fit for your needs and budget.

What to Look for in a Laptop for Architecture

When choosing a laptop for architecture, there are four key components you need to prioritize:

Processor (CPU)

The processor largely determines the speed and performance of your laptop. For architecture, you'll want at least an Intel Core i7 or equivalent. The newer generation chips (12th Gen Intel) will provide better performance.

Graphics Card (GPU)

The GPU handles all the graphics processing and is vital for 3D modeling, rendering and visualization. Look for dedicated GPUs like NVIDIA Quadro or AMD Radeon Pro rather than integrated graphics.

Random Access Memory (RAM)

Having enough RAM (at least 16GB) prevents crashes or lag when running multiple intensive architecture applications and files. 32GB or 64GB is ideal if your budget allows.

Storage

Get a solid state drive (SSD) which has much faster load times than a traditional hard disk drive (HDD). 256GB SSD is a good starting point.

Top Laptop Picks for Architecture

Based on the key factors above, here are my top recommendations for architecture laptops:

1. Dell Precision Mobile Workstations

Dell's Precision line is designed specifically for engineering and design applications. The Dell Precision 7560 offers excellent performance with options for 12th Gen Intel Core i7/i9 CPU, NVIDIA RTX A2000 GPU, 32GB/64GB RAM and fast SSD storage.

Dell Precision 7560 Laptop

© Dell

2. HP ZBook Studio/ZBook Fury

The HP ZBook series competes directly with Dell's Precision laptops. The ZBook Studio and ZBook Fury models are portable powerhouses perfect for architecture. Configure with a 12th Gen i7/i9 CPU, RTX graphics, 32GB+ RAM and spacious SSD.

HP ZBook Studio Laptop

© HP

3. Lenovo ThinkPad P15/P17

Lenovo's ThinkPad P Series packs workstation-level performance into a durable chassis. The P15 and P17 can be equipped with the latest 12th Gen Intel chips, RTX 3070 graphics, 64GB RAM, and have ISV certification for architecture software.

Lenovo ThinkPad P17 Laptop

© Lenovo

4. MSI WS66 Professional Laptop

For a more budget-friendly workstation laptop, consider the MSI WS66. It starts under $2000 but still provides an Intel i7 CPU, NVIDIA Quadro RTX graphics, 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD and a bright 15.6" 4K display. A great blend of performance and value.

MSI WS66 Professional Laptop

© MSI

5. Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition

The Razer Blade 15 Studio is a sleek, premium option for architects. Configurations offer 10th/11th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU, NVIDIA Quadro RTX 5000 graphics, 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD storage and a stunning 15.6" 4K OLED touch display.

Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition Laptop

© Razer

What to Avoid for Architecture Laptops

Now let's quickly go over what laptops you should avoid if you plan on using them for architecture:

  • Gaming laptops - While great for gaming, these are not optimized for productivity and architectural apps.
  • Consumer laptops - General use laptops like MacBooks lack the power and ISV certifications needed for 3D modeling and rendering.
  • Ultrabooks - Portable ultrabooks sacrifice performance for battery life. Not ideal as a primary device for architectural work.

Find the Perfect Architecture Laptop for You

The laptops mentioned here offer excellent performance for architecture while fitting different budgets. Take into account your own software needs, workflow, and budget to narrow down the options. And don't hesitate to buy refurbished/used workstation models to save money - they hold up very well over time.


Let me know if you have any questions! I'm happy to provide more guidance to help you find your perfect architecture laptop. 

Rhino for Architects Course


Rhino for Architects Course Package

Unleash your creativity and take your architectural designs to the next level with the Rhino for Architects Course.


Get over 60 hours of specialized training to master Rhino's tools and workflows. Learn to efficiently create intricate 2D drawings, complex 3D models, photorealistic renderings, and stunning animations. Click below for more information and bring your vision to life!

About the Author

Dušan Cvetković is a professional architect from Serbia and official Authorized Rhino Trainer with international experience in the industry. Collaborated with numerous clients all around the world in the field of architecture design, 3D modeling and software education. He's been teaching Rhinoceros3D to thousands of architects through How to Rhino community and various social media channels.