In this guide, we’ll show you the top computer specifications for architecture professionals and students. Plus, we’ll mention the important decisions you’ll have to make before purchasing your new laptop.
Computers that are most suitable for architects and students should have reliable components that can handle a lot of processing power. If you know which are the programs you would be using daily, then it becomes easier to find the computer that can handle all of them.
The most important components you should pay close attention to are the processor (CPU), graphic card (GPU), screen size and resolution, RAM, and storage. Try to find out more about these components and when you open any online store, look for computers that have good specifications on these accounts.
Due to their construction, new laptops are quite hard to update due to their hardware that leaves no space for improvements. On the other hand, desktop computers allow you to constantly improve your configuration and make computers more powerful in processing power and storage.
Laptop or Desktop?
When looking for a new computer, one of the first decisions is whether they want laptops or desktop computers. Unfortunately, most people focus on the computer’s appearance, but they’re unaware that it should have the least priority on their list.
In terms of versatility, laptops are a better solution for students as they can take them to classes or use them for multiple onsite projects. However, experienced architects require reliable machines to support all their projects, especially if they’re using several programs at once.
A desktop computer will always outperform a laptop, but it doesn’t offer the same level of flexibility as light laptops that you can put in your backpack. For some people, the flexibility outweighs the cost, and they’re more likely to purchase it. However, if you’ll spend your time working in AutoCAD, ArchiCAD, Revit, or SketchUp in your office, a desktop is, by far, the best solution.
Decide on the Operating System
Second to your computer requirements is the choice of the operating system. Since your OS is responsible for managing all your computer tasks, you need to be sure which one you prefer. For many professionals, Mac offers an intuitive environment for design, image and video editing, and other creative work.
Of course, many professionals find Windows to be better if you’re using various programs as it offers unmatched computational speed. Its major advance is the price as well as its adaptability. Windows gets regular updates that keep it in the loop for all-new programs. For example, 3D Max still can’t work on macOS, and that just one of many reasons architects turn to Windows.
Minimum Hardware Specifications
Laptops come in various specifications and with different operative systems, and it’s not always easy to know exactly what you’re looking for. Architecture students should aim for the basic specifications that will allow them to work in demanding programs like Revit and AutoCAD.
If the budget allows, the first thing you should pay close attention to is CPU, graphic card, screen quality, and RAM.
CPU Processing Power and Graphic Card
To avoid any problems with sudden restarts and run all your programs successfully, you need Intel i5 or i7. Another option is to get AMD’s Ryzen 7 or Ryzen 9 for superior performance. If you’re looking for the best AutoCAD laptop, it should have at least a 2 GB graphic card. However, for 3D Max and Revit users that require massive graphic cards, a 3 GB option might be the best, but it will come with a price.
Whenever you’re using several programs at once, you require more memory to use them smoothly. The minimum RAM is 8 GB, and for heavy users, even 16 GB. If you have a desktop, you can easily change and upgrade our RAM according to your needs.
On the other hand, when you get a laptop with a certain amount of RAM, you won’t be able to replace it easily.
Screen Quality and Resolution
Most laptops come with a 1920 x 1080 resolution that works well for most of their users. It can fit two full-size windows next to each other with 1920 horizontal pixels. Videos and images look really sharp because the pixels are smaller and allow you to see every single detail.
If you want to kick up your display, you can go for 2560 x 2440, known as 2K. Or, if you go for Apple laptops, you’ll find 2560 x1600 and 2880×1800 Retina displays that come with superior image and screen quality.
New laptop models have started incorporating touch screen technology, and you can find those that have screens sensitive to touch. Unfortunately, those touchscreens consume a lot more power and often lead to fewer hours on any laptop. Another problem that most customers notice is the screen’s glossiness that reflects more light, especially during the day.
Once you decide to buy a laptop, your decision should be based on the system requirements of the programs you’re using.
Your workplace or University professors should give you good advice on it, but knowing that one of the most common programs is AutoCAD, Vector works, SketchUp, 3dMax, Adobe Photoshop, and others, you’ll need solid hardware to support all of them.
Now that you know more about a computer’s important specifications, you can use it to make the best one for your studies or business. You might not fit all of these into a student budget, but keep in mind that you won’t need all of them in the first years. After a few years, you’ll know exactly what you want and need to create new and exciting projects.