Best Laptops for Architectural Design Firms

When selecting the best laptop for your architectural design firm, consider your role in the design process. Individuals may require different specs to carry out their architectural design tasks effectively and efficiently. However, there are some general specifications you can consider when shopping for a laptop.  Here are some specs to guide you to select the best laptop for architectural designs:

Overall Specifications

When shopping for a laptop, consider the system that will integrate with the architectural design software you will be using. For instance, if you use Revit regularly, your machine should have a minimum of 32GB of RAM, consistent 30GB free memory on its disk, DirectX11 or greater 4GB Video card memory on the graphic cards, and a multi-core processor.

Central Processing Unit (CPU)

As a professional architect, you will be running powerful modeling and Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software most of the time. To work on your designs hassle-free, ensure you have AMD Ryzen 7 or Intel core i7 processor.

Graphics Processing Unit (GPU)

Most graphic software like Revit, VectorWorks, Rhino, ArchiCAD, and 3ds Max call for formidable graphic cards. They work well if the laptop has at least 4GB vRAM GPU.

Random Access Memory (RAM)

Architectural design software takes up a lot of space in your RAM.  8GB may be sufficient for most operations. However, you will be better off with 16GB or 32 GB of RAM to produce high-quality renderings or multitask.


You will require significant storage space for your architectural design files. The more storage you have, the more files you can store. HDD or mechanical drive is affordable, but it may not be sufficient on its own. Although Solid State Drives (SSDs) are pricey, they are faster and more reliable. We recommend a hybrid drive approach where you install your files in the HDD and your architectural software and OS in the SSD. A hybrid drive helps you to work more efficiently without deleting some files to create space for others.

Screen Size and Resolution

A 15 or 17-inch screen is excellent for architectural renderings. However, this may give you problems with portability. A more portable size would be 13.3 to 14 inches, which is also sufficient for architectural renderings. A full high definition (FHD) is good enough, but an ultra full high definition (UFHD) is more preferable. You can also go for higher resolutions like 4k or 5k to prepare you for future architectural display needs. Now that you have a general idea about the specifications you need to work optimally as a professional architectural designer, let’s consider the best laptops to use. Besides the specs, the reliability and customer support you get for your laptop should top your list of considerations when shopping for the best laptop. Top-tier brands offer the most reliable machines and have fantastic customer support. Top-tier brands may include HP Dell, Lenovo, Samsung, Microsoft, and Razer. MacBook Pro is an excellent machine if you need to use Windows. The 2013 MacBook Air may not accommodate CAD or BIM software, but you can install SketchUp for incredible 3D renderings and architectural design development. The current Ml-based MacBook machines are significantly fast, and there are all indications that the soon-to-be-released 15-inch model will be much faster. The price of these Apple machines is remarkably low, making them the most affordable amongst laptops with similar specs. Currently, BIM and 3D run on emulation. While this does not affect the speed of your laptop, it limits the benefits you can get from your MacBook laptop. If you want to buy your laptop immediately, you can go for Intel MacBook Pro or the more affordable HP Zbook. However, if you do not need the machine right away, waiting for the M1 Apple laptop may be worthwhile. You may also consider buying a Lenovo Business Class laptop for your architectural design jobs. You can effectively remote into BIMBOX Stryker M7, BOXX APEXX, or BOXX GoBOXX MXL on your Lenovo Laptop. Planners may use MSI gaming-style machines. They are not only appealing solid rendering workstations but also portable, allowing you to take them with you to meet your clients. Different users have different needs. Some may work well with a Surface with Bluetooth and Stylus keyboard. However, if you use hardcore design software, they may not run on such a machine. In other words, your workflow will determine the best laptop for you. In architectural design, we may isolate 5 user cases based on their workflows. Here they are:

Project Management

You need more model view than rendering capacity. A general business class machine will be sufficient for your workflow.

Production Rendering

Your workflow involves less rendering, but you handle complex models. You require less GPU but a higher RAM and core speed.


Consider getting a decent production laptop with a full GPU.


You may need generative designs, tablets, and algorithmic machines. Point Cloud Processing, BIM Systems maintenance, and project troubleshooting workflows require a decent GPU and high-speed RAM. Your laptop will also serve you better if it has multiple SSDs and a high single-core speed. As you can see, the best laptop for architectural design depends on your specific workflow in the design process and how much portability you need your machine to offer. Some users may need high-end workstation substitution or a thin, portable laptop with a strong, mobile hot spot connection to hook them up to remote rendering stations. Here is a list of laptops you may check out. We haven’t ranked the laptops, as this is a random list.
  • Dell Inspiron 13 7000 is popular since it is flappable.
  • HP Zbook Studio G5 is the best mobile workstation for your architectural design work
  • Asus ROG Zephyrus is the best gaming laptop for architectural design professionals
  • Dell Inspiron 15
  • Lenovo ThinkPad P73
  • Apple MacBook Pro 16-Inch
  • MSI GS66 Stealth

Initial.IT Is Your Denver Architectural Design Firm Tech Team

If you want further guidance on architectural design hardware and software, reach out to Initial IT experts. At Initial IT, we can help you with all your IT needs to help you run your architectural design business more effectively, efficiently, and securely. Call us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your IT needs with one of our experts.