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Top 8 Laptops for Architecture in 2023 – Reviews & Buyers Guide

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By Matt Smith

What’s the best laptop for architecture?

Choosing the best laptop for architecture can be a challenge. There are so many factors to consider, such as price, hardware specs and software compatibility. The truth is that most laptops marketed as being good for architecture are not! They may have good specs but they lack the necessary software and hardware needed to actually run your design programs smoothly.


We’ve reviewed over 30 top of the range laptops in order to find those which we believe offer the best value for money when it comes to their specifications, performance and overall quality.

We’ve put together a list of laptops that we would recommend based on their specs and how well they handle design programs like AutoCAD or Revit. Our top pick is the Apple Macbook Pro with the 2.3Ghz Intel Core i9 Processor. This powerful machine has all the power needed to run demanding CAD applications while still remaining portable enough to carry around from site to site!

If you’re a budding architect and want the best laptop for your profession, look no further. Our well-researched list will help you find the perfect laptop that is able to keep up with all of your architectural needs. Our expert panel has reviewed the best laptops for architecture so you can make an informed decision when purchasing your next machine.

Top 3 Laptops for Architecture:

1st Choice
New Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, 16GB RAM, 1TB Storage, 2.3GHz Intel Core i9) - Space Gray
New Apple MacBook Pro
  • 16-inch screen
  • 16GB of RAM
  • 1TB of Storage
  • 2.3Ghz Intel Core i9 Processor.
  • Touch bar and Touch ID
2nd Choice
Acer Nitro 5 15.6 FHD Laptop, 9th Gen Intel Quad Core i5-9300H
Acer Nitro 5 15.6 FHD Laptop
  • 15.6-inch screen
  • 8GB of RAM
  • 256GB of storage
  • 2.4Ghz Intel 9th gen Quad-Core i5-9300H processor
  • Power-off charging
3rd Choice
Razer Blade 15 Laptop: Intel Core i7-9750H 6 Core
Razer Blade 15
  • 15.6-inch screen
  • 16GB of RAM
  • 512GB of storage
  • 2.6GHz 9th Gen Intel Core i7-9750H 6 core processor
  • Biometric Security

Reviews: 7 Laptops for Architecture That Made The Cut

Our shortlist is a result of rigorous research and testing. The research gives us an overview of the experience other users had with each laptop.


Whilst we value our experience, a bigger sample size makes for more accurate results. We considered some of the most fundamental parts of a laptop when it comes to performance:

  • The processor ensures that the systems run processes seamlessly.

    A top of the range processor makes easy work of some of the most demanding tasks. RAM stores your working data; it is your laptop’s short term memory.
  • The greater the RAM, the easier it is for a laptop to hold more working data – speaking of data our review of the top laptops for data science may be of interest.

    We have now progressed from the day of HDDs, and having a large capacity is no longer sufficient; an SSD is what we were after.

1. Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch – Best Architecture Laptop Overall

Hardware Specifications

ProcessorNinth-generation 8-Core Intel Core i9 Processor
RAM16GB DDR4 (upgradeable to 64GB)
Storage1TB SSD
GPUAMD Radeon Pro 5500M Graphics with GDDR6 memory
Display16 inch Retina Display with Touch Bar
Operating SystemmacOS
Battery LifeUp to 11 hours
Weight7.9 lbs

Top 3 Features

GraphicsStorageBattery Life
A combination between the beautiful Retina display and the AMD Radeon Pro 5000M Series graphics card makes this device a dream to design on.
There is not much one could want when you start with 1TB of storage space. That is plenty of room for your work.
A reliable battery life is another feature that we adore about the Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch 2019 Model. You can get up to 11 hours on a single charge.

This Macbook was designed to surpass all other products on the market when it comes to performance. It utilizes a thermal design to make the most of the i9 processor. There are 8 core and 16 threads on which it runs.

That gives you a higher performance level for long periods, which is an essential element when working on architectural designs. To put this into perspective, you get over twice the performance you would get from a quad-core processor.

For RAM, you have a 16GB DDR4, but it can be upgraded to 64GB. Running several different software or general multitasking derives a lot of benefits from this.

The AMD Radeon Pro 5000M Series is a cutting edge graphics card and is twice as fast as the previous generation. The battery capacity is courtesy of the 100-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery; it can run for up to 11 hours on a single charge. 

  • Carries both an onboard and a discrete graphics card.
  • The performance and responsiveness of the machine are impressive.
  • The screen is a good size and produces immaculate clarity.
  • The touch bar is an added bit of convenience.
  • Upgrading from a base model is costly.
  • Connectivity options have been reduced (traditional USB ports are gone).
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2. Acer Nitro 5 15.6 FHD – Best Laptop for Architecture Under $800

Hardware Specifications

ProcessorIntel 9th gen Quad-Core i5-9300H processor
RAM8GB DDR4 Memory
Storage256GB NVme Solid State Drive (SSD)
GPUNVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Graphics with 4 GB of dedicated GDDR5 VRAM
Display15.6 Inches
Operating SystemWindows 10
Battery LifeUp to 8 hours
Weight5.07 lbs

Top 3 Features

You can depend on the 9th generation Quad-core i5 processor to handle multiple programs at the same time.
The Acer Nitro 5 15.6 FHD has a dual fan cooling system that is equipped with two exhaust ports to keep the laptop cool under stress.
It is difficult to find other devices that can match the performance of the Acer Nitro 5 15.6 FHD at this pricing point.

This Acer AN515-54-8GB-256GB comes with an Intel 9th generation Quad-Core i5-9300H processor. It runs on a 2.4GHz frequency and can be boosted up to 4.1GHz. There are a total of 8 threads running on this processor.

That gives you a high performing laptop capable of taking on the software that laptops for architecture students or professionals should carry.

The RAM is an 8GB DDR4 memory. You also have the benefit of a superfast 256GB NVme SSD. For a clearer view, the 15.6” screen does a great job. It derives tremendous benefit from the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Graphics with 4 GB of dedicated GDDR5 VRAM.

When running demanding programs, it will be cooled down by the twin fans and dual exhaust ports. The pricing point makes it affordable and perhaps a good laptop for student architects, but consider the top laptops for engineering students too.

  • It is reasonably priced
  • Has capacity for storage and RAM upgrades
  • It is quite lightweight for its performance level
  • Has two fans and exhausts for effective cooling
  • The charging slot could be better
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3. Razer Blade 15 Architects Laptop

Hardware Specifications

Processor9th Gen Intel Core i7-9750H 6 Cores
Storage512GB SSD
Display15.6 inches
Operating SystemWindows 10
Battery Life3-4 Hours
Weight4.63 lbs

Top 3 Features

Processing SpeedHD DisplaySlim Body
The Razer RTX2060 Blade 15 comes equipped with a 9th Generation Intel processor. It gives you amazing performance.
The large 15.6 inch full HD 1080p display is perfect for work that is design related. It gives you excellent clarity.
While the weight may not be the lightest possible. You will be pleased to note that at just 0.78 inches. This laptop is slim and portable.

The RTX2060 is marketed as being “Ultra fast, Ultra Small and Ultra Powerful.” It is these things that we wanted to put to the test. At a weight of just 4.6lbs, it certainly lives up to the small claim and is 0.78 inches thick as well.

That makes it incredibly portable. It comes with a powerful 9th Gen Intel processor, and further, there is 16GB of RAM on two channels. 

Architects will appreciate the 15.6-inch screen; it is a full HD 1080p screen. You are guaranteed to have excellent clarity when working. There are several upgrades that you can make on the base model to make it more advanced.

The best approach would be to give it a try and see if you would benefit from higher specifications before making the upgrade. A tip for this one is to make sure that the CPU is undervolted, as this improves performance.

  • Upgrading it is straightforward
  • It is incredibly thin
  • The screen display is excellent
  • Runs fairly quietly even on demanding programs
  • Battery life leaves a lot to be desired
  • The trackpad could be better
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4. MSI GF75 – Best Architecture Laptop under $1200

Hardware Specifications

ProcessorIntel Core i7-9750h 2.6
Storage512GB NVMe SSD
Display17.3 inches
Operating SystemWindows 10
Battery LifeUp to 7+ hours
Weight4.85 lbs

Top 3 Features

Screen SizeGraphicsStorage
At 17.3 inches, you would be hard pressed to find external monitors that match up to it without compromising on portability.
The NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX Graphics card in this laptop gives brilliant rendering performance and display.
The 512GB with enhanced NVMe SSD read speeds combines space with speed to give you an impressive storage drive.

MSI Laptops are often ranked as the best gaming brand, which is always a great indicator of performance. Gaming places a high demand on the hardware, with an Intel Core i7-9750h 2.6GHz, that should not be a problem for the MSI GF75. This makes it an ideal choice for architectural use.

It also has the benefit of 16GB of RAM, and you will appreciate the 17.3-inch screen. Not only is it a great display in terms of quality, its size means that you may not always need an external display. Speaking of the display, NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX Graphics card makes everything render in immaculate quality. 

For storage, the MSI GF75 comes with a 512GB SSD card with enhanced NVMe SSD read speeds. That means rapid start times. You will also appreciate how thin and light this laptop is.

  • High tech cooling system
  • It is fairly lightweight
  • Runs demanding programs smoothly
  • Has a wonderful night light feature
  • The bottom edges are sharp
  • The screen tilting is poorly designed
  • Pricey
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5. Dell G5 – Best Windows Laptop for Architecture

Hardware Specifications

Processor9th Gen Intel Core i7-9750h (12MB Cache, up to 4. 5 GHz, 6 Cores)
Storage256GB M.2 PCIe NVMe Solid State Drive + 1TB 5400 rpm SATA Hard Drive
GPUNVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 with 4GB GDDR5 Graphics
Display15.6 inches
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home
Battery LifeUp to 4 hours
Weight7.2 lbs

Top 3 Features

The combination of the 9th Gen Intel Core i7-9750h processor and the 16GB of RAM in the Dell G5 15 results in a high performing device.
The anti-glare LED display not only limits prying eyes. It also makes it much easier to work outdoors as well as in dimly lit areas.

If you like to keep your laptop cool, you will like this one. The Dell G5 15 Laptop has a dual fan cooling system which goes a long way when using the device on the go.

Your designs will benefit from the screen’s anti-glare LED display which makes it easier to maintain a clear view even while you are outside. Speed has not been found wanting either. That is thanks to the 9th Gen Intel Core i7-9750h processor that has 6 cores and software runs smoother because of the 16GB of RAM. 

You will not be struggling for storage space either. There are two drives in this laptop, the first one is a 265GB SSD. It is responsible for giving your fast starting times and responsiveness.

Additional storage comes from a 1 Terabyte SATA hard drive where you can store a lot of your work. I would recommend undervolting the CPU on this one as well.

  • It is reasonably priced
  • Performs well even when running demanding software
  • The non-glare screen is brilliant
  • The graphics card is excellent
  • It is quite bulky
  • Set up took longer than I would like
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6. Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 – Best Touchscreen Laptop for Architecture

Hardware Specifications

Processor10th Gen Intel Core i5
RAM8GB at base (can upgrade to 32GB)
Storage512 GB SSD
GPUAMD Radeon RX Vega 11 Graphics
Display15 inches
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home
Battery LifeUp to 11.5 hours
Weight3.4 lbs

Top 3 Features

Responsive ScreenPortabilityBattery Life
The touch screen is highly responsive. It combines well with the pen when working on the finer details of sketching.
This is a device that is thin and lightweight. All of this without compromising on performance.
The battery will give you close to 12 hours of run time on a single charge.

If elegance is one of the things that you are looking for, then the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 – 15″ Touch-Screen is a contender. It is both thin and lightweight which does not come at the cost of the laptop’s performance.

It has an exclusive AMD Ryzen Microsoft Surface Edition processor. This processor is renowned for delivering a responsive experience and is an Intel Core i5 processor. Part of this performance is courtesy of the 8GB of RAM that the device carries. 

The 256GB SSD is impressive. That is especially true when considering the size of the laptop. There is also room to upgrade the RAM and storage on this device from the base model.

Another characteristic that is worth mentioning is connectivity. That is something that tends to be cast away when devices are thin. It is not the case for the Surface Laptop 3.

  • Has a trackpad and touch screen
  • It is incredibly lightweight
  • The design is compact
  • There is scope for upgrading
  • The screen fades in and out on occasion
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7. ASUS VivoBook 17″ Laptop

Hardware Specifications

Processor7th Generation Intel Core i7-7500U processor
Storage256GB SSD + 1TB HDD storage
Display17.3 inches
Operating SystemWindows 10
Battery lifeUp to 11.5 hours
Weight4.6 lbs

Top 3 Features

Screen SizeStoragePrice Point
At 17.3 inches, you have a perfect view of all pixels as you work. The display is a thin one as well.
To add to the 256GB SSD storage, you also have 1 Terabyte of HDD storage.
Considering the hardware features and the performance of this device, the price point is bang on the buck.

As far as the screen size is concerned, you cannot possibly go wrong with the ASUS VivoBook Pro Thin & Light Laptop. It comes with a crispy clear 17.3-inch screen. You have the benefit of a full HD wide-view that combines 72% NTSC color gamut and NVIDIA 940MX discrete graphics. Fortunately, the screen size does not make it too bulky; it is a thin device.

Performance is delivered by the 7th Generation Intel Core i7-7500U processor. It combines with 16GB DDR4 RAM and 940MX graphics to give you a responsive device. Storage space is not to be sniffed at either, the Vivibook Pro comes with 1 Terabyte of HDD storage in addition to the 256GB SSD.

  • Offers good value for money
  • It has plenty of storage space
  • The build quality feels sturdy
  • The screen size is excellent
  • It is reasonably lightweight
  • The fan can be noisy even under low usage
  • OS was on HDD
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8. ASUS VivoBook 15Best Budget Laptop for Architects

Hardware Specifications

ProcessorAMD R5-3500U
GPUAMD Radeon Vega 8
Display15.6 inches
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home
Battery lifeUp to 10 hours
Weight3.53 lbs

Top 3 Features

PerformanceFinger SensorPortability
A combination of the AMD Quad Core Ryzen 5 3500U Processor and the 8GB DDR4 RAM delivers impressive performance.
There is a finger sensor on the keyboard. It is akin to what you will find on the new MacBook Pros.
This is a lightweight device. There is no excess in the hardware. This is epitomised by the 88% screen-to-body ration.

There is no fun in wasting space on bezels, is there? The ASUS F512DA-EB51 VivoBook 15 comes with an eyewatering 88% screen-to-body ratio. It makes the most of the device’s dimensions to provide an excellent display.

Under the hood is a Powerful AMD Quad Core Ryzen 5 3500U Processor so you are guaranteed a good level of performance which is aided by the 8GB DDR4 RAM for better multi-tasking. The keyboard has a finger sensor that is activated with Windows Hello. 

For storage, you have 256GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD all contained within a lightweight laptop. An interesting feature is the positioning of the bezel to facilitate easier typing.

For architectural students looking for the best architect laptop under $500, it’s a no-brainer: Reliable, Powerful & Affordable – even as a laptop for computer science students.

  • The hardware is easy to upgrade
  • The design is sleek and ergonomic
  • The display is excellent
  • Some bios issues reported
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Laptops for Architecture – Buyers Guide

Now that we have covered all of the devices on our list, there are some terminology and features that you should know. These will help you better understand and therefore make the most of each product review.

We have put these into the context of their importance within the architectural processes and the software involved. 

What is the best Processor/CPU for Architecture?

This is the brain of your laptop. It handles all of the computations. CPU stands for Central Processing Unit, thus the brain reference. It deals with every input and the generation of a corresponding output.

The processor speed and the number of cores that it has determined how many processes it can deal with simultaneously.

It has a core and a cloak speed. Multiple cores mean that your laptop can run several programs at the same time.

Fewer cores with a higher clock speed will see your laptop perform well when running one program but struggle at multi-tasking. 

Graphics Card/GPU

GPU stands for Graphics Processing Unit. It is one of the most vital parts of your computer if you work with graphics or anything visual for that matter. It is responsible for rendering images, videos, 2D, and 3D graphics. That is why you will often find it referred to as a video card or graphics card. 

They come in two forms; you can have an interlinked or a discrete GPU. The interlinked one is built into your laptop, while the discrete one is sold separately. 


RAM stands for Random Access Memory. We have already covered its work as a form of short term memory for the laptop. The importance of this is that it makes everything work quicker.

Instead of using internal memory to transmit and retrieve information, RAM allows for access and utilization of said information in very little time. It reduces the strain on the processor and storage.

Most programs that architects use require a significant amount of RAM to get the best performance out of them. 

Screen Size & Resolution

An architecture laptop should have a great resolution and a large screen goes a long way. It will allow you to see the smallest of elements clearer as you work on them which is an integral part of drafting, seeing your error, or indeed genius along the way. 


Storage is the space or room that is available to keep your files within the laptop. Programs such as ArchiCAD, Vectorworks, and Autodesk 3ds Max generate files that take up a lot of room. It may not seem that way on an individual project, but it soon adds up over time and several projects. Getting a decent amount of storage on your laptop reduces the need to carry additional external storage devices with you.  

Internal Memory/Extension 

Internal memory is the standard or factory memory that your laptop comes with. You will find that there may be an option to extend this memory. That can be down to purchasing additional RAM and adding it to the device or in other instances, the hardware may need to be soldered, if this is on the motherboard. Check what the highest memory that your device can take is. 


OS is the operating system within your device. It is what makes it easier to interact with your laptop and it is responsible for providing you with an intuitive user interface. There are two main systems used across the world, most laptops will either run on Windows or on Mac OS.

The fundamental things within these interfaces are similar. If you have used one and not the other, there may be some getting used to required for a smooth transition. For instance, the Mac OS devices do not have the right-click button that we are accustomed to on Windows devices. It is worth checking that the software that you intend to use is compatible with the OS that your laptop runs on. 

Software (common software used by Architects)

SketchUpCreating 3D drawings
Revit2D and 3D projects
3D Studio Max3D projects
AutoCADDrafting and designing
Cedreo3D home design
Lumion3D project and video walkthroughs
ACTCAD Professional2D and 3D modeling
Space Designer 3D2D and 3D modeling
Chief ArchitectResidential designs
LumionArchitectural visualization
Vectorworks ArchitectAllows cross-platform collaboration
ArCADia-ARCHITECTUREWeb-based documentation tool
Arcon EvoAutomatic 2D and 3D interfaces

Battery Life 

The key function is its portability; it allows you to carry your work with you from one place to another. Battery life is an integral part of this. Adequate battery life means that you can work for several hours away from a power source. With a good battery, you can take your designs with you and work on them on the go. 


Price is a contentious one. On one hand, you do not necessarily want to spend an arm and a leg on a laptop. On the other hand, good devices do not come cheap. The sweet spot is being able to identify the best value for money within your budget. That is not going to be the same from one person to another.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which laptop is best for architecture students?

A combination of affordability and performance makes the Acer Nitro 5 15.6 FHD Laptop the best laptop for architecture students.

Is a MacBook pro good for architects?

Yes, the Macbook pro is good for architects. It is important that you check that the software you intend to use is compatible with the operating system. You usually have the option to upgrade the hardware as well.

What RAM is best for architecture?

If we had to settle for one it would be a DDR4 RAM of at least 16GB


Creativity often depends on being able to channel into the zone. That is no different among architects. It is amazing how tiny things, such as hardware issues, can throw your workflow out of sync.

Now imagine that happening when deadlines are looming. There is no greater case than that to be made for getting the very best laptops for architecture. As such, any of the ones we have included on our list will serve you well.

If in doubt, go with our top pick; the Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch.