What is the Best Computer for Architecture Students? How to Choose a Laptop or PC for Architecture

Laptop or desktop? What specs? How much RAM? What CPU? What GPU? What storage device? How can I choose the best computer for architecture school? Which computer do I buy? There are so many variations of computers that architecture students can choose from. Purchasing a computer can be quite overwhelming.

In today’s episode of the Successful Architecture Student’s Podcast, I explain whether you should buy a desktop PC or Laptop for architecture school and which computer is the best. I also explain how you can decide what hardware you need and the difference your RAM, CPU Processor, GPU Processor and Storage Devices have on how fast and reliable your architecture computer is.

Prefer listening/reading? Check out the show notes:

What is the Best Computer for Architecture Students? How to Choose a Laptop or PC to Buy? – SAS Podcast 16

Find out whether you NEED a laptop or computer for architecture school: https://youtu.be/3Wcw0LnJcm4

Check out my FREE online course for architecture students:
▼ 70 Hacks for Architecture Students▼
→ https://successfularchistudent.com/ ←

When buying a laptop or computer for architecture school, there are 4 general rules of thumb to follow.

1) Your computer needs at least 16GB of RAM (computer memory). RAM is what is used when working on architectural programs such as Photoshop and rendering programs such as 3DS Max, VRAY and Lumion. If your computer has less than 16GB of memory, it will struggle with these programs.

2) Your desktop or laptop computer should have at the least an i7 processor/CPU. This is what limits how fast your computer can render 3D models.

3) Your architecture computer should have a 1TB SSD (minimum) as your main storage device. Alternatively, you can use a smaller sized SSD and use a Hard Drive to store your files. This is a cheaper option for architecture students.

4) Your computer’s Graphics Card, or GPU, determines how quickly and error-free you can view your 3D models in the workspace. A better GPU will allow your computer to work more efficiently when modelling and creating things in post-render architecture programs such as Photoshop.

Before buying a computer for architecture school, I suggest you benchmark the RAM, CPU, SSD OR GPU that you want to buy to find the best one. This will give you an indication of it’s ability compared to other hardware out there. You can use sites such as Passmark for this. Just google “CPU benchmark”, for example.

I’ve been getting asked a lot of questions about what laptop or desktop computer you should use as an architecture student.

I’m sure there’s a lot of videos out there already explaining and covering what computer you should buy and what is the best laptop for architecture students. That made me think, why do I still have so many people ask me this question if there’s already so many resources out there for you to figure it out?

It’s because these videos are all 10 to 15 minutes long and promoting affiliate products, which they make money from. They don’t necessarily care about giving the best information to the architecture student, they’re just trying to sell computers to architecture students.

That makes me just want to make a quick video about this topic to try and clear up this idea of what is the best computer for architecture, how you can choose the right one to buy and whether you need a laptop or a desktop for architecture school.

For me, I personally didn’t use a laptop all throughout high school and my first two years of architecture school. Some people thought I was crazy. 95% of architecture students have a laptop or computer of some sort.

It’s because I’ve got a desktop PC. Desktop PCs are a lot more reliable and more efficient because they are bigger and can have better features and hardware. The only downside is that you can’t bring it to your university campus. However, I understand that not everyone can study from home university and they might want a laptop instead.

However, when I get asked this question, what I usually recommend is that having a PC is a lot better for working on architecture programs and software such as doing renderings and 3D modelling because it’s a lot quicker, you’re not going to have as much crashing like you do with laptops and it’s going to be a lot more pleasant experience working on a desktop.

Nevertheless, this video applies to those buying a laptop OR desktop, as the rules are universal.

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  1. Benedek Fodor on September 11, 2021 at 11:03 pm

    Do u think if a quadro or an amp pro graphics card is nessesery ?

  2. Ralph Fuerte on September 11, 2021 at 11:05 pm

    Thanks for the info… God Bless!

  3. Dilano Sally on September 11, 2021 at 11:10 pm

    Very useful information.

  4. Ida Lautenschläger on September 11, 2021 at 11:13 pm

    Hey, thanks so much for all your videos! I have a question concerning the programs one will need. Are they free or do I have to invest like 300€ per software in addition to the expensive laptop I buy?

  5. iKingJoker 7 on September 11, 2021 at 11:14 pm

    This is one of the laptops I was thinking of getting, asus rog strix g g531gt al324t. Is this a good option? Do you think that I could also game on it? I’m going into my first year of college as a architect major.

  6. ROBERT LANCE SALAS on September 11, 2021 at 11:14 pm

    I’m entering my thesis year, and i’m about to change from laptop to desktop platform this really helped!

  7. Lhance Enriquez on September 11, 2021 at 11:16 pm

    I’ve been researching about laptops and I’ve decided to buy a powerful laptop that I will use for my college years right off the bat, I saw that workstation laptops are the best laptop for architecture programs, what workstation laptop can you suggest which will last me for my college years? Budget is about 2000usd .

  8. shivam takulia on September 11, 2021 at 11:21 pm

    Hey I’m really confused whether to buy laptop or pc.. I’m going to 3rd year this fall and were gonna have a lot of group projects. Currently I’m using macbook Pro 2017 and having issues with rendering. Right now my laptop options are either the xps 15 or Razer blade 15. Razer blade has really good specs and I just wanted to ask is it a better option to buy a new laptop or buy a pc and use macbook cuz I really don’t know shit abt PCs. Would be great if you could help

  9. bigi blog on September 11, 2021 at 11:21 pm

    nice, i like that you totally exclude the brand question windows vs mac (pro and contras on both sides)… when i studied i used a 15" laptop… but going back i would buy a lighter 14" laptop and a cheap monitor to leave at uni school and build a power pc at home… than connecting the both with apps like anydesk… so i could draw and layout at laptop and let the pc at home do the renderings…

  10. Richard Colin on September 11, 2021 at 11:22 pm

    thanks for the video,Hello, i about to enter university this year, my house and the university were not too far its only take 15min walk.
    currently i hava an Asus laptop with i3 4005u, 2gb ram, and gtx 930m gpu i want to upgrade but i am not sure shall i get a new pc or buy a new laptop with my current condition what did you prefer? thanks

  11. aditya patankar on September 11, 2021 at 11:24 pm

    keep making these videos. Really helpful

  12. janex clyde guevarra on September 11, 2021 at 11:24 pm

    Thanks for the information, badly needed this, for CADD..incoming 3rd year archi student.. but dont have enough money to buy one of those laptops😣

  13. IS_ZB on September 11, 2021 at 11:26 pm

    Thanks for the video. I’m a second year in my degree and I fried my old laptop. With my budget, i can afford ryzen 5 3600 and 1660 super gpu with 16 gb ram. Is that specs for pc enough for the archi workload for the next few years?

  14. Kathy Forro on September 11, 2021 at 11:30 pm

    This is really helpful! Thanks. I’m going second year but my laptop is full and I’m switching to cpus now.

  15. Lhance Enriquez on September 11, 2021 at 11:30 pm

    I am an incoming freshman architecture student and I’m planning to buy either a laptop or desktop, according to my sources, 3d modeling will start at the third year. What’s practical to buy now, a laptop or a desktop? What I’m going to buy now is what I’ll definitely be using on my third year in 3d modeling.

  16. Gae Bren on September 11, 2021 at 11:34 pm

    That was really good information.

  17. Gabrielle Linden on September 11, 2021 at 11:34 pm

    You are a life saver

  18. Karan Parihariya on September 11, 2021 at 11:36 pm

    Thanks for the info… SDD tho 😂 👌

  19. farez danial on September 11, 2021 at 11:42 pm

    Hii, is cpu i5 10400f is good enough for archi programs? Pair with gtx 1070

  20. Nichiwa YT on September 11, 2021 at 11:43 pm

    I have a Laptop with an i3-1005g1 core, 8 GB Ram and Intel UHD 620 Graphics card…. should i find a new laptop or a new desktop computer?

  21. Alren M on September 11, 2021 at 11:44 pm

    Great video!
    So I have a barely good enough laptop and I’ve been planning to buy a new one, so should I build a Pc and keep my laptop as a secondary device?

  22. Jessica joy Soriano on September 11, 2021 at 11:49 pm

    Hi. Do you recommend having pc instead of laptop?? For those who are in still lockdown due this covid and also for us archi student.

  23. Aliyah Aniban on September 11, 2021 at 11:50 pm

    hi im your fan here in Philippines. more vids to come :))

  24. jhenamarisse on September 11, 2021 at 11:52 pm

    I currently have an Ipad pro 2020 but I don’t know what to get (laptop or pc). but I think computer is a good choice since I have the Ipad to bring in school to take notes and other stuff

  25. Lance Ledesma on September 11, 2021 at 11:54 pm

    im going to start college soon. This is a helpful informative video, thank you!

  26. peter kanyeki on September 11, 2021 at 11:54 pm

    Thanks for the video, I have a question when buying a pc or building since you buy many parts separately, will it be cheaper? because most of the pc builds I have seen, they exclude the price of the monitor which is very important.

  27. Ayşe Naz Aşcıoğlu on September 11, 2021 at 11:56 pm

    can’t we buy ipad pro? laptops are too expensive😿

  28. ماجد المطيري on September 11, 2021 at 11:56 pm


  29. VC on September 11, 2021 at 11:57 pm

    Hi there, do you have any recommendations on affordable desktop computers? Unfortunately my little MacBook Air doesn’t have the ability to render my projects and it’s really annoying! Everything seems super expensive, what do you think?

  30. Basavaraj v. L on September 11, 2021 at 11:58 pm

    Hey i am an architecture student__asus g14 amd ryzen 5 4600hs is ok ???for the architectural softwares__as there is lots of rendering_ revit and all

  31. Riaa Thakur on September 11, 2021 at 11:59 pm

    Thank you so much! This video was so so so helpful!!!!

  32. Kipper Klank on September 11, 2021 at 11:59 pm

    I like how the perception of computers is so heavily distorted by people nowadays that people genuinely think a laptop is not a PC >.>

  33. Fairuz Fairuz on September 12, 2021 at 12:00 am

    I have all the specification this video talked about : 16 ram storage, I7 cpu and using ssd. But whenever I try to render, sketchup just closes. What else do I need to do?

  34. José Enrique Rodriguez on September 12, 2021 at 12:01 am

    Thanks for your video and this useful info.

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