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The 6 Best Laptops for Architects in 2024

Young man with a laptop plotting a system of building structures in blueprints, Architects or engineers are designing buildings using computers to calculate the physical structure to be correct.

The 6 Best Laptops for Architects in 2024

Key Points

  • Our choice for the #1 Best Overall laptop for architects is the Dell XPS 17.
  • When choosing a laptop as an architecture professional (or an as an architecture student), you want to ensure it’s powerful enough to run demanding software. 
  • Having all-day battery life is another big consideration so you can visit work sites daily that might not have power available. 

When you enter into the architectural field, you are likely already aware that any laptop you choose is going to have to be one that can keep up with some heavy software demands. Using various software programs like AutoCAD and SketchUp, such laptops must be able to handle multitasking with ease.

On top of the software, you also have to consider battery life, as you may very well be away from a plug for hours on end if you are on site where a build is taking place. 

Let’s take a look at the six best laptops for architects (and architecture students) you can buy right now. 

Laptop Compatibility Requirements for Architectural Work

Before diving into the laptops themselves, it’s important to know some recommended computer requirements for this profession before making a purchase decision.

Minimum Requirements
Weight3 pounds or fewer
Battery Life10 hours of battery life
Software Compatibility AutoCAD, Revit, Blender, SketchUp, Grasshopper, 3Ds Max
StorageAt least 256GB
RAMAt least 16GB
Display15 inches or larger 

Here is our round up of the top six best laptops for architects.

#1 Best Overall: Dell XPS 17

Best Overall
Dell Newest XPS 9710 Laptop
$2,175.94
  • 17" UHD + Touch Display
  • Intel i7-11800H
  • GeForce RTX 3050
  • 32GB RAM
  • 1TB SSD
  • Webcam
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Fingerprint reader
  • Killer Wi-Fi 6
  • Thunderbolt 4
  • Windows 11 Home
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01/17/2024 12:50 am GMT

As you look around at the best laptops for architects, you quickly discover the Dell XPS 17 is a top pick.

The primary feature of the Dell XPS 17 is its large 17-inch display, which offers edge-to-edge views and Dolby Vision for increased color clarity. With a 3,840 x 2,400 pixel display, the 4K resolution is strong enough to see all of your work in sharp detail, so even the most minor details become highly visible on screen. 

Where the Dell XPS 17 really shines is with its Intel Core i7 processor that pairs with 32GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD for top-notch performance. As just about every architecture-specific software requires beefy specs, the XPS 17 is more than prepared to deliver. This is especially true when you factor in the inclusion of an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 graphics card. With this graphics card on board, programs like AutoCAD, SketchUp, and even Photoshop will all run faster and better. 

Along with Windows 11, you’ll also find Dell’s terrific keyboard, support for multiple monitors, and compatibility with Android Apps and games for a little downtime fun (which makes it a great fit as the best laptop for architecture students too). Check out the Dell XPS 17 on Amazon.

ProsCons
Excellent all-around performanceBattery life doesn’t quite hit 10 hours
Beautiful 4K display

Best 2-in-1: Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio

Best 2-in-1 Laptop
Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio
$1,956.99
  • 14.4" touchscreen
  • Intel Core i7
  • 32GB RAM
  • 1TB SSD
  • Platinum
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01/17/2024 12:55 am GMT

If you are looking for a 2-in-1 laptop that offers flexibility while you are on the job site or any other location, the Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio is your go-to option. 

Right away, the benefits of the unique design of the Surface Laptop Studio shine through. The primary use case is, of course, a traditional laptop. However, you can easily adjust the 14.4-inch PixelSense touchscreen to be positioned so you can easily draw or write on the screen without the keyboard getting in the way. Whether using it as a traditional laptop or bringing the screen forward so you can draw with the Surface Slim Pen 2, there is a lot of flexibility at your fingertips. 

With so much opportunity to adjust your workflow, you’re going to want a lot of power to match, and the Surface Laptop Studio delivers. The inclusion of an Intel Core i7 Processor alongside 32GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD gives you all the performance and storage you need for architectural-based software. In addition, you can rely on the NVIDIA GeForce 3050 Ti for outstanding graphics.

At the end of the day, Laptop Studio is the complete 2-in-1 package that works very well with all of your dedicated work software. Check out the Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio on Amazon.

ProsCons
Terrific design for architectural workSurface Slim Pen 2 is an extra cost
Gorgeous 14.4-inch PixelSense displayThe display should be 1-inch larger

Best for Versatility: Acer ConceptD 7 Ezel

Best for Versatility
Acer ConceptD 3 Ezel Laptop
$1,793.00
  • Solid build, feather-light design laptop
  • 15.6-inch (1920 x 1080) FHD touchscreen
  • Best for video editors and graphic designers
  • 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD storage
  • Bluetooth, Wi-Fi 6 and multiple ports
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01/17/2024 01:04 am GMT

Truly a unique design from Acer, the ConceptD 7 Ezel is one of the most versatile laptops on the market. 

As an architect, you never know what type of position you might need for your laptop while on the job. Fortunately, in the case of the ConceptD 7 Ezel, you can rest assured you will have every potential laptop position at your disposal.

No matter if you are working in AutoCAD or Revit or want to make some quick edits on a design through Photoshop, the Acer can provide you with six different work modes. These modes include a traditional laptop position, floating screen, reversed display, tablet mode, standing mode, and a flat position that is perfect for sharing with coworkers or project managers. 

To make all of these modes work, the Acer needs plenty of power, and that’s exactly what you can expect. Everything centers around the 10th generation Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage. Add to that the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 GPU with 4GB of dedicated RAM and you can throw all of your architectural software at this laptop and it won’t slow down. Check out the Acer ConceptD 7 Ezel on Amazon.

ProsCons
Very unique designShould default with 32GB of RAM instead of 16GB
Incredibly versatile with six different modes

Best Features: ASUS ProArt StudioBook 16

Best Features
ASUS 2023 ProArt StudioBook 16 OLED Laptop
$2,149.58
  • 16" 3.2K OLED touch display
  • Intel Core i9-13980HX CPU
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 GPU
  • 32GB DDR5 SO-DIMM RAM
  • 1TB SSD
  • Windows 11 Home
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01/17/2024 05:45 pm GMT

If you’re an architect and you need a display that is as accurate as you can find to show off colors, you cannot do any better than the ASUS ProArt StudioBook 16

When it comes to color accuracy, the Pantone validated color accuracy approval on the StudioBook tells you everything you need to know about just how well color reproduction is handled. Across the 16-inch display with its 16:10 ratio and 120Hz refresh rate, you can achieve 100% Adobe RGB color accuracy. This will allow you to present any of your work on the StudioBook display in a way that feels as if your architectural designs are almost lifelike. 

Of course, it wouldn’t be right if a fantastic screen wasn’t matched with plenty of power. Thankfully, the Acer ProArt StudioBook delivers an AMD Ryzen 7 processor, 32GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD. Add to these specs an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 GPU and you can throw any architectural software you want at the StudioBook without slowing it down. 

The best feature of the StudioBook is undoubtedly the dial next to the mousepad, which allows you to quickly adjust saturation and brush size on the fly — a true time-saving feature. Check out the Acer ProArt StudioBook 16 on Amazon.

ProsCons
Best-in-class display for color accuracyHardware dial has limited uses when not in a  compatible application
Includes speedy graphics cardTouchpad shrunk to accommodate the dial

Best Dual Screen: ASUS ROG Zephyrus Duo 16

Best Dual Screen
ASUS ROG Zephyrus Duo 16 Gaming Laptop (2022)
$1,749.99
  • 16" 165Hz IPS
  • WUXGA 16:10 display
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060
  • AMD Ryzen 7 6800H
  • 16GB DDR5
  • 1TB SSD
  • Windows 11
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01/17/2024 01:10 am GMT

One of the most unique laptops released in recent memory, the ASUS ROG Zephyrus Duo 16 is likely going to change how architects work on laptops forever. 

Since laptops were released, a single screen has been the default standard for design — at least until the Zephyrus Duo 16 was released. The Duo’s primary benefit is the main 16-inch IPS WUXGA display, which offers outstanding colors and a 16:10 ratio. Where things get really interesting with the Duo is with the 14-inch 4K secondary touchscreen display, which acts as an entirely different screen from the larger 16-inch display. The result is a serious multitasking opportunity that offers the ability to run two different pieces of architectural software at once. 

Running two displays at a time requires plenty of power, so ASUS added the AMD Ryzen 7 6800H processor alongside 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD. Knowing this laptop will be used for performance-hungry tasks, ASUS also added an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 GPU with its own 16GB of dedicated RAM.

The result is a computer that can power through just about anything you can throw at it. Whether you are designing a backyard shed or a skyscraper, the ASUS ROG Zephyrus DUO 16 is ready for you. Check out the ASUS ROG Zephyrus DUO 16 on Amazon.

ProsCons
The futuristic design is incredible Not all apps support dual screen
Great performer overallThere’s a learning curve to work with two screens

Best Display: MacBook Pro M2 Pro

Best Performance/ Overall
Apple 2023 MacBook Pro
$2,249.99
  • 16.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR display
  • M2 Pro chip (12 CPU cores, 19 GPU cores, and up to 32GB unified memory)
  • 1080p FaceTime HD camera, three-mic array, and a six-speaker sound system with Spatial Audio
  • Up to 22 hours of battery life
  • Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3 connectivity
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01/16/2024 01:38 pm GMT

Among the most powerful laptops you can buy right now, the MacBook Pro with the M2 Pro chip is right at the top of the list with a beautiful design. 

Supported by the Apple M2 Pro processor, the MacBook Pro delivers 12 CPU cores, 19 GPU cores, and 32GB of memory. All of this memory and power means that you can throw any architectural application at the MacBook Pro and it won’t skip a beat. Best of all, the M2 Pro processor is incredibly power-efficient, which means 22 hours of battery life is possible on a single charge. 

As good as the power is, the Retina display of the MacBook Pro is equally terrific. Featuring a Liquid Retina XDR display with Extreme Dynamic Range, Apple achieves over 1,000 nits of brightness on the display, which is among the highest number available on a laptop.

The display also works great in partnership with the built-in 1,080p camera, which is going to come in handy as you video chat with clients to show off new project designs. The MacBook Pro sounds good too with a six-speaker spatial audio-enabled system built right into the chassis of the laptop. Check out the MacBook Pro M2 Pro on Amazon.

ProsCons
Best-in-class hardware performanceDoes not include support for Windows 
Pairs well with macOS May require repurchasing apps from Windows
Paper architectural drawings and blueprint
Creating architectural plans for projects big and small requires a powerful laptop that can run a variety of applications.

How to Pick the Best Laptop for an Architect: Step-by-Step

When choosing the best laptop for architects, you should look at these 4 main considerations before making a purchase. 

  • Storage
  • Battery life
  • Color accuracy
  • Weight

Storage

When it comes to choosing a laptop where you will likely be managing numerous files across the various popular architectural software experiences, storage counts in a big way. The last thing you want to try is downloading a file only to discover you’ve run out of room on your hard drive.

Ideally, with any laptop purchase, you shouldn’t go below 256GB of storage, which should be more than enough well into the future. 

Battery Life

As an architect, you might find yourself at a job site all day without access to a power supply, so all-day battery life matters. The good news is that every laptop on this list is prepared to give you at least 7-8 hours up to the MacBook Pro’s 22 hours of battery life. 

Color Accuracy

Whether it’s for sharing with colleagues or for sharing with clients, you want to be able to show off your work in the best light possible. This is why color accuracy across your laptop’s display is so critical. All of the laptops on this list were chosen because they rank at or near the top of the chart for color accuracy on everything from a 1080p to a 4K screen. 

Weight

As you move from place to place or work location to work location, carrying around the extra weight of a laptop will get tiresome quickly. Therefore, you want to try and find a laptop that is right around 3 pounds, or a maximum of 4 pounds, so you can give your back a break throughout the day. There isn’t much of a correlation between weight and performance so there is no concern on that end with choosing a laptop. 

Using a Laptop for Architecture: What It’s Like

Using any of the best laptops for architects on this list is likely a big upgrade for many people from their existing computers. The recommended laptops on this list are top-notch with the latest processors, amount of RAM, strong graphics cards, and beautiful displays. 

When you add in extras like the awesome versatility of the Acer ConceptD 7 Ezel, the dual screens of the ASUS Zephyrus Duo 16, or the power of the M2 Pro chip in the MacBook Pro, you’re in for a good time. 

What’s most important is that these laptops will have no issues running any of the architectural software your work demands. Tools like AutoCAD, Revit, Photoshop, and SketchUp are no match for the performance level of these laptops.

Summary Table

RankLaptopKey Features
#1 Best OverallDell XPS 17Large 17-inch display, Intel Core i7 processor, 32GB of RAM, 1TB SSD, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 graphics card
Best 2-in-1Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio14.4-inch PixelSense touchscreen, Intel Core i7 Processor, 32GB of RAM, 1TB SSD, NVIDIA GeForce 3050 Ti
Best for VersatilityAcer ConceptD 7 EzelSix different work modes, 10th generation Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, 512GB of storage, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 GPU
Best FeaturesASUS ProArt StudioBook 16Pantone validated color accuracy, AMD Ryzen 7 processor, 32GB of RAM, 1TB SSD, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 GPU
Best Dual ScreenASUS ROG Zephyrus Duo 16Main 16-inch IPS WUXGA display, 14-inch 4K secondary touchscreen display, AMD Ryzen 7 6800H processor, 16GB of RAM, 1TB SSD, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 GPU
Best DisplayMacBook Pro M2 ProApple M2 Pro processor, 12 CPU cores, 19 GPU cores, 32GB of memory, Retina display, Liquid Retina XDR display with Extreme Dynamic Range

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best overall laptop for architecture work you can buy today?

In our opinion, the best overall laptop for architecture work is the Dell XPS 17. 

How much RAM do you need for AutoCAD software?

To have the best experience, you wouldn’t want to go any lower than 16GB of RAM. 

Can you use both Mac and Windows as an architect?

Absolutely! Just about every main piece of architectural software is available on both operating systems. 

Why go with a laptop over a desktop?

The biggest consideration is to have complete flexibility for working on the go. 

Do you need a touchscreen laptop for architectural work?

Realistically, you do not need a touchscreen but it’s very nice to have. 

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