Architizer Journal is reader-supported. When you buy a laptop or any other product through Amazon links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.
Architizer’s annual top laptop roundup offers a plethora of portable possibilities to supercharge your workflow. Yet, while mobile workstations and gaming laptops are good choices for balancing mobility and performance, they can have their limitations when it comes to a home office setup.
If you have a stable workspace, you might consider sacrificing that mobility to get a more powerful desktop with the same budget. With this in mind, we’ve selected a range of powerful desktops for you to consider. These all-in-ones combine functionality with a sleek aesthetic, offering you a high-performing desktop device that will help to maximize your creative capacity.
Best All-In-One Computer for Architects
Apple’s all-in-one has always been aesthetically attractive. Now with the M1 chip, implemented with Apple’s own technologies tailored for all Mac PCs, iMac is a choice of both aesthetics and functionality. The 8-core CPU and GPU power heavy software smoothly and the 4.5K Retina display reveals sharp details of visuals in vivid tones.
The computer is seriously thing — just 0.45 inches — and comes in 7 vibrant colors that can easily match the style of your workspace. Although both monitor and PC are combined, the 24-inch iMac weighs less than 10 pounds; the compact design also helps ensure that your desk stays neat and easy to clean with fewer cables scattered around.
Best Touchscreen Desktop Computer for Architects
Microsoft Surface Studio 2 shares the same flexibility as the Surface laptops. Using one hand, you can effortlessly switch the all-in-one device between the upright Desktop Mode and the 20-degree Studio Mode. The 28-inch PixelSense display provides immersive visuals framed with super-thin borders.
Meanwhile, the improved Studio Pen allows you to work in the Studio Mode as you would on a drawing board but with more versatility. Running on the 7th Gen Intel i7 CPU with generous 16/32GB RAM and 1/2TB SSD, this computer is more than capable of multitasking on professional software such as the Adobe and Autodesk suits.
Best Dell PC for Architects
Dell offers a more affordable yet powerful option for all-in-one computers. It is powered by the 9th Gen Intel i9 processer and is equipped with Intel’s Turbo Boost technology that further accelerates the CPU to 5.0 GHz. Additionally, 32GB of RAM and 2TB SSD provide a fluid user experience and immediate access to an optimal amount of local files. The adjustable stand expands the range of screen tilting and height changing possibilities. The FHD pop-up webcam, which ensures high-quality video for online meetings, is hidden away when not in use to better protect your privacy.
Best HP PC for Architects
If you prefer AMR Ryzen processors over Intel, the HP Pavilion all-in-one desktop is an economic choice to consider. AMD’s FX gaming processor coupled with AMD Radeon graphics ensure the high performance of games and software with heavy graphics and 3D. The FHD 27-inch touchscreen offers immediate interactions with your work on an edge-to-edge display. Implemented with surround-sound speakers, HD webcam and microphone, this computer can be your powerful work PC and meet business needs as well.
Best Lenovo PC for Designers
Lenovo Yoga A940 is innovatively engineered to bring out the most of your designer mind. The award-winning dual-hinge stand provides stability both while working in desktop and drafting modes. A content creation dial is available on either the right or left side of the screen, making it more convenient to assign settings and features in Adobe software (especially when drawing on the screen with a digital pen instead of holding the mouse!). The 27-inch 4K display is supported by Intel 9th Gen i9 processor and AMD Radeon™ RX560 discrete graphics to foster every detail of your work.
Best iMac Alternative for Architects
More affordable than Yoga A940, Lenovo’s IdeaCentre is another good choice for an all-in-one touchscreen PC while not compromising on performance. Running on Intel’s 9th Gen i9 processor with 32GB RAM and 2TB SSD, IdeaCentre A540 is powerful enough to satisfy both work and personal use. The metallic stand features JBL speakers to provide immersive audio with Dolby Sound technology while becoming a fashionable addition to your workspace. By providing the HDMI port, A540 makes external monitor connections possible to further facilitate multitasking.
Workstations and Towers
Most Powerful Workstation for Architects
To seek extreme power, consider HP’s Z8 Workstation. The workstation is powered by Intel’s Xeon processor, the industrial processor tailored for data-intensive works such as simulations, machine learning and 8K video/animation rendering and editing. The Xeon processor comes with an Error Checking and Correction (ECC) RAM that significantly reduces crashes, ensuring a performance that is more stable than ever. Joined by NVIDIA’s Quadro RTX 4000 graphics, real-time CAD works and heavy rendering boost your efficiency as no GeForce graphics can.
Best Gaming Desktop for Architects
If you are looking for a high power device but are hesitant to go all the way, a powerful gaming desktop is a desirable middle ground. Dell’s Ryzen edition Alienware Aurora R10 is one of the top gaming desktops that can handle highly demanding visualization works while providing a superior gaming experience. To improve overall performance, the Ryzen edition employs the PCI-Express 4.0 Technology whose data transfer rate is twice of PCle 3.0. Besides AMD’s 9th Gen Ryzen 3900 processor and Radeon RX 5700 XT 8GB GDDR6 graphic, Aurora R10’s performance is further enhanced by combining liquid cooling with an innovative airflow design.
Best Compact Workstation for Architects
Towers are powerful but take up a lot of space. HP’s Z2 Mini G5 Workstation is only 8.5 x 8.5 x 2.28 inches in size and weighs 4.6 pounds, small and light enough to be put into backpacks. Powered by Intel’s 10th Gen 8-core i7 processor and NVIDIA Quadro T2000 4 GB graphics, this compact workstation can handle multiple professional design software simultaneously just like the regular desktops. The shell is strategically designed with cuts at its four corners to provide cross ventilation as well as a futuristic look.
Best Renewed PC for Architects
Get a Dell Precision 7910 of top configurations while saving on budget at the Amazon Renewed Store. It is equipped with dual Intel Xeon E5 10-core processors and NVIDIA Quadro K2000 graphics, it can easily meet your requirements for carrying out intensive graphic works. With generous memory of 64GB and hard drives of 4.96TB in total, you can organize a large number of files locally and enjoy a smooth multitasking experience.
Integrated graphics vs Discrete graphics
Integrated graphics is a graphic processing unit (GPU) built into the central processing unit (CPU), which it relies on for cooling; both share a single memory bank. Because they occupy system memory when running, integrated graphics is less powerful than discrete graphics. However, there is a reason for this design: it consumes less energy and produces less heat. As a result, this type of GPU is commonly seen on laptops where battery run time matters.
Discrete graphics, on the contrary, has a separate memory bank and does not influence the CPU when running. To sustain powerful performance, discrete graphics normally has its own cooling system. If you are will not travelling often and desire high performance, discrete graphics are the way to go instead of integrated graphics.
Dual GPUs vs Single GPU
The presence of two GPUs theoretically doubles the performance of the same single GPU; however, it requires a much more powerful CPU, cooling system and energy supply as it consumes more than twice of a single GPU does. If you are putting together your own PC and are getting two GPUs for better performance, you will need to correspondently upgrade other components as well to bring out the most of the two GPUs.
Got your own view on which is the best desktop for architects and architecture students? Let us know at email@example.com.
Looking for a mobile workstation or laptop to supercharge your creative workflow? Check out Architizer’s top laptops for architects and designers