15 Top Laptops for Architects and Designers (NEW for 2022)

Looking to boost your design capabilities this year? Check out our selection of the best laptops for architects, catering to a range of budgets.

Tian Wang Tian Wang

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Architects’ way of designing and presenting continue to evolve. As traditional design software never stop updating, inter-disciplinary skills such as animation making, film editing and coding are becoming increasingly valued.

To produce visuals that are capable of fully voicing your design ideology, a suitable laptop is as important as your creative mind! While you might already have preferences for price, operation system, portability, appearance, etc, Architizer’s annual designer laptop report covers a wide range of brands and price levels for your reference.

Without further ado, browse our top picks for 2022, and select a laptop that will supercharge your creative workflow this year:

Premium Laptops for Architects

HP_ZBook laptops for architects architizer

HP ZBook Studio G8 15.6″ Mobile Workstation

Best Mobile Workstation for Architects

Are you looking for a laptop that is as powerful as a typical workstation, but that is also portable and chic at the same time? If this rings true, then HP’s ZBook Studio G8 is the hardware you go for. Its 15.6’’ full HD screen provides ease for your eyes either when working or gaming, while the generous 32GB RAM allows a smooth experience for cross-software multi-tasking.

Fitted with an Intel Core i7 2.50 GHz processor and a NVIDIA RTX A2000 graphic card, this laptop is capable of handling heavy visualization works from still rendering to animation making. Besides its nine-hour battery runtime, HP’s Fast Charge technology can bring it back to 50% charge in half an hour, enabling non-stop working not restricted to your desks.

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Razer_blade 17_fx laptops for architects architizerRazer Blade Pro 17

Best Gaming Laptop for Architects

Gaming laptops are not only known as popular choices for game lovers, but also for architects and designers. Razer — the longtime leading brand for gaming laptops and accessories — introduces the Blade Pro 17. The device is equipped with the brand’s latest technologies, meaning that is can carry the extreme demands of competitive gaming and intense visual works.

Anticipating heavy workloads, a vapor chamber cooling system facilitates the laptop’s thermal performance efficiently and quietly. Supported by NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 Series Graphics, the 17’’ QHD 165Hz screen guarantees a highly responsive, fluent display for both creative working and gaming.

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Microsoft Surface Pro 8

Best Touchscreen Laptop for Architects

Famous for its touchscreen, Microsoft’s latest technology, the 8th generation of Surface Pro, fuels creativity with flexibility and mobility. Microsoft Surface’s iconic detachable keyboard and all-angle adjustable kickstand make it effortlessly transform between laptop and tablet in order to adapt to whatever surface that you are working on.

Together, the 13” 120Hz PixelSense™ Flow touchscreen, Dolby Vision and Surface Slim Pen 2 allow you to record ideas in expressions that are much richer than simply pen and paper — no matter where you are.

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ASUS_Zenbook_fx laptops for architects architizerASUS ZenBook Pro Duo 15 Laptop

Best Multi-Screen Laptop for Architects

Another choice for a luxurious touchscreen experience is ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo 15. Made for designers, its innovative secondary screen, the control panel, is compatible with Adobe Photoshop, After Effects, Premiere Pro and more to smooth your workflow. The device can serve as both a screen extension and a personalized interface where you can freely gather and organize your most commonly used functions (such as adjusting saturation, opacity or volume).

While the two OLED screens provide 4K visual with vivid colors, and, combined with ASUS Pen and ErgoLift Stand, they offer comfortable drawing and writing experiences at the same time.

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Samsung Galaxy Book Flex2 Alpha 2-in-1 Laptop

Best 2-in-1 Laptop for Architects

Samsung Galaxy Book Flex2 ⍺ is a 2-in-1 device that not only combines the forms of laptop and tablet but also balances the purposes of working and presentation. Without adding or detaching a single component, the device easily transforms into a stand-alone presentation screen simply by utilizing its 360-foldable structure.

The FHD QLED edge-to-edge touch screen allows for smooth working and presenting experiences; the device offers a high visual quality that is supported by Intel Iris Xe Graphics. Book Flex2 ⍺ has an ultra-slim appearance that is enhanced by Samsung’s classic black and silver color options. Whether supercharging productivity at your desk or powering meetings and presentations, the 16.5-hour-lasting battery always fuel your efficiency.

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Best Laptops for Architects By Brand

HP_Omen_fx laptops for architects architizer

HP OMEN 15 Laptop

Best HP Laptop for Architects

If you’re looking to combine the benefits of a reliable workstation found in HP’s ZBook with better options for mobility and versatility, then HP’s OMEN 15 is the right device for you. The 2-in-1 laptop boasts a 13.3’’ touchscreen but weighs just 2.2 pounds. Meanwhile, Wi-Fi 6 helps you stay connected with higher data rates and lower power consumption.

As with other 2-in-1 products, the laptop can also be folded into a tablet, stand-alone presentation screen or at any angle that best suits your need. Powered by Intel Core i7-8665U quad-core processor and with 16GB of RAM, HP’s OMEN 15 is capable of running both business and design software.

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Alienware_51M R2_fx

Dell Alienware 51M R2 Gaming Laptop

Best Dell Laptop for Architects

Among all the gaming laptop brands, Alienware can always be trusted for powerful performance. Intel’s 10th Gen 8-Core i7-10700 and dual NVIDIA RTX 2070 graphics allow you to render even films and animations swiftly. The laptop is VR compatible (which is not a feature that is common to most laptops!).

Up to 64GB RAM and 2TB SSD are available as configurations to carry a large number of works and games, boosting multitasking capability while saving time for transferring files to and from various storage extensions. Whether you are working or gaming, three different cooling solutions ensure the best support for intensive operations.

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Lenovo_X1_fx laptops for architects architizer

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 3 Business Laptop

Best Lenovo Laptop for Architects

Although Alienware 51M R2 has an outstanding performance, the device’s considerable weight — starting at 9 pounds — might make you think twice. If you desire mobility and performance at the same time, consider Lenovo’s starring series X1.

Available in X1’s iconic matte black look, X1 Extreme Gen 3 is less than half as heavy; the 0.7 inches thin device weighs in at just 4 pounds . The 15.6’’ FHD anti-glare IPS display can easily deliver details of your works even in a bright outdoor environment. Lenovo’s laptop is capable of smoothly running design software or games, with its 10th Gen 6-Core i7-10750H processor and up to 32GB of RAM.

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MSI GE76 17.3″ 144Hz IPS FHD Premium Gaming Laptop

Best MSI Laptop for Architects

If you are looking for more affordable gaming laptops with top configurations, MSI’s newest GE76 is a good option to consider. The 17.3’’ FHD screen — with a refreshing rate of 144Hz — is as well suited to an immersive gaming experience as it is for displaying demanding visualizing works such as high-quality image and film rendering. Equipped with NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060, generous RAM and SSD that go up to 64GB and 4TB, it can handle graphics-intensive software effortlessly.

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MacBook_Pro_fx laptops for architects architizer

Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch)

Best Apple Laptop for Architects

MacBook Pro made a leap in its general performance with its M1 Pro/Max chip. One significant upgrade is the processing hardware, which ranges from 10-core CPU and up to 32-core CPU and significantly improves the device’s ability to carry heavy design software and games. The battery can now last for 21 hours, fully covering your day.

Accompanying Apple’s stunning Liquid Retina XDR display are up to 64GM RAM and 8TB SSD, allowing you to work and play high-quality visuals (not to mention storing them) within an ever-fluid workflow. The 1080p HD camera, six-speaker audio system and a studio-quality microphone provide the top quality remote collaboration experience.

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Budget Laptops for Architects


HP Pavilion 17 Laptop

Best Laptop for Architects Under $900

HP’s latest Pavilion 17 model is an economic choice among the laptops with 17″ screen. The configurations can go up to 32GM RAM, 2TB SSD and 11th Gen Intel Core i5, which are fine enough to carry most design software and games while being capable of a considerable level of multi-tasking.

To further slash about $150 off price, users can also go with 11th Gen Intel Core i3, which can still support moderate visual works with less power consumed than i5.

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Lenovo_IdeaPad_fx laptops for architects architizer

Lenovo IdeaPad 3

Best Laptop for Architects Under $800

Lenovo also offers affordable choices for touchscreen, which comes in a comfortable FHD 15.6’’ screen. The IdeaPad 3 model is powered by 11th Gen i5-1135G7 and Intel’s Iris Xe Graphics. With Intel’s Willow Cove CPU micro-architecture, which is employed only on i5s and above, the performance of 11th Gen CPUs has been largely improved from their last generation. Operating on either Windows 10/11 Home/Pro, you can work safely with up to 36GB RAM and 1TB SSD. The HD camera with a privacy shutter is designed with the new WFH culture in mind, making the device all the more convenient.

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Dell_Inspiron 3000_fx

Dell Inspiron 3000 Laptop

Best Laptop for Architects Under $700

Dell’s newest Inspiron 3000 laptop is more portable and even cheaper than the previous two products, weighing less than 4 pounds. The device’s PCle SSD allows you to access and transfer the data stored in the SSD faster, while a 16GB RAM facilitates fluid software running and web browsing. Supported by Intel’s economic Celeron Processor N4020, Inspiron 3000 is affordable, power-efficient and still provides satisfactory performance.

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ASUS VivoBook 14″ FHD Laptop

Best Laptop for Architects Under $600

If you are looking for crisp graphics at an even lower price, consider ASUS VivoBook which displays on a 14’’ FHD LED screen. It is 3.42 pounds in weight and 0.78 inches thin, allowing it to easily fit into bags and be carried when travelling. Intel Core i3-1115G4 with up to 4.1 GHz frequency produces instant responses when working with the VivoBook. A fingerprint recognizer is implemented on the touchpad to protect your data and privacy. The bundle not only includes the laptop but also a mousepad, USB extension cable and HDMI cable, making the price that much sweeter.

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MacBook_renewed_fx laptops for architects architizer

Apple Macbook Pro (13-inch)

Best Budget Apple Laptop for Architects

With a tight budget, you can still get a 13’’ MacBook Pro at an acceptable price from the Amazon Renewed Store. The renewed products are pre-owned and have been professionally inspected, tested and cleaned, appearing new and running on a battery of over 80% health. A replacement or refund with 90 days of receipt is guaranteed by Amazon.

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Top Laptops for Architects and Designers in 2021

Premium Laptops for Architects:

Best Mobile Workstation for Architects: HP ZBook Studio G5

Best Gaming Laptop for Architects: Asus ROG Zephyrus Laptop

Best Flippable Laptop for Architects: Dell Inspiron 13 7000

Best Laptop / Tablet Combo for Architects: Microsoft Surface Book 3

Best Lenovo Laptop for Architects: Lenovo ThinkPad P73

Best MSI Laptop for Architects: MSI GS66 Stealth

Best Samsung Laptop for Architects: Samsung Notebook 9 Pro

Best Apple Laptop for Architects: Apple Macbook Pro 16-Inch

Affordable Laptops for Architects:

Best Laptop for Architects Under $800: HP 15 Laptop 

Best Laptop for Architects Under $700: Dell Inspiron 15

Best Laptop for Architects Under $600: Acer Aspire 5

Best Laptop for Architects Under $500: Lenovo IdeaPad 3

Top Laptops for Architects and Designers in 2020

Premium Laptops for Architects:

Best All-Round Workstation for Architects: Lenovo ThinkPad P1 Gen 2

Best Touchscreen Laptop for Architects: Microsoft Surface Laptop 3

Best 4k Laptop for Architects: MSI P65 Creator

Most Powerful Laptop for Technical Professionals: DELL Precision 7540

Best G5 Workstation for Architects: HP ZBook 15 G5

Best Compact Laptop for Architects: Lenovo ThinkPad P43s

Budget Laptops for Architects and Designers:

Best Laptop for Architects Under $1,000: LG Gram

Best Laptop for Architects Under $700: Acer Aspire 5

Best Laptop for Architects Under $600: Lenovo Flex 14

Best Laptop for Architects Under $500: ASUS VivoBook 15 

Other Considerations

Mac vs. Windows: In terms of hardware and operating system, it all comes down to your personal preference. High-end Apple and PC laptops are well geared to handle the challenges offered by the job. Windows 10 is arguably more user friendly as it supports a wide array of software but is exposed to more viruses than Mac. The Macbook Pro in particular is well perceived by professionals as being great for graphic applications but is considered by many to be overpriced. That said, Apple makes our list this year, thanks to improvements to Parallels, which allows Windows software to be run on Mac. Andy Roehl, architect at Moonlight Design Studio, LLC, asserts that “running parallels on a current Apple laptop is no problem; [it works] much better now than 10+ years ago.”

Gaming laptops: A growing trend within the architecture and design professions is the adoption of gaming laptops, thanks to their powerful specifications. Built to handle incredibly detailed graphics and demanding streaming requirements, the processing power of gaming laptops make them ideal for BIM and architectural visualization tasks, and often cost less than top-of-the-range mobile workstations. Marsha McDonald, Principal Designer and CEO of Seacrest Designs and Decor, sums it up perfectly: “If my kids are fighting me for my system (they are gamers), then I know I am golden!”

Ports and peripherals: “For peripherals,” says Christiana Copper, Project Manager at TyE Bar, LLC, “my favorite mouse is the Logitech G602 – I program canned email responses on the programmable buttons, but you could probably do CAD macros as well. I also bought monitor arms this year, and I am really enjoying them.” Consider how many USB ports, ethernet ports and other specialist ports you might need; this will vary depending on your preference for wired or wireless peripheral such as computer mice, touch pads and external hard drives.

Useful Accessories:

Vertical / Ergonomic Mouse: Allow your hand to rest at a more natural angle on the mouse, easing your muscles.

External monitor: By displaying the screen closer to your eye level, this addition to your home office makes it easier to catch details while reducing neck and back pain.

Laptop Stand: A helpful way to keep your device from overheating, these stands also allow you to adjust your laptop screen to a comfortable height. To maximize the benefits, this stand is best when accompanied by an external keyboard that keep the keys at a convenient level for your wrists.

Portable External SSD: An external hard drive is a high power way to manage archives and keep your laptop storage neat and spacious.

Got your own view on which is the best laptop for architects and architecture students? Let us know at editorial@architizer.com.

Architizer Journal is reader-supported. When you buy through Amazon links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

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