Which Computer Is Best For Architecture

As the world of architecture progresses, so do the types of computers to choose from. Architects must now make informed decisions about which computer is best for them.

Whether your priority is computing processing power, a lightweight option to reduce fatigue, or affordability, there are a variety of computers that could suit your purposes. Before getting into the individual types of computers, it is important to figure out which specifications are most important.

Often, architecture requires the computer to perform high-intensity tasks such as 3D designing, rendering photo-realistic images, and using advanced software. As a result, it is essential to have a device with a powerful processor and sufficient memory, which is the Random Access Memory (RAM). An efficient way to assess the performance of a computer is to read its benchmark score and reviews before making your choice.

Desktop computers are a popular type because of their large storage capacity and spacious display, but are prone to overheating due to their design. For example, an all-in-one desktop and an oversized monitor, as with a tower and a monitor, are two common desktop designs. A good alternative, is a laptop; which comes with all the features and will allow you to draw and work from anywhere. This is beneficial for freelancers and those always on the move, who will find portability beneficial.

Furthermore, for intermediate users who lug around their machine a lot, ultraportable laptops are a great option due to their light weight, low power consumption and mobility without a diminished performance. Whilst they have small displays and lack the speed of their larger counterparts, they are still easy to handle, yet have fantastic designs.

Lastly, for serious professionals who may be on a budget there are different types of gaming rigs, custom-built machines and commercial pre-built models. They provide a much better value for money than ultrabooks and come with features such as backlit keyboards, powerful GPUs and plenty of storage capacity.

Types of Computers

For architects, the choice of a computer should not be limited to Apple vs. PC, desktop vs. laptop. In addition, the processor, RAM and the display size are all key factors to consider before buying a device. Desktops, laptops, gaming rigs and ultraportable laptops are the four main types of computers that are suitable for an architect.

Desktop Computers

Desktop computers are a popular choice due to their large storage capacity and a spacious display. All-in-ones and desktop towers are two common designs; although towers will likely require a monitor to be purchased separately. Desktop computers are known to be vulnerable to overheating due to their designs.


For those who need portability and flexibility, laptops may be the best option. They come in different sizes, from the ultralight laptops to the budget gaming laptops. Laptops also come with unique features such as touchpad controls and backlit keyboards, so be sure to consider these features when choosing a model.

Ultraportable Laptops

These are ideal for those who need flexibility and portability but don’t require a powerful machine. Ultraportable laptops are designed to deal with the rigors of a constantly busy lifestyle, while still allowing you to perform basic tasks. They have small displays and lack the overall speed compared to other laptop types.

Gaming Rigs and Custom-Built Machines

For serious professionals who may be on a budget, gaming rigs, custom-built computers and pre-built commercial models are a great option. They provide the best value for money and will come with features such as backlit keyboards, powerful GPUs, and plenty of storage capacity.

Important Factors to Consider

When picking a computer suitable for an architect, the processor, RAM, and display size are essential factors to consider. It is also important to read reviews to assess a computer’s performance. Additionally, the type of computer should suit the user’s lifestyle, whether they need portability, power, or affordability.

How to Choose the Best Computer

When deciding on the best computer for architecture, the priority must be on computing power. It is necessary to select a computer with a powerful processor and sufficient RAM. Additionally, features such as a backlit keyboard (for nighttime work), a touchpad and sufficient storage must also be factored into the purchase decision. Size, weight, and battery life must also be considered if portability is the priority.

Software for Architecture

Several pieces of software are required for architecture, including 3D modeling and image-rendering software. Autodesk Revit, AutoCAD, and SketchUp are popular 3D modeling software and are available for both computer and mobile platforms. Other common software used by architects include Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Blender, and MacDraft Pro.

Budget Considerations

The cost of a computer can vary greatly, depending on the specifications desired. An entry-level laptop can cost between $300 and $1,000, and depending on the specs chosen, a high-end desktop or laptop can range up to $2,000. When selecting a computer, it is important to consider how powerful it needs to be, keeping in mind budget constraints and desired features.


The type of computer suitable for an architect will depend on the type of workflow and budget constraints. When it comes to selecting a computer for architectural jobs, powerful processors and RAM sizes are important along with features such as backlit keyboards and touchpad controls. It is also important to consider the budget, the size, and the weight of the machine, based on how portable the user needs it to be.

Anita Johnson is an award-winning author and editor with over 15 years of experience in the fields of architecture, design, and urbanism. She has contributed articles and reviews to a variety of print and online publications on topics related to culture, art, architecture, and design from the late 19th century to the present day. Johnson's deep interest in these topics has informed both her writing and curatorial practice as she seeks to connect readers to the built environment around them.

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