Choosing an “architectural laptop”
Choosing a computer for your journey through architecture school is a very important decision, so choose wisely.
I should have written this post a long time ago, but it never hit me, until this anon asked me, so here we go.
THE FIRST AND MOST IMPORTANT THING > If you are an architect - YOU NEED A DESKTOP COMPUTER.
A laptop won’t get you much work done. Although you can draft in AutoCAD, do some minor modeling in Rhino or Max, you’ll see that, when working on big projects, is simply brutal to actually feel the poor response time of your laptop. Don’t even think about rendering “pretty pictures” on your laptop. It will get you some poor quality, default fake material renders done, for your “thinking process and that is all. Sure you can leave your laptop, for a few days on “render”, but when you are an architecture student, you simply won’t have any time to spare. In general, a laptop doesn’t have the power a desktop does, period.
BUT, when you are an architecture student, you will be all the time on the move, in studio, at the coffee shop, not so much at home (but it counts) … you’ll simply be everywhere and that’s why, it became a general rule - if you are an architecture student, you need a portable unit. So, because of this, when we go to architecture school, we buy a laptop. It is portable and this is his biggest advantage over the desktop. And, trust me, your laptop, will be your everything. You’ll love it truly, you’ll even give it a name and punch it when “it’s bad”. If you lose it, you lose the semester.
I’m sorry, I can’t tall you - “buy this one”, but I can give you some tips on choosing the right laptop for you. So, here are some tips on choosing an “architectural laptop”:
* I am a PC/Windows guy, so everything I write is for this platform. I’m not interested in MAC/Apple. But this is my opinion - every architecture student should get a PC. You can find all types of software that can ease your live greatly. Again, my opinion. Don’t get alarmed, you Apple fans :)
- The most expensive one is the best, usually.
This is a general rule in sales and marketing, the most expensive thing, is usually the best. So, if you have some doubts between some units, take the more expensive one.
- There is a difference between a “gaming laptop” and an “architectural laptop”
Many people make the mistake thinking - if you take a “gaming laptop” it will be better that the one that is with the same configuration, but it doesn’t contain the word “gaming” in their name.
Don’t get me wrong … gaming computers are great for us, architecture students, but for the ones that understand computers, you can see that some hardware parts are not the right ones that can cut you time on rendering, or a better workflow.
Games don’t work the same way your design software works, hence, the difference in hardware components.
I know some people here on Tumblr that have an Alien laptop but they have problems with the whole design process and envy their friend that bought the “simple” Dell laptop.
- Nothing can replace a good brand
These are the world top three brands that make laptops:
#1 Lenovo (IBM)
(others, don’t whine. Google it, you’ll see I’m right)
I have my Lenovo for four years and it still can, pretty much, handle all the work.
- Good hardware is nice, but quality hardware is nicer
These are your basic needs:
- 4GB RAM DDR3 - 6GB or even 8GB Recommended;
- i5 Proccesor - i7 Quad Core Recommended, with 6-8Mb cache, with turboboost - the proccesor and RAM render, the graphic card only helps;
- NVIDIA GeForce GT Graphic card - 1GB - 3GB Recommended;
- A BIG Hard Drive - because you will save all kinds of stuff;
- A great cooling power - Heat is the enemy. Get a cooling unit, that is put under your laptop. After I bought mine, my laptop had a rebirth.
- Keep an eye on the screen
1. Your laptop screen will give you trouble, especially after spending a few days on the computer. Although almost every laptop screen has the same Hz (working unit - refreshing the picture) don’t fall on some weak working tact screen.
If you lose your sight, why will you need architecture?!
2. The big question - 15” or 17” screen? I truly can’t answer this for you, but here is the tip:
- If you think you can handle, dragging a 17” laptop with you, all the time, then get the 17”. Bigger is better. It will greatly ease your workflow. Just, remember, getting a bigger screen laptop means more weight, but on the other hand, means more cooling units and space, so, again - If you think you can handle the bigger, get it.
So, that’s that people. I think this is what you have to have in mind when buying your laptop.
… ooo, and one more thing - clean your laptops. A format, from time - to time, won’t hurt anyone and it will help your laptop a great deal. And once in a while take your laptop on service to get the hardware cleaned, on the inside (note to self - take laptop on service for cleaning)