Computer Recommendations for first year undergrad students?

Hi all,

I will be starting my first year of a 4 year B.S.Arch program this fall. It's a 4+1 program (I know, kinda unorthodox) and since the 1 year M.Arch is only 1 year, a lot of the subject matter is pushed into the 4 years of undergrad. So, unlike most B.S.Arch programs which start off with a lot of liberal arts stuff, my program is very design and actual-architecture heavy right off the bat. So, that being said, I believe we go right into AutoCAD and Revit, and therefore I need to get a pretty heavy duty laptop. Here are the specs that my School of Architecture highly recommends:

15 inch display
Intel i7-7700HQ Processor
Dedicated Graphics card (ie. Nvidia GTX series)
16 GB DDR4 ram
512 GB Solid State Drive
External Hard Drive (for backup) atleast twice the size of your internal hard drive
Additional 21” monitor is highly recommended

Are there any specific laptop models that you recommend that also fulfill these specs? Are there any that you'd recommend for students in general? Thank you for all the help.

Jul 20, 18 11:05 pm

Razor Blade 15.  Much more minimal looking (I know it has the light on it) than the garish Alienware laptops.  

I've never owned one, but they seem to get high marks.  I would go for 32gb of ram if you can, you're going to want to be able to juggle photoshop, illustrator, rhino, etc all at once.  

Alternatively you buy a much lower spec'd laptop for taking to class and purchase a much more powerful desktop to either lock in studio or keep at home.  After 3 years of arch school any laptop is going to feel old, a desktop you'll be able to upgrade along the way.  

Jul 22, 18 1:04 pm

laptop for presentation. Desktop for rendering!


Razer Blade 15 would be an idiotic purchase. This is the first year they have done the 15 (before it was 14). There has been huge issues with the power supply and Razer has notoriously horrible customer service. The Microsoft store even stopped stocking the 1070 versions of the 15 because there were so many returns.

There are laptops just as thin and just as powerful but much cheaper.. such as the MSI GS65 Stealth Thin.


I highly recommend the desktop + cheap laptop setup. Once you do it you'll never look back.

Jul 26, 18 12:20 pm

I had similar spec recommendation when I was starting school. I ended up getting a high level MacBook Pro and the apple/windows debate continues to be a discussion in studio and in the world. I'm sure everyone on the forum is going to faint at the idea of someone recommending an apple computer. With that being said, albeit the higher upfront costs of the MacBook pro, for me personally it has made my workflow a lot faster. I purchased windows for 100 dollars and actually have both interfaces on my computer using the integrated bootcamp software. Having been comfortable on both the PC and Apple interface before school I saved up and bought the MacBook pro for school after researching which route I wanted to take. While the nature of my program was structured a little differently, most of the work done of my laptop was presentation related from digital modeling. So a good portion of what I was using the computer for was using Adobe software to edit drawings done in Cad or Rhino. (which I run seamlessly on the windows partition of my computer.) I also use Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere Pro as well as Lightroom for photography and videography. In my opinion the adobe software runs 10 times smoother on the Mac. 

But if you are looking to be able to run Revit, and more complex programs that require a lot of power, then a more gaming specific computer includes the ability to have more power and can be tailored to your specific needs. 

Even after weighing the option of a more complex computer I dont think I would have changed my decision. I had access to multiple computer labs 24/7 in undergraduate that had all the needed software running at the most efficient way. It's nice to be able to work on my laptop while running a render on a different computer in the background. Even If i had a power intensive computer I don't think I would have downloaded a lot of apps and extras to put on there. They also tend to be more clunky and bulky to lug around between studio and back everyday. For that reason, If was ever to get another computer I would go for a desktop PC computer to keep at home for more power heavy tasks like Revit and rendering and stick to my partitioned MacBook for my laptop to work on the more presentation/artistic needs. 

And lastly, i'm not necessarily recommending to you that you get a MacBook and desktop PC computer but merely just my own viewpoint on what I did and how I would change that. I don't know what the statistics are on the case but generally Apple computers tend to last way longer than the PCs do for some reason. (I don't know how this compares to gaming computers) I know so many people that bought PC laptops that basically just died 3 years down the road and had to buy a new one thus negating their argument that the macintosh was too expensive. 

I think just ask yourself what your intentions are with the computer. If you are interested in having all that software with you all the time then probably the gaming computer with a less expensive laptop to have for class. 

Jul 26, 18 4:12 pm

It's idiotic to tell somebody to drop $2500+ on a MBP to run PC apps through Bootcamp (the apps of which will be heavily throttled and have fucked up hotkeys).. AND to supplement that by using school lab computers? Gee, that sounds so much more convenient than just buying a powerful PC laptop in the first place ........ Lol.

This suggestion is so bad it makes me want to save it so I can troll other people in the future into making the same horrible decision you made.

Non Sequitur

Apple laptops are not worth the hype. Just expensive shiny boxes.


TrogIodytarum: Actually the only idiotic person here is you. LITERALLY said and I QUOTE "i'm not necessarily recommending to you that you get a MacBook" WOW you just took archinect to a whole new low because you CAN'T actually read. HMMM wonder what kind of pathetic life you have to troll the internet. MY decision was not horrible (notice the capitalized MY because it was my choice and I made a good choice for myself) In your opinion maybe it was horrible, but for me it was the best decision. I have both types of computers. I know how to use both types of computers. Are there more powerful computers than MACINTOSH, most certainly. But the OP is a student and if one thing is for damn sure on this forum it's that architecture school is not architecture practice. You're not going to have these crazy detailed drawings that you would have on real buildings in a firm. Literally 90% of my laptop in undergrad was Illustrator, photoshop, and Rhino, the other 10% the internet. Whether I had a PC or Mac does not alter the need to want to use the school computer. Sorry but im a student, im not dropping an additional 2,000 so I can buy all the latest and greatest rendering softwares out there just to be able to run it on my fancy (and heavy) built from scratch computer when there's a perfectly normal computer sitting next to me in studio that I can run a render while ALSO completing other tasks on my laptop. It's true architecture students who walk around with the rainbow keyboards of gaming laptops look like the true idiots, but my classmate bought the Lenovo p71 that was listed below and the thing died his 3rd year and he just had to drop another chunk of money to replace it literally paying way more than I paid for my MacBook. Since I primarily use ADOBE(if you even know what that is, or have the mental capacity to even use the internet to look things up)(and Im not referring to adobe acrobat) i was saying Since I primarily use ADOBE in school and for my own projects as I listed above, the MacBook pro has a better workflow in adobe as MY school computer. Unlike at a firm where you are working on Revit day in day out, my school doesn't even teach Revit but it is provided to me in the labs. I have had no reason to need that on my computer when I can walk 10 minutes to my studio to use it there in the odd case i need to. My personal choice was the MacBook pro and it was the best choice. If you've never actually used an apple computer before I can understand your ignorance on the matter, but just because I personally prefer something different than you doesn't make my personal choice any less valid. I've never had issues with bootcamp. I use Rhino a week or two and then Autocad maybe one day a semester to model and draw before exporting. Works totally fine from the comfort of my apartment and when I wake up the next morning to walk to school, im not concerned about whether or not my Alienware computer is going to fit in my backpack just so I can have a few extra gb to do nothing with. You can have your preferences just as much as I can have mine.


Hehe, I love it when the nutjobs ramble on with anecdotal experiences and strawman fallacies in lengthy polemics. It makes it pretty clear that they aren't thinking objectively and their opinion should just be filed in the crazy bin.


We should all bow before your greatness.


TrogIodytarum: " It makes it pretty clear that they aren't thinking objectively and their opinion should just be filed in the crazy bin." Yeah exactly what I was thinking about you when you called me idiotic for giving the Op an an actual answer.


Oh you thought that when I gave objective reasons for discounting your severely biased opinion that was drenching in logical fallacies and an obvious lack of computer knowledge? Interesting indeed. Enjoy your Mac, you fit the clueless Mac user stereotype perfectly. Ciao!


Well Actually you didn't give any objective reasons AT ALL. ZERO. LOL do you even know what bias means? I gave all the explicit reasoning for why I prefer MY mac over My pc. I didn't even recommend it to the OP merely gave an insight to my own personal experience. You must be highly insecure because you continue to use the the randomly placed words to try and sound smart. The only clueless person here is you obviously by assuming all there is to know about me based on my choice in computers. If you think all people who use macs are clueless good luck cause you're in for a rude awakening. And I do enjoy my MAC so fuck off.

Non Sequitur

Eastcoast, put trog’s username
in google translate. You’ll learn a valuable lesson.


Lenovo P71 or similar optimized workstation w/ mobile Quadro card.

So you don't look like a tool stuck w/ a glowing purple gaming laptop; image in Architecture School is like, paramount. 

Once you're out of school image gets diluted by experience, but it's still probably no. 1 (*half-sarc.*)

Jul 26, 18 5:54 pm

First person to suggest a workstation laptop that is optimized for the type of work OP has to do. Congrats.


Most importantly for you first is the graphic card, if you need to use some 3D softwares the most approprite is not the NVIDIA GTX but an NVIDIA Quadro series, the Quadros cards are optimized and designed for best 3D and Wireframe representation.

Good Luck.

Jul 26, 18 7:51 pm

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