Apple or Windows for architecture?

I'm starting my master at MArch - Typology (TU Berlin) and I want to buy a new computer for this but don't know which one to buy? I accept recommendations :) thanks

Apr 15, 21 9:43 pm

Congrats on getting into TU Berlin!

I'm assuming you're looking for a laptop and not a desktop.

I would say for for a windows device. In terms of software, you will get the most support. Like for Rhino, you will get the latest updates, and all the commands are available in the windows version.

While the newer MacBooks have the incredibly powerful M1 processors, they don't have great graphics cards (GPU). This is important for rendering processes. A good integrated GPU will make rendering much quicker. Anything with a RTX 20 series to a 30 series is good (RTX 2080, RTX 3080, etc.) If money is no object, you could buy a laptop with a RTX Quadro GPU.

As for CPUs, anything with a 4000 or 5000 series Ryzen AMD processor is good. The newer AMD CPUs completely blow Intel CPUs out of the water. The multi-core performance is really good especially for when you do a lot of multitasking on your device. I tend to have Rhino 7, Photoshop, Vray and Lightroom open at the same time. So you might want to go for a Ryzen 9 or 7.

You will need a minimum of 16 GB of ram. You could get away with just 8 GB but the multitasking performance wouldn't be good.

As for displays, any color accurate one is good. 1080p resolution is good enough. You could also get a 4k display if you really need the resolution. But getting a separate monitor is a much better idea than spending extra on a 4k screen on your laptop.

Laptops I always recommend are the Asus G15 and G14

Specs of the G15 GA503 (top spec model):

- AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS

- RTX 3080

- WQHD 2560 x 1440 display

- 32GB DDR4-3200 memory

- 1TB M.2 NVME ssd

- 1.90 kg (4.19 lbs)

- $2,500 USD

You can get the older top spec G14 models for much cheaper. They usually go around for $1,600.

Here are some reviews:



It's obviously better to build a desktop for the same price as a laptop if you're willing to sacrifice portability for raw power and speed. Otherwise the G15/G14 are solid choices for laptops.

Hope this helps!

Apr 16, 21 1:43 am  · 
3  · 

How about this one? I purchased 3 years ago, I am thinking if I need to buy a new one for my graduate program. I think it is slower than before, but if re-install the windows is helpful then I might try it before buy a new one. 

Lenovo Region 
●  Processor: 10th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-10750H Processor (2.60 GHz, up to 5.00 GHz with Turbo Boost, 6 Cores, 12 Threads, 12 MB Cache)

●  Display Type: 17.3" FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS, anti-glare, 300 nits, 144Hz
●  Memory: 16 GB DDR4 2933MHz (2 x 8 GB)
●  Hard Drive: 1 TB PCIe SSD

●  AC Adapter: 230W
●  Graphics: NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 2060 6GB

Apr 10, 23 6:05 pm  · 

It probably depends most on the software you’re planning on using...perhaps contact the school to find out what they use on their workstations, so you have options to work on their machines as well.

Apr 16, 21 2:42 am  · 

review the system requirements for the software that you will likely be using for your coursework. look for professional graphics cards rather that gaming graphics cards.

Apr 16, 21 11:01 am  · 

Gaming graphics cards such as the RTX 30 series are best value for money. While professional GPUs like the Nvidia Quadro lineup are specifically designed for workstations, the performance boost isn't significantly better than the RTX 30 lineup, especially if you're considering the cost. The Quadro GPU's do have ECC (error correction code) memory, which is more reliable and maybe worth the money if you absolutely need the stability. 

A Quadro RTX 8000 at msrp is $5500

A GeForce RTX 3090 at msrp is $1499

Nvidia's newer ampere architecture for the RTX 30 series is really impressive.

In benchmarks, the 3090 completely outperforms the Quadro 8000. According to, the 3090 scores a 2606 on the Vray benchmark test while the Quadro 8000 scores a 1139. The 3090 has a 150% increase in performance compared to the Quadro 8000.


In short, the RTX 3090 is the best GPU in terms of overall performance and price, provided you can get one at msrp.

Apr 16, 21 12:01 pm  · 
1  · 

I agree with J

Quadro's have be rebranded as Ampere. And tbh I have used all of NVIDIAs graphics cards at the same VRAM, unless you're a dedicated renderer who cares about the milliseconds of buffering, there's no distinguishable difference between the "professional" graphics cards and "gaming" graphics cards. I have used a GeForce RTX 3080 and A2000, on excellent quality Enscape VR and Video fly-through, and Unreal Engine, it's all the same output. Save money and go with the "gaming" graphics cards. 

Apr 10, 23 11:20 pm  · 

gaming graphics cards are great for gaming, not so much for architectural software. are you just trying to hawk some gaming computers or what?

Apr 16, 21 2:50 pm  · 
 ·  1

Can you explain what the difference is? From my experience, Quadro cards just rip off professionals and good gaming cards do exactly the same thing

Apr 16, 21 3:00 pm  · 
2  · 

Yeah, I don't get why so many people conflate gaming laptops with design workstations. Unless you're going to spend a huge amount of time/resources on making videos/flythroughs instead of accurate modeling and renders, it doesn't make sense to go for a gaming rig.

Apr 16, 21 5:24 pm  · 
 ·  1

I'm not solely advocating for gaming cards, I'm just giving my opinion on the best value for money option for students. Now if you're a huge architecture firm, of course you want the latest and greatest hardware. The quadro gpus are the industry standard and usually they have servers equipped with multiple gpus. They have much more VRam and more importantly they are well optimized for work centered applications. But as a normal consumer, this option is not the best since we have the Geforce gaming gpus. Nvidia offers gaming-ready and workstation-ready drivers for their gaming gpus too. And at the price point they're offering for the amount of performance in productivity centered applications, it just makes more sense to go for the GeForce gpu as a student.

Apr 16, 21 8:43 pm  · 
2  · 

Need to remind oneself it is for an M-Arch Typology masters in Berlin, not some SciFi-Arc Zbruh animation course in Hollywood ;-)

Apr 17, 21 3:52 pm  · 

The funny thing is some M.Arch students are already serious gamers with impressive gaming rigs. I guess if they already spent that much on a gaming computer, they might as well use it for renders.

Apr 20, 21 9:14 am  · 

But those serious gamers won't make a topic here asking for help choosing between apple or windows ;-)

Apr 21, 21 8:05 am  · 
1  · 

The question you want to ask yourself is does better typological analysis results out of Windows or Apple hardware? 

Apr 17, 21 3:56 pm  · 

If you're only using the laptop for academic work, then a gaming machine will be perfect. I cannot recommend a specific one, as I am well out of the loop with specifics.

If you're going to be taking on part time architectural/drawing work alongside study, then you may wish to consider a workstation laptop. Not because they're better in terms of performance, but they are ISV certified and designed to work with the software you'll be using. 

Again, it depends of if you plan on using it for work as well? 

May 6, 21 11:40 am  · 

I got through fine on a 2015 Macbook. The key was it had 16 GB of RAM and 3.1 GHz of memory. Bootcamp is super easy to set up if needed. 

Obviously not the "best" computer but if you're tight on money, it's really those two specs that made it work for me. I think? Not an expert.

Apr 13, 23 12:47 pm  · 
1  · 

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