Which Computer Is the Best for Architects and Architecture Students?

Buying “the perfect computer” comes with equal parts indecision and excitement—we put in hours of research, weigh brands, compare specs, read product reviews, and ask around for advice and suggestions. For the uninitiated, it often means wading through lots of technical jargon. i7? Intel? SSD? Quad-core? For others, it may mean being spoilt for choice and finding it difficult to shortlist options. Architect, writer, and entrepreneur Eric Reinholdt’s latest video on his YouTube channel 30X40 Design Workshop tackles the tricky subject of choosing the right computer for architecture, breaking the topic down into 6 simple steps.

So what’s the best choice for you if you’re an architect, architecture student, draftsperson, or someone whose work demands similar computer specs? Reinholdt himself prefers using a 27-inch iMac but stresses how both Windows and Mac systems are equally reliable; choosing either of the two should be dependent on your budget, which software you use on a daily basis, and how adaptable or “future-proofed” you want your computer to be.

But when it comes to choosing between a desktop and laptop, he’s quick to point out that for many it’s best to buy the latter, especially if you’re a student. Architects travel often—be it a site visit, field work, client meeting, or other remote project—and a laptop’s portability is convenient. Portable, however, doesn’t have to mean light-weight. A powerful CPU, a 15-inch or 17-inch screen (the bigger the better!), and upgraded hardware comes with a bit of weight, which is an acceptable compromise to make.

And what about all the hardware-related specs that you need to get right? Thankfully, the video makes all of these less complicated to understand as well. From pixel density, RAM, drives and graphics cards, to differences between cores and single- and multi-threaded tasks, Reinholdt sums it all up neatly. Perhaps the process of buying your next computer won’t be as complicated as you thought it would be: watch the 14-minute video above for the full discussion.


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