Laptop for architecture student?

(39 Posts)
SleepyKat Wed 04-Sep-19 15:29:11

Dd is adamant she needs a new laptop for her degree course. Not sure why as she has an expensive PC but she reckons she will need to be able to take her own laptop into uni do to work on it in the studios.

Anyone any idea of what spec she might need, and/or what software she will need to run on it? She’s seen one for £300 and I can’t believe it will be up to the job.....the spec says it can’t run photoshop and I’d have thought that architecture software would be just as complicated.

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BubblesBuddy Wed 04-Sep-19 18:40:05

Most students don’t have pcs at university. Is she living at home? They all have laptops. DD had an Apple Mac Pro for an arts course. Ask the university? You don’t want to buy something that won’t run the software or that won’t last.

titchy Wed 04-Sep-19 18:51:19

I'd have thought they'd have pcs at uni with the specialist CAD (?) software on - I suspect that a) a bog standard laptop, which a £300 one will be, won't be anywhere near a high enough spec for such software, and b) that the software itself will be £££.

msmith501 Wed 04-Sep-19 18:56:58

Can't really answer the question without knowing the software requirements but she will need a decent dedicated graphics card to speed up any drawing / rendering maths and displaying them well, decent memory and a good cpu (not an Intel Celeron but a latest generation i7 or above). Architecture programmes and graphics programmes in general have to do a lot of multitasking and number crunching and a decent spec will be necessary. Money-wise I'd be surprised if you get anything that was properly up to the job for less than £600 - £700 +. I'd also look at specialist laptop suppliers such as rather than pcworld.

rabbitsandrhubarb Wed 04-Sep-19 19:04:44

As other posters have said that she will need CAD software for 2D and 3D designing, and if she is doing rendering will need something pretty powerful. She should be able to get a student version of the, which I think was free (my DS has just finished an interior design/architecture degree and has been using CAD, Vectorworks, Sketch up, Photoshop etc for plans, elevations and visualisations plus In design for creating presentations of his work). The student version of the software is usually not the most up to date, but is adequate for what they need.

I would suggest she checks with her tutors (they may well have an IT tutor who teaches them the software) as to what spec machine to get.

Usually there will be computer suites in Uni with powerful machines that they can work on, but of course if they want to work at home it is useful to have the software on their own machine.

Also, I would suggest that she gets a large monitor to hook the laptop up to - makes it much easier to work on.

SleepyKat Wed 04-Sep-19 19:49:04

Right, turns out she has been sent a spec and the one she’s looking at isn’t up to the job.

Needs to be 2.7ghz.
At least 6 core
16gb ram
And a dedicated graphics card which is capable of direct 11x.

So have put that into some websites and seem to be looking at heavy gaming computers for £1500 upwards.

She is going to be living at home with access to her PC but the email from uni definitely does say they ideally need a laptop that they can bring to the studios with them. Not sure that lugging a heavy laptop about is going to be easy and I’m worried about it being stolen.

But will check that website out and see if I can find anything at a better price. I’ve emailed PC solutions as well to ask what price they can make me something up for.

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OwlMother Wed 04-Sep-19 22:44:29

Ds1 is going into second year and has this for his architecture course. Dh works in IT and decided it was future proof, he wouldn't outgrow it. It seems to run everything he needs for the course as well as the music suite he uses for his hobby.

Having said this, computers are available in the workshop/ studio although ds says he prefers being able to work at home too.


OwlMother Wed 04-Sep-19 22:46:30

Should add, it's really light and seems ridiculously small for the price. We've been so please with it we now have one for ds2 and dd (although hers is a rose gold finishgrin)

Anerak Wed 04-Sep-19 22:52:19

She will definitely need a laptop for her work as lots of lessons will require it for learning different programmes.
She can get student discount on Apple laptops which are not too heavy to carry around - from a 15inch model up the graphics card should be strong enough to handle the programmes but a windows laptop would be better as software often work better on these. Nowadays, powerful laptops don't need to be clunky or heavy.
Also most design applications needed are pay per year now and students get heavily discounted monthly rates.
Go into a store and they will give you an idea of models and pricing, and also an idea of their size and weight.
Good luck to her on her new degree programme. It's extremely hard work and competitive but also extremely rewarding and I enjoyed every moment immensely

SleepyKat Wed 04-Sep-19 23:24:29

Thanks everyone, looking at the Dell ones such as the G5 15.

It’s got a mix of a ssd and a hd, is that bad? Apart from that it’s similar spec to the one Owlmother posted...but this g5 is cheaper.

Also is an ssd ok in a laptop which is going to be carried around daily? Years ago I read they were fragile/stopped working if knocked? Is that still the case?

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msmith501 Thu 05-Sep-19 07:04:28

The SSD is a solid state chip with no moving parts - think "flash memory Stick". No issue with fragility these days. The hard drive on the other hand is always prone to damage of the laptop is heavily dropped. A mix of SSD (faster startup and quicker access to Windows operating system) and a traditional hard drive (more storage space at a cheaper price usually) is good.

The spec you have been given is a good gaming spec although I doubt it really needs to be six core or 2.7MHz - that's just a guideline to the type of power that fits the laptops they are steering you towards. Cells are fine - especially the Alienware series. Scan has a solid reputation for gaming laptops (at least in the North West) and their showroom in Horwich is a nerds paradise! I love it. does discounted software for students including photoshop (plus the rest of the Adobe suite) and MS office. Don't forget a decent Internet Security program. Pcworld is selling Norton for about £20 for five ish users (direct download).

LordProfFekkoThePenguinPhD Thu 05-Sep-19 07:08:11

Is also look at a large screen to plug into. I can’t use those tiny laptop screens.

msmith501 Thu 05-Sep-19 07:15:19

I agree on getting a separate monitor to plug in. If not I'd go for

... as the screen is larger and the price difference is small.

SleepyKat Thu 05-Sep-19 07:38:25

I’m worried the 17” one would be too big/heavy to be carrying to uni and back. She has a big PC monitor at home she can plug a laptop into.

Dell are doing 14% discount today only so I need to make a decision. The G5 is £1140 with the discount which seems like an ok price for the spec. I still can’t get over how expensive they are.

She’s desperate for a 2in1 flip over thing. But they’re more expensive.

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LordProfFekkoThePenguinPhD Thu 05-Sep-19 07:40:38

I’ll ask at work today. We use dinky little machines and have screens, keyboards and fancy mice to plug into.

LordProfFekkoThePenguinPhD Thu 05-Sep-19 07:41:38

We used to use Lenovo machines - they were also sponsor at a conference I was at recently (on this type of software and tech).

hiddenmnetter Thu 05-Sep-19 08:08:13

I just got an asus ROG GA502DU that meets all those specs (Ryzen 7 instead of intel i7) for £1,000 from John Lewis (they’re out of stock now but available on 16GB ram, and a 6GB gforce 1660 TI. They actually have an ASUS TUF on ( that has a 2060 in it. It’s a little more expensive (£100 more) but you’re getting around 20% increased performance from a 2060 over the 1660.

I chose JL because I wanted the JL aftercare package (having been driven insane by shitty shitty apple care), but if anyone can confirm if ao have food after service then I’d personally get the TUF from ao.

LordProfFekkoThePenguinPhD Thu 05-Sep-19 08:09:40

Look out for student offers - ask if they don’t advertise it. Also - software generally has student versions.

hiddenmnetter Thu 05-Sep-19 08:10:02

Didn’t see that she was desperate for the flip over thing.

Tell her she can either have gimmicks or performance. She can only have both if she’ll stump up the almost insane cost of around £2.5k.

The two I’ve suggested are powerful machines in budget and will more than handle what she needs. If she wants a flip over in that price range it will not have a dedicated graphics card and it simply won’t be able to cope with the rendering demands.

LordProfFekkoThePenguinPhD Thu 05-Sep-19 08:13:56

I had a detachable screen machine - flakey as hell! I loved that I could rip the screen off and march into someone’s office and wave work under someone’s nose!

It was a bit delicate and didn’t really like being carted around (especially if it was damp - even in a waterproof case). I had quite a few ‘blue screen of deaths’ too.

SleepyKat Thu 05-Sep-19 09:24:47

Thanks, you're confirming my thoughts on detachable screens, that they're not really designed for portability.

I really like the look of that Asus one at John Lewis. Need to wait for her to surface from her bed now! smile

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SleepyKat Thu 05-Sep-19 09:25:41

Sorry, at AO, the one with the better graphics card at £100 more. Still cheaper than the dell I'd been looking at.

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hiddenmnetter Thu 05-Sep-19 11:01:03

Sorry, at AO, the one with the better graphics card at £100 more. Still cheaper than the dell I'd been looking at.

Correct and it’ll wipe the floor with the dell XPS 15 anyway.

msmith501 Thu 05-Sep-19 17:18:28

I'm curious so bear with me but in what what way specifically with the AO one outperform the Dell one? I'm looking to change so am interested. Is it the frames per second? The Tera flops? The bits / bumps of the graphics card per second? At this level the 3D Mark scores are within 0.2% so I'm missing something obviously. I tend to go to as they are a dedicated Pc shop rather than Jl - good service but not actually a pc specialist. Anyway it'd be good to know pls.

SleepyKat Thu 05-Sep-19 17:39:36

I’ve had a quote from pc specialists of £950 for a 15.6” laptop with the following spec if anyone has any idea. It has a ssd which I’ve realised the Ao one doesn’t as well. And the processor is a bit faster.

Processor (CPU)Intel® Core™ i7 Six Core Processor 9750H (2.6GHz, 4.5GHz Turbo)

Memory (RAM)16GB Corsair 2133MHz SODIMM DDR4 (2 x 8GB)
Graphics CardNVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1050 - 3.0GB GDDR5 Video RAM - DirectX® 12.11st
Storage Drive480GB ADATA SU630 2.5" SSD, SATA 6 Gb (520MB/R, 450MB/W)

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