Things to Consider when Buying a Laptop for Architecture Classes
When buying a laptop, for any matter, whether you are an architecture student, business student, or medical student, it pays to know which features to look for before handing in your hard earned cash. You just can barge into a store and buy the flashiest looking laptop, that’s just unwise.
For architecture students, the requirements for a laptop are certainly much higher compared to casual buyers. Here are the features that you should consider before buying a laptop.
The operating system is responsible for managing all the software and hardware components of a computer. This also includes taking charge of the files, storage, and connected devices.
Choosing an operating system can be divisive, however, it all boils down to personal preference. Here are the possible options:
Windows is without a doubt the most preferred and most popular operating system, especially for architects. Even though some architectural offices are starting to shift to Apple’s OS X, Windows-powered laptops are still widely used.
An obvious step ahead for Windows compared to other operating systems is the fact that it supports most of the software required for architectural tasks. Another advantage of Windows laptops is that they are more reasonably priced compared to MacBooks. Moreover, there are a lot more options to choose from in the Windows laptop lineup.
Most architecture schools make use of Windows laptop. So if you own one, compatibility is not much of a problem and support and maintenance is much more accessible.
Apple is well renowned for their excellently designed products especially their MacBooks. This excellent quality also translates well into their operating system, the Mac OS. Mac OS boasts excellent multitasking management as well as a convenient user interface. Most MacBook users would say that their laptops are easy to use with a ton of useful apps straight out of the box.
However, one of the biggest deal breakers for Mac OS is the fact that it does not support several programs that are normally run under Windows OS. For example, an important software used by architects, Revit is currently not available for Mac OS. Thankfully, you can do a workaround so that you can run programs like this on an Mac OS powered laptop.
Programs such as Parallels and VMWare Fusion 8, allow you to run Windows programs on Mac OS. They work efficiently and are easy to use. However, you still need to purchase them from the App Store.
If you want to do away with these programs, you can run Windows directly on a Mac. You can do this through Bootcamp. The concept behind Bootcamp is that it allows you to switch between Windows and Mac OS on a Macbook. The switch though from Windows to Mac OS can take some time since you need to shut down the laptop.
While this can turn off some consumers, MacBooks still excel in providing topnotch technology, powerful processors, high-resolution displays and excellent RAM management. So before closing the doors on Mac OS powered MacBooks, take a look at the several merits it comes with. Just make sure to prepare your wallets for they come at a heftier price.
In case you haven’t heard, Google is also producing their own operating system in the form of the Chrome OS. This operating system is embedded in their Chromebooks. While the tech looks promising, Chrome OS sadly does not support Adobe, a program that’s essential for architects. So with that being said, there is no way you can make use of Chromebooks for your business courses.
Size and Weight
In terms of size and weight of laptops, it’s always a matter of personal preference. However, it always pays to get a laptop with a larger screen.
This allows for better visibility and provides you a greater canvass for doing your tasks. It is just more ideal to do tasks such as drafting, image editing, 3d modeling and design rendering on a large screen. Programs used by architects such as CAD, ArchiCAD comes with several toolbars which take up a huge amount of your screen space.
However, a large screen also comes with an extra weight. If you plan or working only in your own study or room then a large screen would not be a problem. However, if you constantly move around from room to room while carrying your laptop, then it’s best that you get one with a moderately sized screen since portability should be considered.
To sum it all up, here are the minimum specifications you need to consider when buying a laptop for your architectural subjects:
- Microsoft: Windows 7 or higher
- MacBooks: OS X or more recent
- Processor: Intel Core i5 or higher, AMD Processor equivalent to i5
- Clock Speed: 2.6 GHz or higher
- RAM: 6 GB or higher, 16 GB can handle all architecture programs without hiccups
- Storage: 250 GB with speed more than 7,200 rpm (preferably SSD)
- Graphics Card: More than 1 GB of Onboard Memory
- Display Resolution: Go for a higher resolution (Higher than 1600×900)
Hopefully this guide helps you find the best laptop for you and your course needs.