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Best HP Laptops for Architecture

Best HP Laptops for Architecture

Jolene Dobbin
Reading time: 8 minutes
Whether you’re an architect or architecture student, having the right laptop is essential to successful architectural design work and studies.
These laptops must be able to not only run powerful modeling software and computer-aided design (CAD) applications, but also be portable yet sturdy and secure enough to use on-the-go.
We’ve run down 3 of the best HP laptops for architecture. Then we’ll explore some of the specifications that go into the best laptop for architecture to help you pick the perfect laptop for your career as a professional architect.

1. HP ZBook Studio 16" G10 Mobile Workstation

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The HP ZBook Studio 16-inch G10 Mobile Workstation is a robust laptop for architecture professionals. Equipped with a 16-inch WUXGA anti-glare display, it offers exceptional clarity for detailed designs. The laptop's 13th Gen Intel® Core™ i9 processor and NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 4070 graphics ensure smooth handling of complex architectural software.
It features up to 64GB DDR5 RAM and 2TB SSD storage, providing substantial speed and space for large projects. The workstation's advanced security features and comprehensive connectivity, including Thunderbolt™ 4, make it well-suited for demanding architectural work.

2. HP ZBook Firefly 16" G10 Mobile Workstation

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The HP ZBook Firefly 16-inch G10 Mobile Workstation is a high-performance laptop ideal for architecture professionals. It boasts a 16-inch WUXGA display for superior visual clarity, essential for detailed design work. Powered by an Intel® Core™ i7 processor and offering options for NVIDIA® RTX™ A500 graphics, it provides robust performance for complex architectural software.
The workstation is equipped with up to 64GB DDR5 RAM and 512GB SSD storage, ensuring efficient handling of large files and multitasking. Its lightweight build and advanced security features make it a versatile and secure choice for architects working on-the-go.

3. HP ZBook Fury 16 G10 Mobile Workstation

HP ZBook Fury 16 G10.png
The HP ZBook Fury 16 G10 Mobile Workstation is perfect designed for architectural purposes, offering a 16-inch WUXGA display and powerful Intel® Core™ i9 processors. It's equipped with up to 64GB DDR5 RAM, and advanced NVIDIA RTX™ graphics, ideal for handling complex design and 3D modeling. With a 1TB SSD, it offers ample storage for large project files.
This workstation includes comprehensive connectivity options and robust security features, making it suitable for demanding architectural projects.

How to pick the perfect architecture laptop

Spec 1: Display/screen size and resolution

This may be arguably the most important feature of your laptop. You’ll need a large enough viewing area within your screen to be able to work with projects requiring models, 3D maps, digital drafting, rendering, and more.
Keep in mind as well that part of your display will feature palettes and toolbars, eating into the screen real estate and available workspace. If you want the best laptop for AutoCAD architecture, you need to be able to see your work as you create.
Look for models that offer a screen size of at least 15 inches and think about up to 17 inches. Any smaller will lack adequate visibility options, and will mean having to scroll around the screen to see everything. Any larger will be less portable, too bulky and heavy to lug around.
Another spec to consider is the resolution. A larger number of pixels in a monitor’s display equates to higher resolution and therefore enhanced display quality. You’ll want to look for displays with at least Full High Definition (FHD) resolution, or 1920 x 1080 pixels.
Displays with 1080p are usually sufficient. Quad HD (QHD or 2560 x 1440 pixels) up to Ultra HD (4K or more than 8 million pixels) may be even better. However, consider that certain 3D applications may experience lag with 4K resolutions.
You may need to sacrifice the QHD and focus on other specs to get the best budget laptop for architecture students.
Bottom line: Target FHD at a minimum

Spec 2: Processor/CPU

The heart (or brain) of your computer is the central processing unit (CPU), responsible for your laptop’s power and performance. Your laptop’s CPU will need to be robust enough to run powerful software and visualization tools such as AutoCAD, Revit, SolidWorks, Fusion360, Rhino, and others.
You’ll want to look at both the number of cores as well as clock speeds. Whenever possible, try to select CPUs with 4 or more cores and with clock speeds of at least 3 GHz. Quad- and hexa-core processors at higher clock speeds will be faster for designing, editing, modeling, and rendering images, for instance, than those with dual cores.
Bottom line: Target at least 4 cores in your CPU

Spec 3: Graphics/GPU

The graphics processing unit (GPU), also called the graphics or video card, is another important component of your laptop. It speeds the process of creating and rendering images, video, and animations. Drafting, modeling, and design applications such as Vectorworks, Autodesk 3ds Max, ARCHICAD, and plenty of others rely on the GPU to perform smoothly, accurately, and quickly.
Graphics cards with at least 2GB of video memory (vRAM) will ensure the best performance of these applications and others. If you’re working with virtual reality (VR) applications, 4K displays, or need to ensure color accuracy, then you’ll probably want to go with 4GB. Both NVIDIA and AMD offer high-quality graphics cards that will more than meet these needs.
Graphics cards come in two variations: integrated and discrete (or dedicated). Integrated graphics cards are less expensive and less powerful than dedicated cards, but are better for overall battery life.
For your architectural purposes, you’ll likely want a discrete graphics card because that will help power your CAD software and 3D graphics visualization applications. These are usually included in high-performance laptops and workstations, which feature NVIDIA GeForce GTX and Quadro RTX and AMD Radeon Pro lines of integrated graphics cards.
Bottom line: Target a discrete GPU with at least 2GB of vRAM

Spec 4: Memory (RAM) and storage

Architectural applications tend to be memory hogs – it’s their nature. So to feed the beasts, be sure that your laptop has enough memory (RAM) to run that memory-hungry software. Going with at least 16GB should be fine, but if you can spring for 32GB or more, even better.
Similarly, certain architectural applications (such as CAD software), models, and other tools consume large amounts of storage (or disk) space. Aim for hard disk drives (HDD) with at least 1TB of storage and solid-state drives (SSD) with 512GB and more if possible. If you’re an architecture student, you may not need this much, so SSDs with 256GB may be enough.
Because SSDs lack spinning parts, they tend to be more reliable and faster than HDDs. But they’re often more expensive. A great compromise would be to get a hybrid drive, which combines both HDD and SSD – so you really get the best of both worlds.
There is also the option of an external hard drive. Most laptops are not equipped with optical drives to access older files found on CDs or DVDs, for instance, so external drives can help. They’re also great for backing up files.
Bottom line: Target at least 16GB of RAM and 1TB of storage

Spec 5: Portability

Architects and architecture students alike need portability in their computer setups. Though having a dedicated desktop is, of course, ideal, laptops are quickly becoming not only necessary as supplemental options, but also as the preferred choice of technology. The reason is that you’re no longer tethered to your desk.
Instead, you’re at school, in the field, at the studio, onsite during construction, at home, in classrooms, and out and about virtually anywhere. And you’ll need to be able to work seamlessly with similar high-performance features that you’d expect from a desktop.
Today’s laptops let you do that. The best ones don’t make you sacrifice power for mobility, or disrupt your workflow. They let you take them wherever your work or studies take you.
Bottom line: Target a high-powered mobile workstation

Spec 6: Battery life

And speaking of going where your work takes you, you’ll want to heed the specs on battery life so that you’re indeed able to continue working. Not having to worry about carrying around annoying chargers and look for available power outlets when you’re on the go is a nice benefit of laptops with longer battery lives.
Smaller and more portable laptops – and of course the less powerful ones – tend to have the longest battery lives. Keep in mind that the best laptop for architecture work will probably weigh more and thus will have a shorter battery life than a traditional laptop.
But it’s also true that you can still find laptops that offer more than decent amounts of battery life within a portable frame. You may also want to invest in a power bank.
Bottom line: A high powered device may mean investing in a power bank

Spec 7: Connectivity

Along with battery life, connectivity is another spec that you’ll want to pay attention to. This one is even more significant because having superior connectivity when you’re moving around with your laptop is incredibly important for architects and architecture students.
In addition to being able to connect wherever you go, you’ll also need the ability to connect devices to your laptop. Look for laptops with wireless connectivity options such as the latest Bluetooth and 802.11 a/c WiFi adapters as well as plenty of ports – for instance, HDMI, USB 2.0, 3.0, and 3.1, HDMI, and more.
Bottom line: Target WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity along with varied ports

Shop confidently

With these capabilities in mind and an overview of the 3 best HP laptops for architects and architecture students, you can shop with confidence.

About the Author

Jolene Dobbin is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Jolene is an East Coast-based writer with experience creating strategic messaging, marketing, and sales content for companies in the high-tech industry.

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