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Best Laptops For Interior Design

I get exactly where you’re coming from. You’re either a student during your second year or knowledgeable who’s trying to find a replacement or an update to the old rig your ally got you many years ago. Now you are trying to find the best laptops for interior design and you are run into this article.

best-laptops-for-interior-design

Now you’ve done some googling here and there and located a bunch of conflicting information about the demands of the software you’ll be using (3DS Max, AutoCAD, Revit, etc.).

That’s not all…

You’ve probably found yourself pretty confused with the computer terms especially the GPU part. Things are even more confusing in 2020 with the discharge of 10th generation CPUs and therefore the RTX NVIDIA Series, I’m sure.

Because you’re afraid to finish up with a laptop that can’t run any 3D modeling software or just because you don’t think you’ll get the simplest bang for your buck, relax. That won’t happen if you stick with this post. I and my brother were in the very same situation several years ago. Although we’ve already graduated and had more AWESOME laptops now, we did spend our second and third year using the lab instead because our father just couldn’t afford us to possess one.

Some Intro About Best Laptops For Interior Design

When we finally stored-up the cash to shop for one (during our fourth year), we were exactly within the same position you’re right now: lost and afraid. We also want to buy the best we can get for our money so we find out all there is to understand about this subject.

By the time we were done we ended up knowing everything, there’s to understand about Revit’s hardware requirements especially those aimed towards interior design.

So during this post.

We’ll tell you exactly what specs you ought to search for and what laptop you ought to specifically buy. We’ll also describe what each laptop can do for you and what it can’t do for you.

We will cover everything in this article and please read the laptop descriptions carefully.

Recommended Specs of the Best Laptops for Interior Design

Before we list the 5 best laptops for Interior Design allow us to quickly mention the specs & the software used for Interior Design. (Just just in case there are people here who can’t find these laptops in their region).

If you are feeling you would like more details than what’s outlined here, again jump to the last section.

Software

During our years studying interior design (and a couple of years in the field) we’ve used the following software:

Adobe Suite: Photoshop, Illustrator, inDesign , Sketchup, AutoCAD, Revit, Rhino, 3DS Max.

The last 3 are 3D modeling software and that they all have more or less equivalent hardware requirements. The last two, however, are the foremost hardware demanding of the group. So we’ll just list the specs required to run both of them.

Note: AutoCAD 3D is that the least demanding software, you’d just need any laptop with a “dedicated GPU” for it.

GPU

Revit, AutoCAD, and every one the opposite software is going to be quite proud of any low-end dedicated graphics card. Look for.

NVIDIA: 940MX, MX150,MX250,1050GTX.*
AMD: Radeon Pro RX 555X, RX540, RX550, RX 560X

However, 3DS Max is going to be buttery smooth with anything equal or above 1050Ti–> 1060GTX, 1650GTX, 1070GTX, 1080GTX, and so on.

*We are aware that you’ve read people saying gaming laptops are okay and yet the official Autodesk site tells you that these aren’t supported. Well, it’s the inside design guys who are right. AutoDesk is simply being political. You’ll trust laptops with “consumer” GPUs.

RAM

8GB RAM at the very least. All 3D modeling software, including Revit, are RAM hogs. You would possibly even need 16GB but which will be adjusted later. There’s a guide written a guide here on the way to roll in the hay otherwise you can purchase 16GB right off the bat.

CPU

There’s no got to worry about CPUs unless you’re heavily rendering on this machine. Modern CPUs today are as fast as hell. If you get any Core i5 or Core i7 from the 8th generation onwards or any Core i3 from the 10th generation, you’ll have enough speed for drafting/designing and even rendering.

For drafting/designing: a minimum of something sort of a Core i3 10050G1, Core i3 8130, Core i5 8265, Core i5 8250 / AMD Ryzen 3 3300U AMD Ryzen 5 3500 U
For (super fast) rendering:AMD Ryzen 5 3550H, AMD Ryzen 7 3750H, i7 8750H, i7 9750H, i7 10750H, i5 9300H

Storage

Solid State Drives will load projects/files/models and your software lightning fast. It’ll also boot up your machine in 5 seconds flat.
This is useful to avoid having a client/professor/classmate watching your screen from behind and breathing over your neck expecting your work to load.

Display

Ideally, you’d need a big screen because you’ll get more screen space to suit additional tools/interfaces/bigger models.
However, they’re heavy. You would possibly not even find a backpack to suit it into.

An FHD with a 15” measured diagonally which is standard lately has enough space for 3D design.

Top 5 Best Laptops For Interior Design

Interior Designers vary widely in what they are doing and what software they use but the hardware requirements are just about equivalent. The sole difference is whether or not or not you would like to use 3DS Max because 3DS Max might need something a touch bit more powerful than an inexpensive dedicated graphics card.

In this list, we’re including laptops for those that are broke (like were within the past and students too), those already within the field, and any designer on a budget too. Just keep scrolling down and skim the descriptions carefully until you discover your pick.

Acer Nitro 5

Best Budget Laptop For Interior Design

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Acer Nitro 5 Specifications:

  • CPU: Intel Core i5 9300H
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • GPU: GeForce GTX 1650
  • Storage: 256 GB SSD
  • Display: 15” IPS Full HD 1080p
  • Weight: 5.07 lbs
  • Battery: 5 hours

This is probably the maximum amount of power as 90% of you’ll need and guess what? This laptop is really isn’t that expensive, it might usually sell for 900$ because it’s got a 1650GTX GPU but it’s selling for 650-780$ (depending on the time of the year you purchase it, it keeps fluctuating).

Back then that was, more or less, our budget, and our laptop some time past (a 940MX) doesn’t even compare to the facility of the 1650GTX and therefore the 9th generation CPU here.

What’s so good about the 1650GTX?

It’s just not a “cheap” reachable GPU for many people but it’s actually more powerful than modern “entry-level” GPUs. It’s got tons more “cores” and +2GB of additional vRAM than an MX150,1050,1050Ti (which ironically are selling for a better price right now).

Now I gotta admit that it’d be a touch an excessive amount for many of you because I’m sure you’re not getting to venture into 3DS MAX but it doesn’t hurt to possess that extra power if it’s cheap right? Just grab one as soon as you can.

Acer Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop, 9th Gen Intel Core i5-9300H, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650, 15.6' Full HD IPS Display, 8GB DDR4, 256GB NVMe SSD, Wi-Fi 6, Backlit Keyboard, Alexa Built-in, AN515-54-5812
3,128 Reviews
Acer Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop, 9th Gen Intel Core i5-9300H, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650, 15.6" Full HD IPS Display, 8GB DDR4, 256GB NVMe SSD, Wi-Fi 6, Backlit Keyboard, Alexa Built-in, AN515-54-5812
  • 9th Generation Intel Core i5-9300H Processor (Up to 4.1 GHz)
  • 15" Full HD Widescreen IPS LED-backlit display; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Graphics with 4 GB of dedicated GDDR5 VRAM
  • 8GB DDR4 2666MHz Memory; 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD (2 x PCIe M.2 slots - 1 slot open for easy upgrades) & 1 - Available hard drive bay
  • LAN: 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet LAN (RJ-45 port); Wireless: Intel Wireless Wi-Fi 6 AX200 802.11ax
  • Backlit keyboard; Acer Cool Boost technology with twin fans and dual exhaust ports

What about rendering?

You can render with any laptop the question is how briskly will you be ready to do so. Rendering is usually CPU-bound, which suggests you would like a strong CPU quite a GPU. This one features a 9th generation Core i5 CPU, which’s mid-range power of the newest generation, going past 4GHz(this wont to be the clock frequency of workstation back in my days). It’s enough for rendering!

One thing I might do to decrease rendering times is to upgrade the RAM to 16GB. You’ll take it to any shop and they’ll add some RAM for you.

Acer Aspire 5

Best Cheap Laptop For Interior Design

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Acer Aspire 5 Specifications:

  • CPU: Intel Core i5 10th generation
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • GPU: NVidia MX350
  • Storage: 256 GB SSD
  • Display: 15” IPS Full HD 1080p
  • Weight: 5.3 lbs
  • Battery: 11 hours

There are some people out there who might not need a strong “dedicated GPU” just like the 1650 or the 1050Ti because they’ll be working with simple remodeling projects. If that’s the case, then you’ll grab a laptop with an MX350. This laptop doesn’t just have a fanatical GPU though it’s everything on check too: SSD, RAM, Display, CPU, etc.

What does one mean by simple remodeling projects?

Construction documents for kitchen remodeling, cabinet elevations, some 3D sketch up work, etc. In other words, this laptop also will be ready to handle additional software like Photoshop, Illustrator. I and my brother had to travel for a model like this. Actually, we went for something just like the older and first version, the Acer Aspire E5 with the 940MX. Now, thereupon version obsolete, the new one features an MX350 which is about 1.5x as powerful as long as you get the non-Max-Q version. There’s one enormous caveat here though, it’s alleged to cost 600$ approximately but it’s selling for 750$ which is nearly even as expensive as the Acer Nitro. So what I suggest is you grab this one if you really can’t spend $50 more and you ought to definitely grab it if by the time you read this it’s 600$ – an excellent deal.

Acer Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop, 9th Gen Intel Core i5-9300H, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650, 15.6' Full HD IPS Display, 8GB DDR4, 256GB NVMe SSD, Wi-Fi 6, Backlit Keyboard, Alexa Built-in, AN515-54-5812
3,128 Reviews
Acer Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop, 9th Gen Intel Core i5-9300H, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650, 15.6" Full HD IPS Display, 8GB DDR4, 256GB NVMe SSD, Wi-Fi 6, Backlit Keyboard, Alexa Built-in, AN515-54-5812
  • 9th Generation Intel Core i5-9300H Processor (Up to 4.1 GHz)
  • 15" Full HD Widescreen IPS LED-backlit display; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Graphics with 4 GB of dedicated GDDR5 VRAM
  • 8GB DDR4 2666MHz Memory; 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD (2 x PCIe M.2 slots - 1 slot open for easy upgrades) & 1 - Available hard drive bay
  • LAN: 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet LAN (RJ-45 port); Wireless: Intel Wireless Wi-Fi 6 AX200 802.11ax
  • Backlit keyboard; Acer Cool Boost technology with twin fans and dual exhaust ports

Wait, I can’t even afford that, the other options?

Well, there’s the cousin of this model. The 350$ Acer Aspire 5 with a Ryzen Processor. Nothing against Ryzen processors, they will be faster than Intel Processors, and they actually make a laptop lot cheaper. That model which is about 350-450$ has an “integrated” GPU that’s not something you would like if you’re getting to be using viewport a lot. But again if you’re just using a laptop for easy remodeling as we described above, it’s doable but you’ll lag. But hey, hopefully, you’ll tolerate it and advance to greater deals quickly enough to afford one better than this, right?

Acer Aspire 5 A515-55-378V, 15.6' Full HD Display, 10th Gen Intel Core i3-1005G1 Processor (Up to 3.4GHz), 4GB DDR4, 128GB NVMe SSD, WiFi 6, HD Webcam, Backlit Keyboard, Windows 10 in S Mode
285 Reviews
Acer Aspire 5 A515-55-378V, 15.6" Full HD Display, 10th Gen Intel Core i3-1005G1 Processor (Up to 3.4GHz), 4GB DDR4, 128GB NVMe SSD, WiFi 6, HD Webcam, Backlit Keyboard, Windows 10 in S Mode
  • 10th Generation Intel Core i3-1005G1 Processor (Up to 3.4GHz) | 4GB DDR4 On-Board Memory | 128GB NVMe SSD
  • 15.6" Full HD (1920 x 1080) widescreen LED backlit TN Display | Intel UHD Graphics
  • Intel Wireless Wi-Fi 6 AX201 802.11ax | Backlit Keyboard | HD Webcam | Up to 8 Hours Battery Life
  • 1 - USB 3.1 (Type-C) Gen 1 port (up to 5 Gbps), 2 - USB 3.1 Gen 1 Port (one with Power-off Charging), 1 - USB 2.0 Port & 1 - HDMI Port with HDCP Support
  • With Windows 10 in S mode, you’ll experience fast start-ups, a familiar yet expanded Start menu, and great new ways to get stuff done.

Above is the link to the $450 Model(Windows 10 Home).

Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop, 15.6 inches Full HD IPS Display, AMD Ryzen 3 3200U, Vega 3 Graphics, 4GB DDR4, 128GB SSD, Backlit Keyboard, Windows 10 in S Mode, A515-43-R19L, Silver
27,903 Reviews
Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop, 15.6 inches Full HD IPS Display, AMD Ryzen 3 3200U, Vega 3 Graphics, 4GB DDR4, 128GB SSD, Backlit Keyboard, Windows 10 in S Mode, A515-43-R19L, Silver
  • AMD Ryzen 3 3200U Dual Core Processor (Up to 3.5GHz); 4GB DDR4 Memory; 128GB PCIe NVMe SSD
  • 15.6 inches full HD (1920 x 1080) widescreen LED backlit IPS display; AMD Radeon Vega 3 Mobile Graphics
  • 1 USB 3.1 Gen 1 port, 2 USB 2.0 ports & 1 HDMI port with HDCP support
  • 802.11ac Wi-Fi; Backlit Keyboard; Up to 7.5 hours battery life
  • Windows 10 in S mode. Maximum power supply wattage: 65 Watts

Above the link to the $350 (doesn’t have Windows 10 installed, you’ll need to get a Windows 10 key on your own if you would like to save $100).

Dell XPS 15

Best Dell Laptop For Interior Design

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Dell XPS 15 Specifications

  • CPU: Core  i7-9750 Up to 4.5GHz
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 4GB
  • Storage: 1TB SSD PCIe NVMe
  • Display: 15.6” UHD IPS
  • Weight: 5.51 lbs
  • Battery: 6 hours web surfing/2-3 hours gaming

On the opposite side of the coin, I’m guessing that a number of you’re already making the large bucks and need the simplest of the simplest. Not best within the sense that it’s the foremost powerful thickest laptop but best within the sense of something that doesn’t appear as if a snow shovel yet it’s thin, beautiful, and powerful.

Something About Dell XPS 15

This is the type of laptop we would’ve loved to urge our hands-on. It’s got an equivalent GPU of the Acer Nitro and yet it’s lighter thinner, has much more resolution which suggests more screen space for modeling/multitasking, etc. The last feature can make your workflow tons better by placing all of your tools, interfaces, and commands right on the screen without having to resort to drop-down menus.

The form factor is additionally a really appealing feature. It is good to have something light enough which will fit into any bag and be ready to take it anywhere.

Dell XPS 15 7590, 15.6' 4K UHD Touch, 9th Gen Intel Core i7-6 Core 9750H, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 4GB GDDR5 (Non-Touch Display)
29 Reviews
Dell XPS 15 7590, 15.6" 4K UHD Touch, 9th Gen Intel Core i7-6 Core 9750H, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 4GB GDDR5 (Non-Touch Display)
  • InfinityEdge display: The virtually borderless display maximizes screen space by accommodating a 15.6-inch display inside a laptop closer to the size of a 14-inch, thanks to a bezel measuring just 6.04mm on the sides and 7.08mm on the top.
  • CinemaColor Visuals appear every bit as lifelike as the world around you. Experience richer, more vibrant color and details enabled by Dell Color Profiles and take full advantage of HDR content’s superior dynamic range, infinitely deep blacks and dazzling brights thanks to Dolby Vision.
  • Leading-edge connectivity Thunderbolt 3 multi-use port allows you to charge your laptop, connect to multiple devices (including support for up to two 4K displays) and enjoy data transfers up to 40Gbps, which is 8x faster than USB 3.0. Also includes two USB 3.0 ports.
  • Revolutionary webcam construction: The new XPS 15 webcam isn't just smaller—it's also better. A new 4-element lens uses more elements than a typical webcam to deliver sharp video in all areas of the frame, while temporal noise reduction uses advanced noise reduction, significantly improving video quality, especially in dim lighting conditions. Finally, the lens is assembled with precise machinery to ensure all points of the image are in focus.
  • Killer Wireless: Featuring advanced Wi-Fi 6 technology and theoretical throughput speeds of up to 2.4 Gbps, the Killer AX1650 is nearly 3 times as fast as the previous generation of 80MHz 2x2 AC products. The Killer 1650 automatically detects, classifies, and prioritizes streaming video, communication, and game traffic in your system for fast, smooth online experiences.

PS: By the way, this model has a way more powerful CPU and more RAM than the Acer Nitro. Ram can be upgraded and the CPU actually makes a much bigger difference than the GPU with any software.

I can’t afford it but I would like something like this?

You could choose past models or maybe this year’s model but with a weaker GPU like 1050, 1050Ti and ditch the 4k resolution display. Here are some options for you to check.

Surface Book 3

Best Portable Laptop For Interior Design

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Surface Book 3 Specifications

  • CPU: Quad-Core i7 10th gen
  • RAM: 16-32GB RAM
  • GPU: NVIDIA GTX 1650GTX /1660Ti 4-6vRAM
  • Storage: 512-2TB NVMe PCIe SSD
  • Display: 15” Pixel Sense (3000×2000)
  • Weight: 3.45 lbs
  • Battery: 7 hours

The Surface Book could seem sort of a crazy suggestion to a number of you. But, you almost certainly don’t know is that this is often entirely different from the tablet-like laptop: the Surface Pro or the Surface.

The latest Surface Book features a CPU and GPU with the power of the Dell XPS 15. In fact, it is much faster if you can afford the 1660Ti model.

Sale
Microsoft Surface Book 3 - 15' Touch-Screen - 10th Gen Intel Core i7 - 32GB Memory - 512GB SSD (Latest Model) - Platinum, Model Number: SMN-00001
170 Reviews
Microsoft Surface Book 3 - 15" Touch-Screen - 10th Gen Intel Core i7 - 32GB Memory - 512GB SSD (Latest Model) - Platinum, Model Number: SMN-00001
  • Most powerful Surface laptop yet, with quad-core powered, 10th Gen Intel Core processors. Now 30% faster than Surface Book 2 15”.
  • Fastest graphics on Surface, powered by NVIDIA GTX GeForce GPU.
  • Power when you need it. Up to 17.5 hours battery life[1] — plus improved standby that extends battery life when you’re away.
  • Robust laptop, powerful tablet, and portable studio in one.
  • The connections you need, including USB-A, USB-C, and full-size SD card slot.

It’s an honest option if you’ve got no budget and you’re trying to find something even more portable than the Dell XPS 15 and wish the touchscreen feature to require down notes.

The note-taking features with the stylus are nothing in need of amazing! You really can bring a Surface Book wherever you like to take notes or write equations and even draw something.

If you’re an indoor design moving from client to client, from conferences to construction sites every day, then this is often another alternative to the Dell XPS 15.

MacBook Pro

Best Mac Laptop For Interior Design

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MacBook Pro Specifications

  • CPU: Apple M1 8-Core CPU
  • RAM: 16 GB RAM
  • GPU: Apple M1 GPU
  • Storage: 1 TB SSD
  • Display: 13.3” 2560×1600 px Touch Screen
  • Weight: 3 lbs
  • Battery: 16 hours

The most obvious choice for a laptop with an excellent form factor and tons of power.

Probably, the smallest amount expected laptop here. But you recognize, we’ve used a MacBook a few times and there was no issue whatsoever with any interior design software.

How?

You can run either VMWare fusion or BootCamp:

BootCamp allows switching between Windows or OSX with a restart.

VMWare allows you to run Windows alongside OSX simultaneously without a restart.

You can use BootCamp if you actually got to devote each piece of hardware to the software you’re trying to run like 3DS Max/Revit.

What 3D Modeling software are you able to run on Mac OSX without having to resort to BootCamp/VMWare fusion? All of them except 3DS Max.

By the way, once I used VMWare Fusion to run Windows on a VM, the MacBook gave me no issues whatsoever. I remember I used to be ready to run AutoCAD 2013, sketch up, Modo 901, and Rhino which was on a 2012 MBP!

But obviously, if you model with Revit and render with 3ds MAX and use photoshop, illustrator, and InDesign, all at an equivalent time. You’d be happier with either a full-blown Windows Laptop or running BootCamp on a MacBook Pro.

Sale
New Apple MacBook Pro with Apple M1 Chip (13-inch, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage) - Silver (Latest Model)
1,424 Reviews
New Apple MacBook Pro with Apple M1 Chip (13-inch, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage) - Silver (Latest Model)
  • Apple-designed M1 chip for a giant leap in CPU, GPU, and machine learning performance
  • Get more done with up to 20 hours of battery life, the longest ever in a Mac
  • 8-core CPU delivers up to 2.8x faster performance to fly through workflows quicker than ever
  • 8-core GPU with up to 5x faster graphics for graphics-intensive apps and games
  • 16-core Neural Engine for advanced machine learning
  • 8GB of unified memory so everything you do is fast and fluid
  • Superfast SSD storage launches apps and opens files in an instant
  • Active cooling system sustains incredible performance 
  • 13.3-inch Retina display with 500 nits of brightness for vibrant colors and incredible image detail
  • FaceTime HD camera with advanced image signal processor for clearer, sharper video calls

While we are at it, allow us to mention rendering with the Macs:

First of all, you gotta have a fanatical GPU thereon, this is often only available with the 15” Models, the newer version of the professional the higher (the graphics card are going to be more powerful).

Second, you’ve got to see if your renderer uses dedicated GPUs to accelerate rendering (this is perhaps the case) then check if that renderer supports AMD GPUs rather than NVIDIA’s.

For example, most GPU renderers cash in on CUDA cores (this is NVIDIA). V-RAY RT may be a prime example.

While other renderers like V-Ray advanced will mostly believe the CPU and RAM. So whether you’ve got a dGPU or no dGPU will make no difference.

How to Buy The Best Laptop For Interior Design

If you are reading this section. I am assuming you are just getting started with Interior Design.

Before we get into technical jargon, we first need to go over what software you’ll and what exactly you’ll do on each (rendering or drafting require different specs).

Software

AutoCAD 3D or AutoCAD Architecture: By the way, AutoDesk Provides a free 1-year license
Revit Architecture (AutoDesk provides a free 1-year license to students as well)
Adobe Photoshop (Any version)
Adobe Acrobat X Pro (or other PDF Creator)
Google Sketch Up Pro (current version available)
Podium(current version)
Rhino(possibly)
3DS Max (rarely)

Activities

AutoCAD/Revit: most interior designers used them for remodeling.
3DS Max: although rarely used, it’s mostly used for Rendering.
Sketch-up: as the name suggests used to do some 3D sketches.

Students

Usually, I tell students (of any subject in college) that they can skip on buying a laptop (even engineering students). However, I must emphasize this time that a laptop is crucial for interior design students. The use of 3D modeling software for studio projects will start to get pretty heavy from the second year and on through graduation

Even a low-end laptop with low configuration can tremendously help you in passing examinations with flying colors. While you could try and use the computer labs (mostly for AutoCAD 3D and 3ds Max since these require pretty beefy configurations), there may be a few times that you won’t be able to complete your assignments on time. Plus you can bring laptop computers to work in any studio, on and off-campus, in and out of town. Further, any troubleshoot hardware and software can easily be fixed once you have a laptop because you can easily take it to a nerdy classmate or the IT department.

Acer Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop, 9th Gen Intel Core i5-9300H, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650, 15.6' Full HD IPS Display, 8GB DDR4, 256GB NVMe SSD, Wi-Fi 6, Backlit Keyboard, Alexa Built-in, AN515-54-5812
3,128 Reviews
Acer Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop, 9th Gen Intel Core i5-9300H, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650, 15.6" Full HD IPS Display, 8GB DDR4, 256GB NVMe SSD, Wi-Fi 6, Backlit Keyboard, Alexa Built-in, AN515-54-5812
  • 9th Generation Intel Core i5-9300H Processor (Up to 4.1 GHz)
  • 15" Full HD Widescreen IPS LED-backlit display; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Graphics with 4 GB of dedicated GDDR5 VRAM
  • 8GB DDR4 2666MHz Memory; 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD (2 x PCIe M.2 slots - 1 slot open for easy upgrades) & 1 - Available hard drive bay
  • LAN: 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet LAN (RJ-45 port); Wireless: Intel Wireless Wi-Fi 6 AX200 802.11ax
  • Backlit keyboard; Acer Cool Boost technology with twin fans and dual exhaust ports

Hardware Specs for Interior Design

We’ll discuss 3D modeling software like Rhino, 3DS Max, AutoCAD 3D, and Revit. PhotoShop, Illustrator, and even Sketchup can just run about on any modern laptop released either in 2018 or 2019.

CPU

This is the single most important component behind 3D Modeling Software, more than the graphics card and RAM. The following are based on benchmark studies done by third party testers such as Pudget Systems.

Acer Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop, 9th Gen Intel Core i5-9300H, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650, 15.6' Full HD IPS Display, 8GB DDR4, 256GB NVMe SSD, Wi-Fi 6, Backlit Keyboard, Alexa Built-in, AN515-54-5812
3,128 Reviews
Acer Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop, 9th Gen Intel Core i5-9300H, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650, 15.6" Full HD IPS Display, 8GB DDR4, 256GB NVMe SSD, Wi-Fi 6, Backlit Keyboard, Alexa Built-in, AN515-54-5812
  • 9th Generation Intel Core i5-9300H Processor (Up to 4.1 GHz)
  • 15" Full HD Widescreen IPS LED-backlit display; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Graphics with 4 GB of dedicated GDDR5 VRAM
  • 8GB DDR4 2666MHz Memory; 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD (2 x PCIe M.2 slots - 1 slot open for easy upgrades) & 1 - Available hard drive bay
  • LAN: 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet LAN (RJ-45 port); Wireless: Intel Wireless Wi-Fi 6 AX200 802.11ax
  • Backlit keyboard; Acer Cool Boost technology with twin fans and dual exhaust ports

Drafting/Modeling/Designing

All 3D modeling software including AutoCAD, Revit, 3DS Max are mostly single-threaded. That is the speed at which you design/apply effects/sketches/see your previews/manipulate tools will depend on the clock speed of your CPU.

Why did I say mostly? Well, Revit it’s the only exception(along with Inventor). Although it started as a single-threaded application (it didn’t care about the number of cores a CPU Has), current versions use multi-core CPUs, mostly for visuals (calculating walls) and loading all the elements in view.

More explicitly here’s a list of all the functions that are multithreaded for Revit.

But yeah it’s still multi-threaded.

So if you plan on mostly do remodeling with any software buy the CPU with the highest clock speed you can afford (measured in Hz), these come with 4 or 6 cores CPUs anyways.

Core i7-8550U Core i7-8750 Core i5-8300H. All of these have insane clock speeds but you’ll also be fine with anything from the Core i5 or Core i7 family released within the 7th and 8th generation. Core i5-8250U, Core i7-7700HQ, Core i5-7200U.

Rendering

No matter what software you talk about. Rendering has always and will always be a multi-core dependent task. If you are a student, you don’t have to worry about it as you can see your school’s lab for any heavy rendering that you may encounter.

If you are a professional and plan on rendering with your laptop. Get the highest number of cores you can afford. The higher the number of cores, the less time you’ll spend waiting and I’m talking about hours.

Core i7-8750H, Core i7-7700HQ, Core i5-8250U. Basically any core i5 or core i7 from the 8th generation. Only Core i7 from the 7th generation

RAM

Drafting/Modeling

3D Modeling software such as Revit and 3DS Max are ram pigs. The more details and links you add to models, the more RAm you are going to need.
The more objects you add the more RAM you are going to need. If you don’t have the proper amount, walkthroughs and viewport will be painfully slow. Even opening a large project will be painfully slow.

Students should be fine with 8GB.
Pros should get 16GB RAM.

Rendering

Rendering is predominantly CPU and RAM-based. After getting the highest number of cores you can afford (the highest for laptops is six even from Xeon or the latest Core i7), you need to get a bucketload of RAM to do as much work as quickly as possible.

8GB vs 16GB vs 32GB

8GB RAM will work fine if you are a student or a beginner.

But let’s assume you decide to work on larger projects especially those that cover a pretty large area, then you’ll need 16GB RAM*.

On the other hand, 32GB RAM will be foolproof for pretty much any project out there. But it is very unlikely you’ll need this much.

64GB RAM is pretty much useless.

*Note not all laptops are upgradeable to 32GB. So read carefully before you purchase a laptop if you think you’ll need the upgrade.

GPU (Graphics Card)

This is a very tricky subject and the trickiest decision you’ll make.

Ending up with a wrong graphics card will probably give you bugs with whatever software you are using and then you’ll be forced to turn off “hardware acceleration” in other words disable your graphics card.

You will then have to up with waiting a few seconds between operations because the Intel HD GPU will have to redraw the view like a etches a sketch.

While Revit is not very taxing on GPU, 3DS Max and Rhino surely are.

Dell XPS 15 7590, 15.6' 4K UHD Touch, 9th Gen Intel Core i7-6 Core 9750H, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 4GB GDDR5 (Non-Touch Display)
29 Reviews
Dell XPS 15 7590, 15.6" 4K UHD Touch, 9th Gen Intel Core i7-6 Core 9750H, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 4GB GDDR5 (Non-Touch Display)
  • InfinityEdge display: The virtually borderless display maximizes screen space by accommodating a 15.6-inch display inside a laptop closer to the size of a 14-inch, thanks to a bezel measuring just 6.04mm on the sides and 7.08mm on the top.
  • CinemaColor Visuals appear every bit as lifelike as the world around you. Experience richer, more vibrant color and details enabled by Dell Color Profiles and take full advantage of HDR content’s superior dynamic range, infinitely deep blacks and dazzling brights thanks to Dolby Vision.
  • Leading-edge connectivity Thunderbolt 3 multi-use port allows you to charge your laptop, connect to multiple devices (including support for up to two 4K displays) and enjoy data transfers up to 40Gbps, which is 8x faster than USB 3.0. Also includes two USB 3.0 ports.
  • Revolutionary webcam construction: The new XPS 15 webcam isn't just smaller—it's also better. A new 4-element lens uses more elements than a typical webcam to deliver sharp video in all areas of the frame, while temporal noise reduction uses advanced noise reduction, significantly improving video quality, especially in dim lighting conditions. Finally, the lens is assembled with precise machinery to ensure all points of the image are in focus.
  • Killer Wireless: Featuring advanced Wi-Fi 6 technology and theoretical throughput speeds of up to 2.4 Gbps, the Killer AX1650 is nearly 3 times as fast as the previous generation of 80MHz 2x2 AC products. The Killer 1650 automatically detects, classifies, and prioritizes streaming video, communication, and game traffic in your system for fast, smooth online experiences.

Why do I need a Graphics Card for?

They’ll mostly help you using viewport(panning, zooming, orbiting, rotating, etc) and give you buttery smooth walkthroughs. And in a few rare cases: rendering. The bigger and more complex your model, the more difficult it will be to get a nice 3D view of it without a decent dedicated graphics card.

What about rendering?

While Revit does not use the GPU for rendering, this may not be the case for other renderers. You have to check if the rendering software you use is GPU dependent.

For example, V-ray rt only uses GPU renders while V-ray advanced uses CPU
What graphics card should I get then?

Some universities’ websites list NVIDIA Quadro as the only supported graphics card and AutoDesk Support will also recommend workstation graphics cards: either NVIDIA Quadros or AMD FirePro’s.

The truth of the matter is that consumer graphics cards “AMD Radeon” or “NVIDIA GeForce” will work just as well and in some instances even outperform workstation cards (according to our experience), especially for 3DS Max.

There are several universities that aren’t too old fashioned and don’t mind recommending them and most interior designers can confirm this.
If your models are quite small you can settle with a cheap consumer card. If you are pro dealing with very large project files(~hundreds of MB range), then you’ll definitely need a high-end graphics card and depending on your work perhaps a workstation card (but this is very very rare).

More explicitly, let’s go over your three options.

Integrated Graphics Cards (Intel HD)

You’re playing with fire with Intel HD Cards but they will work for you in some instances especially if you just rely on Revit & AutoCAD and if these models are in the smallish range (file sizes up to 50MB). As long as you have an Intel Core i5 processor + 8GB RAM and hardware acceleration disabled, you’ll be OK with them.

Dedicated Gaming Cards (GeForce AMD Radeon)

For bigger file sizes > 100MB, you’re only choice is a dedicated graphics card.

Like I mentioned before even if you are Pro or a student who’s been asked to buy an expensive Workstation card (these can range from 2-3k).

Whether you are a student or a professional, you should really consider a gaming or “consumer card”.

Why?

The latest gaming graphics cards’ architecture is becoming more and more similar to the “workstation cards”, with incoming generations the difference will be minuscule. Plus nearly all interior designers are happy with them.

There are a few disadvantages besides having the huge gaming tag on the back though:

Not all of them are compatible with 3D Modeling. All 9th and 10th gen are though, you can’t go wrong with them. Just make sure the first number is either a 9 or 10 (GTX 960M, GTX 1050, etc)
You will not get customer support from either AutoDesk or Your Laptop Company.
Yes, you will get a few “more” bugs here and there but it won’t affect your workflow you can just click OK and move on. They do not in any way justify the price they put on those workstation cards.

As a general guidelines:

  • Stick with 9th and 10th generation cards, these are more and more similar to Workstation Cards.
  • Get as much vRAM as you can (dedicated video memory). More vRAM = bigger models.
  • Low-end Cards: 940M, MX150, 1050GTX are okay for models up to 15 000 square meters.
  • The highest you should go for is a 1060GTX (from our research they give you the best performance/money ratio).
  • The latest,1070 and 1080, are nice but are way too expensive and they probably will not give you much benefit than a cheaper 1060GTX.
  • Note that 3DS Max seems to work better with these “gaming cards”.

Workstation Cards

These cards are not necessary, they are expensive but they are a bit more useful than gaming cards in a few rare cases:

The advantages to consider though:

  • Guaranteed compatibility out of the Box
  • A few cool features for other CAD software (ECC)
  • A fewer bugs and glitches with 3D Modeling software like Revit, AutoCAD(you’ll still have them but much less frequently)
  • Official support from AutoDesk if something goes wrong.
  • I Will let you run a few plug-ins that are dependent on their architecture

If you are Pro with huge and complex models, the advantages might be useful to you, the call is on you. We have certainly not seen the need for one yet.

Storage

Storage today isn’t just about capacity. Nearly all storage devices have sufficient storage for your software and all the files you’ll accumulate during a lifetime. It’s more about reading/writing speeds.

Storage Speed

If you mostly use Revit, storage speed is probably just as important as CPU. Why? There’s a bucketload of libraries for diagrams, surfaces, textures, lighting which all need to load up when you launch your software.

On the other hand, for all the other software: 3DS Max, Rhino, AutoCAD, having fast storage just becomes a bonus, a huge bonus I may add. You’ll have your heavy-duty projects/models load up in a flash with the proper storage.

Solid State Drive

And SSD can read up to x17 faster than traditional HDDs. If there’s anything left in your wallet after investing in GPU and CPU, spend the rest trying to land one, even the slowest SSD is several times faster than an old fashioned Hard Disk Drive (HDD).

The problem is their size, they’re in the range of 256GB-512GB for laptops compared to the 1TB that the old HDD bricks give you.

Hard Disk Drive + Solid State Drive

With modern 15” and 17” laptops you’ll have both on an equivalent machine, that is, you’ll install an SSD and an HDD on one.
If you’re a student you almost certainly don’t get to bother with this setup, the 256GB you’ll get from Solid State Drives are going to be plenty.

On the opposite hand, if you’re a professional you’ll be happier with the 256GB(or 512GB) +1TB HDD combo. you’ll use the HDD as a repository for finished projects or plenty of media files that don’t need the speed from your Solid State Drive. you’ll also use it as a copy (the chances of both storage drives failing are pretty slim!).

If your laptop doesn’t accompany this setup, as long as it’s either 15” or 17”, you’ll do the upgrade yourself as shown during this post.

Sale
Microsoft Surface Book 3 - 15' Touch-Screen - 10th Gen Intel Core i7 - 32GB Memory - 512GB SSD (Latest Model) - Platinum, Model Number: SMN-00001
170 Reviews
Microsoft Surface Book 3 - 15" Touch-Screen - 10th Gen Intel Core i7 - 32GB Memory - 512GB SSD (Latest Model) - Platinum, Model Number: SMN-00001
  • Most powerful Surface laptop yet, with quad-core powered, 10th Gen Intel Core processors. Now 30% faster than Surface Book 2 15”.
  • Fastest graphics on Surface, powered by NVIDIA GTX GeForce GPU.
  • Power when you need it. Up to 17.5 hours battery life[1] — plus improved standby that extends battery life when you’re away.
  • Robust laptop, powerful tablet, and portable studio in one.
  • The connections you need, including USB-A, USB-C, and full-size SD card slot.

Display

Contrast ratios, brightness levels are pretty irrelevant to speak about. Not only will you not find this information from the manufacturer but laptops today rarely accompany bad contrast ratios.

Size

The only thing you ought to be careful about when watching their display is resolution and size. you would like a minimum of a 15” display on a laptop unless you’ve got a desktop rig back home to try to do most of the work.

Resolution

Resolution is simply as important. It’s just size that permits you to possess more windows open next to every other and more interfaces/tools at your disposal without having to click menus, resolution plays an enormous role during this. Autodesk layouts don’t work well with 720p. Even high-resolution displays (4k) are to be avoided, most 3D modeling software isn’t optimized to figure with these.

Matte vs Glossy

Glossy screens will offer you more accurate colors. Unless you’re a fanatical photo editor, the difference in color accuracy between glossy and matte displays are going to be barely noticeable. Since we value our eyesight, we prefer Matte Displays, these deal better with glares.

IPS vs TN

IPS displays have far better color reproduction than TN displays plus they need better viewing angles. It’s a pleasant bonus to possess but not exactly essential.

Operating System: Mac or PC

Sale
New Apple MacBook Pro with Apple M1 Chip (13-inch, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage) - Silver (Latest Model)
1,424 Reviews
New Apple MacBook Pro with Apple M1 Chip (13-inch, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage) - Silver (Latest Model)
  • Apple-designed M1 chip for a giant leap in CPU, GPU, and machine learning performance
  • Get more done with up to 20 hours of battery life, the longest ever in a Mac
  • 8-core CPU delivers up to 2.8x faster performance to fly through workflows quicker than ever
  • 8-core GPU with up to 5x faster graphics for graphics-intensive apps and games
  • 16-core Neural Engine for advanced machine learning
  • 8GB of unified memory so everything you do is fast and fluid
  • Superfast SSD storage launches apps and opens files in an instant
  • Active cooling system sustains incredible performance 
  • 13.3-inch Retina display with 500 nits of brightness for vibrant colors and incredible image detail
  • FaceTime HD camera with advanced image signal processor for clearer, sharper video calls

It really doesn’t matter. If you’re a student you’ll roll with a Mac (many universities don’t mind) however you’ll probably not have tech support from your university if anything goes wrong (they’re useless anyway).

But most 3D modeling software are Windows Based…

That’s true but remember that you simply can use boot-camp to log into Windows. the sole issue is in fact the graphics card, if your software or models, do heavily depend upon NVIDIA GeForce or Workstation Graphics cards then you’re only option is to choose a Windows Machine.