The 6 Best Laptops For Interior Design in 2022

I get exactly where you are coming from.

You’re either on your second year…

Or

You’ve found a job already so you’re looking for an upgrade to the old rig your friend got you several years ago. 

Now…

You’ve probably done some research here and there only to find out conflicting information about what a laptop needs to run interior design software properly (3DS Max, AutoCAD, Revit ,etc).

The scary part is…

Lumion Pro isn’t nearly as hardware demanding as Revit.

Getting a grip on all that CPU and GPU jargon  which are the two most important and unreplaceable components of a computer.

FYI: The latter has an impact on modeling/drafting speed and the former on viewport performance.

Anyways..

We’ll clear up all the confusion in this post. Me and my brother were in the exact same situation several years ago.

We’ve already graduated and have AWESOME laptops now but because our father could barely afford us to have one back in college we researched EVERYTHING there is to know about computer’s hardware impact on interior design software performance. 

So you bet not only will you get an insanely capable machine but also the best bang for your buck here.

Recommended Specs for Interior Design

Now…

Before we get to the best laptops for Interior Design let me  quickly go over the specifications a laptop tailored for interior design software should have so you can understand our selection process. 

If you feel you need more details than what’s outlined here, jump to the last section.

Software

Though you may have to use ALL of the following software, this is pretty much all the software pertaining this field: 

Revit will be the most hardware demanding for Interior Design unless you want to also use 3DS Max for more high quality rendering.

The last 3 are exclusively 3D modeling software, they’re the most hardware demanding and have the same hardware requirements. 

Note: AutoCAD 3D is the least hardware demanding software for which if you’re limited to it, you may just need any laptop with a “dedicated GPU” on it. Likewise, if your only concern is Revit then you may want to check our Revit post.

Now when you shop for a laptop, look for these specs in order of priority:

GPU

Revit, AutoCAD and all 3D interior design software will be more than happy with ANY low-end dedicated graphics card such as: 

*Same colors are equivalent. RX 540~MX350.

NVIDIA: 1650GTX>1050Ti>1050GTX> MX450 > MX350 ~1050GTX > MX250

AMD: Radeon Pro RX 555XRX540 < RX550RX 560X

On the other hand 3DS Max will only run buttery smooth once you up vRAM to 4GB vRAM:

1650GTX<1060GTX<3050Ti<1660Ti<2060RTX<2070RTX<3060RTX<2080RTX<3070RTX<3080RTX

***

*I’m aware you’ve read somewhere that gaming laptops are not okay bla bla bla even from the official Autodesk site because these GPUs are not supported. Well, it’s the interior design guys who are right.  AutoDesk is just being political, trust the veterans telling you consumer “gaming” GPUs are just as good (or better).

***The higher you go in that order, the better, but I would probably stop at a 3060RTX. Anything more seems useless. Even 1650GTX will be fine for 95% of the people reading this. 

CPU

If we are talking about laptops, you don’t need to worry about what CPU to pick. All laptops with dedicated GPUs have plenty fast CPUs.

Clock Speed: If you have to choose between two laptops with the same dGPU but different CPUs. Pick the one with better “clock speed performance”. To see which ones have better clock speed performance check out the guide at the end of this post.

Multi-Core: Given the choice, choose the CPU with more cores, up to 6. Anything more (8 Cores) seems useless for drafting, drawing, applying effects and shapes. More is always good for rendering.

RAM

All 3D modeling Interior Design software are RAM hogs
8GB: Bare minimum for both students and pros.
16GB: A few rare instances you may need this much but no biggie this can be upgraded later.

Storage

Fail to get an SSD on your laptop and your workflow will be severely affected

 

SSDs are universal now and that’s good because they will load up projects/files/models and the software lightining fast. They’ll also boot up your machine in 5 seconds flat. You don’t want an HDD (Hard Disk Drive) and have your client wait 5 minutes for things to load while staring behind you and breathing over your shoulder.

Display

A minimum of 15” with FHD resolution, this is standard on gaming laptops so you don’t really have to worry about it

A big display is desirable because that means more space to fit in more tools , interfaces, (which means less the drop-down menus to use) and of course get a bigger picture of drawings. 

But you also have to consider how much weight you’re okay lugging around. 

If you want to know more technical details and learn how interior design software utilizes computer resources when rendering, drawing, navigating, viewporting, etc. Give the last section a good read  “How to Buy A Laptop For Interior Design”.

Check out the “How To Buy A Laptop For Revit”. If you have time too.

With computer jargon out of the way let’s get down to business

Top 6 Best Laptops For Interior Design

Although the work of interior designers is quite different from one to another, luckily, the hardware requirements are pretty much the same. So all the laptops down below should work for ALL of you reading this.

Now, if you know you’re going to run 3DS Max. I suggest you grab a laptop with at least a 1650GTX.  If you’re going to use it for walkthroughs then up it to a 2060RTX/3050Ti.

1. Lenovo Ideapad Gaming 3

Best Budget Laptop For Interior Design

  AMD Ryzen 5 5600H

  8GB RAM

   GeForce GTX 1650 

  256 PCIe SSD

  15” FHD 1080p IPS

  6.98 lbs

  2.5 hours (8 hours basic tasks)

I believe 95% of the people reading this will be fine with ANY laptop that has a 1650GTX.

I’ve recently bought one for my cousin  (it was an ASUS TUF) and she also agrees it just does everything lightining fast.

Rendering a highly detailed three story house only takes 10-15 min.

Price: 

What’s really cool about 1650GTX is that now that the 12th gen Intel CPUs & AMD Ryzen 6th gen CPUs are around the corner, they’re insanely cheap. I’ve seen them as low as $600.

GPU: GTX 1650

The 1650GTX has 4GB of vRAM that’s enough to handle a building of 12 stories and even walkthrough it using 3DS Max. I myself had to settle for a 940MX back in the days (when I got started) which is a GPU that’s way older and weaker than the 1650GTX( this is approx. x2 faster).  

What about rendering?

Unlike the 940MX and weaker GPUs listed above, the  1650GTX has an insane amount of CUDA Cores too this also means GPU-dependent renderers will run much faster.  

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 5600H

Save for a few rare cases, rendering is mostly CPU-bound ( 80% CPU bound).

And the truth is, you can render with pretty much any CPU the problem is how long is it going to take.   It isn’t really down to clock speed anymore because most MODERN CPUs go way beyond 4GHz which was workstation CPU clock speeds in my days. 

It is now more about how many cores your CPU has. This is the reason why I recommend you pick a Ryzen CPU over an Intel CPU. Although, Intel CPUs are slightly faster (clock speed performance per core) they usually have 2 cores less and the truth is if you check benchmarks, the clockspeed performance difference isn’t abysmal so drafting and drawing (clock speed dependent tasks) will be just as fast.

RAM: 8GB DDR4

Most entry level (affordable) gaming laptops will only have 8GB DDR4 and that’s actually OKAY and drafting & drawing workflow isn’t really going to be any faster if you add more.

However, you can slightly speed up rendering times by upping it to 16GB (depending on how big your model is).

You can either do the upgrade yourself or take it to the computer store but I don’t recommend you buy a laptop with 16GB on board because they’re just too expensive and the extra RAM does not justify the price increase. 

Design: Thin & Easy to Upgrade

There are dozens of 1650GTX laptops but I chose this model only because it is much easier to access the RAM slot for upgrade. The same can be said for storage. In fact, I’ve added 1TB SSD to my cousin’s laptop right after purchase.

If you find this model out of stock, feel free to check out the following 1650GTX, they’ll have pretty much the same performance but I can’t say anything about how easy they are to upgrade:

Buy Now

2. ASUS ZenBook

Best Cheap Laptop For Interior Design

  AMD Ryzen 5 5500U

  8GB RAM DDR4

   NVIDIA MX450 2GB vRAM

  256GB SSD

  15” full HD IPS

  3lbs

   3.5 hours (Interior Design) / 8 hours (Basic Tasks)

A lot of interior designers don’t really rely on ultra-detailed walkthroughs nor do they work on 20 story buildings models (hospitals) on 3DS Max. 

GPU:  MX450

If you’re only working on small projects (houses) and do not really use 3DS Max but rely heavily on Revit + AutoCAD then you probably don’t need a 4GB vRAM GPU.

You might even get away with Intel Xe (integrated) or MX250 (dedicated) laptops which are slightly cheaper as long as you get a MODERN CPU (which will do all the drafting/rendering).

I’m listing a MX450 instead because it clearly outperforms ALL integrated GPUs (the MX350 MX250 do not really outperform Intel Xe integrated Graphics).

2GB vRAM GPUs

Regardless all those GPUs have 2GB vRAMs and they should be more than enough for simple remodeling projects.

What do you mean by simple remodeling projects?

Construction documents for kitchen remodeling, cabinet elevations, some 3D sketch up work,etc.  These kind of GPUs can also speed up workflows on  : PhotoSHop, Illustrator and have all their  extra features unlocked as any higher-end dGPU would do.

We actually got started with a 2GB vRAM dGPU (although weaker 940M found on the older Acer Aspire E5). The MX450 here is about x2 faster.

Wait, I can’t even afford this one, any other options?

Well, you can check if the Acer Aspire 5 price has gone down. If not, then you’re going to have to ditch the dGPU and settle with an integrated GPU.

An integrated GPU is not something you want if you are going to use viewport a lot or walk through a house all the time. However, if you’re just using a laptop for all the other instances of “simple remodeling” (like we described before), it’s doable, you will lag but it’s doable.

Check the  best laptops under 500 and best laptops under 400 for laptops with integrated GPUs.

But hey, hopefully you can start saving up during your first few months on the field and afford one with a dGPU.

Buy Now

3. Dell XPS 17

Best 17” Laptop For Interior Design

  Core i7-12700H

  16GB RAM DDR5

  NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050Ti 4GB

  1TB SSD PCIe NVMe

  17” Touch IPS FHD

  5.65lbs

  4 hours Web Surfing / 2 Interior Design gaming


The Dell XPS series (with dedicated GPUs) have very very cool extra features that might speed your workflow but they are very very expensive so if you’re not making the big bucks already you should probably skip to the next laptop.  This laptop is also tailored for a Pro dealing with very very big models ~12 story buildings due to the 3050Ti RTX GPU (though you probably want a 6GB vRAM dGPU if you’re working on facilities as big as hospitals).

Premium Laptops

It’s not just the Dell XPS though there are several more premium laptops (2019 16” MacBook Pros  , Razer Blade) . Premium laptops are not only powerful enough to handle large files but they’re also VERY VERY portable AND they have displays with VERY VERY HIGH RESOLUTIONs. 

They’re also thin and have the entire chasis made of aluminum which means they can take all the jostling around from being on the move all day long.

The Dell XPS 15 imo is the most popular premium laptop for 3D design software because it has a 4k resolution display and it’s the thinnest/lightest of them all (laptops with dedicated GPUs). 

The extra resolution + the fact that it’s a 15” laptop is going to make a HUGE difference in your workflow because you’ll have an insane amount of space to work with and still have enough space to put every single interface and toolbar right next to a drawing.  

The fact that it’s thin and lightweight also means you can take out anywhere and work on something regardless of where you’re at.

Hardware: RAM & Storage

Premium thin laptops are not upgradeable. They probably are but it’s extremely risky to do the upgrade on your own. Not only are you going to void the warranty but you might also damage the chasis on the process.

Thus if you have the cash, just max it out before purchase. They usually allow you to choose how much RAM and Storage you want your model to be shipped with. 

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

You could go for the cheaper models 1050, 1050Ti , 1650GTX models. Here are some options for you to check.  Though you may have to ditch the 4k as it still may be too expensive.

Do note that although you will get the premium build quality (thin lightweight high resolution) you are not necessarily going to get the same performance as the cheaper and bulkier 1650GTX laptop we went over if you go for the 1050GTX, 1050Ti models.

Buy Now

4. Surface Laptop Studio

Portable Certified Laptop For SolidWorks

  11th Gen Core i5/Core i7

  16-32GB RAM

  NVIDIA RTX 3050Ti 4GB vRAM 

  256GB-1TB NVMe PCIe SSD

  14.4”  2400 x 1600

  3.83-4lbs

  8 hours

 
The Surface Laptop Studio is NOT a tablet, it’s more like a laptop that can turn into a tablet and has a LOT of GPU and CPU power.

In fact, the latest Surface Laptop Studio has almost the exact same GPU and CPU than the almighty and powerful Dell XPS 15 shown above and it’s also a premium laptop. 

UHD vs QHD (2k vs 4k)

However unlike the Dell XPS 15 it does not have a 4k resolution display however it’s still got much higher resolution than your average laptop

It’s a good option if you’re looking for something very very powerful yet portable. 

TouchScreen + Stylus

Unlike the Dell XPS 15 though, you can use a stylus and flip the screen backwards to turn it into sort of a tablet where you can sketch and write through the stylus.

This can be just as useful for a professional and a student.

If you are a student, you can just bring a Surface device to school and write notes on it as you would with a notebook.  Though if you’re a student you could probably settle for the much cheaper version (without much GPU and CPU power) which is the Surface Pro 8. Despite the lack of dedicated GPU , the latest CPU and 8GB RAM should make up for it and you should be able to work on the kind of projects you’re given starting in sophomore year.

If you are an interior designer moving from client to client, from conferences to construction sites for a good part of the day, then the portability and note taking feature also becomes superful. You can even design and draw sketcher through  several apps available on the Android Store.

Buy Now

5. MacBook Pro

Best Mac Laptop For Interior Design

  M1 Pro or M1 Pro Max Chip 10-Core

  16-64GB RAM DDR4

  Up to 32-Core GPU

  512GB-4TB Flash SSD

  16” Retina  Resolution

  4.5lb

  +18 hours (Basic Tasks)

This is yet another premium machine and yup MacBooks work for interior designers too.

So if you’ve been an apple fan boy your entire life and you’ve got the iPad and iPhone there’s no reason NOT to pick a MacBook.

 I myself have used a MacBook in the past and saw no issues whatsoever with ANY interior design software.

Here’s the Caveat though:

Windows & BootCamp

You may have to install Windows on a MacBook for Revit. That doesn’t mean you need to erase the OSX operating system, you just need add Windows to it.

You can do this in two ways:

BootCamp: this is ideal as all hardware resources will be fully dedicated to Windows. You need to do a quick restart for it though and this option is only available on MacBooks made before 2020. I recommend this one down below:

VMWare: if you’re going for the latest model featured here. You can run Windows with OSX in the background (simultaneously)  with no need to restart as shown below:

The problem with VMWare is that there is an overhead (OSX) thus performance will be slightly slower than BootCamp.

However, let me just say I used VMWare fusion to run windows on a VM and the macbook I used gave me no issues whatsoever. I was running AutoCAD 2013, sketch up, Modo 901 and Rhino and that was on a 2012 MBP!  

Now…

If you’re looking for a high performance machine for models with very large files you should probably use BootCamp instead (on a 2019 MacBook Pro with a Radeon Pro dGPU) or just make the switch to Windows.

Rendering with Macs

Rendering on a Mac will be just as fast because rendering is mostly down to the CPU and most modern MacBook Pros (16-15”) have very fast CPUs with multiple cores. 

Now if your renderer is GPU-dependent like V-RAY RT , then it’s going to be slower because MacBooks do not support NVIDIA GPUs , only AMD Radeon Pro GPUs.

Most renderers like V-Ray advanced and the native render on Revit only rely on CPU and RAM though. So whether you’ve got NVIDIA dGPU, Radeon Pro dGPU or no dedicated GPU will not matter as much.

Buy Now

6. ASUS ROG Strix Scar 17 2022 

Best Windows Laptop for Interior Design

  Core  i9 12900H 

  16GB RAM DDR5

  NVIDIA RTX 3080Ti 16GB vRAM Super

  1TB PCIe NVMe SSD

  17” 240Hz IPS QHD

  12 lbs

  >1 hours under load, 4 hours otherwise

3DS Max: 6GB vRAM

If you’re looking for a laptop that can self-ensure you of the most common highly sought projects in 3DS Max, then you don’t need 8GB vRAM or even 16GB vRAM GPUs like this one. I would just to get a 3060RTX laptop like the one shown below:

ASUS Rog Strix:

The laptop featured as #5  is currently to my knowledge the most powerful laptop as of 2022 for 3D modeling. I doubt ANYONE here will need this much power but who knows I haven’t really gotten in my hands in every type of project.

I would guess this is useful if you’re doing the interior design on 3DS Max of a hospital and I mean the entire set of facilities. 

I guess I’m listing for information purposes mostly. Don’t really expect anyone to buy this.

More vRAM more easy navigating through Bigger Models

If your current 4GBvRAM machine is giving you problems when viewporting, then you need to solely focus on vRAM.

That is look for laptops or PC with as much vRAM as you can afford, the limit is currently 16GB which is found on this laptop. 

Again I really doubt anyone here will need that much vRAM, you will probably need no more than 6GB vRAM in your lifetime. 

Buy Now

How to Buy The Best Laptop For Interior Design

It is important to go over all the available software for interior design and point exactly what we’ll be doing with each  (rendering or drafting) because that may mean we need to focus on one spec over the other (Ex: GPU for 3DS Max,  #Cores for Revit Rendering). 

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 
Podium
Rhino(possibly)
3DS Max (rarely)

AutoCAD or Revit: mostly for remodeling.
3DS Max: rendering then walkthroughts. 
Sketch-up: simple 3D sketches.

Students

A laptop is extremely crucial unless you’re going home right after class. It’s not very productive and efficient to head to the lab anytime you feel like playing around with 3D interior design software.

Which by the second year, will be more of a routine. 

But you have to choose to go with a cheap laptop for studying purposes. They’re sufficient even if you want to pass exanimations with flying colors as long as you’re okay heading to the computer labs when you need to run AutoCAD and 3DS Max.

With that out of the way, let’s talk about hardware now. 

Hardware Specs for Interior Design

This is mostly going to be about 3D modeling software like Rhino, 3DS Max, AutoCAD 3D and Revit.

PhotoShop, Illustrator and even Sketch up can run on pretty much any laptop made between 2017-2022 with zero lag. 

CPU

CPU is the hardware behind fast drafting and fast rendering. What follows next is based on my experience with these software and benchmark studies by Pudget Systems.

Drafting Modeling Designing

When drawing virtually ALL 3D modeling appears to be single threaded: AutoCAD, Revit , 3DS Max, etc.

That means the speed at which effects , objects , sketches are drawn depend on how fast the CPU runs (aka clock speed performance) and not how many “CORES” it has.

There’s one small exception though…

Revit (Inventor) : nowdays although mostly single-threaded , current versions allow small usage of multi-core CPUs: for visuals (calculating walls) and loading all the elements in view.

 Here’s a list of all the functions that are multithreaded for Revit.

But for our purposes it’s still multi-threaded because CPU core usage doesn’t go beyond 4 cores and VIRTUALLY EVERY LAPTOP and desktop CPU made today has more than 4 cores.

What does this mean? 

You must choose clock speed performance over # Cores ALWAYS. That may usually mean the CPU with the highest clock speed (measured in GHz)

EX:  Core i7 113750H > Core i7 11800H (5GHz vs 4.6HHz)

But that only applies to CPUs from the same brad. If comparing two different brands please use the table below (same color mean same performance approx).

Intel

CPU
Base
Turbo
Cores

i5 8300H
2.3
4
4

i5 9300H
2.4
4.1
4

i5-11300H
2.6
4.4
4

i5 11260H
2.6
4.4
6

i7 8750H
2.2
4.1
6

i7 9750H
2.6
4.5
6

i7 10750H
2.6
5
4

i7 11375H
3
5
4

i7 11370H
3.3
4.8
4

i7 10870H
2.2
5.00 
8

i7 11800H
2.3
4.6
8

i9 10885H
2.4
5.3
8

i9 10890K
2.4
5.3
8

i9-11900H
2.5
4.9
8

i9-11980HK
3.3
5
8

Intel
Base
Turbo
Cores

Core i9-12900H
1.8
5
6/8
Core i7-12800H
3.7
4.8
6/8
Core i7-12700H
3.5
4.7
6/8

AMD

CPU
Base
Turbo

Ryzen 9 5900HX
3.3
4.6

Ryzen 9 4800HS
2.2
4.4

Ryzen 7 5800H
3.3
4.4

Ryzen 7 4800H
2.9
4.2

Ryzen 7 3750H
2.3
4.0

Ryzen 5 5600H
3.3
4.2 

Ryzen 5 4600H
3.0
4.0

Ryzen 5 3550H
2.1
3.7

AMD
Base
Turbo
Cores

Ryzen 9 6980HX 

3.3

5

8
Ryzen 9 6900HS
3.3
4.9
8

Ryzen 7 6800HS

3.2
4.7
8

Ryzen 7 6800H

3.2
4.7
8

Rendering

Rendering with any software has always been and will always be a multi-core process

That means getting as many cores as possible. 

However, it’s always better to compromise #cores over clock speed performance, right? Would you rather wait an extra 10 min for the final product to render and finish early or would you like to have things render quickly but take ages to finish a drawing.

GPU (Graphics Card)

Now you may think that this is the trickiest part of choosing a laptop because you’ve been told that if you end up with the wrong graphics will give you bugs and you’ll be forced to turn off hardware acceleration thus settling for a slower workflow. 

That’s partly true but only if:

You settle for integrated GPUs
You buy an dedicated GPU made before 2017

All you have to is choosing a modern “dedicated” GPU and you should be fine. Which one depends on how much GPU power you’re going to need.

Before we get to specifics….

What’s a dedicated GPU useful for? 

Viewport (panning, zooming, orbiting, rotating, etc) when drafting.
3D walkthroughs (after rendering)
Depending on the software and plugins used: rendering. It’ll reduce rendering times slightly.

Rendering too?

Not all renderers though. Revit  for example does not use GPU for rendering so you’ll have to check whether or not your render is GPU-dependent. 

 V-ray RT us also GPU-dependent. In fact, it only uses the GPU for rendering.

V-ray advanced only uses the CPU.

What graphics card should I get then? 
 

1. Integrated GPUs (Intel Xe, Intel Iris, Radeon Vega X, etc)Integrated Graphics will usually give interior designers some problems but not always.

They will do for those just using Revit & AutoCad AND if projects are in the smallish side (Up to 50MB files). 

Tip#1:  If you’re on a budget (below 550$) and can only afford integrated GPUs. Make sure to up ram to 16GB later and try enabling/disabling hardware acceleration.

Tip#2: Make sure that integrated graphics is one of the latest (Intel Xe or Radeon Vega 7) OR opt for Cor i5 CPU of the 11th gen / Ryzen 5 CPU of the 4th , 5th gen.

2. Dedicated Gaming Cards

NVIDIA GeForce & AMD Radeon

Dedicated GPUs are a must for file sizes > 100MB.

All of the following dedicated GPUs will work just fine for interior Design.  However, the bigger your models are, the lower you’ll have to go down the list.

NVIDIA
Cores
vRAM
Speed

MX250
384
2GB-4GB
1582

MX350
640
2-4GB
1354

1050
640
2GB-4GB
1493

MX450
896
2-4GB
1580

1050Ti
768
4GB
1620

1650
1024
4GB
1560

1060
1280
6GB
1670

3050Ti
2560
4GB
1485

1660 Ti
1536
6GB
1590

2060 RTX
1920
6GB
1680

2070
2394
8GB
1620

3060
3584
8GB
1780

2080
2944
8GB
1710

3070
5120
8GB
1620

3070Ti
5888
8GB
1485

3080
8704
10GB
1710

3080Ti
7424
16GB
1590

Green: If your models are quite small in the size of two story buildings, then any of the entry level dGPUs will do. I only recommend these if you’re on a budget though. (Up to 15 000 squared meters).

Blue: I’d recommend MOST of you get the blue GPUs especially the 1650GTX or the 3050Ti.

Dark Blue: If you really want to be future proof or you’re pro with lots of cash working with projects in the ~hundreds of MB size, I’d go up to a 3060RTX or any dedicated GPU with 6GB vRAM.

Purple:Again, I would not get any of the purple CPUs. It is very unlikely interior designers will need that much power if ever. 

 
Wait, what about workstation cards?
 
You’ve probably read somewhere that only NVIDIA Quadro cards and AMD Fire Pros are supported or that they work best with AutoCAD and Revit, you might have even read this from the AutoDesk site.
The truth is that that’s just politics, in reality the gaming cards you see above will perform just as good as those more expensive workstation cards and now in 2022 on most instances better (in 3DS Max).

Most universities are now vouching and recommending gaming dedicated GPUs as you can see here:

High Point University Interior Design Computer Specs
South Dakota State University Interior Design Department
Bellevue College Interior Design Computer Recommendations

You can find more and more universities recommending gaming GPUs by googling “Interior Design Computer recommendations .edu” .

A few more points:

Not all gaming GPUs are compatible only the most recent ones are (those in the table) and those from the 9th generation (960M, 970GTX, 940M, etc)
True you won’t get customer support from AutoDesk when the software stops working but that will rarely happen , if ever:

Especially if you for the latest GPUs because their architecture is becoming more and more similar to workstation GPUs. 

Yes, you MIGHT get a few bugs here and there  SOMETIMES but it will not slow down your workflow.  You will just have to click OK and move on.  

Remeber:
 
– Only the 9th and 10th generation are ultra compatible
– Get as much vRAM as you can afford. More vRAM = better performance with bigger models.
–  You’ll get the best performance/money ratio from 6GB vRAM GPUs. 8GB vRAM are not really that helpful even for super big models.
 
Workstation Cards Advantages

A few cool features for other CAD software (ECC)
Less bugs and glitches (you’ll still have them but much less frequently)
Official support from AutoDesk if something goes wrong.
Will let you run a few plug-ins that are dependent on their architecture. Most for super huge and complex models.

I personally haven’t seen the need to use a workstation card though.

Now if you’re being forced by the IT guy in the building to pick a laptop with a workstation GPU. Use the table below to get a sense of where they stand in terms of power and speed compared to consumer “cheaper” gaming laptops just to make sure you’re not ripped off or end up with something far too weak.

Workstation GPU does not necessarily equal to high performance! Remember that too.

Workstation GPU
Consumer Equivalent
Cores/Shaders
Clock Speed
vRAM

P500
MX150-
256
1519
2GB

P520
MX150
384
1493
2GB

K2100M
GT 750M
576 
667
2GB

K3100
765M-
768
706
4GB

P620
MX250/1050
512
1442
4GB

M620M
950M-
512 
1018 
4GB

M1000M
950M
512
1072
4GB

Pro WX 3200
RX 550 
1082
640
4GB

M2000M
950M/960M
640
1197
4GB

M1200
960GTX
640
1150
4GB

P1000
1050GTX
512
1519
4GB

P2000
1050Ti
768
1468
4GB

T2000
1650/1660Ti
1024
1785
4GB

T1000
1650-
768
1455
4GB

RTX 3000
2070RTX+
1280
1380
6GB

RTX 4000
2070/2080
2560
1560
8GB

RTX 5000
2080RTX+++
3072
1350
16GB

RTX A2000
~3050Ti
2560
1200
4GB

RTX A3000
~3060RTX
4096
1560
6GB

RTX A4000
~3070RTX
5120 
1560
 8GB

RTX A5000
~3080RTX
6144
1695 
 16GB

RAM

For Draftting/Modeling

The more details and links and objects you add to models, the more RAM you are going to need. If you don’t have enough, walkthroughs, viewport and opening a project is going to be painfully slow no matter how fast your CPU and GPU are. You must at least get 8GB (if you’re a student), 16GB if you’re a pro working with files in the hundreds of MBs.

For Rendering

Fast rendering is all about CPU and RAM.  Once you’ve bought a laptop or a PC with the best CPU you could afford, upgrade RAM as much as you can (Up to 32GB) to speed up rendering.

8GB: is fine if you’re a student though. 
16-32GB:  Most professionals will be fine with 16GB this will speed up rendering even on large models however if you have the cash and you want to squeeze a bit more speed (~5 min less) then upgrade it to 32GB. Most laptops (with dedicated GPUs) can support 32GB. 

So you don’t necessarily need to buy a laptop with 32GB. You can start with 8GB then just do the upgrade as shown in this tutorial.

64GB RAM is pretty much useless.

Storage

It isn’t really about capacity these days. It’s more about storage speed. Now the type of storage you choose can slightly improve performance thus cutting the time you spend working on a project. 

SSD vs HDD: Storage Speed

Solid State Drives can be as much as x17 faster (PCIe NVMe SSDs) than HDDs (5400RPM) when reading and writing data.

This means opening files and saving files will happen in an instant.

For revit, this means it’s just as important as CPU speed because there’s a bucketload of libraries for diagrams, surfaces, textures, lightining ALL needed to load as soon as you launch the software. 

For 3DS Max, Rhino, AutoCAD, having a fast storage becomes a bonus too, though not as much as Revit, because  you’ll still have to open large files.

Thus you must avoid HDDs at all costs, all your working files and software and even the OS should be stored on an SSD (Solid State Drive) storage if you want to rip off all the advantages.

That’s all speaking about PC builds though because literally and virtually every single modern laptop has an SSD on-board.

SSD vs HDD: Capacity

The problem nowadays (if your budget is under 700$ and you’re after a laptop with a dedicated) is capacity. 

Most SSDs are in the range of 128-256GB (below 700$ laptops). The ideal size 512GB-1TB is only available once you up your budget to $900.

A much cheaper way (if you’re on a budget) is to buy that 1650GTX laptop and add a second SSD to it (all modern laptops are upgradeable). You can watch this tutorial on how to do it: How to Add a Second SSD to a laptop.

Hard Disk Drive Upgrade

A separate SSD (for upgrade) sells for about 50-100$ (256GB-512GB) and an 1TB HDD sells for about (20$) you can use the same tutorial to do the upgrade using an HDD but just remember that extra 1TB HDD is only going to be useful to act as sort of a repository of files.

Display

Forget about constrant ratios, brightness levels, that’s all irrelevant unless you’re drafting and drawing in the middle of nowhere on a sunny day.

Plus virtually all laptops have good constrant ratios and adjustable brightness. 

Size

The only thing you to consider is display size. You want the biggest display you can carry around because that just means a bigger canvas to work with. I would recomend you get at least 15” otherwise it’s going to feel a little too crowded especially if you like to have easy access to all toolbars and interfaces without accesing drop down menus. 

Resolution

Another way to increase screen space is through high resolution screens. Because they have more pixels that means objects, icons and everything else can be downsized without compromising visibility. High resolution displays will make it easier to multitask having two windows next to each other (documentation or video + Revit ). It’s also going to make it easier to fit it way more interface and tool bars

FHD (1080p): Virtually all laptops have FHD which is ideal so its not like you have to be on the lookout for one.

768p or 900p: If you are on a budget (under $500), you might come across these low resolution displays. You must avoid them. Autodesk layouts don’t work well with 768p. Just keep looking harder, you should be able to find several FHD laptops under 500 dollars.

UHD(4k) or 2k resolution: I know I said a few years ago that 4k are too be avoided but things have changed. AutoDesk now supports 4k resolution displays as well as most 3D design software. Thus if money isn’t an issue, there’s no harm in getting one. You’ll massively increase the amount of space for interfaces and tools you’ll probably never have to use drop down menus.

Operating System: Mac or PC

It really doesn’t matter.

 If you are a student you can go with a Mac (a lot of universities don’t mind). 

But most 3D modeling software are Windows Based…

That’s true but remember that you can use boot-camp to log into Windows (BootCamp is only available on Macs made before 2020 – those without the M1 Chip).

If you’re a professional though…you probably should avoid MacBooks because it is likely you’ll have to deal with software that heavily depends on NVIDIA GPUs (found on Windows machines) as opposed to AMD Radeon Pros (found on MacBooks).

The post The 6 Best Laptops For Interior Design in 2022 appeared first on Laptop Study.

Leave a Reply