Welcome to our post about the best laptop for interior designing students. Interior designing is one concept, art or profession that requires the use of designs to enhance interiors or give appealing aesthetics to the internal parts of anything.

As an Interior Designer, you will need to work with various design applications and software on a system to get the best out of it. You need a laptop that has exceptional specifications. To strengthen your understanding, this article is split into the following two segments:

  1. Top 6 things to be considered while buying a laptop for interior designing needs

  1. Graphics Processing Unit (GPU)

GPU is a specialized chip that handles the graphics portion of your software. Almost every interior designing software like SketchUP, Revit, Rhino are a visual based application that uses complex and demanding graphics. Hence, it is the first spec to consider while buying a laptop for your interior designing work.

As interior designing work demands moderate to high level of modeling and rendering, it is wise to stick with a dedicated graphics card and leave out the integrated video card. Therefore, I will be focusing on the details of a dedicated graphics card.

The type of graphics card you may need entirely depends on nature and types of your projects. If you are someone whose works involve dealing with large and complex rendering, it is best to buy CAD friendly GPU.

For CAD GPU, NVIDIA has Quadro and AMD has FirePro line. These GPUs are tailored to fast calculate the mathematical computation with high level of accuracy. Hence, you can expect considerable less waiting time while your complex file being rendered.

The only downside is its high cost. A laptop that is loaded with CAD GPU will cost twice as much as the gaming GPU laptop.

Talking about gaming GPU, Nvidia has GTX flagship that dominates the gaming industry. Designed specially to achieve higher Frame rate per second (FPS) in games, gaming GPU may not be as precise as CAD GPU, but the high level of performance achieved by this GPU is hard to ignore.

Hence, the gaming GPU will be a perfect substitute for those who have to deal with 3D modeling and rendering but want to go easy on their wallet.

Keep in mind that anything below GTX 1050 is barely capable of handling your rendering needs or running BIM software efficiently.

Now, for interior designing students or beginners, you guys won’t need that type of sophistication as most of you will be starting from SketchUP for modeling and using a simple extension for rendering. Hence, you can go with GeForce from Nvidia. To be specific, Nvidia GeForce MX150 with 2GB of VRAM will do the trick.


  1. Processor

We all know Intel dominates the processor industry since its inception. However, when it comes to choosing the right processor for your needs, the availability of many product lines within Intel (like i7, i5 & i3) makes it confusing to understand.

It is clear to us that Intel has differentiated these product line based on the performance.  When you are on a tight budget, it is always good to skim off that unneeded extra feature and use it wisely in specs that are the must.

But how much of processor performance is required to perform any interior designing work efficiently? To answer this question let’s say you’ll need a processor that won’t bottleneck while performing your daily work.

For prudent investment, you’ll need to find a sweet spot where a processor can handle your workload easily. But at the same time,  you need to make sure that speed of your processor isn’t underutilized.  So, how to figure out that sweet spot processing speed for your interior designing work?

To answer this, first, you will need to figure out what type of thread performance leads your software. If the software you are using is based on single-threaded application, you should choose a processor with higher clock speed, as it can’t take benefit of higher no of cores.

For multi-threaded architecture software higher no of cores with decent clock speed is the requirement. To put that into perspective, if you are using 2D designing software like AutoCAD, I recommend you stick with single core processor with higher clock speed not less than 3.5 GHz.

But if you specialize in 3D modeling & rendering using software like Revit, 3ds Max, Rhino, Vray, and Adobe products, you will at least need a Quad-core processor clocked at 3.0 GHz or more.

After the launch of Intel 8th Gen processor, high-end i5 and pretty much all the i7  have a quad-core processor with a clock speed above 3.0GHz. I don’t think processing power will be an issue if you buy a laptop harboring one of these processors.

8th gen processor is proven to have a 40 percent performance improvement over the 7th gen. This is a huge improvement Intel has made since the last seven year.

Hence, I recommend you to go with Intel 8th gen processor.  Also if you are someone who does lots of 3D works, Intel 8th gen i7 processor will do the trick. For those who are on a budget, look for high-end 8th gen i5.

Here is the list of some of the finest processor you should seek for:

  • i7-8650U
  • i7-8700HQ
  • i7-8550U
  • i7-8750H
  • i5-8350U
  • i5-8500

FYI, “U” series of Intel processors are low TDP (Thermal Design Power) based than “H” or “HQ”. Hence, you can expect a thin, light, and high battery life laptop that harbors Intel “U” series processor. On the contrary, “H” and “HQ” series are comparatively powerful than “U” series chip.


  1. RAM [Random Access Memory]

Let’s start by saying, RAM is not an only essential component for interior design students but the laptop as well. Why I said so was, your computer can still perform without a RAM. So, why we need it?

Because of its high speed. RAM is an extremely fast type of memory that temporarily stores the requested information to eliminate the hassle of digging through your slower storage.  Can you imagine how slow the whole system would be without it?

How much RAM is enough for your work solely depends on a level of modeling and rendering that you are performing.

If you have to go through complex architecture and construction design and using heavy graphics rendering software, then I recommend to choose 16GB of RAM.

For beginners and those who won’t need to worry about the sophisticated form of structures, 8GB will be enough.


  1. Storage

Choosing the type and size of storage is the fourth crucial factor to consider. Let’s start by storage type.  There are primarily two types of storage available in the market (SSD VS HDD).

I recommend going with SSD. The perks offered by SSD is mind-blowing. It is approximately ten times faster than HDD.

You will notice the considerable speed boost once you start using SSD. But for those who are on a tight budget, you can go with hybrid-drive.

It allows you to install OS and program files on SSD and your files & folders on HDD. It will help you to achieve the fast booting speed that you always wanted.

Designers have to save lots of source files, 3D graphics files, numerous product categories with higher picture & Video resolution. Hence, I believe 500GB is only the sweet spot for your needs.


  1. Display

Display of any laptop primarily contains following four components.  I will try to explain what is the standard used to determine the best display quality for an interior design profession.

  1. Resolution

Resolution is the most common spec when it comes to display.  FHD [1920 x 1080p] resolution will be more than enough for your needs.  Also having a higher resolution laptop doesn’t necessarily mean best picture quality. It depends on other factor explained below.

  1. Panel Type

This is the most important factor you should consider as the level of color accuracy, and extent of viewing angle depends on what type of panel type your laptop has.

You should look for IPS panel laptops. IPS panel offers superior color accuracy, and wide viewing angles compare to the TN panel.

  1. Contrast & Brightness

After you have chosen your resolution and panel type, the next important factor is its contrast ratio and brightness.

There is some low-end IPS panel that has considerably low brightness and contrast ratio. You have to make sure that your screen brightness is above 210 cd/m2 and the contrast ratio is at least 800:1.

In the most high-end laptops, you can easily find high brightness and contrast ratio. But when you are on a budget, you tend to look for cheap yet best laptop. In such scenario, you may find a laptop with powerful specs that are too good to be true. Many manufacturers will cheap out in its display to keep the cost under that price range.

Anything below the stated contrast and brightness ratio is unacceptable. No matter how powerful your laptop is, if the display is below standards, it will affect your work.

  1. Color coverage

The two industry standard to measure color is RGB coverage and Adobe RGB coverage.  A display screen with higher RGB and Adobe RGB coverage will have true to the life image quality.

I am not saying to get the best color coverage as it may be costly and not needed. Just make sure your display has 89 percent Adobe RGB and 99 percent RGB color coverage. It is more than enough for your work.


  1. I/O

The types of port you want on your laptop depends on your working style.  Today, HDMI 2.0, USB 3.0, SD card reader has become standard in almost all the laptops.

Beside it, if your work involves a high level of data transfer, it is good to buy a laptop with USB type C. It can transfer at least 10Gb/s data.  Also, you can easily connect to multiple 4K monitors with USB type C.

For those who are thinking to use external GPU as well, Thunderbolt 3 is the best option. Thunderbolt 3 has a data transfer speed of 40GB/s and can simultaneously charge and transfer data at the same time.

  1. Best laptop for Interior designing students 2018

Before going any further, please take a look at our list first:

Laptops

Key Spec

Price

Reviews

1. Microsoft Surface Book 2

NVIDIA GTX 1060

under $3000

Read me!

2. Dell XPS 9560

NVIDIA GTX 1050

around $1500

Read me!

3. Asus VivoBook Pro 17

NVIDIA GTX 1050

around $1000

Read me!

4. MacBook Pro 15

Radeon Pro 560X

under $3000

Read me!

5. Acer Aspire E15

NVIDIA GeForce MX150

under $800

Read me!

I hope my recommendation for how to choose a laptop for interior designing need was helpful to you.  Now that you know what to look for let’s go through my list of top 5 laptops for interior designing students.

  1. Microsoft Surface Book 2

Best windows laptop for interior design students 2018


Microsoft Surfacebook 2 might be your only choice when you are looking for a laptop that is 2 in 1 yet powerful.  Even this laptop is costly with the price tag of $3000, the outstanding perks offered by this laptop is hard to ignore.

Microsoft Surfacebook 2 comes in various trim line. For a reason interior designing students run the graphics-intensive software, it is best to leave out the base level surface book 2.

Powered by  Intel 8th generation i7-8650U quad-core processor clocked @ 4.20GHz, this laptop will not bottleneck even with the heavy uses. Its 8th gen processor is 40 percent efficient that previous gen i7-7600U.

The star of the show is its mighty 6GB GDDR5 NVIDIA GTX 1060 GPU. Microsoft was able to place GTX 1060 in 0.9-inch chassis.

Surfacebook 2 won’t get thermal throttle even under the heavy stress. I believe this is the feature that many content creator or heavy load user will be admiring about this thin & light beast.

It’s commendable that how Microsoft set the CPU behind the display and GPU in the keyboard.To overcome such an engineering challenge is what makes Surfacebook 2 remarkable. This is the reason why this laptop can go up to 17 hours on a single charge.

Its 16GB of RAM will offer you more than needed multitasking, and 512 GB of nvme SSD storage is fast & enough to access and save your files.

You will find 15-inch IPS touch panel displaying 3260 x 2160 resolution. Its another student-friendly feature is push-button tablet transform. Just with the simple press, its screen will detach from the keyboard to give you tablet feature.

Its pen will be a crucial part of your day since you can do almost everything that you were used to doing in your copy. The aluminum design fit & finish gives it that premium look. The keyboard and touchpad experience is one of the best in the windows laptop.

Surfacebook 2 is an excellent laptop not without the limitation. Comparing it to MacBook Pro, the built-in speakers are ok, but you can feel the shortcoming.

When it comes to port selection, Surfacebook 2 is shipped without thunderbolt 3. At this price tag, I was expecting at least one Thunderbolt 3 port.

For the other part, with USB 3.0-Type A, USB 3.1-Type C  and SD card reader, the port selection is ok.

Specifications for Microsoft Surfacebook 2

Processor 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8650U 1.90 GHz (turbo to 4.20 GHz)
GPU NVIDIA GTX 1060 GPU with 6GB of GDDR5 memory
RAM 16GB DDR4 RAM
Storage 512 GB NVMe SSD
Display 15 inch Touch IPS (3260 x 2160)  Ultra HD display
Weight/ Thickness 4.2lbs/ 0.9 inches
Battery Up to 17 hours
Price Under $3000
Additional feature Stylus pen
I/O
  • 2 x USB 3.0-Type A
  • 1 x USB 3.1-Type C
  • 1x Headphone-out & Audio-in Combo Jack
  • SD card reader
Pros
  • Powerful  2-in-1 laptop

  • Excellent keyboard and touchpad

  • No thermal throttle under heavy usage

  • Outstanding battery life

Cons
  • Ok Speakers

  • Expensive

  • No thunderbolt 3 support

CHECK PRICE & REVIEWS


  1. Dell XPS 15 9560

Best Dell laptop for interior design 2018


If you are looking for an excellent thin & light, powerful laptop, look no further then Dell XPS 15 9560. Tailored to meet the needs of power-hungry users, this laptops covers every bells and whistle offered by the interior designing software. 

With the fusion of  7th Gen Intel Core i7-7700HQ 2.80 GHz (turbo to 3.80 GHz) and  4GB of GDDR5 NVIDIA GTX 1050 GPU, it can render any modeling in no time. 

Dell was able packed its powerful GPU and CPU under 0.86-inch chassis. It weighs only 4.2lbs. With its thin design, lightweight and 8 hours of battery life, it has one of the best portability aspects in its class. 

Most important spec Dell has always offered is its supreme display technology, and Dell XPS 9560 just might be another excellent example of it. With the infinity edge display that has a 4K IPS  touch panel, it is arguably the best display in the laptop industry. 

Its display has 100 percent RGB and 99 percent Adobe RGB coverage. You can expect the image quality to be sharp, vibrant and crisp clear. When it comes to windows laptop, it’s hard to find better-built quality than Dell XPS 9560. Its excellent trackpad and keyboard experience compliments its display. 

With the USB3.1-Type C,  Thunderbolt 3, USB 3.0 ports and HDMI 2.0, the port selection are excellent.  The speaker placed underneath the laptop sounds mediocre. 

The only problem that I had with Dell XPS 9560 is its thermal limitation. When you pushed this laptop hard, it suffers minor thermal throttle. I strongly recommend not to buy a  Dell XPS with i9. 

It even can’t handle the i7. I wonder how lousy thermal will be on i9 version.  Besides, everything on this laptop seems great buy for its price.

Specifications for Dell XPS 9560

Processor 7th Gen Intel Core i7-7700HQ 2.80 GHz (turbo to 3.80 GHz)
GPU NVIDIA GTX 1050 GPU with 4GB of GDDR5 memory
RAM 16GB DDR4 RAM
Storage 512 GB NVMe SSD
Display 15.6 inch Touch IPS (3840 x 2160) 4K Ultra HD display
Weight/ Thickness 4.26 lbs/ 0.86 inches
Battery Up to 12 hours
Price Under $1600
Additional Feature Fingerprint Reader
I/O
  • 2 x USB 3.0 ports
  • 1x USB3.1-Type C with Thunderbolt 3
  • 1 x HDMI 2.0
  • 1x Headphone-out & Audio-in Combo Jack
  • SD card reader
Pros
  • powerful performance

  • Excellent display best in the class

  • Good keyboard and trackpad

  • Decent battery life

Cons
  • Thermal Limitation

  • Bad webcam position

  • Speakers are not good as its competitors

CHECK PRICE & REVIEWS


  1. Asus VivoBook Pro 17 N705UD

Best Asus laptop for Interior design 2018


If you are looking for thin light & powerful laptop but want to go easy on your wallet, then this laptop is for you. Priced under $1100, it is not a cheap laptop, but for all the specs that it harbors, it is one of the best value laptops for the price.

You will find blend of 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8550U 1.80 GHz (turbo to 4.0 GHz) and 4GB of GDDR5 of NVIDIA GTX 1050 GPU under its chassis. 

It looks common to find these spec under this price range but what makes it different and exclusive is its size. Weighing about 4.6 pounds with an only 0.8-inch thickness and 8 hours of battery life, the extra couple of hundred dollars you are paying is for its portability traits. 

It comes equipped with that needed 16GB of RAM. For the storage, it has a hybrid drive of 256GB of SDD and 1TB of HDD. It is decent storage, but at this price line, it wouldn’t have hurt Asus to offer 512 GB of SSD.

The overall built quality of this laptop doesn’t knock as high-end notebook but its pretty decent for the price tag. Its keyboard and trackpad are ok. It is not as good as that of Dell and MacBook Pro, but it will get the job done without any hassle. 

You will find a mid-level IPS panel display FHD resolution. I believe with 350cd/ m2, 1440: 1 contrast ratio and 100 percent Adobe RGB coverage, it is pretty impressive. 

With USB 2.0, USB3.1-Type C, USB3.1-Type A, and HDMI 1.4 ports selection could have been striking if Asus have included thunderbolt 3.

Well, on the contrary, this laptop will hit thermal limitation under heavy usage. It’s not that bad compared to some high-end laptop that cost twice as much as and still, comes with a thermal flaw.

Specifications for AsusBook VivoBook Pro

Processor 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8550U 1.80 GHz (turbo to 4.0 GHz)
GPU NVIDIA GTX 1050 GPU with 4GB of GDDR5 memory
RAM 16GB DDR4 RAM
Storage 256 GB SSD; 1TB HDD
Display 17 inch FHD IPS  display
Weight/ Thickness 4.6/ 0.8 inches
Battery Up to 8 hours
Price Under $1200
Finish Metallic gray  aluminum & plastic
I/O
  • 2 x USB 2.0 ports
  • 1x USB3.1-Type C
  • 1x USB3.1-Type A 
  • 1 x HDMI 1.4
  • 1x Headphone-out & Audio-in Combo Jack
  • SD  card reader
Pros
  • Immpressive performance for the price

  • Good value Laptop

  • Decent display with good color gamut coverage

  • Satisfying built-in speakers

Cons
  • Thermal flaws

  • No thunderbolt 3

  • Hard to get inside for upgrade

CHECK PRICE & REVIEWS


  1. MacBook Pro 15 inch 2018

Best mac laptop for interior design 2018


If you want a gorgeous looking laptop with exceptionally well made, the Apple MacBook Pro 15 is the benchmark.  I don’t have to explain this since everybody knows fit, finish and design of Apple product are its biggest selling point.

Even, the floor price of MacBook Pro 15  starts at $2399; I will be focusing this article on $2799 trim line. If you are already willing to pay $2400, I strongly recommend going for $2799 one.

This is because you will get double the storage and upgraded GPU for $300.  Since it is not upgradeable, the $2799 is the sweet spot for the MacBook Pro 15.

MacBook Pro 15 harbors 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8850H 2.60 GHz (turbo to 4.3 GHz) and 4GB GDDR5 of Radeon Pro 560X  video card. It is good enough for most of modeling and rendering work.

As for the performance level, you will see a huge boost from its predecessor. This is largely because of Apple upgrade to Intel 8th gen CPU. The Radeon Pro 560X is not as powerful compared to  NVIDIA GTX 1060 which you will find in Microsoft Surfacebook 2 under the same price range.

For the fact,  Radeon Pro 560X is energy efficient with only 35W TDP GPU, yet the amount of performance it delivers compared to GTX 1060 is impressive.

Its all-aluminum construction is very rigid and the best in the class. Love it or hate it, MacBook Pro 15 comes loaded with butterfly keyboard. Its humongous trackpad is precise and accurate.  Still today, its trackpad is far ahead of any Windows laptop.

For the port, it only has four Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports. It might turn into dongle hell if you don’t have accessories that support type C. But, it is future proof for sure.

It still has that touch bar which I find terribly not useful. MacBook Pro 15 has a new T2 chip that handles its touch ID and touch bar. Its precise and fast compare to previous gen T1 chip.

I would have loved to see face ID like that on Surfacebook 2 at this price range. You will get 16GB of DDR4 RAM and 512 GB of nvme SSD storage.

Its neither  4k nor touch panel but it still is one of the most beautiful displays with excellent color accuracy. With the resolution of 2800 x 1800, 16:10 aspect ratio and 91 percent Adobe RGB, it delivers crystal clear and easy on the eye image quality.

For multiple monitor setup, its GPU can deliver two 5K@60Hz or four 4K@60Hz. The speakers are still the best in the market.

Everything in MacBook Pro 15 is either exception or good except for its cooling limitation. This device will heat up quickly if you push it hard. The thermal is terrible on i9 compare to i7.

It doesn’t make sense to pay $400 more to get i9 if it hit the thermal throttle. It is best to stick with i7 until there isn’t any permanent fix available.

Specifications for MacBook Pro 15

Processor 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8850H 2.60 GHz (turbo to 4.30 GHz)
GPU Radeon Pro 560X GPU with 4GB of GDDR5 memory
RAM 16GB DDR4 RAM
Storage 512 GB NVMe SSD
Display 15 inch IPS 2800 x 1800 display
Weight/ Thickness 4 lbs/ 0.6 inches
Battery Up to 10 hours
Price Under $3000
Additional Feature Fingerprint Reader
I/O
  • 4x USB3.1-Type C with Thunderbolt 
  • 1x Headphone-out & Audio-in Combo Jack
Pros
  • Excellent color accuracy

  • Good battery life

  • Elegant design

  • Best in class touchpad experience

  • sublime built-in speakers

Cons
  • Overpriced

  • Thermal throttle

  • Arguable keyboard experience

CHECK PRICE & REVIEWS


  1. Acer Aspire E15

Best cheap laptop for interior design students 2018


If you are on a tight budget but wants that power under the hood, this laptop is going to be your next favorite thing.

 Acer Aspire E15 is a prudent investment for someone who is just starting their studies as an interior design major. It has two different trim line. The one I will be writing about is its high-end grade.

The Acer packs its Aspire E15 with 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8550U 1.8 GHz (turbo to 4.0 GHz) and 2GB  GDDR5 of NVIDIA GeForce MX150 GPU. It’s not the best for power-hungry rendering, but it is well geared for simple SketchUp modeling or 2D software.

For $100 more you will find a low-end gaming laptop, but the high level of portability derive from Aspire E15 8 to 15 hours battery life is hard to ignore spec for any interior design students.

It is armed with 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of SSD. The RAM is ok for mid-level modeling and rendering, but I was expecting at least 1TB of storage along with it.  If you choose this laptop, you should look for a hybrid drive for that needed storage in the future.

Acer used all plastic with a shiny accent in its logo and the rim around the touchpad. The keyboard and trackpad layout looks ok, but at times,  gestures can give you a little hassle.

Weighing about 5.27 inch and 1.19 inch tall, it is slightly heavy and thick for 2018 standard. The bulkiness accounts for its impressive thermal performance under heavy stress.

It has a low-quality IPS panel displaying  FHD resolution. With 74 percent sRGB coverage and only 200 nits brightness, Acer should have at least provided some better alternative than this.

Even at its price point, some laptops delivers stunning color accuracy and brightness. My only concern is its display so far. For the other part, it is the best budget laptop for interior design students.

Specifications for Acer Aspire E15

Processor 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8550U 1.8 GHz (turbo to 4.0 GHz)
GPU NVIDIA GeForce MX150 GPU with 2GB of GDDR5 memory
RAM 8GB DDR4 RAM
Storage 256 GB SSD
Display 15.6 inch  IPS FHD display
Weight/ Thickness 5.27 lbs/ 1.19 inches
Battery Up to 15 hours
Price Under $800
Finish All plastic
I/O
  • 2 x USB 3.0 ports 
  • 1x USB 3.1-Type C (Gen1)
  • 1 x HDMI 1.4
  • 1 x DVD drive
  • 1x Headphone-out & Audio-in Combo Jack
  • SD card reader
Pros
  • Solid performance for the price

  • Long battery life

  • Budget friendly

Cons
  • Display is dim

  • Heavy

CHECK PRICE & REVIEWS


Conclusion

I intentionally left out gaming laptops from this article. I admire the robust performance of gaming laptop, but on the cons, they are heavy and needed to be charged frequently.

In 2017 it was tedious to find a work-oriented laptop under a decent budget.  We had to choose from either bulky gaming laptop or expensive NVIDIA Quadro or AMD FirePro.

Fast forwarding to 2018, thanks to Intel 8th gen considerable boost, now there are laptops which are equally powerful as their gaming cousin yet highly portable with impressive battery life.

I hope my article was brief, instructive and explanatory. If you like it, please don’t forget to share. If you have any question, let me know via  comment section below. Good luck with your purchase! Shop Smart!

 

 

 

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