Laptops for Architecture students…

So…first post from new laptop. Hoo. Rah.

I think it is particularly telling that in the world of today’s architecture students, even those students that work almost entirely by hand cannot be without a dependable laptop as hand-in time looms…my trusty luminous green Dell Studio17 that survived the abuse of 3rd yr, a year in the cold and dusty woods, and most of 5th year has finally started crashing, and making a noise like a small hovercraft almost continuously.

I find it so frustrating, in a discipline as specific as ours, that there is no specific help on the best laptop for architecture students…its such a time consuming task to hunt one down, and if – like me – you’re in for the long haul and looking to future proof, then it also becomes expensive. Generally, I expect three years out of my laptops. So usually I’m looking at at least £600 for a model with sufficient RAM, processor speed, graphics handling capability and hard disk space to last that long. At this point in time, its nearer £750, due to the timing and ‘value’ of the latest Intel i7 processors….

So it was a toss up between the Samsung RF510 from laptops direct (6Gb RAM, i5 processor, 650Gb HD and Nvidia GeForce graphics), and waiting a month for the ‘ideal’ Dell XPS15 (i7 processors…better reputation for reliability). I went for the Samsung. But even once you’ve done the hunting, and coughed up the extra for delivery so that it may arrive before you’re snowed under by the final slog towards hand-ins, you’ve still got software to worry about. This is consuming in terms of both time and money….

Even if you go legit, which of course no architecture student can viably do (except me, obviously. yes.), it takes the best part of 24hours to set it all up. Someone should offer a software bundle, downloadable in one go for a single price, for architecture students that includes Sketchup (I know its free…but with pro you can do decent sun studies for your particular lattitude…)/ AutoCAD / The’ holy trinity’ of Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and Indesign / Adobe Acrobat Pro (for rearranging those all important electronic .pdf submissions that are replacing printed work) / Office (word, powerpoint, excel, etc). This I believe to be a functional array of digital tools for the study of architecture….£200 I think would be reasonable.

All this, of course, is based on a severe  prejudice against AppleMacs. Not that they’re irrelevant. Far from it – I’d say almost half my year are Mac users (and not your typical artsy, scarf-wearing vegan either…). But I do resent the fact that I’d pay almost twice as much for the equivalent necessary spec for architecture students (MacBook Pro 15″ – approx £1500). And dont even get me started on the fact that dyslexic students get one for free, as well as all the extra time they need to draw the same pictures as me. I just dont believe that a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ diagnosis should result in the receipt of approximately £2k worth of gear and a relatively hefty extension in time for any vaguely wordy deadline. We are human beings, and there are definitely many levels of grey between the black and the white…..

So here is my final recommendation, from one architecture student to another, fit you are currently in the market for that all important security blanket of a dependable laptop…(please bear in mind that this will probably hold true for less than a day…at best.)…

Samsung RF510 from LaptopsDirect (although they are PUSHY!)

6Gb RAM / NVidia GeForce Graphics Card (min.1Gb) / 650Gb hard drive /Intell i5 processors / extended 3 year warranty

£789.97, inc next day delivery


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