Buying a laptop as an architect shouldn’t cost you a lot if you’re on a budget.
While making price a significant factor, you must consider the specs of the laptop.
As an architect, you would need a laptop with enough computing power to run various architectural software.
Such software includes AutoCAD, 3DS Max, Rhino, etc. Other factors to consider include RAM size, fairly sizeable storage space, and a graphics processing unit, among others.
Not to worry, because there are many laptops under $500 with essential specs to meet your demands as an architect.
While searching for the best laptops for architects under $500, your laptop should meet the following criteria.
CPU clock speed: A budget laptop for architecture must have at least a minimum CPU clock of 2.5GHz.
If you’re considering laptops with ‘Core I’ processors, a system within the core i5 range would be perfect.
Graphics Card: A laptop for architecture should come equipped with a Graphics Display Unit to give it the extra power of handling graphics-intensive software like Autocad, Vectorworks, Revit, etc.
The graphics card should have a minimum of 1GB RAM for smooth functioning.
RAM: RAM size is an essential factor to consider when it comes to choosing the best budget laptop for architects.
Architectural software is quite demanding on RAM and requires a reasonably large RAM size for smooth operation and multitasking.
A laptop with a minimum RAM size will be capable enough to handle the various architectural software you will be making use of in your line of duty as an architect.
Storage type: This shouldn’t be much of a challenge as most modern laptops come equipped with a minimum storage space of 120GB, which is quite enough for you as an architect.
It is advisable to opt for a laptop with a larger storage space of 1TB or more, but storage is not an essential factor when compared with processing power, RAM, and GPU.
Storage space type can be HDD, SSD, or Hybrid, combining both HDD and SSD in one device.
For a laptop below $500, you might be limited to a laptop with storage less than 500GB, not minding whether it is an SSD or HDD.
Operating System: Laptops with either Windows OS or Mac OS work quite well for your needs.
It depends on your preference.
The important feature is that your laptop must run on the latest versions of
Windows OS or Mac OS with regular updates.
Screen size: A laptop with a minimum screen size of 15” and Full High Definition is good enough for rendering your architectural drawings.
Battery: Battery is an essential factor to consider.
Depending on how long you will be away from a power source, getting a laptop with an average battery life of 5-7 hours will serve you long enough between the time you are away from a power source.
Laptops within the $500 range have a battery capacity that lasts as long as 7 hours.
Design: Considering the design of a laptop is not as important as the processor power.
However, the design is essential in terms of mobility. Modern, slim built, and lightweight laptops are quite easy to carry around with you, without feeling much impact from having to carry a laptop around all day.
Brand: Laptop brands are as essential as any other features or specs.
You should consider buying notable laptop brands like HP, Dell, Mac, Asus, Lenovo, Microsoft, Acer, etc.
You get the advantages of proven track record and readily available after-sales services should you need it.
Best Laptop for Architects
Armed with these important considerations, here’s our list of the best laptops for Architects under $500.
The Dell Inspiron 13543, with its NVIDIA GeForce 820M and a processor with a minimum clock speed of 2.2GHz, can handle your architectural work and software quite comfortably.
With the 15″ screen size, you can get a display optimized for your architectural designs.
With the Dell Inspiron 13543, you get more processing power, faster bootup time, and a superior connection from the latest wireless connection.
Its seamless connectivity and great sound output powered by the award-winning Waves MaxxAudio technology makes it the laptop to buy if you’re looking for a laptop well suited for architectural work and powerful entertainment output.
- Processor: Fifth Generation Intel Core i5 with a minimum clock speed of 2.2 GHz
- RAM size: 4GB (Upgradable)
- Storage type: HDD 500GB
- Graphics card: NVIDIA GeForce 820M 2GB RAM
- Screen Size: 15.6” (with Full HD display)
- Battery life: 7 hours with regular usage
Lenovo is known for its quality and durable laptops.
The Ideapad 330S is no exception to the Lenovo rule, as it comes with an onboard 16GB Intel Octane Memory, which acts more as a cache buffer to make your HDD work fast like an SSL with a read speed of 930MBS and a write speed of 150MBS.
Its processor, which clocks at 3.40GHz, ensures you have a smooth time running your architectural software without any hitch or lag.
Ideapad also comes equipped with a dedicated Intel UHD Graphics 620 graphics card for faster image processing and smooth optimization of your architectural drawings.
- Processor: Fifth Generation Intel Core i5-8250U 1.6GHz (can clock up to 3.4GHz)
- RAM size: 4GB (upgradable)
- Storage type: 1TB SSD
- Graphics card: Intel UHD Graphics 620
- Screen Size: 15.6” with full HD display
- Battery life: 7 hours with regular usage
3. ASUS X55QA
The ASUS X55QA comes with enhanced features for a seamless experience with all types of Architectural software.
It’s slim, yet powerful design makes it ideal for mobility.
Its AMD A12-9720P with a processing speed of 2.7GHz gives you a maximum clock speed of 3.6GHz, perfect for churning out work at a faster rate with no lag time.
- Processor: AMD A-Series 2.7GHz (can clock 3.6GHz)
- RAM: 8GB DDR4 SDRAM
- Storage type: 128GB SSD
- Graphics card: aMD Radeon R7
- Screen size: 15.6”
- OS: Windows 10 Home Edition, 64-bit
- Battery life: 7 hours of regular use
4. HP 15
HP is a household name in the laptop industry. They are known for affordable, yet quality laptops.
The AMD Ryzen 5 3500U processor powers the HP 15 touch screen laptop with performance clocked at 3.7GHz.
This laptop is durable enough to handle whatever project you throw at it efficiently.
Its 128 GB SSD gives you a fast read and write speed for quick file storage and access.
- Processor: 2nd Generation Ryzen 5 AMD Quad-Core Processor 2.1GHz (can clock up to 3.7GHz when handling demanding tasks)
- Graphics: AMD Radeon Vega 8
- RAM Size: 8GB DDR4
- Storage type: 128 GB SSD
- Display: 15.6” touch screen (with 1366 x 768 resolution)
- Battery: 3-cell lithium-ion battery; lasts up to 7 hours
- OS: Windows 10 64-bit Home edition
HP 15 15.6″ touch screen is built with an optimized display of architectural drawings which makes it ideal for architects.
The touch features make it well suited for other purposes.
This laptop is a high performing laptop. For its price, I would say it’s a great buy and well suited for a wide range of work.
From heavy usage to entertainment, this laptop runs smoothly, thanks to its 5th generation Core i5 processor and its dedicated graphics card.
You can get more out of this laptop.
- Processor: 2.5GHz 5th Generation, Intel Core i5-7200U with maximum clock, speed up to 3.6GHz
- RAM size: 6GB DDR4
- Graphics card: Intel HD Graphics 620
- Battery: 4810mAh, with 6.5 hours of battery life
- Storage: 256GB SSD
- Display: 15.6” HD resolution (1366 x 768)
- OS: Windows 10 home edition
The Dell Latitude E5440 is a 14” laptop, a bit smaller screen size, but has an anti-glare WLED-backlight display that protects your eyes from excess rays.
The laptop is equipped with a Core i7 processor to offer you maximum efficiency at both work and play. Its NVIDIA GeForce and Intel Integrated graphics card ensures you get the best result in terms of graphics processing and display.
Processor: 2.1GHz Intel Core i7-4600U processor with a clock speed of 3.3GHz.
RAM: 8GB DDR3
Storage: 320GB HDD
Display: 14.1” anti-glare WLED backlit HD display
Graphics card: NVIDIA GT 720M and Intel Integrated Graphics card (32MB)
OS: Windows 7 Professional
- The Lenovo 130 is a reliable laptop with the speed and power to handle whatever task you throw at it.
- The Lenovo 130 laptop is quite durable and can go up to 5 hours of heavy usage on-the-go. The AMD Dual-Core processor gives you enough processing power for whatever project you throw at it.
- The Lenovo 130 measures up to the Lenovo standard in terms of speed, dimension, and size, without letting down its powerful features.
- The 2.6GHz AMD processor is powerful enough to handle various architectural designs and drawings conveniently, without any lag time.
Processor: AMD Dual-Core A6-9225, 2.60GHz with clock speed up to 3.00GHz
- Graphics card: AMD Radeon R4 integrated graphics card
- Storage: 512 GB SSD
- Display: 15.6” HD display (with 1366 x 768 resolution)
- RAM: 8GB
- Battery life: 5hours
The Lenovo 130 laptop is a great buy considering its low-budget price and above-average specs.
8. HP 15-f100dx
The HP 15 f100dx touchscreen laptop is a mid-range budget machine packed with enough power in its AMD quad-core processor.
It comes equipped with an NVIDIA graphics card and 500GB of storage space to accommodate your files conveniently, not minding the size.
- Processor: 2.4GHz AMD A8-Series
- Graphics card: AMD Radeon HD 8210
- Display: 15.6” touchscreen display
- RAM: 4GB DDR3 SDRAM
- Storage: 500GB HDD storage
- Battery: 6 hours of battery life
Besides its stylish features, which make it convertible for both work and play, the ASUS Flip Convertible Laptop boasts impressive processing from its Intel Core i7 processor and ample storage space of 1TB.
You also get to enjoy other amazing features like a powerful graphics processing unit, a full-size Chiclet keyboard with integrated numeric keypad, etc.
- Processor: 2.5GHz Intel Dual-Core i7-6500U processor, and Turbo to 3.1GHz
- RAM: 12GB DDR4
- Storage: 1TB HDD
- Graphics card: NVIDIA GeForce 940MX
- Display: 15.6” touchscreen (with 1920 x 1080 display resolution)
- Battery: 38WHrs, 2S1P
The Asus Flip Convertible is best suited for all types of architectural work and gaming as it’s huge 12 GB RAM multitasks easily.
The MacBook Pro performs brilliantly, no matter the task you throw at it.
It comes with a sleek aluminum body design with advanced power management that ensures you stay on up to 7 hours, irrespective of the task you’re performing.
The backlit keyboard makes for improved accuracy in typing.
You also get to enjoy a multi-touch feature from the trackpad for seamless access.
Its 750GB storage space gives you unlimited storage for work, play, and entertainment purposes.
Apple MacBook Pro has a powerful processor with enough power to meet up with your demands as an architect.
You also enjoy warranty services and maintenance coverage when you purchase an Apple MacBook Pro.
- Processor: 2.2GHz Intel Core i7
- Graphics card: Intel HD Graphics 3000
- Storage: 750GB HDD
- Display: 15” display
- Battery Life: 7 hours
- RAM: 4GB DDR3
11. Acer Aspire E5
The Acer Aspire E5 combines aesthetically appealing features, attractive body, and powerful features for exceptional performance at work or gaming.
With its 8GB RAM and 1TB of storage, there is no limit to what you can do as it offers you a multitasking option powerful enough for seamless operation.
- Intel 2.2GHz Core i5-5200U with Turbo up to 2.7GHz
- RAM: 8GB DDR3 SDRAM
- Graphics card: Intel Integrated Graphics card
- Display: 15.6” touchscreen (with 1366 x 768 resolution)
- Storage: 1TB HDD
- Battery: 7 hours of battery life
12. HP Envy X360
The HP Envy supports a touchscreen with a 10-finger multi-touch feature to give you fast access to files and programs, and give you a seamless user experience.
HP is a laptop machine that blends all aspects of your life perfectly.
Its AMD Radeon graphics give you a faster and higher quality graphics processing and output.
HP Envy X360 is a smart buy for architects on budget, yet not wanting to compromise on quality and efficient specs.
Its fast processing speed, large RAM size, and graphics card all combine to handle all types of architectural software quickly and smoothly.
- Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 2500U at 2.0 GHz, turbo up to 3.6 GHz,
- RAM: 8GB DDR4 SDRAM
- Storage: 1TB HDD
- Graphics card: AMD Radeon RX Vega 8
- Display: 15.6” touchscreen display (with 1920 x 1080 display resolution)
- Battery life: 7 hours
The Toshiba brand of laptops is known for its resilience, unique and sleek design, and powerful features.
This particular brand of Toshiba has a smaller size screen but with amazing features that make it stand toe-to-toe with its 15.5″ screen counterparts.
Its small size and light weight offers you an advantage of mobility over larger sized laptops.
- Processor: 2.1GHz Intel Core i7
- RAM: 8GB DDR3
- Storage: 256 GB SSD
- Graphics Card: Integrated Intel HD Graphics 4400
- Screen size: 13.3”
- Battery Life: minimum of 6 hours
The Sony VAIO laptop has a sleek design with quality sound output for great entertainment time.
Its amazing processor power and graphics card also make it an ideal machine for architectural professionals.
Its Athlon II AMD dual-core gives it maximum performance with balanced multitasking.
- Processor: 2.1GHz AMD Athlon II Dual-core P320
- RAM: 4GB DDR3
- Storage: 320GB HDD
- Display: 15.5” display (with resolution 1366 x 768)
- Graphics card: ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4250 Graphics processing unit
- Battery life: 7 hours
Microsoft Surface Pro is a detachable laptop with 11″ screen size, making it a perfect hybrid between handheld devices and laptops.
Microsoft Surface Pro is lightweight, making it a laptop perfect for carrying around.
Amazing features you can enjoy from Microsoft Surface Pro include endless arrays of apps and features from Microsoft, timely patch updates, etc.
- Processor: Intel Core i5 1.9GHz with Turbo up to 2.9GHz.
- RAM: 8GB
- Storage: 256GB HDD
- Graphics card: Intel HD Graphics 4400
- Battery: 9 hours
- Display: 11”
- Other factors to consider when buying a laptop
Before buying a laptop, you should be familiar with terms like CPU, RAM, GPU, SSD, HDD, AMD, Intel, Resolution, Display, Battery WHr, and Li-polymer battery.
Get yourself familiar with these terms, meanings, and functions to give you an understanding of the laptop performance.
However, in layman’s terms, higher values of these terms mean you’re getting a laptop with more performance, but it all boils down to how much money you’re willing to part with.
When choosing a laptop, you must consider the basic specs before buying.
Checking through the reviewed laptops above, we have done a great job of combining both quality and price to give you the best buy within a $500 budget.THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. PLEASE READ DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFO.
Sam Zaman loves to write on technology & related stuff. Ecommerce, mobile and internet marketing equally drive her interest. Likes gardening and experimenting with new recipes. An avid reader and absolutely mad @bout donuts 🙂