Choosing which laptop or computer to buy for Architecture education at the TU Delft is not straightforward. Students are required to bring their own laptop, but to ensure you can use all software you’re going to need without problems, it’s important you choose a laptop that meets specific requirements.
On this page we’ll take you through the main choices. We also provide links to pages with more in-depth information.
There’s advice on desktop computers and displays as well.
You are required to bring your own laptop when you study Architecture. Considering you will rely on it for most of your studies it is very important that you buy a robust model with the capacity to run all software that you will use.
On this page we’ll assume you’re a student starting the Bachelor of Architecture or switching to Architecture from a previous education (schakelsemester). If you’re a Master student, typically the same advice applies, although there may be some exceptions with regards to the graphics requirements for professional 3D software. Contact us if you think that is the case and you have any questions.
Taking into account the hardware of your laptop needs to meet certain requirements to be truly suitable for software that you’ll be using at the faculty of Architecture, there are generally three main options to consider:
We recommend the High Performance TU Laptop Project model. It offers great value for money, is powerful, robust and has a 3-year warranty with a replacement laptop during repairs.
If you prefer a Mac, there’s really only one option that may meet the requirements for all software that is used: the top model MacBook Pro 15-inch. It offers great performance, but is also quite expensive. In the latest 2015 models a different make of graphics cards are used compared to previous years’ line-ups. Note that, at this point, we cannot confirm yet whether these will perform up to scratch. Purchase at your own risk.
There are options for other laptops as well, but then it really depends on the models you consider. It is important that you make sure it meets all requirements. You will have to do some research to find one that meets your needs and the requirements for all software you will use over the course of your studies.
The three main options are discussed more in-depth below.
TU Delft Laptop Project
The TU Delft has a Laptop Project. Each year two models are selected for students: a basic model and a high-performance model. For Architecture, only the high-end model is suitable. This is a Windows laptop that meets all the hardware and software requirements and is durable. It has 3 years of warranty with a replacement laptop while yours is being repaired.
We see that some students prefer to use Apple. The workload and professional 3D applications for Architecture require a powerful dedicated graphics adapter. Currently, only the top model MacBook Pro 15 has a dedicated graphics adapter.
The other 15-inch MacBook(s), model without dedicated graphics adapter is not suitable. Also none of the MacBook Pro 13-inch, MacBook Air or ‘regular’ MacBook models are fitted with dedicated graphics; so none of these are suitable either.
We can imagine there are reasons to look for another option. Maybe you find the TU Laptop a bit heavy or a MacBook too expensive. But whichever reason, you may be tempted to look for another solution. With all the options out there, it’s impossible to give a single advice in this overview.
To assist you, we do provide more technical background that may help you to make a choice.
We can’t choose for you: the considerations are personal. But we can help you to check if you’ve overlooked something that is obvious to us. We’d hate to see you disappointed with your choice when it’s too late, so if you want, you can check your choice with us before you buy.
A closer look at laptop requirements
As an Architecture student your computer is an important tool that you will rely on to get work done. Throughout your studies and your future career you are going to be using specialized CAD- and graphics software, such as Autodesk Revit, AutoCAD, Maya, ArcGIS, McNeel Rhino, Adobe Creative Suite, etc.
These programs require a lot of graphical and processing power. So you need powerful hardware. In particular, the graphics adapter should be a high-performance model, designed for professional 3D applications. As these adapters use more power, a lot of laptops are fitted with more power-efficient integrated graphics solutions which are not suitable for the software you’ll be working with.
You will be using your laptop in workshop environments and might be traveling with it quite a lot. This means you need a robust and durable laptop. Laptops designed for home use probably won’t last long.
Last but not least you should think about the warranty and support: what happens if your computer breaks down? How long will it take to fix the issue? Can you get a replacement laptop in the meanwhile? We recommend at least three years warranty, preferably next business day on-site or better to minimize the time it takes to get your laptop back in working order.
The selection of a computer or laptop is personal: you must decide yourself what features and preferences are important to you. There is no single ‘best solution’. We do however emphasize that it is important to take specific requirements into account.
The TU Delft Laptop Project high performance laptop is specially selected to meet the most important requirements for Architecture students. It’s therefore highly recommended. Other options are viable, but require special attention.
The software we use at the faculty of Architecture is quite unique and the workload is atypical. Most computer re-sellers don’t take these specifics into account, which may lead to incomplete advice and in the end disappointment. So before you buy a laptop, you can check that you haven’t overlooked something obvious.