Architecture application requirements


Sep 24, 2012
Hey guys
i am an architecture student who also does abit of gaming. I am thinking about upgrading my current PC and laptop.
i currently am thinking of upgrading my pc to a i7 3770k cpu and p8 z77 pro motherboard. However alot of people said to check is the architecture programs required hyperthreading, as if not then the i5 would be worth going for.
any advice on if programs like Indesign, Photoshop, 3DS Max, and Auto Cad require it would be great.??
i am also looking to change my laptop and am very tempted to get an ultralportable, such as the samsung series 9 or series 7 ultra, however i dont know if these will have enough cpu grunt to cope with light work on the above programs??
any advice would be great!


Nov 27, 2012


Kindly I ask your attention. :D

When you need specs about anything,

Start your browser, use different search engines and use different phrases:

(Program name) requirements or specs if you like

Do this with all the programs you will need, ask ad school how many programs will be used ad once, count one more and your done. You can do this for your notebook/laptop and your computer.

What you could do next is asking ad the software firms if there will be software updates that will ask more calculating power of your system over the years.

And if you like, you could have a second monitor. So, you could do two tasks visual ad one computer and another ad your notebook/laptop. Or maybe a second one ad your notebook/laptop too.

What I would recogment is enough RAM and a second HDD. 8 till 16 Gige and the second HDD/SSD for more virtual RAM.
When you get the computer and you look ad the virtual RAM of the system, Windows keeps it low. I always set it to amount of RAM installed and minimum about half and the second one too.
What you could do is uncheck the primairy to zero or 1 Gige and the second minimum to minimum max RAM and about half till full extra maximum.
Try what works best for you.
I think the first option will be best.

Remember, sometimes you have to load very large files.

So, I would have chosen the i7, it can handle more than just needed for one program, for starters.

A very good graphic card will be requierd. When you go for the notebook/laptop, ask about the shared RAM and that kind of stuff. I think you will need a gige or two just for that. So, when it's shared, count two more to the system you need.

You can't change the graphic card of a notebook/laptop, so make shore you have all the information you need.

And don't forget, a notebook/laptop battery needs to be used till it nearly shuts down the system. Keeps the battery in good condition, it only needs to done once in a while.

Well, that's all I have to let you know I guess. I don't know the rest.

No matter what,

Good luck with your study and have lots of fun too! :D

Hopefully I let you known enough and that you will find the answers you seek! :D

Good luck and have fun doing it! :D

Best Regards,



Apr 7, 2012

Up to a certain level, a computer may serve for both architecture and games, but are higher levels of work and play, certain aspects of the performance diverge- graphic cards that are excellent for 3D CAD like Quadro and Firepro are not good for games as they are based on accurate finishing of every frame with high anti-aliasing, and viewport, 10-bit color, and game cards emphasize frame rates. Architectural programs like games are mostly single-threaded, so clock speed is important in both rather than core count, but there is an exception- 3ds Max is a rendering program and rendering is CPU-based that may be distributed among as many cores as possible, while games typically- this will change- do not use every core fully. If you were to do large file, high resolution renderings, you would benefit from a multiple CPU with lots of RAM both system and video. In summary, an optimized architectural, rendering, graphic design computer is a dual Xeon 4 or 6 core CPU, a Quadro or Firepro graphics card with 2GB or more and probably a RAID configuration that both stripes for performance and mirrored to protect the system and data files.

Again, this is optimal and not necessary an i7-3770K computer will do well- very well -probably- but up to a point and that point is impossible to know until you experience it. I use a Dell Precision T5400 that arrived with a single Xeon X5460 quad core @3.16GHz, 4GB RAM, a Qaudro FX 580 (512MB), and an 80GB HD. Now, about three years later, after a failed experiment with a GTX 285 (1GB) - problems in Solidworks viewports, bizarre behavior when rendering shadows, crashes in large file Sketchup, display quirks in rendering- displayed differently than printed, the T5400 is now > dual Xeon X5460 quad core @3.16GHz, 16GB RAM, a Quadro FX 4800 (1.5GB), and two 500GB HD's. Again, you may well be able to go a long way- through school with a kind of generic machine to use for both work and play applications.

As for the laptop, if you will doing any architectural applications on it, I would strongly recommend having a 17" screen. It might be bulkier to move around, but the added screen area will save considerable time in panning and zooming. It's amazing how much less I pan and zoom on a 27" monitor than a 22"- it's a liberation and welcome time-saver! You might consider buying a good, used Dell Precision 6600 or 6700 with an i7, -they're 17.3" screens, some have Dell Ultrasharp, and these often have the mobile workstation cards- Quadros- in them. Better color correction too.

I don't know enough about how you would use the two computers, but you might also think of having one computer be CAD / graphics work oriented- the desktop, and the other used for Internet, taking notes, writing papers- and games. If the gaming was the laptop, you could plug it in- or docking station to your home monitor and use the full size monitor, keyboard, mouse or gaming control. The gaming performance will be limited by a single graphic card rather than SLI, so make it count- the fastest, most RAM most cores GeForce or Radeon HD, you can!

A final word _ you will greatly increase chances of employment- in the US at least- by knowing Revit, which is both a good program and used everywhere, and as architects are having difficulty getting work, if you learn Solidworks / Catia and engineering drafting, there is a high demand for that. It's difficult to learn those programs when you're not a student as the programs are so bloody expensive- Solidworks is at least $7,000, Catia, $15,000, but as a student, they're affordable in educational edition.

Good luck!



[Architectural Association School of Architecture, London, 1980]

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