Which Laptop Should an Architect Choose: Dell XPS or Precision?

Dell XPS or Precision: Which is the best laptop for today's architect? Get all the facts you need to make the right decision.
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Dell XPS or Precision: Which Laptop Is Best For Today’s Architect

As an architect, you have a lot to juggle to ensure the smooth flow of work. Having a laptop is necessary to help you draft and design your concepts and store them away safely. Modern-day architecture calls for the use of heavy software and tools, including but not limited to:

  • ArchiCAD
  • Rhino
  • 3ds Max
  • Vectorworks
  • Revit

These resources require a powerful laptop with the proper configuration. Unfortunately, choosing from the myriad of computers available on the market can be such a daunting task. This article compares two of the most popular laptops for architects and looks at what makes them stand out from the crowd. You will also learn why you should choose one over the other.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Laptop for Architecture

High-quality laptops that support architecture don’t come cheap. As such, you want to ensure that you get value for your investment. This is why you need to check that the machine you end up with has the crucial features to support architectural programs.

CPU Processor 

The CPU is one of the most crucial components of a laptop. The better the CPU performance, the faster your machine will handle Adobe and 3D modeling programs. At a minimum, a laptop for architecture should have a 4-core processor with at least 2.4 GHz clock speed. For multi-threaded architecture tasks, go for a 6-core processor.

GPU (Graphics Processing Unit)

Your laptop must have a dedicated graphics card for architecture purposes. Many programs like Revit and Rhino rely on GPU hardware acceleration for the best performance results. An AMD Radeon or NVIDIA card with at least 4 GB RAM is a recommendable choice.


When looking at the laptop’s storage, you will choose between HDD and SSD. SSD storage is more expensive but performs faster than HDD. Consider going for a machine with SDD storage for the operating system and your architecture programs. You may also want to buy HDD as backup storage for your files.


The size of the drive should be another crucial factor to consider. Architecture programs require a lot of space to process and store your work, especially Photoshop files and 3D models. Consider a 1 TB drive or choose the minimum, then buy an external drive for storage.


Apart from the internal components, you also need to check the external ports on the laptop. For example, if you can connect it to an external screen, you can enhance your productivity by approximately 50%. Some connectivity features to consider include Thunderbolt 3 ports, DisplayPort, or HDMI if you intend to connect it to an external monitor. If you take a lot of pictures, an SD card slot would be necessary.

Screen Size and Resolution

For the best attention to detail, a laptop with a screen size between 15 and 17 inches is ideal for architectural design and rendering. The Full High Definition resolution should be sufficient for the work at hand. However, ultra-high definition resolutions like 4 K or 5 K will keep you prepared for future trends.

With these factors in mind, take a look at Dell XPS and Precision models to make an informed decision.

Dell XPS

Dell XPS comes as the ideal consumer laptop and falls in the ‘luxury’ line of these portable machines. It’s a lightweight machine that only weighs 4 pounds. It’s made out of a single aluminum shell and a keyboard deck that features carbon fiber. The keyboard lacks a number pad, but the keys are well-spaced-out, backlit, and chiclet-style.

Features of Dell XPS For Architects

  • Auxiliary ports: it has two USB 3.1 ports with PowerShare, one Thunderbolt 3, an SD card slot, and a headset jack. However, it lacks an optical drive.
  • Fingerprint sensor: it’s located on the power button and is easy to set up.
  • Display: Dell XPS has UHD 4K resolution that provides a clear view and accommodates several ready-to-click interfaces. The colors are vivid, and the contrast matches Adobe RGB color gamut 100%. XPS offers the best display on the touchscreen, with its anti-glare and infinity edge features.
  • Performance: Its 8th-generational H-series processor provides a complete experience for architectural work. While it’s not as good as i9 processors, its 32 GB RAM matches up to the demands of most applications.
  • Battery life: the 97WHr battery provides you with about 4 hours of general use. However, if you want superior battery life depending on how much you use your laptop, you’re better off with other options.

Dell Precision 7730

Precision laptops are mobile workstations fitted with all the right features to handle heavy-duty functions. If your budget does not constrain you, this is the laptop for architectural designs. As a business-grade model, you can use it for eight hours a day without it losing its power. Precision also features better video card options for architect work.

Features of Dell Precision For Architects

The first thing you will notice is the weight. Although slimmer than its predecessors, it has a sleeker and sophisticated design.

  • Auxiliary ports: it comes with a smart card reader, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, and an SD card slot. On the right side are two USB 3.1 Type-A ports and at the back are an Ethernet port, HDMI, power jack, and a mini DisplayPort.
  • Display: the resolution is 4K and is sharp, outstanding, and precise in bringing out the details.
  • Performance: it features an Intel Core i9-8950HK CPU with six cores, making it a powerhouse for CAD software. The 8 GB GDDR5 memory provides enough power for graphics-intensive programs.
  • Battery life: the laptop powers off after about 4 hours of continuous use at moderate brightness.

Precision Or XPS: What Is The Best Dell Laptop For Architects

Dell Precision makes an excellent choice for architects. It’s arguably the most powerful workstation available on the market today. The keyboard is comfortable, the chassis is exceptionally designed, and a world-class CPU and graphics processor.

If you need a more professional view on other factors to consider when choosing a laptop for architectural work, experts at Advantage Industries are here to help. We specialize in assisting architects in the DC Metro Area to make the right IT decisions and get the right IT services and support. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.