Laptop recommendations (June 2023)

Dear students! Please read recommendations below and then do your own research. You can email us at  with a list of models you are considering (preferably with links to their descriptions) and we will reply with our comments and suggestions. Our email:

We recommend gaming class laptops for our program. You can consider Dell Gaming Laptops, Dell Alienware Laptops, Lenovo Gaming Laptops, HP Gaming Laptops. Choose a particular 15”, 16" or 17” screen model and customize it according to your budget and the following recommendations:

  • Intel Core i7-12700H or better processor
  • At least 16 GB memory (RAM)
  • At least 500 GB storage (SSD)
  • Dedicated non-Intel video card (NVidia or AMD) with at least 4 GB of video memory 

Comments on some particular laptop models

  • Dell G Series Gaming Laptops - some configurations make good and affordable choices - check out available configurations. Please consider adding expended warranty (3 or 4 years) and accidental damage protection.

  • Dell XPS 15 or XPS 17 laptops with NVidia video card - XPS models are lightweight and more expensive than G Series models. Still, some configurations can be a good choice for you - check available configurations. Please consider adding expended warranty (3 or 4 years) and accidental damage protection.

  • Dell Alienware - powerful laptops with expensive extended warranty.

  • Microsoft Surface Pro & Surface Book - we have seen many Surface Pro & Surface Book laptops with cooling issues, that's why we do not recommend Microsoft Surface laptops.

  • Razer Blade - powerful, but very expensive laptops with questionable support in Canada.

  • Apple MacBook Pro - modern Apple laptops are NOT suitable for our program as they can run Windows applications through emulation only which significantly degrades performance. Even if you are a Mac user not familiar with Windows platform, we recommend buying a Windows laptop for the program.

Note that Dell’s weekly discounts can be up to 40% off. Weekly discounts start on Monday and are valid until Friday morning – 6:00 am. They are available here:

When you buy a laptop from one of the top brands, consider purchasing a 3-Year extended warranty (for some models this is the default option). The Accidental Damage Protection option provides comprehensive coverage.

Other reputable manufacturers such as ASUS, Acer, MSI, and Gigabyte offer laptops that can be cheaper than major brands. However, their warranty and support services may not be as good; the warranty is usually 1 year only. There are many similar gaming-class laptops with specifications that are suitable for architectural design work. You can find one with a good discount at online computer stores such as , and

We strongly recommend buying a Windows PC laptop for our program. If you already have an Intel-based MacBook Pro laptop, it can also be powerful enough - email us to check.

Important!!! M1 and M2 chip based Mac computers are not suitable for our program as they cannot reliably run many required software systems, including Autodesk Revit. 

Recommended laptop specifications:

Performance related



Main Parameters


Processor /


Processor Brand & Model

Go to to compare the performance of high-end mobile processors.



  • Processors with CPU mark above 25,000
  • Both Intel and AMD Ryzen are good choices

Not acceptable:

  • Intel Core i5, i3, Atom, Celeron series

Memory /



      As architectural related software systems process a lot of information, the amount of memory determines speed of operations. Basically having more memory is better.

Recommended:  At least 16 GB 


Not acceptable: 8 GB or less


       Is it possible to add more memory in the future?

Prefer a laptop with a free memory slot to to add more RAM in the future.

Video Card /

Graphics Card /

Graphics Controller 



How fast is the video card in performing graphics operations?

We recommend video cards with Average 3D Mark above 7,000:

OpenGL and DirectX support:

        Graphic applications are built on two “foundations”: OpenGL and DirectX. OpenGL is more oriented to professional applications; DirectX is more oriented to games. Not all  video cards support OpenGL.

Recommended: Choose a laptop with a graphics card that supports OpenGL. Laptops with 2 video cards, one of which supports OpenGL are good.

Go to to further compare performance of particular graphics cards. Enable “Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit” benchmark test to see performance in OpenGL graphics (higher value means higher performance).

Not acceptable: Laptops with one video card which is Intel video cards. 

Type of video memory:

       There are 2 technologies. Cheaper graphics cards share memory space with the computer’s main memory (RAM); discrete/professional graphics cards have their own dedicated memory.

Choose a laptop with dedicated video memory. If graphics memory is described as “shared” or “dynamically allocated”, then the laptop won’t make a good choice.


      The Graphics Card market is a dedicated market and the lead manufacturers usually offer better products

Look for NVidia or ATI/AMD-based video cards. Avoid laptops which have only Intel video cards, they are significantly less powerful for 3D modelling.

Size of Video Memory:

      Generally, the larger the video memory, the faster the graphics processing  speed

Recommended: 8 GB or more

Minimum: 6 GB

Storage / SSD


      How much data you can store on your SSD

500 GB or more. Disk sizes of 250 GB may be adequate during your first year, but you will find it to be too small in the upper years. 

Operating System 



The OS is a set of programs that your computer uses to perform basic functions, such as start-up, running applications, and controlling components and peripherals on your computer. 


  • Windows 11 Pro
  • Windows 11 Home Edition
  • Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
  • Windows 10 Home Edition 64-bit

Not acceptable:

  • Linux, iOS, Android, Chrome OS




Main Parameters




Screen size


17” (but heavy), 15”

Not a good choice: 13” or less

Screen Type:

       Technology of screen matrix


- Matte screen (usually IPS panel)

Not recommended for persons with vision-related problems:

- Glass/glossy screens in bright lightning conditions



Most powerful laptops can be quite heavy; they can weigh more than 8 lb. Manufacturers often label such laptops as “Mobile Desktops” or “Mobile Workstations”. It may be challenging and inconvenient to carry a heavy laptop when commuting to/from school. Lightweight laptops (ultrabooks) are more expensive than laptops with the same performance that are not optimized for weight.


Additional Warranty:

       Many laptop manufacturers offer various upgrades/extensions to their standard warranty


Purchase “3 year extended warranty” if the standard warranty on your laptop is 1 year.

If you think that over time your laptop might incur accidental physical damage (i.e. cracks from drops or liquid spill), we recommend purchasing “Accidental damage warranty” coverage as well.


Laptop reviews and various performance ratings are available here:

CPU, Video and other performance ratings are available here: (easier to read) (more detailed, but harder to read)

Applies to:

  • > Our recommendations
Article ID: KB000139
Modified Date: 6/14/2023 3:55:23 PM
Version: 23.0