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By George Nicola (Expert Stager)

This won’t be top 10 best laptops for interior designers, since most brands use components produced by the same manufacturer with small tweaks.

Choose a laptop brand and components makes sense only when you will be squeezing it up to the max, which on its own does not make sense, since designers need to work on their business not for their business.

Speed and processing capability are what make your wildest design dreams a true experience. 

We researched everything you may ask for, from powerful gaming computers, inexpensive all-in-ones, second-hand, and even upgrading your own, then stripped out all brand names and split them into components.

Features like graphics processing power, storage space, and overall usability will be covered so that you may make an informed decision when purchasing a laptop for interior design.

You may take your virtual design abilities to the next level with any of the computers components on our list, regardless of your budget or level of technical experience.

And if you’ve read our blog post How 3D rendering evolved in the recent years, you will definitely need a serious machine to catch up with the competitors.

How not to research for the best laptop for interior design?

Word of caution here.

If you have spent a ton of time watching youtube videos for what computer to buy, you got it all wrong.

While some great channels provide amazing information, it’s either too geeky or strictly gaming related.

Because the PCs shown and tested on YouTube are typically designed for gaming rather than the specific CAD software designers use, it is not a good idea to rely on their advice when building a PC for design and CAD.

This suggests that they might be unable to run smoothly the software and hardware combinations required by a virtual interior designer.

For rendering 3D visuals in games, a gaming PC with a powerful graphics card may be ideal, but it may lack the processing speed or other components required for running a CAD application.

A computer optimised for gaming may not be the best choice for design work because the software for the two is typically different.

When choosing a laptop for interior designer who need to win projects, it is essential to undertake a close look of your own workflow and consider the specific hardware and software needs of one’s design workflow.

This will guarantee that the machine you purchase is robust and perfect for interior project enough to meet your needs.

What is virtual design

Virtual interior design is a modern way to redecorate your home without ever having to step foot inside.

It’s the perfect solution for those who don’t have the time or resources to hire additional in-house staff.

This process can include everything from discussing design ideas and color palettes, to creating mood boards, shopping lists, and 3D renderings of your space.

This type of designing, can get the same quality results as if you had hired two juniors designers in your office to work for you.

We’ve explained here how the sector changed forever in this blog post about interior designing.

Factors to Consider for the Best Computer for Virtual Design Software

Which PC component is most important in interior design workflow?

Most designers will tell you that their PC’s processor is the most critical part of their computer.

A designer’s workflow requires having at least a dozen tabs open, a few 3D and CAD apps, and tons of other stuff.

A powerful and fast processor is essential for managing these apps, including the intricate design jobs. And if the CPU it’s not powerful, it can significantly impact your workflow’s effectiveness.

Of course, it’s important to consider all components in a PC when choosing, as they all contribute to your work’s overall performance and efficiency.

Remember, the most powerful element in your computer is capped by the output of the weakest part.

Processor/CPU

As a one-person army designer, small studio or on-the-go ones, you don’t need the most powerful processor on the market, so you may save money by purchasing one of the many outstanding alternatives. 

Great option for interior designers are the following processors, suitable enough to cover most design jobs without becoming excessive:

Buying the best laptops SketchUp, Vectorworks, Home Designer Architectural, and AutoCAD Design workflow:

INTEL

If you choose a laptop with Intel Core i5, that middle-of-the-road processor can easily handle most digital design scenarios.

It’s an excellent option for folks who don’t want top-tier processing power but nonetheless value speed and stability.

It can run SketchUp, Vectorworks, Home Designer Architectural, and AutoCAD workflows well.

If you aim to choose a laptop at a slightly higher price bracket, the Intel Core i7 improves upon the already impressive performance of the Core i5.

This is the way to go if you need more oomph for more intensive design work.

AMD

If budget is on your mind but still want to buy something new, buy a laptop for interior design with AMD Ryzen 5.

That is another mid-range processor that excels at design tasks. It performs well and is less expensive than comparable Intel processors.

Equally well can handle SketchUp, Vectorworks, and AutoCAD workflows.

For those who demand perfect designers specs, the highest possible performance in that price range comes from the AMD Ryzen 7 is the way to go.

It’s more expensive than the other choices but delivers exceptional performance.

You can choose the one that best meets your demands and budget, as any of these CPUs will provide more than enough power for most virtual design projects.

Buying the best laptops SketchUp + Enscape, SketchUp + Vray workflow incl. CAD and Home Designer Architectural workflow:

This is the real deal and great for virtual design. In other words, the central processing unit (CPU) you select should be robust enough to meet the needs of the above applications.

For example, SketchUp and Enscape/Vray are both processor and GPU-intensive tools that can be greatly aided with a speedy and robust CPU.

Most small teams including interior design students use some form of 3D rendering as it’s perfect to present their projects, to the ever demanding clients and academics board.

In this blog post we’ve explained How Small Teams use 3D design perspectives.

Appropriate CPUs for use with SketchUp and Enscape, or Vray are listed below:

INTEL

The Intel Core i7 may not have the same power as the Core i9, but it’s still plenty fast for most design work. So users who want to buy a laptop and use it longer without needing a wall plug would benefit most from the Core i7 since it’s less power-consuming*.

The Intel Core i9 is a top-tier CPU designed to handle resource-heavy workloads efficiently. Those who demand top performance at all costs will benefit from this option. In addition, it will take heavy Enscape and Home Designer Architectural scenes as a walk in the park.

Is an Intel i7 / Ryzen 7 processor enough for interior design?

Most design tasks can be completed with an Intel i7 / Ryzen 5 processors.

When it comes to producing 3D models and intricate graphics, as well as running many apps in the background, an i7 / Ryzen 5 CPU will provide more than adequate power.

AMD

The AMD Ryzen 7 is an excellent choice for designers as a midrange processor.

It’s a good deal less than the comparable Intel Core i7 processor and provides similar performance.

The AMD Ryzen 9 is another top-tier CPU that excels in computationally intensive design projects.

It performs admirably and costs less than its Intel Core i9 equivalent.

You can choose the one that best fits your demands and budget, as any of these CPUs will provide more than enough power for most design projects.

However, to make sure your computer can manage your workflow efficiently, you also need to think about the graphics card, RAM, and storage space.

  • The workload and usage patterns of the user, as well as the laptop’s individual hardware and software configurations, make it challenging to evaluate the battery consumption of different CPUs on a laptop.

All else being equal, lower-power CPUs typically have lower battery consumption.

Is the AMD Ryzen 9 or the Intel Core i9 better for a laptop's battery life?

Depending on the exact model and generation, AMD processors can be more power-efficient than Intel processors.

Look for reviews and benchmarks that put a specific laptop for interior design through its paces with various battery-draining tasks to obtain a more realistic picture of its power needs. 

Knowing how long the laptop can go without being charged will help you plan accordingly.

GPU

Every design app that works with a rendering engine requires a serious graphics processing unit (GPU) that can keep up with the demands. 

For example, Enscape and Vray require a dedicated GPU to use the apps at their maximum capabilities.

Likewise, a good interior designer needs a fast and powerful GPU since it speeds up the rendering time and output resolution and allows the use of high-quality settings for global illumination and textures.

But, of course, there’s nothing wrong with designers who still render everything by hand; we’ve explained that in another blog post.

For those keen on their (another helpful blog post) Interior Presentations, a decent GPU also helps the experience.

GPUs perfect for use with SketchUp in conjunction with Enscape or Vray:

Before we continue with our TLDR we need to answer one technical question.

What is RTX, and how it benefits interior design software?

Designers love showing off their projects with a fancy renderings that’s where RTX comes handy.

Graphics cards using RTX technology make your interior design work with better real-time rendering using ray tracing and AI-accelerated rendering.

The ability of RTX GPUs to execute ray tracing computations in real-time allows for more detailed and lifelike graphics to be generated.

As a result of the RTX cards’ improved speed and accuracy in rendering 3D models with engines like Enscape, Twinmotion, and Lumion, their use is growing in popularity among 3D artists and designers.

Now, with this knowledge we can move to the specifics.

NVIDIA

The NVIDIA GeForce RTX is a top-tier graphics that perform well in computationally demanding applications.

Those who demand top performance at all costs will benefit from this option.

The NVIDIA GeForce GTX is less potent than the RTX, but it will still do most design work satisfactorily.

This is a decent option if you want a quick and dependable GPU but don’t need as much power as the RTX.

AMD

The AMD Radeon RX models over Radeon RX 6000 are another premium GPU that excels in computationally intensive design tasks and supports RTX.

However, compared to the NVIDIA GeForce RTX, it provides comparable performance at a lower price.

The AMD Radeon RX below Radeon RX 6000 are a mid-range graphics unit that excels at design tasks.

In addition, it performs admirably and costs less than the comparable NVIDIA GeForce GTX.

Select the GPU that best meets your demands in terms of price and performance, as they can handle most of the design work.

Make sure your computer does keep up with the rest of the components to ensure your app’s demands are met.

One of the best laptops in 2022 was a balanced machine with components that allow you to have the power then needed, but run it over 8 hours on battery.

Because of its long 8-hour battery life, the Dell XPS 13 7390 laptop is a fantastic choice for design projects on the go.

It can tackle whatever task you throw at it because to its 10th-generation Intel Core i7 processor and 16GB of RAM.

This laptop’s 13-inch Full High Definition (FHD) InfinityEdge screen ensures superb visuals.

Memory / RAM

Working on large projects, you’ll want to choose a sufficient amount of RAM to support the demands of both programs and the complexity and size of your projects.

SketchUp and Enscape/Vray are resource-intensive programs that can benefit from a high amount of RAM to ensure smooth performance and efficiency.

Generally, it’s a good idea to have at least 16GB of RAM for a SketchUp + Enscape or SketchUp + Vray workflow.

This should provide enough memory for most design tasks, including large projects.

However, if you’re working on particularly complex or large projects or running multiple programs simultaneously, you may want to consider having even more RAM.

Some specific RAM options that would be suitable for a SketchUp + Enscape or SketchUp + Vray workflow working on average interior design projects include:

32GB: is a good choice for those who need a high amount of memory for demanding design tasks and large projects.

64GB: is an even higher amount of memory suitable for demanding design tasks and extremely large projects.

Overall, the amount of RAM you need will depend on the specific demands of your workflow and the complexity and size of your projects.

Choosing a sufficient amount of RAM is a good idea to ensure smooth performance and efficiency, even if that means going above the 64 GB RAM on your machine.

Storage Capacity & Speed

The storage size and performance of your hard drives will certainly increase the versatility of your design workflow.

The exact specs of a laptop for design will rely on the user’s individual needs and the size and complexity of their projects.

Select a laptop with a large hard drive or solid-state drive (SSD) to ensure that you have enough storage capacity for all of your software installations and project files, as well as a fast storage drive for easy data access.

Here are some examples of good storage solutions for a laptop for interior design:

Minimum 2TB SSD: A 2TB SSD (solid-state drive) is an excellent alternative for individuals who require a large amount of storage capacity and quick data access. 

On these drives, you should keep mostly active projects, as the speed of the drive is significantly faster than a standard hard disc and makes every software runs even quicker.

A 1GB M.2 / NVMe: is a fantastic option as the main drive. Those who are looking to wait less than 10 seconds to open software chose this. These are typically used for the operating system (Drive C, as most of us refer to it)

Minimum 8TB hard drive: A 8TB hard drive is a fantastic option for individuals who require a great deal of storage space but are ready to trade some speed for a lower price.

This is where you should keep your backup files, 3D models, textures, photos, and in general, the entire library.

External Drive: To be safe, it is advisable to back up everything to an additional external drive.

An 8 TB backup is perfect for designers with small to average size projects.

It is essential to select a storage choice that fits your capacity and speed requirements.

You should also examine the laptop’s general performance and dependability while selecting.

Should you buy a gaming laptop to work as an interior designer expert?

If you are on a budget a gaming laptop can be optional too, but it’s essential to consider your demands.

  • Gaming laptops are perfect for SketchUp and Enscape/Vray since they focus performance and visuals
  • Often are more expensive and may include features that aren’t suited for design work.
  • Lightweight it’s not their primary goal, nor minimalistic design, so no showing off with the clients.

If you don’t need the extra bells and whistles, gaming laptops are for games, not work.

Buying a second-hand laptop for interior design vs. upgrading your own laptop?

When choosing between a used laptop and an upgrade on your current one, consider these factors:

Budget: A used laptop may be cheaper than buying new parts, as you need to pay for a replacement, and you risk not finding the correct parts because of outdated components. Buying a used laptop comes with risks, such as hidden damage or faulty parts.

Performance: Upgrading your laptop may be better for design work. Depending on your needs, you can add RAM, a faster processor, or a specialized graphics card. But sometimes, if you update too many parts, you might pay the price of a new one.

Compatibility: Make sure a used laptop works with your design software and hardware.

Warranty: Buying a used laptop may mean you’re responsible for repairs or troubles. Depending on the components you pick, upgrading your laptop may be warranted.

When choosing between a used laptop or an upgrade, evaluate your goals and budget. Your situation will determine the best solution.

Ergonomics and minimalistic design best for any interior designer laptop?

  • Pick a good laptop that fits an excellent adjustable stand or keyboard tray to change the height and angle for comfort.
  • Select a widescreen laptop to reduce eye strain.
  • Get a sleek, modern laptop with minimum decoration.
  • Ergonomic keyboard and mouse to reduce wrist and finger strain.
  • Reduce eye strain with a laptop with an adjustable backlit display and brightness.
  • Powerful cooling fans or liquid cooling to keep temps cool. (not the most ergnonomical and slim options, but a pure performance beast)
  • Get a laptop with all-day battery life.

MacBook vs Windows laptop for interior designer - specific caveats

MacBook

Pros: Mac OS is intuitive and simple to use, with access to a wide range of software and tools specifically designed for graphic and design, popular laptops with sleek and stylish design.

The retina display offers high resolution and excellent color accuracy.

Cons: Macs can be more expensive than comparable Windows laptops and the hardware is not always as customizable.

Windows Laptop

Pros: Windows laptops are often more affordable than Macs, with a wide range of hardware options to choose from.

Windows laptops have access to a wider selection of software and tools including 3rd party plugins. More geeky designers will love having wider access to tools.

Cons: Windows laptops may require more technical know-how to set up and use, as the user interface is less intuitive than Mac OS.

Some Windows laptops may not have the same color accuracy and resolution of a MacBook’s retina display.

Once you select your machine, you might want to give it a try and learn How to develop and improve your design team.

What OS to install on a designer's laptop?

Depending on your unique needs and preferences, you can use Windows 10 Home or a more recent version of the Windows operating system as an interior designer.

Windows 10 Home is a suitable operating system for the majority of chores, and if you require more advanced capabilities, you need want to investigate Windows 10 Pro or Windows 10 Enterprise.

These variants offer capabilities such as Remote Desktop and BitLocker encryption, both essential tools for remote work.

Your best option will ultimately depend on your specific demands and preferences.

Therefore, before selecting an operating system, analyze your budget and the unique requirements of your work.

Key Takeaways

You have reached the end of the blog post, and these would be the five tips for selecting a laptop for interior design that you need to memorize.

  • Determine beforehand your laptop’s price range, it makes the selection process easier
  • Your work requires a laptop with a robust CPU to perform modeling and rendering.
  • Sufficient RAM to support your software and projects.
  • High-resolution display with a proper viewing angle. This will assist you in better visualizing your designs.
  • A heavy laptop is uncomfortable to use for extended periods.
    But showing off with a slim and beautiful underpowered machine, it’s not an option either
  • Spare some cash for accessories like nice mouse, carrier bag and others.

Caveats:

  • When purchasing an old laptop, be wary of hidden damage and replacement parts.
  • Select a computer with a supported operating system for your design software and hardware.
  • Choose performance and dependability rather than its appearance alone.

If you have questions about choosing the best laptop for ypu, reach us at tallboxdesign we’ll be happy to help.

George Nicola

VIRTUAL STAGING EXPERT / After eight years+ working in high-end design and property business I realised that we are missing a critical part of the property business. We were not providing enough value to these old and empty properties. Not every buyer would have the opportunity to see the potential of vacant property or in a bad state. The idea of Virtual Furniture Staging the property gives the buyer and seller an incredible chance in seconds of taking the critical decision.