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Design Studies: Laptop Guide for Students
Students in any design studies program or class need to be sure they have a computer capable of running the software necessary for the courses they are taking. Any questions about software or hardware please contact the technology team via email BITS@sohe.wisc.edu
Revised– July 2022
Starting fall 2021, all DS students will need a laptop that can run the software required by their classes.
Interior Architecture (IA) students cannot use any Mac product because Revit is not compatible with the MacOS operating system. IA students are required to purchase a Windows laptop with a video card (RTX 3050 minimum, RTX 3060 or better recommended).
Textiles & Fashion Design (TFD) students may use a Mac or Windows laptop. A Windows laptop must have a video card, a newer Macbook with an M1 processor is recommended.
The School of Human Ecology may provide need-based financial assistance to purchase school supplies for students who can demonstrate need. Email Assistant Dean, Patrick Jackson, Patrick.Jackson@wisc.edu for additional information and requests.
Choosing a computer that works with IA software:
If you are enrolled in the IA program you must choose a Windows laptop, because you will not be able to run Revit on any Mac computer which is required for your course. You will also need to make sure you choose a Windows laptop with a sufficiently powerful video card (also known as a GPU). While there are budget-oriented options for GPUs, more expensive/powerful GPUs will perform better and render faster in our IA applications. We are recommending students get laptops with at least RTX 3050 GPUs or better, however a RTX 3060 GPU would be my recommend pick. If you are unsure if your computer has the proper GPU, feel free to send us an email email@example.com
Laptop Recommendations for IA
These are three Windows laptop recommendations for Interior Architecture (IA) at different price points that will work, the prices may fluctuate:
-AMD Ryzen 5 5600H CPU
-RTX 3050 GPU
-512GB SSD/8GB RAM
-good budget option, not as powerful as other RTX 3060 laptops and a bit bulkier
- ASUS TUF DASH 15.6” (Current Price: $999, MSRP $1199)
-Intel i7 11370H
-RTX 3060 GPU
-512GB SSD/16GB RAM
-this laptop is plenty powerful, there are lots of alternatives in this price point too
-AMD Ryzen 7 5800HS CPU
-RTX 3060 GPU
-512GB SSD/16GB RAM
-One of the top reviewed laptops in this price point, would be BITS top recommendation
Choosing a computer that works with TFD software:
Either a Macbook or Windows laptop will work if you are enrolled in the TFD program. If you prefer a Windows laptop then you must make sure it has a graphics card from Nvidia or Radeon (AMD). If choosing a Macbook, it is highly recommended that it’s a newer model with the M1 or M2 processor. If you want to use an older Macbook with an Intel processor you must make sure it has a graphics card from AMD, also often called Radeon. I would recommend the following Macs:
- Recommended: Macbook Air 13 (TFD Only) - Starts at $1199 (Educational pricing)
- Also available: Macbok Air 13 (with M1 chip) – starts at $899 education pricing
Either of these computers should be great – the newer Macbook Airs have an updated design and faster CPU (M2 chip), but the Air’s with M1 are still fantastic computers if you are looking for a more affordable option. The Macbook Pros are also worth exploring, but they cost more and the additional computer power is not necessary for any of our programs. Any of the Windows machines from the IA list should be fine as well.
Ask us if you have any questions about computer hardware or vetting for specific laptops! Contact: BITS@sohe.wisc.edu