Computer Recommendations

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The fundamental role of drawing in the education of the architect has been central to the curriculum at U-SoA; and over the years both faculty and students have produced beautiful and rigorous drawings that have been the outcome of countless hours of research and commitment. Today, these drawings are generated both manually and digitally; and it is essential that each student be equipped with the proper tools to engage the multi-faceted nature of architectural drawing.

U-SoA utilizes the computer as an essential part of a modern and advanced undergraduate education. The curriculum incorporates a variety of two dimensional and three dimensional software including Autocad, Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, Google Sketch-Up Pro, Rhino, Revit, and 3D Max. Therefore, it is mandatory that incoming students purchase a computer capable of handling these sophisticated graphic and design applications.

Due to the changing nature of the electronic world, U-SoA refrains from prescribing any specific computer brands, processor models, etc. The School cannot guarantee that any single device will be adequate to address all computing needs. The following set of guidelines is meant to assist each student in purchasing a computer capable of supporting the software requirements of the current curriculum.

U-SoA and the University of Miami at large is set up to support Microsoft Windows operating systems. Students who own Intel processor Apple MacOS computer that meets the school's requirment may configure their system to run Windows via Bootcamp.  Newer M1 and M2 processor Apple computers do not offer bootcamp.

U-SoA requires each student to have a laptop with the minimmum requirements.

Processor: Any model using Intel Core i7 processor or equivalent or newer.

Screen Size: The single most important consideration for AutoCAD and graphic work. The School recommends laptops with 15-inch displays as the minimum screen size. However, we advise that students purchase a laptop with an external monitor (as large as possible), as laptops with larger screen sizes usually add 1-2 pounds of weight and have decreased battery life, making them less mobile.

External Optical Mouse: Second to screen size in importance, an external mouse with two buttons is an essential tool for multiple software applications, particularly AutoCAD. The current “track-pads” and built-in mice on laptops will not be used.

RAMThe School requires a minimum of 16 GB of RAM.  Recommended 32 GB for advanced rendering.

Hard Disk: A solid-state drive (SSD) of no less than 512 Gigabytes of space.

GPU (Graphical Processing Unit) Video Card: It is recommended for computers to have a dedicated graphics card of at least 6 GB. NVIDIA and AMD offer cards specifically targeted for content creation applications.

Extended Onsite Warranty: The School strongly recommends that each student purchase extended, on-site warranty service for their computers. Most of these offerings include accident coverage as well. On-site warranty means the company will send someone to the home or campus drop-off location to fix the computer, rather than having to wait for weeks or more for mail-in service.

Applications such as Revit, 3d Max, and Autocad Architecture (not to be confused with Autocad) are PC compatible only. Therefore, the School of Architecture highly recommends Windows-based workstations.  Mac users with Intel processors may consider Bootcamp if their system contains sufficient hard drive space.  New M1 Mac systems do not offer Bootcamp.

Most software requirements for the School of Architecture are free to students:

  • Autodesk (Autocad Architecture, Revit, 3D Max)
  • Adobe Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, etc)
  • Microsoft Office 365
  • Rhino (Distributed by SoA)
    • Click here to submit license request under Desktop Support - Software Installation
    • Students interested in purchasing their own license can take advantage of Rhino's discount price offering via the link below.  Recommended for 5th year and Graduate students.

Visit website below for list of available applications

The following software are offered at a discounted price for students: