Computer Recommendations

The Interior Design Department does not require students to purchase computers, but highly recommends that students consider doing so. Interior Design students begin using sophisticated 3D modeling and visualization software in the first year of the curriculum, increasing reliance on a variety of design-related software programs as essential tools. Professional designers will rely increasingly on 3D modeling and virtual reality, which requires ever more sophisticated software and hardware. Students should plan to spend considerable time inside and outside of classes using computers with high-end graphic capabilities over high-speed internet connections.

The Interior Design Department provides high-performance computer workstations in its classrooms. When possible, students with demonstrated need will be provided with remote access to one of a limited number of campus-based computers so that they can work from home. However, we cannot guarantee that you will have access to a lab computer (while on campus or remotely) when it is most convenient for you. For these reasons, students should consider the recommended laptop/desktop and hardware specifications below, assess their current computers, and use this guide when planning to invest in a new computer.

The following recommendations describe the computer specifications required to productively use the design software in our curriculum. Specifications for SketchUp and Revit are identified below. Minimum requirements may vary, so opt for the higher spec if possible. Consult with your computer sales vendor of choice to find the right combination of performance and price.

DescriptionPC/Mac* Laptop or Desktop Recommended Hardware Specifications
The following recommendations describe the computer specifications required to productively use the design software in our curriculum. Specifications for SketchUp and Revit are identified below. Minimum requirements may vary, so opt for the higher spec if possible. Consult with your computer sales vendor of choice to find the right combination of performance and price.

Windows-Based Computer SystemsPC systems are widely available and options for customization and combination of features provides higher levels of performance for less money than a comparably priced Mac. All required software runs on PC systems. Mac versions of all programs are available except Revit and Enscape, which require Windows emulation software, like Bootcamp. Many students use iMac, Mac, or MacBook, but all software instruction is Windows-based.
See *Apple Computer Systems* summary below for more details.
Operating System*64-bit Microsoft® Windows® 10 or Windows 11. See the Autodesk Product Support Lifecycle for support information.
*Mac OS 11+ (Big Sur), 12+ (Monterey), and Mac OS.15+ (Catalina).

Browser | SoftwareMicrosoft Edge, Google Chrome, Firefox (latest version) and internet connection required to download and run most software programs.
SketchUp Pro for Windows requires .NET Framework version 4.5.2. For more information about the .NET framework, click here. Revit for Mac requires .NET Framework Version 4.8 or later.
Internet ConnectionSoftware download, license registration, and interactivity require internet connection.
Online Learning Recommendations. A hard-wired connection to your internet router using an ethernet cable is the best way to ensure your online class experiences are stable and capable of transmitting high-quality, large-file presentations and streaming videos. Untethered WiFi connection speeds, typically used via laptop, are slower and less stable.
High-speed internet at 100Mbps or faster are highly recommended for the best online learning experience, or for remote connection to campus-lab computers. Check your internet speed (free) using the Ookla Speedtest. See this Bellevue College Technology Resources page for help obtaining internet service and technology purchasing assistance.

Online Learning Recommendations. A hard-wired connection to your internet router using an ethernet cable is the best way to ensure your online class experiences are stable and capable of transmitting high-quality, large-file presentations and streaming videos. Untethered WiFi connection speeds, typically used via laptop, are slower and less stable.
High-speed internet at 100Mbps or faster are highly recommended for the best online learning experience, or for remote connection to campus-lab computers. Check your internet speed (free) using the Ookla Speedtest. See this Bellevue College Technology Resources page for help obtaining internet service and technology purchasing assistance.


CPU Type | PCMulti-Core Intel® i-Series, Xeon®, AMD® Ryzen, Ryzen Threadripper PRO.
2.5GHz or Higher. 3+ GHz recommended.
Purchase the highest CPU GHz speed you can afford, or that is available with computer.
SketchUp will run on multiple-processor machines, but will only use one processor core. Rendering programs will typically use multiple cores. Autodesk® Revit® software products will use multiple cores, using up to 16 cores for near-photorealistic rendering operations.
CPU Type | Mac*SketchUp: 2.1+ GHz Intel processor or current generation Apple M1 processor.
Revit: 2.7 GHz quad-core Intel i7 or newer. Get highest affordable GHZ.
Only Intel Macs can operate Enscape.
Memory8 GB minimum. 16-32 GB highly recommended; DDR4, 2666-3200MHz
• 8 GB is sufficient for editing a single Revit model up to approximately 300 MB on disk. For typical 3D modeling and rendering in SketchUp or Rhino, 16 GB RAM is recommended.
• 16 GB is sufficient for editing a single Revit model up to approximately 700 MB on disk.
• 32 GB RAM is highly recommended for complex 3D interior models, real-time rendering and Virtual Reality – to prepare for increasing use of these features.
Video Display (Monitor)1,280 x 1,024 with true color Maximum; recommend 1,680 x 1,050 with true color
DPI Display Setting: 150% or less. Laptops with smaller display size may have lower resolution, but any laptop should be enhanced with an external monitor for greater productivity.
Dual Monitor Recommendations. Monitor size and configuration options:
• (2) 20” minimum each (identical model not required). Attach to desktop or laptop.
• (1) 24” monitor attached to laptop or smart TV.
• (1) ultra-wide monitor with 21:9 aspect ratio or similar. Attach to desktop or laptop.
Your phone is not an acceptable second screen for online classes or productivity.
Check your desktop or laptop computer for video display ports (HDMI, DisplayPort, DVI, Thunderbolt, USB-C, VGA), verify monitor connection is compatible, and get the necessary connecting cables.
GPU / Graphics Card : PCIntel GPUs that come with most consumer-class computers are not compatible with software required for INDES program.
3D class, DirectX® 11 compliant graphics card, OpenGL 3.1 Compliant, with onboard GPU memory (1GB minimum, 4GB recommended) and 29 GB/s Bandwidth. Shader Model 5 recommended by Autodesk.
NVIDIA GeForce cards highly recommended, or AMD with similar specifications.
• Recommended minimum performance: GTX 1650 SUPER or higher.
• Highly recommended for future capacity: RTX 20 Series or RTX 30 Series.
To test your existing graphics card compatibility with SketchUp, please download and run the SketchUp Checkup application.
Hard DiskInternal Drive(s). Dual drives (desktop PC) can add storage capacity and increase boot speed.
Solid State Drives (SSD) are faster and more stable than optical Hard Disk Drives (HDD SATA), but higher cost per GB.
• SSD: 256GB-1TB SSD for laptops, or 500GB-1TB for desktops.
• HDD: 500-1TB HDD SATA for laptop, or 1TB-2TB with 10,000 RPM speed for desktops.
External Drive: Recommend additional external HDD with at least 1TB storage.
Pointing Device2-button mouse with scroll-wheel (notched, incremental click wheels are more precise for navigating CAD/models). Mac Magic Mouse will not work with SketchUp or Revit., not will laptop touchpads or navigation nubs.
Peripherals Keyboard. Full-size including a numeric pad. If using a laptop, please use an external, accessory keyboard (wired or wireless).
Headphones. Wired or wireless with padded speakers and integrated microphone for remote learning or use in the labs (where there are no internal speakers installed).
Web Cam. Class participation via video is required in all classes. You may join online meetings from any device that has a web cam (including your phone). Choose a virtual background if you'd like to obscure your environment. Don't overlook Alexa video and other camera-ready devices already in your home.
Power Strip / USB Hub. With surge protection. Consider an external USB hub device if your computer is few available USB ports.
Display Cables. For external monitor: HDMI, DisplayPort, DVI, Thunderbolt, USB-C, VGA, etc. Verify compatible monitor connection and get the necessary connecting cables.
Ethernet Cable. For fast, stable connection to internet, especially during classes.
Cloud Storage | External Hard Drive. Backing up your work to the cloud and a secondary storage location is especially important. Even when system errors crash your computer, frequent backups of your work will make it easier to recover your most recent work. You are responsible for any lost files because you can control backup frequency and location.
*Apple Computer Systems*Consult an Apple sales representative for equivalent iMac, Mac Pro, or Macbook specifications.
A summary of general recommendations:
 2.1 or higher GHz Intel processor or current generation Apple M1 processor
 8GB RAM
 Graphic cards: 3D class video card with 1 GB of memory or higher and support for hardware acceleration. Video card driver supports OpenGL version 3.1 or higher.
 64-bit Intel CPU (quad-core Intel i7 or newer)
Apple bundles the following Mac systems minimally compatible features.
 Apple Mac Pro® 4.1 or later
 MacBook Pro® 5.1 or later
 iMac® 8.1 or later
 Mac mini® 3.1 or later
 MacBook Air® 2.1 or later
 MacBook® 5.1 or later
NOTE: Please be aware that several software programs you will learn in the program are not available for Mac operating systems. Neither Enscape, a rendering program used in INDES 169 SketchUp, nor Revit, used in INDES 262, will run on MacOS. For students who want the option to complete work at home as much as possible, you may find a PC computer preferable.
However, if you currently have or wish to purchase a Mac, there are several options available that allow access to these programs. 1) You can utilize remote access to the Interior Design computer lab through a VPN, if resource capacity allows. 2) As COVID protocols allow, you may be able to use computer labs on campus. 3) You can install a Windows emulation program on your Intel-chip Mac: Bootcamp or Virtual Machine (Parallels Desktop 15 for Mac, or newer).
Learn more about using Autodesk Revit or Autodesk Revit LT software with Boot Camp, part of macOS that enables you to install and run Microsoft Windows (and Windows-based applications) on a Mac® computer or with Parallels Desktop, a system utility available from Parallels, Inc. that allows you to run applications in each operating system without restarting your computer.
SketchUp Operating System Compatibility
SketchUp 2022 for Mac supports MacOS 12.0 (Monterey) but does not support MacOS 10.14 (Mojave) or older, VMWare, or Parallels Desktop.

 

Design Software Programs – the following programs are installed in the department labs


• Revit Architecture – latest version (Free from Autodesk Education Community website)
• AutoCAD – optional (Free from Autodesk Education Community website)
• Adobe Creative Cloud – check with your instructor (may require monthly subscription at student rate)
• SketchUp Studio – latest version at student discount
• Rhinoceros 3D (optional) – latest version (Select Students or Faculty tab).

Last Updated March 25, 2022