I spent this past week and weekend cramming for the LEED GA exam and luckily was able to pass it and put it behind me. Because of that, I wasn't able to get much work done for the blog. However, I have been getting a lot of questions asking what kind of computer do I use to create my illustration. 90% of the images you see on this site were created by the laptop I have now. The fact of the matter is, I could probably get by with my old laptop that I used in undergrad which is much less powerful. The techniques that I present on this site are focused on originality and not on Ultra realism. Instead of building huge models and rendering at high resolutions for days on end (which require lots of processing power and graphics), I have always chosen the route of quick base renderings (or no renderings) with most of my time spent in Photoshop. Now, don't get me wrong, having a faster computer like the one I have now still speeds things up in some areas. I also still need the speed in areas outside of architectural illustrations such as when I am working in Revit or other power hungry apps. The point is, for what I do on this site, an expensive computer with a lot of processing power is not a necessity.
So, what kind of computer do I use? It is a Vaio F series that I bought my last year of Grad school. It has an Intel Core i7 processor @ 1.60GHz with 4 GBs of Ram (I will be doubling that here shortly). There is a GeForce 310M graphics card which is relatively weak at only 512 MB dedicated memory. Its not a gaming laptop by any means but it gets the job done.
My biggest mistake when buying this laptop was not putting enough focus on the screen. The viewing angle on the Vaio F series screen is horrendous. If I move my head up 2 inches or down 2 inches, the screen goes from washed out to brutally dark. Using a screen with great color reproduction, wide viewing angles, deep blacks, and high contrast rations is often overlooked or low on the priority list. If I have any advice for an architect student or professional when buying a laptop or desktop, its not to overlook the screen. I have since bought a second monitor with better specs but that doesn't help me when Im on the road. I hope this answers a lot of your questions and let me know if I missed anything.