Top 10 Best Laptops for Graphic Design in 2020, Good for Students Too

Are laptops of regular use good for graphic designing? Our answer to this question is “NO”. If you are a new graphic designer, then you would think of using the regular laptop for graphic designing in order to save few bucks. But believe us; this will not work at all.

Now when you are reading this post, means definitely you are keen to be a graphic designer and so start looking for the best laptops for graphic design and animation that supports 2D as well as 3D designs. Picking up the right laptop for graphics is a tricky job, unlike picking up a gamer’s laptop. The best laptops for graphic design students are the one that offers proper display size and screen resolution. It should also meet your CPU and RAM requirements.

We’re usually quite adept at picking out gaming laptops and putting together gaming PCs. We know what types of games we want and what sort of specifications the device needs to have but unfortunately, we aren’t as skilled at picking out laptops for designing. Even though they follow almost the same criteria as gamers, picking out laptops for designers can be a bit tricky as the display size and resolution also come into play along with the regular RAM and CPU requirements.

Graphics Design Laptop

What kind of laptops generally graphic designers prefer? Most of the designers consider using iMac or MacBook because these are the powerful devices available in the market. Even Windows machine can perform better if you know the right picks. When you are a newbie in this field, there are several other options available for you which you can further find in this article. The graphic design applications are intensive and to successfully run them over a laptop, you need a device with enough processing power. Have a look at the technical specifications related to the graphic card and also take care of the screen size.

We’ve put together a list of the top 10 Best Laptops for Graphics Designers that will aid designers in doing their job well.

Our Top 3 Picks of Best Laptops for Graphic Design

Acer Predator Helios 300

Acer Predator Helios 300 New Model Top3
  • 9th Gen i7 Processor, 6GB GPU
  • 16GB RAM, 256 GB SSD
  • Less Storage
  • Bit heavy and hot

Microsoft Surface Pro 6

MS Surface Pro 7 For Graphics Design Top3
  • 10th Gen, i7 Processor
  • Good Build 
  • Graphics card
  • Missing some ports

Apple MacBook Pro

New MacBook Pro Top3
  • 512 GB Flash Storage HD
  • 9th Gen 6-Core i7 & 16GB RAM
  • Expensive
  • Not for Windows users

What do Graphic Designers and Animators Need in a Laptop?

There are few things that a graphic designer should keep in mind before buying a laptop for designing. Most of the designers usually end up buying a machine that is under powered and doesn’t have much processing power to render things quickly.

CPU and RAM

These are the two crucial things you need to check when buying a laptop for designing. Graphics designing is a very resource intensive task and having less RAM or processing power can lead to slow render times, system hangs and over all unwanted delay. Usually, it’s better to invest more in a laptop with better specs because the device will start to pay itself over time.

For modern day designing such as designer students, it’s suggested that designers have at least a quad core processor along with 8 GB of RAM. More RAM can be added later if 8GB simply doesn’t cut it. For professional designers, more powerful laptops are recommended, preferably the extreme series processors and 12+GB of RAM.

Graphics Card

Unlike in gaming, the graphics card on a designing laptop is basically used to process the image/video to be displayed on the screen. The GPU should be carefully selected keeping in mind the type of display your laptop has. A laptop with a higher resolution and a higher pixel density will require a GPU to match.

If you're just creating 2D work, you can save money by not getting a high-end GPU. What you get with a high-end graphics card is to ability to move around a highly detailed or textured 3D model with no lag. Such a GPU can handle detailed textured 3D scenes and move around without lag.

Display

The most important part of selecting the best laptop for a designer is its display. A display with a higher resolution would mean more detailed images with proper depth and clarity. A resolution of 1920x1080 pixels should provide ample working space and still be able to show menus and control palettes. Next consideration is screen size. A larger screen will enable you to see details clearer (if the resolution is high enough) and make it easier to click on the menus and control palettes. In our opinion, a 15-inch screen with a resolution of 1920x1080 is the minimum requirement for a laptop to be efficiently used for graphics designing.

These were the points we looked for in selecting the best laptops for graphic design. By the way, if you are a gaming addict, you can use these laptops for graphic design and gaming too. The laptops mentioned below are the best compromise between specifications and cost and are perfect for both professional graphics designers and novices who are just starting out.

10 Best Laptops for Graphic Design in 2020

1. Acer Predator Helios 300 (New Model)

Acer Predator Helios 300 New Model

Named after the Greek Sun god himself, Acer’s new child in the Predator series is a perfect match for designers working on a budget. With a guaranteed price to performance match, the new Helios 300 takes the cake when budget laptops are considered. The Helios comes packed with power under the traditional Predator casing. Arming itself with a new GTX 1660 Ti by NVIDIA with dedicated 6GB GDDR6 VRAM along with a superimposed processor of the new 9th Gen i7 (9750H) series, the Helios is everything one could need.

For the hardworking graphic designer, the screen is a generic FHD at 15.6 inches, but under the hood lies a powerful battery capable of running intensive programs such as Photoshop and Lightroom for many hours! Not only so, but the GPU unit by NVIDIA also has 6GB dedicated GDDR6 graphics memory along with 16 GB RAM. The Acer Predator Helios 300 is the perfect laptop for graphic designers and 3D modelers/animators alike.

The Good

  • 9th Gen i7 processor, 6GB GPU
  • 16GB DDR4 RAM

Could Be Better

  • Only 256GB SSD Storage
  • Bit heavy and hot

2.  Microsoft Surface Pro 7 (10th Gen Processor)

MS Surface Pro 7 For Graphics Design

Slowly it seemed that Microsoft was losing in the hardware monopoly that runs the computer world while up-keeping their software game intact. However, when the Surface Pro was introduced, all the dreams of possible takeovers as the new giants of the electronic industry were shattered for all competitive companies. In a 12.3 inch screen and a 1.7-pound casing, Microsoft came out with 2-1 laptop solution which boasts power beyond measure.

With the latest 10th Gen i7 processor and various size of RAM from 8 GB to 16 GB with flash SSD (128 GB to 512 GB) storage facilities, the Surface Book may seem weak but is a lot stronger than most would consider. With an integrated graphics card by Intel themselves, all graphic designing software bow to the mighty hand of the Surface Pro, unto do its bidding. It is a tool only for those who wish to stand out from the rest. With the additional accessories from Microsoft, this 2-in-1 laptop is certainly a best choice for graphics design in 2020.

The Good

  • 10th Gen i7 processor
  • Build quality

Could Be Better

  • Missing some ports
  • Missing dedicated display

3. New Apple MacBook Pro

New MacBook Pro

This New Apple MacBook Pro could be the dream of graphic designers. It is powerful to execute intensive graphics smoothly, and it is advanced.

It comes with 9th generation 6–Core Intel Core i7 processor. Moreover, it has a memory of up to 64GB DDR4 along with 512GB SSD. As it has more RAM space, it is capable of loading numerous projects simultaneously. The solid-state drive that is SSD storage is very fast, thus resulting in gaining device that is power efficient and speedy at the same time.

To achieve the highest graphics horsepower, this MacBook contains AMD Radeon Pro 5000M series. Well, that’s not all. This Macbook also possesses an optional 8GB GDDR6 VRAM. With all these features, we can’t doubt the fast processing power of this system. It comes with 16 inches Retina display with True Tone Technology. All these attributes together make it one of the best laptops for graphic designers.

Besides, in order to ensure the user’s comfort, its keyboard is responsive, comfortable, and gives a quiet typing experience. Moreover, its 6-speaker sound systems bestow it a big voice. Along with all its high-class features, its battery also performs decently. So, it gives the runtime of up to 11 hours.

You will not need to worry about security while designing with a Macbook. It is because these systems have Apple T2 Security Chip. It grants you greater control over your system. This Macbook comes with a Thunderbolt 3 port. It combines ultra-high bandwidth with USB-C port to create a universal port containing all benefits.

The Good

  • 9th Gen 6-Core i7 with 16GB RAM
  • 512GB Flash, Retina display

Could Be Better

  • Expensive
  • Not for Windows Users

4. Asus ROG Zephyrus S Ultra Slim Laptop

Asus ROG Zephyrus S

The powerful performance, smooth display, and a thin body are what this Asus ROG Zephyrus S can offer you. It contains the latest Intel Core i7-9750h Hexa-Core processor.

In order to assist in graphic designing, it comes equipped with Nvidia GeForce RTX card. It also offers ample space with 16GB DDR4 RAM and 512GB PCIe SSD.

Its display size is 15.6”. With its IPS and type Full HD (1920x1080), it gives in-depth clarity and details of graphics. Basically, the ASUS ROG Zephyrus S has all the essentials to provide strong designing power.

Besides, it comes with a very thin body with only 0.62 inches thickness. It weighs 4.6 pounds. So, you won’t need to worry about carrying bulky systems around.

The Zephyrus S is durable too. It contains a military-grade magnesium alloy body along with the first-class metal cover. So, it is capable of enduring everyday life stresses.

Moreover, it comes with dual speakers. They are positioned in a way to deliver the louder output and more bass. It also comes with expansive connectivities. Thus, it possesses two Type C USB 3.1 ports, one Type-A USB 3.0 port, two USB 2.0 ports.

It also contains 3.5 mm audio Jack and HDMI 2.0 video input. In order to keep the performance of the system consistent, it comes with upgraded 12v fans and anti-dust tunnels. So, your system won’t stop you while you are touching the heights of creativity.

The Good

  • Slim Chassis
  • 9th Gen Hexa-Core i7
  • 16GB RAM
  • Multiple ports

Could Be Better

  • Slightly uncomfortable keyboard
  • Low battery life

5. ASUS ZenBook 14 Ultra-Slim Laptop

ASUS ZenBook 14

It wouldn’t be wrong to say this ASUS ZenBook Laptop is a beauty with power. The combination of Royal blue color with silver makes this laptop alluring.

This Ultra-slim laptop contains 8th generation Intel Core i7-8566u Quad-core processor. Moreover, in order to fulfill graphics requirements, it has GeForce MX150 discrete graphics chip. So, would you suspect its power to handle any creative graphics project?

The fast processing needs ample space too. This Asus laptop contains 16GB LPDDR3 RAM along with 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD. Using these advanced features, you can perform any graphics task, including 3D modelling conveniently.

As far as its display is concerned, its screen size is 14 inches. It offers a 1920x1080 FHD display. Moreover, as this laptop aims to provide maximum screen size in the compact size, it gives a 92% screen-to-body ratio. Its four-sided NanoEdge design is something that has raised the game for this Zenbook.

All these features make this Ultrabook highly suitable for graphic designers. Well, that’s not all. It also has an exclusive dual-function touchpad for its users.

On touching the small icon at the top, it gives an illuminated numeric pad for easy data entry. However, touching it again would make it return to normal touchpad mode.    

This Zenbook has an amazingly thin and compact body. It weighs only 2.lbs and has 0.6 inches thickness. You can easily carry it anywhere with its A4 size.

The Good

  • Elegant appearance
  • Dual-function touchpad

Could Be Better

  • Glossy display
  • Nothing

6. Lenovo 15.6" ThinkPad P1 LCD

Lenovo is well-known brand for laptops in market today and few of its series are known for supporting graphics and offering bets speed. The latest Lenovo 15.6" ThinkPad P1  is one among the best laptops for graphic design students because the price of the laptop is comparatively lower to other big brands. Though the model is new for the market, but it has the all required features to become the best Windows OS laptop in this category.

Lenovo 15 6 ThinPad P1

The screen size of the laptop is 15.6 inches and the screen resolution is 1920X1080 pixels. The anti-glare feature of the screen can allow you to operate the laptop even in bright sunlight. Graphic designers select this laptop because of the HDMI feature. With HDMI feature you can find it easy to connect your laptop to larger screen and gain more clarity.

The processor Intel Core i5 offers the speed of 2.5 GHz and the RAM size of the laptop is 16 GB. The hard drive size of the laptop is 256 GB SSD. The graphic card RAM size is 4GB. The NIVIDIA GeForce is the graphic co-processor that makes machine further powerful with its dedicated video memory. It is a thin laptop and weight is around 3.76 pounds. The weight and most of the hardware specs make this laptop for better portability and mobility.

The Good

  • 16 GB Built-in RAM
  • Dedicated video drive - 4GB

Could Be Better

  • i5 Processor
  • 256GB SSD only, no additional slots to add more storage

7. Dell XPS 9570 Laptop - 8th Gen i7 Processor

Dell XPS 9570 is a powerful gaming capable Windows 10 laptop at reasonable cost for graphics design work. Suitable for graphics design college students to real professionals in this field. 

The technical specifications of this laptop are quiet interesting against the price they charge and so it has became the popular choice among graphic designers. 

best laptops for graphic design - Dell XPS 9570

The glossy Full HD Non-touch IPS screen ensures that the graphics won’t get affected in any manner. Now whatever may be the angel of the screen, you can successfully create graphics.

The best part about this XPS model is that it offers powerful hardware combination, thus you can use it for any computing and graphic designing applications that require maximum power. The storage capacity of this laptop is 512GB GB SSD, that gives faster disk access on enough space. 512 GB should be enough in most of the cases. You can also find keyboard dock with 3.0 USB port, 2.0 USB port and Ethernet port. 

As other major points, the latest 8th Gen Intel i7 processor offers the speed up to 4.1 GHz. The RAM size of the laptop is 16 GB and the memory speed is 2666 MHz. Dedicated display card with 4GB VRAM available to handle all designing stuff on this machine. Spending around extra 200 dollars will allow you to get the 4K touch screen on this laptop model if you are interested.

The Good

  • Excellent Hardware Specs
  • Gaming Capable

Could Be Better

  • Display quality (on non 4K)
  • Nothing

8. Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 

Again the Microsoft Surface series takes place in our list, this time their newest version of Surface Laptop 2 model. It is popular among graphic designers because of its sleek design and portable feature.

Graphic designers love to operate the 13.5 inches touch screen offered by Microsoft. The battery life is impressive, it can work all-day 14.5 hours without charge. Their optimized hardware make this laptop to work for longer time at its maximum power. Easy to carry. Ideal for the graphics designers who are on the move all the time. 

Microsoft Surface Laptop 2

The 8th Gen Intel Core i7 processor offers the speed of 1.3 GHz. The RAM size is 16 GB DDR4 and the hard drive size is 512 GB flash memory solid state. You have various models to select and buy. The PixelSense touchscreen provide extraordinary screen quality and touch response. Having the SurfacePen will allow you to draw superbly on this great touch response laptop. Surface Dock will help you to connect TV or Monitor and extend your workstation when you do studio-type graphics design work.

The Good

  • Great Touchscreen
  • All-Day Battery Life

Could Be Better

  • Non-Upgradable
  • Bit Expensive

9. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Laptop

Lenovo ThinkPad X1

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Laptop is made to give an extreme performance for graphic designing. To ensure powerful processing, it comes equipped with 8th Generation Intel Core i7-8750H 6 Core processor.

It is capable of handling heavier data and complicated projects without any lag. Moreover, it contains the memory of 16GB DDR4 RAM along with 512GB SSD. This space is enough to execute high-level graphics projects that involve 2D and 3D models.  

As far as its display is concerned, it comes with a 15.6” IPS anti-glare screen. The screen resolution is 1920 x 1080. It delivers 300nits brightness.

In order to process graphics in a better, it comes equipped with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050Ti card. Considering all these attributes, we can say, ThinkPad X1 Extreme is capable of delivering high-class performance to graphic designers.  

Besides, this fast ThinkPad also comes with full-fledged ports. It has two Thunderbolt 3 ports along with two regular USB-A ports and HDMI 2.0 video input. You can also charge this system with a USB-C port.

The ThinkPad X1 also supports all WiFi standards and Bluetooth 5.0.

To ensure user’s convenience, the X1 Extreme comes with a full-sized keyboard. It means its keys have an equivalent size and it won’t feel confined. Moreover, the keyboard is backlit and spill-resistant.

The Good

  • 512GB SSD
  • Lightweight body

Could Be Better

  • Battery Life
  • Not for higher designing

10. Lenovo Ideapad L340

Lenovo Ideapad L340

This Lenovo Ideapad L340 Laptop comes with various features that make it an excellent choice for graphic designers. However, it is better to mention here that it could be a good budget laptop option. There are many other high-class laptops available with more robust features, but with higher price tags.

This Ideapad L340 offers mighty processing power with its 9th-Generation Intel Core i5 processor. It gives you the strength to carry out your designing project without any lag.

In order to compensate for its processing power, it comes with 8GB DDR4 RAM and 512GB NVMe SSD. The 8GB RAM is enough to do designing without facing system hanging and slow render time problems.

Another feature that makes it suitable for graphic designing is the latest NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card. It will allow you to move around a detailed image without lagging.

What’s more? It has 15.6 inches screen. It comes equipped with full HD IPS Display along with 1920 x 1080 resolutions. These traits are essential to provide proper depth and clarity of the processing images.

All these features were crucial to carry out extensive graphic designing. Besides, this laptop also possesses advanced Dolby Audio Technology. This system also allows you to adjust the machine according to the requirements. Thus, it comes with ‘Quick’ and ‘Quiet’ mode.   

The Ideapad L340 also gives full-sizes keyboard along with ambient back-lighting. Moreover, the system has a sleek and elegant design. Thus, L340 is suitable for both powerful processing and influential appearance too. 

Overall, Lenovo Ideapad L340 could be the best affordable laptop option for graphic designers. 

The Good

  • ​Lightweight
  • Not very expensive

Could Be Better

  • Fingerprints suspected on screen
  • No Thunderbolts

FAQs

1. What do I need in a laptop for graphic design?

You would need to buy a laptop with high performance for graphic designing. The performance of a system is defined by its processor, RAM, and a Storage drive.

The processor is a vital part of any system. It allows you to operate multiple applications simultaneously.

There are numerous processor options available in the market, but any of the following processors can do well for graphic designing. It includes Core i5, Core i7, AMD Ryzen, and Intel Xeon.

After the processor, you would need to have adequate RAM and Storage Drive. The screen size and resolution is another important thing to consider for designing laptops. A large screen with higher resolution can give better details and clarity of images.

So, a laptop with 15 inches screen size and FHD could be the best laptop option for graphic designers.

2. Is a MacBook air good for graphic design?

Yes, a MacBook air can be a good option for graphic designing. It contains an i5 processor with 4GB RAM and 128GB SSD storage. It also contains integrated Intel graphics 6000.

Combining all these features, the MacBook Air can perform well for graphic design.

3. How much RAM do I need for graphic design?

RAM stands for Random Access Memory. This memory is temporary and the system uses it while performing any function. As graphic designing involves extensive processing, your system will need more RAM.

Usually, a RAM between 16 and 32GB gives optimal performance. However, higher-end applications might need a RAM of above 32GB.

4. Why do designers use Macs?

Though the choice of Windows or Macs depends on personal preferences, many designers prefer Macs. Why? Here are some of the possible reasons involved:

  • Mac has an old history of performing outstandingly as a designing tool. Back in the ’80s, it was known to render fonts in a better way.
  • It is also known for having a good user experience for years.
  • The Macs are consistent and well-made.
  • These laptops are good looking too.

These were the possible reasons that designers usually prefer Macs.

5. What graphics card is best for graphic design?

It could be hard to declare anyone's graphic card as the best for graphic designing. It is because; the market is saturated with graphic cards. There are several brands and numerous models. Moreover, the ‘best’ item also depends majorly on the user.

Different customers have different choices for graphic cards. It depends on their budget and system specifications too.

However, NVIDIA GeForce and AMD Radeon graphic cards stand at the top position. Few of the top-class graphics cards include GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, AMD Radeon VII, and GeForce GTX 1660 Ti.

Final Words

We have picked up few of these best laptops for graphic design and animation that can allow you to perform your targeted task successfully. We hope our collection  will help you to identify the suitable laptop for graphic design and animation basic to advanced work. There are many other laptops supporting graphics are available in the market and you should select the one that can meet your quality as well as financial needs.

Dinesh is the founder of Sysprobs and written more than 400 articles. Enthusiast in Microsoft and cloud technologies with more than 15 years of IT experience.

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