How To Choose a Laptop For Graphic Design Buying Guide

How To Choose a Laptop For Graphic Design Buying Guide

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Choosing a laptop it’s not a difficult task nowadays as there are plenty of great options in the market, but if you are looking for a laptop for graphic design this can be more difficult, as graphic design laptops need to be powerful to do complicated tasks like running design software and being light and portable to work everywhere.

 

That is why I made this post to help you choose the best laptop for graphic design and what specs you should consider when buying a laptop, let’s start with this laptop buying guide for graphic designers.

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What Are The Most Important Specs for Graphic Design

If you are a graphic designer looking for a new laptop to work on it everywhere but you don’t know what you should look at when choosing a laptop for graphic design, the most important specs you should consider are the CPU, RAM, storage, display type, and color accuracy, let’s see more in deep the minimum specs you need for a graphic design laptop.

Mac VS PC

When choosing a laptop for graphic design the first thing you should consider is what Operating System you want to use, the most popular OS among graphic designers are iOS and Windows, but which one is better for designers? both of them are good for graphic design work and will offer you great performance, but let’s see what are the main differences.

 

Mac laptops usually have better monitors with great color accuracy and display quality, also another thing to consider about MacBooks is the other devices you are using, for example, if you have an iPhone or iPad, you should invest in a MacBook to have great compatibility between devices.

 

On the other hand, PCs are more suitable for general software, being a great choice if you want to use your laptop for work and personal use, another advantage of PCs is the variety of ports they have been really useful among graphic designers, and the most important thing is that laptops using windows are much easy to upgrade than Macs being really useful to replace different components of the laptop.

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CPU

The CPU or processor of a computer is its brain of it and it controls all its functions of it, if you want to use your laptop to work as a graphic designer you should find a laptop with a powerful CPU to be able to run complex graphic design software smoothly. 

 

For the graphic design, you should look to a laptop with a minimum quad-core or extreme series processor that supports 64-bit to be able to work. Also, there are some CPUs with integrated graphics that can support simple graphic design tasks and if you have a limited budget can save you some money, but for more complex tasks including 3D design, you definitely should invest in a good graphics card.

What CPU You Need For Graphic Design Laptop

Memory

Memory or RAM is also really important for a graphic design laptop as it will help you work more agilely and open multiple applications at the same time like Photoshop and Illustrator, the minimum amount of RAM you should have in a graphic design laptop is between 8-16GB, but if you have more budget or want to do more complex tasks like 3D Design or Animation you can go by 32GB.

What ram You Need For Graphic Design Laptop

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Storage Drive

Regarding Storage drives there are two types, Hard Disk Drive (HDD) and Solid State Drive (SSD), the HDD type is much cheaper and gives you more space but they tend to have problems in laptops, on the other hand, SSD is much lighter, durable and faster, these type of disk tend to be more expensive than HDD, but they will give you better performance for graphic design.


The best for graphic design will be to use an SSD storage with a minimum of 512GB size, but if you plan to work with large files you can go for a laptop with 1TB SSD or buy an external hard drive to have more storage.

What storage You Need For Graphic Design Laptop

Display Size and Type

If you want to use your laptop for graphic design work you definitely should invest in a laptop with a good screen to take care of every detail, regarding the size the best option is to choose a laptop with a 15 inches screen for an optimal workflow, 17 inches laptop are better but they tend to weight more.


Regarding the resolution for graphic design, the minimum would be 1920×1080 pixels for effective work, but if you have a more budget, you can go for a 4K screen, and the best type of screen is the HiDPI (Retina HD by Apple) as they have a higher density of pixels perfect for designers.

What Display Size and Type You Need For Graphic Design Laptop

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Color Accuracy

Color accuracy is really important for graphic design to ensure that the colors you use in your design will look the same in other devices or printed assets, that is why you should buy a laptop with a 100% sRGB coverage for graphic design that will allow you to work with a wide color palette without any surprise in your final design.

Color accuracy for graphic design laptop buying guide

Budget

Budget is also really important to consider when buying a laptop for graphic design, think about how much you want to invest and stick to this budget, nowadays there are plenty of options so you can find really good options for a different range of budgets and work as a graphic designer.

how to choose a laptop for graphic design depending on the budget

Top 3 Best Laptops for Graphic Design

If you have more budget to invest in your laptop for graphic design and you are looking for the top quality, here I show you the top 3 laptops for graphic designers and creatives.

Best Windows Laptop For Graphic Design

Microsoft Surface Studio

CPU: 11th Generation Intel Core H Graphics: Intel Iris Xe or NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti laptop GPU RAM: 16GB-32GB Screen: 14.4-inch PixelSense Flow (2,400×1,600) touch display Storage: 256GB-2TB SSD

Best Laptop For Graphic Design Overall

Apple MacBook Pro 16″

CPU: Apple M1 Pro 8-Core – M1 Max 10-Core Graphics: 32-Core GPU RAM: Up to 64GB Screen: 16,2-inches Liquid Retina XDR display Storage: Up to 8TB M.2 PCle NVMe

Best Big Screen Laptop For Graphic Design

Dell XPS 17

CPU: 11th Generation Intel Core i9-11980HK Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 6GB GDDR6 RAM: Up to 64GB DDR4-3200MHz Screen: 14-inch Liquid Retina XDR Display Storage: Up to 8TB

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Top 3 Best Budget-Friendly Laptops for Graphic Design

If you have a limited budget to invest in your laptop for graphic design, here I show the Top 3 Laptops for graphic design for under 1000$.

Best Overall Budget-Friendly Laptop for Graphic Design

Lenovo Flex 5 14” 

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 Graphics: AMD Integrated Graphics RAM: 16GB Display: 14-inches FHD (1920×1200) IPS Touchscreen Storage: 256GB

Best Budget-Friendly Apple Laptop for graphic design

Apple MacBook Air

CPU: Apple M1 Graphics: Integrated 7-Core/ 8-Core GPU RAM: Up to 16GB Display: 13.3-inches (2560×1600) LED-Blacklit display with IPS Technology Storage: 256GB – 2TB SSD

Best Budget-Friendly Windows Laptop for Graphic Designers

Acer Swift 3

CPU: Intel Core i3-i7 Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 RAM: Up to 8GB Display: 13.5-inches FHD (1920×1200) ComfyView IPS Storage: Up to 256GB SSD

What Are The Most Important laptop Specs for Graphic Design infographic

Extra Features for Professional Designers

After seeing the basic features you need in a graphic design laptop, there are also some extra features you would like to know if you have more budget that can be really useful as a graphic designer.

Ability to support 4K Monitors

As we saw previously in this post having a good screen is essential for graphic designers, although it’s not necessary to buy a 4K laptop, it’s suitable that the laptop you are going to buy has support with a 4K Monitor to connect it later and have a better resolution of your design projects.

how to choose laptop for graphic design 4k monitor

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Touch Screen

It’s true that touch screen monitor laptops are a little bit more expensive than average displays, and it’s not really necessary for graphic design but if you want to use your laptop to illustrate and logo design having Touch Screen functionality can be really helpful.

how to choose laptop for graphic design Touch Screen

Lightweight

The main idea to invest in a good laptop for graphic design is to have the freedom to take your work everywhere, from your desk to a coffee shop table or a park, that is why you should consider the weight of the laptop before buying it as having a lighter laptop will very handful to transport it everywhere.

how to choose laptop for graphic design Lightweight

Extra Ports and slots

Having a good range of ports on your laptop can be really useful for graphic designers to be able to connect all the devices required without worrying about the slots.

how to choose laptop for graphic design Extra Ports and slots

Backlit Keyboard

If you want to work at night on your ongoing graphic design project having a backlit keyboard will be very useful as you will be able to use the keyboard clearly without turning the lights on.

how to choose laptop for graphic design Backlit Keyboard

Top 5 Best Laptop Brands For Graphic Design

Apple

Apple is the most popular brand in Graphic Design and Creative industry and it’s not a surprise as if you are looking for the best laptop for graphic design the MacBook Pro is the best one for graphic design in the market right now.

CPU: Apple M1 Pro 8-Core – M1 Max 10-Core Graphics: 32-Core GPU RAM: Up to 64GB Screen: 16,2-inches Liquid Retina XDR display Storage: Up to 8TB M.2 PCle NVMe

MacBook Pro 16” (Best Apple Laptop For Graphic Design)

If you are looking for the best laptop for graphic design overall the MacBook Pro 16” is the best choice in the market, offering you a great performance for designers and creatives with the Apple M1 Pro 8-Core CPU and the brilliant 16-inch liquid Retina XDR Display being the best option for designers in the market.

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Dell

Dell is a really good brand to consider if you are looking for a graphic design laptop the XPS Series combining powerful components in a beautiful screen and design is a great choice for graphic designers.

CPU: 11th Generation Intel Core i9-11980HK Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 6GB GDDR6 RAM: Up to 64GB DDR4-3200MHz Screen: 14-inch Liquid Retina XDR Display Storage: Up to 8TB

Dell XPS 17 (Best Dell Laptop for Graphic Design)

If you are looking for the best laptop for graphic design with a big screen Dell XPS 17 is the best one on the market right now offering you a 17-inch UHD+ screen with HDR perfect to take care of every detail of your design project.

HP

HP is one of the most reliable brands worldwide for buying a laptop and PC offering you high-end products with a good combination of power and design, being a great brand to search for graphic design laptops.

CPU: 11th Generation Intel Core i7 Graphics: Intel Iris Xe Graphics RAM: Up to 64GB Screen: 15.6” Full HD (1920×1080) 60Hz Display Storage: Up to 2TB SSD

HP ZBook Mobile Workstation (Best HP Laptop for Graphic Design)

If you are looking for the best HP laptop for graphic design, the HP ZBook Mobile Workstation is your best choice as it was created for artists and designers with an Intel Core i7 processor and up to 64GB of RAM that will make your workflow much faster.

Microsoft

Microsoft is one of the best brands if you are looking for a laptop for graphic design and your favorite OS is Windows, with the Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio you will invest in the best laptop for graphic design with Windows, offering you a great performance with the 11th Generation Intel CPU and the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti graphics.

CPU: 11th Generation Intel Core H Graphics: Intel Iris Xe or NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti laptop GPU RAM: 16GB-32GB Screen: 14.4-inch PixelSense Flow (2,400×1,600) touch display Storage: 256GB-2TB SSD

Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio (Best Microsoft Laptop For Graphic Design)

If you are a graphic designer who prefers to work with Windows, the Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio is the best Windows laptop in the market right now for designers and creatives with an incredible 120Hz and 2400×1600 display to take care of every detail and a powerful 11th Generation Intel Core H this laptop will be a great investment for graphic designers.

Lenovo

Lenovo is the most popular brand for laptops worldwide for average users, but they also have great laptops for graphic design in the budget-friendly range like the Lenovo Flex 5 14” offering you a 2-in-1 touchscreen laptop for an affordable price.

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 Graphics: AMD Integrated Graphics RAM: 16GB Display: 14-inches FHD (1920×1200) IPS Touchscreen Storage: 256GB

Lenovo Flex 5 14” (Best Lenovo Laptop for Graphic Design)

If you are looking for a budget-friendly laptop for graphic design the Lenovo Flex 5.14” is the best option in the market right now offering you a great performance with the AMD Ryzen 5 CPU and 16GB of RAM for a really affordable price. Another great thing about this laptop is the 2-in-1 option being really easy to work with illustrations.

Top 5 Best Laptop Brands For Graphic Design

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Conclusion

When choosing a laptop for graphic design you need to consider your type of work, budget, and the specs listed in this buying guide, if you do a complex work like 3D Design you need to buy a more high-end laptop that matches the power you need for your work, but if you do more 2D work you can go for a mid-class laptop.

 

Hope you find this post useful and help you how to choose a laptop for graphic design, and if you want to check which are the best laptops for graphic design you can check my post about the best laptops for graphic designers and creatives.

How To Choose A Laptop For Graphic Design Buying Guide

If you found this post useful you might like to read these post about Graphic Design Inspiration.

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