There are a number of important factors to consider when choosing a laptop for Graphic Design. Before you go for the most beautiful or finest computer on the market, think carefully if it meets the technical and practical needs that you are going to have as a designer.
Graphic design software requirements increase every year so there are some key elements to consider when choosing a laptop: operating system, processor speed, hard drive speed, RAM, graphics card and OpenGL, screen resolution and finally, an Internet connection.
Let’s see below the specific values we must take into account today for these elements, in addition to other desirable characteristics in a laptop for Graphic Design and which are the most recommended brands.
8 things to consider when choosing a laptop for Graphic Design in 2024
To choose a computer that meets the necessary system requirements for current design programs but does not involve an unnecessary outlay, consider the following aspects:
1. Processor (CPU)
Choose a multi-core processor that supports 64-bit. Unless you have specific needs, 4 cores should be sufficient.
2. Operating system
To avoid complications, always look for computers with the latest version of Windows or macOS or that can be upgraded. This is essential if you are thinking of buying a second hand laptop for Graphic Design.
3. RAM memory
Depending on the programs you use, you will need at least 2 to 16 GB of RAM. I would not play it and I would opt for a laptop with 16 GB of RAM (32 GB if you plan to work with more demanding programs such as After Effects).
Take a look at our guide on how much RAM do you need for Graphic Design, if you want more information.
4. Graphics card (GPU)
I would not opt for any inferior to an nVidia GeForce GTX 1660 or Quadro T1000, nVidia GeForce GTX 1050 or equivalent. If not, you may be hard-pressed to get some Adobe programs to work.
5. Monitor resolution
I do not recommend anything below 1920×1080 with HiDPi support and a good color accuracy.
6. Hard Drives
For good performance, it is best to use solid SSD drives of 500 GB or more, depending on the size of the files you usually handle. You can also supplement the internal memory with an external hard drive, sometimes it is cheaper and you gain mobility.
Make sure your new Graphic Design laptop supports OpenGL 2.0, for 2D and 3D graphics processing.
8. Internet connection
You will need Internet from day one to register and activate your design programs, so make sure it works properly.
7 desirable features in a Graphic Design laptop in 2024
Although they are not essential when choosing a Graphic Design laptop, there are features that can make your everyday life much easier and more comfortable.A good keyboard – Typing long texts is already a challenge so if you are going to type regularly, make sure your laptop has a keyboard that is pleasant to use.
1. Ability to support 4K monitors
Your laptop may not have a 4K screen, but later you want to connect to one. Check out some of the best monitors for designers that you can find in the market.
2. Touch screen
Although not essential, it is especially recommended for those who illustrate or like to sketch by hand.
3. Extra ports and slots
Although we are moving towards a world without cables, today having enough ports and slots makes life much easier.
If you are going to move with your computer or simply are going to use it away from your desk, the lighter it is, the more you will appreciate it.
Having a good trackpad is essential when doing off-desk tasks. Take into account the precision with which it responds to your gestures and that it has a sufficiently large touch area.
6. Quality speakers
At some point you will want to listen to music, watch a video on your computer or make a presentation and then you will realize the value of good speakers.
7. Backlit keyboard
It is possibly one of the last features to consider, but at night it is nice to be able to see the keyboard clearly without having to turn on the light.
The 7 best laptop brands on the market
There are many laptop brands on the market, but the following have computers of quality, reliability and power above the rest. In fact you can find their best models in the best laptops for Graphic Design.
For decades, Apple has been the leader in the Graphic Design industry with its Mac Pro and MacBook Pro. Discover the best in our guide to the best Mac for Graphic Design.
This company has one of the broadest and most configurable laptop ranges on the market.
Second brand worldwide in the sale of laptops and PCs in general is one of the most reliable. Its high-end equipment stands out for its combination of power and design.
Since Microsoft has moved to the manufacture of computers, it has not stopped releasing better and better laptops.
Huawei made a strong entry into the world of notebooks and in the next few years could dethrone whoever is ahead of it.
This Taiwanese brand specializing in supercomputers powerful gaming, now also has a range of laptops for design professionals.
The global bestseller also has some gems for design professionals although it tends to focus more on the average user.
Insurance and repairs
Several of the prominent brands have insurance with various types of coverage and prices. There is also the possibility of contracting insurance through the main electronics stores and department stores so you should not have a problem finding one that suits your needs and budget.
Outside of the insurance coverage, keep in mind that any Apple repair will always be much more expensive than that of a PC.
PC or Mac, which one to keep?
If you still have questions about whether you should choose a Mac or PC for Graphic Design, you can rest assured, if you follow the recommendations that we propose in this article you will surely make a good purchase.
If you lean more towards Macs, you can always take a look at our article on reasons to buy a Mac instead of a PC.
On the other hand, if you think that a PC may be better suited to your needs, we recommend you read our article on reasons to buy a PC instead of a Mac.