Whether you’re an Adobe Illustrator professional, a die-hard CorelDRAW loyalist or a newbie pottering around Sketch or GIMP, getting the right laptop can be the difference between vibrant graphical joy and a slow painful design death. The latter can be an expensive mistake. Not just in terms of hardware cost but often an even greater professional / artistic one too.
This page isn’t just for pro’s but for anyone looking to run a design package successfully. Our list is continuously updated by our AI to ensure that the machines we recommend are the best options for you at this precise minute!
So what goes into finding the best laptop for graphic design?
The key areas to look at are power, display, connectivity and storage.
Power is a complex attribute to assess in a laptop as it's made up of several factors that interact in different ways to produce similar results (a very good reason to let Choosist’s AI do the hard work for you !!).
Clock speed (the speed at which the processor computes your commands) is one differentiator but can be sorely misleading without first factoring more revealing ones.
The number of processor cores is an important one. This is the number of processing units that can run at any one time - graphics software can use several at a go). The newer the design of the processor the better. Hence, an 8th generation i7 is better than a 7th.
To support this power the laptop will need thinking space. This is where RAM comes in. The more the better, 8GB being the absolute minimum here.
All the work these components do need to be available for you to see and interact with without lag. This is where the graphics card comes in and as you might guess graphic design needs plenty of juice in this department. Opt for a discrete graphics card i.e., not just one that is shipped with the processor. Laptops with both are just fine too.
Resolution is important, more so the bigger the screen you feel you need to do the work. This applies to the built-in display and even more so to the external one. But not all screens are the same. Technologies such as IPS and OLED can provide much better colour accuracy and vibrancy, usually better from different viewing angles, again increasing in importance with screen size.
External monitors are often an important peripheral for designers and editors, which come bigger faster and more detailed with time. This is great but it makes the kind of port the machine is shipped with no longer an afterthought but a key one. Thunderbolt varieties can often support multiple high-resolution monitors, as can faster USB-C varieties for examples.
With cloud storage cheap and often free, keeping files backed up is not a problem. Rather, it's the drive speed that is critical in keeping up with the power we talked about above. But this has to be balanced with cost. The best laptops for students may make do with HDDs rather than faster SSDs which we’d otherwise recommend
Working out what combinations of specifications for your personal graphic design needs are optimum is complicated. Even the brightest humans will struggle to compute them all accurately. So don't be shy and let us do the hard work for you ...for free!