Are you a freelance graphic designer? Or want to become one? What is your working station, have you decided yet or not? If not, then there is nothing better than a laptop for this you can have. We have brought some great machines on our table to test their wits, as a result of which we have successfully collected the best laptop for graphic designing of this year 2021.
From basic to moderate level of 2D graphics to complex 3D graphic intensive designing and editing, laptops have always been prioritized on account of their flexibility and portability compared to the rigid personal computers on our working tables.
The hardware features for a laptop for graphic designing is way different than the laptop for screenwriting or a laptop for gaming. It is because if you are a freelance writer, blogger or an author, the tools you are working with don’t require too much of the processing power nor need a heavy duty GPU.
Similarly for gaming, the laptop you are playing games with, needs a powerful graphics card but does not need much strength from the processor. Whereas, in the case of graphic designing, you need overall a powerful system, consisting of both a strong CPU and GPU together, but also require ample amounts of RAM and storage as well.
Frequently Asked Questions About The Best Laptop For Graphic Designing 2021
Which Operating system is good for graphic designing, Mac or Windows?
Macbooks by Apple are extremely popular among the graphic designers due to the user interference, huge amount of power, speed and excellent battery life. Whereas, the Windows OS is a widely used operating system with a variety of tools and softwares dedicated to a number of fields.
To be very honest, the answer to this simplest question is, people with experience on Mac love to work on MacBooks and those with hands on Windows OS do not bother to make any experiment in their profession. Nevermind both the systems are equally good than the other and have their own reputation in the professional ground.
Though comparing both the systems with their respective hardwares, demanding in graphic designing specially, Macbooks allows no more than memory upgrading sometimes. Whereas, if your Windows PC or laptop is outdated, you can swap it with the latest configuration including the memory and graphics card (in many cases).
However for the people who are looking for a budget laptop for this purpose, a Windows PC/ Desktop or a laptop is comparatively cheaper than a MacBook. Thus for starters, you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on a MacBook, but can do great with a Windows laptop instead. If budget is not a constraint for you then get the latest MacBook for yourself to splash the workflow in the exciting way ever.
Are ChromeBooks good for graphic design?
ChromeBooks work only on the internet, without it, you can’t take any step ahead. Not only this, but whichever application of graphic designing you are willing to work with has to be compatible with the Chrome OS, which means it has to be workable without the need of installation. In short Android and Chrome based applications can only be workable, like Figma, UXPin, Pixlr, Polarr, Icons8 etc.
So you can see Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and similar popular softwares are nowhere to be workable on the ChromeBook. However, web based alternative applications can be used for graphic designing. So if you are working on these demandable applications and find it difficult to use web based alternatives, then ChromeBooks are not for you. Rather you can use it for an extra source of graphic designing exclusively on online applications given by Chrome. Moreover, Chromebook are budget laptops as well, come in compact sizes good for travellers and a great laptop for students who have internet connection all the time.
What is the minimum laptop requirement for graphic designing?
For graphic designing you need at least Intel i5 or AMD Ryzen 5 processor with minimum 4 cores. Further, minimum 8GB RAM, Nvidia Geforce 10 Series graphic cards (GTX 1060, 1070, 1080) or AMD equivalent GPU with at least 2GB VRAM and 512GB SSD storage drive is required (don’t buy HDD, it will slow down the work generating specially for graphic designing).
What is the recommended laptop requirement for graphic designing?
All the tasks which demand manipulation of the videos, photos and animations require as many powerful configurations as they can. For the most feasible hardware for graphic designing, you need a laptop with Intel i7 processor or equivalent AMD CPU, 16GB RAM and a video card with up to 8GB VRAM and 1TB SSD storage drive.
Which is the best laptop brand for graphic designing?
If you are asking for the popular laptops manufacturers, then there is Asus, Dell, HP, Apple, Lenovo and more similar brands like them. But the best laptop brands are not supposed to be the focus for graphic designing, but it has to be the configuration each of these laptops are offering you. The fastest the one the best it would be for graphic designing and editing.
Thus the right or suitable amount of cores and processing speed of the CPU, RAM, hard drive with maximum amount of space to store and minimum time to boot up and a powerful enough graphic card, is all you need to look for irrespective to the popularity of the particular laptop company.
Can I do graphic designing on a laptop with an Integrated graphic card?
There are two types of graphic designing, one is called the 2D graphic designing which deals with low to mid range of animation, modeling and editing including the basic level. And the other one is the 3D graphic designing which gathers lots of data, shades, pixels and lots more processing and manipulates them on a high level of stage, it is a professional grade graphic designing.
The 2D graphic manipulation mostly be done on low intensive software(s) which can be effortlessly performed with the integrated graphic card, but for 3D graphic designing, you must need a discrete GPU coupled with the powerful processor, for instance, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator and similar softwares performs optimally on a dedicated GPU instead.
Can I use ChromeBook for graphic designing?
Yes, as long as you intend to work with online and Android based graphic designing softwares, you can use ChromeBook for this without any problem.
List of best laptop for Graphic Designing 2021
- Asus ZenBook Duo 14 UX482 – Best touch screen laptop for graphic design
- Apple MacBook Air – Best MacBook for graphic design
- MSI Creator 15 – Best laptop for creative work
- MSI GF65 – Best laptop for graphic design and gaming
- Asus ZenBook 15 – Best i7 laptop for graphic design
- Asus Tuf Gaming A15 – Best laptop for graphic designing under 1000
- Dell Inspiron 15 3505 – Best budget laptop for graphic designing
- Acer Nitro 5 – Best laptop for programming and graphic design
- Acer Aspire 5 – Best NoteBook for graphic design
- Google PixelBook Go – Best Chromebook for graphic design
Best Laptops For Graphic Designing 2021
1. Asus ZenBook Duo 14 UX482 – Touch screen laptop for graphic designing
Screen/ resolution: 14” touchscreen FHD (1920×1080) | Processor name: Intel i7-1165G7 | GPU: Nvidia Geforce MX450 | RAM: 32GB | Storage/ Hard drive: 1TB SSD | Operating System: Windows 10 Pro
This is the best laptop for graphic designing, video & photo editing, animating, 3D modeling or any of the creative work a user intends to perform. It’s a 14 inches full HD laptop with touchscreen displays together with the 12.6 inch ScreenPad Plus, extremely useful for accelerating your creativity by splitting the helpful applications for effortless access. Everything about this machine is so good, it has powerful cooling, ergonomic design, stunning sound, backlit keyboard, easy login via face recognition and what not.
Talking about its configuration, it has an 11th generation Intel i7-1165G7 processor with 4 cores, 8 threads, 12MB Cache, 2.9GHz base and 4.7GHz boost frequency. It has a Nvidia Geforce MX450 discrete video card, specially designed for creative work. It has expandable memory from 8GB to 32GB RAM and dual slot for hard drive from 512GB to 1TB SSD. In short it is not any ordinary laptop we must say, so spend only if budget is not something that comes in your way.
2. Apple MacBook Air – Mac laptop for graphic design
Screen/ resolution: 13.3” QHD (2560×1600) | Processor name: Apple M1 Chip | GPU: Apple 8 Core GPU | RAM: 8GB unified memory | Storage/ Hard drive: 512GB SSD | Operating System: MacOS
No, we haven’t forgotten Apple here. Professional graphic designers have a special place for Apple products, they are great synchronized, powerful enough, come with super advanced features and have their own unique flagship, so does MacBook Air too. As per testing, this MacBook is certainly one of the best laptops for graphic designing, it is a 13.3 inch wide Retina display with great colors and clarity. Everything is so up to the mark including the gorgeous design, intuitive user interference, magic keyboard, advanced level of security features and much more.
Besides all, its configuration is something really to gawk at. Be ready for the most fastest and powerful processing thanks to the latest 8 core M1 CPU and GPU. There are a number of interesting applications you will find in the Mac wardrobe exclusively designed for 3D modeling, animating, creating raster and vector images, illustrating etc. there are extensive levels of tools to help you achieve the best graphic results on this MacBook. Things are super feasible for all sorts of creative activities, no matter how many applications you are working with and how many tabs you have opened.
3. MSI Creator 15 – Laptop for creative professionals
Screen/ resolution: 15.6” FHD (1920×1080) | Processor name: Intel i7-10750H | GPU: Nvidia Geforce GTX 1660 Ti | RAM: 16GB | Storage/ Hard drive: 512GB SSD | Operating System: Windows 10 Pro
For professional content creators, the laptop has to be capable of handling loads of potent softwares, it should have vibrant colors and top notch clarity. All these features are found in MSI Creator 15, consequently this machine is highly eligible to beat professional level of editing tasks. It is Calman Verified, has 100% Adobe RGB color gamut with a strikingly beautiful display. This laptop has resolution up to 4K, however the 1080p resolution only has a touch feature to enhance the creative side of the user. It has a backlit keyboard, built-in webcam and dual stereo speakers.
Moving towards the configuration, MSI Creator 15 is packed with powerful hardware to compete among many of the most powerful desktops and workstations. It has a 10th generation Intel i7-10750H 6 cores processor with 12 threads, 12MB Cache, 2.60GHz base and 5.00GHz boost clock. It consists of a GTX 1660 Ti video card with 6GB memory and 1770MHz boost frequency. It has 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD local storage both are upgradable though. In short, this is a great laptop for graphic designing and video editing. Further it is very much capable of running AAA game titles smoothly.
4. MSI GF65 – Gaming laptop for graphic design
Screen/ resolution: 15.6” FHD (1920×1080) | Processor name: Intel i7-10750H | GPU: Nvidia Geforce RTX 3060 | RAM: 16GB | Storage/ Hard drive: 512GB SSD | Operating System: Windows 10 Pro
It is indeed rare to exclude the possibility of gaming if you are a game enthusiast at the same time a graphic designer as a profession. The MSI GF65 gaming laptop is suitable for those who need to perform an aggressive level of multitasking. Being a gaming laptop. It has a dedicated cooling system, which is pretty impressive, resulting in keeping the unit cool irrespective of the heavy workload. However the fans do become noisy after a certain time, though still it’s not a deal breaker anyhow. It has powerful dual stereo speakers, red LED backlit keyboard and a built-in webcam.
Moving towards the configurations, MSI GF65 gaming laptop is packed with all the necessary hardwares in order to give a right amount of competition to all the fat powerful laptops out there. It contains 10th generation Intel i7-10750H 6 core processor with up to 5.00GHz boost clock, extremely powerful to handle CPU intensive applications smoothly. Then there is the latest RTX 3060 video card with 8GB GDDR6 memory, which is capable of getting high frame rates on AAA game titles at 144Hz refresh rate and 3ms response time, the real juice to marvel at.
5. Asus ZenBook 15 – Asus laptop for graphic design
Screen/ resolution: 15.6” UHD (4096×2160) | Processor name: Intel i7-10510U | GPU: Nvidia Geforce GTX 1650 | RAM: 16GB | Storage/ Hard drive: 512GB SSD | Operating System: Windows 10 Home
Asus ZenBook 15 is a great laptop for creators who wish to master perfection in multitasking. Whether its animation, 3D modeling, programming, data accelerating, video editing, graphic designing or any other task which demands powerful configuration, this laptop will do it all. It’s a 4k display with 103% sRGB color gamut. Its trackpad is a second touchscreen to navigate through useful applications effortlessly. Further this laptop contains an IR camera for face recognizing easy login, there it has a backlit keyboard with options to dim it, bright and to turn it off.
As for configuration, this laptop for graphic designing consists of 10th generation Intel i7-10510U 4 core processor, with 8 threads, 8MB Cache, 1.8GHz base and 4.9GHz boost frequency. Moreover you are getting a dedicated graphics card called Nvidia Geforce GTX 1650 Max Q with 4GB GDDR6 VRAM with up to 1410MHz boost clock. Although it’s an entry level graphics card it provides fairly acceptable frame rates for popular game titles, despite not having real time ray tracing and virtually reality technology. It has 16GB RAM which is not upgradable, however the SSD storage can be upgraded.
6. Asus Tuf Gaming A15 – Graphic design laptop under 1000
Screen/ resolution: 15.6” FHD (1920×1080) | Processor name: AMD Ryzen 5 4600H | GPU: Nvidia Geforce GTX 1650 Ti | RAM: 8GB | Storage/ Hard drive: 512GB SSD | Operating System: Windows 10 Home
There are plenty of great options for a laptop for graphic designing under $1000 out there, but if you really need to pull the right strings for multitasking including competitive level of gaming, then Asus Tuf Gaming A15 laptop is another perfect option to avail. The people who are into esports, at the same time work as a freelancer, they must give this machine a try. It is the coolest running gaming laptop engineered with nice ventilation, as a result of which, this laptop wouldn’t get hot even at an intense level of multitasking.
It has a RGB keyboard with gaming shortcuts keys brightly highlighted. It has DTS X Ultra 7.1 virtual surround sound supportive dual speakers, due to which its again a nice deal for fellows who often generate potential audio profiles. As for hardware, this laptop contains 4th generation AMD Ryzen 5 4600H processor with 6 cores, 12 threads, 8MB Cache, 3.0GHz base and 4.0Ghz boost frequency. It has a GTX 1650 Ti dedicated graphics card with 4GB GDDR6 VRAM with 1485MHz boost clock.
7. Dell Inspiron 15 3505 – Budget laptop for designers
Screen/ resolution: 15.6” FHD (1920×1080) | Processor name: AMD Ryzen 5 3450U | GPU: AMD Radeon Vega 8 Graphics | RAM: 12GB | Storage/ Hard drive: 512GB SSD | Operating System: Windows 10 Home
Dell Inspiron 15 3505 is a suitable choice for graphic designers who run out of cash. It’s a nice machine packed with all the necessary features a beginner might require while surviving on a budget. This laptop can easily handle all sorts of editing and graphic designing softwares including Adobe Photoshop. There is no lag or bloatware to tackle with first, everything runs smoothly without experiencing any hiccups. Just install your favorite Applications and get the best animation, editing and even programming. We would also recommend this laptop for students, engineers and bloggers too.
Getting straight into its specifications, the only two things this laptop falls short for is gaming and lacking a backlit keyboard. Its battery is also not sufficient but still this is not a deal breaker. Though moving towards its configuration, this laptop is equipped with 3rd generation AMD Ryzen 5 3450U processor with 4 cores, 8 threads, 4MB Cache, 2.1GHz base and 3.5GHz boost clock. It has an AMD Radeon Vega 8 Graphics, which is an integrated graphics chip, although not good for gaming but still very capable to do animation, editing and much more in the creative section.
8. Acer Nitro 5 – Laptop for programming, graphic design and gaming
Screen/ resolution: 15.6” FHD (1920×1080) | Processor name: Intel i5-9300H | GPU: Nvidia Geforce GTX 1650 | RAM: 8GB | Storage/ Hard drive: 256GB SSD | Operating System: Windows 10 Home
Another great option for people with side passion for gaming. This laptop is widely used by students as well, as they are a master to bring out all the favourable features a gamer requires, including RGB keyboard, gaming shortcut keys, wide trackpad and most of all the best heat dissipation system so the machine wouldn’t get hot under the intense gaming phases. Furthermore, the popular applications for graphic designing and programming softwares like CAD/CAM runs flawlessly.
However the battery may force you to think before buying this laptop because it doesn’t go any farther than 2.5 hours for gaming, but if you are exclusively dedicating it for graphic designing, then you will be getting a battery life of up to 4 hours easily. Apart from this, its configuration includes a 9th generation Intel i5-9300H processor with 4 cores, 8 threads, 8MB Cache, 2.4GHz base and 4.8GHz boost frequency. In addition, it has a Nvidia Geforce GTX 1650 4GB GDDR6 dedicated video card, impeccable efficiency to deal with heavy processing tasks.
9. Acer Aspire 5 – Best laptop for programming and graphic design
Screen/ resolution: 15.6” FHD (1920×1080) | Processor name: Intel i5-1135G7 | GPU: Intel Iris Xe Graphics | RAM: 8GB | Storage/ Hard drive: 256GB SSD | Operating System: Windows 10 Home
Acer Aspire 5 is a laptop for beginner graphic designing. The one who has just started experimenting with softwares to generate some content and wants to establish his/her first ever portfolio, Acer Aspire 5 can be a good pick for this. It is more likely a laptop for content writers, bloggers, authors or any screenwriting niche. It has a backlit keyboard which fulfills the ergonomic requirement for comfortable typing, an uplifted hinge to get your hands easily on the keys and a spacious trackpad with fingerprint reader, letting the user get the privilege of comfortable hours of work.
This laptop for graphic designing contains an 11th generation Intel i5-1135G7 processor with 4 cores, 8MB Cache, 8 threads, 2.4GHz base and 4.2GHz boost frequency. It has an integrated Intel Iris Xe Graphics with shared memory. It is not recommended for gaming or any high end graphic tasks, but can do fine with Indesign, Photoshop, illustrator and similar softwares. Despite being an expansive one with the given configuration, it is still a nice laptop because anything lower than this for example UHD graphics wouldn’t even let you get the results of your efforts without hiccups. Thus this configuration is rather better than those inexpensive laptops with low configurations.
10. Google PixelBook Go – ChromeBook for graphic design
Screen/ resolution: 13.3” touchscreen FHD (1920×1080) | Processor name: Intel Core m3 -8100Y | GPU: Intel UHD 615 Graphics | RAM: 8GB | Storage/ Hard drive: 64GB SSD | Operating System: Chrome OS
ChromeBooks are dear to heart, Google PixelBook Go is one of them. It’s a jem for students, businessmen, travellers and for casual users. Not only this, but checking out this chromeBook for content creation like editing videos, animating, graphic designing, this turn out to be a luxury fortunately. There are so many softwares for graphic designing like InPaint, Photo Pea, Canva, Pixlr and many more useful applications through which your life is gonna be easy and your creations are becoming handy.
This is lightweight no more than 2 pounds, extremely easy to keep it along with you and bring it out to continue your work without hassle. It has a backlit keyboard with Hush soundless mechanism, while travelling your companion wouldn’t even guess you are working on those keys. It has a 1080p front camera instead of traditional 720p webcams we mostly found in laptops with thousands of dollars. There are dual stereo speakers, loud enough to get you on the track. This laptop is worth buying, but buy only if you already know ChromeBooks protocols, like it’s compulsory to have an internet connection and no third party softwares is allowed to be installed etc.
How to choose the best laptop for graphic designing? Buyers Guide
The above question may look like the most simplest one to you, but for dedicated graphic designers this question is a bit complicated to answer. This is because of the level of graphic designing, one aims to perform on their laptop or PC, which decides the hardware you really need for it.
Firstly, despite throwing hundreds of dollars on a laptop for editing or graphic designing, you need to evaluate the tasks you intend to have and what softwares you are going to deal with. But since there are a number of softwares available today from Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Premiere Pro, Pixlr, Affinity Photo, Gimp, Picsart, Photoscape to Krita to so many other applications you really don’t decipher which software you are going to start with and end up with, is a bit confusing. However, you don’t need to fret about it, but choose the safest configuration instead which is eligible for all sorts of applications that might be thrown at the system.
For this, in order to set the safest benchmark, bring out your pen and note down the suggested basic features we have jotted below.
Processor / CPU for graphic designing
Graphic designing, photo editing or animation is more a job for a CPU than a GPU. There are more chances to work on more than two or three applications simultaneously to generate your required content, therefore a powerful processor is crucial for your system.
\But that does not mean you necessarily need to buy a laptop with Intel i9 or latest equivalent because it’s clearly an overkill for the CPU. Any processor with at least 4 cores or maximum 8 cores can do your job perfectly fine. All you need is to shuffle up a laptop for graphic designing with either Intel i5 or Intel i7, which is more than enough for you, no matter how many applications you are working with at a moment.
Graphic card for graphic designing
It’s true that most of the latest applications coming for graphic designing are now demanding roles of a graphic card too, compared to what they were before. We still don’t say to spend too much on the GPU because graphic designing is still more CPU centric today. For this, any of the Nvidia GeForce GTX 10 Series graphics cards is more than enough. Whatever you choose, it shouldn’t be lower than 2GB VRAM GPU.
However, we can’t really sum up the role of the GPU fully here, because what if you are a gamer too? If that’s the case then you need a good graphic card as well. Moreover, if budget is not holding you back then go for any of the latest Nvidia GeForce RTX 30 series, 20 series or AMD equivalent video cards as per your liking.
RAM for graphic designing
RAM of your system is another crucial feature you must not let behind. The more the RAM of the laptop you have, the better, the smoother, the faster your system will be and the more quickly you can switch from one application to another, to one tab to another tab. In short, life is so much better with more RAM than fewer.
The minimum you have to look for is 8GB RAM and if possible go for an upgradable system so that you can add more memory in future because being a graphic designer you are really going to need it. Thus the maximum RAM of the laptop is as much as you can have, if you can afford without giving your eyeball.
We are telling you there are loads of files you are going to deal with in the future once you start working as a graphic designer, and surely have a shortage of space to keep them within the system. Another important fact you must need to consider is the type of storage your laptop consists of.
There are two basic types of drives, HDD (Hard Disk Drive) and SSD (Solid State Drive). Some of the laptops have one of them and some have both of them together. We suggest you pick a laptop with SSD form of storage with at least 512GB. A cherry on top if it has dual slots instead, for future upgrading.
Other factors you need to check for
Lets not forget the role of the features other than the basic configuration of the laptop you are going to set for. They are namely;
Screen size/ resolution
To be very straight, don’t go for compact size screens. Graphic designing needs a nice space of viewing for right evaluation of the colors you have splashed, smooth pixels and shadows you have thrown in your content.
Further, it’s not necessary to pick a high resolution laptop for graphic designing, instead you can go with an FHD (1080p) laptop. Though it can be factory calibrated and it would be better if you get a laptop with Delta E >2 color accuracy. Besides, it would be great if you get a laptop with 100% Adobe RGB color saturation, otherwise 100% sRGB colors are also fine.
Be attentive to the battery life of your laptop. Unfortunately, the gaming laptops with dedicated graphics cards squeeze more power and have the shortest battery life. But this has to be taken under consideration if you are more like a person switching from one place to another and often carry your laptop on the go. A good amount of battery life is highly important.
Budget or no budget laptop for graphic designing
You might think this section needs to be discussed earlier, but graphic designing is a field which requires the work to be done flawlessly and there are no such things called trade offs. You need a laptop by all means to meet the needs of graphic designing thus it is least to think of the budget because this is not something you can control over when it comes to a powerful laptop.
A graphic designer couldn’t just stick to one type of an application to fulfill his content requirements, he has to go from a simple editing softwares to complex graphics to even transcript applications too. His job is so diversional that it’s impossible to remain on a single desk. Similarly, that’s how important it is for the best laptop for graphic designing to be able to perform in all segments of multitasking fully throughout the whole process. So that one has not to rely or switch each time on different displays to get his work done.
The above listed laptops are some great options with which you wouldn’t have to retrieve or put extra effort to generate your content, but the results will be in your hand in just one go. If you still find this decision difficult, place your query in the comment section and leave the rest to us, we will help you to pick the right one for you.