Graphic Design is a task that demands significant computing power to perform smoothly; traditionally, desktops have been the tool of choice for professional graphic designers. However, laptops have become the tool of choice for professionals who are on the move, and with the advanced computing power laptops can offer – they provide a comfortable working experience.
After exhaustively reviewing all available laptops, we present the best laptop for graphic design – the Acer Aspire V17 Nitro Black Edition. Housing powerful hardware, coupled with an astounding display, this laptop is the tool of choice for professional graphic designers.
The five best laptops for graphic design
Here’s a list of the best laptops for graphic design;
|Acer Aspire V17 Nitro Black Edition...||$1,399.99||Read Amazon Reviews »|
|Apple Macbook Pro MJLT2LL/A 15-inch...||from $1,498.89||Read Amazon Reviews »|
|ASUS ZenBook Pro UX501VW-US71...||from $1,526.99||Read Amazon Reviews »|
|Microsoft Surface Book (1 TB, 16 GB...||$2,989.00||Read Amazon Reviews »|
|Lenovo Z70 17.3 Inch Laptop (Intel...||$899.99||Read Amazon Reviews »|
The best laptop for graphic design
The Acer Aspire V17 Nitro Black Edition has been dubbed as ‘The Beast’ by Acer due to the powerful hardware it packs with a beautiful 17.3-inch screen.
Featuring a 4th Generation Intel Core i7-4720HQ, the laptop provides a ridiculous amount of processing power for a portable device; the power of this processor is well within the range of desktop processors which is a significant plus point.
If you are wondering: ‘Why is a laptop housing a 4th generation processor listed as the best?’ The reason for this is the powerful performance it offers coupled with a gorgeous 17.3-inch Full-HD (1920×1080) screen as well as the formidable NVIDIA GTX 960M GPU.
Add to this 16 GB of RAM, 1 TB storage space, and 256GB flash storage – you get a perfect ‘beast’ to meet your graphic designing needs.
The GPU is more than capable of handling even advanced 3D designing tasks well and the 16 GB of RAM ensures that you never run short of memory even if you are used to opening multiple programs and windows at the same time.
The four other graphic design laptops we tested
Apple’s flagship laptop offering needs no introduction and is a popular choice among a wide variety of professions, with graphic designing being no different.
One of the major advantages of using a MacBook is the availability of the power of Mac OSX at your disposal, which includes using Apple’s own designing tools as well as some amazing apps that are exclusive to the Mac such as Sketch 3 and Affinity Designer (Affinity designer is beta testing a Windows version as of now).
Setting aside the advantages of using the Mac platform, the hardware it offers is also powerful – a blazing fast 2.5GHz Core i7 processor runs at its core in addition to an AMD R9M370X which is one of the most advanced GPU chips on the market currently.
16 GB of RAM provided with 512GB of flash storage ensure that every task you perform will be done at lightning speeds, giving you a pleasant working experience. Pair this with a gorgeous 15-inch Retina (2880×1800) display and you arrive at one of the best laptops for graphic design.
The 2 reasons for it to rank lower than the Acer V17 Nitro is the comparatively smaller screen and vast price difference.
- 2.5GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 with Turbo Boost up to 3.7GHz
- 16GB 1600MHz memory and 512GB PCIe-based flash storage1
- Intel Iris Pro Graphics
ASUS’ latest laptop is a designing marvel which manages to provide portability without compromising on performance similar to the MacBook.
The sleek casing that houses a 6th Gen Core i7-6700HQ (2.6Ghz) Processor and a NVIDIA GTX 960M GPU make this a worthy contender for not only the best laptop for graphic design but as one of the most powerful yet portable laptops on the market.
It is enhanced by an amazing 4k 15.6-inch display that is capable of a whopping 3840×2160 resolution that will detail every aspect of your graphics and design work.
The 512 GB SSD is the only let-down of this laptop, since the storage space, although fast, is not sufficient to comfortably store content on your device and you will eventually have to rely on an external hard disk.
Ample RAM is provided and meets my recommendation of 16 GB memory, thus ensuring that multitasking on this laptop will not be an irritating experience.
- 15.6" Touch IPS 4K Ultra-HD display, 3840 x 2160 resolution
- Powerful Intel Skylake Core i7-6700HQ 2.6 GHz Quadcore CPU (turbo to...
- 512GB SSD with transfer speeds of 1400MB/s and 16GB DDR4 RAM
Microsoft’s flagship offering is listed at the far end of this list mainly due to the price factor and the comparatively small screen. Power-wise, the Surface Book can edge out several desktop hardware options, although it is still not as powerful as the ASUS ZenBook and MacBook Pro 15.
Featuring a 13.5-inch screen, the laptop might prove to be too small for graphic designers to work comfortably without having to strain and/or missing out on fine details. However, the high resolution is a saving grace for it at 3000×2000, it is just under native 4K.
It is powered by a custom-made Intel processor and NVIDIA GPU, which have excellent benchmarks in all tests performed; the hardware provides sufficient performance to run all graphic designing programs without a hitch.
Similar to Apple’s MacBook, Microsoft provides 1TB flash storage and 16 GB RAM that ensures that you will not run out of storage space as well as memory easily, thus you can store several files without having to rely on external hard disks and juggle numerous open programs comfortably.
- 13.5 inches Display
- Intel A110 2.4 GHz
- 1 TB Flash Memory, 16 GB RAM Memory
The Z70 can be branded as Lenovo’s underperforming version of the Acer V17 Nitro. Although the hardware is not as powerful as any of the other laptops listed here, it is sufficient to perform graphic designing tasks, as long as you don’t intend to use it for advanced 3D graphic designing.
The Full HD (1920×1080) 17.3-inch display is large enough that you will never have an issue inspecting and tweaking details of your work. Moreover, 16 GB RAM and a 1 TB hard disk (albeit, a slow 5400rpm one), make sure that you are covered with regards to space in both storage and memory.
Housing an Intel Core i7-5500U and an NVIDIA GT840M, it underperforms compared to every single laptop listed above. On the other hand, it is significantly cheaper than any other laptop listed here too. Hence, if you are looking for a laptop to use for graphic designing and are on a budget, this is the laptop you should be looking to purchase.
- Intel Core i7-5500U 2.4 GHz Processor
- 16 GB DDR3 RAM
- 1TB HDD Storage; DVDRW
How we chose the best laptop for graphic design
Several hours of painstaking research followed by taking into account countless user and professional reviews, led us to a list of features that we think – are absolutely essential for a laptop to be considered the best for graphic designing tasks.
When choosing the Acer Aspire V17 Nitro as the absolute best laptop for graphic design, we took into account the following features, ranked in order of importance:
Since the importance of portability will vary from job to job, it does not factor in the rankings provided below.
Keeping these features in mind, we will go over the top 5 laptops available in the market that stand out from the crowd when it comes to performing graphic designing jobs.
The most important consideration when choosing the best laptop for graphic design
Even though the features and hardware in a laptop are all important, one of the features always stands out as the most important when searching for a laptop to perform a specific task. In this case, graphic designers unanimously agree that a powerful CPU is essential to power the laptop and perform all the tasks needed by them.
Graphic designing software (Illustrator, Corel Draw etc.) tend to take up a large chunk of computing power to run smoothly and to provide great renders in a short amount of time. Hence, a powerful CPU critical in order to run graphic designing software effortlessly, as well as to get the production and designing done as fast as possible.
However, if you deal with 3D graphics frequently, you should give equal weight to both the CPU and the GPU on the laptop; rendering 3-dimensional objects will require significant graphics processing power, in addition to the powerful CPU – to supplement it.
Other considerations when choosing the best laptop for graphic design
This feature is a no-brainer – a great display is an absolute necessity as all the processing power in the world cannot provide great detail unless it has a great screen that can be used to output your designs and graphics.
A large screen, preferably bigger than 13-inches is the recommended size for graphic design work, although the sweet spot is the ‘15-inch and above screen’ segment of laptops.
Large high-resolution displays will assist your graphic designing work by providing a level of detail that is impossible to replicate on smaller and/or low-resolution screens.
Graphic designing is a memory intensive task as the various shapes and textures you add to your design grow in size as the raw file is completely uncompressed. Moreover, rendering large designs also tend to require a sizeable amount of RAM in your system. In fact, Adobe Illustrator has a recommended 8 GB memory requirement listed on the official Adobe website.
If you plan to juggle several different tasks along with your graphic designing projects, it is advised to prefer a laptop that offers a minimum of 8 GB RAM. Although 8 GB should cover most tasks, if you want to intensively multitask, always prefer laptops that offer 8+ GB RAM (recommended is a comfortable 16 GB).
Although the power required with respect to this feature depends on the type of work you intend to do on your laptop – a mid-range GPU is crucial for an optimal graphic designing experience without being hindered by lags and/or freezes.
Laptops that offer basic onboard GPUs are known to perform satisfactorily when used for basic graphic design. On the other hand, creating complex designs as well as reducing render times can be accomplished with only a powerful GPU.
Considering the above, I have refrained from including laptops not featuring a discrete GPU in the list of the best laptops for graphic design.
Uncompressed and rendered graphics tend to hog a lot of space on your hard drive, and having hard disks with a relatively low capacity could render you completely dependent on external drives which are both inconvenient as well as unsafe.
It is recommended to purchase laptops that offer at least 1 TB of hard disk storage, with flash storage options being a huge perk if available.
The bottom line
Our extensive and thorough research led us to the Acer V17 Nitro as the best laptop for graphics design; the killer combination of a large Full HD screen, great hardware, and amazing performance are too hard to look past.
Moreover, provision of high-speed flash storage in addition to a regular hard disk (1.25 TB total) ensures that you face minimal storage issues while working on the laptop.
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