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The Top 10 Best Laptops for Graphic Design

The Top 10 Best Laptops for Graphic Design

Graphic design is an art that requires both creativity and computing power. A graphic designer must have the right laptop to bring your visions to life and work efficiently. The ideal graphic design laptop must have a stunning display, powerful processor, ample RAM and storage, and strong graphics capabilities.

Choosing a suitable machine can be overwhelming with so many options on the market. This definitive guide breaks down the ten best laptops for graphic design in 2024 based on performance, display quality, portability, and value. We'll review the factors you should consider when shopping for a new device and provide specific recommendations for designers on any budget.

What to Look for in a Graphic Design Laptop

Acer Swift 5 Laptop Review

Before jumping into the laptop reviews, let's go over the key factors you should evaluate when choosing a system for graphic design:

Display Quality

One of the most important features for designers is a high-quality display. You'll want a laptop with a 1080p resolution, wide viewing angles, bright backlighting (around 300 nits), accurate colour reproduction, and an IPS panel. A 4K display is ideal for handling super-detailed graphics work. Shoot for at least 100% sRGB colour gamut coverage.

Processing Power

Graphic design software like Adobe Creative Cloud is very resource-intensive. You'll want an Intel Core i5 or i7 processor or AMD Ryzen 5 or 7. The more cores, the better for complex tasks like 3D modelling and video editing. 16GB of RAM is recommended for seamless multitasking.

Graphics Card

A dedicated GPU is crucial for accelerating graphics workflows. NVIDIA RTX or Quadro graphics cards are best. The higher the model (e.g. RTX 3070), the faster the rendering. AMD Radeon GPUs are also capable options. At least 4GB of VRAM is recommended.

Storage Space

You'll need sufficient storage space for large design files and assets. A 256GB SSD is the minimum, but 512GB or 1TB is better. An additional HDD can be supplemented if needed. External drives are also an option.

Portability

Graphic designers often go between client meetings, conferences, and coffee shops. Thin, lightweight laptops under 4 pounds are ideal for mobility. Battery life of 8+ hours allows you to work all day without being tethered.

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Connectivity

Look for essential ports like USB-C, USB 3.0, HDMI, SD card reader, and headphone jack. Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5 provide fast, reliable wireless connections. Touchscreen, pen support, and a good keyboard and trackpad boost usability.

Price

Graphic design laptops span a wide range of budgets. You can get capable entry-level models for around $700-800, while high-end mobile workstations run over $2,000. Know how much performance you need for your workload and set a budget accordingly.

Now, let's get into the top recommendations across various price points!

The 10 Best Laptops for Graphic Design in 2024

Best Apple Macbook Pro 2022 2023

1 – Apple MacBook Pro 16″ (Best Overall)

SaleBestseller No. 1
Apple 2023 MacBook Pro Laptop M3 Pro chip with 12‑core CPU, 18‑core GPU: 16.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR Display, 18GB Unified Memory, 512GB SSD Storage. Works with iPhone/iPad; Space Black
  • SUPERCHARGED BY M3 PRO OR M3 MAX — The Apple M3 Pro chip, with a 12-core CPU and 18-core GPU, delivers amazing performance for demanding workflows like manipulating gigapixel panoramas or compiling millions of lines of code. M3 Max, with an up to 16-core CPU and up to 40-core GPU, drives extreme performance for the most advanced workflows like rendering intricate 3D content or developing transformer models with billions of parameters.
  • UP TO 22 HOURS OF BATTERY LIFE — Go all day thanks to the power-efficient design of Apple silicon. The MacBook Pro laptop delivers the same exceptional performance whether it’s running on battery or plugged in. (Battery life varies by use and configuration. See apple.com/batteries for more information.)
  • BRILLIANT PRO DISPLAY — The 16.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR display features Extreme Dynamic Range, over 1000 nits of brightness for stunning HDR content, up to 600 nits of brightness for SDR content, and pro reference modes for doing your best work on the go. (The display has rounded corners at the top. When measured diagonally, the screen is 16.2 inches. Actual viewable area is less.)
  • FULLY COMPATIBLE — All your pro apps run lightning fast — including Adobe Creative Cloud, Apple Xcode, Microsoft 365, SideFX Houdini, MathWorks MATLAB, Medivis SurgicalAR, and many of your favorite iPhone and iPad apps. And with macOS, work and play on your Mac are even more powerful. Elevate your presence on video calls. Access information in all-new ways. And discover even more ways to personalize your Mac. (Apps are available on the App Store.)
  • ADVANCED CAMERA AND AUDIO — Look sharp and sound great with a 1080p FaceTime HD camera, a studio-quality three-mic array, and a six-speaker sound system with Spatial Audio.

The 16-inch MacBook Pro is the gold standard for graphic design. It packs elite power and performance into a slim aluminium chassis. The 16″ Retina display is gorgeous with its 3072 x 1920 resolution, 500 nits brightness, P3 wide colour gamut, and 120Hz ProMotion technology for smooth scrolling and response.

Under the hood, you can choose the latest 13th Gen Intel Core i7 or i9 processors and up to 32GB of RAM for fast speeds. The AMD Radeon Pro discrete GPU delivers lightning-fast rendering. The 1TB SSD offers quick file access and ample storage. You also get many ports, including HDMI, an SD card reader, Thunderbolt 4, and a MagSafe charging port.

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While expensive, the 16″ MacBook Pro's phenomenal display, top-notch performance, premium design, and robust software ecosystem make it the best laptop for designers.

2 – Dell XPS 15 (Most Well-Rounded Windows Laptop)

The Dell XPS 15 is a graphic design dynamo. This nimble 15.6″ laptop weighs just 4 pounds but packs a punch. You can configure it with up to an Intel Core i9 CPU, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti GPU, 32GB RAM, and 1TB SSD for powerhouse performance.

The near bezel-less InfinityEdge display is available in 1080p, 4K, and OLED options – all with 100% Adobe RGB and 94% DCI-P3 for accurate colour representation. The aluminium/carbon fibre build feels premium and stays cool under pressure. With over 14 hours of battery life, you can create all day.

For portability, performance, and display quality, the XPS 15 is hard to beat. It's the best premium Windows laptop for graphic design.

3 – Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio (Most Innovative 2-in-1)

Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio 2 (2023) – 14.4″ Touchscreen – Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4050, Windows 11, Platinum Color Copilot
  • Built to power your biggest ideas – Get incredible performance for the most demanding workloads with Intel Core processors built on the Intel Evo platform, delivering over 2x more power than before.
  • Up to 18 hours [1] of battery life – Surface Laptop Studio 2 can power your creativity and entertainment all day.
  • Get into your workflow faster than ever – Multitask like a pro with up to 64GB RAM and a blazing fast SSD with up to 2TB of storage [2].
  • NVIDIA Studio-validated for creators – Preinstalled with Studio Drivers and exclusive tools to accelerate all your professional and creative workflows.
  • Designed to inspire and entertain – See and do more on the bright, vibrant 14.4” [3] PixelSense Flow touchscreen with true-to-life color and up to 120Hz refresh rate.

Microsoft's unique Surface Laptop Studio is perfect for graphic artists needing versatility. The pull-forward 14.4″ touchscreen transforms seamlessly between laptop, stage, and studio modes. Lay it flat like a tablet to sketch with the Surface Pen or angle it for drafting presentations.

Under the hood are 11th Gen Intel Core H Series processors, up to 32GB of RAM, NVIDIA GeForce RTX GPUs, and 2TB of SSD storage – plenty of muscle for graphics work. The sharp PixelSense display has 201 PPI resolution, 120Hz refresh rate, and Dolby Vision HDR for stellar visuals. At just 4 pounds, it's easy to take anywhere.

The innovative Surface Laptop Studio is ideal for those wanting the flexibility of a convertible 2-in-1 without sacrificing performance. It lets you work exactly how you want.

4 – HP ZBook Studio G8 (Top Mobile Workstation)

HP ZBOOK-STUDIO-G8 2023 Laptop, Intel 8-Core i7-11800H, 15.6″ FHD IPS Display, NVIDA T1200 Graphics, 16GB DDR4 512GB SSD, Per-Key RGB Backlit Keyboard, Fingerprint, Thunderbolt 4, Wi-Fi 6, Win10 Pro
  • 【Memory Disk and System】16GB 3200 MHz DDR4 SDRAM, 512GB PCI-E NVMe M.2 SSD for Storage, Pre-install Windows 10 Pro
  • 【Processor】11th Gen Intel i7-11800H 8-Core Processor (Up to 4.6 GHz with Intel Turbo Boost Technology, 24 MB Intel Smart cache, 8 Cores, 16 Threads)
  • 【Screen and Graphics】Brilliant 15.6″ FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS 400 nits Anti-glare 72% NTSC Thin Bezel LCD Display powered by NVIDIA T1200 w/ 4GB DDR6

The HP ZBook Studio G8 workstation laptop delivers when you need raw graphics power. It's built for 3D rendering, video editing, CAD, and other demanding creative workflows.

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You can configure it with Intel Xeon processors, pro NVIDIA T500 or RTX graphics, up to 64GB of RAM, and blazing-fast storage. The stunning 15.6 or 17.3-inch 4K DreamColor display reproduces 100% of the Adobe RGB gamut. The aluminium unibody feels rock-solid yet weighs under 5 pounds.

While pricey, the expandable ZBook Studio G8 offers desktop-caliber performance in a slim, stylish package. If you take on complex graphics projects, this mobile workstation has the muscle to handle them.

5 – Acer ConceptD 3 Laptop (Best Budget Powerhouse)

Acer ConceptD 3 Pro CN315-71P-58N0 Creator Laptop, Intel i5-9300H, NVIDIA Quadro T1000, NVIDIA Studio, 15.6″ FHD IPS, 100% DCI-P3 Color Gamut, Pantone Validated, Delta E<2, 16GB DDR4, 512GB NVMe SSD
  • 9th Generation Intel Core i5-9300H 4-Core Processor (Up to 4.1GHz) with Windows 10 Professional 64 Bit
  • NVIDIA Quadro T1000 with 4 GB of dedicated GDDR5 VRAM | NVIDIA Studio Laptop
  • 15.6″ Full HD (1920 x 1080) widescreen LED-backlit IPS Display | PANTONE Validated | Delta E <2 | 300nit Brightness | 100% DCI-P3 Color Gamut
  • 16GB DDR4 2666MHz Memory | 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD | Amber Colored Backlit Keyboard | Acer Bio-Protection Fingerprint Solution
  • Wireless: Intel Wireless Wi-Fi 6 AX200 802. 11ax Dual-Band 2. 4GHz and 5GHz featuring 2×2 MU-MIMO technology (Max Speed up to 2. 4Gbps) | LAN:10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet LAN (RJ-45 port)

The Acer ConceptD 3 packs impressive graphics capabilities into an affordable package. It sports a 15.6-inch Full-HD IPS display with 100% Adobe RGB coverage – perfect for color-critical work. The Intel Core i5 CPU and NVIDIA Quadro GPU deliver smooth 3D modelling, rendering, and editing performance.

16GB of RAM lets you juggle multiple design apps and large files. The M.2 PCIe SSD offers super-fast performance up to 2TB. An optimised thermal design keeps it running cool and quiet under heavy use. Weighing just 4.6 pounds, it's portable for the performance.

For designers seeking powerhouse performance on a budget, the Acer ConceptD 3 can't be beaten. It brings premium features at an accessible price point.

6 – Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition (Most Stylish for Creatives)

Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition Laptop: Intel Core i7-9750H – NVIDIA Quadro RTX 5000 – 15.6″ 4K OLED Touch – 32GB RAM – 1TB NVMe SSD, CNC Aluminum, RGB Lighting, Thunderbolt 3, Mercury White (Renewed)
  • Zero-Compromise Creative Mobile Workstation: Built for creative work in a 0.7″ thin CNC aluminum unibody with high-performance, vapor chamber cooling powered by an NVIDIA Quadro series GPU
  • Futureproof Design: Thunderbolt 3 capable, compatible with Razer Core external GPU enclosures for additional power; supports dual-channel memory and SSD upgradability
  • Professional-Grade Studio Display: Features an individually calibrated 4K OLED touch display covering 100% DCI-P3 with a blazing fast 1ms response time

Razer makes the most stylish laptops for creatives. The Blade 15 Studio Edition packs visual prowess into a stunning CNC aluminium chassis just 0.7″ thin. The bezel-free 15.6″ 4K OLED touch display is individually calibrated for colour accuracy.

It runs on 10th Gen Intel Core i7 H-Series processors and NVIDIA Quadro RTX 5000 graphics inside. With up to 32GB of RAM and 1TB SSD, it chews through graphics workloads. THX Spatial Audio provides immersive sound. The customisable RGB keyboard ups the cool factor.

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For designers who value aesthetics, the Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition brings impressive performance in a sleek, head-turning package. It will turn heads in any creative environment.

7 – Asus ProArt Studiobook Pro 16 (Best Mobile Workstation Under $3,000)

ASUS 2023 ProArt StudioBook Pro 16 OLED Laptop, 16” 3.2K OLED Touch Display, Intel Core i9-13980HX CPU, NVIDIA RTX 3000 Ada Gen, 64GB DDR5 RAM, 2TB SSD, Windows 11 Pro, W7604J3D-XS99T, Mineral Black
  • 16” OLED 3.2K (3200 x 2000) 16:10 touch display laptop; 120Hz refresh rate with 0.2ms response time; 100% DCI-P3 color gamut; Pantone validated color accuracy; 500 nits; Delta E <2; with 4096 pressure-level MPP 2.0 stylus support (Stulys included with purchase)
  • Intel Core i9-13980HX Processor 2.2 GHz (36MB Cache, up to 5.6 GHz, 24 cores, 32 Threads) with Windows 11 Pro
  • NVIDIA RTX 3000 Ada Generation Laptop GPU with 8GB GDDR6 VRAM – RTX Studio Ready
  • Fast storage and memory (upgradable) featuring 2TB M.2 NVMe PCIe 4.0 Performance SSD and 32GB DDR5 SO-DIMM *2 Memory
  • US MIL-STD 810H military-grade standard

The Asus ProArt Studiobook Pro 16 gives you high-end workstation performance at a more accessible price. The 16-inch 4K display reproduces 120% of the Adobe RGB colour space for exacting colour precision. NVIDIA Quadro RTX graphics and Intel Xeon processors deliver smooth rendering and 3D modelling.

32GB of RAM, 2TB SSD RAID storage, and Thunderbolt 3 connectivity provide the speed and versatility creatives need. The slim, all-metal chassis weighs just 4.2 pounds for easy portability. Asus' proprietary cooling system minimises heat and noise, even under heavy use.

For professional-grade power without the premium price tag, the Asus ProArt Studiobook Pro 16 is stellar for graphics professionals on a budget.

8 – LG Gram 17 (Best Super Lightweight Design)

Sale
LG Gram 17ZB90R 17″ Lightweight Laptop, Intel Core i7-1360P, 16GB RAM/512GB SSD with Windows 11 Home, Black
  • 17” WQXGA (2560 x 1600) Anti-Glare IPS Display | Windows 11 Home | Intel Evo 13th Gen Intel Core Processor i7-1360P
  • Intel Iris Xe Graphics | 16GB LPDDR5 RAM | 512GB NVMe M.2 SSD
  • Windows 11 Home – Windows 11 brings you closer to what you love. Pursue your passions and maximize your productivity with the new Windows 11. Built with tools to help you multitask, think, create, and connect—all designed with simplicity and intuition in mind.

The LG Gram 17 lets designers take a big screen on the go with featherlight portability. This 17-inch laptop incredibly weighs just 3 pounds. The slim bezels surround a gorgeous 2560×1600 IPS display with 99% DCI-P3 colour accuracy.

Despite its size, the Gram 17 delivers solid performance from 10th Gen Intel Core processors, Intel Iris Xe graphics, 16GB RAM, and 512GB NVMe SSD. An 80Wh battery keeps it running up to 19.5 hours for all-day use. Military durability testing ensures it can withstand life on the move.

For graphics artists and designers needing desktop-class screen real estate in an ultraportable package, the LG Gram 17 fits the bill perfectly. It's astonishingly lightweight for its screen size.

9 – Lenovo ThinkPad P1 Gen 4 (Best for CAD & Engineering)

Lenovo ThinkPad P1 Gen 4 20Y4S2NK00 16″ Mobile Workstation – WQUXGA – 3840 x 2400 – Intel Core i7 11th Gen i7-11800H Octa-core (8 Core) 2.30 GHz – 32 GB RAM – 1 TB SSD – Black
  • Intel Core i7 2.30 GHz processor provides lightning fast speed and peak performance for the toughest of tasks and games
  • With 32 GB DDR4 SDRAM of memory, runs as many programs as you want without losing the execution
  • 16″ display with 3840 x 2400 resolution showcases movies, games and photos with impressive clarity
  • Windows 10 Pro comes with improved 2 x 2 snapping, helps you make more productive at work

Engineers, architects, and designers working with 3D CAD software should consider the Lenovo ThinkPad P1 Gen 4. Available with up to an 8-core Intel Xeon CPU, NVIDIA RTX A5000 graphics, 128GB RAM, and 8TB storage, it was built for intensive design applications.

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The 16-inch 4K display reproduces 100% of Adobe RGB. ISV certifications ensure optimal compatibility with SOLIDWORKS, CATIA, and other professional CAD programs. Mil-spec tested durability allows it to withstand rugged use in the field. Weighing 3.99 pounds, it strikes a good balance between performance and portability.

For CAD professionals, the Lenovo ThinkPad P1 Gen 4 brings category-leading power in a reliable package that can withstand constant use.

10 – MSI Prestige 14 Evo (Most Portable 14″ Model)

MSI Prestige 14 EVO 14″ FHD+ Laptop: Intel Core i7-13700H, Intel Iris Xe, 32GB DDR5, 1TB NVMe SSD, Thunderbolt 4, HDMI, MicroSD Card Reader, Win 11 Pro: Urban Silver B13M-269US
  • Supercharged Process: The 13th Gen. Intel Core i7 processor delivers the ultimate immersive experience in gameplay, multi-task work and productivity.
  • Power Your Passion: Intuitive navigation with faster performance, the Windows 11 Pro perfect for at home use or running a business.
  • Intel Iris Xe: Delivering transformational GPU and integrated graphics to support fluid designing for creators and productivity experiences.
  • FHD+ Display: The 14″ 16:10 60Hz 100% sRGB display delivers abundant color gamut, more vivid colors and details for an accurate picture.

If max portability is your priority, consider the MSI Prestige 14 Evo. This super lightweight 14-inch laptop weighs just 2.85 pounds. The 16:10 IPS display provides additional vertical space for design tasks. Powered by 11th Gen Intel Core processors and Intel Iris Xe graphics, performance is solid for most creative applications.

16GB of RAM, 1TB SSD, Thunderbolt 4, and a MicroSD reader provide the connectivity and speed needed for design workflows. The aluminium chassis has a clean, professional aesthetic fitting creative environments. With over 10 hours of real-world battery life, you can create on the couch or in the park.

For graphic designers and illustrators needing a powerful yet portable machine, the MSI Prestige 14 Evo lets you quickly bring your whole studio anywhere.

Key Considerations When Buying a Graphic Design Laptop

  • Display – Prioritise colour accuracy, resolution and brightness. IPS panels are preferred. 4K resolution is ideal.
  • Performance – Seek at least an Intel Core i5/Ryzen 5 CPU, 16GB RAM, and dedicated GPU like NVIDIA RTX/Quadro or AMD Radeon.
  • Storage – 512GB SSD minimum, 1TB+ better. HDD can supplement. External drives are also an option.
  • Graphics Card – NVIDIA RTX, Quadro or AMD Radeon GPU recommended. Higher-end models accelerate rendering.
  • Portability – Look for thin, light laptops if mobility is essential. MacBook Pro 16″ and XPS 15 strike a good balance.
  • OS – Mac or Windows are both solid options. MacOS is popular for design. Look for a laptop well-supported by your preferred software.
  • Budget – Determine how much performance you need. Entry-level capable from $700-800, mobile workstations over $2,000.

Prioritising your display, power, portability, and software compatibility needs will help narrow options and determine the proper budget.

Frequently Asked Questions on Laptops for Graphic Design

Do graphic designers need a good graphics card?

Yes, a dedicated GPU accelerates rendering and playback for design tasks. NVIDIA RTX, Quadro, and AMD Radeon graphics cards are best optimised for Adobe Creative Cloud and CAD programs.

How much RAM for graphic design?

16GB RAM is the recommended minimum for smooth multitasking in design apps. 32GB provides headroom for complex projects. Some high-end models go up to 64 or even 128GB.

Is a Mac or PC better for graphic design?

Both Mac and Windows laptops can work well. Mac is famous for design, given seamless Creative Cloud integration. But there are also many capable Windows alternatives like the XPS 15 or Surface Laptop Studio.

Is 4K necessary for graphic design?

A 4K display is unnecessary but provides the sharpest image quality for detailed graphics work. A premium 1080p display can still offer excellent colour reproduction and clarity.

What size laptop is best for graphic design?

15 to 16-inch laptops offer the right balance of screen real estate and portability for designers. 17-inch workstations provide maximum space for intricate designs but are less mobile. 13-14 inches maximise portability for travel.

Conclusion

Choosing the right laptop is critical for graphic designers and digital artists to bring visions to reality efficiently. This guide covered the essential factors from display to performance to portability and cost. Models like the MacBook Pro 16, Dell XPS 15, Surface Laptop Studio, and Razer Blade 15 offer excellent power, screen excellence, and mobility combinations.

Focus on your workflow needs and budget to narrow down your best options. With the right laptop, you can create anywhere inspiration strikes without technical limitations getting in the way. The machines above offer excellent starting points to take your graphic design career to the next level.

Last update on 2024-07-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Stuart Crawford

Stuart Crawford is an award-winning creative director and brand strategist with over 15 years of experience building memorable and influential brands. As Creative Director at Inkbot Design, a leading branding agency, Stuart oversees all creative projects and ensures each client receives a customised brand strategy and visual identity.

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