If you’re looking for a laptop that you need to use for doing graphic design, you must have already looked at some models and recommendations, which is quite natural. Choosing the best one is a challenge, since buying a laptop for graphic design is not the same as getting one for gaming or general purpose. Needless to say, your budget will play the most important role in choosing the right one, but you should know where you can and where you can’t make any compromises. To help you make a good call, we’ve prepared the following list of tips.
You need to focus on the operating system, CPU, RAM, storage drive, as well as display type and size, though there are other factors to consider, such as the weight and portability. However, your attention should be on those we mentioned first.
When it comes to the operating system, you need to choose whether you want to buy a Mac or a PC. Luckily, most software for graphic design is available on both iOS® and Microsoft® Windows® platforms, which should make your choice easier. Mac monitors are known for color accuracy and high display quality, but PCs are quickly catching up. A PC advantage that we’d like to point out is the fact that it can run more general software, which is important if you’re using the laptop for both work and personal entertainment. While Macs are sleeker, having removed many ports from their devices, it can be a problem when plugging in multiple accessories. Also, PCs are more upgradable, which allows you to upgrade only an outdated or failing component, without replacing the entire laptop.
For graphic design, you want your CPU, or processor, to be fast and powerful in order to be able to run complex and demanding design software. Generally speaking, you should look at CPUs with as many cores as possible, such as the G5 5500 series of Dell laptops offered by the reputable Shoppster platform, boasting hexa-core processors (six cores). Also, consider the laptop’s graphics ability. The graphic chip can be integrated on the processor, or you can get a separate graphics card. Though integrated graphics chips used to be unable to do much more than display web pages, the situation has changed. Unless you do a lot of 3D designs, you should be ok with an integrated graphics chip, which means you will spend less. On the other hand, if your budget allows and if you work with demanding applications, get a laptop with a separate graphics card.
If you work with multiple applications open at the same time, you need as much memory, or RAM, as you can get to allow you to switch between apps and scroll through complex files, since RAM holds the data the laptop needs to access on the fly, such as all the information in the file you’re currently working on. That’s why you should get as much RAM as possible, though if you come across a great deal you might opt for a configuration that doesn’t include enough RAM for your needs and add memory after the purchase.
This is a no-brainer. Ditch the traditional hard disk drive (HDD) and opt for a solid-state drive (SSD). You will have to pay a bit more, but you’ll also enjoy a lighter, faster, and more durable hard drive. Most modern laptops already feature solid-state drives, but if the configuration you can afford doesn’t, you can easily upgrade it with an SSD later.
Display size and type
Again, you want the best display you can afford. For graphic design, you shouldn’t settle for anything under 15 inches. A 17-inch screen is perfect, but it can be cumbersome to carry. Also, you need a HiDPI (called Retina HD® by Apple) screen, since it boasts a higher density of pixels, allowing you to see more detail. The lowest end screen for effective designing would be 1920×1080 pixels. You now have a range of laptops that come with an option to use the monitor as a touchscreen and some can also be used as a tablet. Using a tablet can be effective if you want to draw or otherwise use a different input device for your designs.
You should begin by establishing your budget and identifying the specs that you absolutely need and take a look at the offer. Everything above the minimum is a bonus and you also need to know what improved specs are more important to you. Luckily, there are so many great laptops out there and you shouldn’t have a lot of problems finding one that fits your budget and allows you do graphic design.