Laptops for Graphic Design

Nowadays laptops have evolved to the point that they can take on tasks desktops are used for. These include games, watching movies in HD resolutions, 3D applications and even graphics design.

The main advantage of the laptop will always be its portability. A laptop allows you to take your work with you everywhere you go, whether you’re a workaholic or just need to play casual games and watch movies.

This guide is meant to teach you what to look for in a laptop that you’ll use for demanding applications like graphic design programs.

What not to get:

If you’re in the market for a new laptop or a portable work machine, you should not choose a netbook, even if it’s extremely light and looks appealing, since these systems are configured for people who are always on the road and need to keep in touch with the online world.

These systems can run basic office applications, but will stagger if you try to run Photoshop or Corel Draw on them, since they don’t pack that much power. Since most graphics designers work with multiple such programs simultaneously, you’ll need something that can handle multitasking, and a netbook or a tablet PC is not that kind of computer.

Average laptops are good systems to use for such tasks. They will run most applications and can even be used for basic graphic design.

These systems keep their portability and can be carried to everyday meetings or classes and they don’t climb that high on the price scale. Aside from doing basic graphics editing, you can still use them to watch movies and play games, keep in touch with friends online and so on. Some basic features to look for in such laptops would be a hard drive of at least 300GB, 3GB or more RAM and a screen size of 15 inches or more.

Graphic design programs require a lot of power in the processing area as well as the graphics area. Some might say that the best laptops for graphics design, might coincide in configuration with gaming laptops, and this is not far from the truth.

Gaming laptops place emphasis on the graphics card installed, since this is the most used component in games, and on second place comes the amount of system memory installed and the processor.

A good graphics design laptop will carry a decent processor, about 4-8 GB of RAM and a decent graphics card. Plus the hard drive will be either over 7200rpm, if it’s a standard hard disk drive. A great configuration would be to get a laptop that carries an SSD drive, since these can move data with up to 10 times the speed of regular hard disk drives.

Here’s a quick check list you should try to remember when you go shopping for a graphic design laptop:

The Storage

It should start at a minimum of 500GB, since you’ll be storing large files and always need the extra space for future projects.

The Memory

You should get a laptop with at least 4GB of RAM, but aiming higher will provide even better results in terms of performance.

The Processor

The CPU should be a multi-core either from Intel or AMD. This will allow you to do multitasking and jump from one program to the next without having to close them in order to save up on system resources.

The Graphics

If you run into a laptop with the latest Ivy Bridge processor installed, then the integrated Intel HD 4000 graphics will suffice for a graphics design laptop, but if it’s something else, then you should check only laptops that carry a dedicated graphics card with at least 1GB of dedicated memory.

Screen Size

Graphic design is all about the image and the final output. The screen size should be at least in the 15.6 inches range, but should you find something with a screen size of 17 inches or up, you should focus more on that, since more pixel real estate will allow you to work a lot better, without having to squirm when you edit an image.


Author: Emanuel Bucsa