If you’re looking for a laptop for graphic design, video editing or other power intensive applications and you’re not sure what to get, here you will find our picks of top laptops for graphic design and a short buying guide if you’re unfamiliar with computer terms.
But what exactly should we expect from graphic design laptops?
First of all, we want a high resolution display with an adequate size to reproduce vivid colors and give us a high level of detail and texture for an outstanding picture quality. Currently, the MacBook Pro with Retina Display is at the top with a resolution of 2880×1800 pixels and the highest pixel density that you can find on a laptop these days. If the price for a MacBook Pro with Retina Display is not within your budget, the best alternatives to it are laptops with a full HD resolution 1920×1080 pixels.
Second, we need a good configuration for multitasking that would allow us to run multiple applications simultaneously without any freezes or slow processing. For this, I recommend an Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB RAM and a discrete graphics card to help with 3D or video rendering. A faster storage disk drive like a SSD is always a plus.
With these in mind, below are what we consider to be the best laptops for graphic design and video editing.
MacBook Pro with Retina Display
- 15.4-inch (diagonal) Retina display, 2880×1800 pixel Resolution; LED-backlit with IPS technology
- 2.3 GHz Intel Core-i7 quad-core processor (Turbo Boost up to 3.5GHz) with 6MB shared L3 cache
- NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M with 2GB of GDDR5 memory
- 512 GB PCIe-based flash storage; 16GB 1600MHz DDR3L onboard memory
- Mac OS X Mavericks, Up to 8 hours of battery life
Buyer review: This thing is a solid performing development powerhouse, for example a project that used to take a few minutes to build on my old 2010 macbook pro, now builds in seconds. The screen is brilliant and provides plenty of desktop space for actually using serious software like XCode or Photoshop to their full. On the flip side install windows on a boot camp partition and you have one of, if not the most powerful portable steam boxes in the market. Read more reviews here.
If you don’t want to spend a fortune on the MacBook Pro, and you’re looking for some more affordable alternatives, below I’ve listed 3 laptops that packs the same performance at a more reasonable price. The only downside compared to the MacBook Pro is that they don’t feature a Retina Display, but at least the displays are capable of full HD resolution, 1920×1080 pixels. These are all Windows 8 laptops, but this shouldn’t be an issue for anyone since you can always change the operating system to whatever you like.
ASUS N550JV-DB72T Touchscreen Laptop
The new ASUS N Series multimedia notebook clearly embodies the design that caters to better user experiences. Perfect for those who need or want incredible multimedia performance they can take anywhere. With a powerful processor, the new N Series notebooks provide smoother multimedia experience, faster overall daily computing performance and even gaming in impressive detail, and better multitasking capabilities.
- Display: 15.6″ FHD (1920×1080) with Touch Screen
- Processor: Intel Core i7-4700HQ 2.4GHz
- Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GT 750 2G DDR3
- Memory: 8GB DDR3
- Storage: 1TB (5400 RPM )
- Operating System: Windows 8 (64-bit)
Buyer review: I think overall the laptop is good, with the quality of components that are included, however I think ASUS should take just a tad bit more time to improve the build quality of the laptop. This laptop costs enough to be able to expect quality build quality and it would be nice to see it improve a touch. I have confidence that this laptop will do everything I need it to do with both work and finishing my Computer Networking degree, and be able to run any application I can throw at it. I believe that this laptop is worth more than the price they are charging and I feel it is a good deal. I would say go for it and see for your self. TARGET AUDIENCE: Power Users, IT Professionals, Graphics Intensive Business People, Gamers. Read more reviews here.
Lenovo IdeaPad Y510p 59385820 Laptop
If you’re looking for a feature-rich laptop that’s good for high-performance multimedia, extreme gaming, and other graphics, audio and processor intensive applications, look no further than the IdeaPad Y510p. It’s the high-performance notebook with looks to match. Sporting a brushed metal exterior and interior, including a backlit keyboard, the IdeaPad Y510p combines an impressive design with the latest 4th Gen Intel Core processor, discrete NVIDIA graphics and premium JBL designed speakers making this a true multimedia powerhouse.
- Non-Touchscreen 15.6-Inch Display
- Intel Core i7-4700MQ 2.4 GHz Processor (6 MB Cache)
- 16 GB DDR3 RAM
- 1 TB 5400 rpm Hard Drive, 8 GB Solid-State Drive
- Dual NVIDIA GeForce GT750M Discrete Graphics
- Windows 8, 4-hour battery life
Buyer review: The dual graphics is a blast. The fans are on the sides, a feature I love after my last laptop that had the fans on the underside. Only issue is when playing games my wrists tend to fall in the path of the hot wind blowing from the fans! at last its good to know the heat is escaping. Not bothered about lacking an optical drive. Download games from steam so no need for a dvd. An external optical plugged into the usb 3.0 is good enough for watching movies. The full HD screen is crisp & clear. Just how it should be. This is a gaming machine so not having a touch screen is irrelevant. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to play games or work with photo / video editing. Read more reviews here.
MSI GE60 2OE-003US 15.6-Inch Laptop
Armed with the sleek and stylish exterior and anti-glare screen as its predecessor, it’s more powerful inside. MSI GE60 2OE-003US packs Intel’s 4th-generation Core i7-4700MQ quad-core processor and NVIDIA’s latest GeForce GTX 765M graphics with 2GB GDDR5 VRAM, much faster than its previous-generation graphics. No need to look back, because no one will catch up.
- Intel Core i7-4700MQ Processor
- Windows 8 64bit
- 15.6″ Full HD Anti-reflective Display (16:9, 1920 x 1080)
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX765M discrete graphics with 2GB GDDR5 VRAM
- 8GB DDR3L 1600MHz system memory
- 750GB HDD (7200RPM)
Buyer review: Overall I like the laptop. It does the occasional gaming, video editing (it is a monster at video editing) and all of the other homework tasks that I need it to due well. It is the best value PC with these specs of any I can find and for the price you don’t really sacrifice much of anything. I can’t see someone not liking this laptop if you are in the market for a 15.6″ non-ultrabook. Read more reviews here.