How do you choose the best laptop for graphic design? Pretty easy, I might say, since you need to focus a lot on the laptops hardware, rather than its software. In the laptop industry many people tend to choose Dell or Apple, since their brands have made it clear that when you choose one of their products, you won’t ever regret doing so. They are known almost everywhere as being the top of the line in what they do.
But without having to scare away the competition, here are some key factors you might want to take into consideration when choosing the very best laptop for graphic design:
Actual Screen Resolution
This refers to the actual screen resolution a laptop screen can output. It doesn’t necessarily have to do much with the screen size itself. Some 13 inch screen laptops are capable of resolutions of 1280 by 800, but this doesn’t mean you should choose such a tiny laptop to do graphic design with. Aim for something preferably above 15.4 inches in screen size, since newer laptop models tend to pack a lot of pixels in a tight screen space.
Do an actual resolution test and see what resolution works best for you, and your workflow. Open up several programs, including Photoshop, and try to see how the toolbars fit in, how big is the editing space (the image being edited), and how sharp the actual image is at that particular screen resolution. My guess is that after a few experimentations, you’ll come up with the perfect screen resolution to suit your entire workflow.
If you do find a laptop to your liking but the resolution or screen size is too small, one good idea would be to get a second monitor for your laptop, that way you can store all those toolbars on the monitor and work on editing the image on your laptop screen.
The system RAM is a very important aspect to look for when choosing a laptop for graphic design. Graphic design implies using programs which tend to use a lot of RAM, so the more RAM your system has, the better those programs will run, the faster you will get the work done and get the best possible performance out of your laptop.
Graphics designers use Photoshop a lot, along with other vector graphics design programs, and they usually run about 3-4 programs at a time, so the amount of RAM the laptop has is crucial to overall performance. You should start at a minimum of 4 GB of RAM, if you only use one of these programs at a time.
But if you intend to multitask and run several programs at a time, your graphics design laptop should carry at least 8GB of RAM or higher. The highest level you can go with current laptops is the 16GB. When you own a 8GB RAM bearing laptop, you are sure to get everything done in the least amount of time possible.
Since vendors tend to charge extra for RAM upgrades on machines bought from them, it would be wise to purchase a machine with a standard amount of RAM, then buy some extra modules and upgrade the laptop yourself.
Laptop CPU – Processor
The best laptops for graphic design will carry a CPU capable of handling most programs which require a lot of calculations. Vector design, for example, implies a lot of calculations to be done, so a laptop with a strong CPU will be needed. It would be wise to aim for processors with more cores than one. Some models have more than one processing core, so this type of processor will do just fine.
A general rule of thumb – the higher you aim on the processor scale, the better your system will run.
When choosing the best laptop for graphic design work, you’ll know you’ll never choose one that has a built in graphics card that sucks away available RAM to run. You can lose up to 512 megs of RAM if your laptop doesn’t have a dedicated video card.
The system tends to run much slower overall, since it uses RAM for both the running programs, and sharing with the built in video card. Getting a laptop with a dedicated video card is an important step you should not overlook.
Since the laptop you’re getting will be used for graphics design, you don’t have to concern yourself to get the latest and best graphics card installed on it (only if you will be using the laptop for games as well or 3D modelling). A standard graphics card with a memory of 64-256 MB of memory will do just fine.
You would only need a better graphics card if you wish to install a lot of games or if you intend to do 3D modelling and rendering.
The best laptops for graphic design carry a dedicated graphics card with it’s own separate memory.
The very best laptops for graphic design have a good native resolution allowing you to squeeze in many toolbars and still have room for the editing area, a generous amount of system RAM and a dedicated video card, and last but not least, a higher level of central processing power, with more than one processing core.