Best Gaming Laptop For Music Production – When it comes to music production, the importance of having a laptop built for the job cannot be underestimated.
Our laptops when making music—choosing the right DAW, installing the best effects and instrument plug-ins, and more. However, for these tools to work
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(No one likes to see the dreaded “system overloaded” message seconds after pressing the play button.) Having a laptop with the features and capabilities needed to handle music production in 2023 is essential.
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In this article, we break down the key factors that can be a solid starting point for your search, along with some specific laptop models you might want to consider.
When evaluating a laptop for music production, you need to consider many factors. First, if you’re used to a particular DAW, you’ll need to make sure your laptop’s operating system is compatible with it. Logic Pro, for example, is an Apple-exclusive DAW, so if you’re going to use it, you’ll want a Mac.
On the other hand, there are also many add-ons that are exclusive to Windows – so before choosing a new laptop, it might be useful to take stock of the add-ons that are essential to your kit (if you’re new to music production on the go, Don’t worry too much about this, as most plugins are compatible with both Mac and Windows).
With that said, let’s dive into five other key factors for creating music on a laptop: RAM, CPU, storage, display, and connection type.
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RAM (short for Random Access Memory) is a form of computer memory that accounts for a laptop’s ability to multitask quickly and process large amounts of data efficiently. You’ll see RAM listed in gigabytes, usually one of the following quantities: 4 GB, 8 GB, 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64 GB.
RAM plays a role in nearly every aspect of music production, from playing multiple tracks at once to handling all the effects and synths you’re using at any given time. If your laptop doesn’t have enough RAM, your DAW will start to slow down, freeze or even crash.
8 GB of RAM is a minimum for music production, but 16 GB and above is ideal, especially if you’re working on sessions with large numbers of tracks or complex sample libraries.
The CPU (short for central processing unit) performs the critical calculations and instructions that enable the software on your laptop to run. Combined with RAM, it allows you to process audio, effects and more in real time.
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CPUs with higher clock speeds and more cores will be able to handle the complex tasks required for music production faster and more efficiently. Some popular processors in modern laptops include Intel Core i9, Intel Core i7, AMD Ryzen 9, Apple M2, and Apple M1.
Regardless of your specific processor, there are still ways to use the resources you have efficiently – check out our tips for optimizing CPU resources when making music here.
If RAM refers to short-term memory, then you can think of the CPU as the “brain” of your laptop. Both are essential and work together to meet your music production needs.
That said, while the CPU is (literally) the most central part of a laptop’s performance compared to RAM, many emerging manufacturers may not be paying enough attention to the CPU. You’ll find that laptop prices can vary widely based on their CPU specs – we’ll explore this further when we discuss specific models.
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DAWs, software instruments, and sample libraries can take up a lot of space—so it’s important to have plenty of storage space available, especially if you plan to keep these tools on your laptop rather than an external drive.
There are two main types of storage you should be aware of: solid-state drives (SSD) and traditional hard disk drives (HDD). SSDs use flash memory to store data, while HDDs use spinning platters and read/write heads.
In general, SSDs are better for music production than HDDs because they offer higher read and write speeds, making them ideal for tasks like opening projects and accessing large audio files. Yes, they offer less storage capacity and are generally slightly more expensive than HDDs, although they have gotten cheaper over the years.
Run anytime while operating your DAW. While a specific screen size is not required, larger monitors (such as 15″ and higher) with higher resolutions (such as 1080p and higher) can help you better navigate your sessions.
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In addition to choosing a laptop with a larger display, using a monitor on your device is another way to better organize and visualize your production workflow.
Last but not least, if you’re using hardware, microphones, or physical devices during your creative process, make sure your laptop covers the type of connection you need. For example, does your audio interface require a Thunderbolt or FireWire connection? Do you use a USB microphone? If you can’t use the correct connection type, make sure you can at least use a hub, adapter, or dongle to connect.
Now that you have a basic idea of the key factors and features to look for, let’s take a look at some laptops that music producers will love. While this isn’t an exhaustive list of all solid options, these can be good starting points if you’re not sure where to start.
We’ve arranged the list in descending order of new laptop cost, so you can explore the different price ranges that are best for you. That said, finding used options is also a worthwhile endeavor, as long as you’re buying from a reputable source. Exact price points may also vary by specific retailer and configuration.
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The MacBook Pro 16″ is one of the most used and highest-rated laptops, offering solid performance, a beautiful Liquid Retina XDR display with support for a billion colors, and impressive battery life for long hours on the move. If you get the most modern versions, the M2 Max will run better than the M2 Pro, but both are among the most powerful chips you can find for state-of-the-art CPUs and GPUs.
ASUS ProArt StudioBook 16 is a unique laptop designed for the needs of creators. It features massive storage, a wide range of I/O connections, and a color-correct 16-inch display. You can customize your processor (see Intel Core i9-12900H processor and AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX processor), and prices will vary based on your choice.
As a “budget” alternative to the MacBook Pro 16-inch, the MacBook Pro 14-inch laptop with the Apple M1 chip still delivers industry-leading performance, earning it its No. 1 spot.
List of top laptops for music production. You’re essentially trading a two-inch display and the latest chips for an alternative that’s still very capable and capable of supporting complex project files and plugins with ease.
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While it might not be the first choice most people consider, a proper gaming laptop is actually great for music production. Equipped with an Intel i9 processor and 16 GB of memory, the Strix Scar 15 has the processing power demands of music producers. You also get a range of related connectivity options, including two USB-C ports (one with Thunderbolt 4), two USB-A ports, HDMI, and a 1/8-inch headphone jack.
The Alienware X14 is another high-quality gaming laptop with 16 GB of RAM, an Intel Core i7-12700H processor, and 512 GB of SSD storage. It comes in a bold all-white exterior with bold blue accents, making it attractive if you’re looking for something to make a statement. The full price of the laptop is around $2,300, but you can get something solid for less than $1,600.
One of the largest (yet thinnest) monitors on this list, Dell’s XPS 17-inch balances premium design and features with an Intel Core i9 processor, up to 64GB of RAM, and an Nvidia RTX 3060 GPU. The only downside is that it has fewer ports than some of the other options on this list, so you’ll want to double check that it has everything you need for your personal workflow.
Equipped with an Intel Core i7-11800H processor, 16 GB of RAM and 1 TB of SSD storage, the MS1 Katana GF66 delivers solid performance for its price point. Its all-plastic design might put off those who prefer low specs, but it doesn’t affect its ability to handle many of the tasks music production demands.
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While the MacBook Pro is often favored by music makers for its durability, the 2020 MacBook Air is undisputed value for money, especially considering it’s an Apple product. Thanks to the recently released 2022 M2 MacBook Air, you can find this version
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