As an instructional designer, you know that finding the best laptop for your needs can make all the difference in your work. With the right hardware, you can create engaging and effective learning experiences with ease. In this laptop buying guide, we'll help you find the perfect device for your instructional design needs, taking into account the unique requirements of your profession.
When searching for the best laptop for instructional design, it's essential to consider the performance, display quality, and battery life. As you create multimedia content, work with eLearning authoring tools, and collaborate with subject matter experts, you need a device that can handle your workload without slowing you down. Additionally, a high-quality display will make it easier to review and edit your work, while a long-lasting battery will ensure you can work on the go without constantly searching for an outlet.
To find the best laptops for instructional design, I reviewed an extensive spreadsheet of recent releases, comparing specs and reviews from both professionals and users. By narrowing down the top options based on the specific requirements of instructional designers and various price ranges, this guide aims to help you make an informed decision. As someone who has spent countless hours researching laptops and working with instructional design tools, I understand the importance of finding a device that suits your unique needs. So, let's dive in and find the best laptop for your instructional design projects.
Power Up Your Performance: Choosing the Right Processor
When it comes to choosing the right processor for an instructional design laptop, there are a few things to consider. Let's take a look at what's new in the laptop processor market, how much RAM is needed for teaching, any other requirements, how to rank processors by performance, and our recommended processors.
What's new in the laptop processor market?
Apple's ARM-based M1, M2, M2 Pro, and M2 Max chips offer exceptional single-core performance and battery life. AMD has captured 20% of the laptop CPU market with plenty of notebooks equipped with its latest 7th-generation Ryzen processors. Intel's 13th-generation Core processors have already been released, but 12th-generation Core CPUs can provide a lot of value, especially if you don't need cutting-edge performance.
How much RAM is needed for teaching?
For instructional design tasks, 8GB of RAM is a good starting point. However, if you plan to use resource-intensive applications or multitask frequently, 16GB or more may be necessary.
Are there any other requirements?
If you're using a 3D engine such as Unity or Unreal Engine, a multi-core processor is essential. If you're looking for a gaming laptop, an H-series processor is recommended as it can handle more demanding games without throttling the CPU clock speed.
How to rank processors by performance?
Cinebench R23 is a popular benchmark for professionals that require high single-core performance, such as video editors. For gaming laptops, we recommend using 3DMark, specifically the Fire Strike test. It's more indicative of gaming performance than Cinebench R23.
Table of recommended processors and their expected prices:
|Recommended: AMD Ryzen 5 5600U||$700-$900|
Overall, the AMD Ryzen 5 5600U is our top pick for an instructional design laptop due to its excellent multi-core performance and reasonable price point. However, the i5-11320H and i5-11500H are also solid options depending on your budget and specific needs.
Picture Perfect: Finding the Right Graphics Card for Instructional Design Work
When it comes to laptops for instructional design (ID) work, a dedicated graphics card is not essential. Still, it can come in handy for tasks like video editing, 3D modeling, and machine learning. Nvidia dominates the laptop GPU market, and their Max-Q technology allows for thinner laptops without compromising performance, but it can reduce performance in some cases.
To compare different GPUs, I recommend using 3DMark for an apples-to-apples comparison. However, if you're looking for a gaming laptop, pay close attention to its actual game performance instead of synthetic benchmarks.
When it comes to recommendations, for a minimum budget, I suggest a GeForce RTX 3050. For a mid-range budget, I recommend a GeForce RTX 3060, and for a high-end budget, a GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER is an excellent option. But remember, when selecting a high-end laptop with a dedicated graphics card, make sure it has enough power delivery wattage to ensure the GPU receives enough power to operate at full capacity. Insufficient power delivery can lead to throttled performance.
Overall, a dedicated graphics card is not necessary for ID work, but it can be helpful for certain tasks. Keep in mind that there is a wide range of GPUs available in the market, and selecting the right one depends on your budget and specific requirements.
Unraveling the Mysteries of Buying a Laptop for Instructional Design: FAQ
Q: What are the best laptops for instructional design?
There are several laptops that are excellent for instructional design, but we recommend the ASUS TUF A15, Lenovo Legion 5 Pro, GIGABYTE AORUS 15 XE4, and Dell XPS 17 9720.
What specs does a laptop need for instructional design?
For instructional design, you'll need a laptop with at least an i5-11320H processor, a GeForce RTX 3050 graphics card, and 16 GB of memory. However, for more demanding tasks, we recommend an AMD Ryzen 5 5600U processor, a GeForce RTX 3060 graphics card, and 32 GB or more of memory.
Can you use a Chromebook for instructional design?
While it is technically possible to use a Chromebook for instructional design, we do not recommend it. Chromebooks are generally underpowered and do not have the necessary specs to handle the demands of instructional design.
Is a touchscreen laptop necessary for instructional design?
A touchscreen laptop is not necessary for instructional design, but it can be helpful for certain tasks, such as drawing and annotating. If you plan on doing a lot of digital drawing or markup, consider getting a touchscreen laptop.
How much RAM do I need for instructional design on a laptop?
For instructional design, we recommend at least 16 GB of RAM. However, if you're doing more demanding tasks such as video editing or running multiple programs at once, we recommend 32 GB or more.
What is the minimum processor requirement for instructional design?
The minimum processor requirement for instructional design is an i5-11320H. However, for more demanding tasks, we recommend an AMD Ryzen 5 5600U or an i5-11500H.
Which is better for instructional design – Mac or PC?
Both Mac and PC laptops can be used for instructional design. Macs are generally more expensive but have a more streamlined design and user experience. PCs, on the other hand, are generally more customizable and have more options for hardware upgrades. Ultimately, the choice between a Mac or PC for instructional design comes down to personal preference and budget.
What type of graphics card is required for instructional design?
For instructional design, we recommend a laptop with at least a GeForce RTX 3050 graphics card. However, for more demanding tasks such as 3D modeling or video rendering, we recommend a GeForce RTX 3060 or a GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER.
How to choose a laptop for instructional design?
When choosing a laptop for instructional design, consider the following factors:
- Processor: Look for a laptop with at least an i5-11320H processor, and consider upgrading to an AMD Ryzen 5 5600U or an i5-11500H for more demanding tasks.
- Graphics: Look for a laptop with at least a GeForce RTX 3050 graphics card, and consider upgrading to a GeForce RTX 3060 or a GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER for more demanding tasks.
- Memory: Look for a laptop with at least 16 GB of RAM, and consider upgrading to 32 GB or more for more demanding tasks.
- Price: Consider your budget and choose a laptop that fits within it.
- Brand and design: Choose a brand and design that you like and that fits your needs.
Can you use an ultrabook for instructional design?
It is possible to use an ultrabook for instructional design, but we do not recommend it. Ultrabooks are generally underpowered and do not have the necessary specs to handle the demands of instructional design. If you must use an ultrabook for instructional design, we recommend getting one with at least an i5-11320H processor, a GeForce RTX 3050 graphics card, and 16 GB of memory.
Boost Your eLearning with Adequate RAM
RAM is an essential component of any laptop, especially for instructional design work. When creating e-learning courses, you'll likely be running multiple applications at once, such as video editing software, design tools, and learning management systems. Therefore, having enough RAM is crucial to maintaining smooth and efficient workflow.
The amount of RAM you need for creating courses depends on the complexity and size of your projects. For most educators and students, 16 GB of RAM should be enough to handle everyday tasks such as browsing the internet, writing documents, and running basic design tools. However, if you're dealing with large video or audio files, 32 GB is recommended for smooth performance.
While the latest generation of Intel and AMD CPUs supports DDR5 RAM, it's still in its infancy and quite expensive. Therefore, it's not worth the extra investment at this time. DDR4 is still widely supported and provides enough performance for most instructional design tasks.
In addition to RAM, there are other specs to consider when choosing a laptop for e-learning course creation. A powerful processor such as an Intel Core i7 or i9, a dedicated graphics card, and fast storage such as an SSD are all crucial components to ensure smooth performance.
Here's a table of recommended RAM amounts and prices per laptop class:
|Laptop Class||Minimum RAM||Recommended RAM||High-End RAM|
|Entry-Level||8 GB||16 GB||32 GB|
|Mid-Range||16 GB||32 GB||64 GB|
|High-End||32 GB||64 GB||128 GB|
In summary, when deciding on the right laptop RAM for instructional design, it's important to consider your daily tasks and the complexity of your projects. While DDR5 is not yet necessary, having enough RAM along with a powerful CPU, dedicated graphics card, and fast storage will ensure a smooth and efficient workflow.
5 Best Laptops for instructional design
1.MSI Rainbow 6 Special Crosshair15instructional design laptop
- Excellent processor (i7-12700H)
- Superb graphics card (RTX 3070)
- Very good display (15.6)
- One of most affordable laptops with an Intel i7 processor
- Substandard memory amount (8GB)
- No IPS Panel (limited viewing angles)
ASUS TUF A15
- Splendid display (15.6 IPS-level)
- Splendid memory amount (64GB)
- Substandard graphics card (RTX 3050 Ti)
2.Acer Nitro 5instructional design laptop
- Up to the mark graphics card (RTX 3060)
- Up to the mark memory amount (32GB)
- Monumental 2TB SSD
- Backlit keyboard
- Unremarkable processor (i5-12500H)
HP Victus 15t
- Sufficient display (15.6 IPS Touch)
- Splendid memory amount (64GB)
- Garden-variety processor (Ryzen 7 5800H)
- Middle-of-the-road graphics card (RTX 3050 Ti)
3.Lenovo Legion 5 ProThe Lenovo Legion 5 Pro is a solid choice for instructional designers who need a powerful machine for designing and developing complex e-learning courses.
- High-quality IPS display with 165 Hz refresh rate
- Relatively easy serviceability for upgradesrepairs
- Fast charging capabilities
- Integrated numpad for data entry
- Low-resolution webcam with no IR or privacy shutter
- Moderate-heavy uneven backlight bleeding
- Very warm CPUGPU temperatures when gaming
- Only average battery life
The Legion 5 Pro boasts an upgraded CPU and GPU, as well as a high-quality IPS display and fast charging capabilities. However, its low-resolution webcam, uneven backlight bleeding, and lack of Thunderbolt support might be dealbreakers for some.
Lenovo Legion 5 Pro
- High-quality 165 Hz 16:10 IPS display
- Relatively easy serviceability
- Low-resolution webcam with no IR or privacy shutter
- Very warm CPUGPU temperatures when gaming
4.GIGABYTE AORUS 15 XE4The GIGABYTE AORUS 15 XE4 is a high-performance laptop with a stunning display and fast PCIe 4.0 SSD.
- Highly responsive 165Hz panel with a wide color gamut
- High system performance thanks to PCIe 4.0 SSD
- Thunderbolt 4 with Power Delivery
- Solid battery life
- High power usage at idle and low load
- No card reader
- Only one USB-A port
The GIGABYTE AORUS 15 XE4 is an energy-hungry powerhouse that can handle both gaming and non-gaming applications with ease. Its 165Hz panel with a wide color gamut provides an immersive visual experience, and the PCIe 4.0 SSD allows for lightning-fast data transfer speeds.
ASUS ROG Strix G15 G513RM
- Solid build quality
- Good inputs and IO
- Some quirks affecting everyday ergonomics
- No ThunderboltUSB 4, card-reader, camera or biometrics
5.Dell XPS 17 9720Powerful laptop with excellent display but limited graphics performance.
- Excellent 4K display with AdobeRGB
- High-quality case
- Thunderbolt 4 PCIe 4.0
- Very high system performance
- Lower graphics performance than the predecessor
- Performance not completely stable under combined load
- Not Wi-Fi 6E compatible
- 720p webcam.
The Dell XPS 17 9720 is a high-performance laptop suitable for instructional design, thanks to its excellent 4K display with AdobeRGB and high-quality case. The system is powerful, equipped with the latest processors and fast card reader, but the graphics performance is limited, and the cooling is not strong enough for combined loads.
ASUS ROG Zephyrus Duo
- Sleek and thin design despite dual displays and high-end specs.
- Innovative two-screen layout.
- Very expensive, especially when fully configured.
- Uncomfortable keyboard and touchpad layout.
Table of the Best Laptops for instructional design
|MSI Rainbow 6 Special Crosshair15||$800|
|Acer Nitro 5||$1,160|
|Lenovo Legion 5 Pro||$1,350|
|GIGABYTE AORUS 15 XE4||$1,600|
|Dell XPS 17 9720||$5,600|