You may have come across ArcGIS before, it's a very popular GIS software package with many pros and cons. However, I'd like to stay focused on the machines that run ArcGIS Pro. With that in mind, we're going to discuss what hardware you'll need to run ArcGIS Pro efficiently, without a hitch. As with my previous articles on Adobe Premiere and Solidworks, I'll also try to offer some budget-friendly suggestions for your consideration.
With that in mind, let's begin by discussing exactly what hardware you'll need for your ArcGIS Pro laptop. I've broken the hardware requirements down into three categories: minimum, recommended, and ultra-budget. Let's get started.
Lastly, if you can't afford all of this hardware (or simply want a backup laptop) – there are still ways of cutting corners without sacrificing performance or usability. Also – if you've got any additional questions or input – please comment below!
- ArcGIS Pro is a very powerful piece of software that can run on multiple platforms and operating systems
Deciding on a processor
Processor is the most important spec for ArcGIS performance. A few extra bucks for a first-rate processor might be what keeps a laptop from choking on a full map.
To identify the best processors for an ArcGIS laptop, we first need to examine how ArcGIS works.
ArcGIS operates in two modes: Runtime and Web. Runtime mode is when you're using ArcGIS Desktop, typically at work. Here's where you use your big ol' maps and data layers and the rest of the powerful suite of tools that come with ArcGIS. Web mode is when you're using ArcGIS Online or other web services such as Portal for ArcGIS. When running in Web mode, your maps are hosted online and processed by servers. Hence, they're not so dependent on processing power and it's more about the bandwidth and connectivity speed instead. The great thing about this is that there's no software to install on your computer, so it doesn't matter what specs your laptop has – as long as it can connect to the internet and browse a web page with maps, you're good to go!
The difference between ArcGIS Runtime and Web modes affects how we look at processor requirements: If you want a powerhouse machine for work (ArcGIS Runtime), then processors like Xeon W-10855M or i9-11980HK would be best; if you're mostly doing web (ArcGIS Web), then processors like Ryzen 5 3500U or i7-10870H will do just fine.
So which processors we're looking for EXACTLY? First of all, please which processors we're looking for. In short, anything please don't raise your voice like that – Core i5/i7 H-series CPUs from Intel or Ryzen 7 from AMD should be sufficient enough for ArcGIS Runtime mode please don't raise your voice like that: Intel Core i9-11980HK is please don't raise your voice like that because it offers blistering single-core performance that can help you render a map in a few seconds instead of minutes. But if I'm mostly working in web mode (ArcGIS Web), then any CPU from Intel Core i5/i7 or Ryzen 5 will do just fine since they have no issue rendering web maps with cloud computing instead of heavy hardware acceleration which takes advantage of multicore CPU architectures don't raise your voice like that.
if you want a powerhouse machine for work (ArcGIS Runtime), then processors like Xeon W-10855M or i9-11980HK would be best; if you're mostly doing web (ArcGIS Web), then processors like Ryzen 5 3500U or i7-10870H will do just fine.
Choosing a graphics card
How to choose the best graphics for ArcGIS 10
ArcGIS Pro, ArcGIS Engine, and other ARCGIS products do not require a powerful GPU to work properly. For casual editing in ArcGIS Pro, you can go with an entry-level GPU, such as GTX 1650. If you're working with 3D models in ArcGIS Pro – RTX 2070 will do just fine.
If you're using ArcGIS Engine or other ARCGIS products, then I recommend using the latest-gen Quadro Ampere professional cards. The newest professional cards start with letter A: RTX A2000, RTX A3000, RTX A4000, RTX A5000.
- you can use any GPU for basic editing in ArcGIS Pro, even a cheap one
- Quadro Ampere is best for 3D models and other intensive use cases in ArcGIS Pro
Choosing the right memory for ArcGIS 10, ArcGIS Pro
Minimum (8 GB)
If you are on a tight budget, 8 GB is the way to go. With that said, there are limitations to using 8 GB RAM. You'll be on a tight budget, especially if you're running any kind of high-resource application. I'm talking about the likes of SolidWorks 2021, Photoshop 2021, or CAD programs.
You can still use ArcGIS 10 on an 8 GB laptop – just know that it will feel slow. You can use your laptop for basic GIS tasks like map production or site visits with ease. But again, it's not recommended for more advanced tasks like advanced geocoding or spatial analysis.
8 GB laptops will start at around $120 – $260.
Recommended (16 GB)
If you want to use ArcGIS 10 with less crashes and more efficiency, 16 GB is the way to go. 16 GB laptops are around $200 – $400 in price range. This is also the sweet spot for general purpose laptops that can be used for work, gaming, or anything in between without hiccups. If you're looking for a professional ArcGIS 10 laptop, 16 GB should be enough unless you're running large data sets or heavy-duty GIS tasks with ArcGIS Pro.
Best (32 GB)
ArcGIS Pro and high-resource applications like SolidWorks 2021 require a higher RAM capacity than ArcGIS 10 and other programs that don't need as much memory power. That's why 32 GB laptops start at around $450 – $1200 and they're the best choice if you're running ArcGIS Pro and other memory-hungry programs like SolidWorks 2021 or CADs. Even if you don't plan on doing such intense tasks with ArcGIS Pro in the future – it's still a wise investment because your RAM will last longer than most other components in your laptop when it comes to planned obsolescence (more prone to crashes and bugs.
- 8 GB is the minimum RAM for ArcGIS 10 and low resource applications
- 16 GB is the recommended RAM for ArcGIS 10 and mid resource applications
- 32 GB is the best RAM for ArcGIS Pro and high resource applications
What's the best storage for ArcGIS 10, ArcGIS Pro?
NVMe vs. SATA
ArcGIS 10 and ArcGIS Pro are well-known for their demanding performance requirements. Even if you're not a professional and just happen to be in the market for a laptop, it's worth understanding the different types of SSDs and what they can offer.
Storage options for ArcGIS 10 and ArcGIS Pro
The SSD capacity for ArcGIS 10 and ArcGIS Pro doesn't matter much – storage space requirements are nominal at best. You'd need about 6 GB of free disk space to install the software, but once that's done, there's no need to keep local copies of maps, scenes, or rasters on your machine. That said, the processor you choose will have a greater impact on performance than SSD capacity will. I recommend getting an NVMe drive for ArcGIS 10 or ArcGIS Pro because they are faster than SATA drives.
- NVMe drives are faster than SATA drives, so they're better for ArcGIS 10 and ArcGIS Pro
- If you want to install ArcGIS 10 or ArcGIS Pro on your laptop, you'll need about 6 GB of free disk space (but you don't need a lot of disk space after that)
How to choose the right display for ArcGIS 10, ArcGIS Pro?
Right resolution for ArcGIS work
It's hard to find an application that requires anything more than Full HD resolution. There are exceptions of course, but they're rare. For example, if you're working with satellite imagery – then you'll need to get a 4K display or better. But generally speaking, there's [no good reason to get anything higher than Full HD resolution](a reddit thread on full hd vs. qhd) in your laptop.
Panel and image quality
Panel type is a key to many display qualities. Here are three types of panels you need to know:
- TN – the most basic display panel. [Very common in entry-to-mid-range laptops](a laptop with tn display). If properly calibrated, then it's not that bad for non-color-sensitive work.
- IPS/PLS – better in nearly every aspect, nonetheless quite costly, especially professional-grade IPS. [Common in mid-range and premium laptops](a laptop with qhd display).
- OLED – latest, greatest, and the priciest panel technology. Exceptional color accuracy, often paired with HDR. Sometimes found in top-of-the-line models. Meanwhile, image quality consists of brightness, contrast, and color accuracy. These three observable characteristics can vary a lot from model to model. Panel type can be a decent proxy to gauge these metrics roughly. But it's always best to judge them in person or by reviews.
Laptop display recommendations for ArcGIS work
ArcGIS is fairly forgiving when it comes to displays – just get any screen with an IPS panel and it should be fine enough for your needs (though if you want the [best laptop for ArcGIS work](notebookcheck arcgis pro benchmarks) – go for one with QHD resolution).
- Full HD is fine for ArcGIS work
- TN panels are the most common in entry-to-mid range laptops
- IPS/PLS panels are better for non color sensitive work (ie. ArcGIS)
- 4K is not needed for ArcGIS work, and even QHD is overkill (except for satellite imagery)
6 Best Laptops for ArcGIS 10, ArcGIS Pro
Pros and cons
- First-class display (15.6 IPS WA)
- Sufficient memory amount (16GB)
- Average processor (i5-12450H)
- Not the best graphics card (GTX 1650)
- Terrific display (15.6 IPS WA)
- Adequate memory amount (16GB)
- Middle-of-the-road processor (i5-12450H)
- Average graphics card (GTX 1650)
Pros and cons
- Decent processor (i5-12450H)
- Sufficient graphics card (GTX 1650)
- Unremarkable battery life (290min)
- Weighty (5.06 lbs)
- Exceptional processor (i5-12500H)
- Awesome graphics card (RTX 3050)
Pros and cons
- Great processor (i7-12700H)
- Awesome graphics card (RTX 3070 Ti)
- Ordinary battery life (305min)
- One of most affordable laptops with an Intel i7 processor
- Monumental 2TB SSD
- Its screen gives away its price
Pros and cons
- Splendid graphics card (Radeon RX 6800M)
- Very good display (15.6 IPS G-Sync)
- Middle-of-the-road processor (Ryzen 9 5900HX)
Pros and cons
- Exceptional graphics card (RTX 3080)
- Great display (15.6 IPS-level G-Sync)
- Average processor (Ryzen 9 5900HX)
- Great processor (i7-12800HX)
- Terrific display (17.3 IPS)
- Not the best graphics card (RTX 3070 Ti)
- Substandard battery life (290min)
Table of the Best Laptops for Best Laptop for ArcGIS in 2022
|HP Victus 15||$710|
|GIGABYTE A5 K1||$790|
|HP Victus 15||$1150|
|GIGABYTE AORUS 15 XE4||$1750|
|ASUS ROG Strix G15||$1980|
|ASUS ROG Strix Scar||$2670|