As an avid music producer and laptop enthusiast, I understand that finding the best laptop for music production can be a daunting task. With a multitude of options in the market, it's crucial to identify the essential features and specifications tailored to the unique requirements of music producers. In this guide, I'll walk you through my comprehensive selection process, highlighting the key factors to consider when searching for the perfect laptop to bring your audio projects to life.
To create this guide, I reviewed an extensive laptop spreadsheet of recent releases, comparing specs and user-generated reviews to identify the top contenders. I also delved into professional reviews and online music production forums to ensure that the laptops I recommend meet the demands of both seasoned producers and beginners alike. Ultimately, I narrowed down the choices based on processing power, memory, storage options, and audio interface compatibility, all while keeping varying price ranges in mind.
As a music producer, you need a laptop that can handle the complex demands of digital audio workstations (DAWs) like Ableton Live, FL Studio, and Pro Tools. Additionally, a laptop with a solid build quality and reliable performance is essential for those late-night studio sessions or on-the-go live performances. With these factors in mind, I've crafted a list of the best laptops for music production to suit a range of budgets and preferences, ensuring that you can focus on creating your next masterpiece with confidence.
The Beat Goes On: Finding the Perfect Processor for Music Production
When it comes to music production laptops, the processor is one of the most crucial components. With so many options on the market, it can be challenging to decide which one is the best fit for your needs. Here's a rundown of the latest developments in the laptop CPU market and some tips on how to choose the right processor for your music production needs.
What's new in the laptop CPU market?
Apple has recently released their ARM-based M1, M2, M2 Pro, and M2 Max system-on-chip modules, which offer exceptional single-core performance and battery life. Meanwhile, AMD has captured 20% of the laptop CPU market and has begun shipping the first batches of laptops equipped with its latest 7th-generation Ryzen processors. Intel has also released their 13th-generation Core processors, but the 12th-generation Core CPUs can provide excellent value, especially if you don't need cutting-edge performance.
How much CPU power is needed for music production?
The amount of CPU power needed for music production depends on the Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) you're using. If your DAW has good multi-core support, there's no need to go overboard with CPU performance. On the other hand, if your DAW only utilizes a single-core, you might not see the benefits of a high-end processor.
How do you know if a processor is fast?
You can look at the clock speed and number of cores to get a general idea of a processor's performance. However, it's not always an accurate measure since different processors have different architectures. Therefore, it's better to compare processors using benchmarks that simulate real-world performance.
How to rank CPUs by performance (single-core, multi-core, and benchmarks)?
One of the most popular benchmarks for audio production is Cinebench R23. This benchmark tests both single-core and multi-core performance and can give you an idea of how a processor will perform in real-world scenarios.
Table of recommended processors for each price bracket
|Processor||Price Range||Recommended Use|
|i3-1115G4||Below $500||Entry-level music production|
|i5-1135G7||$500-$1000||Mid-range music production|
|i7-11370H||$1000 and up||High-end music production|
It's worth noting that if you're using Windows and don't need the best performance possible, look for the latest H-series processors from Intel or AMD. Meanwhile, if you're using macOS, any processor will do as long as it's not an Atom or Pentium series (these are only found in budget laptops). Lastly, if you're looking for a budget laptop, make sure it has enough RAM and SSD space since these are more important than the processor speed in music production.
Jamming in Style: Graphics Card for Music Production
When it comes to music production laptops, the choice of graphics card is often overlooked. However, if you're planning to use a DAW that supports GPU-accelerated effects or do some light gaming on the side, a dedicated graphics card is necessary. In this section, we'll go over what to look for in a graphics card and recommend some options for different budgets.
The current GPU market has seen Nvidia dominating the laptop GPU market, with the RTX 30 series cards making up the majority of the current notebook GPU market. The gap between power-limited notebook graphics and desktop graphics cards has widened in recent years as desktop GPUs have become more power-hungry.
A graphics card affects your workflow in music production by enabling GPU-accelerated effects, such as video processing or some audio processing. A high-end graphics card can also help with smoother video playback and allow for some light gaming on the side.
But do you need a high-end GPU for music production? It depends on your specific needs. If you only plan to use your laptop for music production, a mid-range graphics card is enough. However, if you plan on doing some light gaming or video processing, a high-end graphics card may be necessary.
When shopping for a laptop with a high-end graphics card, look for laptops with the latest Nvidia RTX series cards. Be aware that Nvidia has discontinued the Max-Q label for its RTX graphics cards, so an exact GPU wattage is determined by the laptop manufacturer. As a result, there can be a wide variance in graphics performance even in laptops with the same GPU chipset.
To make things easier, we've put together a list of recommended GPUs for different budgets:
|Minimum||GeForce GTX 1650|
|Recommended||GeForce RTX 3050|
|High-end||GeForce RTX 2060|
Note that these are just recommendations, and there are other GPUs available in the market that may fit your needs better. Additionally, keep in mind that a laptop with a top-notch graphics card will likely be heavier due to the need for adequate cooling. Overall, choose a graphics card that fits your needs and budget for a seamless music production experience.
Rock on with these high RAM laptops
As a music producer, having a laptop with enough RAM is crucial. RAM, or Random Access Memory, is responsible for temporarily storing the data and programs that your CPU needs to access quickly. With music production software, you're likely to be working with large audio files and multiple plugins, so having enough RAM is essential for smooth operation.
So how much RAM is needed for music production? The minimum amount you should consider is 16 GB, but 32 GB is ideal. Keep in mind that if you plan on running multiple programs simultaneously, you'll need more RAM.
While the latest-gen Intel and AMD CPUs support DDR4 and DDR5, DDR5 is still expensive and needs time to mature as a technology. DDR4 RAM is still the standard for most laptops, and that's perfectly fine for music production.
When choosing RAM for music production, there are a few other considerations to keep in mind. Latency and frequency are important factors that can affect performance. Lower latency and higher frequencies can offer faster data transfer speeds, but they come at a higher cost. Additionally, ECC (Error-Correcting Code) RAM can help detect and correct errors in memory, but it's not necessary for most music production tasks.
If you're looking for a laptop with a lot of RAM, be sure to look for one with an upgradable module rather than one that's soldered in place. This will give you the flexibility to add more RAM in the future if needed.
When it comes to budget, you can expect to pay more for laptops with higher amounts of RAM. Minimum recommended RAM for music production is 16 GB, but if you have a higher budget, going for 32 GB or even more will ensure smooth performance.
Here are our recommendations for RAM depending on your budget:
- Minimum: 8 GB
- Recommended: 16 GB
- High-end: 32 GB
Top 5 FAQs for Music Production Laptops
Q: What laptop is best for music production?
The Lenovo Legion 5 Pro and ASUS ROG Zephyrus Duo are great options for music production on a laptop.
What specs are needed for a laptop for music production?
For music production on a laptop, you'll need at least an i5-1135G7 processor, a GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card, and 16 GB of memory. An SSD is also recommended for faster load times.
Can you use a regular laptop for music production?
Yes, you can use a regular laptop for music production. However, to ensure smooth performance, it's recommended to get a laptop with the minimum specifications mentioned above.
Is Mac or PC better for music production?
Both Mac and PC can be used for music production. It ultimately comes down to personal preference and software compatibility.
How much RAM do I need for music production on a laptop?
16 GB of RAM is recommended for music production on a laptop. However, if you work with larger projects or use more complex plugins, you may want to consider getting 32 GB of RAM.
What is the best processor for music production on a laptop?
The i7-11370H processor is the best option for music production on a laptop.
What size SSD is recommended for music production on a laptop?
A 512 GB SSD is recommended for music production on a laptop. However, if you work with large sample libraries or record a lot of audio, you may want to consider getting a larger 1 TB or 2 TB SSD.
Are gaming laptops good for music production?
Yes, gaming laptops can be good for music production. They typically have powerful processors and graphics cards that can handle demanding software. However, they may not always have the best audio interfaces or battery life.
Is a touchscreen necessary for music production on a laptop?
A touchscreen is not necessary for music production on a laptop, but it can be helpful for certain tasks such as editing MIDI notes or manipulating virtual instruments.
What is the best budget laptop for music production?
The HP Victus 15t is a great budget option for music production on a laptop. It meets the minimum requirements and has a price point of around $900.
5 Best Laptops for music production
1.HP Victus 15HP Victus 15 is a budget-friendly laptop suitable for basic music production.
- Affordable price
- Good for basic music production tasks
- Good gaming performance
- Poor battery life
- Plain design
HP Victus 15 is an affordable laptop that offers decent performance for music production along with gaming. However, the battery life is subpar, and the design is simple.
Lenovo Legion 5 17.3
- Decent gaming performance
- Good value
- Short battery life
- Small touchpad
2.Lenovo Legion 5 ProLenovo Legion 5 Pro offers great performance and display for music production, but lacks Thunderbolt support.
- High quality 165 Hz 16:10 IPS display
- Relatively easy serviceability
- Integrated numpad
- Very fast charging
- Low resolution webcam with no IR or privacy shutter
- Very warm CPUGPU temperatures when gaming
- Moderate-heavy uneven backlight bleeding
- Only average battery life
The Lenovo Legion 5 Pro has a powerful AMD Zen 3+ CPU and 150 W TGP GeForce RTX 3070 Ti GPU. It also boasts a high quality 165 Hz 16:10 IPS display and relatively easy serviceability, making it a good choice for music production. However, it lacks Thunderbolt support and has only average battery life.
ASUS TUF F15 FX507ZM-ES74
- Fast GeForce RTX 3060
- 300 Hz IPS panel with full sRGB coverage
- Chassis base and lid exhibit some flexing
- No per-key RGB lighting
3.GIGABYTE AORUS 15 XE4GIGABYTE AORUS 15 XE4: A powerful option for music production.
- Highly responsive 165Hz panel
- Wide color gamut
- High system performance
- PCIe 4.0 SSD
- High power usage at idle and low load
- No card reader
- Only one USB-A port
The GIGABYTE AORUS 15 XE4 is a highly responsive laptop with impressive performance, a wide color gamut, and PCIe 4.0 SSD. Its high power usage may not be ideal, but it makes up for it with its Thunderbolt 4, Power Delivery, and solid battery life.
ASUS ROG Strix G15 G513RM
- Fair design and solid build quality
- Good inputs and IO
- Some quirks affecting everyday ergonomics, but improvements over the Scars
- No Thunderbolt
4.ASUS ROG Strix ScarThe ASUS ROG Strix Scar is a powerful laptop for music production, but with limitations.
- Powerful Core i9-12900H and RTX 3070 Ti
- Excellent response times and color gamut coverage
- Sturdy construction
- Limited display angle
- High heat and noise emissions under load
- Subpar battery life
The ASUS ROG Strix Scar is a solid option for music producers with its powerful Core i9-12900H and RTX 3070 Ti, along with its excellent response times and color gamut coverage. However, its limited display angle, high heat and noise emissions under load, and subpar battery life might be limiting factors for some.
Acer Predator Triton 500
- High performance capability
- Excellent and bright display
- Soldered-in RAM
- Inaccessible SSD
5.ASUS ROG Zephyrus DuoASUS ROG Zephyrus Duo 16: A pricey but impressive laptop for music production.
- Powerful components, including a GeForce RTX 3080 Ti GPU and Ryzen 9 CPU
- Elegant dual-screen design for enhanced productivity
- Thin and portable, considering the dual-display setup and high-end components
- High cost, especially when fully configured
- Awkward keyboard and touchpad layout may take some getting used to
- Poor battery life means youll need to stay near an outlet while working
The ASUS ROG Zephyrus Duo 16 laptop is an impressive option for music production, thanks to its powerful components, dual-display setup, and elegant design. However, it comes with a high price tag and poor battery life.
ASUS ROG Strix Scar G733CX-XS97
- Good QHD panel with 240 Hz
- High and stable gaming performance
- Inconsistent SSD performance
- Additional premium for HX CPU isnt worth it
Table of the Best Laptops for music production
|HP Victus 15||$880|
|Lenovo Legion 5 Pro||$1,350|
|GIGABYTE AORUS 15 XE4||$1,600|
|ASUS ROG Strix Scar||$2,310|
|ASUS ROG Zephyrus Duo||$3,170|