These days, geospatial intelligence has become more valuable than ever. To meet the rising demand for geographic information, a lot of people are turning to QGIS, an open-source Geographic Information System (GIS) application used in various industries.
But like any GIS application, QGIS needs decent hardware to get the job done. Since it's pretty resource-intensive, not all laptops are suitable for the task. That's why it pays to find the best laptops for QGIS to get the most out of it.
To create a comprehensive guide that anyone can follow, I'll begin by breaking down each laptop spec and what it means for QGIS, before diving deeper into the recommended specs you should be on the lookout for. I'll also provide my personal opinion and suggestions on what to get for the best possible QGIS experience. Let's get to it!
Choosing the right processor for QGIS
Your QGIS laptop is a device that you'll spend a lot of time with. That's why it's important to make sure it has the best CPU.
You need to make sure that your processor can handle all the work you throw at it. In order to figure out which CPU is best for your QGIS laptop, you need to know what you plan on doing with it.
- Intel Core i5-10500H is a good choice for a budget laptop – but I recommend going up in price and going for an Intel Core i7-10875H instead. If you're not in the market for a budget laptop, then I recommend AMD Ryzen 7 4800H.
- make sure your CPU can handle all the work you throw at it
- go for an Intel Core i7 if you're on a budget, or AMD Ryzen 7 if you're not on a budget
How to choose the right memory that will work optimally with QGIS?
Minimum (8 GB)
QGIS is a relatively light-weight software that won't be needing 8 GB of RAM to run smoothly. That's because the program is made for GIS professionals and it's not resource-intensive. So, if you're looking for a low-cost laptop with decent specs – 8 GB should be enough. It will work great for running QGIS without lag or long load times.
The downside is that you'll have to give up on other high-performance applications, such as gaming, video editing, or other memory-hungry tasks. If you're only going to use QGIS, an 8 GB laptop will work just fine.
Recommended (16 GB)
A 16 GB laptop is the perfect compromise between price and performance. With this much RAM, you'll be able to run QGIS smoothly without any glitches or errors – which makes it perfect for an everyday use. You can also multitask with multiple open tabs in your browser without any slowdown in performance whatsoever. The downside? If you start using QGIS with lots of GIS layers, there's a chance that your laptop will start slowing down. Still, 16 GB should be more than enough for most professionals who are working on simple projects like web mapping or less demanding fields like architecture and engineering.
Best (32 GB)
32 GB laptops are still rather expensive but they're becoming more affordable by the day – so if you can afford one, go for it! The advantage of 32 GB is obvious: there's plenty of room for multitasking and using lots of applications at once without worrying about lag or slowdown – including running QGIS with numerous layers. And because RAM prices are not skyrocketing anymore, investing in a new laptop is worth it – even if it's just to keep up with your daily workloads!
- QGIS can run on any 8/16/32 GB laptop
- A 16/32 GB laptop is a good compromise between price and performance
- If you want to multitask, go for a 32 GB laptop
How to choose the right storage that will work optimally with QGIS?
Understanding the options
So, it's time to figure out what kind of laptop you need for QGIS. Well, if you're on a budget, then go with a 256 GB SSD. That'll be more than enough for mapping or doing GIS work. On the other hand, if you're doing heavy geoprocessing work or spatial analysis – I'd recommend getting a 512 GB SSD. It's still reasonable priced at $1,000 for a new laptop with that size of storage space.
Finally, if you have some extra cash to spare and need even more disk space – go with 1 TB SSD. Prices on these are typically between $1,500 and $2,200 – but they're worth it if you need that much space for maps or data sets.
Upgrading your laptop storage is pretty easy – most manufacturers make it simple to replace an HDD with an SSD without having to take apart the whole thing. The typical laptop will come with at least one free M.2 slot for expansion or upgrades. If you want to save some money – make sure to do your research before buying the laptop!
- QGIS can be run on any laptop, but if you want more storage space, then get a bigger SSD
- If you need more storage space than the SSD can provide, then upgrade to an HDD (hard disk drive) or even better – an SSD with an HDD inside it
6 Best Laptops for QGIS
Pros and cons
- High-Speed WLAN
- Removable Battery
- Poor Sound Quality
- No Card Reader
- Reasonable price tag
- Powerful processing
- Non-RGB keyboard
- Poor webcam quality
Pros and cons
- Affordable price
- Variety of processor options
- Non-RGB keyboard
- All-plastic construction
- Crisp 1080p OLED touchscreen for optimal GIS view
- Fast processor and long-lasting battery for uninterrupted usage
- No upgradable RAM or PCIe4 x4 NVMe SSD
- Limited USB-A port for connectivity
Pros and cons
- Stable and fast system performance
- Thunderbolt 4 for high speed data transfers
- Lack of illuminated secondary functions
- Poor webcam position
- High-quality, durable build
- Fast 165 Hz QHD display
- Bulky 300W charger
- Large footprint and comparatively heavy
Pros and cons
- Blazing fast 165Hz panel for seamless QGIS performance
- Solid battery life for taking your work on the go
- High power usage at idle and low load
- No card reader
- Solid build quality design with ample IO options
- 90W battery long runtimes
- No camera, card-reader, biometrics or ThunderboltUSB 4
- Some ergonomic quirks
Pros and cons
- High-quality and stable housing
- Fast and powerful processor
- No SmartCard reader
- Heat development
- Sturdy chassis and powerful system performance for reliable data mapping
- 4K display for clear and detailed imagery
- Bulky and expensive
- Loud operation under load
What laptop should I buy for QGIS?
It depends on your needs and budget. If you plan to do a lot of 3D mapping, you'll want to opt for something with a powerful processor and plenty of RAM and storage. For general purpose use, a laptop with at least an Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM, and 256GB SSD should be sufficient.
What specs do I need for QGIS on a laptop?
For general purpose use, a laptop with at least an Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM, and 256GB SSD should be sufficient. If you plan to do more heavy-duty 3D mapping and modelling, you'll want to opt for something with a more powerful processor (Intel Core i7 or Ryzen 7) and more RAM and storage (16GB RAM and 512GB SSD).
Can I install QGIS on a laptop?
Yes, you can install QGIS on a laptop. The minimum requirements are an Intel Core i3 processor, 4GB RAM, and 256GB SSD. However, to get the best performance, you'll want to aim for at least an Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM, and 256GB SSD.
Is 8GB RAM enough for QGIS?
8GB RAM is generally sufficient for most uses of QGIS. If you plan to do 3D mapping or modelling, you'll want to upgrade to 16GB RAM or higher.
Does QGIS work on laptops?
Yes, QGIS works on laptops. The minimum requirements are an Intel Core i3 processor, 4GB RAM, and 256GB SSD. However, to get the best performance, you'll want to aim for at least an Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM, and 256GB SSD.
How to choose the best laptop for QGIS?
Start by considering your budget and what tasks you plan to do with QGIS. For general purpose use, a laptop with at least an Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM, and 256GB SSD should be sufficient. If you plan to do more heavy-duty 3D mapping and modelling, you'll want to opt for something with a more powerful processor (Intel Core i7 or Ryzen 7) and more RAM and storage (16GB RAM and 512GB SSD). Check out our table of recommendations for more information.
Is Core i5 fast enough for QGIS?
For general purpose use, yes, a Core i5 processor should be more than sufficient for QGIS. However, if you plan to do more heavy-duty 3D mapping and modelling, you'll want to opt for something with a more powerful processor (Intel Core i7 or Ryzen 7).
Is 256GB SSD enough for working with QGIS?
For general purpose use, 256GB SSD should be sufficient for QGIS. However, if you plan to do more heavy-duty 3D mapping and modelling, you'll want to opt for something with more storage (512GB or 1TB SSD).
Which laptop is best for QGIS under $2,000?
Depending on what tasks you plan to do with QGIS, there are a few options for laptops under $2,000. Our recommendations include the GIGABYTE A5 K1 ($790), HP Victus 15t ($900), GIGABYTE AERO 17 XE5 ($1,400), and GIGABYTE AORUS 15 XE4 ($1,750).
Is 4GB RAM enough for working with QGIS?
4GB RAM is sufficient for basic tasks in QGIS, but for more advanced tasks such as 3D mapping and modelling you'll want to opt for something with 8GB RAM or higher.
Table of the Best Laptops for QGIS
|GIGABYTE A5 K1||$790|
|HP Victus 15t||$900|
|GIGABYTE AERO 17 XE5||$1400|
|GIGABYTE AORUS 15 XE4||$1750|
|Lenovo ThinkPad P1 Gen 4||$3650|
|MSI Titan GT77 12UHS||$4790|