Last Updated on January 9, 2020
Talent, passion, patience and good communications skills are some of the features that define a good graphic designer. But what about having a good laptop? Does it make a difference? If you have designed before, you probably know the importance of a high-tech personal computer.
While your skills matter the most, a good laptop can help you organize your work, create multiple templates and work with great mobility. You can carry it to your office, work as you travel and never have to worry about battery issues.
Having such importance to your career, invest in a laptop you will forever be proud of.
RAM Size and CPU Quality
High-end graphics and design software like Adobe Illustrator chunk huge amounts of RAM. Shifting between modeling and rendering can consume up to 8GB RAM as you do foundation work. As time moves on, your CPU begins to get overpowered. Your computer lags and it may even shut down.
A modern laptop with 8GB+ worth of RAM and a modern CPU should be on your list of the most important specs. Speaking of CPU, a Core i5 processor is the basic processing power needed for designing. If you do a lot of multitasking, look for an i7 or the top dog, Core i9 processor.
If your budget is limited, don’t worry. RAM is cheap and you can always expand if need arises in the future.
Quality of Graphics Card
Graphics cards make software run smoothly on your PC. The higher the quality, the more efficient your laptop becomes. Many graphics designing software programs are CPU-demanding. They can easily crash your laptop if its in-built graphics cards are weak.
Get a mid-range graphics cards if you don’t use a lot of power design software. But if you can afford a high-end NVIDIA or AMD card, go for it. Not only does a good graphics card increase PC efficiency but it also future-proofs your laptop. While other people will be upgrading their machines 2 years down the line, your laptop could last for years.
Screen Resolution and Size
An ideal laptop for graphics design work must have a screen size of 15 inches or higher. For serious design work with a desktop monitor, you may need a screen size of at least 22 inches. You need the large space because most software you use to come with lots of menu items.
You also don’t want to squeeze all your work to a small screen. A large screen lets you operate on the tiny details that could look insignificant on a tablet or iPad. The standard screen resolution is 1366 by 768 pixels.
For graphics designers, the ideal resolution starts at 1600 x 1080 pixels. If you are worried you may not be able to size the screen size, find reviews about the laptop online. Laptop reviews on bestreviews.guide/laptops describe all important specs, including the screen resolution. You can also find the information on the laptop’s manufacturer website.
Hard Drive Capacity (HDD)
Graphics designing projects takes up a lot of hard drive space. The standard size for any laptop worth buying should be 500GB. Some modern computers use a Solid State Drive (SDD) in place of hard drives. SDDs are faster and will make loading projects and programs faster. But they are also expensive.
With the right amount of RAM size and processors, a 1TB hard drive laptop will be enough for regular graphics and design work. If you are a fan of the cloud, you can ditch hard drives for cloud storage. Subscriptions costs as low as $1 for 20GB worth of space per month.
Whether you have power 24/7 or not, prefer a laptop with a long battery life. You may want to travel the world or attend conferences where power outlets are limited. A laptop that can hold power for 5 or more hours will always come to your rescue.
Keep in mind that graphics designing work consumes more power than using Microsoft Word. A laptop advertised to hold power for 4 hours will power off after 2 hours with heavy tasks. In addition to battery life, you can opt for a power bank. That way, you can have your PC powered for up to 15 hours continuously.
Gone are the days when laptops weighed 20 pounds or more. With newer technologies in place, manufacturers are making everything lightweight. The average high-end laptop weighs 5 pounds. A power-intensive machine could weigh slightly more, but you don’t need a PC heavier than 10 pounds.
As a graphics designer, portability is important because you have to regularly carry your PC while meeting clients. You may chair conferences and travel with your laptop. Go for the slim, lightweight laptops that pack all other features needed in a good laptop. Go for the slim, lightweight laptops that pack all other features needed in a good laptop. One such example is the Razer Blade gaming laptop.
One of the hardest decisions you may have to make is choosing the best-priced laptop. There are plenty of cheap PCs but most of them won’t have the features you are after. Mid-priced machines won’t have every feature you need. A Core i7 with great RAM may cost $400 but have limited space.
The best way to choose a good laptop and not hurt your budget is to figure out which features matter the most. Do you need 64GB RAM when 32GB would be enough? Go on a mission to determine the recommended specs for the type of graphics work you so.
Photoshop users are recommended to have at least 8GB worth of RAM. If you work mostly revolves around sending data through the cloud, a lot of hard space won’t be necessary. Narrow down to the screen resolution, weight, batter life and add-on features. In the end, choose for the laptop that offers the best value for your money.
Some features look insignificant but are important to every PC user. The keyboard should be neatly designed. Every key should be sensitive. LED light will come handy at night. Check the number of ports available and type of Bluetooth supported. If you prefer a laptop with touch-screen, ensure it meets all other important criteria.
Skills are important to graphics designers but they are worthless if you don’t have a good laptop. The best PC has features curtailed to make your work easier. Plenty of RAM makes image rendering smooth. Hard drive space helps you save a lot of work. A medium-sized screen puts less strain on your eyes and a good keyboard is soft to your fingers. Overall, look for quality and durability over cheapness.