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What laptop should you choose for music production in 2020?

What laptop should you choose for music production?

When it comes to choosing the right laptop for music production your choice will be heavily determined by your budget. Please remember, if your budget is being too low for what kind of laptop you are trying to get, try to switch to a static desktop-PC setup as they are way cheaper for even better specs in most cases.

If you are still not sure what setup is the right one for you, you can check out my post “Laptop vs PC for music production”.

What exactly are we looking for in a music production laptop in 2020?

Memory

Memory is actually the most important stat we are looking for. It is used heavily by all sample-based instruments and that is exactly where most VSTs are heading at the moment. Many VST plug-ins list 4 GB as the systems minimum requirements, but if you want to keep your sanity, this will not even remotely be enough. I’d personally recommend going for 16 GB of RAM with 8 GB being the bare minimum.

Processor

Intel processors are the safe choice here. In particular the i5 (little outdated but cheaper), i7 (recent but more expensive), Xeon or i9 (most expensive but also the newest on the market). In terms of cores, 4 would be what you should go for as you will need multiple cores with loads of single-core performance to get the most out of your system.

GHz is the last stat to look for in your processor. Long story short, you will need pretty much 2 GHz or above.

Storage

You want an internal SSD because it will make loading samples (especially in sample-based instruments) way faster. For me, having a workflow that is as smooth as possible is one of the keys to improving creativity. Having to wait for extended periods of time while instruments are loading is often killing the vibe. As for the SSD size, you will have to find a good balance between reasonable size and price.

Most pre-built systems nowadays come with 512 GB or 1 TB SSD internal storage which will be enough for quite some time as a beginner. Of course, you will always have the opportunity to add more capacity via an external hard-drive later.

For recommendations on external hard drives, you can read my blog post on that topic.

Screen size

If you plan on using your laptop without an additional Monitor regularly you should go for at least 15″. That’s just my personal recommendation but I think 13″ is just too small to work with effectively and 17″ is a little too clunky to carry around for my taste.

Please note, that I did not include any MacBooks. Please take it as a given, that you can always configure a MacBook Pro with the above-mentioned settings and it just works. This is true for the 13″ as well as the 15″ variant.

If you choose Mac or Windows really comes down to what you are used to, since both systems work almost equally stable at this point in time.

But now, without further ado, here is our selection for the best laptops for music production in 202 and beyond. As with all posts in this blog, I will keep them updated regularly.

The best 13″ laptops for music production in 2020

– Asus Zen Book 13″

The Asus Zen Book is an incredible small power package with military-grade durability and uncompromising performance.

It features an extended battery life a dual function touchpad and an ultra-thin NanoEdge display.

Specs:

  • Processor: Intel i7
  • RAM: 16 GB DDR3
  • Hard-Drive: 512 GB SSD
  • Display: 13″ Full HD NanoEdge
  • Weight: 2.36 lbs

– Razer Blade Stealth 13″

The Razer Blade Stealth is designed for mobility. It’s ultra-thin as well as incredibly durable. Razer is of course also known for its distinct design.

Specs:

  • Processor: Intel i7
  • RAM: 16 GB DDR3
  • Hard-Drive: 512 GB SSD
  • Display: 13″ Full HD Bezel Display
  • Weight: 2.84 lbs

– Dell XPS 13″ 9300

The Dell XPS Series has been a staple over the last years when it comes to high performing production laptops.

The smaller 13″ version features an awesome Gorilla Glass InfinityEdge display.

Specs:

  • Processor: Intel i7
  • RAM: 16 GB DDR4
  • Hard-Drive: 512 GB SSD
  • Display: 13″ Full HD InfinityEdge Display
  • Weight: 2.47 lbs

The best 15″ laptops for music production in 2020

– Microsoft Surface Book 2

The Microsoft Surface Book 2 features a 15″ touchscreen and a detachable display for tablet mode which makes the Surface Book an even better choice for people who want to be as mobile as possible.

Also, the Surface Books 17 hours of battery life are quite impressive.

Specs:

  • Processor: Intel i7
  • RAM: 16 GB LPDDR3
  • Hard-Drive: 512 GB SSD
  • Display: 15″ Touchscreen LCD Display
  • Weight: 4.2 lbs

– Lenovo ThinkPad P53s

The ThinkPad always has some kind of old-school flair to me. It may not be the most stylish laptop on this list but the series has produced incredible workhorses over the years, which are still among the top laptops for music production.

Specs:

  • Processor: Intel i7
  • RAM: 16 GB DDR4
  • Hard-Drive: 512 GB SSD
  • Display: 15″ Full HD Display
  • Weight: 3.9 lbs

– HP Spectre 360

The HP Spectre 360 features a 15″ Touchscreen display which can be folded around to enable tablet mode.

It also comes with an HP TiltPen in case you might need it. In my opinion, it is also one of the more stylish options on this list.

Specs:

  • Processor: Intel i7
  • RAM: 16 GB DDR4
  • Hard-Drive: 512 GB SSD
  • Display: 15″ Ultra HD Touchscreen Display
  • Weight: 2.9 lbs

The best gaming laptops for music production in 2020

– Acer Predator Helios 300

The Acer Predator Helios Series has been one of the most popular among gamers in the last few years. And what’s good for gamers cant be bad for producers, right?

Specs:

  • Processor: Intel i7
  • RAM: 16 GB DDR4
  • Hard-Drive: 512 GB SSD
  • Display: 15″ Full HD 144 Hz 3ms IPS Display
  • Weight: 5.07 lbs

– Asus ROG Strix Series

The ASUS ROG Strix packs an incredible punch and is one of the laptops with the best specs on this list.

It doesn’t rely on any fancy features and is convincing through pure stats.

Specs:

  • Processor: Intel i7
  • RAM: 32 GB DDR4
  • Hard-Drive: 2 TB SSD + 2 TB HDD
  • Display: 15″ Antiflare FHD 120 Hz Display
  • Weight: 5.28 lbs

– MSI GL65 Leopard

The Leopard from MSI is a powerful portable workstation and you can be sure to get really good bang for your buck.

Specs:

  • Processor: Intel i7
  • RAM: 16 GB DDR4
  • Hard-Drive: 512 GB SSD
  • Display: 15″ FHD 144 Hz IPS Bezel Display
  • Weight: 9.78 lbs

The best laptops under $1000 for music production in 2020

– Asus ZenBook 13″

I mentioned ASUS ZenBook in the 13″ section before and I’ll do it again here in the “budget” section.

The ZenBook has incredible power for its price.

Specs:

  • Processor: Intel i7
  • RAM: 16 GB DDR3
  • Hard-Drive: 512 GB SSD
  • Display: 13″ Full HD NanoEdge
  • Weight: 2.36 lbs

– Dell Inspiron 15″

The Dell Inspiron has a 15″ LED Touchscreen which honestly is incredible considering its price. There are no other special features but you will get an overall convincing workstation.

Specs:

  • Processor: Intel i7
  • RAM: 16 GB DDR3
  • Hard-Drive: 512 GB SSD
  • Display: 15″ Ultra HD Touchscreen LED Display
  • Weight: 4.85 lbs

– Huawei Matebook 13″

The Huawei Matebook is thin and small yet pretty decent in terms of specs. If you are on a budget but want to be as mobile as possible then you can’t do wrong with this small power package, even though it might be the weakest on this list.

Specs:

  • Processor: Intel i5
  • RAM: 8 GB SDRAM
  • Hard-Drive: 256 GB SSD
  • Display: 13″ HD Touchscreen Bezel Display
  • Weight: 2.58 lbs

What laptop would I recommend for music production in 2020?

Personally I own a HP Spectre 360 and I have yet to run into any kinds of performance-issues. That being said, I may have used the touch-screen and tablet-mode functionality twice in the last 2 years. You need to decide for yourself, if you think you will use the special features some of the laptops are advertising.

Judging from today’s standpoint I’d probably go with either the Asus ROG Strix series or the Acer Predator Helios 300. On paper both are advertised as gaming laptops but you get a whole lotta bang for an insanely reasonable buck with both of them.

Finally, here are some honorable mentions I didn’t include in the list above:

– Gigabyte Aero 15″

– Lenovo Legion Series

– Dell Inspiron 15″ 5000

– Razer Blade 15

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