The Best Laptop for Animation and Graphic Design (2021)

What is the Best Laptop for Animation and Graphic Design?

Having a good laptop with a good CPU & GPU & capable of animation and opening large graphic design files is pretty much essential in the creative industry.

But finding a laptop for this purpose can be a very tricky affair when you think that there’s no one laptop designed specifically for animation. So, you’ll have to conduct adequate research to find the precise specifications that you want on your machine.

What is the Best Laptop for Animation?

For animation, you need a laptop that runs on software such as Autodesk, 3D Maya, Blender, and Cinema 4D. These should also be paired with a high-quality graphics card like GeForce GTX 1060 or anything above that.

For drawing, Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop are the go-to software today, and your device must have a minimum RAM of 8GB, or anything more than that. Finally, aim for a 5th generation processor, Core i5 at the least, and a 256GB hard disk.

What Laptop is Good for 3D Modeling?

If you want to do 3D modelling, you should get a laptop with heavy software like Unity and Maya, plus at least 16GB RAM. Add to this is a high-level graphics card like the NVIDIA 960 and a large SSD to expedite the whole process.

Something like 256GB should be enough, depending on the size of your renders.

What Laptops Do Animators Use?

Most animators feel comfortable with at least a Core i5 Intel processor, 1TB hard disk, 8GB RAM, and a graphics card between 2 and 4GB. Having this level of specs on your laptop makes your animation projects easier to carry out.

Best Laptops for Animation & Design – Reviews

animation-laptop-reviews

MSI GL65 Leopard

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With the MSI GL65 Leopard, you won’t have to search too far for the perfect laptop for animation and graphic design. This tried and tested device comes with all the specs to guarantee you a seamless creative performance.

Boasting an optimal hardware configuration, the GL65 Leopard will be a worthy replacement for your desktop.

Whether you’re working on 2D animation apps like After Effects and Harmony or using 3D software like AutoCAD, SolidWorks, or Blender, the Intel Core i7 processor in the laptop proves to be a dependable asset.

The high-level processor enables users to set keyframes precisely and procure the ideal form of shaded view they want for the task. Additionally, the GPU offers the perfect balance between a remarkable turbo clock 5GHz frequency and six cores, making it advantageous for you when both single-threaded and multi-threaded tasks are involved.

The MSI comes with an extremely powerful RTX 2070, which can be instrumental during heavy rendering. Not to mention that you get 8GB of VRAM to enjoy the edge as far as texture-intensive rendering is concerned.

To complement the lightning-fast speed of the Core i7 processor, the manufacturer equipped this laptop with a 16GB RAM module, that makes it possible to manage multiple images, meshes, and processes with relative ease. When it comes to storage, you’ll have no worries with a 512GB SSD module in place.

The SSD hard drive lets you retrieve the finished scenes and animations in a heartbeat while booting up the Windows 10 OS almost seamlessly. Animators expect excellent display on their devices, and the GL65 doesn’t disappoint with its 15.6” IPS panel.

With a 1920 x 1080p screen resolution and a 72% color gamut, you will appreciate the crystal-clear images and amazing color reproduction. You also get an impressive 144Hz screen refresh rate, which is the sweet spot for animators and gamers.

Another useful feature of the laptop is the backlit keyboard that allows you to work on your projects into the night with no hassle. This also features a Hi-Res acoustic setup, a Dragon Center for smooth resource allocation, as well a thermal layout with seven heat-producing pipes.

For connectivity, the laptop features a variety of useful ports, including a USB 3.1, Type-A, Type-C, WIFI 6 standard, and extra perks. On the downside, the MSI is a little bit weighty and will burden you with a 5.07lb load.

Also, the battery used on the laptop is not the best you can get out there. With just 4 hours of runtime on standard use, you might find yourself charging it more often than you’d like. Overall, this will be a wonderful asset for your animation-centric projects if you want to take your gig to the next level!

Pros
  • Easy to set up
  • Powerful GPU
  • Plenty of RAM memory
  • High-resolution display
  • Upgradeable memory
Cons
  • Short battery time
  • A little heavy

Acer Predator Helios 300

Acer-Predator-Helios-300-Gaming-Laptop
The Predator Helios 300 from Acer is another solid option that will be a nice fit for your animation and graphic design projects. Sketchers, painters, illustrators, animators, and other digital artists who do video editing and filmmaking will find great use in this amazing device.

Despite being marketed as a gaming laptop, the Predator Helios 300, will be a natural fit for your animation needs. A raft of impressive specifications on its design makes it one of the best laptops for animation and graphic design in its price range.

The Helios 300 is powered by an Intel Core i7-10750H processor that features a base clock of 2.6GHz. However, you can improve the speed to 5GHz with Turbo Boost to make for even greater rendering.

Furthermore, 16GB DDR4 RAM is paired with 512GB SSD storage, to ensure you have maximum speed and optimal multi-layer editing. The large RAM also means that you will experience seamless transitioning and rendering every time you use the Acer Predator.

Additionally, the device lets you play high-end games like Overwatch, Minecraft, Fortnite, etc. whenever you have no tasks to attend to. You also get the chance to pursue courses like Android development, game development, and web design with this remarkable machine.

The 15.6” Full HD display offers crisp and bright views thanks to a high-resolution of 1920 x 1080. Meanwhile, the graphics are enabled by a high-performance 6GB NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 is a wonderful option for content creators.

Connectivity is another reliable aspect of the Helios 300, and this is made sure by high-speed Bluetooth and Wireless technology. There are also multiple connection ports, including a USB 3.0 port and a pair of USB 2.0 ports.

You also get an HDMI port and an RGB backlit keyboard to enable you to work comfortably in low-light situations. The manufacturer does not state how long the battery can last but expect something less than what the Ultrabook can offer. Finally, the Acer Predator Helios 300 weighs a weighty 5.07 pounds.

Pros
  • Easy to set up
  • Multiple connectivity options
  • Great dedicated graphics
  • Reasonable price tag
  • 10th generation processor
Cons
  • Bulky frame

ASUS ROG Zephyrus S

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This is another great laptop designed for gamers but will serve just fine for your animation and graphic design projects. It comes in a slim and lightweight package yet delivers a strong performance thanks to a slew of respectable features and specs.

For one, the laptop is powered by a Core i7-850H Intel processor with a Turbo Boost speed that can reach 3,9GHz. The result is a seamless animation process even while dealing with some of the heaviest software out there.

A lot of focus was put on the design of the laptop, hence there are a few underwhelming aspects about the device, including the lowly 16GB of DDR4 RAM. Nevertheless, the 512GB of SSD storage will quickly make you forget about the RAM.

This is more than you’ll need to launch software packages faster, as well as enjoy quicker boot-up speeds. While it may not be to the level of other laptops in this review, the combination of RAM and memory here should be sufficient to keep your animation tasks afresh.

Another useful feature of the ASUS ROG Zephyrus S is the wide 15.6” screen with Full HD and a 1920 x 1080p resolution. This is complemented with a 144Hz screen refresh rate for fast changes.

Furthermore, an 8GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 dedicated graphics card is just what you need for your graphic design work. Overall, the slim and sleek design of the Zephyrus S will endear to you while the reduced weight also makes it suitable for carrying around.

The laptop only weighs 4.6 pounds and features a backlit keyboard with optimized fans that facilitate speed and adaptability. However, the battery life is pretty overwhelming, managing to offer just 2 hours of runtime. Other than that, the AUS ROG Zephyrus S is a nice pick for creatives in graphic design.

Pros
  • Easy to set up
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Slim and stylish construction
  • 144HZ screen refresh rate
  • Intel core i7 processor
Cons
  • Low battery life
  • Costly

Microsoft Surface Book 2

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If you are in the market for an all-around device that will suit your animation projects, look no further than the Microsoft Surface Book 2. This amazing offering will provide you with reliable performance with the inclusion of an Intel Core i7-8650U processor boasting a clock speed of up to 1.9GHz on Turbo Boost.

Don’t be fooled by the minute frame and weight of the Surface Book 2, this device can handle software in Adobe Creative Cloud Suite with relative ease.

As far as the memory is concerned, the machine is fitted with 16GB of DDR4 RAM, which should be enough for your design work. Backing the memory is 256GB of SSD storage, which is a drop from the other options on our list but gives you the benefit of reduced weight and convenient portability. However, you can go for an alternative version of the Surface Book 2 with additional storage if you don’t mind spending extra.

The best feature on this device has to be its display. This is one of the few laptops you’ll find with a 4K display that an animator can use. This means you enjoy crisp and sharp images on the 15” screen with a resolution of 3260 x 2160.

Not to mention that the touchscreen support makes your work even more satisfying. For graphics, the machine employs an NVIDIA GeForce GTV 1060 card to go with 6GB of GDDR5 video RAM to ensure things work smoothly at all times.

You will also appreciate the flexible design of the Surface Book 2, which lets you transform it to a tablet or laptop anytime you want to fit your preferences. Furthermore, you have access to Microsoft peripherals for an easy time when working on your animation projects.

Even with all the high-level performance offered, you still get to enjoy up to 10 hours of battery life (when you’re streaming). Lastly, the 2.38lb weight of the laptop means you can carry it anywhere and everywhere.

Pros
  • Easy to set up
  • Lightweight design
  • Long battery life
  • Touchscreen support
  • 4K screen resolution
Cons
  • Low storage

MSI GS65 Stealth

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MSI is a renowned brand in the market, with a reputation for rolling out brilliant gaming laptops. The GS65 is no different from the rest, but it comes with the kind of performance to suit any 3D animation projects and CAD-centric tasks that you may have.

A small frame makes for hassle-free portability. Highlighting the specs on the laptop is a high-end Intel Core i7-8750H processor with a decent base clock speed of 3.9GHz.

For storage and memory, you get almost the same specs as most of the devices we’ve reviewed above. The DDR4 RAM is rated at 16GB for standard multitasking whereas the SSD storage offers 512GB of space.

This makes it easy for creatives who prefer to store their work on their laptops. It also allows you to save the cash you could have used on a portable SSD or HDD. The display is another feature that will make you fall further in love with the MSI GS65 Stealth.

Between a wide 15.6” Full HD screen and 1920 x 1080 screen resolution, you’ll have a fulfilling time working on animation projects that require great color sensitivity.

The unit also features a 144Hz screen refresh rate and the quality is reinforced by an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card with 6GB of VRAM. Overall, the visual quality is pretty excellent with images appearing crisp-clear.

On the connectivity front. The GS65 Stealth offers you plenty of options to go with Thunderbolt 3 support. The keyboard is well laid out on this VR-ready laptop but the battery may be a little bit underwhelming for those with prolonged projects. But you will enjoy carrying this device on the go, thanks to a lightweight 4.14lb design.

Pros
  • Easy to set up
  • Rich connectivity
  • Fast processor
  • High screen refresh rate
  • Top quality display
Cons
  • Low battery life
  • Heating issues

Conclusion

When planning to invest in a laptop for your graphic design projects, it is essential to do comprehensive specs research to find something that will suit the tasks you want to perform without any letdowns.

The article above provides you with a reliable guide on how to select the best laptops for animation and graphic design. Whether you are an amateur graphic designer or an experienced animator, any of the reviewed products will be a nice place to get started!

FAQ

Is AMD or Intel Better for Animation?

Generally speaking, AMD Ryzen CPUs slightly edge their Intel counterparts when it comes to animation. Even the AMD is slower in performance by around 5-10% compared to Intel but given the higher number of cores in AMD, they make a more suitable option for animation, as well as multitasking scenarios.

So, if you’re looking for a device to create animation with, you might want to prioritize AMD over Intel.

Is Adobe Animate Free?

Once you earn a free Creative Cloud membership, you will be able to download a trial version of the Animate app, plus other applications available on Creative Cloud. But when you upgrade your membership to an All-Apps status, you’ll be entitled to downloading the full version of all the applications found in Creative Cloud.

Can I Buy Adobe Animate Permanently?

It is not possible to buy Adobe Animate permanently! This is because Animate CC is actually a rebranded form of Flash Pro, which was launched in Creative Cloud after Adobe did away with perpetual licensing. But if you are referring to the related app that was continued Adobe Edge Animate, then this is a different story.

Is Photoshop Good for Animation?

If you are already well versed in Photoshop and thinking about creating animation, you might be wondering whether your knowledge is helpful. Well, the thing is Photoshop still has some ground to cover when it comes to creating cinematic and high-quality animations of programs like After Effects.

However, it comes with enough capacity to create complex animations, which is something you’d be interested in if you didn’t want to deal with the curve of learning about a new application.

What Kind of Laptops are Suitable for Animators?

You don’t have to get an extra-ordinary kind of device or any particular specs when you want to animate on a laptop. It is possible to do this on a “normal” laptop as long as they meet the basic requirements of features.

These are the features that will simplify your work and allow you to work faster and efficiently. So, all you want to do is shop around to find a machine with the basic minimum requirements for Animation Software of your choice and you’ll be good to go.

Are Gaming Laptops Good for Animation?

Yes! Gaming laptops can double up as remarkable tools for animations.

Most of the manufacturers in the market tend to market their products as gaming laptops since the gaming scene is much bigger compared to the animation scene, hence a bigger target market. The truth is these devices are just as suitable for creating animations as they are for gaming.

References

https://www.msi.com/index.php

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