Illustrators base their entire careers on a desk and in front of computers.
Using software such as Adobe Illustrator, they create vibrant and mind-boggling graphics. This is why, for people just getting into illustration, it is of utmost importance that their laptops meet their career needs.
Today’s article focuses on that. It lists down some of the most ideal laptops available in the market that can flawlessly run Adobe’s Illustrator.
To find the best laptops for the job I enlisted the help of a friend, who is a professional graphic designer, to understand the hardware requirements as well as the commonly encountered computer problems.
We invested two weeks into this article carefully scrutinizing each and every laptop we thought was capable of running Illustrator.
By the end of those two weeks, we were able to narrow down our search to just seven laptops. The seven that we considered the best.
Best Laptops for Illustrators That Helps You From Concept to Completion
To create this list, we have sought assistance from a wide range of IT experts, alongside professional illustrators. These two parties worked in correspondence for up to a week, ensuring that quality, from both, a creative and a technical aspect, were consistently maintained. Thus, they considered graphics, CPU, RAM, etc., and eventually narrowed their search down to the 7 best.
What are the System Requirements for Adobe Illustrator?
Of course, the first and foremost considerations were for the hardware. Adobe Illustrator is a heavy software and requires powerful hardware. To find the right laptop you need to start with the very basic requirements that Adobe recommends. These are:
Now that you know what you are looking for, let me share the list of the seven best laptops I mentioned earlier:
#1. New Apple MacBook Pro 16 Inch With Ultrafast SSD
This new Apple MacBook is very useful for any graphic designer looking to use Adobe Illustrator. To start off, it provides a 9th Generation Intel Core i7 processor, which has 6 cores and a clock speed of 2.6 GHz, though it can be boosted up to 4.5 GHz. Visuals wise, this has a 16” screen with 3072×1920 Resolution. The MacBook uses True Tone Tech, which adjusts the laptop’s display in accordance with the environment, such as lowering brightness in darker rooms.
This, alongside the retina display, gives a pixel density so high that users can’t tell individual pixels from a normal distance. It even uses a P3 Wide Color Gamut which displays further lifelike colors, with deeper primary colors, and richer secondary colors. For graphics, it has an AMD Radeon Pro 5300 M Graphics Card as the dedicated graphics card with GDDR6 memory, allowing for a fast data rate.
For Integrated Graphics unit, it provides Intel UHD Graphics 630. With a huge 64 GB DDR4 RAM, this laptop allows for fluid multitasking with low voltage requirements. Adding to this, its immensely high SSD of up to 8 TB (although Amazon provides 512 GB and 1 TB) allows for high storage opportunity.
It even has a high battery life of 11 hours. The only downside could be that with a $2400 price, it’s quite expensive. However, given all these amazing features, it’s surely worth the price.
#2. LG Gram 17″ IPS Display 10th Gen i7 With Thunderbolt 3
The LG Gram is a great choice for anyone looking for graphic design. With its 10th Generation Core i7-1065G7 1.30 GHz (which can be boosted up to 3.90 GHz) cut-and-edge processor, this laptop provides fast performances. For great visuals, it accommodates a 17-inch screen and a 2560×1600 HD Resolution, showing a beautiful and huge image.
Graphics-wise, you get Intel Iris Plus Graphics, which proves to be much better than Intel HD Graphics, as it has higher shaders, plus it uses eDRAM; this means it doesn’t use DDR4, allowing for better graphics. In memory, a 16 GB SDRAM allows for higher speed with the synchronous system, which synchronizes itself with the PC’s system clock; this allows the memory to run at higher speeds than previous asynchronous systems.
On top of this, this laptop weighs a mere 2.95 pounds, making it very mobile. It even has a high 512 GB SSD and a 17-hour battery. However, the one downside could be that some users have complained that the speakers aren’t loud enough, though this hasn’t been the case for most people, plus this isn’t important for Adobe Illustrator.
#3. HP Envy 10th Gen Intel i7 Touch Screen Premium Laptop – Best for Illustrators
This laptop proves HP is still worthy to maintain its position in the laptop market. Its 10th Generation Intel Core i7-10510U Processor, with 4 cores and 1.8 GHz clock speed (which can be boosted up to 4.9 GHz) provides high performance, with twice the graphic performance of previous generations.
The 17.3-inch display with the Full HD 1920×1080 Resolution provides a huge display. It has the NVIDIA GeForce MX250 Graphic card with a 2 GB GDRR5 VRAM of 7000 MHz. With a 32 GB SODIMM DDR4 RAM, the HP Envy provides low voltage requirements with faster multitasking. Storage-wise, this laptop has 1 TB SSD along with 1 TB HDD. This is especially useful for graphic designers, as they are working with multiple clients, so having larger storage allows to save a lot of files.
Furthering the usefulness of this laptop is the 9 hour battery life. Regardless, this laptop doesn’t have a Kensington port. This port is used to lock on a laptop to a table, and without it, the laptop could possibly fall over. However, this isn’t used by most people and isn’t incredibly important.
#4. Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop by Acer – Perfect for Heavy Use
The Acer Predator is a great choice for anyone looking to get into graphic design. It has a great 9th Generation Intel Core i7-9750H Processor, with 6 cores and a 2.6 GHz clock speed, which can be boosted up to 4.5 GHz. The huge 15.6” screen with 1920×1080 HD Resolution provides high comfort and freedom for graphic designers.
The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Graphics, with its 6 GB VRAM, and GDDR6 system with a higher data rate of 16 GB/s than its GDDR5 Processor with 14 GB/s, provides a more fluid experience graphically. This laptop even has a 16 GB DDR4 RAM with 2466 MHz, which provides fast multitasking, along with low voltage requirements.
Its large 512 GB SSD is also useful for storing high amounts of data, as will be probable with high amounts of clients. The 6 hour battery also proves useful when using the laptop away from the charger. The one downside could be that the screen isn’t incredibly bright, although this wasn’t a problem for most users, and especially indoors, this didn’t prove to be troublesome.
#5. Acer Spin 3 Convertible Laptop with Backlit Keyboard & Fingerprint – Budget Pick
The Acer Spin 3 proves another worthy entry in this list. To start off, the 8th Generation Intel Core i7 8565U Processor, with 4 cores and 1.80 GHz (up to 4.6 GHz when boosted) provides high performance. Other than that, a 14-inch screen with 1920×1080 full HD Resolution provides a huge and beautiful image.
This laptop is also helpful for graphic designers because firstly, it has Multi-Touch Technology and a Stylus, which facilitates sketching and drawing. Its Convertible build allows for greater comfort with usage, as the laptop is customizable. Graphics support is provided with Intel UHD Graphics 620, which has 1.150 MHz (0.100 MHz higher than Intel HD Graphics 620).
Its 16 GB DDR4 RAM provides high multitasking opportunities with low voltage requirements. Furthermore, this laptop’s huge 512 GB SSD provides higher storage for graphic designers to utilize. This laptop even has a 12-hour battery life, which is a great help when using the laptop away from the charger.
However, a downside would be that the Intel UHD Graphics, while better than its Intel HD counterpart, still aren’t all that great. Still, given its low $800 price, it proves sufficient.
#6. MSI P65 Creator Ultra-Light Premium Laptop for Illustrator
This is another amazing laptop for using Adobe Illustrator. It has the Intel Core i7-9750H Processor with 6 cores and a 2.6 GHz clock speed (which can be boosted to 4.5 GHz) and allows for greater performance opportunities.
The huge 15.6” screen along with the 4K HD 3840×2160 Resolution also proves to be incredibly useful for graphic design; especially since it has an Anti-Glare display, to ensure graphic designers spending heavy amounts of time in front of their laptops don’t accrue too much stress to their eyes.
Other than that, the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 6 GB GDDR6 not only provides an amazing visual experience, but the GDDR6 memory allows for a greater data rate (16 GB/s) than its predecessor, GDDR5 (14 GB/s). Its 32 GB DDR4 RAM provides faster multitasking ability with low voltage requirements and a 2400 MHz. The one downside would be that the battery is low but still, high enough to where it is usable away from the charger.
#7. Asus ZenBook Core-i7 15.6” Ultra-Slim Laptop
This laptop, with its immensely useful features, is another great laptop in this list. It has 10th Generation Intel Core i7-10510U Processor with 4 cores and 4.9 GHz clock speed. Boasting a huge 15.6-inches screen and 1920×1080 HD Resolution, this laptop provides an amazing visual experience.
Further improving the visuals is the NVIDIA GeForce GTX1650U Max-Q, which is great for graphic designers. It even has a 16 GB LPDDR3 RAM, which has a high data rate, high bandwidth, power efficiency, and a high memory density. Its 1 TB SSD also provides great storage capacity, which is very useful for graphic designers saving tons of files.
It even has 9-hour battery life. The one downside could be that the fan is a bit loud, though this wasn’t a problem with most users.
How much RAM do I need for Adobe Illustrator?
While Adobe’s official website states that 8GB RAM is more than sufficient, I would like to disagree. Yes, it does work on 8gb RAM capacity but the software’s experience is far from smooth. Instead, if the question was whether 16gb of RAM is enough for an illustrator or not, I would’ve given the answer with a definite yes. For the best user experience, choose the RAM storage anywhere between 12GB to 16GB.
What laptops do illustrators use?
The right answer to this question depends on the version of illustrator you use. Assuming you are using the latest iteration of the software (why wouldn’t you be, it is the best after all) I’d suggest that you either go with the Asus ZenBook or the Acer Spin 3 Convertible.
Both these machines are lightweight, come with 16GB of RAM and 10th gen processors. They are also Windows-based. However, if you are an Apple guy or gal, you can always go with the new MacBook Pro 16. It boasts similar hardware and is backed by the MacOS. HP Envy also comes with a 10th Generation Intel Core i7-10510U Processor and NVIDIA GeForce MX250 Graphic card, so it is also one of the best options. Overall, all of the 7 laptops mentioned are well tested and can handle illustrations in the best way.
Do you need a GPU for Illustrator?
A simple and direct answer is no. Adobe’s programmed the Illustrator to run using the onboard resources only. It means that when needed, the illustrator will only use the GPU that came originally integrated into your laptop’s motherboard. That is unless your add on GPU is set to always render your laptop’s display, in which case the Illustrator will use the third party GPU.
Factors That Define the Best Laptop for Illustrators – Buyer’s Guide
Now, even after sharing my recommendations, I understand that many can still find it difficult to make a judgment call. So, here’s a little elaboration for those of you facing such a difficulty. After reading this, you are sure to make a better, if not the right, purchase decision.
CPU, or Central Processing Unit for short, is endlessly important when determining which laptop to buy for Adobe Illustrator. Cores work alongside clock speed (measured in GHz) to ensure a fluid performance. Clock speed essentially measures the number of cycles a CPU will execute each second. So if there’s a 6-core processor with a 2.6 GHz clock speed that means there are 6 cycles every 2.6 GHz.
A technology known as Intel Turbo Tech takes this further by, as the name suggests, boosting the clock speed, leading to better performance.
Another thing to consider could be which generation these processors are. As is obvious, the later the generation, the newer the technology, thus a more cut-and-edge performance. With the consistent update of these generations, laptops keep increasing their power and fixing bugs.
Of course, then, it’s best to look for a later generation, such as the 10th or 9th, rather than something quite old, which could prove to be disadvantageous.
Random Access Memory is another incredibly important component to consider when choosing which laptop to buy. First off is DDR4 RAM. DDR4 RAMS have lower voltage requirements (1.2 V) than their predecessor, DDR3 (1.5 V). What this does is it ensures your laptop isn’t becoming too much of a burden.
Other than this, there are also LPDDR3 RAMs. Essentially, in comparison to their predecessor, LPDDR3 RAMs offer higher bandwidth, power efficiency, and memory density. With these, a laptop’s performance is sure to be efficient. There is also SDRAM. This synchronizes itself with the PC’s system clock, allowing the RAM to run at higher speeds than asynchronous systems.
Illustrators potentially need to save a lot of huge files. This would clog up a laptop’s storage very easily. Because of this, laptops with higher storage are sure to be very beneficial for illustrators. Moreover, as laptops are mobile devices, they could be used as a place to have a lot of data stored up, to be used with fast access.
For example, if your client wants to meet in person, and wants to make some changes to designs then and there, the existence of a laptop streamlines this process and gets it done much faster.
For software created specifically to facilitate graphic design such as Adobe Illustrator, visuals will be very important. The first thing to address is screen size.
With larger screens, illustrators have greater freedom and comfort with design. Furthermore, the system requirements recommend 1920×1080 full HD resolution. There can also be some consideration paid to graphics cards.
Some graphic card VRAMs have GDDR6 memory, which has a data rate (the speed at which data is transferred from periphery to the CPU) of 16 GB/s. This is higher than its predecessor, GDDR5, which peaked at 14 GB/s. Another thing to consider could be eDRAM. This is found in Intel Iris Plus Graphics. Essentially, this allows for higher operating speeds than a DDR4 memory VRAM.
As mentioned above, one of the biggest advantages of laptops is their mobility. This makes laptops especially useful to illustrators, who can do graphic design at any place. However, what could come in the way of this mobility is battery life. High battery life is useful for illustrators, as it can be used for longer periods of time without charging.
With that, our list of the best laptops for Adobe Illustrator comes to an end. We hope that you’ve found this list to be interesting and useful. What are your thoughts? Did we miss something? If so, do let us know in the comments down below. Be sure to check back for similar lists and recommendations. Have fun illustrating!