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Best Laptops for Music Production in 2020 (Review & Comparison)

by Sean Hamilton

Studies show us that music utilizes the entire human brain. Music also boosts up your work-out performance when you listen to it while exercising. Moreover, for Parkinson’s disease and stroke victims, music is one of the best medicines.

In a nutshell, music relaxes your mind, body, and soul. Almost every person in this world loves listening to music. But there are also many who not only listen to it but also produce it. These people are called content creators or music producers.

Music producers mostly work on music production software while on the move, but they need a performance laptop to run different resource-intensive software to create the music content.

So, if you are looking for a laptop to produce music, then you are in the right place. In this article, we are going to review the seven best laptops for music production. Go through them and then select a particular one according to your needs.

Related: Best Intel Core i9 Laptops

Best Laptops for Music Production

1. New Apple MacBook Pro 15 – Overall Best
Processor: The best machine that you can buy for music production is the New Apple MacBook Pro 15. Since you need a high-end CPU for effective music production, the laptop comes with 2.6 GHz – 4.5 GHz, 9th generation Intel 6-Core i7 processor.

RAM: With 16GB RAM that is upgradable up to 32GB, you can tick over everything. Even a thirsty DAW you can use with plugins and virtual instruments without any problem.

Storage: 256GB SSD will keep things fast. You have enough storage space to store your demos and samples. But if insufficient for you, then you can upgrade to 512GB SSD.

GPU: The Apple MacBook Pro 15 features a dedicated Radeon Pro 555X GPU with 4GB of GDDR5 memory. There is also an integrated Intel UHD Graphics 630 processor. The laptop offers automatic graphics switching.

Display: It has a 15.4-inch diagonal LED-backlit display with True Tone and IPS technology. With 2880 x 1800 screen resolution, you will have the most fantastic viewing experience.

Sound: The MacBook Pro sound will surely give you the most amazing listening experience. Enjoy the amazingly balanced, high-fidelity sound with more bass and wide dynamic range. Its speakers ensure greater peak amplification as they are directly connected to system power.

Ports: There are four Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports.

Battery Life: The system comes with up to 10 hours of battery life.

My Opinion:

Pros: It is the best laptop for music production. Its powerful processor, more RAM, sufficient SSD storage, and 15-inch display make it a perfect machine for music production.
Cons: It is an expensive product.

2. Razer Blade Stealth 13.3-inch Touchscreen Ultrabook Laptop – Best under $1800


Processor: Another high-quality laptop that is best for music production is the Razer Blade Stealth. It comes with 1.8 GHz, 8th generation Intel 4-Core i7-8550U processor. With Turbo Boost technology, the clock speed can reach up to 4.0 GHz.

RAM: With 16GB RAM, you can easily handle bigger projects. But you can’t upgrade the RAM.

Storage: The laptop comes with 256GB SSD storage that is upgradeable to 512GB. For accommodating virtual instruments’ samples and larger DAWs, this storage space is sufficient.

Display: Its 13.3-inch QHD+ touchscreen display with 3200 x 1800 screen resolution provides excellent visual clarity. From any viewing angle, you will be able to see visible and bright images.

This screen size is smaller as compared to Apple MacBook Pro but best for basic recording and beat-making.

GPU: The machine comes with an integrated Intel HD Graphics 620 processor.

Sound: Its built-in stereo speakers with Dolby Digital Plus Home Theater system, you will be able to listen to much-improved audio with a realistic feel and surround sound.

Ports: There are two USB 3.0 ports, one Thunderbolt 3 USB-C port, one HDMI 2.0, and a microphone/headphone combo port.

Battery Life: It has the same battery life of up to 10 hours as the Apple MacBook Pro 15.

My Opinion:

Pros: Because of its amazing build quality and excellent overall performance, many content creators prefer to buy this laptop. With Dolby Digital Plus Home Theater Edition and downloadable FL Studio 12 Producer Edition, your music production experience will surely get enhanced.
Cons: Its screen size is small. With 13.3-inch, you can do basic recordings.

3. Alienware M15 Laptop – Heaviest Laptop for Music Production


Battery Life: This Alienware M15 laptop comes with a shorter battery life of only 5 hours.

Processor: The laptop is equipped with a powerful 2.2 GHz – 4.1 GHz, 8th generation Intel 6-Core i7-8750H processor. For delivering and exporting tracks quickly, this fast processor will help you out.

RAM: With 16GB DDR4 RAM, your laptop can juggle many things at a time.

Storage: It comes with a 512GB SSD storage space. This storage space is enough for storing your samples and demos. Also, you will experience faster load times.

GPU: The machine comes with a dedicated NVidia GeForce RTX 2060 with 6GB GDDR5 RAM.

Display: If we talk about its display then the machine comes with a 15.6-inch screen with Full HD (1920 x 1080) display featuring IPS and anti-glare technology. Its ultra-thin bezel maximizes viewing space and enhances your viewing experience.

Sound: The built-in speakers perform well and produce good quality sound.

Ports: There are three USB 3.1 Type-A ports, Thunderbolt 3, USB-C ports, and HDMI 2.0 port.  Also, there is a Graphics amplifier port and an audio out 1.8-inch port.

My Opinion:

Pros: The laptop comes with a powerful processor that is important for the overall performance of the system. It is quite a good laptop for music production.
Cons: Its trackpad is overly sensitive.


4. HP Pavilion Power 15 – Best under $2000

Storage: This HP Pavilion Power 15 laptop is different from all other systems mentioned in the list in terms of storage options. It comes with both a 1TB hard drive and 128GB SSD storage. You can store your DAW and plugins on SSD for fast loading and samples on HDD.

Processor: It is powered by 2.8 GHz – 3.8 GHz, 7th generation Intel 4-Core i7-7700HQ processor.

RAM: The laptop is featured with 16GB DDR4 SDRAM for effortless multitasking.

Display: It has a 15.6-inch Full HD WLED-backlit display with IPS and an anti-glare panel. IPS gives a wide viewing angle and vibrant colors. Anti-glare fights with a glare to protect your eyes.

GPU: The system comes with a dedicated NVidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti processor with 4GB GDDR5 dedicated RAM.

Sound: The dual HP speakers with audio boost give a truly powerful and impressive audio experience. Also, with B&O Play, you can tune the sound.

Ports: There are two USB 3.0 ports, VGA port, SD card reader, and microphone and headphone jacks.

Battery Life: It has an amazing battery life of more than 11 hours.

My Opinion:

Pros: Its dual storage option is great. It has a fast Quad-Core processor that is one of the main requirements for effective music production. Also, its battery life is excellent.
Cons: Its body is not made up of good quality plastic.


5. Asus ROG Stir Scar II Laptop – Best under $1500

Processor: This Asus ROG Stir Scar II can do any performance intensive task. It comes with 3.9 GHz, 8th generation Intel 6-Core i7-8750H processor.

RAM: The laptop is designed for serious music producers and content creators, and that’s why it has 16GB DDR4 RAM.

Storage: 512GB SSD storage is quite sufficient. You can store some of your DAWs and many music samples with ease.

GPU: The system has a dedicated NVidia GeForce RTX 2070 GPU with 8GB GDDR6 RAM. This GPU will surely help you with some plugin processing. The RAM size of this GPU is greater than all the GPUs we have discussed.

Display: It comes with a 15.6-inch IPS display with a 1920 x 1080 screen resolution. Its narrow bezel display enhances your viewing experience. You can also go for a 17-inch model if you need an extra screen.

Sound: Its good quality built-in speakers produce good quality sound.

Ports: The laptop comes with three USB 3.0 ports, a USB Type-C port, one HDMI, and one USB 2.0 port.

Battery Life: It has a battery life of more than 6 hours.

My Opinion:

Pros: Performance-wise, this laptop is excellent. You have all the things in the pocket to produce great music content.
Cons: Its battery life is short, and its touchpad is not big enough.


6. Dell XPS 15 Thin Bezel Display Laptop – Best under $1200


Processor: Another laptop in our list that comes with the 7th generation processor is the Dell XPS 15. It comes with a 3.8 GHz Intel 4-Core i7-7700HQ processor.

RAM: The machine features 16GB DDR4 RAM that is upgradable up to 32GB. Faster performance and great multi-tasking are only possible when you have more RAM.

Storage: Its 512GB SSD storage capacity is quite sufficient for storing music files, samples, and DAWs.

Display: The laptop has a 15.6-inch 4K Ultra HD InfinityEdge touchscreen display. With the 3840 x 2160 screen resolution, you will be amazed by the picture quality.

GPU: The graphics processing unit that comes with Dell XPS 15 is the NVidia GeForce GTX 1050 with 4GB RAM.

Ports: Two 3.0 ports, one USB-C port with Thunderbolt 3, headset jack, an HDMI port, and an SD card reader.

Sound: Its speakers produce clear and loud enough sound to fill a medium-sized room.

Battery Life: Its battery life is less than 6 hours.

My Opinion:

Pros: Apart from the processor, RAM, and storage, its display is mind-blowing.
Cons: Shorter battery life and screen flickering are its two main cons.

7. Microsoft Surface Pro 4 – Lightest Laptop for Music Production

Display: It has a 12.3-inch PixelSense touchscreen display with a maximum screen resolution of 2736 x 1824 pixels. With extremely high contrast and anti-glare technology, you can use the laptop in bright sunlight without any problem. Its screen size is even smaller than Razer Blade Stealth, and it is not the best thing to deal with.

Processor: It features 3 GHz, 6th generation Intel Core i5-6300U processor.

Storage: The machine offers a storage capacity of 256GB SSD.

RAM: It comes with only 8GB RAM that doesn’t meet the minimum requirement, but still for most basic DAW production, it is plenty.

GPU: If we talk about graphics, then it has an integrated Intel Iris and HD graphics 520 processor available.

Sound: The laptop features stereo speakers with Dolby Audio.

Ports: USB 3.0, Micro SD card reader, and a headset jack.

Battery Life: The Microsoft Surface Pro 4 offers up to 10 hours of battery life.

My Opinion:

Pros: The best thing about this laptop is its display and convertible feature that transforms the laptop into a tablet.
Cons: Its smaller screen, 8GB RAM, and 6th generation i5 processor are not likeable.

Buyer’s Guide

In this buyer’s guide section, you are going to learn about those things that you must look at when buying a laptop for music production.

Processor

The first thing that you must look at is the central processing unit. A processor affects the overall performance and laptop’s speed; therefore, it must be the best one. Mainly content creators prefer i7 processors for music production, but you can also go for a laptop that features an i5 processor. However, you have to check the number of cores and the clock speed. Your laptop must be Quad-Core, and the clock speed must be at least 2.4 GHz.

RAM

RAM is the second most important feature that content creators must consider when buying a laptop for music production. Those producers who work on bigger projects need more RAM. WAV files, sound libraries, and VST (Virtual Studio Technology) plugins eat up more RAM; therefore, you need at least 16GB of RAM to easily handle all these RAM eating files and plugins. Also, some laptops allow you to upgrade the RAM so you can make it to 32GB. But it doesn’t mean that if you have 8GB RAM, you can’t produce music.

Storage Capacity

You should also check the storage capacity of your laptop. But which is the best storage option for music production, HDD or SDD?

If you prefer HDDs, then your laptop must have 1TB HDD, but in the case of SDD, the storage capacity must be 512GB.

HDDs are nosier, but they are cheap as compared to noise-less SDDs. Also, HDDs are slower than SDDs. So, SDD is a better choice if you need faster performance, but for more storage space, you have to stick with an HDD.

Some laptops come with both HDD and SDD storage options. So, you can also go for a laptop having a dual-storage option. But it is necessary to store your plugins and DAWs on SDD and samples on HDD.

Screen Size

For music producers who mostly tweak parameters and monitor tracks, 15-inch screen size is mandatory so that they can see all the things at once.

But for basic recording and simple tasks, you can go for a 13-inch laptop.

However, a 17-inch laptop will be ideal for true and passionate performers.

Ports

Make sure your laptop has sufficient USB ports to support the interface and additional peripherals. Also, a thunderbolt and USC Type-C port must be there if required.

Weight

It is also necessary to focus on the weight of your laptop if you need to take it with you in studios and clubs. Make sure that your laptop is lighter in weight so that you can easily travel with it.

FAQ

  • You must have a Quad-Core i5 or i7 processor with a clock speed of 2.4 GHz
  • A 64-bit operating system is a must
  • Your laptop should have at least 8GB of RAM
  • Minimum 500GB HDD or SDD internal storage capacity
  • At least a 13-inch screen

Is it necessary to have an onboard soundcard for music production?

No, it is not necessary to have an onboard sound card. Most of the music producers and content creators purchase dedicated audio interfaces. So, you also have to purchase a soundcard and keep it in your home studio.

There is no need to buy an expensive audio interface. You can find good quality budget-friendly audio interfaces with ease.

Is it necessary to have a 64-bit operating system?

Yes, it is necessary to have a 64-bit operating system to meet today’s needs. You can’t deal with all things effectively on a 32-bit operating system. To get a satisfying experience as a music producer, your laptop must have a 64-bit operating system.

What is better for music production? Windows or Mac

Both Windows and Mac are best for music production. You can’t give an edge to any operating system over another for music production.

In the past, there were many audio plugins that were not supported by Mac, but you can’t say this to anyone today.

Most of the music production software companies are making two versions of their plugins so that both the Windows and Mac users can use them on their laptops.

Does the graphics card come into play for music production?

If you are only dealing with audio, the GPU will not be really utilized. But, for more than audio production, you will need a good graphics card.

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