Music and computers. A match made in heaven of two of my favorite hobbies. I’ve recently started experimenting with Ableton due to the sheer number of freezing and bugs I experienced with FL Studio and that seemed to be as good of a reason as any to work out what would be the appropriate PC/Mac hardware for working with AL 9.7. First, let’s tackle the question of the best laptop for Ableton Live.
As a person who is almost always editing video for my Youtube channel, I am always trying out new video editing software for the best videos possible. There are many non-linear editing (NLE) systems out there on the market, but for my money, I like to use Adobe Premiere for its ability to organize a large amount of recorded audio and video and edit them as I please. The chief drawback to this NLE is its tendency to have very finicky hardware requirements, which is why I crafted this guide to help you find the best laptops for Adobe Premiere.
Many people go to Hadoop in order to process their larger data sets so that they can analyze and make decisions that are in line with their customers need. In my professional career, I’ve worked with big data applications like Power BI, Tableau, and Ab Initio, and I’ve found that Hadoop is one of the best ways of storing and accessing data, in just about any format available. Which might lead you to one question: what are the best laptops for Hadoop?
Cable television is going the way of the dinosaur. Youth have grown up with near-instant access to whatever entertainment they desire and the capacity and speed of the Internet will only increase. In most homes today you will find at least one device or another used for streaming–a Chromecast, perhaps, or an Amazon Fire Stick. The chances are good that if you’re counted among the tech-savvy you have heard of Kodi, an open-source software used by millions to fulfil their entertainment needs. With some addons, it can integrate with nearly all video services such as NetFlix.
Kali Linux is quickly getting traction as de facto penetration testing suite/OS for professionals and hobbyists alike. But obviously, it is not as popular as mainstream Linux distros like Ubuntu, Mint or Debian. That leaves most of pentesters in the dark when searching for the best laptop for Kali Linux. Up until now, Kali forums are filled with year-old suggestions of buying a Lenovo laptop that’s almost as old as you are. And I won’t lie – in some cases, you might aswell get that refurbished Lenovo. But maybe now is the time to get a something new?
Well, I took on the mission of finding the best Kali Linux laptops and it wasn’t pretty. Apparently, checking laptops one-by-one for their WiFi chipsets is not most fun way to spend my free time.
Now, I will skip the whole “do you really need Kali Linux” part and I’ll assume you have all the reasons in the world to install it and to buy a laptop for it.
Ok, let’s go straight to finding the holy grail of penetration testing – the best laptop for Kali Linux.
Requirements for the best Kali Linux laptop
How much power do you need?
To find the best laptop for penetration testing we need to define what exactly it will be used for.
For the most part, any laptop that runs Linux will work. You don’t need anything fancy when it comes to pentesting laptops. In the most basic sense, if Ubuntu can run on a laptop, Kali can run on it too.
You could use a Kali Live USB with persistence or dual-boot with Windows (or other Linux distro). Most likely, you’ll also need to have a couple of virtual machines (via Oracle Virtual Box, VMware or Parallels). That only requires a basic processor and a bit extra RAM. You don’t need much for capturing, probing and listening. In that case, you might want to steer away from bulky machines and towards lighter ones if your budget allows it.
Using GPU cracking is an entirely another subject. In that case, you’ll need a laptop resembling a gaming rig. Then powerful CPU and GPU will come a long way but even then there some serious issues with GPU cracking on a laptop.
Finding the best laptop for photo and video editing requires balancing a lot of power-hungry components with a top-notch screen while keeping a personal budget in the equation.
And it gets even more complicated.
When you need a lightweight machine that can run for hours on its battery alone while still being able to provide the smoothest workflow.
In this post, I will describe what you need to look for EXACTLY in a notebook for creative work and what you should expect at your price range to the dollar.
Finally, I’ll list out 7 best options when it comes to best laptops for video and photo editing. To pick them out, I went over a 100 hottest laptops and evaluated them using specs and benchmarks that took me days to find and collect.
What are we looking for in a photo and video editing laptop?
What is essential for the best laptop for photo and video editing?
Major requirement SSD
How much storage do I need?
You need to decide on the total amount of storage that you’ll need. A basic starting point should be 500 GB. But if I were you, I would advise going up to 1 TB or more.
Do I need an SSD?
Yes. I recommend getting at least a small 250 GB SSD for OS, Photoshop, Lightroom or your favorite photo editing app and several “hot” photo folders. It will make a world of difference. When I edit photos, I notice a measurable difference between my files on SSD and HDD. And I don’t have to work with super high-resolution uncompressed RAW images that would benefit the most from an SSD.
But the main issue with laptop SSDs is that there aren’t many laptops that come with 1 TB SSD built-in. That’s why sometimes you’ll need to limit yourself to 500 GB + 1 TB setup or you’ll need to spend ~$320 for 1 TB SSD.
What should be my target?
At the end of the day, everything revolves around two variables:
- Size of a desired laptop
- Your spending budget
That’s what I would recommend and what you should optimistically expect:
|Under $1000||250 GB SSD + external storage||250 GB SSD + 1 TB HDD||250 GB SSD + 1 TB HDD|
|Under $1500||500 GB SSD||500 GB SSD + 1 TB HDD||500 GB SSD + 1 TB HDD|
|Over $1500||500 GB SSD + external storage||500 GB SSD + 1 TB HDD||1 TB SSD + 1 TB HDD|
The good part with 15.6″ and 17.3″ laptops is that they often have 2 or 3 slots for storage. That allows easy upgrades in the future.
Pro Tools is extremely demanding. Especially when you are a plugin fanatic like me. Many would say that you must build a dedicated PC to even run Pro Tools without pulling your hair out. But that simply isn’t true. Yes, in a studio, a dedicated PC/Mac with a powerful set of hardware will go a long way and will give you extra space to play with CPU-intensive plugins on a low buffer, but laptops these days can come closer to that level of performance than ever before.
But everything comes at a cost. Expect to spend ~$1400 for a good laptop for music production. If that’s beyond your budget – I’ve found a few cheaper options that offer good enough performance to run even complex projects.
In this post, I’ll lay down the requirements for the best laptop for Pro Tools and then I’ll finish strong with a list of Top 9 laptops for music production. Short and sweet.
And oh boy, did I spent too much time on this article… But enough complaining, let’s get this post rolling.
What am I looking for in a laptop for Pro Tools?
Let’s start off by taking a look at the official system requirements:
- Intel® Core i5 processor
- 8 GB RAM
- 15 GB
- USB Port
Mind you, these requirements were released for a desktop PC. Right off the bat, since Desktop i5 ~= Laptop i7 processor (and sometimes even worse), we’ll need i7 series CPU. And that’s a minimal requirement! 8 GB of memory is a bare minimum to run Pro Tools, but I and Avid themselves recommend to get at least 16 GB. Meanwhile, 15 GB of disk space and USB-port are irrelevant requirements.
Sadly, Avid does not provide much information on what would make a great PC for Pro Tools. This is a very common problem with requirement sheets – not enough information on how the system should scale and on what components money could be saved.
To address this, I’ll break down my personal requirements for the best Pro Tools laptop one-by-one.
Major requirements for a Pro Tools laptop
I’ll start with major requirements for Pro Tools. They will be your bread and butter and you should invest in these key areas whenever possible. They’ll save you time for years to come. Ignore them at your own peril #wordOfTheDay.
Major requirement Very good processor
I’m sure you know how important a processor is for these kinds of tasks. But for Pro Tools, single core performance is more important than the number of cores/threads. That’s because audio chains cannot be “shared” mid-way between several CPU threads. In short, that means that the longer chain from synth/sample to your ears – the more stress is put on a single core.
Right now, in the laptop I mix with, I have a Core i7-3630QM which is comparable to the more recent i7-5500U and i7-6500U CPUs. It does its job very well and I’m glad that 2 years ago I bought a laptop with this processor. But it has its limits, especially when I have a habit to pre-master in my initial mix. Additional plugins especially at the end of the mastering chain put a lot of strain on the processor and that’s where I have to start dropping down quality settings and turning off oversampling which is not ideal.
This year I had to start doing my own taxes for my freelance work. To get everything cleared up, I had to talk with an accountant that I’ve helped out multiple times with various computer problems. Since I’m a “computer person“, she asked to help her out with building a new PC for accounting or picking a new laptop. After all, it shouldn’t be that hard to find the best laptop for accounting software, like Quickbooks.
The first idea that popped into my head was “oh that’s easy, accounting software shouldn’t require anything special“. But then I remembered the problems she faced with her previous PC. And then I started recalling the problems I have when dealing with spreadsheets…
That’s what this post will be about – the problems that should be taken into account (heh) when searching for the best laptop for Quickbooks. On the second half of this post, I’ll give some great laptop models depending on your budget and needs.
Enough of my stories, let’s get this post rolling.
Word of caution. This post is very strictly focused on accounting and not on very demanding 3D/audio software. This post will focus on a laptop for Quickbooks and other accounting software, whether it’s on the web (online) or desktop (offline). Since Quickbooks Pro, Premier and Enterprise do not demand high-performance components, the laptops I’ll recommend will be great for the desktop versions and QuickBooks Online. Worth noting, I am assuming that the laptop will not be a part of client and server setup.
These requirements will also guide as to good enough laptops to smoothly run other accounting/business software, such as Microsoft Office, TurboTax, Lacerte etc.
What am I looking for in a best laptop for Quickbooks?
- 2.4 GHz processor
- 4 GB RAM (8 GB recommended)
- 2.5 GB of disk space
- Internet access
- CD/DVD-ROM for CD installations (optional)
Meanwhile, requirements for Quickbooks Online are practically non-existant.
It doesn’t take a genius to notice that if a computer is good enough to run QuickBooks Premier, then it will be good enough to run Online version. I’ll just make sure that the laptop will be able to run any QuickBooks product that it will need to (Desktop or Online).
But these requirements are just the start. How these official requirements translate into exact parts I’m should be looking for? And what else is needed for a QuickBooks laptop?
Major requirements for an accounting laptop
Major requirement Mid-range processor
QuickBooks performance depends almost entirely on the processor. At the same time, there’s no need to go for an expensive power-hungry CPU – Quickbooks will work very well even on a lot cheaper hardware.
I do, however, recommend not going for the cheapest CPUs. As time goes on and additional software piles up, low-end processors start taking too to long to respond to commands. And if we’re shopping smart, we can find that the price difference between a low-end and a decent mid-range processor can be negligible.
So you’re searching for the best laptop for GoPro video editing that can fit within some reasonable budget. You could ask opinions on forums and wait a day hoping you’ll get a decent response. Or you could do the research yourself, list the most recently released laptops and compare each and every one of them.
But that would be a waste of time, wouldn’t it? Well… not if somebody else does it. That’s right, I weighted most popular best-selling laptops and hottest new releases from the most respected brands to separate diamonds from the rest.
In the next 5 minutes, you’ll get to know how I’d choose the best laptop for GoPro editing if I’d need to buy one right now and what are 3 best laptops that will handle your GoPro footage as it was no big deal.
I’ll start off with my reasoning behind the requirements for a GoPro laptop.
So what are we looking for?
Major requirement High-end processor
Your processor will be doing most of the heavy lifting when it comes to video editing. In some cases, graphics cards can assist your processor, but to a very limited extent. Above all, you’ll see the best results by investing in a better processor.
|Low-end||i7-6500U, i7-4600U, i7-5500U, i5-6300HQ|
|Mid-range||i7-6700HQ, i7-4710HQ, i7-4720HQ, i7-5700HQ|
|High-end||i7-6820HK, i7-4870HQ, ported desktop CPUs as i7-6700K|
You probably noticed that I heavily lean towards latest generation Intel Core Skylake processors. That is due to their improved graphics performance (APU). You see, if you’ll decide to connect an external monitor, very likely it will be handled not by your beefy dedicated graphics card but by Intel’s own graphics chip which sits within the processor. Therefore, if you want to have a smooth 4K video preview, 6-th generation Intel processors are measurably superior to their older counterparts.
Major requirement CUDA Graphics card
Specific graphics card requirements can change wildly depending on the software you’ll be using to edit you GoPro footage.
Professional software such as Adobe Premier (via CUDA), Sony Vegas (via OpenCL) can take full advantage of a new dedicated graphics card. That speeds up rendering and shortens video preview times which results in a much desired snappy workflow. Meanwhile, most hobbyist software including GoPro Studio editing software only occasionally can find any use for a fast graphics card (GoPro Studio uses it only for H.264 decoding). As you can guess, any laptop in this list is also the best laptop for GoPro Studio for its price. And anyways, GoPro Studio kind of sucks…
Also, GPU-assisted rendering does not matter much when working with a Full-HD footage. Please do not be fooled by Premier benchmarks for non-real-life projects demonstrating the power of hardware acceleration. Many effects and especially 3rd-party plugins couldn’t care less about your graphics card. Taking all of that into consideration, all main benefits of a good graphics card start to take off when you get past 1080p, especially when you reach a 4K resolution.
In conclusion, if you own a 4K camera like GoPro HERO4 Black – high-end laptop with a dedicated graphics card will pay off tremendously in saved time. But most of us still using older GoPros or GoPro HERO4 Silver/Session it’s a no biggie and can be skipped in favor of saving 200-400$ for a larger hard drive. Hell, that’s almost enough money to buy a 4K GoPro.
Choosing a laptop for Adobe Lightroom is not particularly hard – having a high-end graphics card is not necessary, laptops with larger and faster hard drives and memory are now commonplace. But it gets problematic when you have to take into consideration screen and upgrade potential.
Surely no sane man would go through all new, well-received and best selling laptops to find out what is the best one for Lightroom. But you’d be making a mistake if you call me sane.
So I compiled a list of 90 hottest laptops (originally it was over a 100, but I had to remove really terrible ones out of it). Then I compared them by their performance (using real benchmarks), storage, screen quality and weight. I have weighted all of these metrics according to what’s important to Lightroom – so you know these laptops are the best for their purpose.
In this post I’ll cover 9 best laptops for Lightroom and what’s so great AND what’s not so perfect about them. Also, I will make sure that anything above budget options will also be a viable option for other software you might end up using (khm khm.. Photoshop).
This time, unlike any other, I’ll start off with the laptops and then I’ll write about how did I end up choosing them. Finally, at the bottom of the article, I’ll give you the link to the spreadsheet covering all the quantified comparisons of these 90 laptops ranging from 400$ to 3150$!
Here we go!