Choosing the Best laptop for QuickBooks

Working with QuickBooks on laptop
QuickBooks logo is Intuit trademark. Use of it does not imply any affiliation with them.
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?

Official system requirements for Quickbooks Premier 2016:

  • 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.

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In-depth guide to 5 Best Laptops for Revit

What is the best laptop for Revit?The upside of Revit is that it doesn’t require a powerful graphics card and that makes Revit a lot more suitable for laptops. Knowing that I’m going to guide you through the requirements for a good Revit notebook and my picks for the best laptop for Revit.

November 16th update. Updated CPU, GPU write-ups, added MSI GL62 6QF and Dell XPS 15, updated the spreadsheet (290 laptops compared instead of just 58)!

What are we looking for?

I’m very glad that Autodesk put in the effort to outline various levels of Revit hardware/software requirements instead of just putting up a list of minimal requirements. This allows us to understand which parts scale better than others and where we should put our focus on.

Major Requirements for the best Revit laptop

Processor

Autodesk makes it very clear that the processor should be #1 priority:

“Highest affordable CPU speed rating recommended.” – Autodesk

Unlike other visual software (AutoCAD, Solidworks etc.), Revit does not need a powerful graphics card for rendering the drawings.

So what do I recommend?

For an entry model under 950$ – a higher-end Intel Core i5 model is a necessity. Anything above that should have a 5th-7th generation “i7” processor. In some rare cases (covered at the end of the guide), there are laptops under $900, that come with a fast i7 H-series CPUs.

Exact models, I am talking about are:

  • Intel Core i7-6700HQ, i7-4720HQ, i7-4710HQ or equivalent for 950$+ models
  • Intel Core i5-6300HQ, i7-6500U, i7-7500U for anything under 950$

Memory

As per usual, 8 GB of RAM should be your starting point and 16 GB is the magic spot where you don’t have to worry about the memory (for the most part).

Right now, 1100$ is a good line to draw for what amount of memory is acceptable. Any laptop under 1100$ can have 8 GB of RAM and anything above must come with 16 GB on board.

It does not matter whether it’s DDR3/DDR4 – the DDR4 potential isn’t yet fully used due to higher memory access time which is just as important as the memory frequency itself. In short, don’t worry about it.

Solid State Drive

For Point Cloud interactions, it is required to have either a 10,000+ RPM hard drive or a Solid State Drive (SSD). That leaves laptops with only 1 option – SSD. SSDs have fallen dramatically in price and apart from budget laptops – should be the standard package.

Now you need to draw a line on how much storage you need – 250, 500, 1000 GB? Most likely, something like 250/500 SSD + 1 TB HDD is enough. In that case, your OS, Revit, and projects you’re working on should stay on the SSD while older projects and general media can be moved to a spacious HDD.

There are some well-rounded laptops that don’t come with an installed SSD. In that unfortunate case, I recommend keeping 100$-200$ extra for 250/500 GB SSD (I’ve had the best experience with Samsung EVOs, but there’s plenty of good brands to choose from).

Minor Requirements for the best laptop for Revit

We’ve got down our 3 major requirements – processor, memory, and storage. Now any leftover budget should go towards making sure it lasts long, it has a great screen to look at and it can perform well when using other professional software apart from Revit.

Screen

You’ll be looking at it throughout the day (and once in a while – throughout the night), so we might as well make sure it looks good.

A good screen is essential in 3 simple ways:

  • it allows working during bright sunlight without straining your eyes
  • it helps you see your work as it should be seen (as it will be in real life and how your clients will see it)
  • it makes your work a bit enjoyable

Every screen can be broken down by its resolution, contrast, brightness and color gamut.

When talking about the resolution – go for Full HD (1920×1080). There’s not much reason to go above Full HD, especially when Revit developers do not recommend going above 150% DPI scaling. That simply means, that fonts and buttons in Revit will not scale properly at high resolutions.

Contrast should be 800:1 or more, average brightness should be 280 cd/m or more (which is ~20 cd less than usually advertised maximum brightness). Good contrast and brightness are mostly important when working outside or near a bright window.

Finally, color space/gamut is not usually mentioned with other specifications but some reviewers measure it. In that case, 90%+ sRGB coverage and 60%+ Adobe RGB coverage indicate a wide color space. That means that the screen can produce vivid colors. In some cases, you might need to manually calibrate the screen to minimize its color bias – tendency to be a bit too blue/green or red.

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Ultimate guide to 5 best FL Studio laptops

This week I’ve got a massive post on picking a laptop for FL Studio (and in most ways – music production in general).

In this post I’m going to list out what are the specific requirements we’re targeting for, which laptops meet them for every price range and what you should do after getting a laptop. Time to find out what is the best laptop for FL Studio!

Without further ado.

What are we looking for?

A good place to start would be FL Studio 12 minimum requirements:

  • 2 Ghz Intel Pentium 4 / AMD Athlon 64 (or later) compatible CPU with full SSE2 support
  • 32 or 64 Bit versions of Windows 8, Windows 7, Vista, XP (with service pack 3)
  • 1 Gb or more RAM recommended
  • 1 Gb free disk space
  • Soundcard with DirectSound drivers. ASIO/ASIO2 compatible required for audio recording

Looking at these requirements it seems that any recently released laptop would be more than enough (1 GB of RAM, really?). Well… yes and no. It might be enough to launch FL Studio but it is far from what you need if you’re using VSTs and sample libraries. Apparently some known plugin libraries have significantly higher requirements than FL Studio itself.

So do these requirements actually say anything?

I’d argue that the only thing that you should take from these requirements is that video card doesn’t matter at all and hard drive space matters only if you have an extensive sample library.

FL Studio team have written a lot more sensible guide for choosing a PC but that is mostly focused on desktop/tower setup.

In sum, it seems that we need to form our own custom requirements one by one.

Let’s dive in.

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