If you’re just getting started in animation, or you’ve been involved with the industry for a while, then you’ll know that the one thing that you need is a high powered laptop.
Whilst you might be able to get away with an 8GB laptop with 2D animation, it’s definitely going to struggle when you’re trying to render 3D graphics. So, we know that you need a powerful laptop. But what else do you need from an animation laptop?
Most of these models won’t be touchscreen, so if that’s what you’re looking for, then you’re better off checking out these laptops for drawing. Now, we’re going to take a closer look at both what you need, but also the best animation laptops out there right now too.
Best Laptop for Animation & Graphics
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|HP OMEN 17-cb1003na
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|ASUS TUF FX505
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|Apple MacBook Pro
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|ASUS ZenBook UM431DA
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|ASUS Zephyrus GA502DU
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Operating System: Windows OS | Screen size: 17.3 Inch | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 512GB SSD | Processor: Intel i7 | Battery Life: 10 hours
If you want to render in real time, then make sure that you get a laptop with a good GPU. This is one of the reasons why gaming laptops come highly recommended, as you also need a good GPU for gaming.
One of the best options for this is the HP OMEN 17-cb1003na, which comes with a NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 graphics card. This new Gen GPU will be ideal for animating, and it’s the main reason to opt for this laptop. This will allow your laptop to produce some excellent graphics.
There’s more to this laptop than just the GPU, and it comes with 16GB of RAM and a Intel Core i7-10750H processor. This processor has 6 cores, 2 threads and has a max clock frequency of 5.0GHz. Whilst a high quality processor like this isn’t a necessity for animation, it’s definitely nice to have.
Another very impressive part of this laptop is its display, which has a 144Hz refresh rate. Most people won’t be working with fast animations, but it could be useful to have. Overall, this is one of the best animation laptops out there if you’re looking to get started.
Verdict: A large display and a well laid out keyboard are two key features for tackling animation tasks, and this HP Omen laptop delivers both.
Operating System: Windows OS | Screen size: 15.6 Inch | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 512GB SSD | Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 | Battery Life: 9 hours
Another good option for those looking for a gaming laptop for animation is this ASUS TUF FX505. It’s very reasonably priced when you consider its power and its specs, which is much better than other laptops within the same price range.
This model has 16GB of RAM partnered with a quad-core processor, and a good Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 GPU perfect for your needs. The standard model comes with a AMD Ryzen 7-3750H processor, which only has four cores.
But for not much more, you can upgrade to the Intel i7-10750H, which has 6 cores and 12 threads. The cores just represent the multi-tasking ability to the laptop, and how many things it can process at once. As you can imagine, for animation work, this is one of the most important factors to consider.
In addition to the good internal hardware the device has, it also has a good quality screen with a 120Hz refresh rate and produces a very bright image. For its price, it’s actually surprising how good the quality of the screen is on this TUF model.
The only area where this laptop is lacking a little bit is with its storage. Though 512GB is fine for the most part, there may come a point later down the line where you’ll want to get some external storage. But aside from this, it’s a great laptop that offers excellent value for money.
Verdict: As always, the ASUS TUF line delivers a budget laptop that performs well. With an extensive cooling system and vibrant display, in terms of value it’s hard to beat.
Operating System: MacOS | Screen size: 16 Inch | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 512GB SSD | Processor: Intel i7 | Battery Life: 12 hours
Although the Mac OS wouldn’t be my first choice for an animation laptop, I do know many people who use them for this purpose. You can run the same programs that you can on a Windows laptop, and the Mac OS is very easy to use for multitasking, which you’ll likely be doing a lot of.
One of the main reasons people opt to use a Macbook is for its excellent user experience, and it’s hard to argue against that with the Macbook Pro. The sleek design is ideal for video editing and all of your animation projects.
Its beautiful 16 inch screen is the perfect platform for you to use your animation software, and whilst a great display isn’t a necessity for animation, it does make for a great experience.
This Macbook has tons of storage space, and enough power for all of your needs too – you can upgrade to a 1TB version of the laptop if you think you’ll need the space. It has a relatively decent battery life, and the i7 processor that comes with it is quad-core, which should be suitable for all your needs too.
If you’ve used a Macbook before and you like the Mac OS more than you like Windows, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t opt for a Macbook. It might be the perfect accompaniment for animating.
Verdict: The Macbook has been many animator’s best friend for years. The newest Macbook Pro is no different, being perfect for using with graphic and animation programs like Adobe Illustrator.
Operating System: Windows OS | Screen size: 14 Inch | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 512GB SSD | Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 | Battery Life: 10 hours
Though having a high end laptop is great for those that can afford it, it isn”t always possible to spend thousands on a new laptop. If you’re looking for something more affordable, then the ASUS UM431DA is the perfect choice for those looking for a cheap 16GB laptop.
Having 16GB of RAM is a definite plus for this laptop, and you’d be much better off with this as opposed to the base model of the Macbook Air, which is more expensive, with only 8GB of RAM and comes with an i3 processor. I mean, this model comes with an AMD Ryzen 7 Quad-core processor, which should be sufficient for your animation needs.
Another good thing about this laptop is the built in numberpad, which makes up part of the touchpad. It makes it very easy for you to enter numbers, and it’s quite handy to have this option. The super thin bezel design of the laptop’s display is great too, and for a 14 inch screen, it feels pretty comfortable in size.
So, for those looking for a reasonably priced laptop with a good amount of storage, this Zenbook might prove to be the perfect fit for your needs. It provides a good amount of power, all wrapped up in an ultra thin design.
Verdict: Portability will likely be a key factor if you’re looking for an animation laptop over a computer. For travel, you can’t really beat this Zenbook, as it’s one of the thinnest and most lightweight options on the market.
Operating System: Windows OS | Screen size: 15.6 Inch | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 512GB SSD | Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 | Battery Life: 8.5 hours
It will be no surprise to some that there’s another gaming laptop to consider here. As well as being a competent gaming laptop, this is another ASUS to add to the mix. The brand itself has improved a lot in recent years, and they make some of the best budget friendly laptops for 3D animation.
This Zephyrus laptop has good components, which include a Nvidia Geforce GTX graphics card. This makes the overall image quality of your display pretty great. Having a good dedicated graphics card is necessary for animation, as well as having high display resolution too.
For a relatively small laptop, there’s a lot of different ports that you can use to connect other devices to it (two USB ports). The trackpad of the laptop is very good, responsive and you have a backlit keyboard too. It’s a top choice for graphic design and animation students.
So if you’re looking for a laptop with a long battery life, a good full HD display and a lot of power, then this ASUS Zephyrus GA502DU is probably going to be a good choice.
Verdict: I really like the ASUS ROG Zephyrus line, and it’s on par with many Acer Predator Helios or Razer Blade laptops. This model offers adequate SSD storage and strong performance all-round, perfect for animation.
Common Questions about Animation Laptops
Is a gaming laptop good for animation?
If you’re wondering why I’ve mentioned a few gaming laptops here, it’s because typically they have the right criteria for a good animation laptop, as well as obviously being good for gaming. A gaming laptop has exactly what we need for animation – a powerful laptop with a good graphics card. So, this is why you’ll probably see gaming laptops commonly recommended as animation solutions.
Can you animate on a laptop?
Some people wonder whether a laptop will be enough for animation, and whether they should actually be looking at a computer instead. The truth is that a laptop will be perfectly fine for animation, and there’s no need to get a computer, unless you’d prefer that. Obviously, the laptop has the benefits of being portable, which many people need.
Is 8GB RAM enough for 3D animation?
In my opinion, an 8GB laptop is going to be the bare minimum amount of power that you need for 3D animation. However, if you can afford a 16GB laptop, this is going to be a much better choice. The best laptops for animation will typically have 16GB DDR4 RAM.
Is i5 good for animation?
Yes, an i5 processor should be fine for animation, but obviously you’d prefer to have an i7 processor instead. Just check the amount of cores your the processor has – we want at least a quad-core processor for animation.
Is 32GB RAM overkill?
Actually, no I don’t think that 32GB of RAM will be overkill for animation. For software like Maya, 16GB is the recommended amount, but your laptop would be better off with 32GB of RAM instead. In 5 years time, it’s likely that 16GB will be the near average, and 8GB laptops won’t be powerful enough for a lot of new software being released.
In conclusion, finding a good animation laptop isn’t too hard. The main thing that you’re going to want to focus on is ensuring that your laptop is powerful enough.
If you don’t have a massive budget, then look towards the cheaper brands with more RAM, as opposed to expensive brands with less RAM. For example, I’d rather have an ASUS laptop with 16GB of RAM than a Dell with 8GB of RAM, as power is the most important thing here.