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If you’re on the lookout for the best laptop for Pro Tools, then you’re in the right place.
Having the right device to run a demanding application like Pro Tools is crucial. The laptop must have good hardware so that you can have a solid music production experience.
In a hurry?
Here’s our Editor’s choice:
Gigabyte Aero 15
Now, there are a ton of options even if you want a high-end laptop. Going through every single model is going to drain your energy that could be used somewhere else. This is where we come in. We’ve researched pretty much every high-end laptop out there, and have come with a list of best laptops for Pro Tools DAW.
Without wasting any more of your time, let’s get into it.
Best Windows Laptop For Pro Tools – Gigabyte Aero 15
The Gigabyte Aero 15 is our Editor’s choice for the best laptop for Pro Tools.
This is the flagship laptop from Gigabyte and comes with excellent hardware that is perfect for running an application like Pro Tools. When dealing with a digital audio workstation, the most important thing you need a laptop is an excellent processor. This Gigabyte laptop comes with one hell of a processor that can absolutely kill anything you throw at it.
Before we get into the processing side of things, let’s talk about how beautiful this laptop is. The device comes with an excellent design that looks awesome and is a lot smaller than you would imagine. This smaller size is because Gigabyte has reduced the bezels and has managed to shrink the footprint of the laptop significantly.
The display we have here is a 4K display that is perfect for working on a digital audio workstation. This display gives you excellent quality pictures that are sharp and color accurate. It presents you with more elements and you can see a lot more tracks at the same time without any issues.
The processor we have here is an Intel Core i7 processor that comes with six physical cores and 12 threads. This is one of the most powerful processors from the ninth generation of Intel chips and is perfect for even running the most complex projects in Pro Tools.
The processor, in tandem with 16 gigs of RAM found in the memory department, runs Pro Tools like a boss and gives you amazing user experience. If you love working with plugins, then this process will enable you to use them freely without any hiccups or issues. Thanks to the memory present, you will be able to multitask efficiently and increase your productivity to the next level.
There is also a dedicated graphics card in the form of an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 GPU. This is a pretty good graphics card and it does a good job when it comes to rendering graphics on your laptop. You will also be able to run pretty much all the games you want which are nice. Other than that, it doesn’t have a significant effect when it comes to improving the performance inside Pro Tools.
Overall, the Gigabyte Aero 15 is a solid laptop for running Pro Tools. It is the flagship laptop And it comes with excellent specs making it one of the best laptops for Pro Tools.
Best Mac For Pro Tools – MacBook Pro 16
If you are a fan of the max, then the best laptop for Pro Tools for you would be the MacBook Pro 16. This is a flagship notebook from Apple and it bears a super-premium price so make sure if you have the heart for it.
When it comes to performance, there are very few notebooks that come close to the MacBook Pro 16. This is one of the best high-performance laptops you will get your hands on even though it is ridiculously priced.
The display on this laptop is one of its best features. The 16-inch display comes with retina resolution and has more than 4 million pixels which is crazy. The true tone technology is a fantastic feature that helps improve the accuracy of colors giving us more lifelike images on the screen.
This is a glossy display so you are going to get accurate colors and a lot of reflections as well. The good news here is that the display comes with a maximum brightness of 500 nits which can help you fight with the reflections. The white screen is perfect for running an application like Pro Tools and you will be able to get a grasp of all the elements on the screen, thanks to the resolution.
The Intel Core i7 processor and the 16 gigs of RAM in the memory department are a killer duo, and they do a fantastic job when it comes to handling Pro Tools and any number of plugins you want to use. Even the most complex and huge projects inside Pro Tools will run fine on the MacBook Pro which is a testament to its high performance.
The solid-state drive is stupid fast and helps in moving gigabytes of data really quickly. Another amazing thing about this laptop is its battery life. You can get around 10 hours of battery back up with your everyday use. Using Pro Tools extensively could bring this down but it would still be pretty good.
Overall the MacBook Pro is a fantastic device that is great for people who prefer macOS or Windows. Yes, it is outrageously priced but if you’re willing to pay the Apple tax for a better experience, then this one is one of the best laptops for running Pro Tools for you.
Best Budget Laptop For Pro Tools – Acer Predator Helios 300
The Acer Predator Helios 300 is a gaming laptop from the house of Acer that has all the hardware requirements you need to have a good session in Pro Tools.
The reason why we call this a budget laptop even though it costs around $1100 is because of the fact that this notebook from Acer can you give you an awesome Pro Tools experience at a very affordable price. Budget, in this context, does not imply the cheapest but the best value for your dollar.
The laptop comes with a hexa core Intel i7 processor that has a maximum clock speed of 4.50GHz. This is one of the most powerful processors out there, and it does a fantastic job when it comes to handling even the most complex applications inside Pro Tools. The maximum workload you can add is by using a ton of plugins, and this processor can handle it without any issues.
There are 16 gigs of DDR4 RAM in the memory department. This is a lot of memory and is perfect for those who want to run medium-sized projects in Pro Tools. This memory is perfect for multitasking and gives you the option to run an application ought to alongside Pro Tools without any performance issues.
The Asus predator Helios 300 laptop comes with a dedicated graphics card in the form of an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 TI. This is a dedicated graphics card that comes with 6 GB of dedicated video RAM. It helps in improving the overall performance of Pro Tools but does not make a difference individually.
The storage on this device is made up of 512GB solid-state drive. Having an SSD with this capacity definitely helps improve the overall performance. It is fast, moves data quickly, and makes sure that Pro Tools launches quickly reducing the waiting time to a minimum.
Overall, the Acer Predator Helios 300 is an excellent laptop for running Pro Tools. It is one of the cheapest gaming laptops out there and can you give you optimum performance at an affordable rate.
Best Thin Laptop For Pro Tools – ASUS ZenBook 13
If you’re looking for a thin and portable laptop to handle Pro Tools, then the Asus ZenBook 13 is an excellent choice. This is an ultrabook that comes with a 13.3-inch display which we usually don’t prefer, and it does a pretty good job as a digital audio workstation.
It comes with an Intel Core i7 or an Intel Core i5 processor depending on what you need. You can go with either of those processes, and both of them are capable of giving you a good Pro Tools experience. The i7 model comes with a base clock speed of 2.60 GHz and a maximum clock speed of 4.2 GHz. Which is a lot of power even for running a digital audio workstation like Pro Tools.
For memory, we have 8 GB of RAM in the memory department. This is not as good as the 16 GB we found in the other two models but it still plays a crucial role when it comes to handling Pro Tools. Multitasking with this memory is still pretty good and can help you improve your productivity.
The display on this device is a full HD display that comes with an IPS panel underneath. This display is a bit too small for our liking but if you absolutely want of days and portable laptop then this is the size you should shoot for. The good thing here is that the display comes with pretty good picture quality and sharpness. If you are working in your home or office, you can always book this laptop up to an external display that is much bigger in size.
Overall, the Asus Zenbook 13 is an excellent laptop that comes with a small form factor and still has the power to run Pro Tools just like any other laptop. Go for it if you prefer a 13.3-inch laptop for its form factor and portability.
Best Convertible Laptop For Pro Tools – Surface Book 2
If you want to have the flexibility and convenience of a convertible device, then the best laptop for running Pro Tools would be the Microsoft Surface Book 2.
This 15-inch laptop is one of the best laptops out there when it comes to bringing a balance to both power and portability. In addition to that, this model also brings the flexibility of a convertible device which is nice. One good thing about Surface Book 2 is that you can completely remove the keyboard from the laptop giving you a pure tablet experience.
The laptop is powered by an Intel Core i7 processor that comes with six cores and a maximum clock speed of 4.50GHz. This is one of the best processors in the 9th generation of Intel chips and can do a lot when it comes to handling applications like Pro Tools. With the help of six cores, this processor can handle even the tiniest details with finesse.
If you love using plugins inside Pro Tools, then having a processor like this on your laptop is crucial. You will be able to use as many plugins as you want without having to compromise on anything. This processor has the legs to handle whatever you do without giving you any hiccups.
The processor gets ample support from both the memory department and storage department. We have 16 GB of RAM in the memory department and a 512 GB solid-state drive storage. Both these specs give us excellent performance and there is no way you will have any performance issues with Pro Tools.
Overall, The Microsoft Surface Book 2 is an excellent convertible laptop that comes with impressive specs and gives you a more than satisfying Pro Tools experience. If you’re looking for a convertible laptop that can give you flexibility and power at the same time, then this is one of the best laptops for Pro Tools.
What To Look For In The Best Laptop For Pro Tools?
Music production is not something that you can do on an entry-level laptop. By this time, we are sure you will realize that and you want a laptop that has a good Intel core processor and other supporting hardware.
Ending up with one of the best laptops for pro tools is no fluke. If you are still not sure which notebook to go with, then we have set criteria that can help you make a better and a quicker decision in this regard.
Like other digital audio workstations, Pro Tools software also comes with a lot of elements on the screen. With an average display, we are not going to get a good view of what is happening on the screen.
This is exactly why having a good display is very important when dealing with an application like Pro Tools.
The first thing you need to decide is the size of your display. We do not recommend going for anything below 15.6 inches. If you want a super thin and an ultra-portable laptop, then you might want to go for a 13.3-inch display but make sure that it is hooked up to an external display which is much bigger.
15.6 inches is the best size when dealing with a digital audio workstation. It gives you enough screen real estate providing good clarity and enables you to do more. You can also go with a 17.3-inch laptop, but it takes up more space and can become bulkier quicker than you think.
When it comes to the resolution, we suggest going for a minimum of full HD resolution that is 1920 x 1080 pixels. this 1080p resolution is the golden standard when it comes to dealing with a digital audio workstation. It gives you excellent clarity when it comes to picture output quality and the sharpness is perfect to read the text on the screen.
If you want to go beyond a 1080p display, then you can check out a QHD or a 4K display. Do note that these higher-resolution displays are more expensive so don’t go for it if you don’t have enough money on your budget. But a higher resolution display would give you an advantage as it brings even better clarity to your workstation.
Make sure the display comes with decent maximum brightness. Most of the time, you will be working indoors and you don’t have to worry about external lighting. But when you have to work out, you don’t control the lighting, and when there is too much light you cannot see the contents of your screen properly. At this point, you can crank up the brightness of your screen to get a better look at the display. So go for a laptop that comes with a maximum brightness of at least 400 nits.
You also have the option of selecting a glossy display or an anti-reflective display. Both of them have their own advantages and you can work with either of them depending on what you prefer. A glossy display would give you better color accuracy but, as the name suggests, is a glossy one and will show a lot of reflections.
An anti-reflective display, on the other hand, that’s a pretty good job at restricting reflections. But color accuracy takes a hit and if you are someone who prefers natural colors, then this might not be a good option for you.
The processor is the most important component when it comes to picking a laptop for a digital audio workstation like Pro Tools.
A notebook with a simple i3 processor is not going to cut it here. You need a laptop that comes with an Intel Core i5 or an Intel Core i7 processor to make things work. At a minimum, you need an Intel Core i5 processor to get a pretty good music production experience.
If your budget allows it, then you can go for a higher and Intel Core i5 processor. The i7 chip is naturally more powerful than the i5 processor which is why most creative people prefer it among the two.
The number of cores on the processor also has a defect in the amount of work you can accomplish. The time of dual-core processors is over. If you want a solid laptop for producing music, then you should go for a processor that has at least four physical cores. A processor with six cores will make more sense if you’re going to work with a lot of tracks and use a ton of plugins inside Pro Tools.
The clock speed of your processor is also equally important. You need to make sure that the processor comes with a good base clocking frequency. Anything above 1.8 GHz would be a nice place to start. Ideally, we would recommend a minimum clock speed of 2.2 GHz or above.
The processor should also be able to boost the clock speed whenever there is a need for more power. With Intel chips, this is established with the help of the Turbo boost functionality. Whenever you need more clock speed, the processor boosts its clock speed to high value and gives you a lot of processing power to get the job done. Having a feature like this on your notebook will surely come in handy for music producers using Pro Tools.
There is also the issue of branding. People automatically assume that Intel makes the best processor out there. This is not true. AMD produces excellent processors that cost you less money while delivering the same performance. If you are on a budget and want to save some money in the process, then going for an AMD processor that gives you a similar performance would be a smart move.
Be aware that AMD processors are notorious for producing a lot of heat. So make sure that the laptop comes with good thermals and can handle heat efficiently so that you don’t throttle the processor’s throughput.
Memory is the second most important thing you should take care of when getting a laptop for Pro Tools.
The memory on your notebook should complement the processor and deliver excellent performance. The days of dealing with four gigs of RAM way past us and is certainly not going to work when it comes to producing quality music.
As a bare minimum, you need eight gigs of DDR4 RAM. This memory should come with a high clocking frequency for the best performance. Go for this amount of memory if you are on a budget and cannot afford more memory. With this Ram, you will be able to work on simple and medium-sized projects without any issues.
If you want to work on complex projects that are huge in size, then you need a minimum of 16 GB of RAM that is of DDR4 type. The clocking frequency of the memory should be a minimum of 2400 MHz. This amount of memory is absolutely necessary when it comes to handling huge projects. It will also allow you to run an application or two alongside Pro Tools without creating any performance hiccups.
32 gigs of RAM might not be necessary for most people. Even if you’re dealing with a ton of tracks, the chances of you utilizing all of this memory is very less. If you are going to take your music production to a professional level, then it might be a better idea to get this amount of RAM so that you can’t do anything wrong when it comes to performance.
Having good storage on your laptop will absolutely elevate your performance to the next level. More than the amount of storage you have, the type of storage decides the fate of your everyday user experience.
In old laptops, you’re most likely to find a mechanical hard drive with moving parts to be the primary storage device. These drives are very cheap and can give you a lot of storage for very little money. However, these are the slowest storage devices out there right now.
The best laptops in the market come with a solid-state drive as its storage device. These storage devices do not have any moving parts and are at least 15 times faster than the slowest mechanical Drive out. This is a huge performance gain and will absolutely change the way you use your laptop.
However, there is a caveat. Solid-state drives can increase the price of your laptop significantly. So it is advised to not go for huge amounts of Storage unless you must have them. You can go for a 256GB solid-state drive or a 512GB solid-state drive max. Anything above that will cost you a lot of money.
If you’re not sure about the amount of storage unit, then we recommend going with a 256GB SSD. This is a good place to start and you can add more storage to this SSD if your laptop comes with an option to upgrade it later. If you’re going to work on only small projects for clients, then you might even be able to manage with 128GB SSD.
If you’re on a tight budget, then we recommend getting 128GB solid-state drive. You can add another mechanical drive as a complimentary storage drive. This is called hybrid storage set up and can give you both the power of an SSD as well as the space from the mechanical hard drive.
A graphics card on your laptop is not as important as the processor when it comes to running software like Pro Tools. as far as Pro Tools is concerned, most of the work is done by the processor and not the graphics card.
So you would be perfectly fine with an integrated graphics card on your laptop. Most integrated graphics cards can handle your graphics requirements without any issues. You might even be able to run most mid-range games and some high-end games without any problems whatsoever.
If you are a gamer, then you might want a laptop with a dedicated GPU. Having a discrete graphics card can certainly improve your experience playing games and also might come in handy for some heavy stuff like video editing and running virtual machines. Though this might look like completely unrelated activities, some of us like to get in different waters.
Having good connectivity options on your laptop is very important as you might have to work with a lot of accessories.
Your laptop should come with is USB Type-C port or a Thunderbolt port that is great for data transfer as well as external connectivity. If you’re going with a small 13.3-inch laptop, then you need an external display at your home or office to see things clearly. Having an HDMI port or display port will make connecting your laptop to an external display an easy task.
Thunderbolt port is a great sport as it comes with diverse uses. You can transfer data at a great speed, charge your laptop, and connect your laptop to an external display. These ports are capable of connecting to 2 5K displays at the same time which is awesome.
Also, make sure the laptop comes with good wireless connectivity standards. You want to have the latest Wi-Fi adapter, which is Wi-Fi 6 so that you can connect to the internet and get excellent speeds without the help of physical wires. Built-in Bluetooth, anything upwards of 4.1, can also be handy when it comes to external connectivity.
On an unrelated note, a laptop with good battery life will also make your life so much better.
Finding the best laptop for Pro Tools can be quite a challenge than what you would have imagined. There are so many good models that can handle this application, but only one will fit all your personal criteria. With the right tools, you can have a great Pro Tools experience, get it? Sorry.
We hope you were able to narrow down the options to one laptop that’ll be a long time companion in your journey of music.
If you have any questions, do let us know and we’ll get back to you with an answer as soon as possible