If you’re looking for the best laptops for animation, I’ve got you covered.
All animators want to be able to navigate through any scene in the viewport with buttery-smooth framerates while also rendering scenes as quickly as possible.
There is no single best laptop for animation. The size of your models and the nature of the projects you’re working on will determine what works best for you.
Suppose your scenes require high-resolution texture details, many particles plus 100 lights and shadows, or simply an insane amount of polys and rigs. In that case, you must consider the most expensive and overclocked laptops available.
The list also includes 2-in-1 convertible laptops that can be used as digital canvases by drawing with a stylus on their touchscreens.
These laptops may be exactly what you’re looking for.
- Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition (2020)
- MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020)
- Gigabyte Aero 17 (2021)
- Acer Spin 5 (2020)
- Microsoft Surface Book 3
Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition
Gigabyte Aero 17
Acer Spin 5
Microsoft Surface Book 3
5 Best Laptops For Animation 2023
Let’s have a close look:
Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition
- 15.6″ OLED 4K Touch 60Hz
- Intel Core i7-10875H
- 1TB SSD
- 32GB DDR4
The Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition (2020) is a laptop for professional animators who require serious power. This laptop is a beast, loaded with cutting-edge Intel and Nvidia components to help you accelerate your workflow.
The Razer Blade 15 is a professional-grade model (a gaming laptop). This implies that Nvidia’s studio drivers are included.
These are designed to work with creative apps like Maya, improving the laptop’s animation performance.
The display is also impressive, with a 4K touchscreen panel that supports the entire DCI-P3 color gamut.
- Extremely powerful
- Amazing screen
- Not everyone requires this much power
Verdict: It is, however, a very overpriced laptop, and it provides a level of performance that many animators may not require. In that case, the options listed below are more affordable and appropriate. However, if you want the best, this machine is for you.
Last year, Apple released a new MacBook Pro 13-inch model with significant hardware upgrades, and it is without a doubt one of the best laptops for animation.
It now includes Apple’s M1 chip (rather than an Intel processor), which enables the MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020) to deliver seriously impressive performance while remaining thin and (relatively) light.
Thanks to the Apple M1 chip, it can easily handle your creative animation workflow and does so virtually silently.
Furthermore, it has the most extended battery life of any MacBook.
- Huge battery life
- Great performance
- Lack of ports.
Verdict: I tried this laptop and found it highly outstanding, enabling you to work all day while still having plenty of battery life. This makes it an excellent alternative for animators who travel regularly.
The Gigabyte Aero 17 (2021) is one of today’s most powerful laptops, making it an excellent choice for animators.
It not only has some of the most cutting-edge mobile technology available today, but it also has a stunning display and a plethora of ports.
The 17.3-inch display has a 4K resolution, so your work will look fantastic. This extremely powerful mobile workstation has up to a Core i9 processor and 64GB of RAM.
- Outstanding performance
- Gorgeous display
- Abundance of ports
- Slight heating issues
- Average battery life
Verdict: There are some downfalls, such as the high price and short battery life, but if you have the money and need the power, this is a great buy.
Acer Spin 5
- 10th-gen Intel Core i5
- 13.5″ touchscreen display
- 512GB SSD
- Intel Iris Plus Graphics
If you need a versatile laptop to do some animation on, the Acer Spin 5 is a great choice.
It’s inexpensive, especially compared to many other laptops on this list, but that doesn’t mean it’s short on features or performance.
To begin with, this laptop can run almost any animation app; however, because it lacks a dedicated graphics card, it will struggle with high-end 3D animations.
The most significant advantage of this laptop is its 12-hour battery life, which can comfortably get you through an entire workday.
The laptop is also a 2-in-1 convertible device, which can function as a traditional and tablet-like device. This can be a huge productivity boost because you can use a stylus to draw on the touchscreen.
Because the screen is taller, it has a 3:2 aspect ratio, which makes drawing and working more comfortable.
- Amazing battery life
- Stylus is included
- The 3:2 display is not ideal for creating/editing a 16:9 video
Verdict: The Acer Spin 5 consists of a stylus, which makes it a better value than most other laptops. It’s not cheap, but it’s a full-featured stylus that can be extremely useful for art and animation.
Also, Read This:
Microsoft Surface Book 3
- Intel Iris Plus Graphics
- 10th Gen Intel Core i5
- 15-inch PixelSense Display
- 1TB Storage
The Surface Book 3 is undoubtedly one of the most stylish and well-built laptops for animators.
It has one of the best portable displays available, so your animations will look stunning, and it’s also a touchscreen, which works brilliantly with the Surface Pen stylus (sold separately).
It’s more than just a pretty face. It has some extremely powerful specifications and can even be configured to include a discrete GPU, allowing it to handle 3D animations.
- Beautiful design
- Gorgeous screen
- Too expensive
- Not the most powerful system
Verdict: It runs Windows 10, so you have access to the most popular animation suites on the market, and it’s small and light enough to carry around with you.
Honorable Mentions: Best Budget Laptop for Animation
I have mentioned some more laptops for the animation you can look for:
Most importantly, it’s portable and lightweight, with a battery life that outlasts many of its competitors.
The laptop has a fantastic Retina display that makes working on it a joy, and it performs very similarly to the more expensive MacBook Pro 13-inch.
The lack of a fan design makes the device thin, lightweight, and almost silent. This means it will not outperform the MacBook Pro under heavy load (which does have fans).
Verdict: This is a fantastic laptop, but for most people choosing this laptop, this might not be a major issue. The lower price will make it a much more appealing purchase for animators.
The Acer ConceptD 7 is a powerful and creative laptop ideal for animating. It has to snip Nvidia RTX graphics, making it suitable for animating complex 3D scenes.
The Pantone-validated 4K IPS screen is also the best in a laptop, ensuring your animations look great while working on them.
With all that power, you can finish your work quickly and easily, allowing you to quickly move on to new projects.
Verdict: Even though quite promising, the laptop is expensive, and it’s not the thinnest or lightest on this list, but it’s well worth investing in if you’re looking for a true workhorse to animate on
The Lenovo ThinkBook 14S Yoga is a solid and reasonably priced convertible ideal for animation.
It has excellent internals, including an 11th-generation Intel Core processor and Intel Iris Xe graphics, which will easily handle animation apps.
The best part is that its 2-in-1 design allows you to work on its touchscreen, and the included stylus makes sketching a breeze.
Verdict: It’s also reasonably priced compared to some of the more expensive laptops on this list. While the battery life isn’t the longest, at around 9 hours, it’s still quite impressive and should get you through a workday before you need to charge it.
What do you need in good animation laptops?
Animation can be one of the most enjoyable and rewarding creative processes, and once you get into it, whole new worlds can open up in front of you.
Animation allows storytelling, visual art, movement, music, and sound to coexist more than any other art form.
Computer animation can also be a difficult digital endeavor, often due to a laptop incapable of handling the intensive data processing required by animation.
Have enough RAM on your computer, a CPU (central processing unit), and a GPU (graphics processing unit = graphics card) that are fast and powerful enough to animate, view, and render your work.
Although 2D animation requires less power, 3D animation will need the most recent, fastest processors and plenty of systems and video memory.
To avoid ambiguity, when I say 2D & 3D Animation, I mean the following:
3D Animation: Any 3D application, such as Maya, Blender, or 3DS Max, can create visual effects (including 3D games).
2D Animation: Software that does not make use of the viewport. Pencil 2D and Adobe After Effects in 2D are two examples. Stop motion software is also available.
2D Animation: Any modern Intel Core i5 CPU or Ryzen 5 CPU (Intel 8th gen /Ryzen 3rd gen onwards).
3D Animation: An Intel Core i7/Core i9-XXXXXH processor. 6-8 cores are preferable, but quad-cores are acceptable as well. For AMD, any of the most recent Ryzen CPUs with an “H” suffix. AMD Ryzen 7/9 XXXXH, for example.
If you only need speed in certain situations:
- When editing and animating, choose the fastest clock speed you can afford (measured in Hz).
- Viewport: Pay attention to the clock speed as well.
- Rendering: Use as many cores as you can.
2D Animation: Any GPU. Integrated cards like the Intel HD/AMD Vega X series are acceptable.
3D Animation: Let me say that I’m sick of hearing NVIDIA GTX/RTX cards referred to as “gaming cards.” These GTX/RTX GPUs (for example, the 1660Ti GTX or the 2060RTX) are roughly equivalent (and, in most cases, superior) to “workstation GPUs.”
Regarding animation, the card with the most CUDA cores and “vRAM” wins. If you hear people talking about “workstation cards” or “Quadros,” you’re hearing an out-of-date perspective. Today’s high-end 10th generation GTX Cards (1070GTX/1080GTX) and recent RTX series are far superior to these “FirePro/Quadro” cards, especially for GPU rendering.
8 GB RAM: For students who are just getting started with animation. When larger projects, such as maps, enter your portfolio, upgrade to 16 GB RAM.
16 to 32 GB: Larger models require at least 16 GB. 32 GB is sufficient for almost any model size with numerous details. 64 GB of storage space may not be necessary.
Rendering: Heavily reliant on RAM. However, 32 GB may be the upper limit.
Everyone should have a solid-state drive. PCIe NVMe is the best option, but SATA III SSDs are also acceptable.
Avoid HDDs in favor of SSDs; you’ll save time on projects because loading applications/reading/writing files will take fractions of a second, and fractions of a second can add up to hours!
- A 256 GB SSD is sufficient for students or small animation models.
- Pros: 1TB HDD + 256GB SSD or full-fledged SSD discs with at least 512GB – 1TB B.
Resolution: For animation, 1080p is sufficient. Avoid 4k displays because they are expensive and can cause issues with some software.
Size: the larger the frame, the more details you’ll see. Unless you require portability, avoid 13-inch laptops.
What Laptops do Animators use?
To animate on a laptop, you don’t need an exotic type of laptop or any special features. Some features will make your work more efficient and faster, but any Laptop that meets the minimum requirements for the Animation Software you intend to use can be used to animate on.
Is 8 GB of RAM sufficient for Animation?
This article states that 8 GB of RAM is sufficient for animating simple scenes. You’ll be much happier with 16 GB (or even 32 GB), especially if your Scenes contain a lot of geometry or you currently want to use other software.
Can you use Gaming Laptops for Animation?
Without a doubt! Because the Gaming Target Group is much larger than the Animation or Content Creation Target Group, many laptop manufacturers market their products to gamers. This does not imply that you can only play games on a Gaming Laptop.
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Conclusion: Best Laptops For Animation 2023
I explored the finest laptops for animators in this post.
I discussed choosing the best animation laptop, and what to expect based on the drawing and 2D/3D animation software you’ll be using.
The MacBook Pro 13-inch is undoubtedly one of the best laptops for animators.
As an animation student who uses a laptop instead of a PC, an external monitor is a plus and recommended but not required.
Because rendering is so important when purchasing a laptop, having at least 16GB of RAM, a powerful processor, and an up-to-date graphics card is preferable.