If you’re looking for the best laptops for animation, we’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.
To be honest, 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.
If your scenes require high-resolution texture details, a large number of particles plus 100 lights and shadows, or simply an insane amount of polys and rigs, you’ll need to consider the most expensive and overclocked laptops available.
- What do you need in good animation laptops?
- 5 Best Laptops For Animation 2023
- Honorable Mentions: Best Laptops For Animation
- Can you use a gaming laptop for 3D animation?
- FAQ On Best Laptops For Animation
- Conclusion: Best Laptops For Animation 2023
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, more than any other art form, allows storytelling, visual art, movement, music, and sound to coexist.
Computer animation can also be a difficult digital endeavor, often due to the use of a laptop that is incapable of handling the intensive data processing required by animation.
Simply have enough RAM on your computer, as well as a CPU (central processing unit) and 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 undoubtedly necessitate the most recent, fastest processors, as well as 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 be used to 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 fine.
3D Animation: Let me just 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.”
In terms of 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, simply 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: Obviously, the larger the frame, the more details you’ll see. Unless you require portability, avoid 13-inch laptops.
5 Best Laptops For Animation 2023
These laptops may be exactly what you’re looking for. They will not only be powerful but also thin and light enough to carry around, with excellent screens and speakers for previewing your work.
The list also includes 2-in-1 convertible laptops that can be used as digital canvases by drawing with a stylus on their touchscreens.
Check out our guide to the best laptop for graphic design as well.
- 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
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 specifically designed to work with creative apps like Maya, improving the laptop’s performance when animating on it.
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 is the machine 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 handle your creative animation workflow with ease, and it does so virtually silently.
Furthermore, it has the longest battery life of any MacBook.
- Huge battery life
- Great performance
- Lack of ports.
Verdict: We tested this machine and found it to be quite impressive, allowing you to work all day while still having plenty of battery life left. This makes it an ideal choice for animators who travel frequently.
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, and this is an extremely powerful mobile workstation with 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 when compared to many of the 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 biggest 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, meaning it can function as a traditional laptop as well as a tablet-like device. Because you can use a stylus to draw on the touchscreen, this can be a huge productivity boost.
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 includes 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, without a doubt, 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 Laptops For Animation
We have some of the best laptops for 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 an amazing 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 allows the device to be thin and lightweight, as well as almost silent when in use. This means it will not outperform the MacBook Pro under heavy load (which does have fans).
Verdict: This is a fantastic laptop, but for the majority of people choosing this laptop, this might not be a major issue. Plus, the lower price tag will make it a much more appealing purchase for animators.
The Acer ConceptD 7 is a powerful and creative laptop that is ideal for animating. It has to snip Nvidia RTX graphics, making it ideal for animating complex 3D scenes.
The Pantone-validated 4K IPS screen is also the best we’ve seen in a laptop, ensuring that your animations look great while you work on them.
And with all of that power, you’ll be able to finish your work quickly and easily, allowing you to move on to new projects with ease.
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 that is 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 when 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.
Can you use a gaming laptop for 3D animation?
We even included a laptop from Razer, famous for its gaming hardware, in our selection of the best laptops for the animation above, as gaming laptops are some of the most powerful machines on the market and more and more creatives are investing in an RGB-clad laptop to handle their processing and rendering needs.
A top-tier gaming laptop will often be enough for an animator’s work.
FAQ On Best Laptops For Animation
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?
As previously stated in this article, 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 if you want to use other software currently.
Can I 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
In this article, I discussed the best laptops for animation.
I discussed how to choose 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 without a doubt 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, it is preferable to have at least 16GB of RAM, a powerful processor, and an up-to-date graphics card.