Mac vs PC: The 11 Best Laptops for Music Production [2020 Update]

When I first started making beats on a laptop, I was amazed at the quality of the music that could be produced from practically anywhere. If you have dreams of producing your own music from the comfort of your own home, the process can be intimidating, especially for a beginner. The first thing that you need to have is the right equipment. The best laptop for word processing and working with spreadsheets might not be the best laptop for music production.

According to IFPI, the total value of the recording industry in 2019 was $20.2 billion USD. That’s 20.2 billion reasons to find the best laptop for music production. Just kidding…I know that you’re not only motivated by money. The art matters! 

Do You Need a Laptop for Music Production?

It might be tempting to begin your music production journey with the equipment that you already have on hand or even a desktop computer or tower, but there are more versatile options. The various DAW software options like Ableton Live and FL Studio work well on good music production laptops, and you can take your studio with you on the road! 

Just understand that music production software can take up a considerable chunk of CPU power, and if your computer cannot handle it, then it can cause lag or crashes. Memory is important, but for music production, SSD storage and processor speed are equally as important (if not more important). Your music production laptop must be responsive for you to get the best results from your efforts.

Many make the mistake of assuming that the best laptop for podcasting is also the best choice for music production. However, this is not always the case due to the different instruments, multiple tracks, and plugins needed for music production. Podcasting laptops are usually only needed for recording voices. A music production laptop and its audio interface must be able to handle a wider range of audio inputs.

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How to Choose the Best Computer for Musicians

The most important consideration when choosing a laptop for music production is that it is powerful enough for the weighty software programs, virtual instruments, plugins, and sample packs that are used in the craft of music production. In addition, you will spend a considerable amount of your time processing samples and editing your beats, so it is important to have a workstation where you are comfortable and can work easily. The music production laptop that you purchase should meet the following system requirements:

Processor (CPU)2.2GHz i7 Quad Core processor with a 64-bit operating system
Storage512GB SSD (or 500GB HDD if you can’t afford SSD) 
Memory (RAM)At least 16GB of RAM
Screen SizeAt least 15-inch, or an additional ultrawide monitor

The Central Processing Unit (CPU) is your music laptop’s brain. The CPU does all the processing that makes your computer perform various tasks like calculating data and moving information. The better your laptop’s CPU, the faster it will perform. Only consider a laptop with a multi-core processor when purchasing a laptop for music production. The more cores, the faster the laptop processes and carries out of tasks.

Random Access Memory (RAM) is the amount of data a laptop can hold in memory while processing at once. RAM helps your music laptop handle big tasks without lagging. Some people will tell you that 8GB of RAM is enough for a laptop for music production, but I disagree. I recommend buying a music laptop with 16GB of RAM or more if you want to do serious music production. A laptop with 16GB of RAM or more will handle virtual instruments (VST plugins), multiple audio tracks, and large sample libraries way better than a laptop with 8GB of RAM.

Of course, these are the optimal requirements and when it comes to purchasing good laptops for music production, the more you can get the better. For instance, a 1TB SSD with as many cores and the highest level of processing power possible would be better (though a laptop with this much power would need a good cooling system to avoid overheating). Solid-state drives (SSD) are preferable for music producers, as they are faster and more durable than HDD drives.

In addition, if you are using sample-based instruments, you will need more memory in order to reduce lag and achieve the quality that you want. And screen size is important to music producers because it will increase your workflow by reducing scrolling time when working with a DAW. Ultrawide screens are preferable if you want to 10x your music production workflow with an extra monitor.

Other things you might want to purchase with your laptop is a mouse with side scroll, a studio mic, and other recording equipment like an audio interface. A good graphics card would be a bonus but it’s not totally necessary for a music production laptop. Lastly, some of the best USB microphones for podcasting are excellent for vocals and instruments too.

Power tip: Every music producer should have a portable hard drive for backing up their information. No matter how comfortable you are in your large capacity, super fast SSD in your laptop, you need to have the insurance of having all of your beats and songs on an external hard drive. Get a 5TB external hard drive for the safekeeping of your files.

Mac vs. PC: Which Is Better for Music Production?

The biggest question when considering the best laptop for music production is whether Mac or PC is best. If you go back to the early days of music production, Macs were the clear winners. They took a more simplified approach in various areas, and they were built for creatives. However, recently, Mac has switched to Intel processors, such as in the MacBook Pro, and they are now the same speed as the top PC laptops. Plus, most music production DAW software is available for both Mac and PC.

Now, whether you choose a Mac or PC comes down to what software you plan to run and which workflow suits you best. If you already have projects on an older DAW, then this could drive your decision on which brand to choose. However, if you are getting a new DAW, you will find that most of them are cross-compatible.

One thing to consider is that it is easier to add or change components like RAM with a PC. When you buy a Mac, you are stuck with the laptop package features as-is. Macs tend to be thinner and more aesthetically pleasing, but this sometimes comes at the cost of problems with cooling when you are working on a big music project with a lot of tracks.

Many people consider the Mac to be more aesthetically pleasing and more intuitive to use for beginners. Macs also seem to avoid getting viruses much better than PCs. But PCs are more compatible with a wider range of peripherals and devices, including hardware for mixing and mastering. When it comes to choosing which is best, it is a matter of what you intend to do and the other devices that you will need to connect to your laptop.

11 Best Laptops for Music Production

Here are our tops picks for the best laptops for music producers. These killer laptops will be speedy and provide enough processing power to handle sampling, multitracking, programming, mixing, and mastering. Ready to get it poppin’? Let’s go.

New Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, 16GB RAM, 1TB Storage, 2.3GHz Intel Core i9) - Space Gray

1. MacBook Pro

Processor (CPU)2.3GHz Intel Core i9 processor
Memory (RAM)16GB RAM
Storage1TB solid-state drive

The MacBook Pro is rated as the top pick for music production by many artists. It is compact and comes with several different options. The 16-inch screen is recommended for music production. Otherwise, you will have to scroll excessively when editing. This unit has more than enough power for most purposes such as massive sample libraries and virtual instruments. It comes with a six-speaker system with force-canceling woofers. This gives it a realistic sound when you are working on your creations.

Make the MacBook Pro your music production laptop.

Razer Blade 15 Advanced Gaming Laptop 2020: Intel Core i7-10875H 8-Core, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER Max-Q, 15.6” 4K OLED Touch, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD, CNC Aluminum, Chroma, Thunderbolt 3, Creator Ready

2. Razer Blade

Processor (CPU)Intel Core i7-10875H 8-Core
Memory (RAM)16GB RAM
Storage1TB SSD

The Razer Blade is typically sold as a “gaming” laptop, but it is fast and works well for music production. It is built to handle software like Ableton Live without lag. The system is clean without a lot of extra software to slow your system down and take up memory space. The 15-inch version is recommended if you choose this laptop. The speed of this system is what makes it excellent for music production and running a DAW.

Make the Razer Blade your music production laptop.

MSI P65 Creator-1084 15.6" 4K UHD Display, Ultra-Thin and Light, RTX Studio Laptop, Intel Core i7-9750H, GeForce RTX 2060, 32GB DDR4, 1TB Teton Glacier SSD, Win10PRO, VR Ready

3. MSI P65 Creator 1084

Processor (CPU)2.6 GHz Intel Core i7-9750H
Memory (RAM)32GB DDR4
Storage1TB Teton Glacier SSD

MSI is a brand that is known best for its laptops that are specially designed for gaming and creatives. The MSI P65 Creator 1084 is recommended as the best laptop for Ableton Live 10. This laptop was built specifically for creative work and the demands of music production. This one comes with a 3.5mm audio input/output, so you do not have to purchase adapters.

Make the MSI P65 Creator 1084 your music production laptop.

ASUS ROG Gaming Laptop Computer| Intel Hexa-Core i7-9750H Up to 4.5GHz| 32GB DDR4| 1TB HDD + 512GB SSD| 15.6" FHD |NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650| 802.11ac WiFi| USB 3.0| Windows 10

4. ASUS ROG

Processor (CPU)Intel Hexa-Core i7-9750H
Memory (RAM)32GB RAM
Storage1TB HDD + 512GB SSD

ROG stands for “Republic of Gamers.” We chose the ASUS ROG because it is insanely fast and able to process large storage files with ease. It has plenty of jacks and ports for peripherals. It is able to create realistic reproduction when using virtual instruments for your project. This one also has an excellent cooling system, too, which reduces fan noise when recording.

This gamer laptop is often mentioned as the best laptop for FL Studio and Cockos Reaper 6. This one comes equipped with a military-grade processor. It is reliable and perfect for recording or for performance.

Make the ASUS ROG your music production laptop.

HP Envy 2019,17.3" Full HD Touch, i7-10510U 10th gen Quad CPU,NVIDIA MX250(4GB), 1TB SSD NVME,16GB RAM,Win 10 Pro Pre-Installed by HP, Neopack 64GB Flash Drive, B&O Speakers, HP Premium Wty, No DVD Rw

5. HP Envy 17t Laptop

Processor (CPU)Intel i7-10510U 10th gen Quad CPU
Memory (RAM)16GB RAM
Storage1TB SSD

A widescreen makes sound editing easier, and the HP Envy 17t Laptop is an excellent choice in that respect. It is easy to see long sections of your sound files without scrolling. This one also has advanced audio to help you hear your creation accurately. It is a convertible, which makes it easy to take along and work anywhere. It is considered the best HP laptop for music production for amateurs, and it is one that can grow with your business.

Make the HP Envy 17t Laptop your music production laptop.

2020 Newest HP OMEN 15 Gaming Laptop 15.6" FHD 300Hz IPS Intel Hexa-Core i7-10750H 32GB RAM 1TB PCIe SSD NVIDIA 6GB RTX 2060 Thunderbolt 3 RGB Backlit KB B&O Win 10 + iCarpWireless Mouse

6. HP OMEN 15 Gaming Laptop

Processor (CPU)IPS Intel Hexa-Core i7-10750H
Memory (RAM)32GB RAM
Storage1TB PCIe SSD

The HP OMEN 15 Gaming Laptop is fast and has clear graphics that make it easy to clip out tracks with precision. It is powerful and has a large cache, which also helps you to make your edits more quickly and make seamless splices. It comes with an integrated dual-array digital microphone and a Bang & Olufsen audio system. It also has a wireless mouse, which allows you to configure your set up without the restrictions of wires, which is nice when you have a lot of instrumentation.

Make the HP OMEN 15 Gaming Laptop your music production laptop.

Newest Lenovo Ideapad L340 17.3" FHD IPS Premium Gaming Laptop PC, 9th Gen Intel 6-Core i7-9750H Upto 4.5GHz, 16GB RAM, 1024GB PCIE SSD, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 4GB, Backlit Keyboard, Windows 10

7. Lenovo IdeaPad L340 17.3″

Processor (CPU)9th Gen Intel 6-Core i7-9750H
Memory (RAM)16GB RAM
Storage1024GB PCIE SSD

The Lenovo IdeaPad L340 17.3″ has a compact memory system that is perfect for connecting mobile devices and peripherals. It is fast and uses a streamlined data management system, so it can handle multiple tasks at once. This is essential when you are doing studio production with music samples. It can support high-definition graphics, which is excellent for producing music and editing with a professional DAW.

Make the Lenovo IdeaPad L340 17.3″ your music production laptop.

ASUS VivoBook S512 S15 Thin and Light Laptop, 15.6” FHD, Intel Core i7-10510U CPU, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD, NVIDIA GeForce MX250 Graphics, FingerPrint, Windows 10 Home, S512FL-PH77, Silver-Metal

8. ASUS VivoBook S512

Processor (CPU)Intel Core i7-10510U
Memory (RAM)16GB RAM
Storage256GB SSD + 1TB HDD

The ASUS VivoBook S512 is designed for portability, and it is powerful enough to handle the DAW of your choice and multiple plugins. This laptop was created with a multimedia professional in mind. Its 1TB hard drive has plenty of space and memory for upgrades.

It has a beautiful sleek metallic design and is the perfect choice for taking along to performance venues. It has a powerful graphics card, which makes it able to render videos on a screen for a performance or other entertainment purposes. This model has the feel of a MacBook Air and is perfect for in-studio or live performance action.

Make the ASUS VivoBook S512 your music production laptop.

Lenovo ThinkPad P53s Laptop (Intel i7-8565U 4-Core, 16GB RAM, 512GB PCIe SSD, Quadro P520, 15.6" Full HD (1920x1080), Fingerprint, WiFi, Bluetooth, Webcam, Win 10 Pro) with USB3.0 Hub

9. Lenovo Thinkpad P53s

Processor (CPU)Intel i7-8565U 4-Core
Memory (RAM)24GB RAM
Storage1TB PCIe SSD

The Lenovo Thinkpad P53s is recommended as the best laptop for Pro Tools and professional-level music production. Even if you are a beginner, this is a system that can grow with you throughout your musical journey. It comes with a range of connector types.

It comes with Windows 7, but you can upgrade to Windows 10. This might be the perfect solution if you already have a collection of older equipment and need to find something compatible. It is a top pick for PC fans.

Make the Lenovo Thinkpad P53s your music production laptop.

Dell XPS 15 7590 Laptop 15.6 inch, 4K UHD OLED InfinityEdge, 9th Gen Intel Core i7-9750H, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 4GB GDDR5, 256GB SSD, 16GB RAM, Windows 10 Home, XPS7590-7572SLV-PUS, 15-15.99 inches

10. Dell XPS 15

Processor (CPU)9th Gen Intel Core i7-9750H
Memory (RAM)16GB RAM
Storage256GB SSD

One of the features that makes the Dell XPS 15 an excellent choice is its anti-glare monitor. Depending on the venue, this technology can be a necessity. Dell has a reputation for reliability, and they are a workhorse. If you are a Windows fan, this is an excellent choice that runs Windows 10 Home.

Make the Dell XPS 15 your music production laptop.

Alienware AAW17R4-7004SLV-PUS 17" QHD Gaming Laptop (7th Generation Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD, Silver) with NVIDIA GTX 1070

11. Alienware AAW17R4-7004SLV-PUS

Processor (CPU)7th Generation Intel Core i7
Memory (RAM)16GB RAM
Storage256GB SSD + 1TB HDD

The Alienware AAW17R4-7004SLV-PUS is an excellent Alienware laptop for music production. Even though it is sold as a gaming laptop, it is more than capable of handling software-heavy applications like professional-level DAW software. One of the keys to its speed is its 1 TB of available storage.

Make the Alienware AAW17R4-7004SLV-PUS your music production laptop.

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Best Laptop for Music Production: Make Your Choice

If you are a budding music producer, songwriter, or recording artist, it is good to know that you have so many choices. When it comes to choosing the best laptop for music production, the MacBook Pro is a favorite among hobbyists and professionals alike. All things considered, the big surprise on our list is that the best computer for recording music at home is the MSI P65 Creator 1084 because it was made specifically for the recording industry!

When choosing the best laptop for music production, it is important to understand your goals and to choose one that serves your needs now, and one that can grow with you as your career progresses. Check out the models on this list if you are looking to begin your music career or if you are ready for an upgrade.

About Chris Craft

Hi! I'm Chris(topher) Craft. I'm a believer, husband of an amazing woman (Wanda), and father of three talented kids (Naomi, Maria, and Elijah). I love writing, learning about God's Hand in History, entrepreneurship, and basketball. Thank you for reading my stuff! ❤️ Connect with me on Twitter @CraftWrites.