How to Choose a Laptop For Graphic Design | Laptops for Graphic Designers | Which one do you prefer to get your graphic design project done, on your desktop or laptop? There was a time when graphic design professionals was really relied on their desktops PC for their work. Graphic designing on a laptop was not an option because - mostly – laptops were slower, too delicate to use, and of course, far more expensive than a Desktop PC with higher specification. Anyway, as people are now more mobile, the need of laptop for graphic design is now inevitable.
But that was a few years ago. Things have changed drastically. Today’s laptop uses latest hardware and software that enable it to perform much better exceeds what a Desktop PC could do in a years or two ago.
If you do need a laptop for your graphic design project, the first thing you’ve got in mind is to find a laptop which is strong enough to get your works done without wasting your time and also cheap enough to buy.
Most of graphic designers considers Apple Macbook as the best laptop to replace their desktop. Well, it is hard to deny that people would easily related graphic design with Apple. The problem is, however, that not all designers can afford Apple MacBook – they are much more expensive than their Windows laptop.
Today, the nice thing for graphic designers is that they can buy laptops from brands like Dell, Toshiba, Asus, and other for half the price of the Apple models. These Windows’ laptop are generally cheaper.
Ok, now let’s see what we must consider before finally pick a laptop for graphic design.
- Large screen: A laptop for design work should have a large screen. Designers should pick a model that has at least a 16 inch screen – bigger is definitely better. However, screen size in inches is not the only way to measure. Screen resolution in pixels also plays a decisive factor. Many laptops today sport a default resolution of 1366×768 pixels. However, graphic designers can opt for a laptop that offers a resolution of 1600×900 pixels. Design professionals should opt for large screen laptops because screen real estate is ideal for working with two or more apps at the same time. Here portability is not the priority.
- Fast processor: A laptop meant for multimedia and design work should have a fast processor and oodles of RAM. The Intel Core series CPUs are really fast and they help in smooth multitasking. There are some models running on AMD Phenom triple core CPUs but they are a tad slower than their Intel counterparts. It is hard to gauge the true capability of a CPU just from the tech specs though. The latest Intel Core series CPU based on the Sandy Bridge architecture are the fastest according to industry experts. They not only offer fast performance but also consume less battery. If you want to see how a specific processor stacks up, here is a great resource for checking processor speed.
- Lots of RAM: Designers should opt for a model that has 6 to 8 GB of RAM as anything less is not suitable for multitasking. To get maximum RAM memory, you should choose a laptop model that comes with 64 bit operating system installed (e.g., Windows 7). This is essential because only 64 bit Windows OSes support more than 4 GB of memory. Once you’ve worked on a machine with 6Gb or more of memory, you’ll never want to go back.
- Separate graphics card (GPU): If you can afford it, all web designers should opt for a machine with a separate graphics card. Many of the latest processors have on-board graphics cards that will work fine, but these types of graphics cards share the system RAM and processor power with other functions. For maximum performance when using powerful apps like Photoshop and CorelDraw!, design professionals should get machines with discrete GPUs, such as cards from Nvidia. These cards should have memory of 512 MB or 1GB. Some laptops, such as high end models from Sony and HP, sport Nvidia Optimus technology. This technology enables users to switch from the integrated graphics to the discrete GPU in the laptop without requiring a reboot. Designers should also make sure that the GPU used in the laptop is capable of supporting dual monitor setups. This is often a prerequisite for hardcore graphic design work.
- Warranty: Since designers are not always computer jocks, a laptop for design tasks should come with longer warranty and excellent customer service. Designers should check out the support policy of a company before buying model. The multimedia laptops can be expensive and spare parts can also be costly to replace, so a good warranty can save you in the long run. The laptops also come with useful apps preinstalled. It is useful to buy the models that come with OS recovery DVD and driver CDS.
Hopefully these tips will help get you going in the right direction in your quest for a new graphic design laptop. In addition to the items above, designers may also also want to consider investing in some laptop accessories like cooling pads and cleaning kits etc. These accessories can be useful for proper maintenance and increasing the longevity of the device.
source: Carol Brown
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