Best Laptop for Animation [2020 Guide]

CG Director Author Alex Glawion  by Alex Glawion   ⋮   ⋮   500 comments
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Best Laptop for Animation [2020 Guide]

There are quite some things to consider when looking for the best Laptop for Animation. You will want specific Hardware of the Laptop to have certain specifications and very specific parts should be built into the Laptop for maximum speed.

The best Laptop for Animation is the culmination of optimum hardware and mobility and, in fact, there aren’t all that many great Laptops for Animation out there.

Before we dive into what specific components you should be looking for in a Laptop for Animation, let’s take a look at how the task of animating on a Laptop actually uses the underlying Hardware Components.

In this way, we will be able to see clearly what components we will need to optimize as much as possible in order to pick the right Laptop.

If you feel like you already know your way around the individual Hardware components & Laptop Features, follow this link to skip directly to our Best Laptop for Animation Recommendations.

How does Animation utilize the Hardware?

Animation in itself is making virtual objects move in a way we define.

This can be in 2D or 3D and there are lots of Programs we can use to tackle the task of animation.

Some 2D Animation Programs that are currently popular are After Effects, ToonBoom, Harmony, CrazyTalk Animator, Synfig Studio, FlipBook & Photoshop , among others.

Popular 3D Animation Software includes Cinema 4D, 3ds Max, Maya, Blender, and quite a few more.

Now, what we do when we animate, is usually pose a rig, set Keyframes and adjust certain parts and objects, so they are placed to our satisfaction. One important thing to note here is that we usually do this not while looking at a final quality image, but a rough Preview Viewport, a Wireframe or simple Shaded View.

Best Laptop for Animation - Shaded View

Why is this important?

As there is not a lot of graphical calculations going on, we can pretty much already say the Graphics Card (GPU) is something that won’t be quite as important in finding the Best Laptop for Animation.

But if it’s not the Graphics Card that does the heavy lifting when animating, what other Hardware Component might be the crucial part in speeding things up?

You might have guessed it already, it really is the CPU or Processor, that is the most important Hardware Component in a Laptop when using it mainly for animation.

Best Laptop for Animation - CPU

Image Source: Iaroslav Neliubov/Shutterstock.com

Although animation seems to be a very visual task, it’s the CPU that has to do all the calculations for the scene’s objects, rigs, simulations, hair splines, soft body dynamics and so on, to be calculated, and only after these CPU calculations are finished, the Graphics Card visually displays the result.

In other words, the GPU is almost never the bottleneck in a 2D or 3D focused Workstation / (PC) Computer or Laptop. (Of course, unless you are doing some heavy rendering)

You will want to make sure the CPU is as fast as possible.

That said, of course, you should still have a strong enough GPU but it does not have to be unproportionally fast compared to the other hardware components.

The best Hardware Components in an Animation-Laptop

The best CPU in a Laptop for Animation

This brings us to the CPU specifically.

What makes a CPU fast, anyway? Is it the number of cores, the clock-speed, or the cache size, or maybe just the Brand of Intel or AMD?

To make it short: For animation, the most important CPU feature to look for is the clock-speed. The CPU clock speed is more important than having lots of Cores or getting a certain Brand.

If your CPU has a low clock speed, your Viewport will become very sluggish and you won’t be able to animate in real-time. The CPU usually has a Base Clock Speed, such as 2,6 GHz in the Intel i7-10750H and a higher Turbo-Boost Clock that can boost the CPU up to (in this case) 5,0 GHz on some of those Cores.

CPU Boosting technologies can overclock your CPU automatically if:

  • Not all Cores are in use at the same time
  • The CPU’s temperature is below a certain threshold
  • The CPU’s power draw is below a certain threshold
turboBoost

Image-Source: Intel

In Animation it is often the case, that only one or two CPU Cores are being used because of how animated objects are calculated by the software you are animating in.

This means, having a high Turbo Boost clock will do lots in speeding up the Viewport snappiness while animating as will a higher base clock speed.

Recommended CPU Models to get for your Animation Laptop:

  • Intel 9th gen mobile CPUs: i7 9750H,  i9 9880H
  • Intel 10th gen mobile CPUs: i7 10750H, i7 10875H, i9 10980HK
  • AMD Ryzen 4000 Series CPUs: 4800H(S), 4900H(S)

All of the CPUs above are excellent for animation as they have a high Base-Clock and a great Turbo-Boost Clock.

Of course, you’ll find the CPUs above will usually be built into somewhat mid-range to higher-end Laptops. If you don’t have the means to spend that kind of money you could settle with lower tier CPUs. Be sure though to always maximize your base and boost clocks.

RAM (Memory) for the Best Laptop for Animation

The second most important factor in getting the Best Laptop for Animation is the RAM, or Memory.

RAM Speed isn’t that much of a factor but the size of the memory will do wonders when working on complex scenes, long animations, multiple characters, high resolution meshes and images and the ability to keep preview Playblasts in your memory for comparison and checking the current animation state, if you don’t have Real-time playback.

You will want to go with 8GB as an absolute minimum and target 16GB for a much better experience.

RAM (Memory) in the Win10 Taskmanager

RAM usage in the Win 10 Task Manager

32GB will help in some cases, having more usually isn’t necessary but might help with an extremely complex scene, large textures, animation simulations and dynamics that are not keyframe-driven but will need to be cached. Or, of course, when you’d like to have multiple Apps open at the same time.

The thing about RAM is, that it doesn’t impact performance all that much unless you have too little.

If you don’t have enough RAM, the System will start swapping active working Files to Disc and at this point, the overall Speed will crawl to a halt.

You definitely want to avoid having too little RAM.

My recommendation for the amount of RAM in your best Laptop for Animation:

  • 8GB of DDR4 RAM for beginners
  • 16GB of DDR4 RAM for everyday, mid-sized scenes
  • 32GB+ of RAM for highly complex scenes and/or multiple opened Programs

(If optimization is something you crave, you can slightly improve overall RAM Speed by carefully choosing RAM with higher Clock Speeds and lower CL Latency as a general rule.)

Best Graphics Card (GPU) for Animation in a Laptop

As discussed above, although not as important a factor as the CPU, the Graphics card is responsible for displaying to your in-built Screen or any attached display device.

It will also help in displaying textures and any other Shaders and Real-Time Effects such as SSAO (Screen Space Ambient Occlusion), Realtime Shadows, Anti-Aliasing, Anisotropic Filtering, for an experience that is closer to an actual (final) rendered image.

The Maya Viewport 2.0, for example, makes heavy use of such effects and makes great use of stronger GPUs.

Although these types of effects can be computationally intensive, the GPU is specialized for this and can usually handle them quite well, meaning in most cases it won’t be the Framerate Bottleneck when updating your 3D / 2D Software’s Viewport.

The CPU, though, usually is.

So having a fairly strong GPU will definitely help, but only to a certain point.

As soon as your CPU is maxed out and becomes the bottleneck, the GPU will not be able to help at all in speeding up your viewport. It is basically just waiting for the CPU to finish with its calculations so it can then display the result to your screen.

Here are four Laptop GPUs that will perform nicely in an Animation Laptop:

  • NVIDIA GTX 1650
  • NVIDIA GTX 1650 Ti
  • NVIDIA GTX 1660
  • NVIDIA GTX 1660 Ti

Now, I’ve mentioned a couple of times that the GPU is not an important factor in the active process of animating.

This changes entirely if you plan on using GPU Render Engines.

GPU Render Engines have become quite popular recently such as Octane, Redshift, Vray-RT or FurryBall.

These Render Engines utilize the Graphics Card instead of the CPU to render out your scenes and can be quite a bit faster than using the CPU.

Furryball

Image-Source: furryball.aaa-studio.eu

If this is the case and you plan on using GPU Render Engines, then you should invest in a better GPU.

My GPU recommendations if you are looking at a stronger Laptop or want to use GPU Render Engines:

  • NVIDIA RTX 2060 (Super)
  • NVIDIA RTX 2070 (Super)
  • NVIDIA RTX 2080 (Super)

Beware though, that having extremely strong GPUs in a Laptop will almost definitely make the Laptop more Bulky, Heavy, Larger and draw more Power, it will also make the Laptop quite noisy when GPU-Rendering.

You might want to consider external GPUs for Rendering on a Laptop. Or try to use an extra Computer or Rendernode that you can offload any Rendering-intensive tasks to.

Some of you might wonder why there are no AMD GPU recommendations here. The reason is quite simple. Currently, Nvidia’s GPUs have wider Application and Render-Engine Support, and in many cases perform better than AMD’s GPUs.

If you absolutely know you will only use Software that supports AMD GPUs though (like ProRender), then by all means, get an AMD GPU.

Storage Devices, HDD/ SSD for the Best Laptop for Animation

There has been quite an update in terms of storage hardware over the past few years, and almost all laptops now have Solid State Drives (SSDs) built in.

In the past, these storage devices used to be Hard Disc Drives (HDDs) that were very slow and bottle-necked many aspects of a running system.

SSDs are much faster at reading and writing and you can now boot the operating system faster, start your programs faster and load / save your scene updates in a fraction of the time it used to take.

SSDs are also much more robust, they don’t age as fast as HDDs and they are almost completely shock resistant.

Having an SSD in a laptop is an absolute must.

My recommendation what to look out for in terms of Storage:

  • 500GB+ SATA SSD

For those of you who want even greater speed in saving & loading and general storage related workloads, the new-ish NVMe SSDs are the way to go.

These SSDs are about twice as expensive, but you get 5-6 times the speed in several use cases. The sequential read and write performance of NVMe SSDs in particular, will be a lot faster compared to conventional SATA SSDs.

Highly recommended!

Take a look at this comparison of HDD vs SSD (SATA) vs NVMe SSD Write and Read Speeds:

Best Laptop for Animation - SSD vs NVMe

Image-Source: atpinc.com

HDD

The conventional Hard Drive still has a purpose though.

As HDDs are a lot cheaper per Gigabyte, you can use them as long term storage, archiving, backup systems or storage systems for projects and files you don’t need to access very often or are too big for your built-in SSD.

Basically, anything that is not directly involved in your day-to-day workflow when actively working inside your software.

I usually have external HDDs that I switch on in the evening after a day’s work and backup anything I worked on to the external HDDs, so nothing can get lost.

Expandability

The best Laptop for Animation should have the ability to be upgraded and expanded within its hardware components.

You will probably want to use this Laptop for at least a couple of years. Because technology progression is so fast though, the Laptop might not quite be up to speed anymore after a few years. If you can upgrade your Laptop, this will give you some extra time before you have to buy an entirely new Laptop.

In most Laptops, there are many components that you can swap out on your own and upgrade or have a repair shop replace for you.

For example, you could buy a Laptop with only 256GB of SSD Storage built in, now, and after a year you might realize that you need more storage space for all the new projects and clients that you are working.

A larger SSD would certainly come in handy.

You can now easily upgrade to a larger and maybe even faster SSD, as the technology has progressed.

Get a 500GB or even 1TB SSD that will take care of your pressing storage needs until it is time to get an entirely new Laptop for Animation or maybe other types of related fields that you have grown into.

The same applies to RAM.

You can usually get a laptop that will have some unused RAM slots, and you can add more RAM later on if you find your memory to be full all the time.

The CPU and GPU, unfortunately, aren’t that easy to upgrade on your own, as these are usually hidden beneath parts of cooling solutions, and you would have to talk to the manufacturer or a repair shop to have these upgraded.

Apple MacBook (Pro) for Animation?

I know of many that would like to just get a MacBook Pro. They look nice and it seems everyone in the Design Industry has a Mac or MacBook, right?

Best Laptop for Animation - Mac vs Laptop

Image-Source: apple.com

Since this is a topic that is usually heavily fought over with very personal opinions, I’ll just list some facts here and let you decide for yourself:

  • Cost: The Laptop(s) I recommend down below are at least 50% cheaper than those exact same parts within a MacBook Pro
  • Graphics Card: The recommended Laptop(s) have (for this use case) superior Graphics Cards from Nvidia (CUDA based), that you can also use for GPU Rendering in more popular CUDA based GPU Render Engines
  • Industry usage: Any serious 3D Studio I have worked and freelanced at so far, uses Windows-based PCs and not Macs. There are some that only had Macs in their Infrastructure, but those were advertising agencies that always outsourced any serious 3D or Animation work.
  • Expandability: Laptops can usually be upgraded easier and cheaper
  • Repair cost: Laptops can usually be repaired cheaper
  • Connectors / Adapters: A Laptop has all of the usual Connectors already built in. MacBooks usually need additional expensive Adapters for anything external

Now, please do comment down below, if you have had a different experience. This is what I myself have experienced so far, but I would love to hear from you!

Using the Laptop

Input Devices

An absolute must to be productive on a Laptop is a good input device such as a mouse or a tablet & pen.

I have never seen anyone on a Touch-pad come even close to the speed of someone using a mouse or tablet & pen.

I know that using additional Input devices can be quite impractical at times, especially if you are in confined spaces such as on the train or the airplane.

Whenever possible though, especially at home, at work or at School where you have a fairly large desk, use an input device that will greatly speed up your work.

Some Laptops have Touchscreens, that can also be quite fast if you are used to using the Touchscreen as an input device. You might want to try this out in a shop and see if it suits you.

Also, a mouse is not expensive, you can always get one later-on.

Best Laptop for Animation - Mouse

Image-Source: razer.com

Laptop Screen

As Laptop screens are usually much smaller than external screens that you can buy, you should make sure the resolution of the laptop screen is high enough for you to fit all of your software menus, tools and windows that you need on the single screen.

A Full HD Resolution (1920×1080) usually is a good baseline Resolution to buy, but there are Laptops with even higher resolutions such as 4K, that you can fit much more on.

Beware though that with High-Resolution Screens the pixels are much smaller and as the screen itself doesn’t necessarily get bigger (unless you buy a huge Laptop), individual elements and Window/Menu Texts will get smaller and might strain your eyes.

It’s best to get an additional external monitor for a Multi-Screen setup or even just use your external monitor as the sole Monitor.

I would recommend a 15″ Screen size as the minimum on a Laptop for Animation. You can get away with a 14″ Screen, but that is really pushing it.

IPS or TN Panel?

For those working on projects that need a wider Viewing Angle, higher Color accuracy, better Contrast, and an overall superior Screen, I would recommend an IPS over a TN Panel.

Monitor Viewing Angle

Image-Credit: benq

This is not necessary for everyone. Say you are modeling, or animating in your viewport a lot, but don’t color grade or composite all that much, a TN Panel is usually sufficient. If you rely on more accurate color display though, go the IPS route.

Be sure to also check our Monitor Guide which should explain lots of the features and terminology that you might come across when looking for Laptop screens or Monitors.

Mobility

Now, the reason you are looking for the Best Laptop for Animation and not a Computer or Workstation probably is also for mobility reasons.

You want to be able to take this with you, maybe work while traveling, or you have a docking station at work and home and you just take your laptop with you to wherever you are currently working.

Maybe a Computer setup is just too big and you would like to start with something leaner that doesn’t require a dedicated area with cables running everywhere.

If you are a Student, then having a Laptop might be required by many Schools and you will take your Laptop from Class to Class and back home every day.

Of course, a Computer or Workstation will be better for Animation in almost every aspect because it has more room for faster parts a better power supply and larger cooling solutions.

But a PC certainly cannot compete with a Laptop in terms of Mobility.

You want to be mobile and you probably don’t want to carry a huge 10KG Laptop with you that will give you back pain after a days use.

Trust me, there certainly are Laptops that don’t really deserve this name anymore, as you won’t want them to be resting on top of your lap.

They are loud, extremely hot, heavy and very large and look more like a bulky briefcase than anything else –

What we are looking for is the Best Laptop for Animation that is also somewhat lightweight, yet still has a large enough screen, doesn’t produce too much noise and has a battery that lets us animate for some hours before we have to plug it into a power supply.

I have put together some recommendations of Animation Laptops that will fit your needs in different price ranges below four you to take a look at, but as we are almost through this article let’s see what else is important in a great Laptop for animation:

What else is important in a Laptop for Animation

If you are planning on using the Laptop with external devices, which I would recommend to enhance your speed and workflow, you should make sure it has all the required connectors.

If you have a docking station for your Laptop, the docking station will usually take care of most of the connectors as not all of the connectors will be present on your Laptop directly for space reasons. If you don’t have a docking station, you will want to make sure your Laptop has some of the following connectors already built in:

For external monitors you will want a HDMI and or Display Port Connector. Some of the older monitors also just support DVI or VGA Plugs though these connectors, because they are so big, usually aren’t found on modern laptops anymore. But you can always get an adapter.

Best Laptop for Animation - Connectors

Image-Source: CNET

If you are using a Local Area Network at your workplace or at home you will want an RJ45 LAN port for attaching a LAN cable that offers much higher speeds than a wireless connection can provide.

For external USB devices such as external HDDs for backup and storage, Input Devices such as Mouse, Tablet or Headsets, you will want enough USB ports that are fast enough such as USB 3.0.

Frequently Asked Questions

So here are the answers to a couple of questions I often get in the comments. Feel free to comment below if you need any other help!

What Laptops do Animators use?

You don’t really need an exotic kind of Laptop or any specific features to animate on a Laptop. There certainly are some features that will make your work more efficient & faster, but any Laptop that meets the minimum requirements for the Animation Software you would like to use, can basically be used to animate on.

What is a good Computer for Animation?

If you’d rather like to use a Desktop PC instead of a Laptop for Animation, be sure to read on in-depth Guide on what the Best PC for Animation looks like.

Is 8GB of RAM enough for Animation?

As we already discussed in this Article, 8GB of RAM can be enough for doing Animation on simple Scenes. You’ll be much happier with 16GB (or even 32GB) though, especially if your Scenes have lots of geometry, or if you’d like to use other Software in parallel.

Are Gaming Laptops good for Animation?

Yes, absolutely! Many Laptop manufacturers market Laptops at Gamers, because the Gaming Target group is much bigger than the Animation or Content Creation Target Group. This doesn’t mean you can only game on a “Gaming Laptop”.

After some quick answers to those questions, here are our Animation Laptop recommendations:

Recommendations: The best Laptop for Animation

If you don’t necessarily need a numbers-pad but a lot of RAM and a fairly strong GPU, then the MSI P65 Creator is the right Laptop for you.

First Choice: MSI P65 Creator 15.6″ 4K Content Creation Laptop

MSI P65 Creator Laptop

Image-Credit: MSI

Considering all aspects in this article such as, Size, Weight, Mobility, and especially Performance & Price your best Laptop for Animation that I can recommend is the MSI P65 Creator 15.6″ 4K Content Creation Laptop.

Some Features include:

  • Ultra Thin
  • CPU: i7-9750H (6 cores)
  • Graphics Card: RTX 2060 with 6 GB VRAM
  • RAM: 32GB RAM
  • SSD: 1TB NVMe SSD
  • Win 10 Pro
  • 15,6″ IPS Screen with a 4K UHD Resolution

Check the current Price here.

Some notes on this Laptop:

The MSI Creator Series is purpose-built for creative work, and it will keep you working efficiently even in complex Animation Projects. The 6-Core i7-9750H will help in rendering out some of your playblasts or even final scenes, and with its 4.5GHz Turbo Boost keeps your viewport snappy.

The Nvidia RTX 2060 GPU is quite strong and can be used for fast GPU Rendering of most Scenes.

This Laptop weighs under 2KG (4.2 Pounds) and is extremely portable and slim. You can configure this MSI Laptop to the next higher Tier GPU, RAM Size, and SSD Size if you want, though I don’t think this is necessary.

 

Second overall Choice: Gigabyte AERO 15 OLED

If it’s Maya (with its Viewport 2.0) or GPU Rendering that you’d like to use most, you will want to lean towards a better GPU such as the RTX 2070. A Numbers-Pad can be important for some too, and you will find it along with other great features in the Gigabyte AERO 15 OLED Laptop.

Gigabyte Aero 15 Best Laptop for Animation

Image-Credit: Gigabyte

The Gigabyte AERO 15 OLED XA-7US5130SP 15″ Ultra Slim Laptop too is purpose-built for Content Creators and comes with all the bells and whistles you need for efficient Animation work.

The Features are:

  • CPU: i7-9750H
  • GPU: GeForce RTX 2070 with 8GB of VRAM
  • RAM: 16GB RAM
  • SSD: 512GB NVMe SSD
  • Win 10 Pro
  • 15,6″ IPS OLED Screen with a 4K Resolution
  • Numbers-Pad

Check the current Price here.

Some notes on this Laptop:

This Gigabyte Laptop again has a higher Tier Graphics Card, the Nvidia 2070 RTX with 8 GB of VRAM which will be excellent for GPU Rendering and working on other GPU demanding tasks. It weighs just slightly over 4 Pounds (~2KG).

Close Runner-Ups:

Another great choice is the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G15 (2020) with an AMD 4800H CPU and an Nvidia 1660Ti, which is quite affordable.

If there is nothing suitable in the above recommendations, you might want to take a look at the Razer Blade 15 Series Laptops, which are quite popular among Content Creators and Gamers alike.

More Laptop Recommendations

If you want to get the best Laptop within your budget you should definitely have a look at the Web-Based PC & Laptop-Builder Tool that we’ve created.

As the main purpose you can select Animation and after adjusting your budget you’ll see some more recommendations.

If you are planning on doing Video Editing on your Laptop too, check out this Article on finding the best Laptops for Video Editing.

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Alex Glawion - post author

Hi, I’m Alex, a Freelance 3D Generalist, Motion Designer and Compositor.

I’ve built a multitude of Computers, Workstations and Renderfarms and love to optimize them as much as possible.

Feel free to comment and ask for suggestions on your PC-Build or 3D-related Problem, I’ll do my best to help out!

500
Comments

Jamie

I seek your wisdom! I’m looking for recommendations for a laptop that’s great for drawing/animation (running programs like clip studio paint pro), video editing, and perhaps even a little gaming, and video game designing. Not really a budget as I want to find the best for drawing and animating, among other things. I really appreciate any information and help.

Leta

I want to know the same things, having trouble finding the right laptop.

Hey Leta,

If I may ask, how much are you willing to spend for this laptop?

For reference, you may check out the CUK MSI GF65 Thin Gaming Laptop priced at $1,599.99 I recommended to Jamie just so you have an idea. Let me know how much your budget is though so I can recommend the best laptop for your use case in your price range.

Cheers,
Alex

Hey Jamie,

Thanks for asking!

With your requirements, please consider the CUK MSI GF65 Thin Gaming Laptop priced at $1,599.99. Below are its specs:

CPU Intel Core i7-9750H 2.60GHz 6-Core Processor
Graphics Card NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060
Memory(RAM) 64GB DDR4-2666
SSD 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe Solid State Drive
HDD –
Weight ~4.10 pounds
Display 15.6″, 1920×1080

For its price, the CUK MSI GF65 Thin Gaming Laptop is a bargain because it has very powerful specs under the hood. The i7-9750H CPU and whopping 64GB of RAM will ensure that your drawing and animating tasks and workflows are always fast and smooth. The laptop also has an RTX 2060 graphics card that will come in handy in case you need to use the GPU render engines. All in all, the CUK MSI GF65 Thin Gaming Laptop should be at the top of your list.

Cheers,
Alex

Jamie

Thank you for the information and recommendation Alex! I really appreciate your response and time. Last question would be is there any other laptop that would work as good, if not better for animating, drawing, gaming, and photo/video editing even if it’s a much higher price point? Just curious so I can weigh out my option before buying. Like I said, I don’t really have a budget to stick to, just want to know the best laptop for my needs. I do like the one you recommended, but had to ask before I buy. Any advice is greatly appreciated, thanks again!

Jamie

Adding to my last comment for clarity, I also use programs like Blender for animating.

Jamie

Alex, thank you for the quick response. All your help is much appreciated. I will definitely go with your first suggestion for the CUK MSI GF65 Thin Gaming Laptop. Do you have a preferred place to buy that laptop? I’m curious which desktop PC you would recommend as well?

Jamie

I checked the MSI site but it wasn’t working properly for me on finding seller locations. I want to find a good trusted site to buy the CUK MSI GF65 Thin Gaming Laptop, so any recommendations on that would be a huge help.

Jamie

Yeah, I’m not able to find it anywhere either. I’m in the US. I saw that bestbuy has the MSI – GS66 Stealth 15.6″ Gaming Laptop – (Intel Core i7 – 16GB Memory – NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 – 1TB Solid State Drive – Core Black)
Is this a good option for gaming and animating? Apologies for all the questions.

Jamie

Thank you sincerely for all of your help and advice Alex, very much appreciate it! Take care!

GMW Animates

Hey I need some help finding a laptop that is 600$ or less. I really am just looking for a laptop that is not a knock off and is decent for animating.

Raul

Appreciate you helping everyone out with their computer needs!

Mu budget isnt really an issue but looking at your top choice I noticed a 4k screen, which I wont be needing at all since I have a good monitor I use and will be plugging it into, is there a top choice with similar specs without the 4k?

Hey Raul,

Thanks for asking!

I suggest you take a look at the CUK MSI GF65 Thin Gaming Laptop which is currently available for $1,599.99. Below are its specs:

CPU Intel Core i7-9750H 2.60GHz 6-Core Processor
Graphics Card NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 6GB
Memory(RAM) 64GB DDR4-2666
SSD 1TB PCIe Solid State Drive
HDD –
Weight ~4.10 pounds
Display 15.6″, 1920×1080

As you can see, the CUK MSI GF65 Thin Gaming Laptop is cheaper than the MSI P65 Creator because the GF65 only has an FHD display. However, most of the specs are the same with the P65 Creator although the GF65 comes with twice the RAM at 64GB. If you don’t need a laptop with a 4K display, then the CUK MSI GF65 Thin Gaming Laptop should be your top choice.

Cheers,
Alex

Jose

hi can you suggest the best laptop for animation
my budget is aprox $1000
is that enough or do i need to add more?

Amadeu

Hello Alex,
First of all thanks for all the info. It makes easy to find a good device. I would like to buy a laptop and I’m wondering if I should buy one with i7-9750H as ASUS ROG Zephyrus M GU502GV or I wait to have a 10th generation i7 in that model. Its for rendering with sketchup + vray, cad, Adobe Photoshop + indesign.
Thanks!

Hey Amadeu,

Thanks for dropping a line! I’m glad to hear you found the article helpful in finding a good device!

The decision to buy a laptop with a 9th gen i7-9750H CPU or wait for something with the latest 10th gen will depend on how soon you need the laptop and the availability of a machine with the said 10th gen i7. Price is also a consideration but the amount of the laptop will largely depend on its specs.

In case you need one ASAP, the ASUS ROG Zephyrus M GU502GV is actually a good option for its price of $1,552.00. However, I have something that’s cheaper BUT better option for you. Take a look at the XPC MSI GF65 Thin Gamer Notebook Essential priced at just $1,529.00. Below are its specs

CPU Intel Core i7-9750H 2.60GHz 6-Core Processor
Graphics Card NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060
Memory(RAM) 64GB DDR4-2666
SSD 1TB NVMe Solid State Drive
HDD –
Weight ~4.10 pounds
Display 15.6″, 1920×1080

As you can see, the XPC MSI GF65 Thin Gamer Notebook Essential may be cheaper but it does have the same i7-9750H CPU, RTX 2060 GPU, and 1TB SSD as the ASUS ROG Zephyrus M GU502GV. However, the XPC MSI GF65 Thin Gamer Notebook Essential comes with 4 times the RAM at 64GB compared to the 16GB of the ASUS ROG Zephyrus M GU502GV. Even if the GF65 only had 16GB of RAM, it’s still a compelling option because it’s slightly cheaper. But with its whopping 64GB of RAM, I think going for the XPC MSI GF65 Thin Gamer Notebook Essential is a no-brainer.

Cheers,
Alex

Amadeu

Great Alex! I will take a look and I will inform you about my final decition. Also about my opinion once buy if it can be useful for the comunity! Thank’s

Amadeu

Hi Alex again! One question. What do you think about Rog Zephyrus G14 with AMD. I’ve seen in some benchmarking that is better that I7-10th generation. Do you think Its like this?

Kelly

Hi Alex, Thank you for this informative article!

By the way, I’m an avid graphic designer/photographer who will soon be doing animation motion design projects in Adobe After Effects. I am considering the XPC MSI Creator 17M Gamer Notebook (Intel 10th Gen i7-10750H, 16GB RAM, 1TB NVMe SSD, RTX 2060 6GB, 17.3″ Full HD 144Hz, Windows 10) VR Ready Gaming Laptop Computer.

Will this laptop be a good fit for running multiple video and high end Adobe multimedia projects? Or do you recommend something similar? Also, is it necessary to get the touch screen version? I’m looking within the $1200 -$2000 price range. Thanks!

Hi Kelly,

Thanks for asking!

The XPC MSI Creator 17M Gamer Notebook is actually a good option for your use case. However, if you will running multiple videos and high-end multimedia projects, the variant of the laptop with just 16GB of RAM may not cut it. It would be best to consider the variant with 32GB of RAM.

In terms of RAM, 16GB is the baseline at the moment but if you work on large projects and complex scenes, it would better if you have at least 32GB. But if you have the means and you want the headroom and at the same time make your laptop more future proof, consider going all in and get the variant of the XPC MSI Creator 17M Gamer Notebook with 64GB of RAM.

As for getting the touch screen version, this will depend entirely on how you work on your projects. I know of some content creators who find it easier and more efficient to use a pen tablet. However, different strokes for different folks so it’s entirely up to you if you think you need a touch screen version or not.

Cheers,
Alex

Kyra

Hi! Your article is very helpful. I am an entry level animator, and I was wondering if you had any suggestions for a laptop under $1000 (Canadian).

Hi Kyra,

Thanks for asking! Happy to hear you found the article helpful!

Laptops in the sub-CDN$1,000 price range are a little underpowered for animation. Your best option at the moment is the ASUS TUF Gaming Laptop which costs around CDN$ 1,099.00. Below are its specs:

CPU Intel Core i5-10300H Processor
Graphics Card NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
Memory(RAM) 8GB DDR4
SSD 512GB PCIe Solid State Drive
HDD –
Weight 2.95 kg
Display 15.6″, 1920×1080

Ideally, you would want something with at least 16GB of RAM but that costs a little more. The ASUS TUF Gaming Laptop with its i5-10300H CPU and 8GB of RAM should be able to perform nicely and give you a decent workflow experience without putting too much of a dent in your budget.

Cheers,
Alex

TIM

Thanks for the Insightful article Alex. I am looking at pricing up a machine for use with After effects and Cinema with Redshift. I understand that Q3 we will hopefully have ‘Metal’ support for people running machines without Nvidia cards with will be great news. With this in mind what would you suggest for this software combination. Most of my work consists of reactive content, so looking for something that will work with short turn arounds. work ratio would be 70% After effects and 30% C4D.

Any thoughts and advise would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Tim.

Joyber

Hi,
The $999 laptop you suggested below looks good but I want something with a Core i7 processor. Can you help me find a laptop in the $1300 price range?
Thank you.

Hey Joyber,

Thanks for dropping a line!

If you want a laptop with an i7 CPU in the $1,300 price range, you may want to check out the XPC MSI GF65 Thin Gamer Notebook. It’s priced at around $1,279.00 and below are its specs:

CPU Intel Core i7-9750H 2.60GHz 6-Core Processor
Graphics Card NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060
Memory(RAM) 32GB DDR4-2666
SSD 512GB M.2 NVMe PCIe Solid State Drive
HDD –
Weight ~4.10 pounds
Display 15.6″, 1920×1080

As mentioned earlier, the XPC MSI GF65 Thin Gamer Notebook comes with an i7-9750H CPU and this works in conjunction with 32GB of RAM to deliver task responsiveness when you’re doing active work. The laptop also has an RTX 2060 graphics card that will take care of GPU rendering in case you need to use the GPU render engines. All in all, the XPC MSI GF65 Thin Gamer Notebook with its price point of $1,279.00 is a good deal that you may not want to pass up on.

Cheers,
Alex

Michelle

Hi Alex
Thank you for this article.
I have a bit of an unusual need.
Up until now I needed a good laptop for modeling Jewelry in rhino 5.0 I used an HP gaming pavilion.. had a small accident involving liquid and well… I need a new one. However I want to start taking classes in character animation in maya so I need something that will be strong enough to handle both.
I would prefer not having to spend more than 1500$ if I don’t have to. I found the hp a bit heavy but other than that no issues, it had core i7 and Nvidia… Someone recommended the Acer predator to me or perhaps a Lenovo.. so I’m now lost.. would love your opinion on this as well as any other recommendations. Bless you!

Hi Michelle,

Thanks for asking and sorry to hear about what happened to your laptop!

Anyway, with your budget, you can get the XPC MSI GF65 Thin Gamer Notebook for only $1,419.00. Below are its specs:

CPU Intel Core i7-9750H 2.60GHz 6-Core Processor
Graphics Card NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060
Memory(RAM) 64GB DDR4-2666
SSD 512GB M.2 NVMe PCIe Solid State Drive
HDD –
Weight ~4.10 pounds
Display 15.6″, 1920×1080

The XPC MSI GF65 Thin Gamer Notebook has more than enough power under its hood to handle your jewelry modeling and character animation, thanks to the laptop’s i7-9750H CPU and 64GB of RAM. In case you need to use the GPU render engines, the RTX 2060 graphics card of the XPC MSI GF65 Thin Gamer Notebook has that covered. Also, the 512GB NVMe SSD will add a little snap factor so all in all, the XPC MSI GF65 Thin Gamer Notebook for $1,419.00 is something you may want to consider.

Cheers,
Alex

Michelle

Bless your soul!!! Thank you so much!