I am a graphic design student and am looking at purchasing a laptop. I will be using Indesign, Illustrator and Photoshop for the duration of my study so it needs to have good processing power, does anyone have any recommendations? Thanks!
What is your budget? That is often the determining factor for any recommendation.
In previous posts, you indicated you're using a Mac. Are you planning to go Mac or Windows with the next computer?
Not only will you need good processing power.
But RAM is important - minimum of 16gb, but I'd recommend 32gb
For photoshop you'll need a large hard drive as scratch disk space is important
I'd be looking at about a 512gb SSD + an additional 1TB drive (for the scratch disk)
The SSD to install the OS and the Adobe Applications (and other applications)
You'll also need a compatible graphic card.
You will also probably find that Apple Mac computers are extremely expensive compared to PC.
If budget is an issue - please let us know
1) your budget
2) where in the world you are
3) What currency
4) Any other information relating to your course (video editing for example)
5) Anything else you can tell us
Thank you for your reply.
• I am based in New Zealand
• My limit is $3000 NZD
• I do prefer using a Mac though I know they can be pricey, but am flexible on this and aware of my budget.
• I am mainly photo editing in photoshop, creating graphics in illustrator and written documents in indesign.
• Possibly a little video editing, but this isn't a priority for my buying specs. Thanks
I run all CC programes easily on a modest 8 GB, i7 laptop with 1.85ghz processor. I'm sure you'll be advised to go higher spec but they are smooth enough for my purposes without any lagging.
Alternatively I also picked up a second-hand 2017 imac 2,3ghz for a very nice price and because of their longetivity would recommend this over a new imac which will be (some might say) highly overpriced, or a PC. Just my opinion, you can't go wrong with either. Maybe portability is more of an issue. My PC laptop is quite large as I knew I would be taking it around with me, but I am aware it has a limited shelflife over the mac.
In addition to the factors mentioned above — min 16GB of RAM/32GB better (for your own good, accept no lesser substitutes), Intel i5/i7/AMD Ryzen 5/Apple M1 processor, lots of fast SSD storage space, fast USB 3.2 ports for quick connections to external storage and peripherals, etc. — I'd consider exactly where you're going to be using your system. Which will be a determining factor on whether you go big or small.
If you're constantly going to be doing your work away from your desk — at the library, in coffee shops, location shooting, etc. — you've got two things to consider: portability and screen size. If you weren't doing lots of photo retouching away from your desk, I'd strongly recommend small. Weight and size matter, especially when you consider that you're often going to be carrying a lot more kit like power supply/external storage/peripherals/cables in your kit. If you're doing lots of image work away from your desk, you may choose to bear the burden of a larger screen so you can better see what you're doing.
But whether you get a big, heavier laptop or a smaller lightweight model, I can't recommend enough that you should include an external high-resolution/large-screen monitor, keyboard and mouse for your desktop work. The fastest way to turn young, sharp eyes into tired, poorer ones is to constantly do all your exacting work hunched over your laptop peering into a small display screen. You'll do much better work — and save yourself from abusing your eyes, neck, back, arms and hands — by working with a large monitor and standard keyboard at your desk as much as possible.
This gives you the best of both worlds: a powerful and comfortable "desktop" powered by your new laptop, which can be quickly unplugged and used for road work whenever you choose. You want that.
Good luck, and welcome to the design biz. Hope this is the start of a fulfilling and rewarding journey for you.
There are 3 items my firm always recommends:
These are the factors that we outgrow the quickest in digital media, especially for data-heavy Photoshop and Illustrator files. And InDesign files with a lot of graphics and fonts. Most everything else can be improved or added later on.
And with the latest Creative Suite, we're strongly urging 32GB if you can afford it.
In case any Windows folks read this, we recommend Windows gaming laptops for graphics designers. They have excellent hardware geared for fast processing of graphics. And with their lit-up keyboards and mice, they're really fun to work on. Often have 17" screens that are much easier on the eyes than common 13-14" laptop screens.
Our studio uses Windows models from Asus and Dell.
Personally, I have access to a half dozen top-of-the-line computers at my shop, Macs and Wndows (I'm the owner) and when I need to work in Photoshop and Illustrator, I choose an MS Surface Pro...small full-powered laptop with a touchscreen that is awesome to use for graphics. Pure joy to sit outside on the patio with a surface and create with the touchscreen, the PEN stylist, or my fingers.
All files are interchangeable between Macs and PCs so I never worry about compatability between the two OSs. Creative Suite is Creative Suite.
The m1 is only available in the 13 inch model MacBook at the moment.
And it's limited to 16gb* ram and no dedicated video card.
This is slightly below what I said but 256gb SSD would be fine
On apple site I put the 13 inch m1 chip spec for you attached
Also attached is 16 inch
*Edit 8gb to 16gb