Best Laptop for animation – 2020 Guide

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Animation can require a lot from your computer. You should be equipped with a laptop that can run programs such as Autodesk Maya, Cinema 4D, and Adobe After Effects. Although you will be able to use a low-end laptop for a lot of things, you are best off getting at least a mid-range laptop if you want the best laptop for animation. 

You might want to have a look at the following resource pages to see the requirements of actual animation software. As long as your computer meets the minimum requirements you know that it can be used. That being said, if you want reasonable performance then you should aim for something a little higher than the minimum requirements.

Autodeks Maya: See requirements.
Cinema 4D: See requirements.
Adobe After Effects: See requirements.

Below you will find a list of the best laptops for animation. Afterwards there is a composition of things that you should look into when doing your research. Please keep in mind that you don’t need the best laptop out there. Although I present what is the best option, that does not mean that it will fit your budget. There are also some more budget friendly options available. In the end, the best laptop for animation for you is the best laptop that fits your budget.

If you are willing, you should also consider building your own desktop computer as it could give you better performance than a laptop. 

A great laptop for animation is the MSI GS65 Stealth-430 (#ad)

List of best laptops for animation

MSI GS65 Stealth-430 – Top Pick

Image of MSI GS65 Stealth-430, best laptop for animation

The top pick for animation is the MSI GS65 Stealth-430. There are quite a few customizations so that you can choose the model that fits your needs the best. The reason why this laptop is the best laptop for animation is because of the great parts that it has. MSI is also a laptop manufacturer with a good reputation so you know that you get a good deal. MSI is the brand that I use for my personal laptop as well, and I feel comfortable recommending it. 

The MSI GS65 Stealth comes with an Intel Core i7-9750H. This is a 6 core CPU which makes it really good at doing a lot of things at the same time. This CPU is actually one of the best CPUs you can get in a laptop these days. This particular CPU has about 10% performance gain over the previous version. That means that it is quite a bit better, but it also means that if you are not looking for the very best, you can get away with the previous version as well. 

In addition to an amazing CPU, the MSI laptop also has a NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 GPU. This is a really good CPU for a laptop, making it suitable for more than animation. This laptop will be great for other things such as video games or machine learning as well. This laptop is actually one of the best deep learning laptops. If you want a laptop that can handle pretty much anything that you can throw at it in terms of computations, this laptop is probably for you. Just keep in mind that with specs as good as these there is also a higher price tag.

The laptop also has 32 GB of DDR4 RAM. DDR4 is both faster and more power efficient than DDR3. 32 GB should be more than you need. 32 GB of DDR4 coupled with a great CPU and a great GPU makes this laptop the best option for animation. It might be more than what some people need, but you will be hard pressed to find a more powerful laptop from a more reputable company. 

The screen is also quite good on this laptop. The only drawback in terms of animation is that the screen is anti-glare. A glossy screen would provide slightly better image quality, but you are unlikely to see too much of a difference. You can also get an external screen which would be much better than any laptop screen as well. 

There are also a host of other great features about this laptop that you can have a look at.

See the MSI GS65 Stealth-430 (#ad) on Amazon. 

Dell Inspiron 15 7000 – Mid Range Option

Image of Dell Inspiron 15 7000

Another good option for animation is the Dell Inspiron. It is still not the cheapest laptop out there and falls in the mid-range category. That being said, this laptop offers a lot of bang for your buck. It comes with the Intel Core i7-9750H CPU. This is the same CPU that comes with a lot of gaming laptops that are quite a bit more expensive. The CPU alone makes this laptop quite good.

The laptop also has a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 GPU in it. It is not as powerful as some of the other options, but it is still quite good. Having a GPU also makes this laptop a contender for other activities such as video games if you are interested in that. 

There is 8 GB of RAM in the laptop. This might not be as much as we would like, but the machine has been tested with 32 GB. This means that you can upgrade it in the future if you want to. The most important part is that it is the DDR4 kind. DDR4 is better than DDR3 and you can’t upgrade from one to the other because they don’t fit in each other’s slots. For example, this does not meet the minimum requirement for Adobe after affects so you should consider on of the other options or upgrade this if that is the program you want to use. 

The SSD is not the largest one out there, but a 256 GB SSD should be enough to install your programs and then some. There is also the option of external storage or cloud storage if you need more. 

See the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 (#ad) on Amazon. 

ASUS ROG Strix Scar III

Image of ASUS ROG Strix Scar III

The ASUS ROG Strix Scar is an amazing laptop. It is not cheap, but it has great parts. As many of the best laptops out there, it comes with an Intel Core i7-9750H CPU. This is probably the best laptop CPU available right now, and it will be great for animation. This laptop also comes with a GPU. It has the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070. This is a great CPU for a laptop and should be more than what you need. This laptop is also suitable for other things such as AI or playing video games. 

There is 16 GB of DDR4 RAM on this laptop. 16 GB is probably the sweet spot for animation right now. You can always upgrade this to more in the future if you want as well.

The laptop comes with a huge 1 TB SSD which is great. You always want to make sure that you have an SSD, and luckily there aren’t many laptops anymore that have regular SSDs, unless you go into low-budget territory. If you do have a low budget then you might want to consider building your own desktop PC as you can pick and choose your parts a lot better that way. 

There are also a lot of other features about the ROG Strix Scar that you can look up.

See the ASUS ROG Strix Scar III (#ad) on Amazon. 

What to look for in the best laptop for animation

There are three main things that you should look for in the best laptop for animation. They are the CPU, the GPU, and the RAM. These are the most important components that will have an impact on how fast your laptop is. You also want to make sure that you have a good SSD and a good screen. Most laptops come with an SSD these days, so the main concern is the size. You want to make sure you have enough space for all your assets as well as the programs you want to install. As you are doing design, you also want the screen to be good. 

CPU

You should aim for at least an i5 Intel CPU. Try to get one that is no older than an 8th generation. You will still find a 7th generation on some older laptops. The CPU is the brain of the computer and you don’t want to skimp too much on this. In a laptop it is harder to pick and choose your parts, but try to get a decent CPU if you want a laptop that can do a bit of work without feeling like it is stuttering. 

GPU

Pretty much any resource intensive task can take advantage of a GPU. GPUs are amazing at parallel computation and can really take a lot of work off of the CPU. Many laptops come with their own dedicated GPU these days as laptops are making their way into gaming. Gaming laptops have a lot of neat features that are good for resource intensive tasks. The best laptop for animation should have a GPU in it. 

RAM

There are two types of RAM that you will find, not counting what is in the GPU. There is DDR3 and DDR4. DDR4 is both faster and uses less power than DDR3. The main thing you should be aware of is that you can’t upgrade from DDR3 to DDR4. Because of that you should always look for a laptop that has DDR4. There are still lots of cheaper laptops that have the DDR3 kind. You should make sure it is the DDR4 kind so that if you want to upgrade the amount of RAM in the future you can still get the better kind. 

Screen

There are two main types of screens you should consider. There are matte and glossy screens. Matte reflects less light and therefore produces less glare. Glossy has slightly better image quality but is not good in sunlight. You should consider the environment where you should be using the laptop and decide based on that. Personally I prefer the matte kind. 

Final comments on the best laptop for animation

In the end, the best laptop for animation will be the best laptop that fits your budget. You want as powerful of a laptop as you can get. Animation can be resource intensive and you should make sure that you at least meet the minimum requirements of the program you plan on using. Look up the requirements of the software you want to use and aim to get something that is at least a little better than that.

You should also do some research on building your own PC if you are interested in that. Often you can get a little more bang for your buck that way, but you lose the portability of a laptop of course.

If you want to learn more about laptops you can have a look at our guide for best programming laptops.