Best Laptop for Machine Learning – 2020 Guide

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2020 will be a big year for machine learning. It is an industry that is becoming more mature, and as a result there will be more jobs. If you are looking to dive deeper into machine learning this year, then getting the best laptop for machine learning is not a bad place to start.

List of Best Laptops for Machine Learning

In our opinion, the MSI GS65 Stealth-430 is the best laptop for machine learning.

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MSI GS65 Stealth-430 – Top Pick

Image of MSI GS65 Stealth-430

One of the best laptops for machine learning is the MSI GS65 Stealth-430. This computer hits all the points we are looking for and it packs an incredible amount of power. For a gaming laptop it looks really good. MSI is also a reputable brand that has been making powerful laptops for a long time.

As most other high end laptops it comes with a 9th generation Intel i7-9750H. This CPU is very good and there is a reason why it is in pretty much all the high end gaming laptops.

The GPU on this laptop is better than many of the alternatives. It comes with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080, which has 8 GB of GDDR6 RAM. Just the GPU itself is quite expensive and costs more than a lower end laptop. The GPU is one of the most important parts in a laptop for machine learning and this laptop does not disappoint.

There is also 32 GB of DDR4 RAM which is exactly what we are looking for. This laptop has two 16 GB RAM sticks, and they are the fastest DDR4 kind which is 2666 MHz. The computer can handle up to 64 GB of RAM so you can upgrade this even further in the future if you want.

It also has a 1 TB SSD which is about what we are looking for. You could do with more memory, but 1 TB should be good enough. Getting an external hard drive is still advisable as you can quickly fill up one TB with data for machine learning.

This is not a cheap computer , but it might be the best notebook for machine learning out there right now. MSI is a great brand (That is my daily PC as well), and they last a long time. They have a lot of experience in making gaming laptops which happens to be very similar to what is good for machine learning.

The reason why this computer is the top pick is because of the superior parts and it is made by a very reputable manufacturer for high end laptops.

Specs:

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-9750H
  • GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080
  • RAM: 32 GB DDR4 2666MHz
  • Storage: 1TB SSD

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ASUS ROG Strix Scar III

Image of ASUS ROX Strix Scar III

The ASUS ROG Strix Scar III hits most of the points that we are looking for. It is not the cheapest laptop but it is great for machine learning. It has a 9th generation Intel i7-9750H CPU. This is one of the best CPUs on the market currently, and you will only find them in high end laptops. It has 6 cores which means it will be able to do quite a few things at the same time. The more cores you have the better it will be. It is 4.5 GHz.

The computer also has a GPU. It comes with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070, with 8GB of GDDR6 RAM. This is a very good GPU and it will work well for machine learning. The GPU is one of the most important parts for any artificial intelligence development so you don’t want to skimp too much in this area.

It also has 16 GB of DDR4 RAM which goes to 2666 MHz. This is the kind of RAM we are looking for. You could upgrade this to 32 GB in the future.

The laptop comes with a 1 TB SSD, which is great because you can keep a lot of datasets at any given time.

This is a gaming and it also looks like one. Despite that, it does not look too bad. The screen actually looks really good with its thin bezels, although that is not going to make it any better for machine learning.

Specs:

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-9750H
  • GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070
  • RAM: 16 GB DDR4 2666MHz
  • Storage: 1TB SSD

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

Razer Blade Pro

Image of Razer Blade Pro

Another laptop that is good for machine learning is the Razer Blade Pro 17 inch gaming computer. As with the other options, this laptop comes with a 9th generation Intel Core i7-9750H. It has 6 cores, and should be okay for most of your machine learning needs. You could wait until there are more models with an i9 or 10 gen CPU but this should be good.

The GPU in this machine is the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 with 8 GB of dedicated RAM. This GPU is very good and it represents a significant cost of the laptop. The GPU is very important for machine learning so any computer that is suitable will have a significant price tag.

It has 16 GB of DDR4 RAM which should be good for many.  You can upgrade this later as it is capable of having 64 GB of RAM.

This is one of the gaming laptops that look the best so if that is of any importance to you then this is a good option.

One downside with this laptop is that it only has a 512 GB SSD. This is quite small for a computer that will be used to train on large data-sets. You can supplement this with external storage or upgrade the SSD later.

An advantage though is that it has Razer Core external GPU enclosure which supports additional graphics power. As the GPU is one of the most important things this makes the machine quite nice.

Specs:

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-9750H
  • GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080
  • RAM: 16 GB DDR4 2666MHz
  • Storage: 512 GB SSD

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Dell Inspiron

I want to give you one budget option as well. The Dell Inspiron is not the cheapest option out there, but it strikes a good balance between power and price. It comes with the same CPU that many of the more expensive alternatives does. That is the Intel Core i7 9-9750H. This CPU is a great option for machine learning, and having it in a laptop for this price is good.

In addition to the CPU, this computer also comes with a GPU. It is not as powerful as the other alternatives, but it is not bad. It comes with the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050. This makes the laptop suitable for playing video games as well. If you are looking for the most power you can get then I would recommend checking out the online platform alternatives listed at the end of this article.

The laptop comes with 8 GB of DDR4 RAM. This is not a lot of RAM, but the fact that it is DDR4 makes it viable. You can always upgrade to more in the future if you feel you need more. The machine can handle up to 32 GB of DDR4 at 2666 MHz. 32 GB is a good amount. Keep in mind that in a few years you might want to have more than 32 GB, which this laptop would not be able to offer you. For longevity you should consider a desktop computer as you can more easily upgrade the parts.

The laptop has a 256 GB SSD. You probably want some external storage as data sets can easily be more than the entire storage on this laptop. That means that you might also want to upgrade the SSD on this laptop eventually.

If you are looking for a cheaper laptop then this might be the best computer for machine learning for you.

Specs:

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-9750H
  • GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050
  • RAM: 8 GB DDR4 2666MHz
  • Storage: 256 GB SSD

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ROG Zephyrus M

Image of ROG Zephyrus M

The ROG Zephyrus M is another great laptop that is well suited for machine learning. Not only does it come with good parts, it also looks great. A really nice feature about this laptop is that it has good cooling. It has 2 x 12V fans which will give you good cooling which will be very important when you are running your models. Prolonged exposure to high intensive work will make the computer hot and it is important to have adequate cooling. You might want to consider a cooling pad as well.

As with the other laptops in this category, it comes with the Intel Core i7-9750H. This is one of the best CPUs you can get in a laptop right now. If you were to build your own desktop you would be able to get more power, but this is very good for a laptop.

The GPU is a Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 which also is quite good for machine learning in a computer. Artificial intelligence requires a lot of computation, and a GPU is extremely well suited for computation. A GPU is mandatory if you want to use it for AI.

There is only 16 GB of RAM which is on the low end for this purpose. The good thing is that it is DDR4 and you can always upgrade in the future if you do indeed need more.

Another good feature about this computer is that it has a large 1 TB SSD. You need a lot of space for machine learning as the data sets are incredibly large.

If you are looking for a powerful laptop that actually looks quite good then this might be for you.

Specs:

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-9750H
  • GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070
  • RAM: 16 GB DDR4 2666MHz
  • Storage: 1 TB SSD

See the ROG Zephyrus M (#ad) on Amazon.

HP Omen

Another great gaming laptop that is good for machine learning is the HP Omen. Gaming laptops have many of the features we look for in a laptop for artificial intelligence. Most notably this computer has the Nvidia RTX 2080 GPU with 8 GB of GDDR6 RAM. Data science and artificial intelligence requires a lot of compute power, and a GPU is exceptionally well suite for it. This is one of the best GPUs you will get in a laptop right now.

The machine also comes with an Intel Core i7-9750H CPU. This is a 6 core CPU and will be well suited for machine learning and ai. You can get more cores on desktop level CPUs, but for a computer this is as good as it gets. The CPU is the brain of the computer and having a combination of a great CPU and a GPU is something that you should be on the look for.

One downside is that it only comes with 16 GB of RAM out of the box. Luckily it is the DDR4 kind and you can upgrade it yourself as the machine has 2 slots available. You will be okay with 16 GB as you get started, but once you gain more experience, perhaps a year down the road or so you might want to upgrade to 32 GB of RAM.

There is a combination of a 256 GB SSD and a 1 TB HD. You can install all your programs on your SSD and keep your data sets on the slower had drive. This is a good combination and a good compromise in order to save price versus having a larger SSD only.

There are many other good features about the HP Omen that you should have a look at.

Specs:

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-9750H
  • GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080
  • RAM: 16 GB DDR4 2666MHz
  • Storage: 1 TB HDD, 256 GB SSD

See the HP Omen (#ad) on Amazon.

Lenovo Legion Y540

The Lenovo Legion packs a decent amount of power for a decent price. This laptop does not have as powerful of a GPU as some of the others on this list but is still packs an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650. This should be enough for many beginners. It is a good option for a laptop that is more in the mid-range.

The CPU is the same as in most other good laptops. It comes with the Intel Core i7-9750H. 6 cores goes a long way when the machine has to do a lot of multitasking as it has to with data science and machine learning.

There is 24 GB of DDR4 RAM in the laptop. 24 GB is sort of a strange number for RAM as the sticks come in 4 GB, 8 GB, 16 GB, and so on. But nonetheless, 24 GB is a good amount of RAM for artificial intelligence.

This laptop also comes with the split HDD and SSD. There is a 1 TB HDD and a 512 GB SSD.

In addition to powerful core parts, there are quite a few other good things about this laptop that you should check out.

Specs:

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-9750H
  • GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650
  • RAM: 24 GB DDR4 2400MHz
  • Storage: 1 TB HDD, 512 GB SSD

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What to look for in a machine learning laptop

When looking for the best laptop for machine learning you should take the following into consideration.

What CPU should you get

The CPU is the brain of the computer, and it is quite important for machine learning. The best machine learning laptop will have a new generation of the Intel Core i7. I do not recommend going with anything lower than an i7 for artificial intelligence related tasks. Also, you probably want a CPU with as many cores as you can get. The more cores a CPU has, the more it can do simultaneously. Ryzen is coming out with a lot of great CPUs these days as well so a high end Ryzen CPU would work as well.

As far as the generation of the CPU goes you should get either a 9th or 10th generation one. There aren’t many options with the 10th generation yet, so going with a 9th generations should be okay. There will always be better parts just around the corner, but you could consider renting some online resources until there are more options with a newer CPU. That being said, we will have laptops with GPUs that will do most of the legwork for us in terms of computation. As the new generation comes out, the cost of the 9th generation should be coming down slightly as well. 

What GPU should you get

The best laptop for machine learning will definitely have a powerful GPU. A GPU is great for parallel computations, something that is incredibly useful in machine learning. Machine learning requires a GPU to perform well.

As far as which GPU you should get, you should get the best one that fits in your budget. The GPU is one of the most important parts of a laptop for doing machine learning. Most gaming laptops already come with GPUs which is great. For a laptop you should be looking for a high end Nvidia GPU. The RTX 2080 is a good option.

How much RAM do you need

RAM is another important component for machine learning. You need not only a large amount of RAM, but also the fastest kind of RAM you can get your hands on. RAM is important for holding information readily available in memory. In machine learning you often have to load a lot of data into memory at once in order to do calculations on it. The more times you have to go to secondary memory (ssd / hdd) to retrieve data, the slower it will be. 

The best laptop for machine learning will have at least 32 GB of DDR4 RAM. The good thing is that most laptops can handle 32 GB, so even if you get one that only has 16 GB you can buy more RAM and upgrade it yourself. Most laptops have two slots for RAM chips, and in a 16 GB model they usually have two 8 GB chips. The important thing to keep in mind is that you can not upgrade from DDR3 to DDR4 RAM. The chips have different sizes and will not fit in each others slot. 

How much storage ( SSD) do you need

Many data sets for machine learning can reach hundreds of gigabytes. Even if you only keep them on the computer for a limited time while you work on your algorithms, they can quickly fill up your entire disk. Because of this, I recommend that you get at least a 1 TB hard drive. An SSD is better than hard drive, and many laptops will have the SSD option instead of the hard drive. Also, some laptops have a combination of a hard drive and an SSD, which is a nice compromise between size and price. The smallest storage device on your laptop should not be less than 256 GB, and the total should not be less than 1 TB. You might also want to pick up an external hard drive that you can use to store your data sets long term. It is not feasible to keep that many on a laptop as they will fill it up very quickly. 

You can often upgrade the SSD in a laptop yourself. If you want to go for a laptop that does not have a lot of storage, do some research into if you can upgrade it easily or not.

Alternatives to a Laptop for Machine Learning

As laptops are not the best workstation for machine learning, you should consider the alternatives. The first one is a desktop computer. A desktop can be more powerful and can give you more bang for your buck if you build it yourself. The big drawback of course is that you can’t carry it around like a laptop. If your situation allows for it, a desktop is a better alternative than a laptop for machine learning. If you are looking for something that you can bring back and forth to places, then a laptop might be the way to go, but you still have one more alternative if that is the case.

Renting online compute power is not very expensive these days. You have both Amazon AWS and Google offering machines that you can connect to remotely do to your work. You can probably get more powerful machines there than what you would be able to acquire yourself. A big advantage is that you can leave the machine running without interrupting anything. If you use a laptop or a desktop it will kinda be locked up for the duration of your learning if you want to give it all the resources. 

Check out the two options below if you are interested in trying an online platform instead of a laptop:

If you still want the best laptop for machine learning then have a look at one of the options from this post.

Conclusion

You should be able to find the best laptop for machine learning if you follow the pointers from this guide. With the advent of gaming laptops, there are powerful alternatives that should be able to handle much of what you can throw at it. You should keep the pointers from this guide in mind when you do your research. If you are on a budget, then you are better off renting space online, as low-end laptops are not well suited for machine learning. That being said, you can still use them. 

You should also consider the option of building a desktop machine, as they can be more powerful and more upgradable in the future. A laptop does offer a lot of advantages as well, but the main advantage is that it is portable. If you are a student then a laptop is a good option as you can bring it to campus as well.

If you want to read more about computers you can have a look at the post about best laptops for blogging.