There are a lot of different things you can use a laptop for as a music major. You might just want a laptop that works well for college, or you want something that you can use for things such as FL studio. Regardless of what your goal is, try to keep the following system recommendations in mind when doing your research.
|CPU||9th gen i5||10th gen i7|
|GPU||None||One that fits in your budget|
|RAM||8 GB||16 GB|
|Storage||256 GB||512 GB or more|
If you follow the specs above then you will get a laptop that is quite decent, and that is exactly what you want as a music major. Use your own judgment to decide if you need more or less power. The more resource intensive tasks you are going to do, the more you can benefit from a good laptop.
Best Laptops for Music Majors
Below are the laptops that I think are good options for music majors. There are many more out there, but this should give you a very good starting point for your research.
Razer Blade 15
I would argue that the Razer blade 15 is one of the best laptops for music majors. It is not a cheap laptop, but it is a really good one. It is not quite as powerful as the MSI GS66, but it is also not quite as expensive as that one. As a college student, you might also want to check out the best music major budget laptop below.
The new edition of the Razer Blade 15 comes with a new Intel i7-10750H CPU. This CPU has 6 cores, compared to the 8 in the MSI. 6 cores is still very good for a laptop, and it should be good enough for music majors. The high end laptops in this list are also suitable for more demanding work, such as machine learning or video games. That being said, some music production software can also be quite demanding, although you won’t be needing such a powerful GPU for that.
The storage on this laptop is a respectable 512 GB SSD. This is around what we recommend for a college major, as it is a good compromise between size and price. You will find that the SSD is one area many laptops save some money, but in the long run it is worth it. Having a tiny 128 GB SSD with a bigger HDD can work for some, but 128 GB fills up incredibly quickly with installed programs and you will find that it gets annoying at times.
The laptop comes with 16 GB of RAM, which is a great amount. You would definitely expect 16 GB in this price range. Even for a lot of video games this should be a decent amount, although if you are into that then you might want to add a little in the future.
This laptop also comes with a GPU, the Nvidia RTX 2060. This is a great GPU that is more than what you could need. For gaming this is great, for music production you won’t really need it as most software don’t take advantage of a GPU, they are more CPU reliant.
The Razer used to come with a copy of FL studio actually, which is a popular music production software. Although they dont any more, this should tell you that the Razer is well suited for creatives, although it is a gaming laptop.
Overall this is a great laptop that you should definitely check out.
See the Razer Blade on Amazon.
Acer Aspire 5
As you are likely a college student with limited budget, I want to also present you with one of the best budget laptops out there. The Acer Aspire is a great laptop for a great price. There are also a lot of customization options so that you can mix and match some of the features that you might want.
Although not as powerful as the Razer and the MSI, this laptop comes with a 10th gen Intel Core i5-10210U. This CPU only has 4 cores, but it should be good enough for a college student that is learning the ropes. The CPU should also be able to handle any regular college tasks that you might have to do, and it can even be used for some casual gaming if you are into that.
The laptop has a decent sized 256 GB SSD, which is about as low as you would want to go with an SSD. Even though it is on the lower end, 256 GB should still be plenty of space for most. If you find it to be a little too small, then you can get some online storage for your regular files. If you are into video games then this can quickly be filled up so you will only be able to have a few games installed at a time, but for most this is not an issue. For music related software it should not be a problem.
The laptop does not have a GPU which is not a problem for you. It does have other neat features though that you might find interesting, such as a fingerprint reader for easy unlocking and almost 10 hours of battery life.
The Acer Aspire is a great option and you should really check it out if you are willing to compromise a little on some of the parts that you likely won’t need anyways.
See the Acer Aspire (#ad) on Amazon.
MSI GS66 Stealth
This is by far one of the most powerful thin laptops out there. This is in most ways way more than what a music major in college would need, but if you are looking for something that is both good for music production and for more relaxing activities such as video games, then this is a great choice. MSI has a long and good reputation for making high end gaming laptops that last for a long time.
One of the best features of this laptop is the CPU. It comes with a newer 10th generation Intel Core i9-10980HK. It has 8 cores which is great for music production software. 6 or 8 cores is what you should be looking for. 6 cores is quite common in mid-level laptops, but you have to go into the high-end to find 8 cores such as this one.
There is a 1 TB SSD which is more than enough to keep any digital assets you might need, such as sound files, as well as enough space for all the software you need. With 1 TB you should not need to get any external storage.
The 32 GB of RAM that it comes with is definitely more than enough. The laptop can handle up to 64 GB of RAM, but in the vast majority of cases that would not be needed.
Another thing that is not really needed for music majors is the GPU. This laptop comes with the RT 2080 Max-Q, which is one of the best GPUs in a laptop. Most of not all high end laptops come with a GPU these days, at least they should for the price that they are charging. If you are into video games then a GPU is a must, and you won’t find many better alternatives than this one.
The MSI is a powerful laptop which has pretty much everything you could want.
See the MSI GS66 on Amazon.
Acer Predator Helios 300
Another laptop that I like is the Acer Predator Helios 300. This laptop gets better and better each year. It comes with an Intel Core i7-10750H. This is a pretty good CPU, and for the price of the laptop is is quite good.
The laptop also has an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 GPU. This makes the laptop suitable for gaming, and any other resource intensive work that can take advantage of a GPU.
There is 16 GB of RAM, which is about what you want in a laptop these days. 8 GB is the new minimum in my opinion, and it is also reflected in that most laptop don’t have anything less than 8 GB. RAM is not hard to add yourself in most cases, but starting out with 16 GB is preferrable.
There is a 512 GB SSD on board. 512 GB or more is what you should be looking for, as the drive can fill up quite quickly.
The only downside with this laptop in my opinion is that it looks a little like a gaming laptop. It is a gaming laptop, but their looks are always that great.
See the Acer Predator Helios on Amazon.
What should you look for in a music major laptop?
There is a reason why there are so many options when it comes to laptops, and that is because there are so many different needs. It is a sliding scale, where you typically get a better laptop the more you spend. There are of course those laptops that are a great deal for its price, and we have done our best to list those for you above.
In the following sections we are going to go into some of the things you should be aware of when doing your research. One of the things when looking for laptops is that they all have different parts. There is the CPU, the GPU, the RAM, Storage, and more, all of which are important and can make a tremendous difference in how the laptop works for you. Of course, there is also the price component, newer and more powerful parts usually means it costs more, but the thing is that as a music major you might not want or need all these things.
The CPU is often called the brain of the computer, and for music majors this is a critical component. Software such as FL studio rely heavily on the CPU in order to function optimally. This means that the better the CPU, the better performance you will get. I recommend that you get a CPU with as many cores as possible, at least 6 or above. Do not bother with any that has fewer than 6 as the performance can be quite noticeable. Also, there are some really good laptop options that have 6 core CPUs.
If you want a decent laptop then you should get at least 8 GB of RAM, 16 GB would be even better. More RAM allows you to do more things at once, something which is important as programs are eating more and more RAM.
There are a few things to consider. The first is the type of the RAM. There is DDR3 and DDR4, where DDR4 is the newer, faster, more power efficient kind. You probably won’t notice too much difference between the two if you are a casual user, but you should try to get a laptop with DDR4.
There is also the speed of the RAM. The faster the speed the better it usually is. Also, having two RAM chips is better than using a single one, assuming that the computer can have two chips, which most can. The specs of the laptop will say if it has one or two RAM chips.
In the end, you can always upgrade RAM yourself. You can switch out the RAM chips for new ones, or you can buy an extra if you only have one. One thing to know though is that you can’t upgrade from DDR3 to DDR4, which is another reason to get the DDR4 kind.
The most important thing about storage is that it is an SSD. You need to get a laptop that has an SSD, not just a regular plain HDD. The difference in speed is night and day, and these days there is really no need to not get an SSD as the price has come down quite a lot.
For a music major I would say that you should get at least 256 GB. You can always get some secondary storage like online or an external HDD if you need more. If you find a good option then 512 GB is also good, and some more expensive models will come with even a 1TB or higher SSD.
The options presented here are what we think are the best laptops for music majors. We have also covered what we think are things you should look out for when continuing your research. We hope you find the information helpful and that you are able to find the best option for you.
I am a Software Engineer who enjoy writing about things that interest me. Here on OamaTech I write about programming as well as other tech related topics. Visit my author page to learn more about me and what I am working on right now.