In this article, we’ll be reviewing the best laptops for music production in 2021. When you have so many options, it’s hard to navigate through finding one that suits your workflow, has all the ports you need, works with your DAW and plugins, and has enough space. This list of reviews will help you choose the best laptop for you and your needs.
Here are the best laptops for music production:
- Apple MacBook Pro
- Lenovo ThinkPad P52
- Dell XPS 13 9360
- Razer Blade Stealth 13
- MSI GX63VR
- Dell Inspiron i5378 2 in 1
- HP Jaguar 15.6 Touchscreen
- Lenovo Yoga 720 2 in 1
1. Apple MacBook Pro
The ultimate best laptop for music production
Without a doubt, Apple has the best laptops for audio production in general, or if you prefer Apple’s operating system and hardware over Windows’. The MacBook Pro has been a standard in music production for years and continues to hold that title as the best overall laptop.
The MacBook Pro boasts a powerful Intel processor (you can choose from 4-, 6-, and 8-core processors) and up to an impressive 32GB of memory (depending on the model you choose and hardware upgrades), making processing DAWs and plugins seem like a miniscule task.
The MacBook Pro uses a solid state drive rather than a normal hard drive, which allows you to navigate through files at lightning speed. The 13-inch model of the laptop has a capacity of up to 2TB and the 15-inch model has 4TB of storage.
|Image credit: Apple Check Amazon||
I will stress heavily that this really is the best Mac laptop for music production, although there are many good Apple laptops out there. If you don’t have a big budget, this computer might not be for you. If you can find a used model, do that. The used ones usually work as well as ones that are brand new.
The MacBook Pro is a great choice for anyone from beginners to experienced producers, and if you’re looking to switch from Windows to Apple, definitely try out a MacBook Pro.
2. Lenovo ThinkPad P52
The best Windows laptop
For those of you who are Windows fans, the Lenovo ThinkPad P52 is probably the best Windows laptop for music production. While it has a giant price tag, its specifications definitely make up for it.
The ThinkPad P52 is equipped with an 8th generation Intel Core i7 6 core processor with vPro technology. The ThinkPad P52 allows for up to 64GB of RAM and you can choose either a 1TB 7200 RPM hard drive or a solid state drive (up to 1TB) depending on what type of storage you want.
The battery life of this laptop will last pretty long, up to 10 hours, which of course will vary depending on how many programs you have open and what you’re doing with it.
The graphics card of this laptop is also customizable, you can either choose between an NVIDIA Quadro P1000 4GB or an NVIDIA Quadro P2000 4GB card. You should have no problem handling graphics heavy plugins or DAWs with these graphics cards.
|Image credit: Lenovo Check Amazon||
Overall, this computer is a fantastic model, and although I’m a Mac fan, I would definitely consider using the Lenovo ThinkPad P52 for my own studio if I was to switch from Apple to Windows. It’s an absolute workhorse of a laptop.
If you like the familiarity of Windows computers and want to stick with a really nice laptop that will get you through hours of recording sessions and beat making, definitely go with this one.
3. Dell XPS 13 9360
A great option for beginners
The Dell XPS 13 9360 is the best laptop for amateurs. This top-rated computer has 8GB of RAM (up to 16GB in some versions) and is soldered therefore RAM cannot be upgraded in the future.
However, it comes with a completely up to date 7th gen dual-core i5 (or i7) processor, SSD (up to 512GB) , and runs a Windows 10 64-bit operating system comfortably which is perfect for most users who are working with entry-level knowledge of music production.
It also has a 13.3-inch touch screen display with an Intel HD Graphics 620 processor (8GB RAM card) that makes its operations far more user-friendly, with the ability to manipulate and draw automation in if so desired.
|Image credit: Dell Check Amazon||
If you are just starting out in music production, the Dell XPS 13 9360 will meet nearly all requirements for music production. It is fairly high in cost considering what it lacks so finding one that is used but still in good condition might be the better option for those seeking to start out with this laptop. When all is said and done, though, it does provide an adequate level of specs to run the majority of DAWs.
4. Razer Blade Stealth 13
The best ultrabook
The Razer Blade Stealth laptop is powered by the quad-core 8th generation Intel Core i7 processor, giving it a speed of 1.8 GHz. However, it is fully capable of reaching a max speed of 4.6 GHz when put in turbo mode for up to four times performance increase in content creation.
It comes with a RAM of 16GB with a memory speed of 1866 MHz combined with an Intel Graphics card 620. The hard drive capacity is 256GB SSD but is upgradeable up to 512GB SSD.
This laptop is incredibly sleek and visually stunning. It features up to 4K resolution QHD+ 3200 X 1800 touch display giving it incredible graphics in a thin bezel 13.3” display. This in addition to a new Razer Chroma keyboard, the Razer Blade Stealth combines both mobility and style with power that makes it perfect for music production and gaming if that is something you would want to use it for as well.
|Image credit: Razer Check Amazon||
The Razer Blade Stealth 13 is perfect for any professional looking to launch multiple programs all at once. Both stylish and productive for work, music production, and gaming, this laptop is supported by the Windows 10 OS.
5. MSI GX63VR
The best laptop for making beats
I know what you’re thinking: that the price of this laptop automatically makes it one that you’d never put your money towards. However, if you’re heavy into making beats, the MSI GX63VR is an extremely solid choice for those of you who want a laptop that will provide hours of great performance but will also be portable and sturdy enough to carry with you wherever you go.
Like the Razer Blade Stealth, the GX63VR is a gaming laptop (hence the price tag). The GX63VR is considerably heavier and a little bigger, but it has some extra features that make it well worth it to consider as an option if you need somewhere to keep all your samples and recordings while simultaneously using graphics-heavy plugins and projects with a lot of tracks.
The MSI GX63VR has the 7th generation Intel Core i7 processor, VR Ready graphics with compatibility for graphics cards up to the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 card, 16GB of RAM, and here’s the killer: there are not one, but two storage drives. You get a 256GB solid state drive and a 2TB hard drive.
If you’re the type of person that likes to store your files on your computer, or you just don’t want to shell out the money for an external drive, I highly suggest this laptop, as you can store a ton of your samples and plugins on the hard drive and store your DAWs on the solid state drive so that you can access everything at lightning fast speeds.
Additional features include huge speakers and virtual surround sound, as well as individually customizable backlit RGB keys and a special fan made with copper heat pipes to keep the laptop from overheating even when you have a ton of programs open.
|Image credit: MSI Check Amazon||
This laptop is definitely one of the more extreme ones on this list, but well worth the price if it’s something you can afford or want to consider. I encourage you to not be afraid of the price tag, as it’s an incredibly great laptop for making beats since it can handle so many plugins and DAWs with a lot of tracks.
6. Dell Inspiron i5378 2 in 1
The best budget laptop
The Dell Inspiron 2 in 1 is a really nice high-end choice for seasoned producers who often have recording sessions with clients while also being a good option for beginner producers.
The Dell Inspiron 2 in 1 has a 7th generation i3 Intel Core processor, RAM that starts at 4GB for the base model of this laptop (which is upgradeable up to 16GB), and a 1TB hard drive.
The Inspiron 2 in 1 has Waves MaxxAudio Pro technology which makes this laptop one of the best sounding laptops on this list. It also has an Intel HD Graphics 620 card to handle plugins and DAWs with lots of graphics.
The most obvious feature of this laptop is clearly the touch screen. Since the Inspiron is a 2 in 1, you can easily transport it as well as use it in laptop mode or tablet mode. This is beneficial for producers who like to be up on their feet instead of sitting at a desk or in a chair.
If you frequently need to move around your studio I strongly suggest using a 2 in 1 to control your DAW.
|Image credit: Dell Check Amazon||
Since this is the budget option for this list, I would consider it to be a good middle of the road, affordable option. It’s not super cheap (and therefore not fragile), it is upgradeable, and it allows for way more freedom in terms of transportation and creation in the studio.
Depending on where you buy this laptop it could go anywhere from $500 to $700 but it’s definitely worth it considering it’s one of the best laptops for recording music.
7. HP Jaguar 15.6 Touchscreen
The best laptop under $700
The HP Jaguar is a great laptop that is also fairly affordable if you’re not wanting to spend more than $700. HP has some of my favorite computers, and all the HPs I’ve used have been really well built.
The HP Jaguar has a 2.50GHz (3.10GHz Turbo Boost) Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, a 1TB hard drive, HDMI capabilities, updated USB ports, and a touch screen.
The 1TB hard drive will leave you more than satisfied with the amount of storage, although if you want more speed when accessing your files you should go with a solid state drive. 8GB of RAM is plenty of memory to run plugins and store DAW information without slowing your computer down and causing it to crash.
The processor is one of the faster ones out there, especially for a laptop that runs Windows and has a touch screen. Speaking of the touch screen, it will definitely help you maximize efficiency in the studio and enable you to mix, master, and record very easily.
This laptop is upgradable so if there are some specifications that don’t meet your expectations or preferences, that can easily be remedied. The only letdown of this laptop, which is barely a letdown, is that the battery life is not as long as others on this list. Nevertheless, it is still good.
|Image credit: HP Check Amazon||
If you want something that definitely has a lot of bang for your buck, this one is the way to go.
8. Lenovo Yoga 720 2 in 1
A good option for around $1000
If you’re on somewhat of a budget and don’t want to shell out over $1000 for a new laptop for audio recording that doesn’t fail or fall short of what you need it for, the Lenovo Yoga 720 2 in 1 is probably the best option for a laptop for producers who need good quality but don’t want to go broke.
The Lenovo Yoga 720 has a 2.8Ghz i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD. It has updated USB ports and a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 graphics card with 2GB of video RAM.
You can use the Yoga as a tablet or a laptop since it’s a 2 in 1, and it’s also compatible with a stylus if you prefer to control your DAWs with a stylus or to write in automation.
The Yoga is actually a big rival right now against the Razer Blade Stealth 13 laptop, so if you were looking at getting one of those, check out the Yoga first. If you’re not satisfied with the solid state drive capacity, you can always get a 1TB external hard drive to use.
|Image credit: Lenovo Check Amazon||
As it rivals the Razer Blade Stealth 13 and is a very easily transportable laptop, definitely try it out.
How to choose a laptop for music production?
When looking for a laptop for music production, there are several things you must take into consideration:
- Operating system: Do you want a Mac? A Windows computer? Or do you want something with a different operating system, like Ubuntu, for example? This all comes down to personal preference but it also has to do with the DAW you’ll be using. Some DAWs only work with Mac, some only work with Windows.
- Your DAW: What’s your DAW of choice? Is it compatible with Mac or Windows or both? Is it hard to navigate through on a smaller screen? Does it require a computer with a lot of memory or CPU when using plugins?
- Your plugins: You may already have experience working with different audio plugins in your DAW. You may already have a suite of plugins in mind that you’d like to use. Think about them. Are they graphics-heavy? Do they require a lot of computer power?
- How you mix: Are you the type of person who likes to use only a few plugins, or do you come up with elaborate signal chains? Do you typically make songs that have many audio tracks, or just a few?
- Preparedness for future projects: Who do you anticipate working with? Will they want or need a lot of plugins? Will they likely have a lot of audio tracks?
- Studio size: How big is your studio? Are you a bedroom producer, or do you have a professional-grade studio to work in?
- Portability: Do you plan on taking your computer with you to work on projects at other studios or while you’re on the go, or will it stay in one location?
Once you’ve considered these factors, you can now make a decision based on what your answers are to the questions above. You’ll need to focus on the following:
- Storage drives.
- Graphics cards.
CPU stands for Central Processing Unit. The CPU is the main component of a computer that processes instructions. It is made up of many circuits and a chip that performs calculations to execute every task you do on your computer. CPU affects the speed of your computer and how much work it can take on.
RAM stands for Random Access Memory. As its name suggests, RAM is a type of computer memory that can be accessed randomly. RAM chips only remember information when a computer is powered on, so it’s used for storing information that a computer is working on only in the very short term.
There are two types of storage drives: hard disk drives (HDD) and solid state drives (SSD). Both are for long term file storage.
- A hard disk drive is a storage drive that has spinning, moving parts and uses that to access the information. There are hard drives with different rotation speeds. Depending on the speed, it will either be quite fast, or it could be slow. Hard drives slow down as you put more and more files on them.
- A solid state drive is a storage drive that has no moving parts, just like a thumb drive. This means it’s extremely fast and efficient at locating and storing files. Solid state drives don’t slow down like hard drives do.
A graphics card outputs graphic information to your computer screen. All computers have something called integrated graphics, which uses the CPU to output graphics to your screen, but that slows down your computer a lot and usually integrated graphics don’t have enough power to do much more than load images while browsing the web. A graphics card can do much more, like loading videos and games.
Once you’ve answered the base questions and decided what technical specifications would be best for what you’re doing with the laptop, go out and do some window shopping or looking around on Amazon or other websites to find some options that you think would be a good fit.
I also suggest watching reviews on YouTube and even asking other producers what laptops they use or like. I encourage you to check out our upcoming guide on how to choose a computer for music production as well.
Is Mac better than Windows or vice versa?
This is more of a personal preference thing. Some people like Apple computers better and others like Windows. Both Mac and Windows laptops have their own specifications, and that means that some Windows models will have better specifications than some Mac models and vice versa. Windows laptops for music production are just as good as Mac laptops as long as you do your research on the technical specifications.
Are gaming laptops a viable option for music production?
Absolutely. If anything, gaming laptops are more than capable of running DAWs, plugins, and storing project files.
At the end of the day, the choice is up to you, but hopefully this list of good laptops for making music has provided you with a solid amount of options of laptops (some more expensive and others being more budget friendly) for what you’ll need in order to make the right purchase based on the best laptops for music production in 2021.
Remember that there’s no right or wrong answer and that whatever you end up choosing will be based on what is best for you and your needs.