3D modeling and animation software are arguably some of the most resource-intensive. If stations were almost the only option for those who want to invest seriously, today there are laptops whose performance is noticeably close to towers.
It is a fact, laptops are more and more powerful, evidenced by the name of recent Nvidia graphics cards which have abandoned their “M” (for mobile) to mark the notable evolution in terms of performance that brings them closer to their office counterparts.
However, the choice is vast and it is not always easy to distinguish between computers capable of running 3D modeling software without flinching. This is the reason for this article, to help you choose the computer that best suits your use.
Best Laptop For Animation
Table of Contents
This guide is intended for 3D artists and animators who use apps like 3ds Max, Maya, Zbrush, Mudbox, Blender, C4D, After Effects, V-ray, Substance Designer, Unity, Unreal Engine, etc. on a daily basis.
Besides the CPU which is the fundamental component of any computer supporting 3D, a good GPU is more than necessary in order to lighten the workload of the processor and the RAM.
A computer with a higher screen resolution, a relatively large screen size as well as a good storage capacity is also appreciable although objectively not essential.
Today’s gaming laptops offer excellent graphics performance and adapt very well to 3D modeling and animation needs, so it’s pretty normal to find quite a few on this list.
So which laptop for 3D modeling and animation? Let’s find out together.
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Best Laptop For Animation | Comparison Table 2021
|Razer Blade 15 Base Gaming Laptop 2020: Intel Core i7-10750H 6-Core, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti, 15.6" FHD 1080p 120Hz, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD, CNC Aluminum, Chroma RGB Lighting, Black||Razer||Check Price|
|Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD Storage, Magic Keyboard) - Space Gray (Renewed)||Apple||Check Price|
|GIGABYTE AERO 17 HDR XD - 17.3" UHD 4k IPS Anti-Glare, Intel Core i7, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Laptop GPU 8GB GDDR6, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD, Win10 Pro, Creator Laptop (AERO 17 HDR XD-73US524SP)||GIGABYTE||Check Price|
|Acer Spin 5 Convertible Laptop, 13.5" 2K 2256 x 1504 IPS Touch, 10th Gen Intel Core i7-1065G7, 16GB LPDDR4X, 512GB NVMe SSD, Wi-Fi 6, Backlit KB, FPR, Rechargeable Active Stylus, SP513-54N-74V2||Acer||Check Price|
|NEW Microsoft Surface Book 3 - 13.5" Touch-Screen - 10th Gen Intel Core i7 - 32GB Memory - 1TB SSD (Latest Model) - Platinum||Microsoft||Check Price|
|2020 Apple MacBook Air Laptop: Apple M1 Chip, 13” Retina Display, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage, Backlit Keyboard, FaceTime HD Camera, Touch ID. Works with iPhone/iPad; Space Gray||Apple||Check Price|
|ConceptD 7 Ezel CC715-71-7196 Convertible Creator Laptop, Intel i7-10750H, GeForce RTX 2060, RTX Studio, 15.6" 4K UHD IPS, Pantone Validated, 100% Adobe RGB, 16GB DDR4, 1TB NVMe SSD, Wacom EMR Pen||Acer||Check Price|
|2021 Lenovo Yoga ThinkBook 14s 2 in 1 Laptop with 14" FHD IPS Touchscreen, Intel Core i7-1165G7, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, Fingerprint Reader, Pen, Backlit Keyboard, WiFi 6, and Windows 10 Pro||Lenovo||Check Price|
|2020 Newest HP Pavilion 17.3 Inch Touchscreen Laptop (Intel 4-Core i5-8265U up to 3.9GHz, 16GB DDR4 RAM, 1TB SSD, Intel UHD 620, WiFi, Bluetooth, HDMI, Webcam, DVD, Windows 10 Home) (Gold)||HP||Check Price|
Best Laptop For Animation | 22021 Products Overview
The Razer Blade 15 Base Gaming Laptop 2020 is a high-performance laptop designed for gaming enthusiasts. It features a 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10750H processor that delivers powerful performance, with up to 5.0GHz Max Turbo and 6 cores. It also comes with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti graphics card that provides impressive graphics rendering, making it a supercharger for popular games.
The laptop has a 15.6″ Full HD thin-bezel display with a fast 120Hz refresh rate that offers an immersive gaming experience. The display’s high refresh rate means that there’s less motion blur, resulting in smoother gameplay. The laptop’s CNC aluminum unibody frame is incredibly durable, yet thin, measuring just 0.78″. This compact form factor is perfect for gamers on-the-go who don’t want to sacrifice performance for portability.
The Razer Blade 15 Base Gaming Laptop is fully equipped with all the essential connectivity options, including a webcam, wireless-AC, Bluetooth 5, 2X USB Type-A, 2X Type-C ports, and more. This ensures that you stay connected to your peripherals and the internet, without any hassle.
The 2020 Apple MacBook Pro with 2.0GHz Intel Core i5 is a 13-inch laptop that comes with 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD storage in a space gray color. This particular product is sold as renewed, meaning that it is refurbished and fully functional, having been inspected, tested, and cleaned by Amazon qualified vendors, and is backed by the 90-day Amazon Renewed Guarantee.
Although not certified by Apple, this product is in "excellent condition," with no visible cosmetic damage on the screen or body from 12 inches away. It also comes with a battery that exceeds 80% capacity relative to new. While accessories may not be original, they will be compatible and fully functional, and the product may come in a generic box.
The laptop is powered by a 10th-generation quad-core Intel Core i5 processor and features a brilliant Retina display with True Tone technology, providing excellent visual quality. The backlit Magic Keyboard, Touch Bar, and Touch ID features are included, allowing for quick and convenient access. The laptop also comes with Intel Iris Plus Graphics, an ultrafast SSD, and four Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports for connecting multiple devices.
The laptop's battery life can last up to 10 hours, and it also comes with 802.11ac Wi-Fi and a Force Touch trackpad. The MacBook Pro runs on the Mac OS operating system and has special features such as a backlit keyboard, HD audio, and a fingerprint reader.
However, it's important to note that the product is designed for use in the US, and international customers should check compatibility before purchasing, as it may require an adapter or converter for use in their destination. Additionally, this product is eligible for a replacement or refund within 90 days of receipt if it does not work as expected, with terms outlined on the Amazon website.
The GIGABYTE AERO 17 HDR XD-73US524SP is a high-performance laptop designed for content creators and professionals who require powerful hardware for their work. It features a 17.3-inch 4K UHD IPS anti-glare display with a resolution of 3840x2160 pixels, providing excellent color accuracy and detail. The display is VESA DisplayHDR 400 and 100% Adobe RGB certified, ensuring that content creators can rely on its color accuracy. The display is also X-Rite certified and factory calibrated, providing Pantone validation for color accuracy.
Under the hood, the GIGABYTE AERO 17 HDR XD-73US524SP is powered by an 11th Gen Intel Core i7-11800H processor, which can clock up to 4.6GHz. It is paired with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Laptop GPU with 8GB of GDDR6 memory. The GPU features NVIDIA DLSS for AI rendering, which can significantly speed up the rendering process. The laptop has 16GB of RAM, which can be upgraded to a maximum of 64GB, and a 1TB SSD that provides fast storage and boot times.
The laptop has a slim bezel design, which reduces the overall size of the laptop. It has a total of nine I/O ports, including Thunderbolt 4 (Type-C) and UHS-II SD Card Reader. This makes it a versatile laptop that can be connected to a wide range of external devices, such as monitors, external hard drives, and memory cards.
The GIGABYTE AERO 17 HDR XD-73US524SP also features Windforce Infinity Next-gen Cooling, which is a thermal management system designed to keep the laptop cool during intensive workloads. It has a 99Wh battery that provides up to 8 hours of battery life, making it suitable for users who are constantly on the go. The laptop weighs 5.5lbs and has dimensions of 15.6(W) x 10.6(D) x 0.85(H) inches, making it compact and easy to carry.
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The Acer Spin 5 Convertible Laptop is a high-performance device that is designed to cater to the needs of individuals who need a versatile laptop that can be used for work, entertainment, and creativity. The device features a 13.5-inch VertiView 2K touchscreen with a resolution of 2256 x 1504 and an aspect ratio of 3:2. The screen is LED-backlit and has an IPS panel, which provides excellent color accuracy, wider viewing angles, and better contrast levels.
The laptop is powered by a 10th generation Intel Core i7-1065G7 processor that can turbo boost up to 3.9GHz and comes with 16GB LPDDR4X memory and a 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD. These specs enable the device to run multiple applications smoothly, handle intensive tasks like video editing, and store large amounts of data.
The laptop is equipped with an Intel Wireless Wi-Fi 6 AX201 802.11ax module, which ensures faster internet connectivity and supports advanced features like WPA3 security protocol. It also has a backlit keyboard, a fingerprint reader for secure login, and up to 15 hours of battery life.
The device has various ports, including 2 USB 3.1 Type-C ports, which support Thunderbolt 3, USB Charging, DisplayPort over USB-C, and DC-in. It also has 2 USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports (one featuring power-off charging) and an HDMI 2.0 port. The laptop also comes with a rechargeable Acer Active Stylus with Wacom AES 1.0 technology, which enables precise and natural pen input for tasks like sketching and note-taking.
The laptop is available in black and green colors and comes in four different styles - Notebook Only, Notebook with Backpack, Notebook with Mouse, and Notebook only with Windows 10 Pro. It is co-engineered for mobile performance by Intel and Acer, ensuring a smooth and seamless user experience. Overall, the Acer Spin 5 Convertible Laptop is an excellent choice for professionals, students, and creatives who need a powerful and versatile device that can be used in multiple modes, including tent, stand, tablet, and laptop.
The Microsoft Surface Book 3 is a high-performance laptop designed for power users who demand the best computing experience. It comes in a 13.5-inch touch-screen format, with a platinum color finish. The laptop is equipped with a 10th Gen Intel Core i7 processor that is quad-core powered, making it the most powerful Surface laptop yet. This means that the laptop is more than 50% faster than its predecessor, the Surface Book 2.
The Surface Book 3 is also equipped with the fastest graphics on any Surface device, thanks to the NVIDIA GTX GeForce GPU. It provides 40% more graphics performance than the Surface Book 2, making it ideal for those who require high-end graphics for video editing, gaming, or other demanding tasks.
The laptop has a long battery life, with up to 15.5 hours of usage, which can be extended by improved standby time when you're away. The device has three modes: a robust laptop, powerful tablet, and portable studio in one. This versatility is perfect for creatives who want to work on the go, as the laptop can be detached from its keyboard to function as a standalone tablet. The device also comes with a stylus for drawing and taking notes.
The Microsoft Surface Book 3 has all the connections you need, including USB-A, USB-C, and a full-size SD card slot. It also has a dedicated NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Max-Q graphics coprocessor, ensuring that it can handle any demanding task you throw at it.
This laptop comes pre-installed with Windows 10 Home, and users will be eligible for a free upgrade to Windows 11 when available. Please note that products with electrical plugs are designed for use in the US, and outlets and voltage may differ internationally, so you may require an adapter or converter for use in your destination. In summary, the Microsoft Surface Book 3 is a high-end laptop that offers top-of-the-line performance, versatility, and convenience.
The 2020 MacBook Air Laptop by Apple is a powerful and sleek device designed for professional use, entertainment, and creative tasks. It features a 13.3-inch Retina Display that brings images to life with vibrant colors and sharp text. The device comes with a 256GB SSD storage capacity and an 8GB RAM that delivers fast and responsive performance.
The MacBook Air runs on the Apple M1 chip, which features an 8-core CPU, delivering up to 3.5x faster performance than previous generations while consuming less power. It enables users to take on heavy-duty tasks, such as professional editing and gaming, with ease. Additionally, the device has a battery life of up to 18 hours, which ensures that it lasts all day, even under heavy use.
One of the standout features of the MacBook Air is the backlit keyboard, which allows users to type in any lighting condition. Additionally, the device has a FaceTime HD camera and Touch ID, which provides secure access to the device, all while maintaining user privacy.
The MacBook Air is easy to learn and set up, and it comes packed with numerous built-in apps that users can use right out of the box. Furthermore, the device is compatible with all existing apps, including popular ones like Adobe Creative Cloud, Microsoft 365, and Google Drive. Users can also use their favorite iPhone and iPad apps directly on macOS, making it convenient and easy to work between devices.
The MacBook Air is designed with a fanless design, which allows it to remain cool and run quietly, even under heavy workloads. Additionally, it is environmentally friendly, with a 100% recycled aluminum enclosure, and it uses less energy, which reduces its carbon footprint.
Finally, every MacBook Air comes with a one-year limited warranty, and users can purchase AppleCare+ to extend their coverage and reduce the stress and cost of unexpected repairs.
Overall, the 2020 MacBook Air Laptop by Apple is a powerful and efficient device that is perfect for professionals, creatives, and entertainment seekers who require a fast, reliable, and intuitive device.
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The ConceptD 7 Ezel CC715-71-7196 is a high-performance, convertible creator laptop designed by Acer for professional artists, designers, and content creators. This laptop features a 10th Generation Intel Core i7-10750H 6-Core Processor with up to 5.0 GHz speed and Windows 10 Professional 64 Bit operating system. The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 with 6 GB of dedicated GDDR6 VRAM and RTX Studio Laptop certification ensures that this laptop is capable of handling demanding graphic-intensive tasks with ease.
The 15.6" 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) widescreen LED-backlit IPS Corning Gorilla Glass 6 anti-glare display provides stunning visuals with a high level of detail and clarity. The display is PANTONE Validated with Delta E <2, which ensures accurate colors and a 100% Adobe RGB Color Gamut. The display is also touch-enabled, supporting a Wacom EMR pen, allowing for precise and natural drawing or writing.
The laptop comes with 16GB DDR4 Dual-Channel 2666MHz Memory and a 1TB NVMe SSD, providing ample storage and quick data access. Wireless connectivity is handled by the Intel Wireless Wi-Fi 6 AX201 802.11ax Dual-Band 2.4GHz and 5GHz featuring 2x2 MU-MIMO technology, and LAN connectivity is provided by the 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet LAN. The keyboard is amber-colored and backlit, allowing for easy typing in low-light conditions.
Overall, the ConceptD 7 Ezel CC715-71-7196 is a high-performance, feature-rich laptop designed to meet the demands of creative professionals. Its convertible design and support for a Wacom EMR pen make it an ideal choice for artists and designers who need a versatile device for their work. However, as of now, the product is currently unavailable, and it is unclear when or if it will be back in stock.
The Lenovo Yoga ThinkBook 14s 2-in-1 laptop is a powerful and versatile device designed for professionals on the go. It features an 11th generation Intel Core i7-1165G7 processor with four cores and eight threads, which can reach up to 4.70 GHz and has 12 MB of cache. This provides plenty of power for demanding tasks such as video editing, data analysis, and content creation.
The 14-inch FHD IPS touchscreen display has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and a brightness of 300 nits. The display is glossy, providing sharp and clear images, and can be used in tablet mode thanks to the 360-degree hinge. The device also comes with a smart pen and Windows Ink, allowing for easy note-taking, drawing, and sketching.
The laptop has 16 GB of DDR4 memory running at 3200MHz, with 8 GB soldered and an additional 8 GB on a DIMM slot, allowing for efficient multitasking and smooth performance. The device also has a 512 GB PCIe SSD for fast and reliable storage, enabling quick access to frequently used files and applications.
In addition, the laptop comes with a 720p HD camera, a fingerprint reader for secure logins, and a backlit keyboard for comfortable typing in low-light conditions. The device is lightweight, weighing only 1.5 kilograms, making it easy to carry around. It also has Wi-Fi 6 802.11AX (2 x 2) and Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity for fast and reliable wireless connections.
Overall, the Lenovo Yoga ThinkBook 14s 2-in-1 laptop is a well-built, versatile, and powerful device designed for professionals who need a portable and efficient device to keep up with their demanding workloads.
The HP 2020 Newest Pavilion 17.3 Inch Touchscreen Laptop is a powerful and versatile device that is perfect for both personal and professional use. The laptop features a stunning 17.3-inch diagonal HD+ SVA BrightView WLED-backlit touchscreen display with a resolution of 1600 x 900 pixels, which provides an immersive viewing experience. The laptop is equipped with Intel UHD Graphics 620 and is powered by an Intel Core i5-8265U Processor with a base frequency of 1.6 GHz and up to 3.9 GHz, 6 MB cache, and 4 cores. This provides the laptop with the necessary computing power to run multiple applications smoothly.
The laptop comes with a massive 16GB RAM, which is adequate for multitasking and running multiple applications and browser tabs at the same time. Additionally, the hard drive is upgraded to a massive 1TB SSD, which provides ample storage space for all your digital files, making it perfect for storing important digital data and working your way through it with ease. The SSD also enhances the overall performance of the laptop, making it perfect for business, student, and daily use.
In terms of connectivity, the laptop is equipped with 1 x HDMI 1.4b, 1 x headphone/microphone combo, 1 x RJ-45, 1 x USB 2.0, and 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 (Data transfer only), making it easy to connect to other devices and peripherals.
The laptop comes with Windows 10 Home pre-installed, which brings back the Start Menu from Windows 7 and introduces new features like the Edge Web browser that lets you markup Web pages on your screen. The laptop also comes with a 1-Year NexiPC Limited Warranty*.
Overall, the HP 2020 Newest Pavilion 17.3 Inch Touchscreen Laptop is a powerful and versatile device that is perfect for both personal and professional use. With its stunning display, powerful processor, ample RAM, and massive SSD storage, this laptop is ideal for multitasking, running multiple applications, and storing large amounts of data.
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How to Choosing the right Laptop For Annimation | Buyer’s Guide 2021
1 - The CPU
3ds max, Maya, Cinema 4D, Blender, and many other 3D software have built-in and external CPU renderers that all rely on the multi-core performance of the processor.
The more powerful the processor, the better.
It is essential that you have the best possible processor for your new laptop. This unique component totally changes the game when it comes to performance. Fortunately, it's pretty easy to filter out the best processors from the rest.
I recommend - if you are serious about 3D and motion design - that you buy a laptop that has an Intel Core i7 HQ or HK processor. Make sure that your computer is equipped with at least quad-core processors because dual-cores are limited enough to handle 3D applications.
2 - The GPU
Another very important factor to consider when you need to do 3D processing is the graphics card. High-end graphics are vital for working in 3D.
Unless you've lived in a cave, you already know that the consumer-level (and to some extent, professional-level) laptop graphics card market is dominated by Nvidia. So focus on this brand as a priority.
There are many points to consider when choosing a graphics card, but right now an Nvidia GTX 1650 is the minimum to be able to do 3D. Don't go below.
3 - RAM
The amount of RAM installed on the laptop is a significant difference in the performance of the laptop.
Most 3D software vendors recommend a minimum of 8 GB of RAM, but in practice 8 GB is the minimum amount. To be truly comfortable with modeling and 3D rendering work, at least 16 GB of RAM is required.
For storage, an SSD is strictly recommended in a 3D-oriented laptop because its read and write speeds, greatly increase the overall performance of the laptop.
You can choose the amount of storage according to your needs and budget.
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5 - The display
The display is another crucial thing to consider. The laptop screen should be anti-glare with comfortable viewing angles and should also be sharp. Personally, I recommend the IPS display with Full HD or 4K resolution for CAD and 3D modeling work as they are good for all of the aspects mentioned above.
Based on these parameters as well as my personal experience, here is a selection of the 5 best laptops for 3D modeling right now.
An Apple MacBook Pro for animation?
I know a lot of people who would just love to have a MacBook Pro. They look cool and it looks like everyone in the design industry has a Mac or MacBook, right?
Since this is a topic that is usually very controversial and elicits very personal opinions, I'll just list a few facts here and let you decide for yourself:
- The Cost : The laptop (s) I recommend below are 50% cheaper than the same parts in a MacBook Pro
- Graphics card : Recommended laptops are equipped (for this use case) with superior graphics cards from Nvidia (based on CUDA), on which you can also GPU render in much more 3D software (Apple only offers the AMD Radeon GPU with OpenCL)
- Industry use : All the serious 3D studios I have worked in so far as a freelancer use Windows PCs, not Macs. Some only had Macs in their infrastructure, but these were advertising agencies that still outsourced any serious 3D or animation work.
- Extensibility: Laptops can generally be upgraded more easily
- Cost of repairs: Laptops can usually be repaired cheaply
- Sockets / Adapters: A laptop computer has all the usual connectors already integrated. MacBooks usually need expensive additional adapters for anything external.
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Using the laptop
To be productive on a laptop, it is essential to have a good input device, such as a mouse or tablet and pen.
I've never seen someone on a touchpad come close to the speed of someone using a mouse or tablet and pen.
I know that using additional input devices can be quite inconvenient at times, especially if you are in a confined space like on the train or plane.
However, whenever possible, especially at home, work, or school where you have a fairly large desk, use an input device that will speed up your work considerably.
Some laptops come with touch screens, which can also be quite fast if you're used to using the touchscreen as an input device. You can try it out in a store and see if it's right for you.
Plus, a mouse is not expensive, you can always get one later.
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Since laptop screens are generally much smaller than the external displays you can buy, you need to make sure that the resolution of the laptop screen is high enough that you can place all of your software palettes. and your windows on the single screen you need.
A resolution Full HD (1920 × 1080) is usually a minimum right to buy, but there are laptops with even higher resolutions such as 4K, on which you can install many more things.
It's best to get an additional external monitor for a multiscreen setup or even use your external monitor in a single screen setup if it's much larger.
A screen size of 15 ″ as a minimum on a laptop for animation should do the trick.
IPS or TN panels?
For those working on projects that require higher color accuracy, better contrast, and better screen, your best bet would be an IPS rather than a TN panel.
It is not necessary for everyone. If you do a lot of modeling or animation in your viewport, but don't use a lot of colors or composites, a TN panel is usually sufficient.
But if you want a more accurate display of colors, go with IPS.
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What are the other important parts of a laptop PC for animation
If you plan to use the laptop with external devices, in order to improve your speed and workflow, you should make sure that it has all the necessary ports.
For external displays, you will need an HDMI port and/or a Display Port port. Some of the older monitors only support DVI or VGA sockets, as these connectors are so large that they are usually not found on modern laptops anymore.
But you can still get an adapter.
If you are using a LAN at your workplace or home, you will need an RJ45 LAN port to plug in an ethernet cable that offers much higher speeds than a wireless connection.
For external USB devices such as external hard drives for backup and storage, input devices such as a mouse, tablet, or headset, you will need a sufficient number of sufficiently fast USB ports like the 'USB 3.0.
Choosing the “best laptop for animation” would not be viable. It all depends on your own preferences combined with your usage which determines the best machine for your routine.
We think our brief reviews on each animation laptop listed above will help you figure that out, but if you still need some advice on which laptop you should invest in, be sure to check out our previous articles.