Not Just Laptops is supported by readers like you. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Learn more.
You can definitely rely on a gaming laptop for music production. Gaming laptops generally come with a better overall CPU, sufficient memory, fast storage, and a great display. All these can make recording and creating music a piece of cake.
However, if you want a gaming laptop to be your primary music production device, you should know these machines are also often bulky, heavy, and short on battery life.
Want to know more? Continue reading.
Table of Contents
- What Makes a Good Music Production Laptop?
- Benefits of a Gaming Laptop for Music Production
- Drawbacks of a Gaming Laptop for Music Production
- Minimum & Recommended System Requirements
- Create Music Like a Pro on a Compatible Laptop
What Makes a Good Music Production Laptop?
To make sure you choose a great music production laptop, you need to take these factors into account:
It starts with you…
Before anything else, you need to consider what type of music production tasks you plan to do. Do you need a laptop that comes with the greatest and latest specs?
Or will a regular laptop with decent overall components work for your particular case?
Basically, you need to think of what you will use the laptop for.
Once you have the main parameters to measure against, it’s much easier to evaluate the technical capabilities, benefits and drawbacks of a particular laptop.
Typically, a good music production laptop will have a powerful enough CPU, a good amount of RAM, a relatively big display, and a professional look.
Additionally, many music producers care about the battery life and overall portability of their machines.
In case you use visualization tools like ZGameEditor, or work on multiple monitors, you might want to consider a capable discrete GPU as well.
Laptops and Music Production | source: pixabay.com
Benefits of a Gaming Laptop for Music Production
There are many great reasons to use a gaming laptop for music production. Here are some of the most important ones:
Gone are the days of 60Hz displays on gaming rigs. Gaming laptops nowadays sport up to a whopping 360Hz of fast-refreshing awesomeness.
Why is the refresh rate important? Well, when it comes to music production, it’s not. But if you’re also gaming, it will help with faster reaction times and snappy maneuvers in games like GTA V.
In terms of music production, you should know that gaming laptops usually come with big, high-quality, and vivid displays. An IPS or OLED panel decreases strain on the eyes and gives better contrast — for all those nights spent at the studio.
Plus, large screens mean a bigger work surface, which is super handy if you’re re-arranging multiple tracks and using a ton of plugins.
Gaming laptops are by default beasts when it comes to CPU and GPU.
How does that work with music production?
Well, if they can handle AAA titles, they’ll surely be able to run music production software. And not only run it — you’ll be editing and mixing multiple tracks with no lag whatsoever.
Fast Transfer Speed
DAWs are hard on PC, so loading files and plugins can take a good while. But the good news is that most modern gaming laptops come with SSD storage, which is up to 20 times faster than HDD. SSD is why laptops like MacBook Pro just seem to pull up files in a millisecond — and gaming laptops will, too.
Game on the Side
Any musician can get tired of continuously working on DAWs. With a gaming laptop, you can take the most enjoyable break ever.
How so? Great gaming laptops will let you play your favorite games at high settings and get completely immersed in the experience.
Drawbacks of a Gaming Laptop for Music Production
Though they are powerful, these laptops are not without flaws. Let’s go through them to give you a better idea of what to expect:
Poor Battery Performance
Gaming laptops come with power-hungry components, and there’s only so much juice a battery can provide.
Most gaming laptops last between 2 to 4 hours when not plugged in. That means you’ll need a charger nearby for those long work sessions.
Relatively Low Portability
I wouldn’t say that gaming laptops are not portable. However, compared to other laptops, say laptops for podcasting, gaming laptops are bulkier. So, it might get pretty uncomfortable to carry a gaming laptop around.
For example, with gaming laptops, what I see most of the time is that they hover around 5-6 lbs. Such weight is understandable considering the specs and the high-quality build; just make sure it suits you.
The “Gaming Laptop” Look
Most gaming laptops look like, well… gaming laptops. That is, they don’t look too professional.
Maybe this is not an issue for you (it certainly isn’t for me). But if you want a more polished look, then a regular, elegant laptop might be a better option.
There are a few exceptions though, such as the Razer Blade or the MSI Creator Series. These laptops look highly professional, though they do still have a touch of gaming vibe to them.
Gaming Laptops Are Generally Noisy
Powerful components may perform great, but they also bring on a lot of heat. And to keep the heat in check, gaming laptops come with large and speedy fans.
These fans are often noisy, so if that throws you off — check how efficient the cooling system is.
Furthermore, since you work with audio – make sure you have headphones powerful enough to cancel out the brunt of those powerful fans.
Modern gaming laptops come with top-of-the-line specs. And these latest and greatest components do not come cheap.
So, in comparison, gaming laptops cost way more than regular laptops.
There are, of course, budget options, like the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming series, cheaper Legion 5 variants, or even budget MSI models, but even those are costlier than general productivity laptops.
Minimum & Recommended System Requirements
If you typically use just one DAW software, check its minimum and recommended requirements. For example, Ableton Live 11 requires an AMD multi-core or Intel Core i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and ASIO-compatible audio hardware.
You will find similar information for Logic Pro, Bitwig Studio 4, Pro Tools, and others.
Nonetheless, a good laptop for producing music should meet or exceed the recommended requirements.
|OS||Windows 10 (Build 1909 and later), macOS High Sierra 10.13||Windows 11, macOS Ventura 13|
|CPU||11th Gen Intel Core i5, AMD Ryzen 5 5000 series, Apple M1||12th Gen Intel Core i7, AMD Ryzen 7 6000 series, Apple M2|
|Display||14-inch HD (1366×768)||15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080)|
A great laptop for music production will have a capable CPU. And such processors can handle DAWs effortlessly. A 12th or 13th Generation or newer Intel Core i5 and i7 or 5000, 6000 series Ryzen 5 and 7 are good examples of such CPUs.
Graphics Card (GPU)
DAWs have many visual features that work better with a proper GPU. You will see a noticeable difference when viewing your DAW mixer with multiple VU meters running simultaneously or when you try to zoom in on a multitrack up to the sample level.
So, for serious music production, consider getting a laptop with a dedicated GPU. It doesn’t need to be the latest and greatest for a music workstation. I would recommend getting something that comes with NVIDIA 1650 Ti or better.
Or if you want to get by with an integrated graphics card, I’d make sure to have plenty of RAM (think 32GB+). Integrated cards share and use your RAM.
However, if you are just starting out, most DAWs will run with an integrated GPU – it’ll just be slower. As recommended above, be sure to check the software’s minimum and recommended requirements.
If you are not a fan of external monitors, get a laptop with at least a 15-inch screen for music production. High-quality, big screens are easier to work on, and you won’t need to scroll around as much.
Keyboard and All the Trimmings
Finally, you also want to pay attention to the input.
A good backlit keyboard with nice travel goes a long way in making your work easier. Plus, since you’ll navigate the DAWs a lot, make sure the trackpad is sizable and responsive.
Create Music Like a Pro on a Compatible Laptop
Creating music should be simple enough – you get the right machine and then focus on your inner virtuoso to make magic.
Gaming laptops even under $1000 are surely powerful music assistants, but they are not without their faults.
Though powerful, these beasts can easily get very expensive, bulky, and hot.
If you’re looking for specific laptop recommendations, take a look at our well-curated list of the best music production laptops. You will find not only gaming laptops but also regular laptops that are great for producing music.
What are the Benefits & Drawbacks of using a Gaming Laptop for Music Production?
- Better Displays
- SSD Fast Transfer Speed
- Game on the Side
- Poor Battery
- Relatively Low Portability
- The “Gaming Laptop” Look
- Generally Noisy