Laptops

Best Laptops For Animation: Reviews For 2D & 3D Rendering

For those that watch cartoons or any other style of animation, it rarely registers how much effort and hard work go into even the shortest clip. Creating moving animated characters, designing detailed worlds for them, and then combining the two is an art form, a talent, and a skill all at once.

Animating requires a huge amount of processing power and graphics ability, as well as a strong backup of supporting components. Without them, the process becomes challenging, if not impossible.

If you are a professional animator or animation student and you are on the market for a new laptop, this article should make life a whole lot easier for you. We are going to review and compare all of the best laptops for animation currently on the market.

After reading this article, you should know about all of the top contenders. We will also include all of the information we use to review these articles; this means you can do your research and make an informed and educated decision.

Image

Model

Processor (CPU)

RAM

Display Resolution

Graphics /GPU

Screen Size

Check Price

Dell XPS 15 laptop 15.6', 4K UHD InfinityEdge...

9th Gen i7

16 GB

4K UHD

GTX 1650

15.6”

Apple MacBook Pro (15-Inch, 16GB RAM, 256GB...

Intel i3/i5/i7/i9

16 GB

2800 by 1800

Radeon Pro 555X

15.4"

MSI P65 Creator-1084 15.6' 4K UHD Display,...

Intel i7-9750h

32 GB

3840*2160 (UHD)

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060

15.6”

GIGABYTE Aero 15W v8-BK4 15' Ultra Slim...

Intel i7-8750H

16 GB

1920x1080

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060

15”

Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop PC,...

Intel i7-8750H

16 GB

1920 x 1080 (Full HD)

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060

15.6”

ASUS ROG Zephyrus S Ultra Slim Gaming Laptop,...

Intel i7-8750H

16 GB

1920 x 1080 (Full HD)

RTX 2070/80

15.6"

Acer Aspire E 15, 15.6' Full HD, 8th Gen...

Intel i7-8550U

8GB

1920 x 1080 (Full HD)

GeForce Mx150

15.6"


Understanding Animation

Animation is the process used to create moving clips. Starting with the designing, drawing, and layout creation followed by the preparation of image sequences, the creator will manipulate still images to create the illusion of fluid motion.

2D animation is the traditional form of animation. Animators in 2D usually had to be pretty skilled at drawing as each scene had to be drawn, and every frame in between had to be drawn too. It was a time-consuming process that has only started to become easier as technology improved.

3D animation has been a computer-based affair from the get-go. When animating in 3D, a program is used, and the characters were moved around like a puppet on the screen.

All cartoons are animated via one of these two styles, as well as video games and a lot of CGI.


Why Every Animator Needs a Quality Laptop

Nowadays, animation is done through complex programming. When it comes to things like 3D animation using a 3-axis system, there are so many different factors that need to be controlled.

Every body part has to be controlled to provide a realistic simulation on screen. That means your computer will not only need to render 3D images; it will also need to be able to process all of their movements.

As a result, the specifications required by these programs are some of the highest of any industry. With something as time-consuming as animation, every second counts. Waiting for things to load or trying to animate with a choppy program is going to frustrate you at every turn.

You are going to need high processing power, graphical ability, and a great screen that shows colors, darks, and as many pixels per inch as possible.


Animation Laptop Requirements (Buyer’s Guide)

Here is a breakdown of all your laptops components, and what requirements we recommend for the smoothest experience possible while animating.

Processor & CPU – Recommended i7 with 3.0 GHz Clockspeed

If you look at animating as a puppet show, the CPU is the puppet master's brain. Making millions of complex decisions second by second and sending instruction to the hands to move the puppet accurately. Your processor is the most important component in your computer and has the most effect on performance.

There are a couple of things to look at when you weigh up which processor to go for. Manufacturers and computer nerds like me will have a huge number off different specs and speeds to look at, but unless you want to overclock or build computers yourself, here are the only important ones.

The clock speed is the first benchmark you will want to focus on. Clock speed is measured in GHz (1GHz is 1,000,000) and will tell you how many processes or calculations your processor can make per second.

Secondly, you want to look at the number of cores. Each core is essentially a singular brain, so a dual-core processor running at 2GHz can essentially work at 4GHz as each core runs at 2GHz.

There are only two brands in the CPU arms race, Intel and AMD. Here is a list of their processors, slowest to fastest.

Intel Cores From Slowest to Fastest:
  • M3
  • M5
  • i3
  • i5
  • i7
  • i9
AMD Cores from Slowest to Fastest
  • E2
  • A6
  • A9
  • A10
  • A12
  • FX

Simply Put: The processor is the brain behind all of your computer’s functions. It is the most important spec. When deciding what to spend your budget on, this should be. We re what you look to max out.

We recommend a clock speed of 3Ghz as a minimum requirement for animation work. An i5/A10 will technically work, although we advise an i7 or A12 or higher for a seamless experience.

RAM - Recommended 16GB DDR4

RAM is your computer short term memory. It works a little bit like a temporary cheat sheet storage for your other components.

When your computer is making decisions and carrying out processes, it will store little cheat sheets of data on how it made those decisions on your RAM. RAM is classified as flash memory, the fastest to access.

This means that when your components need to complete a process it has already completed, it will be able to do it much quicker and more efficiently by accessing these cheat sheets. These cheat sheets are vital for your graphics card and processor to run at full capacity.

RAM is found in different forms, first and foremost, the storage size. Although RAM comes in sizes ranging from 2gb-64gb, we highly recommend you get at least 16gb RAM if you are looking to animate. As we have already discussed, your computing requirements are incredibly high as an animator, and RAM is the biggest supporting player to your other components.

Secondly, make sure the RAM in your computer is DDR4, which is the newest generation of RAM. Anything older will give you significantly less reward for your money.

Simply Put- RAM is where your computer stores its cheat sheets for completing processes quickly. It is a lightning-fast storage system that can send data at extreme speeds to assist and support other components. We recommend a minimum of 16gb RAM, however with RAM, the more you have, the better.

Graphics Card – Recommended GTX 1060 and above.

A strong graphics card is one of the most important things you are going to need while animating. This component is the one that makes everything looks good. It transfers the data sent from your processor and converts it into visuals.

From gaming to high definition images to 3D model control, your graphic card will control how good your on-screen display looks. When you are working in intricate detail, like while animating, it is of paramount importance.

The more powerful your graphics card, the slicker everything else is going to look and run. For an animator, your graphics card is going to control the detail in which you can work.

If you also enjoy a bit of gaming or watching content in 4K definition, your graphics card will have to be top of the range. Graphics cards at that level require high processing power and RAM; luckily, as you have these already, you do not need to stress here.

Simply Put – A discrete graphics card isn’t just a recommendation; its 100% needed as an animator. A GTX 1060 and above will enable your laptop to handle any animation graphics demands that you place on it.

If you like to game or video edit or want to take advantage of raytracing, stepping up to an RTX 2060 or similar will give you the firepower to run top tier games, edit videos, and utilize raytracing to create stunning visuals.

Screen Size & Display – Recommended 15” and bigger.

Screen size is usually a matter of preference when it comes to specifications. However, as an animator, you are going to require a larger screen.

We recommend that you look for a screen that is at least 15”. This will allow you to work more efficiently. A smaller screen will require a lot more manipulation and straining of your eyes.

As animators, you are also going to require a higher quality screen than most, working in great detail requires a high detail screen. Although 4K isn’t necessary, it will make your life easier. A high quality 1080p screen will still work; it just needs to be an extremely high-quality one.

Not all 1080p displays are equal; some are much better than others. We won't go too into detail here, just know that any of the recommendations on our list that have 1080p screens are the best of the best.

Storage Space – Recommended 500GB SSD

Storage space is where we keep all our files, data, pictures, clips, videos, basically everything.  There are two forms of storage space, SSD and HDD. HDD is the workhorse of storage solutions.

Used for a long time, they work by using a disk that spins and a laser that reads the disk. They have been around for a long time and can hold vast amounts of data, and this makes them generally the cheaper option. You can get a cheap 1tb HDD for under $100. 

SSD, on the other hand, is the shiny new tech on the storage scene. They use flash memory, the same type we talked about in the RAM section. This flash storage makes HDD technology look extremely dated.

SSD’s allow you to load programming and transfer files at speed many times the speed of an HDD. With all-new technology, though, you face similar problems. SSD’s have a price tag much higher than their HDD equivalents.

As an animator, you have to have an SSD. Loading files from HDD is going to be extremely painful, especially at the rate you will need to as an animator.

Simply Put- We recommend a 500+ GB SSD as a minimum. If possible, get a laptop with a secondary HDD, this will save you from running out of space. Trust us; you don’t want to try installing more memory into a laptop without a lot of technological knowledge.

Battery Life

As an animator, your need for a high battery life is probably pretty slim. You will most likely be looking for a laptop as more of a portable desktop solution. As you are going to need a laptop with very high levels of processing power and screen quality, your power needs are going to be significantly higher than your average laptop.

This means your battery life unplugged is going to be substantially lower than a laptop with 50% processing power. Our recommendation would be a battery life of around 5-6 hours. This should give you the necessary battery life for small stints of unplugged work.

Connectivity

The way your laptop connects to different things is extremely important. A good WI-FI/Bluetooth card will allow you to stay connected farther away from your router and will reduce the chance of drop off or slow connections.

The second important way your laptop connects to things is through its ports. If you plug lots of peripherals into your laptop, you need to make sure it has all of the ports you want. Laptops like the new Apple Macbook Pro, for example, have gotten rid of all legacy ports in exchange for new thunderbolt ports.

Design/Portability/Weight

The design and portability/weight of your laptop are going to be more of a personal choice than a necessity. To get the same power on a lighter laptop is always going to cost more.

The same can be said with picking a laptop with good aesthetics; often, you can go for a more performance-based brand, they will give you the same strength components without the flashy shell for less.

Extra Features

Everybody loves an extra feature, and sometimes they can even be the deciding factor when you are looking for a laptop.

The biggest feature that might sway you is the ability to turn into a tablet or detach as a tablet completely. These can be great for use in meetings or for turning your laptop into a more portable version of itself.

Some other extra features include detachable batteries and tough impact resistant screens and shells.

Warranty

When it comes to warranties, not all companies are created equal. Some will wow you with their customer service, coming out the next day to fix your laptop and having it back to you within 24 hours. Some will take weeks or months of hard long telephone calls. We do not include these brands on our lists, so if you pick one of our options, you won’t have to worry.


7 Best Laptops For Animation Reviewed

1. Dell XPS 15

Dell XPS 15 laptop 15.6", 4K UHD InfinityEdge...
  • 15.6" 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) InfinityEdge...
  • 9th Generation Intel Core i7-9750h (12MB...
  • 16GB DDR4-2666MHz, 2x8G
  • 1TB PCIe SSD

Best Laptop for Animation (Top Pick!)

Processor (CPU)

9th Gen i7

RAM

16 GB

Display Resolution

4K UHD

Graphics/GPU

GTX 1650

Screen Size

15.6”

Warranty

12 Months

The newest iteration of Dell's Ultrabook series, the Dell XPS 15 makes our top pick. This laptop, which is one of the most gorgeous laptops on the market. The XPS range has always looked great; the thin bezels allow you to have a 15” screen in a much smaller profile, and the carbon fiber inside finish looks superb.

The 4K UHD Infinity Edge touchscreen is by far one of the best screen displays on the market. It excels when it comes to glare, too; the anti-glare technology allows you to work in high light environments without much bother.

Powering the amazing screen is a powerhouse of components. The processor is a 9th generation i7, supported by 16gb DDR4 RAM. There is a whopping 1 TB SSD too, so loading files and transferring files on this machine is lightning quick.

Finally, to top it off, there is a GTX 1650 Graphics card inside with its own 4gb of RAM, this means your graphics card doesn’t use any of your computers other RAM, essentially making this a 20gb RAM machine.

The wireless card on the XPS is the new Killer AX1650, which is nearly three times as powerful as the old generation of WiFi cards. This gives the XPS one of the strongest WiFi capabilities on the market.

The keyboard on the XPS 15 is simply perfect as well. It is comfortable to type on, the keys have great resistance, and the switches are satisfying to press. The speakers are also really high quality, the 3D Waves MaxxAudio Pro system fills rooms and creates epic cinema sound.

When it comes to Ports & Slots, you get an SD card slot, 2 USB 3.1 Gen ports, a lock slot, HDMI 2.0, and a thunderbolt three slot.All of this, they manage to fit into a thin and tiny 4lb shell, making it the lightest laptop in its power-class.

The Dell XPS 15 is really one of the best laptops we have ever reviewed. In fact, I am currently writing this article on an XPS 15 myself. So if you are looking for a laptop that can handle everything an animator can throw at it, I have no reservations suggesting this laptop to you as our top pick.

Good
  • Stunning Screen
  • High Powered Spec
  • Great Keyboard
  • Lightweight
  • Touchscreen
Bad
  • Can Get Hot

2. Apple MacBook Pro

Apple MacBook Pro (15-Inch, 16GB RAM, 256GB...
  • Brilliant Retina Display with True Tone...
  • Touch Bar and Touch ID
  • Radeon Pro 555x Graphics with 4GB of video...
  • Ultrafast SSD

Best Apple laptop for Animators

Processor

Intel i3/i5/i7/i9

RAM/GPU

8/16/32 GB DDR4

Screen Size

15”

Storage

Up to 4TB SSD

Battery Life

10+

Warranty

12 Months

For those that prefer Apple products to Microsoft, there is only really one option when it comes to a powerful laptop, but what an option it is. The new MacBook Pro is the Apple flagship, and for a good reason. This is one of the most beautiful laptops aesthetically in the world. The screen on it is also the best screen you can get on a laptop.

When it comes to animation work, the MacBook brings things to life. The retina display produces some of the most high-def images we have ever seen. If high definition screens are your thing, the MacBook is really going to delight.

Powering this screen is a Radeon Pro graphics card with 4gb of its own RAM. This will help you render 3D images smoothly and easily.

When it comes to performance, the MacBook is a bit of an oddity. This is due to the vast array of options you have when it comes to your spec. When purchasing one, you can choose from a arrange of Intels CPU’s from i3-i9. If you want sheer power, the i9 is one of the most powerful processors on the planet, allowing for a blistering top clock speed of 5.0ghz.

After deciding which CPU you want, its time to talk about storage, which again comes in a huge range of choices. You can opt for 8-32gb of DDR4 RAM, and to back that up, you can choose between 256gb-4tb of SSD storage.

You can fine-tune your machine when you pick a MacBook, but fully specced, with an i9 processor, 4TB SSD and 32GB of RAM, there really isn’t much on the market that can match it. However, all of the other options are strong, even with a base level i3, 256gb SSD with 16gb of RAM, you should be able to tackle most animating tasks.

One thing that Apple has done in its quest to be innovative removes all legacy ports. This could be a dealbreaker to some as there are no other slots other than the four thunderbolt ports. These new-age ports will allow you to transfer data at up to 40gbps and will power two 5k monitors, however.

All in all, the MacBook Pro is an interesting one; at its basic level, it is a competent machine. At its highest spec, it is simply a monster. The only problem with an Apple product? The price. Expect to pay more than your usual windows laptop here.

Good
  • Thin & Lightweight
  • Best Laptop Screen
  • Best Laptop Speakers
  • Amazing Level Of Spec Control
Bad
  • Very Expensive

3. MSI P65 Creator-1084

On Sale Today
MSI P65 Creator-1084 15.6" 4K UHD Display,...
  • Display 15 6" Uhd (3840X2160) anti-glare wide...
  • Processor intel core i7-9750h 2.6 - 4.5ghz
  • Graphics NVidia GeForce RTX 2060 6g gddr6...
  • Memory 32gb (16 gram x 2) ddr4 2400mhz 2...

Best laptop for video editing and 3D animation

Processor

Intel i7

RAM/GPU

32 GB DDR4

Screen Size

15”

Storage

1TB SSD

Battery Life

10+

Warranty

12 Months

If you need the absolute best laptop for video editing and 3D animation, there is only one option that blows the others out of the water. The MSI P65 Creator is a beastly laptop designed for studio use.

It comes with a brilliant 4k ultra-thin UHD display that looks absolutely stunning in all light settings—powered by a 9th gen i7 with 32gb of DDR4 Ram and one of the quickest SSD’s available, the 1TB Teton Glacier.

As if this wasn’t enough power, there is also an RTX 2060 inside, which is one of the best graphics cards on the market, capable of using Nvidias new raytracing. This makes everything you see on screen insanely pretty and allows for the creation of images and models in detail at the highest quality, with accurate lighting shadows and rendering.

Port wise, the left edge has a security lock slot, as well as an Ethernet port and two USB 3.1 Type-A ports. There are separate headphone and microphone jacks too. On the other side, you get an HDMI and mini DisplayPort video outputs with another USB-A port, and a Thunderbolt 3 port.

Animation wise this laptop has some serious features that others on the list do not. With the AI-Assist, you can accelerate up-resing, photo enhancements, and face tagging. You can decode 8K RED video in realtime, and the studio drivers clock up to enhance performance. This makes the MSI P65 creator one really impressive machine.

Another cool feature is windows hello, which allows you to sign in using a fingerprint, password, or even facial recognition. This is great for security purposes.

The keyboard is well designed too; the backlit keys feel almost like a real keyboard, which is hard to replicate in a laptop. The throw feels just about right, and the big responsive trackpad is just heavenly to use. It is pressure-sensitive, too, which allows for added versatility.

If you have a significant need for video editing and 3D animation, this is going to be the best laptop for you.

Also Recommended: 6 Best Graphics Cards for Video Editing

Good
  • Amazing Features
  • Quality Build
  • Great Performance
  • Amazing Screen
Bad
  • Gets Hot

4. GIGABYTE Aero 15W v8-BK4

GIGABYTE Aero 15W v8-BK4 15" Ultra Slim...
  • 15.6" Thin Bezel FHD 144Hz Pantone X-Rite...
  • Intel Core i7-8750H (2.2GHz-4.1GHz) NVIDIA...
  • 16 GB DDR4 2666MHz Memory 512GB M.2 SSD...
  • 94.24Wh 10hrs Long Battery Life Gigabyte...

Best Laptop for Drawing and animation

Processor

Intel i7

RAM/GPU

36 GB DDR4

Screen Size

15”

Storage

512TB SSD

Battery Life

10+

Warranty

12 Months

Next, we have the best laptop for drawing and animation, the GIGABYTE Aero. The Aero has one of the best screens we have ever seen, with 144hz refresh rate, X-Rite Pantone color calibration, and almost zero bezels. To top this off, it has the longest battery life of any on this test with a whopping 10 hours of productive work.

The Aero comes with a strong intel i7 processor, which, when paired with the GTX 1060 graphics card, allows for VR ready performance at a really great price. There is also 16gb of RAM and a 512gb SSD, which means this a serious machine.

Design-wise, you get a high quality brushed metal aluminum design with the neat Aero logo sitting jut at the top. A nice touch is the engraved aero logo on the hinge, lit up by two LED lights for impressions, it’s the little things like this that make the Aero so likable.

Keyboard wise, you get an excellent RGB lit keyboard which is specced for gamers; this means it is fine-tuned and extremely accurate. The keys have a unique bounce to them, which we really like. The RGB fusion system allows for a whopping 16.7 million colors.

Another thing we like is the innovating Supra Cool Fan, which has a dual-fan heat piper system that takes a lot of heat away from the CPU and GPU during high load work. This is useful when you are looking at a machine as powerful as this.

The Dolby Atmos Breakthrough speakers provide some really impressive sound too. The Aero also comes with Microsoft’s Azure AI to adjust your power and performance accordingly based on your usage. This is nice as it stops you from having to worry about overclocks or your laptop running the GPU at times it doesn’t need too.

With a sleek, stunning OLED 4k panel, comfortable RGB keyboard, strong performance spec, and luxe design, the Gigabyte Aero is a solid contender for its price tag. For those who are looking for a gorgeous laptop to draw or animate with, we highly suggest the Aero.

Also Recommended: 6 Best Laptops for Drawing Reviewed for Artists

Good
  • Great Battery Life
  • Quality Build
  • Strong Performance
  • Stunning Oled Screen
Bad
  • Hinges Are a Little Weak

5. Acer Predator Helios 300

Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop PC,...
  • 8th Generation Intel Core i7-8750H 6-Core...
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Overclockable...
  • 15.6" Full HD (1920 x 1080) widescreen...
  • 16GB DDR4 2666MHz DRAM Memory & 256GB PCIe...

Best laptops for gaming and animation

Processor

Intel i7

RAM/GPU

16 GB DDR4

Screen Size

15”

Storage

256/512gb SSD

Battery Life

5+

Warranty

12 Months

Our top pick for animation and gaming is the Acer Predator Helios 300. This is a performance laptop loved by many and has appeared in multiple top choices on this website.

With their attention to detail, Acer is a brand that we like, with their use of high-quality parts, luxury design, and by paying lots of attention to the feedback that comes back from their users, they are industry leaders in our eyes.

When it comes to customer service and research and development, their teams are second to none. When their users find problems, Acer steps up and fixes them.

The Helios is equipped with a 9th gen Intel i7 core; this is one of the top performance CPU’s available. Backing this strong CPU, the Helios comes ready with 16gb of DDR4 RAM, and to help this, you can choose from a 256/512gb SSD. Graphically, the Helios has Nvidias GTX 1660ti. This card has 6GB of RAM by itself.

For me, my favorite thing about the Helios is the big button that fills the top right of the keyboard. Simply marked "Turbo,” it is almost impossible not to press it. When you press it, the jet engine fans spring into life and the who system gets overclocked.

The two 59 blade fans pull the heat away from the clocked CPU, allowing your Helios to perform at a laptop above its paygrade. This is immensely satisfying and turns your Helios from a beast into a total monster.

Paired with this is the Predator Sense system, this software allows you to control every aspect of your computer components, from temperature to fan speed to overclocks. Everything has been designed to give you the utmost control over the beast that is the Helios.

On top of all of this, the screen is just the icing on the cake. The full-HD 144hz screen is perfection. The images and displays it can create are so much more than the spec list would let you believe. The gaming keyboard is also gaming tuned, with a great throw, response time, and resistance.

To sum up, the Helios is a laptop to put a smile on your face, if you enjoy gaming as much as you do animation, the Helios is going to be the best option for you. It looks incredible, it performs like a caged animal, and the turbo button turns it into a battlecruiser.

Also Recommended: 7 Best Laptops for Fortnite

Good
  • Turbo Button Is Brilliant
  • Powerful Performance
  • Amazing Screen
  • Great Price tag
Bad
  • Heavy
  • Awful Battery Life

6. ASUS ROG Zephyrus S

ASUS ROG Zephyrus S Ultra Slim Gaming Laptop,...
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 8GB (base: 1080 MHz,...
  • Intel Core i7 8750H Hex Core Processor
  • 15.6 inches 144Hz 3ms IPS Type full HD...
  • 16GB 2666Hz DDR4,512GB PCIe NVMe SSD,Windows...

Best laptops for 3D model rendering and animation

Processor (CPU)

Intel i7

RAM, SSD Storage

512 SSD

Display Resolution

1080p

Graphics/GPU

RTX 2070/80

Screen Size

15

Warranty

12 months

For 3D rendering and animation, we suggest the Asus ROG Zephyrus S, which is predominately a gaming laptop. Gaming laptops are usually well specced for 3D rendering thanks to their powerful graphics cards. The amazing and sleek design is something we love too.

The Zephyrus S comes packed with a choice of either RTX 2070 or RTX 2080, giving this laptop the strongest graphical performance around. To power this, there is an intel i7 core, 16GB RAM, and a 512gb SSD. All in all, this is the most powerful laptop on this list.

The screen, with its super-narrow bezels 144hz refresh rate 3ms response time and 178-degree viewing angle, is one of the most innovative laptop screens we have seen. Although it doesn’t pack the pixels of a 4k screen, we think it performs better than lots of 4k screens on the market.

Audio-wise, the Zephyrus has precision aimed dual speakers that result in huge bass and a dynamic range, which means you hear every sound.

The Zephyrus is also armed to the teeth with connections, with Type-C (USB-C) ports, USB 3.1 Gen 2 and Gen 1 speeds, and Type-A USB 3.1 Gen 2 and USB 2.0 ports.

Often laptops of this power suffer from heating issues. The Zephyrus is ready for that, with an automatically adjusting three-speed upgraded 12v twin fans, and anti-dust fan vents, the Zephyrus keeps cool under pressure.

The keyboard is heavenly too. Innovated to provide precise input during gaming, the n-key rollover backlit keys are guaranteed for twenty million clicks.

There are only a couple of bad points about this laptop. Firstly there is no thunderbolt of ethernet ports. It is easy enough to pick up a USB-ethernet converter for around 20$, however. Secondly, the fans can get pretty loud. This isn’t an issue for us as this laptop has been praised for having the best cooling available by thousands of users. In our eyes, having a cooling system that doesn't throttle or ruin components more than makes up for a slightly loud fan.

This is an incredibly strong performance laptop, and for those that need to render 3D images, this laptop will more than be enough. Asides from that, it looks super cool.

Good
  • Incredible Heat Control
  • Powerful Performance
  • Amazing Screen
  • Slim And Lightweight
Bad
  • No ethernet/thunderbolt port
  • Loud Fans

7. Acer Aspire E 15

Acer Aspire E 15, 15.6" Full HD, 8th Gen...
  • 8th Generation Intel Core i7-8550U Processor...
  • 15.6" Full HD (1920 x 1080) widescreen...
  • 8GB Dual Channel Memory & 256GB SSD. Adapter:...
  • Up to 15-hours of battery life. Graphics up...

Best Laptop For Computer Animation Students

Processor (CPU)

Intel i7

RAM, SSD Storage

8gb RAM. 256 SSD

Display Resolution

1080p

Graphics/GPU

Mx150

Screen Size

15

Warranty

12 months

Finally, for those who might have a lower budget or for students just starting out, we have our top pick for computer animation students, the Acer Aspire E 15.

Made by one of our favorite brands Acer, the E 15 packs a mighty punch. With an Intel i7 processor, 8gb RAM, and 256gb SSD, it may not be able to content with the others on this list, but it is still a competent machine. There is, however, a convenient access panel, leading to upgrade slots for both memory and RAM, which is a great way to allow you to upgrade at a later date.

The graphics card is a GeForce MX!50, which is the streamlined version of their popular gaming cards. It has 2gb of ram and will allow you to do most tasks apart from AAA+ title gaming and 3D rendering.

The 15-inch screen is a 1080p led panel, which looks better than expected, considering the whole laptop has a whopping battery life of 15 hours.

To conclude, this is a laptop for animators and animation students on a budget. It will handle most tasks you have to throw at it, although it might struggle if you start trying to play games, render 3D models, or do any video editing. For the price, it is extremely capable however and with the convenient upgrade port upgrading further down the line is a piece of cake.

Also Recommended: 7 Best Laptops for College Students

Good
  • Great Budget Laptop
  • Performance Above Its Pricetag
  • Easy Upgrade Slot
Bad
  • Lacks Power Of Other Laptops On This List

Essential Animation Software Programs

Every animator is probably aware of the vast number of programs available online, here are a few essential ones in our eyes.

Pencil 2D

This amazing free program comes with a huge variety of features and depth that make it a compelling program, especially considering it is free. With amazing tools like pressure-sensitive drawing tools, timeline manipulation, and onion skinning, you can do a lot with Pencil 2D.

Toon Boom Pro 3

Toom Boom Pro is an Emmy winning animation software. Although it isn’t free, after the free trial they give you, we can guarantee that you will be looking to upgrade.

With its incredible bone deform feature and intuitive timeline control, onion skinning and cut out rigging, this is an animator’s dream.


Which Is Better for Animation - Mac or Windows?

This question can be answered in two parts, one easy, one more complex.

Firstly, If you have always animated on a Mac, it is highly unlikely that you are going to find a swap to windows fun and vice versa. They do both have their own strengths and weaknesses as we will discuss in a minute, but as a rule of thumb, stick to what you know.

If you want to know about the different strengths and weaknesses of the two, here they are:

Mac

  • Apple focuses on using different colors and fonts
  • Digital assistant Siri
  • No touchscreen laptops, but you can integrate iPads
  • Mac software is available on PC
  • Better integration between devices
  • Expensive

PC

  • Can achieve similar results to a Mac
  • Digital assistant: Cortana
  • Touch-screen laptops
  • Windows software available on Mac
  • Lower price per performance

People Also Ask (FAQs)

Are animation laptops also good for gaming?

Animation laptops generally require a similar spec to high-end gaming laptops, almost every laptop on this list will play AAA+ games in high quality.

Are integrated graphics enough to power animation software?

As a rule of thumb, we would advise against it, only Intel's strong MX series graphics cards will be able to compete, and even then they are left far behind.

What are the best ways to maintain the hardware of your laptop?

Keep your laptop away from heat sources, turn it on and off properly, and clean your fans with an aerosol cleaner every so often.

Is i5 good for animation?

With animation, you are going to require a higher level of processing then you can obtain from an i5, only buy an i5 if your budget rules out any of the i7 laptops on our list.

Can you animate on a laptop?

Laptops have come a long way in bridging the gap between desktops and laptops. Although PC’s are still at the forefront of extreme computing solutions, laptops now have the power to complete every task needed aside from advanced computing. Laptops are becoming the new favorite for animators everywhere due to their portability.

Where is the best place to buy these laptops?

We always advise users to buy their laptops an Amazon, not only is it a reputable seller, but they also have fantastic customer service.


Conclusion

Hopefully, after reading this article, the choice of what animation laptop to buy has become a whole lot easier. If you are still on the fence, the information we have given you should be enough for you to go and make an educated and informed decision for yourself.

If you need a final push, we suggest buying our top pick, the Dell XPS15, it’s the laptop I use myself, and comes from Dell, who is an amazing brand.