Best Laptops For Pro Tools

Best Laptops For Pro Tools

If you’re looking to produce music or want to delve into the world of editing sounds for films, you will need a top-quality digital audio workstation.

One of the best is Pro Tools. This software is used by musicians, music producers, filmmakers, artists, and more all around the world to get incredible audio results.

There are so many laptops to choose from but only some will help you get the most out of Pro Tools. Some laptops are not powerful enough to run this software and can be very slow and stutter when being used.

The last thing you want is to wait an eternity for Pro Tools to load up and then experience freezing when you’re in the middle of a project (we’ve all been there!)

You need a laptop that is powerful enough to support Pro Tools but also one that won’t leave you bankrupt. Finding the ideal laptop for Pro Tools can be a difficult task but we are here to help you in this quest.

We have researched the best laptops for Pro Tools and come up with the top 5. We have considered many factors such as the power requirements needed to run Pro Tools efficiently.

Continue reading to see in-depth reviews on each laptop and find out the pro and cons of each so you can make a balanced decision on which one is right for you.

OUR TOP PICK

2019 Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, 16GB RAM, 512GB Storage, 2.6GHz Intel Core i7) - Space Gray

You’re probably not surprised to see the Apple Macbook Pro on our list. This is a favorite among professionals due to its incredible performance and stylish, slick design.

Although you want a laptop that works well with Pro Tools, you also want one that works well in all areas and this is exactly what the new Macbook Pro 16” offers.

Most Pro Tools users choose this Macbook Pro 16 because of its 16” Retina display screen with an improved display screen dimension so you can work with ease.

Although the full HD display screen dimension is larger at 3072 x 1920, the overall footprint of the laptop remains small for easy transportation and use.

You’ll need certain ports to connect multiple devices and this laptop comes with Thunderbolt 3 support and four USB Type-C ports so you are not restricted to what you can use.

With up to 11 hours of battery life, you can easily get lost in the world of audio production with this Macbook Pro 16.

Pros

  • Excellent RAM - Although 16GDR4 RAM may not seem enough, Apple manages the RAM amazingly so you can save a great deal of work
  • Long battery life - Up to 11 hours of battery life so you can work without a power connection when out and about
  • Includes touch bar support - Enables more creative options and rapid access to certain menus

Cons

  • Unable to upgrade RAM - If you need more RAM, this isn’t possible so you may need an external hard drive

EDITORS CHOICE

Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop, 15.6' Full HD IPS, Intel i7 CPU, 16GB DDR4 RAM, 256GB SSD, GeForce GTX 1060-6GB, VR Ready, Red Backlit KB, Metal Chassis, Windows 10 64-bit, G3-571-77QK

If you’re not looking to spend huge sums of money on a laptop, this may be the best option for you. The Acer Predator Helios 300 is perfect for running Pro Tools and with at least 16 GB of RAM with SSD, there aren’t many better laptops in this price range on the market.

This laptop has an Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor and can provide a 3.80 GHz clock rate which will support your Pro Tools well without seeing it slow down. It’s always useful to have the option to upgrade your laptop for personal needs.

Fortunately, the Acer Predator Helios 300 has an extra HDD slot so you can upgrade it with a budget HDD purchase. This will prove a cheaper option that is ideal for music production.

All standard ports are available with a USB (3.1) Type-C so you can connect a range of additional devices if required.

If you don’t use a lot of plug-ins, this laptop is ideal for you and as a gaming laptop, its GTX1060 graphics card will give you a crystal clear screen to work and play on for hours on end.

Pros

  • Powerful battery life - Up to 7 hours of battery life so you can work in different locations
  • Offers extended connectivity - Its USB (3.1) Type-C allows you to connect additional devices easily
  • Not as expensive - For all the features this laptop provides, its price is exceptional when compared to its competitors

Cons

  • Uncomfortable to carry - Weight is heavy because of its robust metal construction which isn’t the easiest to carry around

BEST VALUE

Razer Blade 15 Gaming Laptop 2019: Intel Core i7-9750H 6 Core, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q, 15.6' FHD 1080p 240Hz, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD, CNC Aluminum, Chroma RGB Lighting, Thunderbolt 3

Most users of this laptop are professionals or gamers meaning it has high specs and offers excellent features all round.

The Razer Blade 15 Gaming Laptop has a data storage of 512 GB SSD which is more than enough for most professionals to save their data with fast performance.

With 16GB DDR4 RAM, this laptop is one of the fastest generation laptops offering an efficient, smooth performance. We loved the 15.6-inch edge-to-edge display that takes up 95 to 97% of the laptop’s screen capacity.

Along with a screen capacity of 144Hz, you will have one of the best experiences whether you’re working on Pro Tools or gaming. This Razer Blade 15 laptop has some of the latest technology that gives it a better performance than previous versions.

It uses the 8th Generation Intel Core i7-8750H which is one of the most powerful processors for laptops. This is aimed at high-performance users so Pro Tools will be easily supported.

This laptop is lightweight at only 2.08kg so is easy to carry when needed and has an aluminum covering which is durable to protect the laptop for extended use. Even when running heavy software, the Razer Blade 15 battery can last up to 9 hours.

Pros

  • Includes edge-to-edge display - Provides much more screen to body ratio giving you a far better experience with graphics and watching the screen
  • Lightweight - Aluminum body is lightweight for easy portability yet strong and durable for long-lasting use
  • Includes a vapor chamber cooling system - Helps lower power consumption when running heavy programs such as Pro Tools

Cons

  • Fans can be loud - When working to cool down the system, the fans tend to become pretty loud which can be frustrating when trying to record

RUNNER UP

Asus ROG Strix SCAR II Gaming Laptop, 15.6” 144Hz IPS Type Full HD, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070, Intel Core i7-8750H, 16GB DDR4, 512GB PCIe Nvme SSD, RGB KB, Windows 10, GL504GW-DS74

Here, we have another gaming laptop from the highly reputable brand ASUS. This ROG Strix Scar II is a great choice if you’re in the market for a laptop with a stylish, sleek design and a Windows performance.

This beast of a laptop sports an Intel Core i7 8750H processor with an impressive clock speed of 3.9GHz so it will have no problem running Pro Tools for long periods of time.

With 16GB DDR4 RAM and 512GB full SSD storage, you should have enough space to store many important files from Pro Tools and other programs.

Unlike the Macbook Pro above, this laptop has the benefit of allowing you to upgrade the RAM if necessary. Some laptops tend to heat up when running large applications but the ASUS ROG Strix Scar II laptop has one of the best cooling systems we have seen.

Its 15.6-inch full HD screen will supply you with an outstanding visual experience and the refresh rate of 144Hz will help you edit different projects at a much quicker rate. You will love the RGB customized keys as they will help your productivity flow seamlessly.

Pros

  • Sleek design - Very stylish to look at and weighing only 5.29 lbs, its thin construction is ideal for transporting
  • Full HD display - Provides the best visual experience whether you’re gaming, watching a movie, or editing
  • Has versatile ports - Includes many ports such as the USB Type-C, Thunderbolt, Ethernet, and full-size HDMI so you don’t need another adaptor for additional devices

Cons

  • Short battery life - Doesn’t power as long as some other laptops, lasting a few hours

RUNNER UP

Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop, 15.6 Inches FHD IPS Display, 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8265U, 8GB DDR4, 256GB SSD, Fingerprint Reader, Windows 10 Home, A515-54-51DJ

Our final choice is the impressive Acer Aspire 5 laptop. When considering this laptop, you can’t go far wrong, especially when you are looking for one that works well with Pro Tools.

With an eight-generation Intel Core i5 8265U processor, 8 GB RAM, and a very fast 256 GB SSD, you will be editing music and other sounds with ease.

One of the bonuses of this laptop is its price. Out of all laptops with SSD, this is one of the cheapest so you get a fast SSD while saving money. What more could you want?

In terms of performance, the Aspire 5 is a fantastic pick when supporting Pro Tools. You won’t have to worry about using lots of plugins or effects and, if needed, you can easily add more RAM.

The more ports, the better! And the Acer Aspire 5 offers a wide variety for connecting more gadgets and devices. These include 1 USB-C port, 3 USB ports, HDMI, and Ethernet. We were pleasantly surprised by the battery life of this laptop as most users can get more than 8 hours.

Pros

  • Long battery life - 8 hours of battery life will allow you to work easily without a power connection (For example, on public transport, etc)
  • Variety of ports - Able to add most exterior gadgets and devices if required 
  • Able to upgrade RAM - If you require more RAM, this laptop allows you to do so, meaning you can save more files and add more programs

Cons

  • Poor fingerprint reader - Some users have had problems with the fingerprint reader making it harder to log in through this method

Best Laptops for Pro Tools Buying Guide

Now you have seen the top 5 laptops for Pro Tools, we want to show you some important factors you should consider before parting with your hard-earned money.

Pro Tools requires some specific performance capabilities so let’s take a look at the most important aspects to help you understand what to look for.

System requirements

Many people are unaware of the specifications a system needs to run and support Pro Tools Properly.

While there is no out and out winner of the best laptop for Pro Tools, it’s important to find a model that has the specific requirements for this program as well as being able to do a lot more. 

The Mac requirements for running Pro Tools are:

  • Intel Mac with Mac OS x 10.8.5 (This is only supported below Pro Tools 12.5), 10.9.0 - 10.9.5, 10.10.0 - 10.10.5, or 10.11 - 10.11.3) 
  • Intel Core i5 processor
  • 8GB RAM but 16GB or more is recommended
  • 15GB disk space for installation
  • An internet connection for installation
  • Supports 64-bit AAX plug-ins in Pro Tools
  • USB-port for iLok 2 authorization
  • USB-port, FireWire-port, or Thunderbolt-port for CoreAudio-supported audio device

Windows requirements for running Pro Tools are:

  • Intel PC with Windows 7 64-bit (Home Premium, Professional, and Ultimate editions), Windows 8/8.1 64-bit (Standard and Pro Editions), or Windows 10 64-bit (Enterprise Pro, or Home Editions)
  • Intel Core i5 processor
  • 8GB RAM but 16GB or more is recommended
  • 15GB of disk space for installation
  • An internet connection for installation
  • USB-port or FireWire-port for ASIO-supported audio device
  • USB-port for iLok 2 authorization
  • Able to support 64-bit AAX plug-ins in Pro Tools

SSD memory

It is recommended you opt for a solid state hard drive (SSD) rather than a hard disk drive (HDD) for memory. This is because SSD usually provides a higher speed. Another reason is when HDDs fill up on information, they begin to become scattered around the disk.

Therefore it takes the laptop longer to access different files. SSD’s can’t fragment because the files are not stored in a physical location.

This means you can spend more time working on Pro Tools instead of sitting and waiting for your laptop to access different programs, files, and software.

The SSD is also quieter than HDDs. Although some HDDs are very quiet, they still emit some sort of noise when the disk is spinning or the read arm is moving. As there are no moving parts with SSDs, no noise will be emitted.

The correct connectivity

Connectivity is one of the most important factors to look out for when buying a new laptop for Pro Tools. 

Your laptop should ideally have at least a USB port and a FireWire/Thunderbolt connection for connecting different devices such as an audio interface.

Furthermore, it’s recommended that you look for laptops with HDMI and VGA ports, especially if you are planning on using a second screen to help your workflow.

Other connectors you should consider are RJ45 Ethernet, eSATA, or card readers which all help your laptop experience. A PCIe (PCI express) expansion port could be worth investing in as well. This helps you build a larger studio with a PCIe card such as the SSL MADIXtreme 64 PCIe audio card.

It is advised that you avoid manufacturer-specific ports and choose international standards (like above) so you have more options on what to connect to your laptop.

Processor

There's no surprise that the processor is a vital component of your laptop. To run Pro Tools, single-core performance is far more important than how many threads or cores your laptop has.

This is because it’s not possible to share audio chains half-way between several CPU threads. Simply put, the longer the chain from the sample to your ears, the more stress will be out on a single core.

The most recommended Intel Core i7 mobile processors for using Pro Tools include:

  • 5500U 
  • 5600U
  • 5700HQ
  • 6700HQ

All of these processors provide 4 cores and 2 threads each. They offer outstanding performance for a host of programs and software installed. These processors pre-render organized projects and demanding tracks without causing any problems.

In contrast to the above CPUs, below are some processors that will go above 3.5 GHz for additional single-core performance. This will make a huge difference for longer plug-in chains.

  • 4720HQ
  • 4900MQ
  • 6820HK

Frequently Asked Questions

What is better? Pro Tools or Logic Pro?

On the surface, both Pro Tools and Logic Pro are digital audio workstations (DAWs) and they both perform similar functions to one another. However, different industry professionals have their preferred software.

Pro Tools is more of an industry standard audio recording software. It is very popular with music production, post-production, and recording bands and broadcasts.

Logic Pro is a very popular choice and favored by musicians, songwriters, producers of jingles, etc.

You’re able to compose music a lot quicker with Logic Pro than Pro Tools which makes it the better choice if you’re composing and recording at home.

One drawback is that the files cannot be easily transferred to other studios once you leave your home. Pro Tools files are easily accessible and can be transferred far more conveniently. That means you should be able to edit and work with the plug-ins while at other studio locations.

The difference comes down to compatibility. Pro Tools is the better choice for a traveling musician or artist while Logic Pro is excellent for recording high-quality sounds in your home.

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