2014′s Best Music Editing Laptops and Computers

best laptop for music production

Selecting the best laptop for music production is certainly something that requires you to be pretty careful about the specs you’ll consider, since they are going to directly influence its performance. As such, one of the first things you need to take into consideration when buying a laptop for making music is the CPU. The CPU or the central processing unit will help complete any task you perform on your laptop and the more powerful it is, the faster your operations are going to be completed.

RAM or random access memory is yet again a very important consideration that can significantly improve the speed at which operations are executed and when it comes to making music, especially if you’re going to deal with large file libraries, you have to get at least 16 GB of RAM. 32 GB is recommended since it’s going to make everything feel really smooth.

The video card is not that important when it comes to music production, but you do need a computer that has an SSD as well. This will facilitate transferring large uncompressed music files and help you work with large files much faster and therefore saving you a lot of time.

Top 5 laptops for music production:

HP ProBook 4540s Notebook

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The HP ProBook may not be THE best laptop for music production, but it certainly has enough power to help you create music on the go and make sure that it won’t lag or freeze up on you. This laptop has some pretty impressive specs for the price including an internal SSD of 128 GB, 4 GB of DDR3 memory and an Intel i3-4010U 4th Gen Haswell CPU clocked at 1.7 GHz with 3 MB of L3 cache memory.

The ProBook also has a pair of good speakers for a laptop, so you may not necessarily need to buy an extra pair of portable speakers when you want to make music on the go, since these are good enough for your needs.

One thing that you’re really going to like about this model is that unlike other laptops, it will not heat up and restart, no matter if you have several programs opened, while at the same time you’re rendering a project in background.

Design wise, this is a thin and lightweight laptop that is going to suite your needs and make it very simple and enjoyable to create music anywhere you want, as long as you have the inspiration to do so.

Cons:

It has a lot of bloatware that you need to delete.

MSI Slim GS70

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The MSI Slim GS70 2OD-002US is one of the best laptops you can currently get if you are someone who is doing a lot of work on your machine and need a lot of power in order to complete your tasks fast and without encountering any errors. The first thing you’re going to notice about this model is that it comes with a gorgeous matte 17.3 inch display which will make everything look superb. The build quality is also excellent and thanks to its appealing design, you won’t shy away from using this laptop in public (parks, coffee shops) in order to create some tunes.

What about its performance though, that’s what matters the most on a laptop! Well, let me tell you that this beast comes with 16GB of RAM, an Intel i7-4700HQ CPU clocked at 2.4 GHz with Turbo Speed of up to 3.4 GHz, allowing you to complete your tasks lightning fast.

There is also a single 1TB mechanical hard drive and 2 128GB SSDs in RAID 0 which are going to make your operating system and everything you do on them super fast. When it comes to the video card, it’s a 2GB nVidia GTX 765M which will greatly speed up any video related tasks, especially if you’re a gamer.

At the end of the day, with a powerful i7 CPU, 16 GB of RAM and a powerful video card that can easily let you enjoy fast video performance, especially if you’re a gamer, you’ll find the MSI Slim GS70 2OD-002US to be one of the best laptops you’ve ever used. Period.

Cons:

If you use it unplugged while playing games, frame rate decreases form 80 something to 35.

Apple MacBook Air

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The MacBook Air is one of the most popular laptops in the world and thanks to its impressive design, light weight and supreme performance, it’s going to make for a great machine for those who want to create music anytime, anywhere, without having to worry about carrying around a big bag holding a heavy laptop that will soon make them feel exhausted. So what does this year’s model have in store for you?

First off, it comes with an Intel i5 dual core CPU clocked at 1.4 GHz (with Turbo Boost of almost double its initial speed – 2.7 GHz) and 3 Megabytes of shared L3 cache. RAM memory for this bad boy is a sufficient 4 GB of LPDDR3 1600 MHz which is soldered to the motherboard, while the storage is flash based and you’re getting 256 GB of it. This should make moving large files from one partition to another very fast, cool and quiet, too, since there won’t be any noise and also heat that’s traditionally generated by hard drives.

As for the screen, it is 13.3 inches and it’s powered by an Intel HD Graphics integrated video card. The display is LED backlit and it’s glossy, which may prevent you from using it in direct sunlight or in sunny places.

Last but not least, since it runs on OSX Mavericks, you can expect a wonderful UI interface and no lag. As for the 12h battery life, you can easily say that it’s one of the best in the industry, allowing you to use it for an entire day and still have enough juice left to use it for a couple of hours the next day.

Cons:

While Apple claims the MacBook Air has a 12h battery life, it’s more like half of that in real world use.

Apple MacBook Pro

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No matter if it’s video or music editing, Apple is always at the forefront of technology and with their latest MacBook Pro Retina laptop, you can take your music editing skills and efforts to the next level. Yes, this is a pricey laptop compared to everything else you’re going to find on the market, but since all the parts are perfectly integrated in this wonderfully built machine, you have the guarantee that they’re going to work perfectly and give you the speed and performance you deserve.

When it comes to its specs, the MacBook Pro features an Intel i7 Haswell CPU clocked at 2.8 GHz, 8 GB or 16 GB of RAM memory and you can also choose between 256 GB, 512 GB, 768 GB and 1 TB of flash memory. Since you’re someone who wants to make music, you’re definitely going to use large libraries of files and therefore getting the 16 GB version with 1 TB of flash storage is thoroughly recommended to make everything you do run lightning fast.

Of course, you can also choose from a series of built in programs which can make using the MB Pro an even greater experience. All in all, thanks to its unibody aluminum design, light weight of only 4.5 pounds or 2.06 kg, but also Retina display, you can easily realize that this is the best music editing laptop currently available for the serious music producer who only demands the best.

Cons:

The Haswell CPU models can get pretty hot.

Razer Blade 14″ QHD+

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Razer is very well known in the gaming industry and they have been making gaming peripherals, such as keyboards, mice and whatnot for many years, but it seems that their latest offer, the Razer blade, is something that comes as a big surprise to everyone. This is a 14 inch laptop that is designed for use with intensive applications, including games and music production and the company claims that it really does a great job at helping you get your work done fast and with exceptional results.

But let’s talk a bit about its specs, shall we? First of all, the Razer Blade comes with an Intel i7 CPU clocked at 2.2 GHz, which makes running CPU intensive applications a breeze. For storage, Razer opted for a SATA 3 flash drive of 256 GB which is more than enough space for software, while the 8GB of memory should be enough for the novice music producer.

Rounding up the machine is a really good sound system that is far superior to those you can find on other laptops on the market and given the fact that the Razer Blade features a quad HD screen with a resolution of 3200 by 1800 10 point touch-screen powered by a GeForce GTX 870M with 3GB GDDR5 of video memory, you can already imagine that everything on it looks absolutely stunning and graphics intensive operation will be completed ultra fast.

Cons:

If you want to play games or run intensive tasks on full brightness, the battery will only last you for 83 – 90 minutes.

My personal choice

Apple MacBook Pro 15.4-Inch Laptop with Retina Display

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This was a close call, I can tell you that, since I had 2 great laptops that had amazing performance and I only had to choose one. After a long comparison though, I decided to go with the MacBook Pro. I know this may not come as a surprise to many, but at the end of the day you cannot deny how much of an impressive powerhouse the Macbook Pro is. I think that the best configuration is a Haswell 2.8 GHz, 16 GB RAM, an nVidia GeForce 750M and the 1 TB PCI-e SSD which is blazing fast.

With all that power, you can render a project in Adobe Photoshop or maybe load a large music file library, have about 20 tabs opened and several other programs running and still experience no lag whatsoever. Yes, that’s how great and reliable the new MacBook Pro is! All of this is possible not only because of the hardware, but due to the operating system which is optimized so that it works in harmony with the hardware.

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That’s why everyone who has used or uses a MacBook has a more fluid and overall superior experience while working on it. I can tell you this: if you want the ultimate mobile performance in everything that you do, no matter if it’s video or music production, then the answer to your needs is only one: the unrivaled MacBook Pro.

Top 5 computers for music production:

Apple iMac

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The iMac is one of the most popular computers from Apple and over the years it has been upgraded (in both design and performance) in order to be the best computer for music production. So what makes this model so special that so many people have bought it and continue to buy it?

Well, in terms of performance, the new model comes with 16 GB of DDR3 memory, 1 TB of HDD storage and a 3.2 GHz quad core i5 6 MB L3 cache memory CPU from Intel that can go up to 3.6 GHz with Turbo Boost.

In terms of memory, the iMac has 8 GB of RAM, but you can also add up to 32 GB depending on what you want to use it for and how demanding your various software applications are. Unlike the MacBook pro, you can easily access the RAM modules and upgrade them as needed.

In terms of graphics, the iMac comes with a 755M GPU with 1GB of GDDR5 memory and thanks to its massive 27 inch screen, you can easily get enough screen real estate so you don’t have to spend money for an extra screen.

You’ll find many connections on the back of the monitor, including optical digital audio line input, audio line out, USB 3.0 connections and so forth. Therefore, if you’re someone who wants to make music on his computer and needs a powerful computer for that, then the iMac is more than enough to suite your needs for raw power.

Cons:

Some users have said that for the price you pay, the performance could be a bit better.

Apple Mac Mini

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The Mac Mini has been called the best computer for music production for those who don’t like large computer towers that are noisy, bulky and also a pain to move from one room to another.

Measuring only six point five inches (having a square shaped size) and being only two inches thick, this 2.7 pounds computer will take your music production work to new heights. How come?

Well, this little bad boy comes with an Intel i7 CPU clocked at 2.3 GHz (6MB L3 cache) and going all the way up to 3.3 GHz with Turbo Boost, meaning that no matter what you do on it it’s going to be super fast and super smooth. Performance is also boosted by the 4 GB of DDR3 RAM memory clocked at 1600 MHz, while the Intel HD Graphics 4000 and 1TB of storage complete the Mini to make it one of the best laptops for music production you can currently get.

Design wise, you’ll find the Mac Mini to look absolutely excellent and it will easily fit in any workspace without looking awkward. There is a removable cover made of soft rubber on the bottom and once you open it, you can gain access to the RAM memory to upgrade it if needed.

All in all, this is a very powerful and affordable mini-computer from Apple that can be easily tucked away into a bag or backpack and used whenever you want without having to worry about it making your muscles feel sore.

Cons:

This is indeed a great mini-computer, but since it may not be compatible with all programs used on a Windows machine, it may sometime freeze when using them.

Apple Mac Pro Desktop

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The Mac Pro is by far one of the best, if not the best computer out there for anyone who wants to delve into music production, video production and anything else that demands massive amounts of raw power. This is also the newest model from Apple which looks like R2D2 from Star Wars, making it an extremely popular choice for those who love the movie. However, you’re not buying it only for that, so let’s see what it has under its hood.

The 2013 version of the Mac Pro comes in multiple configurations, but if you want to enjoy maximum performance for a fair price, you may want to get the version with the quad core Intel Xeon E5 CPU that’s clocked at 3.7 GHz fitted with the dual AMD D500 graphics cards (each has 2GB of video ram), 12 GB of RAM and a 256GB of PCI-e flash storage. As you can already tell, this machine is going to simply take off from your desk and head out into space!

For the ultimate user, there is also the supreme version of the Mac Pro which comes with 64 GB of 1866MHz DDR3 ECC memory, 1 TB of PCI-e flash storage, and Dual AMD FirePro D700 video cards with a total of 12GB of GDDR5 VRAM. As you can tell, this is a monster of a computer that’s going to make everything run at the speed of thought.

Forget about lag, bottlenecking and everything else you experience in the past with a sub-par computer system, since the new Mac Pro full specced version is the ultimate computer meant to handle the most resource demanding tasks with the speed and reliability Apple is known for.

Cons:

The only con of this great machine is the price, which is quite high compared to similarly specced machines.

HP Envy 810-160

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For those who are looking for a powerful desktop computer that is blazingly fast and has been engineered in order to deliver maximum performance without lagging or choking regardless of what you throw at it, then you can get all of that and more from the new HP Envy 810-160. This mammoth of a computer (in terms of performance) will blow you away thanks to its top of the line quad core Intel i7-4770 CPU clocked at 3.4 GHz and coming with 8MB of cache memory.

If you want, you can easily upgrade the memory up to 32 GB which should be enough especially if you have large libraries of midi or other music files that you need to use on a daily basis in order to ensure your music production is smooth and flawless. In terms of storage, the 1TB 7200 RPMs SATA drive should be enough for most users, but if you want, you can always upgrade it with a higher capacity HDD or buy a secondary HDD.

The design of the HP Envy 810-160 though is really impressive and with its armor style case that looks like a spaceship that’s ready to take off, you can easily install it in any room where it can easily become the centerpiece of that specific workspace.

Cons:

If there’s something you won’t like about this desktop computer, that’s the fact that the sound is too low.

Dell XPS Desktop

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Finally, the XPS 8700 from Dell is a beats of a machine that runs on Windows 8 and comes with a lot of features that are going to make you want to get it the minute you read its review. First off, the Windows 8 OS offers you a fluid and responsive interface that comes with touch support as well, making it easy for you to couple this computer with a touch capable monitor.

But at the end of the day, it’s the raw performance of the XPS 8700 that’s going to impress you most. For audio production, you’ll be happy to know that this model comes with a 7.1 sound card that offers premium quality sound, four USB 3.0 ports, 2 USB 2.0 ports, Line-in, Mic, MCR 19:1 and also the ability to charge your devices using the USB while the machine is powered off.

The fourth generation Intel Core i7 4770 (with 8MB of cache) is a monster of a CPU delivering speeds of up to 3.9GHz and coupled with the 32GB of DDR3 memory running at 1600 MHz, you can easily realize how fast this computer actually is. For storage, you get two HDDs of 2TB, 7200 RPMs each, while the AMD Radeon HD 7570 video card with 1GB of GDDR5 memory should be enough for most video applications you may want to consider.

With that being said, the XPS 8700 from Dell is by far one of the best rated music editing computer models for the money and if you only demand absolute power without breaking the bank, then look no more than it.

My personal choice

Apple Mac Pro Desktop

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If I were to personally choose the best rated music editing machine for my needs, then I don’t think I would go with any other computer other than the Mac Pro. When Apple introduced this model, everyone was very surprised, since its design (one that people weren’t expecting) was something very different from what Apple has been producing in the past. It was not only the design that took people by surprise, but also the raw amount of power you get with this titan of a computer.

Depending on the configuration, no matter if you also get the lowers one, you still have heaps of power to fly through your everyday tasks, such as video editing, music production and even gaming. But what else do you expect with 32GB of memory, Dual AMD FirePro D500 GPUs with 3GB of GDDR5 VRAM and PCI-e flash storage?

This machine is the ultimate performer in the world of computers and since I am a producer and been using it for a few months now, I would never go back to any other machines that claim to even get close in terms of performance to this beast. It wouldn’t be the same, since the Mac Pro is not only powerful, but also has an excellent operating system that makes using it a real pleasure.

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