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Every animator wants to scrub through their scenes with no lags, edit in real-time, and render their scenes without being held back by their hardware. If you’re a professional working on the go or are a student, then you’re probably looking for the best laptops for animation that can fit reasonably inside your budget.
The only problem is animation is complicated, and different animators need different things for their type of work (2D, 3D, Rigging, Modelling, VFX, etc.) and skill level.
But, if you’re in a rush and are looking for the overall best, we recommend the ASUS ROG Zephyrus 15. It is a great umbrella choice for anyone in the animation industry looking for a laptop, whether you deal with VFX, 2D animation, or complicated scenes with rigging, multiple objects, and texture shaders. It comes with a mobile RTX 3080, which delivers the best performance on any modern gaming Laptop, an 11th Gen Intel Core-i7, 16GB of RAM, and 1TB NVMe SSD.
To cater to all sorts of animators, we chose 4 of the Best Laptops for Animation we could find and reviewed each one in detail. We have a choice for each type of animator and included a helpful guide that tells you what to look for in a great animation laptop.
Best 4 Laptops for Animation
1. Overall Best Laptop for Animation – ASUS ROG Zephyrus 15
Designed and marketed toward creative professionals, the ASUS ROG Zephyrus professional Laptop comes packed with everything an animator might want from a mobile power station.
- OLED Display with 100% DCI-P3 Display
- 11th Gen Core i7 processor with 4.6 GHz boost
- Nvidia RTX 3080 with 8GB of VRAM
- 2x8GB DDR4 3200 MHz
- 1TB NVMe SSD
- Great port selection
- 4.12 pounds
The ASUS ROG Zephyrus 15.6 pulls no punches. Everything from its display, pro-selection, cooling system, and processors are engineered for performance. Whether you’re running GPU-intensive render engines like Redlist or are running Maya or Blender, you’ll be zipping through tasks at lightning speeds thanks to the GPU and CPU. Storage won’t be a problem either. The base configuration of the Zephyrus ships with a 4th Gen PCIe NVMe SSD and has some of the fastest read and write speeds you’ll find on any modern PC.
The 4k WQHD with Anti-glare is 100% color accurate, allowing you to render and work with 4k color-accurate footage with absolute certainty. The 99.9 Whr battery ties this powerhouse together. Depending on your power and display settings, it should get you 2-4 hours of work.
The Zephyrus runs as cool as it looks. The twin fan and the exhaust provide ample ventilation for the powerful CPU and GPU, and the great port selection means you’re not limited to your hardware. The Zephyrus comes with multiple USB 3.2 ports, Thunderbolt 4, HDMI 2 ports, and lots of USB C ports. You can hook up spare monitors or a display tablet while you work.
- Great specs and performance
- High-performance LAN and WiFi
- Powerful QHD display
- 99.9 Whr Battery
- Thin and light
- Can only upgrade to 40GB RAM
2. Best Workstation Replacement – Alienware M15 R6 Gaming Laptop
If you’re looking for better ventilation, performance, and don’t mind the extra chunk, then the Alienware M15 R6 Gaming Laptop is another great option. Don’t let the “Gaming” in the title fool you; this computer is all business. With 32GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, and an RTX 3080 graphics card, you’ll be able to tackle the most complex scenes and tasks from any location you choose.
- QHD screen
- 11th Gen Intel Core i7 11800H with 4.6 GHz boost
- 32 GB of DDR4 RAM
- Nvidia RTX 3080
- 1TB of PCIe NVMe SSD
- Cryo-Tech Cooling
If you’re looking for a powerhouse at roughly the same price and better ventilation than the Zephyrus 15, then the Alienware M15 is your best bet. With the modular design and heft of a proper workstation, it comes with advanced thermal engineering that gives you the best airflow and cooling you’ll find only PC on the market. That means you’ll run cooler and squeeze out better performance from your GPU and CPU on every project.
Although the M15 comes with a 2k screen instead of 4k, it is decently color accurate and runs at a 240 Hz refresh rate, which should absolutely shine if you intend to game on your workstation. The 1 TB SSD and considerable port selection mean you won’t have to invest in costly hard drives or dongles.
The Alienware M15 Gaming PC is one of the best laptops for animation on our list because of its modular internals. The RAM and SSD slots are easy to reach and upgrade at any point.
- Great airflow and ventilation
- Top of the line Procesor, RAM, and Storage
- QHD screen
- Easy to upgrade
- Great port selection
- Weighs 5.93 lbs
3. Best Laptop for 2D Animation – Lenovo Ideapad 3 Gaming Laptop
The Lenovo Ideapad 3 Gaming Laptop is the king of budget gaming and is your best choice if you’re a 2D animator looking for a powerful but flexible machine.
- 8GB DDR4 RAM
- 256 Storage
- Nvidia GTX 1650
- Ryzen 5 5600H
- 6 Hours of Battery Life
The Lenovo Ideapad 3 Gaming comes with the ideals specs and features for a solo 2D animator. 8GB of RAM is enough for Clip Studio, Tv Paint, Adobe Animate, After Effects, or any of the other software you might be using.
Its 256 SSD is small, but you can always upgrade if you need to. The Ideapad internals is accessible and encourages user upgrades. You can add another 8 or 16GB RAM stick if you ever need more memory.
A GTX 1650 Graphics card gives you enough power to tackle moderately complex scenes and effects with respectable render times and great performance.
The FHD Anti-glare screen is decently bright and can be manually adjusted for better color accuracy if you’re not using an external display. As for ports and IO, you get RJ45 Ethernet, 802.11 ax Ethernet, Bluetooth 5, and USB-C ports.
The bests thing about the Lenovo Ideapad 3 Gaming Laptop has to be the Ryzen 5 5600H. It has a base clock of 3.3 GHz, a boost of 4.2 GHz, and is a great replacement for the 11th Gen i5 processor. The Ryzen 5 5600H has a high clock speed and low power consumption, meaning you can get the best performance from your computer for longer.
- Great battery Life
- Good baseline specification with room for upgrades
- Affordable starting price
- Aesthetic design
- Plastic body
- Comes with a 256 SSD
4. Best Budget Option for 3D Animators— GIGABYTE G5
If you’re on a budget and want a powerful new PC that will deliver reliable performance on demanding scenes, renders, models, and tests, look no further than the GIGABYTE G5. For a reasonable price, you get 16 GB of RAM, an RTX 3060, and an 11th gen Intel Core- i5.
- 16 GB of DDR4 RAM
- 512 PCIe NVMe SSD
- Nvidia RTX 3060
- 11th gen Intel Core i5- 11400 with a 4.5 GHz.
- Two M.2 slots and one 2.5-inch bay
- 15-inch FHD 1080p-IPS display
The GIGABYTE G5 offers news and experienced animators an affordable and powerful solution to one of the most time-consuming portion of the animation process: Rendering.
Whether you prefer plain CPU renders or gravitate towards using GPU Render engines like Octane, Redshift, or Cycles, you’ll be pushing out content faster than most with the RTX 3060 and the i5-11400H. Plus, the G5’s graphical and CPU power will serve you tremendously if you ever look into serious video editing, game development, or pick up casual gaming.
You won’t need to worry about storage or RAM either. The G5 provides plenty of both, and its modular internal layout makes it very easy to add two more SSDs and an HDD if you need to.
The G5 also has WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5, three USB-3 parts, an M-HDMI port, Ethernet, and a USB 3 for all of your connectivity needs.
- Great specifications for the price
- Good connectivity options
- 2 SSD cards slots and a 2.5-inch drive bay
- A crisp 1080 IPS Anti-glare screen with 144hz
- Weighs 6 pounds
- Average battery life
What to look for when shopping for a laptop for animation
Finding the best laptop for animation is not as easy as picking the option with the best hardware, storage, and specs. Not all animators do heavy, complex 3D work with high poly characters, insane rigs, and high-quality textures. While a good graphics card and processor will guarantee you’re future-proof, we’d rather dig into the parts of a laptop that will serve you the most.
Whether you’re a 2D or 3D animator, you’ll spend the bulk of your time scrubbing through the timeline or viewport of your software. And, during those moments, while you survey the work you’ve done so far, your CPU does the heavy lifting.
They run multiple calculations on scenes, rigs, objects, etc., multiple times when you hit “play,” and It’s only after the calculations are done that the graphics card output the video onto our timeline.
What kind of CPU should you aim for?
You’re looking for raws speed when you’re animating and putting down ideas, so you need a processor with a fast clock speed, whether they’re Intel or AMD.
CPU cores and their power rating also matter, but most of the time you’re working, you’ll want a CPU with at least 4.2- 5.0 GHz.
GPUs are built to display what your computer has calculated/made after the fact, but you will need powerful ones once you start adding effects, SSAO, Anti-Aliasing, lighting, and more.
Certain power-hungry industry software like Maya and Blender heavily rely on these effects. So, to get the best out of them, you want a powerful GPU with at least 4GB of VRAM. Any graphics card with 6 or 8 GB of VRAM would be best for more demanding work.
Graphics cards are also vital for using GPU Render Engines. Normally, rendering is a CPU-intensive task, GPU-based Render engines like Octane also exist to help you cut down on time, and good GPUs can cut your render times down in half.
Having lots of RAM gives your PC real estate to store more short-term information, processes, and multi-task when needed. Odds are, when you’re working, you’ll probably be hopping between multiple apps. 8 to 16 GB of RAM will ensure your computer won’t slow down.
Having a 32 GB of RAM can help when animating complex scenes and textures, but 8-16GB should be plenty enough for beginners.
Storage is not as involved in the animation process per se as a CPU or GPU, but a fast SSD can make your work so much smoother and quicker. A good SSD with great read and write speeds will mean faster load times, saves, and snappy performance, even with many plug-ins.
A PCIe NVMe SSD is the industry standard and is considerably faster than anything else on the market. If you can’t get one, buy a fast SATA SSD instead. Get a 256 SSD at the least and a 1TB to cover your bases fully. Although, we’d like to remind you that you’ll need external SSDs or HDDs to store completed files projects.
As you skill up and tackle more graphically demanding scenes and projects, you might want to upgrade your storage, improve your RAM or WiFi card. The best laptops for animation should be easy to access and have interchangeable and upgradeable hardware. They should not be buried under heat sinks or soldered to a motherboard.
A good, accurate display affects the overall quality of your work. Colors can come out very different during the coloring and processing phase if the monitor has poor color accuracy. A bad-colored project could set you back several hours. If you’re working with a secondary display, it might not matter as much, but if you use your laptop display for everything, you’ll want to be very deliberate with your choice. Higher resolutions are always welcome, but Color accuracy and IPS technology matter more. It’ll let you view things conveniently from various angles.
Finding the best laptops for animation can be challenging if you’ve never shopped for one before. As long as you prioritize your needs like adequate RAM, storage, GPU, and CPU, you should have no problem finding a great laptop for work.
Here’s a list of 3 of our best value choices.
- Overall Best Laptop for Animation – ASUS ROG Zephyrus 15
- Best Laptop for 2D Animation – Lenovo Ideapad 3 Gaming Laptop
- Best Budget Option for 3D Animators— GIGABYTE G5