With its latest release, Pro Tools 12 is a popular audio recording and producing software. And whether you’re already a professional, or simply planning to create a  studio of your own at home, you probably already know that Pro Tools is the industry standard when it comes to High End Music Production. Getting a laptop for Pro Tools can be quite tricky, mostly because there are plenty of plugins and virtual instruments that you’ll use along with the program and these plugins have different system requirements.

But we’re here to help! First , we will share some of the  considerations you might want to take for choosing your next laptop. At of course we’re going to share our own reviews for some of the best laptops for Pro Tools, be they tight budget or high-end solutions.

First, let’s have a look at the official system requirements for Pro Tools, which you can check here. Please not that these system requirements are for Pro Tools 12, and not for Pro Tools First, or Pro Tools HD.

Windows Mac
Intel® Core i5 processor Intel® Core i5 processor
16GB RAM (32GB or more recommended) 16GB RAM (32GB or more recommended)
15GB disk space for installation 15GB disk space for installation
·  USB-port for iLok authorization (iLok 2 or iLok 3 required)

·  USB-port or FireWire-port for ASIO-supported audio device

·  Supports 64-bit AAX plug-ins in Pro Tools

·  USB-port for iLok authorization (iLok 2 or iLok 3 required)

·  USB-port or FireWire-port for ASIO-supported audio device

·  Supports 64-bit AAX plug-ins in Pro Tools

Intel® PC with Windows 8/8.1 64-bit (Standard and Pro Editions) or Windows 10 64-bit (Enterprise, Pro, or Home Editions) Intel® Mac with Mac OS X 10.8.5 (only supported below Pro Tools 12.5), 10.9.5 (only supported below Pro Tools 12.8), 10.10.5 (only supported below Pro Tools 12.8.2), 10.11.6, 10.12.6 (only supported with Pro Tools 12.8 and above) or 10.13.2 (Pro Tools 12.8.3 and above).

 

As you can see, the system requirements for running Pro Tools 12 are quite high, especially when it comes to RAM. But that’s not all; because getting the most powerful laptop you can buy does not guarantee that Pro Tools will run smoothly on it. Again, this is  because Pro Tools is usually used along other Virtual instruments, which have there own requirements too.

What to look for in a laptop for Pro Tools?

When buying a new laptop, many people make the mistake of not checking the system requirements for the programs they’re going to use the most. When it comes to music production, and Pro Tools in particular, you’ll see that the minimum requirements are quite high. If you’re a beginner or a hobbyist, and you’re only going to use Pro Tools first, the limited free version, then the good news that most budget laptops run the program smoothly. That’s not the case for Pro Tools 12, or Pro Tools HD, which are higher end products designed for professional users.

You won’t be able to run Pro Tools 12 properly on any cheap laptop. Although, there are some budget laptops that are capable of running Pro Tools well enough, the truth is if you’re doing any serious work, you’ll need a higher end laptop. It should be noted that Avid provides a “list” of approved hardware; however, the list is old and doesn’t have many windows laptops.

So, what to look for in order to get the best laptop for Pro Tool? Here are some recommendations:

Processor: Getting a fast processor is the first thing to consider in order to get the best laptop to run Pro Tools. Although Avid recommends a minimum Intel core i5 processor, it is actually quite vague, considering laptop processors are optimized for battery life, and thus perform less in comparison to a full desktop processor.  And that’s why we mostly recommend an i7 processor for using Pro Tools on a laptop. For a trouble-free performance, it’s well worth the extra money.

RAM: As you can see judging from the official system requirements, Pro Tools needs a lot of RAM to run without lags. While it’s possible to run the software on an 8GB RAM Laptop, we recommend at least a laptop with 16GB of RAM, or more. Another thing to consider is to check the maximum amount of RAM the laptop supports, and if there is a free RAM slot, in case you’ll need to upgrade the RAM in the Future.

Storage: We always recommend our visitors to go for a laptop with a solid state drive (SSD), over one with a traditional HDD. Although it’s more expensive per storage amount, the SSD enables your laptop to boot faster. Eventually, it will recover your files quicker as you build up a large digital library. Also, contrary to a HDD, a SSD doesn’t make any sounds as it runs.

Ports: When it comes to Pro tools and music production in general, you’ll need to connect your laptop to external devices such as an audio interface, a Midi controller, or an external display. So getting a laptop that comes with a decent amount of ports is essential in order to run Pro Tools properly. One of the things to ask yourself is if the laptop  has a USB Type-C or Thunderbolt port? As it becomes the worldwide standard, it will come in handy for plugging in any of your other devices. If you’re going to use additional monitors, then a HDMI or VGA port is a must. So, have you cut down your options to a few? Just pick the one that tickles you the most!

Graphics Card:  A laptop with a dedicated graphics card is highly recommended for Pro Tools. In Pro Tools 12, there is some work that is done on the GPU side of things, and a lot of plugins and virtual instruments rely heavily on the graphics card too. A good graphics will certainly make a difference when using Pro Tools.

Conclusion

If budget is not a concern to you, then getting a higher end laptop with a recent processor and plenty of RAM shouldn’t be a problem. A lot of people say that macs are best for anything related to Music Production and working with audio, which might be true to some extent, but it doesn’t mean that Windows laptops suck. In fact, a lot of High end Windows laptops are far superior to anything you get from a Mac.

Here are some of the best laptops for Pro Tools available right now:

Best Laptops for Pro Tools:

Acer Aspire E 15 E5-576G-5762

The Acer Aspire E 15 E5-576G-5762 is a the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about a good budget laptop for Pro Tools. We have recommended the Aspire E15 countless times before for those on a budget. The Aspire E15 is equipped with an 8th generation Intel Core i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD and a dedicated Nvidia GeForce MX150.

The Aspire E15 is consistently performing on its own, but you can easily upgrade its raw power up to 32 GB of RAM. You could also add an additional HDD for more storage space for your files.

In terms of battery life, Acer claims that the battery can last up to 12 hours, you can expect an average of 8 hours on average use. That’s simply excellent at this price range.

Processor Intel Core i5-8250U Processor
RAM 8GB
Storage 256GB, SSD
Graphics Dedicated, NVIDIA GeForce MX 150
Screen 15,6 inch, 1920X1080, IPS
Connectivity and Ports 1 – USB Type C  port

2- USB 3.0 port

1- USB 2.0 port

1 – HDMI port,

Card reader, Bluetooth 4.1, DVD/RW

Battery up to 15 hours battery life

 

ASUS ZenBook UX533FD-DH74

Going for a higher budget, we recommend the ASUS ZenBook UX533FD-DH74, a beautifully designed and ultra slim laptop. It has a 15.6” Full HD, narrow bezel designed display, that’s amazing to look at. The ZenBook 15 features an 8th generation Intel Core i7, 16 GB of RAM, a 512 GB SSD and a dedicated Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 graphics card.

The ZenBook 15 offers extensive connectivity thanks to the HDMI port and the USB Type-C. It will run Pro Tools 12 like cutting through butter, all without renouncing anything at the beauty department.

Processor Intel Core i7-8565U Processor
RAM 16GB
Storage 512GB, SSD
Graphics Dedicated, NVIDIA GTX 1050
Screen 15,6 inch, 1920X1080, IPS
Connectivity and Ports 1 – USB Type C  port

2- USB 3.0 port

1 – HDMI port,

Card reader, Bluetooth 5,

Battery up to 15 hours battery life

 

MSI P65 Creator 8RD-021 

At a similar price range, we have the MSI P65 Creator 8RD-021, a thin bezel 15.6” Full HD laptop. It features an 8th generation Intel Core i7 processor, 16 GB of RAM, a 256 GB SSD and a dedicated Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti graphics card. The P65 Creator comes with the Windows 10 Professional operating system. Thanks to the powerful specs, it can either work as a powerful gaming machine or as a music production laptop. That’s up to you!

The P65 Creators features a backlit keyboard and a fingerprint reader, to login on the go. It offers up to 8 hours of use, all while having a minimal and thin design.

Processor Intel Core i7-8750H Processor
RAM 16GB
Storage 256GB Nvme SSD
Graphics Dedicated, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050Ti
Screen 15,6 inch, 1920X1080, IPS
Connectivity and Ports 1 – USB 3.1 Type C  port

3- USB 3.0 ports

1 – HDMI port,Mini Display Port

Card reader, Bluetooth 4.1

Battery up to 8 hours battery life

 

MacBook Pro 15

Getting to the top of our list, here comes the MacBook Pro 15, a high-end professional solution for those who want to pursue a career in everything that goes from sound producing, to animation and visual effects. The 15.4” Retina display is just stunning, with a native resolution of 2880×1800. The MacBook Pro 15 features an 8th generation Intel Core i7, 16 GB of RAM and a 512 Gb SSD. It’s your laptop of choice if you’re a fan of Mac OS; in fact the OS is definitely what makes the Macbook Pro one of the best laptops for Pro Tools ever.

The latest MacBook Pro 15 model also features the Touch Bar, for an upgrade in ease of use, and the Touch ID as well, for fast fingerprint login and secure online payments. It’s also equipped with four Thunderbolt 3 ports.

The MacBook Pro 15 will support you through all of your creative productivity for up to 10 hours of battery life.

Processor Intel Core i7-8850H Processor
RAM 16GB
Storage 512GB SSD
Graphics Dedicated, AMD Radeon Pro 560X
Screen 15,6 inch, 2880×1800 IPS
Connectivity and Ports 2– USB 3.1 type C// Thunderbolt

1 – Thunderbolt port

1 – USB 3.1 Port

1  – Display port

Card reader, Bluetooth 5.0

Battery Up to 10 hours battery life

 

Dell XPS 15 9570

The Dell XPS 15 is not only a sleek and beautiful laptop, but it also packs plenty of power in a slim design. It comes from a manufacturer that is famous for bringing in strongly built, durable and high performing laptops. The XPS 15 has a 15.6” Full HD display with a narrow bezel design. Although the specs can be easily upgraded and personalized, the version featured here for Pro Tools has an 8th generation Intel Core i7 processor, 32 GB of RAM, a 256 GB SSD and a dedicated Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti graphics card.

The 2019 model of the XPS 15 includes two Thunderbolt 3 ports, a backlit keyboard and a fingerprint reader as additional features. It also comes with a HDMI port to connect a second monitor. Weighting only about 4 pounds, the XPS 15 is a beautiful powerhouse.

Processor Intel Core i7-8750H Processor
RAM 32GB
Storage 1TB, SSD
Graphics Dedicated, Nvidia GTX 1050Ti
Screen 15,6 inch, 3840×2160, IPS
Connectivity and Ports 1 – USB Type C  // Thunderbolt

2- USB 3.1

Card reader, Bluetooth 4.1,

Battery up to 9 hours battery life

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