best laptop for music production

Best Laptops for Music Production 2024

For many years, Apple has been a dominant force in the music production laptop market, especially with its MacBook Pro being the exclusive platform for Logic Pro X. However, the landscape has been shifting. Big tech brands like Dell, Microsoft, Razer, and Lenovo are now offering formidable alternatives, challenging Apple's dominance. In this article we'll look at the best laptops for music production in 2023.

Choosing the right laptop for music production is crucial. Whether you're an Apple enthusiast or a Windows user, certain factors remain consistent. It's not just about meeting the minimum requirements of your DAW; it's about future-proofing your investment. You need a machine that can handle expanding file sizes, the latest software, and unforeseen future needs.

For those always on the move, like DJs or touring musicians, portability is a significant factor. The ideal laptop should be lightweight yet powerful, with a battery life that can sustain long sessions away from a power source.

Best Laptops for Music Production in 2024: Quick List

  1. Apple M1 MacBook Pro 14"
    • Overview: Leveraging the power of the latest M1 chip, this laptop is a powerhouse suitable for the most demanding creative professionals. A new standard in Apple's lineup.
    • Read more below
  2. Dell XPS 13 OLED (2021)
    • Overview: Known for its sleek design and powerful specs, the Dell XPS 13 with OLED display offers vibrant visuals and robust performance.
    • Read more below
  3. Apple MacBook Pro M2 13”
    • Overview: The next evolution in Apple's lineup, the M2 MacBook Pro offers enhanced performance and efficiency for music producers.
    • Read more below
  4. Dell XPS 15
    • Overview: A larger and more powerful sibling to the XPS 13, the XPS 15 is perfect for those who need a bigger display and more processing power.
    • Read more below
  5. Microsoft Surface Laptop 4
    • Overview: Microsoft's flagship laptop combines elegant design with performance, making it a top choice for music producers who prefer Windows.
    • Read more below
  6. Apple MacBook Air (M1, 2020)
    • Overview: Offering the power of the M1 chip in a lightweight design, the MacBook Air is perfect for producers on the go.
    • Read more below
  7. Asus ROG Zephyrus G14
    • Overview: A gaming laptop that doesn't compromise on performance for music production. With top-tier specs, it's suitable for both gaming and creating music.
    • Read more below

Detailed Reviews

1. Apple M1 MacBook Pro 14-inch

The Best All-Rounder for Music Production

Apple M1 MacBook Pro 14
  • Specifications:
    • CPU: M1 Pro
    • RAM: 16GB - 32GB
    • Screen: 14” Liquid Retina XDR display
    • Storage: 512GB - 4TB SSD
    • Graphics: Integrated 14-core – 32-core Apple GPU
    • Weight: 3.5 pounds (1.58kg)
  • Pros:
    • Powerful M1 Pro or M1 Max chips
    • Stunning Liquid Retina XDR display
    • High-quality build and design
  • Cons:
    • Expensive
    • Limited to Apple's ecosystem

Apple's M1 MacBook Pro 14" is a game-changer in the world of music production. With the introduction of the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips, Apple has set a new benchmark for laptop performance. The Liquid Retina XDR display is a visual treat, offering stunning clarity and color accuracy. The high-quality build, combined with the power of macOS, makes it a top choice for music producers.

2. Dell XPS 13 OLED (2022)

Best Windows Laptop for Music Production

Dell XPS 13 OLED (2021)
  • Specifications:
    • CPU: 11th generation Intel Core i7
    • RAM: 16GB
    • Screen: 13.4-inch UHD+ (3,840 x 2,400) OLED
    • Storage: 512GB SSD
    • Graphics: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
    • Weight: 2.8 pounds (1.27kg)
  • Pros:
    • Stunning OLED display
    • Compact and lightweight design
    • Powerful performance with Intel Core i7
  • Cons:
    • Can get expensive with higher configurations
    • Webcam placement isn't ideal

The Dell XPS 13 OLED is a masterpiece in the world of Windows laptops. It offers a perfect balance of power and portability, making it ideal for music producers on the go. The OLED display is a standout feature, offering deep blacks and vibrant colors. The 11th generation Intel Core i7 ensures smooth performance, even with demanding tasks. The compact design and lightweight build make it easy to carry, while the powerful specs ensure top-notch performance.

Apple MacBook Pro M2 13-inch

Best for performance

Apple MacBook Pro M2 13” Image

The next stage in the evolution of a music-making laptop?

  • RAM: 8-24GB
  • Screen: 13.3” Retina display (2560 x 1600p)
  • Storage: 256GB – 2TB
  • Pros: Great performance, Top-notch battery life
  • Cons: Ageing design, Still only two Thunderbolt 3 ports

Apple's latest 13" MacBook Pro is - alongside the Air M2 above - the company's latest laptop to feature the M2 processor and it certainly packs a punch in speed tests for musicians. However, while it outperforms the Air on some tasks it's not by the country mile you might have been expecting.

The latest MacBook Pro M2 also still carries some of the baggage from previous designs - the infamous Touch Bar being a prime example. This was dropped from the latest 14" and 16" MacBook Pros but still lingers on with the 13". It's a divisive feature that may or may not sway you either way. Personally, we think it delivered solutions to problems we didn't know we had, so we are quite happy to see it absent on the Air M2 and 14" Pro, which are our current favorite Apple laptops for music production.

You'll get the speed uplift with the Pro 13" for some tasks, then, but we'd still opt for either of the other Apple options for music production.

Read the full Apple MacBook Pro M2 13” review

Dell XPS 15

Best Windows laptop for music production

Dell XPS 15 Image

A powerful Windows laptop optimized for music production.

  • RAM: 8-64GB
  • Screen: 15.6” FHD+ (1920 x 1200) IPS or UHD+ (3840 x 2400) touch
  • Storage: 256GB – 2TB
  • Pros: Fast performance, Stunning display
  • Cons: Can get expensive, Slightly heavier

The Dell XPS 15 is a powerhouse of a laptop, making it an excellent choice for music production. With its 10th Gen Intel Core processors and up to 64GB of RAM, it ensures smooth performance even with multiple tracks and plugins running. The InfinityEdge display is a treat for the eyes, and the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Ti graphics card ensures that everything runs smoothly.

While it's slightly on the heavier side, the build quality is top-notch, and the keyboard is comfortable for extended use. The range of ports, including a Thunderbolt 3, ensures that you can connect all your music gear without any issues. Overall, if you're looking for a Windows laptop for music production, the Dell XPS 15 is hard to beat.

Read the full Dell XPS 15 review

Microsoft Surface Laptop 4

Best for portability

Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 Image

A sleek and lightweight laptop perfect for on-the-go music production.

  • RAM: 8-32GB
  • Screen: 13.5” or 15” PixelSense Display
  • Storage: 256GB – 1TB
  • Pros: Lightweight design, Excellent battery life
  • Cons: Limited ports, Higher configurations can be pricey

The Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 is a beautifully designed laptop that doesn't compromise on performance. It's available in two sizes, 13.5” and 15”, and offers a choice between Intel and AMD processors. The PixelSense Display is vibrant and sharp, making it a pleasure to work on.

One of the standout features of the Surface Laptop 4 is its portability. It's incredibly lightweight, making it perfect for producers who are always on the move. The battery life is also impressive, ensuring that you can work on your projects without constantly searching for a power outlet. While it could benefit from more ports, the overall package makes it one of the best laptops for music production on the go.

Read the full Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 review

Apple MacBook Air (M1, 2020)

Best budget MacBook for music production

Apple MacBook Air (M1, 2020) Image

The most affordable MacBook that doesn't compromise on performance.

  • RAM: 8-16GB
  • Screen: 13.3-inch, 2,560 x 1,600 Retina display
  • Storage: 256GB – 2TB
  • Pros: Impressive M1 performance, Excellent battery life
  • Cons: Limited ports, No fan for cooling

The MacBook Air with the M1 chip has taken the music production world by storm. Despite being the most affordable MacBook, it offers performance that rivals even the more expensive models. The 8-core CPU and 8-core GPU provide ample power for most music production tasks, and the 16-core Neural Engine ensures smooth performance with machine learning tasks.

One of the standout features is the battery life, which can last up to 15 hours, making it perfect for on-the-go production. The fan-less design ensures silent operation, although it can get a bit warm during intensive tasks. Overall, if you're looking for a budget MacBook for music production, the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) is an excellent choice.

Read the full MacBook Air (M1, 2020) review

Asus ROG Zephyrus G14

Best for gaming and music production

Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 Image

A powerful laptop that's perfect for both gaming and music production.

  • RAM: Up to 32GB
  • Screen: 14-inch Non-glare Full HD (1920 x 1080) or WQHD (2560 x 1440)
  • Storage: 512GB / 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0
  • Pros: Impressive AMD Ryzen 9 processor, RTX 3060 GPU for gaming
  • Cons: No webcam, Fans can get loud

The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 is a beast of a laptop, offering top-of-the-line specs that are perfect for both gaming and music production. The AMD Ryzen 9 processor and RTX 3060 GPU ensure smooth performance, whether you're mixing tracks or playing the latest games. The 120Hz refresh rate display is a treat for the eyes, and the Dolby Atmos speakers provide excellent sound quality.

While it's primarily marketed as a gaming laptop, the Zephyrus G14 is also perfect for music production. The range of ports ensures that you can connect all your gear, and the fast SSD ensures quick load times. The only downsides are the lack of a webcam and the fans, which can get a bit loud during intensive tasks.

Read the full Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 review


Choosing the right laptop for music production is crucial. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned professional, the right laptop can make all the difference in your music production journey. While the laptops listed above are some of the best in the market, it's essential to choose one that fits your specific needs and budget. Always consider factors like CPU performance, RAM, storage, and the quality of the display before making a decision. Happy producing!

FAQs: Best Laptops for Music Production

Why is the choice of laptop important for music production?

Choosing the right laptop for music production ensures smooth performance, especially when working with multiple tracks, plugins, and software simultaneously. A powerful laptop can handle expanding file sizes, the latest software updates, and other unforeseen future needs, ensuring that your workflow remains uninterrupted and efficient.

Is a gaming laptop suitable for music production?

Yes, gaming laptops are often equipped with powerful processors, ample RAM, and high-quality graphics cards, making them suitable for music production. They can handle intensive tasks and run multiple applications simultaneously, which is essential for music production. However, ensure the laptop also has good thermal management to avoid overheating during prolonged sessions.

Mac or Windows: Which is better for music production?

Both Mac and Windows laptops can be excellent for music production, depending on personal preference and specific software requirements. Macs are known for their stable performance and are the exclusive platform for Logic Pro X. On the other hand, Windows laptops offer a broader range of hardware options and compatibility with a wide variety of software.

How much RAM do I need for music production?

For basic music production tasks, 8GB of RAM is the minimum recommended. However, for professional work and to handle multiple tracks, plugins, and software simultaneously, 16GB or more is advisable. More RAM ensures smoother multitasking and better overall performance.

Do I need a dedicated graphics card for music production?

While music production primarily relies on CPU and RAM, a dedicated graphics card can be beneficial if you're also involved in video editing or using software with visually intensive interfaces. However, for standard audio tasks, an integrated graphics card is usually sufficient.

Final Thoughts

With the rapid advancements in technology, the world of music production has seen a significant shift in the tools and equipment used by professionals. Laptops have become an essential part of this ecosystem, offering portability without compromising on performance. Whether you're just starting out or are a seasoned producer, investing in the right laptop can elevate your music production to new heights. Remember to consider your specific needs, budget, and preferred software ecosystem when making a decision. Happy music-making!

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