Adobe After Effects is a must-have for any professional video editor, animator, or motion graphics designer, but only on a high-powered laptop that can multitask, produce complicated images, and edit high-resolution videos. An Adobe After Effects-optimized laptop will greatly improve your productivity and allow you to produce professional-quality work, whether you’re using it for personal or client work.
In the fast-paced realm of animation and visual effects, a laptop with the right hardware components can substantially improve an artist’s productivity, allowing them to work faster and more efficiently.
Artists who need to work on the fly or collaborate remotely benefit greatly from having a laptop that can run After Effects easily and rapidly. Simultaneously working on projects, making edits to animations and VFX, as well as seeing instant previews of your work on a powerful laptop can make life so much more productive and easy.
To sum up, an artist should seek out an After Effects laptop in order to fully make use of the software’s features and produce high-quality visual effects and animations, whether on the go or working with others.
When it comes to editing videos and creating motion graphics, After Effects is the industry standard. Due to the demanding nature of After Effects’ user base, as well as the high-end hardware requirements for the software, only the most powerful laptops are recommended for use with this computing environment. But how would one know what the differences are among them and which one is the best one for your needs?
We have compiled a guide on the best video editing laptops based on their CPU, GPU, RAM, SSD, display specs, and battery life. Video editing laptops on our list cater mainly to artists who are looking for specialized options, including those more interested in Intel Core i7 options, Adobe versus Photoshop, professionals looking for a Two-In-One solution, as well as those interested in gaming alongside work.
Selection Criteria for the Best Laptops for After Effects 2023—Buying Guide
To create cinematic masterpieces with After Effects, the best laptops need the correct hardware and software configuration.
CPU and Intel Core i7 Processor:
The central processing unit is the most vital part of a system in which After Effects is to be executed.
One cannot separate a computer from its processor. If you’re going to be working on large files in Adobe After Effects, your laptop should have at least an Intel Core i-series processor, and preferably a newer AMD Ryzen model with four cores and eight threads.
A multi-core Intel CPU, such as an Intel Core i7 or i9, with a clock speed of 3.0 GHz or above is recommended.
A robust GPU is required for After Effects’ video rendering and previewing tasks. We advise using a powerful graphics card such as NVIDIA GeForce GTX or RTX with at least 4GB of video memory.
RAM stands for “random access memory,” which indicates that data stored in it can be retrieved in any given sequence. Temporary data can be stored in this type of memory while applications are executing to prevent a slowdown or a freeze-up caused by an overload of information.
If you want your computer to run smoothly and swiftly, you need at least 16GB of RAM. After Effects can be hard on RAM, so larger projects will benefit greatly from 32GB of RAM or more.
For long-term data storage and quick data retrieval, a solid-state drive (SSD) is highly recommended.
If you frequently use Adobe After Effects and another program, like Photoshop or Illustrator, and you don’t want to keep switching back and forth between them, then having a lot of storage space on your computer is crucial. Try to choose a laptop with a solid-state drive (SSD) of at least 512 GB in size or a capacious hard disk.
Due to the visual nature of After Effects, a high-quality monitor is recommended for seeing projects in their intended colors and levels of detail. Try to find a laptop that has a high-quality screen and accurate colors.
A monitor with a resolution of at least 1920 by 1080 pixels is good for creating complicated animations and visual effects, but a monitor with a higher resolution is preferable.
Last but not least, you should check the laptop’s battery life to make sure it meets your needs. To remain mobile while working on Adobe After Effects projects, a laptop cannot rely solely on an AC power supply. Selecting a model with a battery life of at least six hours will allow you to operate without interruption.
All things considered, a laptop with these specs will provide you with the power and performance you need to use After Effects effectively.
Top Product Recommendations for the Best Laptop for After Effects 2023
- Overall Best Laptops for After Effects: Apple MacBook Pro, M2 MAX
- Best Video Editing Laptop: Asus Zenbook Pro Duo
- Best Two-in-One Laptops for Adobe: Microsoft Surface Book 3
- Best Laptops with Intel Core i7: Acer Predator Helios 300
- Best Gaming Laptops for After Effects: Dell Alienware X17 R2
- Best Budget Laptops for After Effects: Gigabyte AERO 15 OLED
1. Overall Best Laptops for After Effects—Apple MacBook Pro, M2 MAX
- CPU – 12-core M2 PRO Max
- GPU – 30-core M2 PRO Max
- RAM – 16GB to 96GB
- SSD – 512GB to 8TB
- Display – 16.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR display
- Battery Life – 100Wh (18:56) – 25 hours
About Apple MacBook Pro, M2 MAX
As this is a fully customizable model, let me start by saying that the machine we reviewed was the M2 Max option, which has a 12-core CPU and 38-core GPU, as well as 32GB of memory and 1TB of storage space available. The new M2 Max CPU range gives the MacBook Pro workstation-level performance in a consumer-level package. Aside from being our overall best video editing laptop, it has also become our personal go-to machine.
The MacBook Pro 16-inch M2 Max is the pinnacle of Apple’s portable computers. Its 16-inch size is perfect for showing off your best effects projects. When working on this laptop, you’re equipped with a large screen, a booming six-speaker sound system, and a spacious, comfortable keyboard.
The MacBook Pro 16 is armed to the teeth with a neural engine, unified memory, and ample storage space, which allows it to open over 100 internet tabs simultaneously, stuffed with Google Documents, Sheets, and Slides, along with more than one video editing projects, as well as Twitch channels playing. The MacBook Pro M2MAX seemed unfazed nomatter what I threw at it, and I saw no lag or stuttering as a result. This is helpful when working on numerous projects at once in After Effects and other types of projects at the same time, as it prevents the software from slowing down or crashing due to a lack of storage space.
The Macbook Pro 16’s 38-core GPU means you can also use it as a purebred gaming laptop, at a rate of 68 frames per second on average. The 16.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR display on the MacBook Pro 16 is really mesmerizing. The screen is a work of art, comprised of a 120Hz oxide-TFT panel backlit by thousands of tiny LEDs. Apple’s ProMotion, its adaptive sync technology to rival AMD FreeSync and Nvidia G-Sync, is utilized in the high refresh-rate display. Tiny LED divides the screen’s backlight into hundreds of individually controllable zones, allowing you contrast control that is on par with that of OLED in most cases. The colors are extremely vivid and clear, without the muddy appearance of an over-amplified backlight.
The six-speaker setup’s four noise-canceling woofers and two tweeters produce full, detailed, and well-balanced highs, mids, and bass, an area where many competitors fall short.
It’s a joy to type on this keyboard since the keys are springy and depress with just the right amount of click. Even in total darkness, the white backlighting will be functional. The top row of keys has many Function keys in addition to dedicated buttons for dictation, do not disturb, and spotlight.
The Force Touchpad measures 6.3 by 3.9 inches, making it far larger than the average touchpad. Apple’s Force Touch technology allows for multi-level, pressure-based contextual menus and responsive haptic feedback for more accurate control. You can access more features with a long click, while ordinary navigation can be accomplished with taps and touches. One of the greatest touchpads we’ve used, thanks to its pinpoint accuracy and satisfying feedback.
The pricing of a MacBook Pro 16, as expected, is another story. In general, MacBooks are not inexpensive, but the MacBook Pro 16 is not as pricey as it might seem in absolute numbers, given that it can function equally well as a gaming laptop, holds a fingerprint reader, and can offer a great battery life.
Nonetheless, the MacBook Pro 16 will be difficult to top for creative professionals working on extremely demanding projects due to its powerful processor, high SSD storage, and build quality.
- High-resolution display
- Backlit keyboard
- Comes with its own video editing software
- Optimal performance for After Effects
- Comparable to a desktop computer
- No USB ports
2. Best Video Editing Laptop—Asus Zenbook Pro Duo
- CPU – Intel Core i7
- GPU – NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060
- RAM – 16GB
- SSD – 1TB
- Display – 15.6-inch 4K touch screen
- Battery Life – 5 hours
About Asus Zenbook Pro Duo
The Asus ZenBook Pro Duo UX581GV-XB74T is a high-powered laptop that stands out from the crowd because of its unusual appearance and secondary display located above the keyboard. This is a great laptop that can run After Effects, but how well it will perform will also depend on the specifications of your individual projects and how you edit videos.
These notebooks include fast CPUs that can easily handle difficult tasks, such as rendering huge files or using many applications at once. The laptop’s memory capacity is also crucial because of the effect it has on performance.
When it comes to video editing work, the Asus Zenbook Pro Duo’s Intel Core i7 processor and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 graphics card should be more than enough for most After Effects applications. Also, it has 16GB of RAM, which is plenty for running After Effects but would benefit greatly from 32GB or more for larger projects.
For heavy video editing, its dual-screen layout is useful since it allows you to keep the timeline or other tools on one screen while you focus on the other. The primary display is a 15.6-inch 4K touch screen, which not only offers a high degree of detail and color accuracy but is also touch-sensitive, which can be helpful for navigating After Effects’ user interface.
Like with other hardware, the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo usefulness for After Effects will vary with the difficulty of your projects and the efficiency with which you work.
- Dedicated graphics card
- High processing power
- Dual screen
- Average battery life
3. Best Two-in-One Laptops for Adobe—Microsoft Surface Book 3
- CPU – Quad-core 10th Gen Intel Core i7
- GPU – NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660Ti
- RAM – 32GB
- SSD – 2TB
- Display – 15 inch touchscreen with pen input
- Battery Life – 17.5 hours
About Microsoft Surface Book 3
One of the best laptops for Adobe on this list, the Microsoft Surface Book 3 is also highly recommended for a variety of video editing programs. Its powerful quad-core CPU can handle any activity you throw at it, including intensive ones like editing videos in After Effects.
The Surface Book from Microsoft also includes 32 GB of memory. When you’re in the thick of editing a video and could use every ounce of processing power at your disposal, having a number of programs and applications open at once is no longer a problem. Even more striking is the device’s storage capacity of 2TB of solid-state drive space, which should be more than adequate for most users to store all of their media assets.
On the other hand, this laptop has a 15-inch screen, which isn’t ideal for those who want larger displays but is adequate if you’ll be using it mostly at home or at an office where space isn’t a major concern. The panel’s native resolution of 3840 by 2160 implies that even high-definition footage played back won’t suffer from pixelation, making it ideal for power users who edit a lot of video.
With its robust hardware and gorgeous display, the Microsoft Surface Book 3 is a fantastic laptop for Adobe users.
- Powerful machine
- Great for video editors running Adobe
- More than enough memory for After Effects
- Optimized to work with Adobe creative cloud
- Not a lot of USB ports
4. Best Laptops with Intel Core i7—Acer Predator Helios 300
- CPU – 4.7 GHz Intel Core i7
- GPU – NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060
- RAM – 16GB DDR5
- SSD – 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD
- Display – 1920 x 1080 pixels
- Battery Life – 90Wh, approximately six hours
About Acer Predator Helios 300
The Acer Predator Helios 300 is an excellent option for After Effects projects because of its Intel Core i7-11800H 8-Core CPU, which translates into being able to get more done in less time. Its maximum clock speed of 4.7GHz makes it ideal for using After Effects without experiencing any performance concerns.
There’s also an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 6GB GDDR6 integrated graphics card, so rendering your videos and animations won’t be a problem, both for work and gaming.
The 15.6-inch full HD widescreen LED-backlit IPS display, with 144Hz refresh rate, 3ms overdrive response time, and 300nit brightness is ideal for post-production work in After Effects. Since it’s full HD, it’ll show every detail of your work and movies with ease as to not tire your eyes, so you can work long hours and not have to worry about your eyesight. You can view the screen well even in low-light settings thanks to its LED backlighting. Its 144Hz refresh rate makes it great for both gaming and using programs like After Effects. This will ensure that your animated and video files play without a hitch.
- Dedicated graphics card
- Very fast cooling due to advanced thermal technology
- Good as a gaming laptop as well
- HD display
- Very sturdy build quality
- One USB type C port
- One HDMI port
5. Best Gaming Laptops for After Effects—Dell Alienware X17t R2
- CPU – 12th Gen Intel Core i9
- GPU – NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 3080 Ti, 16 GB GDDR6
- RAM – 4 TB RAID 0 (2 x 2 TB)
- SSD – 64 GB, 2 x 32 GB
- Display – 17.3″, QHD 2560×1440
- Battery Life – 6 Cell, 87 Wh, Lithium Ion, Alienware Battery Defender
About Dell Alienware X17t R2
Most of us have tried, at one time or another, the Alienware Mseries laptops. They are known for their excellent performance with After Effects. Its powerful central processing unit, graphics processing unit, random access memory, and storage space will make short work of any task. The screen and keyboard are both excellent, so you can see your work and type with ease no matter where you are.
The X-series follows the trend, with a thinner chassis and even more powerful processor. The Alienware x17 R2 does not reinvent the wheel, but rather has a number of substantial component upgrades that raise the bar for extreme performance. In addition to its already cutting-edge design and functionality, the x17’s 12th-generation Intel processor and GeForce RTX 3080 Ti GPU are significant upgrades over its predecessors. Its lightweight design and distinctive appearance are commendable, and its dependable mechanical keyboard is a welcome bonus.
Fans of the Alienware’s aesthetic will gladly pay the system’s premium price, but keep in mind that this laptop isn’t very portable, and the system’s more cutting-edge capabilities are primarily geared toward keeping performance steady rather than breaking any records.
- Great laptops for after effects, but also an amazing gaming laptop
- Can handle even the most complicated After Effects projects
- Tough build quality
- Dedicated GPU for gaming and After Effects
- Heavy laptop
- Loud Quad fans
6. Best Budget Laptops for After Effects—Gigabyte AERO 15 OLED
- CPU – Intel Mobile CPU
- GPU – NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060
- RAM – 16GB
- SSD – 512 GB
- Display – 15.6″ Thin Bezel UHD 4K 3840×2160 Samsung AMOLED Display
- Battery Life – 1 Lithium Polymer battery
About Gigabyte AERO 15 OLED
Our budget option, the 15.6-inch UHD 4K AMOLED IPS Screen of the Gigabyte AERO 15 OLED makes this laptop a real powerhouse. The keys on the keyboard are backlit so that you can use it in the dark with ease, for those long hours of work.
The 11th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage space are all inside the Gigabyte AERO 15 OLED, making this machine as powerful as other laptops in its category, despite its low price point.
The machine’s graphics capabilities are genuinely mind-blowing thanks to a potent NVIDIA GeForce RTX3060 with 6 GB of VRAM, so even though it is placed in a lower pay-scale than most of our option, it really is not lacking in any area.
This video editing laptop has been tested and found to have Pantone-validated color accuracy, giving you peace of mind if you need to color match. Included among its nine input/output connectors are a Thunderbolt 4 port and a UHS-III SD Card Reader. Windforce Infinity Laptop’s Next-Generation Cooling System is included to keep things cool for long periods of time.
- Great for video editing work
- Clear display, Pantone-validated color accuracy
- Backlit keyboard
- Can run any visual effects software
- Not great battery life
Conclusion—The Best Laptops for After Effects 2023
If the operating system is not an issue, we -hands down- recommend the MacBook Pro M2MAX option. It is an excellent laptop across the board, however the steep price might not be worth it if you are not a professional dedicated to video editing projects.
If you plan on using other creative software along After Effects smoothly, you can look into the Dell Alienware X17t R2, which makes work and play as effortless as switching windows.
If After Effects is your primary creative application, any of the aforementioned laptops will serve you well. But, the laptop you choose should also be determined by how much money you can afford to spend. In addition, when shopping for a laptop, it’s important to consider how well its specs meet your needs in both work and play environments.
We hope you found our analysis of the best laptop for after effects of 2023 to be helpful. Consult our associated guides for further sources of comparable items for the artistic lifestyle.