Eeny, meeny, miny, moe… Best New Laptops for Creatives 2019

It’s time for a new computer! Being a designer on both platforms (Mac & PC) I must admit I’ve been leaning towards the PC lately. I’ve always been a “Mac Man”, but nowadays I find them overpriced and PC’s have come along way since the “I’m a Mac, I’m a PC” commercial. At work I use a Dell OptiPlex 7060 Intel Core™ i7-8700. This Computer absolutely FLIES! I love it! It’s super quick and responsive. I record lectures in 4k and Adobe Premiere Pro CC renders all of my ‘Tech Talk’ videos with ease. At home I’m still using an older 15″ Mac Book Pro. This is what I’m about to replace. I went into the Windows store and test drove a few new PC’s. I really liked the Surface Pro 6 – 512GB / Intel Core i7. I’m also really liking the Dell Precision 7720 Mobile Workstation. Decisions, decisions…. ~Shad Chancey – SC Designs

These new laptops for designers and artists from Dell, HP and Razer give you oodles more creative power on the move

Ignore Intel’s 10th-gen chips announcements – these are the new laptops you should be checking out.

It’s easy to get lost in all the tech announcements at the Computex trade show in Taiwan, especially if all you care about are computers for one specific task. So while Intel was making a lot of noise about its ’10th-gen’ Core chips for diddly little ultrabooks, you might have missed a series of new laptops aimed at creative pros from Dell, HP, MSI, Razer and more.

Underpinning these are the latest 9th-generation, up-to-8-core chips from Intel – as seen first in the new MacBook Pro – and a new set of graphics chips from Nvidia based on its RTX real-time rendering technology. Alongside these are some stylish, unusual laptops experimenting with new materials from HP.

That the likes of Dell and HP are upgrading their current mobile workstations to the latest generations of processors is no surprise – though both Dell and HP’s announcements hint towards new mobile Xeon processors that haven’t been launched yet – so the biggest news is from Nvidia.

The graphics chip maker has introduced the Quadro RTX 3000, 4000 and 5000 GPUs – which it calls the most powerful GPUs in the world. These feature up to 16GB of RAM, and accelerate laptops to allow tasks like 8K video editing, real-time raytracing in 3D suites (and games) and VR creation and playback. Nvidia says that they can make a Windows laptop have “performance up to 7x faster than that of the MacBook Pro.”

Most manufacters have only been able to fit these chips into larger 15- and 17-inch laptops with 9th-gen Core chips such as Dell’s Precision 7540 and 7740 mobile workstations, HP’s ZBook 15 G6 (above) and 17 G6, and MSI’s WS65, WS75 and WE75 – but Razer has managed to fit the full spec Quadro RTX 5000 into its new MacBook Pro-sized Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition (as well as the larger Razer Blade Pro 17 Studio Edition).

The Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition (above) has a 4K OLED touchscreen and a Core™ i7-9750H processor.

The Razer Blade Pro 17 Studio Edition (above) has a new 4K 120Hz display panel, a Core™ i9-9880H processor, which has eight cores and runs at 2.3GHz (or up to 4.8GHz using Turbo Boost).

Studio Edition refers to Nvidia’s new Studio Platform. This is a badge – and a marketing term – that it’s using for laptops that fit a certain set of minimum specs including a Quadro RTX 5000, 4000 and 3000 GPUs (or gamer versions including the GeForce RTX 2080, 2070 and 2060 GPU).

The other minimum specs are:

  • GPU: RTX 2060, Quadro RTX 3000 or higher
  • CPU: Intel Core i7 (H-series) or higher
  • RAM: 16GB or higher
  • SSD: 512GB or higher
  • Display: 1080p or 4K

As well as the GPUs, Nvidia has rebranded its drivers and SDKs to use Studio too.

If you’re looking for a direct MacBook Pro15 or Razer Blade 15 rival from one of the big PC brands, look to Dell’s Precision 5540. This doesn’t have an RTX graphics chip – but the Quadro T2000 has 4GB of RAM and should be powerful enough for many artists, designer, animator and editors who don’t need maximum power. There are two options for the 15.6-inch screen – the same 4K screen with 100% Adobe RGB colour gamut as its predecessor, the 5530, or a new OLED display that has the same DCI-P3 output as the MacBook Pro.

The rest of the specs are up to 64GB RAM and “Intel Xeon E or 9th Gen Intel Core 8-core processors”, which seems carefully worded enough to suggest that there will be a new generation of mobile Xeon chips that have up to eight cores, but Intel hasn’t announced them yet. (HP refers to the chip offerings of its ZBook 15 and 17 G6 models as “9th Gen Intel Core and Intel Xeon processors”, which is equally vague.

None of the models mentioned above are shipping til “the summer”, so we’ll know over the next few months.

Also debuting at Computex were updates to Dell and HP’s smaller and lower-end workstations – and HP’s VR Backpack (below).

Away from models directly aimed at creative pros, but perhaps appealing on style alone, HP has followed last year’s leather-bound laptop with the launch of a series of laptops with wooden inlays.

The Wood Edition of the Envy 13 is available either as a traditional laptop, or a ‘convertible’ where the screen rotates rounds to become a tablet. The 15-inch model is a convertible, while the 17-inch is a laptop. The 13- and 15-inch models are available with Pale Birch or Walnut, with the 17-inch coming with Walnut only.

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