The ultimate guide to picking the best computer for Adobe Illustrator

Best computer for adobe illustrator: Top ultimate guide

You’ve decided that you want to get into Adobe Illustrator. Congratulations! This powerful program can help you create some amazing designs.

But before you can start learning the ropes, you need to choose the right computer.

Desktop or laptop? Windows or macOS?

It can be tough to decide. But don’t worry, we’re here to help. As an illustrator, graphic designer, and cartoonist, you need to find the best laptop within your budget.

In this article, we’ll walk you through the basics of choosing the best laptops and computers for Adobe Illustrator.

We’ll cover everything from performance to price, so you can find the perfect machine for your needs.

What is Adobe Illustrator?

Adobe Illustrator is a graphics editor developed and marketed by Adobe Systems. It was first released on September 22, 1988, for the Macintosh operating system.

Adobe Illustrator is used to create graphic designs for logos and drawings.

Adobe Illustrator is a raster graphics editor developed and marketed by Adobe Systems.

Choosing the ideal operating system

When choosing the best laptop for Adobe Illustrator, the first decision you need to make is which operating system to go with.

Adobe Illustrator is available on both PC and Mac, so the choice is yours.

There are pros and cons to both systems. PC laptops tend to be cheaper, and there are more choices when it comes to hardware and software.

However, Macs have better graphics and perform better with creative software like Adobe Illustrator.

So, what’s the best option? The answer depends on your needs and preferences. If you’re on a tight budget, go for a PC; if you want the best performance, go for a Mac.

Assessing your hardware requirements

When assessing your hardware requirements, there are a few things to keep in mind. The first is the operating system.

Adobe Illustrator runs best on a PC with Windows 8 or 10, but can also be installed on a Mac.

The next thing to consider is what type of computer you have. Laptops are generally better for Photoshop and Illustrator than desktops, as they’re more portable and tend to have better graphics cards.

If you’re serious about graphic design, you’ll want a laptop with at least 4 GB of RAM and a dedicated graphics card.

Finally, you’ll need to decide on the budget for your laptop. Keep in mind that you get what you pay for; the most expensive aren’t always the best laptops for Adobe Illustrator, but they will offer better performance and features than budget models.

Optimal graphic processors for Adobe Illustrator

Now that you know what to look for in the best laptops for Adobe Illustrator, it’s time to consider some of the most important features: the graphic processors.

The best laptops for Illustrator will have dedicated graphics processors, as opposed to integrated graphics.

This is because the integrated one is not as powerful and often struggles with handling more intensive programs like Adobe Illustrator.

There are two main types of graphics processors: dedicated and integrated.

Dedicated graphics processors are usually found in gaming laptops and are specifically designed for handling intensive tasks like 3D rendering and gaming.

The integrated graphic is usually found in cheaper laptops and is not as powerful.

They rely on the processing power of the laptop’s main processor, which can often lead to lag and slow performance when using programs like Adobe Illustrator.

So, when you’re shopping for a laptop for Adobe Illustrator, make sure to check and see if it has a dedicated graphics processor.

This will ensure that you get the most out of your program and prevent any frustrating lag times.

Memory needs for Adobe Illustrator

The next thing you need to think about when choosing a laptop for Adobe Illustrator is the amount of memory (RAM) you’ll need. For Adobe Illustrator, the minimum recommended by Adobe is 4 GB.

However, I would recommend getting at least 8 GB, and if you can afford it, 16 GB would be even better.

Why do you need so much memory? Well, because Adobe Illustrator is a vector-based program, it can get mostly pretty RAM-heavy, especially when working with complex designs. So, the more RAM you have, the better.

Of course, if you’re only going to be using Adobe Illustrator for simple projects here and there, then 4 GB should be enough.

But if you’re planning on using it regularly or for more complex projects, I would recommend getting more RAM.

Understanding Adobe recommended laptops

Adobe has a list of the best laptops for running their Creative Cloud applications, and the list isn’t short. To help you wade through the options, here are a few things to keep in mind.

First, Adobe’s list is divided into Mac and PC options. If you have your heart set on a specific brand, then that will help you eliminate some of the options.

Second, they list the minimum and recommended specs for each application. For example, for Photoshop CC, they recommend a 2GHz processor with 8 GB of RAM for the minimum specs and a 3GHz processor with 16 GB of RAM for the recommended specs.

Third, they offer a few different options within each category. For example, for Photoshop CC they recommend the MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2016) as their top pick for Mac laptops and the Dell Precision 5510 as their top pick for PC laptops.

So, what does this all mean? You need to decide if you want a Mac or a PC, and then find a laptop that meets or exceeds the recommended specs for the Adobe Creative Cloud applications you want to use.

The computing complexities of vector graphics

Vector images are made up of points, lines, and curves rather than pixels. This makes them flexible and scalable, but it also means that their computational requirements are more comparable to 3D models than to raster images.

Comparing raster and vector Images

Before we move on to hardware recommendations, we’ll look at what makes vectors unique in terms of both features and requirements.

If you’re only here because of the hardware list, feel free to skip it; if you would like to learn more about the basics of vectors, the next section will give you a comprehensive overview.

Manipulating vectors

While raster images can be described in terms of their resolution and computational requirements scaled by the number of pixels, vector images can be described in terms of their complexity.

As we said above, vector images can be seen as the 2D equivalent of 3D models.

Internally, vector images use floating-point coordinate systems, sacrificing precision for the sake of flexibility to represent a wide range of details in a compact file format.

There are three basic types of precision: half-precision (16 bits), single precision (32 bits), and double precision (64 bits).

It takes a lot of math to figure out what numbers floating-point numbers may or may not represent, but the easiest way to think about it is in terms of significant digits.

For example, a single-precision floating-point number has ~6 significant digits of precision.

This means that 10,000.1 and 1.00001 occupy the same space in memory because the position of the decimal point is determined by the exponent of the degree.

This floating decimal point simplifies the representation of numbers with relative precision, but it is not the best option for large and precise numbers.

SVG files, which are a fairly standard format for vector images, use a mixture of single and double-precision floating-point numbers. This means they use a coordinate system that is quite precise and computationally demanding.

This isn’t a problem for simple graphics or fonts, but it can lead to bottlenecks when working with complex files.

Adobe Illustrator has been using GPU acceleration since 2014, but for a very good reason, it supports separate preview modes from the GPU and preview from the CPU.

Rendering on CPU and GPU – the difference in CPU architectures

The best laptop for Adobe Illustrator should include a dedicated GPU. GPUs are built for speed, but they are not built for the same accuracy that can be achieved with a CPU.

Workstation GPUs can bridge the gap in certain circumstances – much of the premium you’ll pay for workstation cards is due to their double-precision processing – but vector image editing programs still rely on CPU processing for final rendering.

The best laptop for Adobe Illustrator should include a dedicated GPU.

Rendering a rectangle is simple; rendering a construction plan of 250 layers with detailed wiring diagrams while maintaining constant line thicknesses and hatchings is more complex, and much more difficult.

Rasterizing vector images

Although many files – fonts, icons, web graphics, etc. – are distributed in vector formats, vector images cannot be displayed on a (modern) monitor without rasterization.

Modern displays are designed for pixels, not vectors. And although vector displays technically exist (the original arcade game Asteroids used a vector monitor back in the 80s), it is safe to assume that most designers do not have oscilloscopes.

This means that in the vast majority of cases, vector files cannot be displayed directly. They must first be converted to pixel images.

This rasterization process is quite efficient, but it still increases the computational cost associated with vector images.

Your PC hardware can have a huge impact on the speed and usability of this process, as well as changing the threshold at which a large vector file must be split into a series of images.

This limitation is a byproduct of both RAM bottlenecks and poor CPU performance, but it is also affected by factors such as SSD speed.

What laptop is best for Photoshop and Illustrator?


The processor is the brain of your computer. It’s responsible for all the calculations that happen inside it and helps you run more complex programs with ease.

For this reason, it’s important to have a powerful processor if you’re using one of these programs—the more power your processor has, the better experience you’ll have overall.

Intel Core i7 processors are an excellent choice because they’re fast and reliable while also being energy-efficient (meaning they won’t overheat easily).

However, AMD Ryzen 3 processors offer similar performance at a lower price point than Intel Core offerings—and their chipsets are compatible with most of Adobe Illustrator’s features, so they can be used interchangeably!


The next thing you need to think about is RAM memory. RAM is a type of computer storage that’s used by your computer as it runs programs and processes information.

This is different from hard disk storage, which acts as a long-term backup for data and files that are saved on your computer.

The more RAM memory you have, the faster and more efficient your system will be at processing information.


Although you can save your files in Adobe Creative Cloud, it’s still nice to have plenty of storage on the laptop itself. Storage is one of the most important components of your computer.

It’s what allows you to save your work and start again if something goes wrong. You have to choose between a hard drive, an SSD (solid-state drive), or both!

Storage Adobe Illustrator requires pretty much scratch disk space, so you will need to quickly read/write files. That is why it is recommended to choose a 128 GB or larger SSD.


Display size and resolution

The display is one of the most important factors to consider when picking a computer for Adobe Illustrator.

The larger your monitor’s screen size, the more information you can fit on it at once—which means you won’t have to scroll around as much when working with complex files or large images.

Getting an external monitor will also make it easier for you to multitask by placing multiple windows on different screens, which is great if you often find yourself juggling several tasks at once (such as answering emails while designing a new logo).

The best displays for Creative Cloud users are those that have high resolutions in both directions (horizontal and vertical) because they offer higher pixel density and therefore greater sharpness than standard displays (which typically sit between 120-144 pixels per inch).

IPS monitors are great for photo editing because they have vast color depth with a palette of over one billion hues.

A good contrast ratio is another feature worth considering since it determines how well colors stand out against their backgrounds—the higher this number is, the better your display will perform in brightly lit areas like offices where there’s lots of sunlight coming through windows or near bright lamps/florescent lights overhead.”

Graphics card

The graphics cards are important when it comes to Adobe Illustrator. They can be a powerful tool for graphic design, but it’s not the most important factor in choosing a computer. It’s also not as important for Photoshop or video editing.

A dedicated graphics card is also advantageous, but most graphic design applications won’t be as demanding on your system as tasks like 3D rendering.

Photography is one of those things that requires a lot of rams and disk space, so you’ll want to make sure your computer has at least 16 GB of RAM and 256 GB SSD storage if you’re an amateur photographer looking for an affordable laptop that does the job well enough without breaking the bank.

A powerful computer will help your artistic process

Adobe Illustrator is a vector-based drawing program. This means that it creates artwork using lines, curves, and shapes instead of pixels like in other software such as Photoshop (which we’ll talk about in another guide).

When you use this type of software, your computer needs to be able to process large amounts of information quickly so that you can work efficiently.

A powerful computer will help your artistic process because it allows for smooth zooming into details without lag or pixelation. That way, you won’t feel like you’re fighting the computer while trying to create beautiful artwork!

What type of computer is best for Adobe Illustrator?

If you’re using Illustrator, there are a couple of things to consider when picking your computer.

First, you’ll want to decide whether or not you prefer using a laptop or desktop machine. Laptops have their advantages: they’re more portable and can be used anywhere with an outlet (not just in the office).

You’ll also need to think about what type of processor will give you the best results for your work: AMD CPUs and Intel CPUs both offer great options here—although Intel Core has historically produced faster processors with longer battery lifetime than AMD’s chipsets.

What is the best laptop for Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop?

While buying a laptop with good internal components is the first step, you should also ensure its settings are fully optimized to run well with Creative Cloud apps like Illustrator and Photoshop.

If you’re only doing basic illustration work or digital art, then any laptop will do just fine.

However, if you plan on creating high-quality art such as digital art and posters (printing isn’t cheap!), then make sure your processor has enough horsepower to handle this type of heavy workload.

If you’re still not sure which computer is right for your needs and budget, we have some suggestions for the best laptops for Adobe Illustrator below based on our research into this topic:

ImageProduct Features
 Lenovo Legion 517.3″ FHD (1920 x 1080) AMD Ryzen 5 5600H up to 3.3 GHz, NVIDIA GeForce RTX Graphic 8GB RAM 256 GB SSD
 2021 Apple MacBook ProDisplay 14-inch Liquid Retina XDR Graphics 14 or 16-core GPU (part of Apple M1 Pro Chip) Processor Apple M1 Pro Chip Memory 16GB unified memory Storage 512GB or 1TB SSD Operating System Mac OS
 2020 Apple MacBook AirDisplay 13.3-inch Retina with True Tone Graphics 7-core GPU, 8-core GPU (part of Apple M1 Chip) Processor Apple M1 Chip Memory 8GB or 16GB unified memory Storage 256GB–2TB SSD Operating System Mac OS
 HP 151AMD Ryzen 5 5500U (up to 4.0 GHz max boost clock, 8 MB L3 cache, 6 cores, 12 threads) 8 GB DDR4-3200 MHz RAM (2 x 4 GB) 256 GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD 15.6″ diagonal, FHD (1920 x 1080), micro-edge, anti-glare, 250 nits, 45% NTSC AMD Radeon Graphics
 ASUS Zenbook6 cores AMD Ryzen 5 5500U GeForce MX450 14.0″ FHD IPS Wi-Fi 6 Harman Kardon Audio Backlit KB USB-C Win 11 (8GB RAM | 256GB PCIe SSD)
 Dell XPS 17 9710Display 17-inch FHD+ InfinityEdge non-touch anti-glare  Graphics Intel or NVIDIA GeForce RTX Graphics Processor 11th Gen Intel Core i7 11800H or i9 11908 HK Memory Up to 16GB, 2x8GB, DDR4, 3200MHz Storage 512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD Operating System Windows 11 Home
 Microsoft Surface StudioDisplay 14.4-inch PixelSense Flow Graphics Intel Iris Xe Graphics Processor 11th Gen Intel Core i5 or i7 Memory 16GB or 32GB Storage 256GB–2TB SSD Operating System Windows 11 Home

Lenovo Legion 5

Lenovo Legion 5 laptop is one the best laptops for Adobe for professionals, artists, and students who need a powerful computer. With the AMD Ryzen 5 5600H up to 3.3 GHz and NVIDIA GeForce RTX graphics, this Legion laptop can handle everything you throw at it.

The 8GB of RAM with the dedicated GPU accelerates the effects while working. The lightweight and good battery life add to making it the ideal low-budget laptop for Illustrator. The 80w is enough for 2.5 hours of play in economy mode.


-Powerful processor and graphics card for running Adobe Illustrator.

-Affordable price compared to other laptops.

-Generous storage options.

-High-quality display. 


-Battery life is average.

-No Thunderbolt ports.

-No fingerprint reader.

2021 Apple MacBook Pro

Apple’s investment in its chips, as opposed to Intel Core processors, has proven a winning move, with the performance of the new MacBook Pro 14-inch breathtaking. Long battery life.

Even more amazing is that, due to the newness of the M1 Chip, not all software has been optimized for Apple’s hardware yet – but Adobe isn’t one of them, with Photoshop boasting a 1.5x performance increase and Illustrator users seeing a staggering 65% speedup.


-Highly powerful processor and graphics card.

-Excellent design and build quality.

-Bright, beautiful display.

-Lots of ports.


-Very expensive.

-Limited expandability.

-Battery life could be better.

2020 Apple MacBook Air

MacBook Air is a perfect laptop for Adobe Creative Suite that comes with a high-speed SSD. In actual use, the battery life of MacBook Air is about 12 hours. The MacBook Air M1 is a fantastic notebook that provides excellent value for money. With a starting price of less than $1,000, this edition is a deal.

The absence of the Touch Bar gives the MacBook Air an edge over the MacBook Pro 13-inch (2020). Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator should run well on the 7-core GPU.


-Lightweight and portable.

-Good battery life.

-Fantastic design.

-Great keyboard and trackpad.


-Underpowered compared to other laptops.

-Expensive for what you get.

-Low-resolution display.

HP 15. laptop for adobe cc users

Affordable price. Lightweight. Long lasting battery life.

It also features an SSD and 8GB of RAM, which is the recommended amount for Illustrator. Because you don’t have a separate GPU, you can still employ such effects; they’ll simply be (insignificantly) slower with the integrated GPU. The addition of a dedicated GPU should only be considered by those working with large canvas and very high resolution images.


-Affordable price.

-Good performance for the price.

-Decent battery life.

-Full HD display.


-Build quality could be better.

-No Thunderbolt ports.

-Only 8GB RAM.

ASUS Zenbook Ultra Thin Laptop for Business & Student

The ASUS Zenbook Ultra Thin Laptop is the perfect choice for business and students, as it features a 6-core AMD Ryzen 5 5500U processor, GeForce MX450 graphics, 14.0″ FHD IPS display, Wi-Fi 6 connectivity, Harman Kardon audio, backlit keyboard, USB-C port. It is a perfect laptop for Adobe Illustrator, photo editing, and graphic design tasks, providing users.


-Thin and light design.

-Long battery life.

-Good performance.

-Good value for money.


-Display could be brighter.

-No Thunderbolt ports.

-Not upgradable.

Dell XPS 17 9710 touchscreen Laptop

This laptop, with its stunning 17-inch touchscreen display, is great for anyone switching from a desktop to a laptop. For Adobe Creative Cloud users, the XPS 17 is the ideal Windows laptop. This laptop, like its major competition, the MacBook Pro, is a bit pricey.


-Powerful processor and graphics card.

-Stunning 4K OLED display.

-Lots of ports.

-Excellent build quality.



-Battery life is average.

-Heavy and bulky.

Microsoft Surface Studio

The 15-inch model of the Surface Book 2 is the best notebook computer for Creative Cloud, as it includes a fast processor, a dedicated GPU, a substantial amount of RAM memory, and as a bonus, also uses a solid state hard drive for storage, which is faster than traditional hard drive storage.

This windows laptop has a long battery life. The Surface Pro 8 epitomizes the idea of a powerful laptop inside a tablet’s body. They also provide touchscreen support in the Creative Cloud apps, for tasks such as panning and zooming.


-Beautiful and unique design.

-Impressive touchscreen display.

-Good performance.

-Good port selection.


-Very expensive.

-No dedicated GPU.

-No Ethernet port.

What type of computer is best for Adobe Illustrator?

How do you know which computer is best for Illustrator? The answer to this question depends on a wide range of factors, including your budget, whether you’re using the software professionally, and how much hardware power your workload requires.

If you’re a general designer, you probably don’t need to worry about creating a specialized illustration workstation; you’ll get more use out of our general guide.

Everything video-related has its own set of hardware requirements, and this guide will point you in the right direction.

On the other hand, if you’re a graphic designer constantly working with high-quality graphics for clients who care about accuracy, scalability, and color accuracy, or you’re working with technical diagrams and checking them for GIS, ArchViz, or CAD projects, you’ll want to keep reading.

Efficient vector image processing depends on high performance from a single-threaded CPU, and it’s not limited by the same bottlenecks that affect other pipelines.

This means that while you won’t find any crazy curves in this manual, there are a few things you might not have guessed on your own.

Vector graphics are closer to 3D models than to raster (pixel) images, but the hardware configuration required for a vector workstation will not depend on the GPU.

Creating a workstation for Illustrator

Examples of builds for Illustrator


  • CPU – AMD Ryzen 5 5600X 6-core processor
  • Processor Cooler – AMD Wraith Stealth – included with the processor
  • Motherboard – MSI B550 Tomahawk AM4
  • Graphics Card – Gigabyte 1650 Super OC 4G
  • RAM – 16GB (2×8) Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-3200 C16
  • SSD – Samsung 870 QVO
  • Power Supply – Corsair RM750x
  • Case – Corsair Carbide Series 200R


  • CPU – AMD Ryzen 5 5800X 8 Core Processor
  • Processor Cooler – quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4
  • Motherboard – MSI X570 Tomahawk AM4
  • Graphics Card – Asus Dual RTX 3070 8GB
  • RAM – 16GB (2×8) G.Skill Trident Z NEO DDR4-3600 C16
  • SSD – Samsung 970 EVO Plus M.2
  • Power Supply – Corsair RM750x
  • Case – NZXT H510

Do you need a printer?

Vector images are commonly used for logos, branding, stickers, and vinyl records. If you’re creating graphics intended for printing (and your clients care about color accuracy), having a printer is a good idea.

You won’t need a 40-inch commercial printer with ink cartridges the size of a large can, but you will need a printer that covers a significant portion of Pantone Plus’ library of solid-coated solid color if you want to print proofs for branding materials.

This means that the printers you’ll be looking at won’t be all-purpose devices capable of handling faxes and doing standard office printing; they’ll be specialized photo printers with associated ink and maintenance costs.

The printer market is moving slower than the PC market, which means there are plenty of older options that are still quite viable.

Printer recommendations:

  • A surprisingly affordable option: the Epson Expression Photo HD XP-15000
  • Professionals’ Choice: Epson SureColor P700
  • For CAD enthusiasts: HP DesignJet T630


So, to sum everything up, if you’re looking for the best laptop for Illustrator, you’ll want to go for something that has an Intel Core processor, plenty of storage, and 8 GB of RAM or more. And if you’re looking for a Mac, the MacBook Air is your best bet.


What computers are good for Adobe?

A laptop with a good processor and plenty of RAM. You don’t need anything too fancy, just something that can handle the demands of the software.

What laptop is best for Photoshop and Illustrator?

Any laptop that meets the minimum system requirements will run Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop just fine.
Again, it’s all about finding something powerful enough to handle the software but that also meets your needs and budget.

Are gaming laptops good for Illustrator?

Yes, you can use gaming laptops for Adobe Illustrator, and actually, it has become more popular for designers because gaming laptops usually have pretty good CPU, graphics card, and RAM.

Does Adobe run better on PC or Mac?

Both! It depends on your preference as the user. It’s unlikely you’re going to notice any significant difference with the software.
Many designers even use the two methods when designing.

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