Graphic design programs like Photoshop and Adobe illustrator are processor-intensive and require a fair bit of computing power to run smoothly.

But if you already have a good gaming laptop, is it also enough to take on any graphic design projects you might have?

Are Gaming Laptops Good For Graphic Design?

A gaming laptop with purple backlit keys

Gaming laptops are an excellent choice for both beginner and professional graphic designers.

The spec requirements for graphics-intensive games correlate to many of the same requirements for graphic design.

Power-wise, gaming laptops are generally more than enough for graphic design.

Nvidia graphics cards also help with the smooth running of Adobe applications.

A respectable gaming laptop with around 6 cores and 16GBs of RAM should have no problem running Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign all at once while using up very little of its CPU and graphics capabilities.

This type of multitasking may be more taxing on your machine’s memory but still shouldn’t be anything that your gaming laptop can’t handle.

Many good gaming laptops will also have a generous port selection which should include an SD card reader, making the transfer of photos hassle-free.

If you check out a list of top ten laptops for graphic designers, you might be surprised at how many gaming laptops find their way into those lists.

However, if there’s an area that a gaming laptop is going to be a letdown for a graphic designer it will be its screen’s color gamut range and accuracy, which is often neglected in favor of faster refresh rates for gaming.

Having said that, there are some gaming laptops that do a great job with color accuracy, like the high-end laptops within the Dell XPS range.

And if you find a gaming laptop that you love but its color accuracy is lacking for graphic design, you could always use a secondary monitor like the Asus ProArt 24 or you could buy a monitor calibrator for your laptop and enjoy the best of both worlds.

Good color accuracy will be especially important if you are working professionally or plan on printing out your projects but If you’re just in college, the color accuracy of your screen won’t matter as much.

Anything above 70 percent should be fine but look for a screen that uses IPS technology.

What To Look For In A Gaming Laptop That Is Also Good For Graphic Design

There are three core components to look for when choosing a laptop for both gaming and running graphics applications: 


The more (Random Access Memory) you have the better suited your rig will be for running multiple tasks and demanding programs.

8GB of RAM would be the absolute minimum and the lowest-tier of spec requirements for gaming and running graphic design software with 16 or 32GB of RAM being optimal.

Related Article: Does A Gaming Keyboard Make A Difference In Gaming? (Explained)

Processor Speed

Graphics-heavy games require high-end performance and Intel Core i7 or i9 will be great for both gaming and graphic design.

You could go with the Core i5 but may need to upgrade before long.

The more cores the better, especially when it comes to high-definition video editing or processing large, high-end graphics files.


Dedicated RAM is the name of the game here and the right graphics processor can make all the difference.

Gaming laptops fit the bill in this regard and are seemingly tailor-made for running graphic design programs efficiently.

Many of their specs are similar and it certainly takes more than a Chromebook to run either.

The Hard Drive

A good gaming laptop will come with a fast solid-state drive (SSD) and that will make all the difference regarding the overall speed of your system.

An SSD is a type of storage and unlike traditional hard drives (HDDs), uses flash memory to keep and retrieve data.

This means there are no moving parts in SSDs, and this can make them up to 10 times faster than older drive types.

Keyboard Lighting

Gaming laptops usually come with backlit keyboard lighting as standard and this is incredibly useful if you are doing design work in low light settings where it may be difficult to identify the keys.

Good Audio

Decent audio is also one of those features that usually come standard with gaming laptops.

And high-quality audio feedback will really come in handy when you find yourself editing soundtracks or videos.


Laptops that are built for long hours of gaming are also built to be ergonomic and comfortable.

They will make long hours of design work less likely to strain your wrists.

They Are Built To Last

If there’s one thing in a gaming laptop’s future, it’s button mashing and a lot of it.

Whatever the price range, sturdy parts have to be used in a gaming laptop’s construction, or there is no way it will stand the test of time.

Gamers are easily displeased and any brands producing laptops that don’t last will not be around for long.

And that’s great news if you’re using a gaming laptop for a graphic design because it won’t wear down a laptop as fast as gaming will.

They Are Easily Upgradable

Every year, games are getting bigger and more resource-intensive.

As a result, gaming laptops must be built so that parts can easily be upgraded.

And the same can be said for graphic design.

Every year graphic design programs like InDesign and Illustrator are getting bigger and more resource-intensive.

So if you find you need to upgrade your RAM from 16 to 32GB, it won’t be an issue with a gaming laptop.

What Specs Should A Graphic Designer Look For In A Gaming Laptop?

Along with the above, screen resolution is also a big one.

MacBook Pros are high on the list with their Retina Displays and True Tone Technology.

You may struggle to find a gaming laptop with a large enough color gamut range and enough color accuracy to be suitable for professional graphic design.

However, you can make use of an external monitor, like the Acer ConceptD, that will take care of these needs.

  • Processor speed higher than 4GHz.
  • Minimum quad-core processor.
  • 7200rpm HDD or an SSD (solid-state drive).
  • 1TB+ storage.
  • 1080p HD or higher resolution.
  • Dedicated GPU.
  • Large Screen, 15” or more.

The great thing about gaming laptops for graphic design is that you will find most of these specifications and more in basic gaming laptops.

You don’t have to upgrade very far into the mid-tier gaming laptops to find everything you need to run more graphics-intensive programs. 

Most beginner guides will recommend a minimum quad-core processor at a speed of 1 GHz.

Sure, that’s feasible for rudimentary tasks, however, graphic design, like gaming, is becoming more and more graphics-intensive and will hog a lot of resources. 

Programs like Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop are becoming more resource-intensive each time a newer version comes out.

So unless you want a very hot laptop sitting uncomfortably on your lap with fans blasting, it’s better to aim a few notches higher, unless it happens to be just too expensive.

Are There Any Disadvantages To Using A Gaming Laptop For Graphic Design?

Although mostly compatible, gaming laptops are not built specifically for graphic design, so there are going to be some drawbacks.

Color Accuracy

As mentioned earlier, color accuracy and range is going to be the biggest potential disadvantage when using a gaming laptop for graphic design.

Because of how games display on the screen with colors and images constantly moving, high color accuracy is not really needed and wouldn’t be that noticeable.

However, quite the opposite is true for graphic design.

You need to know that the colors you are working with will look the same when edited on another computer or when printed out onto packaging.

You may need to venture towards higher-end gaming laptops to find one with enough color accuracy for graphic design work.

Or you may just have to use a secondary monitor for your work.

Battery Life

Gaming laptops require a lot of power to run their souped-up CPUs and GPUs which drains battery life fast.

Laptops designed for playing games are naturally heavy due to their sturdy build and extra components so it can be tempting for manufacturers to install smaller batteries in them to try and reduce the overall weight of the machine.

This usually amounts to gaming laptops having a pretty poor battery life – sometimes as little as two hours so have your charger handy.


Gaming laptops can look a little futuristic and otherworldly.

The design of the laptop could be a blessing or a curse depending on your style.

When used for work, some people think they look cool and others think they look a little out of place but you’ll be fine as long as you don’t mind using a laptop that an edgy 16-year-old might pick out for you.

Why Is Color Accuracy An Issue When Choosing A Gaming Laptop For Graphic Design Work?

Gaming laptops prioritize things like low-latency (connection strength), frames per second, and higher resolution over things like near-perfect color accuracy and the color range since the color in most games will be constantly changing anyway.

It starts to get expensive for manufacturers when they try to incorporate so many high-end features into their screens and devices like high color accuracy, high resolution, high refresh rate, etc.

Basically, gaming laptops are more affordable to manufacture when they aren’t required to produce such high levels of color accuracy and this can be an issue for professional graphic designers.

However, on-screen color accuracy is incredibly important if you want your finished project to look like what your customer or boss is expecting to see.

If your laptop screen’s color accuracy is not good enough you may be forced into buying a secondary monitor.

Here Are Some Decent Gaming Laptops That Could Also Be Used For Graphic Design

Apple has always been the go-to platform for graphic design, however, Apple isn’t exactly echoed in the halls of legendary immortality when it comes to gaming.

Because of that, Apple is left off the list.

Dell XPS 15 9510 15.6″ Core i7

This Dell XPS has powerful performance for both gaming and graphic design with its 11th generation Intel Core i7 processor, 16 gigs of RAM, and the NVIDIA RTX 3050 Ti graphics card.

It also has a pretty sweet screen that won’t let you down on the color accuracy side of things.

AMD Ryzen 7, 4000 Series

This laptop checks off the entire list of necessary specs for a good graphic design laptop.

It has 1920 x 1080 resolution, 4.1GHz speed, 8GB LPDDR4 RAM, a Solid State hard drive, and a 14” screen with 11.5 hours of battery life.

The graphics card is integrated rather than dedicated but you can’t have everything.

Asus ROG Zephyrus G14

Comes with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 with 6GB of dedicated video memory, a 1920 x 1080 resolution, 1TB SSD, 16GB DDR4 RAM, and a 14” screen.

Acer Nitro 5

This is a 9th gen, Intel Core i5 processor with 8GB DDR4 RAM, 4.1GHz speed, 256 GB flash memory SSD, a dedicated NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card, and 1920 x 1080 resolution.

Acer Predator Helios 300

5GHz core i7 with 16GB DDR4 RAM, 1920 x 1080 resolution, SSD, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060, and a 15.6” screen.

Razer Blade 15

4.5GHz core i7 with 16GB DDR4 RAM, 1TB Flash SSD, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660Ti dedicated graphics card, and 1920 x 1080 resolution.

Gaming laptops consistently fall into the graphic design category because their specs are a great match for graphic design requirements.

Several on this list are high-end gaming laptops and the price reflects as much. 

Why Is Mac Preferred For Graphic Design Over PC Gaming Laptops?

Macs were left off the above list because Apple doesn’t spend much focus on gaming platforms as far as hardware, software, or marketing.

However, many graphic designers prefer Mac over PC gaming laptops in general, and it’s a curious choice considering the competition.

Industry standards provide a large glimpse into why this is.

Mac dominates the design industry and it’s far more simple to stick with one OS versus jumping through hoops to convert back and forth. 

Through the prism of history, Macs dominate in graphic design choice, however, realistically the playing field has been leveled and gaming laptops often match or exceed the capabilities of a Mac and are more than a good choice for graphic design.