Seeking recommendations for Windows laptop that runs Creative Cloud
October 8, 2019 2:51 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a Windows laptop that can handle Adobe Creative Cloud (mostly Photoshop/Illustrator/InDesign/Acrobat right now). I've been reading through the system requirements pages for Illustrator and Photoshop, and I am getting lost in the graphics card requirements. None of the tested cards quite match what I am able to purchase in various machines. What should I be considering?

I know I won't be getting a bargain basement system if I want a machine that runs well, but I can't afford to spend $3000 either. Are gaming laptops my best option? (And do they all have brightly-backlit keyboards? I will need an HDMI port to plug in an external monitor as well as two USB ports to plug in an external keyboard and mouse.

I'm in Canada, and have no problem purchasing online, but if there is a shop in the Greater Toronto Area (east end ideally!) that has knowledgeable staff that will steer me in the right direction, I'm open to that too. It's a big purchase and feeling this confused about it is really bugging me. Thanks!
posted by melissa to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
I'm running Adobe CC on a Dell Inspiron 17 7000 Series with 16 Gb RAM and a Nvidia GeForce 845M graphic card. I use Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere, Acrobat, Indesign and occasionally After Effects and Audition. My setup is not superfast, but it works OK. I'm not a heavy duty user though, ie I don't handle pictures with dozens of layers, or hour-long videos with lots of tracks and effects.
posted by elgilito at 3:32 PM on October 8, 2019

Almost any graphics card should work *ok*. You don't even technically need a GPU to run Illustrator or Photoshop, although certain features won't be usable without them. I prefer 'workstation' laptops as I feel the build quality is better than 'gaming' laptops, though they are big and heavy. I went with a refurbished Dell mobile workstation. I run After Effects, Maya and Cinema 4D in addition to Photoshop/Illustrator/Indesign and although I have a few overheating related problems with the 3D software (mainly in the summer - my apartment doesn't have central AC), Photoshop and Illustrator work just fine.

I don't know if they ship to Canada, but this build is similar to the one I bought about 2 years ago, it's still going strong and running all the new versions of CC as they come out:
posted by matcha action at 4:25 PM on October 8, 2019 has a refurbished section if you want to go that route - this is similar to the other one I recommended but will ship to Canada and will run Adobe CC for under $1000.
posted by matcha action at 4:31 PM on October 8, 2019

FYI: I bought a gaming rig to run Adobe programs and was pleased to discover that all the keyboard pyrotechnics can be turned off.
posted by carmicha at 6:43 PM on October 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

Note that for any laptop with a thunderbolt port you can buy a Thunderbolt->HDMI (or Displayport if you prefer) cable for a reasonably small sum if that helps widen the field of suitable laptops.
posted by pharm at 1:45 AM on October 9, 2019

I run Adobe CC on two different laptops (admittedly, Macs) that are both supposedly deficient in terms of required processing power. CC apps work fine on them. Anecdotally, I wouldn't get too hung up on exact requirements if you find a machine you like that is close to fitting the bill.
posted by seemoorglass at 12:15 PM on October 9, 2019

The Dell Vostro 7590 is very good value (doesn't seem to be available through Dell Canada), and has a good balance of all components. I think only the laptop screen is a bit subpar, but might not be a big deal if you use an external monitor.
posted by Sharcho at 1:39 PM on October 9, 2019

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