If audio production is something you are passionate about and you’re looking to produce epic music, then you’ve obviously chosen the right Digital Audio Workstation, FL Studio! Before you go any further, you will require a laptop that has the specifications to run the program smoothly. Luckily, we have made this process easy for you, by making an entire guide, just on this matter. This guide will also be applicable if you ever shift to, or already use another similar program such as Reaper, Logic Pro, Ableton Live, etc.
The first thing that a lot of people think about, when considering a laptop for FL Studios, is the processing power. You will be pleased to hear that FL Studios doesn’t require a really powerful processor. Even their minimum specification requirement requires you to get anything that scores more than 7000 points on a CPU test and even a high-end processor from more than half a decade ago, or a mid-range from 3 to 4 years ago can accomplish that. That doesn’t mean that this isn’t an important thing to consider. We would still recommend getting a modern i5 or i7 so that your device remains functional for at least the next 3 to 4 years or even more.
Moreover, you don’t require a dedicated GPU, so that’s one less component to worry about. However, if you’re into gaming or graphic designing, then you can certainly get one, just know that having a graphic card won’t improve your workflow or help you produce better audio.
The storage is an aspect that matters a lot. You will most likely have to import uncompressed .wav files which can often take up a gigabyte worth of space. Soon enough, even a 500 GB drive, will start filling up quickly. While you can also live with external storage devices, we would recommend having at least a terabyte if not more of native SSD, while having the ability to expand your storage can also help. RAM, on the other hand, won’t be limiting you. It’s recommended to get a minimum of 8GB, but if you want to future proof your laptop and if your budget allows, then you can also go for 16 GB or even more.
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Minimum System Requirements
Before we go to the laptop reviews, please take a minute and review the official minimum requirements provided by Image Line for running FL Studio. We’d like you to know that we have done our homework and singled out laptops that are based on the requirements below.
|Operating System||Windows 8.1 or 10 is required. Windows S users need to first upgrade to regular Windows 10. macOS 10.13.6 or higher|
|Processor||Intel – The i9-9900K, i9-10900K, i7-9700K and i7-8700K (and non-K variants) are stand-out processors with: 1. 6 or more cores. AMD – The Ryzen 9 3900X, 7 3800X, 7 3700X & 5 3600X with their 12, 8, 8 and 6 cores (respectively) ARM – FL Studio is NOT compatible with ARM processors|
|RAM||8 GB is enough, 16 GB is likely more than you need, 32 GB is only needed if you use lots of sample-based instruments,|
|Storage||500 GB SSD (holding your OS + FL Studio) and a 2 or 4 TB MHDD/External Drive for your project data (libraries, sounds, audio recordings etc).|
|Audio||soundcard / audio interface must support ASIO drivers. ASIO is a software device driver standard that allows FL Studio direct access to the audio interface rather than communicating via the Windows operating system|
Source: Image Line Support
ASUS ROG Strix Review
The first laptop we will be talking about is the 2020 ASUS ROG Strix. ROG or Republic of Gamers, is a sub-brand of ASUS primarily make products for gamers and this laptop is no different. You will find a lot of key common things in their products, like top-of-the-line specifications and a lot of RGB to name a few. If you’re a gamer then you would definitely want to get your hands on this one, but even if you don’t play a lot of games, you will find that this is still an amazing laptop for FL Studio.
The most compelling factor about this laptop is performance. They are made to handle games that push the CPU to its absolute limits, hence they will also be good for other programs, especially related to audio production. This is best indicated by the fact that it comes with Intel 9th Gen Core i7-9750H Processor, which is a Hexa-core, twelve-way processing that provides maximum high-efficiency power to go. It will easily handle anything you throw at it, without any problem and even 5 years down the line it will be useable. Along with the processor, you get an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 with 4GB dedicated graphics memory. While we did mention that you don’t need a dedicated graphics card for FL, but if you’re looking into starting gaming or already do game, then it will be a great GPU. This laptop is definitely the best of the best in terms of performance and the only other components that can beat it are an i9 processor or an RTX series card. Even they provide such incremental improvements, but for a much higher price spike that they aren’t really worth it.
The main reason why we chose this laptop is because of the insane amount of storage it offers. It comes with a 2 terabyte Hard disk drive and a 2 terabyte Solid State Drive, making a total of 4 TB of storage. That’s 4 times our minimum recommended amount and it will easily last you for years to come. Sometimes, heavy users complain that their storage is never enough, but with this device, you will never have any problems in this regard.
RAM is one of those things that the more you have of, the better and it is best represented in this laptop. You get a massive 32 GB of DDR4 RAM. This is another area, where a bit less would be enough, but it’s good to see so much extra performance. It will be especially useful when running 125 simultaneous tracks with automation, as well as a few other programs in the background. You will almost never have to face a program to reload.
The display is a 15.6″ FHD LED Display, 1920 x 1080 resolution, Anti-glare Energy-efficient screen. It’s bright enough to be used in a bright environment and it is pretty sharp while producing good colors. It’s up to the standard of other laptops in this price range.
The port selection on this laptop is also great. You get 3 x USB Type-A 3.2 Gen 1, 1 x 3.5-mm headphone/microphone combo jack, 1 x LAN, 1 x HDMI 2.0 and SD card reader. The only thing missing is the inclusion of a USB-C port, but it’s not that important when you already have so many other options. One thing to note is that all the LAN, HDMI, and charging ports are at the back of the laptop. It’s useful for those looking to hide the wires in their setup for a much cleaner look.
There are a ton of other features that make this laptop a much more compelling buy. Firstly, you get a lot of RGB, including in the keyboard in the form of backlighting as well as an entire strip at the bottom of the laptop. It gives the laptop a much more “gamer” look. The design makes it clear that this laptop is clearly targeted at gamers, because of the brushed metal black and red accents. Some people may like it and some might not, it all comes down to personal preference. Lastly, the speakers of this laptop are also really amazing. While you would most likely use headphones for audio production, but the inclusion of amazing speakers is a great feature for media consumption.
The dimensions of this laptop are 14.2 x 10.8 x 1 inches and it weighs 5.3 pounds, which is a bit on the heavier side, but that’s to be expected from a laptop of this performance caliber. The ROG comes with a 3-cell Lithium-ion battery, which provides 4 to 5 hours of battery life. This laptop isn’t designed to be a carry a friendly laptop, it’s supposed to be a desktop PC replacement that you still provide a fair bit of portability, so a lesser battery life isn’t a big problem. You’ll most likely be sitting in your home studio while producing music so you want something that can handle anything you throw at it, and this laptop is designed for that! Definitely a very strong contender for Audio production.
|RAM||Average battery life|
Dell Inspiron 17 Review
If you’re not a gamer then you might not want to buy a dedicated gaming laptop, yet something that’s reasonably powerful, while fulfilling all of your requirements. That’s where the Dell Inspiron 17 comes in. It provides various features that would appeal to a wide audience and which makes it an amazing all-round laptop.
While not being as powerful as the previous option, the Inspiron still packs a real punch when it comes to performance. It comes with Intel Core i5-1035G1 1. 0 GHz, Turbo to 3. 60 GHz, 6MB Cache, 4 Cores, 8 Threads, Intel UHD Graphics with shared graphics memory. The difference between modern processors like the i5 and i7 is so little that you may not even notice it at all. The integrated UDH graphics should be more than sufficient for all your needs and performance is one area where you won’t have any issues.
As for storage, you get a 512 GB SSD, as well as a 1 TB HDD. This is just the right amount of storage and you won’t be running short anytime soon. Since the SSD is smaller, but faster, it is recommended you store your most used programs here like the operating system and FL Studios, and the larger, yet slightly slower hard drive should be used for storing the actual audio files that you use as well as any other larger applications or files.
As for the RAM configuration, you get 16 GB of DDR4 RAM, which should be plentiful and will hold up pretty well in the upcoming years. The performance boost from 16 GB to 32 GB is so little that you won’t notice it and even FL Studio’s developers recommend that getting 8 or a maximum of 16 GB is more than enough for most users.
As for the display, you get a 17.3-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) Anti-Glare LED-Backlit Non-touch WVA Display. The extra screen real estate is especially useful when multitasking and provides a great multimedia viewing experience. The quality of the screen is just about average, it gets sharp enough for most users while producing decent colors as well as being bright enough for most use cases. If you’ve ever used a dell laptop before then you would know exactly how this display looks.
A really great feature of this laptop is the port selection. A lot of manufacturers are removing ports to make their device thinner. It’s good to see Dell prefer functionality over form factor in this case. You get 1x USB 2. 0, 2x USB 3. 1 Gen 1, 1x USB 3. 1 Type-C, 1x RJ-45(Ethernet), 1x HDMI, SD card slot and 1x Headphone output/Microphone input combo. As you can see the selection of ports is pretty nice, and you get multiple ports in case you want to have many accessories connected. It has many more features that make it a much more compelling buy such as the inclusion of an HD webcam with multiple microphones for better sound pick up and a DVD drive, which is a strange thing to put in a laptop in 2020, but having it may come in handy sometimes. The keyboard itself is pretty decent with good key travel, however, you don’t get a backlit keyboard. Luckily, the screen is bright enough for you to use the laptop in the dark.
The Dell Inspiron 17 comes in at 21.9 x 13.7 x 3 inches and weighs 6.1 pounds which might seem a bit heavy, but it’s normal for a 17-inch laptop. The battery is a 42-Watt Hour cell, rated to give about 5 hours of usage without plugging in, which is actually how much it would last in real world usage. It’s pretty decent considering the larger size of the display. To summarize, this laptop provides a lot of useful features at a relatively affordable price point while also having minimal sacrifices.
|Great price||No backlit keyboard|
|Large storage and RAM capacities|
|Large 17-inch display|
|Fantastic port selection|
Acer Aspire 5 Review
The final laptop on our list is the Acer Aspire 5. Acer has really upped their game in the past few years, providing amazing features for the price, which has made their laptops really popular. It’s one of those laptops that is highly praised not just by customers, but also by reviewers. Let’s see how it holds up to the workload of a typical FL Studios producer.
The processor it comes with is the Intel Core i5-10210U 1. 6 GHz, Turbo to 4.2 GHz, 4 Cores, 8 Threads, Intel UHD Graphics with shared graphics memory. The performance is almost identical to the previous offer, so you won’t face any trouble in this regard.
Sadly, this is where we face the first issue with this laptop. It only has 256 GB of PCIe NVMe SSD. While this would be plentiful for an average consumer, but for someone into audio production, it might fill up quickly. Luckily, Acer has given you the offer to upgrade the storage as there is an extra 7.5-inch bay, which allows you to add a hard drive. We would highly recommend that you do that if you’re thinking of purchasing this laptop. Having a smaller storage capacity was an intentional move by Acer, as it would keep the costs of the components down and allow them to add many more features.
Fortunately, you get enough RAM to run almost every program, including of course FL Studios. The RAM is an 8GB DDR4 stick, which, like the storage, is also upgradeable to 20 GB. We wouldn’t recommend doing this unless you are certain that you would need that much memory. But it’s still good to have the option to do so, in case programs get more memory intensive in the future.
The display is a 15.6″ Full HD (1920 x 1080) widescreen LED-backlit IPS Display, which is right about what you would expect from a laptop in this price range. It gets bright enough to use in any environment and produces relatively crisp images, as well as good colors. What’s good to see is that it has relatively narrow bezels as compared to the competition, which makes it more pleasing to look at, and even gives the impression of looking like a more expensive laptop.
The port selection on this laptop is amazing, as you get 1 USB 3.1 (Type-C) port (Gen 1 up to 5 Gbps), 2 USB 3.1 Gen 1 Port (One with Power-off Charging), 1 USB 2.0 Port, 1 HDMI Port, and 1 Gigabit Ethernet LAN (RJ-45 port). You get plenty of options for connectivity which gives you the freedom to attach any accessory. There are many other features that this laptop has, which makes it a much more compelling buy. Some of these include True Harmony Technology Two Built-in Stereo Speakers, Acer Purified Voice Technology with Two Built-in Microphones, Acer Fingerprint Reader supporting Windows Hello, a pretty nice Back-lit Keyboard, a decent HD Webcam (1280 x 720), and a pretty attractive and well-built design. As you can see, Acer included a ton of features, some not even found in the more expensive laptops.
The Acer Aspire 5 is 14.31 x 9.86 x 0.71 inches and weighs 3.97 pounds. While not being as light as an ultra-book, it’s still pretty light and easy to carry. The size is also really good for being not too large, but large enough. The battery life is rated at 9.5 hours, while in real world usage it will provide you a respectable 6 to 8 hours, depending on your usage. This is definitely in the realm of being an all-day battery life laptop, and it also provides great portability for those who carry their laptop everywhere.
|Good price to performance ratio||Very low storage capacity|
|Upgradeable RAM and SSD|
|Amazing port selection|
|Finger print scanner|
|Good and well-built design|
|Good battery life|
FL Studio is regarded as one of the best software in its field as you get many features such as plug-ins, audio time stretching and pitch scaling, as well as the ability to record up to 125 audio tracks at the same time. Unlike other production programs that you may be familiar with, such as anything from the Adobe Suite, this one is only a one-time purchase, with no subscription fees. There are much other similar software like Reaper, Logic Pro, Ableton Live, etc. which also provide similar features, however, FL Studio has remain popular throughout. Over the years the configurations and requirements for running FL Studio have changed, however, our selection was based on the most recent version. We went through all three of the laptops and provided their pros and cons. It is now time for you to make a decision, but before you do that let do a quick recap.
The first laptop we reviewed was the ASUS ROG Strix. It was a really solid contender because of the insane specs, provided by the powerful CPU and GPU combination. The star of the show was definitely the amount of storage and RAM you get which will keep you up and running for the next few years without any problem. It had very minor flaws and a lot of compelling selling points. If you are the gamer who uses FL Studios, then it’s definitely a no brainer for you.
Next comes the Dell Inspiron 17. It offers many features, but the highlighting one is definitely the large storage space. Moreover, the 17-inch display is perfect for multitasking and media consumption. With a big screen you would be able to see all your tracks and mix/produce with ease. It has very minimal disadvantages, which makes it a perfect laptop for almost everyone.
Lastly, we talked about the Acer Aspire 5. It is the most feature-rich laptop on our list, with a fingerprint scanner, backlit keyboard, and other things which not even the more expensive competitors have. A mixture of a really attractive price, as well as the sheer number of features, makes it one of the best laptop choices out there. The only downside was the lower storage space.
It’s finally time to decide which of these three laptops is the best. All three of them provide excellent features for their respective price ranges, but only one of them can be the best. Our pick for the best laptop out of these three is the ASUS ROG Strix. It has plenty of great features and is really powerful. The massive storage and RAM definitely make it one of the best laptops for FL Studio users. However, if you don’t want the gamer aesthetics and features, yet still want a reliable laptop, then you can go for the Dell Inspiron 17, which also have a lot of storage space and very little drawbacks. As for the Acer Aspire 5, it’s an amazing laptop and arguably provides the best price to performance ratio out of the bunch, but the lack of large storage space is a really big drawback. We would only recommend going for it if you plan on upgrading the storage manually.