Laptop Requirements

What type of laptop do I need?

Adobe gives their minimum specifications on what hardware you will need to run Adobe Creative Cloud Applications, however, the minimum specifications will not give you an optimally performing laptop and will likely lead to frustrations in a few years as the applications mature. We have listed some systems below which will provide you with the efficiency in a laptop that will likely carry you through your undergraduate career.

MacBook Pro

Either 14-inch or 16-inch machine will work quite well, at minimum to run Adobe After Effects you will need (as of February 2022).

Intel or Apple Silicon Quad-core processor
16 GB of RAM
512GB SSD storage (recommended)

Surface Book 2

The base system is more than sufficient for anyone wanting to use the Creative Cloud and the touch screen gives you even more options. If you can afford to upgrade the SSD from 256 to 512 gigs, you shouldn’t run out of space for years to come.

Surface Book 2 - 15" Display
16GB RAM 1866Mhz LPDDR3
8th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-8650U quad-core processor, 4.2GHz Max Turbo
NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1060 discrete GPU w/6GB GDDR5 graphics memory card


Virtually any of the XPS machines will work with Creative Cloud, the real decision is in your price point. One option could be going with a smaller screen (with the same internal specs) and spend the money saved on a larger monitor for your desk in your dorm.

15.6" FHD 1920 x 1080 Anti-Glare Non-touch IPS 100% sRGB 400-Nits display InfinityEdge
8th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-8750H Processor (9MB Cache, up to 4.1 GHz, 6 Cores)
NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1050Ti 4GB GDDR5
M.2 512GB 2280 PCIe Solid State Drive


If size and weight are no issue, you get a lot of bang for your buck with an Alienware machine.

9th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-9700K (8-Core, 12MB Cache, up to 4.9GHz w/ Turbo Boost)
Windows 10 Home 64bit English
NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 2070 8GB GDDR6 (OC Ready)
17.3" FHD (1920 x 1080) 144Hz Anti-Glare IPS Display w/ NVIDIA G-SYNC + Tobii eye-tracking technology
16GB, 2x8GB, DDR4, 2666MHz (if you can afford more, upgrade)
Either 512GB PCIe M.2 SSD or 1TB PCIe M.2 SSD

There are so many options out there to choose from it will be easy to become stagnated by them. If you have a few machines you are looking at and are wondering which to choose, please feel free to contact DMS Tech Support with your questions or concerns, and we would be happy to help you. If you can include an online link to the machines you are looking at, it would be very helpful.

The Stratford School also has 15 Macbook Pro laptop computers that are available for students to sign out from Media Services. 

***Whichever laptop you choose, please don’t forget a backup system for it, whether this has you backing up to the cloud or an external hard drive, please ensure you make regular backups of your work. I also recommend students purchase the Apple Care Plan if they purchase an Apple product. It can be quite useful and usually pays for itself over the long run.

Further Questions?

If you have any questions about a specific laptop, please contact DMS Tech Support.

Software discounts

Information Systems & Technology (IST) provides site-licensing to students for several paid applications, including Microsoft Windows, Office 365 with free cloud storage and discounted rates for Adobe CC, Sketch and more. For more info, visit IST's website →