What type of laptop do I need?

Adobe will give 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 15-inch machine will work quite well. The 8-Core machine has the advantage of the larger SSD and the newest processor (Intel i9).

2.3GHz 8-core 9th-generation Intel Core i9 processor, Turbo Boost up to 4.8GHz
16GB 2400MHz DDR4 memory
Radeon Pro 560X with 4GB of GDDR5 memory
512GB SSD storage

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
512GB SSD
NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1060 discrete GPU w/6GB GDDR5 graphics memory card

Dell

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

Alienware

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 stratford.it@uwaterloo.ca with your questions or concerns, and I 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 laptops which are available for students to sign out as well as having access to the Mac lab at the Stratford school and PAS when classes are not being run. We also have iPad Pro’s and Microsoft Surface Book 2 available in Stratford.

***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 Mark Byerley.