Personal Laptop Suggestions

Below you will find detailed information as well as suggestions / examples for both Apple and Windows/PC laptop computers that will work well with software that is typically used in the Film and Digital Media production concentration courses. 

Please take note of these details: 

  • All of the suggestions on this page (and PDF file) specify 16GB of RAM (Memory). When possible, it is the best case scenario for the system to have 32GB of RAM (Memory) for the Adobe Applications to run more efficiently, especially when working with higher resolution video formats (UHD/4K). However, this can be prohibitively expensive. 16GB of RAM (Memory) should be considered a minimum. Also, to purchase a computer with 32GB you will need to order it as a custom configuration directly from the manufacturer (the UCSC bookstore does not offer 32GB options).
  • There are many companies who sell and manufacture laptops. The two PC (Windows) suggestions in this page (and PDF file) should serve as examples. If you prefer a different brand and would like to do your own research on this topic, that is ok. This list has been compiled as a convenience because it is a frequently asked question and a technically complex subject. The Film and Digital Media department does not endorse one particular brand/manufacturer regarding personal laptop purchases, but it is important that laptops are able to run the software that Film and Digital Media production concentration courses use.
  • For those interested in this subject who wish to look into the details more, you can find system requirements for the two most advanced pieces of software that are typically used in the Film and Digital Media production concentration courses here:
  • Adobe Premiere: https://helpx.adobe.com/premiere-pro/system-requirements.html
  • Adobe After Effects: https://helpx.adobe.com/after-effects/system-requirements.html

Apple (MacOS) suggested systems:

Apple MacBook Pro 16” Entry Model:

  • 2.6GHz 6-core 9th-generation Intel Core i7 processor
  • AMD Radeon Pro 5300M with 4GB of GDDR6 memory
  • 16GB of 2666MHz DDR4 memory (see RAM 32GB RAM note above)
  • 512GB of SSD storage
  • 16-inch Retina display with True Tone
  • Magic Keyboard
  • Four Thunderbolt 3 ports
  • MacOS Catalina
  • Available at https://www.apple.com with student discount (Choose “Shop for College”)
  • Also available at the UCSC Baytree Bookstore – https://slugstore.ucsc.edu

Apple MacBook Pro 16” Mid Tier Model (slightly better performance):

  • 2.3GHz 8-core 9th-generation Intel Core i9 processor
  • AMD Radeon Pro 5500M with 4GB of GDDR6 memory
  • 16GB of 2666MHz DDR4 memory (see RAM 32GB RAM note above)
  • 1TB of SSD storage
  • 16-inch Retina display with True Tone
  • Magic Keyboard
  • Four Thunderbolt 3 ports
  • MacOS Catalina
  • Available at https://www.apple.com with student discount (Choose “Shop for College”)
  • Also available at the UCSC Baytree Bookstore – https://slugstore.ucsc.edu

PC (Windows OS) suggested systems:

Razer Blade 15”:

  • 10th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-10750H 6-Core (2.6GHz / 5.0GHz)
  • NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1660 Ti
  • 16GB Dual-Channel (8GB x 2) DDR4-2933MHz memory (see RAM 32GB RAM note above)
  • 256GB SSD (M.2 NVMe) storage
  • 15.6″ Full HD 144Hz, 100% sRGB, 4.9mm bezel, factory calibrated Display
  • Single-zone RGB powered by Razer Chroma™ keyboard
  • USB 3.1 Gen 1 (USB-A) x2, USB-C 3.2 Gen 2, Thunderbolt™ 3 (USB-C)
  • Windows 10 Home
  • Available at https://www.razer.com with 5% student discount

New Dell XPS 15”:

  • 10th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-10750H (6 Cores)
  • NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1650 Ti
  • 16GB DDR4-2933MHz, 2x8G memory (see RAM 32GB RAM note above)
  • 512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe Solid State Drive storage (Custom Upgrade)
  • 15.6″ FHD+ (1920 x 1200) InfinityEdge Non-Touch Anti-Glare 500-Nit Display
  • English keyboard, black, backlit, Fingerprint Reader
  • 2x Thunderbolt, 1x USB-C 3.1, 1x SD, lock, headphone/mic
  • Windows 10 Home
  • Available at https://www.dell.com with 10% student discount

These system suggestions are also available as a PDF file by clicking here.
If you need more help on this subject, please feel free to reach out to the department ITS staff by emailing fdmoperations@ucsc.edu with your question.

Last updated: Summer 2020