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Creator, Guide

How to Choose a Laptop for Music or Sound Production

Jul 20, 2023

Author: ASUS    Reading time: 7 minutes

Zenbook Pro 14 OLED on a sound engineer’s workstation during an outdoor event, with a sound console and headphones lying on the crate next to the laptop

Jul 20, 2023

Are you a musician or sound professional looking for the perfect laptop to support your creative work? Choosing the right equipment can be a daunting task, especially with so many options out there.

In this article, we'll break down the essential factors to consider when selecting a laptop for working with sound — whether you're a budding artist or a seasoned sound professional, and whether you'll be using the laptop during live performances, working in the studio, or recording and producing from the comfort of your home. We've got you covered with tips to help you find the perfect laptop that aligns with your specific needs.


For sound professionals, the specs of a laptop should be your first consideration. And there is perhaps no spec more important for working with DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations) than the CPU.

To ensure smooth, snappy performance when working on multiple tracks and processing heavy audio files, you will need a strong CPU in your laptop. Pay attention to the number of cores, the thread count, and the clock speed.

A good benchmark here would be the latest-generation Intel® Core™ i7 H-series laptop CPU. Such a processor can have up to 14 cores and 20 threads and run at a base clock speed of 2.4 GHz, with a boost of up to 5.0 GHz. That's a powerful option that proves optimal for doing top-notch sound work.


RAM is the short-term memory of your computer. It affects the number of apps and how heavy the data these apps can handle at once. For working with audio software, RAM will translate into how many tracks of audio you can work with.

When it comes to RAM, the sky is the limit, so you can't go overboard with this spec. Get as much RAM as possible. We would recommend 32 GB or RAM or more to ensure smooth operation of DAW software.

You probably don’t need to be concerned with how much memory the laptop comes with in stock, since this component is relatively cheap and easy to upgrade. But there are two things you should consider: 1) whether the RAM is upgradeable (check what RAM slots the laptop has); 2) what’s the maximum memory the laptop can be upgraded to.

Note that the RAM in some laptops cannot be upgraded, as the memory sticks are permanently attached to the motherboard. It's better to get an upgradeable variant. Optimally, you’d have two DDR5 SO-DIMM slots. You can check the information on memory slots in the spec sheet on the ASUS website.


As a sound professional, you want to make sure you have plenty of storage space. While external hard drives are an option, you'll want to keep your most crucial files on your laptop's internal storage for quick access. However, audio files can be large and take up a significant amount of space, so it's important to choose a laptop with ample storage.

We recommend a minimum of 1 TB of storage, but the more you have, the better. Look for the latest M.2 NVMe™ PCIe® 4.0 Performance SSD variant for optimal performance.

It's also worth noting that many laptops have storage that can be upgraded, allowing you to add more space as needed. Check the laptop's specifications list to see whether there are SSD slots available for upgrades.


Working with heavy audio files can cause your computer to heat up, and that might not only compromise your comfort but can cause components to throttle — slowing down to avoid overheating.

The solution is strong heat dissipation. Most laptops use a combination of fans and heat sinks to handle the hot air inside the laptop. Consider a laptop that has a good number of fans (at least two) and heat sinks (four would be a good number) and sufficient vents to ensure the hot air can escape freely.

The max TDP (Thermal Design Power) of the CPU and GPU is a reliable indicator of a laptop's thermal management capabilities. A laptop with a TDP of at least 100 W signifies that it has robust cooling capabilities and can handle high-performance tasks without overheating. You can check this in the laptop’s specs table.


For mobile sound professionals, you will want a laptop that strikes the perfect balance between plentiful power and portability. Indeed, high-performance machines usually weigh more as the components take up space and have a certain weight to them. But some laptops manage to be powerful enough while still ultraportable.

If you find yourself working outside of a studio or other stationary workspace a lot, you will want to consider the chassis size, the thickness of the laptop, its weight, and the battery life. A laptop with a thin-bezel 14-inch screen should be small enough to fit comfortably into most backpacks. Aim for a machine that doesn't exceed 2 kg of weight and 2 cm of thickness to ensure it's not a burden while carrying around. For battery life, you will want a minimum of eight hours while performing common tasks so that you could use it for longer away from the electrical outlet.

If you work mostly in one place and do not need to carry your laptop around much, mobility won’t be a big consideration for you. In such cases, you may want to opt for a more powerful machine that isn’t as compact.


DAW software is getting more affordable and more powerful, but you will need a laptop that meets the requirements noted in the DAW system specs. You can check the software publisher’s website for information on minimum and recommended specs. Try to buy a laptop that exceeds the recommended specs of your DAW, to make your system more future-proof.


Having a top-notch display won’t be as crucial for audio professionals as it is for visual creators. What you will need to pay attention to, however, is display size.

We wouldn't recommend going smaller than a 14-inch display. That should provide enough space to see many tracks at once comfortably. If you can get your hands on a 16:10 aspect ratio, that's great as it gives you added vertical space — which is very important when mixing.

You would also benefit from an OLED display , such as the ASUS Lumina OLED, due to its low blue light emissions, especially if you frequently spend a long time in front of the screen. In addition, such displays also prove great when used outdoors or in dark places — for example, while performing live.

I/O Ports and Wireless Connectivity

Chances are, you will likely have peripherals plugged into your laptop while working. Between the audio interface, headphones, sequencers, MIDI keyboards, mixers, and other equipment that sound pros often use, there is a lot you may need to plug in.

Likewise, you will want a solid lineup of I/O ports in your laptop. Many peripherals now use a USB Type-C interface or even Thunderbolt™ 4, due to speedy data transfer rates. You will want at least two USB Type-C ports in your laptop, with at least one Thunderbolt™ 4. It’s important to have at least one USB Type-A as well, though, as some peripherals still use this technology. Other than that, a combination audio jack is also of course recommended.

You may also use some wireless peripherals. To take advantage of a smooth connection, you will want the latest, fastest Bluetooth® 5.3 technology. Fast WiFi 6E can also make a great difference, enabling online work and decreasing upload and download times.

Built-In Inputs

The built-in keyboard and touchpad of your laptop can be essential for daily use, especially if you work away from a desk often or use your laptop while performing. To ensure maximum comfort and efficiency, look for a laptop that features a full-sized backlit keyboard with dished keys and ample key travel, as well as a spacious and accurate touchpad.

For audio professionals, certain laptops go a step further by offering specialized input tools designed to enhance the creative process and streamline workflows. Examples of such features include the ASUS Dial and DialPad, which provide a tangible dial or virtual rotary input function, respectively. These tools can be customized to speed up your workflows, so you can for example move along the timeline or adjust the sound pitch or slow down and speed up tracks with precision in intuitive, comfortable ways.

Our pick: ASUS Zenbook Pro 14 OLED

ASUS Zenbook Pro 14 OLED strikes the perfect balance between portability and power. With a 14.5-inch 120 Hz OLED NanoEdge display, its 17.9 mm thin body is very compact and slips in and out of your bag with ease. It's light, too, at only 1.6 kg. It’s a perfect laptop to accompany you wherever your creative projects take you. Plus, it features ASUS DialPad, the customizable virtual rotary input device that helps boost your creative workflows.

The compact body of Zenbook Pro 14 OLED packs strong components. You can choose up to the latest 13th Gen Intel® Core™ i9-13900H CPU for ultimate processing power. You will be able to unleash all this power thanks for the powerful cooling system in this laptop. With four vents and heat sink pipes, the Zenbook Pro 14 OLED’s TDP can go all the way up to 125 Watt.

The Zenbook Pro 14 OLED comes with 16 GB of RAM onboard and has one SO-DIMM slot available, so RAM can be upgraded to up to 48 GB. Plus, you can select up to 2 TB of snappy M.2 NVMe™ PCIe® 4.0 Performance SSD storage to keep your files with you at all times.

With its slim, compact chassis Zenbook Pro 14 OLED packs many I/O ports! It features a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A port and a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C port with display and power delivery support, as well as a Thunderbolt™ 4 port with display and power delivery support. In addition, an HDMI port and a 3.5 mm combo audio jack are included. There is even an SD 4.0 card reader.

If you work on the go a lot and have the budget, another option consider is the Zenbook Pro 14 Duo OLED. This unique laptop features two displays to give you more working space. Its ScreenPad™ Plus can be customized according to your unique needs to make audio work on the go a breeze. The dual screen setup also proves extremely useful when performing live, as you can display more creative tools at once, making live mixing, planning a playlist, or adjusting various settings of audio software while playing easier, without compromising the main display space.

If you don’t need to bring your laptop on the go too often and work mostly in one location, we recommend the powerful Zenbook Pro 16X OLED with a larger 16-inch screen. Packed with even more powerful components and an innovative cooling system, it also features the ASUS Dial for convenient creative workflows.

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