Any laptops will do fine as long as you have a minimum of 8GB of RAM, but the more RAM you have, the better!
Also you need a disk with higher storage space, because sometimes if there is not enough room in the RAM for the computer to work with, the software would sometimes use the hard drive as a temporary RAM.
Specially with Photoshop using scratch disk settings.
While a HDD would do fine, a SSD would be much better, and specially the higher the storage space you can budget for, the better.
The above two are the most important things you need to focus on.
A graphic card is not an overkill, it would be nice to have one, but aiming for a very high performance graphic card is an overkill. Any of the mid-range graphic cards would do fine.
The trick is...
If you were to image computers on a scale of 1 to 10, then you need to aim for something like...
Between 1 to 4 for typical word processing, office style work, email, casual surfing the Internet, suited for college students. Between 4 to 6 for general digital art and photo editing, as well as watching movies, and simple basic games. Between 5 to 8 for general 3D and video editing (the sort of work you would find on DeviantART.) Between 6 to 9 for complex 3D and video editing (mostly professionals doing work for serious websites or for clients) Between 8 to 10 for die-hard gamers, specially those who are playing non-stop.
You should be looking a processing power & RAM. If you're looking to render 3D, I wouldnt settle for anything less than an Intel i7 and 16GB + of RAM. The GPU has very little to do with 3D modeling & Rendering. The GPU would be more for giving you a smooth frame rate while you're within 3D modeling applications. While your CPU is going be doing the heavy work of rendering the lighting and textures when you render your work. So as far as the GPU.. since you're not looking to game, you dont need anything too crazy here. I would say 2GB VRam would be way more than sufficient. Whatever the current "50" range(750, 950, 1050...) of Nvidia cards is would be way more than enough Me personally, I would aim for this range of card, simply to have the option of light gaming if I wanted. But, thats just me. Honestly, any dedicated graphics unit with at least 1.5GB VRAM will probably be enough. In your budget of $2000... finding a suitable laptop will be easy.
Machines that are built well.. I would look at ASUS Republic of Gamers laptops, ASUS makes really nice quality stuff. I've had 3 different RoG laptops and they're very nice. However, if I were you and I did not want a gaming machine.. You can save a lot of money here if you shop for machines with more processing power but with mediocre GPU specs. If I'm not mistaken, there are machines marketed specifically for media creation, so that would be worth looking into.
Although it's a Chinese brand, I have an older Lenovo ultrabook that I picked up used for fairly cheap last year and it has excellent build quality. I take it back & forth to work daily. Have dropped it a couple of times, my 60lb bulldog has walked across it among other silly things and it's absolutely fine. My primary issue with this laptop is that due to its old age, driver support from Lenovo is not the greatest. And as time goes on and technology progresses, due to outdated drivers I do occassionally run into some minor problems. But I like it well enough that if I were shopping for a new laptop, I would consider their offerings. Always smart to read reviews, of course.
Thank you for the advice! Omg you dropped yours? The only thing Ive had survive drops (dropped it on my foot and it hurt my foot) was an older macbook. The other 2 were plastic MSI and Toshiba have sustained 'cosmetic' damage that kinda gets worse until it has to become a desktop lol.
The idea also crossed my mind to just go ahead and build a proper desktop if I could get it small enough to move a few times, because rendering on a laptop's going to be slow and iirc; bad for the laptop. Then get a cheaper laptop for mobility to classes and stuff. Or- my phone is a Note 9 but idk how functional it'd be for college notetaking..
Anyway I'm thinking about the Dell XPS 15 or 17? Seems to have a nice screen and it's made of metal and you can upgrade the RAM. Or Razer Blades. Maybe even the Stealth model. 🤷♀️
The Dell XPS are really nice and they are built like a tank. As far as the Razer Blades.. I'm pretty sure those are more geared towards gaming, arent they? And it seems you'd pay a large premium just for the name there, but I could be wrong. I dont know much about them, honestly.
And yea, I've dropped mine in my backpack a couple of times.. bound to happen I take it back and forth to work on a daily basis and use it at work and when I get home daily. The backpack doesnt have any padding its a smaller canvas pack. And not a huge drop, just a couple of minor mishaps from a few feet. But the laptop is completely unhindered. It's not made of metal or anything but feels very well made.
Toshiba's are actually really good for longevity. My parents had a Toshiba Satellite for about 10 years they used every day. The screen was literally completely broke from both hinges before they got rid of it... but it still worked perfectly otherwise lol.
If you're looking for something more portable, I'd suggest looking into ultrabooks... If you're unfamiliar with the term, they're basically just high powered computers in a very slim/sleek portable form factor and majority of large manufacturers have a line of ultrabooks. This Lenovo is my first ultrabook and man, the form factor is just awesome. Its super thin and built really well. Very easy to slip in my pack, not a hassle in any way to get it out and use it real quick. This was my biggest complaint with my bigger gaming laptops.. they're just a pain. They weigh a ton, battery life is awful, they may as well be a desktop for the hassle that they are in comparison to a truly portable laptop. This one is an older i7 with 8GB of RAM. It will do pretty much anything I need. Biggest downfall with mine is it does not have a dedicated GPU and I am limited in some ways due to it. I'm sure there are plenty with dedicated graphics these days. However if you plan to do a ton of heavy 3D rendering, the poor heat dissipation in an ultrabook type form factor may be a problem for you to keep in mind. This is a big part of why gaming laptops are bigger and heavier, they gotta be pretty well ventilated to dissipate the huge amount of heat produced while running cpu/gpu intensive games.
Ok holy shit Razer is expensive for what you get. And the glowing snakes are kinda cringe.
Haha the same happened to my satellite. Basically became a desktop. But actually had a pretty nice screen while it's hinges were good.
My main laptop was a 6 year old MSI ghost, gaming laptop, but as thick as my finger (and I'm a smaller person). It ran well until a hinge broke, couldn't open the base without messing it up and dust started collecting inside I guess... because it melted it's plastic case 😭 so I guess I have a ventdetta against plastics as the main body, not to mention every plastic laptop I've had has lost its vent covers because of heat. And I clean the things out, long term exposure I guess.
Yeah I've been looking at some of the ultrabooks out there, the Zenbook seems interesting, XPS as I mentioned.. I'd go back to Mac if they had ports. More and more I'm toying with building a small form desktop myself, since that's basically what my MSI has been for 2 years. Idk. I feel like nothing beats the Ghost in 2020 to me as I look. It was kind of mid size and had a numpad and everything.
A gaming laptop would work and wouldn't be overkill. For $2000 you should have no problem finding something you like that will work for you. There are a ton of options - do you have a particular brand you like? Is there something you get a discount for through your college store?
I've had Macbooks and MSI's in the past but man every MSI I've had has broken down physically while the parts are fine, literally just tried basically their flagship and it still felt like I might break it so I returned it.
Loved Macs, but they got rid of ports and you can't upgrade the storage 😢
I don't really have a specific brand in mind or know if I get any special discount but I know I want to get something that won't easily break (preferably a metal laptop), has onboard ports, a good screen and can run my software. I'm not too big on touch laptops though.
Are thinkpads metal? I thought they were a plasticky/carbon mixture.
Tbh more than you might expect are actually upgradeable. You can't expect desktop level upgradeability in something so thin but the XPS 15 and larger, Asus ROGs, MSI's and Razer blades you can easily upgrade the RAM and storage.
Ugh I loved Macs they removed ports too early imo. I can't have a legacy port hub with my tablet and mouse receivers sticking off all the time, totally ruins the form factor they were going for.
Lol at this point I've been looking for a few days and nothing but the Razer 15 or desktop really stands out.