Graphic Design Laptop?

for those of you who might know computers better than i do, would a windows surface 4 laptop be rugged enough to do full time g.d.?

I’m currently working on a super beefed-up windows desktop (which i love) but will also need to get a laptop, so that i can go into an office a few days a week. my IT dept. has a surface 4, but i just don’t know if it’s going to be “rugged” enough for g.d… having illustrator, indesign, and photoshop all open and working well w/o delays…?


(p.s. using a mac is not an option.)

If you configure it with 16GB of RAM, it should work. 8GB is doable, but you would find yourself running out of memory with more than a program or two open or working on large files.

I’ve never used a Surface Laptop, so I can’t comment on whether or not it’s a good machine for graphic design, but the memory usage requirements for graphic design apps are pretty much consistent from one computer to the next.

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Photoshop you’ll need disk space. How large is the ssd.

As already mentioned 16gb ram. But I’d push for 32.

Graphics card? Or is it built in?

What kinda specs is the one you’re looking at

i don’t know yet … I’m meeting with them tomorrow. they configured my current setup, which is great, so hopefully they’ll know what and how much i need.

good questions to ask tho…

I’d also ask about what kinda backup system you can have.
Windows has a very robust own backup built in called Previous Version - once this is setup on the computer by the IT properly it’s an absolute must-have.

But in terms of peripherals like backup disks/flash drives how many USB / other ports does it have?
Do you need a disk drive? (probably not)

For the cost of these - I’d opt for something else that is a lot more powerful, can have more RAM added easily, and a good quality graphics card.

You’d need to make sure the graphics card is compatible with the Adobe apps.

Adobe have a tech spec for each app.

Just make sure you’re covered, don’t want to spend $2k on a computer and find out it doesn’t work for what you need.

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Adobe’s apps are resource-havy, so you need a six- or eigh-core CPU and 32GB of RAM.

16GB or RAM might be OK provded you can install more in the future. You certainly don’t want 16GB of soldered RAM.

If you do color-critical work, you need a display with a high coverage of the Adobe RGB color space and a low delta E.

Delta E tells you how accurate the colors are. It should be lower than two and preferebly lower than one, which is excellent.

When it comes to laptops, an OLED/AMOLED display is probably the best choice.

My personal 2021 HP Envy X360 is equipped with a 4K AMOLED display with a 97% coverage of the Adobe RGB color space and 100% coverage od the sRGB and DCI-P3 color spaces + an average delta E of 0.7. I calibrate it with an X-Rite i1 Display Pro Plus colorimeter (currently they sell it as the Colorite ColorChecker Display Plus).

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thanks all! this has been very helpful! :+1::slightly_smiling_face:

Main Point
But if you’re doing colour critical work you have to be aligned to the output device, and you can only do this with a colourimeter that is refined between output device and the monitor.

It is strictly on your monitor only.
For example, if you sent it to someone else that had a Delta E monitor their setting might not be as low as yours, and their colour would distort for them.

Essentially every monitor performs differently. You would require your clients to have the exact same Delta E low calibration setting as you.

And unless you control the output device (like a printing press or digital printing device).

It will completely down to the colour space in use.

If you are the output device you can get a colourimeter. Which measures light on XYZ, which is known as tristimulus values. These colours are based on CIELAB - which uses rectangular coordinate system z(depth) x(length) y(width).

CIELAB is different to Delta-E LAB - there’s a differnce, Delta E is known as Hunters LAB.
Just to clarify there is a difference.

CIELAB is 3D space (ZXY) which gives it an infinite amount of colour to display.
Then this is converted to either RGB or CMYK - which have a limitation of colour.

So you may see wonderful colours on your Delta E calibrated monitor - that is NOT refined to the output device (such as a printer) - and therefore you are seeing colours on your screen that might be potentially out of gamut in print (as you have not calibrated your monitor to the printing device). And when it comes to RGB - it’s going to many different monitors across the world and you’re producing wonderful colours on your monitor that can’t be reproduced on other monitors.

Now - that’s not a bad thing. It’s good to have a good monitor and see colours as accurate as possible.


I agree they can be. Depending on the scope of the work.

100% good point on checking the soldered RAM.
You definitely would want that to be upgradeable and you can’t upgrade if it’s soldered.

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@Smurf2 I use only Pantone Formula Guide Solid Coted + Uncoated colors, so I don’t have to worry about calibrating the display to match the output of any specific printing press or printer.

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I know you do. I was the one that got you started on that…