Buying a laptop to run DaVinci Resolve on a $1500 to $2000 budget is easier than you’d think. I’ve selected a few excellent options.
Article Last Updated: June 2020
Any of the choices I suggest below represent better value for money than a Macbook Pro. Full disclosure, I’m an Apple user. As much as I’d like to, I can’t put a Mac in this list. DaVinci Resolve has a few important minimum system requirements that need to be met, and in this price range Apple gives me nothing that can compete with these Windows laptops.
Below is a summary of what to look for in an affordable 2019 / 2020 model gaming laptop to run DaVinci Resolve. It’ll be good for HD and most 4K work on a budget.
- The 9th generation Intel i7-9750H is the common processor to the laptops I investigated in this price and performance range. Nothing changes faster than computer specs, so I’ll do my best to update the info here and my selections at least every couple of months.
- At least 16GB system RAM, but as you’ll see in my selections below, if you look carefully you can find 32GB in this price range also.
- A decent GPU. Below you’ll see GeForce RTX 2060 6GB (Turing), GeForce GTX 1660Ti (Turing), and GeForce GTX 1650 (Turing). Any of these will be just fine for your average HD and 4K use in Resolve with most common AVC/H.264 mirrorless camera files, Blackmagic BRAW, ProRes, ProRes RAW etc.
- All of the below has SSD storage, some have SSD + HDD. In any case you’d likely want to consider fast external video storage as well.
I highly recommend you buy DaVinci Resolve Studio rather than use the free version of Resolve. DaVinci Resolve Studio enables H.264/H.265 decode and encode hardware acceleration using the GPU and this will make a world of difference if you’re working with any AVC/H.264 or H.265/HEVC media. The alternative is to transcode these camera files into high quality Avid DNxHR files before you start editing for better performance. The files will be larger, but require less system resources to play back, and are much more post production friendly.
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Top Five Best Laptops for DaVinci Resolve Under $2000 in 2020
Below are a few good budget laptop choices for DaVinci Resolve. In fact, they will be suitable for any video post production software. These are Amazon affiliate links. It’s also worth taking a look at the “other products related to this item”. If you click on “see more product details” you can also check “compare with similar items” as well. You might find something slightly different that suits you better, or even at a better price but I would encourage you to make sure you choose a laptop with at least one Thunderbolt 3 port. The Dell XPS 15 is the only one in this list that has a 4K screen. I’ll add links to others as and when I find good deals.
- HP Omen | 15.6″ | i7-9750H, 32GB, 1TB NVMe, RTX 2060 6GB – BEST VALUE
- MSI GS65 Stealth | 15.6″ | i7-9750H, 16GB, 512GB NVMe, RTX 2060 6GB
- Alienware M15 | 15.6″ | i7-9750H, 16GB, 512GB NVMe, RTX 2060 6GB
- Razer Blade 15 | 15.6″ | i7-9750H, 16GB, 128GB NVMe + 1TB HDD, GTX 1660Ti 6GB
- Dell XPS 15 | 15.6″ 4K UHD | i7-9750H, 16GB, 1TB NVMe, GTX 1650 4GB
Best Laptops for DaVinci Resolve for $1000 in 2020
Below I’m listing the best laptops for DaVinci Resolve that I can find around the $1000 or under mark (so far only one… I’ve just started). I’ll add more as I research what’s available and update them as often as possible. There is no Thunderbolt 3 on these, so expanding via a Thunderbolt 3 eGPU won’t be an option.
Expand DaVinci Resolve Performance with an eGPU
One important thing to consider when selecting a laptop for DaVinci Resolve is if it has Thunderbolt 3. This makes it possible to use an eGPU to expand performance.
All laptops now come with USB Type C ports. It can be confusing because both USB 3.1 Gen 2 and Thunderbolt 3 use the USB Type C connector. However, just because a laptop has a UBC Type C port, doesn’t mean it has Thunderbolt 3. Be careful and check the technical specs of the laptop carefully. Don’t assume that because you see a USB Type C port, that the laptop must have Thunderbolt 3, it may not be the case.
- Learn more about DaVinci Resolve Minimum System Requirements
- Check my complete DaVinci Resolve GPU list with the best Nvidia and AMD GPU options for DaVinci Resolve listed and ranked by performance.
- Read more about using an eGPU in my article The Best DaVinci Resolve eGPU Options
- Read more about Resolve monitoring in my article Low Budget Resolve Monitoring and Video Color Management
- Read more about storage in my article The Best Storage for Video Editing | Post Workflow Strategy & Backups
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