The best workstations are the only laptops in the world that can handle cracking hordes of data or video editing of large files in 4K. Of course, the best workstations are aimed at professional users who need to run graphics-intensive apps. The main difference between some of the best gaming laptops and a workstation is the GPU because it is optimized for design and 3D rendering rather than pure gaming performance. And workstations generally have stronger CPUs such as an Intel Core i9 or Intel Xeon processor instead of the typical Core i7 you would find in most gaming laptops.
The best workstations can run any application you throw at them. They are useful tools for designers, financial analysts, engineers, and researchers who run more demanding applications, such as rendering complex graphics, financial analysis and calculations, and creating digital content.
Best Workstations of 2020
From small form factor models to powerhouses, from the best all-in-one computers to one for everyone, there’s sure to be one for you when you’re on the market.
MSI GS66 Stealth
Thin and light workstation
The MSI GS66 Stealth is a sparkling font. From its stellar graphics and performance, lightning-fast transfer speeds, and surprising stamina, there’s just a lot of gain under that 0.7-inch thin chassis. Not to mention the beautiful display (both 1080p and 4K) and a customizable keyboard. With the hands down, it’s a great gaming laptop that looks good and plays hard.
What makes the Stealth stand out is the battery life. The notebook has a 99.9-watt-hour battery, which is the most massive battery the TSA allows onboard an airplane. The laptop lasted more than 6 hours on our battery test. The laptop also dominated our gaming and overall performance thanks to the system’s 10th generation Intel Core i7 processor and an Nvidia’s GeForce 2080 Super Max-Q GPU. Overall, this is one of the best workstations right now.
HP ZBook Studio x360 G5
The best 2-in-1 workstation
The HP ZBook Studio x360 G5 is the king of 2-in-1 workstations. It’s armed to the teeth in military-grade aluminum and features a powerful Intel Xeon processor and Nvidia Quadro graphics. In the Geekbench 4.1 overall performance test, ZBook Studio nailed 20,950. In terms of security, the ZBook Studio has configurations that come with Intel vPro, which uses remote management, a fingerprint reader, an IR camera for Windows Hello, and HP’s SureView panel (also called a privacy panel). HP also includes the Sure Start software, which is a self-healing BIOS.
Between that, its beautiful 4K display, 0.8-inch slim body, and tactile keyboard, this is the machine you want. Another essential feature is the ZBook Pen ($69), which offers 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity and tilt controls and three customizable buttons. Besides, this HP gets just over 9 hours of battery life—the perfect all-around creative speed devil among the best workstations.
Asus ProArt StudioBook 15
Delivers tons of power in a sleek chassis
The slim laptop delivers excellent performance thanks to the Core i7 CPU, 32GB of RAM, and RTX 2060 GPU. It also has a stunning 4K panel that can compete with the best of them. However, there are a few frustrating omissions and disturbing drawbacks to consider before buying the ProArt StudioBook 15. Because of this, the ProArt StudioBook 15 barely misses its chance to be among the best 15-inch laptops.
The 15.6-inch, 4K screen on the StudioBook 15 is fantastic. The detailed panel has vibrant, accurate colors, and the matte finish prevents reflections from getting in the way when editing photos or videos. The Asus ProArt StudioBook 15 has an Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 2060 GPU with 6GB of VRAM. The ProArt StudioBook 15 is equipped with an Intel Core i7-9750H CPU and 32GB RAM. Overall, this is one of the best workstations.
MacBook Pro 16-inch
The most powerful MacBook in the world
The 16-inch MacBook Pro is your type if you’ve been waiting for Apple to make a perfect keyboard. The Magic Keyboard on this premium laptop swallows up the Butterfly mechanism in favor of the scissor switches, and the result is now a much more comfortable typing experience. You’ll also get a crisp and sharp 16-inch display with slimmer edges, powerful performance from an available Intel’s Core i9 CPU, and robust AMD’s Radeon 5300M or 5500M graphics.
You can also get the laptop with up to 64GB RAM and 8TB storage if you want to splurge. The 11-hours of battery life is another advantage of this laptop that doesn’t fall into the runtimes of its competitors. The 16-inch MacBook Pro is expensive, and Apple still doesn’t have full-size USB ports, but overall this is one of the best workstations.
MSI Creator 17
Staggering power under the hood
The MSI Creator 17’s main claim to fame is that it is the first laptop with a mini LED display, giving users a display with brilliant colors, true-to-life images, and 1000 nits of brightness. But that’s not all it offers. Even more important for content creators is that this laptop has a lot of power under the hood, starting with the 10th generation Intel Core processors and Nvidia RTX graphics cards. And it’s just the ticket, whether you’re video editing, doing graphic design, or editing your high-res images. Overall, this is one of the best workstations right now.
Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition
A seriously powerful laptop
This one comes from the gaming tech giant Razer. Despite the high price tag, the features of this laptop are worth the money. The Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition is an upgraded version of the Blade 15. With this machine, the vendors have shown their creative finesse because they put everything in an ultra-thin 0.7-inch CNC aluminum case. This slim enclosure contains premium hardware, including an Intel Core i7 Hexa core processor, an expandable 1TB SSD, and 32GB RAM.
The display features a 4K OLED touch display with advanced calibration that includes 100% DCI-P3 space and 1ms response. Besides, the integration of NVIDIA Quadro RTX 5000 graphics allows the machine to deliver desktop-level performance. Besides being one of the best laptops for video editing, this laptop also provides an unmatchable gaming experience.
Dell XPS 15
An ultimate Windows laptop for video editing
Like the latest Dell XPS 13, the XPS 15 2020 makes one of the best laptops available. That’s mostly thanks to an even more immersive 15.6-inch InfinityEdge display, which throws out the bottom edge of the screen for a stunning 92.9% aspect to body ratio. The new XPS 15 is also enhanced by several smart design adjustments, including larger keyboards and a responsive touchpad more than 60% larger than the previous generation.
Don’t be fooled by its sleek and stylish design either; the XPS 15 2020 is an absolute workhorse. Its 10th Gen Intel’s Core processors can juggle multiple tasks with ease, and it’s optional Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1650 Ti GPU gives us some serious muscle for graphics and gaming. Factor in a pair of impressively loudspeakers and stable battery life for a 4K laptop, and the new Dell XPS 15 2020 is one of the best 15-inch laptops that you can buy.
Microsoft Surface Book 3
The best premium 2-in-1 laptop
The third edition of Microsoft’s Surface Book is, of course, the best so far, and it is unique among laptops – a full-sized portable notebook with a good keyboard and laptop specifications, but at the same time with a screen that you can completely disconnect and use as a keyboard. It comes on the tablet-laptop hybrid device from the opposite direction from the Surface Pro and the Apple iPad Pro, in other words, and we think this is an approach that many people will like.
It means that you can pack the Surface Book 3 full power – you can put an Intel’s Core i7 processor and an Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1650 graphics chipset in this laptop if needed. Like all other devices in the Surface range, the build quality and hardware aesthetics are impressive, and you also have a choice of 13.5-inch and 15-inch screens – it depends on how much you want to spend and how portable you want your portable computer to be. Overall, this is one of the best workstations.
Alienware m17 R3
A thin and light gaming laptop from Alienware
The third version of the Alienware m17 is here and is even better than the previous models. Sporting Intel’s new 10th generation H Series processor and an Nvidia’s Super GPU, the m17 R3 is a formidable force in the gaming laptop world. Not only is the laptop powerful, but it also has an intergalactic elegance that is a bona fide head-turner. It’s also one of the lightest desktop replacement laptops on the market. Plus, you get a downright gorgeous 4K display that’s worth the price tag.
But that’s not all; the gaming laptop also has an integrated Tobii eye tracker that increases gameplay and overall performance. And best of all, Alienware offers reasonable prices for those of us who are trying to stick to strict budgets. And if you need a power boost, you can connect the company’s Graphics Amplifier to give it that extra boost. All in all, it’s one of the best gaming laptops for those who want a lot of power in a lightweight, elegant package.
Acer ConceptD 7
A mobile workstation for creatives
The formidable Acer ConceptD 7 can perform complex and demanding tasks such as intensive video editing, thanks mainly to Nvidia RTX graphics. Designed specifically for creative professionals, including filmmakers and videographers, it has the sheer power you’ll find in gaming laptops. In addition to its outstanding performance, it also offers decent port selection, a minimalist solid white design, and that stunning Pantone validated 4K IPS display. It’s still pretty pricey, but no professional tool is cheap. If you’re looking for a Windows-powered MacBook alternative for video editing, it’s one of the best workstations right now.