Best Laptops

Best Laptop for GIS 2020

If you are a GIS student, you should have good gis laptops to capture and process your data. The ordinary laptop will surely make some troubles during performing these tasks. That’s why you must have a super-fast laptop with advanced features and specs to work without facing any trouble. Landing on this page means you are looking the best laptop for GIS software like ArcGIS and QGIS.

Laptop Name Display RAM Hard Drive Price
Dell Inspiron 15 15.6-Inch FHD IPS 16GB 2TB View
Acer Predator Helios 300 15.6-Inch FHD IPS 16GB 256 GB View
Apple MacBook Air 13-Inch Retina 8 GB 256 GB View
Microsoft Surface Go 10 Inch PixelSense 8 GB 128 GB View

Below you will find our recommendations on the best laptop for ArcGIS and where you can buy them the cheapest. We have spent countless hours reviewing the best laptop for GIS student to give them the best price to performance recommendations.

Best Laptop for GIS 2020 – Latest Reviews

Below are our reviews of the best computers for GIS currently on the market. These are the deals and bargains that are just too good to miss. So, make sure you check them out before they disappear.

They offer the best value for money giving you great performance at the lowest possible cost.

Dell Inspiron 15 For ArcGIS

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Quick Features

  • Display Size: 15.6-Inch
  • Screen Resolution: 1920×1080 Pixels
  • Processor: 8th Gen 1.6GHz Intel Core i5
  • Storage Capacity: 2000 GB
  • RAM: 16 GB
  • Battery-Life: 5 hours

The Inspiron 15 is a shockingly good value for money for quality and performance. Up to now, our favorite medium-range best computer for ArcGIS has been the Dell Inspiron.  Its comes with a great balance of hardware components and powerful graphics card at its price range.

The Premium Dell Inspiron has a fast Intel Quad-Core 1.6 GHz i5-8250U processor. This laptop will be able to run ArcGIS and QGIS software with ease and will provide you with some good future-proofing as new programs grow more demanding over time.

16GB of RAM running at a very fast 2400Mhz will not only be more than enough to run multiple programs smoothly but their 2400Mhz clock speed will give you a nice boost when using ArcGIS.

Our favorite hardware component in the entire laptop is the Intel HD Graphics 620 card. The additional benefit of the Intel HD 620 series graphics cards is they use very little power giving you a longer battery life when you don’t have access to a plug.

With the massive 2TB hard drive you will struggle to use all the storage space giving you plenty of space for backing up all your files and having all the programs you own installed at once.

Yet another place where the Inspiron shines is with its 15.6-inch high definition IPS LED monitor. The LED gives you a fantastic quality screen with the ability to watch movies in HD. This monitor is far superior to all other gis laptops in this price range.

As you would expect the laptop is fully compatible with wireless internet and a Video HD webcam to talk with your friends and family. Finally, Dell Inspiron is providing the new Microsoft operating system Windows 10 Home -64 Bit.

At under $800 at the time of writing this is hands down our favorite best laptop for gis at this price range.

Pros Cons
Keyboard with backlit technology No optical drive available
Advanced customization
Full HD IPS Touchscreen

Acer Predator Helios 300

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Quick Features

  • Display Size: 15.6-Inch
  • Screen Resolution: 1920×1080 Pixels
  • Processor: 8th Gen 4.6GHz Intel Core i7
  • Storage Capacity: 256 GB
  • RAM: 16 GB
  • Battery Life: 7 hours

If there is one thing we like about Acer the most it is their ability to deliver the latest technology while undercutting the competition on price without sacrificing reliability. The Helios 300 does not let us down bringing DDR4 memory and high definition (HD) to mainstream laptops.

Predator Helios 300 is powered by an Intel 6-Core running at 4.6 GHz the processor is no slouch and will easily tackle any GIS software or media programs without breaking a sweat.

All other laptops in this price range either have only dual-core processors or slower budget quad-core processors so you are getting a real bargain with the Helios 300.

Perhaps even more impressive is the 16GBs of DDR4 2666MHz memory. Much faster than you find even in mid-ranged laptops these days and even faster than our favorite laptop at this price range the Dell XPS 13. This will give the laptop a very nice performance boost. The graphics performance also amazing with the dedicated graphics card of 6 GB memory

The graphics card is the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060, which is the most powerful high end dedicated graphics card. It is perfect for ArcGIS, QGIS, watching HD movies and pretty much anything else with the exception of the latest computer games. If you need the best laptop for GIS then this is for you.

Another great feature is the latest LED-lit high definition 15.6″ Full HD 1920 x 1080 high-brightness screen. The LED-backlit screen is the latest in screen technology giving you a sharper crisper and brighter image while reducing power consumption and therefore increasing battery life. We are very impressed to find such a great screen on a laptop of this price.

The final impressive feature is the Dolby surround sound which is an upmarket high-quality sound provider and should boost the laptops sound quality. While enjoying your High Definition sound the 256GB hard drive should be hard to fill up for most users.

You can expect to find all the usual too, such as a wireless card, a card reader and so forth, but the added bonus is the numerical keypad making this laptop perfect for GIS and office applications such as ArcGIS, QGIS, Word and Excel that require a lot of numerical data entry.

Overall we are tremendously impressed with the Acer Predator 300, it comes close to beating our favorite ASUS F5 VivoBook. If you are planning to work on ArcGIS on your laptop then the Acer is a fine alternative to the ASUS.

It will perfectly suit almost all users such as elderly, seniors and podcasters. Excellent as an office, multimedia or student laptop we award the Helios 300

Pros Cons
Fast GPU and CPU Sometimes heating issues
Brilliant picture quality
2-year manufacturer’s warranty

Apple MacBook Air (Latest Model 2020)

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Quick Features

  • Display Size: 13.3-Inch
  • Screen Resolution: 2560×1600 Pixels
  • Processor: 8th Gen 1.6GHz Intel Core i5
  • Storage Capacity: 256GB SSD
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • Battery Life: 12 hours

Best laptop for GIS should be high-quality with the fastest performance, so Apple MacBook can be counted as the best computer for GIS students.

Such as the previous era, the new MacBook Air machine has got the aluminum unibody that produces a very thin, light-weight elegant pc. It weighs in at just 2.7 lbs. and slimmer than just 0.6 inches.

Showcasing Apple’s multi-touch technologies, this latest model of MacBook Air has got the cool LED-backlit 13.3-Inch Retina display and keyboard with backlit technology to key in a low light atmosphere.

The trackpad without button provides you lots of space to maneuver and click a silky big trackpad.

Apple MacBook Air 13.3-Inch is shipped with Thunderbolt 3 technology. This technology allows you hooking up a high resolution of 2560×1600 displays and high-velocity units to a solitary port to move files in exceedingly fast velocity.

For instance, you are moving media data files from your external hard disk drives to your MBP with as much as 40 Gbps velocity. And simultaneously, it is possible for connecting to an HD screen port, because of the Thunderbolt 3 technology, bi-directional stations are attainable.

Integrated with its new function, built-in FaceTime, Touch ID, HD iSight digital camera, MacBook Air a 13.3-Inch enables you to do video chat and video calls in incredible HD high quality.

It offers the most recent version of iLife software program suit for you personally, to get iPhoto, GarageBand, and iMovie, with the Mac OS X Snow Leopard OS. This is one of the most amazing gis laptops currently available and it’s pretty easy on the attention as well.

Pros Cons
Advanced security features Small screen size
Wider Stereo sound
LED-backlit Retina display

Microsoft Surface Go

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Quick Features

  • Display Size: 10-Inch
  • Screen Resolution: 1800×1200 Pixels
  • Processor: 1.6GHz 803
  • Storage Capacity: 128GB SSD
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • Battery Life: 9 hours

The latest Surface Go is a netbook built for 2018. It comes equipped with a 1.6 GHz dual-core processor, solid-state flash memory and a very lightweight, solid shell. Here’s what you can expect from this reasonably priced laptop.

Microsoft-Surface Go is equipped with one of Intel’s dual-core processors, which is designed for crazy low power consumption. In comparison to Intel’s higher-end processors, they are a little bit on the slower side. But the energy savings is important with any netbook to keep you from having to stay attached to the wall all the time.

The 8GB of RAM is enough to handle most things you’d want to do on a gis laptop of this size.

Gaming performance is not very good, and practically non-existent. You should be able to run ArcGIS and QGIS, but you won’t be doing a lot of gaming unless it’s web-based.

The screen on the Microsoft-Surface Go is kind of high resolution, coming in at 1800×1200. With the small 10 inch screen, it shouldn’t be too noticeable. It’s also not a touchscreen and comes with Windows 10 Home.

The Surface Go is absolutely incredible when it comes to size and weight. It’s built to go anywhere, and its awesome battery life assists this too. You won’t need to be bringing your charger around with you wherever you go.

The Lithium Polymer battery in the Surface Go is good for up to 9 hours of life on a single charge which is phenomenal. That equates to about 12 days of standby too.

Microsoft has put quite a few cool features into this laptop, including a built-in HD camera and a headphone jack. Microsoft Surface Go has multi-tasking USB-C port and fast charging surface connect.  You can use it on the laptop, tablet or studio mode.

Overall, the Microsoft Surface Go is a great buy if you need something extremely portable and with a long-lasting battery. It can do the ArcGIS tasks, but anything heavy like gaming or photo and video editing could lag it out. For web browsing, email, and other light tasks it’s great and can be count as the best laptop for GIS

Pros Cons
Can be used in 3 different modes Small screen size
Best portability features Not suitable for heavy games
It has long battery timing

How much RAM do I need for GIS?

Laptops with GIS which is designed to capture, analyze, store spatial data and manage all types of geographical data, usually used by the analysts. This specific data is in some ways referenced to locations on the earth and is collected by GIS analysts.

GIS laptop should have high capacity RAM to run GIS data processes or complex analysis. The required RAM is a minimum of 8 GB but 16GB or higher would be great to run the ArcGIS program smoothly.

If you are a geospatial analyst then you must have a laptop with GIS facility with software and tools to manage large datasets and display information on a map.

Does ArcGIS use multiple cores?

Only ArcGIS 10 or prior versions can handle this application along with ArcMap and Arc Catalog and are fully supported multi-processor and multi-core computers.

But if you are running a single ArcGIS desktop application session that would not support multiple CPU systems like dual or multi-core processors. Because ArcGIS Desktop 9.3.1 or earlier applications provide sequential process threads for running a GIS program.

Let me tell you how ArcGIS 10 works with multiple cores when it starts running using a base map layer or accelerated raster layer, the multiple threads start performing drawing and blending operations.

This is why when these operations occur in another thread they can take advantage of another processor core. So that the application’s user interface remains more responsive than a single-core computer or at previous releases.

Likewise, it is also helpful in background geo-processing, one core executes the geo-processing and the other core can respond to user interface operations at ArcGIS 10.

If you are running ArcGIS on 64-bit windows then the available RAM should be high to execute all operating applications. Consequently, it is necessary for a 64-bit windows machine to have 8 GB RAM to run heavy tasks smoothly. You can take advantage of multiple tasks such as background geoprocessing and standalone Python script at the same time.

The above-given models of laptops have multiprocessor systems support ArcGIS desktop application, concurrent operating system threads, backups, security checks, emails, and many other background application processes.

What is GIS WORKSTATION?

GIS workstation is a CPU that provides geospatial data to the analyst most probably with using multiple cores. Here are the major hardware-defined that support the GIS workstation to run the application or collect data on computers smoothly.

First of all GIS analysts would like to work with dual monitors instead of large one monitors because of multitasking you must have two screens for vision and task organization easily.

Analysts find it easy with two screens for GIS visuals and attribute to split data for editing instead on a single large screen.

On the number second as the name called central processing unit (CPU) is your GIS workhorse because it process data especially when you run GIS the system gets maxed out. So that for operating GIS and overclocking you must have high-frequency CPU of your machine for better performance and avoid lagging.

As it was mentioned above a multi-core processing unit can perform more tasks at the same time we have selected few laptops with multiple cores split tasks into separate pieces. These will provide maximum processing speed over multitasking.

Fast and latest laptops really process quickly but if you read and write all processed data directly from your hard drive then it will slow down your machine. Because the hard drive is unable to keep up with the processor speed and can incur errors while collecting data.

So for this problem, RAM is there to solve the issue it temporarily stored data that is fast to read & write and the best place to store data. When you run a GIS software program then the data is stored in the system’s internal memory that is RAM and doesn’t affect the speed of the processor.

HDDs store data on spinning magnetic disks as secondary storage where you can transfer large data and keep it safe until it is needed. These hard drives are cheaper because it depends on rotations per minute to move data than fast RAM.

SDDs (solid-state drives) are a new type of drives that are much faster and now in modern laptops they are installed and are like flash drives. There are no moving parts like spinning disks and depends on the frequency of drive that how much data it can read/write per second.

For acquiring a good display of GIS programming such as mapping, zooming graphics should be better, a GPU renders multi-layered maps and symbology with the 3D display.

A laptop with a high-quality graphic processing unit makes a huge difference in drawing or collecting data while using GIS. A good GPU really starts to shine for redrawing, zooming and panning data when working with large data sets and parcel fabric.

Yes, CPU is main focused but GPU empowers the high-resolution monitor to check the minute display on the map.

Flash drives are also used for saving or transferring data from one device to another in no time you only have to insert USB in the laptop and transfer data. While working GIS you can use flash drives to transfer back and forth with this portable drive which has no moving parts and cheaper in price.

In the last for GIS workstation, the CD-ROMS or DVDs can be an obsolete alternate to store data permanently. You can transfer your data easily and save it for a long time period as they are removable data storage devices and are good for GIS programming.

CDs and DVDs are cheap options for storing data but much slower in transferring data than flash drives and hard drives.

We have explained all the essential GIS workstation components which contribute to GIS programming and run it successfully on your laptop like CPUs, dual monitors, RAM, HDD, CD-ROM, and GPU. For a geo-processing analyst, these all will run the GIS software smoothly and easily.

Conclusion

Before the final decision for purchasing, I conclude that buying the Best laptop for GIS depends upon your budget. It also depends on your profession and requirements. There are different models of laptops currently available on the market for ArcGIS and QGIS professionals. In the above list, all the laptops are appreciated by customers and highly rated.

You can select any laptop for gis from this list without too many thoughts. Which one is the best gis laptop? Share your reviews and thoughts below. We are waiting for your feedback and experience that will be much appreciated.

Best of luck with your laptop hunting.

Team – LaptopsChamp

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