Top 5 Affordable Laptops For Music Production | [SAVE UP TO 50%]

Best Cheap Laptops for Music Production

by Voclio


Posted on Feb 12th, 2021


best cheap laptops for music production

When it gets down to it, music production isn't the cheapest hobby. From all the software, software plugins, to midi keyboards and hardware synths, the list adds up of potential purchases to make. One of the most expensive purchases is typically a laptop suited for music production.

Music production sessions can put a lot of stress on your computer. So a laptop with the minimum processor and memory configurations oftentimes won't cut it. But this leaves you needing to shell out as much as $2,000-$3,000 for a laptop with an upgraded processor and memory configuration...

In this article, we'll show you the best laptops and the best sites to find a cheap music production laptop.

One thing that will really help...is going certified refurbished.

Refurbished laptops can help you save up to 70% on what a brand new laptop would cost. And if you know where to look, you can find a great laptop that has been refurbished by certified professionals and is in like-new condition.

So in this list of top music production laptops we'll also provide the best options to find a refurbished deal. Here they are:

Where To Find A Cheap Music Production Laptop



1. Lenovo ThinkPad T490

The cheapest high-quality laptop for music production

Recommended configuration:
Intel® Core™ i5-8365U Processor (6M Cache, up to 4.10 GHz) with 16GB RAM

Price New: $869.99
Price Refurbished: $739.49
Lenovo

The Lenovo Thinkpad T490 has a lot to love. A huge plus to the T490 is it has a lot of connect ports. More than both the popular Macbook Pro and Surface Laptop. The most important ports being two standard USB's and one USB-C. It also has a Kensington lock slot, Micro-SIM slot, and an HDMI port. The large number of ports in itself make it great for music production. But in addition, you can find a powerful configuration for less money than other laptops. It doesn't have the curb appeal as other laptops, but this is a great affordable music laptop.

Where to get a deal

1. Lenovo.com

Lenovo offers refurbished units on their own website, and have some great discounts. You'll often find less of a discount from the manufacturer themseleves. But in Lenovo's case, they seem to provide some solid deals. Inventory is constantly changing, so you may have to check frequently.

2. Backmarket.com

On Back Market, every device has been checked and restored by experts. They provide real clear information on the condition of the laptop and you have 30 days to try your purchase. If it doesn't meet your standards simply send it back for a full refund. But best of all, they provide a 12-month warranty to give you peace of mind that you are buying a thoroughly inspected product.



2. Macbook Pro

The best overall music production laptop

Recommended configuration:
Intel® Core™ i5 or higher with 16GB RAM

Price New: $1,599.99
Price Refurbished: $999.99 and up
Macbook Pro from Backmarket.com

Like with most things, Apple is the gold standard for music production laptops. The Macbook Pro is an ideal music production laptop that can be configured with more than enough power for all your production needs. It also has a 15" screen options which makes for plenty of screen real estate.

The minimum configuration would be 8GB of RAM a 2.3 GHz Intel Core i5 processor along with 256GB of storage space. However, the ideal configuration would be 16GB of RAM, an i7 processor or better, and 500GB of storage or higher.

Where to get a deal

This type of configuration would cost at least $1,599 new for the 13" model. But through sites like backmarket.com, you can find a quality refurbished model for under $1,000.

1. Backmarket.com

On Back Market, every device has been checked and restored by experts. They provide real clear information on the condition of the laptop and you have 30 days to try your purchase. If it doesn't meet your standards simply send it back for a full refund. But best of all, they provide a 12-month warranty to give you peace of mind that you are buying a thoroughly inspected product.

2. Macofalltrades.com

Mac of all trades is similar to Back Market, but they focus strictly on apple products. Each product of the site goes through a thorough cleaning process, as well as comprehensive hardware testing. In the event a product has issues, a certified technician reviews the reported issue and performs the necessary repair. All prior data is securely erased, and a clean copy of the operating system is installed.

They offer a 1-year hardware warranty as well as 14 day returns.

3. Amazon

Pre-owned products on Amazon Renewed have been inspected and tested by qualified suppliers to work and look like new, and come with the Amazon Renewed Guarantee. The Amazon Renewed Gaurantee allows you to return the product for up to 90 days after purchase if you are unsatisfied.



3. Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 or 3

The best affordable music laptop for microsoft lovers

Recommended configuration:
Intel® Core™ i7 or higher with 16GB RAM

Price New: $1,699.99
Price Refurbished: $999.99 and up
Microsoft Surface Laptop Refurbished

The Microsoft Surface Laptop really impresses for the price. It was released in 2017 and packs plenty of punch (if you configure it correctly). The standard configuration with the Surface laptop probably won't get it done. But this is the case with entry-level configurations.

Just like with the Macbook, the minimum configuration would be 8GB of RAM a 2.3 GHz Intel Core i5 processor along with 256GB of storage space. However, the ideal configuration would be 16GB of RAM, an i7 processor or better, and 500GB of storage or higher.

Where to get a deal

This type of configuration would cost around $1,699 new for the 13" model. But through sites like backmarket.com, you can find a quality refurbished model for under $1,000.

1. Backmarket.com

On Back Market, every device has been checked and restored by experts. They provide real clear information on the condition of the laptop and you have 30 days to try your purchase. If it doesn't meet your standards simply send it back for a full refund. But best of all, they provide a 12-month warranty to give you peace of mind that you are buying a thoroughly inspected product.

2. Amazon

Pre-owned products on Amazon Renewed have been inspected and tested by qualified suppliers to work and look like new, and come with the Amazon Renewed Guarantee. The Amazon Renewed Gaurantee allows you to return the product for up to 90 days after purchase if you are unsatisfied.

3. Newegg

Newegg is another good option to find refurbished Surfaces. However, their return policy isn't quite as good as the first two options. You have 30 days to return a product, and you are required to pay for the return shipping. You also are subject to a 20% restocking fee if you return the item without a "defect".



4. Lenovo ThinkPad X390

The Best New Music Production Laptop under $1,000

Recommended configuration:
Intel® Core™ i7-8565U Processor (8M Cache, up to 4.60 GHz) with 16GB RAM

Price New: $999.99
Price Refurbished: $849.99
Lenovo X390 Music Production Laptop

The Lenovo Thinkpad X390 is a slight upgrade from the T490. It provides the same great connectivity ports, a very good price, and a slight upgrade in processing power with the intel i7-8565U processor. All in all, this is a great music production laptop for under $1,000.

Where to get a deal

1. Lenovo.com

Lenovo offers refurbished units on their own website, and have some great discounts. You'll often find less of a discount from the manufacturer themseleves. But in Lenovo's case, they seem to provide some great deals.

2. Backmarket.com

On Back Market, every device has been checked and restored by experts. They provide real clear information on the condition of the laptop and you have 30 days to try your purchase. If it doesn't meet your standards simply send it back for a full refund. But best of all, they provide a 12-month warranty to give you peace of mind that you are buying a thoroughly inspected product.



5. Dell Inspiron 17 3000 Laptop

The Best Large Screen Laptop under $1,000

Recommended configuration:
Intel® Core™ i7-1065G7 Processor (8M Cache, up to 3.9 GHz) with 16GB RAM
Dell Inspiron Laptop for Music Producer

The Dell Inspiron 17 3000 is a great laptop for any music producer. A big pro to this laptop compared to others on this list is it's screen size. The laptop is just under 17" making for a bigger screen than all other options. It also provides plenty of ports to connect midi keyboards, mics, etc. Even new, this laptop can be purchased for under $1,000.

Where to get a deal

1. New from Dell.com
2. Refurbished from Dell.com
3. Amazon

Renewed Dell Inspiron's are slightly tough to come by on amazon. But their still out there and can be oftentimes cheaper than Dell's refurbished options.



What laptop specs do I need for music production?

Computer specs are extremely confusing. But in general you need to consider 3 things.

  • The processor
  • RAM
  • Storage

What type of configuration you need will largely depend on how serious your music production sessions are. To lay it out the best way possible I will provide 3 different laptop configurations and the type of producer they would be good enough for.

Intel i3 processor, 4GB RAM, and 128GB storage

Good for: A begginer producer using a light version of a software such as garageband or Ableton Lite. Your productions rarely consist of more than 10 tracks and you don't typically use more than 1 or 2 3rd party plugins on each audio channel.


Intel i5 processor, 8GB RAM, and 256GB storage

Good for: An intermediate producer using a full version of a software such as Logic or FL Studio. Your productions rarely consist of more than 40 tracks and you don't typically use more than 3 to 4 3rd party plugins on each audio channel.


Intel i7 processor or better, 16GB RAM, and 1TB storage

Good for: An advanced producer using a full version of a software such as Logic or FL Studio. Your productions often consist of more than 40 tracks and you typically use more than 3 to 4 3rd party plugins on each audio channel.



How much RAM do I need for Music Producing?

16GB of RAM is really ideal. If you can afford the extra cost, then 16GB will typically be more than enough for 98% of a producers needs. 8GB is typically the minimum you'll want. And 4GB is typically only suited for beginner producers using Lite programs.

RAM (Random Access Memory) temporarily stores information about the programs you are running. The more programs your system is running at the same time, the more you’ll need. And the more complex the programs you are running are, the more you'll need. This is why in the references above, we recommend more RAM when you consistently use many different 3rd party plugins in your projects. The more plugins you are using in a project, the more info RAM needs to temporarily store. And if you don't have enough, things will really start to slow down.



What type of processor do I need for Producing Music?

You typically want to have an Intel i5 or better for producing music. The Intel i7 and Apple M1 are the best bet for a more advanced producer that often works with large project files. And i3's and below are only suited for beginner producers.



How much storage do you need for music production?

Storage is, in my opinion, the least important factor in your configuration. As long as you have enough storage to hold your applications, you can always purchase an external hard drive or better yet sign up for something like a dropbox or iCloud to externally save your large files.

However, large music projects take up a lot of space. So if you don't plan on using an external hard drive, then you can run into your storage limits fast. Without an external hard drive or cloud service I would recommend getting at least 512GB of storage on your music production laptop.


For a real life reference, I currently produce on a 2017 Macbook Pro with an 2.3 GHz Intel Core i5 Dual-Core processor. My laptop has 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. I use Logic Pro X without issues. However, I run into problems when my project size starts to get large (over 40 tracks) and when I am using many different plugins throughout the project. Oftentimes, audio playback freezes when my projects start getting to this size. 256GB of storage is also something I am constantly running up against.

However, I have been able to get around the 256GB of storage by using a 1TB (which is 1000 GB's) external hard drive that I save all my music projects on. I bought the external hard drive for around $60.

So after all is said and done, my next laptop will probably have 16GB of RAM with more storage and a better processor. However, I produced for a long time with just 4GB of RAM on my old laptop and had a lot of fun!

As a final note, before you purchase any laptop, it's a good idea to check the minimum system requirements for your DAW beforehand!


If you have any questions, comments, or additional thoughts feel free to message us on Instagram @VoclioOfficial. Or drop us an email at contact@voclio.com


Overview
voclio.com is a marketplace to buy and sell vocals. We help vocalists and producers collaborate like never before.