Laptop Specs for DJing (Definitive Guide)
High-end specifications are not necessary for DJing computers, and most of us already have a solid laptop that can run DJ software without a hitch.
The majority of the specifications you'll be looking at have to do with DJ software specifications. We'll also discuss some unrelated topics like screen size, HDD vs. SSD, and how to generally choose between Mac and Windows.
Best DJ laptops 2022
- Apple M1 13-inch MacBook Air (2020)
- Acer Swift 3
- Dell XPS 13 OLED (2021)
- Apple 14-inch MacBook Pro (2021) (Best Choice)
- Asus VivoBook S
- Microsoft Surface Laptop 4
- Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition
- Samsung Galaxy Book Pro
In a nutshell, the required laptop specifications for DJing are:
- 1280 x 720 resolution screen
- 64-bit Intel Core i3 processor
- 4GB of RAM
- 256GB of internal storage (HDD or SSD)
Also suggested DJ laptop specifications are:
- Intel Core i5 processor or faster
- At least 8GB of RAM
- 64-bit operating system
- 15-inch display
- At least 512GB of internal storage (HDD or SSD)
What CPU do I require to DJ?
At least an i3 dual-core CPU is advised, but an i5 dual-core is preferred.
You've probably heard terms like "dual-core," "quad-core," "i3" and "i7" being bandied about without any explanation of what they imply. I'll try to explain without adding to your confusion.
When considering laptop specifications for DJing, the computer processing unit (CPU) is likely the most important component to get correctly.
I like to refer to the processor as the "brain" of the computer. Being the brain, it is therefore in charge of doing calculations, carrying out tasks, but most crucially, running programs.
Only a specific number of jobs could be run at once when there was only one core. One core will certainly reach its limit when our DJ software is playing many songs.
We now have computers with dual or even quad-core CPUs, which is a blessing. In reality, a dual-core chip has two processors rather than just one.
As you can expect, adding more results in more. Your laptop will be able to complete more tasks simultaneously if it has a stronger CPU, which is essential for DJing.
Frequency is a fascinating feature to consider when buying a CPU. The CPU's speed is expressed in gigahertz, or GHz, for short.
When all computers had a single core, frequency was the most important thing to consider. And it continues to make a difference. In some cases, a quad-core with a lower frequency could outperform a dual-core with a very high frequency.
I would advise a frequency of no less than 2.0 GHz, albeit the greater the frequency, the better, so see if you can increase the budget.
I3, I5, I7, and I9
The numerous CPU models made by the company Intel are designated by the letters i3, i5, i7, and i9. As the numbers increase, they do, in fact, get better. The top CPU offered by Intel is the i9.
For example, the i9 can handle repetitive tasks more quickly because it has a larger "cache." Repeated tasks are saved in the background and can be completed almost instantly when necessary.
But keep in mind that improved performance also means higher costs.
Specs of a DJ laptop
I purchased this 14-inch Asus Zenbook i5 in January 2020 to use for work and occasionally for DJing. It truly is amazing how nice it is. Since almost two years ago, there have been no bugs, and everything operates perfectly, including DAWs like Ableton. Because I use sophisticated graphic programs, I initially believed I needed an i7, but this one was more than sufficient! If you want to check it out, you can get a discount on Amazon through the end of 2021. I heartily endorse Asus!
CPUs from AMD for DJing
Be aware of the frequency, a number of cores, and compatibility of the CPU with the DJ software you wish to use when choosing a processor from AMD or another processor manufacturer.
There are currently no plans to make Rekordbox DJ more compatible with AMD processors, according to Pioneer support on their official forum.
They are not the only ones, either. AMD processors are not supported by Serato DJ either.
For DJing, how much RAM do I need?
At least 4GB, but 8GB or more would be ideal. There is never too much RAM!
RAM is an acronym for random access memory. RAM is the short-term 'working' memory as opposed to the long-term memory (which I'll define later).
Instead of constantly accessing the hard drive for the information it needs, the laptop may access it considerably more quickly by using the RAM.
RAM is comparable to a wallet stuffed with cash. You may quickly take money out of your RAM wallet whenever you need to make a payment.
The hard drive resembles a bank more. It preserves items that are not immediately required.
Imagine that you live in a risky area and that all of the money from your RAM wallet is lost every time you put it down (i.e., turn off your laptop).
Unlike the bank, which is welcoming and secure even when it's closed (ideally) (or shot down).
Therefore, despite the fact that these two types of memory are similar, they are not interchangeable. 4GB of RAM is acceptable, however, 4GB of hard disk space would scarcely be sufficient for a few mixes with numerous songs.
A lot of this instantly available memory is needed for DJing, but not as much as, say, for music or film production.
For this reason, I would recommend that a laptop used for DJing have a minimum of 8GB of RAM. My most recent laptop has 8GB of RAM, and it functions flawlessly.
64-bit versus 32-bit operating systems
Apart from the fact that 64-bit is more modern and superior, it is not absolutely important to understand the differences between 32 and 64-bit operating systems. It is comparable to comparing a motorcycle to a bike in terms of speed and can collect more data.
As I've previously stated, the more RAM the better, but it's important to remember that a 32-bit operating system can only handle up to 4GB of RAM. A 64-bit operating system is required if you want more than that (which is highly recommended).
With today's computers, the chances are good that you'll be using a 64-bit operating system. With Windows, the likelihood is that everything you are using that is newer than Windows 7 is 64-bit. Anything more recent than a Macbook Pro from 2009 will be 64-bit.
So if you are purchasing a brand-new or little-used laptop, it probably won't be an issue, but I thought it was worth mentioning.
Hard Disk or SSD
What kind of storage do I require for DJing?
Internal storage should be at least 256GB (HDD or SSD), but 512GB or more would be ideal.
One of the specifications I found most perplexing while purchasing a laptop was the hard disk.
When you first start DJing, you might be shocked to learn how much storage space a music library can take up. Get ready for a mind-blow if you are used to only saving a few tracks or papers on your laptop! Here, instead of using the MB, we are using the GB.
Therefore, the bigger the number, the better, as you will presumably assume with CPUs and RAM. What, therefore, is the minimal? What then is ideal?
To ensure that your DJ software and plugins work without stuttering, you will need a decent amount of memory, but if you aren't using video functions, you don't need to go overboard with size. Although I would advise getting at least 512GB, 256GB can be sufficient for the following reasons:
To store music and mixes, use an external hard drive.
Tracks and mixes can be stored on the internal hard disk of a high-end laptop without any issues, but if you want to be sure there won't be any issues, investing in an external hard disk is highly recommended.
This will allow you to run the operating system, programs, and plugins only from the internal hard drive. Any songs, mixes, and samples can all be maintained apart on the external disk at the same time.
Personally, I advise purchasing an SSD external hard drive (see below for the difference between SSD and HDD). I have this Toshiba model. Of course, the more GB the better, but even 1TB will last you forever! Unless you want to record an absurd amount of mixes, don't spend a lot of money on an expanded one.
I solely use my additional external hard drive to back up and store previous mixes. Do you really want to waste all those hours of mixing?
Do I require an SSD to DJ?
No, it's not necessary. An HDD will do for the majority of young DJs, but it is a luxury to have if you have money, as with all of these items. I'll attempt to explain why.
Hard disks come in two main varieties: HDD, or hard disk drive, and SSD, or solid-state drive.
A solid-state drive functions similarly to a USB drive but is significantly larger and integrated into the laptop. It doesn't have any moving parts as a hard drive does. A collection of microchips contain information.
On the other hand, a hard disk drive might be nearby if you can hear it spinning within many computers. A disk rotating quickly causes that whirring sound. It reads the information from the disk as it rotates around a mechanical arm.
An equivalent of bookmarks in a book on the pages you want to find is a solid-state drive. A hard disk drive, in contrast, requires you to flip through the book in order to find the information you need.
That implies that SSD is superior to HDD but, of course, has a price given that it is the more dependable technology.
I continue to utilize a hard disk. Compared to SSD, you can get significantly more for your money. In actuality, the RAM will hold the majority of the data. As a result, having a lot of RAM is considerably more valuable than having an SDD.
A minimum 14-inch laptop screen size is recommended for DJing.
Depending on how portable you want the display to be. I chose a 14-inch screen because I thought the 17-inch was a little too hefty to travel and the 13-inch was too small to see the software elements. To make mixing more fun, I'll link it to a much larger display (or maybe a TV) when I'm in my bedroom.
Although I don't mind it, other DJs believe that even a 14-inch screen is too small for using DJ software. Actually, I have a preference for this one. Visit a store and look at a few to see what you can use.
As working with the controller would be considerably harder, at least until you figure out all the pieces, I would suggest no less than 14 inches.
Avoid touchscreens as well. They raise the cost of a laptop by between $100 and $150.
What makes DJs favor Macbooks?
The decision to purchase a Mac is not driven by price. It has a Linux flavor and is built on a UNIX core, which provides reliability. The specifications are generally good enough, robust, long-lasting, and extraordinarily well-supported. The audio drivers are remarkably established and well-built.
Whether you're a producer, artist, DJ, architect, or another type of creative worker, this laptop is designed specifically for you.
I can't tell you how frequently I come across forums online when someone is having a driver issue and it is always because they are using a Windows laptop.
I'm not suggesting that individuals don't run computers on Windows quite well; but, MacOS commands the majority of the market. The majority of people would like not to fumble around looking for the ideal gadget that seamlessly integrates with Windows because it is specifically made to handle what you are seeking for a laptop to do.
A Macbook Pro's whole hardware setup is created to function in concert with the operating system. It is not a third-party business that assembles a laptop from unrelated sources and then slaps a Windows operating system on top.
Most creative professionals agree that the Macbook Pro is the best option for all types of creative disciplines, including DJing (it's on sale on Amazon through the end of 2021). You may be sure that using any DJ software won't cause you any issues thanks to the loudspeakers and enhanced keyboard.
This device is as thin and quick as ever, just like all of Apple's other beauties. With this, you also have the added benefit of an HD display with the greatest components to improve your DJing experience.
In the end, it just depends on your preferences; PC laptops offer better value, while Macs are (perhaps) "simpler" to operate and look nicer. In the end, it makes no difference. DJ laptops with Windows and Mac operating systems have both failed me. Generally speaking, neither is stronger or more secure than the other.
However, a Windows laptop is clearly less expensive if you're willing to live without such easily accessible support staff.