Creative professionals need laptops, desktops, and gear that goes above and beyond the typical business fare. You can’t comfortably sketch a breathtaking mockup in Blender or a complex AutoCAD schematic without powerful CPUs, GPUs
, extended RAM, storage, integration, and other goodies to handle multithreaded apps.
But finding the right tools for creative pros
can be an obstacle course. That’s why we’ve built this list of the best machines and gear for graphic design, video editing, and 3D design, with something for everyone from the next Annie Leibovitz to tomorrow’s Elon Musk.
What creative pros should look for
Creatives of all stripes are the way forward in business. HP takes special care to support the world’s up-and-coming creative movers and shakers. Here are a few key specs to consider if your daily workflows run thick with design and rendering.
1. More RAM
Creative pros need a little more RAM so video and 3D renders don’t become a waiting game. The best machines for creatives have a min of 8GB to 16GB of RAM, with top creative devices like the HP Z8 workstation
providing up to a staggering 3TB of RAM.
2. More powerful CPUs
A masterwork of inspiration needs nothing more than a sheet of foolscap and a pen, but powerful processors like the HP Z8 workstation’s Intel® Xeon® processors
can edit 8K video in real time and run complex 3D simulations with ease. Demanding more from your PC’s CPU means unleashing your creativity.
3. Robust graphics
Adding lifelike hair to a 3D character or designing the next game-changing office building takes unprecedented graphical power. Real-time ray tracing in the HP ZBook Create
’s NVIDIA® GeForce® RTX™ and multiple graphics cores can take on the lion’s share of the work and let your PC bear the load.
4. Rugged hard drives
Wrangling massive 4K video edits or visualizing big data insights requires high-capacity, robust storage. The redundancy of the RAID storage
and the military-grade testing in laptops like the HP ENVY 15
give you room to play, plus peace of mind to know your work is safe from drops and mishaps.
5. Creative devices
Pro creators are more likely than most to use pens, docks, and tablets in their daily work. Pricing, materials, and the feel of real pen on paper are among the key factors to consider for pen-and-tablet design.
Taking the place of traditional tablets, 2-in-1s like the HP ENVY x360
let you work in laptop or tablet mode. The newly-announced HP Elite Folio
takes ease of use a step further with a lightning-fast pull-forward conversion; the first of its kind.
Top tools for creative pros
Now that you know the components you need, let’s take a look at the actual tools you can use to do your amazing work.
1. HP ZBook Create G7 notebook PC
For serious freelance creators who work remotely, it’s hard to beat the HP ZBook Create G7
. This versatile notebook PC serves up real-time rendering in a sleek design, with NVIDIA GeForce RTX graphics to give a real-life look and feel to your creations. That makes the HP ZBook Create increasingly the creative device of choice for 3D artists, video editors, and game developers.
The HP ZBook Create G7’s massive screen-to-body ratio gives you plenty of display to play with, and its 4.23 lb weight and 17.5 mm thickness add a shocking level of manageability for toting and slipping into a bag, then pulling out for a quick project update. Its HP VaporForce thermals with vapor chamber technology will keep your lap cool even when your imagination heats up. Finally, a billion screen colors give you color-accuracy to match your wildest flights of fancy.
2. HP ZBook Studio G7 mobile workstation
Product developers, architects, and other pro creators who lean a bit more toward the technical side are flocking to the HP ZBook Studio G7 mobile workstation
. It’s the world’s most powerful workstation of its size. Its NVIDIA Quadro® Graphics let creatives design, render, and multitask seamlessly, backed by AI and ray-tracing
These machines put multithreaded apps like Adobe Premiere Pro in their place with Intel Core™ i9 or Intel Xeon processors. Creative pros will draw up schematics with unprecedented power, in a cool, quiet, and comfortable package. Expect a 73% thinner upper bezel than the previous generation HP ZBook, along with 52% thinner sides, and a 22% more compact profile.
Meanwhile, photo and video editors will love the deep blacks, bright whites, and full-spectrum color precision of this creative powerhouse’s display.
3. HP Z8 workstation desktop
When power is your main concern, go with the HP Z8 workstation
. Video editors, machine learning engineers, and other pro creators will want for nothing with its unthrottled performance. This thoroughbred desktop PC puts click-and-wait in the past with an available 56 cores of CAD-blasting processor power and 3TB of high-speed memory.
The HP Z8 is also certified for hardcore apps like Maya and Adobe Premiere, with 4TB of storage that zap bottlenecks. The two NVIDIA Quadro RTX 8000 graphics cards can handle any visual computing workload, and an inner interchange of airflow channels keeps things cool and quiet while your imagination roams unfettered.
4. HP Pavilion gaming laptop
You may not think to put a gaming machine in a list of tools for creative pros, but the HP Pavilion gaming laptop
certainly fits the bill. This machine is engineered for thin, light, and quiet power at a price that beats most smartphones. The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 TiMax-Q graphics that makes this an online arena warrior also processes complex visual projects admirably.
Design 3D pipework or wiring schematics with an 8.2-million pixel 4K Ultra High Definition (UHD) display for max fidelity. The HP Pavilion gaming laptop stays cool with a dual-fan system to maximize your work and play.
It comes in two screen-size variants at 15.6 inches
and 17.3 inches
, and it packs 9th Generation Intel Core processors to crunch massive data without a hitch. And of course, you can play Doom Eternal
or Gear Tactics
on it after hours, too.
5. HP ENVY laptop
Vloggers, photo editors, and video editors are buzzing about the HP ENVY 15’s
fast 4K editing and retouching in a thin, light chassis. The HP ENVY
laptop line starts off at a surprisingly low price point considering its Intel Core i9 processors and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 2060 graphics with Max-Q design. Max-Q provides astounding GPU power for design while the laptops remain thin and light.
Create your next cinematic experience with up to 32GB of memory and a 1TB SSD, delivering faster boot times and a roomy feel for even the most massive photo and video files. The HP ENVY’s gaming-class thermals will keep you cool even with a multi-application workflow, while its lightning-fast WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 help you collaborate with no delays.
Create with confidence thanks to the vibrant colors in the HP ENVY’s available UHD OLED display. Add a stylus with pen-on-paper feel to touch screen variants like the convertible HP ENVY x360
6. HP ENVY desktop
Two things happen when you opt for a desktop for creative pros. The specs go up and the price comes down. For a stunningly-low price, you’ll get a 10th Generation Intel Core i3 processor beneath the brushed metal finish with the HP ENVY desktop TE01-1175xt
. Plus, it comes with a 1-year standard warranty to keep you rendering worry-free.
Work without limits thanks to the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 SUPER graphics and up to 32GB of DDR4 SDRAM. Let your brainchildren play in up to 2.2TB of combined SSD and SATA storage, with plenty of bays and expansion slots for future upgrades if you choose. This is stratospheric power at an accessible price.
7. HP ENVY All-in-One PC
For a stunner of a creative work setup, take a look at the HP ENVY curved 34-inch All-in-One
. The ultra-thin, micro-edge display is a showstopper for home entertainment and creative work alike. Flat-screen devotees can go with the HP ENVY All-in-One
with the 27-inch diagonal floating glass Micro Edge display, attractively balanced on a thin, C-suite-ready metal stand.
The space-design looks like a simple monitor with no PC attached, but it hides a powerful 7th Generation Intel Core processor, up to 16GB of RAM, 2.2TB of storage, and discrete NVIDIA GTX 950M graphics for multitasking to the max. This is a no-holds-barred machine with Audio by Bang & Olufsen that powers you through your creative workflow and easily switches to entertainment mode at night.
8. Wacom Intuos Pro PTH-451 graphics tablet
Serious pro creators know Wacom makes the best graphics tablets on the shelf. The Wacom Intuos Pro PTH-451 graphics tablet
merges intuitive touch gestures with Wacom’s finest pen capabilities. This lightweight, durable creative pro tool is a must for designers and artists of all flavors.
9. Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Headphones II
Whether you’re working from the couch, the upstairs bedroom, the back porch, or a mix of locations, noise-cancellation is the key to keep your work flow grooving. The Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Headphones
II put the cries of “he hit me first” or the trash truck rumbling by in the distance while you edit or design from home. Bose professional-grade sound mixes with comfort and unparalleled active noise cancellation to handle the most disruptive home or work environment.
10. Best monitors for creative pros
You can’t create like Scorcese if you’re squinting and hunching forward eight hours a day. Creative professionals need monitors that are eye-friendly and have plenty of real estate, without a mass of cables on the desk. These HP monitors are a joy to use.
- HP OMEN 27i monitor: With 98% color accuracy and NVIDIA G-SYNC compatibility, the HP OMEN 27i delivers Quad High Definition (QHD) resolution and a 165 Hz refresh rate for speedy gaming and heavy creating alike.
- HP Pavilion 32 QHD 32-inch monitor: Entertainment and productivity meet QHD resolution and an ultra-wide viewing angle with 100% sRGB color space for real-life visuals on this display.
- HP Pavilion 27 Quantum DOT 27-inch monitor: Quantum dot tech uses semiconducting nanocrystals to create pure colors that go beyond lifelike to life-accurate. Create, stream, and edit with confidence on an anti-glare, ultra-slim canvas.
- HP 34F 34-inch curved display: Curved monitors wrap naturally to immerse you in the best angle on every inch of your content. See more and do more with an integrated IPS panel and a 3-sided micro-edge bezel that uses the max possible screen space for your work.
The top tools for creative pros take creative workflows into account. Designing an airframe in AutoCAD or crafting your next Academy Award-winning film takes a measure of power and a crisp 4K screen with jaw-dropping color accuracy. Whether you’re office-bound or you hop from sofa to home desk, you’ll find the best creative devices from HP in our list.
About the Author: Tom Gerencer is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Tom is an ASJA journalist, career expert at Zety.com, and a regular contributor to Boys' Life and Scouting magazines. His work is featured in Costco Connection, FastCompany, and many more.
Popular HP Products for Creative Pros