The best workstation laptops are the only laptops that can handle crunching hordes of data or video-editing large files in 4K.
Of course, the best workstation laptops are targeted toward professional users who need to run graphics-intensive apps. The key difference between some of the best gaming laptops around and a workstation is its GPU, as it’s primarily optimized for tasks such as design and 3D rendering instead of sheer gaming performance. And workstations generally have stronger CPUs as well, like an Intel Core i9 or Intel Xeon processor, instead of the typical Core i7 you’d find in most gaming laptops.
To speed up your workflow in apps like Adobe Premiere or Blender, your workstation needs a beastly processor (such as Intel’s Xeon series); a vibrant, color-accurate display; and a powerful GPU. If you’re looking for a beast with a 30-series GPU, see our beginner’s guide to Nvidia GeForce RTX 30 series mobile GPUs. Looking for something on the creative front? — Check out our Asus ProArt Studiobook 16 review. Also, see our Apple MacBook Pro 2021 (14-inch) review.
While the quest to procure the best workstation laptop is no feeble task, we will help you pick the best system for your needs and budget. Whether you need a huge, vibrant display or an affordable powerhouse, here are the best workstation laptops you can buy right now.
What are the best workstation laptops?
The best workstation laptop that you can buy right now is the MSI WS66 10TMT. The WS65 packs a powerful 10th-Gen Core i9 processor and Nvidia Quadro RTX 5000 Max-Q GPU into a superslim, durable chassis. Top that off with solid battery life and a gorgeous 15.6-inch, 4K display. Meanwhile, the HP ZBook Studio x360 G5 is also an excellent choice, as you’ll get an indomitable beast with an Intel Xeon processor and a Quadro P1000 GPU. Between its dazzling 4K display, bouncy keyboard and long battery life, the ZBook Studio is quite amazing all around. Not to mention that its chassis is military-durable and pretty sexy at the same time.
If you’re looking for a 17-inch workstation, you can’t go wrong with the Asus ProArt StudioBook Pro W700G3T. The StudioBook Pro has one of the most stunning designs I’ve ever seen on a laptop. In its gorgeous, 0.7-inch-slim design lies a strong Intel Xeon E-2276M processor and an Nvidia Quadro RTX 3000 GPU along with a vivid, 17-inch, 16:10 display and a comfortable keyboard.
If you need a gaming laptop that can double as a workstation, then look no further than the Alienware Area-51m. Armed with a desktop Intel Core i9 processor and one of Nvidia’s superpowered RTX GPUs, it absolutely demolished every test we put in front of it with graceful aplomb. It will also make a big dent in your wallet. But if you consider that this is the first future-proof gaming laptop, it seems a small price to pay for a truly upgradable system and what Alienware is calling its first real desktop replacement.
The best workstation laptops you can buy today
Is the HP ZBook Fury 17 G8 the best workstation on the market? I suppose that depends on your budget and configuration, but if your pockets are deep enough for an Intel Xeon processor and Nvidia RTX A5000 graphics (boy howdy!), this is about as future-proof as laptops get right now.
In terms of raw power, this notebook is tough to beat, and even if it runs out of battery when you’re on the go, it’s still heavy enough to fight crime with. Granted, the $6K configuration we tested is overkill for most laptop users; it’s nigh impossible for this kind of mobile muscle to fail too hard on our standard benchmarks. And that’s partially the point, in my opinion. The world of mobile tech continues to march forward at an exponential rate, and if you don’t have the right laptop for your respective career, opportunity might very well pass you by.
But that’s hardly a concern with the ZBook Fury 17 G8 thanks to a stunning 17.3-inch touchscreen, intimidating specs under the hood, and plenty of ports to power your pertinent peripherals.
See our full HP ZBook Fury 17 G8 review.
The new generation of best workstation laptops is here. The MSI WS66 10TM is blasting through fools with an Intel Core i9-10980HK processor and a beastly Nvidia Quadro RTX 5000 GPU with 16GB of VRAM. Our workstation benchmarking gauntlet was no match for the WS66 10TMT, nor were its direct competitors. The WS66 scored a monstrous 6,735 on the Geekbench 5.0 test.
Combo that with a superslim and lightweight design, a ridiculously vivid 4K display and a decent battery life. Although the MSI WS66 is skinny and light, it doesn’t sacrifice the durability that consumers can expect from a workstation. It surpassed several MIL-STD 810G tests, so it can withstand sand and dust, vibrations, shocks, low- and high-pressure altitudes, even extreme temperatures. Regarding security, the MSI WS66 packs both a discrete TPM 2.0 chip and a built-in fingerprint reader, located within the touchpad. Yeah, the MSI WS66 10TM is a straight-up beast.
See our full MSI WS66 10TM review.
Armed with an Intel Core i9 processor and an Nvidia RTX 2070 Max-Q GPU, this workstation is ready to take on all challengers. Wrapped in a sleek, svelte chassis, the laptop is easy on the eyes, but thanks to MIL-SPEC certification, it can take a bump or two. Plus, you’ve got a captivating 4K OLED touch panel that serves up breathtaking picture quality.
At $4,559, HP ZBook Create G7 is pricey, but you’re getting premium performance, so it’s money well-spent production pros. Still, for all the money you’re forking out, I would prefer a brighter display and the battery life could definitely be longer.
See our full HP ZBook Create G7 review.
The Asus ZenBook Pro Duo 15 is a unique dual-screen laptop with a 15-inch, 4K OLED panel up top and a smaller OLED screen above the keyboard. Asus’s take on dual-screen laptops has evolved since the first iteration of the Asus ZenBook Duo (UX481), with improvements in build quality and ergonomics addressing some of the original problems. Has it grown enough to make Asus’s vision of a dual-screen laptop something consumers clamor for? In some regards, yes, but it still feels like a niche device for a subsection of content creators (who have large budgets).
The ZenBook Duo Pro 15 UX582L brings a lot to the table with powerful specs for those who need them, and a second screen not only adds a wow factor but functionality. Some may not be fond of the keyboard and touchpad location, and the price is a serious deterrent, but the ZenBook Duo Pro 15 should be considered by content creators who need more screen real estate while on the go. While it’s not technically a workstation, its performance and utility has earned its way on our best workstation laptops page.
See our full Asus ZenBook Pro Duo (UX582L) review.
Meet the workaholic’s dream. The Dell Precision 5760 is priced at $2,059 to start, with our review unit costing $3,941, is a sleek, sexy workstation that offers power and endurance in a thin, portable package. But the Precision’s just getting started.
It has a massive 17-inch bright, colorful WLED 4K touch display that renders smooth eye-catching images and video. And you’ve got some solidly potent specs, including an11th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU, an Nvidia RTX A3000 GPU, and a 2TB SSD. Plus, you get a heaping helping of security features.
The Dell Precision 5760 is packed full of wins and earned its way onto our best workstation laptops page.
See our full Dell Precision 5760 review.
This year’s HP ZBook Studio G8 holds on to the award-winning G7 series styling but bumps up the power to help content creators with their creative projects either in the studio or in the field. The $4,727 system is gorgeous, powerful, MIL-SPEC tough, and is one of the best content creator laptops on the market. Oh, I forgot to mention, its OLED 4K touchscreen is bright, vivid and positively stunning.
This salacious attention grabber comes with an 11th Gen Intel Core i9 processor, 32GB of RAM, 2TB of SSD storage, and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 GPU that will more than handle all your Adobe Creative Suite power-hungry needs and then some. It’s easily one of the best workstation laptops that we’ve tested, even if it’s priced at a whopping $4,727 as reviewed.
See our full HP ZBook Studio G8 review.
Alienware continues to raise the bar of what a gaming laptop can and should be. The latest addition to the family is the X17, a beautiful bruiser of a desktop replacement that’s only 0.8-inches thick. The ultra-premium system comes with all the fixings including an Intel Core i7 processor, Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 GPU and dual SSDs. Need more? How’s a 17.3-inch, 4K display, powerful speakers and a Cherry MX keyboard sound?
Of course, something this pretty and powerful is also seriously expensive at $3,679 ($2,199 starting), so it’s not for the faint of heart or small of bank account. But if you can afford it, the Alienware X17 is a hell of a powerhouse that easily makes its way onto our best workstation laptops page.
See our full Alienware X17 review.
The Lenovo ThinkPad P15 Gen 2 improves on what was already a winning formula with the original ThinkPad P15 with upgraded performance and stellar battery life for the 1080p model.
The laptop’s 11th Gen Intel Core i9-11950H CPU, Nvidia RTX A5000 GPU and 32GB of RAM make it an absolute workhorse of a workstation. If raw performance is your goal, it will be hard to beat the ThinkPad P15 Gen 2. The one concern for creatives will be the display, but if that’s crucial for you consider the OLED panel option or perhaps an external display.
See our full Lenovo ThinkPad P15 Gen 2 review.
HP continues to design lightweight, powerhouse workstations and I keep enjoying them. The HP ZBook Firefly G8 14-inch mobile workstation is another Zbook meant for those who push their mobile workstations to the limits. Do you need to write documents? No problem; Do you run graphics-heavy programs? Not an issue. Need to connect to a 5G network? The ZBook Firefly can do that too.
You get all that and a gorgeous, color-accurate, 14-inch DreamColor display. We’re always eager to get our hands on a new laptop and for our lab to vigorously test it. Sometimes we’re thrilled with the results, and other times, our little laptop-loving hearts are broken. Despite that, it’s one of the best workstation laptops on the market.
See our full HP ZBook Firefly 14 G8 review.
How much does a workstation laptop cost?
Workstations start around $1,000, but many models at that price lack the discrete graphics card you’ll need to take on tasks like video editing or 3D modeling. And it’ll most likely have a 1080p display at that price range, so you might want to spring for a 4K model if your work involves editing high-res photos and videos.
You can get some work done with one of the top cheap gaming laptops, which has a GPU like an Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti or greater, but they’re not optimized specifically for media creation like Nvidia’s Quadro GPU is. If you’re looking to get some real work done, you’ll need a workstation with a Quadro GPU and a colorful, high-resolution display, which will most definitely run you over $2,000. While it’s not necessarily a workstation, the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo can handle rigorous tasks with multiple screens all for $2,999.
How to choose the best workstation laptops for you
Choosing the right workstation for you comes down to why you need it in the first place. You can pick up an affordable workstation to do some heavier work than your average laptop, but if you need a straight up tank to handle taxing programs, you’re going to pay a hefty price. If it’s the former, we recommend looking at something like the Lenovo ThinkPad P1 or Dell Precision 5540.
If money is no object, you can pick up some beastly workstations like the MSI WS65 9TM and the HP ZBook Studio x360 G5, which are incredibly powerful and durable machines that can withstand most tests that you’ll throw at them. The WS65 9TM is great if you want your display to be super colorful and bright, but the ZBook Studio x360 is better if you need a stylus to get into graphic designing or something else.
How we test the best workstation laptops
We put each laptop through extensive benchmark testing — both synthetic and real-world — before they end up in the hands of our reviewers. We evaluate each aspect of the laptop, including its performance, battery life, display, speakers and heat management.
In our benchmark testing, we use a Klein K10 colorimeter to detect the brightness and sRGB color gamut of the laptop’s display. For performance testing, we run the laptop through a gauntlet of benchmarks, including Geekbench 4.3 and 5.0 and 3DMark professional graphics tests.
To determine real-world performance, we task the laptop to convert a 4K video to 1080p resolution and to duplicate a 4.97GB multimedia file. Our real-world graphics test is the Dirt 3 benchmark with medium settings at 1080p resolution.
We also run heat tests by playing a 15-minute full-screen video and measuring temperatures in different areas of the laptop. Last but not least, our battery test consists of continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness. For MacBooks and premium Windows 10 laptops, a runtime of over 9 hours is considered a good result whereas gaming laptops and workstations that can stay powered for longer than 5 hours deserve praise.
These tests are complemented with extensive hands-on testing from our reviewers who critique everything from the laptop’s materials to the feel of its touchpad.