MacBook vs MSI for Graphic Design | Why I Chose MSI

MSI for graphic design

I was recently in the market for a new laptop to work from when I’m traveling, visiting family, or “on vacation,” and after doing a bit of shopping around I decided to go with an MSI for my graphic design needs.

Why MSI for Graphic Design?

MSI gaming

MSI laptops are optimized for gaming, and since gaming is one of the most taxing activities a computer can endure, MSI laptops are excellent for handling far less demanding tasks, like graphic design work.

Any laptop that can run modern PC games at high frame rates will be able to handle applications like Photoshop and Illustrator with ease. In fact, choosing a laptop with a GPU (which comes standard with most gaming laptops) would probably be recommended for 3D and animation design, like what you would do with Blender or After Effects. A GPU also helps Adobe applications perform better as well.

Is it Overkill?

If you look a post I recently made about hardware requirements for graphic design, you may get the impression that a laptop by MSI for graphic design would be overkill, but I would disagree. In my experience, using the manufacturer’s recommended specs for graphic design can be a frustrating experience, especially if you like to work with large file sizes while listening to music or watching YouTube videos at the same time.

If you want to get your design work done as efficiently as possible, without hardware limitations slowing you down, it’s always a good idea to overshoot on what you think you need. It’s also a good idea to never underestimate the importance of cooling, and MSI laptops are known for their cooling systems.

Why Not a MacBook?

MacBook

For whatever reason, graphic design is usually associated with MacBooks and Apple products, and I’ll never understand why. I don’t have anything against Apple products — they’re great — but I do have something against overpaying for under-powered hardware, and that’s usually what you’re doing when you buy a MacBook.

To be fair, I did consider buying a MacBook, but not for long after I compared the prices and specs with some of my other options. Let’s do a comparison…

Macbook vs MSI for Graphic Design

My budget for a graphic design laptop was $1,000. The laptop I ended up choosing was the MSI GP63 Leopard-033. I was able to find one on sale at my local Micro Center for $999.

MSI gp63 Leopard-033

The best non-refurbished MacBook I could find in this price range was this Apple MacBook Pro. Here’s a table comparing the two…

MacBook
MSI
Processor
Intel Core i5 2.3GHz (dual-core)
Intel Core i7 8750H (six cores)
Memory
8GB
16GB
Graphics
Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640
GTX 1050Ti with 4GB of memory
Storage
128GB SSD
256GB SSD + 1TB HDD
Screen Size
13.3″
15.6″
Resolution
2560×1600
1920×1080

Although the MSI laptop clearly wins 5 of these 6 categories, I should note that there are some benefits to using a MacBook that aren’t listed…

  • For one, the Mac operating system does seem to be more stable than Windows 10 (although I do feel that Windows gets a bad rap because it’s often judged on low-end hardware.)
  • Another benefit to using a Mac is that it syncs up with all of your other Apple devices, making communication and file transfer very convenient.
  • Screen resolution. The Retina display is very nice, and the MacBook being compared here does have a higher resolution after all.
  • Finally, MacBooks do tend to have better battery life than MSI laptops. I know that my new laptop’s battery doesn’t last very long at all, but that’s to be expected when it’s being used to power all that hardware.

This MacBook Pro, for its price, pales in comparison when it comes to hardware (and most likely performance) though, making the MSI laptop the ideal choice for graphic design in my opinion.

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8 thoughts on “MacBook vs MSI for Graphic Design | Why I Chose MSI

  1. It’s crazy how I was the same mindframe of a lot of the commenters regarding Apple Mac. After a lengthy time debating and thinking things through I took a leap at paying a premium for a MacBook Pro 16 inch.

    And it is amazing. From the quality of the craftsmanship to the performance and fluid user experience I love it. Don’t get me wrong. I too looked at a msi 65gs gaming laptop for 1500 as opposed to 2100 for a MacBook Pro. I got lucky and scored quite a bit of discount as the Mac normally would cost 2700.

    However, as I want to take my freelance journey seriously a part of my goal was to invest in an Apple Mac. Paired with the iPad Pro it’s so good for workflow purposes.

    We’ve always seen how windows computers can fall victim to so many problems due to the very fact that a lot of manufactures use the windows os. But with Apple I knew that I’d be getting something that is optimised and just works.

    Now would I pay silly money for a Mac if it were for personal use. Nope! I’m happy with an iPad. But as a professional who has to work with clients without potential technical hiccups. Mac was the one.

    It’ also looks amazing hehe. Great article though for sure. Just wanted to stick up for the Apple a bit.

  2. I’ve recently come back to Apple on the mobile platform after a few years of bad experiences and poor design choices by Samsung. I love my iPad Pro, and the recent advances in design apps for it make it ideal for creation on the go. Desktop wise, I’m still using an older Lenovo laptop connected to my 24″ monitor, and it’s maxed out at 8GB of RAM, so I’m due for an upgrade. Totally agree that Macbooks are severely overpriced for the specs, plus all that sandwiched aluminum makes upgrading them yourself impossible. As well as my iPad works for what I do, I don’t really feel the need to get another laptop, especially a heavier gaming rig for mobile design work, so I’m more in the market for a compact desk setup. Been considering a Mac Mini, and also looked at a few of the compact Lenovo solutions. Prices are very similar when the specs are close, much closer than the PC/Macbook comparisons. I love the idea of the seamless integration with the rest of my devices with Apple, so I feel it’s going to be a tough decision when the time comes. Fortunately, I don’t have a ton invested in Windows apps, but I will be purchasing software after the upgrade, so whichever I choose there will be a solid commitment for a few years.

    1. The Mac Mini does look appealing and seems more competitively priced. I had an iPhone for a while and liked it but removing the headphone jack was a deal breaker for me. I switched to a Galaxy s9+ last summer and I’m pleasantly surprised with it so far. Haven’t noticed any design flaws or exploding batteries yet lol. Good luck deciding on your next machine, I know how tough of a decision it is.

  3. Hey Nick, your post made me laugh from the time I saw it in my email. You know why? It’s because this is the same thing I tell other computer owners. Apple Mac Book Pros are trash, and gaming Laptops are the best bet for the money you spend on it. Also, it’s not overkill, it’s future-proofing when you buy a gaming laptop/pc. For all the money people spend on MacBook Pros, they’re getting ripped-off severely. We, as graphic designers are more practical than other computer owners, at least i hope so.

    Gaming Laptops give you the best specs for less money than you’d pay for a MacBook Pro.
    They’re faster, and you can install Linux on them for even more Speed.
    That’s what I do every time I get a new laptop or PC. Dual-Boot Setup.

    I’m glad you set the record straight, and you’ve got a great new computer.

    I advised a friend/student recently to pick a Lenovo Y Series Laptop, and it’s a beast, especially when using Blender 3D. Buttery Smooth.

    1. Totally agree, thanks for the reinforcement. Gaming PCs usually seem to be the best value dollar for dollar, and I’m always surprised how cheap they can be.

  4. I think you made the right choice unless you need Mac OS software. If that’s the case you can look into Hackintosh.

    MSI laptops are a great value. Only suggestion I’d have made would be to try to get a GTX 1060 or higher if you can afford it.

    Apple’s higher screen resolution means worse battery life and that integrated GPU will fall even further behind in performance.

    Macs were known for graphic design and a few other tasks (Accounting, music recording) in the 90s and 2000s and that reputation has stuck. Artists generally don’t follow hardware or operating systems to know what options are out there.

    Since Apple started focusing on selling the iphone and ipad they’ve treated their PC products poorly.

    They are woahfully behind on horse power and have always been a terrible value. They generally sell $700 worth of parts for over $2,000.

    That may change (not the value part) since they are trying to design their own processors but for now apple computers are simply overpriced logoed commodities like Ralph Lauren clothing.

    1. Great feedback. I think another thing that appeals to people (especially artists) is Apple’s design and branding. I’m kind of a sucker for it myself, just not so much that I’m willing to spend $2,000 on $700 worth of parts 🙂

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