Do I Need a Powerful Laptop for Machine Learning?

Machine learning, which has now become almost synonymous with AI, is one of the most exciting frontiers in modern tech, but learning, coding, or understanding it is not easy. The discipline requires a lot of technological know-how, as well as some pretty impressive equipment.

When picking out a laptop, it’s natural that you’ll ask this question: does machine learning require a powerful or high-end laptop? Well, the quick answer is:

A powerful laptop with high-end specs can certainly help with running machine learning algorithms and training models, but the specific requirements depend on the type of machine learning you’re doing and the size of the datasets you’ll be working with.

In this article, we’ll explain a bit more and share with you some tips on how to choose a laptop for machine learning.

Read on to learn more!

Does Machine Learning Need a Powerful Laptop?

Machine learning can be computationally intensive, so a powerful laptop will definitely be beneficial for running ML algorithms and training models.

But the specific requirements for a laptop will depend on the type of machine learning you plan to do and the size of the datasets you’ll be working with.

  • For basic machine learning tasks, a laptop with a decent processor, 8GB of RAM and a dedicated GPU can suffice.
  • For heavy tasks, such as training deep learning models, you’ll need a laptop with a more advanced processor, more RAM (32GB or more), and a powerful GPU to run the training efficiently.

In the meantime, you should also consider other factors such as operating systems, disk storage, etc. Because some machine learning libraries may require a specific OS or version, just ensure that the laptop you buy is compatible with the libraries you’ll need.

Choosing a Laptop for Machine Learning: What to Consider

For machine learning, you want something with quite a bit of power. Speed matters too. Here are the detailed factors to consider:

Processing Power

Every machine-learning laptop, like every machine-learning desktop, needs power. It takes quite a bit of juice to run complex programs or neural networks.

You want something that’s up to the task. Always go with a device that has at least an Intel Core i7 processor. In addition, strive to get at least 16GB of RAM and always strive for a desktop-caliber GPU.


Another aspect to consider with a machine-learning laptop is storage. Running any large programs or advanced algorithms requires quite a bit of space.

Your model needs to have at least 1 TB of storage out of the box. That may seem like a lot, but it’s important to handle ever-increasing datasets. If you have an SSD, you want to shoot for at least 512 GB.

Battery Life

While it’s easy to overlook when searching for advanced specs, battery life matters. Machine learning not only takes power, it also takes time.

Though you will most likely be near an outlet or plug while you work, it always helps to be able to sit back or set up in an area without constantly looking at your computer’s power level.

8 or 10 hours should be your minimum range but go with as long as your budget will allow.


Here are some other questions you might have about laptops for machine learning.

How much RAM do I need for machine learning?

It depends on the size of the datasets you’re working with. In general, you should have at least 8GB of RAM for basic ML tasks, 16GB or more for more complex tasks, and 32GB or more for very large datasets or training very large models.

How much SSD is enough for machine learning?

Again, it depends on your use case. A general rule of thumb is to have at least 256GB of SSD storage for basic ML tasks, 512GB or more for more complex tasks, and 1TB or more for very large datasets.

Useful Tips and Resources

Machine learning, while interesting, can be a bit dense. If you’re interested in the process but want to know more, or if you’re simply curious about what it might mean for the future, check out this guide.

Owning a machine-learning laptop is one part of the process, but knowing how to do it is something else entirely. As with any advanced field, it’s never something you want to dive into blind.

Rather, videos like this one will give you a good place to get started.

Final Words

Machine learning has come a long way, but there’s still a much longer way to go.

There are constant advancements in the field, and many of them are conducted on high-quality laptops. If you need one such device, you can’t go wrong following the above buying guide.

Do you use a laptop for machine learning? Are there any top-of-the-line machines we missed? Let us know below.

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