gaming laptop: noise

I’m looking for a new laptop for Rack, and from what I’ve read so far the best bet would be a gaming laptop, because of the dedicated gpu. But I am worried that those laptops will produce too much cooling fan noise. So does anybody have a suggestion for a quiet gaming laptop? Preferably windows. Thanx

you’re basically asking for the impossible. a gaming laptop will only remain quiet when you don’t stress it. but as soon as you have processes that require more resources, it will get hot, which will lead to fan noise.

now there are some designs that are worse than others, but it will never be quiet due to space restrictions. if you need something more quiet, go for a big desktop box with better cooling and large fans (which can rotate slower and thus more quietly).

i myself have been a happy user of lenovo laptops (a chinese brand that took over ibm’s laptop department) and two years ago i bought a lenovo legion gaming laptop, which has been my mobile platform since. i’m happy with it, but it does produce some noise when pushed.

Have you considered a M1 MacBook? That’s what I’d go for if I needed to run rack on a laptop.


I know gaming laptops can make a lot of noise when stressed heavily. The question is: will Rack stress the laptop as much as a heavy game?

A desktop would be wise, but is not an option for me.

And I’d rather have a Windows system than a Mac, although the M1 looks interesting.

Yes it will.

I actually stopped using a quite beefy gaming laptop (Windows OS) because of this. And switched to Mac M1 for this.
It took a little bit getting used to in the beginning, but you get used quickly.

Also the technical benefits for audio software use within the Mac OS ecosystem, outweigh the Windows platform, this will only become evident when you really use a Mac.

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Can you elaborate a bit about those technical benefits?

And (because I’m not really a Mac guy) what do I have to take into consideration when choosing a model (because I believe there’s not just a “Mac M1 laptop”)

that depends on your settings and your patch

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It just all works way more stable and seamlessly.

These 2 statements will mean nothing in a conversation, just until you actually start using the platform and mac itself.

As i had to realise this myself after sticking with Win for nearly 3,5 decades.
But don’t take my word for it, i am just sharing my recent experience here.


Ditto from me on all counts. I had (have) a Windows PC at home running VCV, but I wanted to be able to travel and easily perform on stage with VCV. In 35 years I had never used any Mac, but I couldn’t ignore the glowing reports about the M1 machines. I purchased the absolute cheapest M1 MacBook Air at $999 with the minimum 8GB memory, 256 GB SSD drive, and could not be happier.

  • The Mac runs every patch I have created just as well or better than on my PC
  • Absolutely silent - no fan! Yet no heat issues!
  • Insane battery life - I can jam all day without a power source with confidence

I imagine that sounds too good to be true, but it has been my experience.


Sounds good! Wy a Macbook air, instead of a Macbook Pro?

could you show your Desktop specs please?

Fair enough - nothing special, I am on a budget

Dell XPS 8930, Intel Core 3GHz i7-9700, 16GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER, 512 GB SSD, Win 10 Home

I watched many review vids, and universally they all said the 13" MacBook Pro didn’t offer any significant benefits, and the Air form factor was generally preferred, so the recommendation was to save money and go with Air.

Since then the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips have come out. The 14" and 16" MacBook Pro machines look really good, but they start at $2,000. They may well be worth it, especially if they can run all my patches at 192Khz or better. My Air is able to run all my patches at 96KHz. I have become sensitive to aliasing, and run at 192 or even 384 KHz when I can, but with the Air that is only possible with my smaller patches.

i think macs are overpriced, and you’d be buying in to a platform infamous for its vendor lock-in and a long history of making stuff incompatible

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That’s the one reason I haven’t got a M1 yet. Once linux is successfully ported though I’ll be sorely tempted.

I am the antithesis of a Mac fanboy - I am a staunch lifelong Windows user.

But the MacBook Air is definitely not overpriced. The other stuff may be relevant, but I don’t see how I could get similar performance on a Windows laptop today without spending more money than I did on the M1 Air. And I’m not sure I could even get reliable silent operation without any fan noise that worked well with VCV using any of today’s Windows machines.


Please let’s not venture too deep into the PC vs Mac abyss here.

I am simply looking for the best performance with hopefully as little fan noise as is possible. For some reason, this time (and very unusual), money is not the biggest issue.

that wasn’t my intention. just wanted to add a counterpoint.

obviously you make your own decision, based on your own needs and preferences.

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That machine is the closest I’ve ever come to seing “the perfect computer”.

Yeah, it’s a slightly “reality defying” machine. Amazing system.

In my experience people that say “overpriced” have not actually tried/felt/experienced the hardware. The new line of M1 machines have superb build quality and will last a long time. Fair enough if someone doesn’t want to pay for that and just get cheap plastic machines, and live with them as a sort of throw-away semi-Ok experience. But a well built machine is a very enjoyable and lasting experience. In my estimation the entry level of the M1 machines have superb value for money and will simply make you happy using them for a long time. Hard to explain “happines with a computer” if you’ve never tried it though :slight_smile:

Having said that, yes, the expensive end of Apple computers are quite expensive and you have to do the math on the parameters that matter to you, to figure out if it’s worth it.

It’s true that Apple go their own way with their software. However you don’t need to use it or be locked in by it. I use my Mac as a kind of “Linux machine that JustWorks”, with mostly open source software installed via brew and am quite happy with that. The standards of that software and of the modern Apple hardware is compatible with everything I care about. I can freely use pretty much any hardware I want and any file/document formats I need. So things are pretty bright on that front I’d say.

Also, macOS is a pretty great, stable, lean and performant OS to use on a daily basis, pretty free of the mountains of crap that Windows throws at you on a regular basis. I’ve used Windows for work for 30 years or so and there’s really no comparison, macOS is a lot better if you value the things that I do. But sure, if you’re into AAA gaming it’s not for you (yet).

I agree. A completely silent and well performing computer is an eye opening experience. You just didn’t think it was possible before trying it.

The M1 Macbook Air or entry level M1 Macbook Pro’s (or M1 Mac Mini) have no competition where that’s concerned. BTW I will always advice to get a machine with 16GB of RAM, no matter which one it is.

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