Just like any accounting software , the hardware requirements to run QuickBooks (either as single user or through a network) aren’t very demanding..
In fact, if you check the official site you’ll quickly come to realize that pretty much any modern laptop that has Windows will do.
Going with the official requirements doesn’t mean you’ll get the best performance with the software. You may still have to deal with long loading bars of a few execution tasks and when saving/opening files.
Is there a problem with QuickBooks?
In fact, there is. Imo, it hasn’t been the best (programmed and optimized) accounting software and slowness/waiting times has just become part of the user experience.
So the best laptop for Quickbooks should at least be able to offset this lack of optimization and decrease the time it takes to process even the most mundane tasks.
How do you find them?
Right here in this post.
But the second section of this post will go through every hardware requirement you need to consider and explain how exactly they can improve your performance with the software.
During the next and first section we’ll go through 5 best laptops for QuickBooks and quickly summarize the specs you need to run QuickBooks at fast lightining speeds.
Top 5 Best Laptops QuickBooks
So what are the specs to focus on?
All you need is RAM and Storage, that’s it.
All the technical jargon is at the end of the post, you can read it later if you are not convinced with what I just told you.
This is a database application where calculations/tasks/operations are quite simple but the size of the data (your business datafiles) can be huge and the speed at which this data is retrieved is the main bottleneck of the software.
In other words, QuickBooks isn’t CPU intensive but rather disk and memory intensive.
Unless your CPU is 10 years old, operations and tasks in QB will never peak the processor.
Is there any other way that I can increase speeds further besides upping my RAM and Storage? Not really.
Even as your data files get larger and larger over time, provided you have the necessary RAM and storage, the CPU will not be overtaxed. Today’s CPUs are fast enough for the type of calculations done by QuickBooks.
So with this in mind, I’d say there basically two ways to go about a laptop for QuickBooks.
|CPU||2.4GHz CPU||Dual Core +2.4GHz|
|Display||1024X768 res||1080p/full HD|
Good – These are the official specs. They’re also good for someone doing reception, light office work, word processing and basic internet tasks. It is also the bare minimum. You’ll find them on low end budget laptops around 200-300$. If you find them realy because they seem to be obsolete these days.
Better – This is a laptop for a heavy multitasker. Someone who wants to run QuickBooks as fast as possible. Or run QuickBooks along other accounting software, including Quicken and even with 30 internet tabs open.
Surprisingly, these laptops are standard ranging from 350$ to 800$.
Why does it go as high as 800?
Those 800$ laptops aren’t necessarily all around better in performance (although they usually have a better processor), most of the cost is based on their thinnes and weight, they’re called ultrabooks. Anyways, if you want to know more details about these specs, head to our last section.
Now… let us go over the 5 best laptops for Quickbooks which are also the best deals in terms of specs/price you’ll find online.
They will all speed up your performance whether you deal with small or large data files and if you use QuickBooks as a single user or through a network.
We’ll start with the two extremes, that is, the most expensive laptop for QuickBooks followed by the cheapest laptop for QuickBooks.
1. Asus ZenBook
Core i5-8265U 3.4GHz
8GB RAM DDR4
512GB PCIe NVMe SSD
13” full HD TN
This seems like a laptop just tailored for QuickBooks really. It’s expensive but that’s because the design is top notch so it’s expensive to make too.
It seems that the processor is way too fast for just QuickBooks. However, you got the RAM and SSD already upgraded to pretty much as much as you’re going to need it for QuickBooks. By the way, the SSD is the type that’s a lot faster than the average SATA III SSD. This is going to help reading/writing data faster which in turn will help in every operation you do with your software. So I’d say you should always aim for a PCIe NVMe SSD.
For example: saving a purchase order will be done instantenously as opposed to waiting 10 sec with an HDD storage.
Because you’re going to be staring at this thing for hours, I think design becomes important.
The display is average, it doesn’t have an IPS display but it is full HD. It has a matte finish/TN display instead of an IPS screen now you’re going to get average viewing angles but there’s an advantage of getting a TN anti glare display. Like the name says, it’s anti glare and it’s easier on the eyes.
The rest of the design is way above average, it’s more like a MacBook. Thin, lightweight and with a really long battery life and that is the reason why it’s expensive compared to the average (next ) laptop.
Best Cheap Laptop For QuickBooks
Core i3-8100U 3.4GHz
8GB RAM DDR4
128GB PCIe NVMe SSD
15” IPS full HD 1080p
If you hope to grow your bussiness or your company, I suggest you don’t aim lower than this laptop. This is the lowest yet fast enough laptop I would settle for myself.
Ok, I know the processor here is a lot weaker on paper than the what the ZenBook. But like I said, that doesn’t matter for QuickBooks. Even if you want to trhrow add ons like Intuit Data Protect or just want to merge QuickBooks with Microsoft Office, as long as you got a modern processor it’ll be fine, trust me.
Now luckily, this year’s mode of this laptop has the RAM maxed out to 8GB so there are no needs for upgrades.
In the off chance, that you work for Apple and your files get increasingly large and large and large and you start feeling slugish. You can upgrade it to 16GB but I assure there won’t be a need for that. Now if you find a cheaper version with 4GB and want to try it out see if you are okay with it, then upgrade it later , here’s a memory stick you can buy to make it 8GB.
Another great thing about this laptop is the storage, like the ZenBook, it’s PCIe NVMe SSD so you’ll get all the perks of its reading/writing speeds and get every operation done fast (except bulk processing a day which will take ~10s regardless of the SSD you got)
One thing that you will possibly need to upgrade is the storage, it’s fast but it’s may too little. This laptop allows to easily upgrade it though, you can either buy another SSD or an HDD and get 512-1TB extra space.
Display & Design
Despite the price, the display is surprisingly good. Not many budget laptops have a full HD resolution with an IPS panel for 350-450 bucks (not even the ZenBook does). While the IPS is a nice addition to get better viewing angles the FHD is a must imo, because that’s going to help you multitask and have several other windows open next to each other (web browsing tabs for email stimates). It makes a huge difference more so than screen size in fact.
One of the reasons why it’s cheap its the finish, it’s made full of plastic, which is universal on laptops around this price range.
Core m3 , Core i5, Core i7
128GB-1TB PCIe NVMe SSD
12” IPS 2736×1824
If you really need something to move around all over the place inside, then you should really consider the Surface Pro (not the Surface Book).
We won’t be talking about performance because it’s pretty much like the ASUS ZenBook, same components basically and same speeds.
However, I bet that picture has drawn your attention already. It’s just a stylus which you can use to write on it and no it’s not a tablet, it’s really a laptop but with tablet features on top: touchscreen, convertible, detachable keyboard, writing capabilities,etc.
As for the finish and design, well it’s super lightweight (1.7lb w/o the keyboard) and made of full alumin lid on all its sides. It’s got a much higher resolution than most windows laptops and even the MacBooks too and guess what? It costs just as much as your average windows ultrabook: ~700$.
Now there are several several versions and configurations of the Surface Pro which may make your purchase cheaper but remember to have the 8GB RAM in mind and you’ll be okay (All of them have fast SSDs).
4. Acer Swift 3
Best Work Laptop For QuickBooks
Core i5-8250U 3.4GHz
8GB RAM DDR4
15” full HD IPS
This is my favorite laptop and a better option than what the site owner told me to post first: The Acer Swift.
Now don’t get me wrong, the ASUS ZenBook is not any slower than this. In fact, I’d say they’re both just as fast. But, this one is cheaper and it has a much bigger screen with an IPS display (which the ASUS doesn’t have) and FHD on top of it. The best part is that the design is thin and lightweight so for a 14” laptop it’s pretty portable and that real state screen is going to make a huge difference when working with QuickBooks.
I’m little intrigued by the fact that this Ryzen Processor has 8 cores though. I know that may not be useful for QuickBooks today but that may not be the case in future versions.
Imo, grab this one instead of the ASUS ZenBook if you don’t mind carrying a 14” laptop with you.
Best Dell Laptop For Journalists
8GB RAM DDR3
Intel UHD 620
13” full HD 1080p
No laptop list for accounting or any accounting software would be complete with the the Dell XPs 13. This is the most premium non-convertible windows laptop that can even give a MacBook a run for its money.
The Dell XPS 13 is basically as powerful as the ZenBook/Acer Swift/Surface Pro but it’s made of full aluminum just like the Surface Pro and it’s thin as the ZenBook/Swift.
You can configure the processor to whatever you’d like or whatever you can afford, just make sure to get the PCIe NVMe SSD + 8GB of RAM. If you think you’re going to need 16GB for some odd reason, just grab it because it’s not easy to upgrade.
Also, there’s a Dell XPS 13 w/ a 4k resolution display that makes it so much more expensive but that resolution helps to give even more screen space.
I’m basically posting this one for those who aren’t really on a budget, it’s the best out of the entire list but it’s expensive.
QuickBooks Computer Requirements
With more than 3 million users, QuickBooks is the most widely used software for small-businesses & accounting.
Unfortunately the software is kind of old and is definitely not the best book keeping and accounting software out there, yeah you heard me.
In fact at the bank I work at, we’ve written financial software that uses a SQL server to handle far more complex math with larger data sets than QuickBooks can currently handle.
However, at this point there’s not much we can do, the program itself has its strengths: its interface is unbeatable plus it’s already widely accepted across the business & accounting world. So it’s not like we have much of a choice.
Note: the following sections apply to QuickBooks Pro , QuickBooks Online, etc.
When picking a CPU for any software, there are only two features to look after: # of cores and clock frequency.
Quickbooks isn’t a multithreaded application, in other words, operations only use one core.
If you are running QuickBooks natively on a multicore processor and press CTRL+ALT+DEL, you’ll only see a small fraction of the total CPU power being used because of it’s single threaded feature.
The number of cores do not matter.
So don’t worry about the processor technology, brand. Maybe just the year it was released (generation) since modern processors perform better despite having the same clock speed as their predecessors.
So you can get away with a low end cheap laptop as long as it doesn’t go below 2.5GHz for clock speed.
Obviously, the higher you go the higher it’ll run every operation and create reports.
Just keep in mind there isn’t any noticeable benefit (if any) going beyond 2.5-3GHz.
If you come across a laptop with a “quad core” processors(these processors are labeled with “HQ” which mean more or less “four cores”), they’ll only be helpful if you are running several other applications besides QuickBooks. And I mean many many.
Simple dual core CPUs from either brand (Intel or AMD) will be enough as long as they have +2.5GHz for clock speed. They’ll all handle data integration with Microsoft Office, Skype and several internet tabs all running simultaneously no problems.
So What’s the best laptop processor for QuickBooks?
Storage (HDD or SSD)
Database files are huge (700MB-4GB) and QuickBooks takes around 3GB, Windows should be around 20GB(with updates) and Microsoft Office (2GB). All of this only will add up to ~30GB.
Modern Laptops have around 256GB-1TB for storage, in other words, capacity should never be a concern for a laptop which is solely devoted to accounting software and QuickBooks.
SSD (Solid State Drive) vs HDD (Hard Disk Drive)
These are currently the two types of built-in storage devices for all your files, operating system and programs. Each with their own advantage and disadvantage.
Hard Disk Drives will give you around 1TB for capacity and are cheap. On the other hand SSDs give you around 256GB and will make your laptop ~100$ more expensive but also (crazy) fast.
The problem with traditional hard disk drives is that they’re relatively slow, even the fastest HDDs (7200RPM) pale in comparison with the standard SSDs (SATA III).
The fastest SSD(NVMe) can give you 17x the speed of an HDD.
What does their speed have to do with QuickBooks?
- SSDs will read all files in a flash: as your data files grow larger and larger over time, a hard spinning disk will slow down your workflow when coming across any operation/task that relies on manipulating large chunks of data.
For ex: saving a purchase order will be instantenous with an SSD while it may take you +10 seconds with an HDD(this is worse if you operate QuickBooks through a network).
In fact, you may only have to wait 10 seconds for a few tasks if you go with an SSD: loading an acount or bulk processing a day, even then, this will be several times faster than an HDD.
What if my data files are stored on server with an SSD?
Even then large data files will cause slowness when accessing a quickbooks database from a client computer. Why? the software will basically have to download large chunks of data from the database to the client computer.
Let’s not forget, SSD (Solid State Drives) offer more advantages over conventional HDD (Hard Disk Drives) than simply reading/writing speeds:
- SSDs are less prone to failure and loss of your data files with physical damage.
- SSDs consume less power therefore offer better battery life(useful if you are on a business trip).
Although your OS, programs and all other files are permanently stored within your Hard Drive or (SSD).
Everything you see on the screen or everything you have open at this very moment has been moved from your storage device and temporarily placed on your RAM.
Why? RAM is the closest & fastest memory your CPU has access to, having the fastest reading speeds is a must to operate any software efficiently.
For QuickBooks, this means both the software running and your business data file will be temporarily stored in RAM.
As long as QuickBooks and your business file are stored within the RAM, you’ll have the maximum speed for all operations and tasks with quickbooks.
Isn’t 4GB of RAM plenty?
It can be since business data files are rarely in the GB range.
But consider the fact that you’ll also need enough RAM for Windows (takes 2GB), a few add-ons and perhaps software/applications all running at the same time.
- Intuit Data Protect: this constantly backs up your datafiles to the cloud and has to run in the background.
- Merging QuickBooks data with Microsoft Word, Excel and OutLook to create customer/vendor letters or convert Peachtree data to QuickBook.
- Web browsing tabs for email estimates.
On the other hand if your data files are over 500MB for Pro/Premier and 1.5GB for Enterprise, then having more than 4GB is a no brainer.
As your business grows and grows, so will your data files.
While this is not clearly stated by Quickbooks, they’ve hinted that performance will be compromised if:
- Data files exceeds list limits
- Your data file is quiet old(~7 years;lots of info/outdated data structure).
While you may be using Intuit Data Protect for constant backups of your database file, nobody likes to buy a new computer every year.
This is more true for QuickBooks since you’ve already gotten used to your workspace area (using QuickBooks along side other programs and your OS).
If you want something to last 5+ years, then all you can do is look for business-class laptops. Adding a warranty will not give you back your data files so you should always choose a laptop based on reviews and what’s said about their build quality.
While you may do OK with the recommended hardware by QuickBooks, increasing the RAM and adding an SSD will make sure you have the highest performance possible with QuickBooks.
CPU is not that important but keep in mind that every time a new release of QuickBooks hits the streets, the system requirements will go up so investing on a +3GHz CPU might not bed such a bad idea.
You can go for any brand you’d like: HP, ASUS, Dell.