Like most software for accounting , you don’t need anything special to run QuickBooks (either as single user or through a network).
If you check the hardware requirements on the official site, you’ll realize that virtually every modern laptop with Windows 10 Home will do.
Going with the official requirements doesn’t guarantee you’ll get the best performance with the software.
Unfortunately, you may still face loading bars when running execution tasks and/or when saving/opening certain (heavy) files.
Why? Accounting Software isn’t heavy…
There’s been a problem with QuickBooks since it’s release.
Since it’s relatively old, it seems that the backbone code hasn’t been well optimized.
So at this point some slowness/loading times have become part of the user experience.
What can you do?
Get the best laptop for quickbooks.
By this I mean a laptop that can offset the software’s intrisic tendency to lag so even the most mundane task can be processed as fast as possible.
Don’t worry you don’t have to pay an eyeball for these…
You just need to focus your budget on a few specs over others.
The second section of this post will explain what I mean in utmost detail explaining how the software works and what hardware can help speed it up.
Top 5 Best Laptops QuickBooks
In this section, I’ll go over 5 best laptops for QuickBooks. Before that though I’ll quickly summarize what specs you should focus on and quickly explain why you need to do so (again you can find more details in the last section)
So what are the specs to focus on?
Basically it all comes down to RAM & Storage Type.
Because this is database application software. This means that although the calculations/tasks/operations are simple(do not require much processing power) , the size of the data processed (business data files) can get huge so the speed at which this data is retrieved CAN be a serious bottleneck to the software.
So unless your CPU is 10 years old, operations and tasks in QB will NEVER peak the processor.
Q: I have a lot of cash, can I increase speeds further besides upping my RAM and Storage like getting a much more expensive and powerful CPU?
A: Not really. Even as your data file gets even LARGER and LARGER over a long period of time, provided you have the necessary RAM and storage, it is very unlikely your CPU won’t keep up with it.
Why? CPUs made from 2017-2021 have over 3GHz of clock speed , which is way too much speed for the type of calculations done QuickBooks.
With this in mind,
There are basically two ways to go about getting a laptop for QuickBooks :
|Storage||50GB HDD||128-1TB SSD|
|Display||1024X768 res||1080p/full HD or more|
Good – These are the official specs. They’re also good for someone doing reception, light office work, word processing and web browsing. It is the bare minimum. You’ll find them on low end budget laptops around 200-300$.
Optimized – This is a laptop for a heavy multitasker. Someone who wants to run QuickBooks as fast as possible. Or run QuickBooks along other accounting software, including Quicken (with 30 browsing tabs open).
Laptops with these specs have become the standard in 2021 but they range from 350$ to 800$.
Why does the price go up to 800$?
Those 700-800$ laptops aren’t necessarily all around better in terms of speed for QuickBooks(although they usually have a better processor).
However, they’re much thinner and lighter, they’re also called “ultrabooks” and much more expensive to manufacture.
Anyways, with that said, let us go over the 5 best laptops for quickbooks as of 2021.
They WILL all more or less have the exact same performance gains for QuickBooks regardless of what version of the software you use anda the size of your data files.
We’ll start with the most IDEAL laptop for the software and follow up with choices that have a different form factor/standard hardware.
1. Acer Swift 3
Best Work Laptop For QuickBooks
AMD Ryzen 7 4700U 8 Cores/16 Threads
8GB RAM DDR4
AMD Radeon Graphics
512 GB PCIe NVMe SSD
14″ Full HD IPS
My favorite out of this list and probably the best laptop for software like QuickBooks and anything accounting related. It seems to have the best of the best hardware right now for accounting related software like QuickBooks and it’s only around 600$.
If you look at the hardware, it’s already got 8GB RAM and a very SPACIOUS and FAST Solid State Drive which are the two most important specs as we just discussed. Tasks like saving a purchase order will be done instantenously as opposed to several seconds with an HDD storage.
On top of that (as a bonus) it has one of the most powerful CPUs on the laptop market for work related applications.
The 4th generation Ryzen 7 CPU not only goes way beyond 3.5GHz but it actually has EIGHT cores (these are 16 threads). Now the software doesn’t care much about multiple cores, as long as you have that much clock speed, the software will perform about the same. HOWEVER, future versions of the software MIGHT take advantage of multi core CPUs and for now it can help you multitask beyond your wildest dreams. It’s not a requirement obviously but if it’s on a deal you might as well grab it.
Since you’re like to stare at this thing for hours, the display becomes important too.
This is not a huge 17 screen but 14 displays (especially with FHD) provide quite a lot of headroom for multitasking.
Another benefit of going for 14-17 is the fact that you get a numerical keypad on the keyboard too.
What may surprise you is that despite the size of the keyboard/display and all the hardware goodness in it, it only weights 2.65lbs and its 0.6inch. In other words, you’ll be more encouraged to bring this thing with you everywhere you go.
2. ASUS ZenBook
Intel Core i5-1035G1 4 cores/ 8 threads
8GB RAM DDR4
256GB PCIe NVMe SSD
13” full HD NanoEdge
This ASUS ZenBook is more expensive (+100$) and it basically has the same RAM/Storage configuration.
The CPU, although of the 10th gen Intel Core series, is weaker than the Octa Core Ryzen 7.
The only reason to go for this model is the fact it’s smaller therefore much easier to carry and despite being only 13” diagonally, it has a numerical keypad. Although it’s oddly placed in the trackpad, it’s very easy to use especially if you buy a mouse (which you should because you’ll be moving much faster with one)
Best 2 in 1 Laptop for Quickbooks
Core m3 , Core i5, Core i7
128GB-1TB PCIe NVMe SSD
12” IPS 2736×1824
If you need an even more portable option, you should probably start looking at convertible laptops. The best of this kind is the Surface Pro series at 0.3inch thin and 2.2lbs heavy.
While it may look like it’s not really a laptop that you can work with, that’s not true at all, once you attach the keyboard it pretty much becomes a full blown laptop. In fact, Intuit has implemented a few features that can only be unlocked with the Surface Book (QuickBooks Point of Sale).
It’s very versatile, depending on what year model we are talking about, you can choose anything from a core m3 processor to a core i7 10th generation processor. However, you’ll the best performance/money ratio with a Core i5 processor (provided you get 8GB RAM, all of their models come with an SSD).
The tablet mode can come in handy if you are in the field taking notes in a client’s office or just to organize your data with the touchscreen feature.
Best Laptop for Small business Quickbooks
AMD Ryzen 3 3200U
Radeon Vega 3
15” full HD IPS
802.11 AC BlueTooh 4.0
10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet LAN (RJ-45 port), HD Webcam (1280 x 720), 1 – USB 3.1 Gen 1 Port, 2 – USB 2.0 Ports, 1 – HDMI Port with HDCP support
The best option if you are on a very low budget because you’re just getting started is to the grab any of the Acer Aspire 5 models.
They’ve been known to have most budget friendly laptops with pretty decent hardware and a FHD display.
If we get more into details, the CPU here: Ryzen 3 3200U isn’t one of the fastest ones out there but it’s surely fast enough for QuickBooks. Even if you start throw in Add-ons on it like Intuit Data Project or start merging QuickBooks w/ MS Office, you’ll be fine. In fact, ANY modern CPU is capable of doing this with no lag.
Again you should only be looking at RAM/Storage.
Unfortunately the cheapest model here has TWO main drawbacks:
- It doesn’t have 8GB RAM. 4GB is enough for Windows 10 S mode though which this laptop has.
- It doesn’t have Windows 10 Home, which means you won’t be able to use the desktop version of QuickBooks. You can use QuickBook Online and Quicken though which is more or less a downgraded version of QuickBooks.
If you want to use the full version of QuickBooks, you will have to install the full version of Windows 10 Home, which will cost you about 90$ more (you just have to click an option once you turn on this laptop to buy it).
Display & Design
One of the best features of this model, despite being cheap and holding up a lot of hardware is that it’s relatively slim/lightweight (if you compare it to older models or some of its competitors): 0.7 inch thick and 3.7lbs.
If you want this same model with Windows 10 Home installed on it so you can use QuickBooks, check out this link(499$) Notice however that it’s much cheaper and smarter to purchase the Windows 10 S model and try quicken/quick books online and then upgrade to Windows 10 Home(for if you are not happy with either of these two softwares.
If you can’t afford to buy it, you can still get the full version of Windows 10 Home on this link for less than 400$ but you will have to give up the extra screen space a FHD display brings and settle for a HD display.
Best Dell Laptop For QuickBooks
Intel Core i7-10710U (6 cores/16 Threads)
16GB RAM LPDDR3
Intel UHD 620
512GB PCIe NVMe SSD
13” 4k resolution IPS
This is the most expensive laptop for QuickBooks out of the list. Hardware wise it isn’t much different from ANY of the expensive models we went over and design wise it’s just as thin/lightweight as any premium ultrabook we went over.
However, it has a 4k display with 13-15 screen (depending on which model you choose), so you will have A LOT more screen area to work with.
There’s one problem with the Dell XPS 13 though, it has several different sellers and prices can fluctuate a lot. If this model(the link in the buttons) is out of stock.
You should to just look for the best deal by typing “Dell XPS 13 4k” if you want the 13 version or “Dell XPS 15 4k” if you want the 15 version.
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.