When choosing a laptop for Serato DJ Software, you want to first decide if you’re running a DAW along with it or not. If you wanted to, you could record directly with Serato Pro without a DAW program. Using Serato with a DAW is a bit intensive so you will need a high-capacity SSD, decent RAM and a powerful CPU which isn’t going to come cheap.
Having at least 4 GB of RAM is the minimum if you just want to use Serato for DJing. However, that isn’t really practical these days. If you use effects, cue points, loops and other features that may be demanding then look towards getting 16 or 32 GB, especially if you’re going to work with video. Anything less than 16 GB is not a good option, unless you go for a MacBook where things are bit more optimized.
You may also look towards a 1 or 2 GB dedicated video card for working with video. Going for modern high-end integrated graphics can work as well, since Intel Iris Xe and Ryzen Radeon are comparable to dedicated laptop GPUs from a few years back such as the GTX 950M and even comparable to low end desktop GPUs such as the GTX 750.
Serato itself isn’t resource intensive and doesn’t require a lot of processing power. We ran it on a computer with a dual core processor and it worked out just fine. However, if you are recording full sets and using a DAW then you want to get something good. We recommend at least going for a 4-core processor, but a 6 or 8 core processor will serve you better and provide better longevity.
Back in the day, Serato was not well optimized for Windows, so users would encounter a lot of crashes and stutters. But those days are long gone. Serato now works equally as well with Windows as it does on a mac. You can go for whatever operating system you’re used to and comfortable with.
The last thing you may want to consider is the size and type of screen. We personally prefer using a 13-inch device for its portability, but when working in a studio setting, a 15-inch or even a 17-inch device works better because of the better viewing distance.
Having a touch screen can also be useful in case you aren’t using or don’t have access to your controller. We would always recommend using a dedicated controller, since touch screens can be a bit awkward to work with, but they can be handy in a pinch. It should be noted that modern laptops, especially those with touch screens are not as durable, so you should be careful when using them especially at DJ booths where they can be easily damaged.
Minimum System Requirements Serato DJ Software
Operating System Requirements for Serato DJ Pro
Note: 64-bit only (32-bit operating systems not supported).
|macOS 12 Monterey|
macOS 11 Big Sur
macOS 10.15 Catalina
Hardware Requirements for Serato DJ Pro
|Processor||Intel: i3, i5, i7, i9 Apple: M1 AMD: Ryzen|
|Screen Resolution||1280 x 720|
|USB||Available USB 2.0 port|
|Available storage||5 GB|
Requirements for Serato Video
|Video Memory||384 MB (1GB+ recommended for best performance)|
Best Laptop for Serato DJ Software Reviews
Apple MacBook Pro M2
Back in the day macs used to be the default option for Serato and other DJ software. They are still very popular because of the power and software features offered. The M2 is Apple’s latest offering for the 13-inch MacBook Pro which is an 8 core CPU and 10 core GPU. According to Apple, the M2 is about 40 percent faster than the M1 found on the previous generation model. While it did provide almost identical performance to the M1 in basic tasks, when it came to video rendering, we found the M2 to be noticeably faster than its predecessor due to having 2 extra GPU cores.
During our testing, we barely heard the MacBook’s fan! That’s because the fans aren’t supposed to turn on till the CPU hits 50-degree Celsius. Even then, the MacBook remained pretty quiet. The power efficiency of the M1 meant that it was able to maintain temperatures under a respectable 80-degrees, without suffering any thermal throttling. This is something that the latest MacBook Pro shares with its predecessor and it’s a big upgrade over the thermal performance of the older Intel macs.
The MacBook comes with 8 GB of DDR4 RAM and a 512 GB SSD. While 8 GB isn’t a lot of memory for a laptop, Apple’s amazing optimization is good enough that we didn’t encounter any major stutters. We even tried using multiple effects from expansion packs such as Wolf Pack in multimode and there were barely any performance issues. The 512 GB SSD will be enough if you’re just starting out Serato. However, if you use a full-fledged DAW or work with video then we recommend getting an external storage device.
The 13.3-inch Retina display was amazing. We had no issue using it outdoors in direct sunlight because of the 500 nits of brightness. The color reproduction is excellent, covering the P3 color gamut which has 25 percent more colors than sRGB. The color accurate display is especially useful if you are working with video, but it’s something all users can appreciate. If you have used the M1 MacBook Pro, then you will find that this display provides the same best-in class experience.
Unfortunately, MacBooks have historically had a weak port selection. The M2 Pro comes with only 2 USB-C Thunderbolt 4 ports and a headphone jack. If you’re DJing and producing audio at the same time, then you will need to connect both of your controller and audio interface to your laptop. Which means that all your ports will be taken up and you won’t have extra ports to attach accessories such as an external hard drive or monitor or even a charger for your laptop. Not to mention most controllers and some audio interfaces use USB-A which isn’t even present on the MacBook. Personally, we always use a USB-C docking station, and we recommend you do the same.
Some notable features of the MacBook Pro include an amazing trackpad and backlit keyboard, great speakers, and a decent webcam. When compared to the previous M1 MacBook Pro’s speakers, you get spatial audio. You will mostly be using headphones/monitors for listening to audio in the studio, but the spatial audio speakers are great and have a 3D audio listening effect.
An issue we noticed with the MacBook Pro was that it had unreliable Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity. When we did an internet test, the speeds were slower than on other Apple devices, even older MacBooks. Using a wired Ethernet connection did solve the problem. The Bluetooth would also often disconnect, which is especially annoying if you use accessories such as a wireless mouse.
The MacBook Pro has identical dimensions when compared to its predecessors at 14.75 x 11.25 x 4.25 inches and weighing only 3 pounds. The only complaint we have is that the outer design of the MacBook is that it is a bit old, and we would have liked to see Apple bring a new refreshed design with the M2 Macs.
The battery size on the MacBook Pro M2 is a bit lower than its predecessor. We found it to last about 19 hours which is only 1 hour less than the previous model, and that too because of the more power hungry M2 CPU. However, it is still one of the best battery lives you will get with any laptop, easily lasting over 2 days
MacBook Pro M2 Benefits
The M2 provides excellent performance, which beats out all its competitors, and that too while remaining silent and not thermally throttling.
The MacBook Pro has one of the best and most color accurate display on any laptop, which is useful for those looking to work with video on Serato.
You get an industry leading battery life at 19 hours which will easily last you over 2 days on a single charge.
MacBook Pro M2 Drawbacks
You only get 2 USB-C Thunderbolt ports which get used up when using a controller and audio interface simultaneously.
The MacBook Pro has problems with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.
LG Gram 17Z95P
The LG Gram laptops are known for being lightweight and portable, while also providing exceptional performance and a premium user experience. The Gram 17Z95P comes with an 11th generation Intel core i7-1195G7 which is a 4 core and 8 threads CPU.
LG has underclocked the CPU on this laptop because of the cooling limitations of a thin and light machine. As a result, you do get a cooler system, but it performs worse than other laptops with an i7-1195G7 that we have tested. This is something LG has been doing with all their previous Gram laptops. The performance is still good as it performs about 40 percent faster than its predecessor and about 65 percent slower than the M2 on the MacBook Pro, due to having 4 fewer cores. We did not encounter any stutters or crashes when using the LG Gram with Serato.
The LG Gram comes with 16 GB of DDR4x RAM and a 2TB PCIe M.2 NVMe SSD. The 16 GB of RAM is more than enough for running Serato DJ with multiple effects and any DAW with multiple plugins. The 2 TB SSD is also more than enough for DJ, video, and audio production.
You get a 17″ 2560×1600 IPS LCD display, with DCI-P3 99% color expression. We found it to be fairly color accurate for any video work that you want to do. As compared to the 400 nits of brightness on its predecessor, you only get 350 nits of brightness with this model. Due to the matt anti-glare coating, it is good enough for outdoor viewing, although we did find it to suffer a bit when compared to the MacBook Pro. The previous model had thick bezels which gave the laptop a much more cheaper feeling. Luckily, LG has decreased them this year which makes the device look a bit more premium. The LG Gram is one of the only few options that will provide you a display this large, while also providing a premium user experience and good performance.
The port selection on this laptop is excellent especially for a device this thin and lightweight. You get 2 USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4 support, 2 USB-A 3.2 ports, a full-size HDMI port, a microSD card reader, and a headphone jack. The only thing missing is an Ethernet port, but considering the dimensions of this laptop, it is excusable. You will still be able to connect any kind of controller and audio interface without requiring an external USB hub. LG has also added USB-C charging, which is a welcome change over its predecessor.
The LG Gram has some notable features including a Kensington lock, backlit keyboard, and a decent quality webcam. We did encounter an issue with the LG’s keyboard, some keys wouldn’t register while typing, and it was at random, wouldn’t happen all the time. Upon further research we found that there are a few keyboards related issues which are common with the Gram. Luckily, LG has great customer support, and we got our problem fixed. Another issue with the Gram is that it has bottom firing speakers which muffle up the sound. We found the audio quality unacceptable however it wasn’t a dealbreaker since we always use monitors or headphones in the studio.
While the LG Gram is large because of its 17-inch design coming in at 14.97 x 10.24 x 0.7 inches, it is insanely light at only 2.98 pounds or just over 1 kilogram! When we first got this laptop, we thought that it was a toy or a dummy unit because of how light it was. So in terms of portability this laptop is one of the best ones out there.
In addition to being light, LG managed to include a sizeable battery. In our testing, we consistently got around 10 hours of screen on time which would easily last us an entire day. While this is lower than the top-notch endurance of the MacBook, it is still comparable to other laptops, even those which are much thicker and heavier.
LG Gram Benefits
You get a 2 TB SSD which is fast and large enough to store all your RAW files and programs.
The Gram has a large 17-inch display which is both color accurate and bright enough for viewing outdoors.
Despite the thin design, LG managed to include all the necessary ports such as 2 Thunderbolt USB-C ports and 2 USB-A ports.
LG Gram Drawbacks
LG has underclocked their processor to maintain temperatures as they could not include more fans otherwise it would increase the weight of the laptop.
The speakers on the Gram are mediocre, especially if you want to use them for audio play back.
HP 15 Touchscreen
The HP 15 comes with an Intel Core i5-1135G7 which is a 4 core and 8 thread processor. It is about 23% faster than the i5-10310U on its predecessor. When we ran a benchmark test, we found the HP to perform about 17 percent worse than the LG. The real-world performance of Serato was almost identical to the LG, we did notice any issues at all. The laptop comes with similar Intel Iris Xe graphics when compared to the LG, and we did not notice any performance differences during video production either.
You get 32 GB of RAM and a 1 TB SSD. Having 32 GB of memory will be more than enough to handle all kinds of Serato DJ workloads as well as any external DAW you use. In fact, during our testing, we found the HP to handle workloads involving multiple programs and plugins better than the LG, despite having a weaker processor. Having a 1 TB SSD will also be enough to store most of your programs and RAW files.
You get a 15.6” 1080p touchscreen display, which was mediocre. It has washed out colors and wasn’t usable outdoors because of the 250 nits of brightness, despite the anti-glare coating. If you have to use the laptop on the go, we recommend using an external monitor if you plan to do any work with video. However, this defeats the purpose of getting a laptop in the first place. If you’re moving around a lot then this may not be the machine for you, but indoors it works just fine. That being said this IPS display is much needed upgrade over the TN panel used on the HP 15’s predecessor, which was pretty horrible even indoors because of the terrible viewing angles.
The main advantage of getting this laptop is the touchscreen which makes it easier navigating through the interface. You will also be able to DJ, without a controller if you ever need to. While a proper touch screen laptop isn’t a full replacement for a controller, it can be used in emergencies.
The port selection on the HP 15 is about what you would expect with 2 USB Type-A, 1 USB Type-C, a headphone jack, an HDMI, and an SD media card reader. You will be able to connect most kinds of controllers and an audio interface and still have ports left over for connecting other accessories. That being said, we would have liked the inclusion of an Ethernet and a Thunderbolt port, but it’s not fair to expect the world out of a simpler HP laptop!
Some other noteworthy features include a solid backlit keyboard and an excellent design with small bezels which is inspired from much more premium HP laptops. The front design is even comparable to that of the LG Gram.
HP 15 is fairly portable coming in at 14.11 x 9.53 x 0.71 inches and weighing only 3.75 pounds. While still not being as portable and light as the MacBook or LG, we found the HP easy to carry in our backpack. The thing about portability is that unless you move around a lot, it really doesn’t matter. Most producers work out of their studio so the need for going to places is really not there at all. So unless you are looking to assemble some sort of mobile rig, this shouldn’t be an issue at all.
Despite being somewhat portable, the HP still packs a 41 WHr lithium-ion cell. In our testing, it provided about 7 to 8 hours of screen on time. We often had to charge the HP before the day ended, but the battery life was still acceptable. Although, as issue we notices was that the HP would often run out of charge quicker when on sleep mode.
HP 15 Benefits
The HP provides excellent performance for money, which rivals much more expensive laptops.
You get a massive 32 GB of RAM which further boosts the performance of the HP.
The included touch screen provides more options for usability and can be used as a substitute for a controller.
HP 15 Drawbacks
The display is mediocre as it has average colors and doesn’t get bright enough to be used in an outdoor environment.
Not as portable and lacks ports compared to the LG and the MacBook.
Based on our scoring model, you can see the highest variance in the Processor, Connectivity and RAM categories. The M2 chip on the MacBook Pro is one of the most powerful CPUs you can find, providing a big upgrade over its predecessor, the M1, which was already revolutionary for its time. For connectivity, the LG Gram offers both USB-A and USB-C thunderbolt ports which are necessary to connect different kinds of controllers and audio interface, setting it apart from the competitors which miss out on one of the two ports. The HP beats out its competitors in the RAM as it manages to have a perfect score of 10 in the category.
The LG Gram scores very highly in almost all the categories which helps it stand out from the competition. It performs especially well in the Storage and Connectivity categories, scoring a perfect 10. Having a 2 TB SSD is very important for Serato users who don’t want to spend extra on external storage devices. As previously stated, the Gram also has both a USB-C and USB-A port and doesn’t miss out on any other essential ports either. The only area it scores low is in the Price to Performance category, and that’s because LG offers a truly unique experience with the Gram and you are paying a bit of a premium for that.
The HP scores exceptionally well and loses to the Gram only by 0.2 points. This means that it is also an excellent option for those looking for one of the best Price to Performance in any laptop, as well as a touch screen which can be great asset for Serato DJ users. Moreover, you get 32 GB of RAM which will be especially important for those looking to work with video. It doesn’t make many compromises either, so you won’t miss out on a lot when going for this option.
According to our testing and scoring model, the best laptop for Serato DJ has to be the LG Gram scoring the highest average score of 8.7. It provides a unique and excellent user experience that is not commonly found on other laptops. While it performs well enough for Serato DJ, its real value comes from the high amount of Storage and RAM offered, as well as the excellent port selection. What’s truly surprising is that it manages to do that while also being one of the thinnest and lightest laptops we have tested. You will definitely not be disappointed going with this option for Serato DJ.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are the Minimum System Requirements for Serato DJ Software in some aspects lower compared to the laptops you have suggested?
You may notice that the laptops we recommended are much more powerful than the minimum system requirements. That’s because those are just the bare minimum specifications required to run the program. Using Serato as just a DJ software doesn’t require a lot of power, however once you mix in using a DAW or working with video, you will require a lot more power. All the laptops we recommended are good enough for most intensive workloads. Not only that, having a more powerful laptop will ensure that it remains future proof.
Does my laptop come with Serato DJ Software installed?
Serato DJ is a third-party software which must be downloaded by the users. You can install this software by following the instructions on this link: https://support.serato.com/hc/en-us/articles/203390864-How-to-install-Serato-DJ
How do I optimize my laptop for Serato Video?
To make sure your laptop runs Serato Video you will need to optimize your graphics settings to get the best performance. Doing that will make your laptop’s integrated or dedicated graphics use more power and drain the battery faster, that’s why we recommend always have your laptop plugged in when using Serato.
To optimize your graphics settings for Windows, follow these steps:
- Right click on your desktop and click on “Intel Graphics Settings” or “Graphics Properties.”
- The Intel Graphics and Control Media panel will open where you will have to select the “Advance Mode” option and click Ok.
- Another Window will open up where you will have to click on the 3D tab and change your preference to “Performance”
- Then select the “Power tab” and change the power plans to “Maximum Performance”
- Now close the control panel and right click on your desktop again and open the control panel for your dedicated graphics.
For Nvidia graphics users, do the following steps after opening your graphics control panel:
- Select “Adjust Image Settings” and choose “Use my preference emphasizing: Performance” and then click on Apply.
- Select the “Manage 3D Settings” and open the drop-down menu for “Global Settings”. Choose “high-performance NVIDIA processor” for the preferred graphics processor and apply the settings.
- Open the drop-down menu for “Program Settings” and add the Serato Video application. Then change the preferred graphics processor to the “high-performance NVIDIA processor” as described in previous step.
- Select the “Set PhysX Configuration” option. Open the drop-down menu and select the name of your NVIDIA graphics card and apply the settings.
- Restart your computer for the changes to take effect and then you can run Serato Video with the maximum performance output of your laptop.
For AMD graphics users, do the following step after opening your graphics control panel:
- Go to Graphics and select “Powerplay”. Change the “Plugged in” and “Battery” options to “Maximum Performance”.
- While in the Graphics settings, go to “3D Application Settings” and move the slider towards “Performance”.
- If your graphics control panel has the “Switchable Graphics tab” then go, there to locate “seratovideo.exe” and set it to High Performance and apply the settings. Do the same for your host Serato software as well.
- Restart your computer for these settings to take effect and then you can run Serato Video with the maximum performance output of your laptop.
To optimize your graphics settings on Mac laptops, follow these steps:
- Open your System Preferences window from your dock.
- Choose the “Energy Saver” performance.
- Unselect the “Automatic graphics switching” option to use the maximum graphics performance.
- Open the “Energy Saver” menu and choose the “High Performance” option.
- You will be prompted to log out so that the changes are applied. Once you have done that, you can then use Serato Video at the maximum performance output of your Mac laptop.
Will I be able to run future versions of Serato DJ Software on my laptop?
All the laptops on this list should be powerful enough to run the future version of Serato DJ. While they may slow down and you might encounter the occasional stutters or crashes, they will still be able to run the program. If you ever find your laptop slowing down, you can always make upgrades without changing your laptop like reapplying the thermal paste or increasing the RAM.
Other than Serato DJ Software and a Laptop, what other software and hardware will I need?
This will mainly depend on what your use case for Serato is. If you are just going to use it for basic DJing, music and video production, then you will only need Serato itself, along with a controller for mixing music. However, if you are also looking to record you will need an audio interface to connect all your other accessories such as a studio monitor and mixer, as well as your instruments and mics.