Graphic designers often use Adobe software as a staple for their line of work, with programs like Photoshop, Illustrator or Lightroom. Adobe Photoshop is probably the most common choice for graphic designers or artists.
You might be ready to build yourself a brand-new PC for work, or maybe you’re a student or a professional who needs to take your work with you on the go. You’re going to need the know-how on what you should be looking for when you work heavily with Adobe Photoshop.
Adobe Photoshop requires a powerful processor, multitasking power and a good graphics card and we’ve listed down a quick summary for each component, what they do, why you need it, and which would be best for you.
Best Specs for Photoshop
Processor for Photoshop
The choice you make on your PC’s CPU is going to determine your system’s overall performance. Despite Intel being the most popular and well-known AMD is on the rise and is offering parts similar in power at a much better rate.
There are two things you’ll need to take into consideration for your build: it’s speed, and the number of cores it has.
So far, the best CPU’s we’ve found for Adobe Photoshop is the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X. If you prefer Intel, then a 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10750H would do just fine, but you’ll be saving a tad more money with the AMD, which you can then invest in your RAM or GPU.
Graphics Card for Photoshop
When it comes to your PC’s GPU, you’ll want to go for a dedicated one. This gives you more graphics power to keep up with whatever you’re doing on Adobe Photoshop, as well as ensure you’ll be able to render your files quickly and effectively.
While you can still run Adobe Photoshop on an integrated or onboard graphics card, low-end, dedicated GPUs cost only a little more, and still make quite a big difference in your PC’s performance. At the very least, 4GB of VRAM should be more than enough for your needs.
We recommend that you purchase either the NVIDIA RTX 3070, if you’re into getting the latest models, or an AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT. Those two are at the top of the power charts concerning GPU’s today. If you’re hoping to save some money, however, the NVIDIA GTX series or AMD’s equivalent will do.
This is pretty reliant on the size of the files, as well as the number of images you’ll be working with, too. Photoshop is notorious for using up quite a bit of RAM, especially for professionals who need to edit tons of images in one sitting, so you’ll need to take that, as well as your system RAM requirements, into consideration.
The larger your document size is, and the more photos you work with will call for even higher RAM capacities. At the very least, you’ll be looking at your setup having at least 16GB of available RAM for smooth sailing on Adobe Photoshop.
Most laptops nowadays come with solid-state drives, but that doesn’t mean that laptops with hard-disk drives are out of the question. If you’re going to be working with multiple drives, then it’s going to be the configuration of your drives that count.
Solid-state drives are the fastest, especially when compared to hard-disk drives. They’re made from electronic components that transfer information considerably faster than the mechanical parts of a hard-disk drive.
If you’re working on a device with only one drive, then purchase an NVMe SSD (the fastest type of drive) at a storage capacity of at least 256GB (and you can store your additional files onto an external drive anyway).
When working with two drives, we’d recommend having one solid-state drive to keep your OS and programs on, and a large, 1TB HDD for your files. This keeps your laptop quick and speedy, while still giving you tons of storage space.
Any Photoshop user will tell you that your display is also crucial for working on Adobe software. The display you’re planning on getting needs to have next to, or perfect color replication. The better the display quality, the better your work will look to your eyes.
That being said, you’ll also want a display that doesn’t strain your eyes, and one that can easily be viewed from any angle, especially if you’re the type of graphic artist or designer who moves around and stretches as they work.
Look for a display with at a screen resolution of at least 1920x1080p, and an IPS panel is a must-have. But for those of you artists looking for the best of the best, any laptop or monitor that’s got an IPS panel, and has a 4K screen resolution will be perfect.
Best Specs for Photoshop FAQ
Q1. Are onboard graphics good for photoshop?
Most onboard graphics cards should be able to take Photoshop, however they’re not the best for it. You’re much better off purchasing a laptop with a dedicated graphics card, as they’ll give you more power to work with, especially when rendering large files.
Q2. How much VRAM does Photoshop need?
Your video card on your laptop should at least have an additional 4GB of VRAM to give you good graphics performance from your laptop. There are several features on Adobe Photoshop, like 3D modeling, perspective warping, rendering, etc., that wouldn’t work well, or at all with less than 2GB of VRAM.
Q3. Can I work directly from an external storage device?
Absolutely! There’s no reason for you to not be able to do this, though we wouldn’t entirely recommend it, because any accidental slips wherein you pull the cord out of the drive or the laptop might make you lose all your progress.
Q4. What is the best storage configuration for Photoshop?
You should have a solid-state drive as the primary drive. This is where you’d install and store Photoshop and having an SSD means that the software will run much faster and much smoother.
A secondary drive should be where you store your work, and you might prefer to have another SSD rather than an HDD because they’re considerably quicker. A third drive is completely optional but will add a bit more power if you’re looking for the best configuration possible.
Q5. What are the recommended system specs for Adobe Photoshop?
You should be opting for a device that meet the following system requirements for you to be able to maximize using Adobe Photoshop:
- CPU: AMD or Intel (64-bit), with 2.0GHz or faster clock speed
- RAM: 8GB
- Storage: 10GB space
- Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660/NVIDIA Quadro T1000 (or other supported GPUs)
There’s our list for the best specs for Adobe Photoshop. Hopefully this gives you the basic know-how for what you’d need to lookout for when building a PC or buying a new laptop. Our FAQ segment is also set up to answer some of the most common questions we’ve come across when it comes to Adobe Photoshop and what you need.
Don’t forget to check out our Best Laptops for Adobe Photoshop article, which we’ve written as well to help you decide which laptop would be best for your everyday Photoshopping needs.