VR developer focused on creating immersive storytelling experiences. Follow me on Twitter: @VRHeavenNews
February 24th, 2024
Category Computer Rating
Best Overall Dell Inspiron 3020 Desktop 4.8
Best for Photo Editing Lenovo V50T Gen 2 Desktop 4.7
Budget Option 1 (cheapest) Acer Aspire TC-895-UA92 3.5
Budget Option 2 Acer Aspire TC-1760-UA93 4.1
  • Get a computer with as much RAM as possible – I recommend at least 32 GB for most people, although 16 GB can suffice
  • Get a fast SSD
  • Surprisingly, you don’t need a powerful CPU/processor – even older generations will suffice. 6-8 cores is fine.
  • You don’t need a graphics card unless you’re doing 3D rendering or AI

TL;DR: Best Laptops for Photoshop

Category Laptop Rating
Best Overall Apple 2023 Macbook Air with M2 Chip 4.8
Best Value Apple 2020 Macbook Air with M1 Chip 4.3
Best for 3D Rendering Apple 2023 Macbook Air with M3 Chip 4.9
Budget Option Dell Inspiron 16 with RTX 2050 4.0

Important Specs for Photoshop

Before deciding on your computer, you need to know what are the most important specs for Photoshop, and what exactly each one does.

RAM/Memory (Most Important)


My old computer had 16 GB of RAM, which is the minimum recommended amount for Photoshop, but it drove me nuts. I constantly hit limit almost every time I used Photoshop and my computer would start freezing/stuttering really badly. I had to close and open Photoshop every time I wanted to “reset” the RAM usage.

Photoshop eats up RAM like crazy, especially with high-resolution images, multiple layers, Lightroom, or when running alongside other software.

That’s why if you work with high-res images, I recommend no less than 32 GB of RAM. However, get as much as possible. 64 GB is fine. Even 128 GB is fine if you’re a professional artist/designer.

My recommendation:

  • 16 GB for very light work (lower resolution, limited multitasking)
  • 32-64 GB RAM for most professional and non-professional work (recommended)
  • 64-128 GB RAM for full-time professional work

If you deal with very high resolution images or high PPI (pixels per inch) and would like the option to multi-task comfortably, I highly recommend going for 64 GB of RAM.

Remember, RAM is the most important part of Photoshop work, so don’t cheap out on RAM.

CPU (Medium Importance)


Photoshop is a CPU-intensive program, especially for tasks like applying filters, rendering, or batch processing images. Having a faster CPU with more cores will improve the speed of these tasks, however, it’s not as important as people think.

My old CPU was an i7-8700K and it was surprisingly good for Photoshop. Since I’m not a professional artist or designer, I decided not to upgrade it.

The truth is, even an older, crappy CPU can do most things very quickly in Photoshop. A newer generation CPU might take 0.5 seconds to apply a filter, whilst an older, slower CPU might take 0.7 seconds. Even though percentage wise, it’s a big increase, in reality, it’s not a big deal.

Having a better CPU matters more to full-time designers who do this for a living, as it could improve the efficiency of their workflow.


Choose an 8-core processor (Intel i5, i7, i9, or AMD Ryzen equivalents) with a high clock speed. More recent generations offer better performance/efficiency.

If you’re on a budget, a 6-core processor is fine.

Top CPUs for Photoshop:

From best to worst:

  • i9-14900K
  • i9-13900K
  • i7-14700K
  • i7-13700K
  • Ryzen 9 7950X
  • Ryzen 9 7900X
  • Ryze 7 7700X
  • i5-14600
  • i5-13600
  • Ryzen 5 7600X

These are top of the line CPUs for Photoshop. Even the worst ones in this list will perform phenomenally!

If you’re on a budget, it’s 100% fine to save money and get something cheaper. You don’t need to break the bank on the CPU like most people assume! 6-cores is even fine, but I’d avoid anything less than that.

You don’t need an i9 – however, if you’re a full-time artist doing this for a living, it’s an option worth considering.

Having more cores can speed up processing times for filters, rendering, and batch processing tasks, however, there are diminshing returns after 8 cores.

Storage (Important)

SSD vs HDD for Photoshop

Storage is also very important. You only want SSDs, as they have much faster read and write speeds compared to traditional HDDs.

SSDs are very cheap nowadays and greatly improve Photoshop’s overall performance:

  • faster boot times
  • quicker file loading/saving
  • better performance when using Photoshop’s scratch disk feature.
  • improved rendering speeds

The amount of storage space is up to you. If you want to save money, you can opt for two hard drives – an SSD for Photoshop and OS use, a HDD for general file storage (pngs, videos, documents etc).

GPU (Medium Importance)


While Photoshop primarily relies on the CPU, certain features and tasks are GPU-accelerated, meaning they can use your graphics card to improve performance. This includes stuff like 3D rendering, drawing, and some filters.

A better GPU can also improve zooming, panning and rotating of images by making it smoother.


You don’t need an ultra powerful gaming GPU for Photoshop usage. A graphics card with 4GB of VRAM should be more than plenty for simple photo editing. 2GB of VRAM should suffice if you’re on a budget.

Adobe recommends a GPU with an average Ops/Sec of 2000 or higher. Here’s a list of budget ones:

  • GTX 480
  • GTX 1050
  • GTX 1630
  • GTX 760
  • GTX 950
  • GTX  660 Ti

As you can see, you don’t need an ultra powerful GPU for Photoshop. Having a better GPU will make things smoother though, so here are my recommendations for mid-range, good value, graphics cards:

  • GTX 970
  • GTX 980
  • GTX 1050 Ti
  • GTX 1060
  • GTX 1650
  • Radeon RX 6500
  • Ryzen 7 6800U
  • Radeon RX 580
  • RTX 3050

There are some exceptions for getting a higher end graphics card:

  1. If you have multiple 4K monitors, then you might want to bump up the GPU VRAM.
  2. Furthermore – if you use plugins, especially those that are AI-based such as Topaz and Retouch4Me – those will require a powerful GPU. Even a high end gaming GPU would be recommended if you use those a lot.

High-end graphics cards (for 3D, AI or for those who want to game as well):

  • RTX 2070
  • RTX 3060
  • RTX 2080
  • RTX 30-series
  • RTX 40-series

In general, any of the RTX cards above a 2070 should perform very well even for AI related tasks. Now if you’re planning on doing any sort of AI training – you’d want as powerful of a GPU as possible – ideally something from the 40-series.

PC or Mac?

Researching online, you might hear people saying that Mac is better for Photoshop since it’s more optimized. However, that thinking is a way of the past and hasn’t been true for a long time.

Adobe Photoshop is optimized very well for both PC and Mac nowadays.

Recommendation: Go with whatever you’re most comfortable with. They’re both equally as good.

Best Computers for Photoshop

1. Best Overall: Dell Inspiron 3020 Desktop

Dell Inspiron 3020 Desktop

This is a desktop that’s well-rounded everywhere, whether you want to use it for Lightroom or 3D rendering:

  • It has a good amount of RAM (32 GB) – enough to open several large files at once and still have room for multi-tasking
  • It has a powerful GPU (RTX 3060), so you can perform GPU-intensive tasks such as 3D rendering and AI.
  • It has a powerful i7-13700 CPU, capable of the most intensive photo editing tasks, and most heavy-duty video editing tasks.

If you’re looking for a well-rounded, good value desktop that can do everything – the Dell Inspiron 3020 computer is the perfect choice. It’s great as both a work desktop and gaming desktop.

Now, if you don’t plan on doing any GPU intensive tasks, it’s possible to cut costs with other desktops:

2. Best for Photo Editing: Lenovo V50T Gen 2 Desktop

Lenovo V50T Gen 2 Desktop

This computer is a beast everywhere, but when it comes to the graphics card – it has an integrated Intel UHD Graphics 750, which really sucks, but as long as you aren’t doing 3D rendering or AI, you should be fine.

For everything else, the Lenovo V50T has everything you can ask for:

  • An ultra powerful i9-11900K CPU, capable of even heavy-duty video editing (a much more intensive process than photo editing)
  • 64 GB of RAM – you’ll be very comfortable with this amount
  • 2TB NVMe SSD
  • Small form factor design

Overall: This is the best value PC for photo editing, but don’t get it if you plan on using AI or 3D rendering, since the GPU isn’t suitable for it.

3. Best Budget PC for Photoshop: Acer Aspire TC-895-UA92

Aspire TC-895

If you’re looking for a cheap PC in the $500 range that can handle light to medium image editing – the Acer Aspire is a decent choice.

It has 12 GB of RAM, which will suffice for light Photoshop work (smaller images). If you work with larger images, I highly recommend buying RAM separately and upgrading it. Upgrading RAM is ultra easy (and cheap).

The processor is an Intel Core i5-10400 6-Core, which is similar to my old CPU, the i7-8700K. You should have no problems with this CPU.

Due to the price, this PC lacks a dedicated GPU, so it won’t work if you’re planning on using 3D features of Photoshop.

For that, I recommend:

4. Budget Option 2: Acer Aspire TC-1760-UA93 Desktop

Aspire TC-1760

So this one is an upgrade from the last one in every way. It has more RAM, a better CPU and a decent graphics card, so can actually do 3D tasks. Furthermore, Lightroom will be much faster with this PC, due to the graphics card, especially in the dev module where there is real-time processing for the image preview.

  • 16 GB of RAM – if you need more, you can always upgrade
  • Intel Core i7-12700F – more than good enough for Photoshop
  • 512 GB SSD storage + 1 TB HDD for storing other documents

Best Laptops for Photoshop

1. Best Overall: Apple 2023 MacBook Air Laptop with M2 chip

If you’re a Mac lover, looking for great value, the Apple 2023 MacBook Air Laptop is the perfect choice for you.

It comes with an M2 chip, which is an 8-core CPU, and 10-core GPU, with up to 24 GB of unified RAM. This means there’s 24 GB of memory shared between CPU, GPU, RAM and Storage, which is more than powerful enough to run Photoshop and Lightroom at fast speeds even for professionals. Unified RAM means it also can’t be upgraded, which is standard for Mac products.

Overall, this laptop has been tested to handle intensive photo editing tasks with high PPI and resolution, offering decent multi-tasking capabilities. With it’s 10-core GPU, it’s also capable of GPU-heavy processes like 3D rendering, making it a decent all-rounder for everybody.

In terms of other aspects, it’s ultra thin, portable, lightweight (1.51 kg/3.3 lbs) and overall easy to carry around. The battery life is very impressive, at 18 hours of usage.

2. Best Value: 2020 Apple MacBook Air Laptop with M1 Chip

A great value option for those looking to use Photoshop and Lightroom. By getting an older generation laptop, you can save money and get more bang for your buck.

Even though the M2 chip is faster, this was considered one of the best laptops for Photoshop just a few years ago. So it still runs at a decent speed with Photoshop! Just make sure you get the 16 GB version.

This laptop works well for all Photoshop tasks whether you’re working with Lightroom, high resolution/PPI images or 3D rendering – it can handle those tasks at decent speeds. 

Like other Apple products, this one has great battery life – 18 hours, is ultra slim, and portable. The weight is higher at 2.33 kg/5.5 lbs, but not a big deal.

3. Best Premium Laptop: Apple 2023 MacBook Pro Laptop M3 Max chip

If you’re looking to run apps lightning fast, the Apple Macbook Pro (2023) is one of the fastest you can get for a Mac laptop. There are two chips you can get:

  • M3 Pro Chip
  • M3 Max Chip (superior)

M3 Max chip is one of the fastest you can get on a Mac laptop. It has a 16-core CPU and 40-core GPU and comes with 36 GB of RAM (double the M3 Pro).

Meanwhile, the M3 Pro has a 12-core CPU and 18-core GPU and 18 GB of RAM.

Both will be able to handle the advanced photo editing on Photoshop at very fast speeds. The main difference between them (apart from the price) is the M3 Max is better suited towards GPU intensive tasks like AI, 3D rendering, complex video editing at high resolutions, large-scale simulations. It also comes with much more RAM which can be extremely useful for Photoshop.

Our recommendation:

Get the M3 Max if you work with multiple large files simultaneously, or if you work with 3D features a lot, or if you use AI a lot. Otherwise, go for the M3 Pro.

4. Cheapest Laptop for Photoshop: Dell Inspiron 16 with RTX 2050

If you want the cheapest laptop for Photoshop, I recommend going with a Windows one. Make sure to select the i7 CPU and RTX 2050 GPU.

Despite being a budget laptop, it can handle most photo editing tasks and even some 3D rendering, albeit at slower speeds. With 16 GB of RAM, it should be enough to work with larger files (8K resolution, 300 PPI) with decent multi-tasking. Although you’ll hit the RAM limit if you start opening multiple files this large.

Unlike the Mac laptops, RAM can be upgraded here quite easily, and performance-wise, this comes close to the Mac laptops. 

In terms of design and portability, the laptop is quite slim, but the weight is 4.28 lb (1.94 kg) which is on the heavier side. The battery life is 13 hours compared to the Mac laptops which are 18 hours, but for a budget laptop for Photoshop, you can’t ask for too much more. This really comes at a great price.

Further Resources for Choosing a Laptop/PC for Photoshop

Here are some further resources I recommend reading:

  1. Minimum and recommended system requirements by Adobe
  2. CPU and GPU requirements
  3. PassMark GPU Benchmarks

Adobe recommends a GPU with an average ops/sec of 2000 or higher on PassMark’s GPU Benchmark

In Summary: Choosing the Best Laptops/Computers for Photoshop

For a computer/laptop for Photoshop, you want to get as much RAM as possible, but you don’t need to break the bank on a good CPU or GPU.

It’s a common misconception that you need a powerful CPU for Photoshop and that having one saves you loads of time, but unless you’re a professional artist/editor who does this full-time, you only need a decent CPU – nothing too weak, but nothing too crazy like an i9 either.

And you only need a good GPU if you’re dealing with 3D rendering tasks… although a better GPU can make things such as image rotation smoother, so it’s up to you. Just make sure to also find a computer with adequate SSD storage depending on your needs, as PSD/PSB files can get quite large.


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