Best Computer For Graphic Design

CG Director Author Alex  by Alex  ⋮   ⋮   70 comments
CGDirector is Reader-supported. When you buy through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

A Graphic Designer needs an excellent Computer specifically targeted at Graphic Design work to make him work fast and stay motivated.

The absolute best Computer for Graphic Design has more and more become a powerhouse-machinery, that can put a good load on the hardware similar to working in 3D Modeling and Rendering, Video Editing or CAD. Images have become much larger in resolution, the Vector Illustrations have become more complex, and the Software Features rely on Hardware Features that a slow or older Computer just won’t be able to handle anymore.

The Adobe Creative Cloud with Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and lots of additional tools to accompany your Workflow will have the Computer crawling in no time if the Hardware is not picked out very carefully.

I have put together a list of what you should be on the lookout for when building or buying your Graphic Design Computer and Workstation that will be your workhorse of creative endeavors in the years to come.

Now, to some, the Computer might just be a black or gray box, or sometimes a Monitor with some magic built in, but every Computer on the inside consists of the same type of very specific parts, that we will now take a look at and see what hardware is relevant for what type of Graphic Design work.

For those of you just looking for great Graphics Design Computer Parts Lists, feel free to skip to the end of the article.

Best Hardware Parts for Graphic Design

Best Computer for Graphic Design – The CPU

Opening the case of a Computer and looking inside, what you will usually notice right away, is the cooling solution on top of the CPU (Central processing unit) also called the Processor.

Best Computer for Graphic Design - The CPU ( Processor)

Image-Source: Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

The CPU is the central processing station that does all of the multi-purpose calculations of what a typical software is supposed to be able to do:

Change a color, draw a line, process keystrokes, open a menu – all that will put the CPU to work, which will then return a result: An open menu, a new color, a finished line or a word that you typed.

There are two main ways a Modern Processor goes about its tasks: It can either work them off one at a time after one another or more simultaneously on several so-called CPU Cores at the same time.

Many at the same time, sounds like it would be much faster, but the problem with having lots of cores is, that the more Cores a CPU has the slower the individual cores are usually clocked.

Let’s look at an example: A Single-Core CPU that clocks at 5 GHz would be roughly the same speed as a Dual-Core CPU that clocks at 2,5 GHz.

Well, then let’s just get a CPU with the highest core clock and as many cores as possible and all should be great, right?

Unfortunately, since most Software makes heavy use of single Cores and isn’t coded in a way to be able to handle lots of Cores, we should be leaning towards high Core clock and not lots of Cores.

In other words, a 4-Core 5 GHz CPU would be much faster for your Graphic Design needs than a 32 core 2 GHz CPU.

Long story short,  here are some recommendations for the Best CPU for Graphic Design:

  • Intel i7 8700k has a 3,7 GHz base and 4,7 GHz Turbo Boost Clock with 6 Cores.
  • AMD Ryzen 2700x has a 3,7 GHz base and a 4,2 GHz Turbo Boost clock with 8 Cores
AMD Ryzen vs i7 8700K

Image-Source: AMD/Intel

I’d recommend going with the Intel i7 8700k for heavily single Core optimized tasks such as Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, and to go with the 2700x AMD Ryzen when you plan on also doing more multi-core optimize tasks such as rendering or Video-Encoding.

Best Computer for Graphic Design – The RAM

Another very important Hardware Component for the Best Computer for Graphic Design would be the RAM or Memory.

It caches and holds all kinds of working data at the ready for the CPU to work on. Basically everything you are currently working on should nicely fit into your Memory, otherwise, the system speed will crawl to a halt.

If your working files don’t fit into your RAM, the system starts swapping these files to disc and the hard disc or your SSD usually is a lot slower than any kind of RAM out there.

So make sure you have enough RAM for your working tasks. How much is enough? Well lets make an example:

Your system boots up, usually Windows, and already needs around 4 GB of your RAM just for it to run smoothly. Then you start Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign, and open some photos, a book your are working on, and some illustrations, and a few seconds later your are already using 8 GB RAM.

Best Computer for Graphic Design - RAM Usage

You might want to have Chrome or another browser open for some music or reference images on websites, and there goes the next GB of RAM.

RAM is interesting, it doesn’t really make anything faster when you have enough of it, but it will slow you down without a question if you don’t have enough. So make sure you tend to have a bit too much than too little.

For our Best Computer for Graphic Design, I would recommend a minimum of 8 GB of RAM. That might be pushing it a bit though and you will be much happier with 16 GB of RAM, especially if you want to work on more complex projects, have more than one project open at a time or like to keep different software and browsers or email programs open in the background.

Current modern RAM is stated as DDR4, and for those of you who want to optimize the RAM speed as much as possible, you should be looking for high Clock Speed and Low CL Latency. So A Corsair DDR4 3200MHz CL15 would be slightly faster than a 2400MHz CL17.

Good Memory Modules that I can recommend are the Corsair Vengeance LPX Series.

Best Computer for Graphic Design – The GPU (Graphics Card)

Now the Graphics Card is a hardware component that is responsible for outputting anything to be displayed on any kind of display device, usually a monitor.

If you move an image in Photoshop the GPU takes care of displaying that, draw a line, update the Viewport, scroll through pages, this is all done by the GPU.

A good thing about Graphic Design is, that there are almost no GPU intensive tasks like there are in 3D Animation, Simulation, GPU Rendering, Video Editing, Encoding or the like.

The image manipulations you have in Graphic Design usually don’t need the GPU to update a bunch of hires images at a time, as is often the case in Motion Design or anything that is heavily animated work. You usually work on a single image or canvas that nicely fits into your system RAM and Graphics Card Video RAM (VRAM).

For our Best Computer for Graphic Design therefore, the GPU is a hardware part that you can save some money on without trading too much or any performance. Your Viewport will still be snappy and smooth.

As a minimum for serious Graphic Designers, I recommend an Nvidia GTX 1050 or better a GTX 1060 which will keep your PC performing well for a long time.

Image-Source: pugetsystems.com

Now there is one big BUT that I will mention before we can continue on.

If you are serious about accurate colors, are color grading, or do lots of color setup and color grading for print and the like, then you might want a great monitor that can display a wide range of colors in a range of 10bit or higher.

The bad thing about GTX graphics cards (as in the NVIDIA GTX 1050) is, that they don’t display more than 8bits of color. If this is something you can’t live without as can be quite common in the Graphic Design world, you will have to go for an NVIDIA Quadro Workstation Graphics Card, that are quite a bit more expensive but enable you to use these kinds of features.

Best Computer for Graphic Design – The Storage, SSD, HDD

Let’s talk about storage. Print resolution images, raw images, huge illustrations and books with hundreds of pages and graphics embedded in them need lots of space.

The project files are often very large and can get into the gigabytes fairly quickly, so you will want to get a decent hard drive to store all your files.

Back in the old days, the HDDs (Hard Disc Drives) were the way to go, using moving parts and magnetism to read and write data, but these kinds of storage devices have now been overtaken in almost all areas by the new SSDs or Solid State Drives.

Solid State Drives have no moving parts anymore and kind of work like flash memory cards or USB memory sticks, just a bit larger and much, much faster.

Speed is actually the greatest part about SSDs. They are a multitude faster than hard drives.

HDDs might still be cheaper in terms of cost per gigabyte, but SSDs are faster and better in every other aspect. They are smaller, shock resistant, have longer durability, have faster read and write speeds in all kinds of workloads and consume less power.

For your Best Computer for Graphic Design, you should get an SSD with at least 500 GB to get you started. You can always get another or switch to a bigger one if you run into space problems.

I can recommend a Samsung 860 EVO 500 GB SATA SSD.

That said though, there is something even better in the storage department, even faster than SATA SSDs: The PCI-E (M.2) NVME SSDs.

PCI Express non-volatile memory-express Solid State Drives. This sure is a fancy long name but the features deserve it.

Best Computer for Graphic Design - SSD vs NVMe

Image-Source: atpinc.com

NVMe SSDs are about 5 times faster than normal SSDs in sequential read and write performance and usually about twice as fast in other more random workloads. They are still twice as expensive as normal SATA SSDs but if you work with large project files within the gigabytes more often, a M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD will be a time saver.

For a PCI-E NVMe SSD, I recommend a Samsung 970 EVO M.2 500 GB drive.

The Mainboard (Motherboard)

The Mainboard is usually the tricky part as it has to fit all of the other parts that are supposed to go onto it.

The CPU has a certain socket type that the Mainboard has to have as well. An i7 8700k, for example, will have an LGA 1151 socket, and an AMD Ryzen 2700x will need a mainboard with an AM4 socket.

Some mainboard features that you might find handy usually are an inbuilt WiFi chip or card, a LAN port for connecting to your router with a network cable, a sound chip and lots of USB plugs for your input devices, external drives and USB sticks that you might use.

Having multiple PCI-E Slots for GPUs or any other cards usually shouldn’t concern you all that much for solely building the Best Computer for Graphic Design, but if you are planning on Gaming or using 3D Software for GPU rendering, you might want to consider it having more than one.

I put together some Computer Build Recommendations down below for you to take a look at, that will work well, in case you are not familiar enough with mainboard features and sockets to pick one out for yourself.

Upgrade-ability

New Technology changes so fast and hardware such as the CPU or GPU will be overtaken by new tech within a year at the latest.

If you want to be sure your Computer is future-proof for Graphic Design and will let itself be upgraded without having to buy an entirely new System, be sure to keep some things in mind:

AMD CPUs such as the Ryzen or Threadripper on AM4 and TR4 sockets usually can be upgraded to the next few CPU releases without having to buy a new mainboard.

Intel usually likes to break compatibility quite fast and its 1151 socket has been around for quite a while now so expect having to buy a new Mainboard for future Intel CPU generations.

RAM can usually be updated quite easily, either by swapping out with bigger sizes or can be added to if you still have some slots free.

Beware though that sometimes, even though you add the exact same type of ram speed and size to your already existing RAM, there might occur some incompatibility issues that can lead to instabilities as reported by some users.

It seems to be best to always get a complete RAM Kit in the final size and not two or more individual kits that will be combined to a total amount of RAM.

GPUs run on the PCI-E socket and can be swapped out usually without any problem unless you get an extremely new GPU that absolutely requires a new PCI-E Version, though this is almost impossible to happen, as PCI-E is backward compatible.

You should only be aware of how much power your PSU delivers, how much your overall system needs and if the new or additional GPU will draw too much if you decide to change to a new one or add a second graphics card to your setup.

Best Monitor for Graphic Design use

There is a huge price stretch when it comes to monitors. You can get a 24” Full HD monitor for 150 bucks or a seemingly same monitor for 1500$. Hows that?

Certainly, some of the reasons are the brand, additional features, pivot, design and so on, but the main reason between really expensive monitors and cheaper monitors has everything to do with how colors are displayed.

The panel that is used in expensive monitors usually has a greater color range, better contrast, higher bit depth, blacker blacks, and brighter whites. As mentioned in the GPU section though, you will need a more expensive Workstation Graphics card to make use of 10bits or higher color ranges in monitors.

Now it is quite difficult to recommend a monitor as there are so many different use cases. You should think about what you do in a typical Graphic Design day.

If it has lots to do with how accurate colors look if you are color grading a TV spot or adjusting colors for a print magazine, then, by all means, be sure to get a good monitor, not necessarily expensive, but good.

If your budget is tight, consider getting a smaller Reference Monitor for proofing your colors on and a larger but cheaper monitor for actively working on in your programs.

If you would like to know more, definitely check out this in-depth Guide to buying the best Monitors for visually demanding work, which has all the information you need for getting the best Monitor for Graphic Design work.

Additional Hardware and Devices

Now to complete this Best Computer for Graphic Design you will need some more parts such as the PSU.

The PSU is the power source of a Computer and you’ll have to make sure it can provide enough watts for the computer to run stably even under full load. You can check your power needs with this watt calculator.

Depending on the CPU you get, you well need a CPU cooler. The AMD Ryzen CPUs already come with a CPU cooler, but you will need to get an additional processor cooling solution for Intel CPUs.

A good pick here is the BeQuiet Dark Rock 3 that I can recommend and have used several times myself. Noctua is a great go-to Brand for Cooling Solutions as well.

If you are looking at building the Computer yourself completely or just want to inform yourself about the different hardware parts necessary for building a Computer for Graphic Design use, it is good to know what kind of enclosures there are currently on the market.

The most common one would be the tower case that will nicely fit all of the above-noted hardware within and can be populated with all Standard off the shelf Hardware. These Tower Cases come in different sizes, materials, designs, and colors depending on your wishes.

Then there are computers that are built into a monitor itself such as the Microsoft Surface Studio or the Apple I-Mac or new Mac Pro.

Beware though that these kinds of ready to go computers won’t have the upgrade possibilities as a tower computer, especially because there is usually now way you can open and fiddle with the insides of such a computer on your own, also the parts used in such Pre-Built Computers are non-Standard. The price of such computers usually is crazy high compared to a self-built tower solution.

Input devices will be my last point on this list, but they are very important and can make or break an effective workflow. Some people like to use the mouse and keyboard, a pen and Touchscreen or the tablet and pen.

If you haven’t already figured out your preferred input device, it is wise to do a test run or borrow some devices from friends to get a feel of what type of input device fits you best and makes you the fastest.

The best Computer for Graphic Design in different Price Budgets

That was quite a long list, let’s take a look at some hardware combinations that will fit the best Computer for Graphic Design into your price budgets.

The best Computer for Graphic Design, AMD Build – 600$

PCPartPicker part list

 

The best Computer for Graphic Design, AMD Build – 1000$

PCPartPicker part list

 

The best Computer for Graphic Design, Intel Build – 1100$

PCPartPicker part list

 

The best Computer for Graphic Design, Intel Build – 1800$

PCPartPicker part list

Custom PC-Builder

If you want to get the best parts within your budget you should definitely have a look at the Web-Based PC-Builder Tool that I’ve created.

Select the main purpose that you’ll use the computer for and adjust your budget to create the perfect PC with part recommendations that will fit within your budget.

CGDirector PC-Builder Tool

PC-Builder Facebook Title Image

That’s about it! Let me know in the comments if you have any questions or need some build advice.

Alex from CGDirector - post author

Hi, I'm Alex, a Freelance 3D Generalist, Motion Designer and Compositor.

I've built a multitude of Computers, Workstations and Renderfarms and love to optimize them as much as possible.

Feel free to comment and ask for suggestions on your PC-Build or 3D-related Problem, I'll do my best to help out!

70
Comments

Greg

Hi Alex,
Great read! I work as a freelance Illustrator and graphic designer but am and have always been a mac user. Currently looking at costs of upgrading from my upgraded 2013 mac mini (2.3ghz quad i7, 16gb ram & samsung 850 pro ssd) – I work on fairly large complex AI/PS files and as I’ve been taking on larger and larger projects it’s bogging down once things get towards completion. It’s helpful to have multiple large files open at the same time.

It’s served me pretty well but looking at one of the older mac pros – if you don’t mind commenting on Mac set up (I understand it’s more limited than PC) would you recommend:

Cpu:
3.5ghz 6core <(I'm assuming this one)
3ghz 8core
2.7ghz 12core

Graphics:
Dual AMD FirePro D300 GPUs with 2GB of GDDR5 VRAM
Dual AMD FirePro D500 GPUs with 3GB of GDDR5 VRAM
Dual AMD FirePro D700 GPUs with 6GB of GDDR5 VRAM <(assuming this one)

Would upgrade ram myself but comes with 16GB as base

some further specs can be found here: https://support.apple.com/kb/sp697?locale=en_GB

Thanks for any help!
Greg

Greg

To give my reason for upgrading a little more context – I am not looking for ‘the best of the best’ for the sake of impressive stats or saving a millisecond here and there – I think a PC would achieve that much more affordably! But do want something that gives me confidence I can take on large projects from big clients and work smoothly. The mac mini was the best mac I could afford at the time but feel it’s time to start working toward a more capable machine – I use a 27 inch Eizo monitor – kinda ‘ugly’ but the screen is fantastic 😉

I don’t mind that the ‘trashcan’ Mac is a bit old but just hope I’m not considering something that will be obsolete v soon?? I have no issue with going for the base model if it has more than enough for my needs (I doubt I’ll ever be doing high level 3D/video/etc rendering and the such and leave my gaming to consoles) but do work with some pretty large and complex photoshop and illustrator files and often need 2-3 large photoshop files and illustrator files open at the same time with image heavy web stuff going on and the usual music, email etc etc…

I was hanging on for the new mac pro … but it’s price killed any consideration … a bit too ‘pro’ for me ;P

Julie Niles-Fry

HI Alex,
Are any of these suggestions available in a ready made computer? I’ve really enjoyed reading your suggestions, but I’m just a graphic designer, not a computer builder. I need something $1k or less.
Thanks!

Islamagdy

Hi Alex,
I am buliding a new pc for graphic designing (3d modeling, rendering, photoshop…. ) and i confused between 2 GBUs which are (1660ti or 1060ti). Which one is better in graphic designig? (not gaming), cause i learnt that 1660ti is faster in games..

Islamagdy

between (1660Ti) and (1060Ti xtreme)

Matt

Thoughts on the below PC, I use Corona + 3Ds Max and Cinema 4d also photoshop and illustrator..Some times
After Effects…
Give Me advice on where to improve
https://pcpartpicker.com/list/YYKxpG

Tory

Thoughts on the below for a nice and powerful PC for Graphic Design.

https://bit.ly/2H5FcDY

Ville Mononen

Thank you very much! Very good information here! It’s becoming clear that RAM and CPU are very important. Since i’m not doing much of gaming anymore, and i’ll op-out for a 2nd computer with higher performance for much more demanding graphics / 3D / Video work,

I might aswell go for something smaller, but still powerful enough to begin the transition. Fanless would be amazing, but i’m not sure is it good-enough yet. I can do with lesser performance at this stage, if the other aspects bring their own benefits. It’s time to up the game and step into this era. Alright then!

Luan

I’m and art director/designer and i do have i9 9900k + 32gb + RTX2080 + nvme 500gb (x2). I think 16gb is in windows not that much. I work with osx and windows and both system have way different requirements. 32gb on windows is great and 16gb on OSX seens to be enought for me in same usage. I do some heavy work with really big image, editing and some 3d. My recomendation would be: go as high as you could afford and the job pays. i9 ( or ryzen ) 32-64gb + rtx2070-80 and be happy

Gonzalo Ramirez

Hi Alex, how are you?
I’m planning to build a PC for one of my friends who uses 3ds max, autocad, adobe illustrator and so on for working, he’s an architect. I’m aware he uses some lighting effects oriented program but I can’t recall the name, i’m sorry.
This is what we’ve seen to get so far, do you think we can make a better purchase changing any of the components price/performance wise?

CPU: Intel i7 – 8700k
Cooler: CoolerMaster AIO (240mm radiator)
Motherboard: ASUS Maximus X Hero (WI FI AC)
GPU: Nvidia Quadro P2000 (this is the one part that we’ve been studying the most, we’ve been planing to get a rtx 2070 but apparently the Quadro lineup is supposed to work better with the programs he uses)
RAM: 32 Gigs of Corsair Vengeance @3000Mhz
Storage: 500gb m.2 SSD for OS and work-oriented apps, 2TB HDD drive for storage
PSU: 750W bronze (Sentey)

I’ll wait for your response, I’d love to know what you think. Thanks in advance for your help and thank you for sharing all this info.

Greetings,
Gonzalo.

Gonzalo Ramirez

Alex, I have what he uses and he’s planning to use in the future when we get the PC built:

He uses:
AutoCAD for precision 3D modeling (without rendering)
3D MAX for 3D modeling with VRay plugin (textures, mapping, ilumination and final/real time rendering at @3000×3000 pixels
Photoshop package for postproduction

Should learn with the new build:
Solid works and Catia.

I look forward to get your opinion. Maybe AMD Ryzen CPUs would work better with the apps he uses?

Matt

Hey Alex,

I’m looking to build our next computer for my print business. I’m looking to build something along the line he’s of the $1000 build you have here, but would like to go with a mini itx possibly due to limited desk space. What changes would I need to make?

Thanks.

Josias

Greetings Alex,

I really found this article quite interesting and quite informative. I’m presently trying to safe up on buying all the parts need to build my first PC build and to be honest I have no Idea what I should get. I want a PC For Digital art, Gaming, and streaming if possible but like I mentioned I’m quite troubled by the fact that I have no idea where to start and would like you opinion and some tips on what would be good for my first pc and where and how to start please. At current I have a pro surface 3 and do all my digital art on it but it getting really old and has finally started to show problems my current limit is 1000. thank you for you time.

Uche

Hi Alex,

I enjoyed studying this article. I’m presently undergoing a training in the use of Corel draw, Photoshop, indesign, illustrator and fireworks as I intend building a career in the field of graphic design.

However I am more interested in purchasing a laptop rather than a desktop because where I’m from (Nigeria) power supply is often interrupted and can last for days! Dependence on power generators is extremely costly to afford, so I’d need to leverage on the rechargeable capabilities of a laptop for my work sessions when there is power failure!

Please what laptop computers would you recommend I go for, especially laptops that still meet up with the specifications of the above PC’s you listed as required for optimized graphic design work.

Thank you for what you are doing, well done i’m expecting your urgent feedback.

Misha

Hello Alex,

Thank you for this article. I recently got laid off and returned to school to further my career path. However, in my spare time, I’ve always used photoshop (my previous major being graphic design). I was wondering you could me figure out what I need to buy since all my computers are too old now. The less expensive the better. I use photoshop and illustrator, I want to be able to print them large. I would also need to use the computer for programs like word. I have no idea how to build a comouter but I would invest more money into a build if I knew I could upgrade it so I could use it for another decade without having to buy an entire new system. I wouldn’t need to save too much on the actual computer since I have external hard drives to save my work. Would you please help me? I would appreciate it so much.

Sandra Farrell

Hi Alex, Thank you so much for the information. I think in addition to what you have mentioned It may depend on the graphic design you do or the files sizes you need to manipulate. I’m having real problems with my system and our IT person has tried everything. I don’t think our system configuration works for the kind of graphic design we do. We could sure use your input.

I design graphics for exhibits so it is not uncommon for me to be using Photoshop and InDesign or Photoshop and Illustrator concurrently on graphics that are to be produced at 48” x 96” @ 300 dpi. The files sizes I work with are well over 2 Gigabyte with some large format wall display graphics reaching 3.5 Gigabyte.

On my newer PC I’m having trouble with 200 MB illustrator files and I think it is because the GRX graphics card is designed for gaming and may not be optimal for Adobe Creative Suite products. My current system is:
Dell with
Intel Xeon CPU ES-1660v3/Core i7 @ 3.00 GHz
32. GB ram
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 Ti graphics card
Toshiba AL 13SEB900 SCSI Disk 900 GB with 582 GB free space (currently)
Intel C610 series/X99 chipset
64-bit OS Windows 10 Professional/Enterprise
Dell U3415W monitor @ 3440 x 1440
Every time I save an Illustrator file the screen goes black until the file is saved. This can take up to a minute. In addition, there is a lag time when I’m typing text in Adobe Illustrator, often as much as 5 to 10 seconds before the text shows on the screen. The computer takes several seconds to acknowledge a mouse click.
With a 200 MB file this machine should be screaming fast and it is dead-dog-slow! Based upon your knowledge would you look at our system to see if there are any clues as to why we are having so many problems. Our IT person has tried everything and now we are considering a new system. We need to make sure we get it right this time.

Thank you very much

Sandra Farrell
Exhibit Designer
California State Parks.
.

Roy

Hi Alex, thanks for the great knowledge you shared on the article.

I want your suggestion on the PC build that I made for my girlfriend.

Her budget is somewhere around 1800$, Originally planned to get 2017 iMac not pro which had 5k display.

She liked mac because of the beautiful screen and stylish physical appearance. She’s now open for building a PC & just plug it with a good monitor.

Primary usage would be with photoshop (digital painting, comic, prints), a little Illustrator & Clip studio paint. Maybe heading towards simple 3d or video work ahead.

I’m referring her to this spec, please let me know if this is a good set to have and will it last at least for 4-5 years ahead (I had room for minor upgrades if needed)

– proc – AMD ryzen 7 2700x
– MB – MSI X470 Gaming Pro
– HDD – Seagate 2TB storage
– SSD – Samsung 970 Evo 500 Gb NVMe M.2
– RAM – Corsair DDR4 vengeance PC25600 3200MHz 2x8GB
– GPU – Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1060 6GB DDR5 OC
– PSU – BeQuiet pure power 10 700W CM modular 80+ silver
– case – Corsair Carbide spec 06 TG
– display – LG 27″ 27UK600 LED IPS 4K

It’s somewhere around 1950$ from where I’m from…
What do you think?

Marow

Hello Alex, thank you for your valuable article about building your own computer. I’m a graphic designer and I’m working in Photoshop along with Illustrator and Sketch. Sometimes I also need to work in Adobe Animate. I also want to learn in AE in the future . I really would not like to have some laggin or freezing in work. And I would like to computer look visually well…..
My question is mainly about gpu. I really do not want to play any games but I read that the graphics card can help in certain situations. I do not need it very much powerful so I chose the RX560. But I’m thinking about Radeon Pro WX2100 / WX3100. The question, however, is whether or not I really use it in the programs I work for. nowhere I found the answer

https://pcpartpicker.com/list/YWd3nH

Ana

Hello Alex, I thank you a lot for all your tips! I’m an architect and I’m searching for a new pc that answers to my working necessities. Your advises cleared my mind and now I have one left question: where can I find a pc to buy that have the characteristics I have choosen? Let make myself clear: the brand’s sites have already them configuration done. So, where can I go to find the ‘ideal’ pc for me?
Thank you!
Ana

Steve J

Hi Alex, thanks for a great site. I’m gathering a list for a new build for Graphic Design (InDesign, Photohop, VERY complex Illustrator files). This has been really helpful because I get out of the loop on the latest technology since I only refresh my build every 4 or 5 years. I’m cranking the budget all the way up on this, since I can expense it so money is no object.

My biggest concern is noise–I try always to get as close to silent as possible. My research so far has shown that the “be quiet!” cases rank way up there so I’m ordering a Silent Base 800. How else should I modify this list to get as silent as possible?

EVGA XC Ultra Gaming GeForce RTX 2070 Dual-Fan 8GB GDDR6 PCIe Video Card
Corsair Vengeance RGB 32GB 2 x 16GB DDR4-3200 PC4-25600 CL16 Dual Channel
Intel Core i9-9900K Coffee Lake 3.6 GHz LGA 1151
ASUS Prime Z390-A LGA 1151 ATX Intel Motherboard
Seagate SkyHawk Surveillance 6TB 7200RPM SATA III 6Gb/s 3.5″ Internal Hard Drive
Samsung 860 EVO 1TB MLC V-NAND SATA III 6Gb/s 2.5″ Internal Solid State Drive
be quiet! BG003 Silent Base 800 Case
Noctua NH-D15S CPU Cooler
Corsair TX750M 750 Watts 80 Plus Gold Semi Modular ATX Power Supply

One more thing: I was going to go with your recommendation for the Samsung 970 EVO 1TB but I’m a bit confused about the different types of SSD formats. The pictures make the 970 look like just a chip with no enclosure–is that correct for a desktop PC? I’ve only always seen them like the 860 I’ve chosen here with (what looks like) an enclosure.

Thanks so much again for any feedback you care to offer.

N.K.

Hello and thanks for the great post but to say the truth – i’m absolutely clueless what kind of PC is the right one for me anyways. ^^“

To come to the point…
I’m using Clip Studio Paint EX, Photoshop 6 and every now and then Corel Draw X6 for Illustrations, Photo editing and Matte Painting.
My standard Canvas Size for Illustrations is normally A3 @300dpi (partly with lots of layers…), but in rare cases it goes up really big. The biggest one was a work with 360 x 235 cm for a Factory Building.

Currently i’m using an 6 Core i7-4930k, 32 gig ram, a GTX 1070 and 2 SSDs for OS, the Progs and Virtual Memory.
Looks not that bad, i think, but it’s a multipurpose PC. It runs on Win 10 Dualboot for Waifu and me, lots of Games on it too and blahblahblah… Long Story short – it’s a waste disposal site and i need a little sweety for my work only.

Hope you can help me! Thanks a lot! ^^

Matt Paquette

What a great post! Wonderful read. Thanks so much for writing it.

I’m looking to get a new rig myself and could use some advice.

My current main machine is a Late 2016 15″ MacBook Pro with:

2.9GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor
16GB 2133MHz memory
1TB PCIe-based SSD
Radeon Pro 460 with 4GB memory
External GPU (MSI Radeon RX Vega 64 – 8GB) in a Razer Core X chassis

In all honesty, I find it still not very great despite the hefty price tag. The biggest lags are when using Adobe InDesign in High Resolution mode. It chugs pretty heavily when scrolling.

The new machine I’m considering is:

CPU: Intel Core i9 9900K
RAM: 32GB RAM
Video Card: Radeon RX Vega 64 (using my current one which currently resides in the chassis)
Main Drive: 1TB M.2 SSD
File Storage Drive: 4TB HDD
Display: NEC PA272 27″ Colour Accurate Monitor (I already have this — it’s awesome)

Do you have any other recommendations for a high end machine for me? Almost ALL of my work is within Indesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop. I work mainly on print projects at 300 DPI (Board Games for the most part).

Should I be considering a better processor like a Threadripper or Xeon?
Motherboard Reccomendations?
Is any RAM fine, or should I look for specific things?

Any Help would be stellar!

Thanks 🙂

Matt

B.S.

This is the most useful article I have ever come across in the quest for the best recommended specifications concerning Graphic Design work.
As I am working only in Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop doing logo designs and branding, and in rare cases web design, the following configuration I came across at an online store, to some extent, matches the above recommended specs:

Intel Core i7-8700k 3.7 GHz 12MB/1151 Socket BOX
MB ASUS TUF Z370-PLUS GAMING socet 1151_v2
16 GB DDR4 RAM 3200 MHz
1000 GB HDD + 240 GB SSD
nVidia Geforce GTX 1060 – 6GB GAMING
DVD-RW

Without further ado, here are my questions:
– First and foremost, what would you recommend modifying/enhancing in the above specifications when taking into account Graphic Design chores, or am I ultimately in the right track with the above configuration?
– Secondly, what 24″ Monitor would be recommended from your perspective that will be suitable and in agreement with the above details for Graphic Designers?

Abundant thanks!
B.S.

M Morrison

I am fairly new to the design world, but have been assigned the task at work. I typically work in the Adobe suite. I have been asked to put together a dream list of specs as I am in line to receive an entirely new setup (pc, dual monitors, etc). In a dream world, what specs would you suggest I ask for?

Mr Nobody

If we wan pc for design which use program like Auto CAD, Photoshop, and use 2 monitors at the same time so can you tell me the best spec for best running, more efficiency and reasonable price (around 600$-1000$)?

Jon

Hi Alex, i am a grafic designer too and I am trying to built my pc for gpu rendering in cinema 4d(octane) and adobe (photoshop, illustrator, lightroom, indesign, after effect). The Idee was to put 2 grafic card (gtx 1070ti) with the intel i7 8700k or amd ryzen 7 2700x. The “problem” now comes from the monitor and its color range. could i combine a nvidia quadro p4000 (which supports 10 bits for my monitor) and a gtx 1070ti? How would Windows work? Would Cinema 4d recognize the combination? Thx a lot!!

John

Hi Alex, I am a graphic designer looking to upgrade my PC. I prefer PC to Mac even though at my job I use an I MAC at home I use my PC for both gaming and freelance work. I really enjoyed this article. Most people don’t really understand how much harder as well as pushing your rig in different ways when doing design work vs gaming. This was far and away the most insightful article I have yet to read on the subject. Thank you so much for putting it together,

I mostly work in Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign, but I also like to dabble in After Effects and Premiere. I want to start learning to work with 3D rendering as well but I bring home the bacon with my typical graphic design work.

With the build I am currently looking at I already had most of the components at the quality that you think they should be. The only difference is that I would only be purchasing 16gb of ram vs the 32gb. Will I really be hurting myself if I don’t put up the extra cash for the 32gbs.

I also was wondering if you have an opinion on going Intel vs AMD. All of my previous builds have always been Intel, and I am comfortable with them. Recently though I have heard that AMD is the way to go, but those threadrippers are not cheap haha. I am just curious on what your expert opinion is on the battle of the CPUs. I understand that if I plan on using After Effects and premiere that I may want to go with a bigger processor, but I have heard that the Intel® Core™ i7-8700K Processor (6x 3.70GHz/12MB L3 Cache) over clocked at 10% will be more than enough to get me to where I need to go. Do I even need to overclock it? Also is getting the M.2 that much better than the Sata SSD?

Here is a link to the build I am thinking about purchasing is:

Here are the specs in list form if you prefer to check them out that way:
Case: Thermaltake Versa C23 Tempered Glass RGB Gaming Case
Motherboard: MSI Z370-A PRO — Gb LAN, USB 3.1 (4 Rear, 4 Front), MSI PRO Series
Processor: Intel® Core™ i7-8700K Processor (6x 3.70GHz/12MB L3 Cache) (With 10% overclocking)
Processor Cooling: DEEPCOOL Captain 240EX 240mm Liquid Cooling System
Memory: 16 GB [8 GB X2] DDR4-3000 Memory Memory
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 – 8GB (GDDR5X) (VR-Ready)
PSU; Thermaltake Toughpower Grand RGB 750W 80 PLUS Gold, Full Modular
Hard Drives:
Primary-480GB ADATA SU650 SSD
Data-2 TB Hard Drive — 64MB Cache, 7200RPM, 6.0Gb/s – Single Drive

I would really appreciate any insight you have, on whether I should go bigger on any of the components, or if you think that it will get me to where I need to go as is. Again this article was awesome, thanks for putting it together, Feel free to write back through this thread or shoot me an email at –