Best Computer For Graphic Design

Best Computer For Graphic Design

CG Director Author Alex  by Alex   ⋮   ⋮   128 comments
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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 i9 9900k has a 3,6 GHz base and 5 GHz Turbo Boost Clock with 8 Cores.
  • AMD Ryzen 9 3900x has a 3,8 GHz base and a 4,6 GHz Turbo Boost clock with 12 Cores
  • AMD Ryzen 7 3700x has a 3,6 GHz base and a 4,4 GHz Turbo Boost clock with 8 Cores
AMD Ryzen vs i7 8700K

Image-Source: AMD/Intel

I recommend going with the AMD Ryzen 7 3700X for everyday use in Photoshop, InDesign or Illustrator, and to go with the AMD Ryzen 9 3900X when you plan on also doing more multi-core optimize tasks such as rendering or Video-Encoding.

Here are some Photoshop Benchmarks by Pugetsystems that show us right away, which CPUs perform the best in Graphics Design Applications such Photoshop:

CPU NameCoresGhzPhotoshop ScorePriceValue
CPU NameCoresGHzPhotoshop ScorePriceValue
AMD Ryzen 7 3800X83.91027399
AMD Ryzen 9 3900X123.81040499
AMD Ryzen 5 3600X63.8925249
Intel i9 9800X83.8841589
AMD Ryzen 7 2700X83.7813251
Intel i5 9600K63.7881262
AMD Ryzen 5 2600X63.6785149
Intel i9 9900K83.61026488
AMD Ryzen 7 3700X83.6964329
AMD Ryzen 5 360063.6915199
Intel i9 9700K83.6931362
AMD Threadripper 2920X123.5811369
Intel i9 9900X103.5903989
Intel i9 9920X123.59171189
AMD Threadripper 2950X163.5815729
Intel i9 9820X103.3845889
Intel i9 9940X143.38931387
Intel i9 9960X163.19011684
AMD Threadripper 2970WX243.07471300
Intel i9 9980XE183.09141979
AMD Threadripper 2990WX323.07441699

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.

WS Z390 Pro Hero

Image-Credit: Asus

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 upgraded 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.

Corsair RAM for Computer for 3D Modeling and Rendering

Image-Source: Corsair

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 are plugged into the PCI-E slot 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 be aware of how much power your Power Supply delivers, how much your overall system needs and if new or additional GPUs or other components that you might add, will draw too much power in a future 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.

Best Monitor for Graphic Design, Video Editing, 3D Animation: Dell

Image-Source: Dell

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. Many CPUs already come with a boxed CPU cooler, but you will need to get an additional processor cooling solution for some higher-end CPUs.

Parts needed to build a PC - CPU Cooler

Image-Source: bequiet

A good pick here is the BeQuiet Dark Rock 4 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 – 700$

 

The best Computer for Graphic Design, AMD Build – 1200$

 

The best Computer for Graphic Design, AMD Build – 2000$

 

The best Computer for Graphic Design, Intel Build – 2000$

 

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!

128
Comments

Masoud

Hi thank you for your information and comment. Could you please comment on my lap top. I bought the below laptop but i have major problem with that working 3D Modeling with Sketchup. Could you please look at the configuration and please recommend me a laptop for me to purchase.

I purcahsed this laptop for two weeks ago and I am still in the 30 days period to return it and purchase a new one. I would appreciate if you send me a link for purchasing the new laptop.

I am open to have a 17 inch or 15 inch affordable laptop. I appreciate your help thanks

thank you

XPS 15 7000 Series-7590 210-ASIH – 1 –
9th Generation Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-9750H (12MB Cache, up to
4.5 GHz, 6 cores)

338-BSCZ


1 –
Windows 10 Home 64bit English 619-ANOK – 1 –
NVIDIA(R) GeForce(R) GTX 1650 4GB GDDR5 490-BFFV – 1 –
32GB DDR4-2666MHz, 2x16G 370-AERS – 1 –
1TB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD 400-BFJH – 1 –
Silver 320-BDIK – 1 –
15.6″ FHD (1920 x 1080) InfinityEdge Anti-Glare Non-touch IPS
100% sRGB 500-Nits display

391-BEOY


1 –
Killer Wi-Fi 6 AX1650 (2×2) and Bluetooth 5.0 555-BFBL – 1 –
6-Cell 97WHr Integrated 451-BCGF – 1 –
Backlit English Keyboard with Fingerprint Reader 580-AIEF – 1 –
130W Power Adapter 450-AHFL – 1 –
Driver for Wireless 1650 555-BFBZ – 1 –
Fixed Hardware Configuration 998-DOUN – 1 –
E5 Power Cord for 3-pin Adapter (US/China) 340-AAMU – 1 –
Safety/Environment and Regulatory Guide (English/French
Multi-language)

340-AGIK


1 –
XPS 15 7590 Shipping Material 328-BDDB – 1 –
Return Label 811-BBBC – 1 –
XPS 7590 System Management Software 631-ACFW – 1 –
Dell.com Order 332-1530 – 1 –
Intel(R) Core(TM) i7 Processor Label 340-CKVM – 1 –
Regulatory Label 389-DQSC – 1 –
Additional Software 658-BELX – 1 –
No Monthly Subscription 827-1285 – 1 –
Dell Limited Hardware Warranty Initial Year 801-0978 – 1 –
Premium Support with Onsite Service After Remote Diagnosis, 1
Year

803-1641


1 –

Page 2 Dell Marketing LP. U.S. only. Dell Marketing LP. is located at One Dell Way, Mail Stop 8129, Round Rock, TX 78682

Premium Support with Onsite Service After Remote Diagnosis, 1
Year Extended

803-1642 – 1 –
Premium Support, 2 Years 803-1660 – 1 –
Dell Limited Hardware Warranty Extended Year(s) 975-3461 – 1 –
Microsoft(R) Office 30 Days Trial 658-BCSB – 1 –
McAfee Live Safe XPS 12 Month Subscription 525-0036 – 1 –
McAfee(R) 30day Trial 658-BCCO – 1

Hi Masoud,

Thanks for asking!

If I may ask, what kind of major problem are you having? Also, how much are you willing to spend on the new laptop?

Alternatively, you can go ahead and have a look at the site’s PC Builder Tool. It’s a web-based tool that gives you the best recommendations based on your budget and use case. You can find the tool here: https://www.cgdirector.com/pc-builder/

Cheers,
Alex

Digi

Very Nice and Informative article, I want to run Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Premier Pro and After Effect. Which cpu you suggest??

Planning to buy Zotac 2060 Super hows it?

Will you please guide about all this

Hey Digi,

Thank you for the kind words!

If you want to run Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Premier Pro and After Effects, you would want to invest in a high-clocking CPU like the Ryzen 9 3900X or Intel i9-9900K that will deliver task responsiveness while you’re actively working inside the software. Also, you might want to invest in at least 16GB of RAM which is the baseline nowadays. However, if you plan on working on more complex projects and have several projects open at the same time, going for 32GB makes more sense especially if you have the means for it.

In terms of GPU, the ZOTAC GAMING GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER AMP priced at around $429.99 is a good choice. However, if you want a more powerful GPU without putting too much of a dent on your budget, I suggest that you go for an RTX 2070 GPU like the MSI GeForce RTX 2070. For just $10.00 more, you get a graphics card that not only brings the best price to performance ratio but at the same time supports CUDA core acceleration for better render performance if you use the GPU render engines.

Cheers,
Alex

Digi

Thanks for reply, i am confuse with i9 or ryzen 9 which you suggest?

Sonny

Hi Alex, i want to but pc for design and rendering.. can you give me input for my below choice.. and which one i need to change and to improve..
CPU : Intel Core i7-9700F 3.0Ghz Up To 4.7Ghz – Cache 12MB [Box] Socket LGA 1151V2 – Coffeelake Series
CPU cooler : be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 – No Compromise Silence and Performance – 2x Silent Wings 135mm PWM fan
Motherboard : MSI MPG Z390 Gaming Plus (LGA1151V2, Z390, DDR4, USB3.1, SATA3)
GPU : GALAX Geforce RTX 2070 SUPER 8GB DDR6 EX (1-Click OC) – RGB Effect – DUAL 100mm FAN
Memory : KLEVV DDR4 BOLT X Series PC25600 3200MHz Dual Channel 32GB (2X16GB) – X2KD4AGU880-32A160T
Storage ssd : Samsung SSD 860 EVO 1TB
Storage PCI-e ssd : Samsung SSD 970 EVO PLUS M.2 500GB MZ-V7S500BW
HDD : Seagate 4TB SATA3 – 5400 RPM – BarraCuda Series
Power supply : Seasonic Focus Gold GX-650/FX-650 – 650W Full Modular – 80+ Gold Certified
Case : be quiet! Gaming Case SILENT BASE 601 Black With Side Window

Hi Sonny,

Thanks for asking!

The build you put together looks great! You have a snappy i7-9700F CPU at the heart of your system that will deliver task responsiveness when you’re actively working inside the software. In addition to that, your choice of the RTX 2070 Super for your GPU is really good because this particular GPU packs support for CUDA core acceleration which will bring about better render speeds if you plan on using the GPU render engines.

All in all, your build looks excellent and I won’t change any of the components you selected!

Cheers,
Alex

Keimps

Hi Alex, Thanks for the nice article, it’s been quite helpful for me, currently preparing to build a PC for my sister, focusing mainly on graphic design and music.

Already ‘locked in’ on the 3700X with an X570 motherboard and the m.2 Samsung evo plus SSD or Sabrent 1TB Rocket NVMe 2280 m.2.

Three question for you.

1. Do you have any experience with the m.2 NVMe Sabrent Rocket 2280 – 1TB? It’s about the same price as the Samsung 512GB one, but for 1TB. Reviews are looking very good and amazon reviews show it to be getting very similar r/w speeds as the Evo Plus one.
2. MSI X570-A PRO Motherboard is the one I am currently in my ‘basket’. Would the x570 Elite one that you include in your recommendations be (a lot) better or offer more than the ‘A Pro’ one? (it’s about 30$ more for the Elite one here in my country).
3. What are your thoughts on the AMD GPUs for graphics design? Like, a RX570 i.e.

Since all your suggestion builds include NVidia cards, I was wondering if they perform superior in this field towards the AMD cards.

Many thanks for your time!

Keimps

Alan

How come i didn’t know this information earlier, Thanks a lot Alex.
Anyway i am planning to get a laptop which is strong enough to handle complex photoshop painting, and 2d animation. (Mostly Adobe apps).

And i’ve narrowed my choices between Ryzen 5 3550h and i5 9300h.
Ryzen came with RX560x, 512nvme, (Acer Nitro 5- AN515-43-R8AU)
i5 9300h came with 1050ti and 256nvme. (MSI GF63 Thin 9SCX or Lenovo Y530)
If i add 90$ more, i can get a ryzen 5 3550h with nvidia 1650. (Asus FX505DT)

In my experience with ryzen (Ryzen 5 2500u), im having lag issues in photoshop whenever im using dedicated gpu which is Nvidia 1050. So i use integrated (Radeon Vega 8) instead, and the lag disappeared, Temperature is safe tho, I never reached 90 celcius on overloaded

Do you think it’s because the Ryzen cpu not optimized enough for Nvidia 1050 ? Also I am afraid if go with i5 9300h which is warmer than ryzen, it’ll throttle. As reviewed in here, https://www.notebookcheck.net/MSI-GF63-8RC-i5-8300H-GTX-1050-Laptop-Review.340606.0.html

the stress test caused i5 8300h dropped from 3,6 to 2,1 ghz.
Tl-DR should i go with ryzen 5 3550h or i5 9300h/8300h ?

Hey Alan,

Thanks for dropping a line!

The first three options you mentioned, the Acer Nitro 5- AN515-43-R8AU and the MSI GF63 Thin 9SCX or Lenovo Y530, are all good choices. However, all things considered and the fact that there is a possibility of the i5-9300H in the MSI GF63 or Lenovo Y530 getting throttled due to temperature issues, I think it would be best if you spend $90 more and go for the Asus FX505DT with a Ryzen 5 3550H CPU and NVIDIA 1650 GPU.

Mid-range NVIDIA GPUs pair very well with the Ryzen H-series of CPUs so having the Ryzen 5 3550H CPU and NVIDIA 1650 GPU on the Asus FX505DT is a good combination. Not only that, the 1650 GPU supports CUDA core acceleration for better rendering speeds in case you plan on using the GPU render engines. That said, you can’t go wrong with the Asus FX505DT as it will be capable enough to handle whatever PS and 2D animation task you throw at it.

Cheers,
Alex

Anna

Hi Alex,
Thank you for writing this informative articles. They are very easy to understand.
I’m a graphic designer using mostly CC and Photoshop and I need a new computer but my budget is kinda limited. If i have a $1K budget, what specs do you suggest I get? Or $1k is not enough and I should increase my budget? Thank you kindly.

Hi Anna,

Thank you for the kind words!

A budget of $1k is enough to get you a decent build for CC and Photoshop but of course, you can’t expect your workstation to breeze through your graphic design tasks. Sticking to a $1K budget, below are the best parts you can get for your use case scenario:

Parts List:
CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 2700X 3.7GHz 8-Core Processor ($194.99)
CPU Cooler: be quiet! Dark Rock 4 AM4 ($74.90)
Motherboard: MSI X470 Gaming Plus ATX AM4 ($129.99)
GPU: NVIDIA GTX 1660TI 6GB – Gigabyte Windforce ($279.99)
Memory: 16GB (2 x 8GB) Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-3200 CL16 ($69.99)
Storage PCIe-SSD: Samsung 970 EVO 500GB M.2 Solid State Drive ($89.99)
Power Supply: Corsair CX Series CX550 550W ATX 2.4 Power Supply ($64.99)
Case: Corsair Carbide Series 200R ATX Mid Tower Case ($91.95)

The total comes up to $996.79 and you already have a 2nd generation Ryzen 7 2700X CPU at the heart of your system. You also get a decent GTX 1660 Ti graphics card at that given budget. You also get 16GB of RAM which is the baseline nowadays but you may want to increase the RAM especially if you see yourself working on bigger and more complex projects.

You may opt to drop the be quiet! Dark Rock 4 AM4 CPU Cooler because the stock Wraith Prism cooler bundled with the package of the Ryzen 7 2700X is more than enough for CPU cooling purposes. The money intended for the CPU cooler can then be invested to other parts of your build like additional RAM as I have mentioned earlier.

Lastly, if you plan on increasing your budget, please check the site’s PC Builder Tool at https://www.cgdirector.com/pc-builder/ to get the best parts for your budget and use case scenario.

Cheers,
Alex

Jason

Hi, Alex,

I’m Jason, first of all, I appreciate your detailed advice on building a laptop, but I would still want to ask for your advice about one laptop’s configuration I have found online:

HP Pavilion Gaming PC Desktop Computer
Processor: 8th Generation Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-8400 Processor, 6-Core, 2.80GHz.
Video graphics: NVIDIA(R) GeForce(R) GTX 1060 (3 GB GDDR5 dedicated).
Memory: 8 GB DDR4-2666 SDRAM (upgradable to 64 GB).
Solid-state drive: 256 GB SSD.
Operating system: Windows 10 Home

I’m a graphic designer, mainly use AI, PS, also have some 3D modeling and rendering work via Solidworks and Keyshot, what do think of the configuration I mentioned above? Thank you so much if I could have your reply 🙂

Hey Jason,

Thanks for asking!

The specs of the HP Pavilion Gaming PC Desktop Computer you listed may be okay with casual gaming but I don’t think it will be enough for what you need it for. Yes, it could run your software and allow you to do 3D modeling and rendering but the experience may not be as smooth as you want it to be, so to speak.

If I may ask, what’s your budget like?

Also, you might want to check out the site’s PC Builder Tool at https://www.cgdirector.com/pc-builder/ to get build recommendations based on your budget and use case scenario.

Cheers,
Alex

Jason

Hi, Alex,

Nice to hear from you again, my budget is around $1200 (excluding the monitor), and while I’m doing some graphic design, I may also open 2 webpages like YouTube or Dribbble, is 8GB RAM enough for that if I want it runs smoothly or better to make it 16GB or even more?

By the way, I will appreciate if you have any advice for the selection of monitor.

Thanks!

Hey Jason,

Given your $1,200 budget, please take a look at the build I put together for you below:

———————
Your Custom Graphic Design Build: (https://www.cgdirector.com/pc-builder/?=Bp1Ch0h0lka)

Parts List:
CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600X 3.8GHz 6-Core Processor ($234.99)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Black Edition AM4 ($36.99)
Motherboard: MSI MPG x570 Gaming Plus ATX AM4 ($169.99)
GPU: NVIDIA RTX 2060 6GB – MSI Gaming ($349.99)
Memory: 16GB (2 x 8GB) Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-3200 CL16 ($74.99)
Storage PCIe-SSD: Samsung 970 EVO PLUS 500GB M.2 Solid State Drive ($109.99)
Power Supply: Corsair CX Series CX550 550W ATX 2.4 Power Supply ($64.99)
Case: Corsair Carbide Series 200R ATX Mid Tower Case ($98.48)

Total: $1140.41

Generated by CG Director PC Builder on 3/10/2019 @ 3:22:25
———————

The total comes up to around $1140.41 and you already get a good CPU with the Ryzen 5 3600X plus a decent RTX 2060 GPU with CUDA core acceleration support if you plan on using the GPU render engines. The build also features 16GB of RAM but you may want to invest in additional RAM in the future as 16GB is the baseline at the moment. You may want to increase it to 32GB, even more, if you work on large and complicated projects.

In terms of monitor recommendation, please take a look at this article: https://www.cgdirector.com/best-monitor-graphic-design-video-editing-3d/. You can’t go wrong with any of my monitor recommendations in that particular article.

Cheers,
Alex

Jason

Hi, Alex,

Thank you so much for your precious advice!

Andrea D

Thank you for posting such a comprehensive, yet easy to understand article. I am self-taught when it comes to all things computer and am trying to break into graphic design-type work (desktop publishing with some social media management type tasks). I have read sooo many articles but until now, I couldn’t yet decide on my next computer. I am now comfortable and ready to buy. So I must say THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!
I do have two quick questions, if you have another min or two? I don’t want a desktop, I must have a laptop-type unit…do all your recommendations carry over to laptops or is there anything laptop-specific I should be on the lookout for? I’m concerned with color accuracy and cooler capabilities, would you please give me a little education and/ or direction regarding these two pieces? I’d greatly appreciate it.

Hi Andrea,

Thanks for dropping a line and thank you for the kind words!

In terms of use case scenario, recommendations for a desktop/workstation also carry over to laptops. Your choice of laptop will ultimately depend on the type of work you will be doing and software you will be using.

For example, if you do a lot of active work inside the software, you will need a laptop with a high-clocking CPU to deliver task responsiveness. Now, if you plan on doing GPU rendering using the GPU render engines, you should be on the lookout for a laptop with a good GPU that supports CUDA core acceleration such as an RTX 2070.

If I may ask, how much are you willing to spend? And what type of work you will be doing?

In terms of color accuracy, I suggest that you look for a laptop with an OLED display as this type of display tends to deliver the best color accuracy among the different types of display. To know more about displays and monitor recommendations, you might want to check this article out: https://www.cgdirector.com/best-monitor-graphic-design-video-editing-3d/. Please be advised that the article talks about monitors for desktops/workstations but the concepts discussed also apply to laptop displays.

As for cooling capabilities, the importance of proper cooling in laptops cannot be overstated. There is a need to properly evaluate the cooling systems of laptops that use flagship components and the associated pitfalls of throttling. As you know, improper cooling can lead to a significant loss in performance so it’s best if you ask questions about the cooling system of a laptop prior to purchase. You may also want to read reviews online about laptops that may interest you and take note of the section that talks about cooling and temps.

Lastly, you may want to check the site’s PC Builder Tool at https://www.cgdirector.com/pc-builder/ for laptop recommendations based on price and on your use case scenario.

The best Article for you would probably be this one here, where I suggest Laptops for Photo Editing, which is quite similar to graphic design: https://www.cgdirector.com/best-laptop-for-photo-editing/

Let me know if you have any other questions after reading that one 🙂

Cheers,
Alex

Adrian Rubalcaba

Hey there Alex,
I recently changed my build from your recommended “AMD 2000$ graphic design build” to a pre-built pc due to the 3900x processor being out of stock for so long. Well another reason is because I found an insane spec list for just a little more money! I found a custom built 3100$ pc with these specs :

Motherboard: AsRock X470 SLI AMD AM4 Gaming Motherboard
CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 3900X 12-Cores/24-Threads UNLOCKED Processor
CPU Cooler: Deepcool Captin 240mm AIO RGB CPU Liquid Cooler
Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti 11GB Extreme 4K Graphics Card
Power Supply: InWin Commander 800 Watts 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Power Supply
RAM: OLOY Warhawk 64GB (4 x 16GB) 3200MHz RGB DDR4 Memory
SSD: Intel 660p 1TB M.2 NVMe SSD PCI-Express
Hard Drive: Hitachi Ultrastar 2TB 7200 Internal Hard Drive
Case: DarkFlash Phantom Tempered Glass Mid Tower Case
Fans: 8 x Whisper Quiet Full RGB LED High performance case fans
Dual Band Wireless & Bluetooth

I just wanted to know what you think of using this liquid cooler because this is my first pc and don’t know much about liquid cooling in general. I read some reviews on it and saw that there is a constant complaint about these coolers leaking. The guy I am ordering the pc from is offering warranties on all parts but still just wanted to know if there is another compatible liquid cooler that you might recommend based on my build. The seller told me I could have anything replaced at a larger cost which I am willing to do if someone with experience might suggest so!

Thanks for your time,
Adrian Rubalcaba

Hey Adrian,

Thanks for dropping a line!

The specs list of that custom-built PC looks great but I’d like to make a couple of suggested changes. First off, I don’t usually recommend the use of AIO liquid coolers because they tend to cost more without really bringing to the table “game-changing” performance, so to speak, in terms of CPU cooling. And besides, the stock Wraith Prism CPU cooler that comes with the Ryzen 9 3900X is more than capable to handle its CPU cooling tasks. My suggestion is for you to check with the guy you’re getting the workstation from if it’s possible to remove the Deepcool Captain 240mm AIO RGB CPU Liquid Cooler and use the Wraith Prism instead. You might even be able to get some discount if you do away with the AIO liquid cooler. More importantly, you won’t have to worry about leaks in your build if you use the Wraith Prism for the CPU cooler.

Another suggested change will have to do with the RAM. While a 64GB 3200 MHz RAM will play nicely with your Ryzen 9 3900X CPU, the OLOy brand is not something that is easily recognizable. In fact, reviews of this particular brand of RAM is hard to come by so I’m a little hesitant to have you go with this brand. My suggestion is for you to again check with your guy if it’s possible to change the RAM into something coming from reputable RAM manufacturers such as G.Skill, Corsair, and Patriot. Stick with 64GB and 3200 MHz but be advised that you may end up having to pay more for these more reliable RAM kits.

Lastly, while the AsRock X470 SLI AMD AM4 Gaming Motherboard is a good choice for a motherboard, you could encounter issues with the Ryzen 9 3900X CPU of your workstation. These issues can easily be mitigated by having your guy update the BIOS of your motherboard. Or, you can have him change the motherboard to an X570 from any of the good motherboard manufacturers such as Asus, MSI, and Gigabyte to avoid having to do the BIOS update and at the same time get support for PCIe 4.0.

Cheers,
Alex

Devansh Soni

Hi Alex,

I am graphic and 3D visual designer, where i am using adobe creative suite,motion graphic design, cinema 4D, houdini. Can you help me to identify perfect workstation which works best for my above needs in one?

Hi Devansh,

Thanks for asking!

If I may ask, what’s your budget like?

Given the type of work you do and software you use where you work actively inside the software, it would be best if you invest in CPU with a high clock speed such as the Intel Core i9-9900K or the Ryzen 9 3900X. The rest of the components will then follow depending on what CPU you choose.

For build recommendations based on your budget and use case scenario, please check the site’s PC Builder Tool at https://www.cgdirector.com/pc-builder/.

Cheers,
Alex

Devansh soni

Thanks for the reply.

My budget is tentatively 2100$.

If I pick ryzen 9 3900x vs i9 9990k what would you suggest?

And for GPU I thought of Nvidia rtx 2070 super

Hey Devansh,

Whether you go for a Ryzen 9 3900X build or choose an i9-9900K-based system, you can’t go wrong. Both CPUs have high-clock speeds and high core counts although the 12-core Ryzen 9 3900X has 4 more cores compared to the 8 cores of the i9-9900K. The high clock speed of these CPUs will definitely help when you’re working actively inside the software while their high core count will be more than capable enough to handle any rendering task.

Your choice of the RTX 2070 Super for your graphics card is really good because this particular GPU comes with CUDA core acceleration that will help if you plan on using the GPU render engines. However, with your budget of $2100, I think you can go for the RTX 2080 which is a slightly better CPU compared to the RTX 2070 Super.

The article actually has recommendations for both a Ryzen 9 3900X and Intel i9-9900K build in the $2000 range. You can check both builds and do a comparison. By the way, should you decide to go for a 3900X build, you can drop the be quiet! Dark Rock 4 AM4 CPU Cooler. The stock cooler that comes with the 3900X is more than capable enough to handle its CPU cooling tasks so you can skip the CPU cooler on the list and use the money instead for other parts of your build.

Cheers,
Alex

Devansh soni

Thank you the valuable feedback. Will share my PC build configuration soon