For readers who don’t want to read the complete review– Check out the ”Final Verdict‘ about the review of the computer for graphic design.
The graphic design currently is one of the most in-demand skills. There are many designers out there with amazing skills and talent. Yet, some graphic designers stand out among others in the field and the reason is, selection of the right tools. Yes, the hardware resources make a lot of difference when it comes to designing.
Designers find it natural to search for a computer for graphics or laptop for graphics. But, selecting the best computer for graphic design is a challenger in itself, unless you have the required knowledge about it. Although many graphic designers want portability, that is why they prefer laptops.
However, a desktop computer in many cases offers more powerful resources than a laptop and at reasonable costs. Here in this review, we have discussed the right hardware for the best computer for graphic design. Moreover, we have reviewed some builds of computers for graphic design.
A computer for graphic design: In a nutshell
How to pick the right computer for graphics
Usually, we are tempted to buy a computer that we fall in love with, at first sight in a store. But believe me, love, at first sight, won’t work here. Most PCs that are available readily in stores are usually not optimized. By optimized, I mean that they don’t have the right hardware to support your work specifically. They are not built keeping in mind the requirements of a designer.
It is your job to pick the right tools for yourself and assemble them to make your customized PC that will multiply your talent. The purpose of this guide is to familiarize you with the basic hardware of a computer. These are the tools you should know about. Only then you can make the best computer for graphic design.
These basic tools are:
- Secondary storage
1. Processor selection of Computer for graphics
The processor or CPU (Central Processing Unit) is like a brain of computers. It is the core of all complex computations. Its speed is measured in terms of clocks per cycle called clock speed. Like, 3Hz, 2Hz. Now more the clock speed, more quickly a task completes. PCs nowadays are of two types:
- Single-core (Performs one task at a time)
- Multi-core (Performs multiple tasks at a time)
Most graphic designing software products function in such a way that they make heavy use of a single core. This means we want a computer with more clock-speed but less number of cores. So, a clock speed of 2GHz or above with 4 or 8 cores seems fit for a design computer.
Here are some recommended models
|AMD Ryzen 7 3700X||439.00$||Amazon|
|Intel Core i7-9700K||358.00$||Amazon|
|Intel Core i5-9600K||244.95$||Amazon|
|AMD Ryzen 5 3600X||239.00$||Amazon|
Memory or Random Access Memory (RAM) is the second most important tool to consider. It acts as temporary but fast storage for a computer. Whenever you open an application on your computer, it is moved to the RAM. In case, RAM falls short of the needs, then a computer relies on its secondary memory, which is the Hard-drive which is slower than the RAM.
Therefore, you need enough RAM to support applications of a design computer such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Indesign, and many other related applications. These applications are RAM hungry. A computer for graphic design thus needs a minimum RAM of 8GB DDR4. However, 16 GB DDR4 is recommended.
Check out these models on Amazon
GPU is Graphics Processing Unit or in other words the graphic card. This piece of hardware is responsible for display functions. It is responsible for delivering the output to your display device. Whenever, you are working with images, drawing something or scrolling through pages, its the GPU that does all the work in the background.
Although it is an important tool, the good thing about graphic design is that none of the tasks are GPU intensive. Unlike video editing, simulation, or gaming. Therefore, we can do well with medium-level graphics cards. Nvidia 1050Ti and Nvidia 1060 are suitable for a computer for graphic design.
4. Secondary storage
Secondary storage is where you store your files permanently. RAM is temporary thus you need permanent storage so that you can store your huge project file. Now, in the case of secondary storage, you have two technologies to consider:
- Hard-disk drive (HDD) – More storage, low cost, but slow.
- Solid State Drive (SSD) – Less storage, high cost, 5 times faster than HDD.
As a graphic designer, you have to make a trade-off. If you want more speed then definitely SSD is the right choice. However, SSD has higher costs. 240 GB SSD can cost as much as 1TB hard disk. But, SSD offers double speed than HDD. In case, you are inclined towards more storage then HDD is the way to go.
But, as far as storage requirements are considered. It is safe to say that 500 GB SSD is sufficient. If it falls short you can extend it anytime. Additionally, you get the speed which is impossible in case of HDD.
Here are some recommendations
- Samsung 860 EVO 500GB 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-76E500B/AM)
- Kingston A400 SSD 480GB SATA 3 2.5” Solid State Drive SA400S37/480G
5. Monitor selection of Computer for graphics
The monitor is yet another most important device when it comes to graphic design. However, choosing a monitor for your design computer entirely depends upon your budget and your nature of work. But the minimum requirement is a monitor is with a resolution of 1280 x 800.
But if you want more accurate colors, more resolution then you may have to invest more in a monitor. For basic graphic designing, a cheaper monitor can also work well.
Click here to read about choosing the best monitor for a design computer.
Best computers for graphics design
Here we review some of the best products. Although, you can build your own computer for graphic designing keeping in view the above facts and figures. Yet, there are several builds available that can work best as a design computer.
1. Apple iMac Pro
It is a premium product. I have placed it on the top of the list because of its high-end features and powerful hardware.
It is packed with the Intel Xenon W 8-cores processor. With a turbo boost, the clock speed boosts up to 4.5 GHz. With this blazing speed, you can do almost any kind of heavy task in fractions of seconds. This processor is more future proof when it comes to graphic designing.
It comes with a huge amount of RAM that is 32 GB DDR4 2666MHz. Although, it is more than enough for a designer. Yet if you are the kind of person that does a lot of multi-tasking, then it may give you an edge.
Radeon Pro Vega 56 graphics with 8GB of HBM2 GPU is a high-end GPU. It beats both of the above mentioned GPUs in the benchmark. However, the Retina 5K display requires such a high-end GPU. Additionally, its future proof. It will beat many graphic cards in the long run.
Apple iMac Pro has 1TB of SSD. This much of storage is more than enough for any level of designer.
Retina 27-inch 5K display with a resolution of 5120×2880 is the real beauty of this build. It has support for almost one billion colors. This means more accuracy of colors and more quality. For a computer for graphic design, it is a little too much. It is more suitable for 3D animations, GPU rendering, video editing, and simulations.
6. Pros and Cons
|It is more future-proof.||The requirements are more than required.|
|Supports heavy multi-tasking.||Expensive.|
|Suitable for enterprise-level design tasks.||More suitable for video editing, simulation, and rendering.|
2. Microsoft Surface Studio (1st Gen)
Microsoft Surface Studio is a computer for graphic design. It comes with a surface pen and touch screen, especially for design purposes. This is one of the most favored design computers.
Core i7 2.7 GHz with 4 cores works well with most of the tasks. However, it would have been better if it offered more clock speed. Yet, many designers love to work on this desktop.
32 GB GDDR5 pretty much supports multi-tasking. Yet again, it exceeds the required amount but it is future proof and great for multi-taskers.
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M is usually installed in high-end notebooks. Nvidia 1050Ti scores are more than this card in benchmarking. I guess, the sole purpose of choosing GTX 980M for this desktop is to reduce the overall cost. But this graphic card may not perform well in the long run.
4. Hybrid Drive
It comes with a 2TB of Hybrid Storage device. It is kind of a mix of SSD and HDD. Its mechanical part is used for permanent storage while the SSD part for temporary storage, to speed things up. Although, I believe an SSD would have been better.
It comes up with a fascinating 28-inch touch screen display. It can represent 13.5 millions of colors. Thus adding more crispness and sharpness to photos. The max resolution is around 4500 x 3000 pixels which is much higher resolution. Its display can be turned into a studio and designers can draw on the surface with the surface pen. Now, this is a strong point of this build that attracts designers.
6. Pros and Cons
|Digital drawing board for designers.||Expensive for most people.|
|Good build quality.||GPU may not benefit in the long run.|
|Supports multitasking well.||The hybrid drive can slow down tasks.|
3. Dell XPS 8930 Tower Desktop – 8th Gen. Intel Core i7
Dell XPS 8930 is a high-end desktop. It is slightly better than Dell i5680-7813BLU-PUS Inspiron Gaming PC Desktop 5680 because of its 8th Generation Core i7 and 256 GB SSD. Yet the performance difference may not vary to greater extents.
Dell XPS 8930 has 8th Generation Intel i7-8700 6-Core 3.20 GHz Processor (12M Cache, up to 4.60 GHz). The advance generation may improve power-related properties but when it comes to performance difference, we see no drastic change than the 7th Generation.
64GB DDR4 2666MHz RAM is too much to ask for. It doesn’t seem to be used all at once. Thus, we have wasted GBs. However, it adds quite a handsome amount to the overall cost of the system.
Nvidia GTX 1060 is a high-end graphics card. It serves the purpose well. Its performance is as good as its successors, at least in graphics design applications.
4. SSD + HDD
It combines the power of both technologies. 256GB Solid State Drive with a 2TB of 7200 RPM HDD to support more storage demands. 500 GB SSD would have been better. In fact, if we had 16GB DDR4 RAM, then it would have saved some budget to install a 500 GB SSD instead of the current settings.
5. Pros and Cons
|64GB DDR4 RAM is too much than required.||HDD can affect performance.|
|A powerful graphics card.||Dell i5680-7813BLU-PUS Inspiron Gaming PC Desktop 5680 can give almost same performance in much lower cost.|
4. Acer Aspire AIO Desktop
Acer Aspire AIO Desktop is yet another high-end desktop. Although some of its specs may not fit in the picture that we drew in the above guide. Yet, it covers many requirements of a designer.
Its 2.9 GHz Core i7 7th generation processor servers the purpose pretty well. Core i7 comes with 4 cores which conform with our requirements of more clock speed and less number of cores.
It is packed with 16 GB DDR4 2400MHz. It perfectly aligns with our requirements. 16GB is the right amount of RAM for a designer. Although, with heavy multitasking, it can be exhausted as well. But for a moderate level of multitasking, it is quite suitable.
This is the weak point of this build. It has built-in Intel HD Graphics 630. This card may not perform up to the mark for the latest graphic card applications. It is a low-end graphics card and is no match to Nvidia 1050.
Acer Aspire AIO has 2TB of HDD. HDD may introduce lags during tasks. Particularly, when RAM memory falls short then CPU makes use of HDD. This can have a bad effect on performance.
23.8″ Full HD Widescreen LED Back-lit Touch Screen with IPS (In-Plane Switching) technology with 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution works well for almost all designers. The IPS display is particularly well known for its display quality and true colors.
6. Pros and Cons
|Mid-range PC.||The graphics card is not up to the mark.|
|Good Display quality.||No SSD thus perforamce issues.|
5. Apple iMac
This is another build by Apple. The difference between it and the Apple iMac Pro in terms of specs is huge. But it comes with a cost much lower than iMac pro.
Its 3.0Ghz Quad-core Core i5 pretty well covers the processor demands for graphic designing. Having a core-i5 instead of Core-i7 has no noticeable effect when it comes to graphic design.
8 GB DDR4 2133MHz RAM goes well for graphic designing only if there is no heavy multitasking. Still, we need 16GB with this build for better performance.
Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640 is a low-end card. It may support basic graphic design. But for more advanced tasks, it may not perform well. It stands nowhere in a match to GTX 1050.
Apple offers a 1TB (5400-rpm) hard drive in this build. HDD has its own issues as we have been discussing.
21. 5-inch (diagonal) 4096-by-2304 Retina 4K display with 4096 x 2304 resolution supports up to one billion colors. It adds the detail and crisp to the picture.
6. Pros and Cons
|High Definition retina display.||No SSD.|
6. Dell i5680-7813BLU-PUS Inspiron Gaming PC Desktop 5680
Dell i5680 is a build that perfectly fits in the required computer for graphic designing. It has all the features that make it stand out among the rest of the builds. It is well optimized as well as cheaper than the models reviewed above.
It is packed with Intel Core i7 8700 (6-Core/12-thread, 12MB Cache, 4.6GHz with Intel Turbo Boost Technology). This is an extreme version of Core i7. Designed particularly to support the heavy use of a computer. Such as gaming, video editing, and graphic designing.
16GB 2400MHz DDR4 is the right amount of RAM. It can support almost every task and support multitasking up to a good level.
This is something the manufacturer can brag about, Nvidia GTX 1060 graphics card. It is the card that we need to support all the display related operations. Above GTX 1060, we have 1070 and 1080. Benchmarks show the difference in performance for graphics designing between these models is pretty much negligible.
4. SSD + HDD
It cleverly combines the power of two technologies. SSD and HHD. It comes with 128 GB M.2 [SATA] (SSD) Boot. By boot, we mean that it stores important operating system files in SSD. So when you turn on your PC, you don’t experience the startup delays and can readily get to your tasks.
Besides SSD it uses 2 TB 7200 RPM SATA HDD 6GB/s storage. This is used for permanent storage. Although, it can introduce lags during certain tasks. However, it is there to cover the storage requirements.
5. Pros and Cons
|Perfect for purpose of graphic designing.||HDD may affect performance.|
|High-end GPU.||Doesn’t come with a display.|
7. HP Pavilion Gaming PC Desktop Computer
This is a sort of medium-end PC. It serves the purpose well with its specifications. However, as cost goes down, some cost-efficient hardware comes into the scene.
8th Generation Intel Core i5-8400 Processor, 6-Core, 2.80GHz is powerful enough to support our needs. 8th generation processors are power-efficient as well. They have the least heat dissipation issues.
8 GB DDR4-2666MHz SDRAM qualifies for our minimum requirements criteria. Although, it is upgradable to 64 GB. However, that comes with additional costs.
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (3 GB GDDR5 dedicated) is a bit higher for this build. I believe a GTX 1050Ti and 16GB RAM would have been better.
It comes with 256 GB SSD. Although, we have the perk of having an SSD. However, 256GB is not sufficient for most graphic designers as they have to save.RAW files, .jpeg and other heavy project files. This requires at least 500 GB of storage.
5. Pros and Cons
|Lower cost.||Less SSD storage.|
|Powerful graphics card.||Additional costs of display.|
8. Periphio Gaming Computer Desktop PC
This product comes from not a very much familiar company Periphio. Although, it is backed by a 90-days money-back guarantee by Amazon. The purpose to review this build is to let the people who are on a tight budget to know about it. It costs relatively low.
Intel Core i7 3.3GHz 4-Core seems to be a good deal in this cost. The clock speed is pretty good. However, sometimes high clock rates may cause heating issues.
It comes with a 16GB DDR3 RAM. The RAM can cause problems as DDR3 RAMs are slower than DDR4. But this is because it is a budget PC. DDR4 is costly than DDR3.
GeForce GTX 1650 Overclocked 4GB GDDR5 performs slightly better than 1050Ti but consumes more power. Also, overclocking can cause overheating. This GPU is an overclocked version as well.
4. SSD + HDD
126 GB of SSD paired with 1TB HDD may be good for some use cases. Since we have a weak RAM then the system may tend to rely on HDD which will eventually cause a problem.
5. Pros and Cons
|Low cost.||May have overheating issues.|
|Powerful graphic card.||DDR3 RAM is slower.|
Price: 2019 vs 2020 – Research & analysis of Price Fluctuation – ReviewsGarage
In conclusion, of all the computers we have seen, I list out the top three I consider as the best computer for graphic design.
1. Apple iMac pro
If you are willing to invest a huge amount in your computer for graphic design then this is the right PC to select. It is future-proof and extremely powerful. Additionally, the retina display adds to its elegance.
2. Dell i5680
Of all the products reviewed, this one stands out to be a perfect choice. Its specifications fit our requirements. It is a high-end PC for a good price. People willing to get the best computer for graphic design at a reasonable price can go for it.
3. HP Pavilion Gaming PC Desktop Computer
If you are on a tight budget or you are you need a basic design computer then it is the right choice. It can support basic graphic designing tasks. For more performance boost you can add more RAM and replace the SSD with a more spacious one.