What is a good computer for photography

PC for Photoshop Lightroom - image editing

Photographers keep asking the question: What does the ideal PC for Photoshop Lightroom look like? What do I have to consider when buying? You will find the most important answers here with us.

Photographers keep asking the question: How does the best see PC for Photoshop Lightroom (Windows) photo editing off? What do I have to do with purchase note? The most important reply can be found here at * photo knowledge:

Here is the best iMac Apple for photographers >>

The best MacBook Pro for Photographers >>

The CPU (Central Processing Unit) is the brain of your PC

According to Adobe's minimum requirements, 4 GB (gigabytes) of RAM are sufficient. 16 GB or even 32 GB are better

The PC space requirements for images and catalogs differ for each user / photographer

The best PC for Photoshop / Lightroom

The best PC for Lightroom or Photoshop (Capture One, ON1, DXO PhotoLab, or other image processing programs) and for image processing consists of many individual components. We therefore have to look at these PC components individually. Each has a different influence on the overall speed.

Mainboard - the basic structure

All components are installed on the mainboard (main board). It is the basis for all other components. This includes, for example, the number and type of USB and hard drive connections. The term “chipset” is always used in this context. Figuratively speaking, these are the nerve tracts of your system. The chipset connects all components to one another via the mainboard and allows them to communicate with one another.

The selection of the “correct” mainboard always depends on the CPU. The CPU requires a suitable socket and chipset.

CPU - the central thinker

The CPU (Central Processing Unit) is the brain of your PC. The faster the clock (measured in GHz) of a CPU, the faster your PC thinks or calculates. Nowadays a CPU has several cores. This means that calculations can be carried out in parallel. Unfortunately, Photoshop Lightroom doesn't really take advantage of this. A maximum of 4 cores are currently supported and only for special tasks within the application (e.g. creation of preview images / support of multiple monitors with high resolutions). Adobe is very reluctant to make any statements about it. You will already know why. Therefore, we consider it irrelevant how many cores the respective processor has.

At Intel, the standard processors are divided into three product families. Due to special functions within the families, the CPUs cannot be compared with one another on the basis of their clock rate. An Intel® Core ™ i7 is approx. 25% faster than an Intel® Core ™ i5 at the same clock rate (GHz).

  • Intel® Core ™ i3 - Beginners - Everyday Life (writing texts / surfing)
  • Intel® Core ™ i5 - middle class - office (demanding programs / image processing)
  • Intel® Core ™ i7 - High End - Special (Games / Video Editing)
  • Intel® Core ™ i9 - Mobile - Special for Notebooks (Games / Video Editing)

There are always newer versions of these CPUs. One speaks of generations. Even if that's a bit of a blanket and not 100% true, but the newer the generation the better. Currently (as of 04/2018) there is the 8th generation. You can recognize this by the first number after the hyphen. The following list shows possible candidates.

Intel processors Intel® Core ™ (abbreviated IC)

Intel® Core ™ i7-6700K @ 4.00GHz

IC i7-6700 @ 3.40GHz

IC i5-6600 @ 3.30GHz

IC i5-6500 @ 3.20GHz

Intel® Core ™ i7-7700K @ 4.20GHz

IC i7-7700 @ 3.60GHz

IC i5-7600 @ 3.50GHz

IC i5-7500 @ 3.40GHz

Intel® Core ™ i7-8700K @ 3.70GHz

IC i7-8700 @ 3.20GHz

IC i5-8500K @ 3.50GHz

IC i5-8500 @ 2.80GHz

Annotation: Intel® also offers so-called Xeon ™ processors. These are used in high-end computers and company servers. For our consideration of an optimal PC for Photoshop Lightroom, we exclude these, because they are too high for our requirements. It would be like shooting sparrows with cannons.

Update 04/2018:

AMD Ryzen

The CPU manufacturer AMD is now well represented on the market again. In this regard, it is also worth taking a look at the current processors of the Ryzen family. These are now in the first and second generation on the market. The distinction between the processors is the same as that of Intel. Here there is a subdivision into classes 3, 5 and 7. The first of the four-digit number again shows the generation.

AMD® Ryzen ™ 5 2600 3.90GHz

AMD® Ryzen ™ 5 2600x 4.20GHz

AMD® Ryzen ™ 7 2700x 4.10GHz

AMD® Ryzen ™ 7 2700x 4.30GHz

Ankermann image processing PC PC Intel Core i5-10400F 16GB RAM 250GB SSD Windows 10 PRO at Amazon
  • [Order number EAN: 4260409310162] --- Equipped with an Intel Core i5-10400F 6x 2.90 GHz Comet Lake (BX8070110400F) - ASUS PRIME B460M-A (90MB13E0-M0EAY0) - 16GB Corsair Vengeance LPX 2.6662666 MHz DDR4 (CMK16GX4M2A)
  • ASUS ROG -STRIX-GTX1650 -A4GD6-GAMING NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 4 GB GDDR6 (90YV0EI2-M0NA00) - 600W be quiet! System Power B9 Black (BN209) -. Coordinated with the Corsair Carbide Series 100R with viewing window (CC-9011075-WW).
  • The 250GB Samsung 970 EVO M.2 NVMe (MZ-V7S250BW) impresses with its performance. - Samsung 870 QVO 2.5 "1000 GB Serial ATA III V-NAND MLC (MZ-77Q1T0BW) - Also in the system is: DVD Writer Burner ASUS DRW-24D5MT with which you want for nothing.
Ankermann image processing Office PC PC Intel i5-9400F 6X 2.90GHz ASUS Prime GeForce GT 1030 8GB RAM 250GB SSD M.2 1TB HDD Windows 10 PRO at Amazon
  • Gifted with Intel Core i7 7700 4x3.60GHz 7. Kaby Lake (Turbo: 4x4.2GHz) MSI H110M ECO (2x USB 3.0 0 5.1 Sound) motherboard and a 16GB Kingston DDR4 2400 (2xKVR24N17S8 / 8) ValueRAM RAM.
  • The MSI GeForce GT 710 2GB PASSIVE, VGA, DVI, HDMI (V809 2000R) brings performance to your system. Adapted for 300W be quiet! System Power-B8 (BN256) HuelleA Dis (ELITE U8) 2x USB 3.0 front (WxHxD: 175x375x405mm).
  • The 240 GB SSD SATA6GBs (L5 Teamgroup LITE 3D NAND) bribes with performance. In addition, the 1TB Toshiba P300 High Performance (HDWD110UZSVA) offers a considerable amount of memory. In connection with the system: DVD burner LG Electronics GH24NSD1 (GH24NSD1.AUAA10B) and nothing was missing.

Working memory - the short-term memory

The main memory (RAM [Random Access Memory]) is required to make all current data available to the system. How do I have to imagine that? Let's take a look at a PC with Lightroom started. Let's take Lightroom's development module as an example. A photo is shown to me in the preview. On the right side I have all the settings for the selected photo. At the bottom of the picture I have a bar of thumbnails of the current pictures. All this information is loaded into memory at this point and comes from the catalog and the previews generated during import.

According to Adobe's minimum requirements, 4 GB (gigabytes) of RAM are sufficient. However, since more than Lightroom is usually installed or started on a PC, this recommendation should not be followed. 8 GB of RAM it should be. If you also want to work with Photoshop Elements or Photoshop, 16GB or more can't hurt. But that depends a lot on how you use the programs.

The type of memory (speed / slot) depends on the mainboard.

16 GB of RAM in the best PC for Lightroom / Photoshop can't hurt. Only more is better.

Hard disks - long-term memory

If we talk about an optimal PC for Lightroom / Photoshop, we also have to look at the hard drive. We need the hard disks (HDD [Hard Disk Drive]) for our photo memories. Everything that is dear to us is stored here permanently. This primarily includes our images and the Lightroom catalog.

We need a lot more space for the pictures than for the catalogs. Due to the way Lightroom works, these original images are only accessed at three different times.

  1. Import of photos
  2. Export of photos
  3. Zoom view of the current picture

The third point depends on how the preview has been configured in Lightroom. If a Smart or 1: 1 preview is stored in the catalog, the third point is completely omitted. The preview of the image is then generated from the information available in the catalog directory.

The space required for pictures and catalog is very different. To get an idea of ​​this, I'll use my personal configuration as an example. There are around 10,000 images in my catalog. My catalog including the previews has a size of approx. 10 GB. The associated photos (Canon RAW / 20 megapixels) take up approx. 250 GB.

Different hard drives

A normal hard disk stores the data on rotating magnetic disks. A moving arm reads and writes the data. The way it works is similar to a record player. With an SSD, the data is stored directly in memory modules, like with a USB stick. However, access is via a different interface and is therefore extremely fast. Today's standard SSDs are approx. 2-3 times as fast as mechanical hard disks.

Because of these prerequisites, images and catalogs can be distributed on two hard drives. An SSD (Solid State Drive) with 256 GB for the operating system and the catalogs and a 3.5 ″ HDD with at least 1 TB (Terabyte) for the photos. Why subdivide at all when SSD is so much faster? Because an SSD is correspondingly more expensive than an HDD. :-)

There is another way to speed up the system. The standard connector for hard drives is currently SATA (Serial Advanced Technology Attachment). To make it easier, the hard drive is connected with a cable (equivalent to one channel). But there are SSD hard drives as plug-in cards. These “hard disks” are addressed with a multiple of these channels. How many channels depends on the model and the mainboard and its chipset.

An SSD in the computer speeds up work with Lightroom or Photoshop a lot

PC for Lightroom / Photoshop ready ?!

Actually, the PC for Lightroom / Photoshop is already ready at this point. But isn't there still a graphics card missing? Yes and no. So on in the next section:

Graphics card - for the eye

The graphics card has the task of displaying an image on the monitor. Even if you read something different in many places, a 2D representation of a static image, as in Lightroom, is no longer a challenge for today's PC. Due to our previous selection of components, a so-called onboard graphics solution is already available on the mainboard (Intel HD 530). It has to do with the choice of processor. This graphics card already supports the resolution of 4K (4 times that of Full HD) monitors.

The current Lightroom version promises a so-called GPU acceleration (computing processes are outsourced to the graphics card). Doesn't it make sense then to buy an expensive additional graphics card? From today's perspective, we say YES.

Annotation: The official hardware requirements for Lightroom 6 or Lightroom CC are:

  • AMD: Radeon GPU with support for DirectX 12 or OpenGL 3.3.
  • Intel: Skylake or newer GPU with DirectX 12 support.
  • NVIDIA: GPU with support for DirectX 12 or OpenGL 3.3.
  • OpenGL 3.3 and DirectX 10 capable video adapter for GPU-related functions.

The Intel HD 530 mentioned above already supports OpenGL 4.4 and DirectX12.

When do I need an additional graphics card?

There are two main reasons, related to Photoshop Lightroom, for an additional graphics card:

  1. By default, graphics cards transmit an 8-bit signal to the monitor and thus represent 16.7 million colors on the display. There are graphics cards that can transmit a 10-bit signal in conjunction with the appropriate monitor. Then you get over a billion colors.
  2. The maximum resolution of the monitor is greater than 4K. In the meantime there are e.g. 5K displays.

Therefore, one should carefully consider whether a purchase is an option. It always makes sense when you value reliable colors and speed.

Conclusion The best PC for Photoshop / Lightroom

If we want the best PC for Photoshop and Lightroom, very few of us will go out and buy all of the components individually. Unless you have fun building your future Windows PC yourself. Rather, the instructions are intended to provide a better understanding. Have your individual PC for Photoshop and Lightroom built to measure by a specialist dealer or follow the simple recommendations below:

Recommendation of a PC for Lightroom / Photoshop:

Memory PC CAD workstation Intel i7-8700K 6X 3.7 GHz, NVIDIA Quadro P2000 5GB GDDR5, ASUS Prime Z390-P, 32 GB DDR4, 480 GB SSD + 2000 GB Sata3 / -600, Windows 10 Pro 64bit at Amazon
  • The quality of Memory PC impresses with its ingenious product selection, which convinces again and again and wins various quality tests. The interaction of the components is always checked and documented in our specialist workshop. The satisfaction of our customers is our maxim and our claim, which we face again and again. We don't leave our customers out in the rain, especially after the purchase, and are always there for you. Try us! Switch it on and start doing everything right away !!!
  • Memory PC Intel PC Core i7-8700K 8th Generation (HexaCore) Coffee Lake 6x 3.7 GHz, ASUS, 32 GB DDR4, 480 GB SSD + 2000 GB, Windows 10 Pro 64bit
  • The memory PC with full SixCore power provides you with all the necessary speeds that you need in the office or at home. The very latest connections such as SATA3 and USB3.0 but also Gigabit LAN leave nothing to be desired. This is a complete all-rounder with all the skills you need. Challenge him calmly! en.

Minimum requirement

  • Intel® Core ™ i5 with> 3 Ghz
  • Mainboard with the latest chipset
    6th generation - Skylake chipset
    7th generation - Kaby Lake chipset
    8th generation - Coffee Lake chipset
  • Onboard graphics - Intel HD from version 530 to 650
  • 8 GB of RAM
  • 256GB SSD
  • 1 TB HDD

Optimal PC for Lightroom / Photoshop

  • Intel® Core ™ i7 with> 3.4 Ghz
  • Mainboard with the latest chipset
    6th generation - Skylake chipset
    7th generation - Kaby Lake chipset
    8th generation - Coffee Lake chipset
  • AMD Firepro or Nvidia Quadro graphics card
  • 16 GB of RAM
  • 256GB SSD as a PC card
  • 2 TB HDD
Asus VivoBook Pro 17 N705UD 90NB0GA1-M01790 43.9 cm (17.3 inch full HD matt) notebook (Intel Core i7-8550U, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD, 1TB HDD, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 2GB, Win 10) gray metal at Amazon
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-8550U (1.8 GHz, with Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 up to 4.00 GHz, 8MB cache)
  • Special features: With a weight of 2100 g and the 21 mm slim aluminum housing, the VivoBook Pro 17 is a highly mobile companion in an elegant design
  • Battery: 6 hours battery life, 3 cell battery / 42 watts; Excellent Harman Kardon sound, illuminated chiclet keyboard and the variety of connections complete the multimedia profile


CPU speed: CPU benchmarks

Adobe: Hardware Requirements Photoshop Lightroom / GPU - FAQ

This is a series of posts - Lightroom - Read the full series:

We wish you every success with the purchase of your own PC for Photoshop Lightroom.

On our own behalf:

Photo course Lightroom also as a correspondence course

If you want to learn Photoshop or Lightroom quickly and easily on your Mac or PC, I recommend the individual photography course for image processing by trainer Peter Roskothen. In just three hours, you'll learn all the basics of Lightroom and get a quick workflow to get you back to photography and spend less time in front of the monitor.

More information about the Lightroom photography course >>