When buying the best PC for photo editing, don’t just go for the most powerful option out there and be done with it. Whether you’re a professional photographer or keen hobbyist with deep pockets, there are a few things to check off the list to find the ideal computer.
As you’ll be working with high-resolution photos, the best PC for photo editing should ideally have a dedicated graphics card, rather than a less powerful integrated GPU. You won’t need a high-end graphics card – unless you’re also doing video editing or 3D rendering. However, it’s worth buying a PC with a decent mid-range or higher graphics card to keep up with your workload.
The best PC for photo editing should also have enough RAM so you can have several programs and images open at once, as well as a high capacity hard drive in which to store your photos. Buying a photo editing PC that already comes with plenty of storage space will save you having to fiddle about installing extra hard drives later on. We recommend at least 8GB of RAM and 1TB or higher of storage.
If you’re a photographer looking for the best PCs for photo editing, then you’ve come to the right place. We’ve carefully picked the best photo editing PC for your needs, so you skip the shopping part and get right down to your creative process. For something a bit more portable, make sure you check out our pick of the best laptops for photographers and photo editing.
- In search of a photo book to store your edited prints?
Best PC for photo editing at a glance:
- iMac (27-inch, 2020)
- Apple Mac mini 2018
- Lenovo ThinkCentre M900
- Microsoft Surface Studio 2
- Apple iMac Pro
- Lenovo Yoga A940
- iMac (27-inch, 2019)
- HP Pavilion Wave
- Intel Hades Canyon NUC
Even though the iMac 27-inch’s last update was only last year, Apple couldn’t help but step up in the upgrades department with its 2020 follow-up. Specs-wise, this model sports some massive improvements while also upgrading its webcam and microphones for a felicitous update. More people are working from home these days, and this seems like the best all-in-one PC to invest in without being forced to make some considerable space in your existing area. Sure, its overall design hasn’t seen so much as a tweak, making it look a bit tired, but power trumps design for photo editing.
Read the full review: iMac (27-inch, 2020)
The new Mac mini was a long time coming, but it was well worth the wait, as Apple has packed it with some brilliant modern components, including the latest 6-core processors from Intel, along with support for up to 64GB RAM and loads of storage as well, all in that small and stylish body we’ve come to love. It’s perfectly powerful enough for photo editing, and small enough for photographers to carry around with them. The only disappointment is that it does not come with discrete graphics, but Intel’s integrated UHD Graphics 630 aren’t too shabby, and you can also plug in an external GPU for extra graphical oomph.
The Lenovo ThinkCentre M900 is an excellent desktop PC for photo editing, as it combines speed and power with an excellent build quality and reliability which is essential for PCs used for heavy duty image manipulation. Best of all, the Lenovo ThinkCentre M900 comes in a range of configurations, with the top-end model boasting a huge amount of power. This flexibility lets you build a Lenovo ThinkCentre M900 that suits your needs, and there’s plenty of room to upgrade and expand this desktop in the future.
If you’re looking for an incredibly powerful, yet stylishly designed, all-in-one computer that’s not made by Apple, then Microsoft’s brilliant Surface Studio 2 will be for you. It comes at a price, but for build quality and performance, you’ll not want to look any further, especially if you work with photo editing applications. Microsoft’s all-in-one PC fits comfortably on a desk, and it’s built-in screen makes your photos look fantastic, even before you’ve edited them. As it run Windows 10 you get a huge range of comparible photo editing apps as well.
If you’re a professional photographer and digital creative, then the iMac Pro is one of the best PCs money can buy. This is a seriously powerful all-in-one that was released last year with cutting edge tech, and a choice of powerful Intel Xeon W processors, bags of RAM and hefty graphical processing power. All of this in an iconic Apple design. If you have the budget for it, the iMac Pro is one of the best PCs for photo editing money can buy. However, for some people, you may find it has a level of power that you do not require, so read on for more modest (and affordable) PCs for photo editing.
Lenovo’s latest all-in-one offering isn’t as powerful as Apple’s premium AIO, the iMac Pro, or even the recently updated iMac, which now offers a 9th-generation Intel Core configuration. After all, the 8th-generation chips and Radeon RX 560 graphics are aging at this point. However, it is still plenty powerful to meet the needs of professional photographers who can’t afford Apple’s more pricey machines. It’s one of the best PCs for photo editing thanks to its screen that offers 100% Adobe RGB support and Dolby Vision, plus a stylus and dial as well, for better control over your photo editing work.
If the iMac Pro above is too expensive (and offers a level of performance that you simply don’t need) but you want an Apple all-in-one, then the standard iMac is more than capable of helping you with your photo editing. While the iMac 2019 doesn’t feature a touchscreen or an adjustable stand, the option for a 4K P3 wide color gamut display means it will accurately display your photos. Plus, there’s the fact that because the iMac (27-inch, 2019) is no longer the latest model, so it should be getting some tempting price cuts.
Though at first you might confuse it for a fabric-woven Mac Pro refresh, the HP Pavilion Wave is anything but. This compact Windows machine packs in 6th-generation Intel Core processors and optional discrete AMD graphics with a uniquely integrated Bang & Olufsen speaker. Wrapped in a handsome fabric exterior, this is the perfect PC to have on the desk. If you love listening to music while you edit your photos, then this is a brilliant – and stylish – PC to consider.
If you’re looking for a great desktop experience for photo editing, but don’t have a lot of space, look no further than the Intel Hades Canyon NUC. In this tiny bare-bones PC, you have an insanely powerful 8th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, and discrete-class Radeon graphics – once you throw in some RAM and storage, you’ve got a small and easily portable PC that can handle photo editing with ease. If you often travel around and want a powerful and dependable PC for photo editing, then this is definitely worth considering.