PC Specs for Lightroom & Photoshop

Apr 10, 2009
Years ago I used to build my own PCs and was very confident when it came to the pros and cons of Intel vs AMD but I have been out of the loop for a while and I’m ashamed to say I’ve no idea what’s what other than my 10 year old laptop is getting a bit slow. So can anyone recommend me a couple of specs for a good, better and best computer for running Lightroom & Photoshop? Hopefully that’ll give me a starting point from which I can start investing options.


Jan 15, 2010
My preference based on previous builds and experience would be Intel for CPU and Nvidia for graphics over AMD products. Having said that AMD mid-range CPU's may have a small edge over Intel equivalent for speed. It depends really on how much you want to spend and your specific requirements.

Bear in mind that you will get to a point where spending a great deal more over a mid budget system will not necessarily buy an equivalent increase in performance . If you are USA based then it is worth looking at Puget systems. This link should help you on your way to choosing a system

Oct 8, 2018
SE Michigan
Real Name
First question I have is what are you looking for? Mobility? At home? What kind of editing are you doing? Single photos? Large stacks that are huge file sizes? Any video or just stills?

I tend to favor units that have Pen support so I don’t have to use a WACOM tablet. For my studio I have a Microsoft Surface Studio 2; but they are very expensive for what you get in my opinion. They work great however and the monitor / pen input is top notch. If you are looking for mobile devices then I’d look at a either a surface pro for light to medium duty or a ASUS ZenBook pro duo.


Apr 26, 2008
Up in the hills, Gloucestershire, UK
I stick with Intel for CPUs - my latest CPUs are i7-8700K, with 32GB memory.

Having had various problems in the past with Nvidia (both hardware and drivers), I stick with AMD for video cards - my latest is AMD RX 580 Nitro 8GB.

You also need to think about drives. A modern motherboard will take an SSD drive plugged directly onto it. In my case this is Samsung SSD NVMe 960 Evo 500GB. This is for Windows and applications. And then a normal fast SATA rotating drive for data, in my case Seagate BarraCuda Pro 8TB.

I would expect it to run about 5 to 10 times faster than your old laptop.

My specs above are already 18 months out of date - things still change quickly.

If you really want a laptop then you will be much more limited in what you get. I still think a desktop is a much better deal altogether. Easy to upgrade and repair, more powerful, liquid cooling, silent, big screen, I use a collectable real clicky keyboard from the 1980s, have whatever you want.

If you want to just buy a system check out the Dell machines, that is a good starting point for understanding what specs are available.

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