Best Computer for Graphic Design

If you are planning to start your graphic design business or learn graphic design, then starting off with correct technology is a must. Today we will review the best computers for graphic design for both Macintosh and Pc computers. It does not really matter whichever you choose between the two but it has to be standard to both improve your experience and output quality.

If you prefer a laptop, watch out for our next article on Best Laptops for Graphic Design. However, a desktop computer is more preferable for graphic design because it offers more flexibility in terms of memory upgradability because it has more slots.

Buyer Guide

Best Overall

Best Budget

Best PC

iMac (27-inch, 2020)

CPU: 10th-generation Intel Core i5 – i9

RAM: 8GB – 128GB

Storage: 256GB – 8TB SSD

Graphics: AMD Radeon Pro 5300 – Radeon Pro 5700 XT

HP Pavilion 590

CPU: 4-8 cores AMD Ryzen 3 / 5 / 7, Core i3 / i7

RAM: 8GB – 16GB

Storage: 256GB – 8TB SSD

Graphics: Intel UHD / AMD Vega Pro / Radeon RX550 / Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti / 1060

Microsoft Surface

CPU: Intel Core i7-7820HQ

RAM: 16GB – 32GB

Storage: 1TB – 2TB SSD

Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB -GTX 1070 8GB | | 

Best Overall

iMac (27-inch, 2020)

CPU: 10th-generation Intel Core i5 – i9

RAM: 8GB – 128GB

Storage: 256GB – 8TB SSD

Graphics: AMD Radeon Pro 5300 – Radeon Pro 5700 XT

Apple iMac takes the best overall computer for this purpose. First of all you will not need to buy a monitor separately. It comes with a 27 inch monitor with a 5k Retina display that is super crisp and clear. This is a big plus for any pro graphic designer because you are able to view your work in great color accuracy.

In this 2020 update, the 10th-generation Intel Core i5 – i9 sets apart this computer as a great industry leader and choice machine for graphic designers.

If you use Memory cards especially for photographers, this machine has a memory card slot, a feature not too common in most computers.

The AMD Radeon Pro 5300 is one of the best thing about this machine when it comes to its performance. It makes the machine super powerful compared to others in its price range.

One downside however, the machine needs some configuration to meet its full potential because, when you buy, the hard drive is at 256 GB instead of our recommended 1 TB. The Ram is also at 8 GB which is not bad but can be better especially if you intend to use it for Animation. However, both this factors are flexible, with the Ram expandable up to 128 GB and storage up to 8 TB.

Pros

  • You will not have to buy a monitor separately
  • Powerful Machine
  • Crisp clear display
  • Comes with a powerful AMD Radeon Pro 5300 graphics card

Cons

  • Requires some configuration to reach full potential
  • Only 2 thunderbolt ports
  • Relatively Expensive

Best Budget

HP Pavilion 590

CPU: 4-8 cores AMD Ryzen 3 / 5 / 7, Core i3 / i7

RAM: 8GB – 16GB

Storage: 256GB – 8TB SSD

Graphics: Intel UHD / AMD Vega Pro / Radeon RX550 / Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti / 1060

This is the best graphic design computer that will not dent your pocket too deep. You will get When on a budget, then this is the best pick. It comes with an 3.6 GHz AMD Ryzen 5 2400G Quad-Core processor processor that will smoothly run graphic design software. As a designer, running different programs simultaneously is a must so such a powerful processor is a must have.

8 GB Ram expandable to 16 GB will work well and memory that can be expanded to 2 TB. Even though our recommended is 1TB, this will work well but you will need to invest on external memory if you have a lot of data.

The machine comes with a mouse and keyboard so you do not have to buy that. Unfortunately you will need to separately buy a monitor because it does not come with one. Check out our previous article on Best monitors for Graphic Designers.

The sleek design makes the computer quite small which is great.

Microsoft Surface Best PC

CPU: Intel Core i7-7820HQ

RAM: 16GB – 32GB

Storage: 1TB – 2TB SSD

Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB -GTX 1070 8GB | | 

Some designers will rush and go for the iMac but for the Windows guys this machine gives the iMac a run for its money. Very powerful and fast computer with Intel Core i7 processors, With this, running many programs will be a walk.

Viewing your work in high detail is vital for the quality of output. This computer comes with a he strikingly large 28″ (4,500 x 3,000 ) PixelSense Display and a stunning touchscreen with 13.5 million pixels of true-to-life color.

Still uses an old Quad Intel Processor that works well for graphic designer, but with increasing demands, this needs an update.

You can configure the surface pro from 8 GB it to 32 GB memory and SSD is expandable to 2 TB from 1 TB.

Lenovo Yoga A940

CPU: 3.2GHz Intel Core i7-8700

RAM: 16GB

Storage: 1TB SSD

Graphics: AMD Radeon RX 560X (4GB GDDR5)

This is a great all in one computer and is quite price friendly for all the things you get in one purchase. Like in the Microsoft surface and iMac you save on the monitor cost. The Lenovo Yoga A940 comes with a 27 inch monitor that has touch screen pen support. A 4K display makes it great for design work

For the Processor a 9th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-9700 Processor with Pro™ (3.0 GHz, up to 4.70 GHz will allow your programs to run faster and you can multitask easily. In as much as the features are not too stand out, they all meet the requirement for an effective graphic design computer at some great rate.

iMac Pro 2017

  • CPU: Intel Xeon W (8,10,14, 18 cores, 2.3 GHz-3.2GHz)
  • RAM: 32-128GB
  • Screen: Retina 5K (5,120×2,880)
  • Graphics: AMD Radeon Pro Vega 56 or Vega 64 | 
  •  Storage: 1TB-4TB SSD

If you are looking for a very powerful machine and do not mind the price tag, then the Apple iMac 2017 is the machine for you. It has a 27 inch monitor like most computers reviewed here, however a 5K 5120×2880 resolution and color accuracy, makes it ideal for color sensitive industries such as printing and videography.

This feature makes it ideal and if you visit most print shops or professional outfits, you will find them work with it.

However as mentioned the price is far much on the hire side and as you start of f in graphic design, you will not need most of the abilities on offer by this computer.

Factors to consider

Hard Drive

The hard drive will either be Hard Disk Drives (HDD) or Solid State Drives (SDD). Though more costly, SDDs offer more in speed and durability. SDD have no moving parts and replace this with memory chips. This makes them tolerant to adverse conditions like drops unlike HDDs that have spinning parts. For graphic design computer, you can choose either of the 2 but SDD will have your programs loading faster. 1TB size is recommended but as you grow an upgrade to 2 TB is welcome.

Processor

Most of the software you will run on your computer as a graphic designer, will be quite “heavy”- CPU intensive. Most of them will run with above 1Ghz but to work effectively go for 2 Ghz plus. 1 Ghz simply put means the number of calculations your computer makes per second 1 Ghz being 1 billion calculations in a second.

Memory

Every time your computer needs to get files, it goes to the hard drive. To increase retrieving speed, computers have like a partial memory where it keeps at the top of its head instead of going to the hard drive all the time. This is called RAM (Random Access Memory). If you want an upgrade and do not know which one to start with, then the RAM is the best place to start.

You will need a computer with at least 8GB of Ram as you start but check the ability to expand because as you grow, you will need more RAM. Your ideal machine should at least allow expandability to 32 GB.

Monitor

A monitor is essential especially if you want to create products for clients. Please check out Best monitor for Graphic Design and Digital Artists in 2021.

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