The best PC for photo editing 2018: top desktops for Photoshop

null

If you're a professional photographer, or a keen hobbyist, you'll be doing plenty of photo editing to ensure that your snaps look their absolute best, and you'll probably also be looking for the best PC for photo editing to help you.

The best PCs for photo editing will have enough power to handle editing high resolution images, so you're likely going to be looking for a desktop PC with a dedicated graphics card. If you're only working with still images (and not using the PC for video editing as well), then you won't need a monster rig, but you'll certainly be after something that comes with a mid-range or higher graphics card.

Having enough RAM is also an important consideration, especially if you want to have a number of programs and images open at once. We'd recommend a minimum of 8GB for the best PC for photo editing.

You'll also want a high capacity hard drive for storing your photos on, we'd recommend 1TB or higher.

If you'd like something a bit more portable, then make sure you check out our pick of the best laptops for photographers and photo editing.

1. Apple Mac mini 2018

A brilliant mini PC for photo editing

CPU: Intel Core i3 - i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 630 | RAM: Up to 64GB | Storage: Up to 2TB SSD | Connectivity: Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac Wi-Fi | Dimensions (W x D x H): 19.7 x 19.7 x 3.6cm

Same small design
Four USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports
Integrated graphics aren’t all that

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 hard drive for extra graphical oomph.

2. Lenovo ThinkCentre M900

High end components for a good price

CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Up to NVIDIA Quadro K420 2 GB DVI + DP | RAM: Up to 64GB | Storage: 1TB HDD | Connectivity: Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac Wi-Fi | Dimensions (W x D x H): 175 x 413 x 406mm

Powerful CPU
Dedicated GPU
Not the biggest amount of ports

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. 

Lenovo ThinkCentre M700z

3. Microsoft Surface Studio

A brilliant all-in-one for photo editing

CPU: Intel Core i7-6820HQ | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M | RAM: 32GB | Storage: 2TB SSD | Connectivity: Gigabit Ethernet | Dimensions (W x D x H): 25 x 22 x 3.22 cm

Seamlessly transitions between modes
The best and biggest digital drawing board
All rearward ports
Pricey proposition for most

If you’re looking for an incredibly powerful, yet stylishly designed, all-in-one PC that’s not made by Apple, then Microsoft’s brilliant Surface Studio 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.

4. Apple iMac Pro

A stylish addition to any office

CPU: Intel Xeon W | Graphics: AMD Vega 56, Vega 64 | RAM: 32GB, 64GB | Storage: 1TB ssD | Connectivity: Ethernet, 802.11ac Wi-Fi | Dimensions (W x D x H): 65 x 20.3 x 51.6cm

Most powerful Mac ever
Excellent design
Very expensive
Non user-upgradable

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.

Dell Inspiron 3000

5. Dell XPS Tower Special Edition

A powerful desktop PC for photo editing

CPU: : Intel Core i5 – Core i7 | Graphics: : AMD Radeon RX 580 – Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Storage: 256GB SSD; 1TB HDD – 512GB SSD; 2TB HDD

Compact, minimalist design
Full online customer support
Starting memory isn't ideal for VR
Lower graphical performance compared to rivals

Dell offers some exceptional PCs for work and photo editing, and the Dell XPS Tower Edition is a brilliant example, showcasing excellent build quality with a suite of powerful components. Inside you’ll find your choice of the latest in GPU tech (essential for heavy duty photo and video editing), in addition to a blazing-fast 7th generation Intel CPU and a spacious hard drive and/or SSD.  The Special Edition is only available in the US, but our readers in the UK and Australia will still be able to buy the regular Dell XPS Tower and beef it up to the same level through Dell’s configuration page.

Apple iMac

6. Apple iMac (2017)

A powerful, price-efficient package

CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640 – AMD Radeon Pro 560 | RAM: 8GB – 32GB | Storage: 1TB HDD – 1TB SSD

Gorgeous 4K, P3 color display
Excellent value
Poor audio performance
Baffling mouse charging method

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 2017 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, while the 7th-generation Kaby Lake desktop processor make the 21.5-inch iMac not only beautiful, but powerful as well.

HP Pavilion Mini

7. HP Pavilion Wave

A great Windows alternative to the Mac Pro

CPU: Intel Core i3 – Intel Core i5 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 530 – AMD Radeon R9 M470 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 1TB HDD

Unique, stylish cylindrical form factor
Clever and effective audio solution
No optical audio port
Unflattering specs

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.

8. Intel Hades Canyon NUC

Don’t let its size fool you

CPU: Intel Core i7-8809G | Graphics: Radeon RX Vega M GH graphics (4GB HBM2 VRAM), Intel UHD Graphics 630 | RAM: N/A | Storage: N/A

 Lots of ports 
 Easy to upgrade 
 Expensive 

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.