Best photo editing PCs of 2024: top picks for all budgets


Finding the best photo editing PCs can be overwhelming, especially when looking for a machine that excels with advanced photo editing tools to boost your creativity. 

The key lies in choosing a system with the processing power and memory to swiftly manage tasks in software like Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, ensuring quick and precise effect application and color-level editing. For professional-grade results, connect the computer to any of the best monitors for photo editing for color-accuracy that faithfully represents your photographic vision. 

Our team have tested and reviewed all the best photo editing laptops and computers, so if you're getting into photography, art, and design, we know exactly which desktop PCs will help you on your latest masterpiece. As part of our rigorous review process, we've benchmarked performances, compared specs and speeds, and assessed the overall design of the best photo editing computers across Windows and Mac, for every skill-level and budget. 

Quick List

Best PC for photo editing: FAQs

Man using photo editor app on photo editing PC

(Image credit: Unsplash / Glenn Carstens-Peters)

Why do I need a photo editing computer?

Photo editing software is resource-hungry - so you need a computer that can keep pace, especially for more complex projects. 

Professional software like Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom (and even the best Photoshop alternatives and best Lightroom alternatives) can force the computer to work hard. That leads to a lowering of performance, slowing down creative processes, and outputting images that don’t match the vision you had in your head - or what the client wanted. As a result, your work and your workflow suffers. 

For a PC for photo editing, we recommend minimum specs of 16GB RAM and 1TB of SSD storage - paired with the best photo cloud storage for backups.  

Which photo editing computer is best for Photoshop?

Generally, any of the picks on this list will run Adobe Photoshop very well, but you do have a choice to make between Macs and Windows PCs. Of the Mac desktops, the Mac Studio is the best there is for photo editing, but the Mac mini and iMac can certainly keep up (so long as they have enough memory). For Windows PCs, the HP Envy 34 is our favorite, though the Dell XPS Desktop is a close second, while the Puget Systems workstation is the best Windows desktop for photo editing if you are working with photos on a more industrial scale and need a lot of memory and resources to handle your workflow.

How to choose the best photo editing PC

Professional Photographer working in a photo editing app at their PC

(Image credit: Shutterstock / Gorodenkoff)

When choosing which photo editing PC is best for you, it's a good idea to have a clear idea how you'll be using the machine. Given the considerable variance in costs between some of the PCs featured in this list, it's important to get a solid grasp of the level of photo editing performance you require. 

If you're an amateur photographer who would love to simply spend a little more time editing shots taken in your spare time, then you're unlikely to need to shell out on some of the more powerful machines in this list.

Conversely, if you're a professional photographer who relies on being able to turn around a considerable number of photos during working hours in order to pay the bills, eyeing up the powerful models will prove a shrewder decision in the long run.

There are of course more subjective choices to be made too. Windows or Apple is the main one, of course, but there are also aesthetic choices like whether you want something that will sit unmoved in a defined office space, or whether you require something portable. 

When selecting your photo editing PC, look for those that offer a high amount of RAM and SSD storage. Memory and disk are really important, even more than picking a high-powered CPU and GPU (although they really help ease workflows, of course). Ideally, choose a computer offering a minimum of 16GB RAM and 1TB SSD storage for best results. 

How we test the best PC for photo editing

Our team of expert reviewers have tested a massive range of hardware for creatives - from the best laptops for graphic design to the best video editing PCs. So, we know how important it is to find a device that offers fluid performance and a smoother creative workflow.  

In our run down of the ten best PCs for photo editing, we've rigorously tested all computers using our standard reviewing process for laptops and desktops. This begins with looking at the built quality of all models, assessing its design and build to see how robust it feels, testing the functionality of all ports, switches and latches.

We looked at screen quality, testing brightness and tone, and the overall weight and size of the machine. We also considered the machine's compatibility with the leading photo editing software, and ran the rule on battery life and (key in the case of photo editing) processing speed.

The best photo editing PC in 2024: our top picks

The best photo editing PC in 2024

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

Below you'll find full write-ups for each of the entries on our best photo editing PC list. We've tested each one extensively, so you can be sure that our recommendations can be trusted.

The best photo editing PC overall

best MacBook and Macs Mac Studio on wooden desk

(Image credit: Future)
Move over Mac Pro


CPU: Apple 12-core M2 Max or 24-core M2 Ultra
Graphics: Integrated 38-core to 76-core GPU
RAM: Up to 192GB unified memory
Storage: Up to 8TB SSD

Reasons to buy


Reasons to avoid

Not upgradable

The Mac Studio is like a super-charged Mac mini for creative professionals. Apple's newest Mac, this is an impressively compact computer that comes packing some serious power thanks to the Apple M2 Max chip to start and configurable to the Apple M2 Ultra. 

The Mac Studio is a formidable machine when it comes to creative content, capable of loading up an incredibly detailed 3D scene that took up more memory than most discrete professional PC GPUs come with, making architectural renderings and poster production a snap. For photography work, the up to 192GB unified memory can open and handle entire project portfolios at once, speeding up workflows and fine tuning work.

The level of performance on offer here will be overkill for many people, but if you're looking for a workstation PC for heavy creative workloads, then the Mac Studio will be a great choice. It's expensive, but worth the investment.

Read our full Apple Mac Studio review

The best budget photo editing PC

Apple Mac Mini on wood desk

(Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)
Apple’s little PC gets a big upgrade


CPU: Up to Apple M2 Pro
Graphics: Up to integrated 19-core GPU
RAM: Up to 32GB unified memory
Storage: 256GB – 8TB SSD

Reasons to buy

Powers through Photoshop and Lightroom
Compact design for carrying around
Impressive across content creation 
Affordable price for an Apple device

Reasons to avoid

Not upgradable
Slightly bigger than other mini PCs

Running Photoshop, Lightroom, and more, the Apple Mac mini M2 soars as a content creation machine. No wonder we awarded it a full five stars and handed it an Editor’s Choice badge. 

From iMacs to MacBooks, Apple’s always been a favorite of the creative community for its sleek designs and top-of-the-line performance across the range. Small and practical, the Mac mini, which is boasts a budget price for the sheer power you get, easily deserves its place in the line-up. 

Don’t let the compact design throw you off here. In our experience, whether you’re editing photos or videos, the M2-powered Mac mini never misses a beat. And yes, it’s ‘mini’ in lower-case, just to emphasize how dinky it is, But that size is relative to other Apple devices like the iMac and MacBook Pro series. Compared to a traditional mini PC, this one is a slightly chunkier, clocking in at 7.75 x 7.75 x 1.41, weighing 2.6lbs. .

Still, we found it more than portable, with broad connectivity options, including speedy and super-simple Thunderbolt 4 ports. Absolutely perfect if you’re looking for a powerful but small photo editing PC you can plug in anywhere on campus, at home, or in the studio. 

Read our full Apple Mac Mini M2 (2023) review

The best Windows all-in-one for photo editing

An HP Envy 34 on a desk in front of a plant

(Image credit: Future)
A serious iMac alternative for creative professionals


CPU: 11th-gen Intel i5 – i9
Graphics: Nvidia GTX 1650 – Nvidia RTX 3080
RAM: Up to 32GB
Storage: Up to 1TB
Display: 34-inch 5120 x 2160p IPS 500 nits 98% DCI-P3

Reasons to buy

Incredible design
Sharp 5K ultrawide display
16MP Webcam

Reasons to avoid

Underpowered mobile GPU
Best configurations is expensive

The HP Envy 34 all-in-one computer is undeniably powerful, offering an excellent iMac alternative to Windows users who want outstanding design, fantastic features, and great performance for a relatively affordable price. Our coveted five-star rating is rarely given, which should speak volumes about how impressive it is. That's despite the fact that it runs a last-gen Intel processor and a mobile GPU.

Among the many things we appreciate here are its movable 16MP webcam and excellent selection of ports. On test, however, it's its stunner of a display that hogs the spotlight. This height-adjustable, 34-inch, 5K 21:9 screen isn't just gorgeous; it's also bright with 500 nits of brightness and 98% coverage of the DCI-P3 gamut, which makes it ideal for photographers.

Don't like upgrading to a new computer every couple of years? It's also expandable up to 4TB M.2 storage and 128GB DDR4 RAM so there's room to grow here.

Read our full HP Envy 34 All-in-One review

The best Apple all-in-one for photo editing

One of the best photo editing PCs, the Apple iMac 24-inch, in an office

(Image credit: Future)
Apple continues its all-in-one winning streak


CPU: Apple M3
Graphics: Up to 10-core GPU
RAM: Up to 24GB
Storage: Up to 2TB
Screen: 24-inch 4.5K Retina display

Reasons to buy

Excellent screen
Powerful new processor
Fantastic webcam

Reasons to avoid

Lack of ports remains
Memory limited to 24GB

Apple's latest M3 model elevates the all-in-one computer to new heights, making it an outstanding choice for photo editing. Boasting a stunning 24-inch 4.5K display, it delivers vibrant colors and brightness, complemented by a high-quality 1080p webcam. 

Despite its robust performance, it maintains a light and compact design, ideal for space-constrained setups. The option to personalize with different colorways adds a touch of style to any workspace. 

While it inherits a few drawbacks from the M1 version, like limited ports and peculiar design choices in peripherals, these are overshadowed by its capabilities. 

However, the base model's 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage might feel insufficient for some, but overall, it stands as an exceptional system for photo editing tasks.

Read the full Apple iMac review

The best Windows photo editing PC

Dell XPS Desktop (8960) on a table

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)
A top Windows desktop PC for photo editing


CPU: Intel Core i7- i9
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 / Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090
RAM: Up to 64GB
Storage: Up to 4TB SSD

Reasons to buy

Sheer power for content creation
Ports, ports, and more ports
Stays cool and quiet

Reasons to avoid

Dull design

A plain and professional exterior design hides an impressively powerful photo editing PC with the Dell XPS Desktop (8960). But it won't come cheap. 

When it comes to size, we found this desktop hits the Goldilocks zone - neither too big or too small - which means you'll be able to fit it into just about any workspace, on or under the desk. Mind you, during transportation, we did feel the weight of this machine, so be careful when lifting the XPS desktop into position.  

Photo editing and batching exporting images is absolutely straight forward. We used Lightroom for this, and never saw any slowing down, even as our library of editing photos grew. Once we got beyond that drab exterior shell, we began to appreciate the real power on display here. If you're on the hunt for a desktop computer for photo editing and gaming, the Dell XPS Desktop (8960) has the mettle for both.

Connectivity is fair - you'll find two USB ports, a USB-C port, SD card reader, and a lone 3.5mm jack to the front, making them easily accessible. All in all, ideal for content creation. 

Read our full Dell XPS Desktop (8960) review

Best photo editing workstation PC

A Puget Systems custom workstation with its side panel open exposing its inernal components

(Image credit: Puget Systems)
For those who want things their way


CPU: Up to Intel Xeon 3400 or AMD Threadripper 5000X-series
Graphics: Up to Nvidia RTX 4090
RAM: Up to 512GB DDR4
Storage: Up to 67TB SSD + HDD combined storage

Reasons to buy

Highly configurable
Professional workstation build quality

Reasons to avoid

 Can get very expensive

If none of the other PCs on this list suit your needs, then you need to give Puget Systems a call. A custom workstation builder, there is no one Puget System PC, but its systems are incredibly customizable and offer the Mac Pro its strongest competition of any Windows/Linux desktop.

We are finishing up our Puget System review, but we've been using this system for more than a month and a half as one of our primary workstation PCs in the office, and the high-RAM capacity make complex photo editing work a breeze.

Configurable with AMD Ryzen or Threadripper CPUs, or Intel Core or Xeon processors, you can truly sculpt a perfect photographers PC that exactly suits your needs, whether its a massive pool of memory or an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 for generative AI tools to complement your photographs.

Prices range from affordable to eye-wateringly high, but as far as a Windows alternative to the venerable Mac Pro, a Puget Systems custom build is it.

Read our full Puget Systems Workstation review

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Steve Clark
B2B Editor - Creative & Hardware

Steve is TechRadar Pro’s B2B Editor for Creative & Hardware. He explores the apps and devices for individuals and organizations that thrive on design and innovation. A former journalist at Web User magazine, he's covered software and hardware news, reviews, features, and guides. He's previously worked on content for Microsoft, Sony, and countless SaaS & product design firms. Once upon a time, he wrote commercials and movie trailers. Relentless champion of the Oxford comma.

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