The art of editing images has become synonymous with the name “Photoshop”. Just like “Tupperware” has become to the plastic containers or “Popsicle” has to ice pops. That is the popularity the Adobe Photoshop editing application has within this industry. It is no surprise then that we are regularly asked. What is the best Workstation specification to run Adobe Photoshop?
Adobe Photoshop Needs a Lot of Memory
Having enough system RAM is essential for good Photoshop performance. The amount it uses can soon escalate with high-resolution imagery and the number of open files you are working on at any given time. With this in mind, it is impossible to give a firm number on how much memory is sufficient. We do recommend a minimum of 16GB, but if your budget allows 32-64GB would be ideal.
What CPU is the best for Adobe Photoshop?
Photoshop prefers clockspeed to large amounts of cores. Once you go past 8 cores, there is hardly any performance benefit at all. These characteristics make the Intel Core i5, i7 and i9 range perfect for Adobe Photoshop use. With their excellent bang for your buck performance levels, high clockspeeds and a maximum of 8 cores, they are the go-to choice for Adobe Photoshop Workstation users.
The AMD Ryzen processors are a consideration for Photoshop users and do offer up stiff competition the Intel processors. Currently, however, for Adobe applications, the AMD options do come up just slightly short of Intel in terms of performance. AMD Ryzen processors still provide admirable performance in Photoshop so if you use other applications that make use of the additional cores and threads they should be a strong contender for your next Workstation.
Choosing the Right GPU for Adobe Photoshop
Photoshop is a very heavily CPU based application, and GPU acceleration is rarely utilised. Adobe has introduced more and more GPU accelerated tools and filters in recent years, but at this time, we recommend focusing more budget towards your memory and CPU.
A low to mid-range NVIDIA GeForce card would be an ideal choice for Adobe Photoshop. Testing shows that the higher end cards offer very minimal improvement within Adobe Photoshop and do not provide a good return on the extra investment. These cards now offer 10-bit colour support and are also powerful enough to drive multiple 4k resolutions which is very important to demanding Photoshop users.
If you wish to maximise your Workstations reliability, then you may also consider the NVIDIA Quadro professional graphics range. Over time these graphics cards have shown to be slightly more reliable than the NVIDIA GeForce range however they are relatively expensive.
Recommended Hard Drive Configuration for Adobe Photoshop?
There are currently 3 types of storage drives available to Workstation user, NVMe SSD, SSD and HDD. A traditional HDD is the slowest, the cheapest and offers the largest storage capacities. SSD is many times faster than an HDD and although they have come down in price significantly, they are still expensive compared to a HDD. NVMe SSD is the bleeding edge of storage technology, offering phenomenal speeds and as a result, are the most expensive.
We recommend a 2 drive configuration for our Photoshop customers. Either an SSD or and NVMe SSD if your budget allows, to act as your primary drive. This primary drive should be used to install your operating system, applications and to store your active project files. The second drive should be a traditional HDD. Although slow, a HDD is fantastic for long term storage thanks to the low price and large capacities available.