Best Desktops for Photo Editing
Minimum Specs for Photo Editing (RAM, CPU, Storage, Graphics Cards)
Looking for the best desktop for photography? The criterions for buying a desktop to edit your photos and videos involve more than just a high display resolution. It requires the ability to multi-task handling several editing applications at the same time without any visible lag time. Finally, it also requires a large display with a high resolution.
High resolution is imperative both from the point of view of image editing as well as video editing. A higher resolution ensures that you can view an image in a large format without the image getting pixilated. When editing video you can get a larger view of the timeline.
Intel’s Core i7 is a good place to start. With the latest 8th Generation processor now available, it would be a nice way to future-proof your investment; at least for the next few years. Technically, you can still run Photoshop and Lightroom on an older Core i5 processor, but you wouldn’t like the experience nor have the patience to edit large number of RAW files after a while.
Speed is the operative word here. And for that you need the latest processors with high number of cores. You don’t have to go crazy and buy the latest 12-core Intel Core i9 processor, as the processor alone will set you back by a thousand bucks. A six to eight core is sufficient for photo and video editing.
Still on the subject of speed, the ideally, the best desktop for photography is the one that comes with a high speed RAM, preferably 32 gigs of it.
Graphics Processor & Connectivity
You also need a decent graphics processor unit. Plus, the ability mount several connectivity ports such as HDMI, USB 3.1 and the ability to mount SD cards. You need the ability to mount both SD, SDHC and SDXC cards.
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Storage is a highly debated topic. There is clear line of demarcation between users who prefer to have a high storage. They would want to store as many of their RAW images right in the computer itself. Then there are the other type of users who prefer to store as much as possible to an external (offline) storage unit. Storing huge number of RAW files to a cloud storage can be quite expensive. It is better to store them to two or more external storages in a RAID 1 architecture. That way all the drives would be available for accessing of data at any time.
Going by this logic, even a small 256 GB SSD drive would be enough as the primary storage unit on a computer. You can always back up your RAW and JPEG files to the external storage unit as and when necessary.
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the best desktop for photography.
The Best Desktops for Photo Editing in 2018 Compared
- Apple iMac Pro MQ2Y2LL/A at $4,499.00 155 Reviews
- Apple MNED2LL/A 27-inch iMac at from $1,279.00 155 Reviews
- Dell XPS 7760 27″ at $2,069.97 1 Reviews
- Dell XPS 8930 Tower Desktop at $1,398.97 3 Reviews
- Dell 3668 Inspiron at $854.06 5 Reviews
- Lenovo ThinkCentre M710 Tower at $919.95 7 Reviews
- Intel NUC8 VR Machine Mini PC at $899.00 17 Reviews
- Microsoft Surface Studio at from $3,999.11 23 Reviews
1. Apple iMac Pro MQ2Y2LL/A
The new Apple iMac Pro is powered by the Intel Xeon W 8-Core processor. Base clock speed of the processor is 3.2 GHz while the maximum that the processor can be boosted is 4.2 GHz. The processor comes paired with 32 GB of internal DDR4 SD RAM. The memory has a speed of 2666 MHz.
Graphics is powered by an AMD Radeon Pro Vega 56 processor with 8 GB of GDDR5 VRAM integrated.
The display is a large 27″ one with an aspect ratio of 16:9. The native resolution of the IPS display is 5120 x 2880. The 5K Retina Display is more than enough for any and all photography and video editing works.
The 500 nits brightness ensures a bright realistic display of the images / videos while editing. The display supports up to a billion colors.
Internal storage of the computer is a healthy 1 TB which is entirely composed of a SSD PCIe unit. There are no optical drives on the device.
The computer has an array of input and output connectors. This includes 4 thunderbolt ports, 4 USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type A ports and 4 Mini Display Port via Type C. Apart from these you have a 3.5mm headphone output as well as integrated speakers and headphones.
- 3.2GHz 8-core Intel Xeon W processor w/Turbo Boost up to 4.2GHz
- 32GB 2666MHz ECC memory
- 1TB SSD storage, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports, 10GB Ethernet
- Radeon Pro Vega 56 with 8GB HBM2 memory
- 27-inch Retina 5K 5120-by-2880 P3 display
2. Apple MNED2LL/A 27-inch iMac
This is a slightly less powerful Apple 27″ iMac from mid 2017. This iMac is powered by a 3.8 GHz Intel Core i5 Quad-Core processor (7th generation Kaby Lake). The processor can fire at a base speed of 3.8 GHz, which when boosted can be overclocked to 4.2 GHz.
It is paired with an 8 GB DDR4 RAM (2400 MHz). Internal memory is powered by a 2 TB of Fusion Drive. The device’s graphics is powered by an AMD Radeon Pro 580 graphics processor unit.
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The 27″ iMac boasts a 5120 x 2880 Retina display. The display’s aspect ratio is 16:9. This is an IPS display which normally gives a much wider viewing angle than traditional TN panels. It has a maximum screen brightness of 500 nits and it supports up to a billion colors. Thanks to the P3-based color gamut it is able to display much better color rendition compared to standard sRGB displays. Same as Adobe RGB, though you get slightly different color space than Adobe RGB.
Connectivity slots on the iMac include UHS-II SDXC card slots, plus two thunderbolt 3 ports. It also has four 5 Gb/s USB 3.0 Type A ports and Ethernet port. It also has 2 DisplayPort via thunderbolt port. Additionally, there are 2 integrated speaker, plus integrated microphones and a headphone (3.5mm) output port. There are no optical drives on the iMac.
For security purposes a Kensington Lock slot is also provided.
- 3.8GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor with Turbo Boost up to 4.2GHz
- 8GB 2400MHz memory
- 2TB Fusion drive
- Radeon Pro 580 with 8GB video memory
- Retina 5K 5120-by-2880 P3 display
3. Dell XPS 7760 27″
The Dell XPS 27 7760 is a multi-touch all-in-one desktop that has a display of 27″. The display resolution of the computer is 4K / UHD (3840 x 2160). Not a big fan of touch displays on the primary photo editing device. They tend to be fingerprint magnets and then you have to clean them up regularly.
The display on the computer is a stunning 27″ which offers UHD resolution. The display covers 100% of the Adobe RGB color gamut. The computers comes with the Dell PremierColor software that will adapt content to display them correctly within the Adobe RGB color gamut.
The Dell XPS is powered by a 3.4 GHz Intel Core i7-6700 Quad-Core processor (6th Generation). The processor clocks 3.4 GHz when running at normal load. However, it can be overclocked to 4.0 GHz when you need to handle heavier processing loads.
It comes with a built-in memory of 32 GB DDR4 RAM (2133 MHz). There is a provision to expand the memory and you can add up to an additional 64 GB of memory.
The system is not labelled as an all-in-one for nothing. The audio quality is exceptional. The display comes with an integrated sound bar that incorporates ten well concealed speakers and amplifiers. Additionally, there are two tweeters as well as four full range drivers that give a fantastic sound effect for watching movies or playing games.
Graphics processor on the Dell is an AMD Radeon R9 M485X graphics card with 4 GB of integrated GDDR5 memory.
Internal storage of the computers is a hefty 2 TB hard drive plus a 32 GB SSD used as cache for faster loading of applications and operating system.
- -27-inch 4K UHD 3840 x 2160 Display with Multi Touch and Articulating Stand
- -7th Generation Intel Core i7-7700 Processor (8M Cache, up to 4.20 GHz), AMD Radeon RX 570 with 8GB GDDR5 VRAM
- -16GB 2133MHz DDR4 up to 64GB (Additional memory sold separately)
- -2TB HDD + 32GB SSD, No Optical Drive, Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11ac
- -USB Rear: 5 x USB 3.0, 2 Thunderbolt 3 (supporting Type-C, DisplayPort, USB 3.1, PS), 1 HDMI out, 1 DisplayPort 1.2
4. Dell XPS 8930 Tower Desktop
The Dell XPS 8930 is a tower desktop (no display included). The desktop is powered by an 8th generation Core i7-8700 6-core processor. The maximum clock speed of the processor is 3.20 GHz and when overclocked the processor can clock a maximum of 4.60 GHz.
The processor is paired with a 16 GB DDR4 RAM (2666 MHz). Internal storage on the desktop is a 2 TB HDD (7200 RPM SATA). There is an optical drive as well on the desktop.
Graphics on the system is powered by a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 processor with 4 GB GDDR5 integrated memory. The desktop comes with Intel UHD Graphics 630.
The desktop has a series of connectivity options. These include 1 display port, 1 HDMI port and 1 DVI port. The device is powered by Windows 10 preloaded which should take care of all your photo editing and video editing tasks.
- 8th Generation Intel i7-8700 6-Core 3.20 GHz Processor (12M Cache, up to 4.60 GHz), Windows 10 Pro (64-bit)
- 32GB DDR4 2666MHz Memory, 1TB SATA Hard Drive + 16GB Intel Optane Memory Accelerated, DVD-RW Drive
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB GDDR5 Graphics (3x Display Port, 1x HDMI, 1x DVI), Intel UHD Graphics 630
- Dell Wireless 802.11a/c + Bluetooth v4.1, Integrated 5.1 Channel Audio with Waves MaxxAudio Pro
- 1 Year Limited Warranty, Dell USB Laser Mouse - Black, Dell Wired Keyboard - Black, No Monitor Included
5. Dell 3668 Inspiron
The Dell 3668 Inspiron is a mid-range tower desktop PC (no display provided). The desktop is powered by a 7th Generation Intel Quad Core i7 processor with an integrated memory of 16 GB DDR4. The processor clocks 3.6 GHz. It can be overclocked to a maximum of 4.2 GHz. Internal storage on the desktop is a 2 TB HDD.
The processor is paired by an internal memory of 16 GB DDR4 2400 MHz RAM. Internal storage is 2 TB.
Graphics processor on the desktop is powered by NVIDIA GeForce GT 730 GPU with an integrated memory of 2 GB.
The device comes with a series of connectivity options including two USB 3.0, 4 x USB 2.0, a HDMI port and an audio jack output. The desktop comes with an optical drive (DVD-RW) and an Ethernet port. Windows 10 come preloaded into the system.
- 1- Year Limited Hardware Warranty and 90 days Limited Technical Support for Software and Initial Setup (From Date Of...
- Intel Quad Core i7-7700, 7th Generation High Performance 3.6GHz Processor.
- 16GB DDR4 2400MHz RAM / 2 TB Hard Drive. ( McAfee LiveSafe ) Free Internet Security For 1 Year.
- 2GB NVIDIA GeForce GT 730 Graphics, 802.11 Wireless-N + Bluetooth 4.0, 2 x USB 3.0, 4 x USB 2.0, 1 x HDMI, 1 x...
- Microsoft Windows 10 Professional (64-bit). Comes With 1 Year Brand New Limited Warranty. Comes In Original Brand New...
6. Lenovo ThinkCentre M710 Tower
This is yet another desktop computer ideally suitable for the purpose of photography (and videography). The Lenovo ThinkCentre M710 is a Tower PC (no display included). It is powered by an Intel Quad Core i5-7400 (7th Generation) processor. The base clock speed of the desktop is 3 GHz but it can be overclocked to a maximum of 3.5 GHz when you need to run resource hogging applications.
The system has an integrated memory of 16 GB DDR4 (2400 MHz), with a 500 GB SSD unit making up for the internal storage. Window 10 comes preloaded into the system.
The desktop comes with a series of connectivity options including two USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, two USN 2.0 ports and an Ethernet port. There is also a VGA port and two DisplayPorts along with PS/2 ports for keyboard and mouse.
- Processor: Intel i5-7400 Quad Core Processor (3.0 - 3.50 GHz, 6MB Cache)
- Hard Drive: 500GB Solid State Drive; RAM: 16GB DDR4 2400MHz RAM
- Operating System: Microsoft Windows 10 Professional 64 bit
- Warranty: 3 Year Limited Onsite Warranty
- Memory and Hard Drive Upgrade - *View Product Description for more details
7. Intel NUC8 VR Machine Mini PC Kit
Barebones systems are not a new concept in desktop computing. We have been using it for some time now. These systems give the ultimate in terms of freedom to configure your desktop computer. Under the right circumstances, that is. For someone who wants an up and ready system that s/he can use straight out of the box barebones systems are not for them.
Barebones systems, as the name suggests, are mini-PCs which don’t have an operating system, RAM and hard drive installed. So, you will have to get all of these, install and load them before you can start using it. Works for some advanced users, definitely not suitable for someone who needs to get up and running in the minimum possible time.
The Intel NUC8 VR, by definition, is a barebones system. This system can be upgraded (or brought to working condition) by adding RAM, operating system and a hard drive. The processor inside the NUC8 VR is a 3.1 GHz Intel Core i7-8809G (eight generation) quad-core system.
There are slots for 2×2400 MHz DDR4 SO-DIMM RAM. You can add up to 32 GB of memory on to the device. Additionally, there are slots for 2 x PCIe 3.0 x 4M.22242/2280. You can attach up to two SSD units in different RAID combinations. Paired with the processor is a Radeon RX Vega M GH graphics processor unit with 4 GB of integrated memory on board.
Integrated into the system are media card readers capable of reading all types of SD cards (SD, SDHC and SDXC. The system comes with 2 Thunderbolt 3 ports, HDMI and Mini-DisplayPort. Additionally, there are a total of 7 USB ports. It is compatible with Bluetooth devices and is VR ready.
The NUC8 VR supports a maximum of 6 displays. Scalable and fast this is the ideal solution when you are working on a budget.
- Intel NUC 8 VR Machine Mini PC Kit NUC8i7HVK
- 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8809G with Radeon RX Vega M GH graphics
- Now you can get totally immersive VR and seamless gaming with the performance-optimized Intel NUC 8 VR machine. It's...
- Radeon RX Vega M GH graphics, 1063 MHz - 1090 MHz and 4GB of High Bandwidth Memory
- Supports up to 6 displays with fantastic expansion and connectivity; front and rear HDMI* ports, 2 mini DisplayPorts*, 2...
8. Microsoft Surface Studio
We finally come to the Microsoft Surface Studio. The Surface Studio is powered by an Intel Core i7 processor. The processor is capable of clocking 2.7 GHz. Integrated memory on the computer is 32 GB of GDDR5. Graphics is powered by a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M GPU with 4 GB integrated memory. Internal storage on the computer is 2 TB of hybrid drive.
Additionally, there is a secondary 128 GB SSD installed which should result in faster booting time and better performance when loading applications. As a result, making the Microsoft Surface Studio one of the best desktop for photography.
The salient feature of the computer is the fact that it can transform from a desktop computer to a studio laptop device in no time. The 28″ screen size gives a display resolution of 4500 x 3000 pixels. It supports multi-touch with your fingers as well as the Surface Pen.
Integrated connectivity ports include 4 x USB 3.0 Type-A, 1 x Mini DisplayPort, a 3.5mm Aux out for headphone / sound bar and mic in jack. Apart from these there is also an integrated microphone and a speaker for crisp sound when watching videos or mixing sound.
There is also a flash media slot that allows all types of SD cards to be accepted including SD, SDHC and SDXC.
- Includes Surface Pen, Surface Keyboard, Surface Mouse and a Zero Gravity Hinge that moves the display weightlessly from...
- Enjoy a 28-inch adjustable PixelSense Display with touchscreen and 13.5 million pixels of color and clarity
- With Intel Core processors accelerated by a discrete NVIDIA GeForce dGPU, Surface Studio is up for anything
- Reinvent the way you create with a unique set of tools like Surface Pen, Surface Dial*, and Windows Ink
- Microsoft Surface Studio: Touch it. Draw on it. Visualize and develop your ideas like you would on a sheet of paper