Finding the right photo editing PC is all about knowing how much you’re willing to spend and exactly what your needs are. The good news is that just about any computer can edit photos decently. However, if you’re looking for a nice machine, something that’s a pleasure to work on, what you’ll want is to consider just how much speed and quality you need. All of the computers on this list are great for basic photo tasks like adjusting brightness and contrast, and cropping. However, once you head into the realm of RAW photographs, large projects with 100s of stills, and huge image processing tasks, it would be ill-advised to get a PC that can merely “technically” do it. No one wants to spend hours waiting for photos to export. In general, the most important factor for photo editing is the processor; Adobe Lightroom, for instance, solely uses the processor. Photoshop, fortunately, is able to take advantage of the graphics card. RAM is the factor hovering over both of these; Adobe recommends 8GB of RAM for both of these programs. And of course, the hard drive plays a role in the overall speed of the computer as well. It’s a lot to keep in mind, but our list is simple.
Here are the top 10 best computers for photo editing from lowest to highest price. Keep an eye out for the Editor’s Choice. This is the PC that offers the most bang for one’s buck given basic (but non-professional level) photography editing tasks.
1. Lenovo ThinkCentre M700
Processor i3 at 3.2ghz | RAM 4GB | Hard Disk 500GB | Graphics Card Integrated | Type Mini (no display) |
If you’re looking for the bare minimum for editing photos, this PC can do the job at an acceptable level. It boasts a solid i3 processor and 4GB of RAM, which is just enough (though Adobe recommends 8GB for using Photoshop). At this price point, this PC offers a great amount of value, but only if you’re doing relatively simple photo work such as cropping JPEGs or slight color adjustments. As part of a RAW workflow, this PC is not recommended. Still, if you just need the basics, it can get the job done with a small profile and at a solid price.
Buy the Lenovo ThinkCentre M700 here.
- Plenty of ports (6) and built-in WiFi
- Affordable PC with acceptable specs
- Small profile, low power consumption
- Lenovo on-site service for three years
- Keyboard and mouse included
- RAM is on the low side, but it can be upgraded
- Will struggle with large photography projects or many RAW photos
- Processor speed and low RAM mean it can get the job done, but necessarily easily and smoothly
Find more Lenovo ThinkCentre M700 information and reviews here.
2. CyberPowerPC Gamer Ultra
Processor AMD FX-6300 (Six core) | RAM 8GB DDR3 | Hard Disk 250GB SSD | Graphics Card AMD R7 2GB | Type Tower |
This gaming PC offers a ton of bang for one’s buck. Boasting Adobe’s minimum recommendations for RAM, a snappy 250GB SSD, and a six core processor with a graphics card, this PC can get the job done quickly and effectively. For basic JPEG editing and small RAW projects, this computer will perform more than adequately. One minor issue is that its hard drive is on the small side; it’s recommended that one add a data drive or expect to use an external hard drive since Windows itself occupies a significant portion of the drive.
Buy the CyberPowerPC Gamer Ultra here.
- Great price per performance
- Solid budget PC for photography, gaming, and video editing (1080p)
- SSD is quick and snappy
- Six cores is great for multitasking and rapid photo processing specifically using lightroom
- Graphics card is solid for most photo-editing in Photoshop
- Requires Wi-Fi connector in USB port; there is no included Wi-Fi
Find more CyberPowerPC Gamer Ultra information and reviews here.
3. Dell Inspiron 3000 Series
Processor i3-6100U | RAM 8GB DDR3 | Hard Disk 500GB (5400RPM) | Graphics Card Integrated | Type All-in-one | Display 23.8″ IPS, 1080p |
For those looking for an all-in-one solution, this Dell has a great price and acceptable specs. The RAM and processor are fast enough for basic photo-editing and with a 1080P IPS screen, one should be able to get a great idea of what their photographs look like. That said, a minor issue here is this PC’s relatively slow hard drive. While 500GB is plenty of space, 5400RPM is slower than 7200RPM and much slower than an SSD. For JPEG editing and simple stuff, this PC is fine. However, like the first computer on our list, this computer is not recommended as part of a RAW workflow or for use in large projects.
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Buy the Dell Inspiron 3000 Series here.
- Built-in card reader
- Great family PC
- Reliable and easy to use
- Specs are acceptable for straightforward photo editing
- Very affordable all-in-one solution
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- Will struggle with large photography projects; wouldn’t go with this to edit hundreds of RAW photos
- Can’t play modern games or edit 1080p video
- Not for pro photographers
Find more Dell Inspiron 3000 Series information and reviews here.
4. Skytech Shadow (Editor’s Choice)
Processor AMD FX-3400 3.8ghz | RAM 8GB DDR3 | Hard Disk 1TB HDD (7200 RPM) | Graphics Card GTX 1050 (2GB VRAM) | Type Tower |
While this PC has the aesthetics of a gaming PC, it has all of the fundamental hardware to make for a great editing PC as well. Boasting 8GB of RAM, a 1TB hard drive (that runs at a decent spend) and a solid video card, it has all of the necessary parts to make for a seamless and reasonably fast editing process. That said, the processor could be better and if you’re a professional, it will likely be worth spending the money to get something faster. Still, for most users who are just editing dozens of RAW photos every so often, this PC will be fine. For those who will be editing massive projects frequently, the processor will be a sticking point that won’t be worth fighting against. Nonetheless, this PC is the editor’s choice because for most people, it will get the job done easily and effectively, and with plenty of space left to store your photos.
Buy the Skytech Shadow here.
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- Fast boot time
- Processor is decently fast
- Graphics card allows playing modern games at decent settings and editing 1080p video reasonably smoothly
- Acceptable RAM
- One year warranty from manufacturer
- Decent, but some may just want to spend mroe and get a far superior processor
- Case is a bit large
Find more Skytech Shadow information and reviews here.
5. CyberPowerPC Xtreme VR
Processor i5-7400 at 3.0GHZ | RAM 8GB DDR4 | Hard Disk 120GB SSD with 1 terabyte HDD | Graphics Card GTX 1060 (3GB) | Type Full-sized desktop |
This PC is similar to the one above, but its processor is around 20% more powerful. It has decent RAM and offers a similar hard drive configuration, with a one terabyte data drive that’s always nice to have around. The biggest upgrade is the GTX 1060 (3GB) which allows it to play “VR” games, but relevant to the Photo Editor here, this PC just has more power. While Adobe Lightroom does not use a graphics card, Photoshop can. This helps overall performance. Lightroom, unfortunately, solely uses a computer’s processor and thus will receive no benefit here. Still, for many, this is a great PC that offers a ton of value. That said, it is in an awkward place price-wise. At this point, one can get a lot more bang for their buck by spending just a few hundred more dollars. Still, if this is as much as you want to spend, this is a solid PC.
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Buy the CyberPowerPC Xtreme VR here.
- Includes DVD-RW drive
- 1 year parts and labour warranty from manufacturer
- Tons of USB ports (6) with ethernet and Wi-Fi
- Can play modern games at high settings
- Great for photo editing
- Decent for editing video at 1080p
- Will struggle with 4K video
- Processor could be better for large projects
- RAM could be better, but should suffice for most people
Find more CyberPowerPC Xtreme VR information and reviews here.
6. Dell Inspiron Gaming Laptop
Processor i7 7700HQ | RAM 8GB DDR4 | Hard Disk 128GB SSD + 1 TB HDD (5400 RPM) | Graphics Card GTX 1050 | Type Laptop | Display 1080P, 15.6″ |
In another case of a “gaming” computer offering a lot of features useful for Photo Editors, this Inspiron is pretty sweet with some minor drawbacks. For one, its processor, is about 20% faster than the i5 above. On top of this, it also boasts an SSD and a data drive, but do note that the data drive is 5400RPM, a detectable decrease in speed. Still, with a GTX 1050, it has a solid amount of power for Photoshop, and will actually perform better with Lightroom, but the bottleneck could very well be the slow hard drive. Therefore, the performance is likely to be very comparable to the above PC. However, if you’re looking for a laptop this isn’t much of a tradeoff. Plus, one can always edit their photos on the SSD and use the data drive strictly for storage.
Buy the Dell Inspiron Gaming Laptop here.
- Solid price to performance
- SSD and data drive included
- Fast and powerful enough for most photography uses
- Decent for modern games and video editing
- Backlit keyboard is a nice touch
- Nice speakers and thin for its specs (1″)
- Bloatware included on device
- 4 hours of battery life (even with non-intensive use)
- Display quality is only OK
Find more Dell Inspiron Gaming Laptop information and reviews here.
7. Vision Computer Tower
Processor i7-7700 | RAM 16GB DDR4 | Hard Disk 512GB SSD | Graphics Card Integrated | Type Tower |
Now this is a beast of a PC, particularly for Lightroom users. The i7-7700 is a very fast processor. Plus, this PC has a great amount of RAM and a lightning fast SSD drive that’s big enough to hold a good amount of projects. The biggest drawback to this computer is its lack of a graphics card. The good news is that it’s straightforward to upgrade it (graphics cards are plug and play devices), but it will take an extra couple of hundred bucks should you choose to add this. Still, this PC offers a ton of value and will work well with Photoshop and about as it gets with LIghtroom. It’s a great value if it fits your needs, or if it’s on the right track and you’re wanting to upgrade later.
Buy the Vision Computer Tower here.
- Very fast PC with snappy RAM
- Excellent hard drive for photo editing
- Great price per performance especially for Lightroom users (see description above for explanation)
- High quality case with good cooling
- Machine can be noisy
- Lack of a GPU means it’s limited for other applications such as video-editing or gaming
Find more Vision Computer Tower information and reviews here.
8. Acer Predator Helios 300
Processor i7 7700HQ | RAM 16GB DDR4 | Hard Disk 256GB SSD | Graphics Card GTX 1060 6GB | Type Laptop | Display 1080p |
Now this is one beast of a laptop. Boasting a fast i7 processor, plenty of RAM, and a monstrous graphics card, the GTX 1060, this laptop only has one real issue: its rather small SSD. The good news is, this is fairly straightforward to upgrade; one can either use an external hard drive or add an internal one. Another nice perk of this laptop and its robust graphics cards is that attaching a 4K monitor can be a nice at home setup with dual screens. This is a great laptop for basically all purposes. It will handle Photoshop and LIghtroom well. One minor note, however, the 7700HQ while a decent process, is about 30% slower than its similarly-named desktop brother, the i7-7700. So don’t think this laptop is faster than the Vision PC above it.
Price: $1049 (5 percent off MSRP)
Buy the Acer Predator Helios 300 here.
- Price per performance is outstanding
- Can play modern games and edit 1080p video easily
- Will devour most photo editing projects easily
- SSD is snappy, and RAM is decent
- Compred to similarly priced PC, the processor is weaker
- One may wish to opt for a laptop with a better screen
Find more Acer Predator Helios 300 information and reviews here.
9. 27″ iMac
Processor Quad core i5 Processor | RAM 8GB DDR4 | Hard Disk 1TB fusion drive (combination SSD, HDD) | Graphics Card Radeon Pro 570 (4GB) | Type All-in-one | Display Retina 5K |
Macs are expensive for the performance you get. AT least, that’s what many PC users will says. Frankly, as someone who has used both for many years, there’s a reason Apple is selling tons of hardware: Macs are extremely reliable. Who cares about the performance on paper if the PC is back in the shop or just doesn’t run as fast as it used to? That’s where Macs shine. Surprisingly, however, this Mac is actually one of the least egregious examples of this socalled “overpricing.” Sure, one could get a better PC for this money, but 4K screens aren’t cheap, and usually run around $300. Considering this iMac is around $1300 then excluding it’s great screen, it’s really not too bad. The hard drive is fast, the processor is solid, and the video card is comparable to a GTX 1050. That said, the beauty of Macs is none of that will ever really. It’s an iMac. It runs well and it will for a long time to come. Sure, it may lose out to a faster PC, but that very same Windows user had to spend 3 hours figuring out how to disable Windows update or getting rid of a virus. That’s what you’re paying for with a Mac. They’re not for everyone, but for people who don’t want to worry about maintaining their PC, this can be a great way to go.
Buy the 27″ iMac here.
- Not the best price/performance but not as bad as most Macs
- Screen is stunning
- Mac OSX is the most reliable operating system
- Easy to use and transport
- Powerful enough for simple to advanced photography uses
- Can run some modern games (less than a Windows PC, though it can run Windows if need be)
Find more 27″ iMac information and reviews here.
10. Acer Predator Desktop
Processor i7-6700K at 4.0ghz | RAM 16GB DDR4 | Hard Disk 256GB SSD, 2TB HDD (7200 RPM) | Graphics Card GTX 1080 | Type Tower |
This Acer Predator Desktop has it all. It boasts an extremely powerful i7-6700K processor, plenty of RAM, a fast SSD and a large data drive. Plus, it has the best graphics card on the market, the GTX 1080. There simply is no better way to run Adobe software than this beast (unless you want to spend a lot more money). There’s really nothing this PC can’t do. From editing 4K video to playing modern games at the highest settings. This will make easy work of any photo project, no matter the size. And a final nice touch, the included keyboard is backlit. It’s a great PC and it’s wildly unnecessary for most people, but if it’s in your price range, this is one mean machine.
Price: $2120.38 (8 percent off MSRP)
Buy the Acer Predator Desktop here.
- Built-in overclocking
- Top of the line graphics card
- Very fast processor
- Can run modern games at ultra settings
- Great for editing 4K video
- Included keyboard is backlit
- RAM could be upgraded if one was, for instance, editing 100s of RAW photos at once, this would help
- Overkill for simple photo editing