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Best PC for photo editing 2019: top desktops for Photoshop

best photo editing PC
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Welcome to our pick of the best PCs for photo editing in 2019. The desktop PCs on this page have been carefully picked for professional photographers (or a keen hobbyists) that are looking for powerful machines that can handle Photoshop and other photo editing applications.

The best PCs for photo editing offer enough power to edit high resolution photos, which means they'll usually come 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.

Best PC for photo editing 2019 at a glance:

  1. Apple Mac mini 2018
  2. Lenovo ThinkCentre M900
  3. Microsoft Surface Studio 2
  4. Apple iMac Pro
  5. Lenovo Yoga A940
  6. iMac (27-inch, 2019)
  7. HP Pavilion Wave
  8. Intel Hades Canyon NUC

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 GPU 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. 

Surface Studio 2

The Surface Studio 2 ups the power significantly, making it a much more future-proof device. (Image credit: TechRadar)

3. Microsoft Surface Studio 2

An artist’s dream come true

CPU: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 - GTX 1070 | RAM: 16GB – 32GB | Storage: 1TB - 2TB SSD | Display: 28-inch 4,500 x 3,000 PixelSense display

Powerful
Nothing like it
Very expensive

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 2 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.

Lenovo Yoga A940

Lenovo Yoga A940 is plenty powerful to meet the needs of creative professionals.

(Image credit: Future)

5. Lenovo Yoga A940

An iMac alternative

CPU: 8th-generation Intel Core i7-8700 | Graphics: AMD Radeon RX 560 4 GB | RAM: 32 GB DDR4 2666 MHz | Storage: 1 TB 5400 RPM + 256 GB PCIe SSD | Display: 27" 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) IPS Multi-touch

Good price
Stylus included
Older components
Screen not great in direct light

Lenovo’s latest all-in-one offering isn’t as powerful as Apple’s premium AIO, the iMac Pro, or even the recently updated iMac, which now offers a 9th-generation Intel Core configuration. After all, at this point, the 8th-generation chips and Radeon RX 560 graphics are aging at this point. However, it is still plenty powerful to meet the needs of professional photographers who can't afford Apple's more pricey machines. It's one of the best PCs for photo editing thanks to its screen that offers 100% Adobe RGB support and Dolby Vision, plus a stylus and dial as well, for better control over your photo editing work.

iMac (27-inch, 2019)

6. iMac (27-inch, 2019)

Now with 8th-generation processors

CPU: 8th-generation Intel Core i5 – 9th-generation Intel Core i5 | Graphics: AMD Radeon Pro 570X – 580X, Intel UHD Graphics 630 | RAM: 8GB - 64GB | Screen: 27-inch Retina 5K 5,120 x 2,880 P3 | Storage: 1TB – 2TB Fusion Drive | Dimensions (H x W x D): 20.3 x 25.6 x 8 inches (51.6 x 65.0 x 20.3cm)

Stunning 5K display
Quiet under load
SSD upgrades are expensive

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 2019 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. This year's model also offers upgraded components that make it an even better productivity machine for photographers.

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.