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

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  • Quick list
  • FAQs
  • How to choose
  • How we test
  • Top picks
  • ▶ Best overall
  • ▶ Best budget
  • ▶ Best Windows AIO
  • ▶ Best Apple AIO
  • ▶ Best Windows desktop
  • ▶ Best workstation

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Best photo editing PCs of 2024: top picks for all budgets (1)

1. Quick list
2. FAQs
3. How to choose
4. How we test
5. Top picks
Best overall
Best budget
Best Windows AIO
Best Apple AIO
Best Windows desktop
Best workstation

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 overall

Apple Mac Studio

The Mac Studio, with the M2 Max or M2 Ultra chip, is an ultra-powerful, compact workstation ideal for heavy creative tasks, offering up to 192GB unified memory for intensive workflows like 3D rendering and photography projects.

Read more below

Best budget

Apple Mac Mini (M2 Pro)

The Mac mini M2 excels in content creation, offering top performance in a compact, portable design with extensive connectivity, making it a stellar choice for photo and video editing on the go.

Read more below

Best all-in-one

HP Envy 34

The HP Envy 34 all-in-one boasts a stunning 5K display, high expandability, and a stylish design, offering an exceptional Windows alternative for creative professionals seeking performance and expandability.

Read more below

Best Apple All-in-one

Apple iMac 24-inch (M3)

The M3 all-in-one from Apple shines for photo editing with its vibrant 24-inch 4.5K display and powerful performance, packed in a compact design. Minor issues like limited ports don't detract from its overall excellence.

Read more below

Best Windows desktop

Dell XPS Desktop

The Dell XPS Desktop (8960) strikes a balance between size and power, offering robust photo editing and gaming capabilities in a design that fits any workspace, with convenient front-facing connectivity options.

Read more below

Best workstation

Puget Systems Workstation

Puget Systems custom workstations provide a highly customizable and powerful option for photographers, with configurations ranging from high memory to advanced GPUs, presenting a formidable Mac Pro alternative.

Read more below

Best PC for photo editing: FAQs

Best photo editing PCs of 2024: top picks for all budgets (8)

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

Best photo editing PCs of 2024: top picks for all budgets (9)

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 photo editing PCs of 2024: top picks for all budgets (10)

1. Apple Mac Studio

Move over Mac Pro

Specifications

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

+

Compact

+

Powerful

Reasons to avoid

-

Pricey

-

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

Best photo editing PCs of 2024: top picks for all budgets (11)

2. Apple Mac mini M2 (2023)

Apple’s little PC gets a big upgrade

Specifications

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 fullApple Mac Mini M2 (2023) review

The best Windows all-in-one for photo editing

Best photo editing PCs of 2024: top picks for all budgets (12)

3. HP Envy 34

A serious iMac alternativefor creative professionals

Specifications

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

Best photo editing PCs of 2024: top picks for all budgets (13)

4. Apple iMac 24-inch M3 (2023)

Apple continues its all-in-one winning streak

Specifications

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

Best photo editing PCs of 2024: top picks for all budgets (14)

5. Dell XPS Desktop (8960)

A top Windows desktop PC for photo editing

Specifications

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

-

Expensive

-

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

Best photo editing PCs of 2024: top picks for all budgets (15)

6. Puget Systems workstation

For those who want things their way

Specifications

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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Best photo editing PCs of 2024: top picks for all budgets (16)

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.

With contributions from

  • Steve Paris
  • Matt HansonManaging Editor, Core Tech
  • John LoefflerComponents Editor
  • Steve ClarkB2B Editor - Creative & Hardware

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