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It’s about building a system unit for a designer working in Photoshop, but the selection criteria for a laptop are about the same. The main thing to pay attention to: processor, video card, RAM and hard disk and (or) SSD.

Photoshop system requirements

They change from time to time. Now when I write this post (December 2017), the recommended requirements for Photoshop CC 2017 (

  • Intel® Core 2 or AMD Athlon® 64 processor; 2 GHz or faster;
  • OpenGL-enabled graphics card

A complete list of system requirements for Photoshop on the official website. Nothing particularly specific, so I will understand further on each item.

Photoshop processor

The main question is whether Photoshop can effectively use all the cores of the CPU. For example, if you buy an expensive multi-core processor, then will Photoshop work faster than on more affordable options with a smaller number of cores.

Something like this is written in Photoshop Help in the article Optimize Photoshop CC performance:

“Photoshop generally works faster with multi-core processors, although some tools benefit more from additional cores than others. The more cores you use, the less you get from each additional core. For most users, an increase in performance from more than 6 cores does not correspond to an increase in the cost of such a system. ”

Smart people have already checked this and laid out in the article Adobe Photoshop CC Multi Core Performance, which I have repeatedly recommended in the comments. The 2015 article is already a bit out of date, but the conclusions are still relevant:

  1. Photoshop doesn’t work well with multiple processors. For example, two xeons, which are traditionally respected by trideshniki, in some operations will work even more slowly than 1.
  2. Most tools use only 1 or more processor threads.
  3. The performance gain in multithreaded tools falls after 6 cores and disappears after 8.

The same smart people tested a lot of modern processors on Photoshop CC

What do people who can not afford the Core i7 8700K? We see that you can take i5 8600K for $ 100 cheaper and lose in power from 3% in single-threaded tasks to 20% in multi-threaded tasks. And even the i3 8350K is not far behind.

Unfortunately, finding out which Photoshop tools can use several threads, and which only 1, is not so easy. On scattered publications on the Internet, I found these multi-threaded chips:

  • some effects are color mode conversion, many blurs, hue / saturation, brightness / contrast, shadow / highlight;
  • Compositing layers (especially blending);
  • background save.

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It is clear that this is not all, but for further searches, I just did not have enough patience. Let us believe Adobe’s assurances that the many Photoshop functions have long been multi-threaded, that they continue to improve, that they are doing everything possible, and so on …

Graphics Card for Photoshop

There is a little more information here, because the Adobe website has a list of Photoshop features that use a video card. Further save-pastes from this list.

Functions that don’t work without a GPU

If the graphics processor is not supported or the driver is damaged, the following Photoshop features will be unavailable:

  • 3D
  • Oil paint
  • Transformation – flame, picture frame, tree
  • Scale. dragging
  • Bird’s eye view
  • Fast pan
  • Convenient tools for changing the size of the brush

Functions that require a graphics processor to accelerate

  • Mounting areas
  • Camera Raw (more info)
  • Image size – maintaining detail
  • Focus selection
  • Blur gallery – Blur across the field, Blur across the diaphragm, tilt-offset, Blur contour, rotation blurs (with acceleration OpenCL)
  • Clever sharpness (noise reduction – with acceleration of OpenCL)
  • Perspective deformation
  • Selection and masking (with acceleration OpenCL)

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If you are actively using these tools, it is advisable to think about buying a powerful video card. If this is not important, then you can take a cheaper video card, or even get by with the built-in one.

How powerful should a graphics card be for photoshop? At present, the best choice is NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 or 1050 Ti. The test results show that much more expensive cards show slightly better or exactly the same result, detailed results here are Photoshop CC 2017 NVIDIA GeForce GPU Performance. Such tests for the Quadro series tell us that there is no sense in overpaying for a professional card for Photoshop – the speed will work like a cheap GeForce, the source here is Photoshop CC 2017 NVIDIA Quadro GPU Performance.

Unfortunately, I didn’t find any comparative tests for AMD and NVIDIA video cards, so I’d like to dwell on the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti as a more versatile option – if you need a card for some CUDA application, for example, rendering in V-Ray.

RAM for Photoshop

The key point in the selection of RAM for Photoshop – it should be a lot! I recommend to put at least 16 GB for comfortable work, but for cases of working with very large files you may need more – 32, 64 GB or even more. It is difficult to say exactly, but approximately you can navigate on this table:

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