Graphic design computers are one of the primary tools for creative professionals.
They are needed for graphic design tools in addition to laptops and tablets for on-the-go productivity.
Finding the right one is crucial for graphic designers to bring their creative visions to life.
What are the best computers for graphic design?
Choosing the best computer for graphic design comes down to what you'll need to use it for, as well as your ideal desk configuration and budget.
Some of them come with a monitor as part of the package, but the rest won't—so you'll also need to find the best graphic design monitors.
In this article, we will identify the top 9 computers in 2023 that provide graphic designers with exceptional performance, visual quality, and reliability for creative workflows.
As a graphic designer, you want to have a smooth workflow, easy multitasking, and quick rendering, but without going overboard with specs or features that you might not use.
There are a few things to look out for when choosing a computer for your graphic design needs.
When it comes to choosing the best computer for your specific graphic design needs, there are 7 factors to consider:
In fact, there's no need to be a tech expert, let me explain what these are and how they make a difference in graphic design work.
Below, you will find some requirements to look out for when choosing your next computer.
The most important software that runs on a computer is the operating system.
Firstly, you need to know if you'll be working on Windows or MacOS, based on your personal preference and the programs you'll be using.
I used Windows when I started as a graphic designer, and then, after a few years, I eventually switched over to MacOS.
The main thing to consider when deciding on which computer to get is how powerful it is...
Any serious graphic design software will require a powerful processor (CPU) to run all your tasks smoothly.
Find out what processor is required for certain software and programs you plan to utilize.
A graphics card is responsible for generating an image feed for a display device.
We often work with large, graphically intensive files, and these often require the help of a processing unit specially dedicated to handling graphics.
Its duty is to assist you with zooming in and out of Photoshop, scrubbing through a Premiere Pro project, and rendering a 3D animation, among others.
The next component to consider is RAM, which will determine how much multi-tasking you can do.
Plenty of system memory will enable you to not only run multiple programs but will also help in handling large, heavy files as projects progress.
You can never have too much RAM—Acquire the biggest you can afford so you can access all your apps and data without strangling your machine.
Our graphic design work often requires handling and storing many large files, and I'm sure you've seen designers walking around with multiple external hard drives in hand.
Beyond size, there's speed: SSDs are faster than mechanical hard drives but have smaller storage capacities.
HDDs are slower in reading and writing but have significantly bigger storage capacities for the same price.
For graphic designers, the monitor is not something to hold back on.
Have a screen that is bright enough to see your work, accurate enough to color match it, and big enough for your digital workspace.
Since all of the other PCs on this list are stand-alone towers, you have more options when it comes to choosing the finest monitor for your graphic design needs.
And finally, you'll need to make sure the computer you want is affordable enough.
Unlike a new entertainment system, this computer will be a significant investment in your work.
That being said, you should determine your budget range first, then explore options within it, and with many cool new features out, just remember to be practical.
Now that you have an idea of what to look for, check out my list of the best computers for graphic designers in 2023.
The 2021 24-inch iMac delivers excellent performance and beautiful visuals for graphic design.
The best iMac computer for graphic designers.
Since the device has a neural processor, it means it can get the most out of applications that use machine learning.
Buy on Amazon
The 24-inch iMac is transformed by the M1 chip, stands out in any space, and is a perfect fit for your life.
While it lacks the discrete graphics card of the 2020 iMac, its M1 processor delivers superb performance.
It is also equipped with an 8-core CPU that delivers 85% faster performance compared to previous-generation iMacs.
The 24-inch iMac boasts its 4.5K Retina display with 500 nits of brightness, P3 wide color gamut, and over a billion colors.
This produces stunning, accurate visuals for color-sensitive work like photo editing.
It also offers a large amount of built-in storage, something that you can use surprisingly quickly.
Plus, the overall design of this computer is sleeker and more sophisticated, a welcome update to the dated iMac look.
As a result, the 2021 24-inch iMac is one of the best graphic design computers ever made.
Buy Apple iMac 24” on Amazon
The Microsoft Surface Studio 2 is an excellent choice for designers looking for the most advanced desktop computer.
The best most versatile computer for graphic design.
It is sleek, versatile, and powerful enough to handle all your graphic design software, from creative apps to 3D simulators.
The Surface Studio 2 is an all-in-one computer that has a 28-inch PixelSense touchscreen display that can adjust to multiple angles up to drafting-table-like 20 degrees.
Allowing you to work directly on the screen with a Surface Pen for an intuitive illustration and drawing experience.
The touchscreen and pen capability provide accuracy and finer control for creative work.
Its screen provides stunning visual performance with 13.5 million pixels for immersive detail, as well as a true-to-life color through sRGB, Vivid, and DCI-P3 mode support.
This level of visual fidelity enables you to work clearly and make edits with confidence.
Inside the Surface Studio 2 is an Intel Core i7-7820HQ processor and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060-1070 graphics.
The system can be configured with up to 32GB RAM and 2TB SSD storage for working with large files smoothly.
If you're a graphic designer who does a lot of digital drawing, write-ups, or art, you can't go wrong with the Microsoft Surface Studio 2.
Buy Microsoft Surface Studio 2 on Amazon
The configurable Apple Mac Studio is a powerhouse for photo and video editing, 3D rendering, and other demanding graphic design tasks.
The best high powered computer great for photo/video editing.
It provides excellent performance for creative applications and can handle multiple tasks with ease.
Buy at Apple Store
Certainly, Mac Studio can be configured to be one of the most powerful computers ever made by Apple.
The Mac Studio M2 features Apple's latest M2 chip which provides up to a 12-core CPU, up to a 30-core GPU, and 16-core Neural Engine.
Compared to the previous M1 chips, the M2 delivers up to 15% faster CPU performance and up to 30% faster graphics performance.
This level of speed and power enables smooth workflows for demanding design tasks.
The Mac Studio M2 can be configured with up to 32GB of unified memory with 400GB/s of memory bandwidth.
This allows for fast switching between graphics applications and working with large layered files.
The Mac Studio has a remarkably small 7.7-inch square footprint, yet houses pro-level performance.
It fits neatly into any workspace setup—The extensive port connectivity allows for a flexible dual-display studio setup.
For designers invested in Apple's ecosystem, the Mac Studio seamlessly integrates with Mac-exclusive apps like Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro.
It also works smoothly with iCloud, AirDrop, Universal Control, and other Apple services.
Buy Apple Mac Studio at Apple Store
Many PCs have gone up against the iMac, but the HP ENVY 34 All-in-One is possibly one of the best we've seen in a while.
The best ultrawide 5k display for graphic designers.
This computer offers a combination of a stunning display, robust performance, and thoughtful design.
The defining feature of the HP Envy All-in-One is its expansive 34-inch 5K widescreen display with a 21:9 aspect ratio.
This generous widescreen provides ample visual workspace for graphic design tasks and flexibility in arranging project elements.
The 5K resolution delivers stunning clarity and fine details critical for creative work.
Inside the Envy 34 is an 11th-generation Intel Core i7-11700 processor that provides fast rendering, quick file exports, smooth image edits, and excellent responsiveness.
This computer is also equipped with NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 GPU which gives it professional-grade graphics capabilities.
The simple design of the ENVY 34 All-in-One undeniably means it fits perfectly into almost any home or office environment.
In any case, it's highly configurable, and if you're willing to bump the price up a bit, you can get it with a bit more storage or processing power.
More than capable of handling graphic design tasks and reinforcing the status of the device, the Envy 34 all-in-one computer is a reliable iMac replacement
Buy HP ENVY 34 All-in-One on Amazon
The Lenovo Yoga AIO 7 is an all-in-one desktop PC with a 27-inch 4K UHD touch display that supports a 100% sRGB color gamut.
The most versatile computer for graphic designers.
This device also received offers as a compelling option for gaming professionals.
The Lenovo Yoga AIO 7 4K display comes with an optional 99% Adobe RGB color gamut and 99% DCIP3 color space, which, of course, is useful for anyone who needs to optimize color accuracy.
The screen can be shot in full HD vertical with just a tap of a finger if you need a different angle.
It is an all-in-one desktop PC with a 27-inch 4K UHD touch display that certainly supports a 100 percent sRGB color gamut.
The rotating screens can be useful for things other than finding a more comfortable place to work.
You're also getting up to 1TB of SSD storage and the option for a 2TB HDD, which makes the Yoga AIO 7 one of the best computers for graphic design.
Buy the Lenovo Yoga AIO 7 on Amazon
The Mac Mini M1's powerful performance, high-quality graphics, and compatibility with industry-standard software make it the best computer for graphic design.
A budget-friendly Apple desktop for graphic designers.
Apple's latest refresh of the Mac Mini, with the introduction of the new Apple Silicon M1 Chip, packs some mighty strength in such a small package.
The new Apple Mac Mini comes in the same little metal box as before but with its biggest performance upgrade yet.
However, the M1 chip outperforms CPUs costing several times as much in creative applications and video rendering times.
The 8-core CPU zips through common design tasks, while the 8-core GPU provides smooth graphics acceleration for apps and up to two displays.
This power in a compact 7.7-inch square design makes it an ideal primary or portable design system.
You will have to get yourself a monitor, keyboard, and mouse, but this Mac Mini will allow you to work with all your MacOS-based programs with ease.
If you're considering getting a Mac for graphic design right now, it's an easy recommendation from me.
So, if you're looking for the best computer for graphic design on a budget, the Apple Mac Mini is a great choice.
Buy Apple Mac Mini on Amazon
Since graphic design computers can also be used by other creatives like editors and photographers, I included the Alienware Aurora R10
The best computer for photo and video editing.
It is definitely the best desktop computer for photo and video editing since it boasts an amazing display.
The Aurora R10 can also run multiple creative applications, so it will be easier for you to work with your designs.
This Ryzen Edition desktop gives you the power to develop and explore new worlds with up to a 16-core 3rd generation AMD Ryzen processor.
This Alienware model also has an amazing feature that doubles the bandwidth available to graphics cards for enhanced overall gaming performance.
Additionally, any component on your PCI-Express bus is given more bandwidth, so you can experience higher performance while creating, streaming, or recording.
The Alienware Aurora R10 is a great choice for creatives who are looking for the best graphic design computer for photographers and editors.
Buy Alienware Aurora R10 on Amazon
The Dell XPS Desktop earns its place as one of the best for graphic design due to its exceptional performance, upgradability, display quality, and positive expert reviews.
Best affordable and customizable tower PC.
With its great features, It offers graphic designers the tools they need to create stunning visuals efficiently and effectively.
The XPS Desktop 8940 boasts its highly customizable feature when ordering, with a wide range of component options for processor, memory, storage, and graphics.
This lets buyers tailor the system to precisely meet their performance requirements and budget.
It can be configured with up to an 11th Gen Intel Core i9 processor and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 graphics card.
This level of performance easily handles demanding graphic design software, complex multimedia projects, 3D modeling, animation, video editing, and more.
The 8940 also offers extensive connectivity for creative workflows, including ultra-high-speed USB-C and Thunderbolt 4 ports—It can drive up to three 4K displays for expansive workspaces.
Its Built-in SD card reader and USB-A ports add convenience and its 11th gen Wi-Fi 6 provides max wireless speeds.
Lastly, it measures 11.6 x 6.5 x 12.1 inches—relatively compact.
It has a metallic chassis that looks discreet but refined in any workspace and a strong build quality that ensures longevity.
Buy Dell XPS Desktop 8940 on Amazon
The HP Pavilion 590 earns its place as one of the best computers for graphic design due to its powerful hardware, dedicated graphics, storage options, and affordability.
Best budget-friendly option from a major, reliable brand.
It's a reliable choice for graphic designers looking to create stunning visuals and designs without breaking the bank.
The Pavilion 590 range offers various AMD Ryzen and Intel Core CPU options to fit different budgets without compromising performance.
It is highly configurable when ordering, with flexible processor, graphics, memory, and storage options.
Budget-minded buyers can tailor the system to meet their workflow needs at a reasonable price point.
More demanding users can spec up components for greater capability—Customizability expands its appeal.
This device is built in a 12.6 x 6.1 x 13.3-inch micro tower chassis, offering a very compact footprint and helping maximize desk space in home offices and design studios.
Lastly, The Pavilion 590 micro tower design provides internal expansion capabilities for future upgrades.
Graphic designers can cost-effectively boost performance down the road by adding more RAM, a higher-capacity SSD, or a dedicated graphics card.
Buy HP Pavilion 590 on Amazon
There you have it, my picks for the 9 best graphic design computers in 2023
With so many options, I hope this guide helped you narrow down your choices and that you benefited from my perspective as a fellow graphic designer.
Designers often use desktop computers for a complete workstation setup.
Without a doubt, graphic design is a broad industry, and the particular programs you use will have their own hardware requirements to be able to run smoothly.
In the end, a lot of it will come down to personal preference, and once you know what you want, it's just about picking the right configuration.
Personally, I recommend the Apple iMac 24” (M1 Chip) as the best overall computer for graphic designers, thanks to its high-resolution Retina display and excellent performance.
I recommend getting slightly higher specs than you need right now so that it's “future-proof” to some extent and it will be able to keep up as your programs and workloads become more intensive.
But as we saw here, there are many more brands out there, and different form factors that give you more flexibility with your workspace, and options to upgrade in the future.
Let me know what you think, what is your pick for the best computer for graphic design?—Leave a comment below.
Do you want to add your product to the list?—Find my address on the contact page and send your product for review.
I'm a branding expert and graphic designer based in NY. I specialize in the development of brands: brand strategy, identity & web design. Need help with your project?—Get in touch