What computer should I buy for editing photos?

Lets take a look first at what adobe requires to run the software to edit images.

Ok So for the non techy crowd... just about every computer you can buy today will meet the requirments

  • Intel® or AMD processor with 64-bit support*
  • Microsoft Windows 7, 8.1, or Windows 10 (64-bit)
  • 2GB of RAM (8GB recommended)
  • 1024 x 768 display
  • 1 GB of Video RAM (VRAM). 2 GB of dedicated VRAM is suggested for large, high-resolution monitors, such as 4K- and 5K-resolution monitors.
  • 2 GB of available hard-disk space


I see this topic come up all the time on various groups I follow, and most of the time I just don't answer because there isn't just a one sized fits all "editing computer" and it takes time to tailor an answer for each person who asks and I don't always have the time to do so unfortunately...

So I thought it might be beneficial for everyone if I just sat down and took the time to write it all here and then just share a link!

So technically you can go buy to amazon or walmart or wherever and spend 100-200 bucks and be editing photos with Lightroom and or Photoshop...

Now using this computer will most likely give you some sort of blackout rage and possibly cancer with prolonged use.
— Ben Pierce

Ok so now that I've hopefully talked you out of the bare minimum... What kinda money DO you need to spend?

Ask yourself these questions.

  • Why are you wanting a laptop? Everyone seems like that look for a laptop...
  • Whats your budget?
  • Will you be away from a power outlet for hours at a time?
  • Are you willing to sacrifice performance for portabliity and battery life?
  • Are you willing to sacrifice battery life and weight for better performace and storage?

So what makes a good editing machine? In my opinion I'll list these from most important to least.

  1. Solid state hard drive!
  2. Ram! Lots of ram you can't have to much ram
  3. Monitor good viewing angles 150°+ and as close to 100% coverage in the adobe rgb and sRGB color gamuts.
  4. Dedicated graphics card sometimes refered to as descrete graphics.
  5. CPU speed

Your budget should begin around $1100 bucks to insure you have a great experiance and make you feel that you got your moneys worth.

Now if your looking for something and you are willing to make some sacrifices in performance but need that battery life these are for you.

These will be 2 in 1 meaning you can fold the screen around and make it a tablet computer...ALSO they include wacom digitizers which if you haven't edited photos with a wacom tablet... You should start, but that's for a different blog post... What it means basically you will be able to use a pen directly on the screen of the laptop/tablet

Links to product pages


Saved the best for last

This is the i don't care about my wallet or battery life option its UGLY as sin built to last and with all lenovo products legendary reliability and service contracts (good if this is for your business) they have service contracts where they have on-site repair!

This thing is a beast! Intel Xeon E3-1535M 4.2GHZ, 4K display option, up to 64gig of error correcting ram, dual hard drives, up to 2TB's of SSD hard drives and 1TB spinning drive, NVIDIA Quadro video card, built in color sensor for color calibration, LTE modem for mobile data... Maxed out still $792 CHEAPER than a macbook pro which btw has no where near the same specs.... I'll drop a comparison below

ThinkPad P51 $3,407.20

  • Intel Xeon E3-1535M v6 Processor (4 Cores, 8MB Cache, up to 4.20GHz)

  • Windows 10 Pro 64

  • 15.6" 4K (3840x2160), anti-glare, IPS

  • 64GB(16x4) DDR4 2400MHz ECC SoDIMM

  • NVIDIA Quadro M2200 4GB GDDR5

  • Backlit Keyboard with Number Pad 

  • 3-button TrackPoint pointing device and 3-button multi-touch touchpad, Color Sensor

  • Integrated Fingerprint Reader

  • 1TB 5400rpm HDD



  • 3TB

  • Intel Dual Band Wireless AC(2x2) 8265, Bluetooth Version 4.1, vPro

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon X7 LTE-A (Sierra Wireless EM7455)
  • vPro Certified

MacBook Pro $4199


  • 3.1GHz quad-core 7th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, Turbo Boost up to 4.1GHz

  • 16GB 2133MHz LPDDR3 memory

  • 2TB SSD storage

  • Radeon Pro 560 with 4GB memory

  • Backlit Keyboard - US English

  • Apple logo :)