Best PC for Photography and Photo Editing

Build the Best PC for Photography and Photo Editing 2021

Photography cannot be done effectively without a PC for editing your shots. Even though there are smartphone apps that edit photos, but nothing can replace editing your shots on a computer. You need the best photo editing PC build guide, which is where this guide comes in, to help you select the best hardware components you need to build the best PC for photography and photo editing in 2021.

RELATED ARTICLE

Best Wi-Fi Routers for Gaming and Streaming

We roundup the best of the best routers for gaming and streaming. Full Review and buying guide

Considerations for Best PC for Photography and Photo Editing

Choosing components for your photography PC build boils down to a basic question, which is:

What platform are you going to base your PC build, Intel or AMD? Well, in short, this question is like both sides of a coin. It just depends on where you want to pitch your tent. Intel has been a strong performer in the processor industry with a broad range of processors to choose from. In terms of performance, Intel used to dominate the space, until when AMD released their Ryzen 2 and 3 line of processors. Presently, the AMD Zen 3 architecture featuring Ryzen 5000 CPUs offers even more performance, compared to Ryzen 3000 CPUs, for desktop builds.

Photoshop performs exceptionally well with a quad-core processor. Ideally, you should go for an Intel i5 or i7 quad-core processor. Our recommended processors for a  photography/photo editing PC do not include a Pentium processor for performance reasons. This is the best time to build an AMD PC because of the value the Ryzen 2 and 3 processors offer. We have seen the Ryzen 7 processor beating the Intel Core i9 processor in gaming performance benchmarks tests. 

However, when it comes to content creation workflows such as photo editing, both brands perform credibly well. Whichever camp you want to go with, here are some important considerations you must have in mind when choosing components. 

best pc for photography
Photo Editing requires lots of processing power and storage

Why build a PC for Photography instead of buying a pre-built one?

There are several advantages when it comes to building your own PC for photography and photo editing. It might sound over-hyped, but it’s actually cost-effective building a PC from scratch than buying a pre-built PC. We’ve compiled a list of reasons why you should build your own PC, compared to buying one off the shelf.

Most important Components for Best Photo Editing PC Build

  • PROCESSOR
    You need a multi-core processor, preferably a quad-core processor, with high clock speeds. An i5 or i7 processor should do just fine. It doesn’t mean an i3 processor won’t do the job, but the system performance will drop noticeably. Adobe Photoshop performs best with a quad-core processor like an i5 or i7 with high clock speeds.
  • RAM
    Photoshop or Lightroom requires lots of RAM. In fact, Photoshop can be configured to utilize up to 100% of installed RAM. Ideally, go for the most RAM your motherboard can accommodate.
  • MONITOR
    You need a color-accurate monitor to display your photos exactly the way they should be displayed. Not all monitors perform great in this regard, which is why we recommend the 24-Inch Viewsonic Professional Monitor for serious professionals like you. It is a great monitor for accurate color reproduction and fidelity. Alternatively, you can check out other recommended monitors in our detailed review for the best 24-inch monitors.
  • GRAPHICS CARD
    You may not need a dedicated graphics card, but it is recommended to install one. Adobe Photoshop requires specifically a CUDA-enabled graphics card for some of its features. Also, if you plan to game on your PC, then get one. See the tables below for recommendations. 

Follow the recommendations for the best photography PC build. The components for each build have been vetted and cross-checked for compatibility issues. This page contains affiliate links. Please note that qualifying purchases made through this page may earn us a little commission, with no additional cost to you. This is to support the work we are doing.

RELATED ARTICLE

Build a Video Editing Machine

Best Video Editing Build – All Budgets

Looking to build a machine for high-end video editing? Read this


Best PC for Photography & Photo Editing Build Recommendations

Intel Photo Editing PC Builds

Take your pick from 3 options – Budget, Mid-range, and High-end builds. EACH CONFIGURATION HAS BEEN VETTED FOR COMPATIBILITY ISSUES.

Intel Budget Build – Best PC for Photography and Photo Editing in 2021

This build is within the $500-700 budget range. If you’re a beginner photographer, a student, or hobbyist, this might be ideal for you.

Last update on 2021-03-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

NB: The CPU Cooler is bundled with the processor.

Alternative Budget Hardware – Intel Photo Editing PC Build

PART BRAND/MODEL
Processor Options
(Can only be paired with 1151 Motherboards below)
Intel Core i3-9100F
Intel Core i3-9100
Intel Core i3-8100
Intel Core i5-8400
Intel Core i5-9400
Intel Core i5-9600K
Graphics Card Options
(It’s preferable to go for an NVIDIA card for CUDA processing)
AMD Radeon RX 570
AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT
GeForce GTX 1660 Super
Radeon RX 580
GeForce GTX 1650
AMD Radeon RX 560
Geforce GTX 1050 Ti
GeForce GT 1030
GeForce GTX 1060
GeForce GT 710
Storage Drive Option Seagate Barracuda 3TB
Boot Drive Options Samsung SSD 860 EVO 250GB
Crucial MX500 250GB 3D NAND SATA M.2
RAM Options Corsair Vengeance LPX 8GB
Crucial Ballistix 3200 MHz DDR4 16GB
XPG Z1 DDR4 3000MHz 16GB
HyperX Fury 16GB 2666MHz DDR4
G.Skill RipJaws V Series 16GB DDR4
Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 16GB DDR4
TEAMGROUP T-Force Delta RGB DDR4 16GB 3200MHz
CPU Cooler Bundled
Power Supply Options Thermaltake Smart 500W
Thermaltake Smart 430W 80+
EVGA 450 BR, 80+ BRONZE 450W
Corsair CX Series 450 Watt 80 Plus
SilverStone Technology 450W 80 PLUS Bronze
Rosewill Arc Series 450 Watt 80 Plus Bronze
EVGA 500 80+ Bronze 500W
GIGABYTE 80 Plus Bronze 500W
ROSEWILL Modular Power Supply, 80 Plus Gold 500w 
Cooler Master MWE 500 Bronze, 80+ 
Corsair CX Series 500 Watt 80 Plus Bronze 
Corsair CX Series 550 Watt 80 Plus Bronze
Cougar VTX450 Power Supply 80+ Bronze Certified 450W
Apevia Astro 500W ATX Power Supply
Motherboard Options MSI ProSeries Intel B365 LGA 1151 Motherboard
Asus Prime H310M
Asus PRIME B360M-A
Gigabyte B365M
Prime H310M-E R2.0
Keyboard/Mouse Options Logitech MK550 Wireless Wave Keyboard and Mouse Combo
Havit Rainbow Backlit Wired Gaming Keyboard Mouse Combo
Logitech MK270 Wireless Keyboard & Mouse Combo
Logitech MK710 Wireless Keyboard & Mouse Combo
Dell Wireless Keyboard & Mouse Combo
AmazonBasics USB Wired Computer Keyboard Mouse 
Case Options ROSEWILL ATX Mid Tower Gaming Computer Case
NZXT H210 Mini-ITX PC Gaming Case
Enermax LL30 RGB Mid Tower
CORSAIR 110Q Mid-Tower Quiet ATX
darkFlash Micro ATX
Cooler Master MasterBox MB511
Zalman T7 ATX Mid Tower
Cooler Master MCB ATX
Display Options BenQ 24 Inch IPS Monitor
ASUS 23.8” Monitor, 1080P
Philips 32″ Curved Frameless Monitor
Asus Eye Care Monitor Full HD 27″ Frameless
ASUS 24″ ProArt Professional
HP 23.8-inch Full HD 1080p IPS LED Monitor

On the Intel budget configuration option, we have the Intel Core i5 10500 processor paired with the Gigabyte H410M S2H (LGA1200) platform motherboard. At a decent price, this processor doesn’t disappoint. It is capable of handling Photoshop or Lightroom workflows, though your output will dramatically increase with a higher processor like i7 or i9. 

The RAM is 16GB of fast DDR4 RAM from Corsair for multitasking. However, be warned that 8GB of RAM is not enough for the RAM hungry Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom. It is advisable to go for at least 16GB of RAM for a budget build. 

For the graphics card, we recommend the Biostar Radeon RX 550, a budget card that should serve your purposes. However, if you prefer a lower-priced card, you may go for the NVIDIA GEFORCE GT 1030 which is a great budget card, with CUDA capabilities. We decided to go for an AMD card, but you can actually go for the NVIDIA card. 

Storage options include a 1TB Seagate Barracuda for storing your photos and other files and a Samsung 860 EVO NVMe 250GB SSD for your boot drive. The idea is to install Windows on the SSD for faster boot and file handling operations.

Other components include the optional LG Blu-ray Optical drive for archiving your photos to a Blu-ray disc, the Logitech MK270 Wireless Keyboard and mouse combo which is also optional, the Thermaltake Smart 430 Watts power supply, and the DeepCool MATREXX 55 PC Case, a beautiful and functional E-ATX case with lots of expansion options. With this selection of components, you’d be totally proud of your budget photo editing PC build.

Finally, you need a capable monitor that will deliver great results when viewing photos on your computer. The monitor is optional though, but if you like it, you can go for the Viewsonic 24-inch professional monitor. This is a great monitor that performs incredibly well with its excellent color reproduction capabilities.

build the best PC for photography

Intel Mid-Range Build – Best PC for Photography and Photo Editing in 2021

This is in the budget range of $700 – 1500, depending on your choice of components. Here you’ll find Intel Core i5 or i7 CPUs (see table below)

Last update on 2021-03-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

NB: The CPU Cooler and GPU is bundled with the processor.

Alternative Mid-Range Hardware – Intel Photo Editing PC Build

PART BRAND/MODEL
Processor Options
(Can only be paired with 1151 Motherboards below)
Intel Core i5-9600KF
Intel Core i5-9600K
Intel Core i5-9500
Intel Core i5-8600K
Intel Core i5 6600K
Core i7 6700K
Intel Core i7-8700
Intel Core i7-9700K
Intel Core i7-9700F
Graphics Card Options
(It’s preferable to go for an NVIDIA card for CUDA processing)
GeForce GTX 970
GeForce GTX 980
AMD Radeon RX 590
AMD Radeon R9 390
AMD Radeon RX Vega 56
AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti
GeForce GTX 1070
GeForce RTX 2060
GeForce RTX 2060 Super
GeForce RTX 2070
GeForce RTX 2070 Super 
Storage Drive Options Seagate Barracuda 6TB
Seagate BarraCuda 8TB 
Boot Drive Options Samsung 860 PRO 512GB SSD
XPG Pro 512GB 3D NAND NVMe
Memory Options Crucial Ballistix 3200 MHz DDR4 16GB
XPG Z1 DDR4 3000MHz 16GB
HyperX Fury 16GB 2666MHz DDR4
G.Skill RipJaws V Series 16GB DDR4
Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 16GB DDR4
TEAMGROUP T-Force Delta RGB DDR4 16GB 3200MHz
CPU Cooler Bundled with processor
Power Supply Options Corsair CX Series 750 Watt 80 Plus Bronze Certified 
Thermaltake Toughpower Grand RGB 850W 80+
EVGA 850 80+ Bronze 850W
GAMEMAX Rainbow 750W Fully Modular 80+ Gold  
GAMEMAX Rainbow 850W Fully Modular 80+ Gold  
EVGA SuperNOVA 850 P2, 80+ PLATINUM 850W
Motherboard Options Gigabyte Z390 UD 1151 Motherboard
MSI MEG Z390 ACE LGA1151 
Asus ROG Strix Z390-E Gaming Motherboard
MSI MPG Z390 Gaming PRO Carbon LGA1151
Keyboard/Mouse Options Logitech MK550 Wireless Wave Keyboard and Mouse Combo
Logitech MK270 Wireless Keyboard & Mouse Combo
Logitech MK710 Wireless Keyboard & Mouse Combo
Dell Wireless Keyboard & Mouse Combo
AmazonBasics USB Wired Computer Keyboard Mouse 
Case Options NZXT H510 Compact ATX
darkFlash Darwin Black ATX Mid-Tower
MSI Premium Mid-Tower PC Case
Cooler Master MasterCase ATX Mid-Tower
MSI MPG 500P Full Tower
Thermaltake Commander C36
Cooler Master MasterBox TD500
Display Options BenQ PhotoVue 27 inch QHD Photography Monitor
Dell Ultra Sharp LED-Lit Monitor 25″
Philips Brilliance 27″ Monitor, 4K UHD IPS, 122% sRGB,
BenQ 27 inch 4K Monitor for Designers
LG 27″ 4K UHD IPS Monitor with HDR10
LG 34″21:9 Curved UltraWide WQHD IPS sRGB 99%

Our mid-range Intel build recommendation is based on the 10th Gen. Intel Core i7 10700K, an 8-core processor for gamers and content creators at a reasonable price. This processor is fully overclockable, and it lives up to its reputation in multi-tasking and complex photo/video editing routines.

In addition to this, the processor is bundled with the Intel Iris 630 graphics chip to drive your graphics performance. However, if you want faster performance in Photoshop with CUDA, or you want to game, you can go for the GTX 1660 Super GPU. It’s the elder sibling to the 1660, and is a fairly priced graphics card offering better performance in gaming and CUDA computing. At the time of this update, the RTX 3000 series GPUs are quite scarce.

MSI Gaming GeForce GTX 1660 Super 192-bit HDMI/DP 6GB GDRR6...
  • Chipset: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Super
  • Boost clock: 1815 MHz
  • Memory Interface: 192-Bit
  • Video Memory: 6GB GDDR6
  • Output: DisplayPort x 3 (V1. 4)/ HDMI 2. 0B x 1

Last update on 2021-03-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

We paired this processor with the MSI MPG Z490 Plus Gaming Motherboard for the best performance. This is a gaming motherboard, but who cares? It provides numerous features, and also supports overclocking of the processor.

The RAM is Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB DDR4 RAM for speedy performance. Storage options include a Samsung 512GB NVMe SSD which improves your workflow drastically, compared to a traditional hard drive. For best performance, you should use your SSD storage as a cache drive in Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom.

You’ve also got a 3TB Seagate Barracuda for permanent storage. This is more than enough to store your catalog of customer photos unless you want to go for a higher capacity drive such as a 6TB or 8TB hard drive

Last update on 2021-03-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The included cooler is sufficient for cooling the processor, so we don’t need an aftermarket cooler. In addition, the processor doesn’t run at high temps, since it is not overclockable. So we are good with the stock cooler.

The Power Supply Unit is rated at 600 Watts, the Thermaltake Smart 600 Watt Power Supply. We’ve also got the optional Logitech MK550 keyboard and mouse combo. 

The case is the Thermaltake Versa H15 Micro ATX Mini Tower Computer Case with its distinctive brushed aluminum finish. In addition, this case features a tool-free drive bays for easy drive installation. There is also plenty of space to install even the largest graphics cards. Don’t forget that this case also supports liquid cooling, in case you might want to use this for a high-end build.

For the monitor (optional), we’ve got the Viewsonic 27-inch Professional Photography monitor, an excellent choice for a mid-range monitor for accurate color reproduction. This monitor produces outstanding results for photography and photo editing workflows. 

build the best PC for photography

Intel High-End Build – Best PC for Photography and Photo Editing in 2021

For this budget range, errrh, money is not a problem (some components are optional).

Last update on 2021-03-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Alternative High-End Hardware – Intel Photo Editing PC Build

PART BRAND/MODEL
Processor Options
(Can only be paired with 1151 Motherboards below)
Intel Core i7-9700K
Intel Core i9-9900
Intel Core i7-9700F
Intel Core i7-9700
Intel Core i9-9900KF
Intel Core i5-8600K
Intel Core i7 6700K
Intel Core i7-8700K
Intel Core i9-9900K
Graphics Card Options
(It’s preferable to go for an NVIDIA card for CUDA processing)
GeForce RTX 2070 Super
AMD Radeon VII
GeForce GTX 1080
GeForce GTX 1080 TI 
AMD Radeon RX Vega 64
GeForce GTX TITAN X 
GeForce GTX TITAN BLACK
GeForce GTX TITAN Z
GeForce RTX 2070 Super Founders Edition
GeForce RTX 2080 Super
GeForce RTX 2080 Ti
RTX 2080 Super Founders Edition
NVIDIA Titan RTX
Storage Drive Option Seagate Barracuda 6TB HDD
Boot Drive Options Sabrent 1TB Rocket NVMe PCIe M.2
WD Blue 1TB NVMe
Silicon Power 1TB NVMe M.2
Sabrent 1TB Rocket NVMe M.2 Extreme
Samsung 860 PRO 512GB SSD
Sabrent Rocket Q 2TB NVMe PCIe M.2
Samsung 970 EVO Plus SSD 2TB – M.2 NVMe
XPG Pro 2TB 3D NAND NVMe
WD Blue 1TB NVMe
Memory Option Corsair Vengeance LPX 64GB
CPU Cooler Options
(For best performance, it is recommended to
go for a liquid cooler if you are going to overclock, though an air cooler will still provide adequate cooling)
Air Coolers
Cooler Master RGB CPU Air Cooler
Noctua NH-D15
be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4
Noctua NH-U12S Premium CPU Cooler

Water Coolers
Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML240R Addressable RGB Close-Loop AIO
DEEP COOL Castle 240EX, Addressable RGB AIO Liquid CPU Cooler
DEEPCOOL Castle 360EX, Addressable RGB AIO Liquid CPU Cooler
DEEPCOOL Castle 360EX WH, Addressable RGB AIO Liquid CPU Cooler
Power Supply Options CORSAIR RMX Series, RM850x, 850 Watt, 80+ Gold Certified 
CORSAIR HX1200, 1200 Watt, 80+ Platinum Certified
EVGA Supernova P2 80+ Platinum 1200W
ROSEWILL Gaming 80 Plus Gold Certified 1600W Full Modular
Motherboard Options ASUS Prime Z390-A Motherboard
EVGA Z390 Dark, LGA 1151
Asus MAXIMUS VIII EXTREME
MSI Performance Gaming Intel Z170A LGA 1151
ASUS ROG Maximus XI Hero
Keyboard/Mouse Options Logitech MK550 Wireless Wave Keyboard and Mouse Combo
Logitech MK270 Wireless Keyboard & Mouse Combo
Logitech MK710 Wireless Keyboard & Mouse Combo
Dell Wireless Keyboard & Mouse Combo
AmazonBasics USB Wired Computer Keyboard Mouse 
Case Options darkFlash Phantom Black ATX Mid-Tower
ASUS TUF Gaming Mid-Tower
Cooler Master Cosmos C700P
Display Options BenQ 32″ IPS, Post-Production Monitor, UHD
Dell Ultrasharp 32″ Monitor UHD 4k
EIZO ColorEdge CG2730 27″
BenQ 27 inch 4K Monitor Photo Editing IPS
EIZO ColorEdge Professional Graphics Monitor
LG 27″ 5K IPS LED Monitor

The high-end Intel build is powered by the indomitable Intel i9 10900K 10-Core 20-Thread processor. For those us that are Intel fans, this is the processor to have in Intel’s 10th Generation offering. This processor is a solid performer any day, thanks to its superior engineering and specifications.

Clocked at 3.6GHz, the intelligent Intel Performance Maximizer overclocking tool allows the chip to max out at 5.3GHz under load. With this kind of raw processing power, Adobe Photoshop/content creation tasks will work fluidly, no matter the size of the document loaded or raw files being processed.

The i9 10900K supports Intel Optane memory which considerably speeds up your applications by storing them in a special memory cache for faster access. In addition, this processor comes with integrated graphics – the Intel UHD 630 graphics. This is sufficient for those who don’t need intense graphics processing.

However, you need a discrete graphics card to be able to take advantage of CUDA or OpenCL processing in Photoshop, and also if you plan to do some video transcoding/rendering or gaming by the side (See the table above for recommendations).

The motherboard is the Asus Prime Z490-A motherboard, built on the LGA 1200 platform. With support for Intel’s 10th gen CPUs, it’s the perfect choice for media/creative professionals. This board has an array of useful features you would love. These include

  • M.2 Connectivity
  • 5-Way Optimization for overclocking
  • 8-channel HD Gaming Audio 
  • Advanced Fan Control for Dynamic Cooling
  • Lots of connectivity options
  • Aesthetically pleasing with the RGB lighting

Storage options include an 8TB Seagate Barracuda hard drive for file storage. With this much storage, you’ll hardly run out of space to store your photos and RAW files. The boot drive is handled by a Samsung EVO 1TB NVMe drive. Experience unprecedented transfer speeds with this drive. You can even partition it however you want and use one partition to install Windows, while the other half can be used to as your Photoshop cache drive or for storing your Lightroom catalogs.

The RAM is a 32GB Corsair Vengeance LPX memory kit. Anything above this size is overkill for photo editing. The rest of the hardware includes a 750 Watt power supply from Gamemax, an NZXT Kraken X53 liquid cooler for the processor, and optional Logitech keyboard and mouse combo, the also optional LG Blu-ray burner for file archiving, the MSI Premium Mid-Tower PC Gaming Case, and the (optional) Viewsonic 34-inch Curved post-production monitor.

For the record, the Viewsonic monitor is a high performer when it comes to color accuracy and output. Added to this, it has a display resolution of 3440×1400 pixels. With this much resolution, you have all the screen estate you’ll ever need for editing your photos. 

RELATED ARTICLE

GRAPHICS CARD UNDER 100

Best Graphic Cards under 100 USD

We review a selection of the best GPUs you can grab for under a hundred. Full review.

AMD Photo Editing PC Builds

TAKE YOUR PICK FROM 3 OPTIONS – BUDGET, MID-RANGE, AND HIGH-END BUILDS. EACH CONFIGURATION HAS BEEN VETTED FOR COMPATIBILITY ISSUES.

build the best PC for photography

AMD Budget Build – Best PC for Photography and Photo Editing in 2021

This AMD build is within the $500-700 budget range, depending on your choice of components. If you’re a beginner photographer, a student, or a hobbyist, this might be ideal for you.

Last update on 2021-03-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

NB: The CPU Cooler is bundled with the processor.

Alternative Budget Hardware – AMD Photo Editing PC Build

PART BRAND/MODEL
Processor Options AMD Ryzen 3 3200G
AMD Ryzen 5 1600X
AMD Ryzen 5 2600
AMD Ryzen 5 2600X
AMD Ryzen 5 3400G
AMD Ryzen 5 3600
AMD Ryzen 5 3600X
Graphics Card Options AMD Radeon RX 570
AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT
GeForce GTX 1660 Super
Radeon RX 580
GeForce GTX 1650
AMD Radeon RX 550 4GB
AMD Radeon RX 560
Geforce GTX 1050 Ti
GeForce GTX 1060
GeForce GT 710
Storage Drive Option Seagate Barracuda 3TB
Boot Drive Options Samsung SSD 860 EVO 250GB
Crucial MX500 250GB 3D NAND SATA M.2
Memory Options Corsair Vengeance LPX 8GB
Patriot Memory Viper 4 Series 3000MHz 8GB
Patriot Viper Elite Series DDR4 8GB
Crucial Ballistix Sport LT 3000MHz DDR4 8GB
HyperX Predator DDR4 RGB 8GB
Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB
CPU Cooler Bundled
Power Supply Options Thermaltake Smart 500W
Thermaltake Smart 430W 80+
EVGA 450 BR, 80+ BRONZE 450W
Corsair CX Series 450 Watt 80 Plus
SilverStone Technology 450W 80 PLUS Bronze
Rosewill Arc Series 450 Watt 80 Plus Bronze
EVGA 500 80+ Bronze 500W
GIGABYTE 80 Plus Bronze 500W
ROSEWILL Modular Power Supply, 80 Plus Gold 500w 
Cooler Master MWE 500 Bronze, 80+ 
Corsair CX Series 500 Watt 80 Plus Bronze 
Corsair CX Series 550 Watt 80 Plus Bronze
Cougar VTX450 Power Supply 80+ Bronze Certified 450W
Apevia Astro 500W ATX Power Supply
Motherboard Options Asus Prime B450M-A
Gigabyte GA-A320M-S2H
GIGABYTE B450M
MSI ProSeries AMD A320
ASRock AM4 MicroATX
Keyboard/Mouse Options Logitech MK550 Wireless Wave Keyboard and Mouse Combo

Logitech MK710 Wireless Keyboard & Mouse ComboDell Wireless Keyboard & Mouse Combo
AmazonBasics USB Wired Computer Keyboard Mouse 

Case Options ROSEWILL ATX Mid Tower Gaming Computer Case
NZXT H210 Mini-ITX PC Gaming Case
Enermax LL30 RGB Mid Tower
CORSAIR 110Q Mid-Tower Quiet ATX
darkFlash Micro ATX
Cooler Master MasterBox MB511
Zalman T7 ATX Mid Tower
Cooler Master MCB ATX
Display Options BenQ 24 Inch IPS Monitor
ASUS 23.8” Monitor, 1080P
Philips 32″ Curved Frameless Monitor
Asus Eye Care Monitor Full HD 27″ Frameless
ASUS 24″ ProArt Professional
HP 23.8-inch Full HD 1080p IPS LED Monitor

Our processor of choice is the AMD Ryzen 5 1600 Processor, one of AMD’s low-budget CPUs. Clocked at 3.2/3.6GHz, this processor is a good entry-level chip because you are getting a processor and a cooler in one package.

This is a value processor with six cores, all unlocked. You can tune the performance further with the bundled AMD Ryzen Master Utility for overclocking the processor cores.

For the motherboard, you’ve got the future-proof GIGABYTE GA-A320M AM4 motherboard platform which should still fit if you’re going to be upgrading to a higher processor on the AMD platform. This is a decent entry-level motherboard that offers good performance.

There is a need for a dedicated Graphics card because the AMD Ryzen 5 1600 doesn’t have its own integrated graphics processor. To be able to carry out some tasks in Photoshop, a discreet CUDA enable GPU such as the GeForce GT 1030 is necessary.

Every other component remains the same as the Intel Budget Photo Editing PC Build above.

AMD Mid-Range Build – Best PC for Photography and Photo Editing in 2021

A typical budget for this build ranges from $500 to $1500 (see table below).

Last update on 2021-03-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

NB: The CPU Cooler is bundled with the processor.

Alternative Mid-Range Hardware – AMD Photo Editing PC Build

PART BRAND/MODEL
Processor Options AMD Ryzen 5 3600X
Ryzen 7 1700X
Ryzen 7 2700
Ryzen 7 2700X
Ryzen 7 3700X
Graphics Card Options AMD Radeon RX 590
GeForce GTX 970
GeForce GTX 980
AMD Radeon R9 390
AMD Radeon RX Vega 56
AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti
GeForce GTX 1070
GeForce RTX 2060
GeForce RTX 2060 Super
GeForce RTX 2070
GeForce RTX 2070 Super 
Storage Drive Option Seagate Barracuda 3TB
Boot Drive Options Samsung 860 PRO 512GB SSD
XPG Pro 512GB 3D NAND NVMe
Memory Options Crucial Ballistix 3200 MHz DDR4 16GB
XPG Z1 DDR4 3000MHz 16GB
HyperX Fury 16GB 2666MHz DDR4
G.Skill RipJaws V Series 16GB DDR4
Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 16GB DDR4
TEAMGROUP T-Force Delta RGB DDR4 16GB 3200MHz
CPU Cooler Bundled
Power Supply Options Corsair CX Series 750 Watt 80 Plus Bronze Certified 
Thermaltake Toughpower Grand RGB 850W 80+
EVGA 850 80+ Bronze 850W
GAMEMAX Rainbow 750W Fully Modular 80+ Gold  
Motherboard Options Gigabyte B450 AORUS Elite
ASUS ROG Strix B450-F
Keyboard/Mouse Options Logitech MK550 Wireless Wave Keyboard and Mouse Combo
Havit Rainbow Backlit Wired Gaming Keyboard Mouse Combo
Case Options NZXT H510 Compact ATX
darkFlash Darwin Black ATX Mid-Tower
MSI Premium Mid-Tower PC Case
Cooler Master MasterCase ATX Mid-Tower
MSI MPG 500P Full Tower
Thermaltake Commander C36
Cooler Master MasterBox TD500
Display Options BenQ PhotoVue 27 inch QHD Photography Monitor
Dell Ultra Sharp LED-Lit Monitor 25″
Philips Brilliance 27″ Monitor, 4K UHD IPS, 122% sRGB,
BenQ 27 inch 4K Monitor for Designers
LG 27″ 4K UHD IPS Monitor with HDR10
LG 34″21:9 Curved UltraWide WQHD IPS sRGB 99%

Our mid-range configuration for Photography and Photo Editing features the 8-core Ryzen 7 3700X processor. This is a great value processor, and like we stated earlier, AMD builds are the way to go with the recent Ryzen 3 release. With 8-cores of processing power, your photo editing inside Photoshop and Lightroom should be smooth and lag-free.

Our motherboard of choice, the MSI Arsenal Gaming B450 Tomahawk Motherboard offers great value and options at the price point. You’ve got plenty of connectivity options and a RAM capacity of 64GB (just in case you don’t want to stick with the recommended 16GB). 

Note that this board is a gaming certified board, which might give you the motivation to turn your rig into a gaming PC. However, it still performs extremely well for other applications such as photo editing and content creation. 

Other components include a 3T Barracuda drive for storage, a Samsung 970 EVO Plus NVMe 500GB SSD for the boot drive, and the graphics card – the GeForce GTX 1660 GPU with 6GB of graphics RAM. The Ryzen 7 3700X doesn’t come with integrated graphics, hence the need for a discrete graphics card. This card is necessary for certain features in Photoshop which require CUDA for faster processing. Also, you should definitely get this card if you are going to be gaming on this PC.

All the other components remain the same as the Intel build.

RELATED ARTICLE

Best 24″ Monitor for 2021 – Full Review

Take your pick of the the best 24 inch Monitors for gaming, productivity, and every other thing you can think of…



AMD High-End Build – Best PC for Photography and Photo Editing in 2021

In this category, the budget is in the range of $1500 and above, depending on the choice of components. For our recommended build list below, the water cooler is optional. You may only get it if you plan to overclock the CPU and run intensive renders with the PC. Otherwise, go for an air cooler.

Last update on 2021-03-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Alternative High-End Hardware – Intel Photo Editing PC Build

PART BRAND/MODEL
Processor Options Ryzen 7 3800X
AMD Ryzen 7 5800X
AMD Ryzen 9 3950X
Graphics Card Options AMD Radeon VII
GeForce GTX 1080
GeForce GTX 1080 TI 
AMD Radeon RX Vega 64
GeForce GTX TITAN X 
GeForce GTX TITAN BLACK
GeForce GTX TITAN Z
GeForce RTX 2070 Super Founders Edition
GeForce RTX 2080 Super
GeForce RTX 2080 Ti
RTX 2080 Super Founders Edition
NVIDIA Titan RTX
Storage Drive Option Seagate Barracuda 6TB HDD
Boot Drive Option Samsung 860 PRO 512GB SSD
Memory Optioon Corsair Vengeance LPX 64GB
CPU Cooler Options Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo CPU Cooler
Cooler Master RGB CPU Air Cooler
Noctua NH-U12S chromax
be Quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4
Power Supply Option CORSAIR RMX Series, RM850x, 850 Watt, 80+ Gold Certified 
Motherboard Options Gigabyte B450 AORUS Elite
ASUS ROG Strix B450-F
Asus ROG Strix X570-F ATX Motherboard
MSI Enthusiast Gaming AMD X470
ASROCK AMD X470 ATX Motherboard
Keyboard/Mouse Options Logitech MK550 Wireless Wave Keyboard and Mouse Combo
Havit Rainbow Backlit Wired Gaming Keyboard Mouse Combo
Case Options Thermaltake Core P3 ATX Tempered Glass Case
darkFlash Phantom Black ATX Mid-Tower
ASUS TUF Gaming Mid-Tower
Cooler Master Cosmos C700P
Display Options BenQ 32″ IPS, Post-Production Monitor, UHD
Dell Ultrasharp 32″ Monitor UHD 4k
EIZO ColorEdge CG2730 27″
BenQ 27 inch 4K Monitor Photo Editing IPS
EIZO ColorEdge Professional Graphics Monitor
LG 27″ 5K IPS LED Monitor
ViewSonic 34″ UWQ 14-bit 3D LUT & Color Calibration

Here are highlights of the various recommended components. Our recommended AMD build features every other component except the processor and motherboard.

For the processor, we have the AMD Ryzen 9 3900X 12-core 24-thread processor, a top performer in the AMD lineup. This is a value-packed processor for the price, as it beats its Intel competitors such as the Intel Core i9 9900K hands down on benchmark tests. This processor rocks in terms of performance, which is made possible by its impressive specifications. These include:

  • Fully unlocked multiplier for overclocking
  • Low power footprint of 105 Watts
  • Large 70MB of cache for faster performance
  • Max frequency of 4.6GHz across all cores
  • Bundled Prism RGB Cooler

Without a doubt, this AMD build is the way to go for a high-performance PC for photo editing and content creation. 

We pair this processor with the Gigabyte Aorus Elite Motherboard, a premium motherboard at a decent price. This board is loaded with useful features and functionality to fast-track your media and productivity tasks.

You can never go wrong with this AMD build, as this is the best time to build one. Whether you are going for an AMD or Intel build, you can trust these recommended components which we have painstakingly researched just for you. Alternatively, if you need recommendations for a video editing build, we recommend checking out our detailed guide on the best 4K Video Editing PC Build for 2021

If you are planning on building a gaming PC, don’t forget to also check out our best gaming PC build guide for all budget categories. It’s worth checking out. Click here to move to the step-by-step guide on how to build your own PC.

Paid Photo Editing Software

Here’s a rundown of the best paid and free Photo Editing Apps for your Photo Editing PC.

Adobe Photoshop

Adobe’s flagship image Editing and manipulation app which is the industry standard, is now even more affordable… Seriously, you can’t build the best PC for Photography without Photoshop.

Adobe Photoshop Elements

Adobe’s next best Photo Retouching and Editing App.

Adobe Lightroom

Adobe’s Photoshop Lightroom remains the gold standard in pro photo workflow software for serious photographers…

best PC for photography

Corel PaintShop Pro

A worthy Adobe Photoshop alternative from Corel.

Luminar

Luminar is another Photoshop alternative, offering effective automatic photo enhancement, a modern interface, and some unique filters and adjustment tools.

Phase One Capture One Pro

Phase One Capture One offers pro and prosumer digital photographers excellent detail from raw camera files, as well as local adjustment, advanced color, and layer tools, but it still trails in photo-organizing features.

RELATED ARTICLE

Best Laptop for Solidworks

Best Laptop for Solidworks 2021 – Full Review

We review the best Laptops for Solidworks 2021

Free Photo Editing Software

GIMP

The lowly GIMP continues to give Photoshop a run for its money, but its limitations still remain.

CANVA

A great alternative that has managed to gather a multitude of users. Offers a free and paid version

Paint.net

PAINT.NET

This nifty by powerful photo editor holds a lot of promise. It boasts some of the amazing features you’d find in high-end software, and most of all it’s free!

Polarr

POLARR

Another great alternative with some decent features that is worth checking out…

PIXLR

This Autodesk app will surprise you with its useful photo editing features…

RELATED ARTICLE

Best Budget Gaming PC Build- Full Guide

Thinking of building a gaming PC on a budget, follow this guide as we show you how

Conclusion

I hope this article helped you to make the right choice towards building the best computer for photographers in 2021. I want to hear from you. Drop your comments below in the comments section, share your experiences on your build.

Meanwhile, you can see recommendations for the Ultimate Graphic Design PC Build or the best 4K Video Editing PC Build for 2021. We’ve also got an article on the best 3D Animation and Render PC Build featuring the AMD Threadripper. If you are into Music Production, our guide will help build and set up the best Music editing PC for all budgets. Cheers

More to see

All Articles

BUILD GUIDESPRE-BUILT CONFIGURATIONS
BEST 3D ANIMATION AND RENDER DESKTOP BUILD 2021Budget 3D Render AMD PC Build Parts List
BEST BUDGET GAMING PC 2021: AN EXCLUSIVE GUIDEBUDGET AMD GAMING PC PARTS LIST
BEST COMPUTER CONFIGURATION FOR GRAPHIC DESIGN 2021Budget AMD Photo Editing PC Build Parts List
BEST GAMING PC BUILD 2021 – BUDGET, MID-RANGE AND HIGH-ENDBudget CAD AMD PC Build Parts List
BEST PC BUILD FOR 3D MODELING AND RENDERING IN 2021 ALL BUDGETSBudget Intel 3D Render PC Build Parts List
BUILD A PC FOR MUSIC PRODUCTION IN 2021Budget Intel Gaming PC Build Parts List
BUILD A VIDEO EDITING MACHINE – BUDGET, MID-RANGE & HIGH-ENDBudget Intel Photo Editing PC Build Parts List
BUILD THE BEST PC FOR PHOTOGRAPHY AND PHOTO EDITING 2021Budget Intel Streaming PC Build Parts List
THE BEST 4K VIDEO EDITING PC BUILD 2021: A DEFINITIVE GUIDEBudget Intel Video Editing PC Build Parts List
ULTIMATE GRAPHIC DESIGN COMPUTER BUILD IN 2021Graphic Design Budget AMD PC Build Parts List
BEST VR READY PC BUILD 2021 – ALL BUDGETSGraphic Design High-End AMD PC Build Parts List
DEDICATED STREAMING PC BUILDIntel Budget Music Production PC Build Parts List
BEST CAD WORKSTATION BUILD Intel Budget VR Gaming PC Build Parts List
 BEST PC BUILD FOR OFFICE WORKIntel High End CAD PC Build Parts List
BUILD A PC FOR ADOBE CREATIVE CLOUDIntel High End Graphic Design PC Build Parts List
 Intel High End Music Production PC Build Parts List
Intel High End Streaming PC Build Parts List
 Mid Range AMD Gaming PC Build Parts List
 Mid Range Intel 3D Render PC Build Parts List
 Mid Range Intel Photo Editing PC Build Parts List
 Mid-Range 3D Render AMD PC Build Parts List
 Music Production Budget AMD PC Build Parts List
 Music Production Mid-Range AMD PC Build Parts List
 Office Intel PC Build Parts List
 Streaming High-End AMD PC Build Parts List
 Video Editing Budget AMD PC Build Parts List
 Video Editing Mid-Range AMD PC Build Parts List
 VR Gaming High-End AMD PC Build Parts List
PRE-BUILT CONFIGURATIONSREVIEWS & OTHERS
Graphic Design Mid Range AMD PC Build Parts ListBEST RATED GRAPHICS DRAWING TABLETS FOR 2021
High End AMD Photo Editing PC Build Parts ListBEST GPUs FOR VIDEO EDITING AND TRANSCODING IN 2021
High End Intel 3D Render PC Build Parts ListBEST GPUs UNDER $100 FULL REVIEW
High End Intel Gaming PC Build Parts ListBEST LAPTOP FOR SOLIDWORKS 2021: REVIEWS AND SPECIFICATIONS
High End Intel Photo Editing PC Build Parts ListBEST MONITOR FOR GRAPHIC DESIGN IN 2021
High End Intel Video Editing PC Build Parts ListBEST WI-FI ROUTERS FOR STREAMING AND GAMING IN 2021
High-End 3D Render AMD PC Build Parts ListTHE BEST 24 INCH MONITOR FOR 2021: FULL REVIEW AND SPECS
HIGH-END AMD GAMING PC PARTS LISTBUILD A VR-READY PC – FULL GUIDE & RECOMMENDATIONS
High-End CAD AMD PC Build Parts ListBEST GAMING LAPTOPS UNDER 3000 DOLLARS – FULL REVIEW
Intel Budget CAD PC Build Parts ListBEST RATED LAPTOPS FOR AUTOCAD 2020 & 2021 – FULL REVIEW
Intel Budget Graphic Design PC Build Parts ListTOP 10 BEST VR HEADSETS IN 2021 – FULL REVIEW
Intel High-End VR Gaming PC Build Parts ListTOP 10 BEST CONVERTIBLE LAPTOPS IN 2021 – FULL REVIEW
Intel Mid Range CAD PC Build Parts ListBEST 3D PRINTERS FOR MINIATURES IN 2021 – FULL REVIEW
Intel Mid Range Graphic Design PC Build Parts List 
Intel Mid Range Music Production PC Build Parts ListOTHERS
Intel Mid-Range Streaming PC Build Parts ListWHY BUILD A CUSTOM PC?
Intel Mid-Range VR Gaming PC Build Parts ListPC BUILDER AND COST CALCULATOR
Mid Range AMD Photo Editing PC Build Parts ListREVIEWS
Mid Range Intel Gaming PC Build Parts ListBUILD GUIDES FOR CUSTOM PCs
Mid Range Intel Video Editing PC Build Parts ListThe Mac vs Windows war and the rest of us
Mid-Range CAD AMD PC Build Parts ListGoogle says goodbye to its Google Photos Subscription Service
Music Production High-End AMD PC Build Parts ListBuild a PC step by step in 2021 – The Ultimate Guide
Office AMD PC Build Parts List How to clean up your PC and make it faster – Full Guide
Streaming Budget AMD PC Build Parts List 
Streaming Mid-Range AMD PC Build Parts List 
Video Editing High-End AMD PC Build Parts List 
VR Gaming Budget AMD PC Build Parts List 
VR Gaming Mid-Range AMD PC Build Parts List 

My passion for PC hardware is my greatest motivation. I love technology and how it can make life easier and less complicated! When I’m not tinkering with hardware, I’m reading. I love to travel and I usually can’t wait to sit down on my PC to work.

I’m also a copywriter, designer, video editor, and writer. I also do some 3D with 3DS Max. Do you want to reach me? Use the Social Media buttons, or shoot me an email. I’ll be glad to hear from you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

4 × 1 =

Scroll to Top