The most important point when choosing a computer for graphic design is to find the hardware that is suitable for the design software programs you use. Understanding the fundamentals of technology will help you choose the hardware components and units that will give your computer the necessary power and flexibility to meet your needs.
Design professionals and students always need the right computer for their graphic design work, whether they're working on a semester design project, designing newsletters for small businesses, or managing corporate marketing campaigns that include a loaded set of graphic output.
You have a lot of options when choosing a laptop for design or a desktop for graphic design. Think about how you will use the computer and what functions you will need. The important thing is to have the hardware suitable for the software applications you want to use. To fully exploit the potential of high-end graphic design tools, you need a computer with enough power and options. At the same time, unless your graphics work involves editing a lot of photos or transferring large files, you won't need a machine with a lot of processing power, memory and storage to do your design work.
Fortunately, hardware options have grown dramatically, supporting a range of digital tools that enable graphic designers to push the boundaries and bring their ideas to life more easily than before. When it comes to your operating system, you have a lot more options these days. Many Windows-based computers today provide the graphics features professional designers and other content creators require at a much lower price, with more options.
Notebooks for Graphic Design
Laptops built for design are much more powerful than before. Most now have speed and storage capacity that almost rivals high-end desktops. You can take your work anywhere, present design models on the screen to your customers in meetings, and connect to resources or transfer files remotely. Built-in 4K Ultra HD high-definition displays deliver stunning detail and sharpness.
Most laptops today have super-fast PCIe* solid state drives when it comes to opening or transferring files.
While portability is important, this can be a problem if the laptop is very small. Your screen should be large enough to see the entire area you're working in and easily access the tools you need. Many laptops today have a 15-inch or larger display that gives you the screen space you need without sacrificing aesthetics. You can also choose a 2-in-1 that lets you switch between laptop and tablet modes to best suit your activities while delivering the high performance you need to run essential design tools. In tablet mode, you can sketch your design using a stylus or create models on the fly while brainstorming. Tablet mode can also be a great way to present your work. It's easy to browse, pause and zoom in on your designs, and point out important items while sitting side-by-side with your client.
Desktops for Graphic Design
Desktop computers used for graphic design have greater processing power and capabilities to support larger displays. Because desktop computers often have more memory and storage capacity, they're well equipped for the very large file sizes that occur when editing high-end photo or video. The ability to connect multiple monitors to a desktop computer allows designers to view multiple display layouts simultaneously, which is useful when working on complex projects.
Desktop computers provide more power, features, and flexibility than any other type of computer. A PCIe* SSD used in graphic design can improve performance. Desktops equipped with Intel® Optane™ SSDs are optimized for fast application loading, fast boot and low power consumption. In addition, Intel® Optane™ memory in desktop computers provides huge storage capacity.
While desktop computers can be easily upgraded to more memory and other custom configurations, laptop components are often much more difficult to upgrade or replace. They also have more ports for peripherals like cameras and microphones than laptops.
In addition, desktops tend to wear and tear less because you don't carry them around, tuck them in bags, knock on doorknobs, or drop them. They are also less likely to be stolen.
Desktop computers also come in different styles. There are traditional desktop computers with a case and a separate monitor. Or you can get all-in-one computers that combine monitor and computer. It takes up less space than a traditional desktop computer and still provides the performance you need for your graphics work.
What Features Are Needed to Deal with Graphic Design on a Computer?
Intel works with leading design software developers and hardware manufacturers to understand the specific needs of creative professionals. Together, we ensure that the design applications you trust perform at their best on computers used for graphic design.
We've listed the key elements to consider when looking for a new graphic design computer.
Processor Power: ( CPU ) lets you switch between Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign while creating beautiful, multi-layered projects without slowing down your workflow. Having a1 large number of processor cores does not always speed up this type of workflow, however, because some graphics programs are designed to run on a single core and cannot take advantage of the power of multiple cores. Quad or octa-core processors perform well for most graphic designers. ( Multi-core tasks like 3D rendering and video encoding use multiple cores simultaneously. )
Another characteristic of a CPU used for graphic design is its running speed, which is calculated in gigahertz. This number defines how fast your processor does its job. The higher the operating speed in the processors used for graphic design, the better the performance. This is especially true when transferring large files from an external hard drive to your desktop computer or working with high-performance programs like Photoshop and Lightroom.
Graphics Processors ( GPU ), or graphics cards, transform your work into the graphics you see on the screen. They can be integrated or external. Integrated graphics are built into your computer's motherboard, on the same chip as the computer's CPU, and they share memory with the CPU. They are less powerful than external graphics cards but use less energy. External graphics cards are on a completely discrete GPU chip on the motherboard. External graphics cards have higher processing power and offer a higher quality visual experience than integrated graphics cards. They are ideal for high-performance applications such as HD video editing and games.
GPU differs from CPU in terms of tasks it runs on. The CPU offloads the workload to the GPU, allowing for increased graphics performance. In some programs and tasks, the GPU allows you to quickly move objects around while editing the workspace, which is important when working in the brainstorming phase, negotiating ideas with a client during a meeting, or making last-second changes on a project that is approaching a deadline.
Memory or RAM allows you to efficiently run power-hungry programs such as Photoshop and Painter. It temporarily stores your working files, allowing your processor to process more data. The higher your RAM, the faster your workflow. Preview files display faster and you can run multiple instructions on the file simultaneously without system lag.
Learn more about computer RAM ›
Graphic designers regularly create very large files. Storage Capacity should also be at a level to meet this need, as they need both easy access while working on projects and a lot of storage space for archiving after the job is done. Unlike RAM, which temporarily stores information in memory, storage drives store data permanently.
Two storage options to consider are hard disk drive (HDD) and solid state drive (SSD). Computer HDD is a traditional spinning disk. The 1TB hard drive conveniently supports any operating system, leaving at least 700GB of space for other programs and data. SSD is another type of in-computer storage developed using a chip. Your apps load and run faster because SSDs have no moving parts.
Insufficient storage; can create bottlenecks that slow down rendering, editing, and other high-performance tasks. As a designer, you don't need to store all the files of your large projects on your host's hard drive. Many designers often use external hard drives, each dedicated to a different client, to save the bulk of their work; they not only ensure computers are ready for use, but also help to keep multiple clients' jobs separate and organized. As mentioned earlier, the fast rendering speed and graphics cards also allow designers to work directly from an external hard drive.
Laptops often use SSDs as they are more durable than HDDs, while desktop computers can have both:
Display options are very important for graphic designers in terms of screen size, color accuracy and resolution. Screen size matters a lot when it comes to laptop design. You'll need a 15-inch or larger screen to see as much detail as you can do your job as a graphic designer. It's also helpful to have enough free space on the screen to keep toolbars and control panels handy. If you need to work in multiple programs and see what you're doing in all of them, consider connecting a second display to your laptop or using a desktop with a larger screen. Having a large screen area comes in handy when working on large image layouts or viewing high resolution files up close.
Most of your customers will have brand colors that you need to match perfectly. Regardless of the color you choose, your display must have color accuracy for both digital and print work.
You need to make sure that the color you see on the screen will be the color you will get when you send the document to the printer.
In terms of screen resolution, a 24-inch monitor with 1920 x 1080 pixels provides full high resolution and is usually sufficient for basic needs. Professional designers who also usually deal with photo editing may need a higher resolution display such as 1440p or 4K.
Regardless of size or resolution, screens with a matte or anti-glare coating can help reduce images that cause eye strain or distraction, but they also reduce contrast and vibrancy, which is important for color accuracy in graphic design, photography and video editing.
Ports and Wired Connection are also very important in graphic design work. The more inputs and outputs you have, the easier it will be to load files from external drives and SD cards, add another monitor, connect a tablet and stylus or an ergonomic keyboard, and use other peripherals.
Thunderbolt™ 3 technology provides fast and versatile connections for a range of peripherals and storage devices. Additionally, the Thunderbolt connection connects to the customer's network, making it easy to quickly transfer files while working in the field. In fact, Thunderbolt is up to 8 times faster than USB 3.0 and provides more bandwidth than HDMI 1.4.1
Wireless Connect gives designers the flexibility to work from anywhere. PCs with Intel® Wi-Fi 6 (Gig+) deliver better results in Wi-Fi performance, traffic management, and noise reduction by leveraging next-generation technologies, and offer security features for best-in-class connectivity.2 You'll also experience approximately 3X faster download speeds3 Additionally, all Wi-Fi 6-enabled products feature WPA3 security technology specifically designed to protect against today's cyber threats.
If you're frequently on the go or working while visiting customers, Wi-Fi 6 offers you improved WLAN speed, capacity, manageability and security3, which can help improve your overall workflow performance, especially when it comes to large media file transfers and other bandwidth-intensive activities. It is possible.
Learn how to increase your Wi-Fi speed here ›
The touchscreen feature lets you quickly zoom in and out while showing your work, but it needs to be cleaned regularly. It is very important to remove fingerprints and smudges from your screen so that you and your customers can see your work clearly. Slightly different from the touchscreen feature, working with a stylus gives you a realistic feel when drawing. For most designers, this is what matters when sketching their ideas or working on illustrations.