Photoshop is the industry standard when it comes to photo editing and graphic design, and for good reasons. If you are a professional photographer, graphic designer, or a digital arts student and looking for an affordable budget laptop for Photoshop, you are in the right place!

Photoshop is a resource hungry program, especially in terms of ram and processor and when it comes to budget laptops, these are some of the main components that usually make up the price of any laptop. In this guide we will try to answer some of the questions about the specs that a laptop must have in order to properly run Photoshop (or any similar graphic design program), and we have also compiled a list of some of the best budget laptops for Photoshop you can find in 2020.

What  important Specs to check for in a design laptop?

Before we proceed, let’s take a look at what Adobe says about Photoshop’s system requirements for windows: For running Photoshop CC , Adobe recommends at least an Intel® Core 2 or AMD Athlon® 64 processor; 2 GHz or faster, 2 GB of RAM (8 GB ideally), free disk space, 1024 x 768 display (1280×800 recommended), and 512 MB of dedicated VRAM.

We will look to each component individually to see why it should be your primary focus, and also why you shouldn’t really spend money on other components.

Processor speed: It’s the engine of your laptop and undeniably the most important component. For Photoshop or any other similar design program, consider at least a laptop with an Intel Core i3, and the faster processor you can get the better. For basic use, such as browsing or typing text, you don’t need a super powerful processor, in fact for typing and browsing even a cheap chromebook can be sufficient. However, once things get more demanding, such as applying an effect to an image, you’ll need a more capable processor.

RAM:  Photoshop is pretty demanding when it comes to RAM. In general, you should always get as much memory as you can afford in a laptop, since more RAM is one of the simplest ways to improve overall performance, and in particular your Photoshop experience.  It is not uncommon that Photoshop eats up upwards of 2-3GB RAM while it is running, and that’s why you should choose a laptop with at least 8GB of RAM or more. If you are going to regularly process large files (over 500MB) and/or work on complex documents with multiple layers and effects, consider a system with even more than 8GB RAM. In most laptops, RAM is upgradable, and you can add more memory to your system if needed. However, more and more models come with RAM soldered to the motherboard, or with no free RAM slots. So choose wisely!

Storage type/ Capacity: Your drive provides access to the operating system and installed programs, it’s where your image files and documents will be stored, and for programs like Photoshop it gives extra memory resources (called virtual memory or scratch disks) when is installed RAM is not sufficient. So getting the fastest hard drive you can get is very important. A solid state drive provides the fastest speed, but they are very expensive. Traditional mechanical hard drives offer more space and are more affordable, but they are considerably slower than SSDs. You can read our article to know more about the advantages of SSDs.

So if you need a large storage capacity and/or you have a limited budget, go for a traditional hard drive, you can always upgrade the hard drive for an SSD later. However, if you need a more responsive system and if you need to open documents instantly choose a laptop with SSD.

Display: Your laptop’s display is very important, it’s where you will actually “see” the project you are working on, and preview all the changes that you make.  For photo editing, it is recommended that you go at least with a 14 inch laptop, because unless connected to an external screen, using Photoshop on a small display is just not going a good experience. Screen resolution is also another factor you should take in consideration, and it’s recommended that you buy a laptop with A Full HD screen at least.  More and more laptops today come come with IPS panels- In-Plane Switching – which provides a better user experience because of their wider viewing angles and superior color accuracy.  For most users, any laptop with a decent IPS panel will be just fine for Photoshop, however, not all IPS displays are equal, and some of them can produce more colors than others, which can be critical for professionals.

In order to have an idea how each laptop performs when it comes to color reproduction, we usually indicate a percentage of the sRGB color space. A color space, or color gamut is a subset of the entire visible light spectrum (because being able to reproduce the entire visible spectrum is impossible at this time). The sRGB, or standard Red Green Blue gamut is an RGB color space which is the standard used on all PCs and the Internet. But there are wider  gamuts used in the PC industry, such as the Adobe RGB gamut, developed by Adobe in 1998, and the P3 color space.

For example, a display that’s capable of 100% Adobe RGB is considered a high end display, and is suitable for professional users.

Do you need a dedicated graphics card to run Photoshop?

A lot of users wonder if they can run Photoshop on a budget laptop and if Photoshop requires a dedicated graphics card, so here is the answer to that question. While Photoshop does utilize the graphics card to improve performance and 3D enhancements, it should be noted that most of the time the onboard card is more than enough and can handle Photoshop just fine. So unless you’re editing videos or doing advanced photo editing with Photoshop, don’t make it a priority to get a laptop with dedicated graphics.

Over the last few years Adobe has been working more and more to support GPU acceleration in Photoshop. However, only a small number of effects can utilize the video card currently. So, if you’re someone who is using Photoshop fairly casually, or if you’re on a budget (since adding a dedicated graphics card will add up to the price of the laptop), then you should be ok with a built-in graphics card. A dedicated graphics card is necessary, if you’re a professional, if you want better performance: Some features in Photoshop require a dedicated graphics, such as Perspective Warp, 3D, Birds Eye View, Smooth Brush Resizing.. and others require a GPU for acceleration, such as Lens Blur, Artboards, Camera Raw…etc

So, now that you have an idea what to look for when buying a new laptop for Photoshop and lightroom; let’s check some of the best budget laptops for photoshop we selected for you! All of them are priced around $700, and we’ll be updating this list on a continuous basis, so if you have a laptop that you think we should add to the list, talk to us in the comments 🙂

Best budget laptops for Photoshop and graphic design

Now that you have general idea about Photoshop’s system requirements and the important factors that you should take into account when looking for a budget laptop for Photoshop, let’s take a look at our list of some of the best affordable laptops you can use for graphic design. Most laptops in this list are priced around $700 or less.

  • Acer Aspire 5 A515-54-59W2

The new Acer Aspire 5 comes with quite a few improvements over the previous generation; it’s packed with a 10th gen Intel Core -i5-10210U Processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB PCIe SSD. It’s a great backlit keyboard laptop for everyday use, for school, and of course for it’s a great budget laptop for Photoshop and Lightroom thanks to its 15,6 inch Full HD IPS display.

The Aspire 5 also comes with a good amount of ports and the chassis is considerably thinner than the E15. The Aspire 5 definitely feels more premium despite its lower price. Battery life is also great, and you can easily get 8 hours of use from a single charge.

Processor Intel i5-10210U Processor
RAM 8GB
Storage 256GB, PCIe SSD
Graphics Integrated, Intel UHD 620
Screen 15,6 inch, 1920X1080
Connectivity and Ports 1- USB Type C

2 – USB 3.0 port

1- USB 2.0 port

1 – HDMI port,

Card reader, Bluetooth, backlit keyboard

Battery up to 9,5 hours battery life
  • MSI Modern 14 A10M-460

Powered by a 10th-Gen Intel Core i5 Processor, 8GB of RAM and a 512GB NVMe solid state drive, the MSI Modern 14 A10M-460 is a powerful business laptop with a premium feel. The included dual core i5-10210U processor (clocked at 2.5 GHz) is not only power efficient, but also delivers more than enough computing power for routine use and even demanding applications or multitasking.

The MSI Modern 14 A10M-460 also comes with a 512GB NVMe solid state drive, which means a more responsive system and an almost instant access to your files and applications, which is particularly helpful if you will be using this laptop for Photoshop. You can also upgrade the RAM memory up to 32GB if necessary.

The MSI Modern 14 A10M-460 also sports a gorgeous 14 inch FUll HD matte display, hich offers almost 100% sRGB coverage. In addition to that, the build quality is superior to many similarly priced laptops, and I/O options are also good.

Processor Intel Core i5-10210U Processor
RAM 8GB
Storage 256 SSD
Graphics Integrated, Intel Iris Graphics 6100,
Screen 14 inch, 1920X1080
Connectivity and Ports 2 – USB Type C port

2 – USB 3.0 Ports

1 – HDMI

Card reader, Bluetooth 4.1

Battery up to 8 hours battery life

 

  • Acer Swift 5 SF515

With its attractive slim and compact design, the Acer Swift 5 SF515 is a lightweight 15,6 inch laptop if you’re looking for a laptop to edit psd files on the go. For a price tag about 700$, you’ll get a 8th generation i5-8265U processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB Solid State drive. This is a pretty standard configuration at this price range, but what makes the Acer Swift 5 a good laptop for photo processing and graphic design is its beautiful 15,6 inch IPS screen, and its build quality and premium design.

The Acer Swift 5 SF515 comes in an all aluminum chassis, and definitely looks and feels more expensive than it actually is. The 15,6 inch matte screen offers great color accuracy for Photoshop, and can produce  almost 98% of the sRGB reference. Battery life can go up to 12 hours, according to Acer.

Processor Intel Core i5-8265U Processor
RAM 8GB
Storage 256GB, SSD
Graphics Integrated, Intel UHD Graphics 620
Screen 15,6 inch, 1920X1080, IPS
Connectivity and Ports 1 – USB Type C

2 – USB 3.0 ports

1 – HDMI port

Card reader, Bluetooth 4.1

Battery up to 12 hours battery life
  • Acer Spin 3 SP314-53N-53SH

The Acer Spin 3 SP314-53N-53SH is a good choice if you’re looking for an affordable 2 in 1 laptop for drawing in Photoshop, thanks to its active stylus and vibrant display. The Acer Spin 3 comes with Intel’s 8th generation core i5-8265U processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD.

According to Guru Verdict, the Acer Spin 3 is a great laptop for everyday use, photo editing, and is also it’s a perfect choice if you’re on the hunt for a an affordable laptop for notetaking, since it’s also a 2 in 1 laptop.

The 14-inch screen has a native resolution of 1920X1080 pixels, it’s an IPS display, and viewing angles are excellent. In terms of color accuracy, the Spin 3 can produce about 80% of the sRGB color gamut. Which is very respectable at this price range, since laptops with 100 per cent AdobeRGB, will usually cost you more double its price. The display is also touch capable and comes with an included active pen.

Processor Intel Core i5-8265U Processor
RAM 8GB
Storage 256GB, SSD
Graphics Integrated, Intel UHD Graphics 620
Screen 14 inch, 1920X1080, IPS
Connectivity and Ports 1 – USB 3.1  port

1 – USB 3.0 ports

1 – HDMI port

Card reader, Bluetooth 4.1

Battery up to 12 hours battery life

 

      • Asus Vivobook S15 S532FA-DH55

Thanks to its slim design and smooth performance, the Asus Vivobook S15 S532FA-DH55 offers great value for money. The Vivobook S15 comes with an 8th generation  Intel core i5-10210U processor, 8GB of RAM, and a fast 512GB solid state drive. This laptop is perfectly capable of running Photo editing softwae such as Photoshop, Gimp, or Inkscape.

The Vivobook S15 also sports a Full HD IPS screen that produces sharp and color accurate images. It is not the brightest display out there on the other hand.

If you’re a student or simply  looking for a versatile laptop that you can use for photo editing, then the Asus Vivobook S15  is a very good option.

Processor Intel Core i5-10210U Processor
RAM 8GB
Storage 512GB, SSD
Graphics Integrated, Intel UHD Graphics 620
Screen 15,6 inch, 1920X1080, IPS
Connectivity and Ports 1 – USB 3.1 Type C

1 – USB 3.1

2- USB 2.0 port

1 – HDMI port

Card reader, Bluetooth 4.1

Battery up to 8 hours battery life
      • Dell Inspiron 17 3780

The Dell Inspiron 17 3780 is an affordable 17 inch laptop that offers  great value for the money, especially if you’re looking for a desktop replacement, and don’t care too much about the size or the looks. This laptop comes with a Quad-Core i5-8265U Processor, 8GB of RAM, a 128GB PCIe SSD and a 1TB HDD, and a dedicated AMD Radeon 520 graphics card. This laptop is great for editing in photoshop, or for casual video editing. And although the Radeon 520 is not the best graphics chip out there, it’s still a great value and should offer a performance similar to an MX 150.

But what makes the Inspiron 17 3780 a good laptop for Photoshop is its IPS display: first of all, it’s a huge 17 inch full hd matte display, which offers an extra workspace. In terms of color accuracy, it’s capable of displaying 88% of the sRGB colro gamut, which is quite good at this price. Although, this laptop suffers from noticeable backlight bleeding, and the bezels are a little too big… these are no deal breakers.

Processor Intel Core i5-8265U Processor
RAM 8GB
Storage 128GB, PCIe SSD +1TB HDD
Graphics Dedicated, AMD Radeon 520
Screen 17,3 inch, 1920X1080, IPS
Connectivity and Ports -2x USB 3.1

– 1 USB 2.0
-1x HDMI, Ethernet
-1x SD card reader, DVD/RW

Battery up to 6 hours battery life
      • Lenovo Yoga 730

With its stunning Full HD display, 8th generation Intel processor, and fast 256GB PCIe Solid state drive, the Lenovo Yoga 730 is a very convincing 2 in 1 laptop, but there are actually three main reasons why we recommend this laptop for Photoshop users: it’s relatively affordable, comes with a thunderbolt 3 port, and most of all a 15 inch IPS display.In terms of colors, the Yoga 730 can produce approximately 84 percent of the sRGB color space, which is more than enough for most users.

Also, if you like to draw in photoshop or take notes, you can also purchase an active pen, as it’s not included with the laptop. While the Yoga has a 360 degree hinge, using it in tablet mode is not very comfortable, being a 15 inch notebook, and relatively heavy at 4.4 lbs.

Processor Intel Core i5-8250U Processor
RAM 8GB
Storage 256GB, SSD
Graphics Integrated, Intel UHD Graphics 620
Screen 15,6 inch, 1920X1080, IPS
Connectivity and Ports 1 – USB 3.1 (Type C) port // thunderbolt 3

2 – USB 3.0 ports

1 – HDMI port

Card reader, Bluetooth 4.1

Battery up to 9 hours battery life
      • Dell G3 579-5965BLK-PUS

Packing a 8th gen Quad-Core i5-8300H processor, the Dell G3579-5965BLK-PUS is a solid mid range gaming laptop that combines an impressive feature set and a budget friendly price. What makes the Dell G3579 a good laptop for Photoshop and graphic design is its incredible performance, thanks to a quad core processor, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, 256GB Solid state druve and a dedicated NVIDIA GTX 1050 graphics card, the Dell G3579 is not only capable of running demanding titles at medium settings but can also tackle other intensive tasks, such as video editing. The Dell G3579 is also a great choice if you’re a student and need a budget laptop for AutoCAD.

While it’s not the brightest screen out there, the Dell G3579 has a stunning Full HD 15,6 inch IPS display, which provides decent color accuracy, good contrast, and good viewing angles.

Processor Intel Core i5-8300H Processor
RAM 8GB
Storage 256GB, SSD
Graphics Dedicated, NVIDIA GeForce 1050 with 4GB of VRAM
Screen 15,6 inch, 1920X1080
Connectivity and Ports 2 – USB 3.1 ports

1 – USB 2.0 port

1 – HDMI port, Ethernet

Card reader, Bluetooth 4.2

Battery up to 6 hours battery life
      • Asus VivoBook 15 F512DA-EB51

The Asus VivoBook 15 F512DA-EB51 is a budget-friendly business laptop with a professional sleek design. Powered by an AMD Quad Core R5-3500U  processor  and 8GB of RAM (upgradable up to 16GB), there is enough power to run all your resource hungry applications without lag. It also comes with a fast 256GB PCIe solid State drive.

The 15.6-inch display is awesome and offers good color accuracy for photo editing work. The screen is also scratch resistant and has a native resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels.

As for the connectivity, the Asus VivoBook 15 F512DA-EB51 has plenty, including 4 USB ports and  HDMI port. Battery life is good, Asus claims up to 9 hours of use, but expect about 6-7 hours in real-life use.

Processor AMD Quad Core R5-3500U Processor
RAM 8GB
Storage 256GB, SSD
Graphics Dedicated, AMD Radeon Vega 8 Graphics,
Screen 15,6 inch, 1920X1080
Connectivity and Ports 1 – USB 3.1 Type C port

2 – USB 3.1 Ports

1- USB 2.0 port

1- HDMI Port
Card reader, Bluetooth 4.1, Fingerprint Scanner

Battery up to 9 hours battery life
  • Lenovo Ideapad S340

The Lenovo Ideapad S340 is a stylish multimedia oriented laptop that doesn’t disappoint. Powered by a 10th Gen Intel Core i7-1065G7 clocked at 1.3 GHz, 8 GB of RAM, and a 256GB Solid State drive. As you can see from the specs, this laptop is clearly designed with professionals in mind, and it can also handle graphic design software such as Photoshop just fine, thanks to the powerful CPU, and the included Intel Iris Graphics.

The 15,6 inch IPS display has a resolution of 1920X1080 and provides good color accuracy and viewing angles for its price. The included battery, on the other hand, has a capacity of 52WHr only, battery life is quite average, at 8 hours max.

Processor Intel Core i7-1065G7 Processor
RAM 8GB
Storage 256GB, SSD
Graphics Integrated, Intel Iris Plus G7 Graphics
Screen 15,6 inch, 1920X1080
Connectivity and Ports 1 – USB 3.1 port Type C

2- USB 3.1 port

1 – HDMI port,

Card reader, Bluetooth 4.1,

Battery up to 8.5 hours battery life

 

Best premium laptops for Photoshop and Photo Editing: Honorable mentions!

While this list consists mostly of budget and mid range laptops, we think it makes sense to include some of the high end laptops too, such as the macbook pro, which is very popular among designers and content creators in general. So, here are three premium laptops for Photoshop:

  • Macbook Pro 16

For Photoshop, both PC and Macs can be very powerful and highly capable, with each having its own list of advantages and drawbacks. If you want to upgrade to a mac, and if money is no object, check out the new Macbook Pro, with its upgraded 16 inch retina display.

In terms of specs, the new Macbook 16 comes with a 9th Gen Intel Core i7-9750H processor, 16GB of RAM, a 512 GB SSD, and a dedicated AMD Radeon Pro 5300M Graphics card. Not only you will be able to run Photoshop smoothly, but you can also use this laptop for other tasks, such as video editing. The Macbook pro comes with a bright and well calibrated 16 inch display, with a resolution of 3072 by 1920, and although the number of pixels per inch is lower than the 15 inch model, the color accuracy is very good, at 100% sRGB and 88% Adobe RGB.

In terms of ports, the Macbook Pro 16 comes with 4 Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports, which should be more than enough to connect to your other devices. Battery life is also good, and can reach up to 11 Hours.

Processor Intel Core i7-9750H Processor
RAM 16GB
Storage 512GB, SSD
Graphics Dedicated, AMD Radeon Pro 5300M
Screen 16 inch, 3072 x 1920, IPS
Connectivity and Ports 4 – Thunderbolt // USB 3.1 port Type C
Battery up to 11 hours battery life

 

  • Dell XPS 15 7590-7565SLV-PUS

The Dell XPS 15 is another great premium laptop for Photoshop, thanks to its powerful specs, and its excellent display. This laptop comes with a 9th gen Intel i7-9750H processor, 16GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, and a dedicated NVIDIA Geforce GTX 1650 graphics chip.

The XPS 15 also comes with a 4K display, which offers accurate colors for professional image and video-editing. The display is also very bright, and you can use the laptop outdoors too. It’s also a great buy, if you’e looking for an easy to carry laptop: it’s so thin and light despite the 15 inch display.

Processor Intel Core i7-9750H Processor
RAM 16GB
Storage 1TB, SSD
Graphics Dedicated, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
Screen 15,6 inch, 3840 x 2160, IPS
Connectivity and Ports 1 – USB 3.1 port Type C / Thunderbolt 3

2- USB 3.1 ports

1- HDMI port

Battery up to 9 hours battery life

 

  • Gigabyte AERO 15 Classic-SA-U73ADW

Gigabyte makes some of the best gaming and high end laptops, and the AERO 15 Classic-SA-U73ADW is no exception. This laptop comes with a 9th Gen i7-9750H Processor, 16Gb of RAL, a 256GB SSD, and a dedicated NVIDIA GTX 1660Ti. In terms of performance, the Aero 15 can run Photoshop with no hiccups, and you can even perform advanced effects and tasks.

However, the main reason why the Aero 15 is one of the best laptops for Photoshop is its display. Not only it comes with a 4K display, but it’s also a high end display, and it’s one of the few laptops that can produce 100% of the Adobe RGB color gamut, which can be critical if you’re a professional. this laptop is also Pantone Certified for color calibration.

Processor Intel Core i7-9750H Processor
RAM 16GB
Storage 256GB, SSD
Graphics Dedicated, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660Ti
Screen 15,6 inch, 3840 x 2160, IPS
Connectivity and Ports 1 – USB 3.1 port Type C / Thunderbolt 3

3- USB 3.1 ports

1- HDMI port, Display Port

Battery up to 9 hours battery life

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