Building a custom Photoshop computer

I have been using Photoshop from version 1 in early 1990 and before that photo editing software such as SuperMac’s PixelPaint and Electronic Art’s Studio 8. Even before in the late 80s I was using photo editing software on an Amiga, which had the first affordable photo editing tools.

For more than 20 years, I always had to experience technical limitations. Most of the limitations are hardware based and include:

  • Image quality (screen resolution, color resolution)
  • Processing speed of edits (CPU and graphic card performance)
  • Storage (limited number simultaneously available)
  • Time to load the software
  • Time to open and save large file
  • and more recently the noise from the computer

I have been hearing about PC gamers building their own custom system tuned for the games they play. And so came the idea to design and spec a custom machine optimized for my photo workflow.

Here are the specs:

  • Over powered to run Photoshop, Digital Lightroom, and Picasa
  • Silent
  • Affordable (under $1,500 for the computer only)
  • Scalable

I didn’t find any machine from Dell or HP with these requirements. They were most underpowered and too noisy.

I did some research online and found some companies who are specialized in high end machines, some even focusing on high end and silent machines.

I can recommend for example Puget Systems. They are very professional, and help you review your requirements and recommend the best configuration. They also have lots of experience shipping custom systems. Shipping is very sensitive when it comes to custom systems, mostly because of heavy CPU coolers. If you are interested in a silent system, one line of product they have is called Serenity and run at 11dba. Unfortunately, the price of such configuration runs around $2,500, about twice much as what I’m willing to pay.

For more references, check the reference section at the end of this post.

After doing some research I found out that Photo editing software require:

  • Lots of CPU power
  • Lots of fast RAM
  • Fast hard drive
  • not much video card power (at least much less than video editing)

I opted for the following components:
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Too much informative blog post about the building a custom Photoshop computer. Hey, have you any experienced on Photoshop? Hoping you have good experienced on Photoshop. But I have no good experienced on Photoshop. I want to learn on it. Can you help me?