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Hardware Acceleration For Adobe Illustrator/Photoshop


TL;DR at bottom.

My girlfriend is studying art, design mostly, and she’s a bit of a rising star when it comes to graphic design, according to her professors.
Where I work, a lot of the design guys have Xeons and Quadros for Autodesk, Esprit, and their other drawing and modeling programs, and it kills me that she’s trying to run her stuff on a laptop i5. I was looking into building her a PC for her design, but I don’t know enough about the software to know which hardware is best to pair with it.
CPU or GPU, Intel or AMD, Nvidia or AMD, consumer or professional hardware?
These are some big questions I don’t know the answers to, and I was wondering if anyone with experience as a user or an admin had some knowledge to shed!
Thank you all!

TL;DR Girlfriend uses low power craptop for Adobe Illustrator/Photoshop and I want to build her a nice system so she can take advantage of hardware acceleration, but I don’t know what hardware will accelerate it the best.


Photoshop should do fine on a 4-6 core cpu and 8-16 gigabytes of ram. Dont need much in the way GPU horsepower unless she does some higher resulution work


Honestly PS and Illustrator aren’t all that graphically intensive. A quad core and a firepro or mid-end gtx will be more than enough. Biggest thing is SSD for seek times on linked files and RAM for large format, along with a properly calibrated monitor.


What’s your budget?


I dont really have one. what would you suggest?


here’s something i threw together real quick

this is rather expensive, especially since she doesnt have a monitor


Settle on a budget first. What you are showing is the lowest I would go. You have to consider this is work, not play.

What is her work load? File sizes will matter and if she will be vectoring images.

With a system you are showing I would seriously try to get a Vega56, it is very little more and will stomp the WX 5100. Vega’s compute performance is fantastic price to performance.

She will need a balanced system, because to a point CPU, GPU, drive and ram will matter.


yeah the radeon pro is just a placeholder.
Her work load is not very large storage wise. I want her to have a good working drive.


Vega 56? WX 5100 is stupid overkill for this. Are you kidding me? You don’t need highend graphical performance or pro drivers for Illistraitor and photoshop, that’s killing a worm with a shotgun types of overkill.

Quite frankly I think a single sata 500GB boot drive with a R5 1400 and a Gtx 1050 would be more than adequate. Photoshop/illistraitor file sizes aren’t huge and you don’t need a ton of storage, and they’re not difficult to manipulate either. Really most graphic artists use iMacs or Macbooks, and really don’t need more than that.

I’d do something like this and frankly this is still probably more than she needs:

The largest file I ever played with in illistraitor was a 80Mb one that didn’t ever have a bit of stutter on an imac running a quad core I5 with integrated graphics. That’s not a massive project for some, but really it’s not a small one either.


I heard they really like fast single cores. anyone find that?


I suppose im just overextending because the current config is so bad


Photoshop for sure does prefer fast, single core performance. A 7700K will easily beat a Ryzen CPU in most tasks in PS and even the latest Intel 10 core.

Although, if you’re not doing this in an extremely serious capacity with large files the performance increase won’t be worth the extra cost. You could “get away” with an i5 or a Ryzen 5 CPU depending on your budget, familiarity with overclocking and other uses for the system


she prefers illustrator, whats the situation with that?


Apparently you want to get into hard modding the CPU and running super high overclocks too.

Hint, this is insanity for this use case, do not do this. It involves taking the hear spreader off the CPU and then cleaning and reapplying the internal thermal paste then gluing it back together.



Why are you getting so hung up on this?

Why are you quoting something I said in the Lounge and taking it completely out of context?

Where in this thread did I tell him to do this? No where.

Perhaps try scrolling up and reading the actual advice I gave to him.

Just fucking drop it


Because it is beyond stupid. And why change you advice here, suddenly thought maybe it was not a good suggestion?


I refuse to derail this thread further and I won’t even waste the brain cells explaining this to you. I suggest you maybe relax and take an herbal bath because you’re clearly incredibly upset at me for some reason. So just chill.

So treat this like a “win.” It’s clear that’s extremely important to you. I don’t really care.

Good day sir


go with a sata SSD, something like a 470 or 1050 ti, 16gb ram, and maybe downgrade to a 1400, and you’ll still have adequate horsepower.

Then get a decent IPS panel and a Colorimeter. This is my far the most important component combo for a Graphic design application.


As long as you have a 4 core + CPU and a good Radeon or Geforce GPU that will be fine for graphics. A color accurate workstation monitor would be nice too.

For graphics your hard drive arrangement is important to performance too.

In Adobe menu Edit > Preferences > Performance where you pick Use Graphics Processor you can also setup your scratch disks. Photoshop works better with the program on C:\ and the scratch disk on D:\ . Preferably on SSD’s.


AFAIK largely the same. I’m having a bit of trouble finding benchmarks for it so I couldn’t tell you one way or the other for sure but am assuming it is similar. Eitherway, as this isn’t exactly a professional use case in the strictest sense the performance gained from something like a 7700K OCed or not isn’t particularly important. Bang for the buck makes most sense here.

Unlike some of the others, I won’t suggest one of the Ryzen 5 quad cores. I don’t find them to be particularly good value.

Here is a basic build one could consider. One could modify storage options for your individual needs but be sure to have an SSD in there. The 1600 is also an option. It will be a tad slower though but it can be OCed if you’re comfortable with that to 1600X speeds and includes a CPU cooler (which can handle OCing) and would save you some money. One could also upgrade to a 1050 Ti or 470/570 (if you can find one in stock) if you want a bit more GPU power but I don’t really feel it necessary.

$822. 1600X, 16GB RAM, SSD+HDD, GTX 1050.

As @tkoham and @Positron suggested a good, color calibrated IPS display will perhaps be more important than the performance of the PC.