Graphic design is one of the disciplines that demand more resources in a computer. And also, it is a field with good professional opportunities for those who enter it. In fact, any PC or Mac with between one and three years old can move graphic design applications nowadays, although depending on the configuration, we will have a more agile or less response when working with complex 3D models, projects with multiple layers and graphic elements, high resolution images or 4K videos.
Making use of Photoshop, Illustrator, Rhino, 3D Studio, Pixel Image, Gimp, Cinema 4D, etc., requires some hardware requirements that allow us to work fluidly with our projects . A few years ago, almost all the work is done in the CPU, but now, graphic editing and multimedia authoring programs use the graphics card (GPU) to accelerate some operations such as the application of filters in Photoshop or the deformation of the 3D geometry of a model.
If the file has several layers with gradients, vectors and textures it is necessary to have enough RAM to avoid having to access the hard disk. In addition, it is convenient to have solid-state SSD drives, much faster than conventional magnetic-type drives. The same applies to animation applications or video editing.
In addition, the trend is for applications to integrate functionalities in 2D, 3D or video graphics, as workflows converge in creative studies. So, we will have to choose a team that satisfies our performance demand, whether portable or desktop. The laptops, in recent years, have reached the level of performance of the desktop, and sometimes are a more versatile purchase in order to have mobility in our professional activity.
We have already seen an introduction to the purchase of this type of computer from our computer purchase guide , and now we are going to study it in some more detail.
What hardware specifications do I need?
For companies and studios with bulky budgets and above-average needs, the ideal is to acquire work stations, portable or desktop, with a very high cost and with a configuration “tuned” to the millimeter for every need. But for audiences composed of liberal professionals, enthusiasts or small businesses, there are “street” teams capable of solving our technological needs with correction . When we go to buy a team to work as a designer it is important to look at the following points:
- Processor , although graphic acceleration is important, the CPU is still the center of everything. The current processors perform very well, but for graphic designs or multimedia authorship, Intel sixth-generation processors Core i7 are the ideal proposal, both for desktop and laptop.
- RAM memory , another fundamental component. It has come down a lot of price in recent times, so we can install a respectable amount without disrupting our budget. For graphic design applications, a recommended amount is 16 GB, without falling below 8 GB in any case, and preferably installing more if possible up to 32 GB. It will be of type DDR4 if it is accompanied by Core i7 processors of the sixth generation.
- Hard disk It is highly recommended that the hard disk of the system be of the SSD type. Solid state disks are excellent at speeding operations with the operating system, such as opening and closing applications, while speeding up the use of data by applications. Unfortunately they are expensive, and having more than 512 GB on an SSD is not common in “street” equipment. For this reason, they are usually accompanied on desktops, conventional units with 1 TB or 2 TB capacity. In the case of having a laptop, there are SSD external disk drives, recommended for having a fast and reliable storage space that complements the disk of the system.
- Graphics card , Having a dedicated graphics card, AMD or NVIDIA, will accelerate some graphic operations in applications such as Photoshop. After Effects, Premiere, Illustrator, Rhino, etcetera. Not all functions are accelerated by the GPU, but the trend is to improve the integration between the GPU, the CPU and applications for optimal performance.
- Screen, important that has a good resolution . First, because it will offer us a larger desk area, useful for having the tools and a working window without getting in the way. Secondly because we can see in more detail how it is being without having to resort to zoom (both to zoom in and zoom out). In laptops it is convenient that the screen size is enough to access all the menus, options and windows comfortably.
It is also possible to use external screens to have multi-screen configurations, or to improve the one that comes by default with the laptop or All-In-One in aspects such as the precision of the colors or the range of tonalities that can be displayed, including the possibility of making a custom calibration
- Accessories, in addition to the computer itself, can also be useful to get a graphic tablet, a mouse that is comfortable, as well as a keyboard with a touch and precision that allow many hours work without causing fatigue in the hand or wrist.
- Size and weight, if your priority is mobility, they have to be put in the context of hardware equipment, especially in the dedicated graphics section. If graphic acceleration is not a priority because of the type of work you do, there are proposals capable of moving any application with a size barely higher than a tablet and weighing around 1 kg.