Best Laptop for Adobe Photoshop 2021

Adobe Photoshop 2021 Photoshop is one of the most widely used raster graphics editors, used for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring. Photoshop is enormously popular and has been used by amateur and professional photographers alike since it was first released. Though its capabilities are far-reaching, it’s a deep program, meaning a simple search can easily be led astray. In this post, I’ll show you the best laptops for Adobe Photoshop 2021.

Remember to check out my previous guides on Adobe Illustrator CC laptops, AutoCAD laptops, and Adobe InDesing laptops.

Requirements for a Adobe Photoshop 2021 laptop

Major Deciding on a processor

CPU blue

The power of a processor is more important for some programs than others. Photoshop is one of those programs that doesn’t require a powerful CPU.

Requirements

We should be looking for an affordable laptop with at least an Intel Core i5-10300H or AMD Ryzen 5 3500U. Those processors have a good single-core performance and enough power to handle the Adobe Creative Cloud app. The most important specs for a laptop for Photoshop are its graphics card and storage capacity. A dedicated graphics card will allow Photoshop to utilize the GPU instead of the CPU to accelerate photo editing tasks. A faster SSD is better for faster loading times, so get one if you can afford it.

Recommendations

The first thing I recommend is not overpaying for the wrong laptop just because it has “i7” or “Ryzen 7” written on its cover. That’s because we don’t need that power for just photoshop alone and they’re usually more expensive than similar configurations with lesser processors and graphics cards.

So which laptop would be best? Since we don’t need anything more than single-core performance, any H-series i5 would be sufficient: i5-10300H, i5-1035G1, i5-1035G2 or even cheaper i3-10100H or i3-1030G4 that cost less than $500 at the time of writing this article!

Major My graphics card recommendations for Adobe Photoshop 2021

Entry-level: MX450

graphics card blue

This graphics card is for entry-level laptops, not recommended for professionals.

Mid-range: RTX 2060

This graphics card is a mid-range card, has been tested to work with Adobe Photoshop 2021.

If you’re on a tight budget and have other priorities – get a laptop under $2000 with this graphics card.

High-end: RTX 2070

This graphics card is for high-end laptops and recommended for professionals.

Major Deciding on a memory

Minimum (8 GB)

PC RAM blue

I’m not sure how Photoshop 2021 would perform on an 8 GB machine. The way I see it, there are three things you need to keep in mind when choosing RAM for Photoshop 2021: the type of laptop, the power of the CPU, and the speed of the storage.

On a budget laptop with an average CPU and slow storage, it might be wiser to choose 8 GB over 16 GB. It’s better to spend more on your CPU or storage than on RAM.

In fact, there’s been a trend towards budget laptops that have lower RAM capacities – they’re still around, but their market share has been shrinking steadily over the years. That’s why I’m not sure how well Photoshop 2021 would run on 8 GB of RAM.

If you’re getting a laptop with a good CPU and a fast SSD drive – go for 16GB at least.

Recommended (16 GB)

For me, 16 GB is a sweet spot for most laptops under $2k – work, gaming, everything in-between. But if you want to future-proof your laptop with Adobe Photoshop 2021 – I recommend 32 GB. It’s been enough for me for many years now and I’m guessing it will do just fine in 2021 as well.

The thing is – RAM capacity can’t be upgraded easily like graphics cards or CPUs can. So when buying a new laptop – it’s wise to invest in components that can be upgraded later down the line. A 32 GB upgrade might seem expensive now but in five years when 32 GB is the standard it will be affordable enough without sacrificing too much from your initial investment in a higher-end laptop with a good CPU and a fast SSD drive.

Best (32 GB)

The best option for professionals is always 32 GB, since Adobe Photoshop 2021 is such an intensive application and it needs plenty of RAM to operate properly. If you don’t want to future-proof your new laptop and get something that will get outdated quickly – then 16GB should suffice just fine.

TL;DR
  • get 16 GB if you want your laptop to last for many years and if you’re willing to spend extra money on your laptop in order to get more RAM in the future
  • buy 32 GB if you can afford it

Optional requirements for a Adobe Photoshop 2021 laptop

Optional Storage

HDDs vs. SSDs

SSD blue

It’s worth pointing out that an HDD is an entirely different storage device than an SSD. So, while HDDs are often associated with cheaper prices, SSDs are the preferred storage medium for Photoshop. As for performance, this is where HDDs fall behind. You’ll want to go with a laptop with an SSD if you plan on doing heavy-duty work in Photoshop 2021.

The importance of size

I wouldn’t be surprised if you came across laptops with capacities up to 4 TB. But for most professionals, 1 TB will be more than enough space. However, for Adobe Photoshop 2021, it’s best to go with at least 256 GB or 512 GB – preferably the latter. If you’re buying a laptop for this application, you should be able to find one at any price point with either capacity option available.

TL;DR

for Photoshop 2021, it’s best to go with at least 256 GB or 512 GB – preferably the latter

Optional Display for Adobe Photoshop 2021

The right screen is indispensable for any graphic designer. The two most important features are contrast and brightness. Without them, it’s hard to see your image clearly.

Display specs for Photoshop 2021

For a good display, you need a high contrast ratio and a high brightness. For most monitors, these specs are usually measured in nits or cd/sq. m. But not all displays measure the same way, so it’s best to compare their values directly by looking at the numbers on their product pages. In this case, look for a contrast ratio of 3000:1 or higher and a brightness of 250-300 cd/sq. m or higher.

Laptop display recommendations for Photoshop 2021

For most photographers, there are only two main requirements:

  • an IPS panel with decent color accuracy – preferably with Adobe RGB coverage – and high contrast – preferably greater than 3000:1 – and a bright screen with an average brightness of 300 cd/sq. m or more

The best laptop display for Photoshop 2021 should have all three requirements met as well as a wide color gamut for those RGB purists out there who want to have as many colors as possible without dithering down from 16 million colors to 8 million colors (aka sRGB).

TL;DR
  • look for a high contrast ratio and a high brightness
  • avoid monitors with poor color accuracy and limited gamut
  • look for an IPS panel with good color accuracy and wide gamut

5 Best Laptops for Adobe Photoshop 2021

MSI GF63035

1
Laptop with insane price and performance ratio
Price
$650
i5-10200H | RTX 3050 | 8 GB RAM | 256 GB SSD | 15.6″ IPS Touch; 1920×1080
Pros and cons
Pros
  • Decent processor (i5-10200H)
  • Exceptional graphics card (RTX 3050)
Cons
  • Mediocre memory amount (8GB)
  • Bulky (4.1 lbs)
View on Amazon

Dell XPS 9710

2
Fantastic value
Price
$1140
Ryzen 7 5800H | RTX 3050 Ti | 64 GB RAM | 4000 GB SSD; 8000 GB HDD | 15.6″ 120Hz Touch; 1920×1080
Pros and cons
Pros
  • Excellent processor (Ryzen 7 5800H)
  • Decent graphics card (RTX 3050 Ti)
Cons
  • No IPS Panel (limited viewing angles)
View on Amazon

Dell XPS 9710

3
Best laptop for Adobe Photoshop 2021 under $1600
Price
$1410
Ryzen 7 5800H | RTX 3050 Ti | 128 GB RAM | 4000 GB SSD | 15.6″ 120Hz Touch; 1920×1080
Pros and cons
Pros
  • Superb processor (Ryzen 7 5800H)
  • Excellent memory amount (128GB)
Cons
  • Average graphics card (RTX 3050 Ti)
  • Bulky (5.4 lbs)
View on Amazon

Acer Predator Helios 300

4
Plenty of features for the money
Price
$1840
i7-11800H | RTX 3060 | 64 GB RAM | 2000 GB SSD; 1000 GB HDD | 15.6″ 144Hz IPS G-Sync; 1920×1080
Pros and cons
Pros
  • Very good processor (i7-11800H)
  • Up to scratch graphics card (RTX 3060)
Cons
  • Bulky (5.1 lbs)
View on Amazon

Lenovo ThinkPad P1 Gen

5
Best laptop for Adobe Photoshop 2021 under $5000
Price
$3650
i9-11950H | RTX 3080 | 64 GB RAM | 1000 GB SSD | 16″ IPS HDR; 3840×2400
Pros and cons
Pros
  • Exceptional processor (i9-11950H)
  • Very good graphics card (RTX 3080)
View on Amazon

Table of Best Laptops for Adobe Photoshop 2021

LaptopPrice (approx)
MSI GF63035$650
Dell XPS 9710$1140
Dell XPS 9710$1410
Acer Predator Helios 300$1840
Lenovo ThinkPad P1 Gen$3650

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