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Best CPU for Photoshop in 2024 – Our top picks

Experience seamless editing on Adobe Photoshop with the best CPUs on the market
Last Updated on April 30, 2024
Best CPU for Photoshop
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In this article, we will dive into the key factors that determine the best CPUs for Photoshop. We’ll examine the various aspects that impact performance, such as clock speed, core count, and cache size. Also, we’ll explore the latest processors on the market. Including those from leading brands like Intel and AMD, and assess their suitability for running Photoshop. Photoshop has become an indispensable tool for creative professionals, such as photographers, graphic designers, and digital artists.

However, running Photoshop can be quite demanding on a computer’s resources, especially the processor and dedicated graphics card. To ensure that you can efficiently run Photoshop and achieve the best possible performance, it’s essential to invest in a fast and efficient CPU.

Whether you’re a seasoned professional in the creative industry or a novice looking to hone your image editing skills, this article will help you choose the right CPU for your needs. By the end of this piece, you’ll have a solid understanding of what to look for when selecting a CPU for Photoshop. As well as, some recommendations based on our extensive research and testing. So, let’s dive in and explore the best CPUs for Photoshop.

How we selected the best CPU for Photoshop

When it comes to purchasing the best CPU for Photoshop, there are several features and considerations that you should keep in mind. These include:

  • Clock Speed – The higher clock speed means you’ll get a faster processor
  • Core Count- More cores mean better multitasking and handling complex tasks
  • Processor Architecture- Choose the architecture that suits your needs (e.g. Intel for single-threaded tasks, AMD for multi-threaded tasks)
  • Thermal Design Power (TDP) – Make sure the TDP is compatible with your system’s cooling system.
  • Overclocking Capability- Look for CPUs designed for overclocking if you plan to do so.
  • Budget – Balance your needs with your budget to get the best value

By taking these features and considerations into account, you can the best select system hardware that will provide the best performance and value for your Photoshop needs.

Best CPU for Photoshop

  • An Intel Core i9-13900K processor installed in a motherboard socket, surrounded by circuits and components.
Best in ClassHighly Recommended
  • Cores: 24 (8P-16E)
  • Threads: 32
  • Boost speed : P-Core 5.7GHz / E-Core 4.3GHz
  • Base speed: P-Core 3.0GHz / E-Core 2.2GHz
  • L3 Cache: 36 MB
  • TDP: 253W
  • Platform: Intel (LGA 1700)
Reasons to Buy
  • 24 cores and 32 threads for high processing power
  • Hybrid architecture with P-Cores and E-Cores for optimized performance
  • Large 36MB L3 cache for quick access to data
Reasons to Avoid
  • High price point
  • Large TDP of 125W may require additional cooling
  • May be overkill for users who don’t require such high processing power

When it comes to running Photoshop, having a powerful and efficient CPU is crucial for achieving optimal performance. Photoshop relies heavily on the CPU to execute complex image editing tasks. The right CPU can make a significant difference in processing speed and overall user experience.

The Intel Core i9-13900K is one of the top CPUs on the market for running Photoshop. Its 13th-generation technology, Intel 10nm lithography, and impressive 24 cores and 32 threads make it a powerhouse for handling even the most demanding image editing tasks. Additionally, it has 8 P-Cores and 16 E-Cores. These are specifically designed to boost performance in multi-threaded applications such as Photoshop.

The i9-13900K has a base frequency of 3 GHz and a boost frequency of 5.8 GHz, allowing it to process instructions at lightning-fast speeds. Its large 36 MB L3 cache size also means that frequently used data can be accessed quickly – further improving processing times. However, with a TDP of 125 W, it may produce more heat than other CPUs and require a more robust cooling system.

Even well over a year after its release, the Intel Core i9-13900K remains a powerful chip.

PC Guide

Overall, this AMD processor is a great choice for professionals who require high processing power and performance for Photoshop. It’s also worth noting that this chip comes at a slightly higher price point compared to some other options. So, it may not be the best choice for those on a tight budget. For more information on this product, check out our Intel Core i9-13900K review.

What users say

Unsurprisingly, the consensus online is also overwhelmingly positive for the i9-13900K. Most Amazon user reviews noted its impressive gaming performance, easy installation process, and versatility – perfect for creative endeavours. One user even stated “the Intel Core i9-13900K Gaming Desktop Processor has completely redefined my gaming and computing experience, offering a level of performance that’s truly in a league of its own”.

  • An Intel Core i7-14700K processor displayed in front of its packaging box with an "unlocked" label, ready to go in a machine.
  • An Intel Core i7-14700K processor on a white background.
  • A computer processor chip, specifically the Intel Core i7-14700K, centered on a plain white background with the word "guide" in the corner.
  • Intel Core i7-14700K
  • Cores: 20
  • Threads: 28
  • Boost Speed: P-Core 5.5GHz / E-Core 4.3GHz
  • Base Speed: P-Core 3.4GHz / E-Core 2.5GHz
  • L3 Cache: 33 MB
  • TDP: 125 W
  • Platform: LGA 1700 (Raptor Lake)
Reasons to Buy
  • With 12 cores and 20 threads, the Core i7-14700K has plenty of muscle
  • CPU can boost up to 5.0 GHz
Reasons to Avoid
  • Intel Core i7-14700K has a higher TDP than the majority of other Intel CPUs
  • To maintain thermals under heavy load, you might need to invest in a separate CPU cooler

The Intel Core i7-14700K packs a punch for Photoshop users. Its 12 cores and high clock speeds allow for smooth sailing through demanding tasks like handling large images and complex filters. Plus, it supports the latest DDR5 memory for extra responsiveness. For creatives who want a perfect middle of the road CPU that makes a real differences, this is the one. As part of our review for this product, we found it to be incredibly versatile – delivering excellent benchmark scores for gaming too. While your priority may be Photoshop, you may as well get a CPU that can do both no?

The 14700K is a great middle-ground for those looking to game and work on the same PC.

PC Guide

However, this power comes at a cost. The i7-14700K consumes more power and generates more heat, requiring a potentially expensive cooling system. Additionally, the CPU itself isn’t exactly cheap. If you’re a casual user or on a budget, there might be better options that offer good Photoshop performance without breaking the bank. Consider your workflow and the rest of your system to determine if the i7-14700K is the right fit for your Photoshop needs. For more on this product, check out our comprehensive review of the Intel Core i7-14700K.

What users say

PC enthusiasts tend to praise this processor’s power for gaming and creatives tasks. Amazon users report significant performance gains while still keeping power consumption reasonable. Easy installation and a competitive price tag are also winning points. One happy user even noted that “choosing the Intel Core i7-14700KF was a decision filled with much deliberation and comparison. I weighed my options carefully, comparing various CPUs for their performance, price, and features. After much contemplation, I finally settled on the i7-14700KF, and I’m delighted to say it was a decision well made”.

  • Close-up of a computer's motherboard featuring a mounted Intel Core i5-13600K processor with visible socket and screws on a detailed circuit background.
  • Close-up of an Intel Core i5-13600K processor in focus, with a blurred blue computer case in the background.
  • An Intel Core i5-13600K processor displayed in front of a blurred computer case.
  • Intel Core i5-13600K CPU against a plain white background.
Reasons to Buy
  • Reasonably priced for a mid-range processor
  • Good balance of clock speed and cache size
  • Energy efficient with a 125W TDP
  • Supports PCIe 5.0 and Thunderbolt 4
Reasons to Avoid
  • Fewer cores and threads compared to higher-end CPUs
  • Limited overclocking potential

The Intel Core i5-13600K is a mid-range budget processor that is ideal for running Photoshop. This CPU features a 13th-generation architecture and uses Intel’s 10nm lithography process. It has 14 cores and 20 threads, with a hybrid design that includes 6 performance cores and 8 efficiency cores. 

The base frequency of this processor is 3.5 GHz. But, it can boost up to 5.1 GHz, making it fast enough to handle most tasks in Photoshop. It also has a 24MB L3 cache, which can help speed up processing times by allowing the CPU to quickly access frequently used data.

An excellent CPU through and through with fierce single and multi-core performance for the money.

PC Guide

One important consideration when choosing a CPU for Photoshop is the thermal design power (TDP). This measures the amount of heat a CPU produces and how much power it requires to operate. The i5-13600K has a TDP of 125W, which is relatively high but manageable with a good cooling system. 

Overall, the Intel Core i5-13600K is a great mid-range option for those looking for optimum Photoshop performance on a budget. It offers solid performance for most tasks and is a great value for its price point. However, if you plan on working with large files or performing complex editing tasks, you may want to consider a higher-end processor with more cores and a higher cache size. Check out our review of the Intel Core i5-13600K for more information.

What users say

When looking at Amazon user reviews, purchasers were impressed with this processor’s well-rounded performance, build quality, and attractive price. Reviewers commend its smooth operation, mention its user-friendly installation process, and highlight its strong multicore score. Additionally, they appreciate the seamless integration with the latest hardware, making future upgrades a breeze. One user said “I have this in my newest rig and it is performing pretty well, very happy with the purchase”.

  • Cores: 16
  • Threads: 32
  • Boost speed : up to 5.7 GHz
  • Base speed: 4.5 GHz
  • L3 Cache: 64 MB
  • TDP: 170W
  • Platform: AMD (AM5)
Reasons to Buy
  • Great for demanding tasks such as 3D rendering, video editing, and photo editing
  • Compatible with PCI Express 5.0 for high-speed data transfer
  • Higher boost frequencies
  • Overclockable
Reasons to Avoid
  • Requires a compatible AM5 socket
  • Higher TDP (170W) may require more power and cooling

The AMD Ryzen 9 7950X is a powerful CPU that’s well-suited for running Photoshop. Its Zen 4 architecture, TSMC 5nm lithography, and 16 processor cores and 32 threads make it capable of handling complex image editing tasks with ease. The CPU also has a large 64 MB L3 cache. Allowing it to quickly access frequently used data and improving processing speeds.

With a base frequency of 4.5 GHz and a boost frequency of 5.7 GHz, the Ryzen 9 7950X can process instructions quickly and efficiently. However, with a TDP of 170 W, it may generate more heat than other CPUs and require a more powerful cooling system.

Overall, this AMD processor is a great choice for professionals who require high processing power and performance for Photoshop. It’s also worth noting that the CPU comes at a slightly higher price point compared to some other options. So, it may not be the best choice for those on a tight budget.

Considerations for the best CPU for Photoshop

When it comes to picking the best CPU for Photoshop, there are several factors to consider. We’ve discussed some of these factors in the previous section, including clock speed, core count, cache size, processor architecture, TDP, overclocking capability, and budget. However, how do we put all these factors together to make an informed decision?

First, it’s important to determine your specific needs and workflow in Photoshop. Do you primarily work with high-resolution images, complex layers, and filters? Will you often run multiple programs simultaneously while editing? Do you frequently export large files? Also, consider the Photoshop system requirements to ensure your PC components are up to scratch. The answers to these questions can help guide your CPU selection. The answers to these questions can help guide your CPU selection.

Next, you’ll want to research and compare CPUs that meet your needs. Check out benchmarks and reviews from reputable sources to see how different CPUs perform Photoshop tasks that are relevant to you. Look for CPUs that have a good balance of clock speed, core count, and cache size for your workflow.

 You should also consider the compatibility of the CPU with other components in your system. Such as the motherboard, RAM, and graphics card. Ensure that your system can support the CPU you choose and that there are no bottlenecks that could limit its performance. If you are looking for more Photoshop recommendations, then head over to our Adobe Photoshop System Requirements guide. As well as, our Best GPU for Photoshop article.

Is i7 or i9 better for Photoshop?

The i9 is generally better for Photoshop than the i7. This is because the i9 has more cores and threads, which can help to improve performance in tasks that are CPU-intensive, such as photo editing.

Camilo is a contributor for PC Guide. He's been into tech since he was a teen, surfing through the web and local stores trying to find the cheapest way to play the latest Half-Life on his old Windows