In much the same way as we hunted down the best computer for photo editing, we have now set out to do the same for the graphic designers out there. Must of the specifications are the same when it comes to this line of work as they are in photo-editing, but here, possibly even more so a great display is a huge factor. With that in mind, we have chosen three all in one options where great screens come with great computers.
If you are going to be staring at minute details all day every day, minimizing the risk of eye-strain should definitely be something you factor into your purchase choice.
How We Picked
We set out to find the three best pre-built all in one machines across a range of budgets. We weren’t looking for anything that could play the latest Call of Duty on the side; rather, we wanted precise, functional machines that could speed along with us editing large documents in Adobe InDesign. Good storage and memory were a plus too as it allows us to use high-quality placeholders and photographs. We also needed them to have a great display. No questions asked.
Best computer for graphic design
Great all in one package
Designed for creatives
Not much spec for the money
Limited future upgrading opportunity
For graphic design work, Apple’s machines still rule the roost, and you can certainly see why.
The iMac has come a long way since the translucent turquoise CRT box of the 90, but at its heart, it has maintained the idea of an all in one machine – computer and monitor inextricably linked into one damn fine looking package.
If you are looking for a screen that seems impossibly thin, here it is. Then if you consider that somewhere behind there the actual computer is living too, it all seems a bit like witchcraft, but it is the MacOS ecosystem that is so beguiling to so many in the video industry.
Sleek, seamless operation, easy to learn with few distractions, macOS is the creator’s choice of operating system for good reason. The machines are so well melded together that it doesn’t seem to matter that then may, whisper it quietly, be a little under-specced for their cost. You are buying into something more than the nuts and bolts of components here.
The iMac Pro comes complete with 10GB ethernet on board, four Thunderbolt ports for lightning-quick drive transfer of large files, 32GB of memory, and 1TB of SSD storage.
The iMac Pro is a great machine, both in looks and performance. You can easily buy a ‘normal’ PC that will outperform it in theory, but for seamless, almost joyous cohesion in everything it does, this takes some beating.
If you really want the most stylish PC you can find to deck out your graphic studio – but aren’t enamored by the offerings from Cupertino, then the Microsoft Surface Studio 2 is for you.
This, quite frankly, gorgeous addition to the Surface line-up, is the PC of dreams for graphic artists, photographers, and any kind of creative alike.
A Core i7 CPU is ably backed up by a GeForce GTX 1060/70, depending on the build. Ram and storage can also be tweaked, but it is the fantastic 28” display that is the show stopper here. Adobe InDesign looks as good as it can do on the crisp display, tiny details can easily be spotted, and it gives a true representation of the finished product.
With Windows 10 as the OS, you aren’t necessarily stuck with Adobe’s Creative Suite even though it will be the go-to application of choice for the majority.
The cost of entry is high, but we are looking a professional PCs here. You are paying not only for the high-end components inside but fantastic styling and build-quality. This oozes top-of-the-range, and for many people, that is as important as performance.
We highly recommend the Surface Studio 2. Its price puts it firmly in the professional arena, but in terms of style and performance, we love it.
GPU is a bit under-powered for the pricve
The HP Envy is a machine we haven’t seen elsewhere in our creative roundups, but it pops up here, not only because it has a set of decent specs for graphic design, but man, oh man, that 34” curved screen lures us in here.
Before we get to that, we should mention the Core i7-8700T, 32 gigs of ram, and the GTX 1050 inside. That aspect might struggle with some games you throw at it, but as a pure workhorse, it is a joy to use. There’s 2TB of SSD storage for all your assets, but well, now it’s time for the screen.
The real estate lets you design the most demanding projects from iconography to full-blown magazines. It is backlit and anti-glare and sat on your desktop; it won’t fail to get admiring comments.
There are memory card readers, Bang & Olufsen speakers, webcam, and microphone built-in. It’s just an already great workstation PC, and for graphic design, it is a machine you will be more than happy to use.
Things To Consider
A standard Desktop and monitor of my choice or an all in one system?
This may be a personal choice. A lot of graphic designers may well already have a display they love and are simply looking to upgrade their base PC. If that’s you, then there are undoubtedly great desktops you can buy and simply hook up your own monitor too.
If you are in the market for the first time or a total upgrade, then the machines we have listed here tick every box for you. The screens they come with are all great, and the overall look of the design flow choices make them suitable for any studio or even home environment.
Despite a strong showing from both the Windows PCs here, we are still going to give the award Apple’s way. The iMac Pro, as we have said elsewhere on this site, is just such a joy to use when it comes to the creative industries it is difficult to look elsewhere. Yes, you pay a premium for Apple products, no they aren’t as flexible as Windows 10 machines but they do what they do so well it makes the job at hand simple to get on with and complete.
We wanted a high-end screen when we set out as well as a computer powerful enough to handle Adobe InDesign in full flow. This didn’t let us down, and nor will it you.