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Jeff Stubbers (Technology Consultant Lead)

I run both Lightroom and Photoshop, which hardware should I choose?

Written on February 24, 2020 by Jeff Stubbers


At Puget Systems we test software against available hardware to see which hardware is best for a given program. We then write articles that we share on our website, and create recommended system configuration pages for these programs based off these test results to provide our customers the best hardware for each program. This is great for those running just one of the programs we test, but what about those of us who run multiple programs? How do we choose?


Performance Articles

One way to compare hardware performance against different software is to take a look at the Articles section listed under "Publications" menu on our website. Then in the left column, you can choose filters by which hardware or software you are most interested in. Here are quick links to Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop articles:

Adobe Lightroom | Adobe Photoshop

Gold nugget

Hardware Recommendations

For those who like to get the answers more quickly without having to read an article, one of the golden nuggets on our Recommended Systems configuration pages is the "Hardware Recommendations" tab. It is often overlooked, and is listed just below the title on our Recommended Systems pages. You will see "View", "System Overview", then "Hardware Recommendations". Clicking on "Hardware Recommendations" tab will bring up our cheat-sheet if you will. It lists a quick breakdown of which CPU, Video Card, RAM, and Storage is recommended for the selected program. It often will show graphs comparing different components compared to one another for the selected program. For example, our Lightroom Classic CC Hardware Recommendations tab shows a graph for the CPUs that we have tested against this program.

Which hardware platform should I choose for both Photoshop and Lightroom use?

If we look at the graphs listed in the Hardware Recommendations tabs for both Photoshop and Lightroom, we can see a couple CPU platforms start to stand out.

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When using both Photoshop and Lightroom, the AMD Ryzen 9 platform looks to offer very good performance when combining the use of both these programs on a single system. The AMD Threadripper platform also looks very good, however, due to the price point of the Threadripper platform, I would lean toward considering the AMD Ryzen 9 platform as a system for users of both Lightroom and Photoshop on the same system. Other hardware needs (RAM, Video Card, Storage) can be similarly compared in either our Articles, or our Hardware Recommendations tabs on our Recommended Systems configuration pages listed under our Solutions menu on our website. You can also do this with any combination of software you plan to run on a system to get the best overall solution for your specific needs.

You may have astutely noticed our Recommended System for Photoshop uses the Core i9 9900K processor and associated platform. This is due to the performance between it and the AMD Ryzen 9 are so close to one another, yet the Intel Core i9 setup will save you around a couple hundred dollars, so it becomes the better value for that program alone. It is also worth noting that with each iteration of our testing, software versions, and drivers the Ryzen 9 3900X and Ryzen 9 3950X processors can swap performance spots for a given program as they are within the margin of error, so for use with Photoshop and Lightroom (at least today), you may want to consider the AMD Ryzen 9 3900X since it is more affordable, and better value for these two programs.

I hope this helps!

Tags: AMD, Ryzen, Processor, CPU, Photoshop, lightroom