I want to buy a new computer, I was doing fine with understanding what processor and memory I need.. but on the Graphics Card I get completely lost.

I want my computer to run great Photoshop and After Effects, then if the budget allows it would be great to run 3d (right now it's not my Specialty, but I want to get into that).

What should I be looking for in a Graphics Card for this? What is important and what isn't?

  • 3
    It's possible your question will get close for being too broad & hardware related. We can't really tell you what to buy. When you need to purchase a computer, you can go look at the system requirements for the software you want to use, and then get something a bit higher if you can. Keep in mind that PC (you can't afford much more than mac mini at $1000 and it's not enough for 3D but good enough for design) have a "short" lifespan of +/-3-4 years usually. If you don't plan to learn 3D within that time, forget about it for now when shopping for a PC! Also depends what kind of 3D you want to do
    – go-junta
    Nov 29, 2015 at 11:24
  • havent thought about the life span.. that's true, thanks i guess im asking other designers that bought a computer recently what did they bought...
    – tom kenar
    Nov 29, 2015 at 12:17

1 Answer 1


This is not a complete answer. But here it goes a generic one.

1) Memory matters. So look for at least 8Gb.

2) Probably the safest bet in brute force processor now is i7. Look for the biggest number of the series. For example a i7 3xxx is third generation. A 4xxx is fourth and so on. The newer the better and cooler working environment.

Some process use several cores, no all of them. Just things like filters and renders.

3) But some processes now are done with the GPU not CPU so look for a good graphic card. There are some 3D rendering processes optimized for CUDA, which is a Nvidia software, so I would stay on that brand. A good GeForce will do.

4) Do not underestimate a good monitor... a big one is better, I like using 23-24 inches diagonal. 32 is too much for me.

5) Save some bucks to buy one monitor calibrating hardware, like Colourmunki. http://www.colormunki.com/

6) A good motherboard is necessary. This point is probably the trickiest, because one change in a component can make a difference in performance. You need one that is optimized for the processor you need, and have enough expansion slots to upgrade later.

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    I'd suggest at least 16gb for the ram. 8gb is a pain. Hard disk minimum 500gb, ideally 1tb. And I guess you meant GeForce.... ideally 2gb+ video memory. (Great resource for any hardware questions: tomshardware.com)
    – go-junta
    Nov 29, 2015 at 19:59
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    @go-junta Or to put it more exactly: storage disk 1 TB or bigger; system/app disk doesn't need to be that big but should if at all possible not be a hard disk, but an SSD. Nov 29, 2015 at 23:23
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    It all depends. 16gb is overkill for a lot of stuff. Even 8gb may be more than one needs. All depends on what they wan to use it for. Granted, if you can afford the memory, always get it. But it all has to be factored into the overall budget.
    – DA01
    Nov 30, 2015 at 0:09
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    @DA01 the purpose of ram means its better to have too much than even a byte too little. 8Gb is standard but on the edge of risking it. 16 is much safer, I almost newer run over 16. But I only rarely max out to 32 Gb and only when i do FEM calculation.
    – joojaa
    Nov 30, 2015 at 4:23
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    @joojaa I'd never argue you can have too much. Just saying that even with 32GB of RAM, if I can't afford a decent monitor as well, it's for naught. :)
    – DA01
    Nov 30, 2015 at 5:29

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