In advance, I'd like to thank you for your help. And apologies for the amateur question – but that’s exactly what I am.

For the last several years, I have taken on minor graphic design/editing jobs at work (in the finance industry… but we don’t have a designer on hand and I wanted to learn). I’ve been doing so with the stock PC and free utilities like Inkscape and Gimp. However, the PC has begun crashing when working on projects and moves very slowly. Could be the computer bogged down or too old at this point, but I’m inclined to think it’s simply not the right tool for the job (Pentium Dual Core E5800 @ 3.2GHz, 4 GB RAM, GeForce 210).

I have enjoyed these projects and think I will continue to do more and more, both at work and at home independently. So for this I ask for your suggestions and advice when looking for a new computer.

While, budget isn’t a hard cap, I’m hoping to keep it around $1,000. I would prefer a PC over a Mac. Are there any laptops that would work – maybe with a docking station?


  • Welcome to the site. We already have a couple of questions similar to yours so please look at them and if they aren't helpful come back and make an edit and we can reopen your question to help you. Also: graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/17151/… – DᴀʀᴛʜVᴀᴅᴇʀ Feb 5 '16 at 14:19
  • Hi Dom. It would appear you have accidentally created multiple accounts. Stack Exchange only allows one account per user on a site. Please go to our help section and contact SE to have this issue fixed. – Vincent Feb 5 '16 at 14:28

I recommend you shop for art and design tools, not computers. Look at pens and apps without caring about the underlying platform. When you find the pen and apps that you like best, you don’t have to do any computer shopping at all, you just buy the platform that your pen and apps require.

It is better to spend $300 on tools and $700 on the platform than to spend $1000 on the platform and have no tools.

Here are some tools to investigate and evaluate:

  • Apple Pencil and look at the iOS versions of Photoshop, Pixelmator ($10,) Graphic ($10,) ProCreate, and the many, many other art and design apps for iOS, as well as all the free software that is included with iOS (requires iPad Pro)

  • Wacom Pen Tablet and look at the Mac versions of Pixelmator ($20,) Graphic ($25,) Hype ($50,) Sketch, Photoshop, Illustrator, and the many, many other art and design tools for Mac OS, as well as all the software that is included for free with a Mac (requires Mac)

  • Microsoft Pen and look at whatever art and design tools run on Windows 10 (requires Surface Pro)

  • Wacom Pen Tablet and whatever art and design tools run on Windows 10 (requires generic PC)

  • Wacom Pen Tablet with Linux, GIMP, and Inkscape (requires your existing PC — your hardware is not so bad, it is likely Windows that is letting you down)

You can go to an Apple Store and try the above stuff out. They have apps on the demonstration machines. I assume the same is true at Microsoft Store.

The key thing is that there is a broad range of art and design tools today. An important part of graphic design is choosing the right tools so that you can do your best work and grow as you work. Even if you are only doing small projects now, if you have the right tools, you can not only improve but you can grow the size of your projects.

  • 3
    I'm sorry, but I've got to downvote your answer because of how much I disagree with this. I did design for years before getting a Wacom and know many designers that still don't use any sort of tablet. – Ryan Feb 5 '16 at 13:31

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