If you want a computer for graphic design, do not plan on buying just any old computer, laptop or tablet. Computers used for graphic design will need higher capabilities like processor speed, RAM disk capacity and the ability to expand not all computers or laptops are suitable for graphic design and choosing the right one is an important investment for future.
Technology is dynamic and evolving, but it can also be overwhelming. There are certain features and characteristics that computers require for graphic design.
1. Hardware and RAM
Typically, for graphic design, a computer which is more powerful than a netbook and is less than three years old, can serve for basic graphic needs.
Graphic designers have their preference of the best computer. However, the basics that they focus on is; processor speed, memory, screen resolution and hard disk speed.
Graphic design software is processor-intensive and evolves year upon year. Most programs need a processor or CPU that works with a minimum of 1Ghz. Ideally a faster processor, the better. Regular computers are likely to have a relatively large hard drive primarily for installing software and storing current projects.
Higher RAM would mean more programs and processing can run in the background. This is because it is faster than accessing the hard drive for files in use. Graphic designers need RAM which is mostly short-term memory and is what the computer keeps at the forefront. A minimum of 8Gb RAM would be optimal.
Since the CPU cannot expand past the gigahertz range, it is better to purchase the largest RAM available. 16 gigs or 32 gigs is usually preferred.
2. Hard Drive
There are two types of hard drives:
Hard Disk Drives (HDD):Internally, HDDs are metal disks with a magnetic coating. They spin physically, similar to record players but at much higher speeds.
Solid State Drives (SSD):SSDs consist of a series of memory chips and have no moving parts.
Both have their advantages and disadvantages. HDDs are seemingly more affordable for the same amount of storage.They also have a higher ceiling for total storage.Ideally, the hard drive should run at 7200 RPM. The importance of this is the speed declines (5400 RPM) for external storage as long as files are stored without any software running on the external hard drive.Consider the hard disk speed before buying.
As for storage space,while a 1TB (terabyte) hard drive is usually sufficient for most, a 2TB would be better since storage needs constant expansions. SSDs tend to have a maximum capacity of 4 TB and are more durable because they do not have moving parts. SSD’s may be a better choice if movement while working is necessary since they are more durable. SSD’s also have higher speed which allows the computer to boot faster programs launch quicker, and data transfers faster from SSDs than HDDs when transferring to an external drive.
The CPU is the main component of the computer with four cores or higher requirement.
4. Monitor and Screen Size
The screen resolution for a graphics computer should be at least 1280 x 800 or the higher the resolution, the better. Most monitors on the market are Twisted Nematic (TN) panels. They are very common because they are affordable.
A graphic designer needs to space to work. Over the years, laptops have become lighter, more portable and batteries seem to last longer between charges. In case one opts for a laptop to ensure portability, the choices are limited,because a computer with less than 1280 X 800 may not be able to run the graphic design program. Opting for a diagonal screen measurement of 15 inches or more would be appropriate.
6. Color Quality
Color quality is important based on the type of graphic design. Architect or interior designers may give more weight to color quality as compared to what a gamer needs. For such requirements, IPS displays are better than older versions.
7. Graphics Tablets
A computer’s mouse and/or track pad are meant for everyday, ordinary usage, but what most graphic designers prefer is the graphics tablet. These tablets provide the natural hand-eye connection to the digital age. Since the stylus is physically held in hand, while resting the palm on the tablet, it is advised to try one out first to experience the feel. If it is uncomfortable or unsuitable, it may not be a wise investment. They are generally priced from $50 to $500.
8. Video Card
A video card is more in demand for a gamer than a graphic designer. If a laptop is being used for graphic design, often you can purchase an affordable video card to suit your needs. It is often thought that it is better to compromise on the video card rather than the RAM.
9. MAC vs PC:
It is common to hear that Macs are built for free-spirited artists while PCs are more suited for corporate jobs. Initially, it was true that Apple had monopolized the market on graphic design computers for many decades and digital typography, and Photoshop was created for Macs. Experienced graphic designers viewed it as the only real option as it was the system they originally learned and seemed to excel .However, today, the scenario has changed and evolved. Most graphic design software runs equally well on Windows and OS X. Moreover, Windows PCs are more affordable and customize able. Most external creative industries of design and film, seem to prefer Windows as it is very useful if the graphic designer’s operating system is compatible with the clients’.Apart from this, to choose between the two, it narrows down to the individual choice, comfort, affordability and work that needs to be carried out.
Graphic designers are in demand, and many are opting for this even as a freelance option since it is easy to download tools in a matter of minutes and get started. To differentiate and stand out from talent, education, dedication, and practice as a graphic designer, a capable computer, and software can take designing to the next level.Software requirements can vary, and there may be a need for specialized software to support particular goals and learning styles. Professionals at Flying Cow can be consultedfor specific graphic designing needs.