No matter if you’re just starting out in your graphic design career, or you’re a seasoned professional, you know that to provide your clients with the best visuals and design products requires using the right tools. This includes the best workstations for the job.

To help, we’ve provided information about the best workstations for graphic designers, including both PCs and Macs. Let’s get started.

What To Consider When Shopping For The Best Workstation

You surely want the best workstation that you or your company can afford. Some of the things you’ll be looking for is a workstation that:

  • Helps you design efficiently.
  • Has a powerful processor to run the software you use.
  • Has enough memory and storage to manage the large files you produce.
  • Comes with a large display so you can better view your designs.

To do this, you must consider details like the:

  • GPU: As opposed to a CPU (central processing unit) which people call the “brain” of a computer. A GPU (graphics processing unit) enhances the “brain.” This is a single-chip processor that manages and boosts the performance of video and graphics. It renders the graphics to the monitor.
  • Processor: A processor is an electronic circuit that performs arithmetical, logical, input/output (I/O) and other basic instructions that are passed on to the operating system (OS) that runs the computer.
  • Memory: Cache memory provides high-speed data access to a processor. It also stores frequently used applications, data and computer programs. It’s embedded in the processor (or Random Access Memory-RAM) and is the fastest type of memory in a computer.
  • Hard Drive: The is the main, and usually the largest, data storage device in a computer.
  • Monitor: This is the electronic computer display that includes a screen, circuitry and case. Older monitors used cathode ray tubes (CRT). This made them large and heavy. Today, we use LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) flat-screen monitors because they’re more energy efficient and much lighter.

What Brand Of Workstation Should You Choose?


The Apple iMac

Some graphic designers prefer to go with the Apple iMac with 4K Retina Display. As a matter of fact, many graphic designers won’t use anything other than a Mac. This is due to the quality that Apple has been building into their products for so many years. Graphic designers have been Apple’s biggest fans since they first started making computers.

The Apple iMac is a popular desktop computer that has a modern look like many of its previous iterations. Where it excels is in the improvements that Apple has made:


  • The CPU is made by Intel and includes their Intel Core i5 processor. It will run at 3Ghz, but if you need more, you can get an iMac with 3.5Ghz. (Gigahertz is the number of cycles per second.)
  • The GPU is a dedicated AMD GPU Radeon Pro 500 that comes with 2GB of video memory. It’s twice as fast as the previous model.
  • The 8GB of RAM will give you enough memory to handle most any graphic design project.
  • It doesn’t come with a Solid State Drive (SSD), but the Fusion Drive has 1TB of room that should hold quite a lot.
  • You’ll have two USB-C ports, four USB ports, and an SDXC card slot for your peripherals.
  • The iMac has a 21.5-inch monitor with Retina display that’s what every designer wants today. It can produce up to one billion colors with a brightness of 500 nits. Your images will look crisper and better than ever.

The Microsoft Surface Studio

Microsoft Surface Studio is an all-in-one Windows PC with a sixth-generation Intel Core i7 processor. (The same one in Apple’s MacBook Pro.)

  • It has a 2TB hard drive that comes with 32GB of RAM.
  • Both the base and high-end Surface Studio models each have own their GPU. The high-end model is a Nvidia 980M which is good for video editing. However, it’s a generation behind the newest one. The base model comes with a Nvidia 965M, also a good GPU.
  • The monitor is what makes the Surface Studio excel. Its PixelSense screen has 4,500×3,000 pixels which makes it great to use with large design projects.
  • It supports three color modes: sRGB, DCI-P3 and a vivid mode. Your designs will look bright, bold and crisp.
  • It has multiple USB-A ports, an SD card slot, a Mini Display Port and Ethernet jack. All are located at the rear of the base where you can hook up your peripherals.
  • The design is a game-changer with its zero-gravity hinge where the screen can be moved from a slight past 90-degree position to a 20-degree angle–much like how a drafting table looks.
  • The downside is the price. Some designers believe that it’s overpriced.

Apple iMac Pro

The Apple iMac Pro is a great machine, but like the Surface Studio from Microsoft, some believe it’s overpriced. However, with the quality of the internal components it provides, you may decide that the price is worth paying.

  • It comes with a 2.3GHz 18-core Xeon W processor, 128GB of RAM, and a 4TB Solid State Drive.
  • It also boasts a Radeon Pro Vega 64 GPU.
  • The 27-inch LED-backlight Retina 5k display has incredibly vibrant colors. It also displays a maximum brightness of 500 nits as well as the wide P3 color gamut.
  • The one-piece, sleek design and visually striking monitor helps to keep your desk free of clutter. The ports for peripherals are all in the back of the iMac Pro.
  • With an SD card port, 4 USB 3 ports, a 10Gb ethernet port, and 4 Thunderbolt 3/USB-C you’ll have more than enough to connect just about anything.

HP Envy 34” Curved All-in-One

Hewlett Packard all-in-one Envy 34 is a quality workstation for your graphic design needs.


  • It comes with an Intel 7th-gen core processor, a combination of a 256GB solid-state drive (SSD) and a 1TB SATA hard drive that provides the right balance of speed and capacity.
  • The GPU is an AMD Radeon RX 460 with more than enough power to provide the pristine clarity you want for your graphic design projects.
  • The Envy 34 has a minimalist design, so it won’t take up a lot of room on your desk.
  • The ports for peripherals are located in the base of the computer. It has four USB 3.0 ports, a Thunderbolt 3 port, HDMI-Out and HDMI-In ports, a 10/100/1000 Base-T Network port, along with HP’s 3-in-1 Media Card Reader.
  • You’ll love the 34” curved ultrawide QHD display. Included is an HP Display utility that lets you put the display into a Technicolor-certified mode. You’ll also have an RBG color gamut of 99 percent. This makes images appear truer to life when compared to other monitors. However, while the curve of the screen is impressive, it could make straight lines and picture borders appear curved.

Dell XPS 8930 Tower

This is a computer tower without a monitor attached. If you like selecting your own high-end monitor, this can be a good choice for you. But, if you want an all-in-one desktop computer, then this option won’t work for you.

  • The XPS 8930 Tower comes with an Intel Core i7-8700 processor.
  • With its 256GB solid-state drive (SSD) plus a 2TB 7200 RPM SATA Hard Drive, you’ll have all the boot memory and storage that you need.
  • And it has a GPU with a Nvidia GeForce 1060 that comes with 6GB of graphics double-data-rate type five synchronous random-access memory (GDDR5).
  • The XPS 8930 graphics card provides colorful projects for the monitor that you select to use with the Tower.

It’s easy to upgrade any of the components because Dell uses a tool-less system (except for the CPU which is soldered on). It comes with 64GB of RAM and can also be upgraded easily.

It has a good number of ports, with two USB-Cs, a USB-A, HDMI, DisplayPort, and an SD Card Reader. All this gives you options for the peripherals you want to plug in. (Just don’t forget about saving a port for the monitor!)

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