The quick response is “No”! A graphics card is NOT REQUIRED for picture editing. If you are a newbie with a tight budget for your PC setup, the inbuilt graphics card integrated into the CPUs should be enough.
There is no denying that even a low-end, entry-level dedicated graphics card may improve your performance for certain jobs and filters.
As a result, spending money on a straightforward dedicated graphics card is advised if you are an experienced photo editor and have a big budget for the photo editing setup.
However, it is advised to spend as much money as possible on a strong CPU if you are on a tight budget since picture editing is much more CPU than GPU.
Similar to how every PC build is. Choosing the appropriate components for a project is crucial for editing photos. Since many have tight budgets, we must invest a larger percentage of our budget on the appropriate hardware.
I’ll make an effort to provide a thorough response to the query “Do you need a video card for picture editing?” in the material that follows.
Do you need a graphics card to edit photos?
Thankfully, no. To utilize editing software such as Adobe Photoshop, your computer does not require a specialized graphics card.
Your CPU’s integrated or constructed graphics card will be more than capable of handling the necessary Photo Editing operations with relative ease.
That is not to imply, however, that if you decide to get a dedicated GPU, you won’t gain anything.
The impacts of a specialized GPU on Adobe Photoshop, unquestionably the most popular picture editing program available, have been thoroughly examined by Pudget Systems.
The test above was performed on an Intel Core i9-9900K using Adobe Photoshop CC 2019.
The findings are fairly compelling when comparing GPU versus dedicated GPU during photo editing. Even a dedicated GPU in the lower-mid price bracket, the NVIDIA Geforce 1060, is around 40% more potent than the well-liked Intel UHD 620 iGPU.
The majority is because even a low-cost standalone graphics card has significantly more VRAM than an integrated one. In this instance, the Intel UHD 630 can only support 1 GB of VRAM, while the GeForce GTX 1050 has 6 GB of VRAM.
Therefore, if the picture is huge, the Intel UHD 630 would struggle to load and render the elements and features in real-time.
Using Tasks and Filters Determines the Difference Between iGPU and Dedicated GPU
Please note that the previous section’s graph only displays the GPUs’ GENERAL performance score.
The usage of filters, features, and the jobs you conduct determine the performance differences between the GPU and a specialized GPU.
For instance, according to Pudget Systems, filters and effects like “Smart Sharpen,” “Field Blur,” “Iris Blur,” and “Resizing” that use GPU acceleration ran significantly more quickly on a dedicated GPU than they did on an integrated graphics card.
On the other hand, there was essentially no difference between an iGPU Tech UHD 630 or dedicated GPUs for jobs and filters like “Reduce Noise,” “File Save and Open,” “Gradient,” “Magic Wand Select,” “Rotate,” etc.
This graph clarifies how the performance of a dedicated GPU and an integrated GPU differs for certain effects and jobs.
List of Photoshop features that are better with a GPU
The capabilities that may benefit from or need a GPU to function are listed below, according to the specifications provided by Adobe Photoshop.
- Camera Raw Image Size
- Artboards Blur Gallery
- Lens Blur
- Neural Filters
- Choose Focus
- Select, and Mask
- Sharpen Smart
- Flick Panning
- Birds Eye View
- Oil Pain
- Wrap Render
- Scrubby Zoom
- Brush Resizing, smooth
This list of GPU-accelerated features is always expanding. For further information, see this list of all GPU-focused features in Photoshop.
Because Photoshop is the most widely used picture-altering program, I am mentioning it here.
A Discrete Graphics Card Should Be Purchased for Multiple Monitor Setup
It is advised that you do this. There are more pixels and the more displays you have. Your GPU will need more VRAM as you have more pixels to support all the assets shown on multiple displays SMOOTHLY.
The VRAM on integrated graphics cards is NOT very large. For instance, the Intel UHD 630 only has 1 GB of VRAM, as was previously mentioned. Dedicated GPUs in the lower midrange may easily have 4-6 times quite so much VRAM.
While your GPU would be able to support and operate many monitors, it is advised that you utilize a dedicated GPU for just a multiple monitor configuration, even if you have to pick a very basic dedicated GPU to have a seamless working experience.
Are high-end graphics cards necessary for photo editing?
No, a high-end graphics card is not necessary to enjoy the advantages of having a dedicated video card.
A low-mid to mid-range GTX should work fine if you’ve opted to get one for your picture editing project.
A dedicated video card with enough VRAM is essential.
The graph above shows that a high-mid range graphics card, the RTX 3060Ti, is slightly inferior to the exorbitantly costly RTX 3090 specialized GPU (127.4 vs. 131.3 points). The MSRP of the former is $399, while the MSRP of the latter is $1,500. The current market price for the GPUs above is more than twice as high.
It is thus strongly advised that you stay with lower-midrange or midrange GPUs. High-end GPUs won’t significantly improve performance.
Which Is Much more Important For Photo Editing: CPU or GPU?
The most crucial factor for photo editing is still the CPU.
This is not the case with CPUs, in contrast to GPUs, where there’s no discernible advantage between a midrange and a high-end GPU.
You may expect faster speed while editing photos if your CPU is more powerful.
However, I would advise you to stay with high-performance Core i7s at the very least since workstation-grade CPUs like the Core i9s or Ryzen 9s provide slightly greater performance but are much more expensive.
To get more out of your investment, it is advised that you stay with CPUs from one of the most recent generations. While the number of cores and clock speed is crucial, the CPU’s generation and general design demonstrate performance improvements.
Let me say it again: No, a graphics card is not necessary for photo editing. A specialized graphics card is not necessary for picture editing.
Having one, however, might be quite advantageous for certain activities, filters, and effects.
If you decide to get a dedicated GPU, it is advised that you stay with lower-mid or mid-range GPUs as a high-end GPU would be quite expensive and will, at most, just slightly improve your performance.
In the end, it’s critical to make the most of your cash for a powerful CPU since a good CPU is now more crucial for picture editing than a decent GPU.