Do You Need a Graphics Card for Photo Editing? Vital or Not?

Written By Farhan Max

When you edit a photo, your PC utilizes different components. And in common sense, it seems like photo editing tasks require a graphics unit. But this is really a broad

Therefore, you need to make sure what’s your type of photo editing. As for your amenities, I compiled all the necessary plots to make the decision. So, let’s dive into the article and find out your case.

Do You Need a Graphics Card to Edit Photos?

Fortunately, No. A graphics card is not required just to edit a photo. Furthermore, photoshop editing software, such as Adobe Photoshop, does not require dedicated graphics for editing. Photoshop performs better when your CPU has multiple cores.

Moreover, modern APUs or integrated graphics processors have some sweet performance on the graphics side. As Ryzen 5 5600G, an entry-level APU, not only provides CPU performance, but its integrated Graphics can perform on par with entry-level dedicated graphics.

That said, editing a photo is as easy as pie for recent APUs. But don’t take the compliment otherwise or be biased.


A dedicated graphics unit will help you to get some little edge on photo editing. But is a dedicated GPU worth it? For genuine people, no. However, in case you are a pro, and you are in the profession of photo editing, then you must need that little edge.

And photo editing software like Adobe photoshop works better with multiple-core CPUs. And the performance will be far better if you have a 4–6 or more core processor. The more you have, the better it will perform.

There are so many things you can do with photoshop. And it’s true some photoshop filters, and features can perform better if you have a dGPU. So, how does Photoshop behave with iGPU and dedicated graphics unit depending on filters and tasks?

For descriptive purposes, Pudget Systems offer detailed information on how photo-editing tasks behave in different scenarios.

Smart Sharpen, Resizing, Iris Blur, and Field Blur perform better with a dedicated graphics card. In this situation, achieving better means the execution will be faster compared to onboard graphics.

In contrast, according to Pudget System, when you perform the tasks Gradient, Rotate, Magic Wand Select, Crop, etc., dedicated graphics can’t boost your work.


When talking about dedicated graphics just for photo editing, it seems overkill for normal individuals. Suppose you don’t edit a massive amount of photos every day, or photo editing is not your profession.

In that case, there is no need to purchase specialized graphics software for photo editing.

All things considered, a dedicated graphics unit will give you a certain edge on specific tasks. But it’s only sometimes necessary for ordinary people.

Also, modern APUs like Ryzen 5 5600G and Intel Core i5-12600K, just entry-level processors, can perform considerably great with any type of photo editing.

That being said, let’s see which photoshop features work better with a dedicated graphics card.

Check out our separate post is 6GB Graphics Card Enough for Gaming.

Which Photoshop Features Can Perform Better With A GPU?

There are certain features that will perform better with a dedicated graphics card. You can get away with an integrated graphics unit, but still, dedicated graphics are superior.

These features can also be done without a dedicated GPU. But it will create extensive pressure on your integrated graphics processor and thus encounter photoshop errors. And the processing time will be longer compared to a dedicated GPU execution.

Here are the PS features that execute better with dedicated graphics:

  • Wrap Render
  • Viewpoint
  • Scrubby Zoom
  • Oil Pain
  • Select, and Mask
  • Choose Focus
  • Neural Filters
  • Birds Eye View
  • Artboards Blur Gallery
  • Lens Blur
  • Flick Panning
  • Sharpen Smart
  • Camera Raw Image Size
  • Brush Resizing, smooth
  • 3D

In the above list, there are some features like Blur gallery, Camera Raw, Lens Blur, Neural, etc which can take the support of GPU to execute faster.

And features like 3D, Birds Eye View, Render, Smooth Brush resizing, etc must need GPU or graphics driver. Otherwise, the features won’t work. If the graphics driver is defective or faulty or the GPU is unsupported then these types of PS features won’t work.


Considering this concept you have an idea about when you need to have your graphics unit depending on your task. You will also need a graphics unit if you use multiple monitors. So, let’s now talk about situations when you need a graphics card, depending on the monitor.

Do You Need a Discrete GPU For Multiple Monitor Setups?

Yes, it’s recommended. When you have more screens there are more pixels, and you need more VRAM for your GPU to perform all those pixels. Also, you need to make sure about your CPU capability to run multiple monitors.

In integrated graphics, there is no physical VRAM. Your iGPU uses physical memory/RAM to perform the graphics tasks. Therefore, you need a separate dedicated GPU where you have a dedicated VRAM.

On the other hand, Intel UHD 630 integrated graphics CPU has 1 GB of VRAM whereas a separate GPU has almost 4–6 times that VRAM amount.

To achieve smooth performance, you must acquire a separate GPU with multiple monitors. It’s a must and if you are on a low budget then at least get an entry-level GPU.

Cpu Or Gpu: Which Is Necessary for Photo Editing?

Undoubtedly, you need good a CPU for photo editing tasks. When you have a powerful CPU your photo editing will perform better. Photo editing needs more cores. So the better the CPU has the more performance you will receive.

A GPU will give you a certain push but you must acquire a good powerful GPU like Intel’s Core i7 or AMD Ryzen 5 series. And, if you can obtain a better processor then that’s a plus.

When you like to use a PC for random work, casual gaming, and photo editing, then first get a good 6–8 core CPU. Also, if you are a professional photo editor you still need a powerful processor for this particular criterion, cause the core number and clock speed are crucial for photo editing.

That being said, many newbies sometimes invest quite a big portion just only on dedicated GPUs. So, are high-end dedicated GPUs necessary for photo editing?

Just photo editing that’s a waste of money. If you are a pro and you perform rendering or 3D tasks with photo editing, then purchasing a dedicated high-end GPU will help you to perform your tasks.

If you have multiple monitor situations or just need a graphics unit, I suggest you get a low-end or mid-range graphics card. If you get a high-end one, it will just stay there but you can’t squeeze any performance.

Some more guide on Uninstall Graphics Drivers Before Installing a new GPU.


Is a graphics card necessary for Photoshop?

It is not necessary for photoshop. For some photoshop features and effects, GPU helps to perform better. But the overall dedicated GPU doesn’t make any impact on photo editing performance.

Do GPUs help with photo editing?

A dedicated GPU will help you with some photoshop features. 3D, Birds Eye View, Flick Panning, etc tasks will execute faster if you have a dedicated graphics unit.

What graphics card do I need for photo editing?

If you are a professional photo editor then get an Nvidia Geforce 1650, 2060, 3060, or AMD Radeon 5000, 6000 series card. You can get the suitable one for you depending on the CPU you have and your photo-editing workloads.

Do I need 16GB or 32GB RAM for Photoshop?

Adobe recommended at least 16 GB of RAM, while industry professionals suggested 32 GB. And you need at least 8 GB for photo editing tasks. Otherwise, the experience will be horrible.


From the practical viewpoint, No, you don’t need a graphics card to perform photo editing. A good iGPU will perform well enough for this particular task.

You can get a typical mid-range dedicated GPU if you genuinely need a certain boost to your task. I eagerly discussed all the specific information about GPU necessity for photo editing. And finally, the ultimate decision is yours.

About The Author
Farhan Max is a tech geek with a particular interest in computer hardware. He's been fascinated by gaming since childhood and is now completing his undergraduate studies while researching and testing the latest tech innovations. Alongside his love for all things geeky, Farhan is also a skilled photographer.

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