Is Integrated Graphics Good Enough for Photoshop?

The majority of computers only have an integrated graphics card. You don’t have to worry about it because it’s built into the CPU, and you can use it at any time.

Many simple tasks, such as internet surfing, watching movies, and even photo editing, can be accomplished with integrated GPUs. But this raises the question, “Are integrated graphics good enough for Photoshop?”

It is, but it isn’t particularly good. Most Intel or AMD processors with built-in GPUs can run Photoshop without much trouble. Still, performance might be a little bit low.

This article will discuss integrated graphics and determine whether they are powerful enough to run Photoshop. We’ll also tell you what the best integrated and dedicated GPUs are.

Let’s get started.

What Is Integrated Graphics?

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Before you can decide if integrated graphics is good enough for Photoshop, you need to know what it is.

Simply put, it is a part of the processor that handles graphics. These GPUs use system memory, also called RAM, to run. They share this memory with the CPU. Dedicated graphics cards, which have their own memory or RAM, are different from this.

Because integrated GPUs are built into the processor, they consume less power and produce less heat, resulting in longer battery life if it is a laptop.

Is Integrated Graphics Good Enough for Photoshop?

If your computer only has integrated graphics, Photoshop will run, but the performance will be poor. 

The main difference between integrated and dedicated GPUs is how fast they work. Dedicated GPUs have their own RAM, while integrated GPUs use shared RAM with the processor.

Because of this, Photoshop will run slower on CPUs with integrated graphics, and regular tasks will take longer. Photoshop will run more smoothly on a dedicated graphics card because of its increased speed, dedicated VRAM, and other benefits.

When I first got my laptop, it didn’t have a dedicated graphics card. Although I was able to run Photoshop, after a few hours of use, it began to slow down. Working with large files and performing complex tasks took a long time. So I ended up buying a laptop with dedicated graphics and haven’t had any problems since.

If you are a professional or use Photoshop on a daily basis, a computer with dedicated graphics will make your editing tasks more efficient. Believe me, your Photoshop experience will never be the same again. However, you can get the job done even if your PC doesn’t have a dedicated graphics card.

Some Drawbacks of Integrated Graphics

As I already said, integrated GPUs aren’t as strong as dedicated GPUs. They have a few flaws as a result of their low work capacity. Let’s take a look at some of them—

Limited Usability

The power, capacity, and memory size of the integrated graphics are limited. In some cases, this may limit workflow.

Non-Upgradable & Non-Removable

Integrated GPUs are built onto the CPU. This means you can’t remove them, and can’t upgrade them as well. You’ll need to replace the processor to upgrade them. And this can be quite pricey.

Poor gaming or graphic design performance

These GPUs aren’t designed with gaming in mind. Similarly, they don’t perform well when it comes to graphics design software like Photoshop.

As we’ll see later in this article, the problems might seem like a lot, but they’re not that hard to fix.

Advantages of Integrated Graphics

Even though integrated graphics have some problems, they are better than dedicated GPUs in some ways. These are a few examples:

Smaller in Size

The dedicated graphics cards are bigger than the built-in graphics. Since they are built into the CPU, they don’t take up any extra room. This frees up space for improved airflow and the connection of other components.

Less Power-Hungry

When it comes to power, an integrated GPU is better than a dedicated GPU. Since they get most of their power from the CPU, they don’t need much extra power to run. This is more cost-effective and saves electricity.

Generates Less Heat

Integrated GPUs generate less heat than discrete GPUs. They only heat up to the same extent as the CPU. They also get better airflow because they’re compact.

All of this contributes to your computer’s temperature remaining cool and calm.

No Need for an Extra Cooling Fan

Unlike dedicated GPUs, integrated GPUs do not require additional cooling. Every computer has an internal cooling fan for the CPU. This is sufficient to keep the CPU as well as the integrated GPU, cool enough to achieve optimal performance.

You don’t need to buy anything extra to get the most out of an integrated GPU.

These benefits make having only a CPU with integrated GPU a very appealing option for many users. If you choose wisely, you can run a PC with just a built-in GPU without any issues.

Can I Run Photoshop Without A Dedicated Graphics Card?

Photoshop can be run without a dedicated graphics card. Most of its features do not require a graphics card, but having a dedicated GPU will help Photoshop run more smoothly.

If you want Photoshop to run smoothly on your computer with just an integrated graphics card, you’ll need a fast processor and at least 16 GB of RAM. Photoshop and other similar applications can be run without issue with this configuration.

Let’s take a look at how Photoshop works on a Ryzen 5 computer with only an integrated graphics card—

RAM CapacityPerformance
8 GB RAMBad, glitchy — sometimes doesn’t even start.
16GB RAMGood and runs smoothly.
32 GB RAMVery good & runs super smooth.

As you can see, even if you only have an integrated GPU, you can run Photoshop with ease if you have enough RAM and a good CPU. However, keep in mind that you’ll need at least 16 GB of RAM to meet Photoshop’s minimum requirements.

 Check this article to find out whether you require a GPU for Photoshop.

Is Integrated Graphics Recommended for Photoshop?

If you want to do medium or heavy-duty photo editing, we wouldn’t recommend integrated graphics for Photoshop. Integrated graphics cards can’t store much graphics data because they don’t have much or any memory of their own. They use up your RAM or system memory.

Because of this, your computer needs at least 16 GB of RAM to run Photoshop. It’s a safe number to go with because you’ll have enough memory and won’t have any problems with performance.

If you want an integrated card that works with Photoshop, you’ll need one that works with DirectX 12. Here’s a list of some useful and well-supported processors:

  • Intel Celeron 2.0 GHz processor and newer
  • Intel Pentium 3.0 GHz and newer
  • Any Core Series processors 4th gen and newer

All of these are the latest Intel CPUs and have enough processing power to work well with Photoshop. You can buy any of them without any issues.

Why Dedicated GPU Is Recommended for Photoshop

Photoshop doesn’t run well with just an integrated GPU, as you’ve probably figured out by now. To do this properly, you’ll need enough RAM and a powerful CPU.

However, Photoshop runs extremely well with a dedicated GPU. To run Photoshop smoothly, you’ll need a dedicated graphics card. Photoshop would be choppy and slow without it, especially when using advanced features.

Worst of all, some features won’t even work if your computer doesn’t have a dedicated GPU.

Features like 3D Enhancements, Oil Paint, Render, Frame, Flick Panning, and many more won’t run properly if you’re just using an integrated graphics card.

Which Processor Is Better for Photoshop: Intel or AMD?

Intel, AMD, and Nvidia are currently the three largest chip manufacturers. Intel and AMD are known for producing the best CPUs. Nvidia, on the other hand, is known for producing only dedicated GPUs.

In this section, we’ll look at which Intel and AMD integrated GPUs are good, and which Nvidia dedicated GPU you may get for Photoshop.

Intel CPUs for Photoshop

Almost any Intel processor is good enough for Photoshop, depending on how much you want to spend. As long as you stick to the latest Core i5 or Core i7 models, it’s hard to go wrong with any Intel model for Photoshop.

However, as your budget grows, the performance improves. Feel free to purchase the most powerful Intel processor that fits your budget. Don’t be hesitant to spend the extra money; it will be well worth it.

AMD CPUs for Photoshop

AMD, like Intel, is known for producing high-quality CPUs and, by extension, Dedicated GPUs.

As for which AMD model to choose, the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X and the Ryzen 9 5900X have the fastest CPUs for Photoshop. Both of these do pretty well, and they are often only a few percentage points apart.

We’d recommend the less expensive Ryzen 7 5800X. It’s a great choice for Photoshop and will give you more money to spend on other things.

Nvidia for Photoshop

In contrast to Intel and AMD, Nvidia only makes GPUs. But if you can afford it, a dedicated GPU is what we would recommend for Photoshop in the first place.

Adobe apps also tend to work better with Nvidia graphics cards. GPUs made by Nvidia are great for Photoshop, games, 3D modeling, and other heavy tasks

We would suggest getting something from the GeForce RTX family. We recommend the GeForce RTX 3070 due because of its reasonable price and excellent performance.

The Best Graphics Card for Photoshop

Nvidia graphics cards make the best graphics cards for Photoshop. The Nvidia GeForce GTX GPU lineup is excellent for Photoshop while remaining in the low to medium price range. Particularly, the GeForce RTX family is an excellent option for many.

As we already said, GeForce RTX 3070 is a good choice for Photoshop. It works like a beast, and we think it’s one of the best graphics cards on the market right now.

Even though graphics cards are expensive, you can look at AMD if you want something less expensive. But Photoshop doesn’t work that well on their dedicated GPUs. Instead, you should get a CPU from them.

Overall, Adobe products are more compatible with Nvidia GPUs. We’d recommend getting one that fits your budget. Here is a list of some of the best budget GPUs you can buy.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can you upgrade integrated graphics?

Unfortunately, an integrated GPU cannot be upgraded. The GPU is integrated into the processor.  As a result, it can’t be changed or removed.

Should I prioritize RAM or the GPU for Photoshop?

You should only get 16 to 32 GB of RAM for Photoshop. This is highly recommended if you want Photoshop to run smoothly. If you meet the 16 or 32 GB RAM requirements, you should concentrate on upgrading your GPU.

If you’re not sure which GPU to get, you can get any of the ones we mentioned in this article.

Should I get a dedicated graphics card for Photoshop?

Yes! Because Photoshop requires a lot of RAM, you should definitely try to get a dedicated GPU. A dedicated graphics card will make everything run more smoothly and quickly.

Is Photoshop a paid software?

Unfortunately, Adobe Photoshop is a subscription-based service. You can try a 7-day free trial of Photoshop to see if you like it. You’ll have to pay a monthly or yearly fee after that. Check the best Photoshop alternative here.

What’s the cheapest way to get Photoshop?

Photoshop Elements is a great choice if you only need the basics. Photoshop Element is a separate piece of software created by Adobe that requires only a one-time purchase. We think this is the easiest and least expensive way to do it.

Final Thoughts

Now you know for sure if integrated graphics are enough for Photoshop or not. We’ve talked about everything you need to know about dedicated and integrated graphics cards, as well as provided you some helpful tips.

Finally, if you intend to use Photoshop for heavy or professional work, it’s worthwhile to look into some high-quality dedicated graphics cards. You can buy any of our top picks without hesitation.

I hope you make a wise decision. Good luck!

Recommended graphics card list:

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Chris Martin is a professional tech writer. He's been covering tech tutorials, hardware reviews, and more as a professional writer for over seven years now and it doesn't look like he'll be stopping anytime soon! In addition to writing about the latest gadgets on the market, he also covers topics such as how to set up your home network or troubleshoot any computer problems you may have.

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