Graphic designing is considered a CPU and RAM-hungry task and can be one of the most taxing tasks for your system. When it comes to choosing the right motherboard, there has to be a parity between all the components.
The choice of the overall system in general and of the motherboard, in particular, all depends upon your budget and your level of expertise.
While you should always aim to maximize the budget for CPU, RAM or graphics card instead of putting all your money into the motherboard, there has to be a parity between all the components.
Meaning you should not buy a high-end CPU and pair that with a low-end motherboard to avoid bottlenecks.
Again, graphic designing is a relative term. If you are talking about game-level designing or large-scale app GUI design, then that is another story. However, for casual 2D graphic designing including web page design, banner designs, etc, a simple motherboard that supports the latest processor can also do just fine.
Here we will look at some of the best motherboards for graphic design. We will also look at the things that you can keep in consideration when looking for a suitable MOBO.
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On The Specs Level, Requirements for Graphic Designing Software Are Low
If we take an objective look at the system requirements for a majority of the graphic designing software including Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator the basic requirements are rather quite low.
You can see that while you need a decent amount of RAM, the requirement for CPU is fairly low.
But in all reality, graphic designing is primarily CPU-hungry work. However, the hardware suitable for you depends upon a few factors.
The thing about system requirements listed for most software is that it is vague and does not point towards any particular model of the hardware components.
This is because the type of hardware that you get would depend upon three things:
- Are you a 2D or a 3D Designer?
- What software do you plan to run?
- What is the complexity of the projects you work on? In other words, what is your level of expertise?
With that said, let us look at some of the more important components that all kinds of designers would benefit from.
CPU is by far the most important component for any graphic designing build. The type of processor you get would reflect the overall capacity of your build as well as your level of expertise and the complexity of the projects you plan to work on.
However, it should be noted that going for the BEST or top-of-the-line CPUs out there would not necessarily benefit you.
This depends upon the software you use and how well it scales with multi-core processors.
For instance, while Adobe Photoshop does use multi-cores, you wouldn’t see a huge benefit if you go beyond an 8-core CPU.
But of course, if you multitask and have multiple graphic designing software all open at the same time such as Photoshop, Illustrator, etc, then the more cores you have the better would be your overall system performance and productivity.
Even 3D designing software like Maya, when it comes to designing, it only uses a single core efficiently. For rendering engines like Arnold though the software scales perfectly. So the more cores you have the faster will be your renders
The recommended option for intermediate users is to stick with mainstream processors from the Intel Core i5 or Ryzen 5 series. Professionals can look into Core i7s/i9s and Ryzen 7s/9s depending on their budget, software requirement, and multitasking needs.
If you are on a budget, then the least you should settle for is a CPU from the Intel Core i3/Ryzen 3 CPU.
What to Look for in the Best Motherboards for Graphic Design?
Basically, any simple motherboard would do just fine. However, the choice heavily depends upon your choice of CPU.
Should You Go For High-End Motherboards?
You don’t need to go for top-of-the-line motherboards with over-the-top features. However, there should be a balance between the processor, GPU, and motherboard you get.
High-end motherboards often offer features like newer connectivity (USB 4.0), more PCIe slots for expandability, overclocking ability, and more M.2 slots conforming to newer generations.
All these can contribute to the overall price tag.
Should You Go For the Budget/Minimal Model?
Yes, you CAN go for a budget model. You don’t need a high-end motherboard for graphic designing. In fact, you don’t even need to go for the mid-range option since any entry-level motherboard would work just fine.
Higher-quality motherboards have better Voltage Regulator Modules (VRMs) with powerful chokes and better heat sinks. Higher-end models offer support for extreme processors with a high number of PCIe lanes. They also have plenty of expansion slots.
They may also offer faster PCIe v4.0 or v5.0 PCIe lanes and may have other great sub-components like a powerful soundcard.
As a graphic designer, you don’t need to worry much about any of these. For starters, better VRMs matter only for overclockers. Secondly, even a single PCIe X16 expansion slot would be quite sufficient if the most you want to do is install a single graphics card.
Furthermore, you will hardly need a motherboard that has support for more than 32 GB of RAM – particularly at intermediate level of work.
With That Said,
Before delving into the motherboard, you will need to first decide on the choice of your CPU brand, and its generation.
The brand and the generation would entail what kind of chipset and socket you’d get for your motherboard.
So there are two ways to go about this:
The Intel Way
If you choose to go with an Intel CPU, you have the choice of either getting the older 10th and 11th Gen CPUs with the LGA 1200 socket or a CPU from the newer 12th or 13th generation with the LGA 1700 socket.
I would, of course, recommend sticking with the newer generation of CPUs just because they offer a better value and price/performance ratio.
Two motherboards come to mind depending upon your budget and preference of ports.
For the more budget oriented:
For intermediate designers since it has support for newer PCIe Generation, and newer USB 4 ports.
The H770 varies greatly from the B760 chipset with more PCIe lanes resulting in more PCIe and M.2 slots for expandability.
The AMD Way
For AMD you have two options.
If you are planning on building a budget PC featuring the AMD Ryzen 5000 series CPUs or older, then you will have to stick with the older AM4-based CPUs. I do not recommend this route, but if you have a tight budget, then you’d need to look for a motherboard suitable for the likes of Ryzen 3 41oo or Ryzen 5 5600G.
A vast majority of you, however, would naturally go for the newer 7000 series processors with the AM5 socket.
For these, I would recommend sticking with a good mid-range B650 motherboard if on budget.
Ryzen 7000 | DDR5
AM5 | 2 x M.2 (Gen 4) | PCIe 4.0 | USB 3.2 Gen 2×2
However, for a beefier build, unless you wish to overclock to extreme levels, you can stick with the X670 motherboards, otherwise, you can go for the very expensive X670E.
Focus on Other Components
The key to building a PC for graphic designing is to focus on a good processor, an ample amount of RAM, and also on a dedicated graphics card instead of solely on motherboards.
A good processor and a high amount of RAM will give you far better results as compared to getting a high-end motherboard but investing in cheap RAM or processor.
A dedicated graphics, even if it’s an entry-level dedicated GPU, can offer twice the performance as an integrated graphics card.
Photoshop can run with onboard graphics, but be aware that even a low-end GPU will be nearly twice as fast for GPU-accelerated tasks. – PugetSystems.com
Albeit having high end dedicated GPU would give diminishing gains compared to low or mid range graphics cards.
As you may have noticed, motherboards for graphic design do not have to be expensive but still the definition of the best motherboards for graphic design changes from person to person, from needs to needs, and from budget to budget.
As a bare minimum though, you just need a decent motherboard that is capable of supporting the latest processor and has support for a sufficient amount of RAM.
The choice usually boils down to what chipset you want to go for, how many PCIe slots you need, do you need the thunderbolt 3 port, how many SSD slots you need, and what kind of form factor you prefer.
We recommend you ditch ATX and go for mATX IF budget is a concern. And if you want an even compact build, go for mini ITX, albeit at slightly higher premium.
Finally, you don’t need a lot of expansion capability anyways. Most motherboards have 64 GB of RAM support which is more than enough for most professionals. As for the PCIe slots, a single X16 suffices for installing a low to mid range graphics card.