Are you building a photo editing PC for yourself but are unsure about what kind of motherboard to buy? That is fine, you are just one of many people who find buying motherboards a tedious task.
The good news here is that a motherboard for photo editing, does not have to cost a lot. In fact, you can go ahead with the entry level models and it will have sufficient capability to support all sorts of editing jobs.
The confusion general arises from the fact that there are so many specifications to take note of such as form factor, chipset, socket, expansion slots, SATA ports, connectors, M.2 slots etc. However, again, for photo editing jobs, you can keep things very simple.
It is worth noting that most professional content creators, photographers, and photo editors do spend on premium motherboards for certain features like the Thunderbolt port or coupling them with a powerful CPU – powerful CPUs require a quality motherboard.
Again, spending a hefty sum on motherboard for building a photo editing PC is not necessarily important as we will see below. You can get away with a basic entry level A series model from AMD or H series from Intel so long as you have a decent processor to match.
In this article we will review some of the best motherboards for photo editing for different builds.
Comparison of Top Photo Editing Motherboards
|ASUS ProArt |
|ASUS Prime |
|Asus AM4 |
List of Best Motherboards for Photo Editing in 2021
The following motherboards would be excellent for most photo editing setup. We have selected the most suitable for AMD and Intel chipsets.
- ASUS ProArt Z490 – Premium Intel Motherboard for Photo and Video Editing
- Gigabyte B365M DS3H – Ultra Budget Motherboard for Photo Editing – LGA1151
- ASROCK B460M – Mini ITX – For Mini PC for Photo Editing – LGA1200
- ASUS Prime B460M – LGA 1200 – Recommended 10th Gen Motherboard
- Gigabyte GA-A320M-S2H – mATX – Ultra Budget Motherboard – AM4
- Asus AM4 TUF Gaming X570-Plus – ATX – Professional Grade Photo Editing and Gaming Motherboard – AM4
Best Intel Motherboards for Photo Editing
1. ASUS ProArt Z490 – Premium Intel Motherboard for Photo and Video Editing
A reasonably price Intel motherboard featuring TB and LGA1200 for latest 10th gen processor.
ASUS ProArt Z490 is a premium and an expensive motherboard with the LGA1200 socket. It is designed for professional designers, content creators and photo editors.
It is easy to disregard paying for a premium motherboard since you are so tempted to maximize your budget for the rest of the components.
However, a quality motherboard is almost a must for creators and editors as it literally serves as the main channel of communication between all the sub-components.
It would be unwise to spend on high end processor from the Core i7 or the Core i9 series, but to get yourself a budget motherboard.
A good motherboard like the ASUS ProART Z490 is literally created FOR the content creators. While the most important highlight for an average editor here is the inclusion of 2 x thunderbolt 3.0 port, the real beauty of this motherboard actually lies in its quality subcomponents.
For starters, it has an excellent phase power design of 12+2. So basically, it has 12 VRMs for the processors and 2 for the RAM.
Basically, VRMs are the critical subcomponents that control the voltage across the board. The more the VRMs and the better they are, the better would be the overall system stability and overclocking capability. It is critical that high performance CPUs such as Core i7s and Core i9s be paired with a motherboard that offers good VRM design for efficient voltage control
Lets face, professional video is CPU hungry. Software like Photoshop eat their way through CPU particularly when you work on complex projects. Hence you will most certainly be getting a powerful CPU anyways. This motherboard can ensure that you CPU does not get any performance bottlecnecks.
Another important thing to note is that being a motherboard with the Z490 chipset, it offers overclocking. Hence not only can you overclock the processor, you can also overclock the RAM all the way to 4600 MHz.
Besides that, the system offers AI based overclocking built. In addition to that, it has AI that can allocate more power to the active application.
As far as expansion goes, the motherboard offers 2 x PCIe X16 slots with the ability to do NVIDIA SLI or AMD Crossfire setup. It also offers smaller 2 x PCIe X1 slots as well as 2 x M.2 slots for NVMe SSD.
All in all, if your budget allows and if you value the thunderbolt 3 port, then this among the best motherboard for photo editing.
2. Gigabyte B365M DS3H – Ultra Budget Motherboard for Photo Editing – LGA1151
This is an Ultra Budget motherboard for Intel Based systems with LGA 1151 socket. It is suitable for low key tasks.
This motherboard is a stark contrast to the Asus ProArt Z490 above. If you are looking forward to building an affordable Intel based photo editing PC, then you can consider this as a perfect entry level motherboard.
It offer very few bells and whistles and therefore maximizes its value for your use in photo editing tasks.
This is a micro ATX motherboard with an Intel LGA 1151 socket and thus it supports all the Intel 8th and 9th generation processors. The newer processors based on the LGA1200 are not supported.
One key point to note with this motherboard is that it offers 4 DIMM slot instead of just 2 found on most entry level mATX boards. It can support upto 64 GB of DDR 4 RAM divided across its four ports in 16 GB sticks.
However, since this motherboard is intend for budget, there is a low chance that you would be utilizing all of the 64 GB supported capacity.
As far as the expansion capability goes, it offers a single PCIe X16 slot for your graphics card, single PCIe X4 slot for HSIO devices like a RAID controller, and a single PCIe X1 slot for smaller devices like network card etc.
It also offers a single PCIe M.2 slot as well as 6 SATA slot for installing an optical drive or for adding in hard drives.
In short, for budget Intel build, we recommend this as the best motherboard for photo editing. If you plan to procure entry or mainstream processor like the Core i3 or the Core i5, then this can serve you well.
3. ASROCK B460M – Mini ITX – For Mini PC for Photo Editing – LGA1200
A compact mini ITX motherboard for casual and low level builds. Suitable for Intel based processors with LGA 1200 sockets.
Next we have our personal favorite motherboard for a mini Intel based system for photo editing. If you plan to build a mini PC for photo editing, then this is recommended.
Being one of the latest motherboards with the LGA1200 socket, this can support the 10th Gen Intel Processors.
This is a mini ITX motherboard and thus it is much smaller than a micro ATX board. Mini ITX boards have dimensions of 6.7 x 6.7 inches where as the latter have 9.6 x 9.6 inches dimension making this an excellent candidate for highly compact builds.
Basically, computers do not get any smaller than this.
It offers a single PCIe X16 expansion slot and that is it. It does not feature the X1 or the X4 slot. Luckily, it does offer WiFi capability built in so you won’t have to worry about installing a separate network adapter in it.
You can connect upto 4 hard drives with this thanks to 4 x SATA 3 slots and can also install a single SSD on its M.2 slot.
Since it features the latest entry Level B460 chipset, it offers 6 x USB 3.2 ports.
All in all, while this is slightly more expensive than the average entry level motherboard, for those requiring compact form factor with WiFi, this is the best motherboard for photo editing.
4. ASUS Prime B460M – LGA 1200 – Recommended 10th Gen Motherboard
A micro ATX entry level motherboard that features ample expansion slots and ports for its size and price. LGA1200 chipset
Lastly for Intel we recommend this ASUS Prime B460M for one particular reason especially and that is its DUAL M.2 Slots for a rather affordable price tag.
M.2 slots are appreciable by those who value fast storages. With 2 x M.2 slots you can instal two high speed SSD storage instead of just one as we saw in the models above.
It should be noted that since motherboard features the latest chipset, both of its Dual M.2 slots are capable of supporting the M.2 NVME SSDs. Whenever given a choice we recommend you go for NVME over a SATA SSD.
To put this into perspect, a normal hard drive has transfer speed of 80-160 MB/s. As such, even the SATA M.2 operating @ of 6 Gb/s is lightspeed as compared to a normal HDD.
This motherboard also features the latest LGA1200 socket capable of supporting the latest Intel 10th gen processors.
Other than that, this is a decent board with a fair price tag, a single PCIe X16 expansion slot, 2 x PCIe X1 slots and 6 x SATA slots.
In short, if you value good storage options, then this is the best motherboard for photo editing.
Best AMD Motherboards for Photo Editing (AM4)
5. Gigabyte GA-A320M-S2H – mATX – Ultra Budget Motherboard – AM4
One of the cheapest entry level motherboards for AMD AM4 based systems. For the budget conscious, this is an excellent option.
This is as economical as it gets while still maintaining the quality of a respectable brand. Despite being highly affordable, it features a decent set of specs that are more than enough for most photo editing builds.
For starters, it support AM4 socket so it is suitable for all AMD Ryzen processors ranging from generation 1 to 3. Secondly, it has 2 DIMM slots with support for upto 32 GB of DDR 4 RAM.
Due to its affordable nature, it does not offer 6 x SATA ports as found on other Micro ATX boards. Instead it offers just 4 along with a single PCIe M.2 slot for SSD installation.
For most, 4 x SATA slots are quite sufficient. You can hook up one optical drive and upto three hard drives on this.
Other than that, it offers a single PCIe X16 slot for graphics card card and dual PCIe X1 slots for installing smaller card like WiFi LAN.
In short, if you want to minimize your expenditure on a motherboard, then we highly recommend this as the best motherboard for photo editing.
6. Asus AM4 TUF Gaming X570-Plus – ATX – Professional Grade Photo Editing and Gaming Motherboard – AM4
A professional motherboard for high performance. Features latest X570 chipset.
Here we have a professional grade performance motherboard for serious photo editors. Plus this would also cater to those who love gaming at the same time.
While this is an expensive motherboard, it is particularly designed for those who work in professional industry. If you are a content creator and if you plan to install a high end hardware, then you will the support of a high motherboard as well.
This motherboard has a phase power design of 12+2 meaning it has 12 VRMs for the processor and 2 for the RAM. This is more than the avaregage 6 or 8 VRMs for the processor.
The higher the amount of VRMs the more stable the processor and the more suitable it is for overclocking. Not only does this motherboard have a higher amount of VRMs, they are also higher quality.
It should be noted here that being a professional grade motherboard it also features a premium chipset i.e the X570. This is basically chipset of choice for those who want to overclock there AMD system.
On top of that, this latest X series chispet also features the PCIe V4.0 protocol giving each PCIe lane a higher bandwidth.
Other than that, this motherboard features 2 x PCIe X16 slot albeit one of them only operates at X4 bandwidth. This makes it possible for the motherboard to support 2-way AMD crossfire setup. It also features 2 x PCIe X1 slots.
The cherry on cake is the Built-in Wifi and Dual M.2 slots both of which are capable of supporting the NVME SSD drives. It also features a whopping 8 x SATA 3 ports. You can literally use this motherboard to create a NAS for yourself.
In short, if you are looking for a performance grade option, then this is the best motherboard for photo editing and gaming.
Additional Resources for Photo Editing Build
What Specs Do I Need for Photo Editing Computer?
Photo editing is generally considered a processor and a RAM hungry task. The lion share of the workload for photo editing is conducted by the processor and hence it only makes sense that you maximize your budget for the processor.
The image above the shows the typical system requirements for Adobe Photoshop – a very popular photo editing tool.
In fact, the system requirements rarely even talk about the processor you need. This is because, the system requirements for photo editing vary ALOT depending upon your level of expertise and the complexity of the project you are working on.
Unfortunately, the system requirements rarely make any mentioning of the type of motherboard to choose. Below we have a short guide on how to choose the right Photo Editing motherboard.
What to Look For in the Right Motherboard for Photo Editing?
As mentioned earlier entry levels mother are more than enough for photo editing. However, depending upon the complexity and the overall system you build, the choice of the motherboard can vary.
You Can Go For Simple and Affordable Motherboards
There is no need to invest in a premium heavy duty motherboard particularly if your overall build is mid range. You can stick with much simpler models.
If you plan to build a system with entry level processors like the Intel Core i3 or even Core i5, then ultra budget motherboards like the Gigabyte B365M DS3H can be good enough particularly if you are trying to save.
You don’t need a lot of PCIe expansion slots. Just a single PCIe X16 slot for graphics card is more than enough. More PCIe X16 slots only make sense when you have to install two more graphics card and that is hardly necessary for photo editing.
Other than that, since many photo editors rarely overclock, you don’t need to invest in boards that feature premium features like high quality VRMs, large heatsinks, and a high phase power design.
Secondly, motherboards with aesthetic features such beautiful heatsinks, and LED lightening tend to cost most. You don’t need that either.
Finally, a motherboard with 2 RAM slots with a maximum support for 32 GB of RAM should also be quite sufficient.
The point is, a bare minimum motherboard should be more than enough for photo editing tasks particularly if you are a beginner or an intermedite user trying to save up.
Also Read: Best Motherboards with Integrated Graphics
Should You Invest in Premium and Expensive Motherboards for Editing Photos?
Again, there most certainly are motherboard particularly build for creators in mind. Motherboard from the ASUS ProArt or the Gigabyte Designare series are two examples.
However, these are expensive and offer premium specs like Thunderbolt 3.0 ports, overclocking ability, multiple SSD slots, SLI and Crossfire support, better heatsinks and most importantly better VRMs.
These motherboards definitely make sense if you plan to go for high performance and workstation grade CPUs like the Intel Core i9 or the AMD Ryzen .
Premium motherboards have a better voltage control design and thus they can cater to the more powerful processor better.
Micro ATX is Preferable for Budget Photo Editing Build
Motherboards have form factor. Some are large some are smaller. For the purpose of photo editing at a budget, you can stick with the smaller range of motherboards.
We recommend you stick with either Micro ATX or mini ITX motherboards – Mini ITX being the smaller of the two. A small motherboard means you would not only have a compact build, but the chassis you procure for it would also cost much less.
A micro ATX board is larger than a MINI ITX but smaller than an ATX. It is the cheapest form factor out there and offers decent expandability. Of course, not all Micro ATX motherboards are created equally. Some are cheaper others are expensive.
However, overall, micro ATX tend to be inexpensive compared to the rest in the same performance category.
MINI ITX for Mini Photo Editing PC Build
Mini ITX motherboards are generally more expensive than the an average budget micro ATX motherboard, however, they have much smaller form factor.
They have a dimension of 6.7 x 6.7 inches making the smallest of the standard PC motherboards.
These are great for compact PC systems and are great if you do not have a very high expansion requirements. Most of these motherboard do come with a built in WiFi.
Focus on Other Components
For photo editing a premium monitor, a fast processor, a good amount of RAM and an entry to mid range graphics card are also very important.
Therefore, if you have a limited budget then it is better to focus your finances on other critical components and not just on the motherboard.
Again, you would only need a high end motherboard if you ever plan to game, video edit or photo edit on an expert level.
Also, you should note that should you choose to go for newer standard and protocols like having a motherboard that conforms to the PCIe v4.0 protocol, has latest USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports, WiFi 6 etc, then the price tag will naturally be higher.
Here we looked at some of the best motherboards for photo editing. As you may have noticed and as mentioned earlier, most of the motherboards here are entry level ones – mid range.
We have chosen as such because for photo editing, a motherboard is less important than the CPU and the RAM. However, there should always be a parity between all components. Meaning you should not buy an expensive CPU and stick it on an ultra-budget motherboard even if it has the socket to support it.
However, for most professionals photo editors, a simple motherboard that can support sufficient amount of RAM and the latest processors would be more than enough.