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 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.
In this article we will review some of the best motherboards for photo editing that you can use for a very decent build.
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Also Read: Best Motherboards with Thunderbolt 3
What to Look For?
As mentioned earlier entry levels mother are more than enough for photo editing. Lets go a bit deeper into what we mean.
There is no need to invest in a premium heavy duty motherboard. You ca stick with much simpler models.
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 you will not be overclocking, 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.
Also Read: Best Motherboards with Integrated Graphics
Micro ATX is Preferable
Motherboards have form factor. Some are large some are smaller. For the purpose of photo editing, 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.
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 is more important than the motherboard.
Therefore, if you have a limited udget then it is better to focus your finances on other critical components and not just on the motherboard.
List of Best Motherboards for Photo Editing in 2020
The following motherboards would be excellent for most photo editing setup. We have selected the most suitable for AMD and Intel chipsets.
- Gigabyte B365M DS3H – mATX – Ultra Budget Motherboard – 4 x RAM Slots
- ASRock B365M-ITX – Mini ITX – Compact Motherboard – 2 x RAM Slots
- ASRock B365M-HDV – mATX – Dual M.2 Slots
- Gigabyte GA-A320M-S2H – mATX – Ultra Budget Motherboard – 2 x RAM Slots
- ASRock B450M PRO4 – mATX – 4 x RAM Slots – 2 x M.2 Slots
Also Read: Best MSI Motherboards for Gaming
Best Intel Motherboards for Photo Editing (LGA1151)
1. Gigabyte B365M DS3H – mATX – Ultra Budget Motherboard – 4 x RAM Slots
This is an Ultra Budget motherboard for Intel Based systems with LGA 1151 socket. It is suitable for low key tasks.
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 latest Intel 8th and 9th generation processors.
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.
It is a well known fact that larger and more complex works eat up your RAM and therefore, you if you are professional rendering very large images, then this may come in quite handy.
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.
It does lack a 7.1 sound system or USB Type C ports like most entry level motherboards. However, these can always be added in using the expansion slot should the need arises.
In short, for budget Intel build, we recommend this as the best motherboard for photo editing.
2. ASRock B365M-ITX – Mini ITX – Compact Motherboard – 2 x RAM Slots
A compact mini ITX motherboard for casual and low level builds. Suitable for Intel based processors with LGA 1151 sockets.
Next we have our personal favourite motherboard for Intel based system for photo editing.
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.
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.
3. ASRock B365M-HDV – mATX – Dual M.2 Slots
A micro ATX entry level motherboard that features ample expansion slots and ports for its size and price.
Lastly for Intel we recommend this ASRock B365M-HDV for one particular reason especially and that is its DUAL M.2 Slots.
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.
However, it should be noted that one of the two M.2 Slot is SATA M.2 and thus it operates at 6 Gb/s whereas the other is a PCIe M.2 slot and it operates at 32 Gb/s.
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.
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)
1. Gigabyte GA-A320M-S2H – mATX – Ultra Budget Motherboard – 2 x RAM Slots
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.
2. ASRock B450M PRO4 – mATX – 4 x RAM Slots – 2 x M.2 Slots
An entry level professional motherboard that features four DIMM slots, multiple M.2 slots and a good range of of PCIe expansion slots. Suitable AMD AM4 systems.
Here we have an entry level professional motherboard that has a few good premium features up its sleeve.
For starters this is an mATX motherboard for support of upto 64 GB of RAM and 2 x M.2 slots.
The M.2 slots can be used for SSD installation. However, it should be noted that one of the M.2 slot is a SATA M.2 slot operating at 6 Gb/s. The other is a PCIe M.2 slot operating @ 64 Gb/s. The 6 Gb/s is still multiple times faster than a normal HDD.
What separates this motherboard from the rest is that offers certain server grade features like support for ECC RAM or Error-Correcting code RAM which is more stable than convectional RAMs but also more expensive.
It also has premium grade phase design with a higher than average VRMs as well as larger 42A chokes for the VRMs. The higher the number of VRMs, the more stable the motherboard operates at. VRMs regulate the voltage being delivered by the PSU and a high grade choke is essential for a good VRM.
Finally, this is the only motherboard in this list that actually offers a USB 3.1 Gen2 Type C port built in.
All in all, if you want a robust AMD build with some premium components, then this is the best motherboard for photo editing.
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.
We have chosen as such because for photo editing, focusing on other critical components like RAM, monitor, processor is more important.
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.