Best PCs for Adobe Creative Cloud Windows Central 2021
If you're a creator of any kind, you're probably using Adobe Creative Cloud. Love Adobe or not, programs like Photoshop, Lightroom and Premiere Pro have become industry standards for photography, digital art, and video production. There's also no one single type of PC that best suits Creative Cloud since the nature of the work creators using it will vary. Nevertheless, these are some of the best laptops and best desktops to get your work done.
- Best All-in-One: HP ENVY 32 All-in-One
- Best Laptop: Dell XPS 15
- Best 2-in-1: Surface Book 3
- Best Desktop: Dell XPS Tower 8940 Special Edition
- Best Tablet: Surface Pro 7
- Ultimate Laptop: Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition
Best All-in-One: HP Envy 32
Sometimes with an all-in-one PC, you have to compromise, but with the HP Envy 32, you genuinely do not. Its size helps a little, but you can have pretty much everything you could ever want from a PC all in this single unit.
That includes a full-fat 65W Intel Core i7 CPU, not the slimmed-down versions you often find inside an all-in-one or a laptop, and it's paired with either NVIDIA GTX, or RTX dedicated graphics. You might not be buying one of these as a gaming rig, but you bet it can tear up the latest titles.
The Envy 32 also boasts a massive 32-inch display, with both 4K resolution and HDR and a neat anti-reflective finish, making it so much nicer to sit in front of for long periods.
- 32-inch 4K anti-reflective HDR display.
- GTX or RTX graphics.
- 65-watt Core i7 CPU.
- Pop-up Windows Hello 5MP camera.
- Display input/output.
- No Wi-Fi 6.
- Display limited to 60 Hz.
- SSD is just OK.
Best Laptop: Dell XPS 15
Photographers and videographers need to see what they're working with. In that case, the gorgeous 4K display on the Dell XPS 15 just makes sense. However, the 1080p version is still pretty good. But the XPS 15 is an easy recommendation for a laptop buyer who wants style and performance.
The latest model now comes with Intel's 10th Gen H-Series Core i5 and i7 processors, combined with an NVIDIA GTX 1650 Ti GPU with 4GB of VRAM. This produces a laptop that can handle some serious design and editing work. The battery is also pretty massive, given the size of the laptop, for all-day life.
The XPS 15 also now has a redesigned 16:10 display with almost no bezels while still being wrapped up inside a beautifully designed and expertly constructed chassis. There's even an element of upgradeability, and while there's no official pen support, this still makes one incredible, highly portable editing machine.
- Optional 4K display
- Dedicated NVIDIA graphics.
- 10th Gen H-Series Intel processors.
- Thunderbolt 3
- No official pen support
- Can get expensive
Best 2-in-1: Microsoft Surface Book 3
The Surface Book 3 is the ultimate 2-in-1 laptop with its detachable "clipboard" and full digital pen support. Its modular design — the keyboard and touchpad can be removed entirely — does not hinder its performance. In fact, it enhances it, bringing additional battery life and graphics power to the mix.
This is the closest you'll get to true desktop performance from a 13- or a 15-inch laptop. Choose a 10th Gen Intel Core i5 or i7 processor, and now there's a dedicated NVIDIA 1660 Ti GPU, which provides stunning performance and makes it a perfect companion to heavy editing sessions. There's also an NVIDIA Quadro RTX 3000 option thrown in with true workstation graphics if you need even more power.
The 13.5-inch or 15-inch touchscreen with beautiful 3000x2000 resolution works in tandem with the included Surface Pen, and you can add the Surface Dial for additional functionality. The premium build and high performance come at a price, but in its third iteration, the Surface Book remains a genuinely unique laptop.
- Stunning display
- Dedicated NVIDIA graphics
- Touch and pen support
- Use as tablet or laptop
Best Desktop: Dell XPS Tower 8940 Special Edition
Dell's XPS Tower 8940 Special Edition is easy to recommend thanks to a ton of configuration options that suit various budgets. And also a lot of ports. On the front are USB-C, USB-A, and 3.5mm audio ports that are easy to reach for common accessories alongside an SD card slot. You even get an optical drive and a heap of ports on the rear to connect pretty much everything you could want.
The entry model is worth avoiding if you're going to be getting into intensive work such as Premiere Pro editing. While it has dedicated graphics, you're not saving much, and the performance will be lacking. The sweet spot is the mid-tier 10th Gen Intel Core i5 model paired with the AMD Radeon RX 5600 or a Core i7 paired with either a GTX 1660 Ti or an RTX 3060.
But you can really beef up the hardware inside, too, and you can also opt for a 10th Gen Intel Core i9-10900K CPU, 64GB of DDR4 RAM, up to 4TB of storage, and a beefy NVIDIA RTX 3070 with 8GB of VRAM if you so wish. This box looks like it belongs in an office, but it's capable of scorching performance, and even if you do opt to get one of the lower-tier configurations, it's a simple task to upgrade the internals down the road.
- Plenty of spec options
- Good port selection
- Amazing performance potential
- Easy upgradeability
- Entry model a little weak
- Some finishing issues on the case
Best Tablet: Surface Pro 7
Sporting a glorious 12.3-inch 2736x1842 3:2 display, 10th gen Intel Core i5 or i7 processors, up to 16GB RAM, and a 1TB SSD, you can't go wrong with the Surface Pro 7 for photo editing and more Creative Cloud-based work. It's also a great 2-in-1 for web browsing on the sofa as a tablet, lighter video editing, and productivity work if you buy the optional Microsoft Surface Type cover too.
The Surface Pro 7 uses the same flagship 2-in-1 form factor that was first popularized by Microsoft back in 2012. It features a kickstand around the back and a separate Type Cover accessory that adds a keyboard and trackpad, turning the Surface Pro into a convertible PC. For creators using the Adobe Suite, the included pen and optional Surface Dial are essential accessories to use with the Surface Pro 7.
It also has a USB-C port, USB-A port, Surface Connect port, and a microSD card expansion slot for additional storage if required. The design hasn't changed much in recent years, but why mess with the best? The Surface Pro 7 epitomizes the idea of a powerful laptop inside a tablet's body.
- Great design
- Stunning touch display
- Pen support
- Optional Surface Dial and keyboard
- Good battery life
- No Thunderbolt 3
- Higher spec models are pricey
- No keyboard included
Ultimate Laptop: Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition
If there's a god-tier laptop out there right now for creators, this is it. The regular Razer Blade 15 is exceptional, but this Studio Edition, developed to meet strict guidelines set by NVIDIA, is absolutely mindblowing.
It keeps the 9th Gen Intel Core i7 six-core processor from the previous generation gaming version of the Blade 15 but pairs it with a monstrous Quadro RTX 5000 16GB GPU. This is one of the most powerful laptop GPUs on the planet for creators and remains quiet during most operations.
The Blade 15 Studio also boasts 32GB of RAM, a 1TB PCIe SSD, and out front an absolutely stunning 4K OLED touch display. It's the kind of display that makes anything you look at after-feel really underwhelming; it's that good and perfect for those interested in color accuracy with its DCI-P3 calibration. The Studio Edition is also optimized to work with Creative Cloud for the absolute best performance.
- 4K OLED display
- RTX Quadro graphics
- 32GB of RAM
- Thunderbolt 3
- High price
- Average battery life
The bottom line
Adobe Creative Cloud runs well on a wide range of Windows 10 PCs, but if you're specifically looking for something with it in mind, then you're obviously going to want something that will really get the most from it. Generally, that means looking towards the higher end of the market where the more powerful hardware lies.
If you're shopping for a desktop machine, though, the superb HP Envy 32 is a beast of a machine for all purposes, with high-end hardware inside and a high-end design on the outside, it's truly a pleasure to spend the day in front of. Likewise, if you're looking for a capable laptop to take with you, the Dell XPS 15 is a fine choice to make.
Creative Cloud casts a wide net, and all of these machines will be a fine companion. Generally, you're looking to get as much horsepower as your budget allows, especially if you're diving into apps like Premiere Pro, because in those cases, the more grunt you have, the better your time will be.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.
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