Recommended Hardware for a High End Photography Workstation

Hardware We Recommend for a High End Photography Workstation

Designing the right system for the current scenario is a core element of our mantra at Top Flight Computers. If you don't get the right parts, it doesn't matter how much you spend on your computer...you'll be stuck with expensive hardware that doesn't work well with your situation.

Workstation Build Index

Photoshop CC | Lightroom CC

Processor (CPU) | CPU Cooler | Motherboard | Memory (RAM) | Storage (Hard Drives) | Video Card (GPU) | Case | Fans | Power Supply

High End Photography Workstation Overview

This High End Photography Workstation is built around the high-powered Intel i9-9900K, providing an extremely high amount of single-core speed, making it ideal for the vast majority of Photoshop and Lightroom tasks.

If you find yourself needing even more CPU horsepower, please contact us to design the best solution for your needs.

This system can carry up to 64GB of memory in the current spec.

Please contact us if you need more than 64GB of memory, we will work to design the best solution for your needs.

High-End Photography Workstation

System Design

This High End Photography Workstation has been configured with 16 high-speed CPU threads, 32GB of DDR4 RAM, a powerful and efficient NVIDIA video card, and multiple storage options.

This High End Photography Workstation performs well in applications optimized for moderately multithreaded CPUs, with moderate GPU rendering capabilities.

Let’s Do It!


Processor (CPU)

Intel i9-9900K 8-Core Processor (afl)

We chose the i9-9900K for its extremely high single-core performance.

The i9-9900K also has a very competitive multithreaded performance, which is helpful in situations that can use several CPU threads.

NOTE: Changing from a 9900K to a different, higher-end CPU, can give you access to more memory at the cost of single-core speed. Sometimes, this extra memory is worth the CPU speed hit, as it saves you from having to re-render content.

This can be very helpful when working with a very large project.

Intel i9-9900K 8-Core Processor

System Change: If you find yourself needing even more CPU horsepower, please contact us to design the best solution for your needs.


Phanteks PH-TC14PE Black Dual-140mm CPU Cooler

To ensure that the CPU remains cool under load, we've selected a very good aftermarket air cooler. While water cooling does cool better than air does, a big air cooler will do quite well when leaving the CPU at stock settings.

Air coolers are also more reliable, as they don't have a pump that can fail. If the fan on this air cooler fails, the system has enough internal cooling to allow you to quickly order a new fan, and finish your work.

That being said, higher-end closed-loop liquid coolers do come with very long manufacturer warranties (upwards of 7 years), so the failure rate is extremely low.

System Change: If you are unsure if your cooling idea will work with this case, please contact us for further review and assistance.


Because this system requires a large number of SATA ports, a high degree of reliability, and multiple IO ports on the back, we chose a high end motherboard from ASRock.

This motherboard has 8 SATA ports, excellent power delivery, three network ports (single 10G and dual 1G), a muted visual design, support for multiple M2 NVME drives, several rear USB ports, and up to 64GB of memory.

Let’s Do It!

ASRock Z390 Taichi Ultimate Motherboard

System Change: Please contact us if you have a question about a potential system upgrade being compatible with your motherboard.


Corsair Vengeance LPX 32GB DDR4-2666 Memory

We went with 32GB of Vengeance LPX memory due to the extremely high quality of the internal chips. This setup will give the user plenty of room for open applications.

Photoshop and Lightroom can both use large amounts of memory during certain operations, and with certain filters and effects enabled.

As Coffee Lake Refresh is a dual-channel DDR4-2666 platform, the system is more stable by using 2 DIMMs of DDR4-2666.

System Change: The motherboard selected supports a maximum of 64GB of memory, in a 4x16GB array. Needing more than 64GB of memory would require a motherboard change as well as a CPU change.

Please contact us if you have any other design questions or changes.


Samsung 860 EVO 500GB SSD
Samsung 860 EVO 1TB SSD
Samsung 860 EVO 2TB SSD
Western Digital Blue 1TB HDD
Western Digital Red 2TB HDD
Western Digital Black 2TB HDD
Western Digital Red 6TB HDD
Synology NAS Diskstation DS1819+

The SSDs and HDDs were chosen for their high capacity and high reliability. This complex storage array is designed for a per-drive file management setup.

Drives are associated for OS, Lightroom, Work, Rejects, JPEG, Work Clone, and Archive.

System Change: Please contact us if you have any other design questions or changes.


The video card was chosen for its large memory capacity, ample CUDA cores, and support for 4K resolution.

This video card has a very capable aftermarket cooling solution, and will prevent any sort of thermal throttling from taking place.

We do recommend having at least a GTX 1060, as CUDA acceleration in Photoshop CC is growing as Adobe adds support.

Let’s Do It!

MSI GTX 1060 6GB GAMING Video Card

System Change: If you come across a need for more graphical horsepower, you can easily upgrade your video card with no need to change the system otherwise.

Contact us if you have any other design questions or changes.


Fractal Design Define R6 USB-C Blackout Mid Tower Case

The case was chosen for its high build quality, room for plenty of high-end hardware, and incredible amount of cooling potential.

System Change: Reasons for changing the case can be very hard to pin point.

If you have a question about the compatibility of the case selected with an upgrade, please contact us.


We have selected a full set of high-quality pressure-optimized fans to ensure sufficient airflow in the case to keep the system stable under heavy load.

Having high quality fans also means less noise, even when the fans are spinning at high RPM.

Phanteks PH-F120MP Fans

System Change: Reasons for changing the fans can be very hard to pin point.

If you have a question about the compatibility of the fans selected with an upgrade, please contact us.


EVGA SuperNOVA P2 750W Fully-Modular Power Supply

The power supply was chosen for its high build quality, ample power capacity, and respectable thermal efficiency. Upgrading the wattage will potentially make the fan run slower, creating less noise overall. A higher wattage PSU than necessary will also prolong the life of the unit, as it isn't being operated near peak load.

Using a high quality power supply means better power delivery, and cleaner power. Messy power can result in a system failure, corruption of data, or even a hardware crash.

Let’s Do It!

System Change: If you decide to upgrade any single major draw of power, you do not need to change the power supply. If you change multiple draws of power, you may need to upgrade the wattage on the power supply.

Please contact us if you have any other design questions or changes.


About Top Flight Computers

Top Flight Computers designs high-performance custom-built computers. We specialize in workstations, gaming computers, and water cooling.

We are based in Cary, North Carolina, and we ship across the USA. Check out our previous builds and our page on Facebook.