Affinity Photo System Requirements: Finding the Perfect PC Setup

Affinity Photo’s system requirements are not as high as some other photo editing and retouching applications, but it is no lightweight contender in the field of image retouching. Have no doubt that Affinity Photo is a professional photo editing software and requires computer hardware that matches its purpose.

Affinity Photo 2 offers a complete range of tools for photographers, graphic designers, and anyone who needs image editing software at a low cost. It serves as a cost-effective alternative to Adobe Photoshop, providing users with powerful features for retouching, compositing, and creating stunning images. But image files don’t discriminate. When retouching images, if you don’t have sufficient computing power, any application will take time.

Affinity Photo sometimes feels like a lightweight contender (though not necessarily slower) in comparison with Photoshop. So, is it really able to do more with less? Let’s find out what Affinity Photo needs to be able to work at maximum efficiency.

System Requirements for Photo Editing

Both Affinity Photo and Adobe Photoshop are capable of processing simply massive images that are tens of thousands of pixels in each dimension. They also work with images up to 32-bit depth in color and can also work with layers and masks. Each of these features means that an image’s file size is going to increase – thereby also increasing the computing requirements.

RAM, GPU, and SSD needed for Photo Editing

Of course, both programs benefit from high-end processors, fast SSD drives, high-end graphics cards, and lots of RAM, but there is a distinct benefit in knowing what the minimum system requirements are, and how they compare to your PC’s specifications. If you’re a beginner, learning about image editing, and want to explore the basics it’s useful to know whether Affinity Photo 2 will run at a decent speed, or whether it will be slow.

In this article, we’re going to deal with the System Requirements for Affinity Photo 1.x and 2.x, and I will add my perspective as a photographer who uses it for his daily work. But first: a quick summary of our findings:

What is The Cheapest Computer Hardware Config for Affinity Photo to Work?

Affinity Photo can run on cheap computer hardware. It will run on any office computer that runs Word. In fact, Affinity Photo can be installed on an Intel Core i3 or equivalent CPU, with 4GB of RAM, and needs about 1GB (Windows) to 2.8GB (macOS) of space on the installation drive. Do note that these are absolute minimum specifications that Affinity Photo 2 needs, so the results that you see are likely to be slow. However, it will work, and is sufficient if you are a beginner who is learning to retouch images with Affinity Photo.

To be productive though, you may want to add hardware that is more capable, and we’re going to explore that next.

How Much RAM Does Affinity Photo Need?

Image editing tools require more RAM than many other applications simply because of the number of calculations needed to first display, and then manipulate the pixel data from images. Affinity Photo memory usage shouldn’t be all that high considering that it is a newer application with little legacy code (when compared to Adobe Photoshop). Let’s take a look at how much RAM Affinity Photo 1.x and Affinity Photo 2.x need to work well.

How Much RAM Does Affinity Photo 1 Require?

The minimum system requirements for Affinity Photo 1.0 to Affinity Photo 1.10 suggest that just 2GB of RAM is sufficient at a basic level with 4GB recommended. Our suggestion for serious users is to always look at 16GB or more if they use Affinity Photo with large files, or with multiple other apps simultaneously.

However, casual users who will use Affinity Photo infrequently for small edits, creating memes, or light color correction to individual images, can easily get by with just 4GB of RAM.

RAM Requirement for Affinity Photo 2

Affinity Photo 2 comes with higher system specifications. The application website suggests that users should have a minimum of 8GB of RAM. Considering that Affinity Photo was released in January 2023, I think that this is a rather appropriate suggestion at an entry-level, also taking into consideration that Windows tends to take up 4-6GB of RAM upon booting up. More serious users will be able to see benefits from having 16GB of RAM as they may have more than one file open at a time, use RAW images, may use multiple layers, and adjustment layers, or may be working with other applications which also need RAM to function.

Only users who make use of extremely large image files – for example: 50-megapixel or higher RAW files – with dozens of layers, adjustment layers, and masks will really need 32GB or more. I have been able to use Affinity Photo 2 with many high-resolution images open at the same time, without filling up my 32GB of RAM. This points to an efficient use of RAM, and I would say that 32GB may be more than necessary for the majority of users, including photographers who use many layers for product retouching, layouts, or wedding and event photographers who do extensive retouching.

How Much Drive Space Does Affinity Photo Use?

The amount of drive space required by Affinity Photo depends on the version you’re using and the additional resources, such as brushes, plugins, and presets, that you may choose to install. Also, note that the apps may need quite a bit more space when doing the initial install. Let’s break down the drive space requirements for Affinity Photo 1.x and 2.x.

Drive Space Requirement for Affinity Photo 1

The basic installation of Affinity Photo 1.x requires around 1GB of free disk space. However, this does not take into account the additional resources you may want to install or the space needed for your working files. It is always a good idea to have ample free space on your primary drive to ensure smooth performance, not just for Affinity Photo but for your computer in general.

For users working with Affinity Photo 1.x, we recommend having at least 20GB of free disk space on your primary drive. This will allow for the installation of the software and additional resources, and provide enough space for temporary files and caches that the application may generate during use.

Drive Space Requirement for Affinity Photo 2

With the release of Affinity Photo 2, the application requires slightly more disk space for its installation – approximately 1.5GB. Similar to its predecessor, this estimate does not include additional resources or working files.

For those using Affinity Photo 2, we suggest having a minimum of 30GB of free disk space on your primary drive. This will ensure that you have enough room for the software, any additional resources, and temporary files or caches that may be created during your editing sessions.

Additional Tips on Drive Space Management

  1. Use an SSD: Installing Affinity Photo on a solid-state drive (SSD) can improve the overall performance of the application. SSDs offer faster read and write speeds compared to traditional hard disk drives (HDDs), which can result in shorter loading times and smoother operation.
  2. Optimize storage space: Regularly cleaning up your drive by removing unnecessary files, uninstalling unused applications, and running disk cleanup tools can help you maintain optimal performance.
  3. External storage for working files: Consider using an external drive to store your image files and project data. This can help keep your primary drive free of clutter and ensure that you have ample space for temporary files and caches generated by Affinity Photo.

By understanding the system requirements and drive space needed for Affinity Photo, you can tailor your computer setup to deliver the best possible performance for your image editing needs. This will enable you to focus on the creative aspects of photography without being hindered by hardware limitations.

What GPU Specs Does Affinity Photo Require?

Affinity Photo makes use of your computer’s GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) to accelerate various tasks, such as rendering previews, applying effects, and real-time adjustments. Affinity Photo can happily use your computer’s integrated GPU, so there is no real minimum requirement, but having a discrete GPU (dedicated GPU) on your laptop or desktop can significantly improve the application’s performance and provide a smoother user experience. Let’s discuss the GPU requirements for Affinity Photo 1.x and 2.x.

Recommended GPU Requirements for Affinity Photo 1.x

The recommended GPU requirements for the best experience include:

  • DirectX 10 or later compatible graphics card
  • 2GB or more VRAM
  • 1280×768 display or larger

Recommended GPU Requirements for Affinity Photo 2.x

With the release of Affinity Photo 2.x, the GPU requirements have increased slightly to accommodate the new features and improvements in the software. The minimum and recommended GPU requirements are as follows:

Recommended GPU requirements:

  • DirectX 10 or later compatible graphics card
  • 4GB or more VRAM
  • 1280×768 display or larger

Additional GPU Considerations

  1. Integrated vs. Dedicated GPU: While integrated graphics (those built into your computer’s CPU) can run Affinity Photo, a dedicated GPU will generally offer better performance. If you’re a professional or serious hobbyist, consider investing in a dedicated graphics card.
  2. GPU Brand: Affinity Photo works well with both NVIDIA and AMD GPUs, so you can choose based on your preference, budget, and compatibility with your system.
  3. Driver Updates: Keeping your GPU drivers up-to-date can help ensure optimal performance and compatibility with Affinity Photo. Regularly check for driver updates from your GPU manufacturer.
  4. Monitor Resolution: Higher-resolution monitors, such as 4K displays, can put additional strain on your GPU. If you’re using a high-resolution monitor, consider opting for a more powerful GPU with more VRAM to handle the increased workload.

What CPU does Affinity Photo require?

The CPU (Central Processing Unit) plays a crucial role in the overall performance of Affinity Photo. A faster and more efficient CPU can significantly improve the speed and responsiveness of every application. In image editing uses, where a great deal of data must be used, stored, and manipulated upon demand, the use of a faster processor with more cores and threads will always make sure that the computer can respond quicker.

Additional CPU Considerations for Affinity Photo 2

  1. Multicore Processors: Affinity Photo 2.x can take advantage of multicore processors for faster performance. Opting for a CPU with more cores and threads can provide better performance, especially when working with large files or applying complex effects.
  2. Clock Speed: The clock speed of a CPU, measured in GHz, also affects the performance of Affinity Photo. A higher clock speed generally translates to faster processing times, but it’s essential to consider the balance between core count and clock speed for optimal performance.
  3. AMD vs. Intel: Affinity Photo works well with both AMD and Intel processors. You can choose between the two based on your preference, budget, and compatibility with your system.

Buy the fastest processor that you can afford, but don’t assume that you need the absolute best always. Most professionals will know the threshold below which they will find the speed to be an inconvenience. Our suggestion is to get a Core i5 processor if you are an enthusiast, or a Core i7 or i9 processor for a workstation computer that will see a lot of daily image processing usage.

Recommended Computer Specs for Affinity Photo 2

Affinity Photo (or any photo editing computer) system specs can vary based on your need. So, we’re sharing, three different hardware specifications for an image-processing workhorse that is attuned to one of three usages: Beginner, Intermediate, and advanced.


Beginner

  • Intel Core i3 processor
  • 4GB RAM
  • 256GB SSD
  • Integrated Graphics

Intermediate

  • Intel Core i5 processor
  • 8GB RAM
  • 512GB SSD
  • 2GB GPU

Advanced

  • Intel Core i7 or i9 processor
  • 16/32GB RAM
  • 1TB SSD
  • 4/6GB GPU

There is always a difference in performance when moving from one tier to another. Interestingly, Affinity Photo 2 will work with a similar speed for small images with any of the above configurations. Choose the configuration that suits your needs the best, making the most of all the resources, without wasting money by getting more than you will need.

Enjoy using Affinity Photo 2, and leave a comment to let us know how your new computer suits your needs.

Susheel Chandradhas

Susheel Chandradhas

Susheel Chandradhas is a Product Photographer and Filmmaker based in India. He has been taking photographs (almost) all his life. He has a diploma and a bachelors degree in Visual Communication, where his classmates all believed that he would write a book on photography... Instead, he writes on this website (because - isn't a community more fun?).

His passions include photography, parkour, wide-angle lenses, blue skies, fire extinguishers, and fast computers.

In addition to writing for Beyond Photo Tips, Susheel is a staff writer for Fstoppers.com, and owns and runs ColoursAlive, a photography, and video production studio.

You can connect with Susheel on Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn.

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