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Can the Surface Pro 9 Run Photoshop? A Deep Dive for Creators

Hey there, creative friends! Whether you’re a budding graphic designer, a seasoned photographer, or just someone who loves to dabble in digital art, you know the power of Photoshop. But what if you crave a device that’s both portable and powerful enough to unleash your Photoshop creativity? Enter the Surface Pro 9, Microsoft’s latest 2-in-1 that promises the best of both worlds. But can it truly handle the demands of Photoshop? Let’s dive deep and find out!

Specs vs. Needs: Can the Hardware Keep Up?

First things first, let’s talk hardware. The Surface Pro 9 rocks a range of 12th Gen Intel processors, from the i5 to the mighty i7. While the i5 meets the minimum recommended specs for Photoshop, the i7 shines with its extra cores and threads, ensuring smoother performance for complex edits and multi-tasking. Real-world benchmarks tell a similar story: i5 users might experience occasional hiccups with demanding tasks, while the i7 handles them with more grace.

RAM matters too! Photoshop thrives on 8GB, but for heavier lifting, 16GB is your sweet spot. Luckily, the Surface Pro 9 offers both options. Don’t skimp on RAM – trust me, your future self (and your sanity) will thank you!

Storage? While it doesn’t directly impact performance, having enough space for hefty Photoshop files and project backups is crucial. Aim for at least 256GB, or go bigger if you work with large images or videos.

The Canvas That Matters: Display for Design Bliss

The Surface Pro 9 boasts a stunning high-resolution display with excellent color accuracy, making it a joy to edit photos and illustrations. Its touch screen and Surface Pen compatibility further enhance the creative experience, especially for artists and designers.

Software Compatibility: Is It a Match Made in Heaven?

Rest assured, all current Photoshop versions work seamlessly on the Surface Pro 9 and Windows 11. If you snag the Surface Pro 9 5G, you even get access to the ARM native version of Photoshop, offering optimized performance. Minor driver hiccups might occur, but updates usually fix them swiftly.

User Experiences: From Frustration to Flow

User reviews paint a mixed picture. Some folks find the Surface Pro 9, even with i7 and 16GB RAM, struggles with heavy workloads, leading to lag and sluggishness. Others praise its responsiveness for basic editing tasks. The key takeaway? Match your expectations to your needs. If you primarily do light edits and social media graphics, you’re golden. But for complex design projects and large files, consider a more powerful desktop or laptop.

Beyond Photoshop: Alternative Creative Options

Don’t despair if Photoshop feels too demanding! Plenty of lightweight yet powerful photo editing software caters to less intensive workflows. Check out GIMP, Affinity Photo, or even Canva, which offers a browser-based platform.

The Verdict: Can You Photoshop Like a Pro on the Surface Pro 9?

Can the Surface Pro 9 Run Photoshop
The Surface Pro 9 can run photoshop

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. The Surface Pro 9 can definitely run Photoshop, but its effectiveness depends on your specific needs. For casual creators and basic editing tasks, it’s a great portable companion. But professional-level workflows demanding heavy lifting might require a more robust machine.

Beyond the Surface

Looking for alternatives? Powerful laptops like the Dell XPS 15 or MacBook Pro offer dedicated graphics cards for top-notch performance. Desktops provide even more muscle, but sacrifice portability.

Enhance Your Workflow: Spice up your Surface Pro 9 experience with a comfortable keyboard, a portable dock for extra connectivity, and the ever-handy Surface Pen for precise creative control.


Q. What FPS should I aim for in Photoshop?
A. While Photoshop isn’t a game, smoothness matters. Aim for a consistent 30 FPS for a comfortable editing experience. Higher is always better, but diminishing returns kick in after 60 FPS.

Q. Does the Surface Pro 9 5G offer better Photoshop performance?
A. The ARM native Photoshop version shows promise, but it’s still in its early stages. Wait for further optimization and wider compatibility before making your decision.

Q. Can I upgrade the RAM or storage on the Surface Pro 9?
A. No, both are soldered onto the motherboard. Choose wisely when configuring your device!

Q. What external hard drive is best for Photoshop files?
A. Look for one with fast transfer speeds (USB 3.1 Gen 2 or Thunderbolt) and ample storage capacity.

Q. Will the Surface Pro 9 overheat while running Photoshop?
A. Modern processors are designed to manage heat efficiently. However, under sustained heavy workloads, any device can get warm. If you’re concerned, consider investing in a cooling pad for your Surface Pro 9.

Q. Is the Surface Pro 9 powerful enough for video editing alongside Photoshop?
A. It depends on the complexity of your video editing projects. Basic edits might be okay, but intense work with high-resolution footage might require a more powerful machine. Consider alternatives like DaVinci Resolve, which offer good performance on less demanding hardware.

Q. Should I wait for the next Surface Pro model for better Photoshop performance?
A. New models always bring improvements, but waiting indefinitely isn’t wise. If you need a device now, choose the Surface Pro 9 configuration that best suits your current needs. You can always upgrade later when your requirements change.

Q. Is there a cheaper alternative to the Surface Pro 9 for running Photoshop?
A. Absolutely! Consider other 2-in-1s or laptops with similar specs but lower price points. However, remember that build quality, display quality, and brand reputation can also impact your experience.

Q. I’m not a professional designer, just a hobbyist. Will the Surface Pro 9 be enough for me?
A. For sure! If you primarily do casual photo editing, creating social media graphics, or light design work, the Surface Pro 9’s capabilities will likely exceed your needs.

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