If you do a lot of video or photo editing, the one thing you want to avoid when buying equipment is nasty surprises. A slow or badly equipped PC, laptop or tablet will be a drag on your creative process. Meanwhile, a subpar monitor or laptop display could yield videos that look shockingly different than what you saw during production. And you may miss a deadline if your machine can’t render the final product quickly enough.
This doesn’t just apply to PCs. Adobe is planning a full version of Photoshop for the iPad, and it’s developing an all-in-one video tool, Project Rush, that will work across platforms. Whichever app you choose, it’s crucial to do some hardware research to ensure that your equipment will work with the app rather than against it. Luckily, we’ve already done a good chunk of the homework for you. Here’s how to pick gear for photo and video creation, whether you’ve got $500 or $5,000.