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The 5 Best Computers for Video Editing & Content Creators

The 5 Best Computers for Video Editing & Content Creators

Whether you're a hobbyist just starting or a professional video editor looking to upgrade, choosing the right computer is a critical step that can make or break your editing experience. In 2023, the options for video editing machines are vast – from laptops to desktops, Macs to PCs, off-the-shelf to custom-built. With new components and technologies launching constantly, figuring out what fits your needs and budget can be dizzying.

That's why I've created this comprehensive guide to help you navigate the complex world of video editing computers. Drawing upon my over ten years of experience as a video editor and hardware expert, I'll break down the key factors to consider, spotlight top machines in various price tiers, and provide actionable recommendations tailored to your use case.

Whether you're editing family vacation footage or Hollywood blockbusters, this guide will serve as your north star. You'll walk away with clarity on the ideal machine for your creative goals. I'll also share best practices for optimising performance and longevity so your investment will serve you well for years.

Video editing computers open up a realm of creative possibilities – let's make sure you choose one that empowers your vision rather than hinders it. Stick with me; by the end, you'll have confidence in picking your new video editing partner in crime. Time to level up your editing game!

Navigating the Sea of Video Editing Computers

Video Editing Software Reviews

Video editing pushes computers to their limits. Rendering high-resolution footage, applying complex effects, and exporting polished videos require serious processing power and graphics capabilities. When shopping for a video editing computer, you must prioritise components like the CPU, GPU, RAM, and storage.

  • The CPU (central processing unit) handles most computer computations. Look for the latest Intel Core i7 or i9 processors or AMD Ryzen 7 or 9 chips. More cores and higher clock speeds equate to faster rendering and playback.
  • The GPU (graphics processing unit) accelerates video processing and 3D graphics. NVIDIA's RTX series and AMD's Radeon Pro cards are ideal for video editing. The more VRAM (video memory), the better, with 16GB or higher recommended.
  • RAM (random access memory) enables real-time editing of high-res footage. 32GB is a sensible minimum for professional work, but consider 64GB or more for 4K and 360° videos.
  • Fast solid-state drives (SSDs) are essential for smooth playback and reducing export times. Look for 1TB or higher capacities to store video files and scratch disks.
  • All-in-one workstations like the Apple iMac Pro, Microsoft Surface Studio, and HP Z1 G8 pack robust specs into elegant designs—mobile workstations like the Dell Precision 7760 and Lenovo ThinkPad P1 Gen 4 offer on-the-go editing power. Desktops like the Puget Systems Deluge and Origin PC Millenium provide highly customisable and upgradeable performance.

No single computer excels in every area of video editing. Determine your budget, performance needs, and preferred operating system before choosing a machine. Pay close attention to the CPU, GPU, RAM, and storage to ensure your computer can keep up with your editing demands now and into the future.

5 Best Computers for Video Editing

1 – Apple iMac Pro: The Powerhouse Performer

Apple Imac Pro

The Apple iMac Pro is in a league of its own regarding video editing performance. As an all-in-one workstation, the iMac Pro integrates a stunning 27-inch 5K Retina display and an astounding amount of processing power into a sleek, space-saving design.

Under the hood, the iMac Pro can easily be configured with up to an 18-core Intel Xeon W processor and 128GB of RAM, giving it the muscle to handle even the most demanding 8K video projects. AMD Radeon Pro Vega graphics cards supplement this raw power, which provides outstanding performance for GPU-accelerated tasks like rendering complex effects and colour-grading high-resolution footage.

The fusion of macOS optimisation and cutting-edge hardware makes the iMac Pro a video editing powerhouse. Complex timeline playback is smooth and responsive, allowing editors to work more efficiently. Encoding times are blazing fast, delivering final exports in a fraction of the time compared to other systems.

The expansive 27-inch 5K display provides ample screen real estate and pin-sharp clarity for immersive editing sessions. Seeing footage rendered in full 5K resolution is a game-changer for identifying subtle details and imperfections. The display's support for the P3 wide colour gamut shows video content in its vibrant colours.

While the iMac Pro commands a premium price, it justifies its cost for professionals who need uncompromising performance. Video editors who regularly work with 4K, 6K or 8K footage will benefit tremendously from the iMac Pro's speed and responsiveness. The iMac Pro is one of the best all-in-one machines money can buy for high-end post-production work.

SaleBestseller No. 1
Late 2017 Apple iMac Pro with 3.2GHz 8-Core Xeon (27 inch 64GB RAM, 1TB SSD) Space Gray (Renewed)
  • 3.2GHz 8-core Intel Xeon W processor w/Turbo Boost up to 4.2GHz
  • 64GB 2666MHz ECC memory
  • 1TB SSD storage, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports, 10GB Ethernet
  • Radeon Pro Vega 56 with 8GB HBM2 memory

Specifications: Apple iMac Pro

SpecificationDetails
ProcessorUp to 18-core Intel Xeon processor
GraphicsRadeon Pro Vega graphics
RAMUp to 256GB
StorageUp to 4TB SSD
Display27-inch Retina 5K display
Operating SystemmacOS

Pros:

  • Exceptional processing power.
  • Stunning Retina display.
  • macOS optimisation.
  • Ideal for 4K and 8K editing.

Cons:

  • High price point.
  • Limited upgradeability.

2 – Dell XPS 17: Balancing Power and Portability

Dell Xps 17 Fastest Laptop 2023 2024

Creative professionals need a laptop to keep up with today's high-resolution video editing and effects-heavy workflows. The recently released Dell XPS 17 aims to fit that need, offering desktop-caliber performance in a slim, portable chassis.

At the heart of the XPS 17 lies Intel's latest 10th generation Core processors, available up to an octa-core i9 that can boost up to 5.3GHz. With NVIDIA's powerful GeForce RTX graphics, this hardware can readily handle 4K and 8K video editing in programs like Adobe Premiere Pro and DaVinci Resolve. The XPS 17 chews through renders and effects, allowing editors to work smoothly even with multiple resource-intensive tasks.

Despite its performance, the XPS 17 retains a thin profile of 0.77 inches thick and weighs only 4.65 pounds. The lightweight aluminium and carbon fibre body makes slipping into a bag or backpack easy for on-the-go editing sessions. Dell managed to fit a large 17-inch 4K display into the compact chassis, providing expansive workspace for video timelines and effects controls. Vibrant colour and inky blacks bring videos to life.

Content creators with large video files will appreciate the dual Thunderbolt 3 ports on the XPS 17. These high-bandwidth connectors offer lightning-fast speeds when hooked to external drives or peripherals. Transferring raw 8K footage from an external SSD is remarkably quick.

With desktop-class power, ample screen space, and portability, the Dell XPS 17 hits the sweet spot for video editors and creators needing serious performance from their laptops. It blends speed, display size, and mobility into one appealing package. For those editing on the go, the XPS 17 delivers workstation-level capability in a form factor that won't weigh you down.

SaleBestseller No. 1
NewDell XPS 17 9730 Laptop 17 inch UHD 4K Display Touchscreen Intel i9-13900H 64GB RAM 2TB SSD GeForce RTX 4080 12 GB GDDR6 Webcam Backlit Fingerprint WiFi 6 Thunderbolt 4 Windows 11Pro 1-week Support
  • Processor:13th Gen Intel Core i9-13900H (24 MB cache, 14 cores, based on 4.10 GHz up to 5.40 GHz Turbo)
  • Display: 17″ UHD+ 3840×2400, 60Hz, Touch, Fingerprint, Anti-Reflect, 500 nit, InfinityEdge
  • Memory: 64GB DDR5, 4800 MT/s; Storage: 2TB M.2, PCIe NVMe, SSD, Wi-Fi 6 1675 (AX211), 2×2, 802.11ax, Bluetooth wireless card
  • Ports:Thunderbolt 4 (USB Type-C) ports with DisplayPort and Power Delivery support 3.5mm headphone/microphone combo jack USB-C to USB-A v3.0 & HDMI v2.0 adapter
  • Operating System: Windows 11 Pro, English, French, Spanish, 1-Week AimCare Support

Specifications: Dell XPS 17

SpecificationDetails
ProcessorIntel Core i7 or i9
GraphicsNVIDIA GeForce RTX graphics
RAMUp to 64GB
StorageUp to 2TB SSD
Display17-inch 4K display
Operating SystemWindows 10

Pros:

  • Powerful performance.
  • Large and vibrant 4K display.
  • Sleek and portable design.
  • Thunderbolt 3 support.

Cons:

  • Limited upgrade options.
  • It can get expensive with higher configurations.

3 – HP ZBook Studio G8: Creativity Unleashed

Hp Zbook Studio G8 02

For creative professionals who demand peak performance and seamless workflows, the HP ZBook Studio G8 mobile workstation stands ready to fulfil your vision. This powerful laptop is engineered for intensive creative applications like video editing, 3D modelling, animation, visual effects, and more.

Under the hood, professional-grade components are selected to blaze through demanding tasks. Configuration options include Intel Xeon or 11th Gen Core i9 processors, providing robust multi-threaded performance perfect for rendering complex timelines and effects. NVIDIA RTX graphics with up to 16GB of video memory provide the visual muscle to work with huge assets and accelerate ray tracing workflows.

The ZBook Studio G8 features a stunning 15.6-inch 4K OLED display with factory colour calibration for outstanding colour accuracy. This high-resolution touchscreen display delivers true blacks, vivid hues, and expansive screen real estate ideal for creative work.

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With up to 64GB of RAM and speedy storage in RAID 0/1 configurations, you can tackle extensive projects with huge assets. ISV certification ensures seamless compatibility with major creative apps like Adobe Creative Cloud, Autodesk software, Avid tools and more.

Designed for maximum productivity on the go or in the studio, the ZBook Studio G8 offers robust build quality in a slim 0.7-inch profile and just 4.01 pounds. Plentiful ports like Thunderbolt 4, HDMI 2.0, SD card reader, and more allow flexible workflows. With elite-calibre power, display, and ISV certification packed in a durable chassis, the HP ZBook Studio G8 empowers creative pros to bring imaginative projects to life.

Specifications: HP ZBook Studio G8

SpecificationDetails
ProcessorIntel Xeon or Core i9
GraphicsNVIDIA RTX graphics
RAMUp to 64GB
StorageUp to 8TB SSD (RAID configurations available)
Display15.6-inch 4K OLED display
Operating SystemWindows 10 or Linux

Pros:

  • Workstation-grade performance.
  • 4K OLED color-accurate display.
  • ISV-certified for software compatibility.
  • Extensive storage options.

Cons:

  • Relatively expensive.
  • Heavier than traditional laptops.

4 – ASUS ROG Strix G15: Gaming Prowess for Editing

Asus Rog Strix G15

Gaming laptops like the ASUS ROG Strix G15 are becoming increasingly popular choices for video editing due to their powerful hardware. Packed with high-end components tailored for smooth gaming performance, these machines provide the muscle needed for creative work like editing videos.

The ROG Strix G15 exemplifies this with its mix of AMD Ryzen processors and NVIDIA GeForce RTX graphics. Configurable with up to an 8-core Ryzen 9 CPU and RTX 3080 graphics, it delivers exceptional multi-threaded performance and fast rendering speeds – precisely what video editors need. The RTX 30-series GPUs also provide additional advantages thanks to dedicated encoder and decoder cores for accelerated H.264, HEVC and other video codecs.

Catering to gamers' needs, the 15.6-inch display on the ROG Strix G15 features a rapid 165Hz or 300Hz refresh rate. This high refresh ensures smooth visuals and can make scrubbing through timelines more fluid during editing. The display also offers good colour accuracy, covering 100% of the sRGB gamut.

Keeping high-end components cool under load is crucial for sustained performance. The ROG Strix G15 handles thermals through various cooling technologies, including liquid metal thermal compounds on the CPU, anti-dust tunnels to prevent fans from clogging, and ample airflow ventilation. This allows the laptop to maintain boost clocks when exporting videos or rendering effects, saving you time.

While it doesn't offer a 4K display or professional certifications like some mobile workstations, the ROG Strix G15 packs excellent power for video editing at a more affordable price point. Its gaming pedigree also brings welcome extras like RGB lighting and a more stylish design than bulkier workstation laptops. If you need solid video editing capabilities alongside gaming prowess, the ROG Strix G15 is a very compelling choice.

SaleBestseller No. 1
ASUS ROG Strix G15 (2022) Gaming Laptop, 15.6” 300Hz IPS FHD Display, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060, AMD Ryzen 7 6800H, 16GB DDR5, 1TB SSD, RGB Keyboard, Windows 11 Home, G513RM-IS74
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 6GB GDDR6 – ROG Boost up to 1752MHz at 140W (115W plus 25W with Dynamic Boost).Keyboard layout:qwerty
  • MUX switch – GPU MUX switch lets the GPU communicate directly with the display, increasing performance and decreasing latency
  • AMD Ryzen 7 6800H Mobile Processor (8-core/16-thread, 20MB cache, up to 4.7 GHz max boost)
  • 300Hz 3ms 15.6” FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS Type Display
  • 16GB DDR5 4800MHz RAM | 1TB PCIe 4.0 NVMe M.2 Performance SSD | Windows 11 Home

Specifications: ASUS ROG Strix G15

SpecificationDetails
ProcessorAMD Ryzen processors
GraphicsNVIDIA GeForce RTX graphics
RAMUp to 64GB
StorageUp to 1TB SSD
Display15.6-inch high refresh rate display
Operating SystemWindows 10

Pros:

  • Powerful hardware for gaming and editing.
  • High refresh rate display.
  • Effective cooling system.
  • Good value for the performance.

Cons:

  • Less workstation-oriented.
  • Build quality might not be as premium as other options.

5 – Custom-Built PC: Tailored to Your Needs

For those who relish having complete command over every aspect of their computer system, constructing a customised PC offers the ultimate flexibility and personalisation for video editing. You can engineer a machine flawlessly suited to your editing needs by manually selecting each component.

The processor is the heart of any video editing computer, and choosing the right CPU is crucial. Opt for the latest generation chip with the most cores and threads within your budget, prioritising raw processing power over other factors. Cooling is also vital – invest in a high-end air cooler or liquid cooling solution to enable maximum boost speeds during extended editing sessions.

RAM capacity plays a massive role in Premiere Pro and After Effects workflow. 32GB is recommended for 4K editing, but power users can benefit from 64GB or even 128GB to smoothly handle complex projects with multiple layers and effects. Pay attention to RAM speed, with 3200MHz or 3600MHz kits delivering the best performance.

Storage is where your source footage, scratch disks, and final rendered videos reside. Splurge on a fast M.2 NVME SSD as your primary drive for the operating system and applications. Supplement with ample SATA SSD or hard drive storage for your media files and project archives. A tiered storage configuration balances speed and capacity.

The graphics card accelerates effects and playback. For Premiere, prioritise GPUs like the NVIDIA RTX 3080 with 10+GB of VRAM. After Effects relies more heavily on CPU power, so focus on budget here rather than overspending on a GPU.

A custom PC lets you curate every aspect for peak editing efficiency. But it does require diligent part selection and assembly know-how. There's also tremendous long-term upgradability and cost savings over pre-built options. A tailored PC is the way for video editors who crave complete control.

Pros:

  • Complete customisation.
  • Potential cost savings.
  • Personal satisfaction in building.

Cons:

  • Requires technical knowledge.
  • Research for compatibility.
  • There is no single-point warranty.

When it comes to assembling your custom PC, every component plays a crucial role in achieving the desired level of performance. Whether you're a seasoned pro or new to PC building, selecting the proper hardware is paramount. Here's an in-depth guide on how to build a powerhouse of a PC that caters to your needs:

  1. Processor: Unleash Processing Power. The heart of your custom PC lies in the processor. Opting for a high-performance processor is non-negotiable for seamless editing, video rendering, and multitasking. Consider Intel Core i9 or AMD Ryzen 9 processors, known for their raw computing power and multitasking capabilities. These processors are engineered to effortlessly handle the demands of modern content creation, ensuring that you can edit and render videos, manipulate images, and run resource-intensive applications without a hitch.
  2. Graphics Card: The Visual Powerhouse robust graphics card is paramount when working with graphics-intensive tasks. Choose a graphics card that can handle the demands of smooth rendering and playback. NVIDIA GeForce RTX and AMD Radeon RX series are solid contenders, revered for their superior graphical prowess and support for real-time ray tracing. These cards elevate your editing experience and enable you to easily tackle complex 3D projects and immersive gaming.
  3. RAM: Empowering Multitasking and Creativity Multitasking is the hallmark of efficient content creation, and having ample RAM is essential to facilitate this. Aim for a minimum of 32GB of RAM. This ensures you can seamlessly switch between resource-intensive applications like video editing software, graphic design tools, and web development platforms. Additionally, leave room for expansion, as your creative endeavours demand even more memory as time passes.
  4. Storage: The Balance of Speed and Capacity Storage solutions are the cornerstone of a well-rounded custom PC. To strike a balance between speed and capacity, consider a dual-drive setup. An SSD (Solid State Drive) provides lightning-fast loading times for your operating system and software, while an HDD (Hard Disk Drive) or a larger SSD caters to your storage needs, accommodating large project files, media assets, and personal data. This combination ensures both high-speed responsiveness and ample storage space.
  5. Motherboard: The Nexus of Compatibility Selecting the correct motherboard is akin to laying a solid foundation for your PC. Ensure it has the necessary ports, connectors, and compatibility for your chosen components. Form factor, socket type, and chipset are critical factors to consider. Whether you're looking to accommodate multiple graphics cards, M.2 NVMe drives, or specialised connectivity options, a well-matched motherboard guarantees a seamless integration of all your hardware components.
  6. Cooling: Tackling Heat Effectively Intensive tasks generate heat, and a proper cooling system is paramount to prevent overheating that could hinder performance or even damage your components. Invest in effective cooling solutions, such as CPU coolers and case fans. High-quality air or liquid cooling solutions ensure your processor and graphics card remain within safe temperatures even during demanding workloads and extended gaming sessions.

Conclusion: Deciding Your Editing Powerhouse

In the dynamic realm of video editing, the significance of possessing the appropriate computing powerhouse cannot be overstated. It is the cornerstone upon which your artistic aspirations take tangible form. Each editing endeavour, whether grand or minute, hinges on the capabilities of your chosen machine. A symphony of options beckons you as you stand on the precipice of choice, each offering a distinct melody of possibilities.

Delve into the elegantly orchestrated world of the Apple iMac Pro, where aesthetics harmonise seamlessly with functionality. The sleek contours of its design are matched only by the finesse with which it brings your edits to life. Alternatively, the Dell XPS 17 steps onto the stage, a virtuoso of equilibrium, wielding power that resonates harmoniously with precision. Its symmetrical fusion of form and substance empowers your editing with graceful proficiency.

Cast your gaze toward the realm of the HP ZBook Studio G8, a sanctuary of performance hewn from the stones of workstation-grade capability. Its prowess is a testament to the unyielding dedication to craft, as it unfurls a canvas where your editing dreams find their fullest expression. Alternatively, the ASUS ROG Strix G15 strides forward, a digital gladiator poised for gaming conquests yet equally adept at rendering your cinematic visions with an intensity that rivals the sun's fervour.

Should the desire for bespoke mastery beckon, the allure of a self-built PC presents itself, offering a palette where your imagination dictates the hues and strokes. The symphony of components orchestrated in harmonious union becomes a testament to your ingenuity and creative flair. These myriad paths converge at the crossroads of your decision-making, reflecting your aspirations, requirements, and preferences.

In the theatre of choice, consider not only your financial compass but also your distinctive editing approach and the nebulous potential for growth. This trinity of considerations shall guide your hand as you make the momentous decision. Yet, through this convoluted journey of deliberation, remember that whichever instrument you select embodies the potency that propels your musings from the realm of the intangible into the realm of reality.

As you stand at this juncture of choice, envision a machine and a companion on your creative pilgrimage. A silent partner that empowers you to alchemise raw footage into narratives that inspire, evoke, and captivate. Your decision, ultimately, becomes a brushstroke in the grand tapestry of your creative odyssey.

Last update on 2024-04-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Stuart Crawford

Stuart Crawford is an award-winning creative director and brand strategist with over 15 years of experience building memorable and influential brands. As Creative Director at Inkbot Design, a leading branding agency, Stuart oversees all creative projects and ensures each client receives a customised brand strategy and visual identity.

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1 thought on “The 5 Best Computers for Video Editing & Content Creators”

  1. The iMac 24-inch is a great all-in-one computer for video editing. It is powered by the M1 chip and has a bright and colorful display. The iMac 24-inch also has plenty of RAM and storage options, making it a great choice for creative professionals

    Reply

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