In this article, we are going to discuss most suitable hardware, few nice laptops, and some PC desktop stations for video and photo editing, but we will also suggest some possible builds, if you choose to build your PC from scratch.
Followed by software options that will be available to you.
And in the end, just a little bonus tip.
Video editing is the one of the most demanding tasks when you decide to start with video production, weather it is just for a hobby, or if you want to get into it professionally.
There are few questions you need to answer in order to understand what is it that you need and what you should be looking for.
1. Portability: Do you stay at home and want to work/edit at home, or do you travel a lot and you want to do your work on the move?
2. Space: Do you have enough space at home for a desktop computer?
Remember, desk, chair… they use a lot of space. The most annoying thing is when you get everything you need, and you are so excited, but when you start setting it up, you realize there is no room for everything and it must be crowded.
Laptops usually seem to be very expensive and at first glance you will think they are overrated, but if you think further about it, you will prove yourself wrong.
If you buy a laptop, you can use it anywhere you want… everything you need is in that small machine, so you can accept that invitation to visit a friend to a foreign country even if there is work to be done. You can even edit videos in the comfort of your own bed.
For a desktop PC, You need a desk, a chair, speakers, monitor(s), keyboard, mouse, mousepad… All those things require money and it’s a pain in the… behind… to go through all those things and pick the best.
We are here today to suggest top notch things you can/will need, so just relax. You don’t need to look elsewhere.
1. MacBook Pro
Weather you go for a 13inch or a 15 inch MacBook, You can’t go wrong.
Even the cheapest 13inch model, with 2.0GHz dual-core i5 processor with Turbo-Boost up to 3.1GHz and 8GB 1866MHz memory, is more than capable to handle anything you throw at it.
If you don’t mind a bit bigger laptop, we do recommend the 15inch version with a 2.6GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 CPU. It can Turbo-Boost up to 3.5GHz. It has 16 GB of RAM which is plenty.
If you choose a Mac you should also continue with editing in Final Cut Pro X, but if you are used to Adobe, Premiere Pro can also be installed on Mac.
2. Dell XPS
With Dell XPS laptops you don’t need to worry about the size of it.
XPS models feature borderless, aka. InfinityEdge Display with a bezel that is just around 5mm (0.2in) thick. 15inch laptop almost has the size of a 13 inch one, and the 13inch XPS is as small as the 11 inch laptop.
With the UltraSharp 4K Ultra HD display (3840 x 2160) and 3 million pixels more than the MacBook Pro, you can edit videos with pinpoint accuracy without worrying about blurriness or jagged lines.
XPS 15 with 6th Generation Intel Skylake Core i7-6700HQ Quad Core (6M Cache, up to 3.5 GHz) and 16GB (8x2GB) 2133Mhz DDR4 RAM will ensure that you have the best possible editing experience, on the smallest 15inch laptop in the world.
3. ASUS ZENBOOK
ASUS Zenbook is a very nice and capable 15 inch laptop.
It has a 15.6-Inch Touch IPS 4K Ultra-HD display, with 3840x2160px resolution.
16GB of very fast DDR4 RAM, Latest Generation Intel Skylake Core i7-6700HQ 2.6 GHz Quad-core CPU (turbo to 3.5GHz) and Nvidia GTX960M GPU will bring you smooth experience in editing.
And all that is nicely packed in a beautiful and simple ASUS-looking case.
This 15inch laptop also has a Ultra HD Touchscreen Display (3840 x 2160), 10-finger multi-touch support.
Its Intel i7-4700HQ (Haswell technology) 2.4GHz with Turbo Boost up to 3.40 GHz, is a bit better than the before-mentioned i7-6700HQ CPU.
With 16GB DDR3 RAM and 256GB SolidStateDrive it is well suited to do all the work fast and with ease.
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50 is a good choice for a video editing laptop with a price around 1000$.
For 800$ you get the same Intel Core i7-6700HQ CPU as you can find on Dell XPS and ASUS Zenbook laptops.
16GB (8GB*2) DDR4 2133MHz RAM and the NVIDIA Geforce GTX960M 2G GDDR5 GPU alongside the 15.6inch FullHD wide view angle display will give you a very stable working environment.
Apache Pro should be your no.1 laptop around/below 1000$ if you wish to dive into these waters of video-editing but you don’t want to spend thousands on your starting gear.
As we said before, in order to have a desktop workspace you need to plan it well.
We are here today to go through all things that you will/could need.
Before we start explaining what you need and what to look out for when you build your PC, we want to emphasize that you can always buy already assembled and ready to work stations.
Some of them are listed below:
1. Mac Pro
The Mac Pro has a stunning new design. It is 1/8 the volume of the previous Mac Pro. It is as big as common deskrop speaker that sits on the desk.
Unified thermal core allows a compact design that’s cooled with a single fan at the bottom and is very quiet.
Latest 3.5GHz 6-core Intel Xeon E5 “Nehalem” processor delivers exceptionally high performance, and with it much faster final video renders, which are always the most frustrating thing, having to wait for it.
Dual AMD FirePro GPUs in every Mac Pro 6GB with total of GDDR5 VRAM with 1526 stream processors deliver 2.2 teraflops of performance. If you wonder how good that is…The Mac Pro can support up to three 4k displays, or up to six Thunderbolt displays
2. Apple iMac
Its CPU is 3.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 (Haswell technology) which goes up to 3.7GHz on Turbo-Boost. Plenty of power.
8 GB of RAM, is enough. Even though it’s said that you can never have enough RAM, macintosh is good at using memory economically.
Its 27″ Retina Display has a 5120x2880px Native Resolution (5k) and it is IPS display, which means it shows true colors when you view it from any angle.
Extremely precise antireflective coating allows uncompromised vibrant, vivid and accurate colors.
iMac has a stunningly thin, aluminum and glass design that is only 5mm thick at its edge.
Its ultra thin design will decorate your room while it will always be ready for anything you throw at it.
3. HP Z1 G2
If you prefer editing on a Windows-based computer, the Hewlett-Packard Z1 G2 is THE video editing machine for you.
What you get with HP Z1 G2 All-in-One Workstation is stability and speed.
Unique ability of the Z1 G2 is that its monitor can get into ”service mode’,’ tilt back and lay flat on the table, allowing you to do repares or updates of components inside.
In the meanwhile enjoy hefty performance of the Intel Xeon E3-1280 v3 quad core processor which hits up to 3.6GHz speed.
The strength with the Z1 G2 isn’t so much in the individual components (RAM, processor, drives, video card, etc) but how they’ve all been integrated to create peak performance.
If you feel that Windows environment is your thing, go with the HP Z1 G2.
BUILDING YOUR PC
For any productivity software, a better CPU will benefit you over a better GPU.
Most of what productivity suites need is raw computing power, which a GPU won’t help you with.
Unless you’re buying a professional graphics card, we would advise not to regard it as a factor in your choice of system.
But if you are buying a pro GPU, read this:
Amd vs Nvidia is more dependent on software. Cad, Inventor, and 3Ds Max are DirectX so it doesn’t matter. Maya and Solidworks are OpenGL so Nvidia wins there. But Amd has OpenCL in the bag. Adobe software doesn’t matter. It’s still mostly CPU. Most renderers are CPU as well.
All in all, it doesn’t matter, either can handle video editing fine, you should get whichever can use the softwares’ features the most and the one that is best bang for the buck.
As far as CPU goes, the rule is this: More cores, better performance.
A CPU ( Central Processing Unit ) is effectively the “brains” of the video editing, and it is the last place you want to short yourself on your photo editing build.
So, you always go for most cores. You find a six-core i7 CPU, where hyper-threading allows it to operate as if it had 12 cores.
It’s not quite as effective as having 12 cores individually, but it’s still very good. This is a huge benefit when it comes to rendering.
After CPU commes the choice of the Motherboard. First you see what kind of socket does your chosen processor fit, and choose a motherboard that suits it.
RAM choosing is easy. If you are going to be photo editing, 8GB is just fine… 16GB for editing more photos at once.
When editing videos, 16GB is fine for starters. If you are going to be more serious and edit in FHD or even 4k, then we recommend starting with 32GB and upgrading up if needed.
Solid State Drives (SSD) work well for storing your OS and applications, or as “scratch disks” designated for temporary use by Photoshop or other programs. But besides that you should have a hard disk HDD for your video and photo storage.
Below, we will list some builds that are very good for the money, and that are very stable.
2. $1k+ build:
|CPU||Intel Core i7-3930K 3.2GHz 6-Core Processor|
|CPU Cooler||Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler|
|Motherboard||ASRock X79 Extreme6 ATX LGA2011 Motherboard|
|Graphics Card||EVGA GeForce GTX 760 2GB ACX Video Card|
|Power Supply||XFX ATX12V/EPS12V 550W Power Supply|
|Wireless Card||TP-LINK Archer T6E AC1300 Dual Band Wireless PCI Express Adapter|
|Solid State Drive||Samsung 950 PRO Series – 256GB PCIe NVMe – M.2 Internal SSD|
|Hard Drive||WD Black 2TB Performance Desktop Hard Disk Drive – 7200 RPM SATA 6 Gb/s 64MB Cache 3.5 Inch|
|Memory||Patriot Viper 3 16GB (4 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory|
3. $1k+ build:
Now, of course, every PC needs a good monitor to pair up with. Check out few of these:
All of these are 4k, 16:9 ratio, except for Dell which is UltraWide 21:9 ratio. Nice brightness and true and vivid colors.There Is even the option of buying 2 or more monitors and linking them to your PC so you have 2-3 or maybe even more Extended Displays which you can put on these stands. More workspace equals easier management, and faster and more fluent work.
That would be it for your new Personal Computer build.
This wouldn’t be a complete article if we didn’t specify what software should you use.
There are 2 main factors: Are you using Windows or Macintosh?
Both Mac and Windows have entry level and mid weight solutions now for video editing. iMovie on the Mac is a wonderful tool but it has limitations and Windows Movie Maker is a free entry level package for PC, again it has its limitations.
Premiere Elements is a step up from those two and is very affordable. It runs on either PC or Mac as does its big brother Premiere Pro which starts to become a very highly featured tool.
Also on PC there is Sony Vegas, or Sony Vegas Movie Studio Suite, which provide a lot of professional features.
On the Mac Final Cut Pro has many fans and add on products that give it real power.
Finally at the top of the tree there is the Hollywood favourite which is AVID.
It doesn’t mean that it is the best choice for every eventuality, just that it is the most fully featured and preferred of professionals. It also has an enormous price tag on it.
In the end the question is really about what kind of video editing you want to do. If all you want to do is cut a few clips together then a free or low cost solution on either platform will be fine, like Premiere Elements or MAGIX Movie Edit Pro. If you want to sync audio and video together then again, both platforms have some great options. If you want to become a professional video editor on the next Star Wars then maybe you should get a very expensive PC and shell out for AVID.
Also, if there is some Photo Editing to be done, both Windows and Mac users can create magic on Adobe Photoshop Elements, paired beautifly together with Adobe Lightroom.
You can get them separately or together in Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan.
Now as an extra recommendation, you should get yourself a comfortable chair in order to save your back and neck.
We suggest DXRacer chairs.
When you edit daily it gives you wonderful back support and after late hours you can just recline back, relax and be very comfy.
Here is a helpful chart on how to choose the right chair.