Find Your Best Desktop Computer for Video Editing

Understand which capabilities you need to meet your specific video editing goals.

Whether you’re editing a family video or working on a film, desktop computers deliver excellent performance per dollar and typically cost less than other form factors, such as laptops. They also provide seamless rendering with high-resolution displays, enough RAM to handle multitasking, and plenty of storage—all of which are key to unleashing your creativity.

Key Considerations

To start with, the best desktop for video editing depends on what type of content you’re creating. Making a how-to vlog series for YouTube requires far less processing power than editing a feature film or creating video for virtual reality. If you’re producing professional commercials, you’ll need a fast computer that can help you meet deadlines.

Your desktop PC should support all of your creative tools seamlessly. For example, video editing software requires a lot of RAM. You need even more when multitasking with creative applications, such as those used for creating graphics or manipulating still imagery.

You should also consider what types of external hard drives you’ll use. For small projects shot with a smartphone or for online-only purposes, you may not need an external drive. Where video files are relatively small, you can upload footage directly to your computer and edit from there.

Larger projects, however, require a lot more storage and processing horsepower. You’ll need to transfer working files to a fast storage drive that can act as a high-performance extension of your computer. For archiving finished projects and associated raw footage, a good bulk storage system can accommodate large file sizes. 

Video editing desktops powered by Intel® Core™ i7 and i9 processors give you the tools to create engaging, high-resolution video for everything from social media to the big screen.

Video Editing PC Specs

In general, the faster and more powerful the video editing PC specs, the better-quality output you’ll get. Let’s take a closer look at the basic specifications.

  • Processor. Your computer’s processor frequency, or clock speed, affects your ability to work with your content. The higher the frequency, the faster performance you’ll get for running creative applications and making edits to project files. The more complicated the editing project, the more processing power you need—especially if you’re editing extremely large files from 4K video footage. If you need to do color correction, work in layers, add special effects, import graphics, or add transitions, having a high-performance processor is key.

    Video project files need to be rendered between each editing pass. For example, you might cut your raw footage together, then render your project. Then you might add a graphics layer and render your project again. You might do a third pass to color correct, followed by another render. The processor’s core count affects your computer’s ability to render files and export final content. More cores deliver faster performance for these tasks.
  • Graphics card. Your computer’s graphics processing capabilities play a critical role in video editing. An integrated graphics card enables high-resolution display capabilities and an accurate color gamut for color correction. With ample performance for multiple monitors, you can have your active project timeline open on one screen and use the other for easy access to bins containing clips and other files.
  • Memory. When you’re under deadline pressure, your computer’s memory, or RAM, enables you to work fast, render huge files, and deliver high-quality results. Memory is different from storage, which is how you save files. Your computer may have plenty of storage, but if you don’t have enough memory, creative applications can crash. If you’re using multiple creative software programs at once, memory is even more important.
  • Display. Being able to see accurate colors is critical for editing video for any application, from posting social media clips to producing a professional documentary film. You need a computer screen with enough resolution to match your camera’s video footage. Standard high-definition (HD) video has a resolution of 1920x1080, and 4K video is four times the pixel resolution(3840x2160).
  • Storage performance and capacity. Video production generates a lot of very big files. Raw video footage gets even bigger once you add effects, graphics layers, and sound. You’ve got to have a high-performance storage solution for your working files, as well as something dependable for bulk storage.

    Storage drives fall into two categories. Hard disk drives (HDDs) have arms with several “heads” that read and write data to spinning disks. These drives are a cost-effective option for archiving final projects and raw footage. Solid-state drives (SSDs) have no moving parts. They dramatically reduce the time it takes to access your files since you don’t have to wait for platter rotation to start up. You can easily sift through raw footage and edit enormous files right from the drive.
  • I/O ports and connectivity. Video editing requires a computer with high-performance ports that allow your monitors, external storage, speakers, and other peripherals to power your creativity.

    Connection speed is also important. Computers with a 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) port let you transfer huge video files from your computer to your storage drives painlessly. Wi-Fi 6–enabled PCs allow you to upload video files to the cloud quickly and securely.

Intel® Technologies for Video Editing

Video editing desktops powered by Intel® processors and other technologies empower you to create engaging, high-resolution video for everything from social media to the big screen.

Intel® Technology Features

Intel® Core™ processors and Intel® Xeon® processors

The latest Generation Intel® Core™ i7 and i9 processors give you high performance, seamless connectivity, and stunning visuals to take your video projects further. Intel® Xeon® processor-based workstations are uniquely architected to deliver ultimate workstation performance.

Intel® Optane™ memory Intel® Optane™ memory personalizes and accelerates your computing experience on Intel® Core™-based PCs. It preloads and accelerates your frequently used video editing software and the large storage you need so you can keep your creativity flowing.
Intel® SSDs Intel® SSDs, including Intel® Optane™ SSDs, feature no moving parts and low power consumption. Extremely stable and fast, SSDs allow you to transfer raw footage from your camera and begin editing immediately.
Thunderbolt™ 3 technology Thunderbolt™ 3 technology offers a single, compact port for a fast, versatile connection to video editing peripherals, from 4K resolution displays to lightning-fast storage drives.1
Intel® Quick Sync Video

Intel® Quick Sync Video2 uses the dedicated media processing capabilities of Intel® Graphics Technology to decode and encode fast. Edit, convert, and share your videos in minutes rather than hours.

Intel® Advanced Vector Extentins 512 (Intel® AVX-512)

Intel® AVX-512 helps accelerate performance for heavy workloads such as image, audio, and video processing.2

Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology (Intel® HT Technology)

With Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology, you can edit and encode graphically intensive video files while running background applications, such as virus protection software, without compromising system performance.

Intel® Wi-Fi 6

Intel® Wi-Fi 6 enables fast wireless transfer speeds and responsive performance, with enhanced security3 and reliability, especially in dense environments.

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Notices and Disclaimers4

Product and Performance Information

1

As compared to other PC I/O connection technologies including eSATA, USB, and IEEE 1394 Firewire*. Performance will vary depending on the specific hardware and software used. Must use a Thunderbolt™-enabled device. For more information go to https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/products/docs/io/thunderbolt/thunderbolt-technology-developer.html.

2

Intel® technologies' features and benefits depend on system configuration and may require enabled hardware, software, or service activation. Performance varies depending on system configuration. No computer system can be absolutely secure. Check with your system manufacturer or retailer or learn more at www.intel.com.

3

WPA3 Wi-Fi Security Features: The Wi-Fi Alliance industry consortium will certify Wi-Fi 6 products for compliance with the IEEE 802.11ax standard, and will require WPA3 security certification as a pre-requisite to ensure the latest in Wi-Fi security features. WPA3 Simplified Passwords: WPA3 uses Simultaneous Authentication of Equals (SAE) to replace the Pre-Shared Key (PSK) exchange protocol used by WPA2. SAE more securely handles initial key exchange and uses forward secrecy, which makes it more resistant to offline decryption attacks and provides stronger password-based authentication. WPA3 Enhanced Protection: Additional network protection comes from the equivalent of 192-bit cryptographic strength across an 802.11ax network and is superior to the 128-bit AES encryption utilized with WPA2.

4

Intel® technologies may require enabled hardware, software, or service activation. No product or component can be absolutely secure. Your costs and results may vary.