The 10 Best Computers for Video Editing

As any video editor knows, it takes a lot of computing power to handle all that goes into creating a beautiful video sequence. Editing software is notoriously demanding, transferring terabytes of footage can be time-consuming, and rendering scenes can kill an unworthy machine.

To keep workflows smooth and lag-free you’re going to need a computer that can keep up with you. In this article, we’ll explain what to look for when buying a computer for video editing, and we’ll count down the ten best computers for video editing that are available right now.

They say that once you go, Mac, you never go back, and if you’ve ever had the chance to get your hands on the iMac Pro you’ll probably agree.

  • + Incredible processing power
  • + Powerful graphics
  • + Retina 5K display
  • -Very expensive

The iMac Pro is without a doubt the best Apple computer for video editing. Turbo Boost speeds of up to 4.5GHz and up to 18 cores give the Mac Pro the power to process data at lightning speed. Combine this with Radeon Pro Vega graphics and you’ll have no trouble working with up to 8K footage, adding 3D elements, or creating audio effects. 256 GB of memory makes light work of rendering massive 3D models, and with 4 TB of all-flash storage, there’s plenty of space to save your projects.

All this is encased behind a spectacular 27” Retina 5K display. 14.7 million pixels and 500 nits of brightness ensure true to life color for unbeatable tonal accuracy. The only real downside to the iMac Pro is that it’s incredibly expensive. But, if you’re a professional editor, you might agree that it’s worth paying extra for the best desktop computer for video editing.

Keep an eye out for the 2019 Mac Pro which has just been announced: it’s rumored to be out of this world.

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Last update on 2019-07-22

If you’re not sold on Apple, Microsoft’s Surface Studio 2 is the best Windows computer for video editing.

  • +Adjustable touchscreen
  • + Enhanced color brightness and depth
  • + Plenty of connectivity
  • -Some parts are dated

The adjustable 28” touchscreen display can be used as a drafting table if you’re an editor who likes to add illustrations or animations to your work. 13.5 million pixels deliver true colors and the brightness and contrast enhance color detail and depth for immersive video playback. The higher spec model packs in 32 GB RAM and 2 TB SSD storage. This falls short of Apple’s iMac Pro but is still highly impressive.

There’s plenty of connectivity options including four USB 3.0 ports and a full-size card reader. The design of Surface Studio 2 should also be mentioned: it’s simply stunning and looks impressive in a professional studio setup. It could be argued that the 7th generation Intel Core i7 processor is a little underwhelming for a computer of this spec, but even so, it’s possibly still the best computer for 4K video editing.

Last update on 2019-07-22

HP’s Envy Elite Curved All-in-One has the best computer monitor for video editing and cross-program multitasking.

  • +34” curved screen
  • + Powerful processing
  • +Bang & Olufsen audio
  • -Fewer pixels than other top-end models

The main selling point of this all-in-one is having so much screen real estate to play with, which allows you to display three app windows at once. 34” of anti-glare quad high definition display is a dream for editors working across multiple programs at the same time. There are far fewer pixels onboard as there are in our top two options, though, so don’t expect quite the same performance.

The 8th generation Intel Core i7 processor tops Microsoft’s Studio Surface 2’s offering and is ideal if you’re working with multiple programs and apps. 16 GB RAM will easily keep up with you and your workflow.

Audio by Bang & Olufsen is great for playback; especially if you’re working on something cinematic. Connectivity doesn’t leave you wanting, and the included mouse and keyboard are as premium as you’d expect for the price.

Last update on 2019-07-22

Apple’s 2017 iMac was an instant hit in the creative industry, and the 2019 version has certainly followed suit.

  • + Powerful processor as standard
  • + Configuration options
  • +Spectacular screen
  • -The mouse can’t be charged and used at the same time

Even the most affordable model comes with a six-core Intel Core i5 processor, so you get plenty of bang for your buck. Radeon Pro 570X graphics handles your data incredibly well, and every version comes with at least 1 TB Fusion Drive storage and 8 GB RAM (both are configurable if you need an upgrade).

There are two screen sizes available but the 27” version stands up to the iMac Pro in terms of spec. Drop down to the 21.5” version though and you can still enjoy 4K resolution and bright and accurate colors.

A wireless keyboard and mouse are included as always, but the charging port is on the bottom of the mouse which prevents simultaneous charging and use. This could easily become frustrating during an all-nighter to hit an important deadline.

Do you need new video editing software? Here are the best programs on the market

Last update on 2019-07-22

The Gamer Xtreme VR from CyberPowerPC is technically a gaming PC, and it’s the best computer for gaming and video editing if you want to combine your hobbies.

  • +9th generation processing power
  • +Lightning-fast graphics
  • +Superb connectivity
  • -Tower is bulky

A ninth-generation Intel Core i7 processor combines with NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 graphics for lightning-fast workflows and effortless handling of complex timelines. This setup delivers an incredibly streamline performance that makes it appealing to video editors as well as gamers.

Connectivity won’t leave you wanting, and you can easily connect two displays and external storage drives. A decent gaming keyboard and mouse are included, too, which will suffice for most users.

Depending on your aesthetics, the design could be seen as a positive or a negative. Either way, it’s pretty bulky, so it’s not the best option if you’re short on space. But, if you’re likely to want to upgrade in the future, there’s plenty of space within the case to do so.

Last update on 2019-07-22

5. HP Omen

The HP Omen is another gaming PC that’s perfect for video editors. It can handle pretty much anything you can throw at it.

  • +Ultra-responsive
  • +Dual storage
  • + Great price
  • -Unattractive

8 GB RAM and an NVIDIA GTX 1070 graphics card boost this tower’s performance to give you an ultra-responsive workflow with no annoying lag. The quad-core Intel Core i7 processor in the Omen isn’t the freshest processor out there, but it’s plenty powerful for editing and playback. Dual storage is a nice addition: 256 GB SSD keeps your operating system up to speed and a further 1 TB of storage gives you a decent amount of room for footage and projects.

The Omen is by no means cheap, but you get a lot of top spec features for your money which actually makes it a bit of a bargain. As with the CyberPowerPC, the design is lacking and it just doesn’t look very cool. But, if you can ignore that, you’re in for a real treat with this powerhouse PC.

Last update on 2019-07-22

The 2018 version of Apple’s Mac Mini delivered the best Mac computer for editing video if you don’t have a huge budget.

  • +High spec at every price point
  • + Highly configurable
  • +Elegant design
  • -Expensive

The cheapest Mac Mini setup is pretty decent but the higher-spec version is recommended for professional video editors. A six-core Intel Core i5 processor, 9 MB shared L3 cache, and 256 GB SSD work together to deliver a fast and efficient computing experience. Both versions have 8 GB RAM which can be upgraded to an impressive 64 GB if you need the extra power for massive projects or 3D rendering.

The elegant design has always been an appealing aspect of the Mac Mini and that hasn’t changed with the 2018 version. It’s equally ideal for smaller home studios, professional client-facing environments, or anyone who doesn’t want an all-in-one or a bulky tower.

Although the Mac Mini is cheaper than the iMac and the iMac Pro it’s still pretty pricy. And, unlike the other Apple products on this list, you’ll still need to supply your own monitor, keyboard, and mouse.

Last update on 2019-07-22

For a good-looking tower-only computer for editing, Dell’s XPS 8930 is a solid choice at a good price.

  • +Multitasking capabilities
  • +High spec for a good price
  • +Plenty of storage
  • -Difficult to upgrade

The 8th generation six-core Intel Core i7 processor delivers the kind of multitasking that’s usually limited to higher-end PCs, and powerful graphics and 16 GB RAM only add to this PC’s impressive spec.

Storage isn’t lacking in this tower, either: a 2 TB HDD is the perfect place for backups, while the 256 GB SSD is on hand for footage and files that you need quick access to. There are all the connectivity options you’re likely to need too, including USB 3.1 for fast footage transferring.

The compact design of this XPS comes at a price and it’s tricky to squeeze in extra hard drives. But if you’re happy to stick with the out-the-box spec there’s nothing to worry about.

Last update on 2019-07-22

Lenovo’s IdeaCentre 520-AAST is the best computer for video editing under $1000.

  • + Various specifications available
  • +Touchscreen display
  • +Generous storage
  • -Lacks power

There are various specifications available but the entire range would be best suited to hobbyists or editors in the process of turning pro. The model we’re reviewing has 8 GB RAM which is decent at this price point. The 7th generation AMD processor isn’t the best on the market but it’s still more than capable of keeping up with your chosen editing program.

The 23.8” Full HD touchscreen display has a matte finish so you can drag and drop footage or scroll through timelines without leaving irritating finger marks. And, whichever model in the range you choose you’ll get 1 TB of HDD storage which gives you enough space to store the footage you’re working with without needing to rely on external hard drives.

Last update on 2019-07-22

If you’re on a tight budget, Acer’s Aspire TC-885 is the best computer for photo and video editing under $500.

  • +Good spec for hobbyists
  • + Smooth workflow with no lag
  • +Great price
  • -Slow HDD storage

If you’re looking for a solid computer at an affordable price, this Acer strikes the perfect balance. Intel UHD graphics and an 8th generation i5 processor combine with 8 GB RAM to deliver enough power and speed to handle your footage from import all the way through to export. You won’t experience annoying lag during renders or while applying effects, keeping your workflow smooth and your creativity flowing.

1 TB storage is great for a machine at this price point, but bear in mind that it’s HDD rather than SSD so it can take some time to transfer large batches of footage. There’s plenty of connectivity on offer, though, so if you want to invest in an external SSD you’ll have no trouble hooking it up.

Last update on 2019-07-22

Conclusion

If you have the budget, the iMac Pro is truly unbeatable. The power, speed, and stunning display it offers can’t be topped, no matter how hard Apple’s competitors try.

Our favorite mid-range option is Dell’s XPS 8930. It has everything a professional editor needs and it’s pretty attractive for a tower, too.

Or, for a cheaper option, Acer’s Aspire TC-885 is incredibly impressive for the price. A good processor and decent RAM will prevent annoying lag to keep your creativity flowing.

Which is the best computer for video editing and multimedia? Do you have a machine that you swear by? Let us know in the comments.

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About the author

John Thatch

John Thatcher is a computer science educated artist. He uses technology to solve artist problems. His friends don't like it when he speaks of himself in the third person. But John does it anyway, because he's a rebel.

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