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How to choose the best computer for video editing

Video editing is definitely not only for film makers these days! Many businesses use video as a powerful marketing tool. Product and brand videos, Facebook ads, YouTube tutorials, and Instagram stories are just some of the video content businesses use to build a relationship with their clients.

In fact, giving their audiences video insight into a brand’s behind-the-scenes culture is an excellent promotional strategy to engage with customers. Even a pretty average smartphone these days is equipped with video editing functionality.

Producing really great video content, however, requires significantly more power. Specifically, you’ll need more processing power and hard drive space than the average run-of-the-mill desktop or laptop can give you.

Our purpose in this article is therefore to make sure you know how to choose the best laptop, desktop, or MacBook for video editing.

Factors to bear in mind when choosing a computer for video editing

Which is the right choice – laptop or a desktop?

For years, desktops were the only option because video editing takes such a lot of computing power. Laptops simply didn’t pack enough punch to do the job. However, when high-performance laptops, as demanded by the gaming fraternity with their need for high-res graphics, came on the scene, all that changed radically.

Nowadays the versatility and portability of laptops generally make them the preferred option for many users. However, if you’re a professional video editor who works in one spot, you may be better served by a desktop. Desktops generally offer better value for money in terms of editing muscle. They are also easier to upgrade as regards graphics cards and storage space.

Which OS (operating system) should you opt for – Mac, Linux or Windows?

Historically, most creative video professionals have tended to be true-blue Mac supporters, and this has been perpetuated. Entry level designers starting work at a new company almost certainly used a Mac, and so became used to its operating system. Down the line, they trained their own employees to work on Macs, too!

However, what should weigh more heavily in your decision should not be your personal preference, but the software you need to use in your video editing. Today, almost all of the leading video editing software programs, like Adobe Premiere Pro, are compatible with multiple platforms.

However, note that Apple’s Final Cut Pro is not. If you prefer to work with that, you’ll require a Mac.
Note that Pinnacle Studio is only compatible with Windows 10.

If you want both probability and power, you might well find it advantageous to opt for a Windows or Linux machine. Intel Xeon processors offer more cores than any portable Mac. If you want laptop power that will be desktop-equivalent, Windows is your best bet.

What CPU / processor will you need?

Compared with other types of content, videos contain massive amounts of information. This makes the power of the processor the single most important factor you should consider when choosing a video editing computer.

The best laptop for photo and video editing should have at least a multi-core Intel i7 or i9, ideally with 4 cores or more. The more cores the better, but also the commensurately more expensive!

Keep a watchful eye out for CPUs with multithreading. Multithreading means that each core can deal with two processing threads at the same time. Bear in mind that really high-end video editing will require multithreading for no fewer than 8 simultaneous threads.

What display and screen size will you need?

A full HD display will generally be sufficient when you choose your laptop for video editing. You can get 4k options as well, but they have a significantly shorter battery life. If you want to have a laptop you can travel with and that will still offer you a decent-sized screen, a 13 or 14-inch display will do. However, if your video editing laptop doesn’t need to be ultra-portable, then a big, high-resolution display of 15 to 17 inches will be a better choice.

What graphics processing unit (GPU) or graphics card do you need?

Believe it or not, but a dedicated graphics processing unit or graphics card is actually less important than a powerful CPU for video editing! There is, however, one notable exception. If you work on DaVinci Resolve, you will absolutely need one because the programme runs off the GPU, not the CPU. This will also definitely apply if you use the laptop for gaming – where a good graphics card makes all the difference.

What ergonomic factors should you consider?

A comfortable and easy-to-use keyboard is paramount, because video editing is notably easier if you use keyboard shortcuts. The best laptop for video editing should also have a precision touchpad.

Some MacBook Pro models also come with a special additional touch bar. Many designers and video editors find that particularly helpful for navigating their way around complicated design programmes.

What RAM capacity will you need?

We at Hire Intelligence recommend a minimum RAM capacity of 16GB for HD video editing. Should you be working in 4k or higher, that number should increase to 32GB. Less RAM than that will cause your programme to lag, and your overall performance will be compromised.

Top Tip!

If you are dependent on specific graphic design software, it’s crucial that you check the provider’s recommended specs on their website. Let’s look at some of the most sought-after video editing software programmes:

Adobe Premiere Pro:

This is the industry-leading programme for both amateur and professional filmmakers, with even Hollywood studios using Adobe Premiere Pro. On Adobe’s website, you’ll find the minimum and recommended system requirements for running their programmes.

  • For example, they recommend 16 GB of RAM for HD media, and 32 GB for 4K media or higher.
  • You’ll also need at least 2 GB of GPU VRAM, or better still, 4 GB.

Pinnacle Studio 25:

Pinnacle Studio is highly rated for providing pretty much pro-level video editing to the average consumer. Their website indicates that you’ll need to the following minimum and recommended system requirements:

  • Windows 10, so you can confine your search to Windows OS devices.
  • Processors – Intel Core i3 or AMD A4 3.0 GHz or higher for basic work, 6th generation or later Intel CPU for 8k work.
  • A minimum of 4GB RAM, with 8GB or higher recommended.

Avid Media Composer:

Avid Media Composer is noted for having cross-platform flexibility. Their recommended system requirements include:

  • Windows is recommended. However, they provide a convenient MacOS compatibility matrix. Note though, that Intel i5 and Mac i5 laptops and computers are not supported.
  • Memory – a minimum of 8GB, 16GB or more is recommended. When working with UHD (4k and 8k), 32GB is required.

As you can see, these guidelines provide an essential starting point in finding the best laptop for video editing in the UK. Establish whether your software’s requirements match up with the hardware specs of the devices you’re considering, or give us a call for help!

Rent a desktop or laptop for video editing from Hire Intelligence

Let’s see this process in action using some of our suitable laptops and desktops for video editing.

Remember:
Final Cut Pro is only compatible with Mac laptops and desktops.
Pinnacle Studio is only compatible with Windows 10.

Laptop option: HP Zbook Mobile Workstation

What makes this one of the best laptops for video editing in the UK:

  • 8 GB NVIDIA dedicated GPU – exceeds the recommended graphics spec for Adobe Premiere Pro, the highest requirement of any of the video editing applications we looked at.
  • 15.6″ screen, large enough for detailed work but still portable.
  • i9 processor and 32GB – plenty of power for high-definition work.
  • Windows 10 – compatible with Pinnacle Studio.

Desktop option: 27″ iMac with 5k display

What makes this one of the best MacBooks for video editing:

  • macOS, so suitable for Final Cut Pro users.
  • Available from i5 with 16GB RAM and 4GB GPU, all the way up to an i9 with 32GB RAM and 8GB VRAM for professional video editors.
  • 5k retina display for breath-taking image quality.

Did you know?

Hire Intelligence also offers 3D Animation & Post-Production Equipment Rental!

So, if you’re looking at producing a film that will scoop the honours at Raindance or bring home the BAFTAs, we can help with state-of-the-art graphics tablets, 4K monitors, and 28 core workstations. Or whatever else you may need!

Why choose Hire Intelligence?

In the arena of video development, change happens fast. More impressive effects and ever higher resolutions are constantly being developed. This makes spending lots of cash on soon-to-be-obsolete technology a very real concern.

One of the easiest and most sensible ways of addressing this problem is renting rather than buying! This guarantees you’ll always have the very best laptop for photo and video editing without paying through the nose. You will also benefit from our expert advice, many years of hard-won experience, and trouble-free contracts tailored to your budget and individual requirements.

So get in touch today, and we’ll make sure you’re supplied with the very best laptop for your specific editing needs. And at a price that will have you smiling!

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