Keep projects on track with the best video editing computers - rigs built to handle editing and rendering everything from YouTube videos to feature films.
> Best video editing laptops (opens in new tab): For cutting content on the go
> Best video editing Macs (opens in new tab): Top Macs for video editors
> Best Adobe Premiere Pro alternatives (opens in new tab): Alternatives to the industry-standard
Performance is critical when choosing PCs or iMacs for editing videos. Post-production tools like video editing software (opens in new tab) and VFX software (opens in new tab) can be resource-intensive, demanding a good-spec CPU, GPU, and RAM to run without lagging and whirring like an Airbus on take-off.
When building the best video editing PCs and Macs, the most important of these is CPU - even free video editing software (opens in new tab) demands power to cut complex, studio-grade projects.
To streamline your post-production process, we’ve put the best video editing computers through their paces. These are the video editing PC and Mac builds that meet the needs of modern content creators. We’ve studied every last spec for running video editors for beginners (opens in new tab) up to Hollywood software like Adobe Premiere Pro (opens in new tab).
- Best monitor for video editing (opens in new tab): Which screen makes the final cut?
The best computers for video editing computers 2023
Think of the Apple Mac Studio as a hyper-charged Mac mini for creatives. The compact computer has plenty of power for running your video editing software, with a choice of M1 Max or M1 Ultra chips.
In our in-depth review, we called the Mac Studio “a fantastic addition to the Mac family. Its laser-like focus on creative professionals means it won’t be for everyone, but if you’re after a powerful and compact creative workstation, you’ll love this.” Expect speeds here - Apple claims the device is quicker than the MacBook Pro 13-inch with M1 chip and the Intel-based Mac Pro, with faster graphics than the top-end iMac.
You can edit high-resolution on the fly, without performance issues. That leads to a big boost in workflow efficiency, since editors won’t have to load or render before preview, then re-render after any further changes are made. The high performance may be too much for some, especially when just starting out. But for complex creative workloads, especially involving 8K footage or 3D modeling, this video editing Mac is ideal.
Read our full Apple Mac Studio review (opens in new tab)
HP's Omen 30L may effectively be a gaming PC, but that makes it well-suited as one of the best video editing computers, as games are similarly resource-intensive in terms of CPU, RAM and GPU.
The Omen 30L is a sleek PC with pleasant aesthetics that packs some seriously fast components into a narrow and elegant chassis. Its semi-transparent tempered glass side panel shows them off while allowing access to the components without using tools.
Since this is a consumer PC you pay a fair value rather than the premium price of a workstation. We choose the version with an Intel Core i9-10900K with ten cores running at 3.70GHz and a hefty 32GB of RAM -more than double the Adobe Premiere recommended system specs. During benchmarks this system enjoys a sustained boost clock around 4.9GHz. It's fast PCIe SSD coupled with a speedy 2TB 7,200 RPM hard drive give plenty of space for working with 4K video. Other configurations can be found at retail, like one with a 2TB SSD plus 2TB HDD with 64 GB RAM.
Expansion is easy thanks to its array of USB ports -two of them USB 3.2 Gen 2 at 10Gbps. Our one complaint though is that the USB-C port is tucked in the back. Videographers will appreciate its HDMI port, useful for hooking up a large-screen TV in addition to DisplayPort for a monitor. Those needing LAN speeds above Gigabit Ethernet might need a 2.5Gbps or 5Gbps USB 3.x to Ethernet adapter.
Read our full HP Omen 30L review (opens in new tab)
If you won’t compromise on components and performance, the Velocity Micro Raptor Z95 is a smart choice. It’s a classic tower-style desktop, but the solid build quality and sleek design comes with a premium price tag.
In our test kit, the build featured a Ryzen 7900X processor, an EVGA RTX 3080 graphics card, while 1TB NVMe SSD and 2TB HDD provided more than enough storage space. The 32GB DDR5 memory made for a seamless multitasking experience.
Reviewing the hardware, we were especially impressed with performance during video editing, and found we could edit multiple lines of 4K footage without any slowdown at all. Even running multiple resource-intensive apps at once felt seamless and slick. Praising its ability to handle demanding projects, we noted that “support for programs like DaVinci Resolve make it an excellent choice for professionals and enthusiasts in the video editing field.”
So it’s high quality, high performance, high price - but if you’re after a machine that won’t crumble under pressure, it ticks every box.
Read our full Velocity Micro Raptor Z95 review (opens in new tab)
If you are a Mac user that couldn't touch a Windows system even with the proverbial ten-foot pole and you can’t shell out $6k on a Mac Pro tower, this is a perfect system for mastering professional video editing software, especially after Apple axed its Intel-based, large-screen iMac Pro (opens in new tab) earlier this year.
The new iMac - an industry-standard for creatives - performs as well as any M1 Mac when editing videos, which means it does so quite well. In combination with a crisp, colorful Retina display exceeding 4K resolution, Apple has packed it all into an incredibly thin package sure to make Apple fans watery-eyed.
However, don't expect the same expandability and performance as an expensive Mac Pro tower because this M1 is not in the same league, even while Adobe claims its M1 optimized Premiere Pro editor performs "80% faster on M1 than comparable Intel-based Macs".
For any serious video editing you need to skip the entry level iMac and go straight to the top configuration: 1TB or more of SSD storage and 16GB of RAM. Which brings us to the limitations of this system: 16GB of RAM is as high as you can get and 2TB is the maximum internal storage possible.
When it comes to expansion, it features an austere number of ports: four USB Type-C (not Thunderbolt, no video output) while the Gigabit Ethernet port has been moved to the external power brick. These facts will make professionals stick to their Mac Pro towers until Apple comes out with an M1 Pro based replacement. For everyone else, the higher-end M1 iMac is a great video editing system.
Read our full iMac (24-inch, M1, 2021) review (opens in new tab)
The Apple Mac mini is, arguably, the best mini PC on the market - let alone one of the best video editing computers. The slimline design makes it a good fit for home, office, or studio, while the small size means it doesn’t produce too much heat, leading to a pleasingly silent computer. Although not upgradeable, it’s a powerful little machine, especially if you opt for the M2 Pro version - even the base model will turn heads with its affordable price and solid power.
The M2 Pro comes in two flavors, with a 10-core CPU / 16-core GPU version (with six performance and four efficiency cores) and a 12-core CPU / 19-core GPU version (with eight performance cores/four efficiency cores). This makes it a great choice for creative work - when we reviewed the Mac mini (M2), we tried editing 8K movies and running projects in Ableton Live. Even under intense graphical and computational loads, the machine never faltered.
Read our full Apple Mac mini review (opens in new tab)
The HP Envy 34 is a stellar all-in-one computer for video editors - and a solid alternative to iMac.
Running a last-generation Intel chip and a mobile GPU means it’s not quite as powerful as a tower like the Velocity Micro Raptor Z95. But don’t let that put you off - the Envy 34 is one of the best all-in-one PCs for editing video. Conducting a series of benchmark tests, we found the device performed strongly in video and photo editing.
“The Envy 34 scored an 871 in PugetBench Photoshop, compared to the iMac's 649. While encoding a 4K video into 30fps 1080p video, the Envy 34 accomplished the job significantly faster than the latest iMac, encoding 37 frames a second compared to the iMac's 24.5 frames per second.”
When we reviewed the machine, we said it's better than an iMac, especially for creatives who aren't locked into the Apple ecosystem. This is especially true for content creators looking for better value for money, since you can upgrade storage and memory, while getting double the number of ports found on Apple’s prestigious video editing computer.
Read our full HP Envy 34 review (opens in new tab)
Launched in May of this year, Dell calls the Precision 3650 an "entry-level desktop workstation". However, this is a mistake as it is a beast of a workstation is one of the best video editing computers for professional editors.
It’s available direct from Dell configured to your tastes, supporting 11th Gen Intel Core or Xeon W-1300 processors (up to eight cores). It can be expanded to 128GB of memory, PCIe Gen 4 SSDs, your choice of 7200 rpm SATA hard drives, and your choice of Nvidia or AMD graphics cards.
For video editing, we selected the biggest system the configurator would allow while keeping price within reason: an Intel Core i9-11900K with eight cores, an NVIDIA Quadro RTX 4000 graphics card with 8GB VRAM. Then we added a 2TB SSD and an 8TB 7200rpm SATA hard drive. Finally, we added the optional Thunderbolt 4 PCI adapter for ultimate expandability besides its four 2.5-inch SATA drive bays.
Gigabit Ethernet is included and you can upgrade it to 10Gb Ethernet or 5/2.5 Gbit by adding an Intel NIC or a Quantia Aqtion NIC. Neither are cheap. Additional output ports can be configured too, e.g., an additional DisplayPort 1.4, or a USB Type-C with DisplayPort, or a HDMI 2.0 port and all will cost you $17.44 each.
It's really hard to find a flaw or limitation in this beast of a workstation but we did. If you choose any of the additional higher-than-Gigabit network cards, you lose the ability to add the Thunderbolt 4 controller due to the number of spare PCIe slots. So, caveat emptor.
The Lenovo ThinkStation P620 is a petite machine, a tad smaller than the average ATX enclosure, yet it packs a modular workstation that will serve you for years with unbelievable amounts of expansion: it can support half a terabyte of RAM distributed over eight 64GB DIMMs, five SATA hard drives, and up to four graphics cards. At its heart is an AMD Ryzen PRO 3955WX, a beast with 16 cores that can go up to 4.30GHz.
Lenovo’s attention to details begins to show right from its front handle allowing the movement of the machine effortlessly, and extends to its faultless interior, where you can change or add cards without using a screwdriver.
Lenovo´s online store carries four configurations: for video you want the more loaded configuration (part number 30E1S0FG00) which updates the Ryzen Pro CPU to a 16 cores version and bumps video to a 8GB Quadro RTX 4000. Then the SSD storage jumps to 1TB, a nice bonus for video. You can add extra storage like a beefier 2TB PCIe M.2 SSD (opens in new tab) at the time of purchase for a small increase in price.
The system’s video card exceeds what Adobe recommends for Premiere Pro yet it can be expanded from one to up to four video cards, either dual RTX8000 or four RTX4000 GPUs. Caveat: It has no HDMI or legacy DVI ports, so if you need those, you must purchase adapters, listed on the web site.
As a final pleasant surprise Lenovo’s configurator offers Adobe Premiere Elements (opens in new tab) + Photoshop (opens in new tab) Elements in a bundle for $100 more. Sold!
The Asus PB60 strikes a middle ground between a desktop PC and a Mini PC with some internal components from laptops like SODIMM memory and 2.5-inch HDD bays but with the CPU and GPU power of a desktop. We reviewed a previous model two years ago when it featured an Intel i7 as the highest configuration, luckily it has been updated to this year's standards.
Inside you will find an eight-core Intel i9-9900T 16GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive with an NVidia Quadro P620, an apt configuration to run Adobe Premiere or your video editor of choice. You can also find a beefed up version with 64GB RAM and storage upgraded to a 1TB SSD plus a 2TB hard drive at retail. Amazingly, this configuration upgrade will only set you back an extra $500.
It's stackable design resembles two small pizza boxes stack on top of each other. The one at the bottom houses the graphics card. Air vents are located throughout the PC to keep it cool, and Asus provides accessories for mounting your PC either vertically or behind a monitor via a VESA mount.
When it comes to ports, it comes with everything but the kitchen sink: if four USB Type-A ports plus one Type C at the front aren't enough then on the back you'll find wireless antenna connectors, two USB 2.0 ports, a USB 3.1 Gen 2 connector, two HDMI and two DisplayPort ports, Gigabit Ethernet and a user configurable port, which can be VGA.
Read our full Asus PB60G Mini Business PC review (opens in new tab)
Best video editing computers: FAQs
How to choose the best video editing PC
Why you can trust TechRadar Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.
When looking for the video editing computer best for you, there are a few key areas to explore. First, decide whether you want a Windows or Mac system. Macs tend to be favored across the industry, and are priced accordingly.
In recent years, the best laptops (opens in new tab) have become more popular thanks to advances in mobile graphics and display technologies, but they cannot compare to a standard desktop computer with regards to expandability and upgradeability.
Most video editing software depends on the CPU (opens in new tab); multiple cores and with powerful graphics are necessary to edit effectively. Video editing apps are also heavyweight in terms of RAM (opens in new tab) usage, so the more the better.
Consider whether you need to also run other post-production tools like VFX software and 3D modeling software (opens in new tab). These are often need a decent-spec GPU (opens in new tab), which in turn affects your budget.
The operating system should have a solid-state drive (SSD (opens in new tab)) so the operating system and applications load and run quickly. Since speedy USB 3.2 ports are ubiquitous, using an external disk for final work storage is no longer as much of a pain as it once was. This has widened the options from full-size workstations (opens in new tab) to compact offerings with fewer internal storage bays.
For more advice, see our guide on the 5 things to consider when selecting a video editing PC (opens in new tab)
What is the best computer for editing videos?
The HP Omen 30L is our pick for best video editing computer - it might be made for gamers, but the specs make it perfect for editors. Not surprising, since games can hog just as many resources as video editing apps. It’s a well-designed consumer PC, too. Sleek, with a semi-transparent side-panel and an elegance that fits home, office, and studio. You’ll find it’s easily expandable, and packs in plenty of ports. The only issue we found during testing was the USB-C port placement. But otherwise, we found it fast and efficient running Adobe Premiere Pro, with enough space for 4K video editing. For an Apple device, we recommend the iMac 24-inch
How do you choose a video editing or rendering computer?
We put this question to James Higuchi, Lighting Supervisor at Monsters Aliens Robots Zombies (MARZ) (opens in new tab), a Toronto-based VFX studio.
Nearly every machine for use in production requires its own specifications to meet the needs of the artist using it. For example, editorial requires fast I/O, lots of RAM and now that most editing suites are making use of some form of GPU acceleration, having a decent GPU can go a long way. Lastly, high clock speed CPUs are a must to help keep encoding/transcoding times down. Typically you're going for clocks over cores in this situation.
Rendering is not too dissimilar depending on what application you're rendering in. CPU-based rendering requires as much processing power and RAM as you can fit into a single chassis. Obviously, there is a level of diminishing returns, but I don't think I've ever heard "it has too much RAM."
On the other hand, GPU rendering is dependent almost solely on the specs of the GPU/GPUs in the system and relies on CPU for specific processes (texture processing, compression, I/O, etc). Another consideration for rendering, regardless of the processing unit, is parallelity. Since render processes are typically broken down to a per frame basis, the more frames you can have processing at one time, the better.
So typically we're looking at setups with more cores, more GPUs and more machines in general. At the end of the day, the biggest consideration is cost effectiveness. You could throw $50,000 into a machine that can do everything, but that’s just not practical or cost effective.
We typically try to tailor the machine for the task - balancing a mixture of processors (CPU and GPU), RAM, I/O, scratch and static storage depending on the need. This allows us to target the hardware in a more efficient manner and have a more straightforward hardware-upgrade path. It also keeps driver/software overlaps to a minimum, as there are cases in which some driver/firm compatibility conflicts can prevent you from running some processes on the same box.
What are the different types of workstations?
TechRadarPro Q&A with Anu Herranen, Director of New Product Introduction, Advanced Compute and Solutions at HP Inc (opens in new tab).
There are two main categories of workstation: desktop workstations (opens in new tab), and mobile workstations (opens in new tab). Within both, there will be different levels of performance which is defined by each manufacturer. Mobile workstations typically come in the form of a laptop and are designed for users who need flexibility to work from the office, home or in the field. As the name suggests, desktop workstations are a computer tower on or under a desk, requiring a separate monitor, keyboard and mouse. Although extremely powerful in performance, they aren’t portable like a mobile workstation.
There is a third category that people might be less familiar with, and that is the centralized workstation. If you have a team of people, but not all need access to high performance computer power all the time, this can be a very cost-effective option. Say you have a team of 30 people, of which 10 need constant access to workstation performance, you would give them their own workstation. For the other 20, who need it occasionally, you can install a centralized workstation in your office. These are usually stored in IT rooms, rather than sitting on the end user’s desk.
This is a rack-mounted desktop workstation that can take care of intensive workflows for any user, anywhere. Centralized workstations are also known as virtual workstations, as team members can connect to the centralized workstation with their standard issue desktop, laptop or notebook using the appropriate software, whenever they need to access high-performance computer power.
The user can then access workstation power performance to complete compute-intensive tasks from anywhere. The centralized or virtual workstation takes care of the heavy lifting, allowing the user to get the job done on almost any device from anywhere. Usually, only the encrypted pixels are sent over the network, so company data remains highly secure at the source with the racked centralized workstations.
During the pandemic as a result of increased virtual collaboration, users who relied on high performance computing via a desktop workstation needed a solution that provided the same capabilities and experience they were used to having in the office, at home. In the future, this is likely to be a continuing trend as workforces spend more time working remotely.
How we test the best video editing computers
To work with heavyweight video editors like Adobe Premiere Pro you will need 16GB of RAM to plod away comfortably, although technically it can run with just eight. A fast discrete GPU -if available- will also help as once you get past simple chopping of footage and start involving transitions, overlays and other fancy effects. Premiere Pro and DaVinci Resolve (opens in new tab) are optimised to offload encoding from the main CPU to the video card´s GPU.
Fast storage is also essential. It's not enough to rely on cloud storage (opens in new tab). Luckily, most systems nowadays come with SSDs to quickly load the operating system and applications. Having a secondary, old-fashioned spinning disc hard disk drive (HDD (opens in new tab)) as a secondary storage medium for your final work exports is a huge bonus, so we focused on systems that either come with 1TB or more of secondary storage or which can be easily expanded with additional HDDs internally.
We present you options from a wide range of prices. If you are on a budget, a good rule of thumb is to keep the internal storage modest and purchase the largest external HDD (opens in new tab) or flash drive (opens in new tab)that you can buy.
And if you value your work, we recommend you add a Network Attached Storage (NAS (opens in new tab)) unit for local backup purposes. And if your income depends on such work, make it a NAS with RAID for data redundancy and disaster recovery (opens in new tab).
Given the requirements, we selected systems with 16 gigabytes of RAM and fast 8-core processors like Intel´s i9, and AMD´s Ryzen 9 when available in each given device’s form factor. Future expandability and upgradeability was also considered as a bonus.