Best Computer for Video Editing [2021 Guide]

CG Director Author Alex Glawionby Alex Glawion   ⋮  Updated   ⋮   468 comments
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Best Computer for Video Editing [2021 Guide]

Video Editing is one of the most popular things you can do on a Computer or Workstation.

No wonder so many people are looking for the perfect Machine for their Video Editing needs. A specialized and optimized Computer for Video Editing can save you time, a lot of frustration, and in the long run, lots of money.

The great thing about Video Editing is, it has become so accessible, that you can now even edit Videos on a Laptop.

Back in the old days, the only way you could edit your analog video was by using cutting machines that were huge and heavy, and unbelievably expensive. You needed a team to operate all the Video Editing machinery.

Old Fashion video editing

Image-Source: rowlandediting.wordpress.com

With modern-day computers, digital video, and the speed at which Computer Technology is evolving, anyone can be a Video Editor, at least from a technological standpoint.

It doesn’t matter if you are editing your birthday video, a documentary for a local wildlife broadcaster, a commercial for that company’s washing machine or are editing a Hollywood feature film.

There’s a Computer and very specific kind of hardware components for anyone and every kind of budget.

The same can be applied to Video Editing Software. It does not matter if you are using Windows Movie Maker, Sony Vegas, Adobe Premiere Pro, Avid, Davinci Resolve, or any of the other Video Editing Applications out there.

All of these run on a Computer that you can get off the shelf.

If you had to choose one: What is your main Video Editing Software?

And let me tell you this right now: The best Computers for Video Editing aren’t all that expensive anymore.

Not for Professionals – because they earn their money with it, and a great Computer is just worth every penny – and not for Video Editing Amateurs, because a Computer that you can edit smartphone-videos on, really doesn’t have to be expensive.

How does Video Editing utilize your Computer’s Hardware?

If we want to build the best Computer for Video Editing, the first step is to analyze what Hardware your Video Editing Software actually uses the most and in what way.

Now, there are so many different Video Editing Applications out there, but I will focus on one for now:

Adobe Premiere Pro. As we can see from the survey above, Premiere Pro is the most popular Video Editing Software, that many professionals and amateurs edit in and it’s perfect for our analysis.

After all, lots of other Video Editing Applications use the Hardware in very similar ways.

Premiere Pro Video Editing Timeline

Let’s take a look at how I myself would Edit a Video in Premiere Pro, and we can go from there and take a closer look at what these steps imply, hardware-wise.

My typical Video-Editing workflow:

  • Load Footage into my Project (maybe proxies)
  • Create Sequences and rough cuts with this footage
  • Play-Back my timeline a lot of times, to be able to edit
  • Add Transitions, Effects, Titles
  • Add Sound Effects and Music
  • Render out my Timeline with the actual non-proxy footage

This is a very rough workflow of the basic steps a Video Editor would be doing throughout a typical day, nothing fancy.

If you think about it, Editing Video, from an underlying Hardware perspective is something that can be broken down into a few basic steps:

  1. The Software reads Data (the Footage) from your storage device.
  2. Your Editing Software has to decode this footage.
  3. The Software then manipulates this Footage depending on the effects and color-grading you are using (if at all).
  4. This manipulated footage is then usually stored in the Memory (RAM), so you have a real-time experience when playing back the timeline (editing).

When rendering out your final project, the only thing you add to this chain is:

  1. Encode the timeline into your desired codec and
  2. Save the finished encoded Data to the Storage device of your choice.

It is these 6 simple steps, that we will have to optimize as much as possible to build our Best Computer for Video Editing.

Let’s step through them one at a time to see what Hardware Part is responsible for speeding up each of these:

Reading / Loading of the Footage

This is an easy one: Your Storage Device and the transfer-bus are responsible for the speed at which your footage can be read from a Storage Medium.

There are three popular Storage types that you can choose from nowadays:

The Hard Drive (HDD)

The Hard Disk Drive is the slowest of these three options. Sequential Read speeds are usually around 150Mbyte/s. Random Read and Write is a lot slower.

Hard Drives have great Cost/GByte but rank at last place in speed.

Hard Drives are great for Archiving and Backing up large Data, that doesn’t have to be accessed all the time, but I would not recommend using an HDD as an active-work storage-device for your Footage.

Good HDDs can usually be found from Seagate or Western Digital, such as the Seagate Barracuda Series or the Western Digital Blue or Red Series.

You can get HDDs in sizes up to 18TB, though the best price/GByte mark lies somewhere around 8TB.

seagate-barracuda HDD Overview

Image-Source: Seagate

Next up is the Solid State Drive (SSD)

A Solid State Drive (SATA) is usually about 4 times faster than an HDD and will speed up the reading of your footage a lot. SSDs aren’t all that expensive anymore and prices are coming down fast.

At the very least, you should get an SSD as your active footage storage medium.

The Samsung 860 EVO or PRO, that come at reasonable prices in sizes from 256GB up to 4TB are great SSDs with high-end performance.

Best Computer for Video Editing - SSD vs NVMe

Image-Source: atpinc.com

As Video Footage can become quite large, you will want a Storage Medium that has the maximum of Sequential Read and Write Speeds that you can get your hands on at a reasonable price, and that brings us to NVMe SSDs:

NVMe SSDs

NVMe SSD (Non-Volatile Memory Express) Solid State Drives, are SSDs on Steroids. They use a different Connector and Bus on the Mainboard and can reach much higher transfer speeds than a regular SATA SSD.

They can be over 10 Times faster than even SSDs at sequential read and write speeds and will make reading large Footage an easy task.

Although slightly more expensive than SSDs, they are definitely worth the money. Highly recommended!

Great NVMe SSDs that I can recommend are the Samsung 970 EVO PLUS and Samsung 970 PRO, that come in sizes from 250GB up to 2 TB.

samsung_970_evo

Image-Source: techlabor.com

NVMe SSDs will help you read even RAW Footage in 4K+ Resolutions in real-time.

Let’s start with adding a Samsung 970 PRO 1TB to our Best Computer for Video Editing Build. That way we should already be able to rule out the Storage Medium as a bottleneck.

NVMe Drives are a critical performance factor in Video Editing and it makes sense to learn as much as you can about them. Our NVMe Guide should get you up to speed.

What’s next in our Video Editing Workflow?

Decoding the Footage

Now, reading data on its own usually won’t be enough to be able to see the footage, as almost every Footage is encoded in some way. If it’s encoded (mainly to save space) it has to be decoded before it can be played back and viewed.

Decoding is something that is usually done by the Processor (CPU). Unfortunately, there is no one CPU that is best for all types of Footage “Codecs” or Video File types.

Let’s take a look at a performance overview:

Premiere Pro Live Playback Benchmark Score

Image-Credit: Pugetsystems

BUT. Of course, playing back the Footage gets us only halfway there. We want to apply some Effects to our Footage!

Manipulating the Footage with Effects, Transitions, Trimming & Titles

If your video editing projects are effects-heavy, then you will want a maximum Core-Clock CPU.

Effects are calculated in hierarchical order and most can’t be outsourced to other cores, meaning one Core will be crunching all the numbers for all the effects on that one frame.

Let’s make an example:

Your Footage has the following Effects applied:

  • Time-Remap
  • Brightness / Contrast
  • Shoulder
  • Glow

Seems like a pretty basic setup. The thing is, you can’t have 4 Cores calculate these 4 Effects simultaneously on the same Frame because they all depend on each other.

You first have to Time-Remap your footage before you can edit the Brightness / Contrast and so on. This is one Core stepping hierarchically through the effects chain.

Sure, other cores can start working on the effects of other Frames, but some Effects aren’t just dependent on each other on a per-frame basis, but in-between frames.

Such as the Time-Remap.

Having a high-clocked CPU will benefit you in effects-heavy Projects.

Good choices here are the Intel i9 10900K with 5.3GHz Turbo Boost Clock, the AMD Ryzen 5950X (4,9GHz Boost), or the AMD Ryzen 5900X with 4,8GHz Boost Clock.

But of course, you have to take the type of footage you are using into account: If you are using high-res RED Footage, you should use a high-Core-Count CPU for the best decoding experience.

If you have both, RED Footage (or similar) AND heavy use of effects, you will have to find a middle ground:

A fairly high clocking CPU with lots of Cores, such as the Threadripper 3960X. For NON-RED users, the AMD Ryzen 5950X currently is the go-to CPU for Video Editing.

It really is quite impractical. Because CPUs have to stay inside specific thermal- and power-limits, there is no one CPU that has lots of cores AND a very high core clock. This would, of course, be optimal for Video Editing, and for many other workloads too, but we have to find the best middle ground for us here.

Now that we found the CPU for our decoding our footage and effects-calculations, the next step in our Editing Experience usually is:

Storing Cached Footage in RAM

This is usually done automatically by the Editing Software you are using.

The moment you either playback your timeline, scrub your timeline, or manually press some kind of “calculate or prerender effects in timeline” button, the Software will:

  1. Read & decode the Footage
  2. Calculate the Effects on the Footage
  3. Store the Result in your System Memory (RAM)

This is usually known as Caching. All cached Frames are saved in your Computer’s RAM, so the next time you want to view a frame or a sequence, the Software doesn’t have to calculate everything again, but can read the already calculated result from RAM, which is much faster.

When playing back your timeline, the Video Editing Software, in a way, “buffers” ahead, as not to interrupt your real-time playback experience.

Now, RAM is easy.

RAM is so fast, you could get the worst kind of RAM and it would still be fast enough for almost any of your Editing needs.

RAM Speed

Performance comparison between HDD, SSD, and a RAM disk

The only important thing, when buying RAM for Video Editing, is getting enough. As we discussed above, the RAM has to be big enough to store the cached result and then some.

If it’s not large enough, the Software will Cache to your Disk, and that will slow things down a lot!

Check this in-depth article on how much RAM you should be getting.

These 3 Steps – Reading, Calculating, Caching – will be done over and over, during Video Editing Sessions.

When you are finished with the Edit or want to show the current status to a client or boss, you will continue to the next step:

Rendering out the Project to a Video File

Rendering out your Timeline uses the same steps that we already discussed above. Your Software reads the footage, applies the Effects, and stores the resulting frames into a Video File.

If the Timeline has already been cached, all the Video Editing Software has to do, is read the cached Frames from RAM and save them to the Video File.

Now, there is one more thing that is important in Rendering out your Video, namely, the Encoding Stage.

You usually don’t just dump your calculated Frames onto your disk uncompressed but want to package and encode/compress the Frames into a File-Format that:

  • Can be played back with your targeted System / Video Player
  • Is as small as possible without losing too much Quality

There are lots of different Codecs available for encoding. Some popular ones include H.264, H.265, WMV9, ProRes, DNxHD, Sorenson, Cinepak, and many more.

Most of the more popular codecs use the logic of saving only the difference between two frames instead of saving each frame in its entirety, as the difference between two frames is usually much smaller in file size.

Others block Pixels together or reduce color and contrast-information to save space.

But these are only some of many tricks how Codecs keep your Filesize low and provide a smooth playback experience.

Let’s summarize the Video Rendering Process and the Hardware that is mainly responsible:

  • Read Footage (SSD)
  • Calculate / Apply Effects in your Timeline (CPU, GPU)
  • Store the Frames in RAM (RAM)
  • Read Frames from RAM (RAM)
  • Encode Frames (CPU)
  • Pack frames and Audio into a Video Container (CPU)
  • Save Video Result on Disk (SSD)

The SSD can usually be ruled out as a bottleneck in this Rendering /Encoding Process, as it is more than fast enough to save your resulting Video File unless of course, you are rendering out uncompressed Videos, huge EXR Sequences, or other very large Files (Think 100s of MBytes per Frame)

The RAM too should always be fast enough so it doesn’t slow down the rendering process. Of course, the RAM has to be large enough to fit the Frames that are being rendered.

Almost always, the CPU will be responsible for the performance in encoding your Frames. Let’s take a look at some Benchmarks:

Premiere Pro Export Score

Image-Credit: Pugetsystems

For Rendering out your projects, having higher core-counts is the way to go. But there seems to be a sweet spot at around 24 / 32 Cores and a slightly higher Core-Clock than having double the Cores with a lower Core-Clock.

AMD’s 3rd Gen Threadripper CPUs (3960X, 3970X, 3990XReview here) have a very solid lead over the higher clocked but lower-core-number CPUs such as the i9 10900K.

Best Computer for Video Editing – The Hardware

What components do we need for a working Computer anyway? After this quite in-depth material, let’s break it down to some concrete Hardware Suggestions:

The Processor

Best performing CPU for Video Editing: AMD Threadripper 3960X & 3970X
Best CPU for Video Editing under 550$: AMD Ryzen 9 5900X

Take a look at the following Video Editing (Premiere Pro) CPU Benchmark Scores by Pugetsystems. This table shows the overall score across all kinds of CPU benchmarks based on several real-world Premiere Pro Projects:

CPU NameCoresGhzPremiere Pro ScorePrice $Value
AMD Ryzen 7 3800X83.9657399
AMD Ryzen 5 3600X63.8620249
AMD Ryzen 7 5800X83.8874449
AMD Threadripper 3960X243.810421350
AMD Ryzen 9 3900X123.8711499
AMD Threadripper 3970X323.710671950
AMD Ryzen 9 5900X123.7953549
Intel i5 9600K63.7585262
AMD Ryzen 7 2700X83.7603251
Intel i9 10700K83.7796375
AMD Ryzen 5 5600X63.7765299
Intel i9 10900X103.7689650
Intel i9 9900K83.6737550
Intel i9 10900K103.6867520
AMD Ryzen 5 2600X63.6527149
AMD Ryzen 5 360063.6572199
AMD Ryzen 7 3700X83.6673329
Intel i9 9700K83.6670362
AMD Threadripper 2920X123.5691369
Intel i9 9900X103.5664989
AMD Ryzen 9 3950X163.5833750
Intel i9 9920X123.57311189
Intel i9 10920X123.5748750
AMD Threadripper 2950X163.5763729
AMD Ryzen 9 5950X163.4997799
Intel i9 10940X143.3775950
Intel i9 9940X143.37551387
Intel i9 9960X163.18101684
Intel i9 10980XE183.08511150
AMD Threadripper 2990WX323.06621699
AMD Threadripper 2970WX243.06791300
Intel i9 9980XE183.08251979
AMD Threadripper 3990X642.910353990
CPU NameCoresGHzPremiere Pro ScorePrice $Value

The AMD Threadripper 3970X is the currently best performing CPU for Video Editing. It does cost a lot though and its overall value is lower than some of the competing CPUs.

If you are looking for a great CPU for Video Editing that costs less than 550$ the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X is the best choice.

For 250$ more, the Ryzen 9 5950X delivers even higher performance in video editing.

Best CPU for Video Editing - Core i9 9900KAMD Ryzen 9 3900X

The AMD Threadripper CPUs, especially the Threadripper 3960X is an excellent choice if you are handling RED Media more often and don’t quite want to spend what a 3970X or even 3990X costs.

Best Storage for Video Editing: Samsung 970 EVO Plus / PRO

An NVMe SSD should be at the top of your buy list. These types of SSDs offer excellent performance, especially when you are working with large footage.

Get SATA SSDs to store your OS and Software, and HDDs for backing up and archiving your Data regularly and you should be all set, storage-wise.

Best SSD for Video Editing

Image-Source: Samsung

Best RAM for Video Editing

As discussed above, Video Editing doesn’t depend much on the Clock-Speed of your RAM, but you should have a sufficient amount of RAM.

RAM for Computer for Video Editing

Image-Source: gskill

16GB of RAM is the baseline for small Projects with lower resolutions < 2K, though as soon as you start working with larger Footage, that also has 2K or higher resolutions, you should consider 32GB RAM or more.

Especially with 10Bit Footage, RED Media, 4K, 8K Footage you’ll be happy to have 64+ GBytes of RAM.

As we benchmarked recently, Memory Clock Speeds and Memory Channels don’t impact performance all that much. You might gain 4% performance increase on optimal settings, but usually pay a large premium for doing so.

If you fear no extra costs and would still like to optimize your RAM as much as possible, the rule is as follows:

  • Look for High Clock Speeds: 3600Mhz is faster than 2400Mhz
  • Look for Low CL Latency: CL14 is better than CL16
  • Aim for a higher number of Channels: Quad Channel would be better than Single or Dual Channel. Usually, the amount of RAM Sticks define the Channel Width. 4 RAM Modules = Quad Channel RAM (2 = Dual, 1 = Single), but is based on Motherboard and Chipset support

Best GPU for Video Editing

We didn’t talk about the impact of Graphics Cards on Video Editing performance yet.

GPUs still don’t have as large an impact on Video Editing as the CPU does.

Yes, there are the occasional Effects and decodes/encodes that might be GPU-accelerated but even GPUs that are in entirely different price-tiers, will perform very similarly.

Here’s an overall Video Editing Score based on GPU Performance:

Best GPU for Video Editing - Overall Performance Score

Image-Source: Pugetsystems

Overall, an Nvidia RTX 3090 ($1599) is just 10% faster than a 3060Ti ($399), even though it costs 4 times as much.

This changes a bit when we look at the overall export performance to H.264 in Premiere Pro:

Best GPU for Video Editing - Export H.264 Score

Image-Source: Pugetsystems

Although the overal score distribution spread is bigger, the only real gap we see is between Nvidia GPUs and AMD GPUs. The reason is simple: Premiere Pro has CUDA accelerated export optimization with H264. AMD does not have any CUDA cores and therefore scores worse.

You might want to check with your particular Video Editing Software of choice, but what is usually the case, is that:

  • Nvidia GPUs perform better in Premiere Pro vs AMD GPUs
  • Nvidia GTX or RTX GPUs have a better price/performance ratio to Nvidia Quadro GPUs
  • and having a multi-GPU Setup does not benefit you in Video Editing in Premiere Pro.

If you are GPU Rendering in 3D then again, of course Multi-GPU setups will scale almost linearly!

Depending on your budget, I recommend an Nvidia RTX 3060Ti or RTX 3070, as both of these have high performance per dollar and score well in many video editing related benchmarks.

Nvidia RTX 2070

Image-Source: Nvidia

Anything above an RTX 3070 will be much more expensive for just a small increase in performance.

Blackmagic Decklink Cards

If you would like to go the GTX/RTX way for your standard workflow and Monitors, but would still like to output to a 10Bit Reference Monitor, you can get a Blackmagic Decklink Card.

Black Magic Decklink Card

Image-Source: Blackmagicdesign

These Cards are made for to HDMI / SDI in 10Bit, but beware, that your Monitor should support your Project Framerates.

Decklink Cards are also great for recording hires (4K or even 8K) 10Bit Video in Real-Time if that is something that you are planning on.

So a combination of GTX/RTX type of GPUs with such an additional PCI-E-Decklink Card might just do the trick for you and save you some money.

Best Motherboard for Video Editing

The Motherboard in itself should be fitted to the other Hardware Components that we discussed above, as it is basically “just” the central hub that connects all of the components together.

After you have selected your desired CPU, you can already narrow down the number of compatible Motherboards by choosing the right Socket that fits your CPU.

You will need a sTRX4 Socket for example, if you are planning on running a 3rd Gen Threadripper CPU, a Motherboard with an AM4 Socket for any Ryzen CPUs (e.g. 3900X, 3950X), a Motherboard with an LGA 1200 for an i7 10700K or i9 10900K CPU and a 2066 Socket for any type of Intel i9-X Series CPUs, such as the i9 10980XE.

There really isn’t all that much that you can do wrong here:

Almost every ATX standard-sized Motherboard has enough PCIe Slots for your GPU and (if you need them) additional Cards, plenty of SATA Connectors for your storage devices and usually comes with 4-6 or more USB Ports for anything external you might need to plug in.

MSI MEG X570 Unify Hero

Image-Credit: MSI

Most Motherboards nowadays have at least one M.2 slot for your NVMe SSDs, most have 2 or more.

ATX is the most popular Motherboard Size and will fit into an ATX Sized Computer Case.

It’s as easy as that!

Best Computer Case for Video Editing

Apart from the Monitor and Input devices, the Computer Case is the main Piece of “Furniture” that will be visible to you or visitors.

It is a lot of fun to browse for just the right case with just the right combination of looks and functionality.

Be sure your case is big enough to fit your components, but if you don’t go overboard, any ATX Midi Tower or Big Tower will do the trick for you.

I often recommend the Corsair Carbide 400C because it is professional and minimalistic looking and has some noise dampening features, but you might prefer a different brand.

Corsair Case

Image-Source: Corsair

Power Supply for Video Editing

You’ll want to make sure your PC’s components, which can be quite expensive, are being taken care of. This includes buying a good power supply that will make sure they don’t die prematurely.

Both, the PC’s case and PSU won’t impact your video editing performance at all, but it’s a necessity that you shouldn’t skimp on.

Because the inside of your case should be free of clutter as much as possible, I recommend getting a Modular Power Supply, which comes with the ability to detach any cables you don’t need.

Be sure to read our Modular PSU Guide, to get an idea of the type of Power Supply you need for your specific components.

Build your own Computer!

Building your own Computer has lots and lots of benefits:

  • You save a lot of money from getting individual parts.
  • You can get exactly the kind of parts and part combinations you want
  • You learn a lot about how a Computer works
  • You can upgrade your Computer yourself now
  • With all the extra Computer knowledge, you can fix problems that might arise later-on yourself
  • Assembling a Computer is easy, it’s basically just plugging different parts into each other
  • It’s fun!

Here’s a nice Step by Step Video showing you how easy it is to assemble a Computer. Follow this along and you will be done in less than 2 hours.

We’ve covered the basics of what a great PC for Video Editing consists of. Let’s take a look at some finished Builds.

You can use the following fully compatible Builds as-is or use them as inspiration and configure your own Video Editing PC, depending on your Budget:

Pre-selected PC-Builds at different budgets

Best Computer for Video Editing, AMD at ~850$


This lower-end Build features the AMD 3600XT, which is good for Effects Calculation but is surpassed by higher-core-count CPUs in Encoding / Decoding and overall Video Editing Speed.

8GB of RAM is quite on the low end, so feel free to add some more if you have the money.

The NVMe SSD, although just 256GB, is extremely fast and will help in loading footage.

To save some money, this build only has an Nvidia GTX 1660, but you can feel free to swap it with an RTX 3060 Ti or higher, if you have the extra cash.

Best Computer for Video Editing, Intel at ~1800$

The i9 10900K is an excellent CPU for Video Editing. Although it doesn’t have as many Cores as top-tier Ryzen CPU or an AMD Threadripper, it has an extremely high Core-Clock, that makes up for the lack in Cores and speeds up Effects Calculation extremely well.

16GByte of RAM is sufficient for 2K editing projeects that aren’t too complex. If you’re regularly working on more complex projects or use large footage, consider upgrading to 32GB of RAM.

The same is true for extremely high-res Projects and large Footage Data in the 4K – 8K range, you might want to upgrade your RAM to 64GByte.

The Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti GPU offers excellent performance for its price.

The storage system consist of 3 device types. We have an HDD for archiving and backups, an SSD for installing your OS and Applications on, and an NVMe SSD for your projects. Your Projects and footage have to be on the fastest drive for optimal performance.

Best Computer for Video Editing, AMD at ~2500$

This is a high-end allrounder AMD build.

With its 16-Core 5950X CPU you’ll have great performance in both your active work / playback speed and exporting your projects with quite some effects applied. The Nvidia RTX 3070 GPU performs extremely well, given its price.

The beQuiet Dark Rock Pro 4 CPU Cooler keeps the CPU nice and cool while producing almost no noise unless you kick the build into sustained rendering.

The Storage is split up into 3 Drives for OS (SSD), your Footage on an NVMe Drive and the HDD for Backing up your Data.

If this price tier is a bit too much for you but would like to go with AMD Ryzen, you can always get an Ryzen 5900X or 5800X and save some money, and also skip on some of the storage devices.

Best Computer for Video Editing, AMD Threadripper at ~6200$

Featuring the AMD Threadripper 3970x that already costs around ~1900$ in itself, this Build comes at a price but delivers great performance across all workloads in Video Editing.

You will get fast Encoding / Decoding, Live-Playback, Handling of all kinds of Footage Types and quick Effects Calculation. This build will give you pretty much the absolute best, money can buy for Video Editing on a Consumer Level.

Custom PC-Builder

If you want to get the best parts within your budget you should definitely have a look at the Web-Based PC-Builder Tool that we’ve created.

Select the main purpose that you’ll use the computer for and adjust your budget to create the perfect PC with part recommendations that will fit within your budget.

CGDirector PC-Builder Tool

PC-Builder Facebook Title Image

 

That’s about it! What Computer are you building?


Find a new friend on the CGDirector Forum! Expert Advice & PC-Build Planning with a warm and friendly Community! :)

Alex Glawion - post author

Hi, I’m Alex, a Freelance 3D Generalist, Motion Designer and Compositor.

I’ve built a multitude of Computers, Workstations and Renderfarms and love to optimize them as much as possible.

Feel free to comment and ask for suggestions on your PC-Build or 3D-related Problem, I’ll do my best to help out!

468
Comments
Also check out our Forum for feedback from our Expert Community.

Aileen Higginson

FUTUREPROOFING

Hi Alex,

My iMac needs replacing, and I am looking to buy the best FUTUREPROOF machine for video production/editing. I don’t want to buy new again for a while so what I buy will need to work in current configuration for a while and/or be upgradable.

I use Premier Pro, DaVinci Resolve and After Effects and tend to use dynamic links. I usually edit 4k (RAW) footage but am looking to push into higher resolutions such as 8K (RED), with multiple nodes/heavy effects.

My thoughts are:
64-Core 2.90 GHz AMD RYZEN Threadripper 3990X 3rd Gen
256 RAM (4 x 32GB DDR4 3200mhz)
2 NVIDIA RTX 2080 Ti 11GB Graphics Cards (or should I go for QUATRO)
2 x 4TB SATA SSD Storage (as I already have a QNAP NAS)

I’m not constrained by budget.
Does this look a good spec and should I be thinking about anything else?

Thanks Aileen

Timon

New vs old Generation:

Dear Alex

First of all, thanks a lot for the great in depth article, I have learnt a lot!
I am a freelance video editer using 4k raw footage and also enjoy doing a lot of after effects and starting with blender animations.
Now I am building my own pc and could just benefit of the black friday sale where I found an amd ryzen 9 3900x for only 80 bux more then the new ryzen 5 5600x. My question:

Should I wait for the new generation of CPUs or do you think choosing the ryzen 9 is a better choice. (Of course has more cores but less one core performance, about 15% less then the ryzen 5)

Would love to hear your thoughts about that, best regards

Timon

Simon Ellis

Hi Alex,

Thank you for this excellent and informative article. I have been referring between it and Puget’s pages for quite some time during my slow-motion research into an overdue build, and it’s great to see your updates. I’m looking into something akin to your recommended Threadripper system but I have an important question which you are probably sick of hearing, or will at least find very easy to answer.

My current system (i7-4790K – getting creaky these days) uses Thunderbolt-connected external HDD RAID drives for my editing media, and my allegiance thus far to this connectivity keeps me wondering about whether to finally go AMD or not for the new build. Everywhere I look it seems that AMD is leading the way now, but I would have to forego Thunderbolt, rendering my current drives useless.

While I know you don’t recommend using HDDs for anything other than backup/archive, sometimes projects are so huge that the faster alternatives just aren’t feasible for me. For example, I recently completed a project with almost 20TB of rushes after a 5 week shoot.

Would I be right in thinking that your suggestion would be to always proxy everything anyway, in order to facilitate editing from NVMe or SSD, and use my current RAIDs simply to store the uncompressed footage for final mastering? Two of my RAIDs are Thunderbolt only (ie: no USB3 alternative socket) and I have been reading that Thunderbolt certification is creeping into AMD socket motherboards but I really don’t know if this path is a bum steer.

Any advice would be much appreciated 🙂

All the best,

Simon

Randy

Hi Alex, just read your article and then realized your the same guy I had already bookmarked your “build with me” video! about a week ago 🙂
Great article and Video.

Made changes after reading your stuff and heres what I came up with. My first build at 58 years old so I’m a bit nervous. I could really use your suggestions or thoughts….Thanks!

CPU: —————— AMD Ryzen 9 3900X 3.8 GHz 12-Core Processor
CPU Cooler:———Cougar Helor 360 78.4 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler
Motherboard: —– Asus ROG Strix X570-E Gaming ATX AM4 Motherboard
Memory: ———— G.Skill Trident Z Neo 32 GB (2 x 16 GB) DDR4-3600 CL18 Memory
Storage: ————- Samsung 970 EVO Plus 2 TB M.2-2280 NVME Solid State Drive
Video Card: ——– Zotac GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER 8 GB AMP Video Card
Case:—————— Lian Li PC-O11 Dynamic ATX Full Tower Case
Power Supply: —– EVGA G3 750 W 80+ Gold Certified Fully Modular ATX Power Supply
Operating System: -Microsoft Windows 10 Home Full 32/64-bit
Total: $2303.03

Peter

Thank you for the research!

Chris

can i edit 4k video footage on my computer? Specs below.

Operating System: Windows 10 Home 64-bit (10.0, Build 18362) (18362.19h1_release.190318-1202)
System Manufacturer: Gigabyte Technology Co., Ltd.
System Model: Z390 UD
Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-9700K CPU @ 3.60GHz (8 CPUs), ~3.6GHz
Memory: 32768MB RAM
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070
Display Memory: 24380 MB
Dedicated Memory: 8031 MB
Shared Memory: 16349 MB
Samsung SSD 1 TB
Lexar SSD 500
6 TB HDD (red)
4 TB HDD (red)
water and fan cooled (don’t know brand or model)
Asus Blue ray burner (external)

Neyoless

Hi Alex

This is what I have so far. I’ll be mostly using Davinci Resolve for editing 4K video. What do you think? Any glaring mistakes in this build?

CPU: i7-10700K
GPU: RTX 2060 SUPER
Motherboard: MSI Z490 Gaming Edge Wifi
RAM: 32GB (2x16GB) Samsung DDR4 (2666MHz)
Storage 1: 1TB ADATA XPG SX8200 PRO M.2
Storage 2: 4TB TOSHIBA X300 HDD
Power Supply: SuperFlower Leadex III Gold 750W
CPU Cooler: Scythe Mugen 5
Case: Fractal Design Define 7 Compact
Operating System: Windows 10 Home

Videast

dear Alex, thank you very much for this extensive article on Editing configs… I’m in the process of putting together a new build, so read the post with care. Build is intended to be used in Premiere and Davinci Resolve.

I’m editing 4K source material (60mbps), but edits can reach up to 1.5 hours in length in some cases, with lots of effects (color grading on some clips, stabilization on many clips, zooms on some clips, etc.). I’m thinking in the direction of a 3900x, with a 2060 super, or a 2070 and 32 RAM.
Two questions:
1) Where would I benefit most from: pushing to a 3950x CPU, going towards the 2070 Super or increasing to 64GB ram?
2) I see some specialized editing machine builders still deliberately choosing lower speed ram (even as low as 2666). Although one reads that the Ryzens are best coupled with 3600 speed ram… so not sure whether to go with more but lower speed 2666 ram or with less ram but higher speed 3200 or 3600/C16 latency. They say that the gain is not big, but stability is much better with 2666Mhz ram. Game benchmark do show a significant advantage for higher Mhz ram, but not sure for video editing…

Thank you for your insight in these 2 points…

Shawn

Hi Alex,
I just purchased and built pc with all the parts that are listed in the (~6200$) for video editing. (First time building PC)
I’m having few issues.

1. Kraken x63’s pump is not turning on though fans are working. (Sata and usb cables are connected)

2.Nvidia-GeForce-2080-tI is not outputting any signal to monitor through HDMI or Display Port cable. (I see that lights for the graphics card and motherboard are on)

Things I tried:
Reinstalling rams to right sockets.
Re-insert cpu, graphics card, rams.
Updated bios with bios flash button.
CMOS reset

I would really appreciate it if you can help me to have my first pc start working.

Thank you.

Shawn

Ashok Patel

Hi alex
I never built a pc and now trying to build after reading your articles i have few confusions please clear it.

Pc specs im going to-

Cpu – Amd ryzen 7 3800x
Gpu – GeForce RTX 2060 twin x2 6gb ddr6
RAM – Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB 32GB (2x16GB) DDR4 3200 (PC4-25600) C16 1.35V

Memory – Samsung 970 EVO Plus 1TB PCIe NVMe M.2 (2280) Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)

Case- Cooler Master MasterBox MB311L ARGB Micro-ATX Airflow PC case with Two pre-Installed ARGB Fans, a Fine Mesh Front Panel, Mesh Side Intakes, Tempered Glass Side Panel

Power supply – (non- modular)
Corsair CX550 550 Watt 80 Plus Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply (CP-9020121-NA)

Motherboard -Asus Prime X570-P/CSM AMD AM4 ATX Motherboard with PCIe 4.0, 12 DrMOS Power Stages, Dual M.2, HDMI, SATA 6Gb/s, USB 3.2 Gen 2 and Aura Sync RGB Header

Also i need to know do i need “dark rock pro 4” with this specs? As in your pc build it was not there. Please reply this specification is compatible or i need to add something more?