Only the best video editing computer will do for video editors or producers. When you’re editing videos and rendering very large files, you’ll require a PC that’s powerful enough to handle graphically-intensive tasks (and yes, that includes a Mac).
This means that the best video editing computer must boast robust components that can help makes the editing process as fast and smooth as possible. To start, it needs a potent discrete graphics card, plenty of RAM, and one or more multi-core processor. Both AMD and Nvidia produce excellent professional GPUs, though you can also use a gaming graphics card - they also deliver that sheer performance you need while being cheaper than the pro cards.
If you're looking for the best video editing computer money can buy, then you've come to the right place. We've rounded up the very best out there for a range of budgets. With our built-in price comparison tool to ensure you get the best deals, you’ll find one that gets the best value for your money while also running the most taxing of video editing software with ease.
The best video editing computer at a glance
- Apple iMac Pro
- iMac (27-inch, 2020)
- Microsoft Surface Studio 2
- Corsair One Pro i180
- Mac Mini 2018
- iMac (27-inch, 2019)
- Apple Mac Pro (2019)
- Lenovo Yoga A940
The Apple iMac Pro is one of the most powerful PCs that Apple has ever made, and it's easily the best video editing computer money can buy right now. Speaking of money, you'll need quite a bit of it, as this is a very expensive machine. However, for the price you get sublime build quality, plus some of the most cutting-edge components on the market today. The Intel Xeon processor and AMD Verga 64 graphics card will make editing videos fast and smooth, and there's enough horsepower here to be able to preview your edits on the fly. Apple's software is also incredibly popular with creatives and video editors, as it's fast and reliable.
Even though the iMac 27-inch’s last update was only last year, Apple couldn’t help but step up in the upgrades department with its 2020 follow-up. Specs-wise, this model sports some massive improvements while also upgrading its webcam and microphones for a felicitous update. More people are working from home these days, and this seems like the best all-in-one PC to invest in without being forced to make some considerable space in your existing area. One of the most powerful all-in-one PCs you can buy right now, making it among the best video editing computers for space-saving video editors.
Read the full review: iMac (27-inch, 2020)
Packed with a Kaby Lake mobile processor and Nvidia Pascal graphics, the Surface Studio 2 is a lot more powerful than the original, and is a brilliantly-capable video editing computer. It features a stunning PixelSense display with Surface Pen support, which gives you a whole new way to interact and edit your video. It runs Windows 10, so software support is fantastic, and the 2TB SSD lets you store plenty of video footage in a speedly solid-state drive.
The Corsair One Pro i180 is one of the most powerful PCs out there, which makes it one of the best video editing computers you can buy at present. It comes with an Intel Core i9-9920X, Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti, 32GB of DDR4 RAM, 920GB NVMe M.2 SSD and 2TB hard drive. That’s some seriously impressive and cutting-edge hardware for video editing. Unlike the iMac Pro and the Surface Studio 2 above, the Corsair One Pro i180 lets you upgrade certain components yourself, making this a future-proof PC. It's also got an amazingly compact design that means it can easily sit on or under a desk. It's very expensive, though.
The Mac mini 2018 has been refreshed with modern hardware, bring Apple’s tiniest Mac into the modern age. It comes with an 8th-generation desktop processor, plenty of RAM and some of the fastest SSDs we’ve seen – all while keeping the same beloved compact form factor. What makes it an ideal video editing PC is that you can add an external graphics card to the Mac mini for added graphical prowess. You can also chain several Mac minis together and offload tasks onto each machine. This means you can use one Mac mini to render your video, while using another to complete other tasks. It's incredibly versatile, and good value as well.
If the iMac Pro above is too expensive (and offers a level of performance that you simply don't need), but you want an Apple all-in-one, then the standard iMac is more than capable of helping you with your photo editing. While the iMac 2019 doesn’t feature a touchscreen or an adjustable stand, the option for a 4K P3 wide color gamut display means it will accurately display your photos. Plus, there’s the fact that because the iMac (27-inch, 2019) is no longer the latest model, so it should be getting some tempting price cuts.
Apple has made the Apple Mac Pro (2019) one of its most modular computers yet. Combined with its raw power, it’s not just one of the best video editing computers currently on offer, but also extremely future-proof, which is only right since you’re spending good money for it. Apple is ushering in that cheese grater look that we’ve come to love since its unveiling, thanks to its unique cooling system that maximizes airflow and keeps the noise down. That’s not all; one look at its specs, and you’ll see that this is a creative professional’s ultimate tool. Video editors will have a hard time throwing a task at this workstation that will slow it down.
Lenovo’s latest all-in-one offering may not be as powerful as the latest Mac Pro or even Apple’s premium AIO, the iMac Pro. At this point, the 8th-generation chips and Radeon RX 560 graphics are a bit dated. However, it is still plenty powerful to meet the needs of creative professionals out there who are not entirely impressed by Apple’s pricey machines. On top of that, the Lenovo Yoga A940 has a few aces up its sleeves, including 100% Adobe RGB support and Dolby Vision, a set of Dolby Atmos speakers, a port offering that’s more generous than Apple’s all-in-one, and a stylus included in the box.
Read the full review: Lenovo Yoga A940
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), 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.
- While you’re at it, we’ve also found the best gaming desktop PC you can buy