Welcome to our guide to the best computers for video editing in 2020. Here we've listed the top video editing PCs for a variety of budgets and skill levels, so no matter if you're a professional video editor, a budding content creator, or a hobbyist who's tidying up their home videos, there's a video editing computer on this list for you.
Regardless of your expertise level or budget, you'll want to make sure you get a PC that can handle the demands of video editing. This means having a multi-core processor and enough RAM to handle video editing apps, which are often pretty demanding.
This is especially true if you're editing large video and sound files, as well as exporting, rendering and finalising your footage. This is particularly important if you're working with high and ultra-high (4K and above) videos.
The best video editing PCs will also offer fast SSD (solid state drive) storage. This helps make moving, copying and accessing large files nice and quick. Video files can often be quite large, especially when you're shooting in 4K, so you'll need plenty of hard drive space to store it all on as well.
It also helps to have a powerful graphics card that can be used to accelerate certain visual effects and filters. (While you're here, you might want to check out our guide to the best video editing software, to whip your footage into shape.)
But why choose a desktop computer instead of one of the best laptops for video editing? While today’s top-of-the-line laptops are indeed powerful enough to be used for video editing, you still get the best performance and best value for money from a desktop computer, with the added benefit that it’s much easier to upgrade.
We’ve picked out some of the top Windows PC and Mac computers for video editing, with a focus on both some of the most powerful workstations on the market today, as well as some options if your budget is more limited.
The best computers for video editing available now
We think the best computer for video editing right now is the 21-inch Apple iMac with 4K Retina display (2019). Now sporting six and eight-core 9th-generation Intel processors, the 2019 iMac has received the most significant update since Apple added a Retina display to the specification, making it a video editing powerhouse.
Of the two available screen sizes, the 21.5-inch Retina iMac represents a better overall combination of value and performance than the larger 27-inch model. You get an extremely high quality, bright 4K Retina (4,096 x 2,304) display with a quad-core processor and AMD Radeon Pro 555X graphics card, that’s absolutely great for video editing. Choice upgrades would include adding some more memory and swapping the 1TB hard disk for an SSD, while a six-core processor is also available.
Unlike Apple’s iMac all-in-one, a touch-sensitive 28-inch display (4,500 x 3,000) display is the centre piece of Microsoft’s Surface Studio 2, letting you drag and drop video clips with a finger as well as a mouse. It comes with hinge that lets you flip the screen all the way down to edit video and it can be used with a pen for drawing too.
Microsoft needs to update the Surface Studio with more modern CPUs, but it makes up for it with some serious graphics grunt powered by Nvidia, with a GeForce GTX 1070 available that will provide some serious visual power.
If you're after the ultimate video editing PC, packed with the most powerful components money can buy, then the Apple Mac Pro (2019) is definitely worth investing in. The new Mac Pro can be configured to come with hardware that makes intensive video editing tasks complete much faster than less powerful PCs, and while its cheese grater-like design has split opinion, it allows for a unique cooling system that maximizes airflow and keeps the noise down.
All that power comes at a very high price, but its configurable, allowing you to pick specs that best suit your needs or budget. And, because of its modular design, you can upgrade parts of the system later on, giving it a flexibility that many Apple devices lack. The Apple Mac Pro won't be for everyone - for many, it will be overkill - but if you need the very best performance out of a video editing PC, this is the machine to get.
We love the Mac Mini’s flexibility and diminutive form factor, so we’re really pleased to see Apple updated it with a modern specification and a new 'space grey' colour late last year. It is still one of Apple’s most affordable computers (relatively speaking) and now it’s capable of a lot more, including video editing. Pair it with one of the best monitors for video editing for a great setup.
The base model features a quad-core processor, 8GB of memory and a (paltry) 128GB SSD. All of these can be upgraded, with an optional six-core processor and a larger SSD for even high-end video work. But with a bit of tinkering you can upgrade the memory yourself for less money than Apple charges, and there are six expansion ports at the back for either USB or Thunderbolt external storage. This is a great alternative to the expensive Mac Pro above.
With an 8th-generation Intel processor, HP’s silver-fronted Envy desktop PC is a box with more than a few tricks up its sleeve. The range is absolutely great for mid-range video editing, as the Nvidia GeForce graphics card can help out with various processing tasks, such as applying visual filter effects, while the main six-core CPU does much of the hard work.
We’d pick the slightly pricier 16GB option (or perform a memory upgrade) for more demanding video editing tasks, but as it carries an asking price that won't break the bank, this is a great all-rounder family computer with enough performance to cope with video editing well.
If you want a video editing PC that offers a slick all-in-one design without the premium price tag of Apple's iMac PCs, then the Lenovo Yoga A940 is a great choice, and one of our picks for the best video editing PCs of 2020.
It's not quite as powerful as the iMac Pro, though not many PCs are, and its specs list isn't quite as cutting edge as we'd like, as the 8th-generation chips and Radeon RX 560 graphics are ageing at this point. Still, it offers plenty of power for running video editing software (unlike iMacs, this runs Windows 10), and its gorgeous screen will make your footage look fantastic. Plus, it has Dolby Atmos speakers, which will help if you're editing videos with Dolby's latest 3D audio.
The 2019 27-inch iMac is a real powerhouse that represents Apple’s best overall desktop video editing workstation. The reason that it's a little further down our list is that it doesn't come cheap. Its 5K Retina (5,120 x 2,880) display is absolutely brilliant, it produces superb colours, conforming to the DCI-P3 colour specification. And with an optional eight-core processor, it will significantly reduce rendering times and chew through even 4K video editing work.
Typical of Apple, it becomes a pricey prospect if you start adding lashings of SSD storage and the Radeon Pro Vega graphics card, but you can easily add more affordable third-party memory rather than pay Apple’s prices to reduce costs a bit.
With its bright blue LEDs, Acer’s new Predator desktop line-up (Orion 3000, 5000 and 9000) is squarely aimed at gamers, and comes with a specification that pairs the latest Intel processors with powerful Nvidia graphics cards. But with so much power to hand, these quiet and attractive systems are certain to be absolutely brilliant for video editing too.
The top-end Orion 9000 has one of the most powerful hardware configurations of any computer in this list. It has Intel processors with ten, or even 18 CPU cores, up to 64GB of memory and if your budget can stretch to it, even dual Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti graphics cards. That incredible configuration is sure to shrug off complex 4K video editing tasks like they’re simple edits in Microsoft Paint.
We know it's eye-wateringly expensive. But Apple's brand new iMac Pro is the new daddy of computers for designers: if you have the cash, this is the best video-editing computer currently on the market. (If you're after a more affordable model, try the excellent iMac at number two, above.)
So what do you get for your money? Firstly, there's the 27-inch 5K resolution, which is 43 per cent brighter than standard Apple Retina monitors and delivers up to an astonishing one billion colours. There aren't too many screens around that will flatter your footage more.
Starting with an 8-core Intel Xeon processor, the least expensive iMac Pro option is already immensely powerful, with an outrageous 18-core option for those who can afford it. 1TB to 4TB of SSD internal storage means that you'll be able to store tonnes of 4K footage before you need to think about additional external drives. And it's not short on ports, either, with four Thunderbolt 3.0 ports and a 10GB ethernet port. Plus, of course you get the benefit of the platform's formidable Final Cut Pro X editing software as well.
Complete with monitor, mouse and keyboard, it's not easy to find exceptional quality computing for under a grand. But this Lenovo PC is an adequate option if you're on a tight budget. It comes with a 23-inch Full HD monitor and packs in up to a 2TB hard drive and 7th-generation Intel processor.
If you're somebody requiring a heavyweight machine for professional video editing all day everyday, this machine probably isn't going to quite cut the mustard. But for keen amateurs and dabblers, the sub £1,000/$1,000 spend on this Lenovo all-in-one should be just fine. It's worth noting that you can buy an even cheaper AMD-based version, but it will be less powerful and you get a smaller monitor.