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Best video editing computer 2021: the ideal desktop PCs for video editors

Included in this guide:

A man using one of the best video editing computers in his home studio
(Image credit: Shutterstock / DC Studio)

Many of the best video editing computers have similar, powerful specifications because of the power needed to run demanding applications and render 4K or even 8K videos. From powerful graphics cards, to the latest processors and buckets of memory, with so many choices on the market these days, how do you know what's best for you?

Luckily we've compiled our list of favourites here,  and they come packing some of the very latest and most powerful components, which means they can handle any video editing task with ease. Whether you're a fan of Apple or Microsoft, there's something for everyone with options across both macOS and Windows.

Given how powerful they are, video editing computers typically don't come cheap, but with Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2021 here, you could save a pretty penny. That doesn't mean that the products on this list are guaranteed to have a discount applied, but it's always worth checking around before you buy this time of year.

If you need a portable solution then there are also now laptops for video editing, equipped with the latest mobile graphics cards and 4K or even OLED displays, saving you from having multiple desktop setups for both work and home.

Laptops have certainly come a long way, but for really demanding rendering jobs, nothing can beat a desktop computer. With a desktop, you're free to connect the machine to any of the best monitors for video editing, and hook up your favourite peripherals like a graphics drawing tablet.

Not sure what you're looking for? Jump to the what to consider when buying one of the best computers for video editing section. If you're looking for smartphone apps for video editing, see our guide to the best video editing apps for YouTube.

Along with brilliant all-in one PCs, and the very latest Macs, we've also included a few gaming PCs here as well. They actually make fantastic video editing PCs thanks to the cutting-edge components inside.

The best video editing computers

A blue M1 iMac (2021) on a white backgroundCB

(Image credit: Apple)

The best computer for video editing overall.

CPU: Apple M1 chip with 8‑core CPU
Graphics: Integrated 7-core – 8-core GPU
RAM: 8GB – 16GB unified memory
Screen: 24-inch 4.5K Retina display
Storage: up to 2TB
Reasons to buy
+Excellent screen quality+Updated, colorful design+Compact all-in-one
Reasons to avoid
-Lack of ports-No discrete GPU

The new generation of Apple iMac computers might not be the first product to jump to mind, but this colourful AIO is more than enough for video editing for most people, and its low price means that it's accessible to even novice or student video editors.

Its 24-inch display runs a 4.5K resolution, which won't be ideal for anyone looking to render 8K footage but is more than enough for most editing requirements and access to the macOS exclusive application Final Cut Pro.

The new iMac is powered by Apple's own M1 silicon, combining internal components like CPU, GPU and more into one highly responsive chip. The new iMac has also had one of the biggest redesigns in years, featuring thinner bezels and available in a range of bright colours, harkening back to Apple's classic G3 all-in-one PCs.

If you want a larger screen, and require more graphical horsepower, then the slightly older 27-inch iMac (located below) might serve you as a better buy.

A silver iMac (2020) on a blank white background running video editing software

(Image credit: Apple)

Another brilliant video editing computer from Apple.

CPU: 10th-generation Intel Core i5 – i9
Graphics: AMD Radeon Pro 5300 - Radeon Pro 5700 XT
RAM: 8GB – 128GB 2666MHz DDR4
Screen: 27-inch (diagonal) 5120 x 2880 Retina 5K display
Storage: 256GB – 8TB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Improved internals+Can be configured to be very powerful
Reasons to avoid
-Design is getting old-Just two Thunderbolt ports

Released in 2020, this model of the iconic iMac desktop computer might not look as stylish as its new, younger sibling, but it still sports capable components, featuring up to a 10th generation Intel i9 processor and an AMD Radeon Pro 5700 XT.

That discrete graphics card and larger 27-inch display can outpace the M1 silicon inside the latest iMac computer, which is favourable for anyone running more demanding applications.

The webcam and built-in microphone has also been improved, which is handy for many people who now find themselves working from home. Sure, the design of this iMac hasn't changed, which makes it look outdated compared to the new 24-inch iMac, but it's still impressively slim and stylish. 

Its all-in-one design means it's easy to set up and looks smart in any office, home or studio, and it's a formidable PC when it comes to editing high-resolution videos.

A Microsoft Surface Studio 2 with a mouse and keyboard against a white background

(Image credit: Microsoft)

A brilliant Windows all-in-one.

CPU: Intel Core i7-7820HQ
Screen: 28-inch 4500x3000 resolution IPS display
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB -GTX 1070 8GB
RAM: 16-32GB
Storage: 1-2TB SSD
Ports: 4xUSB 3.0; 1xUSB-C; SD card slot; Gigabit Ethernet; 3.5mm headphone jack
Size: 63.7cm x 1.3cm x 43.9cm x 1.3cm (WxDxH)
Weight: 9.56kg
OS: Windows 10
Reasons to buy
+Powerful graphics+High-res touch-sensitive display+A decent iMac alternative
Reasons to avoid
-The CPU is out of date compared to rival products-Eyewateringly expensive for what you get

The Microsoft Surface Studio 2 is a brilliant alternative to Apple iMac computers, sporting a similar all-in-one design, with a couple of extras to sweeten the deal.

For one, the Surface Studio 2 comes with a  touch-sensitive 28-inch display that features a massive resolution of 4,500 x 3,000 pixels, so you can also drag and drop video clips with a finger as well as a mouse, and there are plenty of available ports for you to connect your favourite mice, keyboards and other peripherals. 

It also comes with a hinge that lets you flip the screen all the way down to edit video and it can be used with a pen for drawing if you wanted to save cash on buying a graphics drawing tablet.

The components inside are what prevents Windows from taking the crown from Apple in this list, but they're still capable of running video editing applications with ease, despite their age.

A Mac Pro (2019) desktop computer from the side, against a white background

(Image credit: Apple)

4. Apple Mac Pro (2019)

An incredibly powerful video editing PC from Apple.

CPU: up to 28-Core Intel Xeon W
Graphics: up to AMD Radeon Pro Vega II Duo
RAM: up to 1.5TB
Storage: up to 8TB SSD
Communications: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, 2x 10Gb Ethernet,
Dimensions (W x D x H): 21.8 x 45.0 x 52.9 cm
Reasons to buy
+Incredibly modular+More than enough power+Portability with optional wheels
Reasons to avoid
-Very expensive-Not a very attractive design

The now iconic 'cheesegrater' PC in Apple's family of desktop computers may look comical, but if you're after an absolute powerhouse of a video editing computer and you have deep pockets, the Apple Mac Pro (2019) is no laughing matter. 

This is the most expensive commercial product in the Mac lineup but you do get a lot of flexibility if you're willing to part with a stack of cash. The Mac Pro can be customised to your needs, configured to come with hardware that makes intensive video editing tasks complete much faster than less powerful PCs, and this can have a huge impact on your workflow. It even comes with up to a whopping 12 Thunderbolt 3 ports on the rear, with an additional two on the top of the chassis.

The initial investment might hurt your wallet, but unlike many other Apple devices, it's easy to upgrade parts of the system later on thanks to its modular design. This means it can be future-proofed for years to come, saving you cash on buying an entirely new system.

This does mean that the Apple Mac Pro won't be for everyone, as it's too powerful for most video editing needs and its price makes it an unrealistic option for many editors. If you do have the money available and you're a devout Apple user though, this is the ultimate Apple computer for video editing.

The new M1 Mac Mini against a solid white background

(Image credit: Apple)

Powerful, small and great for video editing.

CPU: Apple M1 chip with 8-core
Graphics: Integrated 8-core
RAM: 8GB – 64GB unified memory
Storage: 256GB – 2TB SSD
Dimensions (W x D x H): 19.7 x 19.7 x 3.6 cm
Reasons to buy
+Same lovely design+Very good performance+New M1 hardware has potential
Reasons to avoid
-Can't use eGPUs-Not ideal for 4K

The Mac mini is a diminutive PC equipped with Apple's all-new M1 chip, which packs an 8-core GPU, but don't let its compact size fool you - this is a very capable PC for video editing, especially when paired with one of the best 4K monitors on the market. Its small size allows means it can be tossed into a bag and easily carried around, giving you a desktop with the portability of a laptop.

The base model features the Apple M1 chip with 8-core CPU and 16-core Neural Engine with 256GB SSD, and there are four expansion ports at the back for either USB or Thunderbolt external storage, plus HDMI 2.0 to simultaneously support two displays. This is a great alternative to the expensive Mac Pro above.

It's also the same hardware found in the new iMac 24-inch model, and offers very similar performance, but without the built-in display, and for quite a bit less money. If you already have a monitor you love using, then the Mac mini is a great alternative to the new iMac, and can save you a decent amount of cash.

A Dell G5 gaming desktop PC against a white background

(Image credit: Dell)

6. Dell G5

A budget gaming PC that's great at video editing.

CPU: 9th Gen Intel Core i3-9100 – i9 9900K
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 – RTX 2070
RAM: 8GB – 64GB
Storage: 1TBSSD – 1TB SSD + 2TB HDD
Reasons to buy
+Affordable for a gaming system+VR-ready configurations+Lots of configurations
Reasons to avoid
-Base model isn't up to scratch-Availability issues

Gaming PCs are brilliant video editing computers as they usually come with plenty of RAM, the latest multi-core processors, and powerful graphics cards, the same requirements typically seen in powerful computers for creative professionals. This is great news if you also like to play video games in your spare time, as one product can be used for both work and play if you have sufficient storage to accommodate games and project files.

The Dell G5 isn't the most powerful gaming PC on the market, but you don't need it to be for video editing, and its configuration options give you plenty of flexibility to tailor the computer to your needs.

If you don't want to spend huge amounts of money, the budget Dell G5 is a fantastic choice. It comes with 9th-generation Intel chips and Nvidia’s most powerful gaming GTX and RTX graphics cards. As with many of Dell's products, you can configure the G5 to suit your budget and needs, so you won't end up spending money on power and features you don't need. It's also stylishly designed, so it won't look out of place in an office or studio, and it comes with Dell's respected build quality to boot.

A side view of the Lenovo Legion 5i gaming PC against a white background

(Image credit: Lenovo)

7. Lenovo Legion Tower 5i

A powerful PC for video editing.

CPU: up to 10th-gen Intel Core i7
Graphics: Up to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Super
RAM: Up to 16 GB DDR4 2933MHz
Storage: Up to 2 TB HDD + 1 TB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Clean, modern design+Beefy components for heavy graphical workloads+Various configurations to choose from
Reasons to avoid
-No USB Type-C at the front-RGB lighting won't please everyone

The Lenovo Legion 5i is another great example of an affordable gaming PCs that that also doubles as a fantastic PC for video editing, offering superb value for money and flexibility for anyone who dabbles in games alongside their creative background.

You're getting 10th generation Intel processors, and up to an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super, both of which are slightly out of date given the latest generational releases from Nvidia and Intel, but still very capable and powerful enough to run AAA games and any video editing application you can throw at it.

You can also configure it with up to 16GB of RAM, which again should be plenty for most people's needs. If you find you need more, then you can always upgrade it yourself later - one of the best things about desktop PCs is how relatively easy they are to upgrade. Best of all, this PC can come with loads of storage space, with up to 1TB hard drive and a 1TB SSD - making it ideal for storing all your video files on.

The Lenovo Yoga AIO 7 against a plain white backdrop

(Image credit: Lenovo)

8. Lenovo Yoga AIO 7

A great iMac or Surface Studio alternative.

CPU: Up to AMD Ryzen 7 4800H
Graphics: Up to Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060
Storage: Up to 1TB M.2 SSD + 2TB HDD
Display: 27" 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) IPS, DCI-P3 99%, Adobe RGB 99%
Reasons to buy
+Good price for the features and specs+4K display can rotate to portrait mode+Optional 99% Adobe RGB coverage
Reasons to avoid
-Components are slightly outdated-Pricey for a non-Apple AIO 

The 27-inch Yoga AIO 7 is a capable Windows-based rival to the ageing iMac Pro, with features optimised specifically for creative professionals over traditional home or business work. 

The 4K display comes with an optional 99% Adobe RGB colour gamut and DCI-P3 99% colour space, and can be fully rotated to portrait mode with just a push of a finger for anyone that needs to work on a different angle on TikTok videos.

The 32GB of RAM will help speed up rendering and if you're partial to using applications like Adobe After Effects, and you can select up to an Nvidia RTX 2060 graphics card to help with any demanding editing or rendering. 

With up to 1TB of SSD storage and the option for a 2TB HDD, there's plenty of room to save video footage, and plenty of ports to pair with your favourite peripherals.

A Black iMac Pro with a blue desktop background against a blank white backdrop

(Image credit: Apple)

The best video editing computer for professionals with big budgets.

Display: 27-inch 5K Retina
Processor: 8-, 10- or 18-Core
Turbo Boost: up to 4.5GHz
Memory: 32GB
Storage: 1TB
Graphics: Vega GPU
Size: (h) 51.6cm x (w) 65.0cm
Weight: 9.7 kg
Connections: 10Gb Ethernet, four Thunderbolt 3 (USB‑C) ports, four USB 3 ports, SDXC card slot
Reasons to buy
+Incredibly powerful +Superior graphics for an iMac+5K retina display
Reasons to avoid
-Soooooooo expensive-A new model could be just around the corner

If you like the all-in-one design, but the more recent iMac computers are lacking in power then you can still grab the Apple iMac Pro, a beastly AIO that can still run just about anything you throw at it.

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 SSD internal storage means that you'll be able to store tonnes of 4K footage before you need to think about additional best external hard drives. And it's not short on ports, either, with four Thunderbolt 3.0 ports and a 10GB Ethernet port.

The built-in screen is still one of the finest around, with a 27-inch screen size and 5K resolution. It's 43% 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, regardless of the age of the device.

Aurora Ryzen Edition R10 on a black white backdrop

(Image credit: Dell / Alienware)

10. Alienware Aurora Ryzen Edition R10

A powerful AMD gaming PC.

CPU: Up to AMD Ryzen 9 5950X
Graphics: Up to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080
RAM: Up to 128GB 3200MHz DDR4
Storage: Up to 2TB SSD + 2TB HDD
Reasons to buy
+Powerful top-end specifications+Clean, modern design+Lots of customization
Reasons to avoid
-RGB lighting isn't for everyone-Expensive (but fair) pricetag

We've covered budget-friendly gaming PCs as a suitable option for video editors, but if you like some luxury then there are some real gems out there. The Alienware Aurora Ryzen Edition R10 is one of the best AMD-based gaming desktops on the market, with plenty of configuration options available for users to customize the system to fit their needs. 

With Dell owning the Alienware brand, there's also the opportunity to save some cash if your employer or place of education provide discount vouchers for new equipment. This isn't guaranteed, but it makes annual sales like Black Friday a great time to nab one at a discount.

The UFO-inspired design might not be to everyone's taste, and while the price is fair for the product you get, this is still a very expensive PC. If you were looking to combine a love of gaming with your video editing demands though, buying a single machine like this can provide you with the best of both worlds.

What should I look for in a video editing computer?

Video editing is fairly demanding on most systems, so when looking into a new computer make sure you have a super-fast CPU, lots of RAM and a decent graphics card. 

Encoding and transcoding will be better on a faster CPU, so you'll want to look at clock speed rather than the number of cores. An Intel i7 or AMD Ryzen 7 processor released in the last few years should suffice, if you can afford to bump up to a full i9 or Ryzen 9 processor, your system will have a much easier time coping with demanding applications.

Rendering is a similar story, mainly using your CPU and RAM, so while most traditional desktop computers can get by with 16GB (or even 8GB), you'll want to stick as much in as you can afford. 32GB is the sweet spot, but the more the merrier.

The most important components for you to concentrate on are the graphics card and processor. If you're looking to edit ultra-high definition videos or add complex video effects, then we strongly recommend buying a PC with a dedicated graphics card as this will ensure the PC can handle your video editing tasks. 

There are popular products available from both Nvidia and AMD such as the GeForce RTX 3080 and the Radeon RX 6800 XT, but you'll find that most GPUs released within the last four years should meet the standard for video editing or rendering.

Meanwhile, a fast, modern, multi-core processor will also help speed up your video editing workflow. Pair that with a good amount of RAM (we recommend 8GB as a minimum, and preferably 16GB but the more, the merrier), and you should be able to chew through video editing tasks with ease.

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. If a PC is advertised with an HDD or Hard Drive we would recommend looking elsewhere – HDDs are generally much cheaper, but also much slower, and it's not hard to find affordable SSD builds these days.

Is a gaming PC good at video editing?

Gaming computers and laptops share a few things in common with those optimized for creative professionals: You need a fast CPU, a powerful GPU to run your games/applications and as much RAM as you can afford.

This makes gaming PCs a great alternative to portable workstations, especially as many manufacturers don't create desktop computers with creative professions like video editing in mind, which is why you may have noticed that this list is dominated by Apple-branded hardware and gaming PCs.

The components required to run next-gen AAA games and hardware like VR headsets isn't dissimilar to those used by people who run demanding software such as Adobe Creative Suit, and many companies like Dell, Lenovo and HP will provide different configurations that allow you to customise the system to your exact needs.

You can expect a recently released, high-spec processor, a beefy graphics card, plentiful and speedy RAM, and of course a sizable SSD storage capacity for you to save 4K files to. 

Gaming desktops can also support powerful displays, so if you need a 4K, 144Hz monitor then you'll find gaming PCs more readily available than specialized creative systems. The only thing you need to worry about is a 'gamer' aesthetic and an occasionally obnoxious amount of RGB lighting.

Best video editing computer: extras to consider

You might also want to check out our guide to the best video editing software, to whip your footage into shape. You can download Premiere Pro – our top pick of that list – too. 

But why choose a desktop computer instead of one of the best laptops for video editing or the best tablets 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.

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Matt Hanson

Matt has been a technology journalist for well over a decade, writing for publications such as T3, MacFormat and Creative Bloq. He's a senior editor of TechRadar, Creative Bloq's sister site, where he can be found writing about and reviewing laptops, computers, monitors and more. He often writes for Creative Bloq, helping creatives find their perfect laptop or PC.