Editor's note: This article is originally from January 16, 2017 and has been supplanted by this newer article published in 2018.
The Best Video Editing Computer 2017
A solid video editing computer is a must for any multimedia professional or enthusiast. In the year 2017, having a second-tier PC with obsolete parts is simply not a good idea. Computer hardware continues to advance at a furious pace with large capacity SSDs, i-7 processors, and dedicated graphics cards becoming the norm, not to mention more affordable. Whether you are a graphic designer, a photo editor, or a design engineer, using a standard PC not customized to your needs is equivalent to a marathon runner wearing sandals.
Many companies offer varied buying options when it comes to video editing computers. Dell, HP, and Apple are universal names that seemingly offer the best computers consistently. Smaller companies, like the Washington based Puget Systems, do exist. However, they sell PCs that perform a wide range of tasks and do not focus on video editors or content creators. Moreover, none of these companies truly offer a customized PC. Apple typically offers only a few different models, usually at outrageous prices, evidenced by the large market of second-hand Mac sales being transacted by individuals with tight budgets. It is true, Dell and HP offer powerful business machines with deep customization. However, make any hardware upgrade beyond what the stock models offer, and you will be paying a pretty penny, sometimes up to 300% more for a single hard drive compared to prices offered by other retailers such as Newegg.com.
It seems that in order to get the fastest, most responsive experience with a video editing computer, you will either have to buy a used machine, or sell your car to pay for a new one. However, with Regal Computers, there is hope when it comes to buying the best video editing computer at a tremendous value. But what is the right solution for you? Here are some guidelines to help.
The Most Important Parts of a Video Editing Computer
When considering what PC to purchase, determining a budget is the first step. Knowing this information will help to quickly eliminate products that are outside of your price range, both on the low end and high end of the spectrum. After defining your budget, the next step is to recognize these three important pre-purchase considerations.
In terms of hardware, the four most important components are:
Applications such as Adobe Premier Pro, Power Director 15, and iMovie have minimum hardware specifications. These are minimum standards determined by the program creators that need to be met in order for a smooth experience while using the software. Such standards can often be found on a software’s website. Recommended specifications are also listed to help the user to choose a computer that will make his experience ideal.
The CPU is far and away the most important component of any good video editing computer. Software applications rely heavily on the CPU for calculations and video playback. In short, a faster CPU will yield better performance. Intel CPUs are most common in today’s PC market, with the i-7 brand generally thought of as top dog. The best CPU is one that is overclocked, a configuration process which enables a processor to operate at faster speeds than specified by the manufacturer. This can be thought of as similar to a turbo charger on a car. An additional 10-20% performance can be obtained through proper overclocking setup.
Much attention should also be placed on storage, also known as hard drive capacity. Solid state drives are a relatively new technology that use flash memory for storing files instead of the obsolete hard disk drives (HDDs). This gives the SSD notable speed and durability advantages over the HDD, which uses a spinning mechanical disk head, limiting data transfer rates, access times, and reliability. SSDs do not use such moving parts and are thus 10-15x faster than HDDs. This type of storage is a necessity when editing and playing back video simultaneously. All computer applications should be installed on an SSD. All Regal Computers are built with both SSDs and HDDs, the former for installing operating system and applications to allow lightning fast file usage, and the latter for retaining large amounts of data that do not necessarily need to be accessed readily.
RAM allows extremely fast access to smaller amounts of memory. Thus, repetitive tasks such as touching up a photo or adding effects to a video benefit from adequate high-speed RAM. Without enough RAM, frames will need to be purged and re-rendered meaning lost time. A common question we receive is “how much RAM is enough?” As a general rule of thumb, 16GB of RAM is the minimum required for editing. However, as display resolutions continues to climb to 4K and beyond within the next few years, 32GB may become the new standard. RAM upgradability should be considered when purchasing a PC. Regal Computers uses motherboards that allow up to 64GB of RAM and beyond. This ensures that upgrades to RAM can be made quickly and without worry of hardware compatibility.
The GPU, also known as the graphics card, is used primarily for the manipulation and outputting of video. Tasks such 3D rendering and video playback require a high end graphics card. This is especially true for higher resolution video. A sub-par graphics card might lead to stuttering video playback and low frame rates. A good graphics card should have at least a 1 GHz core clock and 2GB of memory, but 4GB and larger units are starting to dominate the market.
Comparing Video Editing Computers on the Market
Since Regal Computers offers a product for right under $2,000, we have rounded up the best computers on the market with similar hardware to compare prices. The five products being compared today are as follows:
When deciding between two or more computers, it is important to keep in mind your performance per dollar. This is a measure of the bang for your buck. Below is a comparison table of the five computers we have chosen. The chart has been color coded to reflect how each computer compares to the other for each category column. Green indicates good value or high performance, while orange indicates poor value or low performance.
All of the PCs tested would offer very similar performance with only slight differences in storage and graphics being notable. Therefore, you might expect the price of these products to be similar. However, the Regal Computers Marquis-100 offers similar or better performance in every category by comparison and it costs anywhere from $650 to over $2,000 less than these leading competitors. It is easy to see that the Marquis-100 offers the best value on the market today.
Another good way to visualize how these computers stack up is to compare them using a simple graph. To do this, we have ranked the computers 1 through 5 and calculated a normalized score based on how each computer ranks for each category column. For example, the lowest price receives a score of 5 while the highest price receives a score of 1. Then, by adding these scores together and comparing to the product price, it can be seen which offers the best bang for your buck. On the graph below, the best computer would be the farthest to the top and left while the worst would be to the bottom and right.
Again, this chart shows that the Marquis-100 has both the best performance and the lowest price of any of the five computers we have compared.
The year 2017 should see an advance in new PC hardware capability, from larger, more affordable SSD drives to more memory in graphics cards. One constant that remains in this ever changing environment is the performance and value offered by Regal Computers. When it comes to analyzing the most important pieces of a great video editing computer: CPU, storage, RAM, and GPU, there is one clear winner. The best performance and lowest price makes the Marquis-100 the best video editing computer for under $2,000 available today.