The best computer for editing 4K video is one that delivers both power and versatility in an affordable package. There are certain components in a 4K video editing PC that one should pay close attention to. Among these important components are the CPU, RAM, and GPU, with considerations also given to storage, cooling, and the often overlooked monitor. While there is no single solution for everyone, there are some general rules to follow when considering the purchase of a 4K video editing computer. This guide aims to tell you what you need to edit 4K video in 2017.
With 4K video editing, it all starts with the CPU. A solid processor is the foundation upon which quality editing PCs are built. A subpar CPU can bottleneck the other components and cause the whole system to struggle. That is why it is important to consider 6-core and 8-core CPUs. Programs like Adobe Premier Pro and After Effects are built to utilize multiple thread simultaneously. Though this software supports GPU rendering, the bulk of the workload is still handled by the CPU. A 6-core or 8-core CPU will have no problem with processing multiple videos across multiple monitors. At Regal Computers, we often recommend the i7-6800K or the RYZEN 5 1600. On top of the CPU is the CPU cooler (literally), which should not be forgotten when building a 4K video editor. Usually, aftermarket 120mm air coolers can perform up to task. However, in order to get the most out of a CPU through overclocking, we recommend liquid CPU cooling. The Corsair - H55 57.0 CFM liquid cooler offers tremendous, quiet performance and is compatible with most cases and CPUs which is why it is a favorite at Regal Computers.
Another crucial component of a well-built 4K video editing PC is the RAM. With RAM, it is necessary to strike a balance between speed and capacity. Premier Pro uses around 20GB of RAM with one to three layers of 4K source footage. After Effects can use as much RAM as is in the system. Therefore, 16GB to 32GB of DDR4-2400 MHz RAM is usually sufficient for common workloads. Another factor to consider is RAM expandability. Micro-ATX motherboards typically have four RAM slots. This being the case, it is wise to use 8GB sticks of RAM so that one can expand his RAM capacity in the future. This will better ensure that your PC can give great performance years after it is initially purchased. There are many solid brands of RAM in the market today. Therefore, one should rely heavily on customer reviews to select a reliable RAM.
Modern graphics cards are being utilized better today than ever before. Well-designed software will pass a significant portion of the workload to the GPU, freeing up the processor to do what it does best. For example, graphics-centric processes like rendering and adding effects while working through multiple timelines can be processed by the GPU. At Regal Computers, we recommend the newly released GTX 1000 series of graphics cards. The 6GB GTX 1060 offers a tremendous performance per dollar. 8GB cards such as the GTX 1070 and GTX 1080 are also workhorse cards, but are usually not necessary for most video editors except in special situations.
When it comes to storage, an SSD and HDD combination is all but a necessity in 2017. A smaller capacity SSD (240GB to 500GB), preferably M.2 interface, to store the operating system and any software along with at least a 2TB HDD works best to give speedy performance while offering plenty of space to back up files and store large 4K videos. In addition to having these local storage options, one might also prefer to have cloud storage or external USB storage. This serves as additional capacity and also keeps files outside of the computer, adding another layer of redundancy for those super important files that you cannot afford to lose.
The last and often overlooked piece of the 4K video editing PC puzzle is the monitor. There is a huge selection of monitors from dozens of retailers available today, so it can be hard to find the right one for you. However, when it comes to monitors, resolution is the place to start. One should determine if he wishes to have true 4K resolution (4096x2160) or Ultra-HD (3840x2160). From here, there is no shortage of features to consider. Weight, form factor, refresh rate, adjustability, and brand are just a few things to take into account. Customer reviews should influence your decision, as they can often tell of firsthand experience from an actual owner of a monitor you are considering. While we do not sell any brand of monitor at Regal Computers, we do trust in ASUS, Dell, Acer, and BenQ. Ultimately, the features that are most important to you should be the deciding factors in the monitor you buy.
When it comes to building the best 4K video editing computer in 2017, there is no shortage of components to consider. CPU, RAM, and GPU may be the most important hardware as they are the main engine of your PC, but storage, cooling, and a high quality 4K monitor should not be neglected. The above guidelines come from years of computer building, and can enable you to take a few steps in the right direction. Regardless of which components you consider, there are usually hundreds or thousands of customer reviews that you can use to your advantage. Consider all this when editing in 4K.