How to Choose A Computer
For Video Editing

If you intend to capture and edit any of your video footage, a computer system is a must.

It can, however, be confusing for the beginner video enthusiast. Should you use a desktop or a laptop computer? How much processing power is needed? How much hard disk space is needed?

There's a whole multitude of components in a computer - choosing the best components can be tough. Well, the way I'd approach this problem would be to consider your budget and video editing needs. Let's take a look at the various options.

1. Desktop Computers

When buying a desktop for video editing, try to get a model with a good, large monitor for viewing your video. Ideally, the desktop should also come integrated with a FireWire port so you don't have to buy a separate FireWire card.

The other thing to look out for is a fast enough CPU with ample RAM, so you can run your video editing software smoothly. You don't want a computer which lags when you're opening a video frame or dragging clips on the editing timeline. I'd also look out for a BluRay writer if I intend to create BluRay discs, others you can stick with a normal DVD writer.

Budget Desktop Computer

If you're a budget user, I'd recommend the getting a reasonably powerful computer with an affordable price tag. A budget desktop computer, in my opinion, should come with the following specifications:

  • CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo
  • RAM: 2 GB DDR2
  • Hard disk: 500 GB
  • Video card: Integrated with motherboard

These specifications give you the power to handle almost every video editing task. An excellent choice for those who are just starting out in video editing.

Mid-range Desktop Computer

If you have a bit more spare cash, or have heavier video editing needs, you can go for a slightly more expensive system. Look out for specifications like:

  • CPU: Intel Core i5
  • RAM: 4 GB DDR3
  • Hard disk: 750 GB
  • Video card: Integrated with motherboard

Brand name manufacturers like HP and Dell make very good desktop PCs of practically any configuration you desire. You can also choose to build your own.

High-Performance Desktop Computer

For those with quite a big budget, you can go for a system that will provide the ultimate in video editing performance.

  • CPU: Intel Core i7
  • RAM: 4 GB DDR3
  • Hard disk: 1 TB
  • Video card: Dedicated graphics card with 512 MB VRAM

2. Laptop Computers

For the mobile user, getting a laptop system may be a better choice. Even if you're at home, getting a laptop for video editing may be better as it allows more freedom of movement.

One good thing about laptops is that the mid to high-end models tend to come with FireWire ports already built in. Many of the high-end models also offer BluRay writer drives which is a boon for video editors.

Of course, laptops come with a bigger price tag. Let's take a look at what laptop systems are suitable for video editing. Again, I classify them according to budget and video editing needs.

Budget Laptop Computer

For a budget laptop computer, you should look out for specifications like:

  • CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo
  • RAM: 2 GB DDR3
  • Hard disk: 250 GB
  • Video card: Integrated with motherboard

If you buy a budget laptop, the money you save can then be channeled to buying better video equipment like a camcorders and accessories.

Mid-range Laptop Computer

For a mid-range laptop, I'd say the specs are something like:

  • CPU: Intel Core i5
  • RAM: 4 GB DDR3
  • Hard disk: 300 GB
  • Video card: Integrated with motherboard

If you get a mid-range model, it usually comes with an integrated FireWire port - which is good news for video editors.

High-Performance Laptop Computer

Well, those who can afford a bit more will do well to consider the high-end laptops with specifications like:

  • CPU: Intel Core i7
  • RAM: 4 GB DDR3
  • Hard disk: 500 GB
  • Video card: Integrated with motherboard

These models come decked out with not only FireWire ports but also great graphics and audio capabilities - usually with gorgeous screen displays.


Hopefully, this article has given you some insight on the choices available when buying a computer for video editing. My suggestion to most people is to go for a system which meets their needs. You also need to consider other users for the computer. Will you use it to play graphics intensive games or do only simple word processing tasks?

Don't waste a ton of money on a super powerful system if you don't need it. Considering these factors will help you choose a proper computer system.

Here's where I find all my desktop and laptop bargains online.

Edit Digital Videos With Ease

If you've been looking for a good video editing program, you may want to check out Corel VideoStudio Pro. This software allows you to quickly create and share a movie using built-in templates, special effects, titles and transitions. You can apply unique effects such as stop-motion animation, time-lapse and chroma key to create brilliant digital videos.

Related Articles

You may also wish to read the following related articles:

How to buy your first digital camcorder
A guide to selecting a computer for digital video editing
Capture video from any video source with DVD Xpress
Which is the best video editing program?
A guide to selecting and buying VCD and DVD authoring software