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The best video editing laptops for aspiring filmmakers and YouTubers

Gone are the days of huge video editing bays — now you can make Oscar-worthy films right from your desk. Thanks to high-performing graphics cards, top-class CPUs, and amped-up storage capabilities, today’s best video editing laptops are primed for professional use.

While many in the past have turned to gaming laptops for video editing — thanks to their superior graphics cards and fast processors — creators today are turning to purpose-built laptops that are meant for video editing. Apple MacBook Pros have been at the top of the rankings for a while, but it’s worth taking a look at other brands too — Dell, Acer, and other PCs offer machines that rival, if not outperform, the MacBook Pro in many areas (including all-important display).

While having great editing software will make the finished project shine, it’s the hardware you want to pay attention to for editing video. Having state-of-the-art components can help make video editing tasks smooth, fast, and seamless. Keep an eye out for plenty of RAM (8GB isn’t enough these days — look for at least 16GB), lots of storage (many models come with 1TB), and a hardy processor (at least an Intel Core i7).

Can I do professional video editing on a laptop?

In a word? Yes. Professional-level video editing software and equipment has become more accessible than ever, and the fact that powerful processors continue to shrink without losing capabilities has made it possible to do high-level video editing on a laptop.

Most high-end laptops, often marketed as gaming laptops, have machinery capable of running powerful video editing software like Final Cut Pro X, Adobe Premiere, After Effects, and others. These apps are essential for professional-grade editing, and are capable of doing everything from cutting and performing color correction to exporting high-resolution footage.

What kind of processor is best for video editing?

One of the most important parts of your laptop when it comes to handling the resource-intensive process of video editing is your processor. The processor (or CPU) is what enables your computer to perform all of the tasks that you throw at it, including running specific software.

There are indicators about the processor that are worth looking at when picking out a laptop for video editing — though specs don’t always tell the full story.

One good indicator is how many cores your processor has. Cores allow your computer to multitask. The more cores your CPU has, the better equipped it will be to take on different tasks, like running multiple applications at the same time. An 8-core processor should do the trick for video editing, but there are certainly more powerful processors out there. In some cases, a 4-core processor capable of multithreading can make more use of fewer cores.

Another good indicator of a processor’s capabilities is clock speed. This is typically measured in gigahertz or GHz. When you see a processor that has a clock speed of 3GHz, that means that its internal clock beats 3 billion times per second — and each beat is an opportunity for the processor to manipulate and process data. A clock speed of 3.0GHz is a good baseline to look for in a processor for your video editing laptop.

How much RAM is needed for video editing?

Much like your computer’s processor, RAM (Random Access Memory) is an important component in handling video editing tasks. Think of RAM as your machine’s short-term memory. This is for handling tasks that are active or have been active recently — basically anything that is running on your device. This makes it important for running programs needed for video editing.

16GB of RAM is a good place to start when determining how much RAM you need — and for best-in-class video editing laptops, it’s now often the bare minimum offered. These top-line laptops also come with a graphics card like NVIDIA RTX that can handle more intensive tasks like video processing, meaning that you can get by with less RAM. A machine with less RAM but a powerful graphics card or processor should still be more than capable of handling video editing software.

Can a laptop handle 4K video editing?

4K, or UHD, video is super-high quality footage. For video editors, having a machine that can handle this type of footage is essential. Most laptops with a powerful processor and sufficient RAM can do this task — but not all of them will be able to display the footage at full resolution. If being able to see 4K video footage at the quality intended is important to you, you’re going to want to pick a laptop with a screen capable of displaying 4K resolution.

Mac or PC?

Surely you remember the old Mac vs. PC commercials. PCs were often portrayed as boring, buttoned-up machines for professionals and boring tasks while Macs were marketed for creatives. The debate has quieted down a bit in recent years because, as models like the Dell XPS have handily shown, both operating systems are more than capable of handling video editing software. Popular products from Adobe and Sony run on both Mac and PC. However, Apple’s popular video editing tool Final Cut Pro X is only available for macOS. If you’re used to the Apple ecosystem or prefer Final Cut to alternatives like Premier or Vegas, this is something that may weigh heavy on your decision.

What are the best laptops for video editing?

Now that you have a better idea of what to look for in a laptop for video editing, you can start narrowing down your potential options. We’ve made the process even easier by picking some of our favorites.



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