System hardware requirements vary depending on the specific video editing software you’re using, but no matter the application, CPU plays an integral role. Read on to learn more about choosing the best CPU for video editing.
How Does CPU impact Video Editing
With most applications, it’s the CPU that’s the most impactful to a PC’s video editing performance because it’s the CPU that handles all video previews, less resource intensive edits, and basic encoding. In contrast, the GPU is typically reserved for high complexity filters, effects, and 3D renders. How well an application balances the load between CPU and GPU depends on the application itself – Premiere Pro is well known for being more CPU intensive while Davinci Resolve is more GPU reliant, for example – so it’s always smart to check with your software developer for insight as well.
When shopping for a CPU for video editing, it’s important to consider the two main factors that determine processor performance – core count and core frequency. The more processor cores, the better the processor will handle more intensive video tasks, assuming the software is optimized for multi-threading. Core frequency, often referred to as core speed and measured in GHz, is important as well, but more incrementally and is not considered as directly impactful as is core count.
Best budget CPU for Video Editing
With all of that info now in hand, we can pinpoint the best value CPU for video as the one with the most cores per dollar.
From the Intel side, that honor goes to the Core i5-10600k, with 6 cores and 12 threads at 4.1/4.8GHz available for around $300. You may find 6-core processors for a bit cheaper, but not at those speeds. It’s an excellent option for even professional level video editing on a budget.
AMD Ryzen also offers some excellent processor options for video editing that are easier on the wallet. The best is the new Ryzen 5 5600X with 6 core and 12 threads at 3.7/4.6GHz, also retailing around $300. Though those GHz speeds may appear on paper to be slower, the increased efficiency and IPC improvements from AMD’s latest architecture generally have yielded benchmarks around 25% higher than the Intel equivalent.
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Best Overall CPU for Video Editing
For professional level video editors looking for the absolute best CPU where money is no object, the answer is AMD Threadripper, and to be honest, it’s really not that close. Threadripper, and the soon to be available Threadripper PRO, offer up to 64 cores and an astounding 128 threads and 4.3GHz speeds to render and encode even the most complex video and visual effects projects. Hundreds of design studios around the world have switched to Threadripper workstations, many of those built by hand by our team.
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