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Videoguys’ System Recommendations for Video Editing

Videoguys’ System Recommendations for Video Editing (March 2014 Update)


Click here for our March 2017 Updated System Recommendations for video editing


We get asked all the time, “What computer system should I use for Video Editing?”
So, we created this page to give you some basic guidelines. Every month computers get more powerful and less expensive, so the recommendations on this page could become outdated very quickly. We will try our best to keep it up to date but if you see something that doesn’t look right or if you’re configuring a system that may be somewhat different please e-mail ( or call the Videoguys at 800-323-2325 and we’d be happy to review your plans. We want to help you make sure you have everything you need to edit & produce great videos.

This page is broken into several sections:

  • What kind of computer you need and why? Note: This article is currently for PC recommendations only.
  • General system recommendations
  • Videoguy’s recommendations on new technologies (ie. multi-core, 64 bit)
  • Potential compatibility Issues.

Videoguy’s DTV Tech Support Hotline (516) 759-1615

The minimum recommended system myth
Many computer software and hardware vendors will list a minimum system spec that is often not adequate. While you will have enough horse power to make them run, you may not get the full advertised performance and you will be disappointed. This is why we have chosen to post our own minimum recommended system for the latest new NLEs. We are confident that if you follow our guidelines you will be very happy with your new NLE purchase.

For best results Make it a Workstation
If you are going to be editing long format videos over an hour long or you want to add lots of 3D effects, filters and have multiple layers of video flying all over the screen, you want a workstation class machine. This will insure you get the stability and performance you demand from your NLE system. You basically have 3 options here:

  1. Get an HP (or Dell) workstation or a Mac Pro. An HP workstation will cost you more, but in the long run it will be worth it. They use only the best components, and these workstations come optimized for digital content creation. The new HP z820 is the power users choice, and the best dual Xeon solution  on the market. We like the z420 single Xeon machines for professionals who don’t require as much horsepower, but demand the same level of reliability and stability. When it comes to stability, reliability and performance HP workstations set the bar by which all others are judged. They are more expensive then a DIY build, but you get what you pay for. If you’re building a professiona post facility, HP z series workstations are the way to go. The new Dell workstations are very good also, and it’s great to see that Dell has bounced back and is once again making top notch, solid, high performaing workstations.
  2. If you’re a serious Apple editor get a new Mac Pro. They are sleek, sexy and incredibly powerful. If you plan on editing with FCPX, you will find that it is optimized for the new Mac Pro and delivers pefromance that is nothing short of amazing. Adobe Premiere Pro CC will take advantage of the dual GPUs as well. Avid has just released a new update that supports the new Mac Pros as well.We think that the base $2,999 model is a little light in the configuration specs, we recommend the step up $3,999 model because it offers you so much more for performance for your dollar. You get a hex-core Xeon processor, 16GB or RAM and much better dual GPUs. In fact, we think the $3,999 model is so strong, that most of our customers will not need to spend $5K or up to $10K for the fully suped up models. For $4K the step-up 6-core Mac Pro is a killer NLE workstation.
  3. Get a turnkey NLE solution from an expert NLE integrator. You can follow this link to a list of turnkey providers recommended by the Videoguys. All of the companies featured on this page make excellent NLE workstations, fully loaded and optimized for long format video editing.
  4. You can certainly build your own computer. You can and should use our DIY articles as a guideline. Make sure you have adequate power supply (minimum 650 Watts, 850 Watts is better) and plenty of cooling and airflow inside the box. Click here for our DIY page with links to our most recent machines. Or check out our DIY10 sneak peak article. Keep in mind, we don’t sell these systems or many of the components but we’re happy to share the specs with you so you know what kind of machine the Videoguys build for themselves.
  5. Get an Apple iMac! One of the new 27 inch i7 Quad-cores equipped with Thunderbolt, USB3 and NVIDIA Graphics!
  6. Looking to do your video editing on a laptop? Our first and top recommendation is the 15″ Mac Book Pro with Retina display and NVIDIA GPUs. This is by far and away our favorite. Next up are the new HP zBooks with Thunderbolt. The new Lenovo W530 is another solid choice, especially now that it’s available with USB3 and an NVIDIA Quadro GPU. (Unfortunately Lenovo no longer makes any laptops with Thunderbolt). Both of these laptops include NVIDIA mobile GPUs, which is critical for optimal NLE performance. You can also check out Videoguys Recommended Laptops for Video Editing Guide. It’s a little dated, but has some great advice and we still recommend the listed vendors.

What brands we recommend and why
We’ve had good success with workstations and laptops from both Dell and HP. You may pay a little bit more to get a workstation from these vendors, but the advantage is that you also get outstanding service and support from them. Tech Note: While we love HP Workstations, we do not recommend HP desktop computers. They are not built to the same high standards as their workstation class machines.

With NLE, the more speed the better. Faster machines mean no dropped frames, smooth playback and shorter rendering times. These companies build machines that are used everyday, 24/7 in the broadcast video post-production facilities all over the world. Keep in mind that these broadcast-level machines are typically top of the line workstation models, running dual Xeon processors. You do not need to invest in that level of machine. Most video editors will get all the power they need with a single multi-core CPU machine, built with top end components on a high performance motherboard.

If you would rather get a computer from your local dealer, try to find out if they have any experience installing video editing systems. If so, make sure they understand what your main system requirement is: 9+ megs per second sustained throughput for real-time NLE systems!! For HD editing you will need even more! Your system builder can’t be sloppy with BIOS version, drivers or memory resources and the system must be optimally configured. If they follow one of our DIY recipes along with our system recommendations and tweaks, you should end up with a solid video editing machine.

Videoguy’s Do-It-Yourself NLE Computer Guides
Over 6 years ago, back in February of 2004 we posted our first DIY article as a guidebook for digital videographers who wanted to build their own NLE computer on a tight budget. Since then our guides have become the defacto standard for affordable NLE configurations. Out latest DIY10 sneak peak machines based on the new Intel Core i7 Haswell processor with Thunderbolt equipped motherboards running Win7 64-bit are our best ever!!

The choices we make…
Whether you’re shopping for a pre-configured machine or having on built for you there are several choices to make along the way and here are some more recommendations to help:

  • We highly recommend Intel Core i7 processors.
    In the past we would recommend Intel over AMD for compatibility reasons. Then when Dual Core processors first came out we gave the upper hand to AMD. With the Core 2 Duo processors Intel re-took the top spot for video editing and with Core i7 Intel’s lead has only gotten stronger. While AMD machines will work, we think Intel is definitely the way to go for video editing. Those on a tight budget can go with a Core i5 for basic video editing, but you must get a Quad core if you plan on editing AVCHD, DSLR or GoPro footage. Without at least 4 physical cores editing these HD formats will not work well at all.
  • Chipsets are as important as the CPUs.
    This is often overlooked, but in reality it is the single most important factor in the success of your computer for NLE. Picking the correct motherboard is critical. Any bottlenecks in the chipset can be a huge problem for NLEs. While you may not be able to find the specific motherboard you see referenced in one of our articles, choosing the latest version based on the same chipset is usually a safe bet.We recommend and using ASUS motherboards in our DIY machines because we have found that ASUS motherboards work great with our video editing hardware and software. We can also recommend Tyan, MSI & Gigabyte. The chipset used on the motherboard is actually more important then the brand. For more specific motherboard information check out our DIY articles.
  • Specific NLE solutions may require specific motherboards
    We can’t stress this enough. The guidelines on this page are GENERAL guidelines. Many times our vendors will recommend specific motherboards or chipsets for integrating their NLE solutions. If you have any specific questions about hardware and/or software you plan on purchasing from us, we urge you to give us a call at 800-323-2325 and review your planned configuration. This is especially important if you intend to edit HD footage.
  • Picking the right graphics card for your NLE workstation
    One of the most often asked questions on our tech support and sales lines (as well as in emails, online forums and user groups) is “What is the best graphics card for NLE?” The answer is actually pretty simple, once you understand why. It all depends on the NLE software you plan on running, what kind of video work you do and if you are also going to be using any additional hardware in your system.

We recommend nVidia Quadro based graphics cards for video editing because of their superb CUDA and Open GL support. Adobe Premiere Pro, Photoshop & After FX, Avid Media Composer & Symphony, Red Giant Magic Bullet, Tiffen DFX, NewBlue FX & Boris FX all take advantage of NVIDIA GPUs. This is why we do not recommend ATI cards.

You will see more and more video editing software take advantage of Open GL GPU power as new versions of NLEs get released. This is the key the reason why we recommend Quadro cards over less expensive 3D gaming cards. While you can do fine with a 3D gaming card, Quadro cards are designed and engineered for this kind of work – and the NLE engineers are optimizing their applications to take advantage of this GPU Open GL power. Below is a short list of our top GPU recommendations by NLE:

  • Avid Media Composer 5.0+: Quadro FX1800/3800+ or Quadro2000/4000+
  • Adobe Premiere CS5+ Mercury Playback Engine: GTX570/670 or Quadro 4000/5000+
  • Adobe Premiere CS5+ Mercury Playback Engine (Mac): Quadro4000 Mac
  • Sony Vegas Pro 10/11: GTX570/670
  • Grass Valley Edius: GTX570/670 or Quadro 2000/4000+
  • Pinnacle Studio / Avid Studio: GTX570/670
  • General system recommendations (March 2014):
    If you are starting from scratch, follow our DIY10 choice or budget system shopping list: Intel Core i7 Quad Core processor, 32 GBs of RAM, a 240GB SSD  and an NVIDIA GTX670 graphics card. Add in a 1TB SATA drive for your storage – even better, set up a 4TB RAID 0 striped set (2x2000GB).

What iMac configuration does the Videoguys’ recommend?

The latest 27″ iMac does a fantastic job of running the latest Apple, Adobe and Avid software. You’ll get outstanding performance and be able to easily handle AVCHD and DSLR footage with some pretty multiple layers of video and fairly complex timelines. We even have customers editing RED footage on their iMacs and MBP w Retina – WOW!

We get asked all the time what kind of computer you need to run the latest NLE software. On the Windows side this is a complicated answer with many options. With a Mac it’s easier to answer. If you go with the higher end model iMacs or Mac Book Pros with i7 quad-core processors you will get excellent results.

If you want the best configuration for a new iMac for video editing, Videoguys recommends the 27 inch iMac with:

  • Intel Core i7 processor
  • 32GB RAM
  • 1TB Fusion Drive
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680MX GPU

This is a fully loaded machine, and it’s going to cost you about $3K, but it will run any Mac based NLE great and has all the power you need for all HD tapeless workflows.

If are on a tight budget the first place to look to save is by dropping down to the GTX 675MX GPU which will save you $150, the next place to cut is your RAM, down to 16G, but we can’t recommend going down to just 8GB. That brings the cost down below $2500. If you are serious about editing video on a new iMac, that’s the bottom. While you can configure the 21.5″ model with an i7 processor, you are limited to the GTX 650M GPU, which only has 512MB of RAM, which just isn’t going to cut it.
Note: Videoguys does not sell iMacs or computers.We do sell video editing software, storage and I/O devices.

You can also choose one of the new Mac Mini, Mac Book Pro or Mac Book Air. They also have Thunderbolt! Just make sure you select an i7 processor and as much RAM as possible.

Even cooler – Did you know you can use “Boot Camp” to run both Mac OSX and Win7 on the same computer? Thereby enabling Mac customers to finally be able to take advantage of software that is Windows only.

Videoguys’ Recommended Computer Configurations for Non Linear Editing (March 2014)
CPU (MHz) RAM O/S Graphics Card System Drive Video Storage Monitor
Minimum Recommended System for Video Editing Intel Core i5 Quad Core 8 GB (2 x 4GB) Win7
Win8 Pro
NVIDA with   1GB RAM 1TB 7200 RPM 1TB SATA 7200 RPM 20″ LCD
DIY10 Budget NLE Workstation Intel Core i5 4570 Haswell 8GB DDR3 (2 x 4GB) NVIDIA GTX660 120GB SSD RAID 0 2TB (2x1TB) Dual 20″+ LCDs
DIY 10 Haswell Quad-core Thunderbolt Intel Core i7 4770K Haswell 16GB DDR3 (4 x 4GB) NVIDIA GTX670 240+ GB SSD Internal 8TB
RAID 0 (2x4TB) or
G-Dock or G-Speed
Dual 22″+ LCDs
DIY 9.5 Hex-core Intel i7 3930K or 4930K Hex-Core 32GB DDR3
(4 x 8GB)
or Quadro K2000/
DIY 10 Haswell Quad-core Premium Intel Core i7 4770K Haswell
HP or Dell Dual Xeon Quad-Core Workstation Dual
64GB Quadro
K4000 or K5000
320+ GB SSD Dual 24″+ LCDs

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Memory Recommendations
You need Minimum of 4GB for Win 7 64-bit. For today’s video editing software you want to be running Win7 64-bit with at least 8GB of RAM, 12GB is better and for best results we recommend 16GB or more! Memory is still very cheap, and this is a great performance booster. One of the biggest benefits of 64-bit computing is the ability to access tons of RAM, the more RAM you give your Win7 system, the better your performance will be – even if you are not running a native 64-bit NLE.

While you can run with less, you will have a much more stable & better running system with more memory. Also, with the new chipsets, the new faster RAM is one of the biggest contributors to improved performance. By running less then 8GB you are actually throttling down your overall system’s performance.

We recommend you get a motherboard that supports triple or quad channel memory.  With a motherboard that supports triple channel memory you need to add RAM in sets of three identical sticks (6x2GB = 12GB total memory), Quad channel means you need FOUR identical sticks (4x4GB=16GB).  At a minimum you want to have 2GB of RAM for each physical CPU core.

Videoguys recommends 2GB per CPU core. So for a Quad Core i7 with Hyperthreading, we recommend 4 (cores) x2 (hyperthreading) x 2 (GB per core) = 16GB or RAM or more. For a dual Quad Core XEON System we would recommend 2 (processors) x 4 (cores) x2 (hyperthreading) x 2 (GB per core)= 32GB or more.

If you are planning on building an i7 Hex core machine, we recommend 24GB or even 32GB for optimal results! We also recommend getting the fastest memory possible DDR3 from top vendors like Corsair, Crucial or Kingston. Do not use cheap memory in your video editing workstation, the potential stability issues far outweigh the few dollars you could save.

Why we recommend dual monitors and dual-head graphics cards
It’s all about real-estate. With two monitors you can stretch your timeline across the bottom of both screens and you can have more windows open at the same time. This means you spend less time opening and closing windows or scrolling through the timeline. As a result, you are more productive. Adobe, Avid & Sony all have optimized preset screen layouts for dual monitors.

Always download and install the latest drivers from your graphics card vendor
This is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT! Many of our current tech issues are graphics card related, but it’s not the graphics card that is the issue. The problem is running it with the wrong drivers. The drivers that ship with your Windows OS will get your system to run, but they will not allow your graphics card to function to its full capabilities. We can’t stress this one enough – before you install your NLE or DVD gear, go to the graphics card manufacturer’s website to download and install the latest drivers.

Get a big, fast system drive
We recommend that you have a system/boot drive that is a minimum 500GB. If the system comes with a 750 or 1TB drive, get it. You will use up the space. While we do not recommend putting your video, media or projects on your system drive, over time you’ll still end up filling it up.

Most of today’s NLEs are actually suites, and they install a bunch of software, media, images, templates, documentation and interactive help. The last thing you want is an overcrowded system drive. As the drive fills up, it will get slower.  We also recommend getting a 7200RPM or faster drive for your boot disk. It will defintily have a positive impact on your systems overall performance and programs will open faster.

We’ve also found that you can speed up your encoding by having the file written from your video drive or RAID to a 2nd drive. A seperate dedicated 7200RPM drive is best for this, but we’ve had good results using our system drive. We’ll set up a folder on our C: drive called EXPORTS and have our encoding software write the files there. This does result in improved render times. Just make sure to move the files off your system drive when you are done.

Video Storage recommendations
With today’s powerful processors, lightening fast memory, super 3D graphics cards and huge SATA hard drives you can capture, edit & playback single stream DV video with your system drive. That said, we still urge you to get a dedicated hard drive (7200 RPM or faster) for all your video clips. This will produce the best results – especially for video projects over 1 hour in length. If you are going to be editing HD footage using one of our professional NLE solutions, we recommend a dedicated RAID for best results.

We recommend Serial ATA (SATA) drives for NLE
While these drives do have a cost premium, the improved sustained data throughput is worth it. We also like the new cables which allow for better air flow inside your computer case. We have not yet had the chance to test any SATA Raid controllers, but we’re confident that they will work great with our software based NLE solutions. RAIDs are great! For the best results set up a dedicated RAID 0 stripe for your video & media files. This will give you a huge capacity with the fastest possible sustained throughput for your editing.

RAID Warning!
We do NOT recommend setting up your computer with a single RAID 0 array as your boot drive and video storage. This will actually give you poor performance for video editing. The constant reading and writing of small bits of data to the boot drive works against the need to read & write large continuous video files. Add in the overhead of the RAID controller and you get potential bottlenecks. For video editing you always want to have a dedicated drive or RAID array for your video files.

Follow this link for our Videoguy’s NLE Video Storage FAQ

Get a Blu-ray DVD burner!!
Blu-ray Burners are now very affordable. They are a must for HD. At 25GB pr disc they are also great for backing up and archiving. If you plan on copying and ripping, get both a Blu-ray Burner and a DVD-ROM drive.

Multimedia Peripherals
We recommend a step up audio system. While most of our cards come with audio capture built on, most digital videographers eventually find themselves doing some soundtrack manipulation and basic audio editing. Having a step up sound card will let you do a better job and as an added bonus, many of these cards come with some kind of audio recording utility and even basic audio mixing/editing tools. If you plan on making DVDs, you’ll want a sound card and speakers for surround sound. That way you can listen to your video and DVD in full audio quality while you work.

Get a mid size or full tower
Trust me, you’ll thank me for this one. Not only will the added space come in handy for adding in stuff, but the bigger case makes running cables and actually doing the install easier. Another big advantage of a tower is better air circulation, which keeps your system cooler.



Videoguys now recommends the Haswell processor with Z87 chipset!

Get the Right Motherboard:
We had been waiting for an enthusiast class Ivy Bridge motherboard with Thunderbolt for a couple of years. We had been told they would initially appear the summer of 2013 – but they didn’t. In February, 2013 we posted a potential DIY X build using the Asus P8Z777-V deluxe motherboard with Thunderbolt. It’s not an enthusiast level Mobo, but many of you are running this build with great results. We still had concerns. Sure the Z77 motherboards were okay for running NLE software, but add-in an I/O device like the Matrox MXO2 Mini and some RAID storage and you could very well run into bottlenecks. We were still wanted to wait for an enthusiast level Thunderbolt solution. I’m happy to report that we’ve finally found what we were looking for – the Z87 chipset, which we can use for DIY10! Now you can integrate the latest and greatest Intel i7 Haswell processors, on enthusiast level motherboards with Thunderbolt! HOORAY!!

Intel i7 is the way to go!
Back in the end of 2005 we realized that our first two DIY projects had gotten pretty long in the tooth. While they were pretty cutting edge at the time, we were seeing some very new and exciting technologies breaking out. The most exciting was dual core processors. With the Core i7 Intel unleashed Quad core processors that deliver amazing performance at under $500, making them our #1 recommendation for all our NLEs.

The advantages of Quad  Core processors for video editing are significant, HEX cores are even better!
The biggest is price / performance. The latst video editing applications are now 64-bit and written to take advantage of multiple processing cores. Now with a single affordable Hex chip, for around $500 you can unleash 12 processing cores and fully maximize the 64-bit, multi-threaded capabilities.

AMD vs. Intel
In our DIY4 dual-core article we actually had a face off between AMD & Intel, which AMD won as the best choice. Then Intel launched its Core 2 Duo processor, and regained the lead as the best choice for video editing. That lead has only grown bigger over the past couple for years. Videoguy’s recommends Intel processors for NLE workstations.


Intel Core i7 3930K = 12 cores of processing power
How do you make a Hex-Core CPU into 12-cores? Easy, sometimes you have to go back to the future. In this case it’s an old technology called Hyper-Threading. Hyper-Threading is when the processor splits itself into two virtual processors in order to share the workload it’s being asked to run. With the i7 you get 4 cores, each one Hyper-Threaded into 2 virtual CPUs. The result is 8-cores of unprecedented computer power for a phenomenal price! If you are going to be building or buying a new computer for video editing – Intel i7 3930K HEX core is our top recommendation – giving you 12 cores of processing power!

It’s official –  Windows 7 is Videoguys’ top recommendation for your video editing workstation!

Back in the summer of 2009 we started talking about Windows7 and how we couldn’t wait for it to be officially released. We told you that we would be updated our DIY7 build and posting a new article once we had the chance to test it. We built it, we tested it, we love it! JACKPOT!! We dare you to build a better, faster, more stable system for video editing for under $2,000.

We’re running Avid Media Composer, Adobe CS4/CS5 Production Premium and Sony Vegas Pro 9 on Win7 and they’re all running great! Win 7 is the most stable operating system ever for NLE. It is easy to set up and unlike Vista, you don’t have to spend any extra time shutting down bothersome “features” and performing all kinds of tweaks to make it stable for video editing. Win7 just works, and the more memory you give it, the better your performance will be!
Note: We do NOT recommend Win7 Home edition for video editing. Win7 Home has issues addressing and using the amounts of memory we recommend. You need to get the professional or Ultimate versions for best results.

Windows 8 – still time to wait (Dec 2013)

With the latest Win 8.1 release we can give it the green light, but we still don’t recommend it. From our research and what we have been told by our vendors, from a hardware point of view, Win 8 is very similar to Win 7. Which means there should be some re-coding that needs to be done to create Win 8 drivers, but not a huge amount of work. We’ll believe that when we see it. So far only a small handful of our NLE hardware even have BETA Win 8 drivers. While all of our software should run just fine under Win 8, it’s just too soon to tell. We’re going to want to wait until at least early 2013 before we can recommend Win8 to our customers.

Videoguys Vista Update: Vista 64 was OK but Win 7 64-bit is dramatically better! (Do NOT use Vista 32-bit for video editing)

We’ve been warning our customers to stay away from Vista for quite some time, and we still do not recommend the 32-bit version because the operating system requires a lot of RAM for reliable operation and that’s one of the greatest advantages of Vista 64.

Based on the fantastic results we are able to achieve with our DIY7 Intel Core i7 based NLE workstation, we discovered that Vista 64 SP1 is very stable and provided us with excellent performance for our favorite video editing applications and hardware. Just follow the tips and tweaks below and you to can start taking advantage of Vista 64!!


  • For best results, put it on brand new system like the Videoguys’ DIY7 with an Intel i7 processor and 6GB RAM or more. If not, a Quad-core or faster with at least 4GB of RAM would make an excellent machine.
  • If you’re going to try it on an older dual-core machine, then feed it more RAM (8GB) to make up for the less powerful processor.
  • We do not recommend running Vista 64 on a single core processor or with less then 3GB of RAM. If your machine is that old, stick with Windows XP 32.
  • Make sure all of your hardware and software supports Vista 64. Trying to run software and especially hardware without Vista 64 support will create lots of problems including but not limited to: instability, sluggish performance, crashing, lock-ups, and even failure to boot.

Tech Note: While the Videoguys now recommends Vista 64, we do not recommend the 32-bit version of Vista for video editing. To run Vista right you need the extra RAM, and that is the primary benefit right now of Vista 64. If you can’t go 64-bit, stick with good old reliable Windows XP Professional 32-bit operating system.

Click here for Videoguy’s Vista 64 Tips & Tweaks

Windows XP Professional is still a good choice for video editing on an older system.
We still run Windows XP Pro in some of our older machines, running older versions of NLE software. We do not recommned running the latest versions of any of our NLE software on XP anymore. If you want to run Adobe CS5, Avid MC5 or Vegas 9 or later, get a new computer and run Win 7. We do NOT recommend upgrading your existing XP based NLE system to Win7, if XP is getting the job done – stick with it! We do recommend you take a look at our in depth Win XP tips and tweaks. You can definitely increase the performance of you system with just a few simple tips, or go all the way and tweak out every last drop of performance.

Videoguys Top Computer “Gotchas”  for Video Editing (Oct 2010 update)
Right now we do not have any specific brands that we do not recommend. What is very important is that you make sure any machine you buy does NOT have any of the following “Gotchas”:

  • Integrated graphics on the motherboard – still our #1 tech support problem. We NEVER recommend computers with integrated graphics.
  • Cheap RAM – Always use premium quality memory – we like Corsair, Kingston and Crucial. And add as much as you can. For Win7 that means a bare minimum of 3GB.
  • Not using Double or triple channel RAM properly. If your motherboard uses double channel RAM you MUST add RAM in identical pairs. (triple channelr equires 3 identical sticks). Failing to use identical pairs or putting RAM in the wrong slots can have a dramatic negative impact on system performance.
  • 5400 RPM drives (or even slower) – video editing requires 7200RPM drives for video storage. We also recommend a 7200RPM or faster boot drive. Don’t let your storage be the bottleneck in your systems performance.
  • Poor cooling. Make sure you’ve got adequate airflow inside the box and fans to cool your computer. Heat is the enemy of any computer, and when you are editing video, you’re pushing all of the components. If your NLE workstation starts acting funny, check the airflow. If your system continues to run hot, not only will performance suffer, you will severly shorten the life and reliability of components inside your computer.

Call our FREE DTV tech support line (516) 759-1615 for the best possible compatibility recommendation
Our techs will gladly take the time to make sure you get the video editing hardware and software that will best match your system. We offer our 30 day Money-back guarantee on every product we sell, so it is in our best interest to make sure you get the best match between our products and your computer. We look forward to talking to you and helping you get the best possible system for your needs and budget!!

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By Britt, July 28, 2011
  • Brad

    I’ve been bangin’ my head over a storage solution. I have a huge case with lots of power and cooling–so I would prefer an internal PCIe RAID solution. I would like to use an add-on RAID card to keep things simple with the BIOS and OS. But It’s difficult to know if a particular card will work well for high-date-rate video editing. Any suggestions?

    • Look into ATTO RAID controllers. They are the top of the line, and will give you the highest throughput

  • Sharee

    Finally some good advice. I have invested in a new hd camera and need a new system to edit it. Now I know what I’m looking for. I have researched for weeks, your page has it all. Thanks. I can’t buy off you as I’m in Sydney, different power supply, but will frequent your site from now on. Outstanding info. thanks stacks, Sharee

  • Malcolm

    Any views on the advantages (or otherwise) of IvyBridge. Also are Kepler cards much less effective than Fermi, for video, or is difference marginal?

    • We are very excited about IVY Birdge, especially new motherboards with Thunderbolt. We are going to wait for Enthusiast level Ivy Bridge motherboards, which we hope to see later this year. We are getting good reports on Kepler GPUs, but they are not a dramatic improvement over similarly priced Fermi cards. The GTX570 is still our go to value card for Adobe CS6.

      • Malcolm

        Thanks. Planning on Thunderbolt, with new build. Probably use Asus P8z77-V PRO/TBT. It’s Kepler that’s big issue. GTX670 is worth extra cost, over 570, in many ways, but keep hearing conflicting opinions about it’s suitability for VE. Difficult to find a “real world”, factual comparison.

  • Logi

    Sony Vegas works good for mewith Panasonic mts files

  • llloyd

    hey guys, thanks a lot for the great page. i live the UK. do u know of anyone i can talk to here? how many components can i buy directly from you guys? ive never actually built a pc before… thanks a lot!!

  • Dee

    I went from using Windows Movie Maker to trying the Imovie on Mac…I hate it. I’m 61 and have used computers since they first came out. I’m a grandmother and make lots of video’s of family gatherings…everyone said I would love Imovie but frankly it’s not, to me, user friendly. I like a timeline…it just boggles my mind that I cannot figure it out so I’m in the market for a new PC so I can get back to creating, not banging my head against the wall with the Mac.

  • Dee

    I called for some advice and no one was available to talk…

    • when did you call? Our techs are here and ready to help 9-5pm mon – fri tech hotline 516 759-1943

  • ludovic

    Hi there,
    I make quite a bit of video editing and want to expand my knowledge in terms of After Effects and heavy color correction. I make a lot of music videos and short movies, with complicated timelines.
    I work on a Mac Pro 2 x 2.4 quad core intel xeon at work with 6gb of ram and ATI Radeon HD 5770, and my goodness is it slow on effects.
    I’m now torn between a very powerful PC or the new 27inch iMacs with i7 processor, 16 gb ram and the AMD Radeon HD 6970M 2GB GDDR5.
    Will this Mac be much more powerful than what I am running at the moment? And am I better off getting a PC for effect-intensive editing? The stats of the PC are
    i7 Quad Core Processor i7-3770 with 16 gig ram
    240GB INTEL® 330 SERIES SSD with another TB hard drive on the side
    I know the new iMacs have thunderbolt capability but will that really change all that much? And how will it change it?
    Thanks a lot for all your advice!

    • mGabo

      Hi there ludovic, the new iMac will be with no doubt faster than the mac pro you are working with…. its crazy but true. Weather or not you should get a power PC over the iMac is up to you….. many things to consider….

    • nice machine! We are not recommending Win 8 at this time. too new and not enough win 8 drivers or optimized versions yet

    • anthro

      dude just upgrade your mac pro. that’s the beauty of it, 5 years down the line when the latest imacs become obsolete and unable to upgrade or limited, your mac pro will come in handy, the case is already a beauty and you can replace some of the parts inside to make it up to speed without spending on a new mac computer ,that’s what the mac pros are for, expandability. add extra ram, atleast 16GB+, replace the processor even if needed, get a new Grahics/Video card and your probelm is solved, you’d be spending barely the same amount on when you get a new imac which will really become useless and slow when a newer one faster one comes out, but even then you can upgrade your mac pro to keep it up to date. Seriously, you’ve already got a great Desktop tower that can easily be hackintoshed to death. stick with it ,it’s your best friend. iMac are good but think about rendering, ventillation, longevity, expansion ability, the heating problems that it will cause when heavy effects time comes.

  • Mariano Garduno

    hello, I will like to know your opinion on edius 6.0 editing software. I been working on this platform for quite some time and I have issues with my current system when attempting to burn blu-ray. I have a Single Xeon Processor installed (X5680 @ 3.33 GHz) 16 GB of Ram. Graphics card is the Nvidia Quadro 4000, Mother Board is EVGA SR-2, Corsair
    1200w power supply, I think i got great quality components and it cost me a fortune to build this! I am still dissapointed and not being able to burn blu-ray.

    • Edius 6 is a solid NLE, and it burns DVD or Blu-ray directly from the timeline. You must have an audio track on every part of the timeline. even a 1 or 2 frame gap will cause burning problems. You can add an audio track with Zero volume under the entire timeline to fix this quickly

  • skitfad

    well hold that, a mac is also a pc, pc means personal computer, you need to know the difference between a windows and a mac pc, both of them are personal computers, so when you say pc, it also means a mac

    • skitfad you are right, but for our discussions most folks refer to windows based machines as PCs, while Macs are called Macs.

      TM – you are right. The biggest downside of an iMac for video editing is the GPU. Hopefully the next round of iMacs will have an nvidia GPU like the new MBP w Retina

      • Surya

        Can you please advice what do you think about the following laptop for NLE–209943u–dawn-gray-3rd-

        Lenovo IdeaPad Y580 Laptop – 209943U – Dawn Gray, 3rd Gen Intel Core i7-2610QM Processor (2.30 GHz), 8GB DDR3, 1TB HDD, 15.6″ HD Display, NVIDIA GeForce GTX660M 2GB Graphics, HDMI, DVD Recordable, 802.11 b/g/n, Windows 7 Home Premium, Bluetooth, HD Webcam

        • looks pretty good for basic video editing. quad core processor, nvidia GPU with 384 CIDA cores & 8GB of RAM. I believe you can get it configured witht the ivy bridge based i7-3610QM processor for about the same cost.

          • Surya

            Is it worth $150 more for i7-3610QM and 1920×1080 display?And are all i7-3610QM’s ivy bridge based?
            Here is what I am referring to

            Lenovo IdeaPad Y580 Laptop – 209945U – Dawn Gray, 3rd Gen Intel Core i7-3610QM Processor (2.30GHz), 15.6″ HD Display, HDMI, NVIDIA GeForce GTX660M 2GB Graphics, 8GB DDR3, 500GB HDD, Blu-ray/DVD-RW, Webcam, 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth, Windows 7 Home Premium

            Primary purpose is to learn and practice so I can become a professional editor.


          • i think it is worth %150 for the faster processor and sharper display. 3610QM is Ivy bridge

    • gerardmanvussat

      Well, to be accurate, “PC” used to refer specifically to “IBM PC”, which was a particular standard, and Apple Macintosh was a concurrent standard which used to employ completely different hardware. Nowadays, it seems to have converged a great deal, and it’s mostly down to what OS is installed, so, indeed, any mainstream computer can be called a “PC” these days.

  • We love iMacs, but the GPU isan issue, especially with Adobe. The new MBP w Retina has an nvidia GPU that is killer for CS6, and hopefully the next round of iMacs will have that as an option

  • Gunnar

    I notice (or at least it seems that way) that you don’t recommend any of the Radeon video cards, such as HD 7970, HD 7950 or HD 7870. Why is that? Are they so much inferior to the nVidia cards (such as the GTX 680)? I will be working mainly with (aside from Photoshop) Premiere Pro and possibly AfterEffects (CS4 for now, but hopefully CS6 soon), and I’m trying to select a robust computer.

    Right now looking at i7-3930K or 3770K, 16GB RAM, 2TB HD + 120GB SSD, but the video card is giving me a headache. Know that I am upgrading from a three year old laptop, so maybe I’m just nitpicking when trying to choose between the cards I’ve mentioned.

    • We’ve answered this question many times. For NLE, all our vendors recommend and certify NVIDIA GPUs,. The Adobe Mercury Playback Engine REQUIRES an NVIDIA GPU with at least 1GB of RAM and 196+ CUDA cores. ATI cards do not have CUDA, and they will not provide GPU acceleration for Mercury. Avid only recommends NVIDIA Quadro cards, but you can run a GTX 470/570/670. For the money we feel the GTX570 is the go to gamer card for Adobe editors. It’s affordable,and you can even hack it to run on a MacPro! The new NVIDIA laptop GPUs are great, and we only recommend laptops that allow them as an option.

      • Gunnar Freyr

        Thanks for your reply. I did not mean to be a pest and ask a question that has been answered over and over. Thanks again for taking the time, it does clear up a few things for me.

  • Julian

    Great info.Really helps to choose wisely.

  • Julian

    This is one of the best sites I’ve seen so far.Fully updated.

    • Thank you. We work hard to stay on top of all the latest technology. For video editing you want all the power you can get, but never at the cost of stability. We feel our guides and articles give you all the info you need to make an informed choice for designing and building the best NLOE workstation you can, at a price you can afford. Hopefully that leaves you with a little extra money to buy more software, plug-ins, storage and other cool gear from 😉

  • George

    My son is wants to do video editing for short films and youtube stuff. He has saved up about $500 and wants me to build a machine for him. I know thats a pretty low budget for a video station, but thats what it is. If you had to choose trade-offs between components, what would the most important be? Better GPU and lesser CPU? Or the other way around? RAM is cheap, so thats not a big consideration. Any advice would be welcomed! Thanks

    • editortx

      Bite the bullet and save up some more $$$ you won’t regret it.

    • I think you’re going to be penny wise and pound foolish if you try to edit video on a $500 machine. Today’s NLE software needs CPU, RAM and GPU. Don’t cut corners, you will end up regretting it.

  • l

    Where I can buy a 3GB RAM stick/module? for minimum Recommended System for Video Editing

  • PN

    Hi I would like to ask which monitor would you recommend me for the DIY9 workstation? thanks

    • we do not recommend any specific monitors. I use Dell, Samsung & LG.

      • PN

        Thanks for replying, I understand you don’t recommend any specific monitor, but could you please tell which model of Dell & LG monitors are you using, thanks.

  • Susan

    Thank you *so much* for writing and updating this article. I’m just getting started with video editing and for a newbie, what computer to buy is very overwhelming. You saved me hours and hours of research. Thank you!!

  • nasir

    sir may i use amd fx 8 core processor with nvidia gpu in my video editing system

  • Rainer Loeser

    I’m just starting out video editing TV shows and HD commercials. I am planning to use Intel Core i7 – 2600K, 4 Core 3.Ghz with Asus P8Z77 M. Pro motherboard, Internal Intel SDD 120gb, for system and boot up drive. And external I TB -72,00 rpm Hard drives. Could you please advise me if that will do the job for professional editing? Will I still need a graphics card, and if so what do you recommend with this system. Editing software is Avid media composer and adobe after effects.Will 16Gb of ram be enough. Thanking you

  • Tom

    Great guide. Any problems using the GeForce GTX650 for Premiere CS4 editing?

    • The NVIDIA series go by the middle digit. So 650 is old chips, 670 is the newest. We recommend at least a 570 or 670

  • videodude

    I use cyberlink PowerDirector10, It works

  • Rainer


    would you recommend using Windows 8 , 64 bit, for professional video editing? if so, which Window 8 software?

    • no recommendations yet on Win8. Our vendors have not approved it with their software.

  • Scott

    Have you guys any experience with Lightworks NLE software

  • Rash

    Hi Videoguys, Your guide has been my first port of call as I’m trying to build my HD video editing system. Everywhere I search on the internet I find people referring to your DIY builds so thank you for the valuable direction.

    Now two questions where you may be able to help – I am looking to build your DIY 9 budget solution, but do you have a view on the new GTX 670 instead of the 570 or 560Ti? Are there any issues with the 670 in the DIY 9 solution?

    Secondly is the i7 3820 superior to the 3770K? Are you discounting the 3770 because of it’s integrated graphics capability (which leads to issues for editing)?

    I hope you can help.

    • I think that for the money, the GTX570 is the go to card. The GTX670 is a great card as well. We have had reports of comflicts with the GTX670 card and 1866 memory, going w 1600 memory works fine.

      • Rash

        Brilliant, thanks for the reply Gary. I hadn’t seen any activity on this forum for a while so I thought it may be closed. I planned to use the 1600 memory to reduce the chance of conflict – I read that 1866 could cause this somewhere.

        One thing I have noticed today is the new series of iMacs. A friend of mine works for Apple in the UK and it looks like they may be out sooner than advertised – in the next couple of weeks rather than December / January. As per your recommendation above they look great, and the new series are specifically being promoted with HD video editing capabilities. Can’t really configure the system so much of course (for example they give the choice of only a few graphics cards), and it would be a great hassle to upgrade the all in one – I’ll weigh up the pros and cons in the next few weeks.

        If I go for a PC then it is pretty much your DIY9 I’m looking at, with the only differences being:

        – Possibly the GTX670 (if not the 570). Looking online I can’t see the 570 going for much cheaper than the 670

        – A 256GB SSD for the boot drive, software, and possibly for the HD file I’m editing at that point in time (with additional 2TB storage at 7200rpm). I know this may increase the risk of losing changes I make half way through the edit – if the system proves unstable I might add the RAID solution in future and use that to hold files that I’m editing

        – 16GB RAM @ 1600 (with the ability to upgrade to 32GB easily if required later)

        – 850W power supply, to future proof the power supply

        Please let me know if anything above looks like a big no-no. And also, am I right about avoiding the 3770K CPU because of its onboard graphics?

        Thanks very much again.

  • Ahmed

    Hi videoguys, nice article …I appreciate your efforts to help others by giving them your experiences in the field of video editing, and I hope that you give me your opinion about my configuration for my HP Z820 workstation, are they good or bad?

    HP Z820 Workstation :

    -Windows® 7Ultimate 64 .

    -Intel® Xeon® E5-2665 2.40 20MB 1600 8C .
    -Intel® Xeon® E5-2665 8C 2.40 20MB 1600 CPU-2 .

    -HP Z820 Localization Kit .

    -HP Liquid Cooling Solution .

    -NVIDIA Quadro K5000 4GB DL-DVI(I)+DL-DVI(D)+DP+DP 1st No cable included
    Graphics .
    -NVIDIA SLI Graphics connector .

    -64GB DDR3-1600 (8x8GB) 2CPU Registered RAM .

    -300GB SATA 1st Solid State Drive (Operating System).
    -1TB 10K RPM SATA 2nd Hard Drive .
    -1TB 10K RPM SATA 3rd Hard Drive .
    -1TB 10K RPM SATA 4th Hard Drive .
    -1TB 10K RPM SATA 5th Hard Drive .
    -1TBGB 10K RPM SATA 6th Hard Drive .

    -HP RAID 5 (BootHDD+Parity Array) Config .
    -LSI 9260-8i SAS 6Gb/s ROC RAID Card .


    • awesome machine. I’m drooling. It will run Adobe or Avid or any NLE fantastic.

      • Ahmed

        Thank Gary for your quick response, What about 3D programs such as Maya or 3Ds Max, is it good

  • Rash

    Hi Videoguys,

    Very simple question, maybe the answer is not so straightforward – for all round HD video editing performance, where do you think the new iMac 27 inch fits in (ie 3.4GHz i7, up to 3.9, 16GB RAM, 3TB Fusion Drive, 1GB GTX675MX)?

    Would it be better than DIY9 Budget, better than DIY9 choice? I assume the hot rod is still the best of all.


    • We are very excited about the new iMacs. Larry Jordan has posted some great arrticle about it, which we have added to our blog. Use this keyword search to see all our latest blog posts about iMacs

      • Rash

        Thanks Gary, some great articles there. I’d be interested in your views of the relative performance of these machines when the 27 inch iMac has been looked at in more detail.

  • Chris

    Hi im Chris , im building my workstation and i am wondering if this is enough to editing HD videos adding effects without any hickups also what else would i need for 2k, 4k editing. im sick of not being able to get smooth playback so any help would be appreciated

    also i heard about Nvidia tesla 2075 cards would work better for video editing with the quadros (maximus). yet i havent seen anything from you guys supporting this can you give me some of your insite to this.

    ASUS – Z9PE-D8-WS
    ATX – CoolerMaster – RC-1200-KKN1 Cooler Master Cosmos II, Black,
    Corsair Hydro H60 Water Liquid Cooling CPU Cooler DDR3 – Corsair – CMD32GX3M4A1600C9
    Corsair 32GB Kit (4x8GB), PC-12800 (1600MHz) DDR3, Dominator Platinum, 9-9-9-24, Dual / Quad Channel KitOrder
    1x Intel Xeon E5 2620 (2.00Ghz / 15MB / LGA2011 / Six Core / Without Fan/Heatsink)
    ATX – Seasonic – Platinum-1000 Seasonic Platinum-1000 PSU, 1000W, 80PLUS® Platinum Certified, Hybrid Silent Fan Control, Full Modular Cabling
    4 x 1tb WD black edition raid 5 setup
    1 x Intel 330 180GB SSD Solid State Disk Hard Drive SATA III for OS
    1 x Quadro 4000

    Thanks again for the blogs you guys have posted its been an arm to all my decisions

    • NICE SYSTEM! It should do great with any NLE (including Vegas) and Resolve.

      • Chris

        gary thanks for the reply also do you know or have tried to use the tesla cards in any of your systems or do you believe its a waste of money

        • We have not tried running the Tesla config. I have seen it in action, with RED footage in CS6 and it really helps.

  • Chris

    forgot to say im working with vegas pro 12, after effects and davinci resolve thanks

  • Raj Sahil

    Videoguys recommended system requirement chart shows 8* 8 = 48 GB ram. Looks like someone made the chart while sleeping. Their are lots of mistakes in whole Videoguys website. Previously i point on Dell Precision Laptop where wrong details are mentioned. Please avoid these kind of mistakes as this site provides tremendous amount of knowledge for everyone . Also all updates are really very slow.

    • priority7

      Wow – glad to see you’re so grateful. These guys do a great job – you
      should show some gratitude instead of complaining. You also made a
      mistake and incorrectly spelled, “there”.

  • priority7

    I have canon vixia hv40 camcorder that shoots HD

    I want to edit HD.

    My budget is limited to $800 and looking for a laptop to edit with.

    I found the computer listed below (refurbished) in my price range.

    All I know is I should be getting a quadcore processor.

    I read your article and am still trying to dechiper and understand it.

    Can you advise me if the computer listed below is adequate?

    What shortcomings or pitfalls does it possibly have

    I am going to re-read your article but in the meantime – any feedback is appreciated.

    Dell Inspiron Laptop
    17R Special Edition

    Processor: Intel Core 3rd Generation i7-3630QM Processor (6MB
    cache, up to 3.4Ghz)

    Genuine Windows 8 Home Edition

    Dell Outlet Inspiron 17R Special Edition Laptop

    1 TB 5400 RPM SATA Hard Drive

    8GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1600MHz

    8X Tray Load CD/DVD Burner (DVD+/-RW Drive)

    Nvidia GeForce GT 650M 2GB

    • this amchine will do a very nice job editing the HDV footage from your hv40. you do need to make sure it has a firewire port.

      • priority7

        Will the 5400 rpm drive be a problem for high definition? Of course, your article states to always get 7200 rpm but I was told laptops don’t come with a 7200 rpm drive – or maybe it’s just the Inspiron that doesn’t? I hope the 5400 won’t be a problem as my budget is maxed out at $800 so I think this is the most bang for the buck I will be able to get.

        • you will not be able to edit HD footage with a 5400 RPM drive. It may work for very short, simple projects, but not serious editing. You can add an external drive like a GRAID and edit HD footage with ease.


          • priority7

            Thanks so much! I’m really grateful!

          • priority7

            I can get the Raid. Thanks.

            Elsewhere, someone said that the size of the drive matters too. I guess what they were saying is that if you have a 7200 rpm drive vs a 5400 drive and and both are say 1tb then of course the 7200 would be faster but if the 7200 rpm drive was only say 500gb or half the size then the 7200 rpm drive might not be as fast? They said the the “throughput” and “seek” times is what determines how fast a drive is and could be more important than spindle speed? What are your thoughts on that?

            I also read where you can “partition” a drive – if the drive is large enough.

            Not sure how large a drive has to be to be able to partition it.

            Do you know – are “throughput” and “seek” times a statistic that is published for consumers to know?

          • Do NOT get a 5400RPM drive for editing. Period. Regardless of drive size. For video editing what matters most is throughput. we are moving massive files around.

      • priority7

        How do we tell what cheap ram is? Hmm maybe I can Google it.

  • rigwarl

    Hi i want to share the specs for my video editing rig project

    Intel Core i7-3930K

    Asus P9X79 motherboard

    Corsair H100 water cooler

    16GB of RAM Corsair RAM

    Asus GTX 690

    6TB of 7,200rpm storage for data and backup (2 3TB WD
    Cviar Black)

    128GB Samsung 840 Series Pro SSD

    Lite-On BD-R Burner

    Win 7 Pro64 Bit

    Ftractal Design DEFINE XL USB 3.0 BLACK PEARL

    Antec HCP-1000W Power Supply

    I will be buying this system for myself within this month to start my editing business and i need your professional help.. my question is, will a 128 GB ssd ok for my O/S Disk or do i need to get a bigger ssd drive?

    • sweet system. I feel tat 128GB is just too small for the boot drive. Go with 256GB.

  • priority7

    I am not too knowledgable about technology.

    Looking to do some editing with Canon Vixia hv40.

    I am a beginner.

    I would appreciate it if anyone could please let me know if you see any problems with this comptuer.

    Lenovo is telling me this is made for imaging specifically. That the graphics etc are powerful enought that it is considered a mobile workstation.

    ThinkPad W530
    Model Highlights

    Intel Core i7-3610QM processor (4 cores / 8 threads, 2.30GHz, 6MB cache)( )

    Intel qm77

    Operating system
    Windows 8 Standard 64 – English

    NVIDIA Quadro K1000M

    8GB (2 X 4GB) PC3-12800 DDR3 1600MHz SDRAM SODIMM Memory

    15.6″ HD+ WXGA (1600 X 900) LED Backlight w/ 720p HD Camera”

    Pointing device
    UltraNav (TrackPoint and TouchPad) with Fingerprint Reader

    Hard Drive
    320GB, 7200RPM Serial ATA 2.5″ Hard Drive
    7200 on a laptop is HUGH!!!

    Optical Drive
    DVD Recordable Serial ATA

    9 Cell Lithium Ion Battery (Up to 11.3 Hours Run Time)

    Network Card
    Intel® Centrino Advanced-N 6205 (2×2 AGN)


    Integrated Wireless Wide Area Network upgradable

    Finger Print Reader
    Fingerprint Reader

    Doesn’t have blueray burner but I think that’s something I can add afterwards?

    • looks good. you can add the external BDR-X04 Blu-ray burner down the road.

  • Robert

    Hi VideoGuys,
    Thanks a lot for your very informative article. I used a number of your recommendations to build my current rig over the December-January period and it’s working fantastically. I do have two questions for you regarding LCD screens. Do you recommend monitors by an particular manufacture or, better yet, do you recommend any specific models. I’m currently looking at 24 inch IPS monitors from Dell (u2412m), Asus (PA248Q), and HP (ZR2440W). The second question is whether you recommend wide versus standard gamut panels–the Asus PA246Q or Dell U2410 for example? Your advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance,


    • we don;t make specific monitor recommendations. It really is your own personal choice and style. You’ve picked good vendors.

  • Bill

    I’m looking at editing in ACVHD but they are 1 min to 4 min short video’s. My current system is to old to bother with any upgrades so a new system is in order. So far non of my local stored offer a real workstation PC . Would a Windows 8 PC with i3 and 4 GB ram run cyberlink’s Powerdirector and be OK on small AVCHD projects? Slow rendering is not a problem ( to me ) and I have no interest in 3D. My main interest is a few transitions, titles and audio filtering controls.

    • NO! If you want to edit AVCHD footage you MUST have a quad core processor. It’s the heavy compression that drvies the need for the more powerful machine. Get an i7 Quad core at a minimum.

      • conan

        Hi! I am looking forward for a Zotac zbox having a N2930 Celeron 4 cores CPU with 8 gb ram for HD video efiting with PowerDirector,but as i read on this article It must be not so good combination for HD Video Editing.My antique system till now is a Pentium 4 only 1 core and 1 gb RAM,but i have created much video jobs all those years but not HD!I couldn’t find any help on the net about N2930 and video editing till now but i wonder if 1 core is OK for simple video editing then 4 cores is OK for HD.
        I am looking for those compacts Zotac zboxes because they are Energy efficient without the need of much real estate on my desk and of course there are better models from Zotac zbox having CPU i7 4770R with 4 cores,GPU Iris Pro 5200 and 16 gb RAM.
        Iam going to buy my new system at the next 2-3 weeks.
        Can you give me your opinion about those models please? Thank you!

        P.S.l I am not a Pro,Home Video Editing only!

  • datumer

    Hello, I am planning to buy the following configuration:

    CPU: I7 3930k
    Graphics: nVidia GTX670 FTW
    RAM: 32 GB (8x Kingston Hyperx Genesis 4GB DDR3 2133MHz)
    Sys disc: Kingston HyperX 3K 240 GB (SSD Sata III)
    Export disc: Kingston SSDNow V+200 120GB (SSD Sata III)
    Storage disc: WD Caviar Black 2 TB SATA III 7200 RPM
    CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D14
    (2x Blu-Ray burners and other less important hardware)

    I am just interested is it better to install Windows Pro 7 or Windows Pro 8 (both 64bit).
    Thank You!!


    Hi Guys!

    Thanks for setting all this out. Tremendously helpful to all those starting out..

    I’ve got my beady eyes on the following spec. What do you think? I’m planning on editing 1080 footage from DSLR on Premiere CS6 and tangling with colour correction for the first time in after effects.

    17.3″ 1080 screen matt
    Quad core i7 – 3740QM . 2.70ghz 6mb
    16GB 1600mhz DDR3 (looks like there is an expansion for a 3rd 8gb)
    NVIDIA Gefore 660M 2GB DDR5 DirectX 11
    2x 500GB SCORPIO WD5000BPKT 500GB 7200RPM drives.

    I plan to get an external HD as well.

    It’s a spec build and goes under the name of a ‘Optimus IV’ – All in for £1074.

    Many thanks


    • SWEET! That should give you excellent results CS6!

  • Jay L

    Hello Videoguys would greatly appreciate your opinion regarding the spec of this computer which I have come across – but if you recommend better for same price of the £1200 mark that would be most helpful – i want a great performer for editing as now switching from Imac to power PC because mac is just too expensive to upgrade – want to go into adobe package, premiere, After Effects etc instead of Final Cut studio. Here is the spec:

    INTEL Core i7 3820 (With Hyperthreading)

    Extreme CPU OC To 4.5Ghz Per Core

    CORSAR H80 Water Cooling Self Contained



    SEAGATE 2TB SATA3, 6Gb/s

    HITACHI Blu-Ray & DVD+/-RW Combo

    nVIDIA GTX660 2GB

    Will this do the job? or is there anything I should add?

    Thanks in advance


    • OK, I would go with the GTX670 over the 660. I would bump up to 31GB RAM. DSLR footage is gonna need the extra oomph from the GPU and you can always use more RAM.

  • Jay L

    and sorry, hasten to add that the footage that I will be editing is from the 5d mark iii

  • Stephen Shomo

    Planning on building the DYI 9. Is there a problem with the Intel i7 cooler that comes with the processor? Why do you recomment the Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO?

    • Many folks buy the bare CPU now, and then add a more effective cooler. These baby’s produce a ton of heat, so cooling is a very important and GOOD thing. Spend the few extra bucks and protect the stability and longevity of your workstation.

  • Nathan


    I am using an HP Pavilion Desktop PC P6727 with 12 Gig of Ram and the AMD Athlon II x4 640 Processor. To Edit videos with Adobe Premiere elements 11. The editing is fine, but when I try to export the video’s in any format it takes about 7 times the length of the video to export.

    Since I am Rendering 2 Hour Long Video’s this doesn’t work very well for me. If I upgrade my computer to it’s Maximum potential of 16 Gig Ram would it help?

    Also, if I was to put another hard drive into my computer would it take the rendering time down?

    • you are just going to have to live with long render times with that machine. More RAM won’t help you. You need more processing power and GPU acceleration. If you are making 2 hour productions, you are really pushing elements to its limits as well. It may be time to upgrade to the full Premiere Pro or the Creative Cloud.

  • Avillat

    Hello Videoguys!

    I¿d greatly appreciate your opinion regarding the spec of this computer which I’m interested in. I need it for editing DSLR footage. I will use Adobe software: Premiere, After Effects, etc. Here is the list of specs:

    MoBo: Asus Crosshair V Formula

    Amd Fx Series Fx-8350 4.0 Ghz 8core 16mb Am3+

    16 GB (2x: Kingston Hyper X Genesis 8gb 4×2 1866mhz Khx1866c11d3p1k2/8g)

    Samsung 2tb 1000gb 7200rpm 32mb Sata3 Hd103sj

    Power supply Thermaltake Smart 720w Modular

    Pioneer Blu Ray Bdr-208dbk 15x Sata 3d Ready Mmu

    Cooler Master V6 Gt Rr-v6gt-22pk-r1 Dmm

    GTX660 Ti 2gb Pci-e 3.0 Gddr5 Sli Hdmi

    Samsung 24″ Full Hd T24b350nd

    Thermaltake T Atx S/f V3 Black Edition

    Is there anything I should add or change? I don’t mind spending a bit more.

    Thanks in advance and best regards from Mexico City!!

    • we don;t recommend AMD. Just Intel and primarily the i7 quad or hex core models. GTX660 Ti should be OK, but our go to card isGTX570 or 670.

      • Avillat

        Great! Thanks so much, Gary.
        Which is better: the GTX570 or 670?
        My lack of knowledge would assume that a bigger number in the product model is better, but I’m not sure.

        • 570 is our go to card. 670 is better, but more expensive.

          • Avillat

            Gary, could you elaborate a bit more as to why you just recommed just Intel?

          • The main reason is the tight partnerships Intel now has with the video editing industry. Our software and hardware vendors all work with Intel to optimize performance for their products. The Intel i7 has been our go to CPU family since they hit the market. The motherboards & chipsets that support the i7 have given us great results and rock solid stability. For the money nothing beats the i7 for performance and stability. Even when over clocked.

  • Mike

    Hi guys. About a year or so ago while reading this great article, there was a section pertaining to important steps you needed to do to a Dell PC before installing Adobe Premiere Pro 5. I can’t seem to find that information anymore on your site and was wondering if it is still available. Thanks very much for any info you can share on this topic.

  • Walter

    Hi there
    I bought the last iMac with 8 gb memory. So i put 16 gb. I now have 24 gb. Is it ok?

  • Chris Brown

    Hey guys,
    Any word on the new i7 Haswell CPU’s and Nvidia 700 series GPU’s? The GTX 770 looks pretty sweet.

  • Gert G. Gert

    What about PNY Quadro K600/K2000? And the ATI Firepro cards? Are those better than gaming cards?

  • Tony

    Hi. A friend of mine is using Adobe Premier CS6Master Collection. Processor is an i7, 16gig ddr3 ram. What graphics card do you recommend that is compatible with this program – Quadro or GTX670? He does wedding videos. Thanks.

  • Tawfox Signals

    Can Pinnacle ultimate work with iMac 27 i5 16g of ram and Tb of hard drive and core 2 duo?

    • Pinnacle is Windows only. we have not tried or tested it on a Mac under parallels or boot camp

  • I am a video editor looking to upgrade from my macbook. I was looking this system



    Processor Speed:



    Precision T3500

    Graphics Processing Type:

    Quadro 4000


    PC Desktop



    Operating System:

    Windows 7

    Hard Drive Capacity:

    1.5 TB

    Processor Type:


    Operating System Edition:


    • looks like a winner. should run Adobe, Avid ,Edius or Vegas very well.

  • QMan

    I have the following video editing for Avid Symphony 6.5, Pinnacle Studio Ultimate 16, Sony Vegas Pro 12, Corel X6
    I have the following
    Is my DIY Ok or am I missing something
    I7 3770K 3rd gen Intel
    Asrock Extreme6 Z77 1155
    32GB RAM Corsair Extreme
    Gigabyte Radeon HD 7950 3GB 384bits
    3TB Toshiba 7200RPM hard drive
    1Tb 10K WD hard drive
    450GB Hitachi 15K RPM hard drive
    Window 7 Pro SP1 64 bits
    Corsair H00i liquid cool
    Zalman MS800 Mid tower ATX
    HP 24X DVD
    LG 24X Blu Ray
    Rosewill 1200 watts PSU
    3 Corsair 140mm additional fan
    Your help is very much appreciated


  • MattGinOK

    Opinion on liquid coolers, especially on top. I’ve got the cooler master glacer and did not even think about placement until i ran across it mentioned somewhere. such a conundrum.

  • Bill

    Hey guys, I’m looking into learning to do some video editing and found your website AFTER I built my computer.
    My computer specs seem to line up with your recommendations thou:
    Haswell i7 4770K
    Asus Z87-Deluxe/Quad w/ 2 thunderbolt ports
    MSI geforce gtx 780
    2x 240GB ssd
    4TB WD black
    32GB ddr3-2133 Corsair memory
    Windows 8.1 is currently installed but I also have a copy of win7 available for a dual boot if necessary.
    My question is: what else do I need to get busy besides an HD camera? Do you have any recommendations on video editing software?

  • smurph

    Is a good video editing system the same system as a good 3d modeling and rendering system?.. if not what are the differences, thanks.

    • yes. in fact I look at computer gaming and 3D modeling sites for incite into our DIY articles and builds. With 3D modeling, I really recommend a QuadroK card like the K4000 or even the K5000. 3D software demands a ton of GPU power.

  • Jeff

    Video Guys,

    With DDR4 memory coming to the consumer market soon, and given its stated
    performance improvements, do you expect your RAM recommendations to change
    (e.g. 2MB per core x 2 (hyperthreading))?

    • yes, but not until the price premium for DDR4 drops down

  • george

    Laugh as you wish, but I still use NTSC analog video. After years of tape editing, I am ready to take the plunge to NLE. Can you recommend a computer/software package that can do this? I don’t need a lot of speed, or anything higher def than NTSC or maybe PAL. Only effects I might want are chromakey and basic titles. I tried a computer with Pinnacle 16, it worked OK with HD, but refused to even download my SD footage. Is there a simple analog in/analog out system for under 2 grand? One that won’t harshly compress the picture or sound? Maybe a solid-state version of a Betacam SP set-up?

  • PISTAwok

    I’m coming from old i7 960 with gtx 560 ti and 660 ti.

    Now upgraded from nov 2014

    I7 4790K
    H100i Gtx
    Gigabyte Z97X UD5H BK
    16gb gskill 2133mhz
    Msi Gtx 970 sli
    1TB Seagate HDD
    2 x 2TB Seagate HDD 7200rpm
    860w Seasonic X Psu GOLD Certified

    At first, i was planning i7 5820k and those things but not necessary for. My system spec almost can do rendering and more. No issues.

    So Far it run like butterly smooth. I might buy samsung 850 evo ssd soon.

    Doing DIY dream machine is more interesting you can explore.

    • Definitely go for the SSD!! Glad to hear you’re enjoying your new system.

  • clayton

    hey I am wanting to get a pc for making gameing vids and gopro but I have no idea where to start any clues

  • Now I would like you talk about the content of videoguy software. I am using 2gb ram can I update my system for better rendering speed.

    • 2GB of RAM is a serious bottleneck for video editing. You need to upgrade to at least 8GB

  • Travis Parkinson

    Ok so its been a few years since this article was written. Windows 10 is out. Graphics cards have grown 2 or 3 generations. RAM is now DDR4. Adobe is cloud based. And most importantly, 4K video is almost mainstream. Whats the latest?

  • Telvish

    Answering these optimization questions must get old for you guys, but I’m going to have to do it anyway. I just got a new (well, refurbed) system with a lot of extra horsepower, but don’t know quite how to apply it for best results.
    HP Z800, dual hex-core Xeons
    96gb memory
    240gb boot + 3 2tb 7200rpm SATA drives, not in a RAID config
    nVidia GTX 780, 6gb
    Cyberlink Powerdirector 14

    This is just to edit home videos – I have a lot of them since the grandson came along. I’d rather not spend loads more on hardware or software (elsewhere I’ve seen recommendations for system optimization met with “get faster processors/drives/more memory/Premiere Pro/Avid” but that isn’t optimization of what you have so much as it is acquisition.) I think I have the hardware to do the job and am looking for the best render times for HD video. Some specific questions:

    – I find that using the 2300 CUDA cores available on the nVidia card is only slightly faster than not using it, maybe due to the power of the dual Xeons. Would you recommend using the GPU processing wherever I can?

    – All that memory – would it be best to use a RAMDISK? I set up a 10gb ramdisk, copied the source file there and set the output file there, but don’t find it THAT much faster than sending the output to the hard drive. I only use my SSD for the OS. Does it matter that much? I want to save minutes, not seconds. Right now it takes me about 14 minutes to process a 30 minute HD MOV file to an MP4. I thought it would be faster but maybe I’m dreaming.

    – If ramdisk only saves me 30 seconds over writing to the hard drive, I can’t imagine RAID will save me any more.

    Any advice is welcome.



    • jimatvideoguys


  • Mdu

    Thank you Guys

  • Nice post. Thanks for share.

  • It’s which one you recommended for my MacBook Pro 15 inch mid-2015 with

    Processor: 2.5GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor (Turbo Boost up to 3.7GHz) with 6MB shared L3 cache.

    Memory: 16GB of 1600MHz DDR3L onboard memory.

    Storage: 512GB PCIe-based flash storage.

    Graphics and Video Support : Intel Iris Pro Graphics​ with AMD Radeon R9 M370X with 2GB of GDDR5 memory and automatic graphics switching.

  • Still a lot of solid choices in this article

  • Ervz Tia

    HI! Awesome options. I have a question in relation to this:
    Do you practice and recommend a regular reformat of a Mac or Windows workstation? What is the best practice? When? How often? Thanks!

    • jimatvideoguys

      Regular reformatting really should not be necessary at all especially if you are using a RAID for the video storage

      • Ervz Tia

        Thanks. In our case, one of our old iMacs (mid-2010) has been running the
        original install since day one, we just do the necessary updates… It
        now has different layers of user accounts and permissions, etc… also
        feels really buggy and bloated!