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Best HP Desktops for Video Editing
July 15, 2021
Reading time: 11 minutes
You may have captured the best footage ever on film, but to make a Scorsese-worthy final movie your computer has to be able to handle video editing and the processing power it requires.
While you may know about the various programs video editors use on a regular basis, you may start to feel a bit overwhelmed when it comes to evaluating processor speed or SSD storage.
We’re here to help with a guide that includes our picks for the best video editing computers and the technical specs you’ll need to get your work done. We also made sure to include desktops in a variety of price ranges so you can find one that meets your budget, too.
1. HP ENVY All-in-One desktop PC
When it comes to gorgeous visuals and practical power, the HP ENVY All-in-One is a video-editing dream machine. It’s our top pick for the best computer for video editing, and it includes a 27-inch floating glass display, 7th Generation Intel® Core™ i5 or i7 processor, and optional discrete NVIDIA® GeForce™ GTX 950M graphics to get you intimately close to your work.
Max memory and storage
Today’s 4K screens are driving video storage needs through the ceiling tiles. Choose between multiple hard drive options, like a 1TB hybrid drive or 256GB solid-state drive (SSD), plus your choice of a 1TB HDD or 256GB SSD, plus a 2TB HDD. With three massive options, you can turn your workspace into a desktop-based raw footage storage vault.
Also, if you choose to use external hard drives to store your project files, you’ll be lightning-fast, with a pair of USB-C ports and 2 USB-A ports for more speed.
Incredibly versatile and budget-friendly
The coolest thing about the HP ENVY All-in-One? Its versatility. You can start out with a base model at a super-affordable price or trick it out with up to 32GB of speedy SDRAM for blazing renders.
It’s endlessly upgradeable, too. If your filmmaking dreams outstrip your bank balance, you can start at entry level and then add more and bigger hard drives, memory, and better processors as you grow, up to a 4.7 GHz Intel Core i7 chip.
Other video-editing goodies include NVIDIA GTX graphics, legendary Audio by Bang & Olufsen for rich, immersive sound, and a space-saving, ergonomic design on the adjustable, micro-edge display. You end up with max screen real-estate and Oscar-worthy style. You’ll also connect with speedy WiFi 6.
2. HP Z2 Mini desktop PC
The astoundingly-powerful HP Z2 Mini has been called the sportscar of workstations, but that nickname may make you think it also carries a high price tag. This PC is a refreshing surprise for video editors, coming in at a wallet-friendly price point and in a package so small it’s almost cute.
It’s also powerful, with desktop-class CPU options like multi-core Intel Core and Intel Xeon® processors for impressive real-time rendering while you edit. In fact, you can add up to an Intel Xeon W-1290P processor to this little dynamo, with 10 cores of multitasking power and up to 5.3 GHz of blazing video editing speed.
An NVIDIA Quadro GPU sweetens the deal, accelerating creative apps like Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects for faster rendering, exporting, and even quicker cropping with smoother playback. Supply your HP Mini with an NVIDIA Quadro RTX 3000 graphics card, which boasts high-powered graphics cooling. It’s arguably one of the best video editing cards on the market.
Innovative cooling solution
With so much power in such a small package, you’d think cooling the overall device would be a challenge. However, HP stepped up with 8 large vents (2 at each corner) that let its cooling fans and channels move heat efficiently away from the components.
Easily the best computer for film editing of its size, this is the R2D2 of video editing desktops, packing an unprecedented 64GB of DDR4 ECC memory into its tiny chassis. That “ECC'' moniker should get your editing juices flowing. It stands for error correction code, and it delivers professional-grade performance that protects your system from crashes during high-demand tasks.
Add WiFi 6 connectivity, 3 USB-A ports and 2 SuperSpeed USB-C ports, and it’s no wonder this PC gets rave reviews.
3. HP Z2 SFF Small Form Factor workstation
There are two classic truths in the video-editing world. 1) Tech will keep improving fast, and 2) You’ve got to adapt or you’ll get left behind. If you want an endlessly-customizable and upgradable workstation that starts out at a shockingly-low price point, the HP Z2 SFF is it.
This powerful machine delivers workstation-class components. For instance, it features up to a sky-scorching 128GB of pro-grade UDIMM ECC memory that error corrects on the fly to protect you from task-interrupting system crashes. UDIMM memory works faster than standard (or registered) memory, too, putting you in the hyperspace lane for editing workflows.
Powerful Intel Core processors
Customize your HP Z2 SFF workstation with an Intel Xeon or 11th Generation Intel Core i5 or i7 processor, with boost speeds up to 4.9 GHz and up to 8 cores of multithreading software support. Those chips come with integrated Intel UHD Graphics, but you can opt for an added NVIDIA Quadro P1000 for speedy 3D rendering. You can even add a second graphics card if you need it.
Up to 20TB of internal storage
Source files can take up acres of space, but the HP Z2 SFF has your back with up to 20TB (yes, you read that right, two zero gigabytes) of internal storage. That’s not a typo. If Sergio Leone had owned one of these, he could have created his entire Dollars and Once Upon a Time series on a single video editing computer, with plenty of room left over for home movies.
The best desktop computer for video editing in workstation form, the HP Z2 SFF is tricked out with dozens of other filmmaking goodies too, like video-editing software certifications for key titles like Adobe Premiere Pro. It also comes preloaded with Windows 10 Pro.
It’s one of the world’s most secure and manageable workstations, too, thanks to HP’s hardware-enforced, self-healing security. Toss in 10 USB-A ports and a USB-C port, plus WiFi 6 connectivity, and this machine will plug and play with whatever your workflow demands.
4. HP Z2 workstation
If you want to go all-out to support your video editing workflows, but you’d rather not bust your budget, the HP Z2 workstation is a stellar option. Customizable, upgradable, and affordable, this machine can start where you want it to and keep up with your imagination.
Load it with up to 28TB of SSD and HDD storage to keep all your raw files in one convenient place. You can also pack in up to 128GB of pro-grade, super-fast UDIMM ECC memory to head off system crashes before they start while you render projects at lightning speeds.
Pro-grade CPUs and GPUs
Load it with your choice of professional-level Intel Xeon and Core i5 and i7 processors, with integrated UHD graphics, or with up to 2 graphics cards like the NVIDIA Quadro RTX 6000 or AMD Radeon Pro WX 3200. Either one can drive up to an 8K display. The Quadro RTX 6000 is recognized as one of the best high-end professional video editing GPUs on the market thanks to its stability, pro video software support, and ECC RAM support.
Certified for video editing app support
The HP Z2 brings so much convenience to the video editor’s day, with certifications for video apps like Premiere, AVID, Blackmagic, and more. It’s also rackable for easy installation, and adds RAID support to make all your storage units act as one. It uses HP Z Turbo Drive technology for faster boot-ups and response as well, which means less waiting throughout your workday.
You can pick Windows or Linux as your OS, and expand at will with a roomy 4 PCIe slots to add more memory, storage, or graphics options. The HP Z2 Tower comes with WiFi 6 connectivity in a 2-antenna setup, too. Plus, a flexible I/O module gives you ultimate control over your ports and connections.
5. HP OMEN gaming desktop PC
Video editing PCs and gaming PCs have a lot in common. They both need high-end graphics processing, speed, and plenty of RAM. Both are constantly evolving, so they rely on upgradability and customization. It should come as no surprise, then, that the HP OMEN gaming desktop makes our list as one of the best desktops for video editing.
Both the HP OMEN 30L and HP OMEN 25L are designed to be both beautiful and powerful, with tool-less access to their interiors. The HP OMEN 30L boasts up to a 10th Generation Intel Core i9 processor, with 10 cores to handle multi-threaded apps. A high performance Cooler Master 120 mm RGB fan keeps things breezy when work gets heavy.
Powerful video editing graphics
Stock it with up to an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 GPU, which delivers HDR gaming with millisecond-sized latency and elevated frame rates. The card’s 24GB of video RAM and 8K monitor support make it a lock for cranking out David-Fincher-level Adobe Premiere Pro projects.
Up to 64GB of blazingly-fast HyperX® DDR4-2666 SDRAM and optional dual-storage make this one of the best non-workstation video editing PCs on the shelf. WiFi 6, 8 USB-A ports, a USB-C port, and RAID support sweeten the video editing deal.
6. HP Victus gaming PC
The gaming and video editing crossover continues with HP’s all new line of gaming PCs – the HP Victus. All the pro-gamer tech packed into this entirely new device is integrated to push gamers, and professional video editors, to new levels.
The HP Victus edits video with Russo-brother ease, thanks to a maximum 11th Generation Intel Core i7 or AMD Ryzen 7 5800H processor, with base clock speeds up to a blistering 4.9 GHz. You can load it with up to 32GB of speedy DDR4 RAM to make sure your renders stay real time.
Its NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 graphics card works like a champ with Adobe Premiere Pro, thanks to orders-of-magnitude faster processing than the competition for both Premiere Pro performance and 4K playback. It also renders 3D fast, keeping your PC cool and quiet.
Speaking of cool, the HP Victus gaming laptop keeps your work and play at the right temperature with an upgraded cooling system. It also gives you maximum fidelity to see your projects as they truly are thanks to an available 16.1-inch 165 Hz Quad High Definition (QHD) display. You’ll also rule the audio stripe, with the now-legendary Audio by Bang & Olufsen.
Add WiFi 6 connectivity and plenty of ports, and you’ve got a screaming machine, in the arena or while you’re stacking tracks.
How many cores does a video editing PC really need?
It’s important to note that while computers have a single processor chip, that chip typically has anywhere from 1 to 10 cores. Dual (2) and quad (4) cores are the most common options, although specialist PCs such as the HP Z8 G4 workstation can have up to 56 cores.
Generally speaking, more cores mean faster processing, but that’s not always true. More cores are faster only if programs can split up the tasks for the cores, and not every program can do this.
Cores vs clock speed
Clock speed also makes a difference in how fast your computer is. For example, a newer dual-core with a high clock speed is usually faster than a quad-core from a previous generation. It’s also important to keep power consumption in mind. With more cores, you’ll be consuming more power, which means higher heat levels and the need for additional cooling solutions.
What’s most crucial here is knowing specifics about the software you’re using for editing, because the best programs are often developed to maximize multiple processors. Look into your software of choice to help determine how many cores you need.
What about RAM?
Too little RAM is a big problem when it comes to selecting a good computer for video editing. Most digital filmmaking software performs perfectly fine with 8GB or 16GB of memory if you’re editing in 1080p without any other programs open.
RAM is a major consideration for film pros who plan to use their video editing computer as their main workstation. For example, if you’re using a few editing tools at a time, you’ll want to opt for more memory like 32GB or even 64GB, especially if you’re working in 4K.
Most of the options on our list start at 8GB of RAM, but you can upgrade to get more RAM.
More RAM is better for video editing
Our recommendation? Opt for the extra RAM. When you’re operating close to capacity, the whole system slows down, and when you’re working in a medium such as film, the lag can really impede your workflow.
Processors are key to rendering
RAM doesn’t necessarily affect the rendering speed of your film projects, though. Instead, the CPU and GPU are the components responsible for speed, responsiveness, and ensuring visual representations like color adjustments and layer blending meet your expectations.
Is SSD storage a big deal in a video editing computer?
An SSD features no moving parts and can read and write data faster than a traditional hard drive. An SSD takes some of the pressure off of other components, like your graphics card and your RAM, making for better all-around performance.
If you upgrade to an SSD, you’ll notice a big difference when you first open a program. For example, Adobe software won’t take an extended period of time to load up, so you’re no longer left waiting every time you sit down to get some work done.
SSDs are not generally available in units over 2TB. You also want to avoid units that offer less than 256GB of space – it’ll fill up fast if you’re editing video content.
You’re probably approaching your next computer purchase with cost vs value at the forefront of your decision-making process. Remember, though, if you’re looking for high performance video editing, you’ll want to look for the equipment that meets your editing programs’ needs. Narrow your search for the best computer video editing and multimedia by reviewing the software specs of the programs you plan to use.
Your strongest bet when selecting a video editing computer is to choose a device that exceeds the minimum requirements needed to support the software you plan to work with. You’re setting yourself up for frustration if you don't invest in the necessary specs.
About the Author: Tom Gerencer is a contributing writer for HP Tech Takes. Tom is an ASJA journalist, career expert at Zety.com, and a regular contributor to Boys' Life and Scouting magazines. His work is featured in Costco Connection, FastCompany, and many more.
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