Recommended Video Editing Workstations
At Puget Systems, we do a LOT of testing. We believe that computers should be a pleasure to purchase and own. They should get your work done, and not be a hindrance. To do that, they need to have the right hardware for the job. We take it on as our mission to test and validate the industry's most popular video editing, color grading, and VFX applications to ensure that software runs properly and our workstations are optimized for performance. Most developers list basic system requirements for their editing applications, but this type of information is often outdated or simply the bare minimums to run - while what users really want to know is what hardware they need in order to be able to edit smoothly and quickly. You can rest assured that the recommended systems we list below are tailored to give you the best results in each of these content creation programs.
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Building a Video Editing Workstation
Post-production of video and film is some of the most demanding work a computer can be called on to perform. Whether it is adding special effects and CGI, editing timelines and cropping footage, or rendering finished video to different formats, these creative endeavors really put computer hardware to the test. It is essential that your editing workstation be able to handle that load. Your time is money, and any time your workstation is down for repairs is costly. We understand that, and value the quality and reliability of our PCs above all else!
What processor (CPU) is best for video editing?
No matter what software you are using, a fast processor is critical to your video editing computer. However, different applications utilize the CPU in different ways. Some only need a high clock speed, while others also depend on having a lot of cores to process work in parallel. Even the type of codecs you work with can impact CPU usage and requirements! We have tailored the CPU selection in each of our recommended systems to match both the specific software package and in many cases the type of footage they are optimized for.
What video card (GPU) is best for video editing?
Depending on the particular applications you use, the GPU can be responsible for as little as just displaying content on your screens or it could be the primary computation device for rendering special effects, color grading, and even video decoding and encoding. That last part is dependent on both the software and the codecs being used, so we split up some of our recommended systems by codec type to help ensure you end up with the right hardware. On the more mundane side, it is also important to ensure that the video card you get has the right number and type of outputs for the monitors you plan to use. HDMI and DisplayPort are currently the most common video connections, and most cards will have a mix of those - but adapter cables can be used as well, if necessary.
How much memory (RAM) does a video editing workstation need?
Memory is also important, though exactly how much you need depends heavily on your software and the size of projects you work on. In general, higher resolution footage will need more memory. In the case of applications like After Effects, the amount of RAM in the system will also dictate how many frames can be stored in memory at a time. These are a lot of factors to balance, and we can help you tune the configuration of your workstation to your unique needs.
What type of storage (solid state & hard drives) is best for video editing?
One area which too many people overlook is the drive setup. When working on video you want to have a separate editing drive - keeping the access of those files isolated from the constant input that the operating system and applications have where they are installed. Solid-state drives are strongly recommended because of the speed and reliability that they offer are tempting, but that does have to be weighed against their cost. Traditional hard drives are much less expensive for the amount of storage space they provide, and for large file transfers or exporting completed projects can still be fast enough. Arrays of drives can also be employed if necessary for more size and speed. For rendering in particular it may be beneficial to use three drives: one of the OS/applications, one for source video, and one for the finished product. Some applications also support cache drives, and having a dedicated drive for that is valuable. Archival of old projects and backups of work in progress are also important, but can generally be handled with external drives or network-attached storage.
Why Choose Puget Systems?
Rather than getting a generic workstation, our systems are designed around your unique workflow and are optimized for the work you do every day.
We make sure our representatives are as accessible as possible, by phone and email. At Puget Systems, you can actually talk to a real person!
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Video Editing Workstation FAQ
I'm thinking of moving from Mac to PC. Can you help?
Absolutely! Over the years we have helped quite a few of our media and entertainment customers make the move from Mac to PC. In fact, it is a large enough number that we have a dedicated Moving from Mac to PC? FAQ page to answer some of the more common questions we receive.
Do any of your systems support Thunderbolt?
Yes! We have a few systems that support Thunderbolt 4, which is currently the latest and fastest version of Thunderbolt. Not every platform we carry has this feature, however, so if this is important to you please talk with a consultant to make sure you get the right workstation.
Do your systems support 10-bit HDMI or SDI displays?
Yes, our workstations support 10-bit displays! In the past, you needed to use a professional NVIDIA video card (formerly "Quadro") or a Blackmagic DeckLink card to enable 10-bit support, but as of July 29th 2019, the GeForce "Studio Driver" also supports 10-bit displays. However, if you are using a calibrated display for film or broadcast, we recommend using a Blackmagic card as video cards do not always give 100% accurate color. We offer a few DeckLink models in our workstations, so be sure to check those out on our configure pages or talk to a consultant if you have any questions.
I'm not sure what system hardware I should use. Help!
Depending on how much you want to dig into hardware and system specs, we have a couple different ways to help. First, we have Hardware Recommendations pages specifically for each of the software packages we recommend systems for. Those go over all the major hardware components and why you would use one part over another. Alternatively, you can always contact one of our consultants and we can help you configure a system that is perfectly tailored for your workflow.