Which processor to choose for video editing

Which processor to choose for video editing

The processor is THE key component of your machine. Thanks to it, your computer can perform billions of calculations per second. In a nutshell, it embodies the brain of the computer.

Video editing (especially in 4K and even more so in 8K) is much more resource-intensive than photo editing, so you will need to make a wise choice if you want to do high-definition video editing.

Also check out, How to Build a Computer for Video Editing.

When choosing a computer, you will need to pay attention to the number of processor cores: a multi-core chip allows, as its name suggests, several processors, to work at the same time. 

Thus, when your computer is under heavy load (by a single resource-intensive piece of software – or by several pieces of software working in concert), the operating system will be able to distribute the tasks more easily between the different processors provided, of course, that the software was designed for this purpose – which is increasingly the case, fortunately.

But you will also have to pay attention to the processor’s clock frequency, expressed in Gigahertz (Ghz): to simplify, the higher it is, the more powerful your computer will be. Ideally, a 2.5 Ghz chip (or more) should be considered. However, an overpowered chip risks overheating your machine and significantly reducing its autonomy if it is a portable model.

There are two brands of processors

  1. Intel
  2. AMD

Intel offers 4 high-performance mainstream processor lines: i3, i5, i7, and i9. As you can see, the higher the number, the more influential the processor. For photo editing, an i3 or i5 processor can be more than enough; on the other hand, an i5, i7, or higher processor will be necessary for video editing in 4K (and even more so in 8K ).

However, you will also have to pay attention to the sequence of numbers mentioned after the mention “i3”, “i5”, etc.

The first number indicates the generation of the processor. The higher the number, the more recent the processor and the more it benefits from the latest improvements made by the manufacturer. 

The following numbers indicate the model of the processor: again, the higher the number, the better the chip will perform.

There are often apparently less powerful processors (1.1 Ghz, for example). But attention should be paid to the “Turbo Boost” function: the processor has a considerable power reserve in occasional sustained use (exporting a video, for example). The goal: is to offer an optimized balance between power and energy savings. Of course, this “Turbo Boost” function is not reserved only for laptops. However, it does not represent your processor’s “official” power because this frequency cannot be maintained over a long period.

Last important point: Intel also offers “Pentium” or “Celeron” processors (generally on very inexpensive machines): these should be avoided because they are reserved for basic use (Internet, word processing). Therefore, they will be frankly struggling for photo editing and can in no way be used for video editing.

Intel sometimes integrates “Xeon” processors on some very high-end machines; usually reserved for servers, they are extremely powerful and can efficiently process the heaviest video files. Provided, of course, that you have a well-stocked wallet!


Intel’s major competitor of AMD, also offers several ranges of very relevant processors for photo and video. In particular, let us mention the Ryzen range, which brings together particularly successful chips. Here too, pay attention to the figure located just after the processor range: a Ryzen 7 will be more efficient than a Ryzen 5 without forgetting the 4 digits located just after, which indicates the processor’s generation and its hierarchical positioning within the range.

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