When you’re building a video editing PC, there are a few key components that you must not compromise on. The most important of those components is the processor. Most, if not all of today’s video editing software relies heavily on the CPU. Sure, there are some that support GPU acceleration, but it’s the CPU that handles most of the load. This is the main reason why anyone looking to build a video editing PC should invest in a good CPU. A processor with a sufficient number of cores and threads, a good microarchitecture, along with a high clock speed is ideal for video editing. Therefore, in this article, we have reviewed the 7 best processors for video editing.

What should you look for when buying a video editing processor?

Not every CPU is good for video editing, even those that cost quite a bit. There are a few things that can help quite a bit with a video editing workflow, and those are the ones worth investing in. The ones worth mentioning are the cores, the threads, and less important the processor’s clock speed. Let’s take a look at what’s actually worth your money, and we’ll touch upon the roles of the CPU and GPU in video editing.

Cores and the Threads

In this day and age, we wouldn’t recommend anything below a four core CPU for video editing. Video editing software does take advantage of multiple cores and threads, and the performance of said software often scales directly with higher performance CPUs that have multiple cores. Something like Intel’s Core i9-9900K or AMD’s Ryzen 7 2700X, both of which have eight cores and sixteen threads will be a video editing champ. That’s not to say you can’t edit videos without them, but more cores and more threads do help. For example, with Premiere Pro, you’ll notice a rapid increase in performance as you increase the core count up to 10 cores. After that, there’s still an increase, but it’s not as obvious.

Clock Speed

The other important aspect of the CPU is clock speed. However, it is important to note that the clock speed of a CPU is only important if the CPU has a sufficient number of cores and threads along with an efficient microarchitecture. As you increase the clock speed, the software works a lot better. With the examples we mentioned below, the Intel Core i9-9900K would be a better choice if the price were not an issue, thanks to its microarchitecture and much faster clock speeds. One more thing to note here is that if you edit videos in higher resolutions, such as 4K, the benefit of a more powerful CPU will be much more obvious.

CPU VS GPU for Video Editing

So, which one is more important for video editing, the CPU or the GPU? Well, if you were to ask this a few years ago, it would undoubtedly be the CPU. And overall, it’s still the CPU, but a good GPU will be beneficial, especially if you’re using Premiere Pro. Adobe has constantly increased GPU use with Premiere Pro, so a modern GPU will certainly help. Considering that video encoding is a very CPU-intensive task, you’ll want most of your money to go towards the CPU. However, if you use GPU-accelerated effects in your videos, note that Premiere Pro, for example, makes use of the CUDA cores to render those effects much better. It’s actually something that depends on your specific workload. But in the end, you’ll want to spend more on the CPU, as this is what will give you the most benefit when you’re editing video.

Best Video Editing Processors

With the “buyers’ guide” out of the way, let’s take a look at some of the best video editing processors money can buy today. They’re all excellent, but have varying strengths and come at differing price points. Which one you choose to go for is completely up to you.

  1. Intel 9th Gen Core i9-9900K Processor

Intel Core i9-9900K Desktop Processor 8 Cores up to 5.0 GHz Turbo Unlocked LGA1151 300 Series 95W
Intel’s Core i9-9900K is the latest and greatest CPU from Intel that’s not a part of the non-HEDT platform. It’s an excellent all-around CPU for those who can afford it, and it makes sure to pay attention to everything that’s important for a CPU.

To begin with, it’s an eight-core, sixteen-thread beast. This is more than enough for video editing, especially when you factor in the base frequency of 3.6GHz. If this isn’t enough for your workload, or you just want more, the i9-9900K can turbo up to 5GHz which is impressive. This allows it to deliver excellent performance when it comes to video editing.

It operates on the LGA 1151 socket with a TDP of 95 watts. The STIM cooling material ensures that heat transfer from the CPU to the cooler is excellent, so you can comfortably overclock the processor. The integrated graphics card is Intel’s UHD 630, and the CPU has support for Intel’s Optane memory. With up to 40 PCIe lanes and 16MB of cache, this may be the best processor for video editing, if the price isn’t an issue.

Intel Core i9-9900K Specs
Architecture Coffee Lake
Socket LGA 1151
Cores / Threads 8 / 16
Base Frequency / Boost Frequency 3.6GHz / 5GHz
Memory Speed / Controller 2666MHz / 2
Cache 16 MB
Integrated Graphics Intel UHD 630
Unlock Multiplier Yes
TDP 95W
Process 14nm
Check Price At Amazon Button

  1. AMD Ryzen 7 2700X Processor

AMD Ryzen 7 2700X Processor with Wraith Prism LED Cooler - YD270XBGAFBOX
In the “red camp”, AMD’s Ryzen 7 2700X is the highest end CPU, aside from their Threadripper series which is extremely expensive. It’s a great video editing CPU, one that can handle everything from quick and easy workloads to extensive and long projects.

The Ryzen 7 2700X is an eight-core CPU with sixteen threads. This is really impressive, especially for video editors. However, the clock speeds aren’t all that good. A base frequency of 3.7GHz is great, but a turbo of up to 4.3GHz isn’t really too much. Sure, you could get more performance by overclocking it, but that’s not the point.

The 2700X uses AMD’s AM4 socket, which promises compatibility with at least three generations (the 2700X is the second already). Its TDP is 105 watts, which is close to the competition. Inside the box, you’ll get the Wraith Prism LED cooler which should keep the CPU cool under load, and your PC looking nice and flashy.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with a built-in GPU, so you’ll need one for any kind of video output, which is a bummer. However, if you can look past this, it’s absolutely a great video editing CPU that handles whatever you throw at it.

AMD Ryzen 7 2700X Specs
Architecture Zen
Socket AM4
Cores / Threads 8 / 16
Base Frequency / Boost Frequency 3.7GHz / 4.3GHz
Memory Speed / Controller 2933MHz / 2
Cache 4 MB /16 MB (L2/L3)
Integrated Graphics N/A
Unlock Multiplier Yes
TDP 105W
Process 12nm
Check Price At Amazon Button

  1. Intel 9th Gen Core i7-9700K Processor

Intel Core i7-9700K Desktop Processor 8 Cores up to 4.9 GHz Turbo Unlocked LGA1151 300 Series 95W
Before we got the i9 series, Intel’s i7 lineup was the flagship CPU lineup for non-HEDT users. With the introduction of the i9, the i7 gets somewhat lower performance, as well as a lower price. However, the 9700K is still a beast when it comes to video editing.

For starters, it has eight cores and eight threads. The base frequency is 3.6GHz, which is decent, and it turbos up to an impressive 4.9GHz. And that’s before you do any kind of overclocking. When you’re editing video, chances are this is all you’ll need, and the 9700K performs flawlessly.

It’s made with a 14nm process and runs on the LGA 1151 socket, with 12MB of cache and a 95W TDP. It’s not the fastest, it’s not the most powerful, but the i7-9700K is definitely more than what most users actually need for video editing. If you don’t want to spend too much money, yet want excellent performance, this is what you should be looking at.

Intel Core i7-9700K Specs:
Architecture Coffee Lake
Socket LGA 1151
Cores / Threads 8 / 8
Base Frequency / Boost Frequency 3.6GHz / 4.9GHz
Memory Speed / Controller 2667MHz / 2
Cache 12 MB
Integrated Graphics Intel UHD 630
Unlock Multiplier Yes
TDP 95W
Process 14nm
Check Price At Amazon Button
  1. AMD Ryzen 7 2700 Processor

AMD Ryzen 7 2700 Processor with Wraith Spire LED Cooler - YD2700BBAFBOX
AMD hit the market hard with their Ryzen CPUs and brought some real competition, which was honestly lacking for a good while. The Ryzen 7 2700 is a great high-end CPU which covers all the necessary things you’d expect from a great CPU for video editing.

For starters, it comes in an 8-core, 16-thread configuration, which is excellent for video editing. What’s not that great is the clock speeds. The base frequency is 3.2GHz, and the maximum turbo boost goes up to 4.1GHz. For single-core workloads, this will easily get outperformed by some much cheaper CPUs. Fortunately, video editing isn’t a single-core workload, so the Ryzen 7 2700 does hold its own.

It’s made using AMD’s 12nm process and runs on the excellent AM4 architecture. With 4MB of level 2 cache and 16MB of level 3 cache, as well as a 65W TDP, this should be a great CPU for video editing. Note, though, that there’s no integrated GPU – you’ll need a dedicated one, even for video output.

AMD Ryzen 7 2700 Specs:
Architecture Zen
Socket AM4
Cores / Threads 8 / 16
Base Frequency / Boost Frequency 3.2GHz / 4.1GHz
Memory Speed / Controller 2933MHz / 2
Cache 4 MB /16 MB (L2/L3)
Integrated Graphics N/A
Unlock Multiplier Yes
TDP 65W
Process 12nm
Check Price At Amazon Button

  1. AMD Ryzen 5 2600X Processor

AMD Ryzen 5 2600X Processor with Wraith Spire Cooler - YD260XBCAFBOX
If you decide to go the AMD route when building a video editing PC, you don’t have to go all out. Even though the 7 series does give you the best performance, something like the Ryzen 5 2600X actually isn’t that far behind in terms of video editing performance.

The Ryzen 5 2600X is a six core and twelve thread CPU. This is a bit less than the 7 series, but still a very respectable core count for video editing. Pair it with a base frequency of 3.6GHz, and a turbo of up to 4.2GHz before any kind of overclocking, and you’ve got a very respectable performing CPU on your hands.

Now, the Ryzen 5 2600X is meant for midrange builds. For video editing, that doesn’t always include a discrete GPU, but if you go for this CPU, you’ll need one – there’s no integrated GPU unit. If you can look past that, you’re getting a great performing CPU for video editing with 16MB of L3 cache and a 95W TDP.

AMD Ryzen 5 2600X Specs:
Architecture Zen
Socket AM4
Cores / Threads 6 / 12
Base Frequency / Boost Frequency 3.6GHz / 4.2GHz
Memory Speed / Controller 2933MHz / 2
Cache 3 MB /16 MB (L2/L3)
Integrated Graphics N/A
Unlock Multiplier Yes
TDP 95W
Process 12nm
Check Price At Amazon Button
  1.  Intel Core i5-9400F

Intel Core i5-9400F Desktop Processor 6 Cores 4.1 GHz Turbo Without Graphics
While Intel’s CPU solutions usually come with some kind of integrated GPU, with the 9th generation CPUs they introduced the F processors that don’t have an iGPU. The Intel i5-9400F is one of those processors, but the lack of an iGPU is potentially the only downside for an otherwise excellent budget video editing processor.

There’s no hyperthreading with the 9400F either, but with six cores and six threads, that’s not really a necessity if you’re on a budget. The base frequency is 2.9GHz and it can go up to 4.1GHz under load, which is decent, but nothing impressive. You’ll have to be satisfied with this though since a locked core multiplier means you can’t overclock the 9400F.

Even though you may think the performance isn’t really impressive compared to other CPUs for video editing, the 9400F comes at a fraction of the price of those other CPUs, which still makes it a great option. If you’re on a budget, it should definitely be one of your options.

Intel Core i5-9400F Specs:
Architecture Coffee Lake
Socket LGA 1151
Cores / Threads 6 / 6
Base Frequency / Boost Frequency 2.9GHz / 4.1GHz
Memory Speed / Controller 2666MHz / 2
Cache 9 MB
Integrated Graphics N/A
Unlock Multiplier No
TDP 95W
Process 14nm
Check Price At Amazon Button
  1. AMD Ryzen 5 2600

AMD Ryzen 5 2600 Processor with Wraith Stealth Cooler - YD2600BBAFBOX
With AMD, there’s a fairly simple to understand level system with their CPUs. The Ryzen 5 is the first “serious” CPU for intensive workloads and gaming, and the 2600 is the second generation base Ryzen 5 model if we don’t consider the 2400G which is actually an APU.

Being a base model isn’t bad, actually. You still get an impressive six cores and twelve threads, which should do the job really well for video editing. The clock speeds aren’t as impressive though, 3.4GHz base frequency and 3.9GHz boost frequency will only get you so far. However, you have an unlocked core, so you can always overclock it.

With the Ryzen 5 2600, you’ll also get AMD’s Wraith Stealth cooler which should keep the 65W TDP CPU fairly cool even when you’re editing video. If you’re on a budget but want as many cores and threads as possible, the 2600 should definitely be your best bet.

AMD Ryzen 5 2600 Specs:
Architecture Zen
Socket AM4
Cores / Threads 6 / 12
Base Frequency / Boost Frequency 3.4GHz / 3.9GHz
Memory Speed / Controller 2933MHz / 2
Cache 3 MB /16 MB (L2/L3)
Integrated Graphics N/A
Unlock Multiplier Yes
TDP 65W
Process 12nm
Check Price At Amazon Button

If you would like to learn more video editing, you should check out Livewire’s video editing guide. We have also reviewed the best processors for streaming on platforms such as Twitch and Youtube.

Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  Subscribe  
Notify of