Do you have a slow, outdated laptop? Are you struggling to edit even basic video, much less work on high-quality content?
Then you might need to upgrade your laptop. But don’t just go for the first laptop that you see on sale. If you want to maximize your investment, you want to get the best laptop for videos.
Laptops for video editing have certain specs that you should keep an eye out for. Luckily, we’ve put together a guide to the ten things to look for in high-performance laptops. Read on to learn more!
A slow processor is the kiss of death for editing video on a laptop. The processor is arguably the most important component in laptops for video editing.
Because a processor handles all of the calculations necessary for video editing, it is important to choose a laptop with a good processor.
Other components can take a backseat to the processor if you are on a limited budget. This will be the biggest bottleneck to your video editing and cannot be compensated for with more RAM or a better graphics card.
Look for a processor with at least four cores. Multicore processors will handle high-quality video much easier without jitters or stuttering.
Some of the best laptops even have eight-core processors. If you can afford to shell out the cash for one, do so.
Intel Evo laptop use benchmarks to rate their real-world performance. Look for Evo badging to be assured that your new fast laptop will actually be fast.
Dedicated Video Card
Although “video” is in the name, a discrete video card is surprisingly not one of the most crucial components in laptops for video editing.
Because the processor handles a lot of the video weight, a bleeding-edge gaming graphics card will not massively improve your video editing.
However, if you do a lot of animation or effects, a higher-end graphics card will start to pay off. This is because graphics cards handle computer-generated animations and effects, but not video data.
Additionally, video cards can help speed up rendering. So if rendering speed is important to you, shell out a little more for an improved video card.
After your processor, RAM is usually the biggest culprit in slow video editing. Because RAM stores short-term tasks in its memory, low amounts of RAM means that your editing software will probably lag in performance.
Think of it this way: your laptop’s processor determines how fast it can work. RAM determines how many things it can handle at one time.
The good thing about RAM is that if you are on a budget, you can upgrade most Windows laptops later if you are handy with a small screwdriver.
For general video editing, eight gigs of RAM should suffice for most basic tasks.
For higher-end video editing, look for powerful laptops with at least sixteen gigs of RAM. Most laptops nowadays start with eight gigs and go up to sixty-four.
If you plan on doing motion graphics and animations, you might want to consider going as high as possible on RAM. This is because these tasks take up even more RAM than basic video editing.
The best processor in the world will not do you much good if you skimp on your laptop screen.
For video editing, image and color quality are paramount. The bare minimum you should look for in high-performance laptops for video editing is full HD displays.
Ideally, you will want a 4K UHD screen. Several 4K laptops on the market now have OLED screens, which have much richer and more accurate color displays.
You should look for a laptop that boasts a high nit count. Nits are units of light measurement that indicate how bright the screen is. The brighter the screen, the more detail, and depth you will be able to see.
Also, size matters. A larger display will be much easier to edit on. You can see details more clearly, and multitasking is also much easier. Go for at least a 15″ display, but bump up to 17″ if you don’t mind carrying it.
Video files take up massive amounts of storage space. The first consideration you should make regarding hard drives is how much total space it has.
For an onboard hard drive, look for at least a terabyte. You will quickly fill this up just with video editing software and other relevant files.
You will also want to get an SSD drive over a traditional SATA drive. SSD drives are considerably faster, meaning that you can open and edit files more quickly. They will also render and process faster in your software.
Keeping all of your installed programs on an internal SSD drive will also ensure they run more smoothly.
For external storage, expect to buy several SSD drives. It is good practice to store and organize your raw video data on these external drives.
Another important aspect of laptops for video editing is how many USB ports it has.
You want to be sure that your new fast laptop has enough connections to hook up various video editing gear.
Make sure that you future-proof your purchase as well. Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 connections are a good investment, as many newer cameras are moving to this format.
You should also double-check that your new laptop has at least one USB-C connection, as these are fairly common connectors.
The Right Software
While this is not necessarily a part of your laptop purchase, it is an important thing to consider.
If you are planning on using certain software programs, make sure that your laptop can meet the recommended requirements to run them.
Some software programs put more stress on your processor, while others are more GPU-dependent. This is another critical detail to consider when shopping for your laptop.
Finally, some editing software is not compatible with Windows, such as Final Cut Pro. So if you plan on using Final Cut, you might want to purchase a MacBook instead.
Speaking of Mac vs Windows, the operating system you choose will determine a lot of other decisions you make.
While the iOS system is well-revered for its stability and performance with video editing software, Apple products are not upgradable and tend to be more expensive for less performance.
Windows machines sometimes need a little more tweaking and troubleshooting, but the ease of upgrading and repairing them gives them an advantage.
Additionally, you get a lot more bang-for-your-buck with a Windows system in terms of specs. You can get a bleeding-edge Windows laptop for far less than an Apple laptop with lesser specs.
There are also many more options on the market when it comes to Windows products. While Apple laptops will perform smoothly if you want to get into some really heavy lifting or have specific needs, go for a Windows machine.
These are excellent features to look for if you plan on doing collaborative work, or feel constrained by a single small laptop screen.
First, you can connect to a much larger monitor to work on, bypassing your laptop display. If you mainly use your laptop for quick mobile work, this will let you do more heavy editing in a dedicated workspace.
Second, you can connect multiple monitors using a splitter. If you need to multitask with video and animation, this is an excellent option.
Finally, this makes collaboration with others much easier. No one likes to huddle around a 15″ laptop screen. Instead, you can cast your work-in-progress to a large HDMI display for easier viewing.
SD Card Slots
At first, this may seem like an afterthought. And many laptop manufacturers seem to think so.
But an overwhelming amount of video cameras use SD cards to store video files. And keeping up with a separate USB dongle is not only a hassle, but it takes up a port you could use for something else.
A dedicated SD card slot is a god-send for video editors. These will quickly recognize an SD card and treat it as another hard drive. This makes importing and working with video files quick and simple.
The Best Laptops For Video Editing
As you can see, there are a lot of factors that go into determining the best laptops for video editing. Brands such as Lenovo, Dell, and Acer offer laptops that are built to handle media such as video and animation.
Make sure to balance your budget against the available features. However, if this is a machine for work, it might be worth saving up a little more to afford one of the more powerful laptops.
For more helpful computer articles, be sure to check out the “Tech” section of our site. And as always, feel free to contact us at any time!