You want to know what is the best PC/Computer for editing video? Specifically on Premiere Pro? You want to know what CPU, GPU, how much memory, what kind of drives you need and so on to have the absolute best computer build for video editing out there?
Yeah. I did too.
I don’t know why it was so hard to find an answer, no one, not even Adobe, had information that clearly said “this. you need… this.”
Well, here it is. You need this:
Abstract: Build the cheapest computer possible that can handle any type of footage you throw at it.
Procedure: For two weeks I deep dived into every possible bit of information available to me. I read papers, built spreadsheets, talked to computer scientists and editors, crunched numbers, and at the end of it all I had come up with what was the perfect working combination of components that could easily handle 8k footage.
There are 1001 ways to put a computer together, and yes, there are faster components out there, but they are also much more expensive. This build, as of today, maximizes the potential of each component without breaking the bank.
Overall I wanted a computer that would primerally be for editing, with the ability to do compositing in After Effects, along with using the rest of the Adobe Suite. Since Premiere tends to be CPU heavy and After Effects GPU heavy, there had to be a perfect marraige between the two, and all fit in a nice case with fast drives to handle 8k footage, withenough RAM to run both programs without choking.
So here is the list of parts I used to build this super-edit-rig. I compiled it on PCPartPicker.com which is super helpful in figuring out compatibility. I ordered everything from NewEgg.com which is where I ordered from the last time I built a PC literally 22 years ago.
NOTE: I have no affiliation to any of these brands whatsoever. I am an editor. I’ve been on a Mac for decades, and after they ditched FCP I moved over to Premiere. I’m sick of how slow Mac’s are with Adobe Products, and since they work better with nVidia GPUs, I decided to build this PC. Enter at your own risk.
AMD Ryzen 9 3900X 3.8 GHz 12-Core Processor
Asus TUF GAMING X570-PLUS (WI-FI) ATX AM4 Motherboard
G.Skill Ripjaws V 64 GB (2 x 32 GB) DDR4-3600 CL18 Memory
Corsair MP600 Force Series Gen4 2 TB M.2-2280 NVME Solid State Drive
Corsair MP600 Force Series Gen4 500 GB M.2-2280 NVME Solid State Drive
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER 8 GB Video Card
Fractal Design Meshify C ATX Mid Tower Case
Corsair TXM Gold 550 W 80+ Gold Certified Semi-modular ATX Power Supply
Microsoft Windows 10 Pro OEM 64-bit
Acer ET322QK wmiipx 31.5″ 3840×2160 60 Hz Monitor
Creative Labs GigaWorks T20 Series II 28 W 2.0 Channel Speakers
Logitech K120 Wired Standard Keyboard
So, why these parts? We’ll, simply, for the money, this is the fastest you’re going to get. That CPU will tear through 8k footage, and can be overclocked. The next chip up is an additional 300 bucks, and you only get an increase of 1.7% render speed. Not worth it.
Same thing with the GPU. The nVidia GeForce 2060 Super uses and advanced chipset that makes raytracing super quick. It also has a dedicated driver that tunes it for video editing, vs. playing games. With this GPU I can playback 4K footage in After Effects at 24fps without breaking a sweat. A Mac could never do that (unless you buy a 20k trashcan. Suck it Apple.)
RAM … you could get 128 gigs, but even with both programs compiling I top out at 40gigs. Same with power. 550 is more then enough, more then I need without hitting the ceiling.
One thing that was expensive was the 2TB M.2 SSD drive. You don’t have to get this. You could work off regular SSDs or even spinning drives. But … the transfer speeds are lightning fast and if there is one thing that slows down an edit is a bottleneck off your drive. You could have the fastest processor out there, if you cant get the frames off your HD then it wont matter.
Result: Bliss. For the most part. Frankly I was a bit surprised how easy it was to put together. I hadn’t done this in years and it hadn’t really changed at all. Except maybe now everything has a damn LED light on it. Other then that everything fell into place and started up without much of a whimper. One issue I did run into was installing Windows (go figure). It turned out that the WiFi on the MOB was tripping up the instillation. The solution was to turn off the WiFi in the BIOS then install windows. Once installed I could install the drivers from the disk that came with the MOB (yes, I had to buy a 20 dollar USB optical drive, how archaic)
ONE WEEK LATER … I have not thrown the PC out the window and am very happy with the build. It’s doing exactly what it was meant to do; chew through footage. Working on a PC in Windows after 20 years of having the CTRL key at thumbs reach is a real pain in the ass, but, it’s good to learn a new habit for mental plasticity, or at least that’s what I tell myself every-time I hit the dam Window’s key. Premiere did have some interesting hiccups, like export errors with h264 which was alarming, but after a restart or two it seems to be stable. I will say this … Mac’s are very special. They are the Mercedes of PC’s. You turn them on and go. A Window’s machine can be like a hot rod. You need to take care of it, constantly adjust it, tune it up. It’s much more labor intensive that way, but, for the money, it will blow any Mac out of the water, and that’s what counts.
To give you an idea, I just cut a spot with 8K RED footage, some 4K Sony footage, GoPro, and 360 Video all mixed together. The 30 second spot which was full of Lumetri color, AE composites, repo’s and effects took 1 minute 3 seconds to render out to H264 4k.
On the 2017 iMac it took 17 minutes.
Well it’s been a couple of months, plenty of time to learn to love or hate this new rig, and wanted to give an update to those who were asking.
Overall I couldn’t be happier with the computer. I ended up ditching the second monitor because I found that it would trip up Premiere from time to time, not sure why, but thinking it was because one was D-Link and the other HDMI. Regardless I dont miss it as this monitor is a beast.
I did just throw in another 64gb of RAM which was an option I planned for in the future. To be fair, I dont really need it, but I took on a music video for Chris Sullivan’s band Joseph the Spouse that I was doing an insane amount of mograph for, and AE was using all my memory. This isn’t a typical job, so I still stand by the original build, I just felt like flexing with 128gb total ram and not having to worry about AE ever.
Windows sucks. Sorry, it does. It’s not that I’ve used Mac OS for 10 years, it just sucks. The fact that you cant see the size of the programs in the explorer window is insane to me. It’s stupid little functionality that really trips me up. Also the fact that the CTRL and ALT keys are reversed makes everything in Premiere a two hand operation. I know there are keymappers and such, and I’ve tried them, but they ended up causing more grief then grace. It’s hot garbage and that’s all there is too it.
I have now overclocked my machine to 4.4 mhz without breaking a sweat. It can go faster but this is a big improvement while maintaining stability. I cant say enough about this chip, and the bios has been great.
One thing I’ve been very very very conscious of is using this machine solely as an workbox. I still have my trusty iMac next to her and use it for all the daily office stuff like emails, youtube and watching porn. The PC is strictly a workhorse, and the reason is I have a feeling that if I start using it for all sorts of extra credit activity it will be prone to slow downs and malware. I don’t use any antivirus software on it (I know, raw dog) but I also abstinent from doing anything other then working on it.
So, I hope this helped anyone interested in an editing computer, I can say with complete confidence that it’s been working like a dream for very little investment … to give you an idea I launched www.onemanonecamera.com after building this machine that most of the work was done on, it has paid for itself many times over already.