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The best $500 PC build for video editing

You might be able to edit videos on your phone or an old laptop, but it’s hardly an ideal experience. Moving to a desktop PC can speed up your workflow significantly, and while you could easily spend thousands on a bespoke-built machine we are going to demonstrate that you can also put together a great  $500 PC build for video editing.

We scoured the web for great hardware deals to help you build a $500 video editing PC. If you’re more interested in budget gaming, here’s our guide on a great $500 gaming PC.

The build and what it can do

These are troubled times with high prices and low availability of parts, and we could easily have blown our limited budget on the CPU or graphics card. Instead, we have moved away from a dedicated graphics card and have chosen a Intel 10th-gen CPU with integrated graphics. Using a quad-core CPU raises questions about performance, but when you factor in the need for a reasonable amount of RAM and storage, our main priority is decent cooling and reliability as we are fully aware this PC will spend its working life running at 100% load.

Frankly, we would have liked more of everything: More CPU cores, a graphics card, double the storage, double the RAM, and then top it off with a high-end power supply and a liquid cooler. However, we are confident this system should be plenty quick enough for most editing tasks.

Editing video at 1080p and below will be a breeze on a machine like this, with the onboard GPU helping to accelerate a number of rendering workloads. 4K editing might be a little difficult on a machine like this. It’s still possible, just don’t expect it to be snappy or have native-resolution, real-time playback.

Product Price
Processor Intel Core i3-10100 $130
CPU Cooler Cooler Master Hyper 212 Black $39
Motherboard Gigabyte B460M DS3H $95
RAM ADATA XPG Z1 16GB DDR4-3000 $75
Storage Crucial BX500 480GB SSD $60
Case Cooler Master MasterBox Q300L $49
Power Supply EVGA 450W Bronze $42
Total $485

We have slashed the list of parts to the absolute minimum with the result that this build sits comfortably inside our budget. Having said that, if you can increase your budget you will improve the performance of the system by leaps and bounds. A good place to upgrade is the processor. You can slot in an Intel Core i5-10600K for around $80 more, which will greatly increase performance.

Note: All the components below are purchasable from Amazon and were found on the site as part of our research and priced accurately at the time of writing. It’s always worth checking each part’s price before you commit to buying as they do change regularly. Unfortunately, they also quickly sell out, but perhaps not forever. If an item isn’t for sale, shop around, you might find it at your favorite online store.

CPU: Intel Core i3-10100

Intel Core i3-10100 processor box on a white background.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

While we would love to recommend an AMD Ryzen 5 3600 or 5600 CPU, our budget simply won’t stretch that far. Instead, we have chosen an Intel Core i3-10100 which lives far down the list of Team Blue’s latest 10th Gen CPUs.

The numbering for Intel models is all over the place these days, so it is worth spelling out that this Core i3 has four cores with hyperthreading, so you get eight CPU threads. The base speed is 3.6GHz but it can boost up to 4.3GHz, so you can expect reasonable performance from this cheap CPU. The downside of using a 10th-gen CPU is that it is based on Socket LGA1200 and requires a 400 series chipset motherboard.

A key feature of the Core i3-10100 is the inclusion of Intel UHD Graphics 630 which means we can do without an expensive graphics card and leave the CPU to do all the work.

CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Black

Cooler Master Hyper 212 Black edition on a white background.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

There are many versions of the timeless Cooler Master Hyper 212 CPU cooler; this one happens to be black. Whichever version you choose of the Hyper 212 you can be confident it will allow the Core i3 10100 to run at maximum speed for hour after hour without drama.

Motherboard: Gigabyte B460M DS3H

Gigabyte B460M motherboard on white background.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The Gigabyte B460M DS3H perfectly compliments our Core i3-10100. It’s a micro ATX board that includes ample room to expand your storage in the future, as well as a full-sized PCIe x16 slot if you decide to add a graphics card down the line. It includes multiple USB 3.0 ports on the back and headers on the board, so you have options for connecting high speed external storage, as well.

We normally push Intel users to Z-class motherboards because they support overclocking. This B-class board doesn’t, but neither does the i3-10100 we chose. If you plan on switching to another processor and want to overclock, consider investing a little more in the board.

Memory: ADATA XPG Z1 16GB DDR4-3000

ADATA XPG Z1 16GB RAM kit on a white background.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

RAM prices are all over the place in 2021, so you could easily add $50 or more to the build price depending on the kit you choose. We chose an inexpensive 16GB kit from ADATA, which offers speeds of up to 3,000MHz. It’s not the fastest kit around, but it’s more than enough to make the most of the Intel CPU we’ve chosen for this build.

You can step down to slower RAM if you want, but you’ll only save about $5.

Storage: Crucial BX500 480GB SSD

Crucial BX500 SSD on a white background.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

With SSDs selling for very affordable prices for even the tightest budgets, there’s no excuse for you to construct a PC without one. That’s why we’ve opted for this 480GB SSD from Crucial for our storage solution.

While a SATA SSD will never be as fast as the latest NVMe models, it is still far quicker than any hard drive and has enough capacity for you to edit 1080p video on. If you plan on using your PC for multimedia endeavors that require a lot of space, we recommend purchasing a hard drive big enough to support massive file storage. Shop wisely and you might find you have enough cash for a 2TB HDD in our minuscule budget.

Case: Cooler Master MasterBox Q300L

Cooler Master MasterBox Q300L case on a white background.
Cooler Master / Cooler Master

The Cooler Master MasterBox Q300L is our go-to case recommendation for budget builds. It’s understated in a way that many budget cases aren’t while still providing enough flair to stand out. Plus, it comes with a clear acrylic side panel so you can show off your hard work inside.

Although we didn’t include a graphics card in this build, you can easily fit a full-size one in this case. It’s compact, thanks to its micro ATX form factor, but it still provides enough room for full-size components.

PSU: EVGA Bronze 450W 80+ Bronze

EVGA 450 BR power supply on a white background.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

We finish off the build with a decent quality power supply and while the EVGA Bronze is only rated at 450W, that still gives us a massive safety margin. The PC supplies a massive power source that effectively guarantees durability and longevity.

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Jon Martindale
Jon Martindale is the Evergreen Coordinator for Computing, overseeing a team of writers addressing all the latest how to…
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