If you want a smooth Premiere timeline and speedy renders, you need one of the best desktops for video editing. Video editing is one of the most demanding tasks you can throw at a desktop computer, requiring a lot of power from your CPU and GPU. We’ve rounded up six options that do the trick for video editing, no matter if you have $500 or $5,000 to spend.
The Alienware Aurora Ryzen Edition takes the top slot, though. It packs AMD’s Ryzen 9 5950X processor and up to an RTX 3090, offering top-tier performance for gaming and video editing.
If you’d rather use a laptop to get your editing done, make sure to check out our roundup of the best laptops for video editors.
The best desktops for video editing at a glance:
- Alienware Aurora Ryzen Edition
- Apple iMac Pro
- Corsair One Pro i180
- Dell XPS Desktop Special Edition
- HP Z2 Mini G4
- Apple Mac Mini M1
Alienware Aurora Ryzen Edition R10
Dell’s Alienware Aurora isn’t just a gaming powerhouse: It’s a beast for video editors, too. This Ryzen Edition comes with up to a 5950X AMD processor, which is monster for 4K video editing and encoding with its 16 cores and 32 threads. The base model comes with an Nvidia RTX 3080 and 16GB of memory, but you can configure your machine with up to an RTX 3090 video card and up to 128GB of RAM.
It also supports dual drives: Up to 1TB on an M.2 primary SSD and up to 2TB of a 7,200RPM hard drive for data. The connectivity options are insane, however, with multiple USB -A 3.2 Gen 1 ports on the front and even more on the back, offering higher and lower speed USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 and USB-A 2.0 connectivity. Wi-Fi 5 connectivity right out of the box makes getting online and connected easier than ever, though there’s also an upgrade option for Wi-Fi 6 if you need extra network bandwidth.
The Aurora Ryzen Edition is a gaming PC — there’s no question about that. However, it’s also a highly capable video and photo editing computer with high-end graphics performance and enough power to support 4K video editing.
Apple iMac Pro
If you want an all-in-one desktop PC, Apple’s iMac Pro is a solid choice. The starting price is a hefty $4,999 and it goes up by a lot if you configure it with better, more expensive components. Still, there are a lot of digital horses stampeding behind the 27-inch screen, like up to Intel’s 18-core Xeon W-2191B processor and up to an AMD Radeon Pro Vega 64X discrete GPU. You can even configure this all-in-one monster with up to 256GB of system memory running at 2,666MHz. You want video-editing power? You got it.
The Retina display packs a hefty 5,120 x 2,880 resolution at 60Hz and a 500-nit maximum brightness. For storage your options are limited, ranging from 1TB to 4TB on a PCIe NVMe SSD. Your ports are limited as well, offering four USB-A (5Gbps), four Thunderbolt 3 (40Gbps), an SD card reader, and a headphone jack. The big plus here is an Ethernet port that supports 10Gbps transfers, which can be a lifesaver for transferring video across the network at 4K or 8K. This AIO includes built-in speakers and Apple’s “magical” peripherals.
Don’t let the look fool you — the iMac Pro is a true workstation. Because it runs MacOS, you can use Final Cut Pro editing software, too.
Corsair One Pro i200
Gaming company Corsair dipped its toe into the compact workstation space with the Corsair One Pro i200. Measuring just 7.87 (D) x 6.79 (W) x 14.96 (H) inches, this Mini-ITX desktop packs a punch thanks to a selection of Intel CPUs. You have the choice between the i9-9920X with 12 cores and 24 threads or the i9-10940X with 14 cores and 28 threads. It’s complemented by Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 2080 Ti graphics card and up to 64GB of system memory running at 2,666MHz. The only task getting in the way of your video editing is this workstation’s huge gaming potential.
For storage, configurations include 1TB on an M.2 NVMe SSD paired with a 2TB 5,400RPM hard drive. Connectivity includes three DisplayPort outputs supporting three 4K displays connected simultaneously, an HDMI port on the front for VR headsets, a few USB ports supporting 10Gbps transfers, and many others supporting the standard 5Gbps speeds. This desktop doesn’t ship with peripherals, but it does sync its RGB lighting with Corsair’s other devices through the iCUE platform.
For video editing, it doesn’t get much better than the Corsair One Pro i200. It’s a compact video-editing workstation that comes with a high-end CPU, a fast SSD drive, and enough graphics horsepower for gaming and video editing.
Read our review of the older (but almost identical) Corsair One Pro i180
Dell XPS Desktop Special Edition
This Dell XPS machine may be cheaper than most of the other entries on this list, but that doesn’t mean it’s not capable. The configuration we chose has Intel’s Core i7-11700 eight-core processor paired with Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1660 Ti discrete GPU. You have the option of 8GB of memory, all the way up to 64GB. The latter is complete overkill, so 16GB or 32GB is recommended. You can upgrade the CPU and GPU as well during the configuration process. The upgrades include the i9-11900K with its blistering clock speed and up to a AMD RX 5700 XT.
For storage, your options are somewhat limited. A single drive ranges from 512GB to 2TB whereas your selection opens up when configuring dual drives. The video output depends on the chosen GPU, though you’ll find 11 USB ports moving data up to 10Gbps, a c0llection of 5.1 channel audio ports, and loads more. This desktop even includes a DVD writer that you can swap out for a Blu-ray writer at an additional $50.
HP Z2 Mini G4
If you need a workstation that’s really small, HP’s Z2 Mini G4 fits the bill. It measures a mere 2.28 x 8.5 x 8.5 inches, though you’ll find plenty of performance packed inside despite its small size. You can configure HP’s workstation on its website, but you’ll find set configurations elsewhere featuring Intel’s eighth- and ninth-generation Core i3, i5, and i7 processors along with its Xeon CPU family. You’ll also find units with mere integrated graphics and others with up to Nvidia’s Quadro P1000 discrete graphics card.
Outside the two processors, this miniature workstation supports 4GB to 64GB of system memory, It can also handle two storage devices: 256GB to 2TB on a primary SSD and 500GB to 2TB on a secondary hard drive. Connectivity depends on the model, as you’ll find units with three DisplayPort connectors, some with serial ports, and so on. By default, you’ll see at least one DisplayPort connector, a few USB-A ports, a USB-C port on the side, and Ethernet.
Apple Mac Mini M1
Apple’s new M1 chip is really remarkable, offering a huge boost in performance to tiny machines like the Mac Mini. The updated M1 model comes with eight cores each of CPU and graphics power, packed into a machine that measures 1.4 x 7.7 x 7.7 inches — even smaller than the HP Z2 Mini G4. The base model comes with 8GB of memory and 256GB of SSD storage, but you can configure your unit with up to 16GB of memory and a 2TB SSD. You even can add a 10 Gigabit Ethernet port for some high-end networking.
Regardless of the configuration, the Mac Mini M1 performs better than its specs would suggest. That’s because everything is localized to the M1 chip, allowing the RAM, CPU, and GPU to shuffle information quickly without traversing a whole motherboard.
Although Apple catches a lot of criticism for overpriced computers, the Mac Mini M1 is surprisingly reasonable. It’s a full video editing PC with the price of a budget laptop, which is impressive.
Read our Mac Mini M1 review
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