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Which Graphics Card and Processor is Better for Video Editing in 2020? - Hardware Guide
By Chad Norton on July 28th, 2020 at 06:00pm - original article from game-debate

Time is money, especially in the video industry as you wait around for clips to render. Time that could be spent making more content or editing existing ones. That’s why when it comes to video editing you need a decent setup to get you up to speed, literally.

Whilst graphics cards certainly help to speed up the process, when it comes to video editing it’s the CPU that matters the most these days. But it does get a little bit tricky to pick which one will suit you best.

Adobe does offer GPU acceleration for more complex and intense tasks, which can help a little, but graphics cards are considered more as time savers than they are necessities. When it comes to processors however, the factors are endless. Higher clock speeds and core counts are important, sure, but software like Premiere Pro unfortunately hit a limit at the high core counts, and as such the best CPU around may not be the best for your needs. Ideally you're looking for great single and multi-threaded performance, rather than actual core count, though a 6 Core CPU is a good starting point.

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Adobe Premiere Pro system requirements

(Internet connection and registration are necessary for required software activation, validation of subscriptions, and access to online services.)

Windows:

Premiere Pro minimum system requirements

  • CPU: Intel 6th Gen or newer CPU – or AMD equivalent
  • OS: Microsoft Windows 10 (64-bit) version 1803 or later
  • RAM: 8GB of system memory
  • GPU: 2GB of GPU video memory
  • Storage: 8 GB of available hard-disk space for installation; additional free space required during installation (will not install on removable flash storage) + Additional high-speed drive for media
  • Resolution: 1280 x 800
  • Sound Card: ASIO compatible or Microsoft Windows Driver Model
  • Network: 1 Gigabit Ethernet (HD only)

Premiere Pro recommended system requirements

  • CPU: Intel 7th Gen or newer CPU – or AMD equivalent
  • OS: Microsoft Windows 10 (64-bit) version 1809 or later
  • RAM: 16GB of system memory for HD media / 32GB for 4K media or higher
  • GPU: 4GB of GPU video memory
  • Storage: Fast internal SSD for app installation and cache + Additional high-speed drive(s) for media
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080 or greater
  • Sound Card: ASIO compatible or Microsoft Windows Driver Model
  • Network: 10 Gigabit ethernet for 4K shared network workflow

Mac:

Premiere Pro minimum system requirements

  • CPU: Intel 6th Gen or newer CPU
  • OS: macOS v10.13 or later
  • RAM: 8GB of system memory
  • GPU: 2GB of GPU video memory
  • Storage: 8 GB of available hard-disk space for installation; additional free space required during installation (will not install on a volume that uses a case sensitive file system or on removable flash storage devices). + Additional high-speed drive for media
  • Resolution: 1280 x 800
  • Network: 1 Gigabit Ethernet (HD only)

Premiere Pro recommended system requirements

  • CPU: Intel 7th Gen or newer CPU
  • OS: macOS v10.13 or later
  • RAM: 16GB of system memory for HD media / 32GB for 4K media or higher
  • GPU: 4GB of GPU video memory
  • Storage: Fast internal SSD for app installation and cache + Additional high-speed drive(s) for media
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080 or greater
  • Network: 10 Gigabit ethernet for 4K shared network workflow

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If you’re just planning on editing 1080p footage then it is perfectly feasible on a low-end system. A graphics card such as the GTX 1060 or Radeon RX 580 will be able to handle 1080p rendering just fine, and you may even be able to get by on just a GTX 1050 or RX 560. Whilst you can technically use a lower performing card to run Adobe Premiere Pro, it benefits the most from modern GPUs instead.

However, if you're looking to edit in 4K resolution or above then you will need some high-end hardware instead, as 4K video editing is much more intensive than 1080p. Whilst a GTX 1060 or RX 580 GPU is fine, ideally you're looking at a GTX 1070 or RX Vega 56 and above, with the RTX 2080 Ti or Radeon VII being the top choices if you want the best of the best.

What's more important here though is your CPU, which AMD's Threadrippers are the best for. The best option would the Threadripper 3970X, or the Threadripper 2950X if you want to spend half as much. However, if you're on an even tighter budget, then the Core i9-9900K or Core i7-9700K will do just fine.

Best Graphics Cards and CPUs for Video Editing

Video Rendering Nvidia GPU AMD GPU Intel CPU AMD CPU
Minimum ¬¬gc_id:3541[GeForce GTX 1050]¬¬ ¬¬gc_id:3962[Radeon RX 560]¬¬ ¬¬p_id:2514[Intel Core i5-8600K]¬¬ ¬¬p_id:2462[Ryzen 5 1600X]¬¬
Recommended ¬¬gc_id:3540[GeForce GTX 1060]¬¬ ¬¬gc_id:3879[Radeon RX 580]¬¬ ¬¬p_id:2571[Intel Core i5-9600K]¬¬ ¬¬p_id:2555[Ryzen 5 2600X]¬¬
4K ¬¬gc_id:3505[GeForce GTX 1070]¬¬ ¬¬gc_id:3956[Radeon RX Vega 56]¬¬ ¬¬p_id:2681[Intel Core i7-10700K]¬¬ ¬¬p_id:2561[Threadripper 2950X]¬¬
8K+ ¬¬gc_id:4050[GeForce RTX 2080 Ti]¬¬ ¬¬gc_id:4092[Radeon VII]¬¬ ¬¬p_id:2655[Intel Core i9-10900K]¬¬ ¬¬p_id:2653[Threadripper 3970X]¬¬

It's worth noting that Video editing and rendering software benefit a lot from increased RAM and VRAM, scaling as you go higher up in resolution. But really it will take as much as you can throw at it, so having 8GB DDR4 is the absolute rock bottom if you want any decent performance. 16GB is the recommended amount, and obviously the more the better.

Video editing recommended RAM and VRAM requirements

Resolution VRAM RAM
720p 2GB 8GB
1080p 4GB 16GB
4K 8GB 32GB
8K+ 10GB+ 64GB+

Finally, as well as RAM and VRAM, storage size is also very important as well as the type of storage you use. 8GB is the space needed to install Premiere Pro on, and whilst using a normal HDD is fine, an SSD is much more ideal as an install location (also ideally your OS will be stored on there as well).

Raw and rendered video files can take up a lot of space, so depending on your project you'll need as much as you can afford. Using a normal hard disk drive to store your files is perfectly fine, and affordable, but a large scale solid state drive is the best option but an end up very costly.

As always, we'd love to hear your thoughts and input so we can make this a practical space for creatives and those looking to get into video editing and want the best for their budget.