Building a Photo and Video Editing PC on a Budget 2021

I left my finance job 6 years ago to work for my dream boss, myself. I’ve never looked back. I focus on tech, gaming, and hardware reviews.

If you're willing to try it, building your own PC allows you to get a better quality computer for less money. Here are the parts I'd choose for budgets from under $500 to $2,500.

If you’re willing to try it, building your own PC allows you to get a better quality computer for less money. Here are the parts I’d choose for budgets from under $500 to $2,500.

Why Not Build Your Own Editing Dream Machine?

Buying a PC for photo or video editing is expensive, especially if you purchase a pre-built machine.

Instead, why not build a PC how you want it? If you’ve got a budget of under $500 or even over $2,000, this article will help you find compatible parts. From there, putting it together is simple.

How much should you spend? That depends on how much you use your computer for rendering and other tasks and how intensive those tasks are. Overall, if you can save a significant amount of time by raising your budget, you’re better off doing so.

In this article, I’ll cover the parts I recommend based on your budget.

For Photo and Video Editing, the Processor Is King

The last place you want to short yourself on your photo editing build is the processor.

When there is a GPU shortage, you may need to be patient with your graphics card for the time being. That being said, you’ll be able to get a significant performance boost by building a new PC and using an older graphics card until you can get a card at a reasonable price.

*I’ve recently seen the KF version of the 11700 for as low as $250 on sale. This version requires a GPU.

For AMD Builders

Better Adobe Premiere Benchmarks, 7Zip, and Adobe Photoshop Benchmarks for the R9 5900X and R7 5800X vs the i5-11600k and i7-10700k gives AMD a strong case vs Intel for building your photo editing PC. Adding gaming into the mix gives a slight, albeit hardly noticeable, advantage to Intel.

When AMD launched Zen 3, Ryzen’s 5000 series bested Intel in pretty much every scenario. Intel’s 11th gen countered it fairly well albeit with a fairly power-hungry platform.

The is still a great option with its 6 cores and 12 threads might be the perfect editing and gaming crossover option. And, if I was going to build a PC in the $750 to $1,000 range in 2021, I’d certainly go with it.

Thoughts on AMD

Right now it’s hard to not like AMD. On the low end, the 4 core and 8 thread Ryzen 5 3400G gives you an integrated graphics option that would work fine for some photo editing. Mid-range, you’ve got the Ryzen 5 3600, a 6 core and 12 thread beast that’s retained its value over the last year.

From there, I could see the i5-10600k being an option, but with the Ryzen 7 5800X and 9 5900X on the high-end, it’s hard to make a case for Intel there.

My All Around AMD Enthusiast Pick

Want a reasonably priced part that gives you 12 core / 24 thread power? The Ryzen 9 5900X is where you should be looking. This fantastic all-around CPU allows you to support a plethora of software at a high level and even game on the side.

For most builds in the $1,500 to $2,000 range, it should be perfect.

For Intel Builders

The is a great CPU for high processing power at a moderate price. At around $400, it offers 8 core and 16 thread processing power. In addition, with a little tweaking, we’ve seen significant performance improvements.

With a max turbo boost of up to 5 GHz, you get great single-threaded performance, which I’ve found to be crucial for Photoshop performance. If you’re willing to overclock it, you’ll also get an additional boost.

If You’re on a Budget

The 4 core i3-10100F is a decent buy for just around $110 if you know you’ll have a dedicated graphics card and the can be found for around $200.

I’ve eliminated most processors that require a graphics card as some of you may have to be patient in getting one.

Final Thoughts on Intel

Overall, I still like Intel’s i3-9100F as a cheap GPU CPU combo option, the Ryzen 5 3400G as a budget integrated option, Ryzen 5 3600 and Intel i5 10-600k as a mid-range option, and The Ryzen 3950X as a high-end option for production.

While most don’t need it, you could also commit to something like the AMD Threadripper 3990X on the high-end for 64 core/128 thread performance.

Recommended GPU by Budget

*Going with the 1650 Super here allows us to allocate more to the CPU and other areas. See the build spec for examples.

A Solid Graphics Card Choice

I prefer gaming-style graphics cards for photo editing. Most of the photo editing and rendering software that a typical hobbyist would use performs very well with the affordable .

It’s a very affordable card that makes a big difference. From there, I’d upgrade to the RTX 2060 KO or the 5600XT.

Something like the GTX 1650 Super is a very affordable card for most budget to mid-range builds.

Something like the GTX 1650 Super is a very affordable card for most budget to mid-range builds.

If you need the best of the best you may decide to pay the premium to get something like the RTX 2080Ti. However, for most, this will be overkill.

Based on your budget, I’ve put together some premade builds below that balance your budget with your processor graphics card and everything else.

The Table Above Isn’t for Everyone

Not everyone needs the highest-end graphics card. In fact, some of you may decide that allocating more of your budget to storage, or a better CPU is the better option. This will depend upon the software that you use regularly, so please keep that in mind.

For Budgets From $150 to $300

As you can see in the builds table, I recommend you go for something like the GTX 1650 Super for around $150 and at around $300 the RX 2060 KO. And depending on what type of software you’re using, even these options may or may not be worth it.

So, you’ll want to look up benchmarks that represent the type of software you personally use. Photoshop performance, for example, is still heavily reliant on single-core CPU performance.

While I’m hoping that going forward Photoshop will limit its reliance on a single core, it’s what we have right now.

5 Recommended Photo or Video Editing Builds From Under $500 to $2,500

Just looking for a build? Here are 5 options from $500 to $2,500 that I feel give you great overall value for the money you spend.

Samsung 970 EVO 500GB/ Kingston A400 240GB (intel build) / Seagate Barracuda 2TB

Finding the Right Motherboard

If you’ve never built a computer before, it’s important to realize that your motherboard options depend on the processor you choose.

For example, if you go with the i7-8700k, which is an LGA 1151 socket processor, then you’ll need a compatible socket 1151 300 series rather than a 200 series motherboard.

It’s easy enough to look in the product description for the CPU to find out what socket motherboard you need. This basic breakdown may help too:

Motherboard and Processor Compatibility

Skylake (6th GEN), Kaby Lake (7th GEN), 8th Gen, 9th Gen

Most motherboards require DDR4. Not compatible with 300 series 1151 motherboards.

When used with Ryzen 2 some AM4 300 series motherboards may need a BIOS update – 400 series may be the safer bet. For the new 3000 Ryzen series the X570/470 motherboards are what I’d recommend.

Choosing a Motherboard for Various Budgets

If you’re just looking for my recommendation for your budget, I’ve made a list of all the parts (based on the budget) above.

For the motherboard, I typically look for something that’s reliable and that has all the features I need.

Note: If this is more than you care to look at, don’t be afraid to skip to my full PC parts list for each budget below. Motherboards listed are compatible with the chosen processors on that list.

Under $500 Build

In the $500 range, try and find the least expensive, but most reliable motherboard available.

$1,000 Build

For the $1,000 build, we’re still trying to save as much as we can on our motherboard so we can put performance to where it’s going to matter most, our processor. You’ll notice that the processor jumps up in every budget I’ve listed above.

While it’s easy enough to upgrade a graphics card later on, when you need to replace your system will likely be determined by your CPU. So, for these builds, we’re going with inexpensive options.

$1,500 and $2,000 Budget Build

In the $1,500 range, we’re entering enthusiast territory, and going with a motherboard that allows us to get a decent overclock is certainly something we want to take advantage of.

That means on the AMD side we’re looking at the X570 series of motherboards. On Intel’s side, the Z490 series. These motherboards are the latest generation and have the best to offer to date.

That being said, don’t feel like you need to go with an expensive motherboard. A very good overclock can be established on a mid-range motherboard. In addition, these likely have enough slots for all of the hard drives you’ll be using.

How Much Ram Is Enough for Photo or Video Editing?

If you plan on upgrading or overclocking your RAM in the future, you’ll want a motherboard now that can support more RAM and/or higher speeds.

For Photo Editing

Most professionals don’t use more than 32GB of RAM. If you’re making this computer as a photo editing PC and edit one photo at a time, then most likely you’d be fine with just 8GB.

For multiple photos at one time consider at least 16GB of ram.

For Video Editing

For amateur video editors, I’d recommend 16GB; this tends to be enough to get the job done when editing HD video.

For professionals, I’d recommend going with 32GB to start with, and upgrading from there if you find that you’re using the full amount.

More Tips on RAM

If you buy your RAM in sets of 16GB, DDR4 isn’t that much more expensive than DDR3, and it lets you future-proof your PC.

In my recent post on the best DDR4 memory or RAM, I talk about how cheaper memory seems to make more sense right now due to the lack of performance from more expensive kits. I recommend you go with something fast but not overly expensive. The Corsair Vengeance LPX 3000MHz series is my recommendation.

Hard Drive and Storage Options: Solid State Drive or Disk Drive?

Solid-state drives (SSD) work well for storing your OS and applications, or as “scratch disks” designated for temporary use by Photoshop or other programs. That being said, you’ll have to decide whether solid-state is worth it for you, and whether it’s better than using a RAID configuration (a series of disk drives).

If you’re still not sure what you should do, then see this Adobe document on optimizing Photoshop performance, which suggests that RAID 0 arrays make great scratch disks.

Personally, I’ve gotten used to the speed advantages that come with having a solid-state drive for my OS and applications, and I don’t plan on going back. For this build, I’ll recommend a modestly priced SSD along with a disk drive. I use an SSD to store my OS and applications, and a disk drive to store videos and photos.

My Picks for SSD and HDD

Depending on your budget you may want to purchase several of these. For the $2,000 build, I’m recommending three.

A Quiet Case and Cooler

Do You Need a CPU Cooler?

Intel’s “K” Series of processors don’t come with a stock CPU fan, so you’ll definitely need one. However, if you use an option like the i5-8400, you may want to use something beyond just the stock fan to keep your most important piece of hardware cool for the long run.

A Good Monitor for Photo Editing

If you want to read up on this subject, you can read my post on the best photo editing monitors under $500.

If you’d like to skip all that, then my recommendation to keep this build under $2000 would be . It’s a 1440p 27″ monitor so it has plenty of screen real estate.

Most importantly, it comes factory calibrated out of the box at 99% sRGB with a deltaE <3. For the price, it gives the best color accuracy and consistency out of the box while giving you spectacular viewing angles and color with its QHD panel.

Do You Really Need a Graphics Card?

This depends on how often you’ll be using your PC for tasks that can take advantage of it.

If you’re focusing more on CAD-based applications, then you may be better off going with a workstation-type graphics card, a Quadro or Firepro, than a gaming graphics card. This may also be your choice if you use any program which can take advantage of CUDA or OpenCL as it will reduce your rendering times.

But, in general, the less expensive gaming-oriented Radeon and GeForce graphics cards perform admirably and beat out the Quadro and Firepro for most benchmarks.

Overall, you’ll want to look at benchmarks for the programs that you use and make a choice based on how a graphics card performs for that specific software.

A Quality T1 Power Supply

If you’re building a good graphics or photo editing machine, I highly recommend a good power supply. A quality power supply is not only more power-efficient, it’s also safer in the long run.

Considering the costs of your components, this is really a no-brainer. Also, in a place where energy costs are high, you’ll quickly make back the difference.

Recommendation: Right now I’d recommend you go with the EVGA SuperNova 550W or 650W models. These give you a great quality option that’s affordable as well.

Future-proofing and Upgrading Your Editing PC

As I handle rendering, photo editing, and video editing every day, I upgrade the hardware on my PC regularly. The extra performance saves me a lot of time, money, and headaches in the long run.

While there certainly isn’t anything you can do to future-proof your PC entirely, upgrading your motherboard and CPU or graphics card may be something you’ll want to do on occasion.

However, for those that truly need the performance that new technology regularly brings, you may opt for selling your previous PC and building a new one altogether. Even if I’ve upgraded my editing PC, I tend to do this every few years.

Putting Together Your PC

Putting all the parts together is simple as long as you’re sure they’re compatible. Once your parts arrive, you’ll see the motherboard and how most of the process is plug and play. It really is that simple.

If you need help, I recommend you grab a friend or watch a few YouTube videos to cover any questions you may have. You can also ask me any questions you may have below.

Final Thoughts

These builds are what I’d recommend based on your budget. That being said your needs might differ from the typical photo or video editors.

If you have any questions, I’m more than happy to help you in the comment section below as soon as I can.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Need Help for Your Build? Discuss!

Sir. I want to built assemble PC for video editing and recording purpose under 50k please suggest me what… I should buy

Stick with a ryzen cpu much better at work station loads such as photo editing and video editing and you can save significant cost on a gpu in the mid range by going with an Radeon 5700 or 5700xt both Wich match or exceed the performance of even the new gtx 2070 super and crush the gtx 1070. Hell you can build a killer setup with a RX 5700xt and a ryzen 7 3700x with everything else you need making a killer work station and gaming rig in between the $1000-$1500 range mine was $1100 and easily competes or even beats 1500+ systems in rendering and talking performance!

Excellent advice for a first time building. What would you recommend as a choice if including a card reader (SD, Flash, etc) as a second optical bay.

thank it really helpful information for me to get chose for video editing machine.

I am upgrading an existing computer at work so I can also do some photo editing on breaks and when i stay late. It has a 4-core i5, I am upgrading the system ram to 32gb DD4 3200mhz, does the amount of video card ram matter? How much do you suggest (I think my choices only go up to 4gb)? I will be using it primarily with Lightroom and Photoshop and sometimes I may be running other work related apps at the same time. Thanks!

thanks for this guide! I have a small youtube channel and needing to upgrade my antique prebuilt Gateway PC to something that is current and I can grow into over the next few years. Not being a computer guru and the complete over saturation of gaming pc info on the internet makes figuring out all this extremely confusing. So again, thanks for the info! Greg

Quick question: I recently built a pc for editing photos in photoshop.

Working with very very large files (sometimes)…up to 50Gigs (not Megs) in size. Yes, the photo will be just under 20 feet in width.

Would I simply need to add more RAM to take care of the problem?

I have a 4k tv i want to use for editing photos mainly not much video. Can i use the 500 dollar setup for a computer? I have a pentax k-1 camera. Thanks!

Hey there, just wondering for someone new ti building a pc

What would you recommend for video editing, i do have a 780ti and i was wondering what build i should go with to suit it.

But lately I have been having trouble with memory limitations and also i should mention that my monitor is very old and i am planning to replace it very soon. So I was wondering if i should spend money on a GPU, RAM and a monitor or should I just get a laptop?

Can you suggest which gourmet to use with the i5 8400 ? As I will be performing tasks which need a gpu like heavy cinematic transitions etc

I don’t have the technical ability to build my own system.

With a budget of around $1500 what is the best off the shelf PC you could suggest mainly for video editing?

4k preferably but reading your post 1080 is probably more likely.

Yes, I run around updating quite a few articles on every release. I should be getting around to it shortly. Although, if you’re going with the 2400, I’d probably tell you you might as well go with the R5 1600.

You should definitely do an updated article with the new AMD APUs. They’re fairly cheap and from what I have seen they might be slightly more productive than their equivalents.

It’s not going to slow your desktop down to pick the wrong GPU… The CPU may bottleneck the GPU in some games. For the i5-7400 I’d probably get something no higher than the GTX 1060 or RX 580.

What is best gpu that match with corei5 7400 7th gen, i don’t want to slow down my desktop if i put wrong gpu. so is there any recommendation.

Good to hear. I hope you are right… thanks for the fast reply.

I haven’t read Everything on the subject; however, I am familiar with it. From the post Windows update benchmarks, I’ve seen the performance differential should basically be negligible for Intel. How will security work going forward? I’m not sure. For, AMD it doesn’t seem to be as big of an issue.

What are your thoughts on AMD versus Intel in light of the recent meltdown and spectre security issues? Thanks in advance. Great article.

Brandon C. asked a question a few weeks ago about a 9GB file not being able to fit onto a 32GB USB drive / SD card. This is likely due to the formatting of the drive. If its formatted as FAT32 which is quite common then the maximum file size it can store is 4GB.

You’ll need to either change the format drive to be able to store files above 4GB, if you use windows then try NTFS (or above) or Linux try EXT4

There are some hiked prices right now due to the cryptocurrency boom. Try and order your GPU from NVIDIA directly or use something else until prices stabilize.

I am on tight budget around $500. When I checked all the parts of $500 build on amazon, The total price for the parts comes to between $750-$850.

Meg Meyer from at the beach or in my studio. on January 24, 2018:

Excellent recommendations, Brandon! Being a bilingual geek (Mac & PC), I’ve been going back & forth between custom building and buying the new iMac Pro. I’d love it if you wrote a recommendation for a comparable build! (If you already did so, share the link!) Please & Thank you.

Intel Optane 900p 480Gb as a primary disk (system, lightroom catalog, PS scratch etc)

Several HDDs left from my old build (2-8Tb each) – cold storage/backups

ATI Radeon Pro WX3100 (no need for a powerful video card for me, most gaming cards are insanely expensive due to shortage nowadays)

I want to build a video editing pc, but I don’t know what to do with the high video card prices. Mining is really making it difficult for anyone wanting to build a computer right now. What do you suggest?

I’m completely new at this. I have a radeon r9 290x laying around. Could i use that to substitute for the GTX 1050 ti? What are the pros and con?

You look at all the components, except for probably the most important when doing Photo editing: the monitor?

I’ve regularly updated this article over the last several years. It is current as of now.

Nice, thorough, well organized article!.. I build hundreds of PCs in the early to mid ’90s when I ran an OEM PC shop but I haven’t kept up at all and have been buying off the shelf for the last 10 years or so.

I am looking at the higher end, ~2K range, for video transcoding, and just wondering how current your table at the end of the article is. The article was update Jan 3 ’18, but the comments are months old.

If nothing has changed, I’ll buy based on your recommendations.

I’ve mentioned the builds I recommend by budget above. No matter what, if you’re getting this built for you, I’d go with the newer platforms (AMD Ryzen AM4+ or Intel Coffee Lake Z370).

The 8th generation Coffee Lake CPUs area vastly improved over the previous generation as they typically include an additional 2 cores for the price. Ryzen, actually gave AMD something competitive and anything prior to it wouldn’t be worth its salt right now.

So, stick with the new and you should get something that will last you quite a while. As far as upgrading, I find I can make it several years without worrying about that too much as long as I give myself a decent enough budget up front. That being said it’s impossible to know exactly what will come out in the future that will dethrone the current tech. Will it be something you can incorporate into this system? I’m not exactly sure.

Hey Brandon, I was in a Best Buy and after hearing that I wanted to buy a video editing computer, the guy recommended building one for the best bang for the buck, and to get what I wanted, not more or less. I don’t want to actually build it myself, but want honest help to specify the components by quality and price (value). The problem is, I don’t know what I need and would like to know who can help me put together exactly what I need. I’m a novice at editing, but have the aptitude to learn it. I’ve digitized over 70 videos, slides, and prints and want to cut them up for a legacy purposes. I also would like to take this knowledge to the professional level and discover where I need to specialize commercially. How can I get a video editing build that is cost efficient right now, but still has the rendering speed and upgrade capabilities for future growth, etc.?

How often are you publishing these videos? If just once a week, you would probably be more than fine with the $1,000 build.

Hey Brandon. Thanks a ton for this article! I haven’t built my own PC since early 2000s (no longer required specific builts and off-the-shelf was decent enough), but my new project requires me to edit YouTube videos. I shoot these videos in UHD and a typical video can go from anywhere between 15 to 45 minutes. I’m using Lightworks for editing (still learning) and the videos don’t require any particular special effects (just initial transitions for the intro part of the video). Since I really don’t have a lot of experience in video editing, which of the above builds would you suggest that gets the job done in a decent enough time?

Awesome content! Weird question for you. I had a 9GB MP4 file to copy to a 32GB USB 2.0 thumb drive (and even a micro SD card) and the Windows 7 OS said destination has insufficient space? Also, what is a good rule of thumb for 1080/60i HD video to render minutes of video:minutes to render? Thanks

Best I can do is an e-mail and you can contact me through the contact author option above.

Hello Brandon, Your article I just read was excellent! So organized which organized my thoughts and now have it on paper…wahoo.

This will be my first build and after many many you tube videos I have a slightly more confidence but still have some questions. To make it more of a challenge I live in Thailand so beside the language and customs it is so easy to not understand hem. Now this is not like the US or Costco…No returns no matter what.

So can we connect via skype, Facebook or I can even call you depending your time zone?

I don’t always leave comments on articles that give me info but when I do it means the article was EXTREMELY helpful. Thanks Brandon for making my computer project a whole lot easier.

George, I’ve listed them in columns above for the $1,000 or $1,500 budget. The big compatibility issue is the CPU and motherboard where any Z370 motherboard is compatible with 8th generation Intel processors (i5-8400 or i7-8700) and any X370 motherboard compatible with AMD Ryzen processors like the R5 1600 or R7 1700 in this case.

Im doing some research on video editing pc’s at the moment. i found your article, which is fantastic, but i am still unexperienced with technical details. im looking at the 1000 budget.

My question is: are most of the computer parts compatible with eachother?

I wouldn’t mind upgrading parts as i go on, but i dont want to have to “build a whole new pc” just so i can update. Im mostly looking into upgrading from the 1000 budget to the 1500 budget.

Pardon for the long windedness. If anything i’ll continue to do my research. but i thought i would ask the person who came up with the list in the first place. Thank you again for the article!

What GPU processing benefits do you get if you use two NVidia 1080 (or whatever) SLI cards? I understand it can increase the video size, but I am more interested in what GPU photo editing processing benefits it might add.

Ok Brandon, I lied; I have more than one question! The other question is about the parts list you show above, where you show a table that lists, by budget, the Processor, Graphics Card, Motherboard, Storage, Memory, etc…

Is this list of parts still good? I am looking to do the $2000 build, and I want to make sure before I start ordering parts. Thank you for your help!

Technically you do not have to purchase Windows 7 again if you already have it. If you have the serial number you should be able to activate it for Windows 7. If you run into a problem, call Microsoft and they’ll help. On the other hand, if you want Windows 10 and never upgraded to it for free (that ended in July of last year), you may have to fork out some money in order to get it. However, there are some ways to still get the free upgrade – although I won’t mention them here you can Google it to find out more about that. I was able to do this successfully with one of my older machines earlier this year.

Hey there Brandon. Awesome article! Will help me a lot with the build I am about to do. One question: what about the Operating System? I assume you have to purchase that separately? Currently running Windows 7, but feel I should go ahead and upgrade to Windows 10. After my build, when I transfer data to the new machine, do I just transfer the OS I have, or do I have to purchase Windows 10? Thank you for your help!

Admittedly I need to update this article. I’d go with the newer gen if possible.

I can get the 7700k or the 8700 for the same price and not sure what to choose.

Awesome, thanks man! Looking forward to the update: great stuff in here.

Not anything in terms of the overall CPU performance as you won’t be overclocking it anyway. Some older H110 chipsets need an update before using with the Kaby-Lake CPUs so keep that in mind.

By the way, This article may need an update with 8th gen CPUs which I should get around to in the next week or so.

Hey Brandon, this is the first time I’m building a computer and this has been a great resource! I am mostly looking at the $1,000 budget parts, but also trying to see which parts I might be able to switch for the cheaper versions you have under the $500 budget.

Specifically, I am looking at all the parts from the $1,000 budget, but switching the motherboard to the Gigabyte GA-H110M-A. What are the implications of doing this if I am mostly only using the computer for photo and video editing. I know it’s compatible based off the PC Part Picker website, but just wondering if the mother board will be sufficient for what I am looking to do.

Not sure of exactly what you’re trying to build but there are motherboards with TB3. I think if I remember Gigabyte has a few… the Gigabyte GA-Z270X-UD5 for one – there should be a lot of newer Z370 motherboards for Coffee Lake CPUs (release is the 5th for that)

Thank you. Any tips for a build that will allow me to plug in my existing Thunderbolt 2 RAIDs? There is a TB 2 to TB 3 (USB C) adapter but I’m having trouble finding motherboards with TB3. Know of anything?

My old GeForce 8500 GT is dying…probably pushing the better of 10-11 years. I am looking to replace with a card that can adequately handle medium video editing, using Adobe CS.

The issue is, we have an oldie-but-goodie HP Pavilion desktop (m9150f), with limited power and older CPU. Looking to upgrade to workstation next year, and give this one to kids, but still have some projects to finish.

Intel Quad Core Q6600, Benicia MoBo, maxed 8 GB RAM, 350 watt PSU.

I was looking at GeForce GTX 750; is this the best replacement card for video editing with these components, with these power/budget constraints? Not really using 4K, mostly HD.

Hi Brandon, I do loads of heavy photo editing using LR – I would like to uplift the PC below or if it’s a waste of time consider starting a new build. A small upgrade now to see me OK while I look to save for components for a new one feels right. What would you recommend?

My thoughts are RAM upgrade to 16Mb and maybe new graphics card with 4 or 8Gb VRAM or max I can?

From Task Manager, I see that I could do with a i7 Quad core processor rather than the current i5 Dual but that would mean new motherboard hence why I’m thinking starting new build.

Intel Core i5 3570K Processor Overclocked to up to 4.5GHz

8GB Corsair PC3-12800 1600MHz DDR3 Memory (2 x 4GB sticks)

Akasa AK-ICR-14 17 in 1 3.5″ Internal USB 3.0 Card Reader

Hi, I have a 4-year old PC and do a lot of heavy photo-editing using LR. I want to either upgrade or start a new build that flies through this stuff.

Intel Core i5 3570K Processor Overclocked to up to 4.5GHz

8GB Corsair PC3-12800 1600MHz DDR3 Memory (2 x 4GB sticks)

Akasa AK-ICR-14 17 in 1 3.5″ Internal USB 3.0 Card Reader

It’s really very difficult to decide which processor is best for After Effects. If I will go with the i7 7700k, what should be the other best possible component i.e motherboard, RAM etc.

You purchase a computer case to house the PC. There are many options and are typically very affordable. I wouldn’t recommend using an old stock case like your Pavilion’s. If you’re in the US, I typically recommend Amazon or Newegg. Hope that helps.

Ignorant question, but here goes….. What do you phsyically start with as the “frame” or “body” to hold it all together when building a custom computer please? I currently have an 8 year old HP Pavilion I’m thinking it It has a virus because when I open IE, it opens hundreds of Windows that I can’t close, and then eventually crashes. 🙁 Anyway I’m confused in the most basic and first step, ha, do I just go buy a new basic computer and pull things out and put your wonder recommendation in, or do I buy some kind of computer skeleton to stick it all in? Then I wonder, could I maybe keep my old pavilion and just swap things? I appreciate your article and help soooo very much. I didnt ever have anyone to ask until now! Thank you so so much, Brandon. You’re the BEST and a computer aaaaangle!!! XO OH, and do you by any chance recommend anywhere both affordable (sadly that’s most important) and honest, online to buy from please? I just bought a refurbished monitor and it has patches of dead pixels and when I called to return it they said NO RETURNS, exchange only. Thank you again so much for your article and help. It’s so appreciated. Geeeez, sorry so long!

I am planning to build a video editing Pc based on a I5 processor for HD 1080p movies. Intel processors have an on board GPU. If I do not add an graphics card to my PC what will I notice?

Are you able to help me out here, love the write-up by the way.

I currently have the following set-up and although it does edit 4K video with no problems there is a “stutter” while playing any 4K content on my PC. I have the use of Windows Movie Maker, GoPro Studio, Adobe Premier Pro CC and Wondershare Filmora. It’ll edit in any of these programs but even in preview mode within them it’s still stutter on screen as well as in normal playing mode in VLC player. All 4K content still plays perfectly fine on my 4K TV including any edits I’ve done with the PC.

Someone suggested that it may be the program I’m using, but 4 different programs and VLC player all can’t be wrong.

I’m thinking along the lines of either the processor, Ram or the graphics card. I could just upgrade everything but if I don’t need to then why should I. I know there are faster options these days but I’m not really in any rush and it currently edits at a reasonable rate for me.

It really all depends on what you’re looking for. First of all, the i7-3770k was a great CPU and one that I still use on my secondary house PC that I still regularly use for editing and other tasks. If you want to continue using it consider overclocking it for additional performance. Yes, you could certainly use the GTX 1070 or GTX 1080 Ti with it and then upgrade the CPU when you’re able to. So, ultimately I guess it just depends on what you need more. Maybe try it out with your current CPU and see where it gets you.

I need to upgrade my GPU for sure. I am starting to get errors with exporting my videos from Premiere and my program monitor turns black sometimes, because my GPU can’t keep up with the color correction and warp stabilizer effects on my 4k footage (Sony A7Sii).

I have a custom PC but my friend helped me build it so I need a little advice.

My processor is an Intel (R) Core (TM) i7-3770k CPU @ 3.50GHz (8 CPUs), ~3.9GHz

I would love to avoid upgrading my processor and my GPU at the same time…would I be able to use either the EVGA GeForce GTX 1070 or the GTX 1080Ti with my processor?

Do I need to consider anything else when upgrading my GPU?

I think price/performance you’ll be happy with the 1080 Ti. Yes, you could go with the Titan XP, but this is nearly as good and half the price.

Great article, Brandon. I am doing a build right now. I was pleased to see many of the components I’ve purchased already on your list. I still am struggling with the choice of a video card. I am running Windows 10 and will be using:

• Intel Boxed Core i7-6850K Processor (15M Cache, up to 3.80 GHz) 6 cores and 12 threads of processing power.

• ASUS LGA2011 5Way Optimization SafeSlot X99 EATX Motherboard (Rampage V Edition 10). Room for 128K RAM

• G.SKILL TridentZ Series 64GB (4 x 16GB) 288-Pin DDR4 SDRAM DDR4 3200 (PC4 25600) Intel X99 Platform Desktop Memory Model F4-3200C16Q-64GTZSW

I am planning on running Adobe Premier CC as my editing software. I was leaning towards installing an EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti FOUNDERS EDITION GAMING, 11GB GDDR5X, LED, DX12 OSD Support (PXOC) Graphic Card, with 11 Gbps GDDR5X memory, and 11 GB frame buffer. This runs about $700.

I can spend up to $1200 on the video card. Is there something better out there that you can recommend based on the configuration and software I will be using. This is my first video editing build and it is different from my previous gaming builds, so I greatly appreciate your advice on this crucial component of the system. Thank you in advance. [email protected]

RAM is not to be underestimated, I was focus stacking a picture the other day and was shocked when PS allocated gigabyte for gigabyte on my 16GB rig. I’m now building a 64GB machine.

Likewise, I/O speed is paramount. I hate having to wait for LR to load the next picture when I’m on the pick/reject step, so I’m getting dual M.2/500GB each in a RAID0 configuration; the two 256GB SSDs from my old rig will be made into another RAID0 array, doubling their speed as well and increasing storage size for a total of 1.5TB.

Great article! This is exactly what I was looking for while thinking about build my first pc.

I am a media designer and am hoping to use zbrush, maya, and after effect heavily on my future pc. With a heavy amount of rendering from the maya and AE.

Are the amount of cores all I should be considering, when I want to make sure my computer is great render/workstation at heart but able to play some of the latest games if need be?

What are some of the other things I should invest in to insure my machine is render/animation workhorse?

Also what would be the next most powerful processor above the Ryzen 1700 mentioned above? Something that would be along the same lines as having more processors for video editing but lets say I wanted to see what the next level and price would look like.

Ok last question, have you heard of AMD’s APU series? Is this worth looking into? Would that series be less powerful than the build you described above?

Sorry for all the questions, fairly new to computers and trying to build the right machine for myself.

That’s the question of the hour and it’s one that’s difficult to answer simply because it depends on what type of work you do and where you find yourself spending the most time.

I would like to buy a new desktop. I am interested in video editing using sony vegas for 1080p clips that i create with my sony camera. Is it better to go with AMD Ryzen 5 1600 or i5-7600 ? Is it right that more cores means faster video editing or should i go with i5 7600 which is faster for 1,2,4 cores working ? How faster do i go with ryzen in video editing percentage and how slower in other areas with maximum 4cores working ? Sorry for my english !!!

High capacity m.2 drives are fairly expensive but if you’ve got a compatible motherboard and have the money, I’d say go with it.

Is there a reason you are not using an M.2 Drive?

Linux is not much of a hardware compatibility issue anymore, a lot of people like a dual-boot (windows/linux) option but other than that I think you should be good

I’m thinking of building a machine like this and running Linux on it, any chance you know if these components are Linux compatible? (Am new to the Linux design, but the freeware is enticing.)

If you are editing 4K video, wouldn’t it be better to use a 4K monitor like the Dell P2715Q? Just wondering…

I am interested in a build that includes the following (taken from the $1500 option):

but I am not interested in the recommended motherboard, optical drive, cpu cooler and the case.

This is because my secondary goal is to make this machine small enough so I can check it into my luggage.

What motherboard, power supply and case would you recommend me to use in conjunction with these components then?

Can you recommend a 1k setup for a smaller PC case? I don’t like machines that are too big

Thanks a lot for your guide, I have Edius Editing software and a Blackmagic Deadlink 4k Extreme PCI card.

Want to have Thunderbolt 3 and USB 3.1 and support for my exist blackmagic and EDIUS Workgroup 8.2.

So do I go with Asus X99-E II or take new Z280 mobo ?

Can you recommend me a pc setup for my edius and blackmagic card with 64gb ram and 1TB Samsung pro 850. please help me

You’ve gone for the i7-7700k – and a relatively inexpensive motherboard. The motherboard is fine, but for the “k” version of the processor, most do a solid overclock. So, I’d go for a Z270 board if you’re going that route. If you just want to get an i7 7700, that motherboard should be perfectly fine. Especially, if you’re able to allocate more of your budget to other boards. In terms of clock speed, it really depends on what you’re doing, the programs you’re using, etc… However, I will say the i7 7700 really doesn’t have a lot to worry about when it comes to that area. Hope that helps.

Hi Brandon. Thank you for this very useful article. It answers lot of my questions.

I would like to put together a computer principally for image editing (LR+PS). When choosing CPU how much the processor’s clock frequency is important? In other words: does 4+ GHz is necessary or 3.6 GHz would be sufficient? Before reading your article I was thinking about the following CPU-Motherboard combination: i7 7700K 4.2 GHz + MSI H110M-PRO. Is it a fair combination or the i7 is a kind of too much for the motherboard?

Yes, the motherboard here isn’t compatible – you need an AM4 motherboard (x370 b350 chipset etc)

Great read, thank you! What do you think of this build, will it work (and be a beast?):

Am I missing anything? Is everything compatible? (This would be my first PC build.)

If that’s the difference I’d definitely go for it.

Hi Brandon. Thank you for your input! When it comes to AAE I usually render some basic stuff like audio spectrums and lower thirds with glow and shadows put on, that’s all. I rarely use some effects from Trapcode suite or Element 3D etc. In Vegas I use typical build-in transitions, sometimes ProType Titler.

I think in terms of GPU it’s worth mentioning that I’m planning to buy 2560×1440 monitor, most likely Dell U2715H (I saw that you also recommend it, so that’s awesome).

In that case, would RX480 4GB be enough?? 480 has higher memory clocks and at the moment price difference between 470 4GB & 480 4GB is just around $13 in my local store.

In terms of the GPU in After Effects, it’s somewhat limited to the 3D Ray Traced Render Engine and OpenGL preview. Quality Ram and a good Processor is more important for AE.

For rendering, you’ll have to decide how much GPU you need (make sure you enable GPU acceleration). Clearly the better the GPU and CPU in this situation, the shorter your render times (but there are diminishing returns). I don’t believe VRAM at this level is much of an issue in Sony Vegas from what I’ve read. So, I’d likely go with the RX 480 or even the 470 as it’s considerably cheaper. If you have a pretty general workload simply having a mainstream GPU in many cases, is good enough.

GPU Usage is crucial in certain types of workloads. So, it might be a good idea to check out some benchmarks in what you do the most and go with that. For power, I’m always tempted to go to the next option up. You’re fine without it if you don’t add much in the future. Keep in mind that your PC won’t be running anywhere near the max load typically. But, it depends on if you want that cushion or not.

In a 2-3 months I’m going to build a new setup for rendering. I render some things in After Effects and then I use Sony Vegas Pro 13 to render the whole thing (footage, effects + music). What do you think about this configuration?

1. Is this 8GB GPU an overkill for rendering and 4GB version would be enough? Again, I’m not a gamer, I’m just not sure how much GPU is affecting rendering. Always thought that CPU and RAM is the most crucial.

2. Better to go with AMD or Nvidia for this usage? If I would use only Adobe products, I would definitely go for Nvidia and CUDA support, but I’m looking for the best balanced solution for these 2 programs.

3. Is 550W enough? I used PSU calc and it says Load Wattage: 438 W and recommended 488W. There is some overhead, but I don’t want the fan spinning too fast most of the time. Should I consider 650W?

I read this article and learn about latest versions of computer. So nice

as a completely stupid person when it comes to PC’s that is both a gamer and working with 2k and 4k video editing, i salute you!

i hope i don’t burn down the house when i build it.

That really depends on what you do. Obviously M.2 is faster but you may not ever notice it if the SSD is already good enough. Make sense?

Great information. Just I like to ask you if is worth it but a lot expensive M.2 unit. Like Samsung EVO 960 500 GB. For 260$. The performance it’s really better?

And about the software. Windows 10 is better option vs windows 7? I think the software rest power to the great components

Thanks for your awesome information! I have an older Velocity Micro with an Intel i7 [email protected] and Nvidia Geforce GTS 250 graphics…..Yes,I know it’s a dinosaur, but it still works with idiosyncrasies ;-). I don’t do games, but my main purpose is photo & maybe video editing. I just bought a BenQ BL2420pt qhd monitor and realize I need to upgrade my graphics card &/or motherboard for it’s full potential.

I’ve been researching latest Kaby lake, graphics and MB’s. Here’s what I’m thinking: GIGABYTE GA-X99P-SLI (rev. 1.0) LGA 2011-v3 Intel X99 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.1 USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard or ASUS X99-M WS mATX Dual Intel LAN with M.2/USB 3.1/ 3T3R Wi-Fi Onboard Workstation Motherboard and the Intel Core i7-7700K Kaby Lake Quad-Core 4.2 GHz LGA 1151 91W BX80677I77700K Desktop Processor. Looking at the processor, the graphics it has supports more than my current card. I do have a limited budget ($1000) but I’d like to take advantage of latest technology for the future. I’d also install my Samsung 850 500 Gb ssd to run OS. I realize this is more than I need, but I’d rather bite the bullet now than upgrade in 2 years. Any thoughts are greatly appreciated! Thanks!

Something like the Elgato Video capture would work. I think you can get one for around $80.

what do you suggest for a Video Capture Card…needing to covert my VCR tapes to digital

This is very helpful. All I want to do is make blu rays of my home-made movies.

If I went with the $1000.00 machine, is there a video editor you’d recommend (does it come with blu ray burning ability, or is that something else I would need to buy).

I’m wondering what other expenses I will run into. I don’t need a fancy monitor (can I use my HDTV as a monitor?).

And I have no intention of using this computer for internet browsing. I just want to make blu rays with it. Can I avoid ever connecting to the internet, or is that required to activate software?

What am I likely to spend, in total, in order to start making blu rays of my adventures? And do you think that modern software will recognize my Sony FX1 (mini DV)?

RAID is possible with using two SSD drives – so there you get more speed for both – system and applications on one side and scratch on other side.

What if you want to use it for 3d rendering? And a 3k budget.