Are Gaming Laptops Good For Video Editing?

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So you’re planning to get a gaming laptop. You want to enjoy the latest AAA games. But apart from the gaming stuff, you want to know if it can handle other tasks as well, like video editing.

Let’s face it, unless you’re a dedicated full-time or hobbyist gamer, you won’t be buying a gaming laptop just for playing games. You would want your laptop to be able to perform well in other day-to-day tasks too.

In this article, I will try to get you a clear answer to the main question—Are gaming laptops good for video editing? Furthermore, I will help you clear some other doubts that you may have about choosing the best gaming laptop according to your needs.

Let’s get started.

What is a gaming laptop and how is it different from a regular laptop?

A gaming laptop is a laptop equipped with dedicated high-power graphics cards making them “eligible” to handle AAA titles with ease. They of course have more than just a powerful graphics card, but the card is the main highlight in them.

A regular laptop, usually, does not have such a high-power graphics card. This is the reason a regular laptop is usually thin & light as compared to a gaming laptop.

However, many companies like Razor, Lenovo, Asus, etc. are making powerful gaming laptops that are not so bulky and flashy. So if you don’t like the bulkiness and the flashiness of gaming laptops, you can go for those.

Since gaming laptops have powerful graphics cards, they generate a lot of heat. To expel the heat out of the system, they are designed in such a way that they look bulky. With broad air vent grills on either side of the laptop, sometimes on the top or back of the laptop as well.

Gaming laptops are also really flashy (as mentioned before) and are certainly not for everyone. Most gamers like the bulkiness and the flashy look of them, some don’t.

The RGB lighting is also famous among gamers around the world. People like to show off the colorful logo at the back and the RGB backlit keyboard. They are one of the buying factors for some people.

Are gaming laptops good for video editing?

Generally speaking, yes, gaming laptops are good for video editing. They are good for video editing because they are packed with plenty of RAM (4GB, 8GB, 16GB, sometimes higher than 32GB as well), a powerful processor & GPU, 4-6-8 cores, better clock frequency, a fast storage system (SSDs), and a good display.

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All these specifications are enough for basic to intermediate-level video editing projects. Keep reading to learn the power of each component required for video editing in detail.

What specifications are good for video editing?

Let’s take a look at what specifications of a gaming laptop are also a fit for video editing.

CPU

The CPU provides the processing power to the laptop while performing tasks. Without a good processor, you will struggle with a slow and laggy editing experience.

A multi-core CPU is a must for editing purposes. Newer editing software like Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere, and Sony Vegas take advantage of more CPU cores and hyperthreading. It is recommended to choose at least a quad-core CPU.

Generally speaking, most editing software depends on the CPU rather than GPU, with some exceptions like DaVinci Resolve, which solely depends upon the GPU.

  • The minimum: Intel Core i5 10th gen and above OR AMD Ryzen 5 3600 and above.
  • The recommended: Intel Core i7 11th gen and above OR AMD Ryzen 7 5800X and above.

GPU

GPU is the heart of a gaming laptop, but as mentioned above, only a few software programs take advantage of the GPU. But saying that other programs only use CPU for all tasks is wrong too.

It totally depends on the type of work you are doing. For example, if you use Adobe After Effects to add a significant amount of visual effects in your videos, or work with 3D modeling & compositing software, you would definitely need a powerful GPU to render out those projects.

On top of that, some software like Adobe Premiere Pro takes advantage of Nvidia’s CUDA acceleration and AMD’s OpenCL to render scenes. They make use of the GPU to do so. Make sure you consider all of these before purchasing your laptop.

  • The minimum: Nvidia GTX 1060Ti and above OR AMD Radeon RX 580 and above.
  • The recommended: Nvidia RTX 3060Ti and above OR AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT and above.

RAM

RAM, also known as Memory, is a temporary storage device that stores data for easier and faster operations. It is a volatile storage device, meaning, everything stored in it gets destroyed when you close running programs or shut down your laptop.

The RAM goes into action when, let’s say, you open up your favorite editing program, load up a 4k video file into your timeline, scrub through the timeline, work with plugins, preview 45 seconds of the edited clip. All of the data & information is written/read instantaneously to and from the RAM for a smoother experience while working on any task on your laptop.

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Below is the list of RAMs and their capabilities. Although, it should be noted that other factors contribute to better editing performance like CPU, storage type, etc. This list represents just a general idea of what kind of projects your laptop can handle with how much RAM.

RAM you need for a smooth editing experience:

  • 4 GB RAM: Can handle 720p projects with no background applications running.
  • 8 GB RAM: Can handle 1080p projects with no background applications running.
  • 16 GB RAM: Can handle 1080p to 2k projects with some programs running simultaneously.
  • 32 GB RAM: Can easily handle 2k – 4k projects with programs running simultaneously.
  • 64 GB RAM: Can handle 8k footage with ease with programs running simultaneously.

Storage

Storage is also an important component when it comes to video editing. Unlike RAM, a storage device stores data permanently, unless you (the user) deletes it. The data written into it is permanent and does not get deleted when the system shuts down.

There are basically two types of storage devices to choose from—SSDs and HDDs. Let’s see which one is the right choice when it comes to video editing.

Both SSD and HDD can get the job done, but SSDs are better than HDDs in many aspects. Here’s how:

SSD vs HDD: Which is better for video editing?

HDD stands for Hard Disk Drive. It is a non-volatile storage device. It is made up of circular plates coated with magnetic material which keeps on spinning. The plates need to be spinning to store, read, and write data on them.

SDD stands for Solid State Drive. It is also a non-volatile storage device that uses integrated circuit assemblies to store data. They are much smaller in size than the traditional HDDs. SSDs are 10 to 20 times faster than HDDs. They are more expensive than HDDs per amount of storage, but slowly the price gap is reducing as the demand is increasing.

Most gaming laptops are now equipped with both an SSD and HDD. But since the price of an SSD is more, they mostly come with 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB in size. The HDD however is typically 1TB in size in most gaming laptops.

I recommend using SSDs more than HDDs because SSDs are,

  • 10 to 20 times faster than HDDs– This reason alone is enough for you to consider an SSD over HDD. You’ll be able to save a significant amount of time while opening an application, editing complex projects with multiple clips and timelines, and even exporting/rendering.
  • Have little to no heating issues– Since there are no spinning components in an SSD, they are far more cooler than HDDs and also produce no noise while running.
  • Able to handle 1080p, 2k, 4k, and 8k videos with ease– HDDs will struggle and let you experience significant lags and frame drops while editing complex 1080p and above project files.
  • More durable than HDDs– SSDs are far more durable than HDDs because of again, no moving parts. They last longer and do not slow down due to fragmentation issues, unlike HDDs.
  • Ligher in weight & smaller in size than HDDs– SSDs are lighter becuase they are made up of integrated circuit chips. On the other hand, Hard Disks are way more heavier and larger due to magnetic disks and platters.
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I recommend having at least 512GB SSD with 1TB HDD if you edit simple 1080p to 4k videos. It is important to keep your editing programs installed in the SSD to be able to take advantage of the fast experience overall.

You can always upgrade your storage with an internal as well as an external SSD. Here are some you can buy from Amazon:

Display & screen size

While choosing a gaming laptop that can work as a video editing machine, display & screen size is also an important factor. The more accurate the color reproduction on a display, the better the video editing output you will get.

Screen size is also one of the important factors when choosing a gaming laptop for video editing. Doesn’t matter if you play games on your gaming laptop or edit videos, you will need a bigger screen for both.

Smaller screen size will force the editing software to shrink and cram all the UI elements into it. Consider choosing a 16:10 aspect ratio display with a screen size of 15.6 inches and above. It will help you get plenty of space to work on your projects.

Here’s an example showing a smaller display in the first image and a bigger display in the second. Notice the workspace area.

Final thoughts

In conclusion, here are the key points from the article:

  • Generally, gaming laptops are good for video editing as well.
  • Most editing software rely on CPU rather than GPU.
  • Adobe Premiere Pro & DaVinci Resolve take advantage of GPU.
  • Consider getting at least:
    • CPU—Intel i5 10th gen OR AMD Ryzen 5 3600
    • GPU—Nvidia GTX 1060Ti OR AMD Radeon RX 580
    • RAM—4GB to 8GB
    • Storage—512GB SSD with 1TB HDD
    • Screen Size—15.6 inches

Hope you learned something from this article. Please share your thoughts and queries in the comments below and don’t forget to share this article with someone who could use the information. See you in the next one! 👋

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