As a person who is almost always editing video for my Youtube channel, I am always trying out new video editing software for the best videos possible. There are many non-linear editing (NLE) systems out there on the market, but for my money, I like to use Adobe Premiere for its ability to organize a large amount of recorded audio and video and edit them as I please. The chief drawback to this NLE is its tendency to have very finicky hardware requirements, which is why I crafted this guide to help you find the best laptops for Adobe Premiere.
Finding the best laptop for photo and video editing requires balancing a lot of power-hungry components with a top-notch screen while keeping a personal budget in the equation.
And it gets even more complicated.
When you need a lightweight machine that can run for hours on its battery alone while still being able to provide the smoothest workflow.
In this post, I will describe what you need to look for EXACTLY in a notebook for creative work and what you should expect at your price range to the dollar.
Finally, I’ll list out 7 best options when it comes to best laptops for video and photo editing. To pick them out, I went over a 100 hottest laptops and evaluated them using specs and benchmarks that took me days to find and collect.
What are we looking for in a photo and video editing laptop?
What is essential for the best laptop for photo and video editing?
Major requirement SSD
How much storage do I need?
You need to decide on the total amount of storage that you’ll need. A basic starting point should be 500 GB. But if I were you, I would advise going up to 1 TB or more.
Do I need an SSD?
Yes. I recommend getting at least a small 250 GB SSD for OS, Photoshop, Lightroom or your favorite photo editing app and several “hot” photo folders. It will make a world of difference. When I edit photos, I notice a measurable difference between my files on SSD and HDD. And I don’t have to work with super high-resolution uncompressed RAW images that would benefit the most from an SSD.
But the main issue with laptop SSDs is that there aren’t many laptops that come with 1 TB SSD built-in. That’s why sometimes you’ll need to limit yourself to 500 GB + 1 TB setup or you’ll need to spend ~$320 for 1 TB SSD.
What should be my target?
At the end of the day, everything revolves around two variables:
- Size of a desired laptop
- Your spending budget
That’s what I would recommend and what you should optimistically expect:
|Under $1000||250 GB SSD + external storage||250 GB SSD + 1 TB HDD||250 GB SSD + 1 TB HDD|
|Under $1500||500 GB SSD||500 GB SSD + 1 TB HDD||500 GB SSD + 1 TB HDD|
|Over $1500||500 GB SSD + external storage||500 GB SSD + 1 TB HDD||1 TB SSD + 1 TB HDD|
The good part with 15.6″ and 17.3″ laptops is that they often have 2 or 3 slots for storage. That allows easy upgrades in the future.
So you’re searching for the best laptop for GoPro video editing that can fit within some reasonable budget. You could ask opinions on forums and wait a day hoping you’ll get a decent response. Or you could do the research yourself, list the most recently released laptops and compare each and every one of them.
But that would be a waste of time, wouldn’t it? Well… not if somebody else does it. That’s right, I weighted most popular best-selling laptops and hottest new releases from the most respected brands to separate diamonds from the rest.
In the next 5 minutes, you’ll get to know how I’d choose the best laptop for GoPro editing if I’d need to buy one right now and what are 3 best laptops that will handle your GoPro footage as it was no big deal.
I’ll start off with my reasoning behind the requirements for a GoPro laptop.
So what are we looking for?
Major requirement High-end processor
Your processor will be doing most of the heavy lifting when it comes to video editing. In some cases, graphics cards can assist your processor, but to a very limited extent. Above all, you’ll see the best results by investing in a better processor.
|Low-end||i7-6500U, i7-4600U, i7-5500U, i5-6300HQ|
|Mid-range||i7-6700HQ, i7-4710HQ, i7-4720HQ, i7-5700HQ|
|High-end||i7-6820HK, i7-4870HQ, ported desktop CPUs as i7-6700K|
You probably noticed that I heavily lean towards latest generation Intel Core Skylake processors. That is due to their improved graphics performance (APU). You see, if you’ll decide to connect an external monitor, very likely it will be handled not by your beefy dedicated graphics card but by Intel’s own graphics chip which sits within the processor. Therefore, if you want to have a smooth 4K video preview, 6-th generation Intel processors are measurably superior to their older counterparts.
Major requirement CUDA Graphics card
Specific graphics card requirements can change wildly depending on the software you’ll be using to edit you GoPro footage.
Professional software such as Adobe Premier (via CUDA), Sony Vegas (via OpenCL) can take full advantage of a new dedicated graphics card. That speeds up rendering and shortens video preview times which results in a much desired snappy workflow. Meanwhile, most hobbyist software including GoPro Studio editing software only occasionally can find any use for a fast graphics card (GoPro Studio uses it only for H.264 decoding). As you can guess, any laptop in this list is also the best laptop for GoPro Studio for its price. And anyways, GoPro Studio kind of sucks…
Also, GPU-assisted rendering does not matter much when working with a Full-HD footage. Please do not be fooled by Premier benchmarks for non-real-life projects demonstrating the power of hardware acceleration. Many effects and especially 3rd-party plugins couldn’t care less about your graphics card. Taking all of that into consideration, all main benefits of a good graphics card start to take off when you get past 1080p, especially when you reach a 4K resolution.
In conclusion, if you own a 4K camera like GoPro HERO4 Black – high-end laptop with a dedicated graphics card will pay off tremendously in saved time. But most of us still using older GoPros or GoPro HERO4 Silver/Session it’s a no biggie and can be skipped in favor of saving 200-400$ for a larger hard drive. Hell, that’s almost enough money to buy a 4K GoPro.