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Building a Photo and Video Editing PC on a Budget 2017

Updated on September 12, 2017
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 $2000.
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 $2000.

Why Not Build Your Own Editing Dream Machine?

Building a PC for photo or video editing can really expensive. This is especially true if you buy a pre-built machine or have someone do it for you.

If you've got a budget of under $500 or even $2,000, it's easy enough to find the right parts and build a PC how you want it. 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.

If you're looking to do this with your own PC, here are the parts I recommend based on how much you're willing to put towards your budget.

My Choice

I prefer gaming-style graphics cards for photo editing. Most of the photo editing and rendering software I use as a YouTube content creator runs well with this EVGA GeForce GTX 1070.

This $400 card is faster than the much more expensive Titan X and is the perfect mix of value and performance.

If you need even more performance you could always go with the high-end GTX 1080Ti. At around $700 to $800 it's a bit more expensive, but it will give you significantly more performance. If that performance makes you more productive, it's well worth the cost.

For Budgets Under $200:

If you're looking for a card under $200, I highly recommend the GTX 1060. I've been able to find it for as low as $180 after rebate. The performance at that price level is superior to the GTX 1050 Ti and similar to the RX 580. AMD cards like the RX 570 and 580, if you can find them for a reasonable price, are also a viable option here. However, with the current Ethereum mining market boom, their price is out of the range of similarly performing NVIDIA cards.

Recommended GPU by Budget

PC Budget
GTX 1080Ti
GTX 1080
GTX 1060 6GB
Under $1,000
RX 570 or GTX 1050 Ti
Under $500
i3-7100 or i5-7400 integrated graphics

Choosing a Processor

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. That being said, you don’t have to buy the most expensive processor in order to take advantage of most of the benefits.

For Intel Builders

The Intel Core i7-7700 is a great CPU for high processing power at a moderate price. At around $300 it offers four core processing power. Hyper-threading allows it to operate as if it had 8 cores. It's not quite as effective as having 8 cores individually, but still very good. This is a huge benefit when it comes to rendering.

A processor like the i7-6800k offers six cores along with 12 threads and a high operating frequency, thus yielding the results that most are looking for.


A lot of the processors I'm recommending are unlocked for overclocking. This can give you a lot of extra performance and decrease the time it takes you to do tasks. However, if you're not an overclocker you can look for processors that don't have a "k" at the end of their model numbers. Something like the i7-6700 or i5-6500 would be a moderately priced option if you don't want to overclock.

For AMD Builders

The new AMD AM4 Ryzen platform brought with it an incredible amount of performance for less money. A processor like the AMD 1700 performs well vs the i7. Rather than 4 cores 8 threads, like the i7-7700k, or even 6 cores 12 threads, like the i7-6800k, the AMD Ryzen 7 1700 comes with 8 cores 16 threads with the same price as the i7-7700.

While the IPC or instructions per clock of the Ryzen 7 1700 are slightly lower than the i7-7700k, it makes up for it for those who do a lot of editing or rendering. To be fair, the IPC is much closer to the i7-6800k.

Ultimately, the Ryzen 1700 should be on your list in 2017 if you're building a photo editing, rendering, or streaming PC. Keep in mind you'll need to build with an AM4 motherboard if you go this route.

i7-7700(*k) or Ryzen 7 1700
i5-7500(k) or Ryzen 5 1600
Under $750
Under $500
*Get the "k" version if you plan on overclocking.

Recommended Photo or Video Editing Builds from Under $500 to $2,000

i5-7500 or Ryzen 5 1600
i7-7700k or AMD Ryzen 7 1700
i7-7820X (8-Core)
Graphics Card
GTX 1050Ti
GTX 1070
GTX 1080
GTX 1080
Gigabyte GA-H110M-A
Gigabyte GA-Z270P-D3 or Gigabyte B350 Gaming 3
Asus Prime Z270-A or Asus Prime X370-PRO
Asus Prime X299-A
240GB A-Data SSD
240GB A-Data SSD and 1 x Hitachi Deskstar 2TB
250GB Samsung 960 EVO M.2 and 2 x Hitachi Deskstar 2TB
250GB Samsung 960 EVO M.2 and 2 x Hitachi Deskstar 2TB
Crucial Ballistix Sport 2x4GB
2x4 8GB kit Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 3000MHz
Corsair Vengeance LPX 8x2GB 3000MHz
Corsair Vengeance LPX 8x2GB 3000MHz
Power Supply
EVGA SuperNova G2 650W
EVGA SuperNova 650W
EVGA SuperNova G2 650W
Rosewill 1000 Micro ATX
Corsair Carbide 200R
Fractal Design R5
Fractal Design R5
Optical Drive
LG WH16NS40 Blu-Ray
LG WH16NS40 Blu-Ray
LG WH16NS40 Blu-Ray
CPU Cooler
Hyper 212 Evo
Hyper 212 Evo
Corsair H100i

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 i7-7700k, which is an LGA 1151 socket processor, then you'll need a compatible socket 1151 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

Motherboard Types
Compatible Processors
Socket 1151
Skylake, Kaby Lake
Most motherboards require DDR4.
Socket AM4
AMD Ryzen
Requires DDR4
Socket 2011
Sandy Bridge, Ivy Bridge
Older processors need a DDR3-compatible motherboard
Socket 2011-v3 X99
Broadwell and Haswell Enthusiast Only
Requires DDR4
Socket 1150
Haswell (fourth generation)
Socket 1155
Sandy Bridge, Ivy Bridge (second, third generations)
Socket AM3+
AMD FX series processors
Compatible with older AMD CPUs being sold
Socket FM1 or Socket FM2
AMD Llano, Trinity, Richland APUs
Whether FM1 or FM2 depends on the generation

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 budget) below.

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

Under $500 Build

For this build, we're just trying to find something inexpensive so that we can put more of our money towards other things. Since we're not overclocking and we plan on keeping everything at stock speeds, the H110 chipset will do a fine job. Chipset does not affect stock performance and therefore going with something cheap here is a good idea. The MSI H110M Pro-VD is a motherboard I used on a recent build and the one I'd recommend here.

At $40 it'll allow us to put more of our budget towards other items.

$1,000 Build

Here we're going with a Haswell processor that can be overclocked and therefore we're looking for a Z270 chipset motherboard. Asus is a brand I typically rely on for mid-range builds and I feel like the Gigabyte GA-Z270P-D3 is a real winner in terms of value and quality.

$1,500 and $2,000 Budget Build

In the $1,500 range, we're entering enthusiast territory and going with the Intel i7-7700k. For the motherboard, again, we're going with something with the features we need and the quality we want while avoiding paying too much. The Asus Prime Z270-A is a great overclocker and has tons of features.

For the 8 Core Kaby Lake i7-7820X, we're recommending the Asus X299-A Prime.


How Much Ram is Enough for Photo or Video Editing?

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.

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.

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.

Interactive Editor Poll

How Much Ram do You Use?

See results

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:

ADATA Premier SP550

The ADATA Premier SP550 is the perfect mix of speed and value. I'd recommend at least the 240GB version so you have enough for your operating system and most important programs. The increase in speed of a solid state drive makes it well worth having for any machine you own.

HGST Deskstar

A disk drive should be fast and ultra-reliable: that is, with 7200RPM and a 64 MB cache. I really like the newer HGST NAS hard drives. HGST is a Western Digital company and its NAS hard drive is perfect for what we're looking for.

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

An Optional M.2 Drive

Want to go even faster? M.2 NVMe drives give you speeds of up to 4x faster than traditional drives. If you're willing to pay a bit more, the Samsung 960 Evo is what I'd recommend here.

A Quiet Case and Cooler

Fractal Design R5 - The Perfect Quiet Case

Personally, I place an emphasis on cases that keep my system cool and quiet. The Fractal Design R5, shown above, not only does all of that, but at a price point that's affordable.

This case looks great, supports as many fans as you'd want, includes easy-to-install solid state drive mounts, and has USB 3.0 in the front. It looks professional and has noise-dampening material built into the case.

Corsair 100R Silent ATX Mid Tower

For a less expensive option with a smaller profile, you should also consider Corsair's 100R. It's a reasonably cheap option that won't distract from your workspace.

This makes it ideal for an office environment where a powerful, but noisy, computer can sometimes distract.

Do You Need a CPU Cooler?

Skylake and modern enthusiast processors don't come with cooling fans so you'll need something aftermarket. Here are a couple inexpensive but effective solutions.

Hyper 212 EVO

The Hyper 212 Evo is inexpensive and perfect if you plan on doing some light overclocking. For higher-end overclocking, consider the Corsair H100i series or NZXT Kraken series of liquid CPU coolers.

If you go with the Hyper 212 EVO it does have a fairly large profile and won't fit the Corsair 100R Silent tower above. However, the Fractal Design R5 is plenty big.

Corsair Hydro H60

For a smaller profile liquid cooler, consider the Hydro H60. This would be the perfect cooler to work with the Corsair 100R.

A Good Monitor for Photo Editing

If you want to read up on this subject, I highly recommend 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 the Dell UltraSharp U2715H. 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?

To start with, let's look at graphics cards. Keep in mind that we're building a budget PC here, rather than a workstation. So, you certainly aren’t limited to workstation-type graphics cards.

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 good 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 without charging a fortune.

Final Thoughts

All of 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. I've also listed 10 Good Custom Gaming PC builds here. So, if you'd prefer a parts list, this is a good place to start.

In terms of an AMD photo editing build, that's something that will constantly be evolving as AMD releases additional processors for the AM4 platform. My guess is that most builds in the $1,000 price range this year will move towards it.

© 2013 Brandon Hart

Need Help for Your Build? Discuss!

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    • toptengamer profile image

      Brandon Hart 2 weeks ago from The Game

      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)

    • profile image

      nikonx 2 weeks ago

      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?

    • profile image

      Mark V. 2 months ago

      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.

      Any advice would be helpful...Thanks.

    • profile image

      TezN 2 months ago

      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.

      Corsair Carbide 200R Midi Tower Case

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

      Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro Rev 2 CPU Cooler

      Generic thermal paste

      Asus P8Z77-V LX Motherboard

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

      Chillblast AMD Radeon HD 7770 1024MB Graphics Card

      1000GB 7200RPM Hard Disk - 6Gbps

      24x SATA DVD-RW Drive

      Xigmatek Premium Grade 500W PSU

      Onboard High Definition Audio

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

      23" Iiyama Prolite X2377HDS IPS Widescreen TFT Monitor


    • profile image

      Tez 2 months ago

      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.

      Corsair Carbide 200R Midi Tower Case

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

      Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro Rev 2 CPU Cooler

      Generic thermal paste

      Asus P8Z77-V LX Motherboard

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

      AMD Radeon HD 7770 1024MB Graphics Card

      1000GB 7200RPM Hard Disk - 6Gbps

      24x SATA DVD-RW Drive

      Xigmatek Premium Grade 500W PSU

      Onboard High Definition Audio

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

    • profile image

      Soumitra Saha 3 months ago


      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.

    • toptengamer profile image

      Brandon Hart 3 months ago from The Game

      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.

    • profile image

      LayneRox 3 months ago

      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!

    • profile image

      Edward 4 months ago

      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?

    • profile image

      DavesZed 4 months ago


      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.

      This is my set-up....

      Intel Core 2 Quad Q9650 3 GHz Quad-Core Processor

      8GB DDR3 ram (max available on motherboard)

      Radeon R7 240 graphics card at 2GB.

      Windows 10 (up to date) on 350GB IDE drive

      Additional 2TB SATA storage drive.

      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.

      I appreciate your help if you are able to.

      Best regards,


    • toptengamer profile image

      Brandon Hart 4 months ago from The Game

      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.

    • profile image

      NicksFort 4 months ago

      Thanks for the info Brandon!

      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?



    • toptengamer profile image

      Brandon Hart 4 months ago from The Game

      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.

    • profile image

      Gerry Nason 4 months ago

      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.

    • profile image

      Wesley42 4 months ago

      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.

    • profile image

      Julio 4 months ago

      Hey Brandon,

      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.

      Thanks again for the super informative article!!

    • profile image

      Arkadiusz 5 months ago

      Hello, i need good graphic card for Photo Editing?

    • toptengamer profile image

      Brandon Hart 5 months ago from The Game

      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.

    • profile image

      firsttramdriver 5 months ago from GREECE, ATHENS

      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 !!!

    • toptengamer profile image

      Brandon Hart 5 months ago from The Game

      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.

    • profile image

      Don 5 months ago

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

    • toptengamer profile image

      Brandon Hart 5 months ago from The Game

      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

    • profile image

      Linux Newbie 5 months ago

      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.)

    • profile image

      Speedy 6 months ago

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

    • profile image

      mrfiver 6 months ago

      Hey Brandon,

      Nice article.

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


      -GTX 1070

      -Corsair Vengeance LPX 8x2GB 3000MHz

      -240GB A-Data SSD & 1x 1TB HDD

      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?

    • profile image

      Vincent 6 months ago

      Hey Bradon,

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

    • profile image

      Nawaf 6 months ago

      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

    • toptengamer profile image

      Brandon Hart 6 months ago from The Game

      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.

    • profile image

      PeterH79 6 months ago

      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?

      Thank you in advance for your help!

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      Brandon Hart 6 months ago from The Game

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

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      Video Editing Build Hopeful 6 months ago

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

      Fractal Design R5

      Assus X99-E

      Ryzen R5 1600X (or Ryzen 7 1800X)

      GeForce GTX 1080

      32Gb (4x8Gb)

      1 Tb SSD + 3 x 3Tb raided

      power cord

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

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      Brandon Hart 7 months ago from The Game

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

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      Jim 7 months ago

      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 2560x1440 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.

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      Brandon Hart 7 months ago from The Game

      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.

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      Jim 7 months ago

      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?

      Ryzen 1700X (overclocked to 3,9GHz)


      MSI RX 480 Gaming X 8GB

      G.Skill 2x8GB 3200MHz

      240GB GoodRAM Iridium PRO SSD

      2TB WD Blue

      SilentiumPC 550W Enduro FM1 (with 80 PLUS GOLD cert)

      A few questions:

      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?

      Thank you in advance!

      Greetings :)

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      Pugal, Chennai, India 7 months ago

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

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      evil mosquito 7 months ago

      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.

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      Brandon Hart 7 months ago from The Game


      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?

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      Jose Garcia 7 months ago

      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

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      Jeff Rome 7 months ago

      Thanks for your awesome information! I have an older Velocity Micro with an Intel i7 860@2.8GHz 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!

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      Brandon Hart 7 months ago from The Game

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

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      Jim Winder 7 months ago

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

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      Alex 8 months ago

      Thank you for taking your time to share your knowledge.

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      Kevin Browning 9 months ago

      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)?



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      genius 10 months ago

      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.

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      PSoup 10 months ago

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

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      Brandon Hart 11 months ago from The Game

      If you're not comfortable building your own, there are places that will charge you around $50 for assembly. I believe NCIX does that. How much are they asking for that system?

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      romes561 11 months ago

      Your article is very informative and while I might consider building a video editing computer with components, I believe that I would be better served buying a pre-assembled system. In researching, I came across the following system (which seemed to share many of the components you spec-ed) and wanted to get your thoughts.

      ADAMANT® 6X-CORE Desktop PC Gaming Station INtel Core i7 6800K 3.4Ghz 32Gb DDR4 3TB HDD 500Gb SSD Blu-Ray Wi-Fi Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 8Gb

      Thank you.

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      Brandon Hart 13 months ago from The Game

      I'd probably do something like this: with a GTX 1070

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      SalV 13 months ago

      Hi Brandon, really enjoyed your article. I used to love assembling computers, but just don't have the time lately. I need a video editing rig for Sony Vegas that allows for high def real time preview and fast 1080p encoding. (No monitor) Is there anything off the shelf you'd recommend under $1000 that fits the bill, preferably in a small, possibly mini pc form factor? Thanks!

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      Air 2 years ago

      FYI, Haswell Refresh is of the LGA 1150 socket. Haswell-E is the set of Intel CPUs for 2011-3.

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      durgesh 2 years ago

      Like intel latest configration

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      Roberto 2 years ago

      Nice article but you didn't mention than CS5+ can use CUDA for rendering even on gaming graphic cards. At the moment I'm using a GTX760 and it works very well with the Mercury Playback Engine built into CS5 (Premiere and After effects).

      I think I would include a good video cart compatible with this system in any decent editing setup. What do you think?

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      Ryan 2 years ago

      Consider going back in time to the x56.. Processors with the lga1366/socket Asus server mother board. 1. You can practically blow any I7 out of the water with two x5680s for $300 and you'll have more pcie slots to play with. Having DDR4 would be nice, but it's not a practical option, and probably won't be, for a while for budget workstations.

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      mzura 3 years ago

      Check the chipset for socket 2011 motherboards...