A (Not Very Complicated) Guide on Building Your Own Video Editing PC

Build your own video editing PC
Learn how to build your very own powerhouse video editing computer from scratch.

Hold on...let me catch my breath.

For someone like me who is 90% computer illiterate, just reading that lede sets me into a full-blown panic attack.

And that's why I'm the perfect person to write this article, as opposed to someone who has actually built their own video editing PC and knows what they're talking about, because while that literate 10% has a general understanding of the different components a computer needs to function, the slouchy 90% understands how daunting a task it can appear to be to pretty much anyone who has never put those components together to create a metal box full o' magic before.

And according to every person I've ever talked to who has built a computer before (except maybe that one guy), it's apparently not as complicated as it seems. That's certainly the message I get from Shutterstock's Robbie Janney.

In this tutorial, Janney explains what all the necessary components are and what they do, provides you with high-end and budget parts lists, and then finally walks you through the entire build.

So, why can't you just go buy a computer at a store like a normal person?

Well, you can. I do. And I've never had a problem editing on any machine I've ever had.

However, let's be completely transparent here. Not only did I spend a ridiculous amount of money on all 4 of my Macs over the course of 10 years, but my export and rendering times are and have always been kind of unimpressive, as well. And little ol' me isn't overloading my CPU with 3D, 360, 8K, or even 4K workflows. 

Building your own PC can not only save you money, but it'll allow you to tailor your specs to exactly what you need, as well as futureproof your machine against the long, exciting-but-also-kind-of-annoying trudge through technological advancement.

If you really are interested in building your own video editing PC, check out Shutterstock's full post to get a peek at their parts lists: one geared toward pros looking for plenty of power under the hood and one geared toward the budget-conscious video editor...which is super helpful.     

Your Comment

11 Comments

Building a PC is very rewarding, though there is a lot of smaller details to keep in mind.

Highly suggest to build a PC around the motherboard and not just the CPU you want to drop in.
Not all motherboard BIOS are the same, which can completely change which processors and ram you can drop in even if it is the right slot.

Always read the QVL or Qualified Vendor Lists!!!

Generally a lot of the "weird" stuff that happens with PCs is because the BIOS on the motherboard is trying its best to use a device that is not recommend or not 100% supported. Updating BIOS can be annoying and possibly cause other issues so it is much better to do it right and do the research up front.

Um... I like the video but it does keep the same trend of "Apple is expensive" that most people like to throw around. Apple has more up-front costs Windows always keeps the cost on the back-end... especially when it comes to QoL Software that a user would have to buy just to keep up with OSX.

That said, users need to use every platform and find the one that works the best for their needs/workflows. They should not take the advice of a random person just because they say certain things, they should totally test them.

April 4, 2019 at 11:52AM

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Kyle Dockum
Videographer and Editor
1428

"Um... I like the video but it does keep the same trend of "Apple is expensive" that most people like to throw around. Apple has more up-front costs Windows always keeps the cost on the back-end... especially when it comes to QoL Software that a user would have to buy just to keep up with OSX."

What QoL Software are you referring? I can't think of anything that I have had to add to my windows machine to match Mac OS.

Apple is overly expensive for a number of reasons, not just the upfront costs. The fact that they make their machines almost impossible to customize or upgrade being one. If your mac starts to become ineffective then you're only option, really, is to spend thousands on a new computer if you need a beefy workstation.

I built my first PC back in 2011 and I have made incremental upgrades over the years to keep it up to date spec wise. The most I have ever spent at one time is maybe around $800 for a good graphics card. At no time have I had to drop thousands of dollars at once to have a beefy up to date work station.

After learning how to build and manage a PC I can't think of any reason to ever own a desktop mac. I do think it's a waste of money unless there is a specific, mac only software that you have to use.

I honestly don't believe that Mac OS is really all that better than windows either. I have worked on Mac Os ( mainly at various production companies ) and my own PC for several years and I can't say that either OS is significantly better.

April 5, 2019 at 8:33PM

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Mainly the pack in software is quite nice:
Preview - since before 2000 great quick file viewer, and also deep image editor and compressor.
Garage Band - Sure its not Logic, but its still a very comprehensive package for what it does.
iMovie - fully supported and decent low end NLE
iWork - It is basically Microsoft Office but free and integrated into the OS.

With the more modern architectures updates happening and with lightning and USB updates t has been a lot easier to upgrade than it has been in the past.

It is already a standard in pro-audio to have a DAC or an external sound processing unit. (Back in the day for being able to do multiple channels of audio, now because of less electronic interference) With the rise of the E-GPU there is a lot of options now that OSX users did not have in the past.

That is great that you have learned what works better for your personal needs.

For me, I have to have FCPX. Only this year has DaVinci and Premiere have gotten close to providing the same features that I have enjoyed. FCPX in my opinion is literally was the best software for me when it comes to NLE functions.

OSX is light-years ahead of Windows when it comes to support and updates. In the last 6 months Windows has had 2 minor updates that had the chance to cause major harm to the systems if they auto updated. Mainly because the update team did not put the time in and fix the patches before they went live.

In 10+ years I have never had OSX do anything close to that.

For me the limited hardware backed with superior support certainly outweighs any extra advantages that having the most latest hardware may provide.

April 30, 2019 at 7:36AM

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Kyle Dockum
Videographer and Editor
1428

for budget pc, one word.

AMD FX8350
best editing cpu for like 60 bucks
and is a monster 8 core 4 ghz.

April 4, 2019 at 5:59PM

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Gregorio Nocco
Filmaker / Screenwriter
203

Please don't do that. Get a Ryzen, soooo much better (AMD Fanboy who's owned FX and Ryzen).

April 5, 2019 at 12:01PM, Edited April 5, 12:01PM

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Nice video!
However...a few more better-lit closeups would help, especially during the cable routing.
Also, at about 18:39, 'chassis' is mispronounced. It's cha-see or sha-see...from the French.
Also (again), who edits video with only one monitor? I would like to have seen this bad boy in action, crankin' with at least three monitors.
Otherwise, building your own PC for video editing, rather than buying one off the shelf, is a wise move.
Finally, you have provided an excellent alternative for the low budget filmmaker.
Looking forward to your next video.

April 7, 2019 at 10:28AM, Edited April 7, 10:29AM

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Lee Albright
Owner-Albright Films
284

You can also buy a used dual Xeon HP workstation on Ebay for about $500.

April 8, 2019 at 9:34AM

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Doug Donley
Small Time Producer/Director
81

Well, I found that video very instructive, but I think something was missing. Specifically, I do not recall seeing in it how to load the operating system and device drivers into the completed build. In the video, after completing the physical terminal assembly, he just just turned it on and it worked. Only in Hollywood does that happen. ;)

April 9, 2019 at 4:49AM

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Gaines R Johnson
Video Editor, Voice actor, Production specialist
86

I've been building my own PC's since the 1980's.
No way would I touch an Apple.
I'm editing just fine on a Win-10 machine, AMD FX-8300 with proxies.

April 30, 2019 at 1:49AM

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Jerry Roe
Indie filmmaker
1757

Hands down the WORST PC build video I have ever seen. He goes to the trouble of explaining basic stuff for those who are not necessarily familiar with any part of the process but when it gets to a part that many people may not be familiar with IE installing the M.2 drive which is a component I've never heard of upto today he completely skips it. What's the point of doing a video like this if you're going to just skip stuff. And I'm not talking he like he didn't cover it well I mean he actually skipped the whole thing. HAHA

April 30, 2019 at 8:27AM

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John Stockton
Filmmaker, Editor.
697

Because M.2 drives are less involved than traditional hard drives?

May 1, 2019 at 6:30AM

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Kyle Dockum
Videographer and Editor
1428