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Best CPU For Video Editing in 2024 – our top picks

Powerful processors to breeze through your latest video editing projects
Last Updated on May 3, 2024
Close-up of one of the best CPUs for video editing, the Intel i9-13900k, in front of a blurred computer setup.
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The best CPU for video editing is needed for any content creators looking to push their content to the limits without compromise. This is especially true of rendering high-resolution projects at even higher frame rates, so if you want to stand out with quality videos on YouTube and other platforms, then keep these models firmly in mind.

In order to stay cutting-edge, your video editing CPU must be able to utilize the full capabilities of the processor. This means that you’re going to want to turn your attention to those chipsets that feature the highest clock speeds combined with the most cores. Things only get more intense when rendering the likes of 4K or even 8K video for extended periods, too.

So, while you might find that a GPU for 4K editing will do most of the heavy lifting for rendering, other processes such as video decoding, effects, and running your editing software smoothly require a carefully selected CPU. We’ve cherry-picked a lineup that we think fits the bill perfectly, so without further ado let’s dive in.

Products at a glance

How we chose the best CPU for video editing

Wading the waters of choosing the best processor for a video editing workstation isn’t easy, but we like to think we’re fairly well-equipped to take on this task. First and foremost, we have an expansive in-depth topic knowledge of CPUs, and what makes them good for specific use cases such as video editing. As mentioned above, video editing can be rather a CPU-heavy task, as it does most of the lifting when it comes to effects and overall playback performance. So in terms of what you should be looking for in general, you should prioritize high clock speeds and number of cores, as these will impact its ability to take on the computational tasks. Alongside this, it’s good to take into account the requirements of your preferred software, whether that be Premiere Pro or DaVinci Resolve, and use this as a guideline of what works well – and what doesn’t.

However, theoretical power is obviously just one side of the coin, and the real test is getting reliable and consistent performance under the actual conditions of 4K editing and processing. Luckily, we prioritize showcasing cards that we’ve been able to make sure can achieve this through our benchmarking, and that we’ve had hands-on experience with. All of this takes place in the PC Guide Testing Lab, and you can follow that up if you’re interested in how we test in general. While not necessary, we also weighed in on gaming performance too, as pastimes are equally as important to consider.

Fortunately, now both of the latest processor generations from AMD and Intel utilize DDR5 memory and PCIe 5.0 compliance. This means increased bandwidth for your CPU and other components, such as your graphics card, which can help with intensive rendering tasks. As such, our selections are not just tailored for video editing alone but also ensure a future-proofing aspect, ensuring longevity. For an overview of other market-favorite CPUs, we’ve got guides on the best CPU for gaming, as well as the best CPUs for integrated graphics.

Our top picks

Best CPU for video editing
01
  • An Intel Core i9-13900K processor installed in a motherboard socket, surrounded by circuits and components.
Best in ClassHighly Recommended
Specifications
  • Cores: 24 (8P-16E)
  • Threads: 32
  • Boost speed : P-Core 5.7GHz / E-Core 4.3GHz
  • Base speed: P-Core 3.0GHz / E-Core 2.2GHz
  • L3 Cache: 36 MB
  • TDP: 253W
  • Platform: Intel (LGA 1700)
Reasons to Buy
  • Extreme overclocking, making it equally powerful for video editing and gaming
  • Powerful performance both single and multi-threaded
  • Represents better value than its 14900K successor
Reasons to Avoid
  • Runs hotter than previous iteration
  • No longer worth it at MSRP
  • Can still be pricey despite its age

To no surprise, first up on our list is one of the best performers from Intel, the Intel Core i9-13900K. The previous flagship Raptor Lake model excels with its 24-cores and 32 threads. The new hyperthreaded E-cores mean that this chipset is able to overclock to 5.8 GHz, too. That’s a feat we hadn’t previously seen from either AMD or Intel at the time, excelling far past the previous ‘world’s fastest processor’ (the 12900KS) for a solid price. Despite being older, this positions the i9-13900K just a step under the speed of the current flagship 14900K (6 GHz), and shows there’s still plenty of potential left in the LGA 1700. Of course, with the 13900K, you’ll also have the option of dipping your toe back into DDR4 should you need it, which can be helpful if you’re gradually upgrading your rig.

While the Intel Core i9-13900K is no longer the flagship it was at release, generous discounts and high performance still make it an ideal processor to consider in 2024.

PC Guide

Another reason to choose this CPU over the i9-14900K was the price difference and the minimal performance gap, and you can read more about that in our i9-13900K review. Our synthetic benchmarking pulled through strong figures for single-core but especially powerful multi-core performance across CPU Z, Cinebench R23, and Geekbench. Notably, it reached 16,852 in CPU Z Multi, and 39,318 in Cinebench R23 Multi. Basically, you should be able to run resource-intensive tasks such as video editing in parallel.

That’s what makes the Intel Core i9-13900K the definitive alternative option for those looking for elite computing performance in video editing software, offering exceptional value even over its flagship successor. However, keep in mind that leading single-core and multi-core performance doesn’t come cheap, and this model carries an MSRP of $589: you can often find it falling below this price point now though. This is good, as you might need to invest that extra cash into a sufficient cooler, because if there’s one thing to note before purchase it’s that this is a CPU that tends to run hot.

What users say

As the previous flagship from Intel, it’s no surprise that the Core i9-13900K has a wealth of positive reviews on Amazon. Similarly to us, users have highlighted performance and versatility as some of their favorite features but made sure to mention the high temperatures of the CPU when under load. For example, one review states that “its 24 cores offer a level of processing power that’s perfect for gamers, content creators, and professionals seeking exceptional performance”, and another that the 13900K offers a “level of performance that’s truly in a league of its own”.

Best AMD CPU for video editing
02
Specifications
  • Cores: 16
  • Threads: 32
  • Boost speed : up to 5.7 GHz
  • Base speed: 4.5 GHz
  • L3 Cache: 64 MB
  • TDP: 170W
  • Platform: AMD (AM5)
Reasons to Buy
  • Amazing single-core and multi-core performance
  • Built for PCIe 5.0
  • The current market leader, and better for creatives than the X3D variant
Reasons to Avoid
  • Premium performance means premium pricing
  • You’ll need an AM5 motherboard and DDR5, which cam add up

The AMD Ryzen 7950X is our top choice for the best CPU for video editing from over at Team Red. This is because of the 16 cores and 32 threads that comprise this flagship Zen 4 processor. What does this mean for you? In layman’s terms, leading single-core and multi-threaded performance when hardware rendering. Though it might be pricey, there’s no CPU right now that performs as efficiently and confidently as the 7950X for the asking rate, and it’s designed for use in demanding applications. 

To paint a picture of its specs, you’ve got 16 cores and 32 threads, boost speeds of up to 5.7 GHz, and a nice wad of 64 MB L3 cache under its belt too. While we haven’t had a chance to review the 7950X yet, we’ve had plenty of hands-on experience with the 7950X3D amongst others from AMD, so we’ve got a clear perception of where this CPU sits on the performance podium and its overall capabilities for video editing. Basically, you’ll be getting impressive multi-threaded performance for encoding and editing, and a strong single-thread performance that is only marginally out done by the 13900K.

there’s no CPU right now that performs as efficiently and confidently as the 7950X for the asking rate, and it’s designed for use in demanding applications

PC Guide

Because the AMD Ryzen 7950X exclusively utilizes DDR5 RAM, you’re getting the most available bandwidth here, too. Keep in mind that you’ll need an AM5 motherboard and compatible memory to use this chipset, though. There’s no backward compatibility here. However, given the leading performance on display, that could be a justifiable feat when all is said and done.

What users say

The reception of the Ryzen 7950X on Amazon paints a similar picture of the processor as having excellent performance for productivity and creativity, and being overall excellent quality. One review comments that “it’s just jaw-dropping how much these pure 16-core/32-thread beasts can do”, and when comparing to Intel’s 13th Gen, this user mentions that rather than “focusing on packing in weird “efficiency” cores and uneven performance curves, a 7950X delivers consistent, constant, gargantuan throughput across all 32 threads”.

Best budget CPU for video editing
03
  • Close-up of a computer's motherboard featuring a mounted Intel Core i5-13600K processor with visible socket and screws on a detailed circuit background.
  • Close-up of an Intel Core i5-13600K processor in focus, with a blurred blue computer case in the background.
  • An Intel Core i5-13600K processor displayed in front of a blurred computer case.
  • Intel Core i5-13600K CPU against a plain white background.
Excellent
Reasons to Buy
  • Aggressive price point
  • Overclocks to 5.1 GHz
  • Beats the Ryzen 5 CPU
Reasons to Avoid
  • Higher power consumption than before
  • If you haven’t yet, you’ll need to upgrade to an LGA 1700 motherboard

Much has been said about the 13600K, as it’s somewhat of an anomaly with its price point of $339. That’s because it’s a 14-core (20 threads) processor which overclocks to 5.1 GHz, a pretty much previously unheard-of achievement at this price point. It goes to show the refinements made with Raptor Lake’s newly revised E-cores. Realistically, it’s just as good as the 14600K but costs a lot less, and for that reason alone this is a CPU to consider adding to your rig strongly.

While its specs on paper speak for themselves, the editing and productivity performance of the 13600K is supported by high mufti-core scores, and this was certainly the case in our i5-13600K review. In CPU-z, the Core i5 scored 830 points in single-core benchmarks, and 9,846 in multi-core benchmarks, whilst in Cinebench the i5 managed to get a single-core score of 1,992, and a multi-core score of 24,024. Gaming performance was nothing to shake a stick at either, with the 13th-gen mid-range keeping up with even the latest market options.

An excellent CPU through and through with fierce single and multi-core performance for the money. 

PC Guide

All those extra cores and threads over the competing Ryzen 5 7600X, 6-core and 12 threads is why this chipset makes the cut. and the latter doesn’t. Having that extra overhead is going to help with rendering times and encoding for streaming and VOD content. At a touch over the $330 mark, that’s a hard act to follow.

What users say

User reviews on Amazon are a testament to the high levels of performance the i5-13600K offers at its price point, often exceeding expectations: one review even goes as far as to say it’s the “best price-to-performance ratio in a CPU you would find today”. It’s also versatile, with one user commenting that “whether I’m gaming, streaming, video editing, or running intensive software applications, this processor handles it all with ease”.

04
  • AMD Ryzen 9 7900X processor in a transparent case set beside its box on a table with a purple and pink lit background.
Excellent
Specifications
  • Cores: 12
  • Threads : 24
  • Boost speed : up to 5.6 GHz
  • Base speed: 4.7 GHz
  • L3 Cache: 64 MB
  • TDP: 170 W
  • Platform: AMD (AM5)
Reasons to Buy
  • Aggressive price-to-performance ratio
  • Substantially cheaper than 7950X
  • Supports the latest PCIe 5.0 bandwidth
Reasons to Avoid
  • Requires DDR5 RAM
  • Pricier AM5 motherboard may be needed

You can save yourself a little bit of money and get a similar performance to the 7950X flagship with the AMD Ryzen 9 7900X. It’s a performance we valued highly enough to rate the Ryzen 9 7900X a solid 4.5 in our review. In essence, this 12-core 24-thread processor still hits a lot of the same notes as the leading R9 CPU, but with slightly less to work with. The trade-off with performance is represented in the pricing. Whereas the former will run you $699, this model can be yours for a more palatable $549 – and often at a discounted price too. 

The AMD Ryzen 9 7900X is almost at the top of the non-X3D AM5 class, with only the 7950X beating it in terms of raw performance. Don’t let that put you off though, this CPU is still brimming with potential

PC Guide

That’s not to take away from what the high-end Zen 4 chipset is capable of. The AMD Ryzen 9 7900X blitzes any Intel equivalent right now, and this is largely down to the 5nm process. Team Red is really going all in on the smaller silicon here. If you want insane performance with an easier price tag to swallow, you may be better served here. This was reflected in our benchmarks too: looking at the new Puget Systems benchmark which tests a CPU’s proficiency in video editing (everything from loading RAW files, resizing, filtering applications, and more), we found the 7900X getting a score of 9,033 points, around 1,000 more than the 7600X got.

What users say

Getting an average of 4.7 stars in its Amazon user reviews, the Ryze n 9 7900X has cemented its reputation for being an excellent value and high-performing processor. While one user praises its video editing capabilities in particular, saying “it’s still a great processor for high-end video editing, training artificial intelligence models, or even gaming and streaming”, another simply puts that it “destroys everything I throw at it with ease”.

What to consider with the best CPU for video editing

Editing video is incredibly intensive for even the most powerful processor, especially in higher resolutions at high frame rates. Clock speeds of up to and over 5.0 GHz allow for superior single-core performance. Thankfully, the most recent chipset generations from both AMD and Intel are capable of reaching these speeds.

Here are some factors to consider when selecting a CPU for video editing:

Cores/Threads

Video editing benefits from CPUs with a higher number of cores and threads, as video rendering and encoding can utilize multiple cores simultaneously. Look for CPU architecture with at least 6 cores and 12 threads, but higher core counts are even better for handling complex projects efficiently.

Clock Speed

While more cores are beneficial, clock speed (measured in GHz) also matters. A balance between high clock speeds and multiple cores is ideal for smooth editing performance. So check both the base and boost clock speed.

Compatibility

Ensure the CPU you choose is compatible with your motherboard’s socket and chipset. Also, verify that your motherboard’s BIOS is updated to support the chosen CPU.

Cooling and TDP

Higher-end CPUs generate more heat. Make sure your cooler can handle the thermal demands of the CPU. Check the Thermal Design Power (TDP) rating to get an idea of the cooling requirements.

Overclocking

Some CPUs can be overclocked to achieve higher clock speeds. If you’re comfortable with overclocking, this can provide additional performance gains. However, it may also require better cooling solutions.

Budget

High-end CPUs can be expensive. Consider your budget and balance the performance gains against the cost. Creative professionals may be more willing to splash out on the latest gen.

Who makes the better CPUs for video editing – AMD or Intel?

It’s incredibly close between both AMD and Intel at the end of 2022. The flagship Zen 4 and Raptor Lake options are pretty much neck and neck, but things are more clear in the mainstream and mid-range. While the 13600K wins out against the 7600X, the 7700X does lead ahead of the 13700K. This is a short summary. For a deep dive, we’ve got dedicated features. These are Intel Core i5-13600K vs AMD Ryzen 7600XIntel Core i7-13700K vs AMD Ryzen 7700X, and Intel Core i9-13900K vs AMD Ryzen 9 7950X for more.

Is i7 or i9 better for video editing?

The i7 is more so tailored for enthusiasts and gamers, while the i9 is intended for beefier workloads. While the i7 can be utilized for video editing, it’s not going to run the gamut of potential, whereas an i9 can handle most video editing workflows.

Aleksha McLoughlin is Hardware and News Editor for PC Guide and she oversees buying guides, reviews, news, and features on site. She was previously Hardware and Affiliates Editor at VideoGamer.

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