Recently, a friend asked me to recommend a computer solution for editing video. Here are my ideas. Do you agree? Add your comments at the bottom of the article.
The three elements to consider when purchasing a computer (either desktop or notebook):
- Operating System (OS)
- Software Applications (Apps)
- Hardware to run the system.
I don’t do a lot of video editing but I use a small Dell with a 1.8ghz processor. But then I do it on Ubuntu Linux which is MUCH less demanding on the hardware.
If you are not familiar with Linux, it is very similar to Windows from the UI (User Interface) but it is much more secure and no viruses. The OS and practically all the apps you could ever need (same formats as their Win equivalents) are all free. That, along with the reduced hardware requirements could easily save you over a thousand dollars for the same processing power.
You can easily drop several hundred bucks on the software if you go the Win7 or Mac route. The (nearly) equivalent software in Linux is free. Check out this link for info about some of the Linux video editing apps.
Check my review at http://bishoptec.com/2009/08/ubuntu-linux/ for some idea of what using Ubuntu Linux is like. BTW, the one app that I needed but could not use in Linux (OnlineBible) now works in Ubuntu. There are a couple of emulators (free also) to allow you to run Win apps if you must have them.
Regardless of what computer you buy, there are three hardware elements that make the computer work well – especially for video editing.
1. Processor: speed is everything in video. Most software today (Win, Mac or Linux) will not effectively use the “quad-processor” – If you have a choice between processor speed and the number of internal processors, select the highest processor speed that you can afford.
2. Hard Drive size: Video can eat up the storage space very quickly! A DVD is about 4 gigs and to produce it, you will need to splice together a lot more video than that. Add the original video size (likely will be 6-8 gigs) plus the 4 gigs output to the DVD and you will need about 10 gigs to each project that you want to keep on the hard drive. Again, the larger, the better. Also, (I don’t fully understand the technical reason here) but for some reason, the LARGER the hard drive, the faster it generally operates.
3. Memory (RAM): For a given class of computers, the speed of the memory is generally the same. But save enough money to boost the memory to the full capacity of the hardware. There is a point where adding memory will not give as great a return on investment but you probably could not afford to buy that much <grin>. Realistically, for video editing, you will need a MINIMUM of 4 gigs of RAM.