Bill Roberson / Digital Trends
You may be able to edit videos on your phone or an old laptop, but this is hardly an ideal experience. Switching to a desktop PC can speed up your workflow significantly, and while you could easily spend thousands on a bespoke machine, we're going to show that you can actually build a capable video editing PC for less than $ 500 if you can buy right hardware.
We scoured the web for great hardware deals to help you build the best $ 500 PC for video editing. If you're more into budget gaming, here's our guide to a great $ 500 gaming PC.
The build and what it can do
These are tough times with high prices and low parts availability, and we could easily have used up our limited budget on the CPU or graphics card. Instead, we moved away from a dedicated graphics card and selected a new Intel 10th Gen CPU with integrated graphics. Using a quad-core CPU raises performance issues. However, when you consider the need for adequate RAM and storage, our top priority is adequate cooling and reliability, as we are fully aware that this PC will spend its life at 100 percent utilization. To be honest, we would have wished for more of everything; More CPU cores, a graphics card, double the storage space, double the main memory and then a high-end power supply unit and a liquid cooler. However, we are confident that this system should be fast enough for most editing tasks.
Editing videos at 1080p and below is a breeze on a computer like this one. The integrated GPU helps accelerate a range of rendering workloads. 4K editing can be a little tricky on such a computer. It's still possible, but don't expect it to be snappy or offer real-time native resolution playback.
|CPU cooler||$ 34|
|power supply||$ 50|
We've kept the parts list to the bare minimum so this build fits our budget comfortably. However, if you can increase your budget, you will improve the system's performance by leaps and bounds.
Note: All of the components listed below are available from Amazon and were found through our research on the site and were accurately rated at the time of writing. It is always worth checking the price of each part before committing to purchase as these change regularly. Unfortunately, they also sell out quickly, but maybe not forever. If an item is not for sale, you can find it in your favorite online store.
CPU: Intel Core i3-10100
We'd like to recommend an AMD Ryzen 5 3600 or 5600 CPU, but our budget just isn't enough. Instead, we went for an Intel Core i3-10100, which is way down on Team Blue's list of the latest 10th generation CPUs. Numbering for Intel models is ubiquitous these days. So it's worth noting that this Core i3 has four cores with HT, so you get eight CPU threads. The base speed is 3.6 GHz while Max Turbo is 4.3 GHz, so you can expect decent performance from this cheap CPU. The downside to using a 10th generation CPU is that it is based on the LGA1200 socket and requires a new 400 series chipset motherboard, so you don't have much chance of getting a used board.
A key feature of the Core i3-10100 is the integration of Intel UHD Graphics 630, which means we can forego an expensive graphics card and let the CPU do all the work.
CPU cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Black
There are many versions of the timeless Cooler Master Hyper 212 CPU cooler. This one happens to be black. Whichever version you choose for the Hyper 212, you can be sure that the Core i3 10100 can run at maximum speed for hours without drama.
Motherboard: MSI B460M-A PRO
The MSI B460M-A PRO is a spartan motherboard, but it has the most important functions that we need. It has the Intel B460 chipset and socket LGA1200 for our Core i3 processor and an HDMI output on the rear I / O so that we can connect a display to the integrated graphics. Our CPU is energy efficient and does not load the VRMs very much. Even so, we want to ensure adequate airflow to keep everything cool. If you're interested in a future upgrade, the MSI B460M-A PRO has an M.2 slot that supports faster storage.
Memory: Crucial DDR4-2666MHz 16GB
This is the most basic DDR4 memory you will ever buy. While it looks pretty bland – it doesn't even use heat spreader – the brand name is reliable, the speed rating is acceptable, and the price is as low as we can hope in these troubled times of shortage.
Storage: Crucial BX500 480GB SSD
It would be a farce to build a PC without an SSD when prices are as low as they are. For this reason we chose this 480 GB SSD from Crucial for our storage solution. While a SATA SSD is never as fast as the latest NVMe models, it is far faster than any hard drive and has enough capacity to handle 1080p video. If you are editing long or multiple videos, we recommend a large hard drive for long-term storage. If you shop wisely, you may have enough cash for a 2TB hard drive in our tiny budget.
Housing: Cooler Master N200
Our chosen Cooler Master N200 is a Micro ATX case that has everything we need. It supports our MSI motherboard and offers space for a regular ATX power supply. We're using a Cooler Master air cooler in this build. However, if you feel the urge to switch to liquid cooling, there's room for a 240mm cooler in the N200. The front panel is made of mesh so you can be sure that the air flow is unobstructed. While this is a budget case, it comes with case fans so no budget is required in this department. According to Cooler Master, the N200 has three 120mm fans, while customer feedback suggests that you are actually getting two fans. Our low-end build will be perfectly happy with two or three fans.
Power supply: EVGA bronze 450W 80+ bronze
We finish the build with a good quality PSU, and even though the EVGA Bronze only has 450W of power, it still gives us a massive margin of safety. In this PC, we can expect the power supply to have a long and reliable lifespan.