Custom PC Build or iMac for Video Editing

Custom Build PC for Video Editing

Should you build a pc for video editing or buy an imac?

When I bought my latest 13 inch Macbook Pro, I was not planning on using it for video editing.

My main consideration at the time was generally light use with some front-end software development.

The Macbook works well for its original intended usage.  However, when I started using it to edit videos, its weaknesses quickly became apparent and even painful.


The 256GB hard drive quickly fills up with project files, requiring me to pretty much always work off of an external hard drive.

Rendering videos is really slow and playback during editing can get bogged down due to only having 8GB ram, no dedicated GPU and a non-upgraded CPU.

When I finally decided to upgrade to something better suited to video editing, my first inclination was to buy an upgraded 15 inch Macbook Pro.

Now I am confident that the upgraded Macbook Pro would have worked well, I decided to be more forward thinking and get something more powerful like an iMac Pro.

Up until this point, I was only considering Apple products. I have worked with them for years and I really like the user interface and the operating system is what I am used to using.

Oh man, the iMacs look nice, but they are really expensive. Like all things Apple, upgrades are excessively costly, which is my number one gripe with Apple. Upgrades like ram carry a premium of hundreds of dollars more than you would pay for the same amount or ram for a PC build.

My other complaint with Apple is that you must upgrade your computer when you buy it as you can’t upgrade individual parts.

When I looked at the price for an upgraded iMac, it was more than I wanted to spend. I next looked into building a Hackintosh, but that would limit me to specific components and could result in a lot of tinkering to maintain it. I want to make videos instead of maintain a Hackintosh, so this option was a no go.

Hesitantly, I considered a PC build. I really did not want to give up the OSX experience, but I chose to be open-minded. As I put together a parts list, it quickly became apparent that I could have a video editing rig that would be as powerful or maybe even more powerful than the iMac for around half the cost.

The better price to performance benefits of a custom PC build was very appealing, but it took me another couple of weeks to decide if I was ready to switch from Mac to PC, giving up OSX for Windows 10 Pro.

In the end, it just made financial sense to build. I could then use the cost difference to buy more camera gear.

As I build this editing PC, I believe that I have made the right decision for my needs and goals. I anticipate some frustration with the keyboard layout and operating system differences, but I can say that I am pleased with the aesthetics of my PC rig.

Here are the parts I used for this build:

Phanteks Enthoo Primo PH-ES813P_SRD Black / Red Aluminum / Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case

ASUS ROG Maximus X Hero (Wi-Fi AC) LGA 1151 (300 Series) Intel Z370 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.1 ATX Intel Motherboard

EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 FTW2 GAMING iCX, 08G-P4-6686-KR, 8GB GDDR5X

Intel Core i7-8700K Coffee Lake 6-Core 3.7 GHz (4.7 GHz Turbo) LGA 1151 (300 Series) 95W BX80684I78700K Desktop Processor Intel UHD Graphics 630

G.SKILL Ripjaws V Series 32GB (4 x 8GB) 288-Pin DDR4 SDRAM DDR4 2400 (PC4 19200) Intel Z170 Platform / Intel X99 Platform Desktop Memory Model F4-2400C15Q-32GVR

CORSAIR Hydro Series H105 Extreme Performance 240mm Liquid CPU Cooler, CW-9060016-WW

WD Black 512GB Performance SSD – 8 Gb/s M.2 2280 PCIe NVMe Solid State Drive – WDS512G1X0C

WD Black 256GB Performance SSD – 8 Gb/s M.2 PCIe NVMe Solid State Drive – WDS256G1X0C

WD Black 2TB Performance Desktop Hard Disk Drive – 7200 RPM SATA 6 Gb/s 64MB Cache 3.5 Inch – WD2003FZEX

Crucial MX500 500GB 3D NAND SATA 2.5 Inch Internal SSD – CT500MX500SSD1(Z)

EVGA SuperNOVA 750 G2, 80+ GOLD 750W

Noctua NF-S12A PWM chromax.black.swap premium-grade quiet 120mm fan

Windows 10 Pro – Full Version 32 & 64-bit

Would you go with a custom PC build or iMac for video editing? Let me know in the comments below.

About the author

James Cross

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