Creative Work PCs: What Hardware You Need For Optimal Performance

October 5, 2021

Jeff Yabumoto

How do you select a PC for creative work? That question can be answered in a few different ways depending on what kind of creative work you want to do. Programs in the Adobe Suite, non-linear editors, and 3D modeling programs can have different requirements to run optimally. However, the majority of them will focus on three main components, CPU, GPU, and RAM.

Video Editing

Your CPU is your all-around workhorse for video editing. The faster and more threads a CPU has will mean your editing workflow will be much smoother. A stronger CPU will mean your time spent rendering, exporting, and creating that masterpiece will drop. Don’t skimp on the CPU when looking to build or buy a PC for video editing work.

As for the GPU, it can be just as critical for video editing, but it depends on what you do. In many programs, like Premiere Pro, you’ll see clips on a timeline that have a red line over them. These clips need to be rendered and that rendering process uses the GPU. If your projects are full of red lines above clips investing in a strong GPU will make your life a lot less stressful as it will cut down on the rendering times. Powerful GPUs will also allow you to see certain effects and transitions without having to render them in order to see them, which will save you a ton of time.

All the clips underneath the red line require a GPU render

Lastly, RAM is important for the process of video editing. You want a minimum of 16GB for your editing setup, more if you want to edit higher resolution projects. More ram means you’ll be able to play back things in real-time without fully rendering them. In addition, you’re going to be running multiple programs at once and you’ll need the RAM capacity to smoothly run them all at the same time. Otherwise, you’ll have to close one program to work in another and that will slow you down significantly.

Motion Graphics

Similar to video editing, motion graphics are going to require a lot of the same things. However, the one thing I will point out is that it is essential you have 32GB of RAM for motion graphics if you plan on doing anything remotely fancy. RAM will allow you to quickly see the effects you create or apply to any sequence without having to wait 20 minutes for your 8GB of RAM to preview it.

3D Modeling

Screenshot by Blender

Programs like Blender can function at different levels of hardware. As with everything, though, there are optimal hardware specs and Blender is pretty similar to video editing. You’ll want a good multi-core CPU to handle the different tasks you’ll ask a program like Blender to do. The more cores, the better. With that, you’ll run into the same RAM requirements of motion graphics where the more you have the less time you’ll spend waiting for an effects preview.

General Creative Work Priority

One thing I haven’t mentioned yet is how important the right hard drive is for creative work. The slower the hard drive you’re working with the slower your workflow is going to be. I would recommend, at minimum, getting a 2.5-inch SSD for your creative work. The reason behind having a fast hard drive is because you’ll constantly need to load files into these programs off your hard drive and the faster speeds will mean less downtime for you.

In the end, especially for video editing, it’s going to be a tradeoff of what you can afford and how much space you need. If you’re working in 4K projects, space can become an issue really fast and 1TB SSDs and M.2 NVMe drives can be expensive compared to their HDD counterparts in large sizes. I’d recommend a small, but fast internal SSD or M.2 NVMe to run your OS and editing program from and then a large HDD for the 4K footage. You can read up more on selecting a hard drive by checking out the piece we did on hard drive selection.

Pre-built PCs For Creative Work

Let’s look at some options for your creative work. Thankfully, we have a ton of pre-built and custom PCs you can look at to make selecting a PC for creative work quick and painless.

First up, the Creator RDY Revolt 3 i9GB PC. This beast of a system is expensive, but it’s worth every dollar. It has an 11th Gen 8-core processor, meaning you’ll be covered for years on the CPU end for video editing and 3D modeling. With that, the 32GB of RAM will allow you to run numerous programs at the same time while doing creative work.

Moving down the line, it has a 1TB M.2 NVMe hard drive. Not only will your PC boot fast but running programs and accessing all of those files will be fast. Rounding out the Revolt 3 i9GB PC is the powerhouse RTX 3090 GPU with a 24GB of memory built-in. With this beast, you’ll be able to work in the highest of effects in editing, motion graphics, and 3D modeling programs for years to come. What makes this selection truly special is how compact it is and how easy it is to take with you, should that need arise.

Next in the pre-builts is the Creator RDY LCMBR201 PC. Many of the specs between these two systems are the same, but a notable standout is the GPU. This PC comes with liquid cooling for the CPU and the ASRock Radeon RX 6900 XT GPU. What sets this PC apart from the Revolt 3 is that it will be easier to upgrade in the future due to the space available to you inside the case and its capacity for 4 RAM sticks instead of just 2.

Lastly in the pre-builts for creative is the Gaming RDY LCMBG206 PC. It’s slightly cheaper but still doesn’t skimp on parts. The most notable changes are the GPU and the storage options. It sports a 3080TI with 12GB of memory built-in. What really sets this PC apart is the additional storage it comes with, which can make it a great option for video editors who need the space. It not only comes with a 1TB M.2 NVMe drive but also an internal 2TB HDD.

While we’ve talked about these 3 PCs in terms of creative work, the top-of-the-line parts in them also mean they will be able to handle nearly every game currently released on the highest graphical settings so after you’ve finished your work you can easily switch into gaming mode.

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