The problem with Adobe premiere is not whether or not a cheap laptop can run it.
The truth is…it can.
If you are willing to wait a long time for things to render, you can edit videos with pretty much ANY laptop or computer.
Who wants to wait 1 hour to render a 5 min clip?
Virtually everyone would tell you they want render things fast or as they call it in the business:
“Slice through video rendering like a warm knife on soft butter”
Having a hardware specifically configured for Adobe Premiere can cut down editing times from hours to minutes.
What kind of laptop would that be?
Laptops with the power of desktops. Of course, we have to avoid those that are way too big to carry, there’s no point of getting a laptop if it’s going to be unusable on the go is there?
We both know we are going to need something portable in case we constantly have to show progress to colleagues or clients.
Thist post will try to cut down your research time from days to minutes.
We’ll go over the exact features/specs you need to render things fast and we’ll also list the 5 best laptops for Adobe Premiere in 2021 with these specs in mind.
Top 5 Best Laptops for Adobe Premiere Pro
Hardware Requirements for Adobe Premiere Pro CC
According to Adobe, the minimum requirements are:
- Multicore Intel processor with 64-bit support
- 8 GB of RAM (16 GB or more recommended)
- 1280×800 display (1920×1080 or larger recommended)
- Optional: Adobe-recommended GPU card for GPU-accelerated performance*
This suggests that virtually any laptop can run the software and that’s true as we talked about it before.
But like I said, it’s not going to be pretty.
Obviously, we could just ignore everything and throw money at the latest gaming laptop released in 2021 and we’d be fine.
However, if you want to maximize performance/money ratio, follow these guidelines:
Get a modern CPU with the highest clock speed you can afford. Make a table comparing prices vs clock speeds if it comes to that.
8GB RAM for >>60 min footage.
16GB for << 60min footage.
32-64GB is unnecessary unless you’re going to rely heavily on Adobe After Effects. 16GB should be enough for AE’s regular usage.
Whilt it is true that simple cuts/transitions don’t need a dedicated GPU.
Most people using Adobe Premiere are not doing just that so it’s not optional, get a dedicated GPU.
A mid-range, GPU, like a AMD Radeon RX580 or the NVIDIA GTX 1660Ti/2060RTX/1060 will be okay for about 80% of you.
If you want to go higher, check their vRAM . More vRAM means being able to easily work with bigger and bigger timelines.
SSDs are virtually present in any laptop made within the past year. SSDs will give you faster previews/reduce exporting times and rendering too. You should worry about size, 128GB is not enough for Adobe Premiere, 256GB is fine if you’re going to use a back up driver, 512GB is more ideal but it starts to get expensive.
*Having two separate SSDs (one for the OS, the other for AE) will boost speeds even more. You can set this up by upgrading your laptop on your own.
1080p IPS (this is enough even for 4k video editing, more details on the last section). 15-17”, there’s not enough workspace in a 13” display.
Best Laptop For Adobe Premiere Pro
16GB RAM DDR4
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 8GB vRAM
512GB PCIe NVMe
15” Full HD IPS 144Hz
The best laptop for Adobe Premiere isn’t going to be a workstation laptop but whatever the latest gaming laptops have to offer.
Obviously, you could get a 2080RTX or even a 3080RTX which is coming up in a few months but that’s kind of overkill for video editing.
According to benchmark studies (you can check them in the next section) there’s little performance gain if you go for a higher tier GPUs like the 2080RTX.
The best laptops for Adobe Premiere are going to be gaming laptops with the latest CPU and GPU jammed into it.
In fact, a 2070RTX is kind of overkill for Adobe Premiere, it really becomes useful for all other aspects of video editing though and so it’s more “future proof” for anything you’d like to try later (Da Vinci Resolve comes to mind).
Now, I’m sure you’ve already seen several 2070RTX laptops online but note that this one has a 10th generation Core i7 CPU AND it comes from MSI, which is a pretty known and trusted brand for gamers. The reason is simple: design. Which means this puppy is going to last you several years due to its cooling system keeping temperatures away from dangerous levels. This is one of the reason why it’s so popular on Amazon, the other being the price, which is quite cheap in the grand scheme of high end gaming laptops.
If you can’t afford this one, don’t sweat it. You can still get a lot of work done with the next two laptops.
Best Laptop For Adobe Premiere Pro
NVIDIA RTX 2060
512GB PCIe NVMe
15” full HD 144Hz IPS
This is about 200$ cheaper and it has a 2060RTX GPU.
While there is an even greater variety of 2060RTX laptops to choose from, the acer predator is currently the best selling 2060RTX laptop for several reasons:
- It’s cheaper
- It’s got a 10th generation
- Although kind of useless for video editing: 144Hz
- Best Cooling System
- Long lasting and no manufacturing issues (hence the great reviews)
As for the hardware, as you can see it is still pretty much the same as the first laptop except for the GPU which has -2GB vRAM. Having less vRAM will mainly affect how fast you can apply GPU accelerated effects on bigger timelines. Rendering won’t be affected that much because it’s still has a lot of “extra cores”.
In fact, if you make a graph of the video editing performance vs graphics cards, you’ll see that it will peak with a 2060RTX. You can check this in the guide below where we’ve linked the benchmark studies.
3. Acer Nitro 5
Budget Laptop for Adobe Premiere
Intel Core i5 9300H
GeForce GTX 1650
256 PCIe SSD
15” FHD 1080p IPS
Both laptops above are geared more towards professionals applying all kinds of effects in their timelines including GPU accelerted effects.
If you don’t fall in that category and you consider yourself a semi-pro or even an amateur, I’d advice you to save yourself some cash and get a 1650GTX or a 1660Ti.
This is the best selling 1650GTX laptop which is usually below 700$.
The only thing that is missing is a 16GB RAM stick but unfortunately there are no models with it , you can however do the upgrade yourself and this is super easy with this model because it’s bigger than average and thicker and the manufacturer has made it easy to access the RAM slots and the M.2 slots for storage upgrades.
If this model runs out of stock, try any of these models. The cheapest models are usually thinner and much harder to upgrade but are upgradeable nonetheless, keep that in mind.
And only opt for the 1050GTX models if you’re going to do basic video editing here and there.
|ASUS VivoBook||R5 3500U||1050GTX||60Hz||650$|
|HP Pavilion||R5 3550H||1050GTX||60Hz||665$|
|HP Pavilion||i5 9300H||1650GTX||60Hz||686$|
|HP Pavilion Gaming||i5 9300H||1050 3GB||60Hz|
|Acer Nitro||i5 9300H||1650GTX||60Hz||700$|
|HP Pavilion||R5 3550H||1650GTX||60Hz||700$|
|HP Pavilion||i5 9300H||1650GTX||60Hz||700$|
|ASUS TUF||R5 3500U||1650GTX||120Hz||737$|
|ASUS TUF||R5 3550H||1650GTX||60Hz||750$|
|Lenovo 3||i5 10300H||1650GTX||120Hz||750$|
|Dell G3||i5 10300H||1650GTX||60Hz||750$|
|Lenovo L340||i5 9300H||1650GTX||60Hz||628$|
|HP Pavilion||R5 4600H||1650GTX||60Hz||659$|
|MSI GF63 Thin 9SCX||i5 9300H||1650GTX||60Hz||699$|
Quad Core i7 10th gen
NVIDIA GTX 1650/1660Ti
256GB-2TB NVMe PCIe SSD
12.5-13.5” Pixel Sense (3000×2000)
A big problem with the laptops we just went over is that they’re heavy.
Getting that much power into a thin, light weight device is very difficult hence expensive.
Do note despite the size and weight, it’s got a 15” display and almost the same hardware as the Acer Predator or the Acer Nitro (depending which configuration you use).
This is the best choice for those looking for something ultra portable and are always working on the go and showing progress to different clients.
It’d be best for you to get the 1660Ti/16GB/256-512GB model right off the bat because this isn’t upgradeable and if you do try to upgrade it you’ll void the warranty.
5. Dell XPS 15
Best Premium Laptop For Adobe Premiere
Core i7-9750H Up To 4.5GHz
16GB RAM DDR4
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 4GB vRAM
1TB SSD PCIe NVMe
15.6” 4k UHD Infinity Edge TouchScreen IPS
Laptops like these are out of reach for most people unless they’re already making the big bucks.
This laptop is special because it has a 4k resolution display, it’s lightweight despite it’s big screen.
It’s not the most powerful one though as you can already tell by the GPU: 1650GTX.
But you’re only going to get that lightweight 4k resolution display with a laptop like this. Other choices are the Razer Blade and the MacBook Pro 16”.
It’s just aesthetics though. I personally don’t think a 4k resolution display is going to be that useful if you get it in a laptop simply because when you try to edit a 4k video, the resolution will be scaled down for it to fit into the smaller editing window.
In other words, having a 4k display isn’t a must for 4k video editing.
The situation changes withi a desktop because you can use two displays and some displays have 10k resolutions!
Choosing The Best Laptop For Adobe Premiere CC
For the sake of understanding this section, we have to clear up a few definitions.
What do encoding, rendering, transcoding and exporting mean in this section?
In a nutshell:
render = apply changes/efffects to your video after editing for previews
encode= apply a format/codec AVI MP4
exporting = encoding + rendering, your final product
transcode= change formats
*encoding/exporting are used interchangeably in other sites to mean outputting a file. Not here.
The processor will make all the difference between taking a day to edit a video compared to a few hours.
Before even attempting to answer this question, it is important to understand the two most basic CPU specifications:
The frequency is essentially how many operations a single CPU core can complete in a second (how fast it is).
The number of cores is how many physical cores there are within your CPU (how many operations it can run simultaneously).
Clock Speed (Frequency)
How fast you can apply effects, render and encode all depens on your clock frequency. There’s really no limits to it, the higher your CPU speed the better.
Editing/applying effects are the two most frequency dependent operations.
According to benchmark studies by Pudget systems on Adobe Premiere. Exporting benefits from multi core CPUs more than clock frequency (up to ~8 cores for 1080p and ~10 cores for 4k resolution ).
On the other hand if you actually contact Adobe customer support, they’ll tell you there’s no limit to how many cores can Adobe Premiere take advantage of. In other words, the more cores, the less time it’ll take to render/export but studies/user experience actually show otherwise(there’s a limit).
Interestingly enough, rendering previews benefit from multiple cores in some instances and from a single core with the highest frequency at others. Why? It depends on the source footage.
Laptops vs Desktops
For laptops however you are limited to only 4-6 cores.
The amount of RAM depends on how long your footage is and how long your average cuts are.
You will benefit from more RAM at least until you can fit in all of your source footage in memory.
The more data you can leave cached in memory, the faster your CPU will be able to acess your footage for any operation(editing/rendering/encoding).
On the other hand, Adobe Premiere will take around 5-7GB when cutting 60+min movies. Add to that windows 10 and any other background process you’ll be hitting 8GB pretty fast.
Anything more than 16GB will start giving you diminishing returns and not worth the investment.
If you use After Effects and a lot of external plug-ins like Magic Bullet then an upgrade to 32GB can’t hurt.
After Effects works considerably smoother on complex projects if it has a ton of RAM to work with.
In an ideal world, we’d all have enough RAM to store our entire footage allowing us to render/edit videos at lightining fast speeds.
But the truth of the matter is : footage will never be placed entirely (cached) into RAM.
From my knowledge that’s how Adobe Premiere handles RAM so your computer will always resort to using your storage device*.
*Actually going for a fast storage device and a good GPU might be more beneficial than having a more powerful CPU and RAM. Since these two (CPU & RAM) are getting less and less important in the world of computer graphics.
The most common form of storage out there are Hard Disk Drives but they’re way too slow for video editing. On the plus side, they are cheap and have tremendous capacity (usually 1TB).
This is where Solid State Drives come in, they can read/write data up to x17 the speed of an HDD.
You’ll have an increase performance when: rendering, previewing, loading source files, outputting and exporting videos.
You’ll also notice a huge difference when transfering files from your camera to computer.
Needless to say: booting up, loading Adobe Premiere Pro and other applications will be lightining fast as well.
Recommended Storage Device Set Up
Whatever you settle with, you must include an SSD.
Among the many types of SSD laptops available, NVMe PCIe based SSDS have a 20% increase in performance compared to SATA III SSDs if you hold your project files(media cache) within it.
On the other hand, having a slow HDD doesn’t just mean more waiting times for the tasks mentioned above but also jumpy playback and dropped frames.
Pudget systems has put up a cool chart with the recommended set up you should aim for.
However for laptops you are only limited to having two storage devices. So either get a single 512GB SSD or even better a:
This two drive configuration will let you take advantage of the huge data capacities of HDDs + the speeds of SSDs.
The SSD should contain your OS, Adobe Premiere & Media Cache while the HDD can take your source files/final exported renders plus any other data that doesn’t come into play when video editing.
Having a dedicated GPU for adobe premiere is a no brainer, you’ll need it as a “extra CPU” or to act as an “additional core” to improve rendering/exporting times.
That’s only if your workflow depends on many of these accelerated effects which are listed by Adobe on their website.
If you don’t use any of these accelerated effects(which is extremely unlikely) and rely on simple cuts, transitions and other simple effects then you do not need a GPU to improve rendering/exporting times.
They also play a major role in video playback at higher resolutions, so if you are thinking of an external monitor with high resolution, you’ll also need to invest on pretty powerful GPU. (more on this soon)
The benefits of a specific type of GPU over others (brand, model,etc) have also been benchmarked by Pudget Systems:
- How powerful these cards are will not improve the time it takes to export at the same resolution. We can conclude then that as long as you have one of the high end dedicated cards you’ll be ok when working at the same resolution.
- Higher end GPUs are better when exporting from a high to low resolution and will also generate faster Previous at 1080p.
- Generating Previews at 1080p are faster with higher end GPUs. But higher resolutions(4k) show no increase in the time it takes to generate previews .
So which cards should we go for?
For serious video editing and 4k video editing, aim for the high end 9th and 10th generation GFX cards: 960M and above(970M and 980M, 1060Ti, 1070Ti) . A 1070TI will offer you the best bang for your buck.
The bigger your timeline and the higher the resolution you work with the higher you’ll need to step up your graphics card.
If you are stuck with the same model and different vRAM, choose the one with the highest vRAM.
Why NVIDIA not AMD?
This subject is a bit complex. Don’t forget the competition is one sided among laptops, so you’ll be stuck with NVIDIA cards anyways.
So just believe me and for now stick with NVIDIA to be on the safe side. If you are curious then just keep reading. If not skip the following section*.
CUDA vs Open CL *
The real reason is that you’ll get better performance from the CUDA core technology that NVIDIA cards have. These can act as additional cores when rendering/exporting videos with accelerated effects.
On the other hand, AMD cards have OpenCL which Adobe Premiere also supports and are said to have similar performance but I haven’t seen good evidence that Open CL performs on par with NVIDIA Cards.
The only one worth considering is Linus tech tips but pudgetsystems, the current leaders in benchmark testings, have concluded that CUDA outperforms open CL.*
*If someone has any experience on the subject, or, even better, has compared the performance of CUDA / Nvidia vs OpenCL / AMD graphic cards, please share)
Surprisingly for video editing, gaming cards are more powerful and a lot cheaper. The main advantages of workstation cards such as NVIDIA Quadro/AMD FirePro are that you’ll get better support, drivers and they are a must have for 10bit displays.
There’s not much you can do when choosing a display for a laptop, it’s not like you can configure yours to have the size&resolution you want.
If having a great colorspace in a laptop is important to you there are just a handful out there that have a greater gamut.
For example, the Dell XPS 15 & MacBook Pro. As shown in the list above, the Dell XPS 15 also has a model with a 4k resolution display.
IPS vs TN display
IPS panels are obviously the best (and probably your only choice with any high end laptop), they have greater colorspace and better viewing angles.
Matte vs Glossy
I prefer Matte Displays. I believe they have an impact on my eyesight but to each his own. Glossy will display more vibrant colors. It’s up to you.
1080p min obviously and you know what? You don’t have to have a 4k resolution display for 4k video editing, your software will scale it down since your editing window is much smaller.
4k displays in laptops will only be useful to playback your 4k videos, that’s it.
More importantly you need to worry about calibrating your monitor for you to show accurate colors on all your target devices.
Ideally, you’d want to invest on an external display for the final touch ups and to make sure your work is as accurate as possible. But I’m sure many of you already have that in mind.
I am aware not everyone is quite adept with hardware so If you have any trouble understanding computer terms or have any questions about a laptop you have an eye on or any other type of question, you can drop a comment below.