Best laptops for Adobe Premiere Pro

March 1, 2017

Video editing is among the most demanding tasks that people do on laptops. It requires not only a fast processor but also sufficient memory and fast storage. Modern video editing applications also offer graphics card acceleration to speed up calculations.

A couple of years ago, video editing was mostly done on desktop workstations. Nowadays, there are many high performance laptops that handle Adobe Premiere Pro and similar applications very well. Here are some important things to look for in a video editing laptop (if you are not interested in this you can jump right to the laptop recommendations further down the page).

Processor

For many video editing applications, the processor (or CPU) is the most important component. Since you normally can’t upgrade the CPU on laptops, you need get a laptop with sufficient speed from the start. Adobe Premier Pro has a good support for multi core CPUs, at least up to 4 cores. Intel’s quad core i7 CPUs are usually a solid choice for video editing. Please note that not all laptop i7 CPUs are quad cores though. The ones ending in U, like the i7-7500U, are only dual cores. Make sure you get a CPU that ends in HQ, like the i7-7700HQ.

Graphics card

The graphics card (or GPU) can also be useful for video editing. Most video editing applications offer some kind of GPU acceleration. Adobe Premiere Pro offers this for some effects, but the CPU still does most of the heavy lifting. Other applications, like Blender, uses the GPU to a larger extent.

For Adobe Premiere Pro you should get at least a mid range GPU, like the NVIDIA GTX 950M. You can’t really upgrade the GPU on a laptop, so you need to pick a laptop with sufficient GPU when you buy it. Since Adobe Premiere Pro performance is usually CPU bound, you may not get a much better performance from a really strong GPU, like the GTX 1070. However, if you also use the laptop for Blender or gaming, a stronger GPU would certainly be useful. It is also possible that future versions of Adobe Premiere Pro uses the GPU to a larger extent.

Memory

It is important to get sufficient memory (or RAM) for video editing. If you don’t have enough RAM, they system will start to thrash to disk, which will make the laptop incredibly slow. On the other hand, once you have sufficient RAM, adding more will not really speed up computations. It makes sense to get at least 8 GB of RAM for video editing. 16 GB would be even better, especially for 4k videos. 32 GB is rarely needed, unless you edit long videos in very high resolution. Also, you can normally upgrade RAM later on if required.

There are different types of RAM, like DDR3 and DDR4. Benchmarks show that the performance difference is not that significant. There is no need to worry too much about what kind of RAM the laptop has, but do ensure that you get a sufficient amount of RAM.

Storage

There are two important factors here: speed and capacity. Most laptops either come with a hard drive (HDD) or a solid state drive (SSD). SSDs are much faster than HDDs, so those are always preferred. However, SSDs also tend to be smaller than HDDs, so make sure you get one with sufficient capacity for your files. How much you need depends on the videos you want to edit. You will probably need a 256 GB SSD at the very least. Ideally, try to get 512 GB or more.

If your laptop only comes with an HDD it is often possible to upgrade it with an SSD later on. You can find tutorials on how to do that, maybe even a youtube video that shows exactly how it is done on your laptop model.

Screen

The most common types of laptop displays are TN and IPS. Generally, IPS screens have a higher color accuracy and wider viewing angles. Because of that, IPS screens are preferred for video editing. Laptop manufacturers don’t always specify what kind of screen the laptop has. If that is the case, you can assume that it has a rather poor TN screen. Always ensure that the laptop has an IPS screen (ask the manufacturer or reseller if in doubt).

Screen resolution also matters for video editing. Generally, at least full HD (1920 ×1080 pixels, or 1080p) is recommended. For 4k video editing you may also want a laptop with a 4k screen (or you can connect an external 4k screen). Those screens come in different qualities though. The so called pentile matrix screens are not true 4k. If you want a higher resolution screen, the XPS 15 recommended below has a true 4k screen.

Laptop recommendations for Adobe Premiere Pro

1. Budget Adobe Premiere Pro laptop

The Lenovo Ideapad 700 is our budget pick for Adobe Premiere Pro. It comes with a quad core CPU and 12 GB of RAM, which is quite good at this price point. It also has an IPS screen for wider viewing angles. The 950M will be useful for any GPU accelerated effects. The base configuration is a 1 TB HDD, and you can add an SSD later on if you prefer that.

2. High performance Adobe Premiere Pro laptop

The Eluktronics P650HP6 is our top pick for high performance Adobe Premiere Pro. It comes with the latest generation i7-7700HQ CPU, which is probably the best performance you can get at this price point. The 16 GB of RAM should be more than enough for heavier video editing (you can also upgrade RAM later on if required). It also has both a 256 GB SSD for speed and a 1 TB HDD for additional storage. The GTX 1060 GPU is more than enough for video editing, and it can also handle heavy gaming, VR and 3D modeling applications like Blender. Finally, it also has a good build quality and a very good cooling system.

3. High performance and very portable Adobe Premiere Pro laptop with a great battery life

If you need something more portable than the Eluktronics above you can look at the Gigabyte Aero 14. It has the same CPU/GPU, so video editing performance should be the same. However, at 14" and 4 lbs it is significantly more portable. It also has a huge 94 Wh battery for "Full-Day Productivity" (seems it has around 7 hours of battery in practice).

4. High performance Adobe Premiere Pro laptop with a 4k screen

The XPS 15 is a similar high performance laptop to the Aero 14 above. However, it comes with a true 4k screen, which is great if you are doing 4k video editing. This laptop also has a very good build quality (aluminum case) and a good battery life.

5. Extreme performance Adobe Premiere Pro laptop

If you want the very best Adobe Premier Pro performance in a laptop, you may want to look at the Eluktronics Pro-X P750DM Mobile Workstation. It has a desktop grade i7-6700K CPU, which is around 20% faster than the typical high performance laptop CPUs. It also comes with 64 GB RAM, which is probably overkill for most video editors, but could be useful for long videos in very high resolution. It has a 512 GB SSD for speed and a 1 TB HDD for additional storage. This is basically a powerful desktop in a laptop format.

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