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A question many creatives have been asking is, what specs do I have to look out for when investing in a new computer?

Whether you are intending to purchasing a computer off the shelf or making a custom one, there are a few misconceptions about what to look out for in terms of computer specifications, here are a few guidelines.

The first question usually is, "should I invest in Mac or PC?" Well, the truth is that it actually doesn't matter at all. Usually, you get a little more out of a PC for the same money than you do out of a Mac. This simply comes down to personal preference.

Next, you'll have to decide on what type of hard drive your PC should have. There are two main types: a SATA drive or an SSD. The biggest misconception about a computer running slower and slower over time is not due to the RAM. Most people assume that installing more RAM will speed up the computer, and that's not necessarily the case, especially when it comes to photo and video editing software. If you're running a conventional SATA drive, the truth of the matter is that the more data you got on a SATA drive, the longer it will take for your computer to find and access those files, whereby an SSD drive works similarly to a flash drive where, regardless of how much data you have on the hard drive, your computer will take the same amount of time to find and access data. So an SSD drive is recommended as your main hard drive, the one you will use to run your operating system off of as well as your photo and video editing software. You may have another internal storage drive in your computer setup, or even an external SATA hard drive to store your files on, your raw photos and video, project files and completed projects for example. The alternate school of thought is to make use of cloud storage services for your main method of storage.

Another thing that is commonly overlooked is having a USB 3 internal card reader. How you get your data off your cameras is a very personal choice, whether you're the type of person who prefers to use the USB connection cable from your camera to your computer, or simply taking your memory card out and slotting it directly into your computer is up to you. Either way, having an internal multiple card reader is incredibly useful for a photo and video editor.

The next most important thing to consider after your choice of hard drive, is the computer's processor. The processor acts as the brain of the computer setup. Editing software relies heavily on the computer's processor to function optimally. There are quite a few good processors to choose from, but the higher and better you go increases the price drastically, so get the best one that falls in your budget.

As far as memory goes, many people will say that you need to get as much as you possibly can but, as stated before, that is not necessarily true. If you are a gamer then yes, but purely for photo and video editing, we recommend getting the amount that your editing software of choice required which is usually around between 4GB to 8GB of RAM currently.

Using a more powerful graphics card and GPU processor is another common misconception with photo and video editing. You simply won't use the maximum capability of a top-of-the-line gaming graphics card with editing software, most of the time you are not relying on the GPU at all with your editing unless you are doing major colour grading and using external plug-ins etc. So, again, get the best one you can afford.

The above is a guideline to what computer components are vital for photo and video editing and where some are not major factors, take a look at the video below by Tony & Chelsea Northrup on what computer specs are best for photo and video editing.


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