Yes, gaming laptops can be good for video editing, but consider these important factors when choosing one!
At the end of the day, it all comes down to the specs of the hardware in the gaming laptop. Gaming in itself is a fairly resource intensive workload, so gaming laptops are often well equipped to handle plenty of other tasks such as video editing.
You’ll want to focus on the CPU, GPU, memory and screen quality when selecting a gaming laptop for video editing.
CPU, GPU & RAM
These key specs will ultimately determine the video editing experience on your laptop. It’s difficult to give generalized suggestions here as there are a number of factors to consider.
The video files that you’re editing are a variable that will affect performance. Different codecs, bit rates and resolutions for example will perform differently on different hardware.
Your video editing software of choice should also be considered when selecting a gaming laptop for video editing. DaVinci Resolve for instance may benefit more from a powerful GPU, while Adobe Premiere may benefit more from a more powerful CPU. More memory is especially helpful with larger projects and file sizes.
I benchmark both of these software suites with every gaming laptop I review, you can refer to the best laptops for Adobe Premiere Pro and the best laptops for DaVinci Resolve here to see how different gaming laptops compare.
The screen will be a key factor in selecting a gaming laptop for video editing. It of course depends on the level of quality you’re looking at producing, but a better quality screen will make the job easier. This may be less important if you are primarily editing with an external monitor connected to the laptop.
Having a color accurate screen for color grading for instance will improve your end result. There are a number of screen options available these days including OLED and Mini LED for laptops, though generally most models designed with gaming in mind have high refresh IPS or similar panels.
These aren’t inherently bad, and can actually be quite good – it just depends on the specific panel. Typically higher quality panels increase the cost of the laptop, so you’ll need to check reviews for screen specs like color gamut, color accuracy, brightness and contrast.
The screen is one of the first areas where budget gaming laptops cut costs. While you can certainly edit videos with budget friendly entry level gaming laptops, don’t expect amazing screen quality.
Some gaming laptops may have a 4K 60Hz screen option that has very high color gamut and brightness, as well as a 1080p 144Hz option but with lower color gamut. The latter is of course better for gaming, so it’s a tradeoff that you need to make based on which workload is more important to you.
Before Nvidia announced Studio laptops at Computex 2019, gaming laptops and the occasional business laptop were your best bet for video editing.
These days there are a number of creator branded laptops that might be a better fit for creative work, but generally speaking a gaming laptop is still going to have the horsepower for video editing.
Creator laptops tend to focus more on the things that are important to creators, such as a higher quality screen (usually with a lower refresh rate compared to gaming laptops) and other extras like SD card slots.
Gaming Laptop or Creator Laptop?
As video editing still requires good CPU, GPU and memory, creator laptops generally still do quite well at gaming. If video editing is your main focus with some gaming on the side, I’d consider a creator specific laptop first. On the other hand, if gaming is your focus with some video editing on the side, then a gaming laptop might be a better choice.
Of course if you don’t need portability then a desktop PC would be better paired with your choice of screen, but if portability is essential then these are your options. Personally I only edit videos on a laptop when traveling, so not much in 2021, but my 3+ year old laptop is still more than up to the task so you definitely don’t need the latest and greatest tech either.