Video editing is a CPU-intensive task, so ensuring you have a powerful enough CPU is important. Both the Intel Core i5 and the Intel Core i7 are great choices for video editing, and they’re generally pretty affordable.
For video editing, more cores means better performance. Video editing can benefit substantially off more cores, therefore the i7 will outperform i5s in rendering times, Encoding, and decoding. This is because i7s have the hyperthreading feature which can result in a 25-30% performance boost.
Cores and Threads:
I5s now support hyperthreading which is great as it boosts performance for multithreaded tasks. The threads can boost performance by up to 30%, and this is great since video files are often large and require a lot of processing power.
Video encoding can benefit utilizing more cores, and i5s usually have between 2-6 cores, 6 for the 8th and 9th gen, 2-4 for the older gens. Currently, only the desktop variants of the i5 processor are able to have up to 6 cores, so desktops have the ability to outperform laptops in speed.
i7 processors have 6 cores for the 8th and 9th generation, and 4 cores for the older generations, BUT they have the hyperthreading feature where an application can utilize logical cores(threads). Hyperthreading allows a single processor to operate 2 threads at the same time, 4cores = 8 threads, 6 cores = 12 threads.
You are probably wondering if hyperthreading has any benefit for video editing, well hyperthreading does not = double performance, you’re not literally doubling the physical cores.
However, what hyperthreading does, it utilizes idle resources which means hyperthreading is best used for applications where multiple tasks(Multi-Threading) can be organized so your processor is effectively never idle. Applications that benefit massively off this feature are: Video Editing, and 3D Rendering.
The CPU cache is a much faster memory system than the much larger RAM you have on your system. RAM & HDDs are far too slow for repetitive tasks, so this is where CPU caches come into play.
i7 CPUs typically have more cache than the i5s. i7 8700K/12M Cache compared to i5 8600K/9M Cache. But what does this mean for video editing? Well more cache plays an important role for video editing, more cache means the processor will be better at repetitive tasks. Without the CPU cache, the processor would be limited to the speed of the main memory(RAM), and that is not fast enough for certain tasks.
More Cores Slower Speed Vs Less Cores Faster Speed
The question at hand here is asking whether clock speed is more important than core count, for video editing, the CPU GHz won’t really improve performance as much as the core count will. But it will definitely still have an impact on the video editing performance.
It depends on what task is being operated. More cores will be very beneficial for 3D Rendering as frames are divided between each core, therefore faster rendering times. Video editing applications that can benefit from multi-threading will see a huge performance boost from having more cores.
Faster cores result in faster single-threaded performance which sounds great, but when you have less cores & faster speed the performance will be worse on heavily multi-threaded applications.
But What Is Multi-threading?
Multi-threading is where applications can utilize multiple threads simultaneously. Multi-threaded applications run multiple tasks at the same time on different threads to reduce computational time and improve the performance of the application.
Certain tasks are able to take advantage of multithreading, and video editing is one of these tasks. Video editing software will use this ability to speed up the video editing processor, it does this by utilizing multiple threads which will complete a task significantly faster compared to a single thread.
i7 or i5 for 1080P, 2K, 4K?
The intel core i5 processors can edit at 1080P to reasonable standards. if we’re talking about a specific i5, i’d pick the i5 8600K(link to amazon).
The i5 8600K has 6cores no hyperthreading clocked in at 3.60Ghz which is enough for light-medium video editing. You can further increase the performance of the i5 8600k by overclocking.
The 8600(K) denotes that the chip is unlocked/overclockable therefore you have the overclocking capabilities in your power at any time. However, I only recommend overclocking if you understand what you’re doing to prevent chip damage.
How well can the i5 8600K edit at 1080P?
The i5 8600K is adequate if you are not serious about video editing. I honestly believe hyperthreading is one of the biggest factors you should consider when buying a CPU. This is because it can seriously decrease the time it takes to edit a video. You will have to wait longer times with the i5 in comparison to the i7, but if you’re a patient individual, then this factor shouldn’t affect you as much.
i7s naturally are very good at video editing due to the hyperthreading feature which could result up to a 30% performance boost, but they’re usually more expensive than the i5 peers. the i7 processor I have in mind is the i7 8700K(link to amazon).
The i7 8700K has 6 cores and 12 threads clocked in at 3.70Ghz. You can benefit a lot from the 12 threads as it reduces rendering times, and increases core efficiency. The i7 8700K is perfect if you’re taking a more serious approach to video editing.
How well can the i7 8700K edit at 1080P, 2K, 4K?
The i7 8700K can edit at 1080P with little to no effort. 6 Cores and 12 Threads offer some serious editing potential. Furthermore, the boost turbo frequency feature can push the clock speed to 4.70Ghz which will only result in quicker video editing results.
If you wish to have smooth/consistent editing and quick render times, and overall efficiency whilst editing, then the i7 will be the processor for you.
2K & 4K is where the i7 8700K shine the best. the i7 will be able to produce content very fast and smooth at super high detail @ 2K & 4K.
Why Should I Pick An I5?
The I5 is definitely a viable choice for video editing as they’re pretty powerful now, back in the day, I5s didn’t have hyperthreading which meant they were pretty weak for multithreaded tasks.
But now, i5s support hyperthreading, and they’re more affordable than I7s, so they make for a great affordable video editing build. With the 12 gen Intel processors, the I5 12600K has 10 cores and a total of 16 threads which is more than enough for video editing at 4K.
Why Should I Pick An I7?
You should consider choosing an i7 if you’re more experienced Video editor, and need to produce more content quicker and of higher quality.
i7 8700K can edit up to 4K with no problem thanks to the hyper-threading. If you’re serious about video editing, then the extra 25-30% performance boost will seriously benefit you in the future.
Stay away from dual core processors!
More cores = better performance. Dual-core processors are not recommended for video editing even from a non-serious editing standpoint. It is possible to edit with dual-core processors, but the time certain task such as (Video Rendering, Encoding, Decoding) will be significantly longer in comparison to quad,hexa and octa core processors.
Dual-core processors = fewer threads which mean heavily multi-threaded applications will suffer.
What about the Intel i9, are they worth it?
There is little reason to pick an i9 processor over an i7 processor. You may experience a lower core usage and a slight performance boost(5-10%), but that all comes with a heavy price tag (£500) for the i9 9900K.
i7 and i9 can both edit at 4k with ease, but users that pick the i9 want all the performance they can get. These users often have the best components that give the most for video editing.
You should only pick an intel core i9 processor over an i7 when you want a Top-Tier professional workstation. A system like this is best for Professional 3D modeling, Engineering, and animations.
To finish this off, the i7s are the winner, and it will outperform i5s in nearly every way except for the price. This is due to i7s generally having faster single-core performance and hyper-threading technology which can be heavily utilized by multi-threaded applications that all video editing software can benefit from.
Additionally, I7s have more cache than the i5s which means repetitive tasks will be executed faster and more efficiently.
i5 processors are great if you’re just starting out and want a cheap effective CPU to do the job at 1080P. Higher resolutions will result in slow and impracticable performance.