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Best CPU for Photo and Video Editing - Graphics Buyers Guide

Last updated on 1 Jan 2017

Ok, you might want to buy a new CPU or upgrading CPU for video/photo editing or rendering workstation, hobby job or running a business. You may be using Premiere, Photoshop, Blender, any other editing or 3d modeling, and rendering software. You probably want to get 4-5 years out of this CPU. Your editing territory is 1080P or 4K, or you want both. And, you want to play some games on the side at high or ultra settings. And finally, the best CPU for money is up to you. The general rule of thumb is to buy the best you can afford.

Before you buy!

You might want to hold you purchase because new processor family Ryzen from AMD is coming in Q1 2017 (as per report) and it's even clashing with thousand dollar processors of Intel today. On the other side, Intel is preparing to launch kaby Lake family to prove they are still the king.
I don't care! Gimme the best CPU of today or this month. Ok, let's go. I don't know whether you are planning to overclock the CPU or not.
Overclocking allows you to get extra performance out of the CPU. But the price adds up because you need to invest in an overclocking supported motherboard and cooling solutions.

Premium

Intel Core i7 6950X Extreme Edition


It's the most expensive consumer CPU till date and overkill. It's a beast and destroys everything you throw at it and the best out there for heavy workstations doing 3D modeling and rendering. The Sad part is, it may not be for most of us due to eye-watering price.

Specifications


Process 14nm
# Cores 10
# of Threads 20
Base frequency 3GHZ
Max turbo boost 3.5GHZ
Cache 25MB
TDP 140W
Memory Type DDR4 - 4 channel
2400/2133
Socket FCLGA2011-3

High-End

Intel I7 - 6900K


And again this is only for heavy workstation 3D modeling and rendering. It's still overkill for light workstations. Those who know how important is to save 1 hour every day at work will find this CPU very useful in the long run for the 4K masterpiece.

Specifications


Process 14nm
# Cores 8
# of Threads 16
Base frequency 3.2GHZ
Max turbo boost 3.7GHZ
Cache 20MB
TDP 140W
Memory Type DDR4 - 4 channel
2400/2133
Socket FCLGA2011-3

Mid-Tier

Intel Core i7-6850K

I believe it's where most mainstream editing folks would want to start with and will get some extra performance boost in the long run and suitable for 4K video editing and processing. Highly recommended for light workstation and serious editing.

Specifications


Process 14nm
# Cores 6
# of Threads 12
Base frequency 3.6GHZ
Max turbo boost 3.8GHZ
Cache 15MB
TDP 140W
Memory Type DDR4 - 4 channel
2400/2133
Socket FCLGA2011-3

Best Budget

Intel Core i7 - 6700K

If you into base 4K editing and processing this CPU should be the start and fits most of us and its the best bang for buck CPU. Worth every penny. The extra threads help in editing tasks as well. It's magnificent for regular youtube editing fellas.

Specifications


Process 14nm
# Cores 4
# of Threads 8
Base frequency 4GHZ
Max turbo boost 4.2GHZ
Cache 8MB
TDP 91W
Memory Type 2- Channel
DDR4-1866/2133
DDR3L-1333/1600 @ 1.35V
Socket FCLGA1151

Entry Level

Intel Core i5 - 6600K


It's the best bang gaming CPU it can do 4K editing and rendering but it more suitable towards 1080p video editing than 4K. The processing time will take longer than other higher performers out there. But it's the absolute minima we recommend today. It is for the regular fellas who do casual editing in twice or thrice in a month for youtube

Specifications


Process 14nm
# Cores 4
# of Threads 4
Base frequency 3.5GHZ
Max turbo boost 3.9GHZ
Cache 6MB
TDP 91W
Memory Type 2- Channel
DDR4-1866/2133
DDR3L-1333/1600 @ 1.35V
Socket FCLGA1151

I'm not recommending anything below than suggested CPU because the entry level CPUs like i3's is not meant to be or won't work the same way for media editing task. The process time is way higher and lag issue as well. Not a good experience for media folks. That's it! Cyah next month probably lol.


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