Buying a computer? READ THIS FIRST!

triforcefx United StatesPosts: 1,647 Moderator
edited February 2021 in General

Before the pandemic started, it was relatively easy to find a “bang-for-your-buck” computer... just search for computers on Amazon and you could find something decent and capable of running HitFilm in your first few results.

This is no longer the case.

Right now, almost any computer under $500 is PURE GARBAGE. Above $500, there are still quite a few bad apples. Even in the $1000+ category, it’s very possible to end up with a computer that will disappoint you. Here are some tips to help you find a good computer for HitFilm in 2021.


MAKE SURE that any computer you get has an Intel Core i3, i5, i7, or i9; or an AMD Ryzen 3, 5, 7, or 9.

If you see “Pentium”, “Celeron”, “Athelon”, “A4”, or anything that’s not a Core i-series or Ryzen, run for the hills.

Threadrippers and newer Xeon processors will run HitFilm, but will NOT take full advantage of them, and in many instances will run slower than the “desktop-class” chips. Save your money unless you have a specific need for them. (Credit: Triem23)


MAKE SURE that whatever computer you get has an SSD. No computer in this decade should be using a mechanical hard drive for its main drive.

It is recommended to have at least 512 GB of storage. (Credit: Triem23)


In 2021, 8 GB RAM should be a BARE MINIMUM for a new computer, but 16+ GB is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. If you do settle for less than 16 GB, ensure you have the option to upgrade it in the future. (Credit: Triem23)


HitFilm works best with a dedicated graphics card from NVIDIA or AMD. Make sure it has at least 2 GB of VRAM (this is the majority of current dedicated GPUs), as that is the minimum requirement for editing 4K in HitFilm. (Credit: Stargazer54)


MAC USERS: Do NOT buy the new M1 Macs at this time! HitFilm is not optimized for M1 yet and you will be disappointed with the performance. Stick with what you’ve got for now, or get an Intel Mac.

If you’re unsure about finding a new computer right now, feel free to ask, ESPECIALLY if you’re on a tight budget.

(Edit: Modified some parts and added a few more items based on others’ suggestions. Thanks!)


  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,415 Power User

    To add a couple of notes. Threadrippers aren't fully utilized by Hitfilm. Unless you have other software that will, you can stick with the Ryzen 3/5/7/9

    Hitfilm is design to run on gaming hardware. Beware workstation GPUs like Quadros.

    You need a minimum of 512GB of drive storage.

    You really need at least 16 GB of RAM to really take advantage things like RAM preview.

  • tddavis
    tddavis Posts: 5,256 Expert
    edited February 2021

    @triforcefx Great timing to start this thread. What with income tax refund season gearing up and a maybe, possibly a 3rd pay, stimulus check coming 🤣 there will be a plethora of posts about brand new (albeit under spec) purchases. Good info from both of you.

  • jtjutsvfx
    jtjutsvfx Posts: 132 Enthusiast
  • Stargazer54
    Stargazer54 Posts: 3,977 Ambassador

    Also don't forget a dedicated GPU with at minimum 1 GB VRAM - and even then that's pretty low. I would say the minimum, if you are going to do any effects, is 2 GB, but the more the better.

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,415 Power User

    @Stargazer54 I'd argue 2GB of VRAM is the minimum.

    2GB of VRAM is (for the new reader) needed to edit 4K video, or make a Timeline larger than 1920x1080 in general.

    Good catch, Lynn!

  • Andy001z
    Andy001z Lord EarthPosts: 3,633 Ambassador

    With my adventures into 3d rendering I would add that my 3gb 1060 is running out of memory when handling 3d scences. And one thing I've learnt is that windows 10 rather annoyingly use s gpu memory to handle graphics. Even tools like calculator steals memory from the gpu. Testing has shown only killing the process releases the memory back. So while Hitfilm might not use it other things will. So if you can stretch to more gpu memory go for it.

  • bettyjones
    bettyjones Posts: 1 Just Starting Out
    edited May 2021

    Yes, a great post, but I was surprised that someone is still selling computers with Celeron processors, because this is outright rubbish. In any case, buying such a computer is pointless, it is better to look at[ Link removed by Moderator] for a payday loan in the amount of $ 300-500 to buy a computer that will work normally for several more years.

  • DataDesign
    DataDesign Posts: 684 Enthusiast

    Please remove the link. Payday loans are a scam and illegal in many areas. Thanks

  • Andy001z
    Andy001z Lord EarthPosts: 3,633 Ambassador

    Bit of an old thread this, but given it has popped up again, Ill just add an update. The GPU market right now is crazy. Nvidia 3xxxx series is either sold out or going on Ebay for silly money. Even older cards are selling way above the price expected. If you need a new computer right now, one of the best ways to get a decent dedicated GPU is infact in a laptop, while some Crypto miners are using these, it is not as popular and because they are sold as a whole deal, scalpers (people that buy lots of one thing that people want and sell at crazy uplifted prices) arn't as interested. Laptops these days come with some pretty dam nifty specs.

    Something like this looks pretty good and not too bad price :

    or Corridor digital recently used this from Razer (but its going to cost you) :

  • gerry1234
    gerry1234 Posts: 2 Just Starting Out

    Hi Guys,

    as I am searching for a suitable compromise for a pc to use hitfilm for editing videos for YouTube I have read your comments here and would like to know if the following computer could be the one:

    It's an older one but might meet the minimum requirements as I don't want to buy a new one.

    HP Prodesk 400 G1

    CPU: Intel Core i5-4570 | 3200 MHz

    Motherboard: Hewlett-Packard 198E

    HDD: 500 GB Serial ATA 6Gb/s (will be replaced by a SSD)

    Chipset: Intel H81

    Memory: 8192 MBytes (2x 4096 MB PC12800 DDR3 SDRAM) - will be extended to *whatever is necessary*

    Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 4600

    DVD +R Laufwerk

    USB 3.0, Audio, VGA, DVI

    Please note: I don't want to create Hollywood like movies, just usable ones for YouTube and maybe Instagram.

    Could it work with that one?

    Thanks, Gerry

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,415 Power User
    edited May 2021

    @gerry1234 the machine you describe does not meet minimum hardware requirements for Hitfilm.

    The key thing is GPU. Min specs for Hitfilm require the Intel HD 5000. The HD 4600 is obviously under.

    If you're trying to save money by not buying a machine with a dedicated GPU you'll need a 5xxx Intel or more recent.

    I would recommend trying to spend a little extra money and look for a 6xxx Intel and/or something with a discrete GPU. I have three machines with Hitfilm installed. One is an i5 5300u, which is basically min spec and it's pretty painful to work with. Even just for personal/hobby use if the experience is overly slow, you won't have fun. I'm certainly not recommending you spend $2000 on a new, high end machine, but a dedicated GPU is important for Hitfilm.

    16 GB should be your minimum RAM, but RAM can be expanded.

    I don't know your country or budget, but a search on eBay (USA) finds things like this

    Other than only 8GB RAM, this machine gets you a 6th gen i7 and a Radeon 530 GPU, which is about 3x faster than an Intel HD 5000. Still slow by current standards, but a pretty good buy for $400.

  • gerry1234
    gerry1234 Posts: 2 Just Starting Out
    [{"insert":"Thank you Triem23 for your help. I just found another solution that fits my needs as I don't have the budget for a PC with these requirements.\n🙂\n"}]
  • Hictor
    Hictor Posts: 380 Enthusiast
    edited May 2021

    Also, if you're going to get into the higher-end of things, make sure to avoid my mistake.

    I bought a Ryzen 3900 XT. Nothing inherently wrong with the processor other then mine having a manufacturing issue which caused to both overheat starting at a blazing 76 Celsius on boot idle with a special bonus of defecting two ram slots after two weeks.

    I took mine back to the store and was told that I'd have to wait for weeks for replacement, since this model is almost always out of stock.

    I'm stuck with my draconian laptop until then. Moral of the story: check for replacement stocks and consider this possibility.

    Come to think of it, now I wish I just bought a freakin Razor Blade 15

  • Andy001z
    Andy001z Lord EarthPosts: 3,633 Ambassador

    It's a crap time for any gpu issues right now, hope you get yours back soon

  • NikoDavid
    NikoDavid Posts: 5 Just Starting Out*

    Thanks for the article! I wish I saw it before buying a computer, there would be less headache 😅