Video editing is a resource intensive process, so having a decent laptop goes a long way. For some situations you may be better off with a desktop, but if you are looking for the portability of a laptop then I have collected what I think are the best laptops for film students here.
To get right into it, here are three laptops that I think are among the best options.
In this guide we have made the assumption that you are looking for something that is good for a film student in college who is looking to use the laptop for video editing, as well as regular college activities.
We have alternatives from all ranges of the price spectrum. We have a really good high end laptop for those who are looking for the best regardless of price, and also an option for those who are trying to stick to a budget.
|CPU||9th gen i7||10th gen i7|
|GPU||Nvidia GTX Series||Nvidia RTX Series|
|Storage||512 GB||1 TB or more|
|RAM||8 GB||16 GB or more|
The recommended specs listed above are quite steep simply because video editing is a resource intensive process. If you are okay with decreased performance then go with something around the minimum. If you want the best performance then get a desktop computer with good specs.
Best Laptops for Video Editing and Film Students
I think the MSI GS66 is the best laptop for film students and video editing. It offers a lot of power and is built by a respectable manufacturer.
MSI GS66 Stealth
We think the best laptop for film students is the MSI GS66. This is not a cheap laptop by any means, but it has some of the best parts that you will find in a laptop. MSI has a reputation for making really good high end gaming laptops. Gaming laptops actually have a lot of the same features that we would want in a video editing laptop, namely a lot of power.
There are a few configuration options, but the model that we have picked has an Intel Core i9-10980HK CPU. This CPU has 8 cores, something that will be important for film editing. It does depend on the software that you are using, but in general most video editing software is capable of utilizing the 8 cores and 16 threads that this CPU has.
Another great feature about this laptop that is good for film students is the 32 GB of RAM that it comes with. Rendering and editing video requires a lot of RAM, and you could even go higher than 32 if you wanted, but most laptops will not have that. Even getting 32 GB is not that normal, and for most mid-level laptops 32 GB is the max that they can handle. This laptop can handle a maximum of 64 GB, so you do have some room if you feel the need to add more down the line.
Although as a film student you should get some extra storage in the form of an external hard drive, this laptop has a 1 TB SSD. This makes it possible to store quite a bit at a time, although 1 TB can fill up quite quickly also if you are filming in a high resolution. The most important part is that the laptop has an SSD, which most laptops luckily do these days.
As far as the GPU goes, the MSI GS66 has the NVidia RTX 2080 Super Max-Q. This is one of the better GPUs that you can get in a laptop. It is suitable for film students, as well as playing video games if you are interested in that.
As far as laptops go, this computer is our overall choice. The reason is that it has the best parts, it is made from a great manufacturer, and the price is not too shabby considering what you are getting. You could of course get a better bang for your buck if you made your own desktop.
See the MSI GS66 on Amazon.
Razer Blade 15
The runner up is the Razer Blade 15. This is a very popular laptop that really is quite good. Not only does it perform well, it also looks really good. It is still not a cheap laptop, but if it fits in your budget then this is definitely something to consider. If you are looking for something cheap, then I suggest you look into the Acer Aspire series. They are quite good for the price, but not really what you need as a film student who will be doing video editing and rendering.
Again there are a few configuration options, but the model we have picked comes with the Intel Core i7-10750H. This is a 6 core CPU, something that is quite respectable in a laptop. It is also a 10th gen, so the CPU should be competitive in terms of performance for a few years, and it should perform well for many years.
This model comes with the Nvidia RTX 2070 Max-Q GPU. It is not quite as good as the one in the MSI GS66, but it is pretty close. You can also upgrade or downgrade it on the product page based on your individual needs and budget. The Razer Blade is a great laptop, so if you can configure it to fit your budget then this laptop will last you a long time.
The laptop has 16 GB of RAM which is about what you should be looking for.
The Razer blade is a well known and liked line of laptop. There are a lot of really nice things about it and you should definitely have a look at what this laptop can offer you.
See the Razer blade 15 on Amazon.
This is an alternative that maybe some people will find interesting. Film students require a lot of creativity, and maybe you don’t want something that is not just good for making videos, but you also want something that would be good for digital art. You may want to have a look at a 2 in 1 laptop, and the Dell XPS 7390 is one of the best options for you on the market.
The CPU is an i7-1065G7. Despite being a new 10th gen version it only has 4 cores so it is not the best alternative around, but it is an i7 model still, so it does come with quite a bit of power.
What is most interesting about this 2 in 1 laptop is that it comes with a dedicated GPU. It has the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650, which is actually quite decent. Of course, for video editing you want really powerful parts, but if you are leaning towards something that can be used for both video tasks and more creational things then this is a good middle ground.
It also has 32 GB of RAM which is not all that common. RAM is something you can upgrade yourself but it is nice when it comes out of the box too.
Overall this is a really nice laptop that you should have a look at.
See the Dell XPS 13 7390 on Amazon.
ASUS ROG Strix Scar 15
The ASUS ROG Strix Scar is another powerful laptop that is well suited for video editing. This is a workhorse laptop that offers some of the best performance of any laptop.
One big reason this laptop is so good is because it comes with the Intel Core i9-10980HK CPU. This is an 8 core CPU, making it very good for tasks that can take advantage of the extra cores. For film students this is one of the best CPU choices.
As far as GPU goes the laptop has the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super. For video editing on a laptop you wan to get an RTX series GPU as they are quite a bit better than the GTX ones. You could still get an RTX 2080 GPU, but this one is still very good. Not a lot of laptops come with the i9-10980HK CPU so this is still one of the better options.
There is 32 GB of RAM and 2 TB of SSD storage. The 32 GB is very good, and you will need the 2TB of storage space when working with video.
See the ASUS ROG Strix Scar 15 on Amazon.
Acer Predator Helios 300
The Acer Predator Helios 300 is a slightly cheaper options than many of the premium laptops. That being said, this laptop is one of the best bang for your buck laptops. It has powerful parts and is a good laptop for film students and video editing particularly because of its price.
The Helios 300 comes with a new 10th generation Intel Core i7-10750H CPU. This is a 6 core CPU so quite good for things that can use the extra cores. Video editing is a resource intensive task where you will benefit from having more cores.
The laptop also has the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 GPU. This GPU is very good and makes the laptop suitable for video editing. Film students need to have a laptop where they can edit video, so looking for a good GPU and CPU as well as a decent amount of RAM and storage is important.
There is 16 GB of RAM and a 512 GB SSD on board. This is pretty good for video editing, but of course more is better here. For a film student though this should be acceptable.
See the Acer Predator Helios 300 on Amazon.
Razer Blade Pro 17
The Razer Blade comes in a pro 17 inch model as well. This version is great for those who want a little more screen real-estate to work on. The Razer Blade Pro 17 is a beautiful laptop with thin bezels giving it a premium look.
The 17 inch model comes with the Intel Core i7-10875H, 8 Core CPU. This is a very good CPU for video editing. This particular model has a full HD screen, but you can also chose a 4k screen on the product page. Some film students might want this better screen, but higher resolution videos take more power to render.
The laptop has a few options for GPU, but this model has the RTX 2070 Max-Q. This is a very good GPU, but you can select the RTX 2080 Super Max-Q too on the product page for a little extra performance. It comes down to if it fits in your budget or not.
There is 16 GB of RAM and a 512 GB SSD. The amount of RAM and storage could be a bit higher, but for many this will suffice. You can always get an externa HDD to store extra files, which makes a lot of sense when you will be creating so much.
See the Razer Blade Pro 17 on Amazon.
ASUS ZenBook Duo
The ASUS ZenBook Duo is an interesting laptop that is an alternative to a more traditional laptop. It comes with a touch pad above the keyboard, something that can be an advantage for many film makers. It allows you to make use of a stylus, perhaps to do writing on top of a video.
Despite being an artsy laptop, it still as good parts. One major drawback though is that it does not have a good GPU. If you are planning on doing heavy video editing, then this might not be the laptop for you. If you want the added touch screen built into the laptop then it is an interesting choice. You can also always buy an external pad for a laptop. The GPU that it does come with is the GeForce MX250, which of course is better than nothing, but not particularly well suited for video editing.
The CPU in the laptop is the Intel Core i7-10510U, so the CPU is still pretty good. An i7 offers a lot of power which is what you want when dealing with film and editing.
There is 16 GB of RAM and a 1 TB SSD. This is pretty decent and about what we would be looking for in a laptop.
See the ASUS ZenBook Duo on Amazon.
MSI GL65 Leopard
The MSI GL65 leopard is more of a mid-level laptop for film making and video editing. It offers very good parts, and it manages to do this at a very good price.
The Leopard comes with the Intel Core i7-10750H CPU. This is a great 6 core CPU that works well for video editing. If your budget fits a CPU with 8 cores that would be better, but the price difference can be quite big. This laptop offers a lot of bang for your buck in all areas.
There is the Nvidia GeForce RTS 2070 GPU on board. This is a great GPU, and makes the laptop suitable for playing video games and editing video.
There is also 16 GB of RAM and a 512 GB SSD. The storage could be a bit bigger to seal the deal with this laptop, but overall it is a very good option. It is not the cheapest option out there, but this MSI laptop does have good parts for the price.
See the MSI GL65 Leopard on Amazon.
Dell XPS 15 9500
The 15 inch Dell XPS offers a beautiful 4k screen. Many film students want a 4k screen, and this is one of the laptops that offer it. Keep in mind that editing 4k video take a lot of power. This laptop has good parts, but the GPU could be better.
The 9500 comes with the Intel Core i7-10750H. We have seen this CPU in a few other options, and it is the new version of the i7-9750H. The previous model was a staple in high end gaming laptops for a long time, so this CPU is also likely to be popular. It is a great CPU that will work well for film students.
The GPU is not an RTX model, but rather an Nvidia GeForce 1650 Ti. This GPU is quite good, making the laptop suitable for playing video games and other video rendering intensive work.
There 16 GB of RAM and a 1 TB SSD. It is nice to see the 1 TB SSD, as many other laptops only offer the 512 GB option.
See the Dell XPS 15 on Amazon.
MSI GE75 Raider
We are finishing the list with another powerful laptop. This laptop is one of the ones that are better suited for video editing with beefed up parts. High end parts come at a high end price, so this laptop is only a good choice if it fits your budget.
The laptop comes with the really good Intel Core i9-10980HK CPU. There are not that many laptops that have this high end CPU but this is one of them. It has 8 cores and is well suited for video editing on a laptop.
The laptop also has the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super Max-Q GPU. This is a very good GPU for a laptop, and makes it so that it works well for high intensive tasks. You can use this laptop for film editing as well as playing video games on high settings.
There is 32 GB of RAM and a 1 TB SSD. The extra RAM comes in handy when rendering video, and 1 TB of storage is quite good, although you still might want to pick up an externa HDD to store things long term.
See the MSI GE75 Raider on Amazon.
It is difficult to find a budget laptop that is well suited for film students. The reason is that for video editing you need a good CPU and a good GPU. Those two things usually only come together in at least a mid-range laptop. Despite that, we think the MSI GF65 is a great option for something that is a little more budget friendly.
This laptop comes with the Intel Core i7-9750H. Despite it being a 9th gen, instead of the newer 10th gen, this CPU has been a staple in high end gaming laptops and is really quite good for a laptop CPU. It has 6 cores, something that you should be striving to get. We think this CPU is better than a lot of the newer 10th gen CPUs with fewer cores that you will find.
The laptop also has a GPU. There are a few configuration options, but the one we picked has the GTX 1050 Ti. You can check out the other options, but it will add a little to the total if you choose to upgrade. If you have the budget for a better GPU then you should check out the option with the RTX 2060.
The laptop only has 1 x 8GB RAM chip, but that is actually a good thing because you can easily upgrade to 16 GB by just buying another RAM chip. I recommend that you do this as 16 GB is a lot better, and using two chips is actually better than just one in terms of performance.
One bad thing about the laptop is that it only has a 256 GB SSD. You can negate this by getting an external HDD, which is not expensive these days. You can actually get several TBs that you can either bring around or just keep at your desk.
See the MSI GF65 on Amazon.
Alternative to a video editing laptop for film students
Video editing is a very resource intensive task. Because of that, if you are looking to do a lot of video editing, then you should consider getting a desktop. They are a lot less practical, but you can get a little more for your money and you can get more power if you want.
We hope you find these alternatives to be a good starting point for your research. The best laptop for film students will be one that can function both for editing video, but it also has to last a long time. We think the MSI GS66 is that laptop. It might cost a lot, but you will be able to keep it for years and years to come. There are a few configuration options if you want to try to lower the price a little. The other laptops on the list are also excellent computers that you should consider.
I am a Software Engineer who enjoy writing about things that interest me. Here on OamaTech I write about programming as well as other tech related topics. Visit my author page to learn more about me and what I am working on right now.