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Best Mac For Video Editing of 2024 For All Budgets

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In our experience, Macs are by far the best computers for using video editing software and so here we’ve taken a look at the best Mac for video editing to suit all budgets and levels.

In our testing, we covered everything from the best MacBooks for video editing on the move to the best desktop Macs for post production editing.

We tested performance for everything from handling 4K and 8K video, to video upload and download speeds when rendering.

In our extensive video editing on a range of Macs, we found the best overall Mac is the M2 Mac Studio thanks to its incredible processing power, ability to edit 4K and 8K video with ease and portability for video editing on the move.

Which Mac Is The Best For 4K Video Editing?

All of the Macs we’ve reviewed here are more than capable of handling 4K video editing so the choice will depend on your budget.

In fact our top choice, the 2023 M3 MacBook Pro with M3 Max chip, can not only edit up to 30 streams of 4K video at once but even handle 7 streams of 8K video.

Meanwhile our top desktop pick the M2 Mac Studio with M2 Ultra chip can edit up to 22 streams of 8K ProRes video.

The one thing we would advise however for 4K video editing, is to add as much RAM as possible to your Mac when you buy it.

Video editing requires a lot of RAM (know as “Unified Memory” in Apple Silicon Macs) and the more you can buy, the better.

Nowadays Macs are non-customizable after purchase so you can’t upgrade the RAM later although you can always add an external SSD hard drive or external Thunderbolt hard drive if you need more storage space.

Video Editing Software For Apple Silicon Macs

The latest generation of Apple Silicon Macs have taken video editing on Macs to a new level thanks to Apple’s new powerful Apple Silicon chipset.

However, one important thing to bear in mind when deciding which Mac to buy is that some video editing software don’t have a native Apple Silicon compatible version yet.

As you might expect, Apple’s own video editing software Final Cut Pro X (FCPX) works natively on Apple Silicon Macs as does the incredibly popular free DaVinci Resolve.

Adobe has also now released native Apple Silicon compatible versions of Adobe Premiere and Adobe Premiere Elements.

For those that don’t have native Apple Silicon versions of the software, you can still use them as macOS uses a clever system called Rosetta 2 to translate them to work.

It does however mean that you may encounter problems from time to time and slower performance compared to using video editing tools that have been built to work specifically with M-series chips.

You can read more about this in our guide to the best video editing software for Macs.

External Monitors & Video Editing on a Mac

Another thing to consider is that you will probably want to get an external display or monitor for serious video editing.

There are some excellent external displays for the MacBook Pro and monitors for the Mac Studio which make video editing much easier.

It’s important to be aware that the base model M1, M2 and M3 chip Macs can only support a maximum of one external display although there are still ways to connect multiple monitors to M1 & M2 Macs.

This is not a problem with Macs with the M-Pro or M-Max chip which can support up to 4 external monitors.

The same goes for the Mac Studio which can support up to 5 external monitors (4 via Thunderbolt plus 1 via HDMI) thanks to the M2 Ultra chip.

External Hard Drives For Video Editing

Most video editors require a lot of hard drive space, not only to store large video files, but also to edit video from instead of on the Mac’s internal drive.

To edit video directly from an external hard drive requires a very fast external hard drive that can read and write data very quickly.

SSD drives are much faster than mechanical HDD drives and video editing software requires high-speed read/write capabilities that only Thunderbolt connections can offer.

The best external drives for video editing though are Thunderbolt external drives such as the SanDisk Professional Pro which is capable of transfer speeds of up to 40Gb/s.

If you can’t afford a Thunderbolt drive then at least make sure you get an external Solid State Drive (SSD) such as the Samsung T5 for video editing as SSDs are much faster than traditional mechanical drives.

For more on this, check out our guide to the best external SSD drives for Mac and best Thunderbolt drives for Mac.

eGPUs & Video Editing on a Mac

There is still one benefit to Intel Macs compared to Apple Silicon Macs – eGPUs.

You can boost the performance of an Intel Mac with an External Graphics Unit or eGPU as they are commonly known.

eGPUs are able to process graphics much faster than your Mac and many video editors use them as a cost effective way to enhance Intel Macs for video editing.

At the moment, eGPUs do not work with M1 or M2 Macs so if you’re thinking of getting an eGPU for video editing on your Mac, you’ll definitely need an Intel Mac.

1. M2 Mac Studio (Best Desktop Mac)

m2 mac studio

The M2 Mac Studio is Apple’s newest Mac aimed at creative professionals and is our pick for the best desktop Mac for video editing due to a mix of incredible power and connectivity.

The impressive Mac Studio is aimed at creative professionals with the M1 Mac Studio originally released in March 2022 alongside a stunning new monitor the 5K Apple Studio Display.

The M2 Mac Studio was then announced at the WWDC  2023 with an even faster M2 Max and M2 Ultra chip and support for HDMI 2.1 for connecting external displays.

The Mac Studio is a hybrid mix between the Mac Mini and MacBook Pro but with the option to add an even more powerful M2 Ultra chip with up to 76-core GPU performance.

Apple calls the M2 Ultra chip “the worlds most powerful chip for a personal computer” and it’s tailor made for the demands of video editing and special effects rendering.

When it comes to video editing, the Mac Studio with M2 Ultra chip can handle up to 22 streams of 8K ProRes video which only the desktop M2 Mac Pro can match.

This makes rendering video in video editing software such as Premiere Pro or Apple’s Final Cut Pro almost instant – there’s no waiting around for rendering to complete.

It also includes the option to add 196GB of unified memory, 800GB/s or memory bandwidth and an 8TB SSD which dwarfs the processing power and storage capacity of both the Mac Mini and MacBook Pro.

The Mac Studio is also jam packed with ports for connectivity including four Thunderbolt 4 ports, a 10GB ethernet port, two USB-A ports, HDMI and a Pro audio jack.

Pricing for the Mac Studio starts at $1,999 for the M2 Max with the M2 Ultra starting at $3,999.

If you bought a top of the range Mac Studio with M2 Ultra chip, 8TB of SSD it would cost $7,999 (£6,100) so it’s one of the most expensive Macs on the market.

On top of this is the 27 inch 5K Apple Studio Display which costs $1599 (£1499) – so you need to be a video editor with deep pockets to afford the entire setup.

However if your budget doesn’t stretch to this, you could also use a cheaper cheaper external monitor for the Mac Studio instead.

Check-out our full M2 Mac Studio review to see what we thought of this unbelievably powerful compact Mac.

Pros:

  • The most powerful Mac on the market with M2 Ultra chip
  • Up to 76-core processing power
  • Up to 8TB internal SSD
  • Can handle up to 22 streams of 8K ProRes video
  • Supports up to 5 external monitors
  • Incredibly high quality images when paired with Apple Studio Display

Cons:

  • Price
  • Not upgradable after purchase

2. M2 Mac Mini (Best Budget)

m2 mac mini

The M2 Mac Mini is the smallest Mac you can get but the latest M2 Mac Mini packs a big punch and is easily the best budget Mac for video editing. 

Released in January 2023, the M2 Mac Mini starts at just $599 which is actually $100 cheaper than the original M1 Mac Mini released in 2020.

You can customize up to 32GB of unified memory RAM with the M1 Mac Mini when purchasing with storage of up to 8TB.

One advantage of the Mac Mini over a MacBook is that you can also upgrade this RAM and SSD drive in an M2 Mac Mini even after the original purchase (although this would only be possible by a specialist technician).

Remember that since the M2 Mac Mini has no monitor, keyboard or mouse, you’ll have to buy them separately although you can use pretty much any monitor, keyboard or mouse with it.

Check out our guide to the best external monitors for the Mac Mini for more.

Although it’s more expensive than the basic M2 chip, we strongly recommend going for the more powerful M2 Mac Mini with M2 Pro chip as it also supports up to three external displays – two via Thunderbolt and one via HDMI 2.1.

The basic M2 Mac Mini supports two external displays but only one via Thunderbolt, the other via HDMI.

The HDMI port in both models of Mac Mini is also useful if you want to connect your Mac Mini to a TV too.

Note that unlike Intel Mac Minis, you can’t connect an eGPU to the M2 Mac Mini as eGPUs don’t work with the M1/M2/M3 chip.

If you’re looking for the best Mac for graphic design on a budget, the M2 Mac Mini offers great value for money and portability.

You can read our full M2 Mac Mini review for more on this incredibly powerful budget Mac.

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Pros:

  • Price
  • Works with Logic Pro X and GarageBand
  • Can support 3 displays simultaneously
  • Up to 8TB of storage
  • Easily portable
  • Upgraded HDMI 2.1 port
  • Cheaper than the M1 Mac Mini

Cons:

  • Requires keyboard, monitor and mouse separately
  • M2 Pro chip not as powerful as the M1 Ultra chip in Mac Studio

3. M2 MacBook Air (Best Portablity)

m2 macbook air

Although the MacBook Air is the least powerful MacBook on the market, it’s also the cheapest MacBook and offers the ultimate in lightweight portability for editors on the move.

Apple released the new M2 MacBook Air in 2023 and for the first time, gave it a 15 inch screen making it much more appealing to video editors compared to the standard 13 and 14 inch versions of previous models.

The smaller 13-inch MacBook Air isn’t a good option for video editing because the screen is so small although it is the cheapest MacBook on the market starting at just $1,199.

However, a maxed-out 15 inch M2 MacBook Air starts at $2,499 and you might want to consider the M2 MacBook Pro for video editing instead once you start approaching this price point.

The 15-inch screen provides a decent amount of screen estate although you may want to consider getting an external monitor for when you’re in a studio or using it at home although one drawback is the M2 MacBook Air only supports one external display.

The M2 MacBook Air is only available with the base level M2 chip (not the M2 Pro, M2 Max or M2 Ultra chip) but is still capable of running multiple apps and editing thousands of photos or 4K video.

According to Apple, it’s also up to 12x faster than the Intel-based MacBook Air and there’s a massive difference in how fast video editing software works in it.

You can add up to to 24GB of Unified Memory (RAM) to the M2 MacBook Air although you can only add a maximum of 2TB of hard drive space.

A downside of the M2 MacBook Air is that it only supports one external display. However, there are ways to connect multiple displays to base model Apple Silicon Macs that by default, only support one external monitor.

If you’re looking for a budget MacBook for video editing then the M2 MacBook Air is powerful enough for video editing although professional editors will be far better off getting the M3 MacBook Pro.

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Pros:

  • Incredibly light and portable
  • New 15 inch screen in the M2 model
  • No fans makes it totally silent
  • Up to 24GB of Unified Memory
  • Good value for money MacBook

Cons:

  • Lacks processing power and spec of the MacBook Pro
  • Not upgradable after purchase
  • Only supports one external display

4. M3 MacBook Pro 16 inch (Best For RAM)

m3 macbook pro 16 inch

The M3 MacBook Pro was released in November 2023 and is the best overall Mac for video editing.

The M3 MacBook Pro replaces the M2 MacBook Pro released in January 2023 and uses the same 3-nanometer process used in the latest iPhone 15 Pro with A17 Pro chips.

The new 3nn M3 Pro and M3 Max chips are even faster than the M2 versions delivering incredibly fast processing performance for handling 4K and 8K video.

You can customize the MacBook Pro M3 Max with up to 128GB of RAM too which is incredible for a laptop of this size but is well worth it for video editing.

This gives video editors unparalleled speed and power in a portable laptop at handling the specific needs of resource hogging video editing software and rendering tools.

The M3 chip allows editors to edit 4K and 8K video with ease plus whizz through 3D editing and 3D rendering projects.

We pushed the M3 MacBook Pro to the limit by rendering a huge 3D animation in Adobe After Effects while stilling running Final Cut Pro in the background and the MacBook Pro flashed through it without any slowdown, lag or stability issues.

There are three Thunderbolt 4 and USB 4 ports to connect video equipment and external hard drives so you’ll never run out of space.

The display meanwhile is a gorgeous mini-LED Liquid Retina XDR Display which makes allows amazing precision video editing right down to the last pixel.

The M3 MacBook Pro display supports an incredible 1,600 nits of brightness which provides visibility in even the most well lit studios or outdoor filming sets.

The M3 MacBook Pro also supports HDMI 2.1 port with support for higher resolution external monitors including 4k displays up to 240Hz, 5K displays and 8K displays.

There’s also a built in 3.5mm headphone jack to help you fine audio tracks on edits and the six speaker surround system supporting spatial audio is the best quality sound we’ve heard from any Mac.

With a maximum of 22 hours battery life you can use it on set or on the move between filming locations without having to charge it.

Pricing for the 16 inch M3 MacBook Pro starts at $2,499 which isn’t cheap but for video editors that need the ultimate in mobility and power, it’s definitely worth it.

Note that there is also a cheaper 14 inch M3 MacBook Pro from Apple but we don’t recommend it for video editing. It only comes with just 8GB of RAM, the screen is way too small for video editing and it only supports connecting one additional monitor.

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Pros:

  • Apple’s latest and most powerful MacBook Pro
  • Easily handles 4K and 8K video
  • Incredible liquid retina display
  • 1600 nits of brightness
  • Amazing battery life
  • Up to 128GB of RAM
  • Upgraded HDMI 2.1 ports
  • Supports multiple external monitors
  • Lots of ports for connecting external devices

Cons:

  • Price
  • Not upgradable after purchase
  • No ultra chip option
  • Heavier and less portable than MacBook Air

5. M3 iMac 24 inch (Best Value)

m3 imac 24 inch

If you’re going to be based permanently in a video editing studio or at home and don’t have the budget for a Mac Studio, then look no further than the 24 inch M3 iMac.

Launched in November 2023, the M3 iMac replaces the 2021 iMac (there was no M2 iMac) and is the fastest iMac ever made.

Apple claim the updated 24 inch M3 iMac is twice as fast as the previous M1 model and it can easily handle 4K and 8K video editing.

It also has a better 4.5K Retina Display with support for 1 billion colors (the same color support as the Apple Studio Display) which makes videos look amazing and helps with precision editing.

The M3 iMac continues the stylish look that its become famous for and is available in six colors: silver, yellow, orange, pink, purple and blue.

If you don’t want the expense of having to buy an external display for a Mac Mini or Mac Studio, the iMac is the best value Mac for video editing with everything housed within an impressive 24 inch 4.5K display.

It also comes with a Magic Keyboard, Magic Mouse and Touch ID so you have everything you need to get started out of the box unlike with the Mac Mini or Mac Studio.

The iMac comes with silent SSD drives and you can customize this up to 2TB of storage although you’ll still probably need to get an external SSD hard drive for big video editing projects.

You can customize the M3 iMac with a maximum of 24GB of Unified Memory (RAM) which is enough for most video editors although you may be pushing it running rendering software and video editing software at the same time.

The M3 iMac also comes with 3 USB ports and 2 Thunderbolt ports so there’s plenty of room for connecting video equipment, external hard drives and external displays.

The M3 iMac also includes a 3.5mm headphone jack for listening back to edits in private or more closely.

Note that there is no 21 inch or 27 inch M3 iMac. 21 inch iMacs are discontinued and 27 inch iMacs are also no longer available as Apple has effectively replaced them with the Mac Studio and Apple Studio Display.

Pricing: Starts at $1,299 for the 8-core CPU base model or $1,499 for the 10-core.

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Pros:

  • Excellent value all-in-one video editor
  • Includes everything you need to get started out of the box
  • Generous 24 inch 4.5K display
  • Fast processing power with M3 chip
  • Includes mic input
  • Comes in lots of different colors
  • Up to 2TB hard drive
  • Up to 24GB RAM

Cons:

  • Not portable
  • Lack of ports
  • 27 and 21 inch model discontinued
  • No ultra chip option

6. Mac Pro (Best For Power)

mac pro

If money is no object then the incredible desktop Mac Pro is the most powerful Mac on the market.

Not to be confused with the MacBook Pro, the Mac Pro is Apple’s most powerful Mac and the only Mac that allows you to upgrade the graphics card (just like the much older Classic Mac Pro does).

Equipped with the M2 Ultra chip, the Mac Pro is also expandable with with six additional PCIe Gen 4 cards and and incredible EIGHT Thunderbolt 4 ports which are useful for connecting external Thunderbolt hard drives.

The Mac Pro is bulky compared to other desktop Macs though but is available available in both desktop and rackmount chassis models.

Another bonus for video editors is that the Mac Pro can support up to six of Apple’s top of the range XDR Pro Displays although we recommend the Apple Studio Display as a worthy and much cheaper alternative.

Because you can upgrade it, the Mac Pro is one of the few future proof Macs on the market as Apple has locked down most Macs so that they can’t be upgraded.

Pricing for Mac Pro is not for the faint-hearted. Starting at $6,999 (£7,199), it’s by far the most expensive Mac for rendering and strictly for professionals.

Pros:

  • The most powerful Mac desktop computer for video editing
  • Six PCIe card slots for upgrading graphics
  • Equipped with the M2 Ultra chip
  • Eight Thunderbolt 4 ports
  • Support for up to six external displays

Cons:

  • Not portable
  • Price
  • Bulky design

If you’re still not sure which Mac to choose for video editing based on these reviews, here’s a side-by-side comparison of those currently available from Amazon to help.

Note that the M2 Mac Studio starts at $1,999 for the basic configuration and the Mac Pro starts at $6,999 but are not available from Amazon so are not included in this table.

Apple 2023 MacBook Pro Laptop M3 Pro chip with 12‑core CPU, 18‑core GPU: 16.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR Display, 18GB Unified Memory, 512GB SSD Storage. Works with iPhone/iPad; Space Black
Apple 2023 Mac Mini M2 Chip / 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage - Z16K000R3
Apple 2023 MacBook Air Laptop with M2 chip: 15.3-inch Liquid Retina Display, 8GB Unified Memory, 256GB SSD Storage, 1080p FaceTime HD Camera, Touch ID. Works with iPhone/iPad; Midnight
Apple 2023 iMac All-in-One Desktop Computer with M3 chip: 8-core CPU, 8-core GPU, 24-inch Retina Display, 8GB Unified Memory, 256GB SSD Storage, Matching Accessories. Works with iPhone/iPad; Blue
Apple 2023 MacBook Pro Laptop M3 Pro chip with 12‑core CPU, 18‑core GPU: 16.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR Display, 18GB Unified Memory, 512GB SSD Storage. Works with iPhone/iPad; Space Black
Apple 2023 Mac Mini M2 Chip / 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage - Z16K000R3
Apple 2023 MacBook Air Laptop with M2 chip: 15.3-inch Liquid Retina Display, 8GB Unified Memory, 256GB SSD Storage, 1080p FaceTime HD Camera, Touch ID. Works with iPhone/iPad; Midnight
Apple 2023 iMac All-in-One Desktop Computer with M3 chip: 8-core CPU, 8-core GPU, 24-inch Retina Display, 8GB Unified Memory, 256GB SSD Storage, Matching Accessories. Works with iPhone/iPad; Blue
$2,299.00
$774.93
$1,159.93
$1,199.00
Amazon Prime
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-
Amazon Prime
Apple 2023 MacBook Pro Laptop M3 Pro chip with 12‑core CPU, 18‑core GPU: 16.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR Display, 18GB Unified Memory, 512GB SSD Storage. Works with iPhone/iPad; Space Black
Apple 2023 MacBook Pro Laptop M3 Pro chip with 12‑core CPU, 18‑core GPU: 16.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR Display, 18GB Unified Memory, 512GB SSD Storage. Works with iPhone/iPad; Space Black
$2,299.00
Amazon Prime
Apple 2023 Mac Mini M2 Chip / 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage - Z16K000R3
Apple 2023 Mac Mini M2 Chip / 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage - Z16K000R3
$774.93
-
Apple 2023 MacBook Air Laptop with M2 chip: 15.3-inch Liquid Retina Display, 8GB Unified Memory, 256GB SSD Storage, 1080p FaceTime HD Camera, Touch ID. Works with iPhone/iPad; Midnight
Apple 2023 MacBook Air Laptop with M2 chip: 15.3-inch Liquid Retina Display, 8GB Unified Memory, 256GB SSD Storage, 1080p FaceTime HD Camera, Touch ID. Works with iPhone/iPad; Midnight
$1,159.93
-
Apple 2023 iMac All-in-One Desktop Computer with M3 chip: 8-core CPU, 8-core GPU, 24-inch Retina Display, 8GB Unified Memory, 256GB SSD Storage, Matching Accessories. Works with iPhone/iPad; Blue
Apple 2023 iMac All-in-One Desktop Computer with M3 chip: 8-core CPU, 8-core GPU, 24-inch Retina Display, 8GB Unified Memory, 256GB SSD Storage, Matching Accessories. Works with iPhone/iPad; Blue
$1,199.00
Amazon Prime

Conclusion

We found the best overall Mac for editing video is the M2 Mac Studio with the M2 Ultra chip which and can handle an incredible 22 streams of 8K ProRes video.

No other computer apart from Apple’s very top of the range (and even more expensive) desktop Mac Pro can come close to this.


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