Is Video Editing More CPU or GPU Intensive?

When it comes to video editing, one of the most common questions people ask is whether it is more CPU or GPU intensive. The answer, however, is not as straightforward as one might think.


To understand which component plays a more significant role in video editing, let’s first take a look at what each of them does.

The CPU (Central Processing Unit) is often referred to as the brain of the computer. It handles all the instructions that your computer needs to perform tasks. This includes running applications and processes, managing memory, and handling input/output operations.

On the other hand, the GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) is responsible for rendering graphics and processing video. It works in conjunction with the CPU but focuses solely on graphic-intensive tasks.

Video Editing Tasks

Video editing involves several tasks that require both CPU and GPU resources. Some of these tasks include:

  • Importing footage
  • Transcoding videos
  • Adding effects and filters
  • Color grading
  • Rendering/exporting videos

CPU Intensive Tasks

Tasks such as transcoding videos and exporting/rendering videos are primarily CPU intensive. These tasks require a lot of processing power and can take a significant amount of time to complete.

When you export or render a video, your CPU needs to process all the information in your project file and apply any effects or filters you have added. This process can take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours depending on your project’s complexity.

GPU Intensive Tasks

Tasks such as adding effects, filters, and color grading are generally more GPU intensive. These tasks require real-time rendering of graphics and need a lot of graphical processing power.

When you add an effect or filter to your video, the GPU needs to render that effect in real-time so you can see how it affects your footage. The more complex the effect, the more GPU power you need.


In conclusion, both CPU and GPU play a crucial role in video editing. While CPU handles most of the heavy lifting, GPU is responsible for rendering graphics and processing video. The amount of CPU or GPU power you need depends on the complexity of your project and the type of tasks you perform.

So, is video editing more CPU or GPU intensive? The answer is both.

You need a powerful CPU to handle tasks such as transcoding and exporting videos and a powerful GPU to handle tasks such as adding effects and filters. Investing in a high-end system with both a powerful CPU and GPU is essential if you want to edit videos efficiently and effectively.