Editing 4K videos can take a ton of CPU power, RAM, and fast hard disks (preferably SSDs). Ever since I switched to my Panasonic GH4 4K camera, rendering times for 4K videos take almost 4-5 times longer than 1080P videos on average. Luckily, I’ve built my new i7 5960X equipped desktop computer couple months back with 3 R9 280X graphic cards in crossfire, which does a fairly decent job of editing/rendering 4K videos.
Now, the only problem I have with my new powerful desktop is portability and power. Every time I render videos on it, it hogs a ton of energy, in fact my energy bill doubled since building my new PC (uses almost 1kW at full blast) . Besides that, I am always tethered to the PC in my house, never having the freedom of editing videos on the go.
Since I am going on vacation next week, I figured I would need to a way to edit/render my 4K videos on the go. I do have an old ASUS N56VZ laptop but that one simply cannot handle 4K footage as it will stutter/lag when editing with Premiere CC.
To handle 4K editing/rendering, you would absolutely need to fastest laptop out there (as of today) with the best specs possible. 4K editing simply requires a ton of raw CPU/GPU power and without it, you will pull your hair out while your laptop stutters/lags on you. (However, if you don’t need 4K, just need to 1080P videos, you can go with lower-spec laptops.)
Also I wanted a laptop that’s was as light as possible with a 15.6″ inch screen. (Anything lower than that would be hard to edit videos on, besides most laptops with Intel i7 start at 15.6″.) After days of research, I finally ended up getting the MSI GS60 Ghost Pro laptop with 4K screen, i7 4710HQ processor, and Nvidia GTX 970M graphics card. I almost ended up getting the Gigabyte P35X V3 with a slightly-faster GTX 980M graphics card but the MSI was only 4.2 pounds vs. 5.5 pounds for the Gigabyte.
Overall, I am very satisfied with my new MSI GS60 Ghost Pro laptop as it’s the lightest 15.6″ laptop in the world (as of this writing) with the best specs possible. Now, if you don’t mind the larger weight, you may want to consider getting the ASUS ROG series, which gives you the best bang for your buck (much cheaper) but they do weigh a ton more.
Having the ability to edit 4K videos in such a small package was the selling point for me. I wanted to have the ability to move around and edit 4K videos while I travel at the local coffee shops in Thailand and be able to walk all day without aching shoulders.
Before, I had to shoot my videos, then come home to edit on my PC. Now, I can shoot my videos and edit right there altogether! Even the video for this I edited all outside my home.
The MSI GS60 Ghost Pro also comes with the coolest keyboard I have ever seen on a laptop. It features a SteelSeries keyboard that has an RGB LED that lights up and you can customize the colors in 3 different zones. And you can even customize every key on the keyboard.
Performance on the MSI Ghost Pro is excellent due to its cooling system design. There are two fans for your CPU, one pushing air to the left and the other pushing it to the back of your laptop. This keeps the heat dissipating much more efficiently than one fan designs. There’s even dedicated fans for the graphics card on the other side! At full throttle, this laptop does get a bit loud but it’s cooler than any other laptop out there.
4K gaming is actually not that bad either with its Nvidia GTX 970M but I probably recommend running games at 2K or 1080P, which runs super smooth and fast.
Video editing in 4K on Adobe Premiere CC works really well and Premiere CC recognizes CUDA out of the box so you can fully utilize the power of Nvidia GTX 970M. I also did consider getting a laptop with Nvidia Quadro graphics card but it seems that the GTX cards are actually slightly faster in rendering times in real life.
Rendering times are nowhere near my i7 5960X PC (obviously because it’s not a fair contest) but it is lightning years ahead of my old ASUS laptop. An average 10 minute 4K video with lots of editing takes me around 20 minutes on my i7 5960X PC while the MSI GS60 does in an hour. (The 4K video I made for this laptop took me about an hour.) In comparison, an average 10 minute 4K video with no editing takes around 6 minutes on my PC and 15 minutes on my new MSI laptop.
It’s still not fast as I would like but then again at 4.2 pounds of weight, I don’t think there’s any other laptop out there that can do faster pound per rendering time. I should have a full review later this month after I use it more extensively during my travels in Asia but in the meanwhile, this is definitely one powerful laptop that’s super portable and highly recommended if you need 4K editing on the go.
Now, there’s literally at least a dozen variations of this MSI laptop so make sure to do your research before buying one. You can buy one with a 1080P/3K screen, with faster/slower processor and graphics card. Depending on your needs, you may be better off with 1080P screen or maybe faster processor.
The particular version I got also comes with 2 M.2 SSDs, which give you read/write speeds around 1000Mbps, great for Adobe Premiere CC and gaming.
FYI, you don’t need a 4K screen to edit 4K videos, I only got it since I don’t have a 4K device yet and wanted to play back my videos in 4K (finally). You can edit 4K videos with a 1080P screen just fine. But you do need a very powerful laptop such as this one.
The exact model I got is MSI Computer GS60 GHOST PRO 4K-079, you can get it on Amazon here.
You can also check out other variations of the MSI GS60 Ghost Pro here.