The processor is possibly the most important component in a video editing system. The CPU’s number of cores, threads, and clock speed will vastly influence performance when editing.
The Intel Core i3 is only an entry-level processor with a maximum of 4 cores and 8 threads.
It was built only to be suitable for basic computing instead of CPU-intensive processes, making it a bad fit for video editing.
But circumstances sometimes force you out of options. So, the question is: can I do video editing in an i3 processor? Well, technically, yes, but with a few caveats.
The Expected Performance of Core i3 in Video Editing
Intel intended the Core i3 processors to be used for low-end desktops and laptops. Depending on the generation and model of your processor, it might have 2-4 physical cores and 4-8 threads.
Video editing requires a massive amount of processing power to fetch, decode and execute commands. That is why it’s always recommended to spend the most on the CPU.
A higher number of physical cores, as well as threads, are going to boost your performance significantly. If your Core i3 processor is 8th gen or newer, it most likely will have 4 cores which will be a lot better for editing than its older models.
You won’t have the best performance, but you’ll have no difficulty doing basic effects and simple splicing, albeit with high render times.
However, the dual-core variants are a different story. Since these processors only have 2 physical cores and 4 threads with hyperthreading, they lack the necessary computational power for video editing.
Most editing software such as Adobe Premiere, Sony Vegas Pro, and After Effects will be extremely slow to start up with abysmal performance during live playback.
If you run any CPU-intensive process, you’ll be dealing with severe lags and crashes. Depending on the rest of your components, you might not be able to use certain functions altogether.
Regardless of the number of cores, the overall editing performance of an i3 is going to be choppy at best.
Complex effects, stabilization, and high-quality video conversion are going to tax your processor heavily, and excessive strain on one part of the system will lead to a loop of crashes instead.
You’ll only be able to edit up to HD quality. You can edit higher-res videos using proxies, but it’s a time-consuming process. Additionally, the CPU will overheat that will cause performance throttling unless you have a suitable cooling setup.
So, can video editing be done on an i3 processor? Yes, it’s possible. But is i3 enough for video editing? Barely.
If you’re willing to sit through a very laggy experience and hellish render times, then yes, you can use an i3 processor to edit videos.
Depending on whether or not you have a dedicated GPU and enough RAM, you might also be able to take advantage of the hardware acceleration feature for a performance boost.
Editing Software that Will Run on a PC with Core i3 Processor
Your choice of editing software is going to be the deciding factor for your expected level of performance.
A lot of applications are going to have higher system requirements, which is going to leave you with fewer options. Here are a few editing software that you’ll be able to run on an Intel Core i3.
VSDC features a simple interface along with basic editing tools. While it’s not the right choice for advanced projects, it makes up for that by using very few resources.
Although the free version lacks essential hardware acceleration and video stabilization features, it comes with a wide range of blending modes and custom color correction tools.
Shotcut is yet another light software that is suitable for low specifications. It will offer you a broad spectrum of customization options at the cost of some advanced features.
Filmora is packed with all kinds of editing tools, including both basic and advanced ones. The i3 barely meets the minimum requirements for the software.
While Filmora won’t be as smooth of an experience as the previous two software, that’s the price you have to pay for more advanced editing features.
Adobe Premiere Pro
Adobe Premiere Pro will provide you with all the expert-level tools at the cost of a monthly subscription and the worse editing experience due to using more resources.
If these features are something that you can’t compromise with, you’ll have to settle for sub-optimal performance instead.
Other than these, Kdenlive or Olive have near-pro features and runs on low resources. Hitfilm and Openshot are also some of the few software you can run on an Intel Core i3.
The Intel Core i3 is not suitable for video editing purposes; however, you can use it if you’ve got no other choice.
So, if you’re looking for something inexpensive to build your editing rig, look for AMD Ryzen processors or at least an older i5 if you want to stick to intel, otherwise, wait till you have a bigger budget.
So, if I had to answer your question in short, can I do video editing in i3 processor, then it’d be a Yes.