A video editing software relies heavily on RAM to let you see the effects you apply to the video in real-time. You might think, as a result, that the more the RAM, the merrier. Well, yes, that’s true, but at the same time, there should be a limit. You cannot spend your money outright on RAM only as you have to buy other parts, too. If not now, in the future. So, here’s the answer to “how much RAM do I need for video editing?”
- 8GB for low to medium 1080p editing.
- 16GB is recommended for most software and for editing 1080p to 4K with minor complexities.
- 32GB for editing larger 4K to 8K videos in 8 bit.
- 64GB to get an all-over RAM solution to edit 4K to 8K videos in 10 bit along with other design-related programs running in the background such as Cinema 4D.
A Breakdown of Recommended RAMs for Different Software
Here you get the different RAM recommendations for various software.
Premiere Pro is a video editor’s, first love. It’s easy to use, widely used and has a stunningly fast support system available on the internet. The moment you run into some problem, there are thousands of forums from where you can get a satisfactory answer. I highly recommend Windows users to use this software more than the others.
According to the website, Premiere Pro runs well on 8GB of RAM. That is its minimum requirement. Or should I say the bare minimum to edit your home videos?
To get a little better performance on 1080p videos, you should have at least 16GB of RAM. The 4K runs well on 32GB.
These are all the recommended specifications.
Recommended: 16GB for 1080p; 32GB for 4K
Final Cut Pro
This one is by Apple for Apple devices running macOS. As compared to the Adobe Premiere Pro, the Final Cut Pro is better optimized at using the hardware resources of a MacBook. The overall harmony between Apple products and its software is known to everyone.
Maybe that’s why the system requirements for Final Cut Pro aren’t as much as that of the Adobe Premiere Pro.
You only need 4GB of RAM to get started; 8GB for 4K editing, 3D rendering, and working with a 360-degrees video.
Minimum requirements: 4GB RAM
Recommended requirements: 8GB
While the rest of the two video editing software I talked about are also pro-level, the Davinci Resolve is made for professionals. It has a steep learning curve that beginners have to climb to finally edit their videos in an acceptable post-production quality. The complexity may be explained by combining video editing, color correction and coding, audio editing, and motion graphics.
The RAM it requires will be more than the first two. The minimum requirement starts at 16GB. The recommended requirement is 32GB. In the latter, you can edit a 4K or 8K video in 8bit with minimum layers but with the 32GB, you’ll be free to take things to the next level.
Minimum requirement: 16GB
Recommended requirement: 32GB
Are Official Requirements Enough?
The information I just gave you may put you in a position to use the recommended requirement and be happy about it. While I hope that should work, in the long run, you may have to use multiple codecs, higher resolutions with 10 bits depth, and multiple footages that could be movie length. Not to mention, you may have to run programs in the background in tandem with these to get things done.
For example, you may have to edit a huge image on Adobe Photoshop to include it in the 8K video you’re editing side-by-side.
In these scenarios, your RAM requirements jump from the obvious to the unexpected. In other words, you may have to double or even triple the RAM you’re using.
But do go and fulfill the official requirements if you think you won’t surpass the normal threshold they’ve shared with you.
Mind, however, that the thresholds ignore other tasks that you wish to carry out with the software. That is exactly why I introduce you to the threshold concept.
Threshold RAM – How Much Base RAM Do You Need?
Let’s do a little math here.
The OS should take about 3GB or 4GB RAM. Chrome tabs normally take up to 2GB of RAM. Add 1GB more to it just to stay on the safe side and give that extra space to run other small tasks. So, you should have a base RAM of about 6GB.
If I were you, I’d buy a 16GB stick and slap it on my motherboard to edit a 1080p video on Adobe Premiere Pro with some edge. I would only go for an 8GB stick if my work isn’t demanding and the resolution is either 720p or even 1080p but requiring minimum touch-ups – a cut here and a paste there. Also, I would have to stop using anything else when I’m editing the video.
Threshold RAM: 16GB to do some basic edits on a 1080p video along with small tasks like running Chrome.
Bare minimum: 8GB without running anything but the editing software.
A Word On Bit Depth
Bit Depth is the amount of color an image possesses or the information of it. Therefore, higher bit depths mean that the image has more color pallets or a better transition between the layers. Thus, it will take more time to get edited in a program or rendered in other ways.
The same is true for videos. A 720p 10bit video may take more time in processing than a 1080p 8bit video. Or the time may be the same, depending on the rest of the factors.
For some programs, this difference may not matter. Still, we cannot ignore it.
So, whenever you’re choosing how much RAM should you buy, also consider the bit depth of your video.
Is 64GB of RAM Overkill for Video Editing?
Definitely yes if you’re just a beginner. No, if you’re into the editing business and you edit movies daily. A 64GB RAM will run not only sophisticated software like Adobe Premiere Pro and Davinci Resolve, but it will also let you run Cinema 4D-like programs in parallel to them.
How Much RAM Do I Need for 1080p Video Editing?
The answer is 16GB. Get that much and you’ll be able to edit an HD video with 8-bit depth. But keep in mind that you won’t be able to go in-depth with the editing.
How Much RAM Do I Need for Video Editing? Conclusion
You need at least 8GB RAM for video editing but that is only the bare minimum. Considering everything a video editing program requires, you should go for a 16GB stick. That should give you some RAM capacity to run small tasks along with doing some basic edits on the video. But if you want to take a professional leap, keep the bit depth of a video in mind along with the information I shared above.