How Much RAM Do I Need For Video Editing?

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All the users who are into video editing software must know that this type of software uses far more RAM, graphics card and processing power than anything else. Compared to ordinary uses, we can see an increase in RAM requirement for stunning 300%. This is the best case scenario, believe or not. More sophisticated video editing software requires, even more RAM, alongside some additional components.

Your RAM is partly used even if you don’t use video editing software

It wouldn’t be smart just to say that video editing software occupies all of the RAM fitted to a computer. You also must know that other processes use RAM as well. For example, Windows 10 will need 3GB of RAM just to run. A simple, web browser Chrome will use 2GB and even Outlook will require 200MB of RAM.

All of this means that most of the RAM a computer has is used all the time. SO, when you start a video editing software, you will just increase the amount of RAM needed significantly.

An average user uses 5GB of RAM each time he starts a computer. As such, trying to use video editing software with 4GB of RAM isn’t actually possible. The situation is slightly better with 6GB of RAM. Yes, it is possible to close all your background tasks and even to move to Linux, but there are no a lot of users who will actually be satisfied with the decision.

Video Editing Hardware

Different video editing software uses a different amount of RAM

It would be foolish to generalize the need for RAM based on computers only. Different software will require a different amount of RAM, so it simply cannot be generalized. Some of the most popular software includes Avid Media Composer / Symphony, Final Cut Pro, Premiere Pro, Vegas Pro and Adobe Premiere Pro.

For example, Adobe Premiere Pro cannot run with 4GB of RAM, while on 6GB it will be barely useful. It needs 8GB of RAM. The situation is similar but not the same with other software.

Your footage defines the need for RAM as well

All professionals will tell you that when it comes to video editing software, the type of footage will have the second-main role (after software itself) in how much RAM you will need.

While editing, a computer will use the RAM to place RAW files and to access them when needed. Now, the size of those, RAW files has a huge role. 720p video files will usually take around 3MB of RAW files, while 4K will occupy around 30MB. As such, you can see that editing high-quality footage requires more RAM.

Obviously, there are a lot of differences here and a lot of factors that cannot be generalized either, but the unwritten rule is that footage with better resolution requires more RAM, period.

Much RAM Do I Need For Gaming And Video Editing

The amount of RAM you will actually need

Let’s face it, having a computer with 2-4GB of RAM is far less than sufficient you are going to need for video editing. These computers are not designed for this type of application, so there is no point in pushing them beyond the limit. Here is a list of RAM amounts you will actually need.

8GB- If you are editing 720-1080p files, you will be satisfied with this amount of RAM. It isn’t great, but it can meet your demands. Here, editing 4K isn’t possible or it will be a nightmare.

16GB- If you want to edit 4K files, this amount of RAM is sufficient, but not ideal either. You will have issues with background tasks a computer uses, therefore you will have to balance your usage and editing processes.

32GB- With this amount of RAM, you will be able to edit all kinds of files, including 4K. At the moment, it is known to be the optimal RAM capacity which offers most advantages you are going to need. In a nutshell, you won’t need more than 32GB of RAM for some time at least.

64GB- Here we have an impressive RAM capacity which is actually essential for those who plan to edit 8K files. Try not to forget that these files won’t work on computers with 8-16GB and they will be slowed in the case of 32GB. Of course, these files are reserved for professional and commercial purposes and there are no a lot of users editing them at home.

Now you know how much RAM you need for video editing. However, there are a lot of additional facts which must be mentioned and which you must know. A computer requires something more in order to edit video. Yes, a processor is one of those components, but not the only one. All of this is important to know when you are building your computer from scratch.

Yes, at the moment, a motherboard which supports 32GB of RAM max, isn’t a bad deal, but in the near future, it will become obsolete, which isn’t something you will want. That’s why it is highly recommended to purchase a motherboard with the highest, possible capacity for RAM. Maybe today it looks like overkill, but this is actually a smart investment to make. An interesting fact is that there are motherboards which support up to 1TB of RAM. Yes, most of you don’t need them, but it is nice knowing they exist.

Importance of graphics card

A graphics card or commonly known as video card is the next main thing to consider when looking for a computer for video editing. This card also has a processor, which is known as GPU. Basically, it is similar as CPU, but it is developed and optimized to operate with images. A set of images gives a video, so you can imagine why this is an important component of video editing software.

Here we must include that integrated graphics card, which is permanently implemented into a motherboard are not suitable for video editing. They don’t have dedicated memory, meaning that they will borrow RAM, so this may be an issue and likely it will.

Graphics cards have several ports to be connected to a monitor. Usually, we have:

  • VGA- Video Graphics Array is the oldest and isn’t the best way due to the fact video quality will be reduced.
  • DVI- Digital Visual Interface is a bit better, but not ideal. However, this port will provide better video quality than VGA.
  • HDMI- High definition multimedia interface is the best of them all and reserved for the best quality.

All of this has an important role when connecting your monitor to the graphics card. There are differences in the photo and video quality, something you will want to consider when it comes to the video editing.

Modern graphics cards generate a lot of heat, which is an issue as well. That’s why premium models come with their own cooling fans. Keep in mind that due to the same reason, they also use more heat. This means that you may need to upgrade your power supply on a computer.

Editing video

Which slot type would you install a video card in to get the best performance?

If you have a lot of RAM, but a poor-quality graphics card, your video editing won’t be especially good. That’s why you will have to replace the graphics card. All of them are attached to a motherboard. And yes, there are a lot of differences nowadays.

We have motherboards which come with integrated graphics card, those with integrated and a slot for the additional video card and even motherboards which come with slots for 2-4 graphics cards.

Let’s take an average user for example. He will use a motherboard with just one graphics card slot. It is PCI slot, usually x4 or x16. For the best performances, always install a graphics card into an x16 PCI slot. You will get much better results than before. Keep in mind that drivers must be replaced when you replace a graphics card. Old drivers are not compatible nor can they operate properly.

The installation process is relatively simple and it takes just a few minutes. An average user will need 10 minutes to complete the task. Most of the time will go on driver installation.

When it comes to graphics cards, it is important to know that there are two, main types. AMD and NVIDIA. Both of them come in a variety of powers and performance capabilities, therefore it is up to you to choose the one you will need and the one which will be more than just ideal for your applications.

Summary

A computer used for video editing needs plenty of RAM, up to 32GB. 16GB should be the minimum here. Also, a graphics card is the next main thing to consider. If you are really into this type of editing, you will need a high-end graphics card, which is expensive, but beneficial. Try to remember that both components are equally important and they are linked to this type of operation. We explained how much RAM you need and importance of the graphics card. Now is the time to start developing your own video editing rig.