GuidesHow Much RAM Do You Need For Video Editing?

How Much RAM Do You Need For Video Editing? [SOLVED]

We take a deep dive into the question of how much RAM is needed for video editing, covering all the factors and things to be aware of.

The CPU and graphics card are the main components focused on as far as gaming is concerned. While the same applies to video editing, there’s also a lot of emphasis on a good amount of RAM for video editing. Too little of it can leave you in trouble, while an adequate amount can make things smooth and hassle-free. Today, we figure out how much really is adequate, answering the question: How much RAM do you need for video editing


Key Takeaways

  • An excessive amount of RAM does not equal faster rendering. RAM can only be a performance factor in video editing if there’s too little of it. 
  • 8 GB is the bare minimum amount of RAM needed for video editing.
  • 16 GB of RAM is the best for editing 1080P 8-bit videos but can support up to 4K 8-bit footage if you limit background tasks.
  • 32 GB of RAM is enough for 4K 8-bit or even 8K 8-bit video editing, even with some background tasks running.
  • 64 GB of RAM is enough for 4K 10-bit or more, with even the heaviest video effects and multiple tasks running in the background. 

RAM And Its Purpose In Video Editing

RAM stands for random access memory; as the name suggests, it is a type of memory, a temporary one. It’s much faster than hard drives and solid state drives, but it’s temporary and erases your data as you shut down your computer. Also, if you want to boost the performance of your RAM, then read our guide on how to overclock RAM

RAM
Patriot Viper RAM DDR4 – Image Credits [Tech4Gamers]
The main catalysts for video editing are your CPU and GPU, and the rendering speeds almost exclusively depend on them, but you also need an ample amount of RAM because a lot of data needs to be stored during video editing. An inadequate amount of RAM is easily noticed because you’ll face stuttering while editing your videos. This is because when there’s not enough RAM available, the software will store the remaining data in your storage drives which are significantly slower than RAM.

Thus, an excess amount of RAM doesn’t increase your speeds or your overall video editing experience. An inadequate amount of RAM, though, will make it nearly impossible for you to edit your videos. 

(Also Read: Best DDR5 Memory in 2022)

How Much RAM Do I Need For Video Editing? 

Before discussing the various factors that can impact the amount of RAM you need, let’s discuss the different RAM amounts and their capabilities. Before proceeding further, make sure to read our guide on DDR4 vs DDR5 RAM to learn the difference between the two.  

Is 8 GB Of RAM Enough For Video Editing? 

8 GB of RAM is the absolute minimum amount of RAM you should have for video editing, but even then, some software may not work with 8 GB of RAM at all. However, the software that does work will allow you to edit 720P videos with 8 GB of RAM. So, you can only edit 720P or below videos with 8 GB of RAM. 

Patriot Viper DDR4
Patriot Viper DDR4 – Image Credits [Tech4Gamers]
With 8 GB of RAM, it is essential that you have no tasks running other than the video editing software. Whether you’re running Mac OS or Windows, their own processes will already be taking up at least 1-2 GB of RAM on startup. So you have no room to spare for unnecessary background tasks

Is 16 GB Of RAM Enough For Video Editing? 

16 GB of RAM is the recommended minimum amount of memory by most software developers. 16 GB of RAM will allow you to edit 1080P 8-bit footage smoothly. In fact, you can even edit up to 4K 8-bit footage with 16 GB of RAM. 

Again, for any video bigger than 1080P, you should not have any background tasks running. 4K footage might be an issue if you apply too many effects.

Is 32 GB Of RAM Enough For Video Editing? 

32 GB of RAM is the perfect amount of RAM if you want to edit 4K 8-bit footage or below and is the recommended amount for most users. With 32 GB, you can also freely run background tasks and multitask with whatever processes you want. This applies if you’re not editing footage higher than 4K 8-bit.

Is 64 GB Of RAM Enough For Video Editing? 

64 GB RAM is the amount to go for if you’re a professional video editor who consistently works with high-resolution videos with lots of effects. 64 GB RAM lets you render 4K or even 8K videos with multiple effects at 10-bit color depth. At the same time, you can run multiple background tasks even if they’re very RAM heavy. 

Thus, 64 GB of RAM is ideal if you’re editing high-resolution footage at 10-bit and don’t want to worry about other background tasks running simultaneously. 

Factors Affecting RAM Usage In Video Editing

The amount of RAM needed for video editing varies from software to software and also depends on the quality of the video you’re working with. In general, the higher the quality of the video you’re trying to edit, the more RAM you’ll need. This video quality mainly depends on that particular video’s resolution and color depth. 

Software

Popular video editing software includes Adobe Premiere Pro, Da Vinci Resolve, and Sony Vegas Pro. Adobe recommends, at the very minimum, 8 GB of RAM for HD video editing. Da Vinci Resolve and Sony Vegas Pro both recommend 16 GB for 1080P video editing and 32 GB for 4K footage. Thus we can set 16 GB as the baseline minimum and 32 GB as the ideal amount. 

Video Resolution

The video resolution is the most significant deciding factor in how much RAM you need. This is pretty simple: the higher the resolution of the video you’re editing, the higher the amount of RAM being utilized. So 720P video takes up the least amount of memory, 1080P video takes more than that, and so on.

Color Depth Or Bit Depth

The other quality factor is color depth, which measures how many colors can be stored in the image or video. There are two primary standards for this that you must have heard of, 8-bit video and 10-bit video. 8-bit video can store 256 shades of red, green, and blue each, for a total of 16.7 million colors. 10-bit video, on the other hand, can store 1024 shades of these three colors for a total of 1.07 billion colors. Thus, 10-bit footage is a lot more intensive, both in preview and in rendering. 

Video Effects

Different video effects will add up to your memory utilization and increase it. HDR, transition effects, distortions, color grading, and all other editing effects will increase memory usage. These effects only utilize memory on a small scale, and your main worry should always be the resolution and the color depth. 

Other Things To Remember

There are a few other things relevant to this topic that you probably should keep in mind: 

It’s Enough To Follow The Requirements For Your Particular Software

In most cases, it’s enough to follow the requirements mentioned by the creators of the software you want to use. For example, as we’ve discussed, 16 GB of RAM is recommended for 1080P video editing and 32 GB for 4K footage for Sony Vegas Pro and Da Vinci Resolve. So if, for example, you mostly edit 1080P videos and your editing software is Sony Vegas Pro, then 16 GB of RAM will be fine for you.

RAM Frequency Has Little To No Impact On Video Editing Performance

As we discussed, the amount of memory does not impact rendering speeds as long as you have enough of it. Meaning an excess of RAM will not mean faster rendering. The same applies to RAM frequency; even the slowest DDR4 memory (2133 MHz) has more than enough transfer speeds to preview and render your videos. Hence, you might see little or no difference in rendering speeds with faster RAM. Still, you should ensure you’re running your memory in a dual-channel configuration. (Also Read: Can You Mix RAM Brands, Sticks & Types?)

Sabrent Rocket DDR5
Sabrent Rocket DDR5 RAM – Image Credits [Tech4Gamers]

Excessive Background Tasks May Cause Problems

When we’re talking about intermediate amounts of RAM like 8 GB, 16 GB, and even 32 GB, you might be facing stuttering due to background tasks hogging up memory. Your operating system’s own processes also take up a fair share of RAM. So even if you have the recommended amount of RAM for your software and video quality, you might face stuttering while previewing or rendering your video. For tasks as heavy as video editing, you should keep the usage of background apps to a minimum. In particular, web browsing and video streaming utilize a lot of memory. 

You can monitor your RAM usage while editing videos through the task manager. If you have at least 2 GB of memory free, only then should you load other applications. 

Conclusion

As long as you know about the footage, you’ll be working with, figuring out how much memory you need for video editing is easy. For 1080P videos, 16 GB of RAM is enough, while for 4K footage, 32 GB is adequate. If you need to shoot beyond that to 8K footage, 64 GB is more than enough capacity for it. 

FAQs

Is 8 GB RAM enough for video editing?

8 GB is the least amount of RAM you need for video editing.

Is 16 GB or 32 GB RAM enough for gaming?

16 GB RAM is enough for 1080 video editing, while 32 GB RAM is excellent for 4k video editing.

Does the GPU matter for video editing?

Yes, to enjoy a smooth video editing experience, you will need a decent graphics card.


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Ali
Ali
What started out as a love for PC gaming turned into an enthusiasm for PC tech and hardware. Ali is a high school graduate who aspires to be a dentist. On the side, Ali likes to keep up with the latest in PC tech, and write about it.

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