How Much Ram is Needed for Video Editing?

Last Updated on June 30, 2020 by The Soft Best

If you are thinking about buying or upgrading a computer for video editing, an important question usually pops up: how much RAM is needed for video editing? I already told you exactly how the computer is loaded when editing video in a separate article on this site. Still, questions specifically on the amount of RAM continue to come regularly, so let’s look at this topic separately and in more detail.

Why is the Amount of Ram for Video Editing So Important?

How Much Ram is Needed for Video Editing

Having enough RAM is one of the central issues when building a computer for video design. Currently, active content in the project, in all programs for editing video is cached in RAM and called as necessary. If there is not enough RAM, then the part will be saved as a cache on the repository, and this will significantly slow down the playback, processing, and all work when editing the video as a whole.

Take a look: the speed of reading and writing to RAM is 10 times faster than that of SSD drives and 50 times faster than that of HDD. Remember the rule: you need to strive to ensure that your active project always fits in the entire RAM!

Basic Computer Memory Consumers

Before we get to determine how much RAM is required for video editing of different quality, let’s look at the conditionally basic memory consumers on your computer.

Windows 10 after launch, on average, requires 3Gb RAM to work. Usually, a Chrome browser with dozens of tabs is launched in parallel, which requires another 1.5-2Gb of memory. Often when editing video, Photoshop is additionally used, and this is another 1.5Gb RAM minimum.

As a result, 6Gb of RAM has already been eaten, and we have not even launched the video editing application yet! To be honest, I do not believe in the normal operation of video on 8Gb memory, as some experts write.

Yes, we can say that before you start working with video, you need to close all unnecessary applications and save memory, but, damn it – are we talking about real life or laboratory conditions?

Do not answer in the mail, do not start the music, do not use instant messengers, and work in other programs when we work half a day on video? Hard to believe. In any case, I would forget about comfortable work on 8Gb RAM, although it all depends on the resolutions and color depth of the content that you will mount.

How Does Footage Quality Affect the Use of Ram When Editing Video?

The main load on the RAM during video editing (no watermark), in addition to supporting the operation of the operating system and the installation program itself, is storing the cached frames of your project with pre-processed effects. This allows you to quickly play individual pieces, move from one part to another, and so on.

Memory usage is highly dependent on footage quality. Obviously, frames in 720p, 8 bits will be easier than 4K, 10 bits, but how much? One 720p frame with an 8-bit color depth stores 2.7 MB of information in RAW, a 4K frame with 10 bits is already 47 MB! This is without compression, but the ratio is clear.

Look at a small plate with data volumes at different resolutions and color depths above. Yes, all programs use sophisticated compression algorithms to reduce the volume, but the ratio is still preserved even with increasing resolutions and depth, RAM consumption grows like a snowball. In addition, the higher the compression level used, the higher the load on the processor, which can also become a bottleneck, because its resources are not unlimited.

If you have a strong delay during the transition in the timeline, it will not work out significantly by increasing compression. The solution is very conditional – we just transfer the task from memory to the processor. Keep this in mind when buying memory.

How Much Ram is Needed for Video Editing?

So how many take RAM for the computer to comfortably mount the video? As a result, it all depends on the complexity of the projects, their sizes, resolutions, and color depth, but if you try to give a simple answer to a difficult question, then let’s highlight the main categories and the tasks that fit them.

  • 8 Gb RAM: can be used for editing up to 1080p resolutions provided that all other memory-consuming applications are closed
  • 16 Gb RAM: comfortable work with resolutions from 1080p to 4K 8 bits. 4K already with minimal use of background applications in addition to the video editor for 4k.
  • 32 Gb RAM: It is excellent for working with any video quality, you can use heavy applications in parallel without restrictions, such as processing heavy frames in Photoshop
  • 64 Gb RAM: It can be recommended if you work with 8K resolutions and a depth of 10 bits or higher and also use other memory eaters, After Effects, Cinema 4D, and others.

Does Ram Affect the Speed of Video Rendering During Editing?

The amount of memory does not affect the rendering speed when processing video, provided that the project has enough of it, and your SSD or HDD is not used for the swap file (swap file). For the speed of compression, miscalculation of effects, etc. the processor and, to a lesser extent, the video card respond, but the memory does not affect it at all.

Sometimes a debate about speeding up work due to the use of two-channel or four-channel memory still begins, because in theory, the throughput with respect to single-channel memory is calculated by 2 and 4 times, respectively. The bandwidth of RAM and so is 5 Gb / s, and this is more than enough. It is almost impossible to score when working with 25-60FPS.

A lot of tests were conducted that proved that the use of memory with a large number of channels gives a real increase of 2-3%, which, taking into account the difference in the price of similar memory, makes the idea pointless.