The amount of RAM in your laptop or desktop will determine if your software for video editing will run smoothly or not. That’s why as a video editor you came across the question: “How much RAM do I need for video editing?” And here you will get your ultimate answer.
Why you need enough RAM?
If there is not enough RAM, the operating system of your device will begin swapping data onto your HDDs or SSDs.
As far speed of RAM is concerned, it is about 10 times faster than as SSD and about 50 times faster than HDDS.
Different users will have several different things running on their computer at a particular given time and each of which will exhausts a portion of the RAM.
Important factors to consider while choosing RAM for your laptop
It depends on your footage
As far as video editing is concerned footage resolution and bit depth plays a vital role to decide how much RAM you will need.
The main purpose of RAM for video editing is caching preview files for when you want to playback.
As you increase bit depth and resolution of your system, your RAM requirements also increases with it.
An 16GB RAM is recommended for projects that are smaller than 1080p. In the same way, 32GB RAM is good for projects that are 1080p.
A computer system with 64 GB RAM can handle 8k footage.
Video Editing Rendering Speed and RAM
The good news for you is that RAM does not affect the rendering speed of your projects.
Your CPU and GPU are responsible for calculating your color adjustments, layer blends, effects.
Rendering mostly depends on your CPU, if you have a great CPU with 12 threads or more, you will get a huge difference when it comes to the rendering time.
A great example of beginners’ CPU is AMD Ryzen 5 3600, with its 6 cores, it has base clock of 3600MHz and Boost clock of 4200MHZ, it also has 12 threads which make it do good for video editing.
Of course, if you can get better processor with 16 or even 24 threads, it will be much better.
GPU usage will be more obvious when you do some effects or color editing or correction, if you have great GPU, you will see your edits instantly with no lags.
The playback experience you will get will be optimal then. It is used in the rendering time too.
Ideally your active projects should always to compatible to the memory of your laptop/desktop.
This is because if they do not, the operating system will begin swapping your data that does not fit into your RAM to your SSD or hard disk.
It seems a little bit strange, but your hard disk has a great role in making your video editing experience very smooth.
If you are working on videos stored on an external hard drive, it will be slower than working on videos on your stored on you 7200rpm hard disk drive.
Working on videos stored on SSD are the best practice until you think or RAID NAS. So, storage matters too.
If you are an avid laptop user then there is good news for you as RAM is getting cheaper every day.
If we look at the statistics – A 32 GB RAM setup used to cost around $300 in 2020 and cost just around $200 now.
There even seems to be a continuing fall in prices in 2021.
As a matter of fact, you would not like to spend too much, but for that, you should know that how much RAM exactly to get.
But because it depends entirely on what type of projects you are editing, there is no definite answer to the question of how much RAM to would need for video editing in general.
A good solution is to narrow it down, in order to know better about your RAM requirements.
Your ultimate video editing goal
You ultimate goal should be to have enough RAM space so that your video editing software run smoothly.
Fortunately, there is a good number of video editing software from which you can choose from including Final cut pro, Vegas Pro, DaVince resolve, Avid media composer, Premiere Pro and many more.
In addition to above, any other typically needed application running smoothly should have ample memory, so that your system should not slow down during the editing process.
So, to support my configuration, should I have SSD, HDD, or both?
RAM or Random Access memory is one of the important parts of any computer.
Due to this when people decide to choose a computer they usually pay attention to its volume simply because the more RAM the better.
However, there is one more key factor of utmost importance which is the performance speed.
The speed of RAM is one of the key elements of your laptop and you should pay some respect to RAM speed also especially if you have a gaming system.
As a matter of fact, when you ask about the speed of RAM you are more likely to get the answer related with two parameters namely – frequency and timings.
It is important here to know that how these two key elements matter as far as the RAM performance of your laptop is concerned.
Will I need NAS (Network Attached Storage) beside my RAM?
NAS or network attached storage protects your files with backups, allows you to access files from anywhere, lets you centralize photo storage and with this feature you can secretly share media with clients and coworkers.
Without any second thought, NAS is the standard and powerful data management hub for media professionals.
The NAS system lets you access your data so that your employees are able to collaborate easily.
In addition, you can also respond directly to your potential customers and respond faster to opportunities related to sales.
This is possible because all the required information is available in one place.
NAS is a type of private cloud due to which all data can be accessed through a network connection.
As a result your employees are able to work 24×7 from anywhere.
Let’s talk about frequency first. All modules of RAM have their clock speed just like the CPUs and the frequency rate is the numbers that displays the speed of the clock.
This numbers corresponds with the memory type in its name.
As an example for memory units with name DDR3-1222 and DDR4 -2300 the frequency would be 1222 and 2300 MHz.
In other words, we can say that frequency number shows the amount of data RAM can handle every second.
Timing is the next key element and is typically expressed as a string of numbers like 7-8-8-24.
This is the number of clock cycles per second that it takes for a RAM to perform tasks like accessing various pieces of data. As a result, shorter timings or less latency will mean faster performance.
These two key elements, timings and clock speed will decide exactly how fast your RAM will run on your laptop.
Just like CPU or a video card you can also boost your RAM by lowering the latency.
These two are interdependent and the more frequency you add the more latency you will get and vice versa.
According to some high frequency is better for gaming while lower latency is the best choice for production related tasks or video rendering.
However, your ideal goal should be to find the best balance between these two and not going to extremes.
To conclude, more RAM does not mean fast RAM, so one should focus on its timings and frequency when going for a PC configuration.
You should not forget that fast RAM is the combination of lowest possible timings with highest possible frequency.
You should also know that if you add more frequency to boost your RAM it will have a bad impact on latency.
We came to an end of answering your question: “How much RAM do I need for video editing?”, and I’m sure you got you can answer it yourself perfectly.
Looking at the current trend the minimum amount of RAM for video editing is 16GB.
On the other hand, if you want to edit 4K videos the recommended RAM size is 32GB.
If you choose a computer with this memory size, you are very likely to get a smooth editing experience.
It will also ensure that you never run out of memory even if you have a very complex video project.
Talking about the 64GB, it is presently not the best size as far as video editing purposes are concerned.
Ideally you would like to install this much size of RAM if the main target of your video production is 8K.