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How Much Ram Do You Need for Photo and Video Editing?

How Much Ram Do You Need for Photo and Video Editing?

When it comes to picking a laptop for photo and video editing you want to make sure you have the best specs for the jobs to be done. Footage, resolution, and bit depth plays an important role in how much RAM you will need for photo and video editing

The main use of RAM in video editing is to cache preview files for playback. As you increase the resolution and bit depth, your requirements for RAM will increase along with it.

So base your RAM decisions on what type of footage you plan on editing. So in this article, we're going to talk about how much RAM you need for each of those tasks. And today we're talking about RAM random access memory. How much do you need on your laptop or desktop computer to do Photo or video editing?

What is RAM and how it works?

RAM stands for '''Random Access Memory'' and your computer's operating system and every application you use has part of its data stored in memory when in use. This makes it different from storage such as hard drives or solid-state drives as information isn't stored there permanently. It's only stored on a short-term basis so that information can be accessed very quickly.

RAM is the memory that your computer uses while it's powered on. Once you remove power from it, it loses its data, and therefore it is referred to as volatile memory. In comparison, your hard drive is non-volatile storage that keeps data after you restart the computer. Creative apps such as photo, video, and audio editing programs can end up using a lot of RAM, the longer you work on a project and the bigger the project gets.

But every single application including web pages takes up a little bit more memory and the more apps you are running simultaneously, the more the RAM fills up. Now if your programs try to access more RAM than you physically have, your computer has to decide which app you are using the least so it can put it in storage.

And every time you try to reopen the swap program, it is no longer at the computer's fingertips and it has to bring it back into memory from storage while trying to switch another program out. These swaps from RAM to storage is what can slow down your computers significantly. And it is why people think you need all the RAM to have a fast computer.

Although, in a sense, this is true because if you don't have enough your computer does slow down. On the other hand, having too much RAM that your apps never fill, just ends up being unused memory that doesn't speed up the general use of your computer.

What are we accounting for when we're using RAM inside of our computer?

Well, the way RAM works is every time you open a program whether that be Photoshop, Premiere Pr,o InDesign Illustrator, Affinity, Sketch, even Google Chrome, you're going to be pulling a random access memory to run that program. And the more programs you have opened the more RAM you're going to use. On average you're going to see Photoshop or Affinity use about half a gig to 1 to 2 gigs just to start up and start running.

To have Google Chrome open with maybe 5, 6, 7, 8 tabs is going to run about 2 gigs of RAM memory as well. So right there you can see you've already used up your 8 gigs of RAM memory. Not only that but your computer will also use RAM memory to run a lot of background tasks. So it adds up very quickly. And I don't recommend 16 gigs of RAM. Flippantly.

I don't recommend 16 gigs of RAM to most designers and Editors in my computer recommendation articles just to get you to spend more money I want you to get a high-quality product that performs well and does not lag and kill your workflow. So that's a big basic overview and all.

How much RAM requirement for different video editing software??

System requirement for Premiere Pro

I run programs on Premiere Pro alone is using about 4 gigs of RAM. I have a program open. It has a video file. It's about a 6:30 minute video file with a lot of footage on it. So that's the specs there. I also used Affinity which is a competitor of Photoshop and it's using about half a gig of RAM. And then my Google Chrome is using about a gig and a half. So right there alone I'm using about 6 gigs just on idle.

How Much Ram Do You Need for Photo and Video Editing?

I look at the performance of my background tasks and everything that's going on on my computer is using about 15 gigs of RAM. Now there are ways for you to kill some of your background tasks and get that usage down. But a lot of people aren't going to go and do that every single time they open up their computer. So you got to keep in mind that this does happen in this background task that uses RAM memory.

How Much Ram Do You Need for Photo and Video Editing?

System requirement for Affinity

I started to do painting and just started to edit some different things within Affinity. for tasting, I added a photo, put a layer mask on the photo, and RAM memory starts to get used up more and more.

Now, this might not be a big deal if you only have Photoshop or Affinity open. But what if you're listening to music and Spotify? What if you're browsing on your Google Chrome?
These are all things that you have to consider when using Photoshop. If you're doing a lot of heavy touch up doing a lot of layers you're going to start to use up a lot more RAM memory.

So it's important to make these considerations that you're not only using Photoshop or Affinity you may be using other programs. Now if you do decide to go with the 8 gigs of RAM I recommend closing down your other programs in order to get the maximum amount of power out of your laptop or computer.

When I start adding different files moving things around and working inside of the program. I even added some graphics and it started to use a little bit more memory as I'm editing and hit play. Doing playback on Premiere Pro and that climbs up to almost 6 gigs of RAM.

All right. if you render out a file and see what happens there. So hit render and look at that. See the climb. So we're climbing up to 8 gigs of RAM steadily making our way towards 10 in a hurry. So as you see I am easily cooking my 16 gigs of RAM between the 3 programs I have open and rendering out in Premiere Pro.

How Much Ram Do You Need for Photo and Video Editing?

Go to the Performance tab to see what our entire computer usage is right now.

So 16 gigs is usually what I recommend as a minimum but often if you can budget it the 32 gigs of RAM is the best because you're going to have a lot of buffer room for the background tasks that are taking place that gives you the idea of how much RAM memory it actually takes to run a lot of these high-level creative tasks. About a high level, it means a lot of performance is used within your computer.

How Much Ram Do You Need for Photo and Video Editing?

System requirement for Lightroom

How Much Ram Do You Need for Photo and Video Editing?

System requirement for light Final Cut Pro X

How Much Ram Do You Need for Photo and Video Editing?

System requirement for Davinci Resolve

How Much Ram Do You Need for Photo and Video Editing?


The following are the recommended amounts of RAM.

Is 8GB RAM good for video editing?

8GB - This is ideal for smaller projects like 1080p, and if you are okay with closing background programs. So my recommendation for Photo Editors is at least 8 gigs of RAM. Now if you have any 8 gigs of RAM computer what you want to do is you want to shut down all your programs and run Photoshop or Infinity at one time. The reason being is that I'll give you the most RAM towards that program. It allows you to run the smoothest.

If you're like me and you edit 4K footage you have frequently found yourself waiting for the files to render or export to complete. Another reason, why you would want to have more RAM is if you like to run a bunch of other things at the same time while having a million tabs open in the browser.

Is 16GB RAM good for video editing?

16GB will work on projects that are like 1080 or 4K, but in 8-bit this will allow minor usage of background projects as well. If you want to have multiple programs that open at the same time I recommend 16 gigs of RAM for my Photo editing friends. Video Editors, as you see uses a lot of RAM memory so I recommend 16 gigs of RAM as a base 32 gigs of RAM if your budget allows.

Is 32GB RAM good for video editing?

For 32GB of RAM, this can carry a heavy load of video editing while still using some background projects. So you could just dedicate, for example, Premiere Pro 16GB of RAM. While the other apps, that are not Adobe products can be another 16 GB if you're using 32GB. Almost all video editing software have the feature to optimize memory usage, of course, 16 or even 32 GB may be sufficient, depending on your projects.

Is 64GB RAM good for video editing?

This amount can handle doing 8K footage. Recommend 64GB as the Sweet Spot for 8K of 8-10-bit footage. And you can also have other programs like After Effects, Cinema 4D, or Media Encoder running in the background. You need 64 GB if you are working with multiple resource-intensive media applications simultaneously like 3D modeling and rendering or working with extremely large files.

Final thoughts

Keep in mind, RAM does not greatly affect the speed of rendering, but the processor does. So try to find a processor fast enough, or well, if we just find something to do while waiting.

RAM speed is measured in megahertz. Its clock speed indicates how many times per second the memory can read or change its data.

The fact is, the speed will affect the overall performance of the processor. So it is really a matter of trying to match a good processor, with RAM speed. You could try to supplement a slow processor with high-speed RAM.

Premiere Pro and After Effects do not see a significant performance gain with high-frequency RAM, regardless of CPU, but Photoshop does see a performance increase with high-speed RAM as Photoshop tries to use as much RAM as possible because Photoshop sucks up RAM like a camel.

Knowing that speed of RAM does affect the rate of data going back and forth plus Photoshop needs to render your image raw on the fly, the speed of RAM will actually make it easier for you to preview un-rendered files in Premiere Pro.

In summary, high-speed RAM does affect the editing experience. If you need to preview your file before rendering. So other than that, you don't really see any difference.

So what is the ideal speed?

I will have to say that it will be 3200 megahertz. Having more RAM will make it easier for you to preview your footage. Higher resolution requires more RAM, lower resolution requires less RAM. So just remember that.

So what are your thoughts? You could ask questions, you could just leave a comment of what your preferred amount of RAM is. If you've got some value make sure to give it a share and comment below.

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