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What is VRAM and How Much Do You Need for Video Editing?

What is VRAM and How Much Do You Need for Video Editing?

In this article, we're talking about VRAM. What is it? And how much do you need for video editing or motion design? Perhaps your shooting 1080P 4K or even 6K. So how much VRAM do you need for those specific use cases?

What is VRAM on a graphic card?

VRAM video random access memory or video memory for short. Is this similar to regular RAM? Yes. There are a lot of similarities in the same way that RAM holds the processes for the computer components to fetch and make quick use of the VRAM does the same thing for graphical processes in your computer. VRAM is the buffer between the processor of the computer and what is displayed on the display.

So Let's take a look at that process.

So first the process is read so the image is first read by the processor as data. So you're editing and the image that you're looking at on your screen has been read as data. From there the data is written. So the image is then written to the VRAM. Then the signal is sent to the display. So data is sent via a digital signal to the screen. So then you see the image that you are seeing on your screen. Finally, it is converted.

So the signal is converted to an image on your screen. So the signal is sent then the signal is converted and then you see that image. So that's what VRAM is doing. It's storing all that data. So it doesn't have to do the long haul back and forth. It's doing that in real-time.

What is the difference between DDR4 and GDDR5?

Well, they're completely different because GDR4 is the classification for computer RAM whereas GDDR5 is the classification for the video RAM. So it comes in the big difference between the RAM that you put in your computer like the 32 gigs of RAM or the 16 gigs of RAM. That helps with the everyday general tasks of the computer. That's the DDR4 and the GDDR5 is the VRAM within your graphics processing unit. So don't confuse those two. This is one you're going to want to be looking for as far as GPUs are concerned.

3 ways that video editing utilizes VRAM

This is very important
  1. Playback
  2. Rendering
  3. Encoding

So the first one is playback watching back the edited footage in the timeline of Premiere Pro or even resolve.

Then you have rendering motion graphics or visual elements in this software in the video editing software

Then you have encoding. That's the exporting. So when exporting out of the video editing software you can Select hardware encoding which will allow the GPU to support the export.

So there are three specific ways that you can use VRAM or the graphics processing unit while video editing so each of these processes will speed up the more powerful GPU that you have. The most common ones that we saw up until recently when Adobe pushed their update about encoding with hardware and also dimension resolved. I mean they've been doing that for quite a while now but encoding is the newer feature that you will see in Adobe Premiere Pro that utilizes the GPU and specifically VRAM.

So how much VRAM do you need?

The amount of VRAM all depends on your use case. If you're editing massive 6K projects from a red camera or doing complex motion design graphics projects at 5 to 10 minutes long then you will need as much as you can get in the GPU you can afford. But if you're working on basic 1080P projects or some 4K video editing with basic transitions and overlays you may not need as much VRAM as you might think.

Nvidia GeForce GPU lineup

I am most familiar with Nvidia's lineup. I know a lot of people love AMD but for me, this is how I can understand it best as I continue to pursue my education in AMD GPUs.

What is VRAM and How Much Do You Need for Video Editing?

GTX 1050

So we start out with the GTX 1050 and that's actually the GPU that I use in my daily driver. My Dell XPS15. It's in the Pascal architecture. It has 640 Cuda cores. And then 2 gigs of VRAM and about 7 gigabytes of memory speed.


We have the touring Shaders architecture 896 Cuda cores,  4 gigs of VRAM, and 8 gigs of memory speed.

GTX 1660 Ti

1536 Cuda cores, 6 gigs of  VRAM 12 gigs of memory speed


1920 Cuda cores and  6 gigs VRSM.

RTX 2080 Ti

4352 Cuda cores, with 11 gigs of VRAM and 14 gigabytes of memory speed.

What in the world does all this mean?

How much do you need?

So for your basic 1080P video editing, this is what I do with my computer the most. I shoot all these YouTube videos in 1080P because I don't really have the power to edit big 4K projects. Currently, I'm upgrading my workstation to a desktop work soon when I plan to shoot 4K but we can do 1080P full quality playback. It's a little bit slower in rendering and exporting and entry-level streaming. So you can do all those things with this in GPU you can do some live streaming. If you want to record maybe some of your video editing or playback or whatever you might do and share it with friends so on and so forth.

GTX 1650.

This has the 896 Cuda core, 4 gigs of GDDRs 6 VRAM and you can use this for about 4K video editing at half two full quality playback in Timeline Individual Resolve or Premiere Pro and then moderate rendering exporting and intermediate streaming. Now, this 4 gigs of VRAM we make a side note here is the same amount of RAM that you'll see in the base model of the MacBook Pro that has the 4 gigs of RAM in that GPU. So if you're one in comparison like MacBook Pro to Windows Laptops it's going to be about the GTX1650 roughly not exactly because it's a different GPU but that's the rough estimate of it.

My top recommendation

GTX 1660 Ti is my top recommendation for a mid-tier GPU. I think this is amazing for 4K full quality playback quick rendering exporting and best value to performance for streaming. This is my favorite GPU right now in the market because it's a really good average price. As soon as you get up to the RTX stuff it starts getting crazy. You still have a solid amount of cute cores great amount of RAM and so it just makes a great value.


The RTX2060 with 1920 Cuda cores and 6 gigs of VRAM that'll be great for 6K full quality playback, fast rendering, exporting, and fast streaming performance. I've used this one at CES. We were doing some playback with 6K footage and it played it back Super smooth.

RTX 2080 Ti

Lastly, the RTX 2080 Ti 4352 Cuda cores, 11 gigs of VRAM Basically I can do all things amazing because I am amazing. That's what the RTX 2060 Ti says. That is a beast of a GPU. Honestly, the only use case I see for that for video editing is like crazy eight 8K red footage with rendering. You just want Super fast rendering times. Or if you're just a crazy motion designer need big motion design projects. That's where I see the RTX 2080 Ti coming in because we're not well personally I'm not a gamer so I don't need to do that much graphical processing as somebody who is gaining.

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