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DaVinci Resolve System Requirements + Recommendations for Mac, Windows, and Linux

DaVinci Resolve is one of the best video editing programs in the business and a staple for filmmakers, businesses, and other types of content creators. While DaVinci Resolve is an incredibly powerful tool, the software can only be as good as the hardware it’s running on. As a video editor, it can sometimes be a challenge to decide on what hardware to choose.

There are a plethora of CPU and GPU options out there and a few different operating systems as well. The question is: which hardware is best for you and which hardware is optimal for DaVinci Resolve?

Note: You can transcribe with Simon Says natively within Resolve (and in 100 languages). Simon Says is very light on CPU requirements and all the minimum specs listed below would support the integration with Resolve.

DaVinci Resolve minimum requirements

DaVinci Resolve is able to run on both low-end and high-end devices and is one of the only NLEs that runs on Linux as well. For post-production work, especially for ones that require an intense workflow, it’s important your machine is above the minimum system requirements.

To run DaVinci Resolve, you don’t need anything incredibly powerful, but it’s still important to check and see. The system requirements for DaVinci Resolve 18 and DaVinci Resolve 17 vary from operating system to operating system though. For those using macOS devices, you should have:

  • macOS 11 Big Sur or later
  • 8 GB of system memory (16 GB for intense graphics work)
  • M1 Apple Silicon CPU (or intel core i7 on older macs)
  • Integrated GPU or discrete GPU with at least 2GB of VRAM and supports Metal or OpenCL 1.2
  • A fast Solid State Hard Drive (SSD)

For those running Windows devices you should have:

  • Windows 10 or later
  • 16 GB of system memory (32 GB for intense graphics work)
  • intel core i7 or AMD Ryzen 7 CPU
  • Integrated or discrete GPU with at least 2GB of VRAM and supports OpenCL 1.2 or CUDA 11 and the Latest driver Blackmagic Design Desktop Video 10.4.1 or later
  • A fast Solid State Hard Drive (SSD)

Those running Linux will want:

  • CentOS 7.3
  • 32 GB of system memory
  • Intel core i7 or AMD Ryzen 7 CPU
  • Discrete GPU with at least 2GB of VRAM that supports OpenCL 1.2 or CUDA 11 as well as the latest driver Blackmagic Design Desktop Video 10.4.1 or later
  • A fast Solid State Hard Drive (SSD)

Hardware requirements for running DaVinci Resolve

There are so many options on the market when it comes to graphics cards, CPUs, Ram, and motherboards. It can be overwhelming to figure out what to choose at times. Different creators may require different things as well. Someone doing visual effects is going to need something completely different than someone doing small videos for social media or audio post-production.

Each video format runs better on a different piece of hardware as well. The ProRes codec, for example, has better encoding and playback on Apple hardware. So what’s the best hardware to choose?

CPU

There are many CPU options on the market and it can sometimes be hard to decide which one to go with. Mac users don’t have much of a say in this decision (which can be either a good or bad thing depending on who you ask).

Newer Macs use Apple’s proprietary chipset. The newer MacBooks, Mac mini, and Mac Studio all have these chips in them. The cheapest option you can get is the M1 CPU which DaVinci Resolve runs great on. On the high end is the M1 Ultra chip which will fly through any type of encoding.

For Windows, things become a little bit trickier. Intel vs Ryzen chips have been something of a heated debate for a while now. Truthfully though, you can’t go wrong between either brand, though, DaVinci seems to get slightly better performance out of the Ryzen chips.

On the lower end, you have the Ryzen 3600 and Intel core i5 chipset that will do the bare minimum of what you’ll need for editing. If you’re editing low-quality codecs with minimal to no effects, these two chips are the way to go.

Somewhere in the middle are the Intel core i7 and the Ryzen 7 chips. These are great for those working with a bit higher-end codecs, effects, layers, and larger resolution sizes. 

At the high end are the Intel core i9 and Ryzen 9 chips (or the Threadripper chips from AMD). These are wonderful for professional users who want the best performance possible. This comes at a heavy cost though.

GPU

If you’re going to spend a lot of money on one thing for DaVinci Resolve, spend it on a graphics card. DaVinci Resolve is incredibly reliant on the GPU, especially if you have the Studio version of Resolve. The Studio version of Resolve can use more than one graphics card at a time which is amazing for high-quality footage and effects. The recommended graphics cards for DaVinci Resolve all come from Nvidia. While AMD does make graphics cards (the AMD Radeon series), you’ll never see them on the top of the benchmarks.

Users have to be careful when picking a GPU though. While graphics cards like the GTX 1660 Super are wonderful cheap options, most GPUs nowadays will cost an arm and a leg due to scalping. The RTX 3090 was notoriously expensive for the longest time. 

The RTX 3070 and RTX 3080 are great midrange options though and are still top-of-the-line Nvidia GeForce GTX GPUs. Most of these have great GPU VRAM as well which is another factor that can speed up rendering on DaVinci Resolve.

RAM

It’s best to have 16GB of fast RAM for DaVinci Resolve. While you can technically have 8GB of RAM, it’s not recommended for most use cases.

High-end and professional users will want 32 to 128GB of fast RAM though. Make sure that whatever motherboard you have supports the type of RAM you’re going with.

Wrapping up

There are a lot of factors to take into consideration when thinking of hardware specifications for DaVinci Resolve. It’s important to always remember though that a fast computer doesn’t make a great editor. You don’t need the highest-spec computer in the world to create great content, just a great vision. Computer hardware and video editing software are simply tools to accomplish a greater goal. That being said, it’s best to alleviate as much stress as possible when video editing and creating content.

Simons Says gives you a lightweight solution for captioning and transcribing in Resolve. You can use it without adding impacting your CPU's performance.