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DaVinci Resolve 18 System Requirements: Mac, Linux & Windows

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DaVinci Resolve is a premier video editing software trusted by filmmakers, businesses, and diverse content creators worldwide. However, the effectiveness of this powerful tool hinges on the hardware it operates on. As a video editor, navigating the multitude of hardware choices can indeed be daunting.

With a vast array of CPUs and GPUs available, alongside several operating systems, the key question emerges: what is the optimal hardware for you, and more importantly, what best suits DaVinci Resolve?

Determining the ideal hardware for your needs and aligning it with the DaVinci Resolve system requirements is crucial for harnessing the software’s full potential. This ensures seamless video editing experiences and high-quality outputs, whether you’re an independent filmmaker or a business creating engaging content.

Minimum & Recommended System Requirements for DaVinci Resolve

DaVinci Resolve is a versatile non-linear editing (NLE) software capable of functioning on a range of devices, from low-end to high-end, including unique compatibility with Linux systems. It’s essential to ensure your device meets or exceeds the minimum system requirements for optimal performance, especially for intensive post-production workflows.

DaVinci Resolve System Requirements:

macOS:

  • OS: macOS 11 Big Sur or later
  • Memory: Minimum 8GB, 16GB recommended for graphic-intensive tasks
  • CPU: M1 Apple Silicon (or Intel Core i7 for older models)
  • GPU: Integrated or discrete with at least 2GB VRAM, supporting Metal or OpenCL 1.2
  • Storage: A high-speed solid-state drive (SSD)

Windows:

Linux (CentOS 7.3):

  • Memory: 32GB
  • CPU: Intel Core i7 or AMD Ryzen 7
  • GPU: Discrete with at least 2GB VRAM, supporting OpenCL 1.2 or CUDA 11. The latest Blackmagic Design Desktop Video driver (version 10.4.1 or later) is necessary.
  • Storage: A high-speed solid-state drive (SSD)

Remember, these requirements may vary between DaVinci Resolve 17 and 18, so always verify your system’s compatibility before running the software.

Video

Operating System

Your operating system serves as the foundation of your workstation, and having the most recent version enhances the integration and utilization of powerful components. For example, the latest OS versions are more likely to fully leverage the capabilities of modern graphics cards.

Equally important is the installation of up-to-date video drivers, ensuring accurate output delivery to your monitor or external viewer.

Specifically for DaVinci Resolve Version 18, Blackmagic Design suggests that Mac users should be on macOS 11 Big Sur or later, while Windows users should transition to Windows 10 Creators Update.

DaVinci Resolve compatible operating systems

Graphics (GPU) Capabilities

In the realm of video processing, the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) or graphics card emerges as a crucial component of your workstation. This is especially true when using high-powered tools like DaVinci Resolve, where the GPU takes centre stage, underscoring the importance of understanding the DaVinci Resolve system requirements.

In the contemporary digital landscape, 4K TVs are increasingly commonplace among consumers, and it’s not rare for top-tier productions to record in resolutions as high as 6K or even 8K.

It’s essential to realize that a doubling in the headline number signifies a quadrupling of the video resolution, highlighting the steep computational demands for high-resolution workflows.

These demands for high-resolution video processing, particularly in audio-visual post-production, necessitate a robust GPU to handle the intense processing power required. This is all the more important because DaVinci Resolve isn’t just a standalone editing software.

Instead, it provides a comprehensive suite of differentiated workspaces, enabling you to edit your film, color grade it, mix and finalize its soundtrack, add effects, and render it for final viewing, all while facilitating collaboration with multiple artists.

For those using DaVinci Resolve Version, Blackmagic Design has recommended specific minimum graphics handling capabilities to ensure smooth operation. It’s essential to verify these specifications to ensure your machine can effectively support your video editing endeavours.

Minimum Requirements
Mac2 GB VRAM with OpenCL 1.2 or Metal support
Win2 GB VRAM with OpenCL 1.2 or CUDA 11 support

Note that these are only the minimum recommended specifications. They should work just fine if you are editing a single layer of 1080P video without complex effects or audio work. 

When working with higher resolutions, multiple layers of audio and video, and complex effects, your system is likely to hang, lose synchronization, or drop frames during playback. It will also be slow to render output and incredibly frustrating to work with. 

For these reasons, you will likely need higher graphics processing power. Here are a few general guidelines based on the video resolution you expect to work with.

ResolutionRecommended Capability
MacHD4GB VRAM with OpenCL 1.2 or Metal support
4K8GB VRAM with OpenCL 1.2 or Metal support
6-8K20 GB VRAM with OpenCL 1.2 or Metal support
WinHD4 GB VRAM with OpenCL 1.2 or CUDA 11 support
4K8 GB VRAM with OpenCL 1.2 or CUDA 11 support
6-8K20 GB VRAM with OpenCL 1.2 or CUDA 11 support

Finally, note that while the free version of Resolve limits you to using a single GPU, the Studio version lets you use multiple GPUs. This is another aspect to consider when deciding which graphics card to install. 

AMD & NVIDIA GeForce GPU manufacturer logos

CPU Processing Power

Blackmagic Design does not have a minimum requirement regarding the make or specifications of your processor or CPU. However, we recommend using a processor with at least four cores. 

The more cores your processor has, the more powerful it will be. More cores allow parallel processing, speeding up the tasks you perform. They can be handy if you work with higher-resolution video, run multiple GPUs, or use processor-intensive codecs such as H.265.     

Here are a few general guidelines regarding the CPU you should use for your Resolve workstation.

Video ResolutionMinimum Recommended Processor Cores
HD4
4K6
6-8K18

Memory (RAM)

As with CPU cores, the more and newer the iteration of RAM, the better your Resolve workstation will function.

You can get away with using just 8GB of RAM to edit HD video on a Mac running a new M1 processor. You can also run DDR3 RAM without encountering problems. However, we recommend using at least 16GB DDR4 RAM.

If you are working on higher resolutions and doing more intensive grading or effects work, 32 GB DDR4 RAM is ideal. Advanced users without budget constraints will want to install as much RAM as their motherboards accept.  

Storage (HDD/SSHD/SSD)

Consider both the size and the speed of hard disks when installing storage for your Resolve system. You will need high-volume disks to store large amounts of video data. The greater the resolution and complexity of the work, the higher your volume requirements will be.

At the same time, installing a slow disk is the surest way to squander any gains bestowed by the other high-quality components in your machine. So, projects working with high-resolution video and complex effects will also need faster disk read and write speeds.    

Because of contrasting requirements for disk volume and speed, video editors often use multiple disks in their work and split their processing across disks.

We recommend using separate Solid State Drives for your boot drive and rendering locations. SSDs are fast and will ensure you get the most out of your processing capabilities elsewhere.

However, they are still expensive. So, you will still need to rely on older drives for your video storage needs. Check your HDD’s disk speeds; if they are too low, clubbing them into a RAID array can offer a compromise between greater volume and speed.

It is vital to match the capabilities between your various components to get the best bang for your buck. One inadequate component can bottleneck an otherwise perfect Resolve workstation.

The diagram below perfectly describes a bottleneck when, for example, the CPU is bottlenecking the rest of the system.

Bottleneck diagram
Source: WePC

Frequently asked questions

Do you need a good PC for DaVinci Resolve?

Sort of, it’s a very open-ended question. It depends on the resolution you’re editing at and whether you’re using advanced editing effects or not.

Essentially, for basic video editing, you just need at least 8GB of average RAM, a modern processor with at least 4 cores & a good GPU that offers at least 2GB of video RAM.

Can DaVinci Resolve run on 8GB RAM?

Absolutely, 8GB RAM is plenty for DaVinci Resolve to use. These are the recommended amounts of RAM storage depending on your editing resolution.

1080p – 8GB RAM
4k – 16GB RAM
8k – 32GB RAM

Do you need a graphics card to run DaVinci Resolve?

In short, yes. You’ll need a modern GPU with at least 2GB of VRAM (Video RAM) to be able to run DaVinci Resolve without encountering major issues.

We recommend at least 4GB of VRAM to leave some breathing room in case the software exceeds 2GB to avoid any potential crashes and loss of work.

How often does DaVinci Resolve update its system requirements, and how can I stay updated?

DaVinci Resolve system requirements tend to be updated with major version releases, which occur approximately once a year. To stay updated, you can follow DaVinci Resolve’s official website, its social media pages, or forums dedicated to the software.

Are there any specific brands or models of CPUs or GPUs that are known to work better with DaVinci Resolve?

DaVinci Resolve is known to work well with higher-end CPUs and GPUs, particularly those from Intel, AMD, and NVIDIA. However, it’s important to check the specific model compatibility on the software’s website.

If I am using multiple GPUs, what considerations should I make in terms of power supply and cooling?

If you’re using multiple GPUs, ensure you have an adequate power supply. A high-wattage PSU is a must. Cooling is also crucial as multiple GPUs can generate significant heat. High-performance cooling solutions are recommended.

How much of an improvement in performance can I expect if I upgrade my system to meet the recommended requirements instead of just the minimum?

Upgrading your system to meet the recommended DaVinci Resolve system requirements rather than just the minimum can result in considerable performance improvement. This can lead to smoother video editing, faster rendering times, and better handling of complex effects and color grading tasks

Can I use external GPUs with DaVinci Resolve, and if so, are there any specific models you recommend?

External GPUs can be used with DaVinci Resolve, particularly on systems like laptops where internal upgrade options may be limited. However, ensure that the specific model is compatible with your system and DaVinci Resolve

Can I use external GPUs with DaVinci Resolve, and if so, are there any specific models you recommend?

Using DaVinci Resolve on a laptop vs. a desktop can have different implications. Desktops typically offer better performance due to more powerful hardware and superior cooling. However, laptops provide portability. Make sure your laptop meets or exceeds the recommended system requirements for an optimal experience.

Are there any recommendations for optimizing my existing hardware for better performance with DaVinci Resolve?

To optimize your existing hardware for better performance with DaVinci Resolve, make sure your drivers are up to date, optimize your storage by having a separate high-speed drive for cache files, and close any unnecessary applications running in the background.

If I encounter technical issues with DaVinci Resolve, where can I seek support or find troubleshooting resources?

If you encounter technical issues with DaVinci Resolve, you can seek support on the official website’s forum or consult the detailed user guide provided by Blackmagic Design.

Are there any other software considerations or compatibility issues I should be aware of when setting up DaVinci Resolve?

Software considerations for DaVinci Resolve include ensuring you have compatible codecs for your footage and that your operating system is up to date. Additionally, some plug-ins and third-party effects may not be compatible with all versions of DaVinci Resolve, so it’s important to check compatibility.

Final Thoughts 

Navigating the world of video editing can seem overwhelming, especially when considering the myriad of hardware choices available. Nevertheless, understanding the DaVinci Resolve system requirements is fundamental to unlocking the full potential of this powerful tool.

As we’ve highlighted throughout this article, ensuring that your workstation meets or exceeds these minimum requirements is key to ensuring a smooth, efficient editing process and delivering high-quality output.

Your machine’s operating system serves as the backbone of your workstation, and having the latest version can greatly enhance the integration and utilization of its powerful components.

Graphics capabilities, too, are a vital consideration. With modern productions often requiring resolutions as high as 6K or even 8K, having a robust GPU to handle these high-resolution workflows is crucial.

While the minimum requirements provided by Blackmagic Design should suffice for basic editing tasks, your needs may demand higher specifications. Higher resolutions, multiple audio and video layers, and complex effects can all place additional strain on your system. Therefore, it is crucial to consider the nature of your work and equip your workstation accordingly.

While the free version of Resolve limits you to using a single GPU, the Studio version allows you to use multiple GPUs, making it another important factor to consider when deciding on your graphics card.

With the right hardware in place, DaVinci Resolve offers an incredibly versatile and powerful suite of tools to enhance your video editing endeavours. Whether you’re an independent filmmaker or a business creating engaging content, tailoring your workstation to meet the DaVinci Resolve system requirements will set you up for success.

Remember, these recommendations are meant to guide you in creating the optimal workstation for your specific needs. Always keep in mind your unique requirements, budget constraints, and the nature of your projects. With these considerations in mind, you’ll be well-equipped to create compelling, high-quality videos using DaVinci Resolve. Happy editing!

Robert Sutton

Robert Sutton

An unwavering enthusiasm for games, films, literature, and comics has always been a profound element of my life. I possess skills in SEO, mastery in using Adobe Software, proficiency in Microsoft Office, and a keen understanding of SQL Database operations.

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