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DaVinci Resolve 17’s System Requirements

Logan Baker

Let’s look at this major advancement in DaVinci Resolve, and tackle all the specs you need to know to work with it.

When looked at in comparison to the other non-linear editing platforms out there, Resolve has always been a GPU reliant program, whereas others were more “CPU” focused. However, through recent updates with Premiere and FCPX (I’m honestly not sure what FCPX is doing over there in the corner), other programs are also starting to catch up to DaVinci Resolve.


System Requirements

We’re going to explain what these components are and some of the recommended products currently on the market. But, if you’re just looking for the requirements and then dip out, let’s make that easier for you.

Mac

Let’s just look at the requirements if you’re using a Mac OS:

  • Latest version of Mojave – macOS 10.14.6 (typical update for Mac OS is required)
  • 16 GB of system memory
  • 32 GB of memory if you plan on using Fusion
  • Blackmagic Design Desktop Video (for live-streaming) version 10.4.1 or later
  • Integrated GPU or discrete GPU (dedicated memory separate from the CPU) with at least 2GB of VRAM.
  • GPU which supports Metal or OpenCL 1.2

As of August 2021, DaVinci’s latest 17.3 update has included a massive improvement in the form of Mac compatibility and rendering capabilities. For Macs with the M1 chip, Resolve will now work an apparent three times faster than before.

In their press statement on the update, Blackmagic said this:

With this massive speed increase, customers can now play back, edit, and grade 4K projects faster, and can even work on 8K projects on an Apple M1 notebook. The new processing engine uses tile-based rendering . . . also supports a new option on Mac computers with M1 for H.265 hardware encoding. Customers can choose to prioritize speed vs. quality when rendering, further improving render times up to 65%.

– Blackmagic

Windows

Now, let’s take a peep at the system requirements if you’re using Windows:

  • Windows 10 Creators Update
  • 16 GB of system memory
  • 32 GB of memory if you plan on using Fusion
  • Blackmagic Design Desktop Video 10.4.1 or later
  • Integrated GPU or discrete GPU with at least 2GB of VRAM
  • GPU which supports OpenCL 1.2 or CUDA 11 – ( I had to look up CUDA)
  • NVIDIA/AMD/Intel GPU Driver version – as required by your GPU
  • A minimum NVIDIA driver version of 451.82 is recommended (if you’re not sure what driver version you have, follow along NVIDIA’s instructions to find out)

Linux

Let’s take a look at the system requirements for Linux:

  • CentOS 7.3
  • 32 GB of system memory
  • Blackmagic Design Desktop Video 10.4.1 or later
  • Discrete GPU with at least 2GB of VRAM
  • GPU which supports OpenCL 1.2 or CUDA 11
  • NVIDIA/AMD Driver version – as required by your GPU
  • A minimum NVIDIA driver version of 450.51.06 is recommended

While this isn’t exactly an article about GPUs and CPUs, it’s important to understand how these tools work in relation to what Resolve needs from your computer in order to perform to the best of its ability.

So, let’s go over the basics and where to look for quality products, so you can have an idea of where to start or what you need. Then, we’ll talk about what Resolve requires from you.


What Is a CPU?

CPU Concept
The CPU is the brains of the operation. Image via Blue Andy.

A CPU (central processing unit) resides attached to the motherboard of your computer. CPUs are essentially chips that receive information from different parts of your computer, then performs somewhat of a calculation. So, it takes in information, figures out what to do with it, then does it. Still with me? It’s the brain, essentially.

In the context of this specific situation, the CPU comes second when using Resolve. However, its GPU-reliant playback and rendering model still benefits from having a decent CPU to work with.

That being said, which CPU would ideally work best for Resolve? Let’s dive in.


Best CPU Option for DaVinci Resolve

Obviously, I haven’t personally tested each and every CPU available, but there are resources that will list how these stack up against each other. Take, for example, this breakdown comparison of around fifteen different CPUs that are currently available and compatible with Resolve.

Okay, so that gives us somewhat of an idea for where to start with our CPU hunt and what we can expect to pay (as of right now in Fall 2021).

Here are the best options and prices for each, respectively.


What Is a GPU?

A GPU (graphics processing unit) is a card that’s designed for graphics and video rendering. This is what’s handling the actual footage you bring into Resolve.

One of the reasons Resolve was such a powerhouse for Windows was the ability to custom pick and build your PC to handle a powerful GPU. You essentially had way more options than going with something pre-built into your machine. This would, in turn, work wonders alongside Resolves “GPU-focused compatibility.”


Best GPU Option for DaVinci Resolve

Once again, I’m calling on Tech Notice to come to bat. These videos are probably the most clearly stated and thorough look at what to expect with some of the graphics cards available on the market. He’s taking a cold hard fact sheet from PugetBench, which just states what works best with what software.

Alright, time to break down what the best options are for GPUs. Now, obviously, wouldn’t we all want one of those RTX 3080s like no other. And, given Resolve’s semi ugly track record with other branded graphics cards like AMD, I feel pretty confident in saying I think you should stick with NVIDIA when choosing your own.

I can only speak to my own experiences, but the NVIDIA cards I’ve owned have all been absolutely stellar and have really never given me too much problems. If any?

So, let’s just list some of the dream cards for us, shall we? (Some of these are currently sold out.)

  • GeForce RTX 2080, 2070
  • GeForce RTX 3080, 3070, 3060 – $Too much money and sold out
  • GeForce 3060Ti – The cheapest of the lot, if you can find it
  • GeForce GTX 1660

If you’re new to the world of building a custom PC or adding in specific custom parts, check out this full step-by-step build of a video editing-specific PC tutorial.

Okay, I think that’s it. If I missed anything, just kindly let us know. Resolve is constantly getting updated, as is a lot of the hardware that hits the market every year. So, we’ll be coming back into the post and updating the information as it changes.


For more Blackmagic tips and advice, check out these articles:

Cover image via Ismail Rajo.