As a hobbyist I've dabbled with video editing for a while and recently decided to get more serious by learning to use Davinci Resolve (free version). My i7 Windows machine with integrated graphics is seven years old. I can get by for now by sticking with 1080p or below, which may be all I'd eventually want to produce, but the program does get sluggish at times and timeline playback can get jumpy.

As I'm thinking my system will be due for an upgrade at some point soon anyhow, I've been looking around at what's available that would also allow reasonable performance of Resolve without breaking the bank. I've read many articles about minimum hardware for Resolve but of course it depends on the end use so in some cases the suggested rigs are quite powerful and expensive whereas I'm after something more modest in price and performance for non-professional use. So a few questions for a new i7 system:

o What is the relative advantage of more RAM vs. a better dedicated graphics card? What role does each of these play in the editing?

o What role does the SSD play? One system under consideration has a 512 GB M.2 PCLe NVMe SSD and I'm not sure what any of that means other the 512. Would such an SSD be limiting in any way?

o Would the NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1650 SUPER™, 4 GB GDDR6 and 16 GB RAM be a reasonable combination for my needs?

Any general guidance would be appreciated.

  • What's your budget?
    – Mastaxx
    Sep 12, 2022 at 15:04
  • I guess around $1,000 give or take. Was looking at a system with 12th gen i7, 16GB RAM and the GeForce GTX 1650 Super. But I was surprised to find that the graphics card is 3 years old now and also just read a 2022 article that said it struggles with Resolve. Really curious about my first question - the role of internal RAM vs graphics card.
    – Not_Einstein
    Sep 12, 2022 at 15:16
  • Video is one of those areas where everything needs to be fast & large - CPU, GPU, RAM [& lots of it] & storage [& lots of it]. The machine you're looking at isn't particularly fast or large - it would maybe stumble along OK for 1080 but the 512 SSD will be full in a week.
    – Tetsujin
    Sep 12, 2022 at 16:24
  • One trick for video & audio work is not to try keep up with the big boys, but buy second hand what they're finished with.
    – Tetsujin
    Sep 12, 2022 at 16:26
  • The Z440 workstation although now getting old, is still very common in the post production world. I still manage around 300 of them at work and they run Avid Media Composer just fine. You can get a used one for around $300. You should then have just about enough money left over to spec it out with a GPU, NVME and extra ram. I recommend going up to 64GB ram, a GTX1060 6GB will also do you just fine.
    – Mastaxx
    Sep 13, 2022 at 9:31

1 Answer 1


This will be just a partial answer.

There are several types of internal SSD disks. The most commonly used is SATA 2.5 inches. They are the ones that are totally enclosed in a plastic box. They have better thermal dissipation.

Then you have the PCIe that looks like a memory sim, they have the chips exposed (of course they will be inside the laptop). And you have other systems like M2, that are smaller, but as they are less common, they are significantly more expensive. They are used in super-slim laptops. (Do not use a slim laptop for video editing!)

In my experience, the 2.5" are the faster and more stable ones precisely because of the thermal dissipation (and have more capacity)

The role they play is plain speed on loading times. You can go from several minutes (depending on how damaged is your OS installation) to some seconds.

The ideal usage of SSD is having your OS and software on that disk, some working files and projects there, and archive files on a normal, cheaper, bigger disk.

512Gb is only going to cover the OS, some applications, and some temporal files. For working files get at least 2Tb. (and an external drive)

One very important thing to consider is the generation of the i7 processor. The newer the better. You can see in general which version the processor is by looking at the number.

i7 4xxx is 4th generation, i7 12xxx is 12th. To give you an idea, an i5 of a newer generation is way better than an i7 of an old one.

On which processes a GPU and a CPU does, I am not sure, because software is continuously delegating more and more processes to GPU.

I could be wrong, but for simple editing, RAM will help you with the previews, for example when you have a section with cross dissolve. And GPU will be used more with Fusion, and with effects that are generated, like blooms.

There is more to investigate, for example, do not discard using Ryzen, (instead of Intel) and AMD graphics cards. Here the difference is if a specific process is very specific to be optimized for CUDA. CUDA is specific instructions for Nvidia cards. But in general, I would go for saving $ buying a good Ryzen processor and getting more memory.

Just my opinion.

Although I do not like linking to another forum, take a look at the Blackmagic forum for some discussions on the topic.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.