Recommended Hardware for Premiere Pro:
Like most software developers, Adobe maintains a list of system requirements for Premiere Pro that can be used to help ensure the hardware in your system will work with their software. However, most "system requirements" lists tend to cover only the very basics of what hardware is needed to run the software, not what hardware will actually give the best performance. In addition, sometimes these lists can be outdated, list old hardware revisions, or simply contain sub-optimal hardware.
Because of how inconsistent those lists can be, we've taken the time to perform testing to determine what hardware runs Premiere Pro the best. Based on this testing, we have come up with our own list of recommended hardware for Premiere Pro.
The processor (or CPU) is one of the most important pieces of a Premiere Pro workstation. While many other parts of the system impact performance to some degree, the CPU is the core piece of hardware that is a part of absolutely anything and everything you do in Premiere Pro. Note that while dual Xeon workstations used to be ideal for Premiere Pro in the past, recent changes in both hardware and software make this no longer the case. In nearly every instance, a single CPU workstation should be able to outperform a dual Xeon system at a much lower cost.
At this time, there are really only three CPUs that make sense for a Premiere Pro workstation. While Intel makes a very wide range of processors - many of which are more expensive than what we offer - these are the only three modern options that make sense from both a value and raw performance standpoint:
- Intel Core i7 7820X 3.6GHz (4.3/4.5GHz Turbo) 8 Core - Thanks to architecture improvements and a significant pricing adjustment from Intel, the Core i7 7820X is both faster than the highest-end CPU from the previous generation in almost every situation while coming in at roughly 1/3 the price! Due to the support of Turbo Boost 3.0 - which allows two of the eight cores to run at up to 4.5GHz for lightly threaded tasks - this CPU is terrific for almost everything in Premiere Pro including live playback, rendering previews, exporting, and compute intensive effects like warp stabilize.
- Intel Core i9 7900X 3.3GHz (4.3/4.5GHz Turbo) 10 Core - While in many cases not significantly faster than the Core i7 7820X, the Core i9 7900X should still be about 5% faster for rendering previews and exporting. The main advantage of this CPU is that it is better at live playback of 4K+ footage. For example, where the i7 7820X can only play 6K RED 7:1 footage at 1/4 resolution, the Core i9 7900X should be able to play it back at 1/2 resolution.
- Intel Core i9 7940X 3.1GHz (4.3/4.4GHz Turbo) 14 Core - For the highest possible performance in Premiere Pro, the Core i9 7940X is the fastest CPU we have tested to date. Exporting is about 7% faster than the Core i9 7900X, but more importantly live playback is better at 6K and 8K resolutions. In fact, this is one of the few CPUs capable of playing back basic 8K RED 9:1 footage at half resolution or 6K RED 7:1 footage with Lumetri Color Correction at full resolution. If you simply need the best that is currently available, this CPU is it.
- CPU Performance: Core i7 8700K, i5 8600K, i3 8350K
- Premiere Pro CC 2017.1.2 CPU Performance: Core i9 7940X, 7960X, 7980XE
- Premiere Pro CC 2017.1.2 CPU Comparison: Skylake-X vs Threadripper
- Premiere Pro CC 2017.1.2 CPU Comparison: Skylake-X, Kaby Lake-X, Broadwell-E, Kaby Lake, Ryzen 7
- Should you use a Dual Xeon for Premiere Pro 2017?
- Premiere Pro CC 2017 AMD Ryzen 7 1700X & 1800X Performance
- Adobe Premiere Pro 2017 Intel Core i7 7700K & i5 7600K Performance
- Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2015.3 CPU Comparison
- Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2015 Multi Core Performance (Update1)
- Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2015 Multi Core Performance
Not only will a good GPU improve the time it takes to encode a video, it can also drastically improve the amount of your timeline that can be viewed without needing to generate previews first. Adobe has been increasing support for GPU acceleration in Premiere Pro through their Mercury Playback Engine, but not everything has GPU acceleration quite yet. Adobe maintains a list of GPU-accelerated effects in their help files that you can view to judge how much of your work is accelerated.
NVIDIA GeForce GPUs:
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 8GB - This GPU is our entry level card, but it actually has plenty of power to handle 4K and even some 6K projects. If you need a card that will give you great performance for your dollar, this is an excellent choice.
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 8GB - While this card does not have any more VRAM than the GTX 1070 (which makes it suitable for mostly 4K and some 6K projects), it should give you about 7% faster performance when exporting or rendering previews.
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11GB - With 11GB of VRAM and terrific performance for the price, the GTX 1080 Ti is one of the best GPUs to use for Premiere Pro. The high amount of VRAM makes it suitable for 8K or even higher resolution projects even if you utilize a dual or triple monitor setup.
- NVIDIA GeForce Titan Xp 12GB - While currently the fastest GPU available for Premiere Pro, this GPU is only a few percent faster than the much more affordable GTX 1080 Ti. If you need the absolute best performance possible, however, this is it.
NVIDIA Quadro GPUs:
- NVIDIA Quadro P4000 8GB - While more expensive than even the top-end GeForce card we use, the Quadro P4000 should actually perform roughly on par with the GeForce GTX 1070. However, Adobe (and many other professional software developers) often give better support if you use a "professional" video card such as a NVIDIA Quadro card. In addition, NVIDIA restricts 10-bit display support to their Quadro product line.
- NVIDIA Quadro P5000 16GB - Performance-wise, this card should be roughly on par with the GeForce GTX 1080. Just like the Quadro P5000, however, one of the main reasons to use a Quadro card is either for 10-bit display support or to ensure that you will get the best support possible from Adobe should you ever have a software issue with Premiere Pro. The 16GB of VRAM may also be necessary if you work with extremely complex 8K or higher resolution projects that utilize a heavy amount of GPU acceleration.
- NVIDIA Quadro P6000 24GB - This is the most expensive card we offer on our Premiere Pro workstations and is typically only used by customers who require maximum reliability and system up-time regardless of the cost. It should perform similar to the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti but the large 24GB of VRAM makes it suitable for pretty much anything you could conceivably do in Premiere Pro.
One thing to keep in mind is that it is essential that your video card has enough VRAM or video card memory for your projects. This changes based on the length and complexity of your timeline, but in general we recommend having at least the following amounts of VRAM depending on the resolution of your footage:
|Minimum VRAM capacity||4GB||6GB||8GB||10GB+|
- Premiere Pro CC 2017 NVIDIA Quadro (Pascal) Performance
- Premiere Pro CC 2017 NVIDIA Titan Xp 12GB Performance
- Premiere Pro CC 2017 GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 1080 Performance
- Premiere Pro 2015.3 Pascal GPU Performance
- GTX 1070 and GTX 1080 Premiere Pro Performance
- Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 GPU Acceleration
- Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 Professional GPU Acceleration
While the exact amount of RAM you need is going to depend on the length, codec, and complexity of your project, for Premiere Pro we generally recommend a minimum of 32GB. Memory usage in Premiere Pro can quickly shoot up, however, so it is important that you ensure you have enough system RAM available. The exact amount you need will depend on exactly what you are doing, but we do have a general guideline depending on the different resolutions you work with:
|Minimum RAM capacity||32GB||64GB||128GB||256GB+|
Note that our compact system currently only allows for a maximum of 64GB of RAM so if you work with 6K or higher footage we recommend using our Standard workstation.
Keep in mind that these only basic recommendations and only covers the amount of RAM needed for Premiere Pro by itself. If you often work with other programs in addition to Premiere Pro at the same time, you may want to have even more RAM in your system as each program will need its own chunk of RAM.
Our systems offer three different types of storage drives depending on your specific needs and requirements:
- Standard SSD (Samsung 850 EVO/Pro) - SSDs are a staple in modern workstations, especially as your primary drive containing the operating system and program installations. They are more expensive than a traditional platter hard drive, but also many times faster allowing you to launch Windows and programs significantly faster. We offer both the Samsung 850 EVO and Pro line of drives with the primary difference being the write endurance. The Pro line is rated for a much higher number of writes making it a better choice if you will often be writing data to the drive (such as for a scratch drive).
- PCI-E x4 M.2 NVMe SSD (Samsung 960 Pro) - These drives are about 30% more expensive than a standard SSD, but around five times faster! However, in most cases you will not see much of a performance difference since a modern standard SSD is already so fast that it is rarely a performance bottleneck. The main time you will see a benefit from using a NVMe drive is if you work with RAW footage when each image is ~15MB or larger. In that case, having your source media on one of these drives will allow you to export much faster and make it much more likely that you will be able to play your timeline live without the need for previews.
- Traditional Platter Drive (WD Red/Gold) - These drives may be slower than the other drives we offer, but they are much more affordable and available in capacities ranging up to 10TB per drive. While we do not recommend working directly off these drives more than occasionally, they make terrific long-term storage drives. The main difference between the WD Red and Gold drives we offer is that the Red drives are much quieter, but also a bit slower.
We allow for up to four drives to be used in our workstations by default, but we can configure a system with more drives by request. In general, we recommend a two to four hard drive configuration depending on your budget and desired performance level::
- Primary Drive - OS/Software (SSD) - Includes your operating system and the base After Effects installation. An SSD is highly recommended as it will greatly improve how fast the OS and programs startup, but there is usually not much of a performance benefit to upgrade to a faster NVMe drive.
- Secondary Drive - Project Files (SSD/M.2 NVMe) - If possible, it is a good idea to separate your project files and disk cache onto a secondary drive. For most users a standard SSD will work fine, but if you work with RAW footage there can be a large performance benefit to using a M.2 NVMe drive.
- Optional Tertiary Drive - Dedicated Media Cache/Scratch (SSD/M.2 NVMe) - Using a dedicated SSD for your media cache and scratch files can at times improve performance when playing and scrubbing through compositions. Upgrading to an even faster NVMe drive can give some performance gains, but the difference is more pronounce in other applications like After Effects.
- Optional Storage Drive (Platter) - For long term storage where the high speed of SSDs is typically not required, a larger traditional platter hard drive is a good choice as they are still much cheaper per GB than SSDs.
Often overlook, quality audio is a critical part of any video editing workstation. Depending on the quality and number of audio channels you need, there are three types of audio devices you may want to use:
- Onboard Audio - Included on most motherboards, the quality of onboard audio has improved dramatically over the years. However, since the audio chip is on the same PCB as the rest of the motherboard there can sometimes be issues with signal noise which can degrade the audio quality. This is not a factor if you use digital outputs for stereo or 5.1, but if you use headphones or analog speakers the quality may not be as good as what other dedicated audio devices can provide.
- Internal Sound Card - A common choice in workstations that need high quality audio, internal sound cards can often deliver excellent sound quality for a relatively low cost. The downside to many of these devices is that the required software is often bloated and geared more towards gaming than audio/video production. We have also had a number of instances where the drivers for internal sound cards have caused performance issues in Premiere Pro so we recommend avoiding these devices unless they provide a function that you absolutely need.
- USB DAC - Currently our top recommendation for Premiere Pro workstations, external DACs are an excellent option for high quality sound. Not only is the quality excellent, but there is rarely any driver conflicts with Premiere Pro and there are a wide range of options to choose from. While the DAC that is right for you will depend on the inputs and outputs you need along with any special capabilities, we have a number of USB DACs on our configure page if you simply need high quality stereo output for either headphones or speakers.
View Related Articles:
- CPU Performance: Core i7 8700K, i5 8600K, i3 8350K
- CPU Performance: Core i9 7940X, 7960X, 7980XE
- CPU Comparison: Skylake-X vs Threadripper
- CPU Comparison: Skylake-X, Kaby Lake-X, Broadwell-E, Kaby Lake, Ryzen 7
- NVIDIA Quadro (Pascal) Performance
- Should you use a Dual Xeon workstation?
- NVIDIA Titan Xp 12GB Performance
- Mac Pro vs PC Performance
- GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11GB Performance
- AMD Ryzen 7 1700X & 1800X Performance
- Intel Core i7 7700K & i5 7600K Performance