DaVinci Resolve Workstation FAQ
Q: Why do you list a "Free Edition Optimized" workstation?
A: While Resolve Studio can potentially use as many GPUs as you can fit into a workstation to improve image processing performance, the free edition of Resolve only supports a single GPU. Because of this limitation, we created a workstation that is limited to one GPU to ensure that those using the free edition of DaVinci Resolve do not accidentally purchase additional GPUs without realizing that they will not improve performance.
Q: Does having more CPU cores improve DaVinci Resolve performance? Should I get a dual Xeon system?
A: In general, more CPU cores will give you better performance when exporting, it is not as large of a concern when color grading. When grading, having more cores can help if you use less compressed RED footage such as REDCODE 9:1 and lower, but otherwise anything more than 10 cores will only net a few percent better performance. So if color grading is your primary concern, we recommend using a Core i9 7900X and investing the rest of your budget into more GPU power. Only if you are already using the max GPU count we recommend (see the next question) would we advice upgrading to a higher core count CPU
As for Xeon and Dual Xeon configurations, in our testing we found that they do not give a signficiant increase in performance. The main benefit of Xeon is if you need ECC or more than 128GB of system RAM. Most DaVinci Resolve users do not need either of these features, but if you do need them simply contact us and we get you a custom quote using a Xeon platform.
Q: How many GPUs should I use?
A: This varies based on the resolution, codec, and complexity of your color correction. Basic color correction/grading should be just fine with a single mid-range card like a GTX 1080. However, for more complex work we recommend using either two GTX 1080 Ti GPUs or a single Titan V. Depending on the resolution and complexity of your grading (especially with things like TNR), you may find an increase in performance all the way up to four GTX 1080 Ti or three Titan V video cards. However, in our testing four Titan V GPUs did not show a significant benefit in any of the real-world testing we have performed. More information on GPU scaling can be found in our DaVinci Resolve 14 GPU Scaling: Core i9 vs Xeon W vs Dual Xeon SP article.
Given the fact that you can hit peak performance with three GPUs, we currently do not offer a stock configuration for four GPU. If your workflow is one you know will benefit from four GPUs, we do have several workstation options - simply contact us for special quoting.
Q: Can I manually select which GPU(s) to use if I have multiple cards?
A: Yes! to do so, go to "Preferences", then "Hardware Configuration" under the "System" tab. You need to set the "GPU processing mode" to either OpenCL or CUDA (we highly recommend using CUDA if using an NVIDIA GPU), then change the "GPU selection mode" to manual. Once that is done you should be able to select which GPU(s) you want Resolve to use.
Note that while this can be configured on both the free and Studio versions of Resolve, the free edition will still only use a single card even if multiple are selected.
Q: Do I need to use a Quadro card or is GeForce OK?
A: Either type of card should work great in Resolve, but for most users a GeForce card is the better option. They are much more affordable and are able to match the performance of a Quadro card at fraction of the cost. However, there are two main benefits to using a Quadro video card - they support 10-bit displays and we have found them to be a bit more reliable long-term. For most users these two factors are not enough to warrant the much higher cost since 10-bit can be covered via the use of a Blackmagic Decklink card. However, if you do wish to use a Quadro card simply contact us and we can add it to your configuration.
Q: Do your systems support 10-bit HDMI or SDI displays?
A: Depending on the selected hardware, our workstations do support 10-bit displays through the use of a Blackmagic Decklink card which can be used for 10-bit HDMI/SDI 4K displays. Both of our systems offer the Decklink Mini Monitor 4K or the Decklink Sudio 4K 6G-SDI (HDMI/SDI 4K in and out) depending on the functionality you need.
Q: How much system RAM do I need?
A: The exact amount of RAM you need is going to depend on the resolution, length, and complexity of your project, but Resolve in general is fairly light on RAM requirements. As a general rule of thumb, 32GB should be adequate for most users but if you also use Premiere Pro or After Effects we recommend having more RAM. A good starting point in this case is 64GB for 4K footage and 128GB for 6K/8K footage. Note that our "Free Edition Optimized" system currently only allows for a maximum of 64GB of RAM so if you work with 6K or higher footage we recommend using our "Studio Edition Optimized" workstations.
Q: Should I use an SSD for my project files?
A: Yes! SSDs are much faster than traditional hard drives and in many cases can be noticeably faster than the older style drives. In fact, at higher resolutions or when working with RAW footage, even an SSD may not fast enough so we recommend using the newer NVMe style drive which are around five times faster than a standard SSD.
Q: Do any of your systems support Thunderbolt?
A: Our "Studio Edition Optimized" workstation supports Thunderbolt 3 which is currently the latest and fastest version of Thunderbolt. Unfortunately, the more compact "Free Edition Optimized" workstation does not yet have Thunderbolt support - but we are working on it!
Q: Can I use Linux instead of Windows?
A: While Linux can at times be the right choice, in our DaVinci Resolve 14 Performance: Windows vs Linux testing we actually found that Windows should overall give you slightly better performance. In addition, there are a number of major considerations that should be taken into account such as the steep learning curve of Linux, lack of support for features like Thunderbolt, and the fact that you need to use a Decklink or Intensity card if you want to have audio through DaVinci Resolve. If you have a specific need for Linux, we can install CentOS by special request but in general we highly recommend using Windows 10 if possible.
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