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
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 at least two GPUs. Depending on the resolution and complexity of your grading (especially with things like TNR), you should see up to a 25% increase in FPS with two GPUs and a further 10% increase with three GPUs. Four GPUs has the potential to be useful for a very small number of users, but we have not seen a significant benefit in any of the real-world testing we have performed. In fact, in many cases four GPUs can be 5% or more slower than three GPUs due to the added complexity and overhead. 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, 128GB for 6K footage, and 256GB (or more) if you work with 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 Standard or R3D 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!
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