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 in Resolve (especially when exporting) but with the exception of the free edition of Resolve it is generally better to spend you budget on more or higher-end GPUs before spending it on a more powerful CPU. On the subject of dual Xeon (where there are multiple physical CPUs in the system), there is actually little to no performance gain over using a single CPU if you primarily work with H.264, ProRes, DNxHR, or similar footage. However, if you use R3D footage there can be very noticable performance gains with a dual Xeon workstation.
Q: How many GPUs should I use?
A: This varies based on the resolution, codec, and complexity of your color correction, but in general we recommend using at least two GPUs. You won't see a doubling of performance, but in many cases two GPUs will be about 50% faster than just a single card. The performance gain drops a bit after two cards, but you can still achieve a further 15% or higher performance improvement with three cards and an additional 10% or higher improvement with four cards.
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. Due to these factors, we do allow for Quadro cards to be used as the primary display device on our Resolve workstations but we only list GeForce as accelerator cards.
Q: Do your systems support 10-bit HDMI or SDI displays?
A: Depending on the selected hardware, our workstations do support 10-bit displays. One method to do so is to use an NVIDIA Quadro video card, but we also list a number of Blackmagic Decklink cards that can be used for 10-bit HDMI/SDI 4K displays. Our "Free Edition Optimized" system offers the Decklink Mini Monitor 4K (HDMI/SDI 4K out) while the other two systems offers both the Decklink Mini Monitor 4K and the Decklink Sudio 4K 6G-SDI (HDMI/SDI 4K in and out). Note that it you use one of these cards it will limit the number of GPUs you can have in the system.
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 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.
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