Memory required for editing 1080p video?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Scott2014, Sep 5, 2014.

  1. Scott2014 macrumors newbie

    Feb 24, 2014
    If I want to edit 1080p video comfortably on iMac, how much memory should the iMac have? Thank you.
  2. Zwhaler macrumors 604


    Jun 10, 2006
    For a hobby? 8GB. Professionally? 24GB or more in my opinion. It depends on how large the projects are. 32GB will last you awhile, 24GB should be fine, and 16GB would run out on me more than a couple times during editing.
  3. Scott2014 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 24, 2014
    Really? Are you sure you read my post correctly? I didn't say 4K video, or even 2K. I said 1080p.

    I've been editing 720p video on an iMac with only 1GB of memory for about 6 years now, and everything has always worked just fine.

    720 x 2 = 1440 (obviously a larger number than 1080), therefore I would have guessed 2GB of memory is fine, and 3GB is more than enough... I'm not claiming to be a computer expert though.
  4. Nyy8 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 12, 2011
    New England
    1GB? You can edit 720p on 1GB of RAM? God Bless you lol.

    Zhwaler means if you want to edit it smoothly, and no lag. I mean you could edit 1080p on 2GB of RAM but it would be slow and laggy most likely, since I think mavericks need 2gb of ram minimum to tun.
  5. mad3inch1na macrumors 6502a

    Oct 21, 2013
    1440p is technically 4x the pixels of 720p, since it describes only a single dimension of the 2D display.

    It also depends on what you mean by "comfortably". 8GB is the minimum an iMac comes with these days, so it was really a lowball estimate as far as modern computers go. No need to get up in arms about it. Some people consider me crazy for recommending 2GB of RAM for people who browse the web and do e-mail, let alone edit video.

    How many hours per week do you use your video editing software, and how big are the files you edit? If you are using 1GB of RAM for 720p, you can still technically edit 1080p with 1GB of RAM. Again, comfortable is kind of a vague word which depends on how fast you want to edit, and how big the files are.

  6. kathyricks macrumors 6502

    Nov 26, 2012
    I've been editing 1080p with a 6 year old iMac and only 2GB of RAM and the Snow Leopard operating system using iMovie 9.0.9 for years. Adobe Premier Elements version 9 or 10 should work fine too - it's far more capable than iMovie.

    Since May I've been editing 4K video using Premier Elements 12 and a mid range late Oct 2013 Macbook Pro with 8 GB of Ram. 4K video is infinitely more satisfying because there is 4 times the detail. It's affordable too - the Panasonic FZ1000 shoots fantasticly detailed and accurately colorful video and it's $899.
  7. h9826790 macrumors G4


    Apr 3, 2014
    Hong Kong
    (1920x1080) / (1280x720) = 2.25, that's much more pixels than what you believe.

    And, you have to define what "comfortably" means. There is a huge difference between "just do-able without beachball in iMovie" and "able to perform real time edit in FCP".
  8. joema2 macrumors 65816


    Sep 3, 2013
    The two ATSC HD standards are 1920x1080@29.97 frames/sec (sometimes stated as 30), and 1280x720@59.94 frames/sec (sometimes stated as 60).

    So while 1080 has 2.25 times the spacial resolution of 720, 720 has 2x the temporal resolution of 1080. This means when both spatial and frame rate are considered, the data rate (hence editing burden) of 1080 is only slightly higher.

    This can be confusing because lots of lower-end cameras can't shoot 720p/60, only 720p/30, so sometimes people forget the official 720 frame rate is essentially 60 fps. Fusion Drive, SSD or a fast external Thunderbolt disk array also is helpful if you have lots of material.

    Even though it's not part of the ATSC standard, increasingly newer video cameras can shoot 1080p/60, often with an adjustable bit rate.

    In general 16GB of RAM is plenty for professional video editing of 1080p video on an iMac. I have edited many 30 minute 1080p H.264 programs on a 2011 iMac with 3.1Ghz i5, 16GB RAM and a Radeon 6970M GPU with only 1GB.

    However for a new machine purchase you definitely want the fastest CPU and most cores available, with the fastest GPU.
  9. MartinAppleGuy macrumors 68020


    Sep 27, 2013
    I video edit 1080p (h.264) video on my iMac with 8GB of RAM just fine (and a 1GB of GDDR5 VRAM 750m GPU). I have done 2 hour long video edits that have ramped up well over 10GB in size. I really am not seeing the need for any more RAM (After Affects would be a different story). With RAM compression in OS X, I have been able to see my 8GB of RAM go all the way up (usage wise) to 18.5GB before heavy swap.
  10. Scott2014 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 24, 2014
    My current iMac holds 1GB of Memory, and the most it’s cable of holding (with adding more) is 5GB..... If 1GB has worked so comfortably for 720p video, then I’m going to guess that giving it 5GB for 1080p will work just fine... Maybe I'll turn out to be wrong. We'll see.

    The bottom line is: I want an upgrade from my current 720p camera- and in my mind that should only mean buying a new camera (not having to also buy a whole new computer to work with it).
  11. Scott2014 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 24, 2014
    If I was looking to buy a new camera and a new computer (which I'm not), then I'd be considering moving up to 4K video, not 1080p.

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