How Much Video RAM Should My Video Card Have for Adobe Premiere?

This article is for those of you who are running Adobe Premiere CC, CS6, CS5.5 and CS5, as these versions of Adobe Premiere have the Mercury Playback Engine which makes use of the RAM on the video card differently than earlier versions of Adobe Premiere.

When you are running the Mercury Playback Engine in GPU mode and the Mercury Playback Engine runs out of memory on the video card, the Mercury Playback Engine will switch from GPU mode to Software mode and stay that way for the rest of the rendering process.  Thus, slowing down the rendering process considerably.

The two main things that will cause Premiere’s Mercury Playback Engine to run out of ram on the video card is:

1. The complexity of your time-line, such as the number of tracks, multiple effects being used at the same time and the type GPU effects that you are using.

2. If you are using large pixel size photos or photos with a high dpi on you timeline.

While not everyone will run into this problem, due to their workflow and editing style, some of you may or already have run into the situation where Premiere’s MPE switches into the software mode and slow down the rendering process.

So how much ram should your video card have for Adobe Premiere?

Here is a chart with a basic guideline for the amount of video ram you have on your video card.

SD Footage – 1 GB is fine
HD Footage – 1 GB is min. – while 2 GB is better
2K Footage – 3 GB is min. – while 4 GB is better
4K Footage – 4 GB is min. – while more than 4GB is better
5K Footage – 6 GB or more is better

Remember, this is just a guideline.  Having more ram on the video card than what is listed above is a good thing.

Now I know some of you are probably thinking, “I only have 1 GB of ram on my video card and I never had any problems working with or rendering HD footage with Adobe Premiere.”  Well, neither have I.  But, that is due to the fact that I an not using a very complex timeline.

I have had several people contact me about Adobe Premiere shutting of the GPU mid-render and switching into software mode and the rendering slowing down dramatically.  After talking with them and seeing the complexity of their timeline, it was easy to see why they were running out of video ram on the video card.

Once they upgraded to a video card that offered more ram, their problems went away.

So don’t forget about how much ram the video card has when you are purchasing a new video card for use with Adobe Premiere.

NOTE:  These recommendations are for Adobe Premiere CC, CS6, CS5.5 and CS5 only.  I am not into running games on my computers, so I have no idea how much ram your video card would need for the different games.

For more information on Video Cards for Adobe Premiere CC, CS6, CS5.5 and CS5 we have a more detailed article on Premiere, CUDA and Nvidia Video Cards.