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Forums Avid Media Composer 16GB vs 32GB RAM for transcoding/converting

  • 16GB vs 32GB RAM for transcoding/converting

  • Don Mick

    March 1, 2015 at 7:02 pm

    Hello again folks!

    The place where I intern is trying to make the most use of resources they have. They want to take a i5 iMac with 4GB of ram and upgrade it to either 16GB or 32GB. This iMac would be used for exporting and transcoding, which includes exporting and transcoding with avid media composer, using handbrake, sorenson squeeze, or adobe media encoder. we want this to be the machine that just converts/transcodes so we can continue editing at our stations.

    my question is, what would be the best choice for ram? is 32GB too much? is 16GB enough?

    Also, I advised him to use thunderbolt-connected drives for faster disk access, but if he cannot afford/use them at the moment, to go USB3 then firewire 800 as the last preferred method of connection. to me, thunderbolt offers the fastest access but can be cost prohibitive. I’ve always understood USB3 to have better speed than Firewire. is that still the case?


  • Michael Phillips

    March 2, 2015 at 1:47 pm

    Would all these applications be running at the same time (or some of them). 16GB is fine for any one of them, I would consider 32GB if running several at the same time.


  • Pat Horridge

    March 2, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    I’d agree with Michael. 16GB enough for single application use. 32GB if more than one in use.

    Pat Horridge
    Technical Director, Trainer, Avid Certified Instructor
    Free online Tutorials at VET digital media academy online
    Production Editing Digital Media Design DVD
    T +44 (0)20 7505 4701 | F +44 (0)20 7505 4800 | E [email protected] | | Lux Building 2-4 Hoxton Square London N1 6US

  • Robert Ober

    March 2, 2015 at 6:54 pm

    I disagree.

    Most modern applications can use additional memory to increase processing speed by not accessing the storage as much and for parallel processing. We see this in my IT business all the time. Pro applications such as editing, transcoding, and audio packages are better than most at using additional memory. Within the limits of your computer architecture, buy as much memory as you can afford. RAM and GPU really matter these days for most Pro applications.

    Y’all take care,

    Robert A. Ober
    IT Consultant, Vidcaster, & Freelancer
    Houston, TX

  • Michael Phillips

    March 2, 2015 at 7:32 pm

    I am all for the “buy as much RAM as you can afford”. But when transcoding, CPU and GPU do a lot of the processing and depending on drive(s) and speed of drives, RAM will have less value. I also recommend that one reads from one set of drive(s) and write to another drive (separate bus, not two drives on the same USB for example).


  • Don Mick

    March 2, 2015 at 7:50 pm

    Thanks guys! I’m gonna advise my boss to go for for 32GB of ram as long as the cost isn’t insanely higher than 16gb. In the past, i was able to hunt for a deal on sites like amazon, tigerdirect and thanks to deal-saving forums like slickdeals and fatwallet.

    I’ll also advise him to have two seperate drives at the highest speed possible (probably thunderbolt if affordable or usb3) so that we don’t bottle-neck our exports.

    lastly, is it better to export out of your native NLE (avid in this case but could be premiere cc 2014) or use quicktime reference with sorenson squeeze, which utilizes gpu unlike avid exports.

    thanks again to this wonderful community.


  • Don Mick

    March 9, 2015 at 9:49 am

    well folks, we opted for 16gb instead and decided to add more hard drive space because we are always in need of more space. The avid complains sometimes about running out of memory. i have narrowed it down to either faulty memory modules or the face the media for this particular project is spread across 5-6 different drives

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