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DaVinci Resolve is an incredibly powerful non-linear-editor, capable of providing high-quality YouTube videos, used for massive productions with its advanced colour science, and features a full digital audio workstation. The best part is, it’s free! Of course, there’s the upgraded Studio version which takes on more of your system to provide a smoother experience, but for most people, the Free version of Resolve is more than enough.
The thing is, because of its complex nature, the specifications for editing are a larger gap when coming from something like iMovie, Vegas, or HitFilm Express.
One last thing is that it’s available on all three major operating systems, but for Linux, you will need to use CentOS, as Blackmagic is a little weird with Linux.
Apple Silicon M1 MacBook Pro or MacBook Air with 8GB of RAM minimum.
The M1 Chips work slightly differently to the other systems here, so keep in mind that because Apple advertises it as an end-all-be-all, it’s not until they release more powerful versions that I’d recommend them for anything more than basic video editing.
Blackmagic’s specifications are fairly vague as to what they can actually do, even if you meet the requirements. The above specifications might squeak you by doing basic 1080p video editing, but there’s always the issue of hitting a very hard ceiling.
If you’re planning on doing 1080p editing with very basic effects and such, maybe some colour grading, you’ll find that your PC doesn’t have to be a monster.
Bearing in mind, this is taking into consideration you’re doing nothing more extravagant than using the Cut and Edit page, with no real interaction with the Fusion page. If you do, you could always move to work with the 1/2 playback resolution in the viewer.
M1 MacBook Pro with 16GB of RAM (1080p)
The M1 chip has been leveraged by Blackmagic in a fork of the regular version, hitting the chip in the right ways to facilitate 1080p editing at a smooth playback rate. Of course, the Free and Studio versions will have their differences, but you’ll find that it’s more than capable of working with the software in a neat bundle.
However, because these M1 Chips currently don’t support more than 16GB of RAM, some users in forums have found their systems to be less than ideal for anything heavier than 1080p work, so recommendations are still to go with the Intel brand of MacBook Pro 16″ (2020) with a hefty amount of RAM installed and an AMD Radeon Pro 5500M at 8GB VRAM.
On Windows (1080p):
On Windows (4K or Fusion Heavy)
The jump from 1080p to 4K is absurd. While an RTX 2080 and 2080Ti will do the job nicely in 4K still, finding one is a little trickier now that the 3000 series has hit the market.
At 1080p, Resolve will play nicely with a majority of mid-range hardware and even render quite quickly thanks to the kit you’ve put in it. However, if you want to work at 4K or above (via Studio), you’ll always need that boost in power and a 3rd generation Ryzen CPU is the key here. Its multithreaded focus will dominate the landscape of video editing, allowing you to do more in other programs while Resolve sits in the background doing its business.
On Linux (1080p)
On Linux (4K or Fusion Heavy)
As mentioned above, DaVinci Resolve on Linux is a little bit of a weird one. While it does seem to work on other distros like Debian and Mint, it seems that Blackmagic have only ever really done proper tests on CentOS.
Update: CentOS is the chosen platform for post-production, as indicated to us by a Reddit user. This is mostly a hold over from Blackmagic not intending Resolve to be consumer-focused back before they switched gears. To install Resolve on CentOS past the requirements, you’ll want to follow Seth Goldin’s blog.
The main issue with Linux at the moment is that if you’re running AMD GPUs, you’ll need to download AMD’s own drivers and not the unsupported open-source ones you’d naturally gravitate to on Linux.
AAC Audio doesn’t work either and H.265/H.264 footage is only available in the Studio version of Resolve. If you need to use consumer-grade video from say, an iPhone or Android device, or even gameplay footage, you’ll need to transcode it into an easier to manage format (DNxHD, etc., H.264 is for an end result, not editing).
You’ll find that Linux provides a similar power experience with Resolve in both 1080p or 4K and above to Windows.
Linux NVIDIA Drivers can be found on their website.