Adobe, like most other software developers, has a list of system requirements for Premiere Pro. However, most of these system requirements tend to cover only the very basics of what hardware is needed to run the software at a very basic level and not what hardware is required to give the best performance.
Hardware considerations for Premiere Pro:
Processor (CPU) • Video/Graphics Card (GPU) • System Memory (RAM) • Storage (SSD & Hard Drives)
The bulk of the load for a photo or video editing PC rests on the processor (CPU). We offer 2 different systems for editing, the Pro features Intel's Socket 2011-3 featuring faster CPU's with a greater number of Cores, but is also more expensive. For most enthusiasts, the 6th Generation Skylake system with a Core i5 or i7 CPU should be more than enough.
There are 2 main specifications that define the performance of the CPU.
•The frequency which determines how fast it is.
•The number of cores & threads determines how many operations it can run simultaneously.
Which CPU is better, depends on how software is designed to take advantage of these features. Most people believe that Premiere Pro is best with a high CPU core count, but testing has shown that some tasks actually perform better with a CPU that has a lower core count but with a higher frequency.
If you mainly export to 1080p, the fastest CPU is actually going to be a Core i7 6850K 3.6GHz (3.7-4.0GHz Turbo) 6 Core CPU. This CPU can actually be faster than the more expensive CPU's when exporting to 1080p.
But for 4K and higher exports, the higher-end Core i7 CPUs like the i7 6900K and i7 6950X can give approx. 25-40% better performance than the Core i7 6850K.
If you require even more performance, a pair of Xeon E5-2643 V4 CPUs can give you even faster results when exporting to 4K or higher resolutions but it will only be about 10% faster than a Core i7 6950X. However, the price of the system will be more than twice or even three times that of the Core i7 6950X system. It would probably be more economical to purchase 2 systems, 1 as the main system and the other primarily for rendering. Dual Xeon system vs Core i7 system.
Video/Graphics Card (GPU)
Adobe has support for GPU acceleration in Premiere Pro through their Mercury Playback Engine, but not everything has GPU acceleration support. Adobe's a list of GPU-accelerated effects.
A good Video Card will improve the time it takes to encode a video and it can also improve the amount of your timeline that can be viewed without needing to generate previews first. But remember, performance will mostly depend on the accelerated effects that you are using. We recommend a GTX 950 and above for Premiere pro.
One consideration when choosing the correct Video Card is to ensure that you have enough video card memory for the resolution of projects you work on. In general, the amount of RAM we recommend is:
for 1080p 2GB to 4GB RAM
for 4K 4GB to 6GB RAM
for 6K 6GB to 8GB
for 8K+ 8GB+ to 10GB+
This is only a standard recommendation. If you use a very heavy amount of GPU accelerated effects or render a large number of video streams at the same time, you may want to use a video card with more RAM.
NVIDIA Quadro cards can be used in Premiere Pro, although only really necessary if you want to be able to use 30-bit color or a 10-bit display. Performance-wise, GeForce cards will always give you much higher performance for your dollar in Premiere Pro CC, although a Quadro video card should be a bit more reliable over the long term.
Please note that Adobe's list of supported GPUs for Premiere Pro is extremely outdated so most modern cards will not be officially certified. However, our testing (and all reports on the web) have shown no issues with any of the cards we are recommending.
System Memory (RAM)
While the exact amount of system MEMORY (RAM) you need is going to depend on your particular projects, for Premiere Pro we generally recommend a minimum of 16GB. The exact amount you need will depend on exactly what you are doing, but we do have a general guideline depending on the different resolutions you work with:
for 1080p we recommend 16GB-32GB system RAM
for 4K and above we recommend 32GB-64GB+ system RAM
Storage (SSD & Hard Drives)
We recommend using an SSD for the primary drive that will host your Operating System (Windows 10) and the installation of Premiere Pro. The higher speed of SSDs allows your system to boot, launch applications, and load files many times faster than any traditional hard drive. If your budget allows, it is also a very good idea to have a second SSD that can be used to store your active projects as well as working as your scratch drive.
Since SSDs are still more expensive than traditional hard drives, for long term storage we recommend using traditional hard drives.