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Before we actually start to edit video, let's take a look at some of the minimum system requirements that you're going to want to meet, as well as some strong recommendations to improve the overall experience. First off, you must have a 64-bit operating system. This is going to be either OS 10.6 or 10.7 on a Mac, or on the Windows side; XP, Vista, 7 or 8 using the 64-bit version. The 32-bit support has been dropped and you need to use a 64-bit operating system.
Now one of the key benefits of that 64-bit operating system is that it removes the barrier to RAM. Previously an application was only able to address about 3 gigabytes of RAM, with the 64-bit OS, this limitation is removed. Now if you don't have enough RAM, you still have this limitation. Video editing likes RAM. Think of it this way, you're going to be loading lots and lots of frames all at once. If you load up a 10 second video clip, you're going to have between 240 and 300 individual still images loaded sequentially, plus you're likely to have audio attached to that file, perhaps multiple video clips stacking up as you build your sequence out. All of this gets stored in RAM for smooth real time playback.
So if you don't have enough RAM in your system, you're not going to beginning a very good experience when editing video. You're going to want 2 to 3 gigabytes of RAM per processor core. This really means 8 gigabytes of RAM is the minimum and going up from that is a really good idea. You're also going to want a beefy video card. Photoshop CS6 has lots of acceleration for a robust video card. If you've got the ability to take advantage of OpenCL or CUDA technology, whether it be a card from NVIDIA or ATI, these cards are going to work a lot better. Be sure to actually download the latest drivers and keep your card up-to-date, and make sure that your card has enough video RAM. This is going to come into play when you start to do effects, color correction, transformations as well as lots of other things inside Adobe Photoshop that have been accelerated with CS6.
Lastly, a performance hard drive will really come into play. If you're going to be using an internal drive, you're going to want to try to avoid using the same drive as your startup drive, this will slow things down. If you can use a secondary drive that's great, or better yet a rated hard drive, perhaps a RAID 0 drive configuration, where two drives are striped together for better performance. Video files are very beefy, so you're going to make sure that you have the ability of a powerful system to process them quickly and give you that smooth real-time playback.
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