When Adobe Premiere Pro playback is choppy, it means that the playback is not smooth and is instead jumpy and stuttering.

This could be due to various reasons, such as insufficient hardware resources, outdated software, the wrong sequence and clip settings, too many applications open, scattered project files, GPU acceleration, and the effect of cache files.

I am Dave. I’ve been editing and using Adobe Premiere Pro for the past ten years. I have edited over 200 projects for known brands and content creators. I know the inside and out of Premiere Pro.

In this article, I’ll explain the possible reasons why you have choppy playback and give you some potential fixes. I have personally faced some of these problems before. But for those I haven’t experienced, I’ll try to provide them with the best solution.

Why Adobe Premiere Pro Playback is Choppy?

Adobe Premiere Pro can be complicated sometimes. Here are some possible causes and solutions to why you have choppy playback.

1. Hardware Problem

Adobe Premiere Pro playback being choppy is usually caused by hardware-related issues; This could include an outdated or underpowered computer, inadequate RAM, or a slow or unstable hard drive.

An outdated or incompatible graphics card or a slow or inadequate internet connection can cause it.

Regarding hardware-related issues, the most common cause of choppy playback in Adobe Premiere Pro is an outdated computer or inadequate RAM. Inadequate RAM can lead to choppy playback because it causes the computer to need help to keep up with the program’s demands.

How to Fix It:

To fix this issue, check the system specifications to ensure that the hardware meets the minimum requirements to run Adobe Premiere Pro. Adding more RAM to the machine can help improve playback performance.

If your graphics card is outdated, you may need to upgrade it to get the best performance from Adobe Premiere Pro.

Any software running in the background, such as antivirus programs or other applications, could consume resources. If you find any software conflicts, they should disable or uninstall them to free up more resources for Adobe Premiere Pro.

2. Sequence and Clip Settings

If your project’s sequence and clip settings do not match the size and frame rate of the source media, then playback may be choppy.

How to Fix It:

To fix this, ensure you set the sequence and clip settings to match the source media before beginning to edit.

This includes setting the playback resolution to the highest quality, setting the preview resolution to match their monitor resolution, and disabling any unnecessary effects.

3. Consolidate Project

This issue is usually caused by an overloaded project or a lack of resources, which can cause the video to stutter during playback.

How to Fix It:

I recommend you consolidate the project. Consolidate is a process in Adobe Premiere Pro that combines all the media clips and assets used in the project into a single location.

This ensures that all the media files are in the same place and eliminates the need for Premiere Pro to search for the files when playing them back. Consolidating a project also reduces its size, which can help reduce playback choppiness.

4. GPU Acceleration

One of the main reasons you experience choppy playback in Adobe Premiere Pro is GPU (graphics processing unit) acceleration. GPU acceleration is a technology that allows the graphics card to take over some of the processing from the CPU, allowing for faster rendering of visuals.

How to Fix It:

Unfortunately, if your GPU needs to be updated or more powerful, it can cause choppy playback in Premiere Pro. This is because the GPU cannot keep up with the demands of Premiere Pro, resulting in a laggy experience. 

You can disable GPU acceleration in Premiere Pro to work around this issue. To do this, open the Preferences menu and navigate to the “General” tab. Locate the “GPU Acceleration” setting and set it to “Mercury Playback Engine Software Only.”

5. Media cache

The media cache is a temporary storage area that stores copies of media files as they are imported into Premiere Pro; This helps Premiere Pro access files more quickly, reducing choppy playback.

However, over time, the media cache can become bloated and take up a lot of hard drive space. Clearing the cache by deleting old files can help reduce the amount of disk space used and improve playback performance.

How to Fix It:

To clear the media cache, open Premiere Pro and navigate to the Preferences menu. Select Media, followed by Clean; This will open a window where you can choose which media cache files you want to delete.

You can select all of the files or just the ones that have been stored for a certain amount of time (such as one month). Once you have made your selection, click OK to delete the files.

Once the media cache has been cleared, you should notice an improvement in playback performance.


Be sure you check for all the problems listed above to be updated. Additionally, you can utilize third-party tools such as the Adobe Premiere Pro Performance Checker to identify potential issues and make necessary adjustments.

With the proper hardware and settings, users should be able to get smooth playback from Adobe Premiere Pro.

If you find it tough to fix any choppy issue, don’t hesitate to drop your message in the comment section.