I upgraded the hardware on my early 2008 Mac Pro in order to run FCP X and whilst the program is working and very rarely crashes, it's working far too slow. The timeline responsiveness is not smooth and not quick, there's always delays when performing edits and actions. Here's what's on my system:
Processor: 2 x 2.8GHz Quad- Core Intel Xeon
Memory: 12 GB 800 MHz DDR2 FB-DIMM
Graphics: AMD Radeon HD 7950 3072 MB
Software: OS X 10.9.5
Mac HD drive: 250 GB SSD with 135 GB free
A local computer technician ran a graphics card test and it seems fine. Is this purely a RAM issue - ie not enough?? Does anyone know something I don't know?
Like everyone I want to buy the new Mac Pro or the new iMac 5K but I have a decent machine and want to save the $$$s at the moment.
Very much appreciate any feedback. It's an awesome editing program and I love it but need it to be much quicker.
- Where are your Libraries and your FCP X media stored?
- What kind of footage are you working with?
- Are you using many titles or effects? Third-party plugins?
- Have you used FCP X on that system before you upgraded the MacPro? Did it work properly then?
I have just completed a project using FCP X (first project that I did using it). All material was 1080p or 720p brought it from a Canon 7D and a Canon C100 via Atomos Samurai at 422LT quality. Additional material was stills, jpegs, music etc...
The entire project was stored on a new 3TB WD Green 7200rpm internal HD. This drive is not the computer's main HD - that one is the SSD. The only thing stored on this SSD is the FCP Backups in Users-Movies-Final Cut Backups-"this project".
The video files were stored on this 3TB drive in a specific folder. When I first started the project I transcoded Optimized Media but it made zero difference to the speed of FCP. So I just edited using maximum quality and worked on my patience
Not using complicated motion gfx, just simple text captions. Third Party plugin is Magic Bullet Looks but I only applied the color grade at the end of the project and was experiencing slow performance from the start. When using Magic Bullet the speed got a little slower but I was used to it by that point.
One thing I did every hour or so was shut the program down and reboot it. I noticed that performance was quicker when I started editing from boot up and then gradually got slower until unbearable. Then I rebooted and it was quicker again. That might be telling something significant...??
Before the upgrade I installed FCP X and it wouldn't even open because I had OSX 10.6, the standard GFX card and 4GB of RAM - basically as the Mac Pro came.
My gut feeling is either this machine is just too old to get the very most out of this software and I'll have to bite the bullet; or maybe I need at least 16GB of RAM; or the GFX card is just the wrong one. Dunno
Thank you for the detailed information, that is very helpful.
- If the 7950 card is the Mac edition and not a flashed Windows version you should have no problems with this card.
- As you have recorded to ProRes 422LT there is indeed no performance gain when optimizing to ProRes 422. LT should run fine on your machine.
- It is indeed a good idea to only apply Magic Bullet Looks at the very end of your edit. MB Looks is a very slow plugin.
- As the problem seems to temporarily go away when you shut down the computer, this can point to RAM issues.
You say you have mixed formats on your timeline (720 and 1080) and you have titles and stills in your Project. Scaling clips and having large numbers of titles and (oversized animated) stills can weigh on your system memory. So 12 GB RAM may indeed not be enough for what you are doing. But RAM for a 20080 MP is not cheap, so we might check a few things before you make any decisions in this field:
First check if all your RAM is effectively available.
1. Do a System check (About This Mac) and check if you have effectively 12 GB RAM. If the RAM does not show up properly, try removing and reseating the RAM. There have been reports of some of the Memory slots requiring several inserts before recognizing a new RAM module.
If the RAM is working as expected, there are a few things you can do to prevent your RAM from getting filled up while editing:
1. Always have Background Rendering turned OFF on an older machine. With limited RAM you absolutely need to render as much as possible to save your system memory, but you should do it manually.
2. Audio waveforms are very RAM-hungry. Disable audio waveforms in the clip browser, and If you are not working on audio you also can set your Timeline appearance to not show any waveforms.
3. Make sure you have NO other applications open while you edit.
If you have met with all these requirements and you still need to shut down your computer every hour to finish a project:
Create a new admin user account, launch FCP X using this account and check if you still have these RAM issues.
- If you still have the same issues you may have a serious hardware problem. Make sure your SSD is approved for Mavericks (TRIM enabled). Non-approved SSDs can heavily affect your system performance. If it's not the SSD I would advise you to take your computer to an Apple certified tech to have it checked.
- If you don't have the same issues using a fresh admin account this means your User settings are corrupt. In this case post back so we can further assist you.
- I hear what you're saying about scaling images etc... but truth is that when I did a little test project involving 1080p files only, no titles, simple editing just to check out FCP X, the performance was the same/similar as described. so my guts are telling me it's not the clips etc.. but something else
- on About This Mac it says that 12 GB are installed and all memory slots are currently in use; they are in pairs
- background rendering was switched off for the whole project
- audio waveforms were off during editing and only switched off when I did the audio mix
- other applications were closed during editing
- the SSD is a Samsung EVO 840 250GB
Q: do I have to enable the TRIM? I have no idea what that is or how to enable it if necessary
I haven't created new Admin user account yet and will wait for your response re: TRIM
ok, so I have enabled TRIM and have set up a new user account. how do I open the FCP X project I've been working on in the user account? it won't allow me to open it almost like it is tied to the other user account only
A new user admin account is only for test purposes.
Log into the account, go to the Applications folder and launch FCP X from there. It will launch with an empty Library. It may take some time to launch as it will first validate all your AU plugins, just like when you launch FCP X for the first time on a new computer. Just give it the time to do this.
When FCP X is open, choose File > Open Library > Choose. In the Finder window go to your second drive and select the Library up want to open. It will open in FCP X. Again, give it time to open as this is the first time you are using FCP X in this new account. When the Library is open try do do some editing, playback etc... to see if FCP X runs smoother with this project in the new user account. Then post back with your findings.
good news. I launched FCP X in the new admin user and imported lots of 1080p material with music. I threw lots of clips of the timeline and added filters, unrendered and rendered - and then thrashed up and down the timeline. And yes it was working quicker than ever! no stuttering and jumping even on some unrendered clips (with Magic Bullet filter). I even put on 4/5 filters on one clip and overall performance was not affected.
However the only thing FCP X wouldn't allow me to do is open my previous project even via the route you suggested. It said I didn't have permission to open it - something to do with read/write permission (sorry I'm not in front of my machine at this moment but can check soon for exact wording).
I'm gonna carry on testing it and maybe cut a little film on it to see what the user experience is like. But things are looking much better thanks to your advice
Have a great day, I'll try to keep you posted on progress. If you have any thoughts re: opening my previous project then I'd like to hear.
heh Ronny, please could you look at the attachment and advise me how to avoid this. I can't use my previous project on the new user or the projects created in the new user on the old (main admin) user.
any ideas how to set up permissions so I can at least open the previous project on the new user to see if it works faster?
Thanks Darren. The entire project was on the second drive (ie the 3TB internal drive and not the Mac HD). I followed Ronny's advice re: opening FCP X and then opening the project from the 3TB drive and whilst it opened there was no material in it. It was empty. It listed the categories I created with a little pull down triangle next to it but when I selected the pulldown arrow (ie to see what was contained inside it) I found nothing in there. In Library Properties it says under Cache "In Library...... Size 35GB" which is what it also says when I open this project on the old user account. Except over there it contains everything but here it's empty.
Bit confused. Any ideas most welcome. Would like to see the project opened in a new user account.
Also, should I just be using this new user account to edit now? Or is there a fix for the initial user account?
Sorry for the late reply, I won't be on the forum very often for a little while.
Creating a new user account is only for testing out if you have any corruptions in your existing account. As you seem to notice a big improvement with FCP X performance in the new account this probably means that your current user account is indeed corrupted. User corruption in MacOS is often caused by installing a new OS over an old one, or by migrating an old user account into a new one after having done a clean update of the OS.
There are two ways you can go from here:
- Either you fix your existing user account.
- Or you wipe your system drive clean, you reinstall everything and you reconfigure all your user settings to have a lean and clean system.
Needless to say the second option will take a lot of time. So first try fixing your existing account. If the user corruption is not too drastic this should work. Only if this doesn't help you will need to do a wipe and re- install of your system drive.
Here's a decent article on how you can rebuild your existing user account:
As you already have created a new admin user account you don't need to do the first steps. Just start reading from "Once you have a new admin account on the system, log into it and then go to the Users & Groups (or "Accounts") system preferences, and locate the problematic account."
Another poster had similar problems like you and after rebuilding his user account FCP X worked better than ever before. So it's definitely worth a try.
thanks Ronny, that's helpful. Just one more question. How come I shouldn't use a new user account if it's working so well? What's the problem doing it that way? Why is it so important to use the main user account ie the problematic original admin account?
Of course you can use the new user account but you will have to completely configure it, just like you do with any new account. You won't be able to open anything that is stored in the User folders of your old account (Movies folder, Documents folder, Music folder etc...). Of course you can copy the contents of these folders from your old account to the new one and then configure your e-mail and internet settings. Just do NOT use Migration Assistant to copy the settings from your old account into the new one, as this will also copy the corrupt user preferences.