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TOPIC: Quickest way to speed up FCPX?

Quickest way to speed up FCPX? 19 Mar 2018 16:16 #94709

  • mitchino
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I used to use FCPX on a 2011 iMac and was quite pleased with the performance. The iMac died and I've now installed FCPX on my Mac Pro 2012 Cheesegrater running 10.12.6 and FCPX 10.3.2. The mac has 2 x 980ti graphics cards.

I have the program and my FCPX Library and footage on the main startup disk which is a rather full Samsung PCI-E Flash Drive.

FCPX is running really slowly, and I need a swift improvement to get a job out of the door. What are my options? Would I be better putting my library and footage on an external USB3 drive? Or on a separate internal SATA SSD? Are the 980tis the problem? Do I need a Radeon card in there?

All advice appreciated.

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Quickest way to speed up FCPX? 19 Mar 2018 18:02 #94714

  • dgwvideo
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Two obvious problems from your description which are likely related to the performance issue. Your full Samsung drive needs some breathing space to operate efficiently, and you should leave about 15 to 20% free space always on each drive in your system. This alone may solve the issue, but it is also recommended to have your library/media on an external drive rather than the system drive. Moving your media to an external USB3 or another internal SSD or spinning disk solves both issues by freeing up space on the system drive and providing a separate drive to deal with the media and library.
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Quickest way to speed up FCPX? 19 Mar 2018 18:04 #94715

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Thanks! Would the performance be better using an external USB3, or on an additional internal SSD?

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Quickest way to speed up FCPX? 19 Mar 2018 18:09 #94716

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Likely the internal SSD would be faster than any external USB3 drive, but either should be quick enough. USB3 certainly will be cheaper and offer higher capacity for similar price points.
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Quickest way to speed up FCPX? 19 Mar 2018 23:55 #94721

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So I moved everything onto a USB3 Disk which is connected to the mac via a PCI-E Card.

Hasn't made a blind bit of difference, still very slow.

How can I find out what FCPX is getting stuck on? Is there some way to find out what's causing the bottleneck?

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Quickest way to speed up FCPX? 20 Mar 2018 05:21 #94725

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Well in that case, I would suggest you try another project in another library to see if the current project or library is the issue. If the system performs better with another library, then we have narrowed the issue down to something in your project which could be corrupt render files or a corrupt clip or a particular plugin you are using.
If your system is still slow with a completely different project and library, then the next step would be to see if your user account is the cause. To check that, create a new user account with administrator privileges. and try to open the project to see if it runs better. If so, there is a procedure to rebuild your user account.
It would be helpful to know what type of clips/ codec and project settings you are using, along with the relative length of your project and any third party plugins you are using. Also how much ram is in your system?
What is the amount of free space now on your internal SSD relative to the full capacity? I assume you actually moved the library and not copied it.
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Last edit: by dgwvideo.

Quickest way to speed up FCPX? 20 Mar 2018 06:58 #94726

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Good advice from dgwvideo!

One of the big advantages of having everything, your footage, your documents, your FCP libraries, even your iTunes music, on external (or internal, but separate) drives is that you can quickly make a fresh install. If the above troubleshooting tips don't work.

I googled your GPU, and apparently it's a card commonly used in Hackintoshs, with no significant issues with FCP X. You can't rule a correlation out completely, but it's not likely causing the slowness.

Small things can have big consequences. I once had a (faulty) third party font, left available for the whole system. Slowed down everything. Then the famous Perian issues. On my 2009 cheesegrater, I couldn't use Coremelt, because it slowed down FCPX considerably: it even took about a minute to launch! Once deinstalled, everything was fine again. It can be hard to find the cause, so: fresh install!

For the clean install, you need to make a bootable stick with Sierra (hopefully you have "install MacOS Sierra" still in your application folder).

With the 2012 MP, you can also easily upgrade to High Sierra with AFS, by buying a 256 GB SSD and installing it there parallel (auto correction says "parallel", but shouldn't it read "parallelly"?)

256 GB "only", because even with Adobe and some other apps, I use only a fraction for the whole system, some 80 GB or so, including loops for garageband.

MAKE A COPY OF YOUR LIBRARIES BEFORE! (Because if you open them with 10.4, they are changed, and there would be no way back).

It could be worth waiting a couple days for that upgrade. There is an issue with 10.4 and AVCHD on *many systems*, and HS 10.13.4 (now in beta) allegedly fixes this. At least that's what one user with this issue reports on the german finalcutprofi forum.

I know the proverb never change a running system, but if it's a lagging system, I'd always try to update as much as possible. Yes, there may be other configuration-related issues, but very probably less.

What about Timemachine?

I use Timemachine for about a decade now, but I it never came to the rescue for *me*. Keeping your system clean and backing up your assets externally makes everything more transparent for you.

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Quickest way to speed up FCPX? 20 Mar 2018 10:17 #94730

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Thanks guys lots of great advice. I think things have improved using the external USB3, I think there were a lot of background tasks and rendering happening while I was trying to work, and that was slowing everything down. In the middle of a tight deadline so can't face fresh installs of OSX and everything else. Speed is tolerable now, so will soldier on!

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Quickest way to speed up FCPX? 20 Mar 2018 11:53 #94732

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mitchino wrote: I used to use FCPX on a 2011 iMac and was quite pleased with the performance. The iMac died and I've now installed FCPX on my Mac Pro 2012 Cheesegrater running 10.12.6 and FCPX 10.3.2. The mac has 2 x 980ti graphics cards...FCPX is running really slowly, and I need a swift improvement to get a job out of the door. What are my options? Would I be better putting my library and footage on an external USB3 drive? Or on a separate internal SATA SSD? Are the 980tis the problem? Do I need a Radeon card in there?..


You haven't mentioned what codec or resolution, but if this is 4k H264 the 2011 iMac's "Sandy Bridge" CPU has Quick Sync and the Mac Pro does not. That itself can make a big difference when editing H264 material. It would typically manifest as more laggy timeline behavior and slower export to H264 output.

If you are editing 4k, the fastest solution to faster performance is using proxies. If you are editing 1080p H264, normally any Mac since 2010 can handle that OK without proxies unless your performance is slowed down by compute-intensive effects.

If you are editing multicam material, that is much more difficult, and even 1080p might require proxies depending on the CPU, codec variant and number of camera angles.

Re the 980Ti, when building a Hackintosh, Max Yuryev found that a Radeon GPU produced better performance but I tend to doubt that's your problem.

Re SSD vs external drive, you first must determine is the slowdown a CPU-bound or IO-bound condition. Just monitoring your CPU performance with Activity Monitor during the slow period might reveal that. If you CPU cores are mostly high, then it's likely not an IO issue and won't be helped by improving IO. If CPU is low it might be an IO bottleneck. Without understanding this you can spend a lot of time and money adding IO bandwidth to no benefit.

If your media includes any AVCHD .MTS files which were imported "bare" using "leave files in place" that will often create major IO performance problems. A possible solution is transcode those to optimized media if you have the disk space. However optimized media (while much less CPU-intensive) is more IO-intensive, but for 1080p AVCHD the data rate is generally not that high. It will increase from about 3.5 MB/sec for the camera AVCHD files to about 21 MB/sec for optimized media, which is still well within the IO performance of a 7200 rpm AC-powered drive.

If your external USB drive is a bus-powered 5400 rpm portable drive, I suggest not using those for editing, esp. during an already-established performance problem.

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Last edit: by joema.
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