My post on How to Speed Up Final Cut Pro with a New Graphics Card has caught a lot of attention. Some amplification on this subject appears to be warranted. I just received this email from a reader:
Would you be able to give me some input on what would be best to get FCP X actually running so I can make use of it instead of sitting around waiting more often than not…I feel as if I am wading through knee deep mud doing the simplest edits so HELP MR. WIZARD!!! …Mikall
Believe me I know Mikall’s frustration. He has a Mac Pro for crying out loud, and it ought to run FCPX a whole lot better. I shortened his letter considerably but the details included questions about graphics cards, RAM, SSD, project layouts, etc. It can seem complicated, but here are some priorities I suggest, followed by some important reference documents:
- 1. You need a OpenCL-enabled graphic card with minimum 1 GB RAM. If you haven’t read How to Speed Up Final Cut Pro with a New Graphics Card I suggest you do so. If you want to learn more about OpenCL click here. Before I upgraded from my NVIDA GeForce GT 120 my computer with only 512 MB RAM, FCP7 barely ran, and from what I understand FCPX wouldn’t run at all. If you have a Mac Pro you need to do this step before you do anything else that requires money.
- 2. Get more RAM. 8 GB is sufficient, but RAM is cheap so buy it, but only after you have upgraded your memory card. Don’t buy RAM from Apple, it is too expensive. Get it from Crucial. They have an application you download to your computer, then run, and it will find the right RAM for your computer.
- 3. Use Event Manager X and get projects and events that you are not using off line. It only costs $4.99.
- 4. If you are using a Mac Pro get an extra drive and put your Events and Projects there, not on your boot drive. If you can afford it get 2 or three and make a RAID. I have written about how to set it up here, and using it with multicam here. MacBook Pro users may be in a different situation. Putting your events on a slow USB drive may not be that good of an idea. I have run FCPX fine on a couple different MacBook Pros with no problem. BTW SSD’s are too expensive, and you need a LOT of disk space.
Those are the 4 biggies in my book that will get you started. I know it will cost you some money. Who wants to spend more money? Luckily, I have a solution for you, if you own Final Cut Pro Studio 3. Sell your copy of FCPS on eBay and you’ll have plenty of money to upgrade your graphics card and RAM. There still is a high demand for the old Final Cut Pro from folks who refuse or can’t upgrade, so take advantage of current demand and sell yours now if you have it. I saw mine on sitting pretty on my shelf a week or so ago and sold it on eBay for $750 in less than an hour.
In addition you should check read these links and get your head around how this software works: