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Old January 19th, 2012, 10:32 AM   #1
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FCPX is killing my Mac

Let me just start by saying that I love FCPX. I really do. I was raised on iMovie, worked my way up to FCP and I think X is awesome for the type of work I do. Here is the rub. My iMac cannot handle this program. I bought my iMac in 2009. I recently upgraded the RAM to 4 gigs, which is the max my mac will take. Opening and trying to use X is like strapping an elephant to a cub scout and then trying to get him to hike for 2 hours. I get the beach ball of death every 3-4 clicks. Rendering takes forever. Do I have to bite the bullet and buy a new computer, or is there something I can do to improve performance?

Here is my setup
iMac 2.8 GHz Core 2 Duo
OSX 10.7.2
4 gigs ram
Brand new Lacie 2T external firewire drive (connected via 800 firewire.

I have no other applications running while using X and it still is a nightmare to work on.

Any help is mucho appreciated.

Thanks
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Old January 19th, 2012, 11:42 AM   #2
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Re: FCPX is killing my Mac

Evan one thing that FCPX needs is LOTS of memory. One of the main reasons is that there is a memory leak in FCPX, in which FCPX does not release unused accrued memory. As such your memory usage keeps adding up until you get the spinning pinwheel of death.

8GB of memory should really be the minimum right now, until the memory issue is fixed.


Just so yo know. your iMac can take more than 4GB of ram. This is what Apple tells you, mainly because larger RAM modules were not available when your computer was built.

According to OWC, your iMac can take up to 16GB of memory.
Check here to upgrade your memory. Memory up to 16GB for Apple iMac 21.5" and 27" Models 3.06GHz-3.3GHz, i5 2.6GHz, i7 2.8Ghz to DDR3 'Oct/2009' models at OtherWorldComputing.com

Now one other issue to look at is your graphics card, as a faster card might be beneficial as well.
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Old January 19th, 2012, 03:02 PM   #3
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Re: FCPX is killing my Mac

And consider transcoding your footage to ProRes, if you are not already, as AVCHD codecs will stress a Core Duo iMac.
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Old January 19th, 2012, 04:13 PM   #4
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Re: FCPX is killing my Mac

All good news. I'm going to order more memory today. How do you upgrade a graphics card on an iMac? Can I do it, or do I have to send it in?
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Old January 19th, 2012, 05:09 PM   #5
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Re: FCPX is killing my Mac

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Originally Posted by Michael Liebergot View Post
Evan one thing that FCPX needs is LOTS of memory. One of the main reasons is that there is a memory leak in FCPX, in which FCPX does not release unused accrued memory. As such your memory usage keeps adding up until you get the spinning pinwheel of death.
This sounds awful! More like a ticking time bomb.

I'm just getting started on a Mac Pro 1,1 (first edition) with a clean wiped hard drive. My first project was only about 16 minutes and I haven't noticed any slowdown yet.

By any chance do you know if this memory bloat problem something that the user can delete?

Wonder if one had a second hard drive and did the processing there then archived or burned the project so that hard drive could be reformatted, if this could solve the problem until Apple gets a fix for it. I need a second hard drive anyway.
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Old January 19th, 2012, 05:27 PM   #6
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Re: FCPX is killing my Mac

The processing is done in the CPU in conjunction with the RAM. The hard drives are storage.

The memory bloat can be cured by quitting the program every few hours. A Mac Pro has a more robust CPU and will not have as many slow downs as older Macs.
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Old January 23rd, 2012, 11:11 AM   #7
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Re: FCPX is killing my Mac

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Originally Posted by John Nantz View Post
This sounds awful! More like a ticking time bomb.

I'm just getting started on a Mac Pro 1,1 (first edition) with a clean wiped hard drive. My first project was only about 16 minutes and I haven't noticed any slowdown yet.

By any chance do you know if this memory bloat problem something that the user can delete?

Wonder if one had a second hard drive and did the processing there then archived or burned the project so that hard drive could be reformatted, if this could solve the problem until Apple gets a fix for it. I need a second hard drive anyway.
John I have 2 systems, one is also a MacPro 1.1 original 1st Gen Intel, and a MacBook Pro 5.1 version.
As mentioned the memory leak can be remedied by simply quitting FCPX and restarting. It works, but it's still an annoyance, as I was always able to work in long edits in FCP7 with no need to quit the program.

However, I do like working in FCPX over FCP7, but still have some issues like program hang ups from time to time, which is why I am working in FCP7 more than FCPX. Once the next major update comes along and hopefully makes the program a bit more stable, I would most likely switch to editing in FCPX over FCP7.

As was mentioned, working with transcoded ProRes footage is highly recommended. Another gripe for Apple to fix though is why one doesn't have the option to import and transcode to ProResLT. As ProRes422 is actually overkill for my needs. And ProResLT is just perfect. But for some reason Apple gives you the option to export as ProResLT, but not import and transcode. So I find myself taking the footage and transcoding it in ClipWrap or Episode. By doing this I lose some of the great improvements like being able to start editing while the footage is being ingested and transcoded.
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Old January 24th, 2012, 01:17 AM   #8
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Memory Leak Annoyance

Mike - that's more reassuring to know it's more of an annoyance and not a major problem.

Isn't that Mac Pro 1,1 some hunk of a machine? I just recently got mine as a gift from a relative for Christmas. First thing I did was installa Radeon graphics card that is OpenCL capable. The machine works like a champ with FCPX.

The build quality of the Mac Pro is really impressive and I have an old HP Pentium PC to compare it with. The PC just has a tin metal cover while the Mac Pro has a thick heavy-duty side panel. The locking lever for the side panel is well-built and not a cheap piece of junk. The whole cabinet is rock solid.

One thing I noticed when changing the graphics card was the old one had a lot of lint in the cooling fins for the air intake and I'd estimate there was about 85% blockage. Anyone who hasn't checked out the cooling fins on their graphics card might want to see what it looks like. The new graphics card runs really quiet.

ProrRes 422: I'm right at a point where I am learning about the various settings and this setting has come up as an choice option but I haven't figured out what to select yet. The choice comes up when one goes to import the video clips/files and I don't remember what the other option(s) were.
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Old January 25th, 2012, 08:03 AM   #9
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Re: FCPX is killing my Mac

John as far as ProRes goes, FCPX only offers 3 choices (ProResHQ, which is the highest quality, ProRes422 which is standard good quality, and ProRes Proxy which is meant as an editing version of ProRes and not delivery. Basically in regards to ProRes Proxy you would use this when working with native h.264 or Long GOP files, and select this in the preferences on import, and edit with the Proxy files, since the I-Frame ProRes is much easier on your system to edit with than Long GOP. Then when you're ready to encode go back into the preferences and select optimized media instead of Proxy and you Long GOP files will be seamlessly swapped out for the Proxy files.

My issue with FCPX is that Apple left out one ProRes flavor that was introduced in FCP7, which was ProResLT. This was lsightly less quality than ProRes422, but still very high quality and great to work with as well as encode. Not to mention it is also much smaller in file size than ProRes422 or ProResHQ.

Oh and yes, the MacPros are definitely one special machine and is very intelligently designed. Many fail to realize that these machines are expandable/upgradable and easy to do so.

My next step in upgrading the machine will be swapping out the 500GB hard drive for a 250GB SS drive from OWC. This should make a huge improvement in program responsiveness. However I'm still going to stay with Snow Leopard,a s there's still too many issues that seem to be related to FCPX not working well with SNow Leopard. Not to mention Apple took away Rosetta, which leaves me with some programs that can;t be installed on Lion.
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Old January 28th, 2012, 06:39 AM   #10
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Re: FCPX is killing my Mac

boy, am I glad that I threw this incomplete rubbish off my Mac Pro and reverted to FCP7. When will companies learn not to bring unfinished software on the market?
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Old January 28th, 2012, 02:38 PM   #11
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Re: FCPX is killing my Mac

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boy, am I glad that I threw this incomplete rubbish off my Mac Pro and reverted to FCP7. When will companies learn not to bring unfinished software on the market?
Apple isn't the only company that puts out software that may not be complete. Ever heard of a little company called Microsoft, and an obscure product called Windows Vista?
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Old January 28th, 2012, 08:05 PM   #12
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Re: FCPX is killing my Mac

I remember an incomplete program. It was called Final Cut Pro version 1.
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Old January 28th, 2012, 11:14 PM   #13
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Re: FCPX is killing my Mac

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Apple isn't the only company that puts out software that may not be complete. Ever heard of a little company called Microsoft, and an obscure product called Windows Vista?
And, what about Windows XP? (that's "Windoze 10 Preliminary")
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Old January 29th, 2012, 09:49 PM   #14
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Re: FCPX is killing my Mac

As I recall, every upgrade of FCP has had its share of new release bugs. FCS 2 was so buggy that we had to wait for the first maintenance release to have it work without crashing ever so often.

I've always made it habit to restart FCP on a regular basis. It's become so routing that I do it with X as well.
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Old February 4th, 2012, 11:40 AM   #15
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Re: FCPX is killing my Mac

With the 10.0.3 update, I think the memory leak issue has gotten quite a bit better. FCPX seems quite a bit snappier and more responsive. But that being said, memory leak or not, FCPX is still a program that just wants a lot of RAM. There's a lot going on behind the scenes. Upgrading my iMac from 4gb to 16gb of RAM was a night and day difference.
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