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Old February 20th, 2008, 10:07 AM   #1
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8-core Mac Pro with Final Cut question

Hello all.

My question is more of a technical question.

I recently upgraded to a Mac Pro (8-core w/nVidia 8800 GT graphics card and dual 23" displays).
I have been using Final Cut Studio (FCP 5.1.4 I believe) and it runs much faster on the new machine.

However -

When I actually DO have to render a filter or effect, or when I am using Compressor to export a project, I do not feel it is going as fast as it should.
I confirmed my suspicions by opening Activity Monitor, and checking CPU usage - only 39%.

How can I make FCP peg out 100% of the machine? The speed would be insane. Maybe Final Cut Studio 2 (FCP version 6) resolved this and functions properly with all 8-cores? I do not have FCP 6 to test this. Has anyone else run across this issue?
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Old February 20th, 2008, 10:23 AM   #2
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FCP 5 was designed prior to Intel chips and the advanced multi-core machines were available, hence it cannot fully utilize those assets. If you're using Tiger, ditto for that OS as well.

FCS2 and Leopard has significantly reduced render times and overall increased system responsiveness because both the OS and newer app were built to address multi-threading, multi-core machines. Leopard especially has sped things up because it is a complete re-work on memory allocation methods and CPU workload management.
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Old February 20th, 2008, 10:26 AM   #3
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Matt,

Look at this discussion over at the Apple forums:
http://discussions.apple.com/thread....94377&#6494377

The topic is also starting to be discussed at other places, such as macrumors.com. I just got my 8-core MacPro earlier this week and am still transitioning all my stuff over to it, so I don't have any experience with this topic myself yet. But from what I have read, it sounds like when exporting directly from FCP to Compressor, only two cores are utilized.

Using more cores is possible, apparently, when using Compressor in "stand-alone" mode, but that, too, seems to have a hoop or two that one needs to jump through.

As I said, I haven't even started to experiment with this, but I am very interested in this topic - improved rendering performance was the #1 reason for me to get a new MacPro!

[Edited to add: I just now see that you are talking about FCP 5. I don't know if any of this applies to the earlier version of the software, too.]

- Martin
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Old February 20th, 2008, 10:27 AM   #4
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Excellent news. My version of FCP 5 is a "Universal Binary" so I know it runs Intel native, but the multi-threading/core explanation makes sense.

The new Mac came with Leopard.

I guess its time to suck it up and do the FCS2 upgrade for $499 (if its really that much faster and efficient)
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Old February 20th, 2008, 10:36 AM   #5
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Martin,

One thing I have noticed, is that FCP5 shows that I need to render certain effects before playback on the Mac Pro.

However, if I turn off "Safe RT" and change it to "Unlimited RT" as well as changing the playback quality to "high" instead of "dynamic", the clips play back in real time with no dropped frames.

Another testament to the fact that FCP does not know what to do with 8 cores.

I really wish I had FCP6 to test with.
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Old February 20th, 2008, 04:24 PM   #6
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Hi all,

I have an 8-core Intel Mac running Compressor right now.
I use MenuMeters to watch the cpu activity and all the processors
are working at over 50%.
FCP6 runs that way too.

If you can get FCS2 you will be happy.
You will also be VERY happy with improvements to Motion and Soundtrack Pro.

fwiw,

David
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