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Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs

COW Forums : Apple FCPX or Not: The Debate

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Andrew RichardsWhy FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
by on Jun 21, 2012 at 7:37:45 pm

I've noticed several posts over the past year where people claim that FCPX seems to "just run better" on a 2011 iMac or MacBook Pro compared to a Mac Pro. We all knew from the NAB preview of FCPX that it was 64-bit, multi-threaded, and GPU-accelerated. So shouldn't an 8 or 12 core Mac Pro with its 16 or 24 threads and it more powerful GPU at least be able to hang with an iMac or MacBook Pro with half the muscle? Why does FCPX sometimes seem choppy on a 2010 Mac Pro but smooth on a 2011 iMac?

Then I noticed something on the FCPX Features page on Apple's site:


See that bit about "the AVX capabilities of Intel’s Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge processors"? That's a pretty esoteric feature to highlight considering how much Apple tends to gloss over the technical details in its product pages.

The thing is, AVX is the reason FCPX runs noticeably better on a Thunderbolt-equipped Mac than it does on a Mac Pro with more cores, more RAM, and a bigger GPU. Intel added AVX with the Sandy Bridge architecture, and as we are all painfully aware, Apple has chosen not to update the Mac Pro with the Sandy Bridge E5 Xeon chips.

So you aren't imagining it- FCPX really is faster and smoother on an iMac or MacBook Pro (2011 or newer).

Best,
Andy


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Walter SoykaRe: Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
by on Jun 21, 2012 at 7:51:50 pm

Fantastic sleuthing, Andrew!

Thank you for shedding some light on this.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Sohrab SandhuRe: Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
by on Jun 21, 2012 at 7:57:04 pm

[Andrew Richards] "FCPX seems to "just run better" on a 2011 iMac or MacBook Pro compared to a Mac Pro."

Exactly what i have been thinking off late. People with newer Imacs and Macbook Pro seem to be getting better experience. I tried FCP X on my 8 Core Mac pro and results have been far from satisfactory. Playback seems extremely stuttery and skimming is even worse.

Good to finally find an explanation for this.

Sohrab



FCS 3 & Adobe PPro
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"The creative person wants to be a know-it-all. He wants to know about all kinds of things: ancient history, nineteenth-century mathematics, current manufacturing techniques, flower arranging, and hog futures. Because he never knows when these ideas might come together to form a new idea. It may happen six minutes later or six months, or six years down the road. But he has faith that it will happen." -- Carl Ally


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Brooks TomlinsonRe: Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
by on Jun 21, 2012 at 7:59:40 pm

You sir just put the final tipping point for me. I am going to purchase a retina mac now. Thank you for the diggin!

Brooks
"I dream in 32bit float, don't you?"

Brooks Tomlinson


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TImothy AuldRe: Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
by on Jun 21, 2012 at 8:12:07 pm

Thanks of that, Andrew. It explains a lot. I will now physically, mentally, and spiritually resist saying anything whatever derogatory about Apple. I'll save that energy for the derogatory Microsoft posts that I'm sure are coming in the near future.

Tim


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Andrew RichardsRe: Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
by on Jun 21, 2012 at 8:13:45 pm



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TImothy AuldRe: Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
by on Jun 21, 2012 at 8:32:52 pm

Quite serious. I appreciate the information. It was good of you though to do a such a diligent search for a fitting likeness of me.

Tim


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Andrew RichardsRe: Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
by on Jun 21, 2012 at 8:34:13 pm

[TImothy Auld] "It was good of you though to do a such a diligent search for a fitting likeness of me."

Not trying to offend, just wasn't sure if I should have read your post as sarcasm.

Best,
Andy


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TImothy AuldRe: Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
by on Jun 21, 2012 at 8:37:24 pm

You did not offend in the slightest. Quite the opposite. I got a good laugh.

Tim


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Michael HadleyRe: Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
by on Jun 21, 2012 at 8:52:32 pm

I was completely offended by the lack of offense that was taken slightly.

On a more serious note: I want to see/read about real world results with FCPX and the new MBPr. Could be pretty interested. Especially if it fairly cooks whilst running 3 monitors!


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tony westRe: Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
by on Jun 22, 2012 at 1:22:47 am

[Michael Hadley] " I want to see/read about real world results with FCPX and the new MBPr"


One of my co-workers brought his MBPr into work the other day.

He had just got it so at the time had not had a chance to really work with it, but I watched him bring across a 5GB HD file with TB in a "flash" : )

It was very fast. He cuts with X so I will get back when he has a chance to cut some stuff.

The thing for me is, I love the flash HD

The main worry for me is a HD crash and with less moving parts it's less likely to crash.

I'm surprised I have not seen more people talking about that flash HD.

Also many keep saying that Apple is walking away from pros.

Who in the heck needs a computer screen like this that is not working with super high end content?

I don't get it.

This computer looks like a monster to me.

If you are the media manager on a RED EPIC 4K shoot, what is the downside to using this computer in the field?


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Michael HadleyRe: Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
by on Jun 22, 2012 at 1:34:50 pm

Would appreciate the update on FCPX and the MBPr when you get a chance. And yes, this computer looks pretty monstrous indeed.


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Walter SoykaRe: Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
by on Jun 22, 2012 at 2:04:21 pm

[tony west] "Also many keep saying that Apple is walking away from pros. Who in the heck needs a computer screen like this that is not working with super high end content? I don't get it. This computer looks like a monster to me."

The questions about Apple's commitment to pros is never about the features that Apple includes, which are often brilliant; it's about the features they choose to exclude, which are often crippling.

As for the screen, everyone benefits from more pixels/sharper displays, pros and consumers alike. On a phone, the difference in clarity of images and text alike a retina display and a traditional display is arresting. I haven't seen this machine in person yet, but I assume it will have a similar sharpness advantage. Apple is clearly working to show that this is a feature that will be useful to pros, since they're promoting it with FCPX and Aperture, but they're also showing consumers that it will benefit them with Mail and iPhoto [link].

That said, I agree with you -- this is a fantastic-looking notebook, and it'd be a good candidate to replace my current 17" MBP.

But again, what Apple giveth, Apple taketh away. Personally, I was fine with the old form factor. Thinner and lighter than that won't matter to me, and I would have preferred not to to trade away the little bit of user serviceability and upgradeability that was left for a fraction of an inch and a pound or two.

And thus the debate continues.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
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tony westRe: Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
by on Jun 22, 2012 at 3:10:18 pm

[Walter Soyka] " it's about the features they choose to exclude, which are often crippling."


Good points Walter.

He went to put his old fcp on the MBPr and he noticed that there is no cd on that computer.

I guess he can find an adapter for that.

There is also no ethernet input.

But what are your thoughts on that flash HD?

A person may have an expandable laptop and have the HD crash and cost you a boat load of money if you need to recover that stuff.


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Craig SeemanRe: Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
by on Jun 22, 2012 at 3:23:14 pm

It's not at all about "exclusion" so much as prioritization based on common/frequent use.




[tony west] "He went to put his old fcp on the MBPr and he noticed that there is no cd on that computer.

I guess he can find an adapter for that."


Apple makes a very think CD/DVD burner. It's USB2 only though. I have an external Blu-Ray burner. Generally I find this more efficient. I don't need an optical drive in a computer day in and day out anymore. Having an external drive allows me to use and remove it at will.

[tony west] "There is also no ethernet input."

Apple's Ethernet to Thunderbolt adaptor. Again it's about common use. Most people, most of the time, on laptops are wireless. Please don't post how anecdotal importance it is (not to you but to people reading this). I always prefer to be wired and make that effort and would prefer not to lose a Thunderbolt port with yet another end of chain device. I'm the exception as I know there are others. Common use though is wireless for the vast majority of people on laptops.



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Jeremy GarchowRe: Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
by on Jun 22, 2012 at 3:35:47 pm

[Craig Seeman] "Apple's Ethernet to Thunderbolt adaptor. Again it's about common use. Most people, most of the time, on laptops are wireless. Please don't post how anecdotal importance it is (not to you but to people reading this). I always prefer to be wired and make that effort and would prefer not to lose a Thunderbolt port with yet another end of chain device. I'm the exception as I know there are others. Common use though is wireless for the vast majority of people on laptops."

I agree, but I can stand to use an Ethernet port too for SAN use (until ATTO boxes are released).

It would be nice if they also had a USB3 to Ethernet adaptor in addition to Thunderbolt as usb3 can be "hubbed" and is fast enough for Gigabit.


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Craig SeemanRe: Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
by on Jun 22, 2012 at 4:08:38 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "It would be nice if they also had a USB3 to Ethernet adaptor in addition to Thunderbolt as usb3 can be "hubbed" and is fast enough for Gigabit."

And yet one of the things I think Apple is headed towards is blowing past Gigabit (affordably) to 10G. Apple tends to "skip" incremental improvements for bigger ones. Of course that leaves interim voids.

Certainly it would be good if a third party had a USB3 to Gigabit Ethernet adaptor. That may happen. After all USB3 is even newer to Apple's lineup than Thunderbolt.

Apple does have USB2 to Ethernet, motivated by the MacBookAir but that's obviously not Gigabit.



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Walter SoykaRe: Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
by on Jun 22, 2012 at 3:48:26 pm

[Craig Seeman] "It's not at all about "exclusion" so much as prioritization based on common/frequent use."

Which leads us right back to the question about whether Apple cares about pros. The features that Apple have chosen to exclude (or chosen not to include, if you prefer) may not be important in common use in the general case -- but they are important and are frequently used among video professionals.


[Craig Seeman] "Please don't post how anecdotal importance it is (not to you but to people reading this). I always prefer to be wired and make that effort and would prefer not to lose a Thunderbolt port with yet another end of chain device. I'm the exception as I know there are others. Common use though is wireless for the vast majority of people on laptops."

The difference between mainstream needs and professional needs is exactly the point here. This is why I draw the distinction between a system that a professional can use, and a system designed for a professional.

If the system were specifically designed for professional use, I think it would look a little different.

That doesn't mean professionals won't (or can't) use it, but it does mean some compromises will have to be made, such as the ones you've listed above.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
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Andrew RichardsRe: Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
by on Jun 22, 2012 at 3:51:15 pm

[Walter Soyka] "Which leads us right back to the question about whether Apple cares about pros. The features that Apple have chosen to exclude (or chosen not to include, if you prefer) may not be important in common use in the general case -- but they are important and are frequently used among video professionals."

I regret that I have but one "Like" to give to this post!

Best,
Andy


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Walter SoykaRe: Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
by on Jun 22, 2012 at 4:00:20 pm

[Andrew Richards] "I regret that I have but one "Like" to give to this post!"

Thank you! I do like those little +1s, but the comment means more.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Craig SeemanRe: Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
by on Jun 22, 2012 at 4:25:30 pm

[Walter Soyka] "Which leads us right back to the question about whether Apple cares about pros. The features that Apple have chosen to exclude (or chosen not to include, if you prefer) may not be important in common use in the general case -- but they are important and are frequently used among video professionals."

Imply pro (vs consumer) and I say commodity. Commodity is NOT consumer. Two Thunderbolt ports on a $2200-$2800+ laptop is not "consumer."

I think you can include "Pros" when it comes to what is commonly used. They're increasing higher end connectivity by using a single versatile port (Thunderbolt). Granted SOME TIMES we may be constrained by two Thunderbolt ports but even amongst "pros" it's a major improvement.

Whether you like it or not Apple is looking to the future and it is to the detriment to SOME for the present but NOT for MOST . . . even "Pros"

Two Thunderbolt ports give me many more options Professionally than an Ethernet or Firewire or eSata or Express port. At any given time, the Thunderbolt ports can give me any of the above. If I need them all then I'll be able to get the Belkin dock which has Thunderbolt pass through.

Most of the time, most of the people including most pros can have most of their connectivity with Thunderbolt ports. As time goes on we'll be seeing some combination of more Thunderbolt ports and more pass through devices. Next year we'll have the MacPro replacement (and yet another round of MacBookPro updates).

Personally, only when the ability to do something is completely dropped would I be concerned. If less frequently used connectivity is done through an adaptor, it's no less "pro."



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Walter SoykaRe: Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
by on Jun 22, 2012 at 5:13:00 pm

[Craig Seeman] "Imply pro (vs consumer) and I say commodity. Commodity is NOT consumer. Two Thunderbolt ports on a $2200-$2800+ laptop is not "consumer." "

But commodity is a technical term, and I don't think it applies to Apple's highly-differentiated products at all. I see your point and I think you're on to something, but there's got to be a better word than commodity for it. Broad and disposable both come to mind.

You may argue Thunderbolt on a $3K laptop is not consumer, but I'd argue that professional is not well-defined as "not consumer" -- whatever consumer and professional mean.

I agree with those who have said that Apple doesn't do traditional marketing. They are not segmenting the market and designing products accordingly. A consumer and a pro can both buy a MBPr and get something out of it. There aren't too many consumers lining up to buy HP EliteBook 8760s or BOXX GoBOXX 1840 laptops, because they are purpose-built for high-end professional mobility and offer no value at all for consumers.


[Craig Seeman] "Personally, only when the ability to do something is completely dropped would I be concerned. If less frequently used connectivity is done through an adaptor, it's no less "pro.""

To be clear, the "less frequently used" connectivity we're talking about is Ethernet and FireWire 800 -- two mainstays of current video production infrastructures.

Adding back the "missing" stuff will reduce your expansion options, requiring two end-of-chain Thunderbolt adapters (and a USB hub plus an external optical drive if you care about that), completely negating the space and weight savings of the new design.

Don't get me wrong, this looks like a great laptop, but I would have been even more excited about a retina display and extra Thunderbolt port on the erstwhile 17" form factor.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Craig SeemanRe: Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
by on Jun 22, 2012 at 5:47:15 pm

[Walter Soyka] "But commodity is a technical term, and I don't think it applies to Apple's highly-differentiated products at all. I see your point and I think you're on to something, but there's got to be a better word than commodity for it. Broad and disposable both come to mind."

Broad and disposable may be close to accurate. Are you saying that's commodity but there needs to be a better term? I think Apple's lack of user replaceable internals are part of the move towards "disposable" although actually they just move down market as used goods when the time comes unless they truly break.
I also think Apple's changes are to broaden the reach.

[Walter Soyka] "You may argue Thunderbolt on a $3K laptop is not consumer, but I'd argue that professional is not well-defined as "not consumer" -- whatever consumer and professional mean."

I think it's difficult to define consumer and pro these days. I also don't think they're directly relevant to Apple's approach. Generally I see a trend towards shorter life cycles across their product line. I would say that $3k price is more likely to be purchased by content creators whether it be "business" people, photographers, video post. Even iPhones and iPads are used as content creation tools though but a large number of people purchase them to "consume" content . . . whereas, proportionally, a larger number of people buying a $3k laptop are going to be content creators.

Basically I do see Apple moving towards short life cycle products, Some very powerful and relatively expensive such as MBPr and some less expensive such as iPads. There's no solid cutoff in distinction. I do think there are differences in the proportion of content creators and content consumers relative to the amount of money they spend on devices and what they use them for.

[Walter Soyka] "To be clear, the "less frequently used" connectivity we're talking about is Ethernet and FireWire 800 -- two mainstays of current video production infrastructures."

But I'd differentiate between Desktop and Laptop especially with Ethernet. Ethernet ports are more important to desktops than laptops. Laptops the push is towards greater portability (lighter and more flexibility relative to size) while minimize "power" features.

[Walter Soyka] "Adding back the "missing" stuff will reduce your expansion options, requiring two end-of-chain Thunderbolt adapters (and a USB hub plus an external optical drive if you care about that), completely negating the space and weight savings of the new design."

Only some of the time. The nature of a laptop means having to cut corners and prioritizing such corner cutting. Something HAS to get cut. Priority is lighter and smaller (to some extent) even amongst most pros (not ALL, MOST and that's the commodity tradeoff). With Thunderbolt you can, at least, still have everything. You don't ALWAYS need to bring every imaginable adaptor. You don't have to have EVERY imaginable port built in. Bring ONE Belkin Dock which has Thunderbolt pass through and you have nearly everything eSata, Ethernet, Firewire, 3 more USB3 ports. It's not end of chain. Many more times one just needs a portable workstation and the MBPr all by itself will be sufficient.



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Walter SoykaRe: Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
by on Jun 23, 2012 at 2:57:06 am

[Craig Seeman] "Are you saying that's commodity but there needs to be a better term?"

Commodities are fungible; they may be replaced with a similar product from another supplier. Apple's products are differentiated, and given the number of people here who refuse to use Windows under any circumstances, they are clearly not fungible. When we talk about commodity PCs, I think of a generic computer with no clear differentiation from other similar systems.

I agree with your point that Apple's product strategy is different than it used to be, and I agree that they're pushing their customers into shorter refresh cycles, but I'm not really sure what term best captures that.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
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Bill DavisRe: Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
by on Jun 23, 2012 at 7:12:49 am

[Walter Soyka] "I agree with your point that Apple's product strategy is different than it used to be, and I agree that they're pushing their customers into shorter refresh cycles, but I'm not really sure what term best captures that."

I actually thing current Apple manufacturing is about "snapshot products."

They offer a narrow line - with some customization via build to order. You get to click a few boxes to determine the level of easily changeable things like RAM, drive capacity, etc - and they'll build you a machine to the specs of the snapshot you provide at the point of order.

You can do some very limited hot-rodding once you own it but not all that much, really. As soon as Apple finishes one snapshot configuration cycle, they start planning for the next one.

I think it's mostly a reflection of modern automated assembly.

I may have mentioned before that back in my young days, I did all the advertising for a local stereo shop. I was astonished to learn that in the back room, when the cases were off, the Low, Medium and High end products from Manufacturer X, Y and Z were all essentially the same units with different holes in the faceplates to allow access to additional knobs, jacks and switches on the higher end models - but at the core, they were all the same device.. There might be a beefier power supply in the high end, or an extra piggyback card for a few more capabilities, but it made absolutely no sense for them to design three different circuits that all did largely the same thing - so they didn't.

I think Apple spends a LOT of time on getting the basic device as right as they can. Then they start selling it and simultaneously start working on the next design.

They'll migrate the new tech across the platforms - but like the famous Jobsian story of the 4 quadrants on the paper with 4 business lines - Apple isn't about making as many SKUs as possible to widen their appeal - they make very few, very carefully thought out strategic products. And that's it.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Connor


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Craig SeemanRe: Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
by on Jun 23, 2012 at 7:12:08 pm

I'm looking at "commodity" slightly differently.
It's not so much that Apple's devices can be replaced by a competitor's device but that Apple's devices are regularly replaced by their own updated devices.

Of course, despite our own disposition towards Apple products (assuming you like them too) some would argue that iOS vs Android and Mac vs Windows devices are now all commodities.

In day's of old I remember arguments that one of the differentiators were that Apple products had a much longer useful life than their competitors. These days Apple devices are quickly replaced.

Some might argue (as we've seen in this forum) that Windows may have a longer life because such PCs are more user upgradable than where Apple has headed by design.

Another commodity argument is that it's all so quickly placed that one can move from an iOS device to an Android device for a quick lifecycle and back again. The same goes for Windows. We even see that debate here. Some here may well move to a power Windows box for a couple of years while Apple updates its desktop line and then move back.

Of course Apple tries to prevent that through its tight ties to its ecosystem and I think we are now seeing even tighter ties (App Store, FCPX to OSX, etc.) given that otherwise it may be easier than ever before to move from one hardware system to another. Avid and Premiere users can move between Mac and Windows. iTunes itself is cross platform. Actually moving between iPhone and Android may be tougher as I know of no easy "cross platform" app strategy.



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Walter SoykaRe: Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
by on Jun 26, 2012 at 6:43:17 pm

[Craig Seeman] "I'm looking at "commodity" slightly differently. It's not so much that Apple's devices can be replaced by a competitor's device but that Apple's devices are regularly replaced by their own updated devices."

Ok, I understand, but it's terribly confusing since the term "commodity" actually means something else. It'd be like if I called color grading "sweetening" -- maybe it would describe what I thought I wanted, but everyone here would think of audio.

You used another adjective in one of your posts that I thought really grabbed Apple's product design objective: "personal."

I think that if we can add personal to another word that wraps in the idea of planned obsolescence or feature depreciation -- or maybe even fashion -- we'll have it.

Sidebar: Apple products used to hold value better than PCs. With Apple continuously disrupting themselves, is this still true?

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Richard HerdRe: Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
by on Jun 26, 2012 at 11:28:16 pm

The irony is how the discussion became a case study in Marxian dialectics (aka Capital).


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Walter SoykaRe: Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
by on Jun 22, 2012 at 3:29:19 pm

[tony west] "But what are your thoughts on that flash HD? A person may have an expandable laptop and have the HD crash and cost you a boat load of money if you need to recover that stuff."

I love solid state storage for boot and cache drives. I ordered my 17" MBP with the SSD in 2010 and I haven't looked back. Solid state storage on portables is a trend I fully support.

For media storage, spinning disks still offer way more bang for the buck. With the older MBPs, you could keep an SSD boot disk and replace the optical drive with a mechanical HDD, too. Not right for everybody, but a nice option to have.

Mechanical HDDs can fail easily as you point out, but I wouldn't buy an SSD to protect me from data loss due to mechanical failure. You could still lose the computer, for example, and then all your data would be gone. Far better to have a proper backup routine in place so your data is always safe no matter what happens.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Andrew RichardsRe: Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
by on Jun 22, 2012 at 3:47:00 pm

[Walter Soyka] "Solid state storage on portables is a trend I fully support."

It's a trend for all storage. HDD performance peaked years ago. They are still the density kings today, but they are already a performance bottleneck, especially when they are operating alone.

Best,
Andy


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Walter SoykaRe: Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
by on Jun 22, 2012 at 3:53:00 pm

[Andrew Richards] "It's a trend for all storage. HDD performance peaked years ago. They are still the density kings today, but they are already a performance bottleneck, especially when they are operating alone."

I haven't seen anyone replace the HDDs in their RAID enclosures for SSDs yet, specifically because they are so much more expensive for way less storage.

SSDs are getting cheaper, but they won't supplant mechanical drives for media storage until they're more cost effective per unit storage.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Andrew RichardsRe: Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
by on Jun 22, 2012 at 4:31:58 pm

[Walter Soyka] "SSDs are getting cheaper, but they won't supplant mechanical drives for media storage until they're more cost effective per unit storage."

We're quickly approaching that crossover point:


via Tom's Hardware


Best,
Andy


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Walter SoykaRe: Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
by on Jun 22, 2012 at 4:44:21 pm

Very cool graph, but I think the scales are deceiving. A logarithmic scale might better show the tails.

The graph says that SSD is currently $1/GB, and HDD are currently 20x cheaper at $0.054/GB. I don't know enough about the state of the art SSDs or HDDs to know at what rates they're improving, but if SSDs halve in cost per gigabyte every year, it'll be 2019 before they reach the level that mechanical HDDs offer today.

I think the crossover may still be a while away. (I'd love to be wrong!)

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
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Bill DavisRe: Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
by on Jun 22, 2012 at 5:42:14 pm

[Walter Soyka] "Very cool graph, but I think the scales are deceiving. "

The essential issue with ALL graphs. Whoever determines the scale and the increments, determines the graphs visual implications.

That said, it's still a useful trend snapshot if you've had some experience in graph reading and can figure out what this choice of data to plot and that particular scale reveals what it obscures.

I think this one is pretty clear even if the lifetime costs scales make it harder to distinguish the rate of convergence once the huge hit of development and tooling have been covered.


Personal note to the young forum followers.
If schools haven't taught you this stuff yet, (and hardly any do) it IS gonna be important in your life if you don't want to be regularly bamboozled by pretty charts coming from those who want to manipulate you.

One of the most important days in my life as a visual communicator was the day I sat down with Tufte's Visual Display of Quantitative Information to learn a little more about how charts are properly or improperly formed. It's pretty huge skill in this increasingly visual world.

FWIW.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Connor


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Andrew RichardsRe: Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
by on Jun 22, 2012 at 3:49:13 pm

[tony west] "He went to put his old fcp on the MBPr and he noticed that there is no cd on that computer.

I guess he can find an adapter for that.

There is also no ethernet input."


A couple things he should have taken note of before spending thousands of dollars on it, perhaps?

Best,
Andy


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Walter SoykaRe: Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
by on Jun 22, 2012 at 4:05:56 pm

[Andrew Richards] "A couple things [no optical, no Ethernet] he should have taken note of before spending thousands of dollars on it, perhaps?"

And just wait until he finds about the missing Kensington slot...

Of course we know this, because we read and analyze every little bit of information that comes along.

However, I can understand why someone would assume that these things, which have been standard on Mac laptops for well more than a decade, might not think to look specifically for an Ethernet port.

I suspect that for many, many MBPr purchasers will have this same problem unless the sales force specifically points out the missing features. Could be good for TB accessory sales, too.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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tony westRe: Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
by on Jun 22, 2012 at 4:13:40 pm

[Andrew Richards] "A couple things he should have taken note of before spending thousands of dollars on it, perhaps?"


Oh don't get me wrong, he is VERY happy with his new computer. Those things are minor to him. He will cut mainly with X and put legend in with an adapter.


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Andrew RichardsRe: Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
by on Jun 22, 2012 at 4:34:33 pm

[tony west] "He will cut mainly with X and put legend in with an adapter."

He can always just share another Mac's ODD.

Best,
Andy


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Jeremy GarchowRe: Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
by on Jun 22, 2012 at 4:42:44 pm

Make disk images of all install disks while you can!


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Walter SoykaRe: Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
by on Jun 22, 2012 at 4:45:58 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "Make disk images of all install disks while you can!"

This is a great idea for speedier re-installs, too. Legend installations were a breeze with disk images. Mount all the images, run the installer, don't worry about feeding the DVDs, and you're done before you know it.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Bill DavisRe: Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
by on Jun 22, 2012 at 5:56:35 pm

[Walter Soyka] "This is a great idea for speedier re-installs, too. Legend installations were a breeze with disk images. Mount all the images, run the installer, don't worry about feeding the DVDs, and you're done before you know it.
"


But how is this more of "a breeze" then just connecting to the App Store and downloading a fresh copy directly to your device?

Seems to me that App Store distribution has changed all that.

BTW, not arguing against a disk image at all - maybe you'll have to cut a documentary on the Amazon whilst actually ON the Amazon far from internet access - but for the "connected shop" I see less and less benefit to thinking of my local copies as the "go to" backup.

On another thought, as I've read this thread, I find it increasingly interesting in how different "camps" are conditioned to seeing workflow issues so differently.

For me, my laptop is mostly just one of several peripherals that now hang on my editing system.

It's not the "hub" anymore. Neither is my desktop editing system. I'm increasingly seeing my "editing system" as a virtual thing built of various interchangeable parts. This seems much more like what multi-editor facilities have been doing forever, but for a small practitioner like me, it's a pretty big change in thinking from seeing my "editing machine" as something sitting on a desk.

FCP-X was actually the catalyst for that change in thinking - since it was the first program central to my business life where I didn't have a single "master copy" of the data in a fixed location - but rather a system where a variety of devices running the same software could be transformed into "my editing suite" simply by attaching portable storage - and unlike my habits with Legacy - everything about that project from the edit to the graphics to the audio files would re-load and become functional on boot.

Old hat to many. A significant change for me.

FWIW.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Connor


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Jeremy GarchowRe: Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
by on Jun 22, 2012 at 6:00:31 pm

[Bill Davis] "But how is this more of "a breeze" then just connecting to the App Store and downloading a fresh copy directly to your device? "

Show me where I can download FCS3 on the AppStore and I'm all for it, Bill!


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Bill DavisRe: Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
by on Jun 23, 2012 at 6:57:49 am

[Jeremy Garchow] "Show me where I can download FCS3 on the AppStore and I'm all for it, Bill!"

But Jeremy...

I thought that was one of the central issues in the rebuild. The code in Legacy had obviously gotten pretty monstrous after 10 years of providing everything to everyone in one package!

I certainly remember having to re-install once in a while after a crash with Legacy. What was it at the end? 8 to 10 disks to swap in to build the Suites code base - even if you didn't install all the training wheels and SFX?

Took about 2-3 hours of disk swapping grief if you truly wanted to do "fresh from clean purchased disks" installs?

Now we have 10 minutes on the App store via Cable Modem - plus about 2 minutes each for Motion and Compressor and we're done - plus we always get the more current code. No need for running all the updates to get from the disks to the current code.

Change for the better, I'd say.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Connor


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Jeremy GarchowRe: Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
by on Jun 25, 2012 at 3:42:18 pm

[Bill Davis] "I certainly remember having to re-install once in a while after a crash with Legacy. What was it at the end? 8 to 10 disks to swap in to build the Suites code base - even if you didn't install all the training wheels and SFX?"

Yes, that's why I said to make disk images. The whole suite installs in about 20 minutes, content included.

If you aren't installing all the content, it installs in a few seconds.

I was trying to help Tony West's buddy, who probably doesn't need any help anyway. :)

As spinning disks of all flavors continue to slowly disappear (if you are sticking with Apple) it's a good time to make a digital and archivable backup of your important software. It's very easy to do.

Even if we switch NLEs today and no matter what, I will have to stick with FCS3 for a long time due to the legacy projects.

Jeremy


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Walter SoykaRe: Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
by on Jun 23, 2012 at 3:08:32 am

[Bill Davis] "But how is this more of "a breeze" then just connecting to the App Store and downloading a fresh copy directly to your device? Seems to me that App Store distribution has changed all that."

It's not, but I wasn't trying to compare it to the App Store. Just a friendly tip for anyone who still needs to manage FCP Legend installations.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Richard HerdRe: Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
by on Jun 26, 2012 at 11:34:54 pm

Bill, did you just describe a cloud?


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Mark DobsonRe: Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
by on Jun 21, 2012 at 8:40:51 pm

[Andrew Richards] "So you aren't imagining it- FCPX really is faster and smoother on an iMac or MacBook Pro (2011 or newer)."

Thanks Andy - and yes the Retina MBP does seem more attractive.

So with the Ram fixed at 16 GB the next issue might be what performance difference there might be between the 2.6GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7 processor and the 2.7GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7.

Any thoughts?


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Andrew RichardsRe: Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
by on Jun 21, 2012 at 9:05:42 pm

[Mark Dobson] "So with the Ram fixed at 16 GB the next issue might be what performance difference there might be between the 2.6GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7 processor and the 2.7GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7."

Hmm...

$250 seems like a lot for just +100 MHz (at both normal and



) and +2 MB of L3 cache. Once upon a time you had to upgrade the CPU to get hyperthreading, but not anymore. This upgrade doesn't look like it would move the needle much.

I think the $250 can be better spent elsewhere.

Best,
Andy


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Jim GibertiRe: Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
by on Jun 21, 2012 at 9:33:12 pm

This is really good Andrew, thanks.

It makes me think more about what I was talking about with my partner this AM. We all know Apple isn't going to tip it's hand in it's overall plan regarding FCPX, professional systems and industry standard power and speed. But what if they really are being really smart and innovative (who, Apple?) and around the corner, say 12-18 months everything came together regarding their next 10 years of pro production tools - hardware and software.

What if takes two years or so (as part of their plan) but between AV Foundation, GCD, TB, the new 64 bit FCPX, Motion (and I'm assuming another pro app shoe to drop in this period), and the new processors that they've been waiting on...what if they've envisioned a coming together of many things that add up to more than the heaviest iron systems running anything else.

I could easily see us moving to MBPs and iMacs and additional 30 screens whose feature sets provided a uniquely Apple

Now don't anyone get all "fanboy", I've been an admirer and critic of the Cupertino gang. But I've built a really fun and productive company around their innovations for over 20 years and I'm thinking I give them the benefit of the doubt right now.

I think a year from now the evolution of FCPX, Motion, Logic (and maybe a 3D surprise) combined with their new vision of the systems that will run them mobile and in studio, will prove to be the best creative ecosystem in the biz again.

I continue to work daily with both X and Motion and with the refinements and feature improvements I fully expect over the next year, I'm glad we stayed with them.


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Andrew RichardsRe: Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
by on Jun 22, 2012 at 2:49:59 am

[Jim Giberti] "But what if they really are being really smart and innovative (who, Apple?) and around the corner, say 12-18 months everything came together regarding their next 10 years of pro production tools - hardware and software."

If I'm right about this AVX thing, then it makes me all the more sad that Apple is sitting out the new generation of Xeons. They too offer AVX, and they are absolute beasts. Just look at what Walter Biscardi saw in his test of the ProMAX ONE. Face melting.

It is nice that FCPX is so attuned to the baked-in efficiencies in Intel's new CPUs, and that the mainstream ones found in iMacs and MacBook Pros can be so effective because of it. But more is still more, and new E5 Xeons are way more. If they had done a new Mac Pro around them it would have been truly stunning performance.

The only thing that would be slowing FCPX down would be all its UI animations. ;-)

Best,
Andy


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Tim WilsonRe: Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
by on Jun 22, 2012 at 4:25:18 am

[Andrew Richards] "The only thing that would be slowing FCPX down would be all its UI animations. ;-)"

You know how when babies cry, you can jingle keys in front of 'em and they stop crying?

I think that those animations are somebody's attempt at jingly keys.


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Bill DavisRe: Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
by on Jun 22, 2012 at 6:17:48 pm

[Andrew Richards] "It is nice that FCPX is so attuned to the baked-in efficiencies in Intel's new CPUs, and that the mainstream ones found in iMacs and MacBook Pros can be so effective because of it. But more is still more, and new E5 Xeons are way more. If they had done a new Mac Pro around them it would have been truly stunning performance.

The only thing that would be slowing FCPX down would be all its UI animations. ;-)

Best,
Andy"


I get this Andy, but I'm not sure you can design efficiently for both.

At huge risk of a metaphorical backlash ; )

I think a lot of people fantasize about shoehorning that indy engine into their commuted sedan - but I'm not aware of anyone who's made a functional business model out of that.

It's fun to watch the pit crews and the racing teams push performance to the limit. But it's a small class game for the few that most people just can't participate in - nor do they want to.

And in fact, getting from place A to place B fractions of a second faster - or even at 150 mph rather than 75 mph is all well and good - but it's not how most of us want to drive at all.

The magic is when a vehicle comes out that has exciting quickness and performance, but combines the speed and efficiency with fine "normal speed" handling, cabin comfort, and enough cup holders.

These are the cars that make driving better as it's practiced by most people day in and day out.

And I still think that the innovations in X (and remember they WERE fundamental innovations in the software at this class and accessibility) are in the end going to prove more important than how fast it chops through lines of code.

If someone is a member of the class where code processing speed is the holy grail - then I'm delighted there are tools out there for doing that.

Enjoy them, one and all.

For the daily drivers for whom the journey is more critical than the arrival time - we've got excellent tools as well.

That's what makes ME happy.

My laptop isn't right at the top of the processor benchmarks - but the editing is way more than satisfying for me as it sits today. I'm looking forward to it improving in the future - but it doesn't actually need to work any faster to do what I need to get done today.

Win/Win!

My 2 cents, as always.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Connor


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Walter SoykaRe: Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
by on Jun 23, 2012 at 3:06:23 am

[Bill Davis] "I'm not sure you can design efficiently for both. "

That's kind of Andy's point. If Apple had released Mac Pros with the new Xeons, FCPX on Mac Pros would have gotten a massive speed boost for free by virtue of the fact that they could use the same AVX instructions that make FCPX notably faster on newer-generation iMacs and MacBook Pros. The 2010/2012 Mac Pros don't have Intel processors with this instruction set, so performance suffers.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Craig SeemanRe: Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
by on Jun 21, 2012 at 9:33:02 pm

[Andrew Richards] "So you aren't imagining it- FCPX really is faster and smoother on an iMac or MacBook Pro (2011 or newer)."

Now this might explain why there's no MacPro listed in Apple's FCPX In Action. While it'll run it's really not a computer to promote for FCPX use.



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Jeremy GarchowRe: Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
by on Jun 21, 2012 at 11:07:52 pm

Great find!

Now if I could shove 16 CUDAs in a Sandy Bridge OSX handheld to project my real time holographic 2Pac assistant editor, I'd be living the portable dream.


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Davee SchulteRe: Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
by on Jun 22, 2012 at 2:18:00 am

Just so I'm clear...FCPX will run faster on a Thunderbolt EQUIPPED mac, meaning you don't necessarily have to be running thunderbolt drives to see the improved performance?

Thanks for clearing this up. Still get the spinning beachball so this could help alot.


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Andrew RichardsRe: Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
by on Jun 22, 2012 at 2:26:08 am

[Davee Schulte] "Just so I'm clear...FCPX will run faster on a Thunderbolt EQUIPPED mac, meaning you don't necessarily have to be running thunderbolt drives to see the improved performance?"

Correct! Thunderbolt Macs are all using either Sandy Bridge or Ivy Bridge Intel CPUs with AVX. There is no need to be engaging the Thunderbolt bus to get the advantages of AVX processing. It is simply a facility of those microarchitectures that is not present in older microarchitectures like the one still in use in the Mac Pro (Westmere).

[Davee Schulte] "Still get the spinning beachball so this could help alot."

Fast storage is also important, and you will beachball whenever the system is waiting on storage (among other things). AVX is for stuff like image processing in real time, so it won't make up for slower storage, but it will perk up other aspects as many have noticed. I don't know what specific aspect of FCPX it directly affects, but it seems to be the difference in why Thunderbolt-equipped Macs seem to run FCPX "better".

Best,
Andy


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Davee SchulteRe: Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
by on Jun 22, 2012 at 2:33:11 am

Thanks! Tried reading the wiki on AVX and could understand about 1% of it. This is much clearer.

I'm waiting for the next FCPX update to see if I'm sticking with it and upgrading hardware or not. This certainly helps the decision!


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Andrew RichardsRe: Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
by on Jun 22, 2012 at 2:34:29 am

I added an edit to my reply regarding beachballs while you were posting.

Best,
Andy


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Davee SchulteRe: Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
by on Jun 22, 2012 at 2:40:26 am

Got it. Thanks. Still running firewire 800, but thunderbolt drives certainly make sense for my next upgrade. Now I just have to go make more money to send to Apple :(


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ted irvingRe: Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
by on Nov 10, 2012 at 8:10:17 pm

i bought a new mid-2012 MacPro and I wish I would have waited, but I needed the upgrade. To get my FCPX 10.06 to run faster is that I periodically zap the pram, every month do a SMC reset and then every six months a PMU switch reset. The pram zap of course is something you can do a lot more. I have 20MB of RAM and even then FCPX can drag over time. In addition I'm running a 9TB RAID with internal SATA drives. No external USB, but I'm looking to invest in a CalDigit USB 3.0 PCIe card. Hoping that along with the SATA will allow FCPX to run a bit faster. I know its nowhere near thunderbolt speed but the Mid 2010's can't accept a thunderbolt pcie card. I read where thunderbolt is hardwired on the motherboard. I might follow behind some of you and get either a new iMac or laptop with thunderbolt.

Ted Irving
Freelance Content Creation
CBS MaxPreps/BBN3
http://www.tedtv.tv
tedirving@yahoo.com


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