First time posting on the site, though I've been lurking around for a little while now. My primary field of expertise is music, though I've been dabbling with Final Cut Suite software since '06 or so, and I've gotten pretty comfortable with the basics.
I'm working on some "for fun" projects, one of which is a lyric video for a song I wrote. Due to some HD/maintenance issues I've moved up from FCS 2 to Motion 5 (FCP X and Compressor 4 are on the list), but my previews are super slow for what I thought would be considered a simpler animation on my MacBook Pro 5,1 (with the dual GPUs, but I'm using the NVIDIA 9600 GT). I mean, I'm lucky to be seeing double-digit FPS rates. I'm wondering if any of you have suggestions to improve on this, whether changing render settings (which I've done) or something cool I haven't even thought of. Thanks for any input, and sorry if it's one of those "asked and answered" situations—didn't entirely feel that anything I saw in search answered my question.
—AE (AKA "lookatthisguy" in many, many other places)
I'd start by going to your render settings and removing anything you don't need. Reduce the resolution and reduce the quality, that always helps. Also, Field Rendering, Frame Blending and Motion Blur probably shouldn't be on unless you really need to see what the final project looks like.
Also, if you set an in point and an out point around the animation you want to watch you can push Command + r to set up a RAM preview. That way the whole animation is stored in local memory, and thus plays a lot faster.