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Hardware makes a huge difference with FCPX

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olof ekbergh
Hardware makes a huge difference with FCPX
on May 15, 2012 at 7:35:28 pm

I have tried the FCPX and the MX02 with a 4 year old 8 core Mac Pro with 12GB ram and a fast internal raid 300+ MB/s with pretty poor results lots of stuttering and beach balls.

Now I got a top of the line I7 IMac 3.4 16GB ram 2GB vram and even just on the internal HD I am getting great full 1080 29.97 display using the new Thunderbolt interface for the MX02.

I just finished an 8 minute project with hundreds of clips several pip sequences, everything just played back perfectly even w/o rendering, footage is a mix of Prores422 XDcam 35 and 100 mb, and even some AF100 native H.264.

Some parts had 3 layers of video and graphics from mixed sources some SD footage and some HD. Those played back perfectly as well.

So all of a sudden I feel really good about FCPX and the MX02. Before I was really only playing with FCPX and doing all my work in M100 and FCP 7.

This is definitely a workin solution all of a sudden, new hardware seems to be the key. I find FCPX very fast for my type of editing. The only thing holding me back was the lack of ProMonitoring.

I should have my 6TB TB raid here tomorrow that can only make things even better.

I was really surprised at the difference the new IMac made.

Thank you Matrox and Apple. Unfortunately AJA eol'd my Kona LHe card so no FCPX on that suite until I get another MX02.

Olof Ekbergh


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Michael Sanders
Re: Hardware makes a huge difference with FCPX
on May 15, 2012 at 8:27:13 pm

I'd be really interested to hear comparisons between FCP x on a current MacBook pro, a current mac pro and an iMac if anyone wants to share.

Michael Sanders
London Based DP/Editor


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Bret Williams
Re: Hardware makes a huge difference with FCPX
on May 15, 2012 at 8:34:37 pm

Same experience sorta. I've got two systems. Old 2006 MacPro with Radeon 5770, and iMac 27" i7 with Pegasus TB raid.

Both run FCP 7 the same pretty much. And at first glance, they both run X pretty much the same. Until you start trying to do actual projects. On the i7, the experience with multi cam and h264 is seamless. Plays back multiple streams in realtime and barely misses a beat with layers of h264 1080p24. Nothing stutters or stalls or crashes or even beach balls. It just works. This is since 10.0.4 mind you. AND it's with BlackMagic Intensity Extreme. With the Matrox hooked up and latest drivers on the Mac Pro, I'm still having audio issues I had with it on either system with 10.03. Static in the audio and crappy audio performance overall. But now it doesn't crash the system when scrubbing effects or give many beach balls.

I haven't used it with AJA. But with BM Intensity Extreme and an iMac i7, FCP X has been a great experience.


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Erik Lindahl
Re: Hardware makes a huge difference with FCPX
on May 15, 2012 at 9:27:14 pm

Is perhaps FCPX taxing the system like DaVinci where older systems, even with solid CPU / GPU-power, have an I/O limit over the PCI-buss?


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Bret Williams
Re: Hardware makes a huge difference with FCPX
on May 16, 2012 at 5:29:49 am

I'm not sure I understand. The old Mac Pro's processors are about 5x slower and have half the virtual cores as the iMac. Plus the MacPro has a 5770 and the iMac has a 6970. FCP X is tweaked much like Premiere for certain gear. The 5770 doesn't cut it when it has to deal with h264 and multi cam. It's ok for straight up pro res and maybe even straight up h264. I'm also running a pegasus tb raid which is 3-4 times faster throughput than my esata drive I was running on the macpro. Twice as fast as a really nice eSATA raid.

Hardware is really making the difference. I see many people giving it a shot on an old MacPro with barely enough graphics card. BUT, I found that before 10.0.4, with the same hardware, I was having issues all over. With Matrox, BMD too. NOW, on iMac with BMD, it runs smooth as glass. Wish I could say that for Premiere.


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Michael Garber
Re: Hardware makes a huge difference with FCPX
on May 15, 2012 at 11:44:24 pm

Hi Olof,

Which GPU do you have in your Mac Pro? I had a similar problem with my Mac Pro 3,1 (2008) 8-core with 16GB of RAM. I had a GeForce 8800GT (which is qualified to work with FCP, btw). I also have a Kona 3 card.

Video playback was awful with and without the AJA card.

So, I begrudgingly upgraded to a Radeon 5870 and then, instant gratification. All video plays (so far) seamless. Curious to find out what your card is?

As I'm sure has been discussed before, FCPX uses the GPU much more than before. But I was amazed at quite how much. This must explain why AJA has taken so long for drivers since it must be doing very different work now, as it must be just passing video through rather than doing much processing or helping the NLE. (I'm not saying that I know this for sure, just best guess given the situation as I experienced it.)

Michael Garber
5th Wall - a post production company


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Darren Roark
Re: Hardware makes a huge difference with FCPX
on May 16, 2012 at 1:12:38 am

I agree. I am running a hackintosh i7 3.4ghz with the Radeon 6850 and it runs circles around my Mac Pro 8core with the 8800GT.

I'm using a BM Intensity Pro as well with no issue.

My MBP 2.2 2011 feels about the same. as the hackintosh. However I haven't had an I/O device plugged in.

(Side note: I'd be happy to buy a new mac pro if they would ya know, make one...)


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Bill Davis
Re: Hardware makes a huge difference with FCPX
on May 16, 2012 at 1:54:14 am

Same experience.

One of the reason's I've always been so mystified by all the problems so many people have had is that when X was first released, my MacPro system didn't have an Open CL capable card - so I had to run X on a pretty modern fully packed MacBook Pro - and it's always performed really, really well there.

When I finally upgraded my MacPro to a new card, X ran fine, but I still get better performance from my laptop.

It makes sense to me that since the code base in X is so fresh, that they designed it to take full advantage of modern processors, GPUs and I/O paths - essentially designing it for where they saw hardware trends going - rather than the hardware standards of even the recent past.

From what I've read, even a very robust "big iron" machine that's a few years old, seems to perform much more poorly running X than an iMac or MacBook pro that's more modern.

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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Bret Williams
Re: Hardware makes a huge difference with FCPX
on May 16, 2012 at 5:35:39 am

I'll add that my MacPro 1,1 dual 2ghz actually does ok with a Radeon 5770 and 16gigs. Multicam h264 was too much, but if the multi cam viewer is closed, it plays back just fine off the esata graid to matrox mxo2 mini. The matrox has all sorts of audio static if you play it out the matrox, but if you use the computer line out, it's fine. I think that's matrix's issue though. Or some oddity with my 6 year old MacPro.


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John Heagy
Re: Hardware makes a huge difference with FCPX
on May 16, 2012 at 4:52:44 pm

I'd be interested in hearing if the newer 5870 may a big difference.


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John Huckleby
Re: Hardware makes a huge difference with FCPX
on May 16, 2012 at 5:00:46 pm

[John Heagy] "I'd be interested in hearing if the newer 5870 may a big difference."

Hey John-

I mentioned in my top post that it made a HUGE difference. I was coming from an 8800GT which just wouldn't cut it (sorry for the pun). I am on a Mac Pro 3,1 (2008 edition). So, my choices are a bit limited.

I was cutting a multicam project with 4 cameras and it just works. With my Kona 3, I now get solid broadcast monitoring. Sometimes there are little hiccups, but I haven't been able to cut a project from scratch with it. Overall, very happy, and I think it was the best option for me, given that Premiere now supports OpenCL (which I hacked to get it to work).

The one thing this proves to me is that newer, faster, better, is the answer for GPU gear with FCPX.

Hope that helps.



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John Heagy
Re: Hardware makes a huge difference with FCPX
on May 16, 2012 at 5:11:54 pm

[John Huckleby] "it made a HUGE difference. I was coming from an 8800GT"

Thanks John that is good to know.

We have ATI 5770s in our MacPro4,1s so I'd like to hear what difference moving to a 5780 from a 5770 made.

John


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