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Andrew Richards
Why FCPX Seems Faster on Thunderbolt Macs
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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