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FCPx and Mac Pro performance

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Rick Morton
FCPx and Mac Pro performance
on Oct 17, 2015 at 2:56:09 pm

I have a late 2013 MacPro tower with 64 gigs of ram. I'm using G-Tech Thunderbolt raids - two 4 TB ones - as my editing drives.
The performance of my system is not at all what I expected when I spent a LOT of money on the Mac Pro, specifically for Final Cut. I've had lots of beach balls, hesitation on mouse clicks, waiting for things to happen. I've re-downloaded and re-installed Final Cut. Eliminated any third party plug-ins... all the usual tricks. It works better for a while, but will slow down as I build a project. I'm just talking about simple projects... not a lot of layers. Mostly 1080P. Files are imported and optimized to ProRes. I've tried Proxy but that doesn't seem to make a lot of difference. Things just don't happen quickly as they did in the old days, with FCP7. It's very frustrating when I read about people's workflow with FCP or how they're using FCP to edit a movie, etc. I'm thinking, "how are they doing this when it's so slow?" And often they're talking about working on a laptop. I have a Mac Pro for godsake!
Can anyone give me a suggestion as to what might be going on? I've talked to tech support a couple of times and they try to be helpful but always want to start with "can I share your screen and see what's going on?" You can't always tell with a quick look and things don't always repeat on demand. You have to work on a project to see the problems.
Any ideas will be appreciated.



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Oliver Peters
Re: FCPx and Mac Pro performance
on Oct 17, 2015 at 3:10:04 pm

[Rick Morton] "I have a late 2013 MacPro tower with 64 gigs of ram. I'm using G-Tech Thunderbolt raids - two 4 TB ones - as my editing drives."

Just to verify, do you mean the "tube", not the older "cheese grater" tower? Have you tried a few projects using the internal storage to see if it's an issue with the G-Tech drives? Have you compared performance on the same or similar projects using FCP7 or Premiere Pro CC?

Generally FCPX suffers from RAM leaks and you need to quit and relaunch the application every few hours when working on large jobs. Turn off all the extra background functions, like image analysis, rendering, etc. Turn off waveforms where ever you can until you need them. So off in the browser and run your timeline in the "chicklet" view. See if any of this helps.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Rick Morton
Re: FCPx and Mac Pro performance
on Oct 17, 2015 at 3:37:20 pm

Thanks. Yes... the coffee can Mac Pro.
No. haven't tried the internal drive but have tried different external drives.
Background stuff is off most of the time.
Not interested in Premiere.



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Oliver Peters
Re: FCPx and Mac Pro performance
on Oct 17, 2015 at 3:47:31 pm

[Rick Morton] "Not interested in Premiere."

I didn't mean as an alternative, but rather as a benchmark for comparison. I typically see less than ideal performance with FCPX compared with other NLEs when comparing apples-to-apples (no pun intended). FWIW - the same problems affect Logic Pro X, but not as bad as with FCPX. There it shows up as latency.

Except for certain rendering and exports, in general it appears that iMacs and MBPs seem to work better with FCPX than the nMP. Maybe Apple simply hasn't quite optimized the dual GPU issue.

Which OS and which CPU/GPU configuration are you running?

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: FCPx and Mac Pro performance
on Oct 17, 2015 at 4:02:22 pm

I find myself missing my Macpro if I'm away from it for too long. While the rMBP is a great and compact machine, the MacPro churns through much more in real time at full quality.

A big trick to performance in fcpx is to keep the inspector closed, or make an easy toggle to open and close it at will. The default is command 4, but I've mapped it to a function key (f13), as well as a button on my Wacom, for easy one button open and close. F13, of course, requires a full numpad keyboard.

Because the inspector updates with info, audio channels/ effects/metadata, depending one which clip you're parked or skimming on, it's best to leave it closed until you need it.

You have to think of the fcpx interface as a bit of a Swiss Army knife. You open and close the tools you need, otherwise if you're using the saw when the you also have the blade out, your hands will get messy quickly.

Hopefully apple can address some of these UI concerns, and if I'm being optimistic, I'd hope the addition of Metal, El Capitan, and a subsequent X update to take advantage of that tech will help. But until then we wait, and try to keep our hands clean.


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Rick Morton
Re: FCPx and Mac Pro performance
on Oct 17, 2015 at 4:10:57 pm

Not sure. I'd have to be at the office to check the config. Not the highest, but not the lowest, either. It's just that that new Mac was supposed to be the best of the best... and I think that's just not true.



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Bret Williams
Re: FCPx and Mac Pro performance
on Oct 17, 2015 at 6:10:41 pm

Funny thing is if you're dealing with big pro res, or uncompressed high data flow files the nMP would probably be where it's at. But editing native h264 camera formats seem to be better on the top end iMac because of the accelerated h264 support. Creates h264 files fast too. Some sort of headless iMac with i7s and expand ability would be a pretty nice sweet spot.

Recently Inwas having lags and beach balls. Biggest cause of beach balls was letting my drives go to sleep when not in use. Seems sometimes I'll start a trim and FCPX decides it wants to access all the drives for no reason. Or sometimes time machine kicks in.

But other lags seem to be having any sort of motion generator in the timeline, even rendered. When I have those I have to restart X every half hour sometimes.


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John Davidson
Re: FCPx and Mac Pro performance
on Oct 17, 2015 at 7:54:34 pm

[Bret Williams] "But other lags seem to be having any sort of motion generator in the timeline, even rendered. When I have those I have to restart X every half hour sometimes.
"


That's odd Bret. We have our motion templates synced across macs from the server, which if anything should make us encounter problems more than you do. I wonder if there's something going on in the type of motion generator you're using? Happy to test it if you want to send it to me.

John Davidson | President / Creative Director | Magic Feather Inc.


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Jeff Kirkland
Re: FCPx and Mac Pro performance
on Oct 17, 2015 at 9:19:35 pm

Performance really depends on what you're editing. My 2012 iMac is better at h.264 editing than my 6 core nMP but give me a 4K ProRes project and the nMP will be the better performer.

When I first got my nMP I remember feeling disappointed that it wasn't that much better than my iMac - but that's not really true. My nMP had to go to Apple for repair and spending a week with my iMac made me really miss my Mac Pro. H.264 aside, the iMac just felt slower at everything.

As some others have suggested, I'd look at hard drive throughput first. I know that was (still is) my biggest performance bottleneck.

Jeff Kirkland | Video Producer | Southern Creative Media | Melbourne Australia
http://www.southerncreative.com.au | G+: http://gplus.to/jeffkirkland | Twitter: @jeffkirkland


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Rick Morton
Re: FCPx and Mac Pro performance
on Oct 17, 2015 at 9:31:55 pm

Yes. We're always editing in ProRes 1920 or 4K. Never in h264. I can look at the spin down issue and see if I can change that. Don't know. These drives, of course, are supposed to have tons of throughput, especially with ProRes, using the Thunderbolt on a Mac Pro. It seems to be FCP that's the only thing that runs poorly on the MacPro. AE does a fine job. Don't use Motion or Logic. As I said.. I was assuming, when I bought this, that I'd be in editing high-speed heaven.



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Rick Morton
Re: FCPx and Mac Pro performance
on Oct 18, 2015 at 6:55:28 pm

My Mac Pro config is
3.0 ghz
8 coree
25mb L3 cache
32 gb DDR3
512 flash storage
Dual AMD Firepro D500 with 3GB Vram



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Noah Kadner
Re: FCPx and Mac Pro performance
on Oct 19, 2015 at 4:37:25 am

Also I'd look at network connectivity- make sure you're not running constant backups/dropbox over a slow connection. Also make sure to optimize Thunderbolt port usage:

http://www.fcpworks.com/thunderbolt-bus-mapping-new-mac-pro/

Noah

FCPWORKS - FCPX Workflow
FCP eXchange - FCPX Workshops


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Andrew Johnson
Re: FCPx and Mac Pro performance
on Oct 20, 2015 at 10:52:41 pm

There is a 3rd party fix that might be applicable to you and your situation and I found it while just browsing the apple store a couple of years ago.

Alsoft Disk Warrior

This software does to mac what disk defragmentation does to PC. We forget sometime that at the end of the day a Mac is a computer that needs to be cleaned up at times. If you are an editor, and graphics designer, photographer or audio person, we often delete and import a lot of files and forget that that causes out system (Mac or PC) to have gaps in the operating system which causes it to slow down tremendously. If you follow the instruction on the disk of Disk Warrior, this should help you quite a bit. Wish you the best


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