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New Macbook pro: Favor cpu or gpu for best performance in FCPX?

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Steven Fokkinga
New Macbook pro: Favor cpu or gpu for best performance in FCPX?
on Dec 17, 2016 at 2:41:54 pm

Hi all,

I'm on the brink of buying a new Macbook pro 15" 2016, and I'm trying to decide which configuration will work best for performance in FCPX. The maxed out version (best cpu and best gpu) is too much for my budget, so I'm wondering which upgrade, either better cpu or better gpu, will have most noticeable advantages. I will mostly edit 4k h264 footage (from Sony A7s ii), which is quite heavily compressed. My concern is with straightforward editing - smooth playback without dropped frames - and color grading. Would I benefit more from the better CPU (2.9 GHz instead of 2.6 GHz), or from the better GPU (460 instead of 450)? Or would middle ground for both be best (2.7 GHz with 455)?

Basically I'm asking about the relative importance of the CPU and the GPU in FCPX. I have tried to find information about this online, but no luck so far.
Thanks in advance!


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Gary Huff
Re: New Macbook pro: Favor cpu or gpu for best performance in FCPX?
on Dec 17, 2016 at 5:38:53 pm

[Steven Fokkinga] "Basically I'm asking about the relative importance of the CPU and the GPU in FCPX. I have tried to find information about this online, but no luck so far. Thanks in advance!"

The Core i7 supports multithreading, and FCPX does well with the non-GPU MacBook versions, so I would recommend you pick a Core i7 and the 450.


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Noah Kadner
Re: New Macbook pro: Favor cpu or gpu for best performance in FCPX?
on Dec 17, 2016 at 8:14:43 pm
Last Edited By Noah Kadner on Dec 17, 2016 at 8:15:27 pm

FCPX uses the GPU for most realtime effects/rendering/ exporting task- so I would actually recommend the opposite. The CPU is for less real-time tasks like computation of optical flow analysis and loading media/projects. So I would say in a broad sense if you're working with huge projects (in terms of amount of media/metadata) with not much effects the faster CPU would be better, if you're working with less complex projects but will be applying a ton of effects/multicam/repeated rendering get the faster GPU. Clearly the fastest of both would be ideal but if this is Mac is primarily for FCPX, I'd get the better GPU...

Noah

FCPWORKS - FCPX Workflow
FCP Exchange - FCPX Workshops
XinTwo - FCPX Training


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Steven Fokkinga
Re: New Macbook pro: Favor cpu or gpu for best performance in FCPX?
on Dec 18, 2016 at 2:23:05 pm

Thanks both for sharing your knowledge. I have also asked elsewhere, and the views seem to differ a lot. Some people say that decoding (4k) h264 is purely a CPU-task, so recommend to get the best possible CPU, others stress the importance of the GPU and having a lot of VRAM. It's a shame Apple doesn't have something like a white paper to clarify how FCPX uses different resources.
If anyone else has personal experience with this, please chime in!


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