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FCP & Photoshop slow dramatically when files are being copied

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Neil Jay
FCP & Photoshop slow dramatically when files are being copied
on Sep 22, 2010 at 1:00:28 am

When large files are being copied in the background, my new Mac Pro (specs below signature) dramatically slows down when performing certain tasks and also experiences intermittent beach balls. For instance, in Final Cut Pro 7, a render that takes around 3:00 min when no copying is being performed in the background slows down to around 5:15min when two files of about 20GB each are being copied. It slows down slightly more when four such files are being copied. Having a copy perform in the background can also almost double the time it takes to open a 2GB file in Photoshop CS3. Note that this issue arises no matter whether I'm copying to or from my boot drive, the internal RAID or an attached firewire drive. Some things I've tried, none of which solved the problem:

1) Swapped out all the RAM
2) Tried booting in 32 bit mode
3) Took the internal RAID offline
4) Zero-erased the RAID and the boot drive and re-installed the OS from scratch.

If anyone had any suggestions of what might possibly be going wrong, I'd greatly appreciate hearing them. Alternatively, if this sort of performance drop is par for the course when the Finder is performing a copy I'd welcome hearing that as well and will adjust my expectations accordingly.

Many thanks in advance for your thoughts!

Best,
Neil

Mac Pro mid-2010 2.8GHz Quad-Core
Mac OS X (10.6.4)
16GB RAM
2TB Boot Drive
6TB Internal RAID-0



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John Pale
Re: FCP & Photoshop slow dramatically when files are being copied
on Sep 22, 2010 at 1:21:33 am

Finder is probably causing the performance hit, as it performs checks on the file during the copy process. You can actually copy much faster using the Terminal, bypassing Finder. You might want to Google for info on how to copy files using the command line and see if that helps.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: FCP & Photoshop slow dramatically when files are being copied
on Sep 22, 2010 at 1:27:13 am

What drives are you copying to/from?


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Neil Jay
Re: FCP & Photoshop slow dramatically when files are being copied
on Sep 22, 2010 at 1:44:25 am

Hi Jeremy: Thanks for responding. As indicated, I get the same slowdown whether I'm copying to or from any combination of an external firewire 800 drive, the internal SATA 2TB boot drive or internal 6TB RAID 0 (consisting of 3 2TB slices with a block size of 256K). The SATA drives are Hitachi Deskstars.



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Neil Jay
Re: FCP & Photoshop slow dramatically when files are being copied
on Sep 22, 2010 at 1:42:00 am

John: Intriguing suggestion! Thanks for it. But unfortunately using ditto command from Terminal on the same folders actually results in an even longer render time.



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Zane Barker
Re: FCP & Photoshop slow dramatically when files are being copied
on Sep 22, 2010 at 2:30:20 am

That actually sounds normal.

One of FCPs limiting factors is how fast it can access drives. If the drive is having large files read or written to then FCP cannot use the full potential of the drive.

As for photoshop, thats a BIG photoshop file and photoshop needs to pull that file off the hard drive and into the computers ram, so that also will be accessing the hard drive.

For best performance your FCP media drive should only be in use by FCP unless you have a raid that is capable of giving extremely high data rates, which a raid that is inside a mac pro cannot do. For a raid to produce those speeds it would need more drives than you can put inside a mac pro.

**Hindsight is always 1080p**


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Neil Jay
Re: FCP & Photoshop slow dramatically when files are being copied
on Sep 22, 2010 at 3:00:18 am

Thanks so much, Zane. Very helpful. My FCP media is in fact on its own drive (a RAID, though admittedly not one of the speed you propose). The background copy operations do not involve that RAID, just the boot drive and an external hard drive. So, given that the media drive is not being directly written or read to by the background finder copy operation, does this slow down behavior still seem par for the course to you? Again, your thoughts are much appreciated.



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Zane Barker
Re: FCP & Photoshop slow dramatically when files are being copied
on Sep 22, 2010 at 4:09:18 am

[Neil Jay] "The background copy operations do not involve that RAID, just the boot drive and an external hard drive"

keep in mind that the boot drive must run the OS and all open applications, so putting the boot drive to work doing additional things will slow down any other thing accessing the system drive.

Honestly to me it sounds like you are trying to do to many things on one machine at a time.

**Hindsight is always 1080p**


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Chris Tompkins
Re: FCP & Photoshop slow dramatically when files are being copied
on Sep 22, 2010 at 12:49:40 pm

Ya, I think what ur experiencing is normal. Ur throwin around some large files and multi-tasking.
The world is not enough!

Chris Tompkins
Video Atlanta


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Neil Jay
Re: FCP & Photoshop slow dramatically when files are being copied
on Sep 22, 2010 at 3:45:30 pm

Thanks everyone for the thoughts. I guess I'll assume this is par for the course, then. Much appreciated!



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Ben Holmes
Re: FCP & Photoshop slow dramatically when files are being copied
on Sep 22, 2010 at 4:00:40 pm

This has as much to do with memory (RAM) useage, and bus useage as drive speed. FCP particularly does not respond well to any copying on the system - but you can see similar slow-downs in OSX if you try to copy a few files at the same time to different drives, so I'm not sure it's fair to blame it ALL on FCP, as creaking as the architecture is.

Bottom line - if you're working in FCP, don't tax the disk buses with anything else, irrespective of the speed of the drives. You will always save time by doing one task, then the next when it's finished.

All of this will be fixed in OSX10.8 and FCS7.

Edit Out Ltd
----------------------------
FCP Editor/Trainer/System Consultant
EVS/VT Supervisor for live broadcast
RED camera transfer/post
Independent Director/Producer

http://www.blackmagic-design.com/casestudies/detail.asp?case=therydercup


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