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Matt Jacobs
Questions on extra RAM for MacBook Pro
on Feb 12, 2012 at 9:00:16 pm

Apologies if this is a pretty straight-forward question, but I'm a little unsure.

I recently got a MacBook Pro and I've been running FCP X on it. For some rendering operations (like colour grading and such) the fan comes on and it gets pretty loud - a little too loud to be good for it, if you ask me.

So, I've surmised that I'm in need of some extra RAM. My MacBook Pro tells me it has 4GB RAM, with a possible 8GB. Here's the question: When I purchase the extra RAM, do I just purchase 4GB - as I only need an extra 4GB before I'm at max capacity. OR, are these things in standalone kits and I'd have to just pull the trigger on a 8GB RAM kit?

Whilst I've got your ear - is this noise normal when rendering on FCP? I'm a brand new MAC user, so I can't really judge it, but it just sounds way too loud for me (especially considering this is a new machine).

Also, am I doing the right thing tricking this baby out with more RAM, or barking up the wrong tree. It's a 15" Feb. 2011 and new. For video editing tasks like the aforementioned rendering, will RAM be what I'm looking for, or is this purely a processor issue?

What tasks on FCP use the most RAM/processor power? I imagine it's a rendering task of some sort? I've also read about editing in 720p - is that my best bet? Is there a way to turn off this auto rendering for some instances?

And last question: could I get a recommendation on a good "scratch disk" for my MAC. I was going to get a Seagate standard HDD, but was told I'm need a 7200 rpm type.

Anyway, I apologise for this barrage of questions.

Any help would be much appreciated,

Matt


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Daniel Sametz
Re: Questions on extra RAM for MacBook Pro
on Feb 12, 2012 at 11:22:49 pm

According to what it says in Apple page Final Cut X does beneffit from having more RAM, this you have to buy it in pairs. (2 x 4gb) I would think that is even more importan for edition to have a quicker hard drive, so if I were you first I would have the 7200 rpm disk and then the RAM.
If you decide to buy more RAM don't buy it at apple, it's really expensive. There's pages like Other World Computing that sell Mac RAM at better prices.

It's important that you say what kind of files do you plan on working with (or what kind of files you are using right now), that way you could get a more precise answer from the experts in the page.

About the noise I don't know because I never have used FCX, a wild guess is that it has to do with your disk being to slow.


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Steve Eisen
Re: Questions on extra RAM for MacBook Pro
on Feb 12, 2012 at 11:33:55 pm

An AJA io XT would be a nice addition to your 15" MBP for proper viewing.

Steve Eisen
Eisen Video Productions
Vice President
Chicago Final Cut Pro Users Group


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Tony Brittan
Re: Questions on extra RAM for MacBook Pro
on Feb 13, 2012 at 12:04:50 am

I'll address the noise part...what you're hearing is the fan on your graphics card. MacBook Pros have an extra graphics card that kicks in when needed for more robust apps. And it X uses the graphics card during renders to speed things up a bit. Because of that, the fan has to kick in to keep it cooler. But...X can use as much ram as you can through at it, so it will only help to put more in. BTW, usually MBPs have one open slot to add RAM to. If you've got 4 GIGS, get another 4 GIG module to add it in for a total of 8 GIGS. I'd check out macsales.com (OWC) to buy your RAM. They even have video tutorials to show you how to install.

Tny Brittan
Island Shore Productions


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Daniel Sametz
Re: Questions on extra RAM for MacBook Pro
on Feb 13, 2012 at 12:12:03 am

But is it not important to have a faster hard drive?


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Tony Brittan
Re: Questions on extra RAM for MacBook Pro
on Feb 13, 2012 at 12:18:16 am

Oh yea! 7200rpm is what you need...at the very least. But what you need to do is make sure that your media is always on a separate drive from your system drive. If its a Mac Pro, add another drive inside that's 7200. If its a MacBook Pro, you need at least a 7200rpm drive that's at least FW 400 or 800. A Thunderbolt drive wold be optimum. Check out GRAIDS!

Posted from iPad, please excuse typos!


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Jeff Meyer
Re: Questions on extra RAM for MacBook Pro
on Feb 13, 2012 at 2:53:34 am

From what I've heard X loves RAM. As stated above RAM needs to be purchased/installed in pairs. I would go with 16gb instead of 8gb if it's in your budget. Apple doesn't offer 16gb of RAM for their laptops, but recent models have been supporting that much. Here's an article on the topic.
http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-13727_7-20125391-263/add-16gb-ram-to-your-macb...
Crucial has a system scanner that you can download. It'll look over your specs and point you to the products on their website that are compatible with your system.

I wouldn't be too worried about fan noise. I've had Macbook Pros at a full load in Compressor and Cinema 4D for hours on end. It's designed to hold up to a professional workload. I have found that by propping the back up the fan seems to spend less time in high gear. Perhaps it's easier for it to vent heat out this way. I wouldn't suggest being paranoid about propping it up in the back.

The rule of thumb for external drives being used for video is make sure they connect over firewire. Thunderbolt will also be acceptable, but drives using this interface still command a premium. My brand of preference for external drives is G-Technology. I've had good luck with G-RAIDs and G-Speeds. I had a RAID slice go down on a G-Speed and tech support was rather helpful, and they have a sponsored forum on the Cow. Don't get fooled by the G-Drive Mobile. It's a consumer grade product that operates at 5400RPM.
Make sure you buy a backup drive of the same capacity when you purchase, even if it's a more affordable USB drive. It's important to acknowledge that hard drives will fail, regardless of manufacturer. Hard drive prices are up right now due to flooding in Thailand. In 6 months to a year storage will be much cheaper than it is currently.

Lastly, the Cow has a forum for Final Cut X. These were more generic Mac questions, but if you have FCX questions in the future they should be directed to the appropriate forum.
http://forums.creativecow.net/fcpxtechnique


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Matt Jacobs
Re: Questions on extra RAM for MacBook Pro
on Feb 13, 2012 at 2:17:23 pm

Thanks for the detailed feedback and advice, guys.

As far as you saying about 16GB RAM - I had no idea this was possible on a MacBook Pro? My MacBook Pro says it was a max of 8GB RAM? Is this just a general advice thing like most warnings? I just assumed it would be physically impossible to install more.

I believe the HDD inside my MBP is already running at 7200rpm, but if I get the external one, I'll make sure it's a 7200rpm. So G-RAID with a firewire connection seems to be the overwhelming choice among most here?

Cheers,


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Daniel Sametz
Re: Questions on extra RAM for MacBook Pro
on Feb 13, 2012 at 6:34:21 pm

I have used the G-Raid for a TV series and I can say that they were great. It was 3 months of intensive use and the disks never failed.

Apple says that you can only use 8 GB but the guys at OWC makes test and confirm that you can use more.


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Jimmy Stephans
Re: Questions on extra RAM for MacBook Pro
on Feb 14, 2012 at 4:53:59 am

Start at:

http://www.everymac.com/

Look up your model (EXACTLY) and read the specs area. You'll see that they often say that Apple lists one amount of total RAM, but in practice another amount is possible.

Once you know that info its time to buy the RAM. I would used OWC (http://macsales.com/ ) and you can find a link directly to the correct page from http://www.everymac.com/ where you find your model's details.

If the true max RAM is 8GB its about $120.00 with shipping at the max. If its 16GB and you want to go that high it gets more costly. Thats because 8GB RAM chips, in the smaller laptop sizes, are slightly rare and prices are higher (basic supply and demand issue).

Two 8GB chips will not be double price of two 4GB chips, more like triple.

As for hard drives - check same page at http://www.everymac.com/ where you model is listed and you'll see your options. I am thinking that best bet is an external Firewire 800 unit. They are faster than USB by far. Thunderbolt drives are even faster but way more expensive at this time. That assume your model has Thunderbolt ports.

What I just ordered: Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Desk 3 TB FireWire 800 for about $200.

Not as fast as pro solutions others suggest but I am guessing you are like me and not a full time editor with giant budget so going slow for now.

One thing I like about the Seagate is that they are coming out with a Thunderbolt base soon and we should, in theory, be able to buy just the base and move the drive to it and use Thunderbolt once the price of the base comes down.

Hope this helps.


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adam taylor
Re: Questions on extra RAM for MacBook Pro
on Feb 14, 2012 at 1:13:26 pm

check the About this Mac, More Info under your menubar Apple con. Then go to Memory and it will tell you what ram you have in each slot.

If one is empty you can try add another of equal specs, bear in mind the recommended procedure is to have matched pairs of chips. If they are both full, then you will need to buy 2x4gb ram chips and replace the existing ones.

Adam Taylor
Video Editor/Audio Mixer/ Compositor/Motion GFX/Barista
Character Options Ltd
Oldham, UK

http://www.sculptedbliss.co.uk
My YouTube Animations Page


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Matt Jacobs
Re: Questions on extra RAM for MacBook Pro
on Feb 15, 2012 at 4:05:45 pm

Thanks for the feedback.

I checked my system specs and I have the Feb. 2011 15" MacBook Pro with i7 2.2 GHz.

I have two ram slots with 2 GB in each, for a total of 4 GB. Apple recommends 8 GB RAM as the max, but the site confirms my model supports up to 16GB RAM.

So, essentially, I need to buy to 8 GB RAM cards and do the procedure myself. I don't have the Apple warranty - I have one with Squaretrade. Does anyone know if this will this void my Squaretrade warranty?

Also, what's the deal with graphics cards? Will I see a noticeable improvement in my editing power if I get a better graphics card? I have the "AMD Radeon HD 6750M 1024 MB" card, which I'm told is pretty good. Would anyone recommend upgrading that? And, if so, what card should I get?

Cheers,


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adam taylor
Re: Questions on extra RAM for MacBook Pro
on Feb 15, 2012 at 4:10:55 pm

i'm pretty sure you cant upgrade the graphics in a mac laptop as the chips are part of the motherboard. Thats how they can make em so thin these days.

However, the i7 models fly along. I have a 17" i7 and its never felt like graphics were giving it a hard time.Just make sure that you switch the auto graphics switching off (its in one of the energy saving preferences in the system preferences. That will force the laptop use the higher quality graphics chip (as it has two separate ones!)

Adam Taylor
Video Editor/Audio Mixer/ Compositor/Motion GFX/Barista
Character Options Ltd
Oldham, UK

http://www.sculptedbliss.co.uk
My YouTube Animations Page


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