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FP7 Where's my bottleneck!?

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Erick Stoll
FP7 Where's my bottleneck!?
on Jun 13, 2012 at 5:21:52 pm

I recently traded an 09 iMac for an 08 MacPro to do my editing, and while the specs are much better on the Pro, I can't help but feel like FCP runs slower. Big projects in the timeline slow down pretty quickly, and even without much on the timeline, the lag when I click around seems inappropriate.

Here's what I've got:
2x2.8 GHz quad-core intel xeon
ATI Radeon HD 2600 with 256MB VRAM
My editing drives are two internal 500GB seagate barracudas 7200, striped using a software RAID.
Typically I'm working with XDCAM mp4s natively using the calibrated plug in.

I should note that it isn't crushingly slow--everything still works fine. There's just more lag than I feel like their should be, especially when I think about to how the 20" imac ran.


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Shane Ross
Re: FP7 Where's my bottleneck!?
on Jun 13, 2012 at 5:31:51 pm

Did you also edit the MP4's natively with the iMac? Because native editing of that format, even with a plugin, is ill-advised. FCP will not be at optimal editing capacity. If you want better performance, you need to convert to an editing codec, like ProRes. Or use XDCAM TRANSFER to convert the XDCAM files to Quicktime...and edit on a ProRes sequence.

FCP isn't designed for native editing of many formats, including the one you are tackling.

Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def

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Paul Roper
Re: FP7 Where's my bottleneck!?
on Jun 13, 2012 at 6:10:19 pm

It's also worth noting that FCP is pretty dumb when it comes to recognising more than one processor in your system - don't forget it's a very, very old piece of software, long overdue to be put in a retirement home, dribbling while staring at QVC.

Open up your activity monitor (in your utilities folder) and do command-5 to bring up the floating CPU monitor. Set FCP rendering something and watch how FCP only uses a fraction of the power you've just paid for. Maybe your iMac had a faster processor (but with less cores) which is more suited to vintage software like FCP.

I'm only rambling on so much because I am waiting for FCP to render something simple...using only a tiny fraction of my 12-core 2.93GHz machine's power. And most of that power is being used by FCP to get its pipe and slippers while it complains about back pains and how things "aren't like they used to be in my day"...

- Paul

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Erick Stoll
Re: FP7 Where's my bottleneck!?
on Jun 13, 2012 at 6:46:29 pm

Specifically I'm concerned with my GPU. iStats routinely shows that it's memory is filled to capacity. Is this something to worry about?

(Thanks so far, I'll try using the QTs for XDcam)

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Grant Strac
Re: FP7 Where's my bottleneck!?
on Jun 13, 2012 at 6:56:09 pm

Ok well your MacPro is 1000 times more powerful than the MBP. It's odd your having lag time. What pops into my head is who did you get it from trade with friend, colleague, or store. Either one the first thing you should have done is use disk utility to nuke the internal drives.
Reformat all drives, especially boot drive, you need the operating disk to boot to then you can use disk utility to reformat the drive. Then you reformat once, then use the security button in that window and zero out the drive just the first level. Unless your NSA the first level is fine also it will take about hour pending on how old your machine is.
After you reinstall and all that you should have massive improvement. I bought a MacPro6 six months ago and I have reset it twice already. I have four 2tb inside and have snow leopard, lion, leopard with fcs 1,2,3 &x. Your not that level but an 08 macpro has been beat up files all over and have bad hard drive segments. Reformatting atleast twice a year is a must if you want your machine running optimal OR organize your stuff properly.
Also you might be having lag because I'm sure this is your editor and personal. You need to go buy a drive and install it to have two boot drives. One drive has nothing but your editing software and programs and is NOT connected to internet. Second drive is personal for whatever you want this way if one fries you have another drive ready and you need to keep editor offline to keep it safe and optimal. You'd be surprised how much internet information and all downloads documents blah blah causes problems for editor because of not properly sectored information.
If you can't reset then you should clean house. Organize everything to folder. DO NOT have more than 10 desktop icons and even then put all desktop contents to one folder. Desktop stuff causes surprisingly a large amount of ram lag. After you delete all unnecessary stuff do not empty your trash. Securely empty it go to finder bar.
Also alot of people make this mistake. They have their final cut studio program on the same drive they have their capture scratch. This is the quickest way to fry your drives. I am certified trainer and I tell my classes that is cardinal rule to always have all your programs on one drive and capture scratch on separate. One because if your drive fries you have info and if other one fries atleast you have the autosave vault.
If you do this operations will triple in speed. Think if you have all on one drive your pulling off the drive and pushing back in it's bottle necking.
I could go on and on but lastly download tech tool pro and run a check on your ram and your hd's. If all I said is done and you still have lag buy newer ram its dirt cheap now, I am 26 gb and got it for 240. Ram is your most important thing in the previewing timeline activations.

Hope this helps respond if you need more help I could go on and on with tips to optimize your performance I took Apple course on it there are alot of things that can be done

Grant Strac
Apple Master Pro Certified FCS2
Apple Trainer Certifed FCP6
Apple Level One Certified FCP7
Apple Optimization Tech FCS Certified

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Phillip Todd
Re: FP7 Where's my bottleneck!?
on Jun 14, 2012 at 3:34:03 am

I did something similar recently (09 MBP to 08 MP) and the details are here:

I did everything Grant said except to zero the boot drive. I just erased it a few times with Disk Utility while testing the whole system with tech tool. I am also planning to do a dual boot system, when I get that far and I am making the mistake of using the FCP boot drive to surf the internet. I have noticed in 4 weeks that the booting time is getting slightly longer than when the drive was really clean with fresh installs, but I do feel the set-up is snappier than my MBP was and infinitely quieter to work on, the internal drives are fast and quiet, I ma very happy. I also use Activity monitor on all my computers to "see" what's going on if it slows down. Very handy tips Grant, thanks.

Phillip Todd
Philadelphia - NYC - Zurich

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Michael Gissing
Re: FP7 Where's my bottleneck!?
on Jun 14, 2012 at 3:44:10 am

RAM speed seems pretty slow and graphics card is likely to be a bottleneck or strangle hold for programs like Color or FXplugins

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Grant Strac
Re: FP7 Where's my bottleneck!?
on Jun 14, 2012 at 3:59:41 am

AWESOME!! So glad to hear it worked. One thing I would like to add my MacPro is 10 times more powerful than my MBP. But my MBP boots faster as well and the only reason I can thing is there is less processor cores and one hard drive to synchronize to activate.
Like my MacPro has four hard drives, 8 cores, and 22gb to all get fired up and sync together and 1gb video card to fire correctly and get the user interface to active. This is only thing I can logically answer that question because I felt the same way going WTF my mbp is less powerful but starts up in half time. I could be wrong but logically to me it makes sense

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Rafael Amador
Re: FP7 Where's my bottleneck!?
on Jun 14, 2012 at 9:50:50 am

A fresh installing is not enough. After a perfect installing the system is full of shit.
The faster machine will sluggish if your System is a mess.
Start by running DiskWarrior or TechTools.

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