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Why is my FCP NOT using much ram?

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Allan Speers
Why is my FCP NOT using much ram?
on Oct 21, 2012 at 10:12:35 pm

I have a 2012 Mac Pro six core, with only the stock 4GB ram.   I know I need more ram, and want to order some asap, but money is tight & I don't want to waste it.
I've read a ton of existing threads, and the only solid answer I could ascertain was "as much as you can afford," and "at least 24 GB."
Some article say that if I get 48 GB, it will all be used.
I also understand that more ram helps FCP utilize the OpenCL more efficiently.
Yesterday I did my first ever export from FCP.  I was editing 1080p / 10K bit rate clips that were roughly 15 minutes long,  and only loading one at a time. I had changed the perspective, and was "sharing" (Lord how I hate Apple's dumbing down of their apps) without using compressor.
To my amazement, my ram usage never went above 1.6 GB.
So, the obvious question is:
What specific FCP scenarios require / benefit from all this "needed" ram that I keep reading about?
Bulk rendering of multiple files?
rendering of hour-long files? (does the size of the source files matter?)

Heavy compression?

Having lots of files in the timeline at the same time?

Surely, you need enough ram to hold all the files that you are concurrently editing from,  plus any open applications.  And perhaps you need a little extra for OpenCL. - But after that, how exactly does MORE ram makes things run faster?  I don't get it.  Yet everyone says, "buy as much as you can afford." 

I know I'll understand this better once I do more complex work, and once I actually have more ram, but I need to buy it now, and can't add more later.
Can anyone give me a real answer?


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Shane Ross
Re: Why is my FCP NOT using much ram?
on Oct 21, 2012 at 11:57:58 pm

FCP 7 is a 32-bit really only uses about 2GB of RAM at most. That's the nature of 32 bit apps. There is no way to make it use more than that, really. I think it might tap out at 4GB, but I've never gotten it that high.

FCP-X was released that that is 64-bit, and therefor can utilize more.

What you don't say is what version of FCP you are running.

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