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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.
 
EXCEPT:
 
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?


 
-thanks.


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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 app...it 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.

Shane
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