New Macbook pro: Favor cpu or gpu for best performance in FCPX?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by redfuse, Dec 18, 2016.

  1. redfuse macrumors newbie

    May 22, 2015
    Hi all,

    I'm on the brink of buying a new Macbook pro 15" 2016, and I'm trying to decide which configuration will work best for performance in FCPX. The maxed out version (best cpu and best gpu) is too much for my budget, so I'm wondering which upgrade, either better cpu or better gpu, will have most noticeable advantages. I will mostly edit 4k h264 footage (from Sony A7s ii), which is quite heavily compressed. My concern is with straightforward editing - smooth playback without dropped frames - and color grading. Would I benefit more from the better CPU (2.9 GHz instead of 2.6 GHz), or from the better GPU (460 instead of 450)? Or would middle ground for both be best (2.7 GHz with 455)?

    Basically I'm asking about the relative importance of the CPU and the GPU in FCPX. I have tried to find information about this online, but no luck so far.
    Thanks in advance!
  2. 3568378 Suspended


    Dec 30, 2015
    Orlando, FL
    I shoot with two A6300 bodies at 4K 24 or 30fps and 100mbps and Final Cut Pro X works great on my 2015 Retina MacBook Pro AMD. I can't imagine the performance dropping with the 2016 -- you have faster RAM and likely faster video RAM in the 2016 graphics card so I think you're going to be just fine. FCPX is optimized for the AMD card and Open CL. In choosing between Premier and FCPX I went for FCPX for this reason and I have not been disappointed - render times are FANTASTIC vs. Premier. ...let alone the fact that Apple still lets me buy FCPX as a standalone non-subscription product! Also love the latest update to FCPX - it's different than 10.2.3 for sure but I'm getting used to it and finding that I like it better. I think you'll do just fine with ANY of the 2016 15" offerings - just be sure to get at least 512GB SSD since 4K files can be quite large. Some of the projects i shoot start out with 300GB or so of raw footage -- and our average videos are 8 or 9 minutes (see

    Hope this helps!
  3. redfuse thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 22, 2015
    Thanks for chiming in, that sounds encouraging!
    Do you think the double VRAM of the 460 have a noticeable performance effect? Or is it mostly for 3D stuff (which I don't really do)?

    And also interesting to hear your experience of smoothly editing 4k h246 on a mbp against reports like this, which states that even an imac would struggle with it:
  4. Jeff Costello macrumors newbie

    Jan 25, 2017
  5. redfuse thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 22, 2015
    I ended up buying the 2.7 GHz with the Radeon 460. I hasn't arrived yet, so can't give you my experiences just now.

    I think for ProRes the 2.6 is more than enough. I also think the Radeon 450 should be fine for your application. I couldn't pass on faster performance and the double VRAM (mostly for future proofing) for the relatively small bump in price.

    I found Larry Jordan's advice and tests very useful. Although he didn't test Resolve, I could imagine its performance characteristics are similar to using editing programs like fcpx and premiere when applying color correction effects.
  6. Jeff Costello macrumors newbie

    Jan 25, 2017

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