Questions about MacBook Pro, RAM and FCP

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by dreamseller, Feb 12, 2012.

  1. dreamseller macrumors newbie

    Feb 12, 2012
    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,

  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    RAM won't have any affect on temps and fan speed when rendering, as those are CPU/GPU intensive processes.
    Use iStat Pro to get accurate readings of your temperatures and fan speeds. Yes, it's normal for temps to rise and fan speed to increase during CPU/GPU intensive processes like gaming and multimedia apps.
    See above.

    To determine if you can benefit from more RAM, launch Activity Monitor and click the System Memory tab at the bottom to check your page outs. Page outs are cumulative since your last restart, so the best way to check is to restart your computer and track page outs under your normal workload (the apps, browser pages and documents you normally would have open). If your page outs are significant (say 1GB or more) under normal use, you may benefit from more RAM. If your page outs are zero or very low during normal use, you probably won't see any performance improvement from adding RAM.

    Mac OS X: Reading system memory usage in Activity Monitor
  3. bdinger macrumors member


    Jan 22, 2012
    Lincoln, NE
    I did my first edit in FCPx before my 16GB of RAM for my Pro came in, so I was using the stock 4GB. It was definitely barely up to the tasks, and I was only doing about 10 min of 1080p/24p video with a Motion intro and a couple of Motion titles.

    Like I said, it was barely up to the task. I did my second edit after upgrading to 16GB and it was a world of difference. I do a LOT of light and color edits because I'm pretty anal about that sort of stuff, I noticed the difference particularly while doing that and being able to keep both Motion and FCPx running at the same time the disk activity isn't ridiculous with pages.

    I'm much happier with 16GB in FCPx, and am glad I made the upgrade.

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