Specs Newbie.

cwazytech

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 7, 2009
353
65
Colorado
Eveytime I watch video tutorials on FCPX/Motion 5/After Effects, the software seems to run real smooth. On my iMAc, however, it really seems to slow down or lock up my overall functionality/multitasking abilities. So my question is, to get these programs to run smoothly, what are the minimum "best" specs I should have? Is it Quad Core vs Dual Core? Is it lots of RAM? Is it a combination of both? What will make the render time happen faster and smoother?
 

puckhead193

macrumors G3
May 25, 2004
9,231
444
NY
its a combination of both. Most importantly is to be using a scratch disk for your media.. (an external drive)
 

cwazytech

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 7, 2009
353
65
Colorado
Most importantly is to be using a scratch disk for your media.. (an external drive)
Even if I have a lot of space on my hard disk(currently over 700gigs of free space). I currently run on 4gigs of ram. Would I notice a big difference if I upgraded to 8? 16?
 

MrPlayer66

macrumors member
Jul 27, 2012
35
0
Are you editing from your internal drive? Puckhead is referring to an external HDD and in your case preferably connected trough firewire 800, this will definitely help you out, editing with your Macintosh HD is a terrible idea.
 

cwazytech

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 7, 2009
353
65
Colorado
Are you editing from your internal drive? Puckhead is referring to an external HDD and in your case preferably connected trough firewire 800, this will definitely help you out, editing with your Macintosh HD is a terrible idea.
Yes, I am talking about my internal drive? Can you please elaborate on "terrible idea"?
 

mBox

macrumors 68020
Jun 26, 2002
2,270
29
Your system drive has enough going on.
Adding HD frames in the mix slows it down to the point of useless.
You need to access your video clips off an external.
Fastest possible but FW800 is pretty decent for HD.
Download Black Magic Design Speed Test from App Store and test your internal drive.
Itll tell you what it can or cant handle.
 

MrPlayer66

macrumors member
Jul 27, 2012
35
0
There's many different reasons why it's not a a good idea, one reason it is because your internal drive is already under the heavy pressure of running Final Cut or After Affects, and by having to deal with your footage it's just too much, if you do a little bit or research you can find out exactly why. When I started editing I started with a 2008 MacBook Pro laptop and I first started with Final Cut Pro 7 then learned to use X, I worked with Full HD footage transcoded to PRORES 422, I invested on a 1TB external drive with a firewire connections because the tutorials that I watched recommended that. All my editing ran smoothly and my computer would only take a long time during transcoding and rendering but this was because of my CPU and no because of my drive. You probably get a lot of messages of frames being dropped and what not, this also has to do with your internal hard drive not being to keep with your editing software, remember all your footage should be on an external hard drive, and your editing software stays on your internal drive. Based on your specs you shouldn't have any problems editing with final cut, if I were you I would increase the ram to 8GB.
 

12dylan34

macrumors 6502a
Sep 3, 2009
878
6
Only worry about the scratch disk for Final Cut, though. After Effects is built to use the HDD minimally, so it only uses it to reference any media you're using in your comps, and in cases where it runs out of memory on renders out. Probably the single best improvement you can get in AE is to add more RAM, since that's where it puts everything while you're working. You say that you're only using 4GB of RAM, which is essentially nothing. Add as much as your machine will take. 16GB+ is more than reasonable for this.

I wouldn't waste my time with Motion, either. I guess it's good to learn basics of digital video effects with, but I've yet to encounter a production environment that uses it extensively, if at all.
 

nateo200

macrumors 68030
Feb 4, 2009
2,857
6
Northern District NY
Always use a scratch drive. I run the maximum my older MBP allows which is 8GB's and it is night and day between 4GB's....also FireWire 800 if you don't have USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt is great...going from USB 2.0 to FireWire 800 increased my workflow's speed tremendously!

Look when you get into video editing you seriously need to tune out anyone that says you "don't need more" with video editing more RAM, more CPU's, more space, is ALWAYS better. Got 8GB's of RAM but you can expand? Throw in the maximum your machine allows. Quad core is a must for speeding up render times..GPU also plays an important role. I have a Core 2 Duo and it basically sucks massively for rendering but when I get the luxury of using a quad core its just so much faster. Basically with RAM in a 64bit architecture your RAM gets divided up for each core. So I have 8Gigs of RAM and 2 cores so each core gets 4GB's instead of just 2GB's if I only had 4GB's....if you have a quad core 16GB's is really the minimum I'd go...24GB is very comfortable though, haven't used 32GB RAM yet but Im guessing it would fly with the right hardware. So more RAM is better...just make sure your machine can handle more...