Using Final Cut Pro X w 4gb RAM...

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by dagdagdag234, Aug 4, 2015.

  1. dagdagdag234 macrumors regular

    Apr 15, 2011
    Hi There..

    I find myself in a tough position. I need to edit a bunch of 2-3 minute music videos on Final Cut Pro X but the machine I have available is a 2014 Macbook Air with only 4gb of RAM and the 1.4 ghz i5 processor.

    Is this going to work, be slow, or be unusable/crash all the time?

    I am doing a bunch of effects within these videos -- titles, filters on some of the images, multiple "windows" with different footage in each window running simultaneously. Nothing too crazy, I don't think.

    So far I've started the first video and it seems to run ok -- I'm just concerned that as the effects start piling up I could get in trouble to the point where the final video won't render or something like that.

    I don't have a huge amount of experience with video editing (mostly family videos on iMovie) so I don't know what to expect in this situation.

    Any advice would be appreciated -- well, except the "get a new computer with more RAM advice" -- I already know that would be the best solution. But assuming I'm stuck for now with what I have, will it work okay?

    And are there any suggestions for making Final Cut run as smooth as possible? Do I need to keep a certain amount of space on my SSD? Should I save my final cut library to an external drive while I"m editing or will that just slow things down more?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
  2. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    The SSD will compensate for the lack of RAM. Basically when OS X runs out of memory, it'll write to the hard-drive as virtual memory (briefly utilising free HDD space as RAM). On a conventional hard-drive, this cripples the performance of the machine due to the insanely slow read/write speeds and access times. On an SSD the performance deficit is less noticable, especially with the PCI-e and higher Flash speeds on the 2014 model.

    Therefore with this in mind, keep as much free space as you can on your SSD; it's normally recommended between 10-15% of its total space. Also ensure that you shut down your computer every couple days or whenever you're not using it, with the option 'reopen windows when logging back in' disabled.

    Of course it's not going to break any records in performance but the MacBook Air really is a capable little machine, and it should be fine for your needs, so don't worry. :)
  3. dagdagdag234 thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 15, 2011
    Thanks, Keys, that was incredibly helpful.

    You did mention I should keep 10-15% of my SSD free at least and that could be a problem. I only have 156gb SSD, the basic model, and I see it filling up already. I could try to clear some space but it could be a challenge.

    Is it possible, or even recommended, to use an external drive to keep the FCP files on or would that slow things down even more?

    Also, is it possible to move the library files from where they are to an external hard drive while I'm editing the current video or did I need to set that up ahead of time?

    If an external HD something I should get, is there a certain type or speed of external HD I should get? (Sorry, I'm not that tech oriented and know none of these terms)

    I promise this is my last barrage of questions (I hope)

    Thanks again for your post. So helpful.

  4. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    Keep it on the internal one, external will slow it down a lot.

    Don't worry about sticking perfectly to the 10-15% recommendation, it's not exactly gospel -- just keep as much free space as you can afford to, really. :)
  5. RCAFBrat macrumors 6502

    Jul 10, 2013
    Montreal, QC
    Two to three minutes is not very long thankfully so unless you have a lot of footage that won't be used you will probably be fine. If you have a lot of footage or find yourself in trouble you may have to delete rendered files (FCPX makes these in the background to improve performance at expense of HDD/SSD space) and import video files without making optimized (for FCPX) media.

    I'm not an expert and you can look up tutorials on this subject to learn the details.

    Other than that, agree 100% with keys.

    FCPX really likes fast storage.


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