What's better for video edit, more RAM or better video card?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Luba, Nov 6, 2010.

  1. Luba, Nov 6, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2010

    Luba macrumors 65816


    Apr 22, 2009
    Got 6GB RAM on 2009 2.66 Mac Pro with 4870. The upcoming 5870 is $450. 12 GB (3x4GB) is $320 and 16 GB (4x4GB) is $425, and finally 24 GB (3x8GB) is $820.

    Which purchase or combo of purchase is best for video edit on Final Cut Pro?

    BTW, any additional benefits of getting the 5870? Gaming would be better (I game a little; X-Plane & Call of Duty), but wouldn't some apps off load to the GPU to make the CPU faster, though I don't know what those apps would be. I could run 2 displays with 5870 with ease, not sure if the 4870 can handle 2 displays.

  2. spinnerlys Guest


    Sep 7, 2008
    forlod bygningen
    FCP will not take advantage of more than 2gB RAM, as it is still 32-bit. It may take advantage of a better GPU though, but only with advanced effects editing, as far as my experience can account to that.
  3. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Nov 30, 2008
    Why 2?
    32bit apps can address 4GB of RAM. Not sure about FCP, though.
  4. spinnerlys Guest


    Sep 7, 2008
    forlod bygningen
    Might be confusing it, but I have never seen FCP or Avid MC (which I use more) to address more than 2GB RAM, even in intensive situations.

    Will investigate further.

    Found this: Maximum memory usage in Final Cut Pro is 2.5 GB, though it does not have FCP 7 included.

    Anyway, even if FCP7 can address more than 2.5GB (even though 2560MB is the maximum listed in FCP > System Settings > Memory & Cache > Memory Usage > Application), it will be not more than 4GB, thus 12GB might be overkill, though if you run many other applications at the same time, you will profit from more RAM. AE can address 4GB RAM per core as far as I know, maybe Apple will follow?
  5. ekwipt macrumors 6502a

    Jan 14, 2008
    If this is a Quad Core and you have 3 dimms filled with 3 x 2Gb i'd definitely not upgrade the RAM, your running the machine at full memory bandwidth.

    I also doubt you'd notice much difference if you changed the GFX card but who knows it's probably a worthy upgrade. FCP is supposedly coded around using ATI GFX cards (this was in the past with the 1900xt I believe, i'm not sure if they've optimised the GFX engine further).

    I think the 4870 can only handle 1 x 27"-30" display and 1 x 24", not sure about the 5870

    If you haven't upgraded your boot drive to a SSD i think you'd get the most benefit from doing this, either the OCZ Vertex 2 or the OWC SSD are still the best of the bunch as far as i'm aware
  6. jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    RAM, for video editing. It's the CPU and RAM that get stressed when it comes time to encode/decode video.

    Now, for games, yes the HD5870 will play nicely there.
  7. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    With AE CS5 I believe this limit is no longer in place.

Share This Page