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1080p shuddery, would upgrading to latest MacBook Pro help?

516 Views 7 Replies Latest reply: Jan 29, 2013 6:28 AM by Luis Sequeira1 RSS
MixedUp Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Jan 27, 2013 3:51 PM



I have a 2010 MacBook Pro model, and now I'm starting to use GoPro video (1080p, 50fps) in Final Cut Pro X, I am finding the video does play NOT perfectly and is a bit shuddery for 30% of the time.  You could image it's FCPX not getting enough grunt from the MBP to play properly.  I note the GoPro video plays fine in VLC & QuickTime, but in FinalCutPro it shudders a bit (like the program is not keeping up, a little bit jerky)


CPU & Memory seems ok however which is interesting.  For FCPX the CPU usage is about 130% but if you look across the 4 quad CPU usage displays neither are flatlining. Memory. Free memory is getter low but there was still 120MB or so free. Have 4GB of memory in the macbook. Not sure if this highlights more of a bug in FCPX in playing 1080 video at is recorded at 50fps?


Question - would upgrading to latest MacBook Pro help?  (or any other ideas)



My 2010 Model:

  • 15-inch, Mid 2010, MacBook Pro
  • Processor 2.66 GHz Intel Core i7
  • Graphics NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M 512 MB
  • Note: Have a SSD as main drive & a 2nd drive in the Optical bay slot.
  • 4GB RAM



Latest Model I could Order

  • Mac Book Pro 15"
  • 2.7GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.7GHz
  • 128GB Solid State Drive
  • 8GB of RAM
Final Cut Pro X, OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.1)
  • Adam Scoffield Level 4 Level 4 (2,835 points)

    well its never going to hurt getting a new machine. However there are a couple of things that could help before you go to that expense.


    Are you running your media from a separate drive. It is not recommended to have your fcpx events on the same drive as your operating system.


    What is the codec of the clips in your fcpx event? If they are h264 this can cripple an editing instantly. For best use, convert all clips to proRez before use. You can get fcpx to do this for you by selecting  the optimise media on import checkbox. Prorez are bigger files than h264 though, so that brings us back to the first point, get some spare hard drives.





  • Adam Scoffield Level 4 Level 4 (2,835 points)



    the h264 will be causing the stuttering. Happened to me with my macPro and eSata raid drives. Couldnt work out why it was playing up. realised one the clips was h264.


    How can you have a seperate ointernal drive on a macBook pro?



  • Luis Sequeira1 Level 5 Level 5 (4,790 points)

    The first thing you can do to improve your experience is to bump the RAM to 8GB. This will not make your mac as fast as a new one, but it will cost very little, for a tangible benefit. 4GB is just paltry. You mention having only 120MB free, which is almost nothing. Low ram situations are not handled gracefully in OS X, bringing your machine to a crawl; since 8GB will cost about $50, this seems to be a no-brainer.


    H264 is heavily compressed and not really suitable for editing - this being full HD on a 2010 machine further complicates matters. Optimizing or using proxies will certainly help there.


    The internal second drive and SSD boot drive configuration is pretty good.

  • Luis Sequeira1 Level 5 Level 5 (4,790 points)

    MixedUp wrote:


    thanks Luis - memory ordered!   Mind if I ask:


    (a) re "on a 2010 machine" - do you have any experience re what sort of level of improvement jumping to a 2013 MacBook Pro 15" 2.6GHz would have?  (say after moving to optimized video)

    I wish I had that experience... I do not have access to a recent MBP, I can only hear people say how fast it is.

    I suspect that, especially for HD, the difference may be significant, but I can only guess. Of course, several factors are in play. If you upgrade you will also need a fast drive to really take advantage of your new mac.




    (b) my internal non-SSD drive is 500G, however I could upgrade that to a 1TB drive.  But after returning with heaps of gopro video (which is scary I know) about 150GB, this means there's a good chance if I import it in with full optimization it will potentially not fit on the 1TB internal drive.  What are the options here.  What comes to mind is:


    * using proxy option - however from what I'm reading it seems you might lose a bit of quality

    * use an external drive - however over USB I assume this would not be fast enough for editing? I note my external USB drive doesn't even turn up as a option under FCPX to import videos to

    * do many culling of the videos first, or edit in batches - I guess this might be the best?  

    * still would have been nice to have an option that just lets me buy a large external drive & not have to worry about culling etc?


    Using proxy for editing does NOT mean that you will be stuck with lower quality video. Proxy is small (roughly a quarter the size of optimized), which both saves drive space and makes editing much faster.

    If you do export from proxy, quality will be lower, but you don't have to. Just edit in proxy and before you export, switch in the Preferences to "Original/Optimized". You'll get the full quality output without the need to generate optimized media.


    An external drive may be hindered by a slow connection like USB2, but that will depend on the complexity and size of your edits; proxy is a big help there too. It really depends on the editing you do.

    In my case, I have the benefit of owning a 17" with the express card slot, so I bought an e-sata card and e-sata external drive. This is about three times as fast as USB2 would allow. Actually, the hard drive itself becomes the bottleneck, not the e-sata connection. With Thunderbolt, it would be similar, the drive being the bottleneck; you'd be well served by a disk array. With a new mac, USB3 might be an option worth considering, too, though how well it works with video is still a bit of an unknown.


    In your current machine, I think that the internal is probably faster, and space is the key consideration. My projects are small, so if I were editing in your configuration, I'd keep the current project and events in the internal to edit, and move the finished ones to externals (plural - don't neglect backing up...)


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