3 Replies Latest reply: Sep 25, 2012 1:24 PM by Tom Wolsky
lawero Level 1 Level 1




I have a 3.4 GHz Intel Core i7 iMac with a 2GB AMD Radeon HD 6970M graphics card and 20GB of DDR3 RAM.



FCPX has been working fine up until now, but suddenly has started dropping frames.



FCPX 10.0.5 btw



For extra info my iMac crashed last night because I was rendering out of After Effects and completely ran out of memory. I now have 40% free space and have reset the parameter random access memory (PRAM) and nonvolatile RAM (NVRAM). Still the problem persists.



Footage is not proxy and is being pulled from my Mac hard drive.



Any ideas?

iMac, Mac OS X (10.7.3), 3.4GHz i7, 2GB Graphics, 20GB RAM
  • andynick Level 5 Level 5

    This is my pet checklist for questions regarding FCP X performance - you may have already addressed some of the items but it's worth checking.


    Make sure you're using the latest version of the application - FCP X 10.0.5 runs very well on my 2009 MacPro 2 x 2.26 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon with 16 GB RAM and ATI Radeon HD 5870 1024 MB. I run it with Lion 10.7.4.


    First, check that you have at least 20% free space on your system drive - otherwise it will run slowly.


    If you have not already done so, move your Projects and Events to a fast (Firewire 800 or faster) external HD. Make sure the drive's formatted OS Extended (journalling's not required for video). You should always keep at least 20% free space on the Hard Drives that your Media, Projects and Events are on.


    Check the spec of your Mac against the system requirements:



    Check the spec of your graphics card. If it's listed here, it's not suitable:



    If you are getting crashes, there is some conflict on the OS. Create a new (admin) user account on your system and use FCP X from there - if it runs a lot better, there's a conflict and a clean install would be recommended.


    Keep projects to 20 mins or less. If you have a long project, work on 20 min sections then paste these into a final project for export.


    If you ever experience dropped frames, I strongly recommend you use ProRes 422 Proxy - it edits and plays back like silk because the files are small but lightly compressed (not much packing and unpacking to do) - but remember to select 'Original or Optimised Media' (FCP X Preferences > Playback) just before you export your movie, otherwise it will be exported at low resolution.


    If you have plenty of processor power, for the ultimate editing experience, create Optimised Media - most camera native files are highly compressed and need a great deal of processor power to play back - particularly if you add titles, filters or effects. ProRes 422 takes up much more hard drive space but is very lightly compressed. It edits and plays back superbly.


    Hide Audio Waveforms at all times when you don't need them (both in Browser and Storyline / Timeline). They take up a lot of processor power. (Use the switch icon at the bottom-right of your timeline to select a format without waveforms if you don't need them at the moment, then switch back when you do).


    Create folders in the Project and Events libraries and put any projects you are not working on currently, in those folders. This will help a lot. There's a great application for this, called Event Manager X - for the tiny cost it's an invaluable application.



    Unless you cannot edit and playback without it, turn off Background Rendering in Preferences (under Playback) - this will help general performance and you can always render when you need to by selecting the clip (or clips) and pressing Ctrl+R.


    The biggest single improvement I saw in performance was when I upgraded the RAM from 8 GB to 16.


  • Mirakaski Level 1 Level 1

    I started having the same problem.  Has worked fine for a year and now is dropping frames on playback.  Any body know the issue or has anyone fixed it?

  • Tom Wolsky Level 10 Level 10
    Mac OS X

    Please give your complete computer specifications including the drives you're using, formatting, and how everything's connected.