More Memory Matters

More Memory Matters - by David R Beebe
I've always experienced lackluster performance with large Final Cut Pro X projects. Looking at Activity Monitor's memory report, I would see that FCP X was consuming about half of the 8GB total memory and that memory swapping was less than 1Gb. At the time, I wasn't paying any attention to the Compressed Memory column in the report. That was apparently a big clue. Memory Pressure even showed green in the chart. I'd asked Apple and was told that FCP X would not personally utilize more memory if I added it.

While working on some particularly large projects (> 1500 clips, over 90 minutes duration), FCP X would randomly lose the thumbnail preview in the browser and timeline windows. If I hovered over the clip, the preview would appear until the cursor moved away. I posted a question at and the responses were suspecting render or cache files. I thought it might be a memory issue since restarting the app temporarily restored all of the previously missing clip previews.

So, when in doubt, add more memory. I sprang for 4 8Gb SODIMMs, removing the 2 4Gb cards that came with the iMac. I was shocked at how much of an improvement in performance this has made. Reboots and application startups are incredibly faster. FCP X is happy as can be using up to 8Gb of memory now. Swap Used is now zero.