Does anyone here know how I can make my aged laptop play well with Final Cut Pro X?

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smileyranger's picture
Last seen: 7 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: Mar 21 2011 - 20:50
Posts: 164
Does anyone here know how I can make my aged laptop play well with Final Cut Pro X?

Over the past few months, I have migrated my video work from the rather rudimentary iMovie 11 over to Final Cut Pro X, Which I have quite enjoyed. The commands and features are easy to use, and I have had virtually zero problems.
There is one thing that happens to stand in my way. My MacBook Pro. It's a 2.4 GHZ core2duo model from 2010 (13") and video playback on it in the inspector window of final cut is quite horrendous. Each time it plays a project with more than 2-3 cuts with the blade tool, the framerate drops, video playback lags, and the audio sometimes disappears, making it impossible to time the video clips with the music, which is not good at all, since a lot of the video work that I do is music-centric.

Right now I have a rather filled 250 GB (internal) HDD and 4gb of factory installed RAM, and for videos, I run them off of my 1tb Western Digital external USB HDD.

Here's a copy-paste of my "hardware Overview"

Hardware Overview:

Model Name: MacBook Pro
Model Identifier: MacBookPro7,1
Processor Name: Intel Core 2 Duo
Processor Speed: 2.4 GHz
Number Of Processors: 1
Total Number Of Cores: 2
L2 Cache: 3 MB
Memory: 4 GB
Bus Speed: 1.07 GHz

NVIDIA GeForce 320M:

Chipset Model: NVIDIA GeForce 320M
Type: GPU
Bus: PCI
VRAM (Total): 256 MB
Vendor: NVIDIA (0x10de)
Device ID: 0x08a0
Revision ID: 0x00a2
ROM Revision: 3533
Color LCD:
Resolution: 1280 x 800
Pixel Depth: 32-Bit Color (ARGB8888)
Main Display: Yes
Mirror: Off
Online: Yes
Built-In: Yes
Display Connector:
Status: No Display Connected

My setup is pretty basic, but it's all I can afford now. Does anyone know what I could do to upgrade my computer in hopes of making Final Cut Pro run somewhat decently? I am willing to sink about $300.00 into this machine if it will bring it up to par with some more modern systems.

I'm also running Snow Leopard 10.6.8 if that helps (I am going to get mountain lion soon, but not until I get another HDD to back up all of my files onto so that I can start fresh. Maybe I can just replace my internal HDD altogether with a SSD or something of that sort, and just extract whatever I need from my old HDD whenever I need it.

Sorry for such a rambling post.


Dr. Webster's picture
Last seen: 4 hours 35 min ago
Joined: Dec 19 2003 - 17:34
Posts: 1693
Re: Does anyone here know how I can make my aged laptop play ...

If you're editing directly off of an external USB hard drive, that's likely your bottleneck. It would be a good idea to invest in an external FireWire 800 drive, which should roughly double your throughput (you can reuse your current USB drive for backups). An internal SSD would definitely make the machine more snappy in daily use, but won't really affect editing or playback.

If you can scrape together $75 as quick as you can, this would be a very good deal to jump on:

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