How to speed up Final Cut Pro X

How to speed up Final Cut Pro X

FCPX is 64-bit, runs very fast on newer systems. It is also making good use of memory, processor and video card performance. So you need a good machine to run it. Apple’s hardware requirements for Final Cut Pro X include the following minimum computer configuration:

  • Mac with Intel Core 2 Duo processor.
  • 2GB RAM
  • Open CL compatible video card
  • 256 MB VRAM
  • 1280 × 768 pixel resolution monitor
  • OS X 10.6.8 or later
  • 2.4 GB of free hard disk space


However, the minimum hardware requirement always means that this is the configuration in which the program still runs. Older lower performance machines will, of course, run FCPX (if it matches what is listed above), but probably slower. Especially when we are dealing with high-definition video or doing rendering. In this case, the weaker machine will obviously be slower.

There are a few solutions to make lower-end machines faster, without having to invest in a new and expensive computer or switch to another editor. Of course, the solution is to add more RAM to this machine. For example, instead of the recommended 2GB of RAM, 4GB can significantly speed up the program. 8 or 16 even more.

Another good solution is to use a proxy.

In the FCPX Properties (Properties) section, under the Playback tab, you have the option of letting the program play low-proxy files instead of the original high-definition content during playback. You just have to check the “Use proxy media” option. This will speed up the FCPX when playing clips.

If all the clips in FCPX turn red then there is nothing wrong with it, except that we forgot to specify when importing that the program would create a low resolution version of all the high resolution material.

This can also be done in the settings under the Import tab (by enabling the “Create Proxy media” option next to the Transcoding section). The low-resolution version will be created at the time of import.

If you have forgotten to turn this on and you have already imported the clip into the FCPX, a red error message will appear.
If you right-click on it, select Transcode Media from the pop-up menu. Here you can tell the program to create the proxy immediately.

In many cases, the program runs faster even if FCPX creates the most suitable format for it, ie transcodes the file at import. You can also configure this by clicking on the clip in the Import section or later.
However, the FCPX may not allow the clip to be transcoded. (The image above shows that the Create optimized media option cannot be checked). There are two reasons for this: either it is not necessary because the clip is already in the correct (ProRes) format or the performance of our machine is too low to encode the files.

Alternatively, delete files that FCPX uses temporarily and always rewrites. (By the way, this is not only the case with FCPX, removing the preference files, or other programs can be a good solution if you have trouble running the program).
Although this will not speed up the program, it will help you in cases where the FCPX behaves strangely, quits frequently, etc.

The preference files are found in the Finder in the User / Library / Preferences directory.
By default, this library is hidden, so you need to apply a little trick to make the Library folder visible.

Open the Terminal and type: chflags nohidden / Users / [username] / Library /

Then press Enter.
If all goes well, the Library directory will appear. Within this we find the file. Delete this.
(FCPX will create this file every time it starts up.)

Check out our other FCPX tutorials.