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Ask Max: Memory & Graphics Card Requirements for Final Cut Pro

Asked on 10/29/2008:

I am purchasing a new 2.8 GHz Mac Pro which will be used 'primarily' for FinalCut Studio / HD video editing. I have two questions:

  1. 1) If I upgrade Ram to 2 x 2GB, will that benefit Final Cut Studio (or is it better to use a 4 x 1GB setup)?

  2. 2) Do I need to upgrade to the Nvidia 8800GT graphics card (we will use Motion), or is the standard-issue ATI Radeon adequate?


Both are great questions. It is my recommendation to spread your RAM configuration out to fill as many slots as possible without restricting your future upgrade needs. Filling the first four RAM slots evenly is a good idea. If your budget is geared to 4GB of total RAM, then four 1GB sticks is the way to go. Later you can put four 2GB sticks in the system and move the 1GB sticks to the higher slots. Here is a link to Apples Mac Pro RAM compatibility chart.

A Mac computers RAM setup is a lesser issue than the Graphics card. You need that bigger card for Motion. In some tests of the 2600 XT vs. the 8800 GT card, the 8800 GT card is nearly twice as fast. It will be the best $150.00 upgrade you could buy and a necessity for your graphics work.

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