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Ask Max: Will Final Cut Express HD Work on a G5 iMac?

Asked on 06/21/2006:

Will Final Cut Express HD Work on a G5 iMac? Hence AGP card requirement? And what version will install on my iMac G5 (iSight) 1.9GHz 10.4.6?


The interesting thing about iMacs, Mac minis, and laptops is that the graphics chip in them use same protocols for connecting to the computer as Power Macs. This is surprising because we often think of AGP or PCI Express as slots for graphics cards, but iMacs and the like have no removable graphics cards. But the only difference between the AGP on a G5 tower and AGP on a PowerBook is that the PowerBook's graphics card is integrated with the logic board.

As you might know, there is more to AGP and PCI-e than the size of the slot they use. The difference between the two is similar to the difference between USB and FireWire. Even if you could make a USB cable fit into a FireWire drive, it wouldn't work because the languages they speak are different. The same is true of AGP and PCI-e.

That means that Final Cut Express did not work on the iSight iMac G5s with PCI-e graphics when Apple first shipped the iMac. That all changed with the Final Cut Express HD 3.0.1 update. It adds PCI-e support for Final Cut Express HD 3 users. Final Cut Express 2 users have had to hack the program a bit to work with PCI-e. The simplest bypass to the PCI-e graphics warning is to escape past it. If hitting the "esc" key does not work, the more complicated method of editing your program files can be used. This is from the Apple forums:

1. Right click on the FCE icon and select "Show Package Contents".
2. Open the "Contents" folder and double click the "info .plist". It should open automatically in TextEdit - if it doesn't, choose TextEdit manually.
3. Around 15 or so lines down you will see AGP. Delete it and put in PCI.
4. Close the window and when asked if you want to save the changes, say yes. Make sure you are saving the file as TEXT.

I have not tried this myself but the people who have attempted it say it solved their problems.

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