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Specifying Memory & Cache Settings

Settings on the Memory & Cache tab determine how much of your computer's available RAM can be used by Final Cut Express, and how that assigned RAM will be apportioned.

Final Cut Express makes extensive use of your computer's RAM to support real-time playback and preview. You don't have to set hard memory allocations for applications running in OS X, but it is advisable to set an upper limit on the amount of RAM that FCE can use. If you like to keep multiple applications open while you edit, setting aside some RAM will minimize OS X's use of virtual memory to accommodate the processor load, which helps maintain FCE's performance.

  1. Choose Final Cut Express > System Settings.
  2. Click the Memory & Cache tab. On the tab ( Figure 3.12 ), modify the default settings for any of the following; then click OK:
    • Memory Usage: Assign an upper limit to FCE's RAM usage and allocate a percentage of that total for use by the still cache.

      Figure 3.12 The Memory & Cache tab of the System Settings window.

    • Application: Use the slider or enter a maximum percentage of total available RAM to make available to Final Cut Express. The total number of megabytes assigned to FCE appears to the right of the percentage slider.
    • Still Cache: Use the slider or enter a percentage value to allocate a portion of the RAM allotted to FCE for use by the still cache. The recommended minimum is 25 MB, but you should increase this value if your projects include large amounts of graphics. The total number of megabytes appears to the right of the percentage slider.
    • Thumbnail Cache: If you use Large Icon as your Browser view, or if you're working on a large project containing many clips and want to display thumbnails in the Browser or Timeline, you should increase the amount of RAM available for displaying thumbnails to improve FCE's performance and the image quality of your thumbnails.
      • Disk: Specify the amount of disk space to allocate for storing thumbnails.
      • RAM: Specify the amount of memory to allocate for storing thumbnails.
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