Video Workstations
for Final Cut Pro

Understand the parameters that make an ideal Final Cut Pro workstation

What is Final Cut Pro?

Final Cut Pro is a professional video editing application for MacOS users. The software provides powerful tools including filters, motion graphics and special effects, and also supports 360-degree video editing for VR as well as real-time VR headset playback to see how the modifications work in their intended environment.

What makes the best system for Final Cut Pro?

There is no one ideal Apple system configuration for Final Cut Pro, as users will have different video resolutions to edit and make different use of the software. Final Cut Pro benefits from higher numbers of CPU cores, and higher clock speeds and also leverages GPU too, for video effects and rendering.

3XS Workstation

What CPU should I choose for Final Cut Pro?

As explained above, a Mac system that will be used for a mixture of Final Cut Pro functions needs to strike a good balance between CPU and GPU capabilities. Like most digital content creation (DCC) applications Final Cut Pro performs best on a CPU with a high frequency, and with as many cores as you can stretch to. The iMac only features the Apple M1 CPU, however for the MacBook Pro or Mac Studio range we recommend starting with the standard Apple M1 Pro chip upgrading to M1 Max or M1 Ultra if budget allows - as these are combined CPU / GPU chips the core count increases for both as you go up the range. If you’re also going to be working with higher resolution video content or on very large projects, then a Mac Pro with an Intel Xeon W CPU will be the best choice as these have more PCIe lanes, enabling the system to support dedicated dual AMD Radeon Pro GPUs and other devices such as capture cards and faster network interfaces.

What GPU(s) do I need for Final Cut Pro?

A fast GPU is crucial for a responsive experience in Final Cut Pro, with more powerful models providing a more noticeable benefit when working with complex and high resolution video. As we’ve mentioned Mac Pro systems feature AMD Radeon Pro GPUs, so consider the number of GPU compute units for better performance. In contrast Mac Studio, iMac and macBook Pro models feature a fixed M1 combined GPUs with increasing cores as you go up through the Pro, Max and Ultra range.

Additionally, as the choice of graphics card will affect the number of monitors that can be supported and their associated resolution, it is crucial to check compatibility especially if working with 6K or 8K content. In these cases, the Mac Pro may be the way to go.

How much RAM is recommended for Final Cut Pro?

The minimum RAM that is recommended for Final Cut Pro is 16GB, upgrading to more memory if you’re working with large projects or multiple applications at once. It is worth noting that MacBook Pro and iMac memory is not user upgradeable so ensure you select a capacity that will address all your needs.

What storage does Final Cut Pro need?

All Apple systems feature SSD storage, allowing your system to boot, launch applications, and load files many times faster than any traditional hard drive. If using a Mac Pro system rather than a MacBook Pro or iMac, then an NVMe SSD is standard. An alternative solution for high capacity SSD active storage or cheaper HDD archiving could be to employ an external NAS device allowing both sharing and RAID protection.

When it comes to deciding on SSD drive capacity, this will very much depend on your number of files and the model sizes. You should also consider the space required by other applications and their associated files too.

Recommended Final Cut Pro Workstation Specifications

Workstation specifications
High-End (8K) Mid-Range (4K) Entry-Level (HD)
CPU Intel Xeon W Apple M1 Ultra / Apple M1 Max Apple M1 Pro / Apple M1
RAM 96GB 64GB 16GB
GPU Dual AMD Radeon Pro Apple M1 Ultra / Apple M1 Max Apple M1 Pro / Apple M1
Storage SSD + SSD SSD + SSD SSD

The Best Mac System for Final Cut Pro

Click the links below to view the range of desktop and laptop Mac systems for Pro video applications.

Mac Pro

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Mac Studio

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MacBook Pro

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