The graphics and speed testing site recently tested FCP X on three different Macs to see which current model was able to tame the power-hungry app the best. The contestants were a 2011 iMac 3.4 GHz Quad Core i7 with 16 GB of RAM and a Radeon HD 6970M GPU with 2 GB of VRAM, a 2011 MacBook Pro 2.3 GHz Quad Core i7 with 8 GB of RAM and a Radeon HD 6750M with 1 GB of VRAM, and a 2010 Mac Pro 3.33 GHz 6-core Westmere with 24 GB of RAM and a Radeon HD 5870 GPU with 1 GB of VRAM.
The team ran four different tests using the same 32-second HQ video clip. The first test (above) was to apply the Directional Blur effect to the clip, and in this test the iMac beat both the Mac Pro and MacBook Pro by over 3 seconds. The next test applied the Sharpen Blur effect, and once again the iMac was victorious, beating the MacBook Pro by 4.3 second and thoroughly schooling the Mac Pro which came in a full 5.7 seconds behind.
Two more benchmarks measured exporting and streaming speeds. Here the Mac Pro squeaked ahead of the iMac, coming in .4 second faster on a H.264 export. When the project was loaded into Compressor 4 and exported as an H.264 stream, the Mac Pro was a full 2.6 seconds ahead of the iMac, really showing off the power of the 6-core processor.
The results show two things -- that the new iMacs are surprisingly capable machines for the price, and that Apple really needs to release a new Mac Pro. The latter is widely expected to happen sometime this summer.
One comment about these benchmarks, though -- Final Cut Pro X has full symmetric multicore support and renders in the background, so it no longer really matters how fast rendering is done. You can continue working while your multicore Mac is crunching away on rendering. For further details on the testing, be sure to visit the Bare Feats site.