When using a Mac, Final Cut Pro X is obviously the most efficient NLE. Right? In 2020 things might be changing a bit as other editors, such as DaVinci Resolve from Blackmagic Design, are quickly catching up when it comes to software optimization. So, which is the best in 2020?
If you want to know, Max Yuryev put together his own comparison between FCPX and Resolve to see which offers better performance for different video editing tasks. Yuryev also chose to do these tests on a machine where efficiency can make a huge difference – a 13” MacBook Pro with integrated graphics. Just an FYI, he had a 2019 model, but if you are shopping today the 2020 version was just announced.
Opening up his benchmark tests you are likely familiar if you have seen Yuryev’s other videos, his first comparison is with stabilization.
Final Cut uses almost all of the graphics but a minimal part of the CPU to perform the task in 46 seconds. Resolve used about the same in terms of graphics but less of the CPU and took 2 minutes for the same task.
Now using 4K H.264 footage on a 4K timeline we are going to look at the playback performance. The 30 fps footage is getting a few drop frames, bringing it down to ~27 fps with one LUT or ~21 fps with two LUTs. Final Cut doesn’t easily give us all the same numbers, but it seems to be the same as Resolve’s performance.
Export is always where the biggest challenge is for laptops and video editing. On the MacBook using Compressor you are maxing out the GPU and using a small portion of the CPU the one minute project took 3 minutes and 54 seconds. Not the most impressive numbers.
Using the same settings in Resolve it seems to be able to use more of the computer’s processing power, though it does kick on the fans. This resulted in a massive improvement in speed, lowering export times to just 1 minute 41 seconds, or twice as fast.
That’s a bit unexpected.
A more intense test is with the HEVC (H.265) footage. Using 8-bit 4K 24 fps HEVC files you do get smooth playback in Resolve and an export that takes just 50 seconds.
It does this by using even more of the computer’s processing power. Final Cut offers the same performance in playback and for the export, it seems to be a little bit slower. It was 1 minute and 8 seconds, not a huge difference but certainly a consideration.
Not content to just stop there, Yuryev drops in some 10-bit 4K footage. This is something that takes a long time generally and even though he cut off the H.265 export early he estimated that it would take about 20 minutes. For Resolve, his estimates put it slightly faster at around 17 minutes.
DaVinci Resolve had timeline performance about the same and export speeds that are notably faster than Final Cut, making it an interesting consideration if you were locked into one NLE or the other for the touted benefits.
Now, Final Cut did do much better on stabilization and may offer improvements to other more specific aspects of editing. That means you should probably do a comparison for yourself on your own hardware.
What did you think about this comparison? Rethinking Apple’s so-called advantage in performance on Macs?