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Could you help me understanding Mac benchmark (choosing a new machine)?

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Could you help me understanding Mac benchmark (choosing a new machine)?

Postby Santarosa » Sat Jan 11, 2014 9:24 pm

Hi all,

I was checking the Geekbench table trying to find some figures as to guide me in my next purchase. I am planning to buying a new machine and it has to be a lap top for portability. The only model they're selling without the retina display is a 13'' macbook pro configurable with 8 Gb RAM and i7 dual core processor. I was leaning towards this model as it's cheaper and has some "old" features (FW and the optical drive) I use a lot.

Checking the mentioned benchmark I could see that the differences in figures, hence performance, between single and multi core are extreme (the dual core models don't appear in the multi core figures).

Well, I am not a computer guy, just a sound guy looking to upgrade his system. I seldom use virtual instruments in my projects. Only audio, but a fair bit number of channels and plugins. Anyway I am willing to have a powerful system as much as I can and ready to use virtual instruments if I needed.

To sum things up I am trying to understand how this multi and single core thing works and also if it worth it to buy the older model macbook pro from apple store (i7 dual core) or a second hand macbook pro (i7 quad core).

I am currently using a white macbook and I am struggling with performance.

Any help and tips much appreciated.

Cheers
Chico
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Re: Could you help me understanding Mac benchmark (choosing a new machine)?

Postby A Mole » Sat Jan 11, 2014 11:00 pm

Chico
I think the gist of your question is really the benefits of multicore v single core. From my own experience, I can say that providing (and that is an important proviso) your software is able to take advantage of multicore processors, you should go for the maximum number of cores you can afford, all other things being equal. I run various macs and in everyday use (mail, web, office apps), I struggle to see a worthwhile difference between them. However, when it comes to mixing high numbers of audio tracks, and especially when doing any offline processing, the multicore machines really do make a difference. I would also consider 8GB to be the min RAM now. We used to manage quite well with much less, but software is getting more RAM hungry so it makes sense to give yourself some flexibility by going for a decent size.
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Re: Could you help me understanding Mac benchmark (choosing a new machine)?

Postby G-Doubleyou » Sun Jan 12, 2014 1:25 am

Check out the Logic multi-core benchmark thread at Gearslutz.
The test uses instruments and effects contained in Logic to stress the CPU, helps for comparing relative performance of the different models.
http://www.gearslutz.com/board/music-computers/371545-logic-pro-multicore-benchmarktest.html

Newest models are in the more recent threads.

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Re: Could you help me understanding Mac benchmark (choosing a new machine)?

Postby Scope » Sun Jan 12, 2014 9:14 am

Cores are king, especially when rendering ( ie bouncing down)
The dual core machines are significantly slower in a real world side by side test.

I bought an older (2011) quad core i7, over a newer retina model.
I want an optical drive and FW and the new macs don't have these.
The 2.2 quad i7 is more than capable of handling audio.
Often I use it for small video projects too, when not in my studio.
( where I use an 8 core Mac Pro )

Also, there is a significant financial incentive too.
My Mbp cost me £700, which is over £1000 cheaper than a retina
This staggering value, is better than a lot of the current MacBook clone PCs!
It's a no-brainer.
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Re: Could you help me understanding Mac benchmark (choosing a new machine)?

Postby Santarosa » Sun Jan 12, 2014 12:35 pm

Thanks for the posts guys. I think I see the importance of multi core. Though I don't know much about it. I am using Reaper. Do I have to do anything special to have the power of multi core active or it's just a matter of installing a 64 bit Reaper and I would be ready?

Also, now I am searching to buy a second hand MBP quad core. On the apple store there are some good refurbished models. Have any of you had a bad experience, or now someone that has, with those refurbished machines from apple?

Thanks again for your help.

Cheers
Chico
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Re: Could you help me understanding Mac benchmark (choosing a new machine)?

Postby A Mole » Sun Jan 12, 2014 5:53 pm

I think the current version of Reaper will be just fine - they make a deal of "intelligently balancing the load across multiple processors" on their website. I don't use it though - so others may have a better view.

I've bought 2 refurbished macs without issue. Bit of a no brainer if you can get the spec you want since its coming from Apple direct with all the usual warrantee at lower cost.
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Re: Could you help me understanding Mac benchmark (choosing a new machine)?

Postby Santarosa » Tue Jan 14, 2014 9:19 pm

Hello folks,

thanks a lot for your help. I am still to decide which machine to buy. But it will definitely be a multi core. So I am now also considering keeping my macbook and buying a mac mini to stay in the studio for mixing.

Thank you all again for the words.

Cheers
Chico
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