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Mac Minimum system Requirements

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Mac Minimum system Requirements

Postby bdpianoman » Mon Feb 24, 2014 1:44 am

Hi SOS friends, I am brand new to recording. In fact, I am in the infancy stages of setting up a home studio. I am in the market for either a Mac laptop or an iPad to use in the studio. My plans are to mainly lay down some keyboard tracks. I plan to use Cubase or ProTools for recording, editing, etc. I was wondering if anyone could provide some basic information regarding suggested minimum system specs (ie memory, processor style/speed, etc) that I should be shopping for in regards to the Mac laptop and/or iPad? Would the laptop be better than an iPad? Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
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Re: Mac Minimum system Requirements

Postby Scope » Mon Feb 24, 2014 12:00 pm

I'd recommend any unibody mac.
The core2duos are still quite capable, but obviously any i5/i7 is going to give you more synths and FX.
Using a mac over an ipad, opens up a huge range of interfaces with USB or firewire.
Just be aware that apple dropped FW in 2012. But there are thunderbolt to FW converters.
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Re: Mac Minimum system Requirements

Postby G-Doubleyou » Mon Feb 24, 2014 7:54 pm

bdpianoman wrote:Hi SOS friends, I am brand new to recording. In fact, I am in the infancy stages of setting up a home studio. I am in the market for either a Mac laptop or an iPad to use in the studio. My plans are to mainly lay down some keyboard tracks. I plan to use Cubase or ProTools for recording, editing, etc. I was wondering if anyone could provide some basic information regarding suggested minimum system specs (ie memory, processor style/speed, etc) that I should be shopping for in regards to the Mac laptop and/or iPad? Would the laptop be better than an iPad? Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Bdpianoman

I own an iPad2, and a 2Ghz quad i7 Macbook Pro.
For me the iPad plays the role of controll surface, external midi sound source.

Or I use the iPad with some of music apps to create sketches that import to Logic to finish.

Do you have to be mobile? For a starter system that you can grow into I suggest a quad i7 Mac Mini.
The Mini is the same price as a Maxed out Wi-Fi iPad Air.

The Mini can easily be hot-rodded, you can add your own RAM, and a second hard drive.
It's the last Mac with Firewire 800, Ethernet, and Thunderbolt.

GarageBand is now what Logic Express used to be.
The interface is virtually identical to Logic Pro X, It contains a subset of the instruments found in Logic, more than enough to get started with.

http://www.apple.com/mac/garageband/

The new iPads are 64 bit, currently there are no 64 bit apps.

In my opinion the iPad screen is small, and not suited for prolonged detailed work.
Running most music apps uses more battery, best to have an interface that can charge the iPad.
Some apps stress the iPad and audio can breakup and distort as you add more effects.

I currently use an Alesis iO dock for an interface, but it's not compatible with the lightning connector.

As far as laptops go, quad i7 15-inch is the minimum for audio and video, the other laptops are underpowered for audio work.

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Re: Mac Minimum system Requirements

Postby Rich Hanson » Mon Feb 24, 2014 9:01 pm

G-Doubleyou wrote:As far as laptops go, quad i7 15-inch is the minimum for audio and video, the other laptops are underpowered for audio work.

Depends what your requirements are. I've been using a 4GB dual core i5 for over a year (initially a Mac Mini, currently the base MacBook Pro), typically up to 15 synths at a time, plus various effects plug-ins. Plenty of power if your needs are relatively modest, especially in combination with using 'freeze' or 'render' options in your DAW.

Of course, a quad-core i7 would give you plenty of wiggle room.
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Re: Mac Minimum system Requirements

Postby Richard Graham » Tue Feb 25, 2014 6:50 am

I definitely wouldn't recommend less than 8gb RAM... especially if you cannot upgrade later! OSX (Mavericks) does not play nicely when you exceed your RAM limit, my laptop has stopped responding and required hard-rebooting several times, when I used too much RAM.
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Re: Mac Minimum system Requirements

Postby Rich Hanson » Tue Feb 25, 2014 7:27 am

I've not encountered that, but I tend to use less memory hungry plug-ins. Plus, I have the non-retina MacBook which can have its RAM upgraded, if it turns out to be necessary.
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Re: Mac Minimum system Requirements

Postby Richard Graham » Tue Feb 25, 2014 12:08 pm

Hairy Ears wrote:I've not encountered that, but I tend to use less memory hungry plug-ins. Plus, I have the non-retina MacBook which can have its RAM upgraded, if it turns out to be necessary.

its true my plug-ins tend to be sample-heavy, and I was also running a Windows VM with 4 GB ram when it crashed. So under normal circumstances it wouldn't have happened. Still, it would be nice if OSX ran out of memory a bit more gracefully!
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Re: Mac Minimum system Requirements

Postby Rich Hanson » Tue Feb 25, 2014 12:39 pm

I might have to pile on the pressure tonight to see if I can get it to fall over. (It's either that or try to put up a blind... )

If it is a bug then hopefully they'll squash it next update.
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Re: Mac Minimum system Requirements

Postby Phil O » Tue Feb 25, 2014 3:01 pm

Re the OP, I would definitively push for at least an i7 processor as these have Hyperthreading.
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Re: Mac Minimum system Requirements

Postby Rich Hanson » Wed Feb 26, 2014 8:04 am

Phil O wrote:Re the OP, I would definitively push for at least an i7 processor as these have Hyperthreading.

So do the i5s, at least the ones in the MacBook Pro and Mac Mini do.
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Re: Mac Minimum system Requirements

Postby Phil O » Wed Feb 26, 2014 12:43 pm

Hairy Ears wrote:
Phil O wrote:Re the OP, I would definitively push for at least an i7 processor as these have Hyperthreading.


So do the i5s, at least the ones in the MacBook Pro and Mac Mini do.


That's not my understanding. Take this extract from the Apple site "OS X also supports Hyper-Threading in the Core i7, allowing two threads to run simultaneously on each core — giving you eight virtual cores of processing power."

Or this http://www.tdcurran.com/blog/2013/08/27/next-gen-processors-...
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Re: Mac Minimum system Requirements

Postby Rich Hanson » Wed Feb 26, 2014 4:44 pm

Alternatively, look up i5-310M which is the chip used in the MacBook Pro 2012 model:

http://ark.intel.com/products/67355/intel-core-i5-3210m-processor-3m-cache-up-to-3_10-ghz-rpga

Number of cores: 2
Number of threads: 4

There are i5s that don't have hyper threading, but it doesn't apply to all of them.
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Re: Mac Minimum system Requirements

Postby G-Doubleyou » Wed Feb 26, 2014 4:54 pm

Hairy Ears wrote:
Phil O wrote:Re the OP, I would definitively push for at least an i7 processor as these have Hyperthreading.

So do the i5s, at least the ones in the MacBook Pro and Mac Mini do.

Yes they do, but an i7 will always beat an i5, no current i5 approaches the i7 CPU power.

For $100 it's a no-brainer

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Re: Mac Minimum system Requirements

Postby Rich Hanson » Wed Feb 26, 2014 5:58 pm

Indeed, but that $100 depends on what you're starting from, whether you have that $100 and whether you actually need that additional power. As I stated earlier, the non-retina MacBook Pro i5 is more than adequate for my requirements. For someone that makes heavier use of plug-ins than I do, then it may well be inadequate.

Essentially, one needs to consider what you are actually going to be doing. There's a lot of BS around that you *have* to have X processor and Y GB of RAM which is fine if you are using sample-heavy instruments that require a lot of CPU but way overkill if you are going to be recording 16 tracks of audio with a few compressors, EQs and a couple of reverbs, for example.

IMO, HTH, YMMV, HAND
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