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The Right iMac Specs for Logic Pro X (New)

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The Right iMac Specs for Logic Pro X (New)

Postby BassFacer67 » Mon Mar 30, 2020 3:23 am

I am going to buy a 21" iMac mostly for the purpose of recording music in my home studio with Logic Pro X (Guitar, Bass, Vocals etc.) and browsing the internet. NOTE: I may get Ableton Live at some point in the future, but would not need to run this program at the same time as Logic.

I need some help knowing which iMac specs I should choose to run Logic Pro X well/smoothly without having to pay more money than I need to. Here are the 21" options: https://www.apple.com/shop/buy-mac/imac

Without knowing much about this, I'm leaning towards:

21" iMac
3.6GHz quad-core 8th-generation Intel Core i3 processor
16GB DDR4 memory
1TB Serial ATA Drive @ 5400 rpm (Not a SSD*)

Questions below:

1. The default storage is a 1TB Serial ATA Drive @ 5400 rpm. Apple's sales team is telling me I should opt for the extra $200 on 256 GB SSD for Logic to run well. Does an ATA drive versus SSD really make that much of a difference in regards to logic?

2. Some forums are saying an i5 processor is needed for running Logic Pro X well, but this may be assuming a dual Core processor. The mid option for the new iMac is a 3.6GHz quad-core i3 processor (more cores but an i3). Would this work well and why/why not?

3. Is the 16 GB of Memory (RAM) upgrade a good choice?

Thank you!

-Z
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Re: The Right iMac Specs for Logic Pro X (New)

Postby ConcertinaChap » Mon Mar 30, 2020 7:07 am

I think it would help if you could give an idea of how you're going to use Logic. Audio or MIDI? Number of tracks? That sort of thing.

Two quick thoughts, though. First, 16 gig of RAM is a good idea, definitely, for the long term future of your machine as well as use with Logic. Secondly, I'd strongly recommend investing $100 in upgrading to a fusion drive. I used a Mac Mini with a 1TB fusion drive for several years and I was seriously impressed with how close to an SSD's performance it got for not much more money.

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Re: The Right iMac Specs for Logic Pro X (New)

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Mar 30, 2020 11:03 am

SSD is a huge improvement over a spinning disk hard drive but a bog standard HDD can cope with a lot of tracks of audio without breaking a sweat. If my understanding is correct, VSTi's need RAM and processing power.

Finding the sweet spot between cost and performance is tricky but you'll almost never regret spending the extra money and you [i]will[i] almost certainly regret not buying a faster computer.
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Re: The Right iMac Specs for Logic Pro X (New)

Postby BassFacer67 » Mon Mar 30, 2020 5:55 pm

Thanks. I appreciate the help. Here are some follow ups.

1. Is the ATA a HDD drive?

2. Regarding tracks, I assume you mean how many layers/lines of recording I plan to put down in my DAW. I am planning to record - Guitar Bass Vocals Keys. If this is the case, probably no more than 20-30 per song.

3. The mac mini is half the price and the ram can be easily upgraded. Would there be any reason regarding performance/functionality why I shouldn't go with a new Mac mini instead?
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Re: The Right iMac Specs for Logic Pro X (New)

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Mar 30, 2020 6:06 pm

1, Yes it is.

2, 30 tracks of audio will run fine on even pretty old computers (I have a 2008 Mac Pro which would have no trouble running a fair few more than that).

3, IIRC several people on here run Mac Mini's with no problems but don't forget to factor in the cost of a decent monitor (not too much these days TBH).
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Re: The Right iMac Specs for Logic Pro X (New)

Postby Luke W » Mon Mar 30, 2020 7:31 pm

Unless the all-in-one format of the iMac really appeals to you, then I’d go for the Mini. The new ones are relatively powerful little machines and as you've pointed out are (slightly) more upgradable as well. If you don’t mind adding the RAM yourself then there’s a fair saving to be had as well.
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Re: The Right iMac Specs for Logic Pro X (New)

Postby BassFacer67 » Mon Mar 30, 2020 8:57 pm

Can a third party mac mac certified place upgrade the ram on the mac mini SSDs? Or is that not physically possible?
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Re: The Right iMac Specs for Logic Pro X (New)

Postby ConcertinaChap » Mon Mar 30, 2020 10:01 pm

Looking at the tech specs for the current Mini they describe RAM as being "configurable to". This is normally Mac Speak for not upgradeable - you get what you ordered and that's it.

I like Mac Minis, I've got an iMac Pro right now - largely because at the time I had the cash and I liked the idea of having a ridiculously powerful machine at my beck and call while I type in my trivial documents - but my previous machine was a Mini and the current crop have a lot going for them, I think.

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Edit: having had a shufty it is possible to upgrade the RAM in a current Mini but not at all simple, so maybe your Mac certified place could do it, best check with them I'd suggest.
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