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My next Apple computer

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My next Apple computer

Postby j__1290 » Sun May 31, 2020 1:32 pm

Hello everyone,

I'm looking for some general information and friendly advice in deciding my next machine. I track and mix (I don't master) on my current computer; a 2009 iMac running high sierra, Core 2 duo, 16gb RAM with a 128gb SSD as my main drive and a 3TB external drive for projects. I use Logic Pro X. I must stress that I do not record EDM or dance music. I record rock and indie bands and singer songwriters. I also record my own music on this machine.

At the moment my current setup has been fine, however, say I use multiple instances of an amp simulator, in my case S-gear - the CPU quickly jams up. I have a work around being that I track what I need to, apply EQ and compression and then bounce the audio and disable the plugins.

I have been looking at upgrading to a mac mini, particularly the 2011 or 2014 i5 versions. Granted, these only have 2 cores, but surely there is a significant difference between a core 2 duo and a dual core i5 processor? Like I mentioned before, aside from my amp sims and a few 3rd party plugins, I don't use synth plugins or any CPU demanding software.

I've read on multiple forums that the only way to go is with a quad core i7. While I understand this viewpoint, I can't help but think this is aimed at people producing dance, trap and EDM style music where track counts with multiple VST's can quickly clog a CPU.

I've also been looking at a XEON quad core 2009 Mac Pro (the old style silver tower). I work in conjunction with a pro studio that still uses this machine - a 2008 model. Aside from the obvious limitations in OS and apple updates, is there any reason why a machine of this age wouldn't be viable in 2020? Could there be a Logic Pro X update that wouldn't work with this machine? The Older Mac Pro machines are still monsters with the right configuration, although I don't want to invest in one only to find in two years I have to upgrade again.

The same applies to whichever model I choose to go for next. I want to future proof myself and purchase a machine that can handle my work flow without any strain. There's nothing more embarrassing than sitting with a band and seeing 'system overload' pop up five times in a play through..

Any advice is greatly appreciated but please remember, I record acoustic drums, electric guitars, bass and vocals. I do not rely on synths, samples or apple loops. My CPU usage is moderate compared to a full EDM production - wasted on an i7 I believe. My core 2 duo handles most things but is starting to show it's limitations with multiple instances of amp sims.

(I must also add that I understand and have performed all measures to increase CPU performance, but there comes a point where buffer size etc simply does not cut it).

Thanks
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Re: My next Apple computer

Postby Wonks » Sun May 31, 2020 2:32 pm

But you want to run several amp sim programs, which will be designed for a much more powerful machines. Most designs will be making use of reasonable current levels of processor performance to maximise their realism, and will generally work best on machines no older than 3 years (in terms of processor design). I'm sure some of your plug-ins will also use a fair bit of processing power. So if you want effortless performance with low latencies, and you want to future proof as much as possible, then go for the most powerful processor that you can afford. Otherwise you may get along for a year with a small step up in performance, and then run into the same problems as programs get updated and improved over time.
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Re: My next Apple computer

Postby j__1290 » Sun May 31, 2020 3:37 pm

Thanks for your reply Wonks, it's appreciated. I guess the most cost effective and future proof solution is to go for the i7, maybe a low RAM model to keep the initial cost down and perform the RAM upgrade myself if the machine allows.

Thanks again for your points buddy, have a great day.
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Re: My next Apple computer

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Sun May 31, 2020 4:02 pm

I'm in a very similar situation to you, I have a 2011 MacBook pro with only two cores, but runs two virtual ones or whatever you call them, but this is still a million miles from being powerful enough now. Not just because of virtual instruments but because many modern plugins, especially reverbs like the Waves Abbey Road series, use a giant amount of process power.

So I'm currently looking at upgrading too and considering one of the new six core iMacs. I don't believe processing needs are going to come down in the coming years so I want to be set for another ten years really so I certainly wouldn't consider anything less than a full quad core.

Having said that, I just watched a video where the chap was running an old 8 core pro with no problems at all on Logic. You can update any mac to the latest OS and then the latest Logic using a free patch as demonstrated here. And of course with a Mac Pro you can ram it with, er, ram and drives to your heart's content and even upgrade the processor (I think). Could be an option for you?

Here's the vid: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ufhf9FvUWI4
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Re: My next Apple computer

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun May 31, 2020 5:43 pm

You can't upgrade any Mac Pro to the latest OSX, early Mac Pro 1.1 max out at 10.7 Lion, 2008 Pac Pro 3.1 can go to 10.11 El Capitan and 2010 Mac Pro 10.14 Mojave. Late 2013 (the last of the old cheesegrater Mac Pro's is the only one that can run OSX 10.14 Catalina.

That said, I'm running a 2008 Mac Pro with El Capitan and it is a good machine. But I don't run any VSTi's or convolution reverbs (I may well invest in the latter soon though) nor do I do big channel counts.
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Re: My next Apple computer

Postby j__1290 » Sun May 31, 2020 6:13 pm

Okay.. I've just watched the video you posted in it's entirety. With a relatively simple work around, the old Mac Pros are still amazingly powerful machines. Compared to the price of a newish iMac or mac mini, it seems to be a no brainer.

I'm going to sit on this for a little longer and weigh up the pros and cons of all these suggestions. In an ideal world we would all have the latest iMac or mac pro, but money unfortunately comes into these decisions.

There are probably plenty of cons that come with the 2008 Mac Pro route.. but my thinking is if it's good enough for the pro level studio I work with, there is no reason it wouldn't be for myself - and at that cost, wow. I appreciate your input and providing the video link, it really is an eye opener.
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Re: My next Apple computer

Postby fatbenelton » Sun May 31, 2020 6:52 pm

Not usually the place to mention it but bought a new laptop and thinking about moving my 2012 macmini on. It’s a quad i7 with 16mb RAM. PM if interested. No idea on price but certainly no more than the current going rate!
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Re: My next Apple computer

Postby resistorman » Sun May 31, 2020 7:23 pm

Also, look into a refurbished model. BTW, buying a dual core is certainly not “future proofing”!
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Re: My next Apple computer

Postby j__1290 » Sun May 31, 2020 7:35 pm

Thanks resistorman, the dual core idea is definitely off the table!
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Re: My next Apple computer

Postby ConcertinaChap » Sun May 31, 2020 8:29 pm

resistorman wrote:Also, look into a refurbished model.

Agree with that. If you're going new then Apple refurbished gives useful savings and you lose nothing in terms of quality and finish.

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Re: My next Apple computer

Postby innerchord » Sun May 31, 2020 8:59 pm

Dr Huge Longjohns wrote:Having said that, I just watched a video where the chap was running an old 8 core pro with no problems at all on Logic.

You've just given me a reminder to dust off my old cheesegrater and have a hack. Thanks! :thumbup:
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Re: My next Apple computer

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun May 31, 2020 11:21 pm

Me too Dr Huge, I rather foolishly didn't watch the video before posting..... I will give it a try on a spare hard drive at some point, thanks for the heads up. :thumbup:
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Re: My next Apple computer

Postby j__1290 » Mon Jun 01, 2020 3:04 am

Sam spoons let me know how you get on please buddy, the 2008 mac pro may well be the route I take.
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Re: My next Apple computer

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Jun 01, 2020 10:40 am

Will do but it might not be for a few days, I had a major reinstalling session a couple of weeks ago and am enjoying just playing/recording music just now.
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