iMac and Mac Pro: How Fast is Fast Enough? April 2011

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fossiltooth
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iMac and Mac Pro: How Fast is Fast Enough? April 2011

Post by fossiltooth » Thu Apr 07, 2011 7:29 pm

I've been pretty happy with my old Dual 2Ghz PPC 5C Mac tower since June of 2004. I had 7 gigs of RAM in there and it allowed me to do some pretty plug-in-intensive Native mixes at up to 48 channels at 24.44.1 Of course, it would stall up a lot too...

It's about time for me to by a new computer. I don't plan on doing so many large-scale Native mixes at the home studio these days, but I'd like the option. Any recommendations on power? I see they have up 12-core Mac Pros now, which seems excessive to me!

What do you guys think of the power of the quad and i3 iMacs vs the quad Mac Pros and above?

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Post by John Jeffers » Thu Apr 07, 2011 10:19 pm

If you're the kind of person who keeps a computer for seven years, then get the most powerful computer you can afford. 12 cores might seem excessive in 2011, but probably not in 2018.

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Post by kslight » Fri Apr 08, 2011 5:42 am

Get the best you can afford.


I just bought a 2.8 Quad Mac Pro and though I'm going to up the memory it's leaps and bounds over my drummer's 2.0 quad G5 running PT HD 7...and I'm all native in PT9.

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Macs

Post by BenjaminWells » Fri Apr 08, 2011 6:21 am

I've been watching apple, and wondering this too. The new iMacs are due to come out in the next month or so (according to macrumors.com). I have concluded that a brand new i7 iMac with a Thunderbolt port is future proof enough for me... probably 4 years.

I tested an i3 iMac in the Apple store with Logic and the track counts were great. Also, if you do a "get info" on the actual app and uncheck the 32 bit check box, Logic will run at 64 bit and is able to address much more than the 4 gig memory limit. Lots of DAWs will do the same. This basically makes your track count unlimited for practical use, if you max out the ram.

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Post by fossiltooth » Sat Apr 09, 2011 7:15 am

So far, it seems like the consensus is that a new iMac is going to be more than ample, and smoke the 2004 dual-2GHz, 7-gigs-of-RAM G5 I was using. Sound about right, or should I be looking at Mac Pros?

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Post by kslight » Sat Apr 09, 2011 8:10 am

fossiltooth wrote:So far, it seems like the consensus is that a new iMac is going to be more than ample, and smoke the 2004 dual-2GHz, 7-gigs-of-RAM G5 I was using. Sound about right, or should I be looking at Mac Pros?

More than likely, but if you can afford it go Mac Pro for the expandability and durability. I'm not very confident in the long term life of a computer built-in to the screen...yes it's cheaper but that's the same decision I battled out when I settled on a Mac Pro. I wish Apple would just make a cheaper tower that was iMac spec'd and not do some ridiculously tiny and unexpandable design.

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Post by JGriffin » Sat Apr 09, 2011 1:14 pm

I went with a new iMac instead of a tower and so far have been just fine...until today, when I tried to do a 96k session for a singer/guitarist and completely freaked out the system. But I know that's a pretty demanding thing to ask, so, y'know, grain of salt.
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Post by fossiltooth » Mon Apr 11, 2011 11:52 am

kslight wrote:
More than likely, but if you can afford it go Mac Pro for the expandability and durability.
Good point on durability, if only because you can swap out the monitor if it goes bad.

Expandibility, was a reason I bought a tower the first time around. PCI slots were still pretty relevant back then. I think that's less the case today, especially in a home studio. What do you think?
dwlb wrote:I went with a new iMac instead of a tower and so far have been just fine...until today, when I tried to do a 96k session for a singer/guitarist and completely freaked out the system. But I know that's a pretty demanding thing to ask, so, y'know, grain of salt.
I figure that if a client is picky enough to want me to mix at 96khz, they'll be picky enough to want to pay for us to mix on one of the API or Neve consoles right nearby instead. For what it's worth, I'm happier mixing on one of those at 44.1 than ITB at 96khz.
Last edited by fossiltooth on Tue Apr 12, 2011 9:19 am, edited 2 times in total.

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IO Buffer

Post by BenjaminWells » Mon Apr 11, 2011 12:04 pm

dwlb wrote:I went with a new iMac instead of a tower and so far have been just fine...until today, when I tried to do a 96k session for a singer/guitarist and completely freaked out the system. But I know that's a pretty demanding thing to ask, so, y'know, grain of salt.
If you are using Logic, experiment with your IO buffer size under Audio Preferences when recording at 96k. A lower packet size might help.

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Post by roscoenyc » Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:51 pm

I think for at home you'd do just fine with one of the newer iMac's gagged w RAM.
I run 96k stuff on mine all the time at home and it's 4 years old.

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Re: IO Buffer

Post by JGriffin » Mon Apr 11, 2011 2:24 pm

BenjaminWells wrote:
dwlb wrote:I went with a new iMac instead of a tower and so far have been just fine...until today, when I tried to do a 96k session for a singer/guitarist and completely freaked out the system. But I know that's a pretty demanding thing to ask, so, y'know, grain of salt.
If you are using Logic, experiment with your IO buffer size under Audio Preferences when recording at 96k. A lower packet size might help.
No, using ProTools. But I'm sure there's a similar pref someplace.
"Jeweller, you've failed. Jeweller."

"Lots of people are nostalgic for analog. I suspect they're people who never had to work with it." ? Brian Eno

All the DWLB music is at http://dwlb.bandcamp.com/

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