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Mac pro configuration

Discussion in 'Mac OS' started by Rohan, Apr 17, 2012.

  1. Rohan

    Rohan New Member

    Hi, I am planning to buy a Macpro and need some advice on the configuration. I use CPU intensive soft synths (spectrasonics, east west, etc) a lot and would also like the option of running 2-3 apps such as Logic, soundtrack pro, final cut pro together.

    so I need to decide between the quad core and the 8 core, ( will probably go for the 8 core) and the amount of RAM that is required to ensure the computer never freezes.

    any advise would be much appreciated,
    thanks
    Rohan
     
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  3. georgelegeriii

    georgelegeriii Senior member

    The most important factor is CPU speed. Logic doesn't use more than 1 core on a live sound at a time, so the less powerful systems get bogged down when you are using a very CPU heavy synth, and a bunch of CPU heavy FX busses and auxes.
    Cores come into play when you are trying to play back a large arrangement, but you can get by with freezing tracks etc. to overcome that.
    As strange as this is going to sound, I think one of the best options out today would be an mac mini or 2, with the i7 quad cores running at 3.4 GHz. Get 2, and put in 16 GB ram each, use one as a master, and the second as a slave.

    The current Mac Pro's are a complete waste of time when cost VS power comes into it. A machine worth using as a master would cost $6 to $7 thousand.

    I know a few people are going to say I'm nuts, but let me tell you: I make custom systems, bot Mac Pros, iMacs, and Mac Minis, as well as custom PC's and even custom hackintoshes (PC's converted into Macs... not for the newby, rather the noodler who likes to learn and doesn't get flustered by the occasional hiccup.

    Apple has dropped the ball in a huge way when it comes to their server line, and anyone who would be foolish to buy one today will be pounding their head into a wall when they see their friends "consumer" Macs run circles around their Mac "Pro".

    Getting a bit creative when it comes to drives and expansion (as well as ways to get your audio heard... EVERY current Mac has a digital out, use that with a good home amp with pre outs and your are going to have a great sounding system). You can make raids that work with the new thunderbolt I/O, add new generation audio I/O's, and have way more power for half the costs with a bit of planning.

    So there... I said it, I expect the fanboys are going to deny it, and the crafty composers who need more power and a better system might actually call for a consultation on how to make their current system scream for a couple of grand (well, it would actually depend on what they need to upgrade.)...

    Let the fight begin!

    George at georgetechguru.com ;-)
     
  4. Rohan

    Rohan New Member

    Thanks George for the detailed and insightful response, looks like i'm going to have to rethink and explore this much more before deciding. As an offshoot to this, I was wondering what you think about the iMac quad core 3.1GHz with 16 GB Ram as an alternative.
     
  5. georgelegeriii

    georgelegeriii Senior member

    Upgrade it to the i7 3.4. This machine is absolutely the best out right now in the Mac line. Get a couple of 8GB chips and you are ready to fly. This is very relative to my current hackintosh, and I can tell you, it plays with the really heavy plug-ins well.
     
  6. Rohan

    Rohan New Member

    Thanks for the advise!
     
  7. George — Just curious, how are these heavily used iMacs doing over the long haul? No heat issues? And what's the current sweet spot HD arrangement with only one internal drive? FW800? I've tracked down a couple of Thunderbolt solutions, but they are costly next to the iMac (looking forward to TB and SSD price drops).

    Not trying to steer the OP away. Actually thinking about my next rig, and the reasons why I'm still happy with my 2008 Mac Pro for now.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  8. Pete Thomas

    Pete Thomas Administrator Staff Member

    I was going to get a new Macpro when my old one died, but opted instead for iMac 3.4 i7 with 16GB ram. No problems so far.

    I had it with 2 TB internal and a 256 internal SSD. I agree Thunerbolt is a bit expensive, but if you think about the savings you make compared with a macpro...
     
  9. EastWest Lurker

    EastWest Lurker Senior member


    I don't think you are nuts at all, I think you are spot on. If one does not need PCI-e slots, I think in terms of bang for buck an iMac i7 with Thunderbolt and a $1500 PC slave like I built is beats the pants of 1 $4-6k MacPro.
     
  10. georgelegeriii

    georgelegeriii Senior member

    Like they both said, The iMacs and Mac Mini's are both great computers, as it the current i7 Mac Book Pro's (that are still only half price of a Mac Pro when loaded up).

    The number needed of drives or anything else is dictated on what you are trying to do: if you wanna stream Hollywood Strings, you better figure out a very high throughput system, if your not as concerned, then even a raid setup over FW 800 is going to be fast.

    Check out this site for adding a second internal SSD drive to an iMac: http://www.ifixit.com/Answers/View/56867/Adding+a+2nd+Hard+Drive+to+a+iMac+2011

    So, you could use the SSD for samples, and a 240 GB SSD is FAST, even on a Mac ;-)
     
  11. JuanTahnahmahrah

    JuanTahnahmahrah Senior member

    If you do not need the PCIe slots, I concur, the imac is mucho bang for the denaro.

    I have both a Mac Pro and an ancient Mac Mini. I needed the PCIe slots on the Mac Pro to use either Pro Tools HD (now also Native or HDX) or the MOTU PCIe interface card. It's the cost of admission if you need the PCIe slots.
     
  12. campbell2002

    campbell2002 New Member

    Very cool, but a couple questions

    Can George or anyone answer the question posed by Glen about how mac minis and imacs handle heat? I work in an un-airconditioned space and I've never had a problem with my mac pros in nearly a decade. But I worry. I'm upgrading again and I'd love to just buy a couple mac minis. Logic can use the processors in each, or I guess the ram in each? And are you saying if I added a second ssd drive to an imac I would be able to stream hollywood strings or the equivalent from it? I'm thinking about which way I want to go.
     
  13. I believe one of the best endorsements I've seen so far is the lack of horror stories with either the new Mac mini or that thin, gorgeous iMac. We saw plenty of meltdowns with older iMac models, going back to the G5. (Unless I'm just missing them now.)

    Just be aware the upgrade-ability:

    Only the 27" iMac has easily accessible RAM slots, neither makes it easy to upgrade the HDD/SSD, and the quad i7 is only an +option from the top-end model. For me, that means I'd need to BTO up, and the price is less attractive. Plus, I already own a nice 27" display, and don't want to pay for another one.

    The quad i7 mini is a retail-ready model, but none of the minis have a discreet GPU this time. For Logic, that's fine. But for FCPX/Motion, Photoshop or 3D gaming, that's not fine. (Next-gen Intel 5000 "Iris" looks interesting. Maybe the mini will be a graphics contender with the next rev.)

    Personally, I still want to see something good happen to the Mac Pro line this year before I decide—even if it's completely different.
     

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