Best PC/Mac for production machine

with industry Pro, Nick Batzdorf

Moderators: admin, mdc, TAXIstaff

TimHarrison
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 21
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 8:33 pm
Gender: Male
Contact:

Best PC/Mac for production machine

Post by TimHarrison » Sun Sep 15, 2019 8:59 am

Hi everyone. I'm running a Windows laptop which is about 7 years old now with 8gb ram and a dual core Intel processor, 2 tb disk drive. My DAW is reaper and audio interface is Steinberg UR22. It copes surprisingly well for its age and spec, although constant Windows 10 problems. However, I'm getting more and more problems with audio stopping starting and glitching. It's time to upgrade but the question is what to. I have a very limited budget. Ideally I would love an Apple imac with 16gb ram etc, but looking at around £2000 which is scary given my financial situation. My question is: what works for you (within a reasonable budget)? Is Mac really that much better performance than PC with clunky windows 10? I've read so many conflicting reviews. I just want to turn the thing on and make music without any problems. Thank you

User avatar
jdkotaska
Impressive
Impressive
Posts: 128
Joined: Tue May 28, 2019 1:13 pm
Contact:

Re: Best PC/Mac for production machine

Post by jdkotaska » Sun Sep 15, 2019 10:28 am

This is a bit of a sore spot for me. While I love using Logic Pro X, I absolutely hate that I have to do it on a Mac. I have constantly been maxing out my RAM (only 8GB) and have had to do many workarounds to keep things going: messing with buffer size, freezing tracks, etc. I'd like to increase the RAM on my iMac, but my 21.5" model does not have upgrade capability without performing surgery on the unit -- which will void my warranty -- or sending it in to Apple to have it done for a small fortune. This is unacceptable to me, having spent considerably more money for an iMac than I would have spent on a PC equivalent. Ultimately, I think I'm just going to have to do the surgery, but come time to upgrade I think I will go the PC route and choose another DAW to work in.

In fairness, the 27" model of iMac does allow for RAM upgrades, but the premium pricing over the PC equivalents still applies. To answer your question, I use both PC and Mac and have found them to be pretty similar as far as glitches go. I'd recommend saving the money and sticking to PC since you are using 3rd party software and don't have to use one platform over another. Good luck on your decision! Hope this helps. :geek:
Dean Kotaska
https://www.taxi.com/jdkotaska
https://soundcloud.com/dean-kotaska
TAXI member since April 30, 2019.

BradGray
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Sep 07, 2019 7:09 am
Gender: Male
Contact:

Re: Best PC/Mac for production machine

Post by BradGray » Sun Sep 15, 2019 6:38 pm

Here's a quick link with some ideas: https://www.custompcreview.com/computer ... pc-builds/
*These look like you have to build it yourself though.

That said, here is what I would recommend if looking for a budget friendly upgrade for a DAW.

1) RAM - A system that has 16Gb RAM.
2) Processor - The more cores a processor has, the more your system can handle, the faster it will work.. That said, you pay more for the latest and greatest processor.
3) Storage - SSD drive all the way! Ensure that the HOST OS and your audio software is driven from the SSD drive. The speed and performance is fantastic.

My current DAW is a Dell Desktop which I purchased about 5 years ago.
Intel i4770 3.4Ghz (4 cores/8 threads)
16Gb Ram
SSD Drive (recent upgrade $100)
Windows 10 Home

I'm running on it:
Ableton 10 Intro (16 tracks)
Focusrite Scarlett 18i20

I have this setup so I can track people playing, and a full drum kit. The 18i8 allows 8 inputs at once for recording.

With regards to Apple vs PC, I've regarded Apple as a shiny case company. I love their iphones and ipads, but their Desktops and Laptops, are a shiny case with standard manufacturer parts, and a variation on an open source operating system. You will get the best bang for your buck in spending money on a desktop vs laptop. If you can build your own, you will stretch the same dollars into a better DAW system.

User avatar
ResonantTone
Impressive
Impressive
Posts: 454
Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2019 10:32 am
Gender: Male
Contact:

Re: Best PC/Mac for production machine

Post by ResonantTone » Mon Sep 16, 2019 6:44 am

This is definitely a touchy subject, as almost everyone feels pretty strong about why their setup/computer/DAW is the best.. (me included! lol)

Something you may want to look into though is the mac mini's... If I recall correctly, you can get some pretty decent specs at a somewhat reasonable price due to the lack of additional cost of peripherals. I personally have serious contention with windows, and I think Logic is right up there with pro-tools. If I were lookin at getting a new setup on a budget, I'd probably start there.

Good luck!

Andrew

User avatar
GBall
Active
Active
Posts: 39
Joined: Tue Jul 30, 2019 3:05 pm
Gender: Male
Location: DFW
Contact:

Re: Best PC/Mac for production machine

Post by GBall » Tue Sep 17, 2019 7:52 am

Not sure if you have spend much time using a Mac, but there is definitely an emotional aspect to using them. I've watched reactions from love at first sight to the same kind of revision if you can't stand to be around your ex. So if you have any thought of buying one, I would try to take a friend's for a drive first if possible. Me? I put a ring on it after about a day with my MacBook Pro :).

But it is "my type" in the sense that the O/S is basically linux, and I so was already fairly comfortable with the way things like settings and files are laid out. It still takes a bit of learning to figure out where/how to uninstall a VST that you don't like, What directory are your sound sets or pro-tools settings in - things like that. I like that the way the aggregate audio interface works, the MIDI routing,

User avatar
andygabrys
Total Pro
Total Pro
Posts: 5426
Joined: Sun Jan 02, 2011 10:09 pm
Gender: Male
Location: Summerland, BC by way of Santa Fe, Chilliwack, Boston, NYC
Contact:

Re: Best PC/Mac for production machine

Post by andygabrys » Tue Sep 17, 2019 11:33 am

Resonant and Gball mentioned some aspects of Macs. I have used them forever now and I agree they are less headaches.

HOWEVER:

A lot of people look for new, all in one, or portable solutions. Let me offer a different take.

A well built computer should last 8 years or more and still have reasonable power, or have the capability for upgrades. (Yes - IT people might consider an investment every 3 years to be normal and I suppose it is if you are buying middle of the range PCs for office work)

So if you are looking for a computer, getting a laptop or an all in one like an iMac maybe won't be your best dollar spent.

At this point 6 core or greater processors and 32 GB of ram or more make the best sense for future proofing yourself. Every year

USED:

Mac Pro 5,1 - There is a HUGE supply of Mac Pro 5,1 models out there. They are getting long in the tooth and there are some issues with interfaces as they don't have thunderbolt. They can be found on eBay, and other sellers like www.macsales.com

They are cheap for the amount of power. And lots of spare parts around if you have a problem - as there is no warranty.

They do have great expandability and power. My 2010 12 Core x 2.66 ghz has 5 hard drives in it, + 2 x SSDs for sample streaming on PCI cards, and 32 GB ram.

The only reasons I will eventually upgrade:

1) The video card will need an upgrade to run OS X Mojave and beyond because it is not "metal" compatible. That's $400.
2) The lack of Thunderbolt ports will be an issue. I will eventually move to a UA Apollo interface and discard my existing Apogee Duet 2 and UAD Quad PCI card.
3) 32 GB of ram could be expandable to 128 GB but I would likely save the $230 for the upgrade to 64 GB and put it towards the new setup.

I will either go to a Mac Pro 6,1 (again cheap $$$) or go to a new Mac mini (current specs).

Mac Pro 6,1 - The current "trash can" will be off the market this fall when the newest greatest and unbelievably powerful and expensive Mac Pro 7,1 comes out. This means that all retailers and resellers maybe getting rid of them quickly and at good prices, and used prices will probably take a hit.

This model has upgradable processor, flash drive, RAM and Thunderbolt 2 ports (so will be behind the current spec of Thunderbolt 3).

This would be a great intermediate buy if you want Thunderbolt ports, and ability to use OSX Mojave and beyond and want RAM up to 128 GB.

Caveat - at some point Apple finds a way to make old models "not current". Recently that has been with limiting the recent versions of OSX that can be used.

So either of these used options may eventually have issues if you are tied to upgrades with the latest and greatest.

But if what you have works, and you can still get a lot accomplished then upgrading isn't all its cracked up to be.

REFURBISHED:

Any Mac on the Apple store that is refurbished will save you 10% straight off. And you get full warranty.

NEW:

If it were me, I would never buy an iMac. They have issues with overheating, and while they can be expanded it requires taking it apart.

For me a laptop is also not worth the extra money as I don't do stuff on the go, on airplanes. I sit in my studio.

At current the price performer that Apple sells is the current revision of the Mac mini.

Spec it out with 64 GB Ram, 3.2 Ghz i7 6 core processor (need i7 for hyper threading and virtual cores basically twice the power of i5), and at least 1 TB flash drive. It will run you $3k. It has Thunderbolt 3 ports.

I estimate that this machine will be current with OS X upgrades and having enough power to run reasonably large sessions till 2025 or after.


**************************

If you can't be bothered to drink the Apple Kool-aid, that's fine too.

I would get a builder like Vision DAW to build you a powerhouse machine, or if you are handy, build it yourself with parts from New Egg or Tiger direct.

If you go with a builder ike Vision DAW - they usually take care of issues and make sure there is compatibility. Building things yourself you can screw it up.

good luck!

TimHarrison
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 21
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 8:33 pm
Gender: Male
Contact:

Re: Best PC/Mac for production machine

Post by TimHarrison » Tue Sep 17, 2019 3:54 pm

jdkotaska wrote:
Sun Sep 15, 2019 10:28 am
This is a bit of a sore spot for me. While I love using Logic Pro X, I absolutely hate that I have to do it on a Mac. I have constantly been maxing out my RAM (only 8GB) and have had to do many workarounds to keep things going: messing with buffer size, freezing tracks, etc. I'd like to increase the RAM on my iMac, but my 21.5" model does not have upgrade capability without performing surgery on the unit -- which will void my warranty -- or sending it in to Apple to have it done for a small fortune. This is unacceptable to me, having spent considerably more money for an iMac than I would have spent on a PC equivalent. Ultimately, I think I'm just going to have to do the surgery, but come time to upgrade I think I will go the PC route and choose another DAW to work in.

In fairness, the 27" model of iMac does allow for RAM upgrades, but the premium pricing over the PC equivalents still applies. To answer your question, I use both PC and Mac and have found them to be pretty similar as far as glitches go. I'd recommend saving the money and sticking to PC since you are using 3rd party software and don't have to use one platform over another. Good luck on your decision! Hope this helps. :geek:
Thanks for your reply, looks like Mac is a more expensive (no surprise there!) and impractical solution for me. Lots to thimk about

TimHarrison
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 21
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 8:33 pm
Gender: Male
Contact:

Re: Best PC/Mac for production machine

Post by TimHarrison » Tue Sep 17, 2019 3:56 pm

andygabrys wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 11:33 am
Resonant and Gball mentioned some aspects of Macs. I have used them forever now and I agree they are less headaches.

Thanks Andy. Theres a tonne of information here- I'm very greatful

TimHarrison
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 21
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 8:33 pm
Gender: Male
Contact:

Re: Best PC/Mac for production machine

Post by TimHarrison » Tue Sep 17, 2019 3:59 pm

BradGray wrote:
Sun Sep 15, 2019 6:38 pm
Here's a quick link with some ideas: https://www.custompcreview.com/computer ... pc-builds/
*These look like you have to build it yourself though.

That said, here is what I would recommend if looking for a budget friendly upgrade for a DAW.

Thanks for the info Brad. Custom built PC sounds like a strong possibility.

TimHarrison
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 21
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 8:33 pm
Gender: Male
Contact:

Re: Best PC/Mac for production machine

Post by TimHarrison » Tue Sep 17, 2019 4:04 pm

GBall wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 7:52 am
But it is "my type" in the sense that the O/S is basically linux
Thanks GBall. Talking about Linux, I get the impression that Linux needs a lot of playing with to get right. Now if only Linux was developes as a more user friendly system AND developers would invest heavily in it. It would be a fantastic alternative to Windows and Mac

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests