I was going to buy a new iMac but...

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Ted
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I was going to buy a new iMac but...

Post by Ted » Thu Jul 16, 2020 5:49 am

For the past few years I've been using a 21.5" late 2013 Intel Core 2.7 GHz iMac with 8GB RAM-- My previous Mac crapped out on me and my brother found me this one, used and in immaculate condition. So far it's been a really good machine.

But last month I bought NI Komplete 12 Ultimate and my Mac is having problems when I go to use the sampled pianos included. When I play a passage with any use of my sustain pedal, I get a red disk overload flash in Kontakt and I hear cracking and popping and voices dropping out. I'm not sure if it's more a case of CPU or RAM or both. The 21.5" iMacs won't allow aftermarket RAM upgrades.

I had considered one of the new Mac Minis, with the intent of installing RAM myself to save money-- but I watched a video of someone installing RAM in a Mac Mini and it looked like open heart surgery-- and voids the warranty. No thanks.

So I decided I was going to get a new 27" iMac with the highest level CPU available and install 64 GB of RAM myself. Been a rough year, moneywise-- I've been furloughed from my job for months-- but I can spend about 3K on a new Mac-- but if I do, I really want it to be future-proof to some degree.

I went to the online Apple Store only to find the iMac I wanted wouldn't even be able to ship until September! So I looked at some mac rumors forums. There is speculation over whether the shortages are because of COVID or a new machine being rolled out in a few months. I have no way of knowing. Compounding this problem is the issue of Apple switching over from Intel to ARM chips. I remember how bad it was for Power PC Mac users when Mac switched over to Intel chips. I really hate Apple's schtick sometimes.

I looked for refurbished Macs online but even those stocks have dwindled and I'm in limbo. WTF is going on with Apple? Anybody have a good guess? What do you think I should do? I've tried to do some things to improve my machine's performance in the meantime, but nothing has really worked. I really want to get a new machine but now is a terrible time to try to buy and I wonder how long this will be the case.

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Re: I was going to buy a new iMac but...

Post by jaywilliams » Thu Jul 16, 2020 9:31 am

Ted wrote:
Thu Jul 16, 2020 5:49 am
For the past few years I've been using a 21.5" late 2013 Intel Core 2.7 GHz iMac with 8GB RAM-- ...I really want to get a new machine but now is a terrible time to try to buy and I wonder how long this will be the case.
I'm in a similar situation with an older iMac. Don't have an answer for you but wanted to comment or as they say -

Following.

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Re: I was going to buy a new iMac but...

Post by BradGray » Fri Jul 17, 2020 4:06 am

With regards to the 2013 iMac, did you change out the Hard Drive to an SSD?

It may have an original drive, which would be an older SATA 5400 RPM drive, which would mean the Read and Write would be pretty slow. This would cause a bottleneck when playing samples (real-time) from the drive. Going to an SSD drive would be much faster; most definitely. More RAM is always a good thing too. If you're not able to do so yourself, it could be worth it to take to an apple or aftermarket store to do so for you.

I'm running a PC from 2014, and I changed out all the drives to SSD drives, and it runs like a new machine. That said it's much easier to do so in a PC vs iMac.

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Re: I was going to buy a new iMac but...

Post by Ted » Fri Jul 17, 2020 4:40 am

Jay, glad to know that I'm not the only one in this boat. I'm hearing rumors that there will be some new Apple Silicon machines released in late 2020. But also hearing that there will be at least one more iteration of the Intel Mac released before the full switch over.

I also wanted to tell you thanks for making that video on how to make drone tracks. I had never dabbled in drone tracks before and had no idea how to even begin working on these types of tracks. I did my first one last week and I think it came out OK-- I guess I'll see if it gets a forward.

Brad, yeah my machine looks to have the older mechanical drive in it (not sure what the RPM is but it's probably slower). I did buy a Samsung Touch T7 external SSD for my sample libraries. It's a fast drive but it could be somewhat hampered by the fact that I'm limited to running it through a basic USB 3 port-- I don't have a second generation or newer USB3-- so that could be creating a bottleneck.

The idea of having the internal drive on my iMac replaced with a SSD sounds a bit unappealing to me, although maybe it would help. I'll have to look into it some more.

From what I'm reading, the new Macs will likely be moving to all SSD storage.

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Re: I was going to buy a new iMac but...

Post by BradGray » Fri Jul 17, 2020 7:34 am

All modern machines are using either SSD or NVME drives. MUCH faster performance.

Changing the internal drive, to an SSD drive, and moving the OS and other files over to it will be an improvement over USB SSD, as you're reading and writing at the speed of the motherboard buss. Using USB will slow it down somewhat.

My secret identity is an IT Pro. ;-)

On a side note, if you're not familiar with how to do something like this I would recommend taking it to someone to perform the upgrade.

*Or buy a new toy. New toys are always more fun. =)

Hth,
Brad

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Re: I was going to buy a new iMac but...

Post by Ted » Fri Jul 17, 2020 7:50 am

Brad, I'm a total dunce when it comes to computers. Thinking that there are people who even understand them is somewhat demoralizing to me-- and I was in gifted classes with a high IQ as a kid :) Just not my area of aptitude. I did go on Khan Academy once and spent a little time programming a picture of bacon and eggs from code. LOL.


So are you suggesting that I should install something like a 1 TB SSD internally as my system drive-- and then also add a separate internal auxilliary drive for my libraries (replacing my external Samsung SSD) or would it be better to just install a 2TB or greater internal SSD and put everything on there? And would that be OK to do with a maxed out RAM of 8GB?

Also, my RAM on my MAC isn't upgradable to a novice, but supposedly an experienced tech can do a little surgery and install aftermarket RAM. So If I were to take it in for work, I'd probably want to do that also while I had 'em open it up.



Thanks for that advice. I might look into doing what you prescribe.

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Re: I was going to buy a new iMac but...

Post by jaywilliams » Fri Jul 17, 2020 9:10 am

Ted wrote:
Fri Jul 17, 2020 4:40 am
Jay
I also wanted to tell you thanks for making that video on how to make drone tracks. I had never dabbled in drone tracks before and had no idea how to even begin working on these types of tracks. I did my first one last week and I think it came out OK-- I guess I'll see if it gets a forward.
Hey Ted -

I'm glad to hear you got some value from the tutorial and it gave you enough confidence to submit your cue to the Taxi listing, that's awesome!
// keep it groovy and make great music :) - Jay

J.W. Hagarty, Producer
Jay Williams Productions
Spotify: bit.ly/spotifyjay
Web: jaywilliamsproductions.com
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Re: I was going to buy a new iMac but...

Post by cosmicdolphin » Fri Jul 17, 2020 10:38 am

Ted wrote:
Fri Jul 17, 2020 7:50 am
Also, my RAM on my MAC isn't upgradable to a novice, but supposedly an experienced tech can do a little surgery and install aftermarket RAM. So If I were to take it in for work, I'd probably want to do that also while I had 'em open it up.
Although we don't have it anymore , several years back I did a ram upgrade on my wife's iMac of a similar vintage, it's not THAT hard you just have to remove the stand with a special little widget which is probably the hard bit - then heat gun the edges of the screen to melt the glue and sucker it off. You can get a kit with some new glue strips to re-attach it.

After that it's just removing some shielding and the logic board to get at the ram slots. I also did the HDD swap whilst I was at it to an SSD - the whole thing ran WAY cooler. Terrible design thermally speaking. This is part of the reason for the move to ARM as they can't get sufficient cooling into their slim designs for regular intel processors.

We're a 3 Mac household ( my wife likes them because she doesn't understand computers ..she just like the sleek/shiny design ) but we also have 5 PC's - The studio machine is PC because I will always want a proper tower for ease of upgrading or repair and Mac Pro is way to expensive. As I'm not a Logic user either it doesn't matter which platform I use and I honestly think Mac OS and Windows are just as bad/good as each other. But I can get a decently powerful desktop PC for the price of a way underpowered ( for studio use ) Mac Mini.

As mentioned an SSD will probably make it feel like a new machine almost if you can fit one / get one fitted .

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Re: I was going to buy a new iMac but...

Post by Ted » Fri Jul 17, 2020 11:01 am

Jay, your drone-making video was a fun watch. There are a lot of ways to approach doing this type of cue, I think, but I had no idea where to begin-- so your vid gave me some ideas of how to get started. My track was submitted for the Middle Eastern drone listing. I submitted it and noticed later than the wave form was very weak so almost a week later, I remixed and remastered it and it sounds a lot better I think. I still was able to hit "edit" and submit it as I guess it hadn't been screened yet. Fingers crossed.

Mark, I watched a video a little while ago where someone was showing how to take an Imac apart and replace the RAM-- they used a pizza wheel to take the screen off. Odd. So the part where they actually got access to the RAM and swapped it out didn't look that bad-- but it was all the other things they had to take out to get access to the RAM that looked complicated. I think I read something about needing to do something to disable a fan sensor when you put a SSD in because it doesn't require the fan of a mechanical drive-- I saw some kits online... And I did read a lot of comments on forums about how much better iMacs performed after a RAM increase and a move to SSD.

I'm actually leaning a little toward maybe trying to do this myself-- provided that I watch several installation videos first and prep for it-- and maybe have someone with me while I do it. I could save a lot of money too.

Yeah the expense of the Mac Pro is one of the things I hate about Apple. For the fun of it I went to the online Apple Store and spec'ed out the most expensive Mac Pro I could and it topped out over $50,000. LOL.

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Re: I was going to buy a new iMac but...

Post by cosmicdolphin » Fri Jul 17, 2020 11:28 am

Ted wrote:
Fri Jul 17, 2020 11:01 am
Yeah the expense of the Mac Pro is one of the things I hate about Apple. For the fun of it I went to the online Apple Store and spec'ed out the most expensive Mac Pro I could and it topped out over $50,000. LOL.
Oh...you must have added the wheels !

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