Best PC/Mac for production machine

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Re: Best PC/Mac for production machine

Post by TimHarrison » Tue Sep 17, 2019 4:05 pm

Thanks for all the replies guys

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Re: Best PC/Mac for production machine

Post by BradGray » Tue Sep 17, 2019 6:06 pm

For the record, I do respect the Apple/Mac lovers.

My first computer was an Apple ][e. I don't think it would be a functional DAW, but I have been able to emulate the system on a Raspberry Pi. =)

Aside from being a creative mind here, my profession has been in IT for nearly 20 years now, working with all sorts of brands and flavors. Back in the 90s, until about 2010-2011(?) if I recall correctly, Apple used it's own proprietary processors and hardware for their MACS. Somewhere around that time, they felt it was too costly to continue to do so, so they started using standard industry processors, ram, parts, etc, in their systems. ... rocessors

This is why I view their machines as a "shiny case company". It's not an exaggeration, as their machines do look really good! Now their Operating Systems are proprietary (a variation on an Linux source I believe), but the parts are standard. Their software does lock things down, so the user has less control, which does make the platform more stable. However, you can also make a stable PC just as easily. What slows it down is the other software you install and remove from your PC/Laptop.

I just wanted to point out the actual differences, not in order to push my preference on anyone, but just to say look at the specs on Apple, PC or any system, and you should be able to figure out if it's a deal or not.

On a side note, you will always get more for you money with a PC vs laptop, and it's far easier to upgrade.


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Re: Best PC/Mac for production machine

Post by NoegoStudios » Tue Oct 01, 2019 10:25 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.


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


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

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.


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


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!

I love my Mac 5.1 as well. I have upgraded it for years . Now running High Sierra . 12 core. with now 64G ram, OWC 4k card for metal and 6 drives, 3 being SD where one is the boot drive. I have the Trash Can for video, Imac for our home stuff, and laptop/Ipad for on the go. Hate their phones though haha.
Anyway...first time I haven't been able to solve an issue was this week in 11 years of Mac history. Had to bring the old Mac for a checkup. I had a lot of issues with PC.
Just chiming in.
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Re: Best PC/Mac for production machine

Post by cosmicdolphin » Wed Oct 02, 2019 1:27 pm

My experience.... 27" Imac...circa 2011...died about 5yrs ago..too expensive to fix, sold it for spares

24" Imac...Circa 2013...died ..too expensive to fix...sat on a shelf in my garage

Macbook Pro ..unsure of vintage without looking...overheats after 10 mins, screen goes crazy..unusable

Mac Mini circa 2016...still working

Luckily none of these are my computers, they are my wife's & kids machines and bloody expensive they were as well. Apple clearly have issues with how they cool their systems , all the issues are heat buildup related ultimately, so I personally wouldn't touch anything that wasn't a proper tower of theirs but my wife is too stubborn to use anything else.

I have a PC that's 8 or 9 years old now running Win 7 and Cakewalk. It's a Core i5 2500 which I paid around £600 for iirc from a PC builder selling them on Amazon. It's been pretty fine for the main part, I did my own bios tweaks etc. I had a better PSU from my previous machine and replaced the stock one. Over time I've swapped out the HDD for an SSD and upgraded the ram, added more drives, a faster wifi card, added a discreet graphics card and I run it dual monitor now as well. Recently the mobo developed a fault so I can only run it on one stick of ram ( 8gb ) hasn't made a huge difference from having 16gb to be honest. I do notice it more when I'm using lots of Kontakt libs.

I'm hoping to replace it soon, I have a BIG birthday coming and it is getting a little long in the tooth now. So I'll just swap the tower out for something like this:- ... dp_it&th=1

The similar spec to a Mac Mini is about double the price..and way less expandable..mendable..etc.

Obviously if you are set on using Logic they got you over a barrell, I remember when it was a PC DAW too and everyone complained when Apple bought it and discontinued the PC version. Otherwise I think you can run just about anything else on both platforms apart from Cakewalk which is PC only and Garageband which is Mac only.

Ultimately all I would say is, if you listen to a cue can you tell which platform it was written on ?


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Re: Best PC/Mac for production machine

Post by NoegoStudios » Fri Oct 04, 2019 12:38 pm

Right. Both platforms are great.

My issues were that I was running Cubase and they went through a dark period. I too had Logic in the PC days. I even had an Atari before that.
The platform is fine either way. It was software at the time that made my decision to go to Mac.
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