To Mac or not to Mac?

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marcblack30
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To Mac or not to Mac?

Post by marcblack30 » Fri Jul 15, 2011 6:36 am

I’m in the market for a new computer and I’d really like to make the move to a Mac, but my main hold up is the hard drive. I’d love to have the combo 1TB Serial ATA Drive + 256GB Solid State Drive , but adding the SSD sky rockets me over budget. My question is, is using only one hard drive for everything going to cause me performance issues? I don’t use any big orchestral libraries or anything, but some of my project files get to be pretty large. Apple doesn’t give the option to add 2 Serial ATA Drives.

Any thoughts on i5 vs. i7? Going with the i5 would save $180 bones. Maybe I could go i5, 4gb RAM (easiest to upgrade) and the combo Serial/SSD. Oh I’m so confused. My other option is to custom build a PC.


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Marc

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Re: To Mac or not to Mac?

Post by kclements » Fri Jul 15, 2011 8:37 am

I have a i7 iMac, 27" with 8 gigs ram, 500 gig hard drive and I love it. This thing really cooks. I am planning on putting some more memory in very soon as it is getting cheaper to do so and it's an easy upgrade. I use an external FW800 drive to hold my samples - and I am doing more and more orchestral works. So far, my iMac barely breaks a sweat.

If you are thinking of going the SSD route, I would shop at OWC (macsales.com) they are so much cheaper than getting it through Apple.

You didn't mention what software you are using so there is that to consider. If you are using a PC only DAW and VST's there is the additional cost (both $ and in learning time) to add in.

My advice is to get as fast a computer as you can - go for the i7 if possible and add an external drive when you can. Audio really likes being on a different HD and external FW drives are pretty inexpensive.

Rumor has it that new macs are coming very soon, and I don't know if you are thinking iMac of MacPro, but you could wait a bit and see what happens. Apple rarely discounts older models when the new ones ship, so that isn't an issue.

I can tell you that my iMac is great - i didn't have to get a monitor (the display on this Mac is top notch) and I can upgrade it with more memory, and internal HD and even add eSata if I like - which is on the list as well. Logic 9 - 64 bit is rock solid! I haven't had any problems with it (although Orest may disagree with my :)

hth
Cheers -
kc
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Re: To Mac or not to Mac?

Post by Len911 » Fri Jul 15, 2011 8:47 am

I doubt there are many people who have ever built their own pc that ever wished they would have bought a mac. I would say, spec a mac, then spec and even over spec a build-your-own pc with the best components available, order the components, and build it in an afternoon. I would recommend buying the biggest, quietest case you can find, that will make it a piece of cake to install everything and not worry about tight spaces and having too big of fingers when installing.
Once upon a time there was a difference, and real advantages and disadvantages, I used to buy a mac, then pc, back to mac and then to pc. Today, though, I would just build my own pc, unless you want something more technologically advanced, like a tablet or phone or laptop.
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Re: To Mac or not to Mac?

Post by marcblack30 » Fri Jul 15, 2011 9:05 am

I was thinking of an iMac, 21.5".
I run Cubase 6 and I have two 1TB external HD's. Would adding a SSD down the road be easy to do? Not sure that it would be necessary but maybe down the road. New models coming soon? May be worth waiting for, i know the new OS is out this month, looks nice!

Len, I have spec'd some custom PC's and can definitely get more bang for my buck, so far it seems like ibuypower.com is giving me the best price.
I've also tried pcsforeveryone.com - http://www.cyberpowerpc.com - http://www.systems.magicmicro.com, any other good one's i'm missing? I figured I'd have them build it but maybe I could DIY.

The iMac is so sleek and streamlined, I do think I'd miss having dual monitors, I would likely hook up one of my current monitors with it but it would probably look bad.

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Re: To Mac or not to Mac?

Post by kclements » Fri Jul 15, 2011 9:08 am

edited - Mazz said it much better than I did.


Cheers -
kc
Last edited by kclements on Fri Jul 15, 2011 9:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: To Mac or not to Mac?

Post by kclements » Fri Jul 15, 2011 9:15 am

marcblack30 wrote:I was thinking of an iMac, 21.5".
I run Cubase 6 and I have two 1TB external HD's. Would adding a SSD down the road be easy to do? Not sure that it would be necessary but maybe down the road. New models coming soon? May be worth waiting for, i know the new OS is out this month, looks nice!
I would check out this: http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/turnkey/iMac_2010_27
It's only for the 27" but there is a ton of info available on their site to look around. I am not sure how easy it would be to switch out the HD. Again, I know you pay a premium to have someone else do it, but it's worth it for me.
The iMac is so sleek and streamlined, I do think I'd miss having dual monitors, I would likely hook up one of my current monitors with it but it would probably look bad.
I don't miss my second monitor with the 27" display :)

Cheers -
kc
Last edited by kclements on Fri Jul 15, 2011 9:56 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: To Mac or not to Mac?

Post by mazz » Fri Jul 15, 2011 9:24 am

The reason to get a mac is that you like macs and their aesthetic and way of doing things, for some thats worth the extra money. I use both and prefer macs, plus the software I've been using for 20 years is Mac only.

Since Cubase is cross platform, you have more of a choice.

If you are considering a Mac, don't buy memory or hard drives from them. They charge too much for them.

SSDs will come down in price, I'd wait a bit and again I wouldn't buy one from apple.

Those of us that use macs are aware of the premium but part of that is the whole integrated package of os and hardware. With windows 7, Microsoft has finally gotten close to the user interface that they have always lagged on compared to apple. But once you get your daw loaded, if it's cross platform, who cares?
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Re: To Mac or not to Mac?

Post by Len911 » Fri Jul 15, 2011 9:51 am

Marc, I am specifically talking about going to a place like newegg, buying all the parts, and assembling it yourself. That is what I did a couple years ago. It sounds much scarier than it is. You basically put everything in it's slot, and plug everything in to the power supply and motherboard. The hard drives don't come with mobo cables, you have to buy them separate. The only tools I remember using are a flathead and philips screwdriver, and i believe some allen wrenches that came with the case. The case I bought had all the fans already installed, and I only had to plug them into the power supply cables.
As long as you don't underspec (buy really cheap, outdated, close-out parts), you shouldn't have any problems. I suspect most compatibility problems are with companies that try to assemble a computer from the cheapest, barely in spec components. You know save a buck here and there to maximize profits.
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Re: To Mac or not to Mac?

Post by marcblack30 » Fri Jul 15, 2011 10:45 am

Len911 wrote:Marc, I am specifically talking about going to a place like newegg, buying all the parts, and assembling it yourself. That is what I did a couple years ago. It sounds much scarier than it is. You basically put everything in it's slot, and plug everything in to the power supply and motherboard. The hard drives don't come with mobo cables, you have to buy them separate. The only tools I remember using are a flathead and philips screwdriver, and i believe some allen wrenches that came with the case. The case I bought had all the fans already installed, and I only had to plug them into the power supply cables.
As long as you don't underspec (buy really cheap, outdated, close-out parts), you shouldn't have any problems. I suspect most compatibility problems are with companies that try to assemble a computer from the cheapest, barely in spec components. You know save a buck here and there to maximize profits.

Len... you're right, that does sound a bit scary, but something to consider, I appreciate the input!


Mazz- I like your advice on not buying HD's and RAM from Apple directly, it is very pricey. The config price of a 21.5" / i7 / 4GB RAM / 1TB HD is looking much better, and from KC's link it looks like to purchase 8GB RAM is only $84. I think I can work with the 4GB for awhile as that's all I have now though I max it out sometimes, but that upgrade sounds pretty painless.

Thanks again Kayle, Len and Mazz, very helpful!

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Re: To Mac or not to Mac?

Post by Silversun » Fri Jul 15, 2011 3:07 pm

For my ten pence worth. Go Mac. They just work !!!!

Any experience ive ever had of PC (over the last 15 years of music making) makes me wonder how any PC developer ever survives. Driver conflicts...virus... a million third party hardware manufactures that all seem incompatible with each other.
Theres a reason pro audio and video has always been Mac, and again,,,they just work. Yes you can get a PC cheaper.But how much is your time worth? You'll spend a hundred times more hours sorting out problems on a PC than you will a Mac.

By the way you can always run any PC programs you cant live without on a Mac these days with bootcamp etc (Macs are now intel chip based and have been for a while)

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