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Replace my 2008 Mac Pro with a late 2011 Macbook?
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BJosephs
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#1
26th February 2012
Old 26th February 2012
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Replace my 2008 Mac Pro with a late 2011 Macbook?

Hey, folks


I love my tower (early 2008 2 X 2.8 ghz Quad core, 8 gig ram) but I've been itching to get a laptop lately and I'm wondering if the new Macbook Pros might be a good choice without being a step backward in performance. I am considering selling the tower altogether.

I recognize that benchmarks are not real world values but some of the data out there suggests that the current 2.2 ghz Quad core is actually a bit snappier than my current machine. Could that translate to DAW performance?

Aside from the fact that I couldn't have a dedicated system drive setup - I currently have one drive for the OS, one for audio, one for samples and a 4th for time machine - could I expect similar performance for VI/plugin/ track count or is that wishful thinking? I am aware that the mbp sports a 5400 rpm drive stock but it would swapped out for an SSD.

I'm not a pro by any means. I'm one of those write/record/mix all at once kind of guys so I like to have a system powerful enough to have a few VIs, about 16 guitar tracks w/ amp sims and standard EQ/comp chains on all tracks while running at 64 sample buffers my current machine will do that quite well.

I run Studio One Pro and PT 9 but mostly just S1 these days. If your wondering why I would change anything just chalk it up to gearlust and nothing more!

Brian

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007
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26th February 2012
Old 26th February 2012
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I just bought a late 2011 MBP around the holidays.
I took the 8GB RAM option and a 7200rpm internal drive (750GB).
I'll eventually put an SSD in there for OS/apps and swap the superdrive for another HD, possibly the one I have in there now.

I've never had a MacPro but I can tell you this; I was using a 2007 basic MacBook for the past 4.5 years and this new machine is a rocket in comparison.
I use Logic Pro 9.1.6, and can run many instances of Omnisphere, M-Tron Pro, loads of audio tracks and effects, and not a single CPU or memory hiccup thus far.

Hope that helps somewhat.

Good luck!


ps: no fan noise whatsoever, though I see some peeps are having issues with that.
#3
26th February 2012
Old 26th February 2012
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i have a late 2011 macbook pro and the internal fan goes crazy when i use pro tools. makes tracking in the control room almost impossible.

other than that, it can handle quite a bit and i rarely hit a wall with processing, even with a pretty complicated mix.
#4
26th February 2012
Old 26th February 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BJosephs View Post
Hey, folks


I love my tower (early 2008 2 X 2.8 ghz Quad core, 8 gig ram) but I've been itching...
Hey Brian,

Good question.
I'm in the same boat. And, I'm wondering what kind of audio interface were you / are you going to be using?
#5
26th February 2012
Old 26th February 2012
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If you can afford a new Mac pro I'd wait for the revision. Despite the rumors I feel a new Mac Pro is coming and would be a good choice. I would wait.

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26th February 2012
Old 26th February 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vorrumba View Post
Hey Brian,

Good question.
I'm in the same boat. And, I'm wondering what kind of audio interface were you / are you going to be using?
I'm using an RME hdspe AIO.... which is pcie based. Obviously I would either need to sell that or wait for a thunderbolt pci chassis. I have an Apogee Rosetta 200 as my primary converter so I'm looking into running that straight off of the mbp digital IO.

For a mobile interface I was looking at the Focusrite Scarlet 2i2.

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26th February 2012
Old 26th February 2012
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I had a 2008 Harpertown 8-core 3 Ghz Mac Pro. I sold it and moved to a 2011 MacBook Pro 2.3 Ghz with 16 GB OWC RAM and a 480 GB OWC 6G SSD boot drive. The latter is about 10% faster overall. Best decision I've made in a while. I now have a much quieter and portable system too. Using Logic 64-bit, and the fans rarely kick up.
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26th February 2012
Old 26th February 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GCL View Post
I had a 2008 Harpertown 8-core 3 Ghz Mac Pro. I sold it and moved to a 2011 MacBook Pro 2.3 Ghz with 16 GB OWC RAM and a 480 GB OWC 6G SSD boot drive. The latter is about 10% faster overall. Best decision I've made in a while. I now have a much quieter and portable system too. Using Logic 64-bit, and the fans rarely kick up.
i have a harpeertown 2.8 x 8 but i don't know if I'd be interested in a big upgrade for just a 10% increase in speed.
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26th February 2012
Old 26th February 2012
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Actually, I'd already owned the MacBook Pro when my Mac Pro had to go in for service, and that's when I discovered how fast it was compared to the Mac Pro.

IMO 10% is huge, especially given we are talking about 2 different types of computers. Even new desktops are never more than 10-20% faster year-to-year. The fact that a portable can outdo certain desktops is a recent and amazing accomplishment by Apple. Being able to do the same work I did before with a quieter computer that I can take around with me, priceless.
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26th February 2012
Old 26th February 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BJosephs View Post
I'm using an RME hdspe AIO.... which is pcie based. Obviously I would either need to sell that or wait for a thunderbolt pci chassis. I have an Apogee Rosetta 200 as my primary converter so I'm looking into running that straight off of the mbp digital IO.

For a mobile interface I was looking at the Focusrite Scarlet 2i2.

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For what it's worth, I spoke with an Apple Store employee who was going on tour in Europe with his recording gear and he said he recommends (and, in fact, uses) a MBP for all of his recording needs (he used Logic and Cubase).... And this was with the 2010 MBPs.
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26th February 2012
Old 26th February 2012
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I replaced my older mbp and mac pro with a 2011 mbp and never looked back. No need for two separate computers anymore.
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26th February 2012
Old 26th February 2012
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Are you mbp guys using the stock 5400 rpm drive or did you upgrade it? I know at least one person mentioned an SSD.

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26th February 2012
Old 26th February 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BJosephs View Post
Are you mbp guys using the stock 5400 rpm drive or did you upgrade it? I know at least one person mentioned an SSD.

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Upgraded the internal to 7200rpm 750GB for $150 more.
I'll go SSD later this year when they come down in price.
That said, I'm quite content with this performance, as I mentioned in my previous post.
This machine is a rocket with Logic, and no fan noise, ever.
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26th February 2012
Old 26th February 2012
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There is no way on earth that MBPs are as reliable as desktop machines.

I know so many people who've had problems with their laptops (all MBPs), it's really not funny.

Cramming that amount of stuff in a 1inch body is amazing but so much more likely to fail and introduce problems, but it's just not quite the same product.

However, if you need portability, then it's obviously a no brainer.
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26th February 2012
Old 26th February 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Beatsmith View Post

I know so many people who've had problems with their laptops (all MBPs), it's really not funny.
And I know so many people having major problems with their MacPro towers it's actually quite funny.

There is no perfect machine, they all act up, slow down, and even fail at some point.
Not saying the MPB is on par, much less better, dunno, I've made music for a living on Mac laptops for the past 8 years and never had major problems.
If I was to start operating a studio where tracking bands is a regular thing, then yes, I would invest in a tower, that would makes sense.
It simply comes down to one's needs, so pick your battles, I guess.
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26th February 2012
Old 26th February 2012
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Intel is reported to be readying quad-core 'Ivy Bridge' processors for delivery in the next 3-6 weeks, with Macs based on it (probably Macbook Pros, iMacs) to be refreshed soon after. (And the dual-socket Intel Xeon e5-2600 server series chips, which the Mac Pros will almost certainly be based on, are expected some time next month as well.)

If you need a Mac today, you'll get the greatest value from an Apple-refurbished machine which will come with a new Mac warranty but probably save you around 15%. But if you can wait two months you'll be able to get a faster machine for probably the same price the current-generation Macs sell for now.

I think a notebook would probably serve you fine, but beware the fan going into overdrive when running processor-intensive apps. So actually, if you're serious about a Macbook of some kind, waiting for machines using the lower-power-demanding Ivy Bridge chips may be another reason to hold off on a purchase....
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26th February 2012
Old 26th February 2012
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I've had my current '11 MBP for about a year now. It certainly is a desktop / Mac Pro replacement for me. No problems what so ever and it's pretty much on all the time, or sleeping at night. I rarely ever shut it down and use it for live performance. I replaced the stock HD with a 7200rpm as well as the RAM to 8gb.
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26th February 2012
Old 26th February 2012
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Well I just took the plunge and picked up a 13" mbp. I decided that no matter what I got it wouldn't replace my tower so I got one of the cheaper ones. In reality, I just need to be able to tinker on the go. I got the dual core 2.8 ghz so ill see if its able to handle anything serious - if not ill return it and upgrade... They give you 2 weeks.

For what its worth I did price out the refurbs but didn't think they were that great of a deal, especially since I get a student discount and it won't apply to a refurb. I did take a road trip to my nearest sales-tax-free state though!

Brian

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27th February 2012
Old 27th February 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BJosephs View Post
Well I just took the plunge and picked up a 13" mbp. I decided that no matter what I got it wouldn't replace my tower so I got one of the cheaper ones. In reality, I just need to be able to tinker on the go. I got the dual core 2.8 ghz so ill see if its able to handle anything serious - if not ill return it and upgrade... They give you 2 weeks.

For what its worth I did price out the refurbs but didn't think they were that great of a deal, especially since I get a student discount and it won't apply to a refurb. I did take a road trip to my nearest sales-tax-free state though!

Brian

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Congrats Brian!
Hope you get what you want out of the MBP.
Did you have to make any big changes in your recording hardware? (like the I/Os)?

Let us know how the switch goes...
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27th February 2012
Old 27th February 2012
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Well, first thing I realized is how many 3rd party plugins I was using that need to be duplicated. My 2 favorites are BFD ECO and waves GTR Solo. Though, it might be smarter to seek out 64 bit replacements as tempting as consistency is.

I will need a USB interface. I mostly record guitar so I'm thinking about a simple the to USB single channel interfaces, though I've yet to see one with great reviews. Beyond that the Focusrite Scarlet 2i2 would suit my needs with some extra bulk.

I haven't gotten much further than that...

Brian

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#21
27th February 2012
Old 27th February 2012
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The latest macbook pro's with i7 quad cores are amazing machines. They own anything but the newest desktops. Quiet too.
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27th February 2012
Old 27th February 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BJosephs View Post
Well, first thing I realized is how many 3rd party plugins I was using that need to be duplicated. My 2 favorites are BFD ECO and waves GTR Solo. Though, it might be smarter to seek out 64 bit replacements as tempting as consistency is.

I will need a USB interface. I mostly record guitar so I'm thinking about a simple the to USB single channel interfaces, though I've yet to see one with great reviews. Beyond that the Focusrite Scarlet 2i2 would suit my needs with some extra bulk.

I haven't gotten much further than that...

Brian

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When you get your new Mac, be sure to use Migration Assistant to copy over all your programs and plugins
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27th February 2012
Old 27th February 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inthere View Post
When you get your new Mac, be sure to use Migration Assistant to copy over all your programs and plugins
Whoops. When I said "duplicated" I meant the lisences. I need to buy a second copy of anything I want to use on both computers...

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27th February 2012
Old 27th February 2012
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On impulse I just ordered an Apogee Jam from Zzounds. I almost got the scarlett but decided I only needed a good way to capture my guitar right now... For anyone interested.

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2nd March 2012
Old 2nd March 2012
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For what its worth I'm pretty impressed with the dual 2.8 ghz 13" model. I was able to play along with about 10 amp sim tracks and 3 VIs including BFD ECO, all with EQ, comp and sends at a 32 sample buffer. This is pretty consistent with my process and I'm more than happy at 64 samples.

The CPU meter was jumpy at that load but no clicks, pops, or dropouts. Stock 5400 rpm drive, 4 gig of ram.

My incessant gear lust drives me to return it and jump up to 15" anyway while I still have time. Someone talk me into it.

Brian

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2nd March 2012
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Yeah, i didn't wanna belittle your purchase so i didnt' say anything . But the 13" is in no way a replacement for the 2008 Mac Pro. It's the 15/17" that have the quads in them that are the same speed or faster than the 2008 Mac Pros...

With a hires matte screen, and room to add SSD and a 7200rpm HD (in dvd bay) and 16gb of ram... as well as thunderbolt... it's a serious machine...

If you have the cash and it doesn't put you in debt or anything... i'd go for it!

Or wait for the updates in april/may... if you don't really need it 'now'
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2nd March 2012
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I have a Late 2011 MacBook Pro 15" 2.2GHz i7 8GB RAM and I love this machine! I just ditched Lion for SL 10.6.8 and it's even better now.
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2nd March 2012
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Quote:
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I have a Late 2011 MacBook Pro 15" 2.2GHz i7 8GB RAM and I love this machine! I just ditched Lion for SL 10.6.8 and it's even better now.
I have the exact same machine, with exact same specs. What is the advantage of ditching Lion for SL?
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2nd March 2012
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It was okay for the first 2 months.

It all went to hell after I bought a used 003 Rack. The drivers killed Peak LE 6, Serato ITCH, & Logic Studio 9.

Funny thing is Pro Tools was actually working decent.

Never liked Lion though. My personal opinion.
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2nd March 2012
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Quote:
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It was okay for the first 2 months.

It all went to hell after I bought a used 003 Rack. The drivers killed Peak LE 6, Serato ITCH, & Logic Studio 9.

Funny thing is Pro Tools was actually working decent.

Never liked Lion though. My personal opinion.
I guess it doesn't hurt that I stay on Lion. Since Cubase 5.5 is working flawlessly, with Reason 4 rewire, and I have never tasted the sweet "bliss" of SL before. :p
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