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making final decision on Mac Pro trash can DAW Software
Old 19th February 2016
  #1
Here for the gear
 

making final decision on Mac Pro trash can

I have worked my backside off and saved up for a rig upgrade. For the options I'm looking at, budget is ok.. so it's not so much money that needs to define my choice.

I can either get the Mac Pro trash can 12 core, 64Gb ram, BlackMagic multidock with 4 X 1 TB SSD (TB2 connection) and an additional high speed drive dedicated for writing for projects.

Or , get a 6 core trash can with a custom built PC slave... which I run PLAY and KONTAKT on.


Thing is... In the short term, it is super valuable that my work flow doesn't get too disturbed by learning curves of using lots of new things in my rig; to get my head around. I'm so busy with projects that I haven't even thought about major upgrades for years.

For now, I need a system that will handle east west Hollywood diamond brass and strings (and about 14 other east west libraries) and some KONTAKT libraries and other instruments.

i am considering starting with the 6 core and seeing how that goes on its own... And if later I need to upgrade again, I upgrade it to a 12 core or get the PC slave to share the load.

I guess my main concern is...... If the 12 core can handle what I need to do. I do want to have 100+ tracks.... But I'm not set on having everything as midi tracks and covered in plugins... I'm happy to do some project saves and bounce between projects where I save midi versions and audio stem projects....... the project I just completed last week I was jumping between over 18 different LPX Projects just for a handful of tracks.... 4 days were over 16 hours a day and Wednesday was 20 hour long day. Because I'm working on a 2009 Mac Pro quad core with 16 gb ram. So every project I have to split into 3 to 5 separate projects and jump back and forth.

although my work flow is massively dysfunctional, I am able to deliver because I have a work flow in the chaos. I am concerned that setting up a PC slave might mess with my work flow... And what is simple, functional and logical to some, becomes chaos to me.

I think I want to get the 6 core trash can with 64gb and SSD multidock..... And I want to load up Hollywood diamond strings and touch the keys and sounds come out... And I load 5 or 10 high level instruments like that and they all play ok. I don't need a 70 piece orchestra playing on Separate midi tracks.. I can develop that step by step with low power instruments and then replace them one by one as high power instruments (like diamond Hollywood strings) and bounce them off one by one. If I need to....

I just don't want to get the 6 core and it can't handle a dozen instruments... And then face palm and wish i got the 12 core. I found some custom PC slave companies online which are good, and also checked out reburb 12 cores.

But also... Several clients said it would be good if I could fly over to where they are when post production starts on projects, and be there for a few days (setup in their production houses or hotel room) and sit together to develop ideas (I get involved in the creative process with agencies/producers/directors, and bounce ideas around a lot... by the time post production has started, I have already sent in lots of concept WIP work for the editors to begin cutting to.. So I have had plenty of space that I need to develop music on my own... And at that point I really value sitting with anyone driving creative vision to tune into where the project has evolved to during production, from the original concepts). So the trash can is also hand-luggage size so I can travel with that.. And the multidock, midi keyboard and some Neumann KH120 monitors. But this doesn't rule out the PC slave option... As I could leave that at studio... And then use less power hungry instruments for development work on a 6 or 12 core.

I think I'm leaning towards the 6 core. With the change from the 6, I can get some other upgrades, keyboard, monitor, plugins, instruments... etc... although.... I can do that with the 12 core too....... I'm just also not liking that any moment now Apple are going to announce a new Mac Pro.

If you can pick any sense out of my nonsense.. Would be very grateful for your advice.
Old 19th February 2016
  #2
Lives for gear
 
degas's Avatar
 

My biggest question is if Apple is going to release a new Mac Pro soon.
Therefore I'm a bit hesitant to buy one.
Old 19th February 2016
  #3
Tui
Gear Guru
 
Tui's Avatar
I just think these things are way to expensive for what you're getting. I'd rather have 2 or 3 Minis... And go on a holiday.
Old 19th February 2016
  #4
I agree on the Mac Mini
I have a 2012 with 16. Gigs ram - I recently put an SSD drive and the mini flies now
I know guys that do a lot of post production stuff and many of them use 2009 mac towers with no problem
I think your system drive and the drive that your DAW or video editor read from are crucial- with a mini you have thunderbolt
To me, I think the trash can is overkill except for people who render HD video etc, where the actual processor has to do the bulk of the work
With SSD and thunderbolt you can spread the load around if you have plenty of RAM
Old 19th February 2016
  #5
Gear Guru
 
jwh1192's Avatar
if this is not what you are looking for please disregard ..

1) put a PCIeSSD card in your Mac Pro ..
2) buy a newer MAcpro than you have but same design- 12core 3.46 and put PCIeSSD card in there .. from Santa Barbara, California - Refurbished Discounted ipad,MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac | ipowerresale
3) your 6-core idea is good and see how it works .. if not working add PC slave using Vienna Ensemble ..

just .02
Old 19th February 2016
  #6
Gear Nut
 

the trash can is an overpriced white elephant for us audio guys.... it was never aimed at us.. ridiculous gfx cards we will never make use of
there really isn't a sensible option from Apple right now
hobbling along with my Mac Mini 2012 16gb/ssd right now until somebody at Apple wakes up and remembers us poor audio guys
might go down the hackintosh route again
Old 19th February 2016
  #7
BOP
Gear Addict
You could get a 12 core 3.46Ghz 2009/2010 mac pro with 64GB of ram (~2300 USD), 1TB system/scratch volume at 5GB/s (yes Bytes, not bits) on the seccond x16 PCIe slot (1150 USD) + 4x4TB HGST 7200 rpm stripped raid for your master volume (2.5" SSD type speeds for 60% of that 16TB of space) (~680 USD).

That is 4130 USD total and leaves you two 4x PCIe slots free, one spare SATA II interface and space for a drive caddy in the spare optical drive bay.

This is probably what I will upgrade my current mac pro to throughout spring.

First I will have my system partition on an SSD in the spare optical bay running at just SATA II speeds + scratch and master partitions raid 0's on the 4x4TB drives. Scratch could theorethically get up to 600-700 MB/s since it's a 4 disk RAID 0 after all and those inside platter regions will be very fast.

Then once I am comfortable that El Capitan is not going to ruin my life and that I want to upgrade my software I will invest in that SSD blade setup on the PCIe slot and use that for my system and scratch at 5GB/s, turn the SSD in the optical bay caddy into a bootcamp partition or maybe an alternave OS X version bootable or throw it into my macbook and then redo the raid into a single big master volume.

If you already have a 2009 or later mac pro (I have a 2008 as luck would have it) then you can get the 3.46GHz 12 core retrofit preassembled with tray and everything for probably less than 800 USD (sorry, questimating based on German prices) and 64GB of ram from OWC for 340 USD.

The big IF in all of this is how much thunerbolt gear do you already have or want to invest in because geekbench scores for both the top trashcan and this top setup are very close together.

I think your AD/DA setup and the DSP/Dongle stuff you want to own or already own should really dictate wether it's time to get into the trashcan or not.
Apple could release a new trashcan this year o could release something completely different.

I know I would be heartbroken if I got into the trashcan (which I hate btw. for personal reasons) and then they would get back to the design ideology I used to love them for.

Cheers,
BOP
Old 19th February 2016
  #8
Lives for gear
 
degas's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by babydaddymusic View Post
I agree on the Mac Mini
I have a 2012 with 16. Gigs ram - I recently put an SSD drive and the mini flies now
I know guys that do a lot of post production stuff and many of them use 2009 mac towers with no problem
I think your system drive and the drive that your DAW or video editor read from are crucial- with a mini you have thunderbolt
To me, I think the trash can is overkill except for people who render HD video etc, where the actual processor has to do the bulk of the work
With SSD and thunderbolt you can spread the load around if you have plenty of RAM
I don't know. A Mini would definately not work for me.
My 8-core 2008 is down on it's knees (and so are my 2015 15" MacBook Pro) when I'm doing full productions.

Sure, an old 12-core would probably work great, but I'm not to keen on investing in an old architecture. And they are still pretty expensive.

The multiple Mini route is a viable option. But it's not for me.
I like simple setups with minimal hassles. One powerful computer that'll do whatever I ask it to.

The nMP with 6 cores and lots of RAM is what I'm looking at.
It would suit me fine. But I know that if I buy one today - a new model will be introduced tomorrow!
Old 19th February 2016
  #9
BOP
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by degas View Post
I don't know. A Mini would definately not work for me.
My 8-core 2008 is down on it's knees (and so are my 2015 15" MacBook Pro) when I'm doing full productions.

Sure, an old 12-core would probably work great, but I'm not to keen on investing in an old architecture. And they are still pretty expensive.

The multiple Mini route is a viable option. But it's not for me.
I like simple setups with minimal hassles. One powerful computer that'll do whatever I ask it to.

The nMP with 6 cores and lots of RAM is what I'm looking at.
It would suit me fine. But I know that if I buy one today - a new model will be introduced tomorrow!
What kind of AD/DA do you have? IMHO that is the most expensive part of the equation in terms of whether you should go Thunderbolt or not. Do you have PT HD or UAD?

I for instance have 56 channels both AD and DA and quality wise to me the only upgrade would be an Apogee Symphony system and that could be a Thunderbolt thingie that I could move towards, however I can't warrant 56 channels of that at the prices quoted so that settles it for me.

The cMP is exactly what you described btw., a single box that does everything while the trashcan requires you buy external storage, external PCIe etc.

In terms of architecture it is not that far apart, ram is 1866 MHz on the trashcan and 1333 MHz on the cMP I mentioned for instance.

128GB of 1333 MHz RAM is a lot better than 16GB of 1866 MHz ram and at the end of the day both are outdated in terms of "architecture". You are not getting cutting edge with the trashcan, just what Apple serves as their most recent offering.

3.5 GHz 6 core regardless of faster architecture is not as good as 2x3.46GHz 6 core in this case. Yeah newer processor etc. faster buss speeds etc. but the difference is not as big as some think it is.

Can you afford to have 64-128GB Ram in your new trashcan? Can you afford to have 12 cores in your trashcan? If you can't then I think you might be gimping yourself a bit going that way.

I mean all of these use server type hardware and those do not progress the same way as consumer grade stuff tends to do. A newer I5 might smoke an older I7 but the spread is much less with the xeon line of CPU's, especially 1 newer CPU vs 2 older CPU's.

If you can afford to get all the bells and whistles every iteration then yeah man go for it but otherwise I fear it will be just like you say, that they will come out with something new tommorow and you will feel heartbroken, not a good thing if you want to also treat yourself to a nicer working enviroment and motivate yourself. Lets be honest, the site is called gearslutz, not gearsensibles.

The Imacs on the other hand are both sensible and recent, even more recent than the trashcan in some ways so maybe you could go with that while you wait for a new mac pro? You would get a recent CPU and a beautifull screen and can still build up your TB devices and wait for a new MP.
Old 19th February 2016
  #10
Lives for gear
 

Save your money and buy a PC.
Old 19th February 2016
  #11
Lives for gear
 
degas's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BOP View Post
What kind of AD/DA do you have? IMHO that is the most expensive part of the equation in terms of whether you should go Thunderbolt or not. Do you have PT HD or UAD?

I for instance have 56 channels both AD and DA and quality wise to me the only upgrade would be an Apogee Symphony system and that could be a Thunderbolt thingie that I could move towards, however I can't warrant 56 channels of that at the prices quoted so that settles it for me.

The cMP is exactly what you described btw., a single box that does everything while the trashcan requires you buy external storage, external PCIe etc.

In terms of architecture it is not that far apart, ram is 1866 MHz on the trashcan and 1333 MHz on the cMP I mentioned for instance.

128GB of 1333 MHz RAM is a lot better than 16GB of 1866 MHz ram and at the end of the day both are outdated in terms of "architecture". You are not getting cutting edge with the trashcan, just what Apple serves as their most recent offering.

3.5 GHz 6 core regardless of faster architecture is not as good as 2x3.46GHz 6 core in this case. Yeah newer processor etc. faster buss speeds etc. but the difference is not as big as some think it is.

Can you afford to have 64-128GB Ram in your new trashcan? Can you afford to have 12 cores in your trashcan? If you can't then I think you might be gimping yourself a bit going that way.

I mean all of these use server type hardware and those do not progress the same way as consumer grade stuff tends to do. A newer I5 might smoke an older I7 but the spread is much less with the xeon line of CPU's, especially 1 newer CPU vs 2 older CPU's.

If you can afford to get all the bells and whistles every iteration then yeah man go for it but otherwise I fear it will be just like you say, that they will come out with something new tommorow and you will feel heartbroken, not a good thing if you want to also treat yourself to a nicer working enviroment and motivate yourself. Lets be honest, the site is called gearslutz, not gearsensibles.

The Imacs on the other hand are both sensible and recent, even more recent than the trashcan in some ways so maybe you could go with that while you wait for a new mac pro? You would get a recent CPU and a beautifull screen and can still build up your TB devices and wait for a new MP.
I will most definately invest in a Hilo thunderbolt soon. Which I will use with both a Mac Pro and the Macbook Pro. Also having thunderbolt drives that I can use with both is an advantage. And yes I can afford 64 gb ram (even if 32 is probably enough for me). But the new 12-core is far too expensive for me.

The old 12-core is powerful, no doubt, but it just doesn't feel that futureproof to me (well, nothing really is, but...relatively speaking).
The iMac would be a contender, but I use both Mac and Pc with the same 30" monitor, and I don't think I can connect a PC to the iMac monitor.
Otherwise that could probably work.
Old 20th February 2016
  #12
BOP
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by degas View Post
I will most definately invest in a Hilo thunderbolt soon. Which I will use with both a Mac Pro and the Macbook Pro. Also having thunderbolt drives that I can use with both is an advantage. And yes I can afford 64 gb ram (even if 32 is probably enough for me). But the new 12-core is far too expensive for me.

The old 12-core is powerful, no doubt, but it just doesn't feel that futureproof to me (well, nothing really is, but...relatively speaking).
The iMac would be a contender, but I use both Mac and Pc with the same 30" monitor, and I don't think I can connect a PC to the iMac monitor.
Otherwise that could probably work.
If having the newest product is important then I would go for an Imac in this case since you would be getting a very recent product, much more recent in terms of design and new features than the trashcan but also cheaper enough that you could still get the new trashcan once it comes out and sell the Imac easily on ebay if you do not wish to keep it. The 5k Imac is getting rave reviews and beats the trashcan in some tests!

It is a really bad time to get the trashcan because v2 might be released very soon if rumours are to be believed (there is some proof in El Capitan code but I have not reviewed it personally, just read about it).

I think it is important you buy all your TB gear first if you don't want the old tower, especially the Hilo and then once that is all selected, afforded, shipped, unpacked, assembled… you can grab any mac you want from brand new, refurbished new to old, apple or reseller in just a couple working days... there is not much to choose from there and shipping and turnaround is fast. Otherwise before you get all the bits and pieces that actually will allow you to use the new system an even newer system might pop up and you will loose some hair.

The reasoning behind the old tower is that it is powerful but the reasoning for the trashcan is that it is newer so once trashcan v2 pops up... the tower will still be as powerful as the old trashcan however trashcan v1 will neither be new nor as powerful as trashcan v2 unless you pimp it out with a CPU retrofit at which point trashcan v2 owners and potential owners will not be into whatever you have because well, you are v1 and they want v2 and that might make you feel that you also want v2 and destroy the mental comfort of being up to date on things. The OCD will come unscratched so to speak.
Meanwhile with the Imac you are avoiding this situation all together because I think the most recent one is 2015 and you can work with the new stuff you will be able to also use with TrashcanV2

With my newold tower, Ram modules, HDDs, SSD, CPU retrofit are all post 2013 - the 2010 elements including the GPU will actually cost maybe 1100 USD or so, the rest, new stuff will be 3000 USD. If I sell my current mac pro for 800-1000 USD then It is practically a wash in terms of spending money on 2010 stuff as far as my account balance today so if I have to buy trashcan v2 or trashcan v3 in 2020 I'm good since 60% of my expenditure was for things I would need to buy for the current trashcan anyway, just for more money and the 40% will be in part covered by sale of that system.

Just like with PCIe v1, v2, v3... TB v1. v2. v3 is implemented with much delay in actual products and while today we can deal with PCIe v2, those with just v1 are stuck and the trashcan is that PCIe v1 type step in TB terms on Apples way to the whole interface specification, especially since an SSD Blade raid on a PCIe x16 card can easily get the mentioned 5GB/s in real life test while the trashcan can't do it over it's version of TB.

The only reason I am not ordering the tower right now is because I can easily wait until summer, get all my HDDs delivered, raid them, stress test them with diggloyd tools (much recommended), experiment with El Capitan and software compatibility, select and prepare new versions of software, plugins etc. maybe get a cheeky educational license for PT 12 from friends working in academia and then… maybe the new trashcan will come out couple of months after march and I will get my old tower for half the cost once prices drop.
I envision my self getting trashcan V3 - thats what happened with the intel mac pros for me btw. I got in at 3.1 and so did the OP, funny right?

I mean none of this is really absolutely necessary, we simply want that 10s faster bounce or render, we like the wind in our hair right?
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