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Need to buy new iMac - suggestions? Virtual Instrument Plugins
Old 31st July 2017
  #61
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by LieS View Post
Great thread, managed to find my late 2013 2,3 GHz i7: 94 tracks.

I'm a bit confused however what makes this difference to the 2017 i5 with 73 tracks, since the geekbench should be testing exactly the same thing with the multicore bench and there the iMac wins.

In the video editing forums they note that the i5 has taken a huge leap forward and that everyone doesn't need the i7 anymore, but for us it's about the track count. I run many VIs, and many of them, to do orchestral mockups.
Geekbench is a measure of performance but not a real measure of audio plugin and VI capability.

I am mostly a live real instrument guy with some VIs (drums and keys). For Orchestral mockups or large VI work very big advantage for more cores. Easily an i7 - and a 2013 MP Hex or more would be even better and never heat up. In general I bought the MP for super low latency Native audio recording. It was the best choice that day but I eventually went HDX for a while so the machine mattered very little. HDX left the building a little while ago though. Today (for single core low latency) the 2013 MP is totally bested by the 2015 and 2017 iMac i7 and is at least a small upgrade even with the i5 (and I get that beautiful screen and super fast SSD). Still I have a week and a half left too decide and going for the i7 in the end is still an option :-),


Quote:
Originally Posted by LieS View Post
So performance wise I'm guessing this is a downgrade from your MP? Given the temperature, in other threads it seems like old i7 models had the same temps, and haven't seen any reports on issues with CPUs breaking down. The fan noise is still a problem, but only under heavy usage.

Thanks for the reports so far, keep em coming !

EDIT: Just ordered the 4,2 Ghz with the 575 graphics card. Fingers crossed for a good fan experience.
Old 2nd August 2017
  #62
Quote:
Originally Posted by lowkey View Post
From the Logic performance thread...

iMac 27” 2017 (i5 4-Core 3,8 GHz)
73 tracks


I wouldn't bother with anything that doesn't have an i7. You may aswell keep your existing MBP.
I just looked at that thread and it actually says:

'iMac 27” 2017 (i5 2-Core 3,8 GHz)'

Not sure if that's a typo or whether the test was really done with only 2 cores.

If it is supposed to say 4-core, then I agree that is a disappointing score. But I'd rather have 73 tracks running in silence than 20 running with fans at full blast, which is the case with my 2014 i7 2.5ghz MBP. All reports I've read are that the 2017 i7 iMac will have the same issue meaning it isn't even an option for anyone that doesn't want 55db background noise in their studio.

Last edited by TEMAS; 2nd August 2017 at 04:32 PM..
Old 2nd August 2017
  #63
Just ran a session for a little over an hour on the 2017 i7. It had about 15 tracks and I was mixing and editing. I never heard the fan once. The fan technically sped up about 10% from idle but I never heard anything. I have about 8 hours of mixing this Saturday, I will report back. But so far so good
Old 2nd August 2017
  #64
The real world problems mostly happen when you've already got a busy arrangement and you want to play something like a 4gb solo violin or a BFD3 drum kit over the top.
Old 2nd August 2017
  #65
Gear Head
FAQ - Volta

this guy is making a utility to undervolt mac cpus, to create less heat and use less battery. it also lets you disable turbo. It's on version 1.1 - I would say it's still kind of in beta, but he's making real progress with it.
Old 2nd August 2017
  #66
Gear Head
more heresy - the hackintosh dudes have successfully overclocked up to 5.3 ghz on it 7700k cpus, running OSX just fine.
Old 2nd August 2017
  #67
Lives for gear
 
lowkey's Avatar
 

Pretty certain it's a typo. I don't think there is a way (nor a reason) to run half the chip cores.

The fans on my 2013 MBP 2.7 come on occasionally for me. I'm usually run a lot of plugin fx and synths. It's very rare they come on full speed. When they do it's after I've been sitting for too long, so I just quit Cubase and take a 5 minute break for my ears to relax. It's good mixing practice anyway LOL.

There's no way I'd buy a desktop in 2017 with the same CPU power that my laptop from 2013 has for Cubase or Logic unless I decided to go almost exclusively OTB again and just use the Cubase for sequencing and recording.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TEMAS View Post
I just looked at that thread and it actually says:

'iMac 27” 2017 (i5 2-Core 3,8 GHz)'

Not sure if that's a typo or whether the test was really done with only 2 cores.

If it is supposed to say 4-core, then I agree that is a disappointing score. But I'd rather have 73 tracks running in silence than 20 running with fans at full blast, which is the case with my 2014 i7 2.5ghz MBP. All reports I've read are that the 2017 i7 iMac will have the same issue meaning it isn't even an option for anyone that doesn't want 55db background noise in their studio.
Old 2nd August 2017
  #68
I just ran the test on my 2014 i7 2.5ghz MBP 16gb, 512 SSD, Sierra, MOTU 624 TB audio interface. I was able to play 105 tracks with no overloads, up to 112 tracks with occasional overloads.

So the low track count of the i5 is caused by it having no hyper thread capabilities?

As someone who's typical arrangement consists of roughly 70% virtual instruments / 30% audio tracks, I'm now doubtful about the capability of the i5, if its going to achieve about 40% less than my current MBP.

Can anyone comment on how this would affect VE Pro usage? If I were to network my MBP and i7 Mac Mini as slaves, I presume they would still be capable of hyper threading even if the i5 iMac master wasn't.

Last edited by TEMAS; 2nd August 2017 at 04:56 PM..
Old 3rd August 2017
  #69
Lives for gear
Its always interesting trying to compare computers for pro audio use. I remember my first instance of venturing away from Mac Towers was replacing a 2009 MP Quad with a 2012 Mac Mini i7. Every Geekbench score said the Mini was the superior machine. Could anything have been more wrong? The Mini had no luck running low latency live tracks and even when i got it working well enough - 20% audio load would kick on full fans making it unuseable (at least for me).

But I know of no "better way" to compare them either! So I let them point in a direction but I audition every Mac I buy and many times Audition two or three before i settle. Comparing a 2013 2.7GHz i7 MBP to a 2017 3.4 (or 3.8) GHz i5 iMac. First off the single core speed has got to be near double on the 2017 - but what good does that do? To me - single core is all about recording tracks at lowest latency with fewest spikes and headroom. Lets just say the Multi Core score is the same - still I am sure the old i7 does way more Logic tracks than the i5 still. But what of the RAM speed that is hugely different - USB chipsets - SSD (probably triple the speed) - TB3 - desktop CPU vs Mobile - cooling system - etc? Wish I had answers for you! For my thinking though - a Geekbench score is an indicator - not an answer.
Old 3rd August 2017
  #70
Gear Addict
 
maxy's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by dudleys100 View Post
Just ran a session for a little over an hour on the 2017 i7. It had about 15 tracks and I was mixing and editing. I never heard the fan once. The fan technically sped up about 10% from idle but I never heard anything. I have about 8 hours of mixing this Saturday, I will report back. But so far so good
Please report back!
Old 3rd August 2017
  #71
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lowkey's Avatar
 

Agreed, it depends on what your use case is.
For me, I have never run into a bottleneck with disk I/o because I don't record full bands. If I am recording, its usually a channel at a time and for a synth, set at 24bit 44.1k. Likewise I've never had a disk issue for playback as id say half my tracks are running live VST instrument, rather than massive numbers of stems.

I don't use massive orchestral sample libraries either, so ram has never been an issue. In fact Cubase never takes all the ram I've currently got [16GB].

For me, its all about multi core performance for VST fx and instruments. I occasionally hit the limit of my 2.3Ghz i7 MBP. An upgrade to a current model 2.9Ghz i7 MBP might get me a 25% faster machine, but at a very high price. If I was looking at the iMacs, the 21" 3.6Ghz i7 or the 27" 4.2 Ghz are the only ones id be interested in as the i5s are only going to by a cross grade at best.

In fact a reconditioned or second hand 27" 4.0Ghz iMac is probably what id seriously consider as I don't have any need for the upgraded GPUs in the current model, and the 2015 models are popping up more regularly on gumtree/ebay now that video guys who need the best GPUs are upgrading.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ProPower View Post
Its always interesting trying to compare computers for pro audio use. I remember my first instance of venturing away from Mac Towers was replacing a 2009 MP Quad with a 2012 Mac Mini i7. Every Geekbench score said the Mini was the superior machine. Could anything have been more wrong? The Mini had no luck running low latency live tracks and even when i got it working well enough - 20% audio load would kick on full fans making it unuseable (at least for me).

But I know of no "better way" to compare them either! So I let them point in a direction but I audition every Mac I buy and many times Audition two or three before i settle. Comparing a 2013 2.7GHz i7 MBP to a 2017 3.4 (or 3.8) GHz i5 iMac. First off the single core speed has got to be near double on the 2017 - but what good does that do? To me - single core is all about recording tracks at lowest latency with fewest spikes and headroom. Lets just say the Multi Core score is the same - still I am sure the old i7 does way more Logic tracks than the i5 still. But what of the RAM speed that is hugely different - USB chipsets - SSD (probably triple the speed) - TB3 - desktop CPU vs Mobile - cooling system - etc? Wish I had answers for you! For my thinking though - a Geekbench score is an indicator - not an answer.
Old 3rd August 2017
  #72
Gear Addict
 

If I'm not mistaken the total score in Geekbench includes a various parameters, but if you look closer on a more detailed Geekbench report you'll see that f.i. a high score for memory also will affect the total score in Geekbench. As RAM speeds and such are not as important for audio, I will usually skip that and pay most attention to the floating point score. I will also find the exact name of the SKU and cross check with listings of PassMark and Cinebench results + placing it in a versus comparison over at UserBenchmark specifically looking at SC Float, QC Float and MC Float both overclocked and stock. (If you compare a SKU to the i7 7700K, I suspect especially QC Float will give you a good indication of how a system will perform when working with a fairly large project and then needing low latency on a heavy VSTi.) Sounds complicated, but once you've done it a couple of times it's super easy and it'll give you a pretty good idea of where your performance will be.
Old 3rd August 2017
  #73
I'm researching the 21.5" 3.6ghz i7 now. Not much first hand feedback on this model. But if it stays quiet and performs almost as well as the 27" 4.2ghz i7 this could be the right one for me.
Old 3rd August 2017
  #74
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by TEMAS View Post
I'm researching the 21.5" 3.6ghz i7 now. Not much first hand feedback on this model. But if it stays quiet and performs almost as well as the 27" 4.2ghz i7 this could be the right one for me.
Definitely post back what you find. The 16G/32G soldered in ram prices on this one ($200/$600) are no fun but the QC performance should be great.
Old 7th August 2017
  #75
Ran a few sessions over the last few days. Tracked some e gtr, mixed and edited in another session and programmed ssd 4 drum tracks. Still not hearing the fan. So far so good
Old 8th August 2017
  #76
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lowkey's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ProPower View Post
Definitely post back what you find. The 16G/32G soldered in ram prices on this one ($200/$600) are no fun but the QC performance should be great.
The ram isn't soldered on these. Neither is the CPU. Both are socketed and can be replaced. BUT you have to pull the screen off and glue it back on. Not something you would want to do while it's still under warranty. But in a couple of years time you could upgrade the ram and CPU if you had the skills.

edit:-
link
https://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/iMac...Teardown/92170

Last edited by lowkey; 8th August 2017 at 02:06 PM..
Old 10th August 2017
  #77
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by LieS View Post

EDIT: Just ordered the 4,2 Ghz with the 575 graphics card. Fingers crossed for a good fan experience.
So, I got this baby tuesday and have installed and run first sessions on it. Here are my impressions:

- First and foremost: I've ordered with 8 GB RAM, and I get stuck almost immediately. Loading up a couple of VI's and recording can get a system overload, which actually might be CPU, not sure there. But Logic freezes up and has to work hard to get back given the 8GB RAM.

- Screen is beautiful

- Haven't heard the fan yet, it hasn't once increased from 1200 rpm. That was my biggest concern, and it hasn't been a problem at all. Note that I'm sitting a home so it's not in a perfectly quiet studio.

- Magic trackpad feels so much less snappy than on my mbp.

- Geekbench score single/multi: 5505 / 18241. To compare with 4098 / 14260 on my mbp 2013.


In total my impression is a bit lukewarm. This is probably due to the low RAM, but I'm in between if I should order RAM to try it out or send it back and keep using my mbp, perhaps buy a bigger display. It's still a beautiful computer, but not sure this upgrade is worth the price.
Old 10th August 2017
  #78
Yes get the ram. 8 GB is nothing. I did the same thing, then loaded 32 GB from OWC and its a beast now.
Old 12th August 2017
  #79
Lives for gear
 

The 27" 2017 iMacs seem to be expandable like the 21" models.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=knMM...ature=youtu.be

Remains to be seen if besides the entry 27" the other models are as "easy" repairable too.

The cooling design tamed my lust for the latest iMac anyway.
Old 17th September 2017
  #80
Gear Head
 

So, quick report: buying extra 32 GB RAM, everything would work v slowly until I removed the original 8 GB. On a 2017 iMac 4,2 GHz.
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