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Mac pro or iMac
Old 3rd January 2011
  #1
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Mac pro or iMac

I was about to get myself a 8 core Mac Pro but have been advise not to. A friend who works heavily in graphics has told me to get an iMac with an i7 processor instead.

He says the i7 is going to be more powerful than the nehalem or the westmere. He also mentioned benefits of ssd.

I use Cubase 5.5, liquid mix, 2x UAD2 cards.

What's my best bet? My songs have run up to 100 tracks, and I use a hybrid setup so a lot of plugins an outboard gear/summing is used.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #2
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muziksculp's Avatar
 

Mac Pro 8 core

iMac
Old 3rd January 2011
  #3
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Processor speed is only one of the factors that needs to be considered. The expandability of the Mac Pro is much, much greater than that of an iMac. I won't go into a ton of details here, but for audio work the Mac Pro is a better choice.

For visual design work, an iMac might be fine. But audio requires more than one drive, I prefer three at the moment.

Mac Pro.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #4
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Mac pro or iMac

Also forgot to mention I run like 3 screens off my ati card (same one the mac pro comes with) so I wonder if thats possible with the iMac?

I'm told the uad can be run through a pci expansion of some sort.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msm07 View Post
I was about to get myself a 8 core Mac Pro but have been advise not to. A friend who works heavily in graphics has told me to get an iMac with an i7 processor instead.

He says the i7 is going to be more powerful than the nehalem or the westmere. He also mentioned benefits of ssd.

I use Cubase 5.5, liquid mix, 2x UAD2 cards.

What's my best bet? My songs have run up to 100 tracks, and I use a hybrid setup so a lot of plugins an outboard gear/summing is used.
He may have meant well, but his advice may have been a little misinformed. At this point, the only way that an iMac would be even close to being "more powerful" than the 'upper crust' of the westmere is if you were talking about any where from the i7 875's on up (960, 970, 975 or 980x - that is, if the iMac's are upgraded) and even then there are other factors that would determine power and speed. Also as was mentioned, your hard drive allocation and hard drive speed factors in heavily, depending on the nature of your SoftSynth/VI's.

A 6-Core 2010 Mac Pro, 8-Core Nehalem 2.93 Mac Pro or a 12-Core 2010 Mac Pro is more up your alley unless you want to go with a multi-setup where you use two 2010 i7 2.93 Quads and an additional Mac, iMac or even PC as the offset, using Vienna Ensemble Pro or other interface/network devices.

Many assign their power hungry VI's to a dedicated PC and network it with their Mac, offloading the heavy duty VI's to the PC but keeping the more moderate VI's on the Mac because the price of a powerful PC can be much less that the price of an additional Mac Pro or even a High End Mac Pro. For instance, if you could find or even have a 6-Core i7 PC built and then pick up a more moderate Mac Pro and network the two, you may find yourself in a better cost benefit ratio than getting a 'Big Dog' Mac Pro and have the benefit of multiple platforms and some sizable power, which is pretty much what most professionals do who need a lot of power along with a diverse platform palette to cover their VI/Plug-In needs. It would be similar to turning a PC into a super High-End Muse Receptor Pro to be hooked up to your Mac.

At any rate, the Mac Pro is probably the most efficient way to go and/or a hybrid Mac/PC setup. Of course, all of this is provided that you're operating at 44.1 Khz.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #6
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MonoBrow's Avatar
 

Imac= No uad.There is no extension that delivers pci-e to firewire or usb.
IMO go mac pro.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #7
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cane creek's Avatar
 

Like above iMac no UAD no storage for 4 internal hardrives , not sure how easy it is to fit extra memory in iMac however its very easy to upgrade memory in mac pro, Mac pro has 3x pcie's.

Bottom like is the iMac is designed as a multi media machine for the family to play music watch videos etc , the Mac Pro is a pro music machine designed to be expanded, take no notice of your friend my 8core mac pro is 3 years old and still runs any project I throw at it with tons of grunt left over.

Once upon a time I could understand why you bench marked machines as they were so easy to buckle under lots of instances of plugins , however today's top of the range Mac's just simply don't buckle I wouldn't take much notice of benchmarking at this moment the machine are way ahead of the software.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #8
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Either the quad core mac pro or the Imac I7 will get you the track count you need.

As the other guys mentioned, the expandability and hard drive configuration will be very useful on the Mac Pro.

This is not just for operation, but also downtime if something goes wrong. If for some reason your system hard drive fails in the Imac, you would need to take it to the Apple Store or other repair center for them to put a new one in. If it's still under warranty, it won't cost you anything, but your whole computer is out for several days. If it's out of warranty, it will cost you some money.

Whereas on a Mac Pro, you would simply swap it out for a new drive yourself.

This type of thing is not always what people think about when looking at an Imac.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #9
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Thanks everyone. I was just checking.

Configure - Apple Store (UK)

Leaving everything as it is...only adding a second HDD (which i'll get elsewhere) would this be a smart move now? I see a lot of talk about higher speed quad vs lower speed 8 core etc.
Old 4th January 2011
  #10
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Chunky But Funky's Avatar
 

Mac Pro!

Mac Pro is definitely the way to go. I just picked up a 2.66 quad core from BH Photo for $1799 for my "bigger" mobile rig. Already had the OWC 12 gig of RAM and 3 Seagate 7200 RPM drives here waiting. I've never owned a Mac Pro or seen inside of one. I watched a 5 minute video on YouTube and within 20 mins of opening the box upgraded my machine to 13 gig of RAM and two 500 gig audio drives in bay 3 / 4 and a 1.5 terabyte Seagate in bay 4 for Time Machine. $2230 later I have a machine that would cost over $4000 to configure on Apple's site. Can't wait to load Pro Tools 9 and hook up the ULN8's!!!

Definitely intrigued by the idea of an SSD boot / application drive, but that is another project for another after I see how things go with the current set-up.
Old 4th January 2011
  #11
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Dysanfel's Avatar
Ask yourself 2 questions.

1) Do you ever plan to use UAD plugins?
2) Do you plan to score film with 200+ tracks?

If the answer is no to both of these get the iMac as a Mac Pro is overkill. The iMac has the best viewing experience on the market, supports more RAM and has more CPU power than the quad MacPros, and with external drives you have infinite storage.
Old 4th January 2011
  #12
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cane creek's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dysanfel View Post
Ask yourself 2 questions.

1) Do you ever plan to use UAD plugins?
2) Do you plan to score film with 200+ tracks?

.
No offence but I think this is bad advise.

If the guy is lucky enough to be able to afford a Mac Pro then he'd be crazy to get an iMac instead, especially a guy who is into Audio production , Mac pro has plenty of expansion possibilitys leaving it more future proof saving you money in the long term.
Old 4th January 2011
  #13
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Mac pro or iMac

I use uad's and have 3 screens running at once. My graphic designer friend was saying the uad's can run via some form of expansion.

I planned a mac pro all along but just wanted to make sure. Thanks guys
Old 5th January 2011
  #14
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cane creek's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by msm07 View Post
I use uad's and have 3 screens running at once. My graphic designer friend was saying the uad's can run via some form of expansion.
Yes Magma chassis to externally house your UAD cards or UAD solo/laptop breakout box (which you'd need 4 of to make the power of the quad) , by the time you went iMac / magma chassis or UAD solo/laptop route you'd be paying more than twice as much as what you would be paying for the Mac Pro and twice as many headaches too , if I was you I'd stop taking advise off your graphic designer friend lol.
Old 5th January 2011
  #15
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dcrigger's Avatar
 

As far as drive expandability (which is a very big issue in this equation IMO), this recent development might give a new boost to the iMac argument -

eSata port add-on to 27" iMacs


David
Old 5th January 2011
  #16
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Sure, there were some compelling figures published on render speeds for video people with iMacs. But think of the bigger picture and take it from me [an iMac user for 4 years who recently had to service his mysteriously malfunctioning iMac out of warranty] go with a mac pro.

diagnosing and fixing your iMac on your own is waaaaaaaaaaay more of a cryptic pain in the arse than a mac pro or even a laptop. and paying to have it serviced is fiscal rape.

I would never recommend buying an iMac to anyone unless it's their intention to sell it before it's warranty is up.

My next mac will absolutely 100% be a [probably used] mac pro.

Old 5th January 2011
  #17
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cane creek's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dcrigger View Post
As far as drive expandability (which is a very big issue in this equation IMO), this recent development might give a new boost to the iMac argument
Nice , but I still prefer my 4 drives tucked away neatly inside my Mac heh
Old 5th January 2011
  #18
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dcrigger's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cane creek View Post
Nice , but I still prefer my 4 drives tucked away neatly inside my Mac heh
Sure, I can understand that, but at the same time for myself - I've been hanging two SATA drives off a eSATA card plugged into my MacBookPro for a couple of years now - they run full speed, I choose not to run them when I choose (so they aren't always running and never running inside a hot, life-expectancy-draining case) and I can swap in different drives whenever I choose.

But more importantly for this discussion is the potential what? $1000 price difference for currently the same exact performance.

For me, the iMac choice has long been off the table because of its over dependency on Firewire in an audio setting, but this mod, at least to me, changes that pretty dramatically. As I don't see how the other performance advantages I worth the considerable extra cost (admittedly I'm not a UAD guy). But for me, it certainly isn't worth the extra cost to have everything tucked neatly into one box - that I can barely move anyway. :-)

David
Old 5th January 2011
  #19
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cane creek's Avatar
 

One of the things I like about the Mac Pro is that is comes with a 1000 watt power supply as standard so even when you have a 8 core CPU packed with ram and 4 hard drives running everything still runs very cool.
Old 5th January 2011
  #20
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Chunky But Funky's Avatar
 

The other nice thing about the Mac Pro, even if you are using firewire devices, is that you can pop in a cheap PCIe firewire card and have another bus available. All my boxes are Metric Halo FW boxes (2 x ULN8 and 1 x ULN2). I still went with a Mac Pro because I feel it is the right tool for the job, especially for tracking with higher track counts.

I do have the Mini racked up in a Gator 10 over 6 pop-up case with a 19" LCD on top for 2 to 8 track outings with an external USB Seagate 7200 rpm drive. Works fine without glitches for hours of continuous recording. The iMac stays at home for the kids' school assignments, pictures with iPhoto and surfing the web.

Doug
Old 5th January 2011
  #21
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Dysanfel's Avatar
Mac pro or iMac

Quote:
Originally Posted by cane creek

No offence but I think this is bad advise.

If the guy is lucky enough to be able to afford a Mac Pro then he'd be crazy to get an iMac instead, especially a guy who is into Audio production , Mac pro has plenty of expansion possibilitys leaving it more future proof saving you money in the long term.
I could not disagree even more. A PCIe slot does not automatically mean future proof when considering an audio machine, and a PCIe slot is the only real advantage a Quad Mac pro has over the i7 iMac. For 99% of computer musicians a Mac pro is overkill. If he is scoring film with huge orchestral libraries and 300 audio tracks, then by all means get the best.

If you writing songs in your home, IMHO get the iMac.
Old 10th January 2011
  #22
Gear Maniac
 

I was about to get a iMac i7, I did a huge research on what
interface to choose, how to arrange external hd's , plancement and so ,
I even built a desk specificaly for the iMac .
Last Friday I went in an apple store here at tel aviv, talked to the sales representative tryd logic/pt on it and did all sorts of tests
and then left the store with a new quad mac pro...
I too was absolutly positive that a iMac would be wonderful
but I just can't take the risk using a closed system.
Just to dangareus ...


I am extremely happy with the choice I made
Old 10th January 2011
  #23
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^^^...and trust me you made the right choice!
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