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iMac maxed out
Old 25th January 2015
  #1
Here for the gear
 

iMac maxed out

Hello I am new to this board and please forgive me if I ask any repeated questions.

I am in the process of wanting to buy a

27' iMac (later 2013) model non 5K Retina
3.5GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7
With a 3TB Fusion Drive and
32GB Ram.
Pro Tools 11 Full Version

The style of music I am going to be producing is (Electro, Top 40 and Hip Hop)

For now I will be producing all my music with VST instruments. I will probably run anywhere from 10 to 30 tracks at a time all running various VST instruments and plug-ins such as

Waves plug in bundles,
Sonic Reality Drum,
Native Instruments Komplete 10,
Rob Papen plug-ins,
Spectrasonics Omnisphere,
Sylenth1

and more just to name a few.

So here are three questions that I have.

1. Will this iMac run all this and maybe more without any problems?

2. Is there some sort of external hardware or unit I can purchase that would let me install all my VST instruments on that will also provide the processing power so that I could take some stress of the iMac. (sort of like the UAD-2 Satellite Thunderbolt) but instead of running effects plug-ins I could run actual VST instruments that I mentioned above.

3. What are some of the best MIDI keyboards that I can use with this set up.

In the later future I will hopefully be getting an Apollo 16 audio interface.

Thanks any help would be greatly appreciated.
Old 25th January 2015
  #2
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stratology's Avatar
 

For audio, I'd go with SSD rather than Fusion Drive.

Outsourcing CPU power for plug ins is not necessary these days. The CPU will go a long way, and if you run into limitations, you can freeze tracks.
Old 25th January 2015
  #3
Gear Addict
 
Little David's Avatar
You will be fine, no need to offload VIs to another machine. Those machines are very capable!

No suggestions as to a controller keyboard, I just use a Korg Microkey as I don't need anything but the basics...keys, pitch wheel, mod wheel.
Old 25th January 2015
  #4
Gear Addict
a fusion drive is an SSD + hard drive

Quote:
Originally Posted by stratology View Post
For audio, I'd go with SSD rather than Fusion Drive.

Outsourcing CPU power for plug ins is not necessary these days. The CPU will go a long way, and if you run into limitations, you can freeze tracks.
The Fusion drive is a combination of SSD and spinning disk. The 1TB Fusion is 128GB SSD + 1TB disk. Fast as all get out.

I recently upgraded to the quad I7 iMac with 1TB and am thrilled with the performance.
Old 26th January 2015
  #5
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stratology's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by facej View Post
The Fusion drive is a combination of SSD and spinning disk. The 1TB Fusion is 128GB SSD + 1TB disk. Fast as all get out.

I recently upgraded to the quad I7 iMac with 1TB and am thrilled with the performance.
I've seen sporadic reports that there are issues with Fusion Drive and audio recording, that's why I suggested SSD. If all works well for you, all the better...
Old 26th January 2015
  #6
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SSD Question

If I decide to go SSD how much drive space will I need to run Pro Tool 11 and various VST plug-ins.

When I start recording audio it will be on a separate external hard drive, (On the separate external hard drive should I go SSD as well)?

Thanks
Old 26th January 2015
  #7
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The separate hard drive for audio does not need to be SSD, unless you have the money to spend. You'll be fine with a good enclosure and good quality 7200 rpm traditional drive.

If you're going SSD for the main Imac system drive, try to go to at least 512 GB rather than 256.

One thing you can do is get a different external drive to use as a general purpose drive. On this drive, you would put all of your documents, Itunes music, photos, downloads, and various other things. That way you keep your system drive with only programs/applications on it, and it won't fill up so quickly. This general purpose drive can be USB3, and can be a decent quality 7200rpm drive.
Old 26th January 2015
  #8
I have a MBP with SSD and a 27" i7 imac with the 1tb fusion. the MBP boots a second or two faster, but in daily use, I see no difference in performance
Old 26th January 2015
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stratology View Post
I've seen sporadic reports that there are issues with Fusion Drive and audio recording, that's why I suggested SSD. If all works well for you, all the better...
Most issues were cleared up with a firmware and software update.

They work great as a system drive.

I wouldn't record to one, because you can't control what files get on the Flash memory.

Old 26th January 2015
  #10
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stratology's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by gdoubleyou View Post
Most issues were cleared up with a firmware and software update.

They work great as a system drive.

I wouldn't record to one, because you can't control what files get on the Flash memory.

Cool.

The file system on Fusion Drive actively moves files that are less frequently used from the SSD to the HD, so even if the audio files went to the SSD during recording, they may be on the HD if the project hasn't been opened for a while, or other files are used more frequently.
Old 26th January 2015
  #11
Here for the gear
 

So is it safe to say I can get a 1TB fusion drive and have Protools 11, and various VST instraments, plus any updates from time to time and everthing will run fine.

Or should I get a 512GB Flash drive and still have enough room to run all the above without any worries of running out of space.

Also for an external drive what is better for recording audio files to. A Flash Drive, Fusion Drive or HD at 7200. Also will it make a difference on how I run the external drive via USB or Thunderbolt.

Thanks
Old 27th January 2015
  #12
Gear Addict
 
Little David's Avatar
I'm personally wary of fusion drives. Two ways to fail it seems, as an issue on either side means it's over. I buy SSDs anymore for OS/projects/everything.
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