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What used Mac is best bang for buck for 2k?
Old 3rd May 2019
  #1
What used Mac is best bang for buck for 2k?

In desperate need. I’ve called dozens of stores and trolled eBay and letgo for a month. I bought a 2016 MacBook Pro with 16gb ram and it was just not enough. I also do a lot of video so I’m thinking like an iMac? WHAT SPECS SHOULD I BE LOOKING AT?

Here’s wheat I think is best bang for buck, tell me where I’m wrong and right for under 2k:
- 64gb ram
- i7
- SSD
- 4ghz

What kind of graphics card can I afford? I can’t spend a dime over 2k. My glyphs and interface is thunderbolt 2 but I can buy adapters I don’t care.

Please help!! Thanks
Old 7th May 2019
  #2
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by jml designs View Post
In desperate need. I’ve called dozens of stores and trolled eBay and letgo for a month. I bought a 2016 MacBook Pro with 16gb ram and it was just not enough. I also do a lot of video so I’m thinking like an iMac? WHAT SPECS SHOULD I BE LOOKING AT?

Here’s wheat I think is best bang for buck, tell me where I’m wrong and right for under 2k:
- 64gb ram
- i7
- SSD
- 4ghz

What kind of graphics card can I afford? I can’t spend a dime over 2k. My glyphs and interface is thunderbolt 2 but I can buy adapters I don’t care.

Please help!! Thanks
Hi jml -

Given your budget constraints, I wouldn't argue with your thinking.

If you're still working this issue, can you be more specific on where your MacBook Pro failed you? Did it lack SSDs, for example? Was it choking on the thunderbolt IO? Was it just burning CPU cycles? . . .? You can see some of these specifics by using tools like the Activity Monitor app built into Mac OS.

I work primarily as an business consultant / software developer. Mobility is one of my most important requirements, so I tend toward laptops and the cloud. I use both a Dell Mobile Workstation [Windows] and a MacBook Pro - always going for top models fully loaded whenever I purchase. I always find the the Windows machines run circles around the Macs. However, I use the Mac a bit more often as it is more convenient to carry and less likely to burn my leg off.

Creative software packages that I use regularly on my MacBook Pro include Pro Tools Ultimate, Sibelius Ultimate, Adobe Creative Cloud [all apps], BorrisFX [Continuum, Mocha, Sapphire], and many others.

As a pro software developer for many years, I have extremely low tolerance for waiting on a computer to do anything! However, I find the top-end MacBook Pro [SSDs and thunderbolt 3] from the past couple years to be acceptable.


Ray H.
Old 9th May 2019
  #3
My MacBook Pro with 16gb ram and SSD just can’t keep up with a PT session, even with minimal plugs running. I need something that can run larger sessions with more plugs (stronger cpu), that’s the cut and dry of it.
Old 9th May 2019
  #4
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by jml designs View Post
My MacBook Pro with 16gb ram and SSD just can’t keep up with a PT session, even with minimal plugs running. I need something that can run larger sessions with more plugs (stronger cpu), that’s the cut and dry of it.
Unresponsive hardware/software is something I am slow to tolerate. So, I do sympathize with you.

For reference, I'm currently running Pro Tools Ultimate on a 2 year old [but high-end] MacBook Pro with 16gb ram and SSD via HD Native and the MTRX. Everything else for me is ITB, so I make significant use of plugins. With my material and workflows I don't see similar issues.

I do have to reboot the OS fairly often as design/implementation of some of Avid's software is unbelievably bad. For example, just looking at my activity monitor I see that AvidAppManHelper is chewing up over 1GB of RAM and has [an asinine] 4091 threads running. . .this is not close to acceptable for production code. Somethings AVID does are great, others - well not so much.

I suppose I would suggest going with some HD option and/or moving to Windows/Nvidia and FPGAs. No cheap way out that I know of. Maybe someone else will have better or more relevant advice.


Best wishes for your efforts,

Ray H.
Old 9th May 2019
  #5
Ray that’s great advice and you clearly know your way around hardware. Might I ask, do you think I would have better results with the iMac I mentioned in my original post? (64gb ram, 4.2ghz, 1tb SSD, etc) - assume I cant do HD/ultimate at this time (because my cash budget is only 2k right now to upgrade my setup). Would that iMac give me a significant advantage to my current 2015 MacBook Pro issues I’m experiencing? Thanks!!
Old 9th May 2019
  #6
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by jml designs View Post
[. . .] do you think I would have better results with the iMac I mentioned in my original post? (64gb ram, 4.2ghz, 1tb SSD, etc) [. . .] Would that iMac give me a significant advantage to my current 2015 MacBook Pro issues I’m experiencing? [. . .]!
I don't think it is likely to take you all the way where you want to be. It is easy to bet there would be some improvement. Like you, I would be worried it is not enough. I expect the only way to know for certain is to somehow try it.

If that option is not available, and if no one has already addressed this type of question recently in the forums, you may want to resubmit a similar query under a different title. For example:

'Need advice for hardware options with [YOUR SOFTWARE] on a budget?'

Where 'YOUR SOFTWARE' is focused on what is most important and painful with your current system. . .e.g. your DAW.

The current thread title strikes me as a bit too narrow. . .were I looking for a similar advice. I think a lot of talented, knowledgable engineers may have just jumped over it.

One last thing, more serious vendor software development for GPU optimization effort for generic computing has gone into Nvidia [which you often find on windows machines, for CUDA, and the like] than into AMD [which Apple likes].

If I were not somewhat accelerated via HD Native I would likely be more inclined to use Windows. For video editing, my Windows box [with Nvidia] is much stronger as well. If you've only been on Mac though, you may hate the Windows experience - not hinting it is any worse - but is is quite different. I've learned to live with and like both OK.


Best,

Ray H.
Old 10th May 2019
  #7
Old 15th May 2019
  #8
Ending up grabbing an imac 5k with 64gb ram, 4gb video, 1tb ssd and 4.0 ghz for 2500 in the end. Should hold me over for 3-5 years and I think that's a good ROI. Wanted the macpro but cheapest I could get one for with same specs was 3800 so... anyway thx for the recomendations you guys helped a lot. Thanks guys!
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