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Old Mar 31, 2010, 02:14 PM   #1
Soundhound
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What iMac to get - Logic Pro user

I think my 2.16 ghz imac may have bitten the dust (logic board might be dead) so I may need to get a new mac.

I'm running Logic Pro, the latest, using basically the instruments that come with it, and have garritan personal orchestra as well. I'm doing a short film scoring job now which is orchestral hans zimmer, danny elfman kind of stuff. For the most part I do soul/blues/funk kind of stuff using EZ drummer and groove monkee grooves, recording a fair amount of guitar and vocals etc.

Is a Core 2 Duo enough for what I need? The current one is 1699. Or there's the i5 or quad core whatever it is for 1999.

What should I buy at this point?? Crap! Help!

Thanks!
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Old Mar 31, 2010, 02:47 PM   #2
newuser2310
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i have the 21' c2d, couldn't afford the quad core at the time.

I run complex files(30 tracks with plugins) in logic 9 and manage with out any lag or glitches at the moment.

Do wish I had an i5/i7 though, as I'm sure as my techniques get better and amount of tracks & plugins increase the c2d will become a liability.

Go for the quad i5/i7 it will be much better in the long run.

Last edited by newuser2310; Mar 31, 2010 at 02:59 PM.
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Old Mar 31, 2010, 03:10 PM   #3
ChrisA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soundhound View Post
...
What should I buy at this point?? Crap! Help!

Even a low-end Mac could work if you were willing to bounce tracks to audio. People did fine on the old G5 iMac. I think screen space matters the most, then RAM and then after that look at your budget and buy the best CPU you can
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Old Mar 31, 2010, 03:24 PM   #4
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Yes I have found the 24" to be limiting, so am drooling over the 27". But money is an issue right now, so.... I found a Core 2 Duo refurbished, basically my machine but a year or so later, for only about $1100, and I'm think about that one.

I guess the question becomes, is the Core 2 Duo going to be a viable CPU for serious Logic Pro use over the next few years, or will it start to become a constraint on what I can do??

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Originally Posted by ChrisA View Post
Even a low-end Mac could work if you were willing to bounce tracks to audio. People did fine on the old G5 iMac. I think screen space matters the most, then RAM and then after that look at your budget and buy the best CPU you can
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Old Mar 31, 2010, 03:49 PM   #5
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I guess the question becomes, is the Core 2 Duo going to be a viable CPU for serious Logic Pro use over the next few years?
No
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Old Mar 31, 2010, 03:54 PM   #6
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So I should get a quad core (I think they're called i5?) if I'm getting a new iMac for Logic use?

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No
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Old Mar 31, 2010, 05:09 PM   #7
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So I should get a quad core (I think they're called i5?) if I'm getting a new iMac for Logic use?
The c2d machine will become inadequate very quickly with heavy use of Logic

Go for the i5/i7!! (they are twice as fast as the c2d)

Logic 10 will be sick!
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Old Mar 31, 2010, 05:25 PM   #8
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Okay here we go.

Is there a good reason to spend the extra $200 (over the 27" i5 imac) for an i7 at this point?

Quote:
Originally Posted by newuser2310 View Post
The c2d machine will become inadequate very quickly with heavy use of Logic

Go for the i5/i7!! (they are twice as fast as the c2d)

Logic 10 will be sick!

Last edited by Soundhound; Mar 31, 2010 at 05:32 PM.
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Old Mar 31, 2010, 05:32 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Soundhound View Post
Okay here we go.

Is there a good reason to spend the extra $200 (over the 27 i5 imac) for an i7 at this point>
the extra 200 will get your more power and better longevity.

If you want to use Logic for semi amateur/amateur/pro music now and in the future then the i7 is the way to go.

Or get the new 2010 Mac Pro, it all depends on your budget.
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Old Mar 31, 2010, 06:03 PM   #10
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Well money is tight right now. So I need to spend as little as I can, while trying not to get myself in a corner. Seems like two possibilities:

1) I could get a refurbished 24" core 2 duo with 4 megs of ram for a little over a grand, and have the machine I just lost (a little faster, a little more ram), which I think was up to the task, until it blew up.

2) Or I could get the new i5 quad core iMac for 1999 and be in decent shape for a few years...

Crap.

Quote:
Originally Posted by newuser2310 View Post
the extra 200 will get your more power and better longevity.

If you want to use Logic for semi amateur/amateur/pro music now and in the future then the i7 is the way to go.

Or get the new 2010 Mac Pro, it all depends on your budget.
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Old Apr 1, 2010, 01:37 AM   #11
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I would say it's worth the extra cash, but it depends on how well you cope with having to adapt to your machine not coping.

Currently my 2.33 C2D MBP is starting to choke on some of my sessions in Ableton, which means freezing tracks to free up some CPU. This severely interrupts my workflow and as such, I've hardly written anything recently.

The C2D will be fine as long as you're prepared to maybe occasionally bounce files to audio (say, on particularly plugin-heavy tracks) or raise the CPU Buffer if you don't need a lack of input latency.

If you can't work like that (and I can't), go for an i5 (or i7 if you can afford it). Then you can afford (computationally that is) to work however you please without worrying about compromising the CPU.


Hope this helps.

JC
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Old Apr 1, 2010, 02:33 AM   #12
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It certainly does. Thanks for sharing that experience. They are trying to put in a new graphics card and see if that cures the problem. If it doesn't then I'm just out the labor cost, $130 or so.

If my iMac cheats death this time around, I'll hopefully get through this project with it. If not, I hope I can muster the forces for an i5 or i7.

Thanks!


Quote:
Originally Posted by joe.cavers View Post
I would say it's worth the extra cash, but it depends on how well you cope with having to adapt to your machine not coping.

Currently my 2.33 C2D MBP is starting to choke on some of my sessions in Ableton, which means freezing tracks to free up some CPU. This severely interrupts my workflow and as such, I've hardly written anything recently.

The C2D will be fine as long as you're prepared to maybe occasionally bounce files to audio (say, on particularly plugin-heavy tracks) or raise the CPU Buffer if you don't need a lack of input latency.

If you can't work like that (and I can't), go for an i5 (or i7 if you can afford it). Then you can afford (computationally that is) to work however you please without worrying about compromising the CPU.


Hope this helps.

JC
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Old Apr 1, 2010, 11:01 AM   #13
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I'd avoid the iMacs. I had 4 in the last 6 weeks all with problematic screens.

If your currently looking at the 27" i7 iMac then why not buy a Mac Pro for the same price? You will need a screen but they really are cheap from other places. A 22" will cost you under 150, HD ready, fully compatible.

I gave up on iMacs and went for the quad core mac pro with 2 22" screens. More powerful than the iMacs and more upgradable.
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Old Apr 1, 2010, 11:38 AM   #14
joe.cavers
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Originally Posted by mjsmke View Post
If your currently looking at the 27" i7 iMac then why not buy a Mac Pro for the same price? You will need a screen but they really are cheap from other places. A 22" will cost you under 150, HD ready, fully compatible.
I should point out that this is the same conclusion I've come to recently, and a Mac Pro is going to be my next upgrade. The 8-Core, although a fair bit more expensive, will last a LONG time and I can easily stick 16gb of RAM in there for far cheaper than the iMac since there are 8 RAM slots.

Glad I could help btw!

Joe
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Old Apr 1, 2010, 12:26 PM   #15
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In looking at the iMacs (money is tight!), the 27" can either be i5 or i7. They are both quad core though.

What's the difference between i5 and i7?
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Old Apr 1, 2010, 12:51 PM   #16
joe.cavers
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If I'm right (and I may not be), the i5 is a quad, but the i7 can run "virtual cores", enabling you to have up to 8.

Someone else want to chip in and confirm this?

JC
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Old Apr 1, 2010, 02:41 PM   #17
ChrisA
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Originally Posted by joe.cavers View Post
If I'm right (and I may not be), the i5 is a quad, but the i7 can run "virtual cores", enabling you to have up to 8.

Someone else want to chip in and confirm this?

JC
Cut and passed from Apple's web site......

Quote:
The Intel Core i7 processor also features Hyper-Threading technology, which allows two threads to run simultaneously on each processor core, providing eight virtual cores for increased performance.
Look on the page where you configure the order and click "learn more"
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Old Apr 1, 2010, 04:05 PM   #18
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I see. Hmmm. Does anyone have a sense of (or know!) if Logic Pro (and plugins such as EX Drummer and Garritan Personal Orchestra) are able to make use of the i7?
Or the i5 for that matter?



Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisA View Post
Cut and passed from Apple's web site......



Look on the page where you configure the order and click "learn more"
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Old Apr 1, 2010, 04:12 PM   #19
joe.cavers
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As far as I'm aware, Logic can't make use of multiple cores, but it CAN make use of large amount of RAM as of Snow Leopard and Logic 9. The multiple cores will benefit you when multitasking however (i.e. running Logic, iTunes, Firefox, VLC all at the same time).

JC
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Old Apr 1, 2010, 04:35 PM   #20
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I've been asking some of these questions on a logic site as well, and this is one response I got:

<<On my i7, Logic sees 8 cores and uses them.

To answer your other question, the DAW manages threading and core usage. Most plug-ins can't be better or worse for a given processor.

Also, I think all DAWs still will not split a single channel strip over more than 1 core. So, lets say I have 1 track and on it I have 5 Space Designers. Logic will only use 1 core. If I instead (for example) move 3 of the space designers to an aux and route from my 1 track to the aux, then Logic will use 2 cores for my 1 track.>>



Quote:
Originally Posted by joe.cavers View Post
As far as I'm aware, Logic can't make use of multiple cores, but it CAN make use of large amount of RAM as of Snow Leopard and Logic 9. The multiple cores will benefit you when multitasking however (i.e. running Logic, iTunes, Firefox, VLC all at the same time).

JC
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Old Apr 2, 2010, 04:53 AM   #21
joe.cavers
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Wow, totally did not know that. I thought Logic was still only able to make use of 1 core.

Good news!

JC
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Old Apr 2, 2010, 12:48 PM   #22
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Yeah, cool indeed! That's just one posting, though others there seemed to think it could use quad core as well. Looks like if my iMac doesn't make it, I'll try to afford some kind of quad core!

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Originally Posted by joe.cavers View Post
Wow, totally did not know that. I thought Logic was still only able to make use of 1 core.

Good news!

JC
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Old Apr 5, 2010, 04:00 PM   #23
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My iMac got a new graphics card, and they (Apple Store) said that was what was causing all the problems, and that it tests out fine. Phew!. For now.

In looking into faster, newer iMacs, it made me on the lookout for any bandwith issues I might run into with CPU, RAM etc.


I brought it home and have been trying it out with all the peripherals (MOTU 828, couple of 1TB hard drives, Drobo, Roland midi key controller, etc) and so far so good.

I have been keeping an eye on the4 CPU level indicator in Logic, and with a fairly simple piece going, it's, more than halfway up. So this leads to a couple questions.

1) I notice that the 'led' CPU level indicator in Logic has an upper and lower section. Does anyone know what these two levels indicate?

2) I'm taking it that those are indicators of how much processing power is being used. Is there a way to tell how much RAM is being used? I have 3 Gigs, and wonder if and when I'll hit that ceiling. If I do, how will I know? Aside from the program crashing, I guess...?

3) I picked up a copy of Snow Leopard at the Apple Store and asked the guy if it would be a good idea for me to install it, with my older iMac, and running the latest Logic Pro. He said he thought it should be fine, and that in fact Snow Leopard does some better traffic management with instruction code etc, and that it could in fact lower the CPU usage. Anyone have experience with that?: finding that moving to Snow Leopard lowered their CPU usage in Logic?

Sorry for the long post, and thanks!!
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Old Apr 5, 2010, 06:25 PM   #24
newuser2310
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1) I notice that the 'led' CPU level indicator in Logic has an upper and lower section. Does anyone know what these two levels indicate?

The top section(in logic 9) is smaller (turns red) and indicates that your maxing out the cpu, this often happens to me when bouncing down a track. If the cpu level stays in the lower section then your fine.

2) I'm taking it that those are indicators of how much processing power is being used. Is there a way to tell how much RAM is being used? I have 3 Gigs, and wonder if and when I'll hit that ceiling. If I do, how will I know? Aside from the program crashing, I guess...?

Download istat(free widget for the dashboard) this will show you at the stats and shows how much ram your using. Activity monitor(in utilities) will also show your ram usage. Remember to have lots of free space on your hd as osx uses lots of virtual memory and can bog down when your hd space becomes limited

3) I picked up a copy of Snow Leopard at the Apple Store and asked the guy if it would be a good idea for me to install it, with my older iMac, and running the latest Logic Pro. He said he thought it should be fine, and that in fact Snow Leopard does some better traffic management with instruction code etc, and that it could in fact lower the CPU usage. Anyone have experience with that?: finding that moving to Snow Leopard lowered their CPU usage in Logic?

My old machine used a ppc chip and my new one came with Snow Leopard installed, so I can't really comment as the new machine is in a different league speed wise.


PS

Its worth fiddling with the audio latency settings(increase the latency) if your maxing out your cpu easily during creation/playback.

Do a search for audio latency, you will get a much better explanation than I can give you.
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Old Apr 5, 2010, 07:59 PM   #25
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Thanks. I'll look into latency and other CPU saving strategies. It turns out I've got istat already running and I took a look. It seems that when Logic is idle, I've got 55% or so of CPU free. When I run a section, it goes down to about 24%.

I'm guessing that loading instruments uses up RAM, so if you have tons of instruments loaded into tracks that you're not using, you're still using RAM, is that right?

My other guess is that when audio trachs and midi tracks play (and use their attendant processing, reverb etc etc) that's when the CPU gets taxed.

Do you know if it works pretty much that way?



Quote:
Originally Posted by newuser2310 View Post
1) I notice that the 'led' CPU level indicator in Logic has an upper and lower section. Does anyone know what these two levels indicate?

The top section(in logic 9) is smaller (turns red) and indicates that your maxing out the cpu, this often happens to me when bouncing down a track. If the cpu level stays in the lower section then your fine.

2) I'm taking it that those are indicators of how much processing power is being used. Is there a way to tell how much RAM is being used? I have 3 Gigs, and wonder if and when I'll hit that ceiling. If I do, how will I know? Aside from the program crashing, I guess...?

Download istat(free widget for the dashboard) this will show you at the stats and shows how much ram your using. Activity monitor(in utilities) will also show your ram usage. Remember to have lots of free space on your hd as osx uses lots of virtual memory and can bog down when your hd space becomes limited

3) I picked up a copy of Snow Leopard at the Apple Store and asked the guy if it would be a good idea for me to install it, with my older iMac, and running the latest Logic Pro. He said he thought it should be fine, and that in fact Snow Leopard does some better traffic management with instruction code etc, and that it could in fact lower the CPU usage. Anyone have experience with that?: finding that moving to Snow Leopard lowered their CPU usage in Logic?

My old machine used a ppc chip and my new one came with Snow Leopard installed, so I can't really comment as the new machine is in a different league speed wise.


PS

Its worth fiddling with the audio latency settings(increase the latency) if your maxing out your cpu easily during creation/playback.

Do a search for audio latency, you will get a much better explanation than I can give you.

Last edited by Soundhound; Apr 5, 2010 at 08:05 PM.
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