Audio Mac - A new iMac G5 1.6 / Powermac Single 1.8 / 2nd hand dual G4?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by CHMC, Dec 14, 2004.

  1. CHMC macrumors newbie

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    Dec 14, 2004
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    Netherlands!
    #1
    hi there,

    next year, I'm going to persue an audio-related study (production and stuff, so lots of Logic/cubase stuff will be done on my mac!). Currently, I've got a 1ghz iBook, but for more processing power and lack of a solid desktop, I'm looking at what my options are. So far, I've considered the following:

    - a new iMac G5 1.6 (gives me a screen, i can upg. the RAM, G5 proc.)

    - a new single G5 1.8 powermac (doesnt give me a screen, but DOES give me a 0.2Ghz proc. increase, more expandability from within)

    - A 2nd hand dual G4 powermac (a QS or MDD; 1.25/1.0 ghz or 867mhz), which are most of the time pretty much loaded with RAM (1GB is no exception) and it gives me a dual proc. setup.

    so guys, what do you think is my best bet? Will the DP G4 age on me too quick? is the SP Pmac a good value, or should I go for the iMac G5?

    i hope some of you can give me some answers!

    regards,

    CHMC
     
  2. aloofman macrumors 68020

    aloofman

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2002
    Location:
    Socal
    #2
    Since you want expandibility and you'll probably end up upgrading the sound card, don't pick the iMac. I would go with the G5, but if that's too pricey, then the dual G4 should do OK. If it's for studying/learning/training in audio, I would say go with the cheaper one. If that's your career direction, you can upgrade after you start making some money. And there's always the chance that you'll change directions and not go into audio work, in which case you'll be out less money if you get the older machine.
     
  3. railthinner macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2002
    #3
    With the imac you may find yourself wishing you had pci slots down the road and the ability to add a second monitor (real nice for slapping a mixer on one and sequencer on the other, etc). Even though there are some great firewire interfaces now it's worth the powermac investment to be able to add something like powercore or other plugins reliant on additional processing. It's surprisingly easy to eat up your imac firewire port(s).

    serious warning: The mdd powermac has bad noise issues and in many cases is TOTALLY unuseable for audio. look here: g4noise.com We've got one for office and photoshop use and I could never (without major mods) consider moving it to a studio environment.
     
  4. cluthz macrumors 68040

    cluthz

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    Jun 15, 2004
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    Norway
    #4
    Audio-editing needs much screen real-estate. A 20-inch iMac would give you a bit more CPU power a superdrive and a larger hd than the 17-inch iMac.
     
  5. Bhennies macrumors 6502

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    Mar 20, 2004
    Location:
    NYC & Baltimore
    #5
    save 500 extra and get the dual 1.8. YOU WILL NOTICE a difference, especially in logic as it's made by...apple. DP will smoke on a dual as well. With these new convolution reverbs and soft synths...you'll need the power. Hell I would say get a dual 2.5. Plus Cubase is a CPU hog on macs.

    don't get a g4- old tech, slow system bus.
     
  6. CHMC thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Dec 14, 2004
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    #6
    Thanks for the replies;

    Sure, it would be awesome to acquire a Dual 1.8 (or even better, a dual 2.5 ) but it all comes down to budget. When you buy a Powermac 1.8 SP, you're not done by far. You need a monitor (or actually, two monitors), upgrade the RAM, etc. The iMac (and surely the 20inch, which has some awesome screenspace) only needs a RAm upgrade....

    the USB and FireWire ports can be upgraded by hubs right, so that shouldn't be too much of a problem. only thing is, that I wonder if there are many 3rd party soundcards available that work on the mac...!

    Thanks a lot

    CHMC
     
  7. supergod macrumors 6502

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    Jul 14, 2004
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    Toronto
    #7
    I would highly recommend finding a 1.6ghz powermac used. You can load the sucker up with RAM, upgrade (and overclock) the videocard and have a very nice machine for sound production. My current setup for running Logic 7 and Reason is 1.6ghz and only has 1gig of RAM and a Radeon 9600 but it runs wicked fast: even compared to the dual processor G4.
     
  8. railthinner macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2002
    #8
    Motu makes excellent firewire interfaces and I believe RME has a firewire model out now which likely has better converters and/or preamps, though I don't have first hand knowledge on it I'm sure you can find a review. Check out Digital Performer too--excellent app and that'll save you $500 right there over Logic, which you could put towards a PM over the imac.
     
  9. vtprinz macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2004
    #9
    I've heard a lot of bad reports about using firewire/usb hubs for music production. Lot of sound quality issues, recording glitches and so forth.

    I'm in kind of the same boat as you, and I think I'm heading toward the dual 1.8 PM. I know monitors are expensive, but I can get a 19" flat-screen CRT for about $200, which should be plenty for the time being, until I can afford a better one (and then I can use both monitors, rather than getting rid of the cheap one). I think the PM, especially dual processor, is MUCH more future-proof than the iMac. I can always get a stock PM and worry about adding ram, a better monitor, better video/sound cards, second hard drive, etc etc when I get the money down the road.

    Also, from what I've seen, even the single processor G5's outperform dual-processor G4's.

    Pay attention to Apple's Special Deals page. There's a Dual 1.8 G5 PM for $1699, $200 cheaper than the 20" iMac

    You might also want to check out www.osxaudio.com
     
  10. Bhennies macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2004
    Location:
    NYC & Baltimore
    #10
    It's the RME fireface 800- RME makes great stuff- I have an older 48k RME box and it still outperforms the MOTU and Digi LE gear (I have a 002rack as well). RME uses the same converters that can be found in the apogee gear but of course apogee is much more expensive with a more stable clock etc.

    Digital Performer is the best app out there right now. I would say Logic still takes the cake on soft synths, but there's a dirty little trick apple doesn't tell you...ultrabeat kits cannot be modified, nor can you load external kits, and the EVP88 (rhodes virtual instrument) can now be bought as a VST so really logic isn't quite worth the cash if you ask me. Digital Performer is MUCH better at handling audio than logic, which is quirky and quite bloated.

    I cannot stress how important a dual machine is. Cut corners on the monitors- get some crappy dell CRT's or something, but you WILL regret it if you don't buy the most CPU power you can afford right now. That's pretty much the one thing you can't upgrade.

    I'm hoping I can squeeze by on my powerbook for time being until the new g5's come out but I'm really hurting for CPU power. you can never have enough CPU.

    p.s. check out the lynx PCI sound cards....I think mercenary audio carries them. I hear they're best bang for buck unless you step into prism, benchmark, lavry territory when $5,000 will maybe get you 8 in 8 out.
     
  11. whenpaulsparks macrumors regular

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    Jun 5, 2004
    Location:
    Tallahassee, FL
    #11
    i think a dual G4 (go with the rare FW800 model if you can, it has support for Airport Extreme, bluetooth, and goes up to 1.42 GHz, i have one and i love it) would suit you better than a cheap low-end G5. think about it... would you rather have a 1 year old top-of-the-line machine that will still last for a few years, or a low end new one that is bare?
     
  12. Mechcozmo macrumors 603

    Mechcozmo

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2004
    #12
    How loud is it?

    The Dual 1.8 G5 is your best bet. Anything CPU heavy will go far better on two processors. The program can have an entire processor for itself, and the OS can have another. Much better. And you would have G5s. A cheap CRT wouldn't run that much, (someone said $200 and that sounds about right... maybe even less) and also the G5 would have the optical audio port. Something no G4 desktop has.
     
  13. CHMC thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Netherlands!
    #13
    Ok,

    yesterday, I went to one of the local apple centers here in Holland, and talked with a guy that knows a lot about Macs and audio. He recommended the Dual G5 2.0; he told me that with the DP2.0ghz you won't experience latency problems and such, and it was an incredible machine for audio etc. It also has the PCI-X slots, so that might come in handy for the future....

    Ok, I'm sure about going to head to the Powermac-line, but then; Isn't a Dual 1.8 good enough? i mean, here in Holland a Dual 1.8 without a modem/no dvd-r (dont need it) and the stock configuration (256MB/80GB harddrive, i know i have to upgrade that one for audiowork) and still no monitor will cost me (student discount included) 1.912 Euros; while a Dual 2.0 (comes with a 160GB HD/512 RAM no modem and DVD-R) will cost me 2.418 euros; that is a lot, and I mean, a LOT of money! Still need to buy a monitor and such...!

    so, what will it cost me when I would buy one in the US, let's see...Ok, a Dual 1.8, same config as above, would cost me, translated into Euro's, 1.234 euro's! WOW! That's a huge gap there, about 700 euro's LESS than here in Holland. the Dual 2.0 would run for...1.564 euro's!!! Damn, that's pissing me off! Someone willing to ship me a Dual G5 in the future? ;)!

    But ok, back on topic, what would you recommend, a dual 1.8 or 2.0????

    Thanks!

    CHMC
     
  14. truthfind macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2004
    #14
    You're a student, Right?

    I'm glad to see that you are willing to go the powermac route, wise choice. I have a single 1.8 and a dual 2g system (both with 1G ram and dual harddrives) and love them, but am of the opinion that you as a student would do more than just fine with a dual 1.8. I use DP4 on the 1.8 and it screams, even under a heavy plugin load, firewire interfaces and dual screen. In fact, the single 1.8 would do very well. Some of the studios that I visit use old g4s and do pretty well. Now, they also have some serious I/O hardware to compement and am sure that they would LOVE to move to the G5.

    A second hard drive is a MUST! (I am hoping that that is obvious to us all.) That will significantly reduce the load on your machine. I hadn't seen anything mentioned here on the thread so I thought that I would say something.

    Unless you already know what equipment you are going to use (firewire interfaces or pci) I wouldn't go for the imac. Nice machines, but unless your rig is set up so that you can accomodate an iMac, give yourself a little breathing room.
     
  15. MentalFabric macrumors 6502

    MentalFabric

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2004
    #15
    I'm an audio production student too, at the SAE in London. Are you going to SAE Holland? OT, the dual 1.8 will be more than fast enough. the expandability is needed though. Most audio equipment works on Mac - i even know someone who was shipped the Mac version of ProTools by mistake :)
     
  16. vtprinz macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2004
    #16
    I don't think you'd see much performance difference between the DP 1.8 and the DP 2.0. The 0.2Ghz difference is marginal, though there's also a 100Mhz FSB boost in the 2.0, not sure how significant that is. The only other difference is PCI vs. PCI-X

    The different sized HD is meaningless. You'd be much better off keeping the 80GB HD in the 1.8 and just getting a cheap second HD.

    Overall, I don't think the 2.0 is worth that much of a price difference. Unless you can manage to get it from someone in the US (as it would be cheaper than even the 1.8 in Holland), then I'd say stick with the 1.8
     
  17. Mechcozmo macrumors 603

    Mechcozmo

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2004
    #17
    The difference in processor speed isn't worth it. Get a second, fast hard drive (120 or 250 GB 7200 rpm drive) and use that as a scratch disk. The other disk can be a startup disk.


    Go for 1GB of RAM at least. For professional stuff, 512 isn't going to cut it nor 256. 768 isn't even worth it. On the Dual 1.8 you have 4 RAM slots, right? Because you have 256 to start, just get another two 512MB sticks or another three 256MB sticks of RAM. It will be fine. Or one 512MB stick, one 128MB stick and one 256MB stick if you want to get complicated.

    So, a Dual 1.8 with 1GB of RAM along with a cheap CRT monitor should work. You get a keyboard, mouse, and CD-RW drive with the PowerMac.

    You could cheap out and get the single 1.8... it depends on your budget. Much better to get the Dual now, and wait until later to upgrade the monitor to a bigger CRT. And remember that you can connect two displays to your Mac, so once you get the cash you can buy a LCD as well as a CRT and use both.

    Dual is the way to go! It gives you a lot of power plus, later, you can upgrade easily. And it is even easier to upgrade the monitor.
     
  18. CHMC thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Dec 14, 2004
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    Netherlands!
    #18
    Ok, that's obvious ;)!

    guess it's going to be between a 1.8 DP and a 1.8 SP; I'm going to use Logic Pro 7 (or 6, depends on which bundle of software we'll get) / probably cubase but mostly logic audio.

    I'm not going for the SAE, I had a look at what they offered, it did seem nice, but it costs a LOT of money (around 7000 euros a year, which will end up for 14.000 euro's during those two years), while a "regular" college-level study, will cost me about 4 years of 1.467 euro's; so that will make something like 6000 euro's; quite a difference! If I had the money to go to the SAE, I would though; how's your experience with them?
     
  19. quagmire macrumors 603

    quagmire

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2004
    #19
    I would recommend getting the dual 1.8 Ghz Powermac G5. I would recommend getting 1 GB of ram( 3rd party like crucial.com) and bumping the 5200 to the 9600XT. Since you will be getting student discount there should be a CRT there already in the monitor option box. Good luck!
     
  20. Mechcozmo macrumors 603

    Mechcozmo

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    Jul 17, 2004
    #20
    It isn't worth it to get the better graphics card now. This is a work computer. The 5200 will support Tiger and everything in it, and also support dual displays. Other than that, it is just extra money that is being spent with no extra gain. And later you can upgrade it and sell the 5200.
     
  21. jestershinra macrumors regular

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    Sep 4, 2004
    #21
    Just so you know about the RAM. Someone mentioned something about adding 3 sticks. Nothing doing. PowerMac's are very touchy about their RAM. You need PC3200 (it might still be PC2700 for the 1.8's, check w/ Crucial) RAM installed in identical pairs. Don't mess around with cheapo RAM.
     
  22. vtprinz macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2004
    #22

    The cheapest monitor you get get with the student discount is the Mitsubishi Diamond Plus 74 17" CRT for $175. Doesn't seem worth it in my opinion. You can get a 20" CRT for $200. Here's one quick example: http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage...54604&productCategoryId=cat01011&type=product

    Shop around and you can probably find more


    And someone mentioned buying memory in pairs. This is something crucial that I don't think apple explains very well. For the DP 1.8 (and I believe the others as well), the memory is in 2 banks of 2, so you MUST buy memory in pairs. If you want a gig, you're going to have to buy 2 512 sticks rather than just a single 1gb stick. Of course, it's cheaper that way, but it makes later upgrades harder, since you can't just buy a single 512mb stick now and wait until you have money for another later on. I don't know why it's set up this way, I wish it wasn't, but what can you do?
     
  23. Mechcozmo macrumors 603

    Mechcozmo

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2004
    #23
    Oh, thank you! Both of you!

    I read up on this.

    Certain computers require their DDR RAM to be installed in pairs like the older SIMMs. (Remember the Mac Classic?) Apparently the G5 falls into this category.

    So my recommendations to get to 1GB of RAM change. I'm sorry for that... my computer had DDR RAM and it apparently auto-detects if you install RAM in pairs or not. I didn't know about that and assumed otherwise. Yknow what happens if you assume. Ass|u|me.
    My recommendations are:

    four 256MB sticks
    OR
    two 512MB sticks
     
  24. CHMC thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Dec 14, 2004
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    Netherlands!
    #24
    i don't need a GPU upgrade; I was pretty much amazed by my iBook's aTi Radeon 9200 with a mere 32MB on board, I figured it would run slow and that was one of my biggest cons so I kept telling myself I needed the PBook 12" because it has more memory GPU-wise. 32 MB suits me fine, even when I run a dual monitor setup, no hassle at all! I don;t need flashy high speed graphics for games; it's going to be an audio machine after all!

    What's the biggest difference between a rev.A dual 1.8 and a rev. B dual 1.8? because if there's not a lot of a difference, I could check some out that are sold second hand; that would save me some money, right?

    I also checked the Formac-LCD's. They seem like an awesome deal; anyone experience with, let's say, the 20 inch-er and the screenestate?

    CHMC
     
  25. CHMC thread starter macrumors newbie

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