2013 Mac Pro for Music?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by fastlanephil, Jun 10, 2013.

  1. fastlanephil macrumors 65816


    Nov 17, 2007
    I'd just be using it for audio work. The dual GPUs are just for graphics aren't they? They probably don't boost speed for audio apps. If that's the case then I'd be paying quite a bit for something I'd never really use.

    Maybe just keeping my iMac and adding a TB RAID is a better choice for me. I'm hoping the new MacPro will come with different configurations in the future. At least I'll be able to move the TB RAID over to it then.
  2. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    Maybe? The dual GPUs are very strongly targeted at OpenCL, but I've only seen a few (promising) demos of OpenCL music apps.

    You'd have to wait to see what the final options are. If you can get it with not very expensive card(s), it would be a pretty great machine, with the fast SSD and memory.
  3. Tanax macrumors 6502a

    Jun 15, 2011
    Stockholm, Sweden
    We haven't seen the configuration-options yet so maybe GPU's are optional - who knows? I doubt they'd be cutting out audio-users though by having a "dual GPU by default" option and making them pay that much for something they don't need - they know audio-users will look elsewhere then.
  4. electronique macrumors 6502

    Aug 27, 2008
    There was talk years ago when I was on Windows.

    Basically a team if devs were trying to implement a way of Audio plugins (effects and instruments) using the power of the computers GPU, to process. This would take the load of the CPU. It would work much the same as UAD cards.

    How good would it be if this came to light.
  5. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    I don't know anything about audio creation software, but I would assume that in the future the main ones will be able to leverage the GPU for computational purposes, if they don't already.
  6. TwoBytes macrumors 68030


    Jun 2, 2008
    Lots of studios use iMacs fine. The CPU power of the pro would be nice though. I'd make a decision on how often you upgrade your system. New Mac Pro infrequently vs more iMac upgrades
  7. ekwipt macrumors 6502a

    Jan 14, 2008
    I'd hold out for the specs, I'm guessing you'll be able to buy it with a lot cheaper cards for audio, maybe Apoggee will come out with some sort of thunderbolt/ADAt or similar pci-e in the new form factor
  8. fastlanephil thread starter macrumors 65816


    Nov 17, 2007
    Then Apple is probably programing the next version of Logic Pro, which is long over due, in OPENCL to take advantage of the dual GPUs which Phil Schiller said is standard configuration.
  9. macdud macrumors member

    Jan 16, 2011
    nothing too exciting for pro audio users.. you're actually losing a lot compared to current mac pros, namely internal storage solutions & pci audio card support.. firewire is also gone so you'll need to buy adapters/external options.. hardly any audio interfaces support TB yet (outside UAD) and last but not least Mavericks that'll ship with the new mac (obviously) isn't yet certified with any DAW/plugin suite.. hopefully things will evolve by the time it's released but currently any quadcore i7 mac with max ram & SSD should be more then enough for most DAW applications..
  10. Justin941 macrumors newbie

    Jun 14, 2012

    That would be awesome if apple implemented opencl in au2 (audio units 2) and introduced it with logic x
  11. Tanax macrumors 6502a

    Jun 15, 2011
    Stockholm, Sweden
    Shiller didn't say which FirePro GPU's would be used in the base configuration. It's possible some low end GPU's will be used (i.e. fairly inexpensive).

    He did say: "Video editors, musicians, graphic designers count on Mac Pro to get their work done" so I doubt they'll include uneccessary GPU-power for those who don't need it, especially if he explicitly mentioned musicians as a targeted customer-group.
  12. OS6-OSX macrumors 6502a


    Jun 13, 2004
    That 2013 MP for audio would be a giant waste of money!
    You have to think of your current gear and how it connects to your Mac.
    Also, mixing is where your Mac will get tested. Are you running UAD and Waves at the same time? Using Protools HD? Get a small 64GB SSD and plug it in for your audio drive. Add trks and plugs til it yells uncle! Using Digital Performer, Logic audio? Use your buses too! Doing 48k 24bit?
  13. spoonie1972, Jun 12, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2013

    spoonie1972 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 17, 2012
    Really, what it comes down to (for me).. geekbench.

    Right now, scores approaching almost 30,000 are available to use with the 4,1 and 5,1 using the x5690 x2.

    It's not an inexpensive way to go, but if the new macpro blows this out of the water, sign me up. I'll happily use an adapter for my FW MOTU stuff.
    However, I want to see 32 and 64 GB ram chips available at prices that wont kill me (if there's only 4 slots)

    I realize avid people will be less happy to switch to the TB version of "native" as the latencies are higher.

    edit: However, I'll need to see MADI cards from RME over TB2. right now.. there's nothing wrong w/ their pcie offerings.
  14. fastlanephil thread starter macrumors 65816


    Nov 17, 2007
    Yes, I see there will probably be lower end GPUs available. This makes a lot more sense.
  15. Octogibbon macrumors member

    Apr 3, 2013
    Small studios maybe, decent production suites are strictly MacPro only, or lots of PCs.


    No current DAW software has any OpenCL support, and I doubt it'll be added in the future as it'd cripple any mobile solutions.

    As for external options, Magma have the provenance for mounting chassis in the A/V arenas. They have already produced 1 and 3 bay Thunderbolt solutions for those needing mobile options, and one can only assume they will produce Thunderbolt versions of their usual 4 and 5u 8-12slot racks for the new MacPro. I wouldn't be at all surprised in seeing Apple buy them up though...
  16. Sharky II macrumors 6502a

    Sharky II

    Jan 6, 2004
    United Kingdom
    I must have missed him mentioning musicians. I thought all of the MP presentation was very video/3d/scientific centric. Glad to know i missed it.

    I guess Logic X is a way off yet, so they can't/don't want to mention it.

    For me, per core speed (and ram speed) is paramount vs 12 cores, so i hope there's something cheaper. Otherwise i'll sell my 2008 2.8GHz mac pro and try to find a 6 core 3.33 ghz current/old model.
  17. Octogibbon macrumors member

    Apr 3, 2013
    RME are having many of the same problems Avid did with their TB offerings - the latency is unacceptable. Until that is resolved, I'm sticking with my PCIe MADI rig!

    Having said that, I do trust if anyone can solve it, RME will. Avid on the other hand.... ;)
  18. spoonie1972 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 17, 2012
    Avid will find a way to make WAY more money on this than RME. ;)
  19. Octogibbon macrumors member

    Apr 3, 2013
  20. aliensporebomb macrumors 68000


    Jun 19, 2005
    Minneapolis, MN, USA, Urth

    Prediction: the "new tube" breaks 50,000 in geekbench.


    That rack is a thing of beauty. Thanks for posting it.
  21. Wild-Bill macrumors 68030


    Jan 10, 2007
    OMG. :eek: I need to clean the drool off my keyboard !!!!! :eek:
  22. fisha macrumors regular

    Mar 10, 2006
    I suppose it depends n what your current limitations are with your workflow. Are you held back by the data source system or the ability to churn through the data with the computing power.

    I think the whole gpu thing is a bit of a false assumption that it'll always be better to offload to to a gpu.

    Can't find the article to hand, but there was a really interesting post by adobe engineers on the benefits of their work to offload to gpu acceleration .. In short it wasn't necessarly faster all of the time, it depended on the type of calculation you were doing with the data.

    Sometimes the time it took to transfer data to and from a discrete gpu outweighed the time benefit of gained by the gpu calculating.

    Sometimes it was better to transfer to the on-die gpu of an intel chip (hd4000) cause it was closer to shift data.

    Sometimes it was fastest for the CPU to do the work itself.

    In terms of your question ... I'd say CPU power is more important than the gpu just now
  23. Loa macrumors 68000


    May 5, 2003

    A question from a total noob in terms of music production: which part(s) of the process requires top of the line CPUs?


  24. Octogibbon macrumors member

    Apr 3, 2013
    Audio processing, especially in realtime, is very CPU intensive. Bearing in mind a single small processing plugin might take up a whole 1% of your CPU power. Except you want to use it on 120 tracks... Or others which use more, or lots of others that use less. ... so the alternative is to render the audio offline, which takes valuable time and will only happen quicker with faster CPUs. The more cores the better as decent audio software is written to take advantage of every core it can get its hands on and will spread the load as far and wide as it can (so turbo cycles aren't a great deal of use, one of the reason dual-Xeon systems still compare well to the newer and supposedly faster i7 rigs for this sort of thing).

    Additionally, it takes processor cycles to run the audio engine itself, and also to support the audio interfaces - running a stereo or even 5.1 output to speakers for games and music is child's play, running 384 channels of digital audio in and out of the computer, when synchronised to HD video with sample-level accuracy (for HD, that'd be 48,000hz at 24fps / 24-48 sub frames, 96khz if you're dithering to 48 for Bluray or keeping at 96 for SACD mastering)... that is a big heavy load.

    My main audio machine is a 12-core MP with 64gb of RAM... and I have two i7 PC slaves with 24gb of RAM each sat alongside it so when the MacPro is out of power I can offload requirements over to those and keep working. Mine is a small facility, but a usual cue can easily run to 80% CPU usage without really trying too hard. I have only 128 channels coming in and out, not the 384 in the example above, yet my machine sits at around 8-10% cpu usage even at idle....
  25. derbothaus macrumors 601


    Jul 17, 2010
    What about the TB>FW800 dongle? Does that reduce the latency using the FW protocol? Problem solved if you can work within the confines of 24 streams. This has me a little worried with my Metric Halo gear. MH will be offering a TB upgrade backplane but suggest TB>FW800 for now. Thoughts?

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