Computer for Studio Use

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by lumencreative, May 19, 2014.

  1. lumencreative macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 19, 2014
    Location:
    Lancashire
    #1
    I am currently in the process of setting up a home studio as a new project for me and my wife and I was planning on using my 2011 Quad Core i7 Macbook Pro as the 'studio computer' connected to an external screen.

    My original plan was to use a 27" screen alongside my Macbook Pro but seeing as I have 2 x Dell U2312HM Screens going unused, I would prefer to use these to save having to buy another screen.

    I have bought a Mini DisplayPort to DVI adapter to connect one but then realised I cannot connect a second screen to my Macbook Pro so I have started looking for another option.

    So....

    Should I sell my Macbook Pro and buy a Mac Mini which will give me the ability to run two displays (and I'll have about £300 cash left over).

    Or

    Should I sell my current screens and buy one 27" screen and stick with my Macbook Pro (would hopefully break even after selling the Dells and buying a 27").
     
  2. slu macrumors 68000

    slu

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2004
    Location:
    Buffalo
    #2
    I think you should do this.

    For a home studio, one could make a good arguement that a Mac mini is better suited to the task. To me, it seems to be.

    That is the option I would take. And I would take the money saved and use it to upgrade the mini.
     
  3. happyfrappy macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2007
    Location:
    Location eh?
    #3
    There are USB solutions which will provide a 2nd/3rd display for notebook owners, downside is you'll only want to use this "display" to show text/plug-ins/Photoshop palettes as the refresh is slightly slower.

    I use a MacBook Pro for studio work, problem I've had with the current generation Mac minis(Ivy Bridge) is if you use a HDMI-only monitor you need to disable the sleep mode of the mini as some monitors will get stuck in standby mode(some monitors don't play well with the included HDMI to DVI adapter too). For a side project, I had to hunt down a 2011 Mac mini.
     
  4. lumencreative thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 19, 2014
    Location:
    Lancashire
    #4
    Thanks for both your replies.

    The company I work for used to use USB to DVI devices to add 2nd displays to their machines. When I started there as the IT Engineer, they had monitors flickering, monitors not working at all until the PC got restarted and various other things. I appreciate that these may have been a lower quality solution than some available (and on Windows PC's) but the first thing I did was replace them all with dedicated GPU's.

    I guess the sole purpose of finding the right solution is that ideally, I would like to have the computer set up, configured and working and then it will be a dedicated computer for the studio and won't be a general machine. I wouldn't then need to keep fiddling to get this and that working.... disabling the sleep function might be a small price to pay.
     
  5. jtara macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2009
    #5
    The USB adapters are pretty laggy.

    I used to use one on my 2008 Aluminum Macbook. I ran it in clamshell mode with one screen on a DisplayPort adapter, and the other on the USB.

    I'm a software developer, and the second screen was useful for reading documentation, casual web browsing, and not much else.

    I got a 2012 Mac Mini for software development, and so now I have one screen on a DisplayPort to DVI adapter (oldie but goodie monitors! SamSung SyncMaster 213T, going on 15 years and still work great...) and one screen on an HDMI to DVI adapter.

    Much better.

    At this point, I think I would wait to see if there is an announcement of a new Mac Mini early next month.
     
  6. lumencreative thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 19, 2014
    Location:
    Lancashire
    #6
    Thanks for all the advice. I have taken the plunge and ordered the Quad Core i7 Mac Mini - my reasons being that the current gen Mac Mini has upgradeable hard drive and memory where I'm worried that the next generation will offer fixed storage and memory instead and so I would be stuck with the configuration options from Apple.

    I'm sure a quad core i7 would be powerful enough for what I need (especially if I whack an SSD in there).
     
  7. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    #7
    Brand new? Or from the refurbished store? I would have also recommended the Mini for a dedicated studio computer. Good call. You can save some money by ordering from the refurbished store. Since your purchase is not time critical (that is, replacing a broken system) take a week or two to obsessively watch the refurb pages for Minis. There are good deals there, and a refurb is sold 'as good as new'. Many folks think they're better than new because each unit has been individually inspected. Luck.
     
  8. lumencreative thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 19, 2014
    Location:
    Lancashire
    #8
    I went for a brand new one. I know the refurbs are a bit cheaper but only by about £40 by the looks of it.
     
  9. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    #9
    Deals come and go. The good deals don't stick around long. But if you're happy, no worries. Since you didn't use the $ I assume you aren't in North America, so the refurb store may have a different selection than I'm familiar with… maybe £40 is as good as it gets. Regardless, I think the Mini was the way to go.
     

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