DAW help

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by STUCKwitPC, May 17, 2012.

  1. STUCKwitPC macrumors newbie

    May 17, 2012
    I need expert opinions from mac users out here who have switched from pc regarding the use of mac mini as a daw.I'm thinking about
    buying the new mini mac server with the i7 processor,downgrade to snow leopard, upgrade the ram to the 8 gb ,upgrade one of the hdd with an ssd (for sample library) and a new fw/usb audio inteface(apogee duet2/ motu audio express 6x6 ) may be switch to logic .

    What are the problems that i might face if i use this mac rig mainly for midi sequencing for eg what if want to work with 8 to 16 midi tracks going to ni komplete 7 and 2 to 4 wave files is this new rig gonna be stable when compared to a similar spec pc ?

    With my current centrino core2duo pc laptop(4gb,5400rpm hdd,usb keyboard controller) and an echo indigo djx expresscard interface i can run propellerheads reason 5 @ 512 buffer settings with no noticeable latency,i can play to the metronome i hear what i play in real time but when i use it to run any vst inside cubase it sucks big time its hard to keep up with the metronome because of the audio latency(or midi latency i really donno) even @ 256 or lower buffer settings .I have tried all the system time stamp,emulated port or whatever thing that is with cubase it didn't worked out very well.I was able run most of my vst plugs on standalone mode or using a vst host with no noticeable latency.
  2. TheMTtakeover macrumors 6502


    Aug 3, 2011
    I switched fromm a dell i3 processor win 7 4gb of ram to a mac mini i5 dual-core osx lion 8gb of ram. I will say that for me lion uses about 2gb more of ram for the same tasks that I did in Windows.

    For example, in windows I would typically use between 2-3gb of my ram. On my mac Im usually between 4-5gb of ram.

    I run FL Studio with 24ms of buffer time and have never had any issue with my CPU not being able to handle it. And that is with the dual-core i5. so Im sure the quad i7 will handle everything you need. and as I said for me 8gb is enough for me to have open FL, safari, iTunes, and what every else I may be working on all at once.

    Why would you be downgrading to Snow leopard? Mountain Lion will be coming out this summer and it is my understanding once that ships that snow leopard is no longer supported? (I could be wrong on this).

    I would say that you would be fine with that mini.but for the cost have you considered looking at an iMac?
  3. earwax69 macrumors member

    May 7, 2012
    If you really want to try OS X, go for it. But, as you are already using PC softwares, I would rather take the money and build a badass i7 computer with it. The point of the mini is to save place and money. If you go with the i7 server (the most expensive), it's really a waste because for that money you could have a really good computer. If you really want the mini, go with the i5 and save yourself some bucks. The i5 should perform just as good as the crippled i7 mini.

    Your core2duo is the problem. It's really old. I had a 4x speed bump after building my first i7 comp. It's really worth it and it's dead easy!

    If you stick with mac, yeah. The base mini or go for Imac. At least the Imac have a quad and a screen.
  4. STUCKwitPC thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 17, 2012
    @TheMTtakeover thanks for the reply man

    i heard a few people complaining about driver issues with lion and i know thats its only temporary and the reason i chose the mini server over the mini i5 and the imac is because of portability,the extra hard disk and a free fw port which i will be using it to plug in my fw interface and im pretty sure that i can arrange a monitor if im travelling
  5. STUCKwitPC thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 17, 2012
    @ earwax69 thanks for the reply
    i just found a toshiba laptop(Satellite P770-BT4G22 Laptop)
    i customised it on the site

    Intel® Core™ i7-2670QM processor(quad core)2.2 GHz , 6MB L3 Cache
    8GB DDR3 1333MHz SDRAM (4096MBx2)
    500GB HDD (7200rpm, Serial-ATA)
    500GB 2nd HDD (7200rpm, Serial-ATA)
    1GB GDDR3 NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 540M with NVIDIA® Optimus™ Technology
    DVD SuperMulti (+/-R double layer) drive
    Integrated webcam
    HDMI output
    and its gonna cost me only $1046.74 with the tax and shipment(free)

  6. earwax69 macrumors member

    May 7, 2012
    What is the screen resolution?

    Check the reviews before buying. My last Toshiba 17inch laptop screen broke before 2 years old. The laptop was good but I guess the screen was the weak part.

    Of course if you have a warranty, its perfect!
  7. digitalninja macrumors newbie

    May 8, 2012
    The Mac mini server is better for a music only than the Mac mini. Faster processor and dual internal hdd
  8. STUCKwitPC thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 17, 2012
    Can u explain it
  9. earwax69 macrumors member

    May 7, 2012
    Its not faster. It's just more multi-threaded. The i5 2.5ghz will be faster for single threaded tasks. (unless the i7 turboboost is higher, but we dont have that info for apple computers). If you are using a 3D software, yes the quad i7 make more sens. But most DAW barely use additional cores.

    And anyway, If you go for the Toshiba, you will get a faster cpu than the mini server.
  10. digitalninja macrumors newbie

    May 8, 2012
    Sorry but the cache speed on the Mac mini server is 4 x the speed of the mini. Look it up. That's going to come in handy or running a daw.
  11. Fishrrman macrumors Pentium


    Feb 20, 2009
    "I'm thinking about buying the new mini mac server with the i7 processor,downgrade to snow leopard, upgrade the ram to the 8 gb ,upgrade one of the hdd with an ssd (for sample library) and a new fw/usb audio inteface(apogee duet2/ motu audio express 6x6 ) may be switch to logic."

    Just some thoughts here.

    Within the next year, we may see firewire disappear from most Macs (possible exception is the Mac Pro, if a new model is introduced), superseded by USB3, which will be somewhat faster than firewire 800.

    If that happens, there's going to be a shake-up in the audio interface business. Whereas before firewire was the connection method of choice, we'll see a shift to USB3 amongst all the hardware manufacturers.

    We're already seeing this with new hardware from the big players being offered with USB2 instead of firewire. They see what's coming down the pike.

    If you buy a Mini server (current version) and a new firewire-based interface today, you may in fact be buying into "old technology" which will soon be eclipsed.

    My suggestion is to WAIT until the new Mac Minis are released, probably within the next two or three months. Make a quick decision: do you want to pick up one of the old units, and save some money (and limit yourself to hardware that lacks USB3)? Or, might the newer hardware be more interesting to you?

    At that point, you could either pick up an older "closeout" unit and save some money, or go the other way and get the latest and greatest.

    Once you have made this decision regarding the Mac, THEN it's time to decide which audio interface you want to connect to it, and what type of connection method you prefer...
  12. TheMTtakeover macrumors 6502


    Aug 3, 2011
    Yeah I mean any windows PC is going to be a lot more bang for your buck hardware wise. and you mentioned traveling. Maybe look at one of the new Samsung or Dell ultra books? and when at home you could always hook your laptop up to an external monitor
  13. CausticPuppy macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2012
    I guess it depends on the music software. There's a benchmark using Logic Pro:


    The 2.0GHz mac mini server can do nearly double the simultaneous tracks compared to the 2.5GHz i5. Logic is heavily multi-threaded. The 2.0 quad even beats the dual 2.7 i7 by a large margin.

    As for turbo-boost, that info is available /var/log/kernel.log every time you boot up. Look for the AppleIntelCPUPowerManagement entry:

    AppleIntelCPUPowerManagement: Turbo Ratios 6689

    The 4 digits tell you how high the cores can go above their base value. Each digit is a multiple of 100MHz (and go from 0 - F in hexadecimal). Dual core chips will have 0's for the first 2 digits.

    So the quad-core Mac Mini Server can turbo to 2.9GHz on one core, 2.8GHz on two cores, and 2.6GHz on all 4 cores, as long as the temperature stays within spec.

    Since the server is good at staying cool (higher fan speed), that means you're always going to be running 2.6GHz even when all 4 cores are active.

    The base clock rate doesn't tell you much; notice that even the 1.8GHz i7 is barely slower than the 2.7GHz version in Logic. The 1.8 can actually go farther beyond its base clock than the 2.7 chip.
  14. earwax69 macrumors member

    May 7, 2012
    I stand corrected! I use Ableton Live and it's not very good at multithreading. The i7 obviously make more sens for good multithreading apps like Logic.

    I guess it's all come down to what app he use.

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