Good hardware to run Logic Pro & After Effects + other Adobe & Music production Apps

Discussion in 'iMac' started by MGMartino, Sep 6, 2014.

  1. MGMartino macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2014
    #1
    Hello Mac Rumors,

    I am currently using a 15" MacBook Pro running on OS X 10.7.5 (Lion)
    --Processor 2.4 GHz Intel Core i7
    --750 GB HardDrive
    --4 GB RAM (1333 MHz DDR3)
    --AMD Radeon HD 6770M 1024 MB Graphics
    --I also use a WD "My Passprt Studio" 1TB External Hardive. (I store all my Logic Pro, After Effects, Photoshop and Illustrator projects on there)

    I am a musician and an audio engineer of sorts. I have been producing music on my MacBook Pro using Logic Pro, amongst some other third party Plug-ins that are each just as big as Logic Pro. And for the past year I've been hittin it pretty aggressively as I produced my entire album with my MacBook Pro being the only computer involved in the process. As you probably know that is a hefty workload to put on a computer between recording tracks, mixing and mastering...I'm honestly surprised my MacBook Pro made it through the whole process with only 4GB of RAM. Although it did give me some "System Overload" messages along the way which got to be very annoying interrupting my workflow. And while I was using Logic Pro I could never have another application open at the same time. Even something like Safari could not be opened while I was using Logic Pro.
    Now to top it all off I am using other Applications to market my music such as Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop and Adobe After Effects. I'm using version CS6 for Photoshop and Illustrator and using the new Creative Cloud version for After Effects.

    Now that I've explained what I use my computer for I can explain the actual problem haha...Inside Logic Pro there were two indicators, one labeled HD and the other labeled CPU, if one or the other reached its limit the system would overload cause lagging or just a shut down/freeze. And while working in Adobe After Effects the "RAM Preview" almost never plays back in realtime if I get more than a minute into a song that a am making a Kinetic Typography Video for.

    So I think I need anything from simply increasing the RAM on my MacBook Pro or to Buying a New Computer; and just using my MacBook Pro as a portable "lighter-load" computer.
    I'm leaning towards a new Computer just due to the fact that I really don't think I will be able to have Logic running at the same time as After Effects while also having FireFox or maybe Illustrator open too. The Computers I have been looking at are a Late 2013 iMac with 32GB of RAM or a 3.5GHz six-core MacPro...And I was thinkin' about a Mac mini as my most affordable option but I honestly havent looked into the Minis much
     
  2. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    Location:
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    #2
    Upgrade your MBP with Mavericks, an SSD and 16GB of RAM and it'll absolutely fly.

    That said, your model is infamous for having the Radeongate manufacturing flaw.

    So I'd suggest a 27" iMac, or if portability is important to you, a 15" rMBP.
     
  3. barkmonster, Sep 7, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2014

    barkmonster macrumors 68020

    barkmonster

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    Lancashire
    #3
    Upgrading the RAM 16Gb will help all your apps because they won't be using your HDD for swap as much (or at all in some cases. I beleive After Effects can use 2Gb per core so that's 8Gb at least to start with).

    If the HDD indicator is maxing out, your recording drive is too slow to keep up with audio playback and needs defragmenting.

    I use a 7200rpm drive for recording myself but have the first 300Gb partitioned off as recording volume and the rest for general storage. It's via Firewire 800 and hits 80Mb/s read/write easily. Unlike USB 2.0 which is worthless for more than backup. It's never needed defragging so far because it's only about 40% full.
     
  4. geta macrumors 6502a

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    Location:
    The Moon
    #4
    In your case, i would upgrade the memory to 16GB, replace the HHD to SSD and will get external 7200rpm HDD or SSD (with USB3, Firewire 800 or thunderbolt) for projects and samples. This setup should give you more then enough power for Logic and your other needs.

    If this not fixing your problems, go for the MacPro, unless you're into all in one computer, then get the iMac...
    Personally im using MacMini in the studio with 2.6 GHz i7, 16GB and SSD + second HDD inside USB3 enclosure (for projects and samples) without any problems.

    PS, i can't comment on the other apps you mentioned coz i don't use them...
     
  5. MGMartino thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Sep 6, 2014
    #5
    I don't know what defragmenting is or how to do it, but this is what happens with my indicators specifically...
    Sometimes the HD indicator would max out and sometimes the CPU and sometimes they both just maxed out. Any of those 3 scenarios and the project would come to a halt and pop up the "System Overload" window, stating that "the audio engine was not able to process all required data in time" or the window will say "the disk performance is not sufficient to read or write all audio tracks, or system was not able to process all data in time"

    As for when I use After Effect, like I said before, the "RAM preview" function will not playback in realtime to save my life and that can make working on a project impossible.


    Which 7200rpm drive do you use specifically? and is it a SSD or a HD? and how do you partition off 300GB just for recording?
     
  6. MGMartino thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Sep 6, 2014
    #6
    What exactly does the "Radeongate manufacturing flaw" entail?
     
  7. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #7
    A permanent failure of the Radeon GPU.

    There is no fixed solution to this, other than a reball. Apple uses refurb boards in repairs, which all contain the same manufacturing flaw that causes the GPU failure again.

    The only way to really fix this is to reball a new GPU in with leaded solder, and reapply the thermal paste on it.

    Search for Radeongate in this forum and you'll know how bad the problem is.
     
  8. MGMartino thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Sep 6, 2014
    #8
    I just need to know if that malfunction could be causing any of the problems I've described so far?
     
  9. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #9
    Nope. Radeongate's symptoms are failure to boot and distorted/blank displays.
     
  10. barkmonster macrumors 68020

    barkmonster

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2001
    Location:
    Lancashire
    #10
    I think you might want to try changing the buffer settings. It increases latency but higher disk buffers will compensnate for HDD performance spikes and higher audio buffers will compensate for CPU spikes. I've never needed to defrag because my drive isn't full but when it comes to it, I don't even bother. I just clone the partition to a backup I already have, reformat the partition with disk utility and move the files back. It saves buying any extra third party utilities that I don't already have.

    I think more RAM will help with both Logic and After Effects.

    I use the one in my sig in the case in my sig. It's 3.5" and uses a power-adapter. To partition a HDD, you just use disk utility. For a portable, you could consider a high performance SDcard. There's a type called the JetDrive that's got very good performance and they make specific models for different laptops so some work with 13", some with 15" and some with different generations of them. It save carrying around a USB 3.0 drive (which are fine for audio recording because USB 3.0 can handle the strain unlike USB 2.0).

    You might want to try rolling your own drive. If you're using it for video, it would render faster off an SSD than a 7200rpm drive so a fast USB 3.0 case a 6Gb/s SSD would make sense. (It would also be useful as an audio drive and being an SSD, would never need defragging unlike a HDD).

    This enclosure got good reviews on Amazon:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00FCLG6...lid=11EEGOKOKZ46R&coliid=I2OH2UC32MRQ1R&psc=1

    Barefeats tested several bus-powered 2.5" enclosures here too:

    http://barefeats.com/hard189.html
     
  11. MGMartino thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Sep 6, 2014
    #11
    I manage my Buffer settings accordingly. When I am actually recording I drop it to 128 to get as little latency as possible while still being able to have the application function and when I'm doing mixing/mastering I'm always at 1024

    Still not quite sure what it means to defrag. Also not quite understanding the benefits to partitioning a Hard Drive to something. But I went to the "Partition" tab in Disk Utility everyhting was greyed out so I couldn't do anything even if I knew what or why to do it...??
     

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  12. Santabean2000 macrumors 68000

    Santabean2000

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    #12
    Swap out your ODD, insert 2xSSD and 16GB RAM and your good to go.
     
  13. barkmonster macrumors 68020

    barkmonster

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    Location:
    Lancashire
    #13
    You record to your system drive?

    That's the problem. You need a dedicated recording drive. I boot from an SSD and record to a dedicated drive. If you're cracking open the Macbook to upgrade RAM, you might as well copy your system drive to an SSD and install that in it's place, If you get say, a 250Gb and 500Gb SSD, you can boot from the smaller one and put the bigger one in the DVD bay.

    That way you have 2 dedicated drives, both of which are SSDs and your system will boot and load apps a lot quicker and no defragging will be needed.
     
  14. MGMartino thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Sep 6, 2014
    #14
    Actually while I was using Logic to record/produce my album I had my 750GB System drive, which contained all my Applications, but I kept all my projects on my 1TB WD PassportStudio external drive. So I was recording to an external drive. But I since then I have learned that my WD PassportStudio only has 5200rpm. So maybe I would have been better off just recording to my Sysytem drive with 5400rpm... But I thought It was a good idea to separate my projects externally and record to a HD that had 1TB opposed to my why System Drive which only has 750GB.


    What is the major benefit of a SSD vs. my current MBP's internal HD?
    Also I don't want to get rid of my cd/dvd player. I actually use it quite often
     
  15. barkmonster macrumors 68020

    barkmonster

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    Location:
    Lancashire
    #15
    Any dedicated drive is better than recording to your boot drive but it's better to record to a 7200rpm drive than a 5400rpm one because they access and transfer data a lot faster and their random access speeds are better. It may be that your recording drive is getting full. The only way to partition a disk is before you use it, there may be third party software that can re-partiton an existing drive but I still wouldn't risk it without a backup.

    The advantages are numerous:

    1) Massive speed gains in random read/writes as well as sustained write speed. That means booting and application/software synth patch loading in mere seconds.

    2) They don't degrade to any sigificant degree so they're fast for the life of the drive. No defrag needed like a HDD.

    3) If you have limited RAM, there's not much of a speed hit when the OS resorts to virtual memory.

    4) The whole OS and every app will run more efficiently, that means spotlight indexing, finder previews, everything that relies of reading/writing to your system drive is accelerated to the point where going back to a HDD-based system will feel like going back to floppy disks in 80s in comparison.

    As for the DVD issue. There's external USB cases available for your existing drive and a lot of 9.5mm DVD to SATA adapters include a case but they're under £10 online anyway. I didn't even do that because I have 12.7mm DVD in my Mac Mini and cases for those are hard to come by so I keep it bare in anti-static bag to avoid dust and use a cheap (£6) optical SATA to USB 2.0 adapter when I need to access DVDs. You'd be surprised how little you use your DVD day to day.
     
  16. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #16
    An SSD boots up in just seconds (within 15 seconds, normally).

    HDD read/writes: 80-90 MB/s.

    SSD read/writes (SATA3): 500 MB/s.

    If you want to see how fast does an SSD Mac boot, watch this video of my 15" early-2011 MBP (Samsung 840 Pro 512GB, 2.3GHz i7, 16GB RAM, 1GB 6750M): http://1drv.ms/1qbPwNg
     
  17. MGMartino thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Sep 6, 2014
    #17
    Okay so I decided to just upgrade my 4GB RAM to 16GB RAM and see where that got me.
    It is a significant upgrade and things are running much smoother but I can tell by looking at the CPUs that I'm pushing them at certain points and I still don't think I could quite get away with working in Logic or After Effects and having Illustrator or Photoshop on in the backround. I am however doing okay right now with running After Effects and having Firefox on in the backround, which I wasn't able to get away with before :)

    I think eventually I will take out my HDD and replace it with a SSD but then I will have my:

    --5200rpm, 1TB, FireWire 800, read/write AVERAGE speed 80mbps, WD PassportStudio

    --5400rpm, 1TB, USB 3.0, read/write MAX speed 100mbps, Seagate Backup Plus

    --(and now my HDD that used to be my internal drive which I know is 5400rpm, 750 GB but I don't know its read/write speed)

    I now know that none of these external drives are fast enough to really use as a function external drive that I will record audio to and also store all my projects on as I work on them. But my question is, until I get a good 7200rpm External drive which one of those external drives do you think would be the best to use as my function external drive?
     
  18. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #18
    All 5400rpm drives have the same read/write speed.

    So none of them would do.
     
  19. MGMartino, Sep 9, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2014

    MGMartino thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Sep 6, 2014
    #19
    I know none of the are ideal. But when my MacBook Pro only had 4GB RAM i was still getting by recording all my audio and working on all my Logic Pro projects off of the 5200rpm, 1TB, WD Passport Studio external drive.

    So my queestion was just out of the 3 I listed (which included the WD Passport Studio) which one do you think would funstion the best...until I get an external drive with 7200rpm
     

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