Is an i3 sufficient to run Logic Pro X?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Jon2546, May 19, 2018.

  1. Jon2546 macrumors newbie


    May 19, 2018
    Hi guys!

    New to the forum so hello to all. Looking for a bit of advice please.

    I’m delving into the world of home studio recording. I’m a singer songwriter so will be mainly acoustic and vocals and then no doubt some other messing about with drums etc for my band stuff but I also DJ so will dabble with basic EDM stuff for a bit of fun.

    I’ve got a list of the essentials I’ll need to get a basic home studio set up and I’m looking at what computer I’ll need to run Logic Pro X. Money being no issue I’d just go all out and get the best of the best but being a cash strapped student I’m hoping that an i3 iMac will be sufficient for running the software as I don’t plan on overloading it? I’m a complete newbie to all of this as you can probably tell so any help or information would be very much appreciated!

    Thanks very much guys!

  2. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    Off the top of my head, the only i3 iMacs made will be older (2010?) models which aren’t that powerful and could struggle for playback with multiple stems, plus the main bottleneck is generally the I/O, so an SSD is quite important.

    What’s your budget and which country do you reside in? I’m sure we can find something slap bang within that which should be a better choice. Do you have an external monitor?
  3. nambuccaheadsau macrumors 68000


    Oct 19, 2007
    Nambucca Heads Australia
  4. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    Thing is, something like Logic Pro is "as long as a piece of string". For complex mixes with dozens of tracks, dozens of specialist effects, dozens of sampled instruments you'd be justified in looking at blowing $5000 on a brand new iMac Pro and still wondering whether 32GB of RAM and 8 cores is enough.

    On the other hand, I've just tried Logic Pro on a 2010 "core 2 duo" MacBook Pro with 4GB RAM, which is somewhat less powerful than an i3 Imac (although it had been upgraded to a SSD) and it works fine, in that it can load up a handful of audio tracks, apply some compression and reverb and play it all back. Managed a few soft synths too. No way would I recommend such a ridiculously low spec for Logic, but don't think that you'll need a $3000 system just to record some vocals and guitars.

    That said, I really wouldn't put money into an 8 year old Mac at this stage - they can still be workhorses if you get one as a hand-me-down or near-giveaway - but of they go wrong they'll be "beyond economic repair" unless you're up to buying broken Macs on eBay and cannibalising the parts. I'd really be patient and try to save up a bit for something a bit better and newer rather than spend hundreds of pounds on old tech. If you have no choice, google for for issues such as whether they're supported by the latest operating system or if that model is affected by known problems like GPU failures.

    One tip: GarageBand is free, c.f. about $200 for Logic, and the Mac version is very much "Logic lite" with a similar UI - and Logic can import GarageBand files. You'll end up needing Logic, of course, but if you're strapped for cash, you can at least defer put off buying Logic and let your finances recuperate until you've started to outgrow GarageBand. Main limitation with Garageband to me seemed to be support for external MIDI instruments (controllers are OK) & MIDI files - effectively, audio + virtual instruments only - it does support AU plugins, though.
  5. Jon2546 thread starter macrumors newbie


    May 19, 2018
    Thanks very much for the responses guys! Advice is much appreciated!

    I’m in the UK. Ideally looking to spend a few hundred quid at the most to be honest. No, I’m running a MacBook Air but of course not for any type of music production.

    Thanks for the link! I’ll give it a read!

    Hahaha yeah absolutely! You could go on and on “needing” bigger and bigger! For the small scale projects I’m planning I may get away with it as you say but I do u sweat and what you’re saying. Also, when I inevitably do progress to bigger projects I don’t want to find myself with a piece of equipment that can’t handle it and that I’m unable to shift on because of that. Ah decisions... Looks like I’ll just need to start saving haha! Or maybe go for an i5?
  6. BrianBaughn macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2011
    Baltimore, Maryland
    It's a good idea to try GarageBand since they're similar and you can get an idea about the i3 capabilities.

    A less powerful machine will have a harder time running a DAW with low audio latency settings…and you want low latency when you're adding new audio tracks to existing material.
  7. thestickman macrumors regular

    Nov 21, 2010
    Jacksonville, FL
    Years ago I ran Logic 9 on a i3 iMac but I wouldn't even consider it with Logic X. My 2012 3.1 i7 handles it quite nicely.
  8. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    Which MacBook air do you have?? It should run logic just fine for simple recordings. If it’s 2013 or newer it will spank an i3 all over the shop.

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