Logic Pro - iMac i5 or i7

Discussion in 'iMac' started by PmgKeys, Aug 2, 2017.

  1. PmgKeys macrumors newbie

    Aug 2, 2017
    I'm planning to buy my first Mac. It will be used mainly to run Logic Pro X. Most of the work will be midi based using Sample Libraries, some of which will be orchestral. I was initially planning to go with the i7 but concerns about fan noise and potential thermal issues are causing me to consider an i5 instead. Does anyone with a new 2017 iMac have any first hand experience running Logic Pro on an i5? Ideally I would like the i7 for the hyper threading but not if it will shorten the lifespan of the machine if it's running too hot.
  2. miniroll32 macrumors 65816


    Mar 28, 2010
    i5 will be more than enough. I have a 2010 iMac (i5) than runs Logic without skipping a beat, and that's with an average of 8-12 tracks, with several VSTs.
  3. Smoothie macrumors 6502a

    Jun 23, 2007
    I don't know if you've seen this thread, but there's a lengthy discussion about choice of CPU for Logic:


    I ended up getting the i5-7600K, and I'm very happy with it. I don't create projects with dozens of tracks and the i5 is more than adequate. My i5 iMac is cool and quiet for general use, as well as Adobe Lightroom and Logic.
  4. propower macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2010
    Both will run anything in Logic just fine. The distinction is that the i7 will do more live instances of VIs (and/or tracks and plugins) than any i5. A lot more. Maybe not 2X but somewhere between 1.5X and 2X. As soon as you say Orchestral - that is actually one of the uses that where an i7 may be needed. It all just depends on how many live instances of VIs is needed. The trade off is heat and potential fan noise. Remember though you can freeze any track to free up the CPU demand. I chose the 7600K like the poster above and included a 1 TB SSD so that any sample based instruments will play smoothly. Super quiet - plenty fast.
  5. PmgKeys thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 2, 2017
    Thanks to everyone for the advice (P.S I hadn't noticed the other thread before I posted).

    I'm at the start of my audio production journey so I won't be running with lots of tracks to begin with. Also the type of music I'll be creating will be using some orchestra VIs but I wont be creating full blown orchestral arrangements.

    Still can't decide between the i5 and i7!
  6. jlseattle macrumors 6502


    Jan 9, 2007
    Seattle WA
    You're going to have to do a cost/benefit analysis. Maybe see if the iMacs at an Apple store have logic installed and try some of the more strenuous tasks to see if you see a difference that matters to you. I think the debate anyone should seriously have over the processor is the hard drive. It would be a waste of money to get the fusion drive and the i7 processor. I chose a 3.8 i5 with an 512ssd. That was the best compromise I could find for the money. The old spinning disks used in the fusion drives are slow and will slow down your system as soon as your system starts writing or using files on them.
    --- Post Merged, Aug 2, 2017 ---
    BTW, from a heat perspective, Apple would have mitigated that in the design. They've always been good in managing system temperatures (in all the systems I had).
  7. propower, Aug 2, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2017

    propower macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2010
    Definitely bring any i5 home from the Apple store - load Logic and test it for a week. This will tell you what you need to know. Then - I agree with the above poster - NO fusion drive - go all internal SSD with as large as you can resonably justify and afford. I Have 1TB with 250G system, 250G Audio and 500G Sample partitions. Drive is 70% full and I have an 512G 850 USB3 drive for overflow.

    From a heat perspective the current i7 may not be that far from the last one (this is my first iMac in many years). But for me - 80degC day to day working temps and fan noise everytime I render a YouTube video or stress the CPU past 50% just is not my first choice. But if I fine that I am so productive that I need an i7 again - would definitely go there today. In my case I could probably hold out to see what the iMac Pro turns out to be as well.

    I see a PM asking about S1 vs Logic. For what I know Logic is a solid workhorse and S1 is the one I am just getting to know. I sort of like the layout and basic functioning of S1 but I know its intricacies very little. Logic is a much more chaotic interface (to me) but I know most of what i need to do what I do. In reality I am a 20 year ProTools refugee looking for a release from all that AVID is. That said - I am 80% live instruments and vocals and in many ways ProTools is the cleanest layout to me - but as far as advancement goes - Logic and S1 both have some great features - comping for one (key to what I do) - VI efficiency - keeping up with OS changes - built in Pitch correction and many other things.
  8. G.McGilli macrumors regular

    Oct 19, 2015
    I can only speak to my experience.

    Running i7 4.0

    Using Logic X with a track that has between 20-30 tracks consisting of samples and live instruments causes my CPU temp to raise by 2 degrees. Playing back the track adds another degree. Logic has never caused the internal fans to come on unless Bouncing a track longer than 15 minutes in length.

    Spending $ on SSD is not necessary for audio production. It's nice, but absolutely not required. As an example, a 270mb .Logicx file will load from HDD in under 20 seconds. At that time - everything is basically loaded into memory. My physical memory load increases by close to 1gb after that file has loaded and been uncompressed - and that contains the overhead of the actual Logic program itself.

    Once it's in memory - you're really not constantly writing data to any drives. Even if you are, like recording live instruments etc it's done in real time - so load times are of no concern.

    Bouncing files is all about processing power, but again, processing time is minimal. Saving your work is usually incremental so write times are very small. Rendering/Bouncing your finished songs - a HDD can write the song as fast as your processor can go basically. Faster processor - faster save times. But again - we are talking 20 seconds vs 30 seconds. After working for hours on end - saving 10 seconds at the finish ins't important (to me).

    I use my LogicX files on 2 machines, the other location being a 2011 i5 Mac Mini with 8gb RAM and a HDD. This machine being i7 with 32gb and SSD. Load times between the two are nothing to spend the $ on a SSD.

    Instead, if u must have a SSD look at buying an internal one at a store, plug it into a $10 USB3 external case and save yourself $200 or $500 or so depending on what size you get. Store all your files on there - run them from there.

    Use any extra money to make sure you have a minimum of 8gb RAM and you're good to go.

    Video production? Absolutely - get SSD all the way. Music production? HDD, FD or SSD all work just fine.

    Regardless, enjoy your journey - music production is a really rewarding skill to take on!
  9. lowkey macrumors 6502

    Jul 16, 2002
    the only reason an SSD would be beneficial is if you are streaming loads of audio tracks during mix down.
    My 2
    late 2013 2.3Ghz i7 MBP runs slightly more VST FX in Cubase than a 2015 3.5Ghz i5 iMac. The i7 is definitely worth it if you are going to be doing everything 'in the box'.
    my tracks are on the borderline of what the MBP can handle. my next upgrade i hope to be a 6 core CPU.

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