Logic Pro X and 2017 iMac i7 -- Is the fan that bad?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by matamoris, Jul 22, 2017.

  1. matamoris macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2011
    #1
    Anyone running the i7 with Logic? Is the fan noise a big deal?

    Trying to decide if I want to get a 3.8 i5 or the 4.2 i7 for Logic Pro X.

    Thanks,
    Matt
     
  2. keysofanxiety macrumors G3

    keysofanxiety

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2011
    #2
    Who cares about a little fan noise, you'll be mixing through headphones or monitors. The i7 is significantly better for LPX with the hyperthreading. Performance needs to take precedent.
     
  3. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    #3
    Its very quiet (if not silent) most of the time, until you do something that really maxes the CPU, then you get a fairly loud whooshing sound (I'd say its about the same as my 2011 17" MBP when its under load) - I've had this with encoding video (Handbrake etc) and compiling software (e.g. installing stuff from source with Homebrew) when all 8 virtual cores are pretty much full on in Activity monitor.

    I'm not a serious Logic user (purely for my own entertainment) but playing a piece with about 8 virtual instruments (including some Softtube Modular patches which must tax the the CPU a bit) was giving about 300% CPU usage, and not really stirring the fan. Rendering it to disk "offline" faster-than-realtime hit about 500% CPU and the fan started up (but then you wouldn't be trying to listen to the music) .

    So, I guess if you're running a serious arrangement that pushes the CPU to 400-500% it's gonna start the fan and you'll want to be wearing headphones if you're trying to mix stuff - but then that's when you're reaping the benefits of the faster processor and hyperthreading.

    Tricky call.
     
  4. fatherom macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2014
    #4
    There *are* people that care about fan noise when doing music production (can't stand when people say "who cares", everyone is different with regards to sensitivities, etc). That being said, I specifically bought the i7 iMac with the 4.2 processor for Logic Pro X use. This is my first Mac, I'm super sensitive to fan noise, and all the threads about fan noise had me really worried.

    I spent a week doing all kind of stress tests. Hundred track projects with tons of plugins, etc...and I haven't experienced anything too bad at all. I *do* have a very cold room, which I think helps (AC keeps the room at around 65 degrees, which I like). I'm running iStat Menus and watch the fan speed and CPU temp a lot. Even when Logic Pro pushes the CPU significantly, I haven't had the fans ramp up much at all. I know some other folks in other threads have been able to get the fans to ramp up, but it doesn't last long, usually.

    I will agree that loud fan speed is a bit obnoxious (sounds like a hair dryer), but I personally have not experienced those fan speeds when using Logic.
     
  5. cptn.nemo macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2016
    #5
    I've only pushed my i7 with battlefield 1 so far and I do have to turn the volume up a click or two to hear once the fan starts running. If using headphones it's no problem, I'd much rather have the extra power for my purposes. If I were doing music work without headphones it might bug me but I'm not sure if logic will really push it enough to crank the fan up will it?
     
  6. propower macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2010
    #6
    I am looking for the 2017 iMac to be my next Studio computer as well (logic, PT, Studio One). I demoed the i7 for two weeks and sent it back (for now). On the plus side it is wonderfully fast and is pretty much the equal of my 2013 MacPro. Even with lightly loaded sessions (10 - 20 tracks - 20 plugins - a couple of VIs) - I had CPU usage at less than 20% but temps were in the 70s. I also run a second monitor and this puts power into the GPU. As others have stated - ~50% load is the point where fans will be running 1800rpm++ to full ON and CPU will be 90 to 95degC. For me - I would not want that in front of me. But I still love many things about the newest iMac. In general terms this 50% load on an i7 is more or less equivalent to 100% load on an i5. The 3.8 i5 with Turbo OFF never hits above 75degC. So much as it pains me to give up all the headroom of the i7 the i5 has more useable bandwidth with a small speed penalty. I tested the 3.8 with Turbo On and OFF with the old LPX VI test. On = something like 74 tracks and OFF was 73. No significant difference IMO.

    Interesting times - I am still trying to decide between the i5s for myself. The 3.4 Turbos to 3.67 (full load) and never goes above 60degC. The 3.5 Turbos to 3.9 (full load) and can trigger the fan at high load. The 3.8 Turbos to 4.0 at full load and triggers the fan - but if Turbo is OFF (3.8) it doesn't. So with all that - which i5 is really - "better" for silent running - The 3.67 base i5 or the 3.8 Turbo OFF 3.8. Not a lot of difference eh?
     
  7. matamoris thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2011
    #7
    Thanks everyone for your input. I decided to order an i7. I'm just afraid that the 3.8 i5 will not provide enough performance headroom for music production over the lifetime of the computer (about 5 years for me).
     
  8. matamoris thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2011
    #8
    A follow up: I'm very pleased with the i7. My biggest Logic project pushed the i7 in my 2011 iMac to about 50% utilization. This project is about 60 tracks with a lot of effect and instrument plugins. On the new iMac, utilization is around 25-30%. The fan RPMs stay low. No noise.
     
  9. lowkey macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    australia
    #9
    My 4 year old MBP gets more than 74 tracks. Theres no way id be paying what a high end iMac costs for less than the performance a 4 year old laptop. The only iMac worth getting is the i7 imo as I'm using loads of instruments and fx in realtime.

    However those not using many plugins, who might be looking more at recording and light mixing might get by with an i5.


     
  10. czacha macrumors member

    czacha

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    Jul 9, 2017
    #10
    Guys, if you want silent computer don't buy one with fans at the height of your heads ;)
     
  11. EugW macrumors 601

    EugW

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    Jun 18, 2017
    #11
    The fan is in the same location in all of the 2017 27" iMacs. However, the fan behaviour is markedly different between the i5 and i7 models.
     
  12. czacha macrumors member

    czacha

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2017
    #12
    Im just saying don't buy an iMac, get MacMini or MacPro and put it under your desk so you don't hear them. Or buy PC with water cooling :)
     
  13. EugW macrumors 601

    EugW

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    Jun 18, 2017
    #13
    Mac mini and Mac Pro are both end of life. Definitely not recommended.

    Furthermore, neither come with that beautiful 27" Retina screen.
     
  14. czacha macrumors member

    czacha

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    Jul 9, 2017
    #14
    If most important thing is SILENCE all of those things you wrote don't matter ;)

    PS. My i7 is silent ;)
     
  15. EugW macrumors 601

    EugW

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2017
    #15
    That of course is not true, and also, as has been mentioned several times on this forum, fan behaviour is one of several factors to consider.

    If your i7 is silent in Logic Pro, then there is a decent chance an i5 would run it your projects just fine. The point of getting the i7 though is to be able to run projects that can't run on the i5. Unfortunately, the trade off is the potential for significant fan noise.
     
  16. czacha macrumors member

    czacha

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    Jul 9, 2017
    #16
    Nah, I don't use that software - it doesn't do RAW files ;)
     
  17. EugW macrumors 601

    EugW

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    Jun 18, 2017
    #17
    This is a Logic Pro thread.
     
  18. propower, Aug 15, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2017

    propower macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 23, 2010
    #18
    I think folks are taking the synthetic Logic Test WAY too seriously. It will take a serious session to take an i5 2017 iMac to the point of having to even freeze tracks. The person above with 60 tracks and 30% useage would also fit in the i5 with 40% of the CPU at least to spare. Of course the i7 is great and some folks really need it - but to assume that the ancient Logic test that says you only get 74 on an i5 is forgetting that it is only true for that test! Certainly if you use mostly instrument tracks and VIs the i7 will get you further - but how many are we talking? I never use more than 20 so i5 is no problem. Don't really know where the cutoff is though so always check first on your own workflow.

    Here is a screen shot of the 3.4 i5 with LogicProX
    100 Audio Tracks
    300 plugins
    Reverb track
    4 Logic Drummer Tracks

    50% CPU useage
    Plenty of Headroom left in Logic CPU meters
    50degC

    Same stress test with the i7
    30% CPU
    77 to 88degC
     

    Attached Files:

  19. rjsounds macrumors member

    rjsounds

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    Jul 3, 2017
    #19
    Those screenshots are very helpful. Thanks for that.

    Also..... Crap1 XD
     
  20. lowkey macrumors 6502

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    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    australia
    #20
    Well my 2013 2.3GHz i7 matches the 2017 i5 iMac in Logic track count. So I know the two machines are about equal in power. That's what the Logic test IS good for.

    I also know that I hit the limit of CPU on my last track and had to start bouncing audio to continue.

    Many of the latest plugins, like Slate Mix Rack and Soundtoys Effects racks can hold multiple plugins in the one shell.

    Every track I run has a Slate mix rack with a bare minimum of a console emulation, a pre amp emulation, an eq, a compressor and a "lift" plugin to get the correct tone. Then each track has at least a Soundtoys effects rack with filter, modulation, stereo spreader and often more.

    Each track I run has a minimum of 10 plugins running. Then there's reverb which can be a real CPU killer, audio gates, buss channels with dynamic processes and the master buss.

    That's not even looking at instruments!

    Granted I make electronic music. And like I said people recording and mixing acoustic instruments may not need such power. But the idea that an i5 will do it all no sweat, with the increasing quality of 3rd party plugins is in my opinion false.

    The current i5s would not run what I need them to with any spare overhead on day one. There's no way I'd consider on a good investment.
     
  21. propower macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2010
    #21
    First off - I am not trying to be argumentative - only pointing out a different POV.

    In each of my posts I say that some users simply need the power of the i7. I never submitted in anyones particular case but my own that the i5 would do the job "no sweat". I also point out that a load that would fill the current i5 (in my evaluations) would cause the i7 to run with significant increase in fan speed (2000+rpm). This would make the i7 not the right machine for me in that scenario and would likely favor the new iMacPro (or keeping my 2013 MP Hex). Needs were different when I got the MP. I suspect your last sentence meant "not a good investment for you". If so, I agree. The i5 with its power, speed and total lack of increased fan speed at any LogicProX load makes it absolutely a sound investment for me.
     
  22. JVNeumann macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2017
    #22
    Indeed - the last thing I wanted to do when I bought my new iMac was invest several grand in a machine, but stop a few hundred dollars shy of having something that can reliably run all current and future projects without risk of stuttering and freezing. Better to use a good pair of headphones (which I'd be doing anyway), and as a worst case scenario just bounce the file down before listening on speakers.

    On top of which, I just haven't found the fan noise to be anywhere near as invasive as people on here had me expecting. For anyone doing heavy synth or VST work, it should really be a no-brainer to go with the i7.
     
  23. lowkey macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    australia
    #23
    All good :)

    Im trying to hold out another year if I can. I hope the 6 core hyper threaded iMacs come out, ideally with some of the latest cooling system ideas from the iMac Pro.

    My MacBook Pro fans speed up quite regularly, but tbh I don't really notice much with the music going. But for people who do recording I could soo its an issue.
     
  24. JVNeumann macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2017
    #24
    Personally I'm not convinced that they will. Given their confidence in the design, it means that it was far enough along at the time of announcement for them to show it off - meaning it wasn't just theoretical tech, it was confirmed to work. Granted, it might have caused production delays of a month or two, but given they'd already waited years, I don't think users would complain about releasing the 2017 models a month later if it meant an improved chassis. This being the case, it's hard to come up with a reason for why they wouldn't implement it into the 2017 batch, other than that they didn't want to... which would in turn be some combination of it being overkill and/or too pricey. Perhaps the way it's configured doesn't lend itself to non-Pro hardware, such as optional Fusion Drives, which they're unlikely to drop from the next iMac update and thus would have to accommodate in the chassis. Basically, the tech might only be optimized - whether it be price, chassis layout or power consumption - for the iMac Pro hardware. Bearing in mind, the iMP is designed for ~67% extra wattage over the regular MP too. So the tech they're using to cool a machine that can go as high as 18 cores, 4.5GHz, 22 Tflops, 128GB RAM probably isn't worth sticking into a machine that barely uses half as much juice.

    The point being, in short, that whatever their reasons for not updating the 2017 regular iMacs with that cooling tech, I'm about 80% sure it'll also be the case for next year (if they even update iMacs next year.)
     
  25. EugW macrumors 601

    EugW

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    Jun 18, 2017
    #25
    That cooling tech in the iMac Pro is more expensive and is unnecessary for the iMac from a marketing standpoint. It’s unnecessary for the i5, and it is clear that lots of people will buy the i7 anyway despite the noise.

    It should also be noted that the RAM in the iMac Pro is not user upgradable.
     

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