Mac for Logic Pro music production

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by kjartan, Dec 29, 2005.


Will a 1.67 GHz G4 Powerbook be sufficient power to run Apple's Logic Pro?

  1. Yes - The Powerbook should suffice

    6 vote(s)
  2. No - Get a Mac with a G5

    7 vote(s)
  1. kjartan macrumors newbie

    Sep 22, 2005
    Hello there!

    I'm in the market for a Mac computer for the sole purpose of music production. I'll be getting Apple's Logic Pro and Reason with it. Now it's my understanding that countless people use Powerbooks (G4 processor) for all their Reason needs, and they have sufficient processing power to do what they want to do. On the other hand, I'm told that Logic Pro is a HUGE resource hog and requires LOTS of power - everyone has suggested a Mac with AT LEAST a G5 processor (which the Powerbooks lack).

    The portability of the Powerbook is a REALLY important to me and would be absolutely ideal. I guess my big question here is this: Will a 1.67 GHz G4 Powerbook be sufficient power to run Apple's Logic Pro?

  2. mopppish macrumors 6502

    Nov 27, 2005
    If portability is very important for you, then YES a powerbook will suffice. I started messing with some sounds in Sculpture (which I've been told is one of the more demanding synths) on my new 1.33 ghz 12" ibook today, and was using max about 1/5th of my resources according to Logic's system performance meter. Throw in a faster processor (1.67 vs 1.33), faster bus (167 vs. 133), faster RAM (DDR2 vs. DDR), faster hard drive (5400 or 7200 vs. 4200), and more memory (mine's currently at 1 gig, you could go higher), and you should be able to squeeze significantly more from a powerbook, assuming it's a 15" or 17", than I can out of my ibook.
    One thing that bugs me about a lot of people that insist you need more power is that they point to how many instances of plug-ins you want open. Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't freezing tracks nearly solve that problem? Pop a few plug-ins up, make your adjustments, and then freeze them, and bam, you've got most of your headroom back. You'll probably need to record to an external firewire drive, but that's to be expected.
    Anyway, as long as you're realistic and don't expect too much out of it, then I think the benefits of having a fully functional DAW that you can slip into a backpack far outweighs the ability to be running masses of plug-ins without freezing. Consider an imac as well. It's kind of a compromise. And wait at least until MWSF, just in case Steve gives another bump to the powerbooks before the Intel switch.
  3. agent76 macrumors newbie

    Dec 15, 2005
    I am literally in the same conundrum right now. Are you finding the iBook is sufficing quite well? I wasn't aware that I'd need a external firewire drive if I was going to go the route of the powerbook as well, I thought that perhaps the internal powerbook drive would suffice. If this is the case I can't see myself needing a powerbook over an iBook, as I do rather simple recording that's not overly track heavy and just for demo purposes.

    I have a tascam US-122 that worked excellently on my Dell Inspiron 9300 (pentium m 1.6/512mb ram) but once i got rid of my laptop my desktop (p4 2.0 512mb ram) it's rendered useless by slow processing/hard drive speed.

    Should I go 12" iBook and save myself a fist full of cash and just buy an external firewire drive?
  4. trey4x4 macrumors newbie

    Jan 5, 2005
    mac for Music

    Ok i use my Powerbook for everything and Have No Probs with running Logic, Digital Performer,Soundtrack Pro or anything else. First thing is First. Sell the Stock Hard-Drive and get one of the new 7200 rpm drives. you can get them cheap at other world computing. then max out the ram. I dj on my PB using Serato Scratch Live with the 2nd ed. vinyl and have 60gigs of music. on a 100gig hard drive. I have no lag time and it upped my rendering time to almost real time on stuff. I will admit that when i kept most of my music on an external it seemed faster but I could not detect the time difference when I timed it rendering the same score. I hope this helps you.
  5. .:*Robot Boy*:. macrumors 6502

    Jan 21, 2005
    New Zealand
    The PowerBook will be fine. I mainly use Pro Tools (which doesn't feel very 'streamlined' to me as far as allocating processing resources goes) and I'm able to record 32 tracks at once with EQ, Compression, etc on every channel. I've also been using Logic all year with soft-synths and I've never needed to freeze any tracks.

    A G5 would give you a little more processing headroom and some future-proofing (I can't see the G4 being able to handle the next-generation of plug-ins)... but with the whole Intel thing, it's not such a big deal to buy a PowerBook now and then trade it in on an Intel machine in the future.

  6. mopppish macrumors 6502

    Nov 27, 2005
    First of all, as an ammendment to my previous post, Sculpture is actually hitting my system harder than I initially thought. After tweaking my sound a bit more and actually playing the part (more simultaneous notes), my system performance was actually peaking at about half.
    With the ibook, I haven't done any live audio recording yet, however I can say for a fact that recording 2 tracks at a time with that Tascam won't even dent it. Someone that posts over at Gearslutz (audio forum) told me that he was getting projects up to 30+ tracks in DP 4.1 on his ibook, so as long as you're not recording that many tracks at once, you can at least get that many running on the project.
    For either the ibook or powerbook, I wouldn't worry about upgrading the internal hard drive IF you're going to be recording to an external one.
    Agent76, the ibook should be fine for smaller/demo projects, and if you wait until MWSF, then you can probably get one of the current ones at a discounted price. HOWEVER, make sure you put in at least an extra 512 of RAM for a gig total. I've been opening Activity Monitor once in a while, and it's got over 600 megs being used (not all active), so I'm glad I upgraded as soon as I got the ibook.
    My plan is to use the ibook for simple location recording or song sketches while I'm on campus or at a café and use my imac G5 at home for serious editing and mixing. Obviously not everyone has that luxury, but I'm a spoiled brat. :D (actually, I used student loans and credit cards)
    Tonight I've been sitting here experimenting to see what the ibook can and can't do, and it's pretty fun. It's a pretty cool notion to think that I can be anywhere with my earbuds and my ibook and compose new stuff.
  7. agent76 macrumors newbie

    Dec 15, 2005

    Thanks for the feedback, that's exactly what I plan on using the iBook for just for rough tracking and song ideas, anything I plan to do a full recording on will be on another machine, I just need something portable. Never even thought of replacing the hard drive but that's an easy enough route I suppose. Ram is a definite upgrade for sure and I will wait for the price drop!

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