New Mac Pro & IMac 27 Running together

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Logen, Aug 23, 2014.

  1. Logen macrumors newbie

    Aug 23, 2014
    Maryland, USA
    Hello, this is my first post here and I would greatly appreciate any advice or suggestions regarding my question. I have not been able to find another thread about this specifically, and I just don't have the technical knowledge to know if this is possible.

    In general, my Mac(s) are used for music and video production, Logic ProX, Final Cut Pro, etc. in a small recording studio.

    I have been using a Mid 2011, 27 inch IMac w/ 1TB hard drive which has served me well and still works just fine. However, I have just purchased a New Mac Pro as an upgrade. My intention has been to continue to use the Imac for it's display, which I know can be done, but what I'm not sure about is if the Mac Pro could access data from the IMac hard drive at the same time?

    So basically my question is this: Could I install Logic Pro on the Mac Pro, but have it access the music files from the IMac's larger hard drive? Basically like using the IMac as an external hard and display for the Mac Pro simultaneously?

    The Mac Pro has much less storage space, and everything is already on the Imac with room to spare. It would make life much easier if it were possible for them to work together this way.

    Thank you very much in advance for your assistance and/or direction to a thread that may already exist regarding this type of set up, if it is actually possible.

  2. DeltaMac macrumors G3


    Jul 30, 2003
    Just to describe what you want to do:
    iMac powered on, connected to your nMP with a thunderbolt cable.
    Switch the iMac to Target Display mode. It should then switch over to the video output from your nMP, with the iMac display showing what you are doing on the nMP.
    If you have file sharing turned on in your iMac, you should be able to mount that iMac hard drive as a share, and get access to whatever files you need, or store new files to that hard drive.
    I don't have a setup to try that, but that should work.
  3. deconstruct60, Aug 23, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2014

    deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    You can either be in Target Disk Mode or Target Display Mode. Can't be both at the same time.

    Display mode :

    Disk mode :

    In Display mode the OS on the targeted machine is still up and running. The DisplayPort channel is coupled from the that host to your new remote source. In target disk mode the OS isn't run at all. Thunderbolt by-passing strainght to the drive controller since doesn't have to "share" with the OS. In short, the "Target" modes take something away from the system in order to export the functionality.

    It would more so be an external NAS drive ( if export the drive from iMac's OS instance as a network share over Ethernet. ** ).

    The distinction as a storage source/target for LogicX is that the speed is much slower. If were not using network storage in studio previously for speed (among other) reasons then this has very similar issues.

    As the studio's iTunes server hub the iMac would be fine at being a network server. Could install OS X Server on it and have it do general network duties for a number of machines on your local network (LAN).

    If trying to use an iMac 100% of the time as a display + high speed NAS then probably a much better fit to sell the iMac and buy a Display and an external hard drive. The iMac is marginally good at being a full time external display and even more extremely marginally being a reasonable full time external drive.

    If primarily looking at iMac as a money sink , then there is a straight forward way of getting that money back out; sell it.

    There are lots of Rube Goldberg solutions. Those are not necessarily something to deploy in production environments in most situations.

    Sampling from / recording audio streams to a NAS drive probably isn't going to make sense with minimal network infrastructure investment.

    ** Could try using another cable to the other TB port on the iMac and different TB port on MacPro in a the TCP/IP over Thunderbolt mode. I don't think that is going to work all that well for latency sensitive read/write workflows. It likely will be faster in spurts than 1Gb Ethernet, but also have non uniform hiccups and spurts. Perhaps if OS X 10.10 has better drivers for this mode it will get better, but it isn't something to bet-the-farm on right now for low latency work.
  4. Logen thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 23, 2014
    Maryland, USA
    Thank you

    Thanks so much for your very informative responses.

    Deconstruct60, thank you for taking the time to write such a thorough explanation. It definitely helped me to understand the drawbacks and to make a decision on how to proceed. I purchased the Mac Pro to lessen glitches and improve overall speed, I certainly don't want to start off by limiting it's ability to work at it's max performance. That would defeat it's purpose.

    Very helpful information. Thank you.
  5. Michael73 macrumors 65816

    Feb 27, 2007
    Just a thought...what about buying a simple USB3 dock and removing the HDD from the iMac and directly connecting it the nMP while just using the iMac as the display? However, I'm not sure what would happen if you turned on the iMac with no drive in it while it was connected to the nMP so as to be used as an external monitor?
  6. Jardins de Vin macrumors 6502a

    Jardins de Vin

    Nov 6, 2012
    European Union
    Why not sell the iMac for a good price, and buy a Display and an external drive for your new Mac Pro? That's basically what I just did. I don't know which iMac you have, but mine was a 2011 as well (3,1 GHz Quad Core i5) and I sold it for ~1300 EUR. I bought a 27" Cinema Display for around 500 and I'm about to buy an SSD or two. You'll probably even have some money left.
    While I was looking for second hand Displays, I noticed the 27" Thunderbolt Displays were often cheaper than the 27" Cinema Displays. I've seen some for 350-450 EUR. I had to look for second hand Cinema Displays because my Mac Pro (which is a cMP) doesn't have Thunderbolt, but you who has the new one with TB could get away with even better prices since you'd be looking for Thunderbolt Displays and not CD. I believe the CD costs more because there's still plenty of Macs left without Thunderbolt out there…

    Another solution would be to use both your iMac and your Mac Pro as one computer - I mean to use both their power together. There's a french music producer called Joachim Garraud who has done something like this. I'm not sure which Macs it was or how it was done, but there's an interview where he shows it. He has two screens and two computers (probably Mac Pros), but somehow they were connected together so that he could use the power from both Macs, and he could also go from one screen of one computer to the other with the mouse. But don't ask me about that…

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