Producer / Film composer needs a new mac! Help!

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by pkoch1, Dec 30, 2007.

  1. pkoch1 macrumors 6502a

    pkoch1

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    Location:
    Boston
    #1
    So this is what is going through my head. Maybe you can help.

    I am a music producer / engineer and a film composer. This means I need to run full orchestral sample libraries and record multitrack audio (through Logic, Pro Tools, or DP) at the same time.

    I have been saving up for a new mac. I currently use a 1.67GHz PowerBook G4 with 2GB RAM and it does not have enough power for what I need.

    Here are my 3 choices:

    1. 24" iMac 2.8GHz 4GB RAM 1TB HDD ($2049 + RAM and HDD upgrade)

    2. 20" iMac 2.4GHz 4GB RAM 750GB HDD ($1499 + RAM and HDD upgrade)

    3. mac pro 2x2.0GHz or 2x2.66GHz 4GB RAM 250GB HDD + 750GB HDD ($2279 - $2578 + RAM and extra HDD and possibly + $599 for 20" ACD)

    I know the prices are inconsistent, but these prices are what I need to worry about. Don't ask. (well you can if you really want to. I'll probably answer)

    Here are the pros and cons of each:

    24" iMac

    Pro:

    It is gorgeous
    It has a huge screen
    I can have the 2.8GHz processor
    It was my first gut reaction to what computer I should get

    Con:

    It may be too big for my desk. If so, I would need to build pillars for my monitors (speaker monitors, not display monitors) and put them behind my desk, which would take up space in the already-small room.

    20" iMac

    Pro:

    It is gorgeous
    It would fit better next to my 20" ACD
    It will fit on my desk

    Con:

    It cannot have the 1TB HDD (although I do have lots of external space, I was really looking forward to taking this opportunity of buying a new mac to putting lots of internal space in)
    It cannot have the 2.8GHz processor

    Mac Pro

    Pro:

    It is highly upgradable (I can keep adding RAM and HDD space)
    It has 2 processors, so performance is much better
    It is gorgeous

    Con:

    Price is a bit of an issue
    I really wanted an iSight (but this is not related to my occupation, so it is not a necessity)
    I was looking at the iMacs because I wanted the screen real estate. I only have a 20" ACD and a 14" Dell display at home, and was really looking forward to more. I could buy a non-apple display but I do not want to. This would add another $600 for another 20" ACD, and like I said, I need it pretty soon, and don't know if I can make the money fast enough.

    What do you think is my best option? I'm leaning towards the 20" iMac, because I don't know if the .4GHz processor bump and the 250GB HDD space is as important as the space on the top of my desk, and the extra money. Any opinions or help would be greatly greatly appreciated.

    (and I'm waiting until MacWorld just to see what's new. Who knows what can happen. Maybe a new Mac Pro for a little less money, or the upgrades I wanted from the 24" iMac in the 20" iMac. Who knows? It's better to be safe than sorry)

    Thanks!!!!! :D:D:D
     
  2. David G. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2007
    Location:
    Alaska
    #2
    Refurb Mac Pro, Totally.
    Reasons: what you said + price is cheaper than new, but is still in excellent condition.
     
  3. pkoch1 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    pkoch1

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    Location:
    Boston
    #3
    Yeah, but then i'd still want to get the 20" ACD which would pop it up another $600...
    worth it?

    EDIT: or a refurb for $499 hmm
     
  4. pkoch1 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    pkoch1

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    Location:
    Boston
    #4
    I'm also open to any suggestions of other options in the same price range. what do you think?
     
  5. barijazz macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2007
    #5
    Buy a mac pro from apple then the ram from a different seller like macsales where you can get it much cheaper. ex: 16gbs ram from apple cost $4500.00, macsales little over $650.00;)
     
  6. pkoch1 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    pkoch1

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    Location:
    Boston
    #6
    Yeah, I was planning on that. You're for the Mac Pro too, huh. I'm not made of money! ;)
     
  7. Music_Producer macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2004
    #7
    Well if you're planning on running full orchestral libraries with gigabytes of samples.. you'd better be ready to spend some decent money. I've brought the latest mac pro maxed out with ram, down on it's knees with some serious orchestral stuff.

    Macbook pro is great for less hard core projects - with 4gb of ram I can run logic pretty well with reason in the background, multi-track (64 tracks) recording.. and a few virtual instruments.. but orchestral plug-ins? Nope!

    ps - if you want best multi-track performance.. you should get a SCSI drive (10,000 or 15,000 rpm) Don't worry about the space. Finish your project on a scsi drive.. once it's done.. you can always save it on a cheaper 1tb drive. For the main project you're going to be working on.. keep it running on a scsi drive.
     
  8. pkoch1 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    pkoch1

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    Location:
    Boston
    #8
    Thanks for the advice. I'll look into the scsi drives. I better make it big so I can afford all this stuff!
     
  9. pkoch1 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    pkoch1

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    Location:
    Boston
    #9
    how does the price differ between a normal ata drive and a SCSI?
     
  10. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #10
    SCSI hard drives are hugely more expensive than Serial ATA drives, and they require an interface card to run them, which is also pricey. Only an option for the MacPro

    Seagate Cheetah 300 Gb 15,000 RPM Serial-Attached SCSI drive - $690
    73 Gb $ 235
    Adaptec Interface cards $300 - $800
     
  11. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030

    Macky-Mac

    Joined:
    May 18, 2004
    #11
    if you're not made of money, then get the 20" iMac.....it'll do what you need now and you'll be able to afford to replace it sooner
     
  12. barijazz macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2007
    #12
    I'd say wait for macworld, if a new mac pro is released then there will be someone with a tricked out mac pro willing to sell it fast to pay for their addiction to the new one.
     
  13. pkoch1 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    pkoch1

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    Location:
    Boston
    #13
    oh! Well I don't need the SCSI drive then! At this point I'm getting rid of the 24" iMac idea. Its just too big. Thanks for all the input so far!
     
  14. FF_productions macrumors 68030

    FF_productions

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2005
    Location:
    Mt. Prospect, Illinois
    #14
    All ram/hard drives should be purchased from www.macsales.com (OWC) For like 95 bucks you can upgrade an iMac to 4 gigs of ram, and for $630 you can get 16 gigs of ram for a Mac Pro.

    Mac Pro I would seriously wait until Mac World to buy one.
     
  15. Grokgod macrumors 6502a

    Grokgod

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2002
    Location:
    Deep within the heart of madness!
    #15
    I have a power mac g5 dual for sale, but you may not be interested in that.
     
  16. pkoch1 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    pkoch1

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    Location:
    Boston
    #16
    I've decided to go with the 2.66 Mac Pro and in the next few months buy another 20" ACD. Unless of course it is upgraded at MacWorld (of course I'm waiting until then! Then I'll get the equivalent.) I'm upgrading it like this:

    750GB Hard Drive in the 2nd Bay (not buying it through apple)
    4GB of RAM to start (also not buying through apple)
    Bluetooth and AirPort Extreme
    2 Super Drives

    Woo, I am excited! Thanks everyone!
     
  17. Music_Producer macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2004
    #17
    You don't need a 300 gb SCSI drive. That's overkill. I've worked with 32 gb 10k rpm drives.. they are more than enough for working with 2 to 3 projects at a time. Like I said, use the SCSI drive for working on projects.. once you are done.. move that project to a larger cheaper drive.

    You can buy scsi drives on ebay for cheap (especially lower size quantities) I have a 9 gb glyph 10,000 rpm drive that I have been using since the last 6 years.. works great.. never fails on high intensity projects. SCSI reliability, and performance is everything in the audio world (for intensive projects)

    Edit - Definitely, do NOT purchase a macbook, macbook pro or imac. Your only option for serious music production is the mac pro. I cannot stress that enough. If you find your projects are slowing down.. or your hard drive can't handle it.. you can always purchase a scsi drive later.
     
  18. Pigumon macrumors 6502

    Pigumon

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2004
    #18
    Wait for MACWORLD!

    Yeah as previously mentioned, wait for Macworld announcements, who knows what might be announced!! If they release new Mac Pros, then the current MPs might go down in price (maybe to a refurb price???)

    Also, there is that rumor about a new tiny isight. So you might luck out there!
     
  19. Music_Producer macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2004
    #19
    ps - here's a 9gb glyph scsi drive (10,000 rpm) on ebay for $50 :eek:
     
  20. pkoch1 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    pkoch1

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    Location:
    Boston
    #20
    Haha don't worry I'm waiting, I'm waiting!
    And I hope the iSight rumor is right!
     
  21. pkoch1 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    pkoch1

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    Location:
    Boston
    #21
    Okay, thats not so bad! Thanks for the link. But I don't think that at this point in my career the scsi is a necessity. But as you said I can always upgrade when I need it. The drives don't seem to be too too expensive, and as you said I only need one as big as a couple of projects. I've been using a 1.67 PowerBook and it only recently has been choking up on what Ive been doing, and a MacBook Pro has been a little slow to respond but only affects workflow a little, and gets the projects done. (although most of my orchestral work has been on a G5 PowerMac) I'll always keep the scsi drives in mind, but I dont think they fit into my need or my budget right now. I really appreciate the advice though! Thanks!
     
  22. tsd macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2007
    Location:
    Greensboro, NC
    #22
    Another option:
    Definitely wait for Macworld, as you're doing, but think about getting a maxed-out 20"iMac, then make some money and save until you can get the MacPro later. If you're operating a business, you can write off the iMac over the course of a number of years as a business expense. Talk to an accountant to get the details, but that's what I'm doing in my design business. I just bought a maxed-out 24"iMac (it's freakin awesome), and I'm gonna make money and save over 4 or 5 years then upgrade to whatever is comparable to a Mac Pro at that point.
     
  23. pkoch1 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    pkoch1

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    Location:
    Boston
    #23
    That's why I was looking at an iMac originally. That way I could afford something nicer as time goes on. I think that the Mac Pro is a better choice right now because I can afford it, and I don't think my business is at the point of having write-offs for business expenses. That will be a couple of years down the road ;). Thanks though! I am always looking for suggestions.
     
  24. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #24
    Umm... there's a reason it's only $50 (+shipping)

    It's tiny. It's used with no warranty. It's on eBay. It's broken (read the description). You still have to work d%&#ed hard to track down a PCI-e SCSI Card that's compatible with UltraSCSI, 68-pin connector, and OSX and Intel Macs (which incidentally will not the same card as you would use for new SAS SCSI drives). The UltraSCSI (SCSI-2 Wide) interface at theoretical max 40 Mb/s is not as fast as SATA-300.

    And you can get a Western Digital Raptor 10,000 RPM SATA drive with 150 Gb of space for $170 that's plug and play with the MacPro. Check the relative performance on www.storagereview.com and www.barefeats.com

    SCSI's main advantage is that it offloads some disk management from the computer's CPU to the SCSI controller. This mainly has an advantage when the computer is under intense, multiuser, highly contentious access. IMO, SCSI only makes sense if you are setting up enterprise-class RAID server storage, or are going to go all out for performance and have unrestricted budget. Then you go with RAID and Serial Attached SCSI or an UltraSCSI/320 interface or iSCSI over GB EN. SCSI is a case of go big or go home.
     
  25. Music_Producer macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2004
    #25
    Tiny. So? A typical music production session runs into 5-6 gigs. Heck, my colleagues use 10 gig drives most of the time. It's broken? The switch is on all the time.. I don't call that broken. And what's wrong with ebay? It's a great place to find used music gear, drives, etc. SCSI cards are also easily available on ebay.

    I would not touch a WD raptor. Reliability issues. We've had multiple raptor breakdowns during recording sessions. Sorry, but while you know the theoretical use of drives, etc.. I work in the field on a daily basis. So I'm trying to let the OP know, that nothing beats SCSI in the audio world.
     

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