Questions on upgrades of 21.5" system

Discussion in 'iMac' started by mrlittlejohn, Nov 22, 2011.

  1. mrlittlejohn macrumors newbie

    Nov 22, 2011
    Just purchased a 21.5 standard 500Gb iMac system for my son. We got the basic system for my son that is switching over from PCs. He is into music recording and is a musician himself. He is working with the garage band program and inputting from his sound board and mixer and all of his equipment.

    We felt this should be plenty for him as we upgrade what we need to.

    We are looking to add 2 4Gb memory modules and hope that it will be helpful at 12Gb. The hard drive of 500 Gb is plenty for now and we will get an external later when it begins to become necessary.

    My questions are:

    Will 2 additional 4Gb memory modules be compatible with the current 2 X 2Gb?

    How quick is the access of data from a USB drive, and will it be fast enough for audio work?

    Any reccommendations for us to look at doing? or not doing?

    We did get the AppleCare program also...

  2. Icaras macrumors 603


    Mar 18, 2008
    California, United States
    Hi, and welcome to the forums :)

    I'm a musician myself and own the high end 21.5" with dual internal HDD and SSD to use for recording.

    You can most certainly mix 2x2 with 2x4 to get 12GB of RAM. Thats the same exact configuration I have on my machine. I purchased a pair of 4GB modules from Other World Computing.

    You can also get away with USB speeds, but if you're going to load samples libraries and audio off of it, I would recommend an external FireWire drive. You'll definitely notice faster load times. If you bought the new 2011 iMac, you're in luck too as you have built in Thunderbolt, which will blow away USB and Firewire speeds. Unfortunately, the market is still very new though for TB products so theres only a handful of these drives out there and they are quite pricey at the moment. But take satisfaction in knowing you are future proofed in expanding your system with a Thunderbolt drive later down the road if you ever need the extra speed.

    Other than external drives, most recording musicians use an external sound card plugged in to your monitors. Not sure if this already part of your son's signal chain, but its a must for proper A/D conversion. Check out a very popular recording device for Apple Garageband and Logic users.

    AppleCare is a good investment too. That should definitely give you and your son peace of mind for keeping your new iMac running for a while.

    Hope that helps.
  3. mrlittlejohn, Nov 22, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2011

    mrlittlejohn thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 22, 2011
    Thanks for the reply and yes we have the new iMac with TB. It sounds amazing and my fears that they would be crazy priced has been confirmed. But in time, they always come down and by the time he will need it, I am sure they will be much more reasonable.

    He is currently using a Tascam Portastudio with the optical out feeding into the iMac. He also has a 24 channel Peavey mixer that we just picked up for $50. He is recording only streaming music right now and plans to begin soon tracks of his brass performing pieces to put together. He is 17 years old and definately plans to stay in music, for performance and education. He hope to attend Berklee in Boston if he can get accepted and I rob enough banks, lol. Just kidding about the banks.

    I guess the apogee would take the place of the Portastudio and he would only need the mixer if he wanted such a number of inputs at a given time frame, correct? I am somewhat ignorant to this scene, I can definately connect a stereo and amplifier up in a car to make the ears bleed - but this is over my head.

    I do appreciate your reply and information given. We will continue educating ourselves with our investment.


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