Resolved Urgent: Is 8GB 13'' MBP enough for Logic Pro X?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by mbenji, Jan 31, 2017.

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  1. mbenji, Jan 31, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2017

    mbenji macrumors member

    mbenji

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2016
    #1
    Hi :)

    My question in short:
    Will base MBP TB 13 8GB will be enough for Logic Pro X 3 vocal tracks and 3 Kontakt sampled VSTs?
    EDIT: Everyone but @keysofanxiety believes it might/would be enough but @keysofanxiety explained very persuasively that it wouldn't be enough, I still urgently need someone to help.

    Details

    I have a small window opportunity to purchase a base 8GB 13'' MBP with touch bar for a good price.
    I can also wait for a good price for a 16GB version but it might not happen and everything here is way too overpriced (way more than the regular US price).

    My needs are:
    Vocals: 3 tracks. (vocals, guitar L, guitar R)
    VI: 3 sampled tracks as folllows: Sampled Drums, Sampled Piano, Sampled [something else].
    I will most probably will want to use Kontakt, I might be willing to use something else, I might be willing to drop one or maybe maybe two sampled tracks in favor of a regular VI.

    Thanks a lot! :)
     
  2. mbenji thread starter macrumors member

    mbenji

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2016
    #3
    Thank you very much, However:

    I already read these posts, but I never worked with Kontakt or other quality sampled VSTs and I still can not know if these 3 sampled VST tracks that I need will be "Truly huge" (as written in the post) sample libraries or not, so I still don't know if 8GB will be enough.

    EDIT: Are most Kontakt VSTs "huge"? maybe just rare ones?
     
  3. keysofanxiety, Jan 31, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2017

    keysofanxiety macrumors G3

    keysofanxiety

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2011
    #4
    I use EastWest Quantum Leap Symphonic Orchestra Platinum and the 3 Albion Spitfire Suites through Kontakt -- also a few other sample libraries like Voices of the Apocalypse, Colossus, etc.

    The sample libraries are huge and in some cases are 50GB+ each. They absolutely eat RAM but they're very CPU hungry too. You'll especially notice this if you're putting multiple samples layered in Kontakt per track (which of course isn't a good idea if you're looking for a good mix, but you might find yourself in that situation). Quite honestly you'll get a lot more for your money with the 15" 2015 MacBook Pro. The quad-core processor would be much more capable for what you need.

    Even on my 2011 2.5GHz quad-i5 iMac with 32GB RAM, the system was hitting the CPU bottleneck and stuttering. Granted that was on Logic 9, but it just goes to show how CPU intensive these AUs/VSTs can be.

    The 15" MacBook Pros come with 16GB RAM from stock. If you're on a budget, even the 2012 15" cMBP can be found for very cheap on the used market. I myself use that with 16GB RAM upgraded (2x8GB 1600MHz SODIMM) and a 1TB SSD. A producer I know also has the same machine on the go. The CPU in the 2012 is still extremely capable.

    TL;DR: any quad i7 in a Mac from 2012 onwards (3rd gen i7 or higher) would be recommended. Even a 2012 quad i7 Mac Mini with an SSD & 16GB RAM would be better for your usage than the 13".
     
  4. mbenji thread starter macrumors member

    mbenji

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2016
    #5
    Thanks a lot man:)

    I can get the latest base 15 MBP (16GB, touch bar) for a good price as well (but I really-really wanted the premium portability the 13 offers, I guess, after what you wrote I have to sacrifice that) I can also go for the latest quad i5 iMac or get the Mac mini you mentioned.

    1. Are you sure that the 13 MBP with 16GB won't be enough? even for 2 quality sampled VSTs?
    2. Do you think that the latest quad i5 iMacs will cut it?
    3. Will the Mac mini you mentioned be absolutely enough?
     
  5. keysofanxiety macrumors G3

    keysofanxiety

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2011
    #6
    Honestly I'd get the latest base 15 MBP then. Max out the SSD size to what you can afford and also pay the extra for the 4GB dGPU. The portability isn't a factor with the 15". Trust me, they're tiny! Smaller than most 13" Windows laptops, haha. In answer to your queries:

    1) If the plugins are using 16GB RAM, you'll be hitting the CPU bottleneck long before that - so although 16GB RAM would be beneficial, you'd be better off jumping to the 15".

    2) No if it's the base dual 1.6GHz iMac; that's practically a MacBook Air. Any of the 4K/5K ones would have a powerful enough quad i5 processor, though with the pricing it's not much more to upgrade to the 27". And then you'll need at least a 3TB HDD to ensure the Fusion drive is at least 128GB on the SSD size. Then the pricing will rocket even further from there, because you'd be looking to jump to pure Flash for best performance. Overall, I don't think it's your best option.

    3) Absolutely enough in regards to longevity? Not really. The Mac Mini doesn't have a dedicated graphics card and the I/O will be limited to the 6Gb/s SATA interface. Would it be good enough for what you need now? Absolutely.

    With the 2015 MBP or higher, you get considerably faster Flash. At least 1.5GB/s read/write on any 2015 or higher model. This will vastly benefit loading plugins and projects. Compared to SATA 6Gb/s which will max out around 550MB/s with typical usage.

    The larger the Flash storage, the quicker the read/write speeds, as Flash chips work in parallel. Also you should have a large SSD so that you can store all your plugins on the internal drive. This is essential! Plugins will be very slow if loading through USB or otherwise.

    Also a very powerful processor. The quad i7 is an absolute workhorse and will handle anything you can throw at it. 16GB RAM as stock. Finally the dGPU in the 2016 will vastly help LPX performance, as it has Metal support and I believe LPX utilises that too. 4GB vRAM and you'll be laughing.

    Overall - 2016 15" is what you want I'd say! If that's too expensive, get the 2015 15" with a 512GB SSD or higher. That machine is still an absolute screamer.
     
  6. mbenji thread starter macrumors member

    mbenji

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2016
    #7
    You are amazing, I mean it :)

    Before I decide to go with the latest 15 MBP (I already checked it out, the weight really bothers me...) One last point that I did not get thoroughly:

    You wrote:
    "If the plugins are using 16GB RAM, you'll be hitting the CPU bottleneck long before that "

    Most probably, I will go with your suggestion (latest 15 MBP) but, if I will go with the 13 inch:

    What exactly can I do with it?
    this question is the most important point for me, I will be very very thankful if you could help me understand which and how many (if at all) sampled VIs can I use in addition to 3 vocal tracks (vocal, guitar L, guitar R).
     
  7. keysofanxiety macrumors G3

    keysofanxiety

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2011
    #8
    Well the 13" Mac is still a very capable machine. In terms of vox/audio, it should handle them fine; add in the speed of the SSD and you're laughing. The VIs depend mainly on how many samples you're loading and how large the sample library is. For instance you can easily load 10+ Logic Pro AUs (the ones you download through Logic) without the dual-core 13" CPU struggling.

    So it's not so much a matter of how many, but... which many. ;)

    For instance, let's get ourselves a nice orchestral strings library. She's clocking at around 10GB in total. We open Kontakt and jump to our saved library. Let's load up a 500MB 15-cello suite plugin on one stem and 500MB 12-violins on another stem.

    So that's already 1GB loaded into the RAM. Then we've got Kontakt loading in the RAM too (and remember, that's 2x Kontakt instances loaded, as they're on seperate stems). Now this is where it really gets CPU taxed. You've got one CPU thread running one instance of Kontakt, which in itself is running a plugin. Then you've got another CPU thread running another instance of Kontakt, running another plugin. And the larger the loaded instrument, the more it's taxing the disk I/O, the RAM, and the CPU too.

    Especially with the Albion suites, you've got tonnes of different articulations on the instruments, which when activated absolutely chew through RAM just from idling when they're enabled.

    Granted, there's a lot down to optimisation with third-party plugins. If you were mainly doing 10+ audio tracks and plugins/loops exclusively using Logic or GarageBand instruments, I wouldn't have hesitated to recommend the 13". But as soon as we add in Kontakt, it's implied that you'll be loading some pretty hefty libraries. Just one library can be taxing. The more libraries you load and the more instances of Kontakt you have running at the same time, I can't begin to explain how quickly resource usage snowballs. Before you know it you've said goodbye to a fair chunk of your RAM and CPU.

    The 13" is a fabulous machine and more than capable of running Logic X; it can easily be used to mix/master 20+ audio tracks. But when running Audio Units like Kontakt and you're loading large libraries, whilst playing in/MIDI scoring instrument after instrument on Kontakt, it's absolutely got to be the 15". The CPU and dGPU will run circles around the 13". :)
     
  8. DanDilla macrumors member

    DanDilla

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2016
    Location:
    Lüneburg, Germany
    #9
    I'm working with ableton and I think Logic should be way less ressource-hungry.
    Even with the 8GB MBP you should have some headroom for at least 4 mono tracks. The cpu/ram usage of komplete is alsohighly variable...

    If you mix it up to stereo there's less headroom but you will definetly be fine.

    And you will definetly struggle with the dual core before the ram limits.
    I mean - what do you want to fill it up with? Do you record 1 hour 4 track straight or load 50 Plugins in your project?

    Nobody can really say what works or not without testing it withthe exact sane settings, your interface, your presets & all the background stuff you got on your machine.
    Theree are a lot of algorythms running in the DAW in which a little turn of a knob can increase the cpu usage a lot.

    I'm working with some more tracks so there was no chance by buying a dual core and if you're not planning to sell the MBP soon, go for the 15", or you will need to upgrade as soon as you start working with some bigger projects.
    I went with the 2,7/455 because I ordered through a edu reseller and didn't wanted to wait for a bto with 500GB and 2,6.
    Even working in project files of 4k spots (final cut pro) pretty impressive with the 455. If you're not into gaming, cutting or some other gpu heavy tasks a lot, the 460 may be nice, but not neccessary.

    For audio the 15 MBPTB is really nice and got a lot of power for a looooot of tracks and plugins.
    I'm coming from a 15" 2011 with 2 ssds in it so it is IMO very light.
    Go for a smaller charger and a lighter cable and you should be fine, i got a 29w and even in the studio charges a bit, even if it looses some battery occasionally while being on heavy load.
    I carry it around all day in a messenger bag.
     
  9. ZapNZs macrumors 68020

    ZapNZs

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2017
    #10
    Get the 16. Not because you likely need it now, but because the RAM is soldered in place, and over time 16 may become necessary. If it was easy to upgrade, it would be a non-issue, but since it isn't, for most users I think 16 GB is worthwhile on a machine they are investing big money in and may keep for 5+ years.

    IMO, in 2012, 4GB was what 8GB is today.
     
  10. mbenji thread starter macrumors member

    mbenji

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2016
    #11

    Hey keysofanxiety, I took your advise and cancelled the 13'' order, I ordered the base 15'' MBP, I did not pay for it yet.

    I've just installed kontakt (on my base 2014 mac mini), when using the kontakt factory library the instruments only using about 20 MB of memory, and also almost do nothing to the CPU.

    What am I doing wrong? maybe I should find a more demanding library?

    Thank you very much :)
     
  11. mbenji, Feb 4, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2017

    mbenji thread starter macrumors member

    mbenji

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2016
    #12
    Hey guys, after reading pretty much everything, I am very confused, I have to decide very quickly as the store is running out of patience between the latest base 13'' and 15'' macbook pros with touch bar.

    I can't get any of the upgraded versions so the 13'' will have to be with 8GB of ram, I reaaallly want the 13'' form factor.

    I simply have to ask this question again, I only need 3 quality VSTs and 3 vocal tracks, what are the chances that the 13'' will be enough? if I need 3 kontakt VSTs and 3 vocal tracks: in which cases it will be enough and in which will it not?

    BTW, I can upgrade the 13'' in 2 years.

    @DanDilla @ZapNZs @keysofanxiety and other who could help, Thanks a lot :)
     
  12. givemeanapple macrumors Demi-God

    givemeanapple

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2016
    Location:
    Earth
    #13
    Get the 15 inch, the Quad core I7 cpu is way more important than RAM in audio production. Also to answer your thread name, yes 8gb of RAM is enough. I run big projects in Logic Pro X with 8GB of ram and 60 Tracks with at least 30 VST and it runs flawlessly.
     
  13. mbenji thread starter macrumors member

    mbenji

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2016
    #14
    Thanks, I now understand how important the quad core is, but will I be still able to record 3 vocals and 3 Kontakt (or VSTs with higher quality) VST tracks on the base 13'' MBPTB?
     
  14. givemeanapple macrumors Demi-God

    givemeanapple

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    #15
    I'm sure any decent computer will be able to do that without struggle.
     
  15. mbenji thread starter macrumors member

    mbenji

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    Aug 27, 2016
    #16
    Thanks @apppen1 :) but look how sure you and @keysofanxiety both are and you say the exact opposite thing.
     
  16. givemeanapple macrumors Demi-God

    givemeanapple

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    #17
    He went more technical than I did and gave you a detailed explanation about how DAW works with the hardware, although for your use I'm sure he agrees there is nothing wrong with the MBP 13". But in my opinion I still think you should get the 15".
     
  17. DanDilla macrumors member

    DanDilla

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    Nov 15, 2016
    Location:
    Lüneburg, Germany
    #18
    Yeah, the 15 is my favoutite too, but I can also understand your love for the size and weight of the 13.

    For you specific case, 3 tracks @ 3 vst, I'm pretty sure you're fine fine the 13 with still headroom left.
    Easy. I think even a m5 12 rMB could do this, so don't worry...
     
  18. Dave245 macrumors 603

    Dave245

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2013
    #19
    I'm having the same dilemma with deciding between the 13" and 15" although mine is not for Logic Pro X, I'd be more editing audio for podcasts, doing documents in Pages, web browsing, general use really and some video editing occasionally. The 8GB Ram sounds like it would be enough, but would the 15" with 16GB and the better processor and future proof it more for years to come?
     
  19. givemeanapple macrumors Demi-God

    givemeanapple

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    #20
    Obviously is a better future proof machine.
     
  20. mbenji, Feb 4, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2017

    mbenji thread starter macrumors member

    mbenji

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2016
    #21
  21. DanDilla, Feb 4, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2017

    DanDilla macrumors member

    DanDilla

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2016
    Location:
    Lüneburg, Germany
    #22
    Both, the 13 AND the 15 should be future-proof and will deliver enough RAM and CPU power for the tasks you're asking for. These are no heavy tasks and if you can live wiith 50% more processing time to render your podcasts (shouldn't be that long) you will be fine even in a few years, or a lot with some tweaking... (based on what a friend of mine is still doing with his 2011 13" :D )
    The video editing is another thing, but also depending on quality, software and how patient you are.

    Edit: @mbenji

    I just talked about this with a friend and he just ran 3 tracks with 3x3, so after all 9 ACTIVE Kontakt FX vsts' in Ableton just to have a rough overview of the capabilities of his 13" early 2011 MBP and it was definitely running on it's limits.
    But his MBP is just a mess with all kinds of stuff running in the background and no SSD...
    I think you will be fine either way...
     
  22. ZapNZs, Feb 4, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2017

    ZapNZs macrumors 68020

    ZapNZs

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2017
    #23
    If you are only thinking about 2 years, the base 13-inch model will be more than enough IMO. While in many cases I think the $200 upgrade to 16GB of RAM is justifiable, I feel this applies more so to people who intend to keep their machine for a much longer period (5-10 years, which I sometimes assume automatically is the intent given the longevity of these computers) and may already be investing $2,200+ in a higher tier model (so an extra $200 to provide that extra layer of future proofing to a larger initial investment is arguably more justifiable.)

    For your current use, I think the 13-inch base model will be plenty capable of meeting your needs. For that matter, a refurbished MacBook Air with an i7 dual core, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB SSD, which you can get for as low as around $1,000, or a refurb 13-inch 2015 MBPr base model, will also meet those needs. While I believe 16 GB will eventually become what 8 GB is today, I don't believe that will happen in two years (and rather think more on the order of 4-5.) This is just my personal opinion.
     
  23. mbenji thread starter macrumors member

    mbenji

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2016
    #24
    Thank you both so much for this, you all seem to know what you say, I would love it if @keysofanxiety would elaborate what he think about all of this as well as he was the only one to disagree with you all, I also liked how very-technical he got with this.
     
  24. evec macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2016
    #25
    For your need 3 tracks + 3 sampled tracks should accept for 8GB config,
    However, i don't know what VI are you use ? Are you mean Real time instrument ?
    Some sampling is very hungry of resources.
    If use the Logic Pro X default provided instrument, it should enough for your need.
     

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