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What iMac for music production? (No virtual instruments)

Paratriplel

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 1, 2011
150
16
I'm thinking or getting an iMac as KY next computer, I currently have a MacBook Pro 15" (2015) (2,3 Ghz, 16GB RAM)

I do not use any virtual instruments but I want to start using more plugins without increasing latency when I'm recording/producing.

I'm using Logic Pro X.
I record "real" synthesizers, guitars, bass, vocals on one channel and I often just record myself but sometimes but I do I have friends or songwriting partners coming over and we multitrack but rarely more than 4 channelks.
Oh and I also record MIDI but just for sending it back out and this is something that really makes you hear the latency created even if there's just a single (non CPU-heavy) plugin on a channel. I currently almost only use external DSP procession for plugins but I want to start going back in the box with plugins and just use my DAW for that. No switching between apps etc.

So you should look at me as a hobbyist even if I make a couple of bucks on my music.

What 27" iMac (yes I'm getting a 27") would you recommend for these tasks?

Of course I understand that the more cores, the higher GHz, RAM and disk space the better but if we're being realistic with $/performance because money is an issue but is solveable to a degree.

I'm in no rush to get a new Mac
. My Macbook Pro is holding up pretty good for its age but I do feel it's slowing me down in my work and that the age has taken its toll on it so I believe that I could benefit from getting a new one pretty soon but waiting half a year and saving maybe up some extra money for an even better computer would be nice but the iMac 2019 seems really good as it is and I like the fact that the T2-chip is missing, since I'm doing music though I'm currently using a Thunderbolt interface and not Usb (since believe that the T2-chip is just affecting USB-interfaces with issues but maybe the next update or even redesign means that it will get a T2-chip but I hope all issues are solved because I might get a USB interface sometime in the near future.

Anyway don't know enough about how computer specs affect the performance when working with audio since it's always about video editing or photo editing so I'm feeling it's a hard deduction to do about which one to get except that I want a 27" or even bigger (if Apple makes that an option for that) but n hoping you can help me out and even if I buy the next generation or next update I'll be more educated about it.

Live in the EU so computers are more expensive and even live in a high tax country so that means the computes cost even more.
 
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Veezer

macrumors newbie
Jun 30, 2015
20
2
Get an i7 Mac mini and you’re good to go. This is specially because you use outboard gear which need a higher investments towards Pre’s and Mics and less on stuff like Monitor, and CPU performance. Besides this, an iMac has a Graphics Card you will NOT be using. Another raccomendation might be looking for past generations Mac Pro, but provided you think having 6-12core on the CPU on a 6.1, or a 12core 5.1, will be even better at that, at the cost of portability and upgraded OS support.

That said, if you desperately need an iMac, get the 27” base version. It will do more than enough for your needs, and update the RAM separately. Also, DO NOT buy any version with HDD or fusion drive unless you want to open the machine and swap the drive yourself.
 
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Paratriplel

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 1, 2011
150
16
I actually forgot to mention that I'll also use this Mac for 3D modeling, nothing super advanced but I of course want something to grow in, but in not doing 3D animations or anything, more "product design" and such.
I'm not sure if this affects the decision.
What I currently do works rather okay on my MacBook Pro from 2015.

But the base model iMac looks fine if I upgrade/config the go 512 GB SSD or even 1 TB. Then upgrade ram to 16 and make that higher if I notice that I need to.
An iMac base models costs 2 389 dollars
512 SSD config is 2 733 dollars in my country
1 TB is 2 963 dollars

How is the thermal issues on the iMac? Will the higher cpu-configurations make a difference or will get for the most part throttle?

About the Mac Mini in just a afraid about the T2-chip, really hard to find information about if the audio issues is solved or not and not every one seem affected but a lot of people is/was.

Mac mini with 3,2 GHz six core i7 and 512 GB coats 1 895 dollars, 1 665 dollars if I'd skip the 512 and settle with 256 GB but I don't like that idea.


I'll probably wait for the next Mac Mini upgrade if I go that route.
I'll probably do the same for the iMac and I'm leaning towards and iMac because I feel you get a bit more

Worth mentioning is that I like to mix as I go, it's only a light mix with some eq's and compressors on a couple of channel and maybe a bus channel and maybe put a reverb in a bus to get some space to maintain the motivation and feeling.

So no I don't need the most powerful machine most defiantly but I rather get something more powerful than I need than the other way around :)

I thought Mac were kind of redicously expensive 10 years ago but now it's really a different level of redicously but I'm still buying into it, can't stand Windows and I don't think Linux is yet simple and stable enough but it seems there's at least 6 distributions "for artists/musicians" so maybe time to check that route out soon.
 
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nihil0

macrumors 6502
May 19, 2016
367
245
For 3D modelling you need strong GPU and even more strong CPU (for rendering). So that would at least mean mid-tier with SSD. Ideal would be i9 with Vega 48. If you have money :).
 
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Sam Marks

macrumors member
Jul 5, 2019
90
25
I'm thinking or getting an iMac as KY next computer, I currently have a MacBook Pro 15" (2015) (2,3 Ghz, 16GB RAM)

I do not use any virtual instruments but I want to start using more plugins without increasing latency when I'm recording/producing.

I'm using Logic Pro X.
I record "real" synthesizers, guitars, bass, vocals on one channel and I often just record myself but sometimes but I do I have friends or songwriting partners coming over and we multitrack but rarely more than 4 channelks.
Oh and I also record MIDI but just for sending it back out and this is something that really makes you hear the latency created even if there's just a single (non CPU-heavy) plugin on a channel. I currently almost only use external DSP procession for plugins but I want to start going back in the box with plugins and just use my DAW for that. No switching between apps etc.

So you should look at me as a hobbyist even if I make a couple of bucks on my music.

What 27" iMac (yes I'm getting a 27") would you recommend for these tasks?

Of course I understand that the more cores, the higher GHz, RAM and disk space the better but if we're being realistic with $/performance because money is an issue but is solveable to a degree.

I'm in no rush to get a new Mac
. My Macbook Pro is holding up pretty good for its age but I do feel it's slowing me down in my work and that the age has taken its toll on it so I believe that I could benefit from getting a new one pretty soon but waiting half a year and saving maybe up some extra money for an even better computer would be nice but the iMac 2019 seems really good as it is and I like the fact that the T2-chip is missing, since I'm doing music though I'm currently using a Thunderbolt interface and not Usb (since believe that the T2-chip is just affecting USB-interfaces with issues but maybe the next update or even redesign means that it will get a T2-chip but I hope all issues are solved because I might get a USB interface sometime in the near future.

Anyway don't know enough about how computer specs affect the performance when working with audio since it's always about video editing or photo editing so I'm feeling it's a hard deduction to do about which one to get except that I want a 27" or even bigger (if Apple makes that an option for that) but n hoping you can help me out and even if I buy the next generation or next update I'll be more educated about it.

Live in the EU so computers are more expensive and even live in a high tax country so that means the computes cost even more.
I am also from an EU country. I also produce music with my MacBook Pro (2011) and I tested an iMac i9 Vega 48 512Gb SSD a few months ago with very bad luck (the computer died after a music production sesion after 14 days and I returned it). It could be a bad unit or a bad design. I will never know.

The problem for me with the new macs is that the MacOS Catalina is not currently compatible with my main audio interfaces and some of my most used software. And it is imposible to order a new Mac with Mojave or to downgrade after purchasing.

Finally, due to this fact, I ordered a 17,3 inch custom Clevo laptop prepared for the instalation of various OS. i7 9700 CPU (7500 geekbench multicore score under this configuration), 64GB RAM 2666, 512Gb SSD (for €200 more I will install 2TB more of NMVE SSD), a GPU similar in performance to the Pro Vega 56 (Nvida GTX 1660ti) and totally upgradable. All for €1,400 including taxes, vía Amazon. I will see how it performs for music production under different OS. Maybe Cubase or Live on Windows 10 or another OS could run smoothly. If not, I will return the machine.
 
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Paratriplel

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 1, 2011
150
16
I am also from an EU country. I also produce music with my MacBook Pro (2011) and I tested an iMac i9 Vega 48 512Gb SSD a few months ago with very bad luck (the computer died after a music production sesion after 14 days and I returned it). It could be a bad unit or a bad design. I will never know.

I'm sorry to hear! Did you push it or it suddenly died?

The problem for me with the new macs is that the MacOS Catalina is not currently compatible with my main audio interfaces and some of my most used software. And it is imposible to order a new Mac with Mojave or to downgrade after purchasing.
What?! I did not know that it wasn't possible to downgrade OS. Really? There's no issue free hack for it or anything?
Hmm... I've recently checked and almost everything I use is 64 bit now but of course some smaller apps are gonna have to go if I upgrade.

Wish I could go non Mac but I promised Apple to give them one last chance.

For 3D modelling you need strong GPU and even more strong CPU (for rendering). So that would at least mean mid-tier with SSD. Ideal would be i9 with Vega 48. If you have money :).

Well my MacBook Pro seems to be able to perform well when being used for 3D-modeling (Music production pushes the computer more than 3D modeling! Seriously!) even if it sometimes could have a moment of lag etc.. But as said I'm not doing animations or anything, just the 3D-modeling and I just started applying it for 3D printing so I'm not sure I'll need a big ass graphics card for that but I might be wrong? When I've tried reading up about requirements but got the impression that it's more important having a fast CPU rather than having an expensive CPU and seeing that my MacBook Pro works rather fine for it I'm guessing computes today should do at least ad good? Isn't that the case?
When you say mid tier SSD what does that mean? Doesn't all SSD for the iMac perform the same?

Do not have the money but could of course save up if I feel it's worth it but I believe I'm more likely to leave Applefor computing than spend over $3000 on a computer.

I really believe that I'd I'd manage with all 27" offered right now but if course i9 would be preferred and but GPU is probably fine? Isn't it? But for professional work maybe the upgraded to Vega 48 would be a big upgrade and time saver for a work.
 
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nihil0

macrumors 6502
May 19, 2016
367
245
Well my MacBook Pro seems to be able to perform well when being used for 3D-modeling (Music production pushes the computer more than 3D modeling! Seriously!) even if it sometimes could have a moment of lag etc.. But as said I'm not doing animations or anything, just the 3D-modeling and I just started applying it for 3D printing so I'm not sure I'll need a big ass graphics card for that but I might be wrong? When I've tried reading up about requirements but got the impression that it's more important having a fast CPU rather than having an expensive CPU and seeing that my MacBook Pro works rather fine for it I'm guessing computes today should do at least ad good? Isn't that the case?
When you say mid tier SSD what does that mean? Doesn't all SSD for the iMac perform the same?

Do not have the money but could of course save up if I feel it's worth it but I believe I'm more likely to leave Applefor computing than spend over $3000 on a computer.

I really believe that I'd I'd manage with all 27" offered right now but if course i9 would be preferred and but GPU is probably fine? Isn't it? But for professional work maybe the upgraded to Vega 48 would be a big upgrade and time saver for a work.

I wrote mid-tier with SSD, not mid-tier SSD :).

It depends what you call "rather fine" work. With more cores and threads, you can for 1) have better and faster workflow inside the app meaning you can see better quality of scene because render is faster and 2) you will save lot of time rendering your works (more cores/threads = faster render). So it really means what will you exactly be rendering (non-animated stuff is also demanding) and how much time you want to spend doing it.

You are correct that CPU is much more important for 3D modeling than GPU but it all depends whether you can justify the price hike.

But also maybe you are only 3D modelling simple stuff and not complex scenes and therefore you will not benefit from i9 at all. So the thing is to be really sure what do you expect from the computer and act accordingly.

For my photo workflow, CPU is important, GPU not as much, that is why I am getting 2019 iMac with i9. I also work little with Logic Pro X and on my current config it is running great (and I use VST Amplitube and for 1 project I have around 15 tracks with VST applied on 3 of them, the rest is WAVs with EQs and stuff).

So it depends.
 
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Sam Marks

macrumors member
Jul 5, 2019
90
25
My 2019 iMac Vega 48 died the day after a night of intensive music production sessions with 150 tracks of virtual instruments and effect plugins. The morning after the computer started to reboot randomly and increasingly. After one hour of reboots the computer refused to turn on anymore. I assume that the logic board caused a fatal failure of the system.

I do not want o try another iMac with the same thermal desing for the moment. I will try the commented laptop to see what happens.
 
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Paratriplel

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 1, 2011
150
16
Thanks for explaining nihil0, I believe I read a bit too fast. Hehe.

I'm sure I'd benefit from the i9 but I'm worried that the iMac will throttle away most of that power but maybe Apple has solve the heating issues. Though when reading Sam Mark's reply I'm guessing sadly not.

I just wish I could buy a Mac computer and know it will stand up to the task if I pay a freaking €3000... And I want it to last at least 3 years but preferable up to 6-8 years.

Right now I'm doing fairly simple things in my 3D modeling, recently started learning Fusion360 and I'm trying to move away from SketchUp due to several reasons.

Logic is something I early have over 5 midi tracks / 30 audio tracks but it happens so I'm guessing I should plan for at least 50 tracks since I want to be able to grow.
Never felt that my current computer isn't holding up to the task but it's getting very hot and loud and I really don't like that, with computer in my studio room it could be an issue but I've placed my microphone quite far away from the computer etc.

Or to wake or not to wait for next update or the iMac..
 
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Paratriplel

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 1, 2011
150
16
I'm having a hard time waiting (partly due to pure purchase purchase joy and partly because of needs.
Now my current Macbook Pro seems to have aged rapidly in just the last 2 months.

Trying to decide on what way to go, a CTO low end model MacBook Pro 16" preferably configured with an extra 32 GB's of ram and maybe an Intel 8 cores i9 processor and no graphic cards upgrade but it will cost me $4 075 for 512 GB (that's almost the double amount of cash I feel is fair but if I haven't got any options and can keep the computer for five years I guess I'm okay with it) and $3 725 without the i9 (which might be the most price worthy option, can the Macbook Pro 16" really use all that processing power anyway?
No reviews really go into depth on that yet even though they seem impressed but might be because the last generation handled thermals terribly) and just upgrade the ram or if I should go with the top model iMac 27" configured with just an 512 GB SSD, which would cost me $3 200, unless you do not think I'd benefit a lot from the i9 upgrade?

It's tempting to just get a base model in a good deal from a cheap computer store and save $425 (which is the price difference between the cheaper stores and Apple Store) and upgrade the SSD myself and of course I'm planning to add ram up to 32 GB into the iMac myself when I've got it).
The top/high end base model would today cost me $2 650, though of course I'd have to pay $100-$200 for an SSD to replace the HDD with and about the same for ram and if something is or goes wrong with it I have no warranty, and I guess that a good home insurance with extra cover for things that you break yourself wouldn't cover such a thing? I mean if there's a warranty issue but I've broken the warranty.

What would give me the most for my money here? If I get an iMac I'll keep my MacBook Pro 15" from 2015 but most defiantly sell if I get the 16".

Really frustrating that CTO orders must be handled through Apple in my country because that means prices go up to Apple prices but I found one retailer that actually do sell CTO's and another that sells them but only to businesses but they told me that my own old "never got down to actually doing business"-company would do just fine but I'll or course still have to pay taxes on it but I might look more into that and see what the prices are.
I also have a friend that works in Hong Kong that is willing to buy one for me and either bring or ship to me but if I go for an iMac that needs to be shipped I guess it's a big chance that customs want to tax it (if you know a good way to get around this in very interested, let me know in the thread of my PM) or maybe you just know where to buy a Mac in EU, preferably one that's a CTO and that doesn't cost over $3 200 just because I want to add an extra of 16 GB of ram or don't want an ancient mechanical drive inside it.


The Mac Mini is still very interesting but not as interesting as the ones I've mentioned above but if some more people using one tells me their experience I might go for one, price is at least more same with the mini but I don't want to make a bad decision and getting something that throttles or just hasn't got the performance I expect, it's still a lot of money being spent and I rather spend some more knowing it will last 5 years.
 
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3SQ Machine

macrumors regular
Dec 8, 2019
133
63
I was you about 2 months ago. 2013 iMac still meeting my music needs, but slowing down and a clear ceiling for growth. Here is what you need to do:

Do NOT trade in your current rig. You'll need it to do cross-comparison with your new system so you know you are getting value for your money. I tested the SAME projects side-by-side with my old iMac, a 3.0 2019 iMac, and 2 different Mac Minis at the SAME time to see which handled my workflow best.

imac was clear winner--and even cheaper. The base 3.0 hexacore is mighty powerful, but I would spring for the 3.7 i5. i9 will give you fan noise, if that matters. It does to me. i5 3.0 handled 32 buffer without clicks and pops.

You can find my other thread on the Mac Mini, but I tested the base model + upgraded model and found the performance WORSE than my 2013 iMac. I'm not convinced all T2 issues are resolved and lack of dGPU makes more a difference in audio than you think if you're running a big monitor. Kiss 32 buffer goodbye on that machine. It is quiet, though, and you might have luck if you decide not to run a 4K monitor--but better make sure you test it thoroughly within the return period.

iMac is most value-conscious choice, but I also grabbed my base model 3.0 on a sick open box deal at 30% off.

Of course, such great deals aren't available for SSD models, so I have the fusion drive. I can also boot off a 1TB thunderbolt NVME drive, but I don't regularly do that and use my external NVME for reads/writes related to audio so I don't have any IO slowdowns with bouncing/freezing/recording. It's a great setup and the 5K screen makes a HUGE difference to my eyes with being able to edit waveforms.
 
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Paratriplel

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 1, 2011
150
16
3SQ Machine: That was a great reply with lots of great info.
I'm going to take a dive into the thread you're speaking of and hopefully feel even more confident, noise is something I prioritize highly to avoid but of course, I rather take some noise instead of a computer not being fast enough for my needs but it sounds like the 3.0 GHz Hexacore or 3.7 GHz iMac actually will be a nice improvement that I can be the bottleneck in my workflow instead of my computer and of course also keep latency low.

Really apprichiate your reply and that you took the time and energy to do these tests and I'll also keep the Macbook around for testing out that the performance actually feels better and faster side by side.

A bit worried about getting a computer with FusionDrive but it's nice to know that I can upgrade the HDD to a SSD if needed (will most definitely do that if I get the fusion drive, though if I get a 128 GB FusionDrive I might be fine because I don't have that many applications that take up that much space and I save all projects to external drive even as it is) and I've found someone that actually do that for you but it's a little expensive, i mean if I'm not going to buy a CTO Mac I don't want upgrading the disk to SSD only to be just as expensive.

But all graphic cards is able to handle a 4k monitor? So that I don't have to worry about that as well.
 
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3SQ Machine

macrumors regular
Dec 8, 2019
133
63
I 100% did not want a fusion drive. However, $550 off? Better performance overall than Mac Mini for low latency audio? No T2? Included 5K screen? Ok--I'm sold. Although I really had my eyeball on the 3.7 (its 2TB fusion may be "acceptable" but still not preferable) couldn't get a deal on it in time.

I just use the internal fusion for loading Logic. Boot times are super quick on fusion, surprisingly, and since I use Logic all the time it's already been promoted to the SSD portion. For additional, the Logic Library + audio files are all located on external NVME. Once everything is loaded into RAM (I have 24gb I added myself), there's little benefit to Logic on a super speedy internal drive since the only I/O bottlenecks are covered by external NVME. Although I have used external SSDs to boot, I prefer OS internally for latency.

Also, my audio projects take up a lot of room and I need external drives anyway, so why waste money on internal storage when it will never be enough?

But all graphic cards is able to handle a 4k monitor? So that I don't have to worry about that as well.

Not the crappy Intel UHD on the Mac Mini. They claim it handles 4K @ 60HZ--and it does, but only if you do NOTHING else. Oh, and FORGET SCALING! It was better on "native" 4K OR 1080--but nothing in-between! 4K too small, 1080 too big! Running a DAW on top of this was too much for it to handle and one core kept spiking causing overloads and weird "syncing" issues with sample rates (never saw that before except on the Mini). It might have been better if I added more RAM, but opening it up, adding RAM, just to test it out was too risky as I wanted to be able to BRING IT BACK within the return period.

I did buy an eGPU and tested that for the 4K monitor and it, oddly, did not make a difference. I was honestly shocked by this as many people said it had cured their scaling/audio problems.

Keep in mind that once you start adding eGPU, external 4K monitors, etc. the Mac Mini starts to get VERY expensive compared to the AIO iMac.

One other option you may want to think about--which I did NOT do, but wish I had--is grab a sick deal on a Macbook Pro 13" or 15" now that they are heavily discounted. You won't have the same connectivity as the Mini, but some models have a dGPU and 256gb internal SSD + 16gb RAM (which I consider the minimum). You can then get a 4K monitor. On top of that you've got a portable workstation to boot for production on the road. My only regret is that I didn't go down that path to see if it would've worked. Only so much time to spend on gear when it's time to get back to recording!
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[QUOTE="Paratriplel, post: 280
A bit worried about getting a computer with FusionDrive but it's nice to know that I can upgrade the HDD to a SSD if needed]

Oh forgot to add, do some digging into 2 things before you believe your "upgraded" fusion drive would be worth it: 1) you're stuck with SATA on the HDD portion, which honestly may not give you any "real world" noticeable speed increase for the effort involved; and 2) replacing the SSD portion of the fusion drive is in the FRONT of the iMac and much harder to access. Even if you replace it, I believe you are still limited to 2-lanes instead of 4 for any M.2 SSDs--which is a bummer if true.

Fusion drives will give you GREAT speeds--for the first 4GBs of data written, then it drops to 7200 RPM speeds. Honestly, I didn't think it was worth it to go down the internal upgrade route. You're probably better off using a thunderbolt NVME drive to boot, but you'll find MANY different opinions on this.
 
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Paratriplel

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 1, 2011
150
16
Thames 3SQ Machine, I really appreciate your thoughts on this, the Mac Mini is something I have ruled out, it’s not something I have ever had on the likely purchase list, at least after I read the reviews (at first when the 2018 refresh was released, I really hoped it was something aimed at us musicians / people working with music that didn’t need the power of the Mac Pro) though without a graphics card able to run a 4K display, which seems to be what the near future will hold for standard, it feels a bit cramped and every other issue such as throttling, T2 issues which I haven’t heard anything about being wife’s it makes it a no-go.

I go back and forth in my head about getting an iMac already instead of waiting for a refresh / redesign, I’m sure that the current 3.7 high end model will be just fine for me with or without a SSD but it feels so weird that it’s not offered with a SSD only but a fusion drive (though with the bigger 128 GB SSD inside).
I really don’t like the idea if having to get external power to be able to run or proper though but of course it’s a possibility if I regret my purchase.

The price difference is 500 Euros (535 US Dollars) between the base model possible to buy in store (that costs 2400 euros / 2680 dollars) and the Apple CTO (3000 euros / 3200 dollars) and I wish I knew if it’s worth it.
It doesn’t seem that Apple in Sweden has the return policy that seems to be available in the US etc and if I buy it from a store it maybe even wouldn’t have mattered in the US.
I guess I could ask a store worker if he can “promise me” a FusionDrive will work fine and if I notice it doesn’t that I could return it and if I could get that in writing.
What do you think?
Is the price different too much for getting an SSD? I read you said that I probably wouldn’t benefit that much from changing out the HD to a SSD, though I’m rather sure I’d get some benefits from it even though not apple speeds due to SATA...

I have found a company that sold CTO’s but after getting a bit too excited from it I realized the CPU was only 3.0 GHz and the only upgrade on that specific model was a 512 GB SSD all other models had a wide range but no 3.7 GHz (and all very expensive without really gwininf much or Sabine even $100 compare to Apple Store).

I rarely use samples other than a demo idea once in a while but rather record actual instruments and prefer to add some EQ or Comp and other than that I really just use Logic as a multitrack tape recorder most of really time (I never get past the songwriting / producing stage so I never get to mixing these days but some changes in my setup and a faster computer is something I hope will help me work faster and maintain my focus therefore not get tired of the song so early, I don’t expect any miracles though) so since I don’t use samples I might not need that much super fast storage but logic and the OS needs to be fast.
 
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dapa0s

macrumors 6502
Jan 2, 2019
315
513
I think Apple everywhere in Europe has the return policy. It sure does in Austria.

Anyway, I think you're waaay overthinking it, any new iMac 2019 will suit you, and the more you pay, the better. Just be sure to get an SSD.
 
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Paratriplel

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 1, 2011
150
16
I think Apple everywhere in Europe has the return policy. It sure does in Austria.

Anyway, I think you're waaay overthinking it, any new iMac 2019 will suit you, and the more you pay, the better. Just be sure to get an SSD.

yes probably overthinking way too much and sure I could get an SSD to go with it and if I could get it in 2-3 days I’d probably just go ahead and order it but now that I know I’ll have to wait for it I keepthinking about it and therefore overthinking it.

I think I’ll follow your advice
about getting an SSD to go with it though. Just going to make sure to get some student discount with it one way or the other, such a shame that I’m currently not studying anything but I guess I can go around it. It’s those last couple of hundred bucks that I’ve got an issue with and of course that if I could purchase an iMac from a non-Apple-Store-store and pay double for the SSD upgrade compared to Apples price I’d still save money.
It’s just one of those things that makes me so frustrated, like what the heck happened to you Apple, I knew you liked making money but this is just silly. Though I know it’s not any money to even bother about but right now I really could have use for them for other stuff.

I also have some doubt about getting an iMac, my last iMac just stood behind my MacBook Pro rarely used and I felt never had much use for it but I went for a cheap iMac 21.5” and that might be the reason I felt my MacBook Pro was still so much more powerful and back then I moved the mobility (today I already have my 15” from 2015 which works fine for day to day tasks) but with the 16” recently launched and available in stores all around I’m wondering if I shouldn’t go for one.

I could pickup a MacBook Pro 16” first thing tomorrow and be done with it. What I’m hesitant about is thermals / throttling and how loud it might be. Probably not an issue but I just want to make sure my next Mac can handle heat and that it doesn’t sound like a spacecraft taking off but I don’t mind sine fan noise just want less of it more rare but one has been like this since day one but it ha done it’s job.
If I went for a 16” I could sell my 15” and has that cash to fund something else or a higher end model of the 16”.
i wouldn’t hesitate to pay the extra and do for a OctaCore if I believed that I would benefit from it and that it wouldn’t throttle and have thermal issues.
I know reviewers has praised it and that’s why I’m considering getting back on with the MacBook Pro and sell my MacBook Pro for roughly $1000 and hopefully be just fine with it even though the mobility isn’t that important but wow...
now I’m starting to overthink this thing again but what’s the most logical decision to do from what I’ve told above in my previous posts?
If I’m buying a Mac sometime between now and end of January and let’s pretend that it hasn’t been that much rumors for anything new.

Is one of the base models of the MacBook Pro’s most logical for a musician / music producer / 3D designer (that doesn’t really get paid to do work even though of course sometimes makes some cash)? I really like the idea of a MacBook Pro base model incuskinf everyrhinf I need. Sure a set of extra. Memory sticks would be nice but probably not a must for 2-3 years at least, it includes 5-2 (!!) GB’s SSD for storage, improves thermals etc.


Or are the iMac the logical solution here? Should I get that damn iMac that I’ve dreamt about and just order a CTO with 512 GB so that it comes here in a couple of weeks? I guess it’s better to not go for a first revision of the MBP 16”...
gah this makes me kind I’d crazy. I’ve been up way to long to think about this now instead ld being productive or sleeping or whatever.

Edit: oh and I forgot or to mention that I’ve got a friend in Hong Kong that I’ve discussed getting a Mac through him, that he brings one home or ships it. I believe I can’t get an iMac to Sweden without paying the tax for it but that he could bring. MBP with him on his next trip or so but I believe I’ll want one before that since he just were home / here. Though it really is a lot cheaper, mike about 1/4 or more of the price.
 
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dapa0s

macrumors 6502
Jan 2, 2019
315
513
You are sooo overthinking it haha.

Look, honestly, I make music on my 13 inch Macbook Pro at the moment, mostly because it is the most portable thing I can use Logic on, and I love making music at any moment. That's the reason I use the 13 inch (2019 model), and it handles it just fine. It's not the fastest thing currently available on the market, and it does get hot, naturally (it is a laptop after all), but still it can definitely handle it and is really fast and capable.

Don't get trapped in endless reviews of Youtubers complaining of imperfect thermal throttling while they export their videos in Final Cut Pro. Most Tech reviewers live in an echo chamber, and the "scandal" and fear tend to bring them clicks and views. No machine will ever be perfect.

That being said, if you WANT the iMac and can afford it (without going completely bankrupt and ending on the street), I would just buy it.

Macbook pro 16 throttling? Ugh, you are just a worrier basically. I mean, nothing wrong with that, but you really are overthinking it. I know, I've been there, but my advice for you, without knowing your financial situation of course, is to just pull the trigger on the thing you want.

And you can call Apple in Sweden, and ask about their return policy if you are still worrying about that lol.

Good luck!
 
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Sam Marks

macrumors member
Jul 5, 2019
90
25
I have a quick update on my recently acquired laptop (non Apple). As I commented in my previous post, I have returned a fried and dead i9 Vega 48 iMac earlier this year. My main tasks are music production and advanced data analytics.

I decided to try a non Apple computer for the first time in 10 years (I have a MBP 15" bought in 2011).

This new Clevo n970tc modular laptop flies for modern music making. It is dead silent and very cool. CPU Geekbench 5 single core is faster than any existing Mac computer and multicore score is comparable to the new 2019 Base Mac Pro (it has a desktop 8 core CPU). GPU performance is comparable to the Vega 64 and Radeon 5700.

Using lots of the most demanding virtual synths in real time is wonderful and Ableton Live, Pro Tools and Cubase fly on this laptop. It has a total silent mode that is excellent for music production sessions and even rendering big sessions the computer remains silent. I even have an app in Windows that can read and write al my Mac formated external disks. So the transition was very easy.

The surprising thing is that I was going to install MacOs Catalina on this laptop but I liked Windows 10 Pro so much for music production that for the moment I postponed this decision. I am liking Reaper under Windows so much that I am forgoting about Logic.

With this machine I can run without problems huge Kontakt orchestral templates. The internal Samsung EVO 970 plus SSD is a beast with 3500 MBs reading speeds. So all my big Kontakt libraries load very fast and with huge real-time polyphony.

And the good thing is that I can open the laptop to change any component at any time I want, including its desktop CPU (i7 9700). All this for a third of the cost of a comparable new MBP 16. I will keep you updated. But for the moment I am very happy with my new music productio laptop.

I say this a long time OSX based producer. The 3 TB internal SSD storage (expandable to 12 TB of 3500GB/s SSD storage), the desktop 8 core CPU, the total upgradeability, the 4 usb last gen support, the 64GB 2666 Samsung RAM, 4 extra monitor support, its very reasonable price and its dead silent operation and good cooling compensate the lack of TB3 ports for me. There is an option of this Clevo with a RTX 2070 GPU, but I decided that the GTX 1660ti is enough for my needs and it is much better than the Vega 48 of my previous iMac i9. And if you are tied to Logic the computer could support OSX also, although I did not try this option yet as I am happy with the performance of Windows 10 Pro for music production (what a revelation :)).
 
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Paratriplel

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 1, 2011
150
16
Yes I am really overthinking this... I’m not ready for a windows laptop yet though , will dice Apple one last chance

My economy will take a bit when I buy my new Mac but I can afford it though spending 500 euros less or spending them but getting exactly what I want is not something I can just shake sadly. If I want an iMac with SSD I’ll have to pay Apple prices plus upgrade price and the only reason I started thinking about if I want a MacBook Pro was that a desktop usually is more powerful and Apple to handle thermals better (generally) but now I like the idea of an iMac but not the idea of having to pay just as much cash for one as I’d pay for a MacBook Pro. I’d Apple didn’t raise prices on the 16” here in Sweden when they refreshes it I’d probably have bought one though (it used to be 25 000 SEK = 2 499 dollars but now it is 30 000 SEK = 2 499 dollars).
I guess I’ll have to fumble around in the dark some more before deciding.

bur about iMac and thermals, I’m sure the 3.7 GHz i5 is not going to get as hot as the i9.
 
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Paratriplel

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 1, 2011
150
16
Double post.

Tough I went to check out both the iMac and the MacBook Pro 16” just now and to ask about return policies but I took the only bus that went the other way and therefore didn’t make it in time. Or I’d have a couple of minutes before closing but felt I’m gonna take it as a sign to make up my mind a bit more.
But if they’d let me return it if I didn’t feel satisfied with it even though the box had been open, I had used it and so forth, I would probably have pulled the trigger but you’ll have to deal with me for a little longer. Of course I’ll come back and give an update when I’ve made my decision and purchased my new Mac and hopefully let someone with the same overthinking get out of it a bit easier.

At least my choices have shrunk excluding from Mac Mini and probably also the base iMac with fusion drive even though I feel a bit tempted to go for one with a 128 GB SSD (if Apple could just do a silent update tomorrow with atleast 256 GB SSD!).
To either a MacBook Pro 16” or an 3.7 GHz Mac with an SSD.

about upgrading the HD to n SSD myself I still believe I’ll not notice that I miss any speed since I’ve been perfectly fine with Samsung’s 10 year olds SSD’s in my older MacBook Pro l, currently used as a media computer, though I didn’t really notice any difference when I got my 2015 MacBook Pro and I’m guessing they use the same SATA that’s available in the iMac. Would love to hear more about this and preferably really be proven wrong about it so that I know that for a fact. Fusion drive seems to solid people and I’m sure that an SSD in the slot will not so anything but increase the speed. I just don’t want to feel I’ve gotten a slower computer but it doesn’t have to be 50% faster or anything like that. I’m leaning towards paying the Apple tax and get one from them though.
 
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3SQ Machine

macrumors regular
Dec 8, 2019
133
63
Using the 5K screen for DAW work is THE benefit of the iMac. Getting a comparable 5K screen "off-the-shelf" is quite expensive, which makes iMac the best value. It would have cost me an additional $1k USD to get a comparable setup using a MacBook Pro + good screen AND being forced to pay Apple for 32GB Ram as 16 is not enough for me. I upgraded the iMac myself for $70 USD to 24gb RAM.

You'll be fine with the 2TB Fusion drive. Also, when I was in Hong Kong, I found the Apple refurb store there to be well-stocked. Go to refurb-tracker and set up an alert for HK or another country where you can get it. After the New Year, the amount of refurb + open box models go WAYYYY up. You'll be able to get a deal and maybe even find an SSD model to boot.

On fusion, I just saw the thread from that one person who upgraded their apple SSD in the 2TB fusion setup. Until we get more info, I really think you should forget the "upgrade." I know people have done it, but this was more popular in the day of no good thunderbolt 40GBS options. My understanding is that the internals of the fusion drive iMac don't take full advantage of today's speedy NVME drives--but maybe the 2TB fusion does. I personally would skip the surgery and opt for booting macOS off a thunderbolt NVME drive. Not to mention your warranty is toast. Do what you want, but it seems a whole lot of effort for not much gain.
 
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Paratriplel

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 1, 2011
150
16
Using the 5K screen for DAW work is THE benefit of the iMac. Getting a comparable 5K screen "off-the-shelf" is quite expensive, which makes iMac the best value. It would have cost me an additional $1k USD to get a comparable setup using a MacBook Pro + good screen AND being forced to pay Apple for 32GB Ram as 16 is not enough for me. I upgraded the iMac myself for $70 USD to 24gb RAM.

You'll be fine with the 2TB Fusion drive. Also, when I was in Hong Kong, I found the Apple refurb store there to be well-stocked. Go to refurb-tracker and set up an alert for HK or another country where you can get it. After the New Year, the amount of refurb + open box models go WAYYYY up. You'll be able to get a deal and maybe even find an SSD model to boot.

On fusion, I just saw the thread from that one person who upgraded their apple SSD in the 2TB fusion setup. Until we get more info, I really think you should forget the "upgrade." I know people have done it, but this was more popular in the day of no good thunderbolt 40GBS options. My understanding is that the internals of the fusion drive iMac don't take full advantage of today's speedy NVME drives--but maybe the 2TB fusion does. I personally would skip the surgery and opt for booting macOS off a thunderbolt NVME drive. Not to mention your warranty is toast. Do what you want, but it seems a whole lot of effort for not much gain.

ikl look into the refurb tracker, the only thing that puts me off is if the customs starts messing around and take the new device hostage until I pay full price (the tax is usually higher than the device costs!).

Yes I too believe the 2TB fusion drive is fine (if the SSD part was 256 GB I would know it, not just believe) the surgery is most defiantly something I just want as a last option if I bought an iMac and a couple of few months in notice it’s too slow, knowing I could just upgrade it is a relief (I do not really know if the 2 lanes you mentioned are going to affect me but I’m going to read up on that!) but right now I’m leaning towards Getting a CTO option. But seeing that 512 GB SSD is $650 more expensive than a bass high end iMac model it really nags on me. It’s 1/5 for less (well yes, less, but an extra 384 GB faster though still 2 TB less “slow” storage, Would be less frustrating if they at least kept a 32 GB OS drive in all SSD upgraded iMac’s but of course they don’t, it’s Apple...).
Then it’s the possibility that I keep the iMac around until rumors say that there should be an update and then sell it without loosing too much money but this is still just a backup plan.
I would benefit from a built in 5k display so I still lean towards the iMac, though 16 GB’s of ram has suited me just fine last couple of years so I could probably make it work for another couple of years but to take into account the future I should of course not get a Mac that can’t be uogrades with less than 32 GB’s of ram and I plan on upgrading my future iMac with ram almost immediately (so I even take the cost into consideration when buying one). I believe my biggest issue right now is that I can’t buy the iMac with an SSD and take it home the same day, makes me less spontaneous and therefore I keep overthinking this, I can afford it but when I know I will be waiting for it and sit there after my credit card has been charged I’m “worried” I’ll regret the purchase, though worried is not the right word but it results in overthinking it, spending time thinking it through that isn’t worth spending instead I’d just realizing the situation is that it will cost that much and there’s not really any way around it.
 
Comment

Paratriplel

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 1, 2011
150
16
Using the 5K screen for DAW work is THE benefit of the iMac. Getting a comparable 5K screen "off-the-shelf" is quite expensive, which makes iMac the best value. It would have cost me an additional $1k USD to get a comparable setup using a MacBook Pro + good screen AND being forced to pay Apple for 32GB Ram as 16 is not enough for me. I upgraded the iMac myself for $70 USD to 24gb RAM.

You'll be fine with the 2TB Fusion drive. Also, when I was in Hong Kong, I found the Apple refurb store there to be well-stocked. Go to refurb-tracker and set up an alert for HK or another country where you can get it. After the New Year, the amount of refurb + open box models go WAYYYY up. You'll be able to get a deal and maybe even find an SSD model to boot.

On fusion, I just saw the thread from that one person who upgraded their apple SSD in the 2TB fusion setup. Until we get more info, I really think you should forget the "upgrade." I know people have done it, but this was more popular in the day of no good thunderbolt 40GBS options. My understanding is that the internals of the fusion drive iMac don't take full advantage of today's speedy NVME drivesbut maybe the 2TB fusion does. I personally would skip the surgery and opt for booting macOS off a thunderbolt NVME drive. Not to mention your warranty is toast. Do what you want, but it seems a whole lot of effort for not much gain.

ikl look into the refurb tracker, the only thing that puts me off is if the customs starts messing around and take the new device hostage until I pay full price (the tax is usually higher than the device costs!).

Yes I too believe the 2TB fusion drive is fine (if the SSD part was 256 GB I would know it, not just believe) the surgery is most defiantly something I just want as a last option if I bought an iMac and a couple of few months in notice it’s too slow, knowing I could just upgrade it is a relief (I do not really know if the 2 lanes you mentioned are going to affect me but I’m going to read up on that!) but right now I’m leaning towards Getting a CTO option. But seeing that 512 GB SSD is $650 more expensive than a bass high end iMac model it really nags on me. It’s 1/5 for less (well yes, less, but an extra 384 GB faster though still 2 TB less “slow” storage, Would be less frustrating if they at least kept a 32 GB OS drive in all SSD upgraded iMac’s but of course they don’t, it’s Apple...).

Then it’s the possibility that I keep the iMac around until rumors say that there should be an update and then sell it without loosing too much money but this is still just a backup plan.

I would benefit from a built in 5k display (don’t own any displays as nice but I have 2 x 27” M one too much that needs to go. so I still lean towards the iMac, though 16 GB’s of ram has suited me just fine last couple of years so I could probably make it work for another couple of years but to take into account the future I should of course not get a Mac that can’t be uogrades with less than 32 GB’s of ram and I plan on upgrading my future iMac with ram almost immediately (so I even take the cost into consideration when buying one).

I believe my biggest issue right now is that I can’t buy the iMac with an SSD and take it home the same day, makes me unable to be impulsive and less spontaneous and therefore I keep overthinking this, I can afford it but i’ll have less money on my account after the purchase than I actually pay for it (I so have some extra money in my savings but I try to not see that cash as something I’ll ever touch except for emergencies or very important purchases, though not a computer unless it’s what I make my living off of) but when I know I will be waiting for it and sit there after my credit card has been charged I’m “worried” I’ll regret the purchase, though worried is not the right word but it results in overthinking it, spending time thinking it through that isn’t worth spending instead of just realizing the situation is that it will cost that much and there’s not really any way around it because Apple will most probably not release any new iMac’s before spring/summer, prices will probably not drop, I’m sure I’ll not really be missing out on something but Apple could include 512 GB SSD as standard on high end models but not change much else etc though more could happen bigger displays and less bezels and it could of course be nice to buy the redesigned iMac but only if Apple has actually tested the new iMac thoroughly (I don’t believe Apple has a “pattern” they release iMacs and so forth I believe they do it when it makes most sense to them and that could mean redesign Mars next year or June next next year, or whenever), I believe they have learnt from previous mistakes but issue can still happen but as long as they actually help fixing them / switch out the computer I really don’t have any problem with that.

Seeing as I actually need a new computer (maybe not need precisely at this moment but the need is growing every day that passes and I prefer to have everything fixed when the need is total) so I’m not going to play the waiting game, besides, if Apple updates the iMac and I don’t like it/it’s too expensive or whatever I’ll have no way of getting a CTO version of it.

Sweden’s high taxes makes this a bit more expensive than their products usually are in most countries and on top of that Apple adjusted their prices up because the Swedish krona was and is low but is there anyway to actually order and ship (such as to Borderlinx-address in another country from Apple?
I’m speaking about a CTO order but I’d also like to hear if it’s base model-related.


Or maybe there’s store having a small stock of the most common configurations and selling those CTO models and don’t mind shipping abroad or if there’s a company like Borderlinx that can sign for the order and ship it to me.
Anyone any experience with a company like that recently?
I am basically interested in either getting the mac cheaper or I guess faster (only because I will have easier to decide not that I actually must have it before any am specific date but cheaper weighs more of course)

Sorry for the hard to read message. My Phone is not spelling50% is my words right. I believe I tap it a bit too fast and it’s therefore it just register a double tap even though it’s not so some letters or words might be a. It weird. Tried to correct it but I may have missed some.
 
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Paratriplel

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 1, 2011
150
16
There’s also the used marked of course, saw one iMac 27” 2017 with 1 TB SSD, Intel i5 3.8, 64 GB RAM (from Corsair) and Radeon Pro 580 with 8 GB.

the seller wanted $2 500 for it. I guess it’s a quad core, since nothing was mentioned, since I don’t really feel very informed about computer specs I don’t know if this is a good deal or not or if it’s enough for my needs.
There’s no warranty and the specs might be a slightly dated for a computer bought today.

if I could find something similar with a 2019 iMac Bur maybe without the added RAM since I can do that myself it would feel very tempting.
 
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3SQ Machine

macrumors regular
Dec 8, 2019
133
63
There’s also the used marked of course, saw one iMac 27” 2017 with 1 TB SSD, Intel i5 3.8, 64 GB RAM (from Corsair) and Radeon Pro 580 with 8 GB.

That's a good machine, but it is quad core. Your single core performance will match the base level 2019 iMac with the i5-8500, so there is no gain there. Your multi-core performance will be much less. There is also discussion of fan noise issues on the 2017s, but I think that was more i7 than i5.

I looked heavily at that 2017s vs. 2019 as there were good deals on them, but honestly I'm glad I went with the most recent model. The 2019 line is a substantial performance increase with the Hexacore chips and DAWs are only getting more and more capable of multicore performance so I think overall the 2019 lineup is better. Still, despite the good deals, my open box base iMac was still cheaper than all of the 2017s and its biggest bottleneck (fusion) is workable in my opinion with thunderbolt NVME drives.

The only items in favor of the 2017 is that the Radeon Pro 580 blows away the base model 2019 graphics and of course the 1TB SSD. If you plan on graphics intensive work and have software that can take advantage of a GPU than this machine may get the edge. The ram is easily upgradeable so I wouldn't count that.

Still, it's a lot of money for an almost 3-year old machine and, quite frankly, the performance difference between your current 2015 MacBook Pro vs. a 2017 i5 iMac will not be noticeable. I'm not sure I would be willing to spend that much on it but I understand your choices may be limited.
 
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