Talk me out of an iMac

OP
mc_deli

mc_deli

n trepreneur
I realize that you probably don't have any desire to move from Logic Pro, but I would strongly encourage you to explore PC-compatible DAWs and see if there's anything you'd be comfortable with.

Apple would've been by recommendation 10 years ago, but nowadays, I don't think there's anything but downsides for someone who isn't already locked into the ecosystem. Things seem to be getting worse over time.

- PCs are significantly cheaper and have far more customizability, repairability.
- Intel CPUs are being rapidly overtaken in both performance and price by AMD CPUs, which you're missing out on by sticking to Apple
- Windows 10 is FAR more stable and performant than macOS these days. I don't personally find Windows 10's ease-of-use any different to macOS's.
- Apple has shown a consistent disregard for its professional customer-base over the past few years and seems mainly interested in squeezing as much money out of the people who are locked into the ecosystem. They are not the same company that they were 10 years ago.


***That's probably not going to happen. The thing is really not meant to be user-upgradable.***


Just going by what I see here: https://www.scan.co.uk/3xs/custom/daw-digital-audio-workstation-pcs/form-factors#anc

You can get a 12 core AMD processor that has higher single-thread performance than an i9, along with 16GB of RAM for the same price as the i7, 8GB Mac Mini.

You can even customize these to not include any RAM or storage that you already have, and to specifically use a motherboard that would support the type of RAM you already have purchased.
***with that comment it’s hard to take anything else you say seriously***
Sorry, but the thing is, you need to be told ;)
 
OP
mc_deli

mc_deli

n trepreneur
Totally agree. For the price of an i7 Mac Mini I built a Ryzen PC comparable in performance to an iMac Pro. And since it's a tower I have total flexibility with the hardware. I've been a Mac guy for the past 15 or so years but the Mac hardware situation is simply ridiculous. Windows is certainly fugly but once you are inside the DAW it makes no difference.

Also, I really don't buy the "but I have to use Logic" argument. The Cubase/Windows combo is used by top guys like Zimmer, Gregson Williams, JunkieXL, and a very long etcetera.
M8 we’re not all Zimmer, GW or JXL. I’m a hobbiest with no time or will to learn a new DAW, OS or go near my or anyone else’s bio(s).

TBH guys I’ve also lost the will to read another PC pi**ing contest on here.

In case anyone else is still on the Mini vs iMac plot, the point about the RAM update: iMac is a 20 second job via a hatch vs a 20 minute job on the Mini requiring some instructions, care, tricky screws etc. (With risk of warranty void). This is the kind of thing that I factor in because I get a free three year warranty from my favourite reseller.

Now back to the Windows love in!
 

Pier Bover

Active Member
M8 we’re not all Zimmer, GW or JXL.
Obviously :) My point simply was that it's a valid solution.

Personally I'm not a fanboy of either Windows or Mac. Both have its pros and cons, but if you are on a budget you get a lot more mileage from building a PC.
 

hbjdk

Member
I’m a hobbiest with no time or will to learn a new DAW, OS or go near my or anyone else’s bio(s).
It really isn’t that much of a deal to switch platform, be it audio or phone-wise. It doesn’t take much time either. Just sit down and take things bit by bit :)

I was forced to switch from Logic to Cubase bqck when Apple bought eMagic and quit the pc platform. Honestly, I hated it. But it didn’t take long, then I was happily using Cubase. Now I’m switching to Reaper. I also switched from Windows Phone to Android a while back. And I’m a hobbyist too btw.

Anyway back to discussing iMacs, Mac minis, Logic etc. :)
 

Dewdman42

Senior Member
My reccomendation is to buy a maxed out refurbished 2012 macpro and run th for a few more years. It’s in your budget. Hopefully in a few years we will have more options for new affordable macpros that are more akin to an imacpro in a box without a monitor.

I agree with all the sentiments that anything newer then that, except for the new macpro coming out, are dead end streets in terms of reasonable upgrade and expansion. My 2012 macpro does all I need for now, I can easily live without massivex and modo drums.

me personally I will absolutely not ever be buying a mini nor iMac for my daw. I truly still consider the 5,1 macpro the best currently available power user Mac in the $2k price range, might be slightly more if you max out memory and load it with Ssd’s but you will not be wanting more computer power, it does just fine with maxed out cpu.

If Apple comes out with a new macpro that maybe is in an ugly case with an i9 processor and only has 4 pci slots instead of 8 like the big one, but for much less money. Then I’ll finally upgrade. If they don’t I will keep using the 5,1 for years to come it’s still perfectly viable. Someday I may have to switch to windows but hopefully not, we’ll see.
 
OP
mc_deli

mc_deli

n trepreneur
My reccomendation is to buy a maxed out refurbished 2012 macpro and run th for a few more years. It’s in your budget. Hopefully in a few years we will have more options for new affordable macpros that are more akin to an imacpro in a box without a monitor.

I agree with all the sentiments that anything newer then that, except for the new macpro coming out, are dead end streets in terms of reasonable upgrade and expansion. My 2012 macpro does all I need for now, I can easily live without massivex and modo drums.

me personally I will absolutely not ever be buying a mini nor iMac for my daw. I truly still consider the 5,1 macpro the best currently available power user Mac in the $2k price range, might be slightly more if you max out memory and load it with Ssd’s but you will not be wanting more computer power, it does just fine with maxed out cpu.

If Apple comes out with a new macpro that maybe is in an ugly case with an i9 processor and only has 4 pci slots instead of 8 like the big one, but for much less money. Then I’ll finally upgrade. If they don’t I will keep using the 5,1 for years to come it’s still perfectly viable. Someday I may have to switch to windows but hopefully not, we’ll see.
It's a great point... and a 96GB 12 core with SSD and extra storage can be had on eBay for just over 2k euros... 6286 Geekbench multicore. It's obscene for the money compared to e.g. the new MBP!

5 years ago maybe... but now I have the fear... that the 5,1 is now going to hit a Catalina shaped wall. From here on in there's going to more and more software I wouldn't be able to run. Every update, every patch is going to be another compound risk.

It would also be a complete partscaster refurb probably with a limited hardware warranty. I'm maybe not hardcore enough!
 

Dewdman42

Senior Member
Its going to be a few years before you have to worry about software not running on this thing. If you want to always be on the latest version of OSX, then go ahead and get a new computer. Prepare to spend money. And as of now, expandability will be an issue on those. You have the facts, pick your poison.

Honestly I expect to use my 5,1 at least 3 more years. Possibly 5.
 

Pier Bover

Active Member
If you want to always be on the latest version of OSX, then go ahead and get a new computer. Prepare to spend money. And as of now, expandability will be an issue on those. You have the facts, pick your poison.
Exactly.

IMO Apple is seriously ignoring the need of a tower with regular components (non ECC, non Xeon, no Afterburner, etc). Not sure if it's because they'd rather sell machines that do not last as long, or because they don't want to cannibalize other products like the iMac/iMac Pro, or if it's pure ignorance. Hopefully if the upcoming Mac Pro is successful they will start considering a more accessible tower model.
 

Dewdman42

Senior Member
Yep. Listen, Apple made a huge mistake when they went to the trashcan Mac Pro, and they later admitted to it. But they had long since left the cheesegrater tower design and production capabilixy behind. They wanted to make mini's and iMacs. I think for most consumers, iMac's and minis are perfectly fine, even better. A lot of people now buy their computer from walmart or best buy in an all-in-one form factor. Apple is not alone on that.

The difference is that in the PC world, power users can still build machines that match their need, but Apple has not provided any new solution for that since 2012. The trashcan has been, even up until right now, their unchanged power user machine.

So finally after much ado they release the new MacPro, and its quite a machine, but aside from fancy video production studios, its way overkill and way too expensive. Simple as that. They completely miss an important tier of users, again.

I actually felt that was the case also 10 years ago with the cheesgraters. They were very powerful, but there was a slightly lower tier that could be built for half the price on a PC...and Apple never provided a computer to match that level of price performance and capability. I actually ended up building a hackintosh in 2007 and that was primarily the reason why, so that I could spend an appropriate amount for a mid tier tower designed computer that had enough power without spending a fortune on a cheese grater.

now those machines are available used and refurbished and more in the sweet spot of price/performance.. So I finally got one a few years ago, and very happy with it.

What will happen next from Apple? Most likely they will not provide a mid tier tower. That is not their way. But in a few years, used and refurbished MacPros will start to hit the market and then it may be possible to pick one up for a reasonable price. They will still be viable and relevant at that time.

I don't know what their problem is, if they are ignorant, or elitist, or head in the clouds, but I think those of us in this mid their power user category represent a very small minority of their business, so....it is what it is.
 

Damarus

Active Member
Its truly a terrible time to buy a Mac, unless you have money you don't care about.

What you are asking for is a PC that runs Mac OSX.

Wait to see what the Mac Pro offers in price/performance, wait to see if a Mac Mini Pro or similar is going to be announced. Or buy something new.
 

Shad0wLandsUK

Senior Member
The route I have chosen to take in all this, is Apple for DAW machine and PCs for slaves going forward

Currently I run:
DAW - Mac Mini 6-Core i7, 32GB, 1TB nVME SSD (10GbE) with a Dell U3818DW Display
Slave 1 - is my i7 4770K PC, 32GB, RX 580 (soon to be an AMD 3950x if they deliver on audio)
Slave 2 - is my 2012 12-Core Mac Pro 64GB RAM, nVME SSD (adaptor) AMD 7950 Mac

I am more than happy with my mac mini, because it makes a wonderful DAW machine and of course I can run Windows 10 in bootcamp under UEFI with full support (for my IT work)

I also plan to use the Mini for Live Orchestral/Other Recordings with my friend

I also like the amount of USB-C ports I am offered, for using docks and due to having plenty of bandwidth!
 

Pier Bover

Active Member
Yep. Listen, Apple made a huge mistake when they went to the trashcan Mac Pro, and they later admitted to it. But they had long since left the cheesegrater tower design and production capabilixy behind. They wanted to make mini's and iMacs. I think for most consumers, iMac's and minis are perfectly fine, even better. A lot of people now buy their computer from walmart or best buy in an all-in-one form factor. Apple is not alone on that.

The difference is that in the PC world, power users can still build machines that match their need, but Apple has not provided any new solution for that since 2012. The trashcan has been, even up until right now, their unchanged power user machine.

So finally after much ado they release the new MacPro, and its quite a machine, but aside from fancy video production studios, its way overkill and way too expensive. Simple as that. They completely miss an important tier of users, again.

I actually felt that was the case also 10 years ago with the cheesgraters. They were very powerful, but there was a slightly lower tier that could be built for half the price on a PC...and Apple never provided a computer to match that level of price performance and capability. I actually ended up building a hackintosh in 2007 and that was primarily the reason why, so that I could spend an appropriate amount for a mid tier tower designed computer that had enough power without spending a fortune on a cheese grater.

now those machines are available used and refurbished and more in the sweet spot of price/performance.. So I finally got one a few years ago, and very happy with it.

What will happen next from Apple? Most likely they will not provide a mid tier tower. That is not their way. But in a few years, used and refurbished MacPros will start to hit the market and then it may be possible to pick one up for a reasonable price. They will still be viable and relevant at that time.

I don't know what their problem is, if they are ignorant, or elitist, or head in the clouds, but I think those of us in this mid their power user category represent a very small minority of their business, so....it is what it is.
I like macOS and all but these days I'd rather move to Windows than dealing with a hackintosh.

Windows as a DAW machine is perfectly fine and hardware-wise it has many benefits over macOS. The transition has been pretty smooth for me since I use Ableton Live which is 99.99% the same on both platforms.

Before that I used Logic for years from v7 to X. Logic is a great tool but it's simply not a priority for Apple unlike Live for Ableton or Cubase for Steinberg. It is barely being kept alive to attract and keep users into macOS. The last major version was introduced almost 7 years ago and it was quite insubstantial, much like Logic Pro 9 before it.
 

Nick Batzdorf

Moderator
Moderator
Its truly a terrible time to buy a Mac, unless you have money you don't care about.
Better time than three years ago when I was looking. Assuming the post above about iMacs and Mac Minis overheating under the strain of music studio use is an outlier - and I suspect it is, because we'd see a lot more posts about that if it were common - those are viable machines. Also, the new 16" MacBook Pro looks pretty impressive.

I'm very happy with the 5,1 Mac Pro 12 x 3.46GHz I chose three years ago, the same machine Dewdman has. But these machines are about $1K on ebay in the US, and you can find them with 64GB installed. That's a good deal. I'd have a hard time spending $2000 on it today, though, given the choices above.
 

Matt Riley

Active Member
Logic is a great tool but it's simply not a priority for Apple unlike Live for Ableton or Cubase for Steinberg. It is barely being kept alive to attract and keep users into macOS. The last major version was introduced almost 7 years ago and it was quite insubstantial, much like Logic Pro 9 before it.
An absolutely ridiculous statement. Logic has seen a ton of improvement over the years. All you have to do is compare the release notes in the incremental updates to those of Ableton Live to know that there’s no truth to the statement.
 

Damarus

Active Member
Better time than three years ago when I was looking. Assuming the post above about iMacs and Mac Minis overheating under the strain of music studio use is an outlier - and I suspect it is, because we'd see a lot more posts about that if it were common - those are viable machines. Also, the new 16" MacBook Pro looks pretty impressive.

I'm very happy with the 5,1 Mac Pro 12 x 3.46GHz I chose three years ago, the same machine Dewdman has. But these machines are about $1K on ebay in the US, and you can find them with 64GB installed. That's a good deal. I'd have a hard time spending $2000 on it today, though, given the choices above.
Well, yes. I will agree the Mac mini has never been better. The iMac, powerful as ever with 9th gen intel. Finally a 16" Macbook pro.

Unfortunately most users here basically want a lower priced 2019 Mac Pro. The "mid" tier. While the 5,1 / 6,1 mac pros are still adequate, From a hardware standpoint, they are absolutely not worth $2000. Not even $1000. For perspective, a Xeon x5675 in the 5,1 pro goes for 30$ on ebay..

Macs are just computers. There is nothing special about them. So looking at this from a technology perspective, the money is much better spent on a new machine you can keep for another 5-10 years instead of wondering when the logic board is going to die on an already 7-8 year old device. Not to mention new software features and updates.

Going the Mac route - @Shad0wLandsUK had a very ideal late 2019 low cost setup listed above.

Mac mini is very powerful for the package - then supplement with a VEpro machine. That will be more than powerful enough for most.

If not - bite the bullet and get iMac pro or the new Mac pro and keep it for another 10 years.

.02
 
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