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  #16  
Old 12-04-2017, 08:33 AM
KevWind KevWind is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AX17609 View Post
An SSD offers essentially no improvement in boot time over Apple's fusion drive, which is standard issue on iMacs. Unless an SSD improves audio recording and mixing performance, I don't see justification for the considerable increase in cost.
I guess "essentially" is subjective...Apple claims the SSD is 50% faster which in real world terms might not be a big deal 20 seconds as opposed to 10 seconds

Also t the OP mentioned getting Pro Tools, which was having significant issues with the Fusion drive . Don't know if it still is but it was an issue.

And as jim1960 mentioned you can get outboard Thunderbolt connected SSD drive storage as opposed to the big Apple installed SSD's

And Protools also recommends having the sessions stored on a second/different drive than the boot OS drive

And typically the boot drive need not be more than 256 GB or possibly 512 if you run a number of large additional software Apps .
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  #17  
Old 12-04-2017, 08:58 AM
AX17609 AX17609 is offline
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Originally Posted by jim1960 View Post
There are a couple of workarounds to getting a larger internal ssd in the iMac...

1. You can get an external Thunderbolt 3 drive.

2. You can buy a Thunderbolt 3 ssd bay and add ssd drives as you need them.

I went with the smallest internal ssd available on my new iMac this summer. I then went with option 2 and bought an Akitio Thunder3 Quad Mini. It will hold 4 ssd drives. I currently have 3 1TB drives installed. One is my sessions drive and the other two are set up in a raid 5 array for VST samples.
That's the sort of creative work-around I was hoping to see in a thread like this, and it offers real direction for new users. A 3.4GB 27" iMac upgraded to 16GB RAM and a small, 256GB SSD is a relatively reasonable $2099. A Thunder3 adds another $350, but storage after that can be purchased on an as needed basis. On the other hand, if you can live with a 1TB fusion drive (which has an SSD component), the same iMac upgraded to 16GB is $1999, and you're done (until you want some extra external storage).

FWIW - Last I looked, the SSD component of the iMac 1TB Fusion drive is only 24GB, whereas the SSD component of the 2-3TB fusions is 128GB. The smallest internal SSD they sell is 256GB. So, there are a lot of possible configurations. Personally, if I had a bottomless checkbook, I'd get get as big an SSD as they'd sell me. Regrettably, I don't don't have a bottomless checkbook. Hence, trade-offs must be considered.
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  #18  
Old 12-04-2017, 09:04 AM
Cocobolo Kid Cocobolo Kid is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jim1960 View Post
I went with the smallest internal ssd available on my new iMac this summer. I then went with option 2 and bought an Akitio Thunder3 Quad Mini. It will hold 4 ssd drives. I currently have 3 1TB drives installed. One is my sessions drive and the other two are set up in a raid 5 array for VST samples.
The minimum number of drives for a RAID 5 set is 3,
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  #19  
Old 12-04-2017, 09:28 AM
FrankHudson FrankHudson is offline
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Necessary power/capabilities needed in an audio recording/editing computer really varies depending on what kind of recording you're doing.

If you are recording external acoustic events: just acoustic guitar and vocals for example, you need very little in the way of Processor/Memory/Disk speed. Even if you are recording a whole band in a home studio, with maybe 16 tracks being recorded "live" not much is needed. Overdubbing is no more challenging than live recording, and along as you are overdubbing to unprocessed tracks. Even in the most extreme overdubbing situations where you want to have tracks running and recording with lots of effects, there are usually features to make the backing tracks "frozen" or they can be converted to tracks with the effects already "burnt" into the audio.

Having your sessions, your recorded audio files, on a separate hard drive is important as those track counts get higher. However, a separate, regular old spinning hard drive can handle large track counts easily.

Editing audio itself at this level is similarly not all that challenging. When you do final mixes or mastering with software plugins for compression, reverb, EQ and the like will up the need for processor power. Unlike many here from what I gather, I like to do larger projects with 6 to 24 or so tracks. Still managing with an older Mac Mini for this, older than the Mac Book Pros being discussed. Compared to even serious hobby video editing, the requirements for audio are laughable smaller.

If (and this may not apply to most here) you want to use Virtual Instruments then RAM and CPU power becomes important. I do, and so far I'm making do, even with moderate number of VI tracks (three or four orchestra instruments in stereo, full virtual drum set, electric guitar amp sims, maybe a piano, organ or synth part or two as well. Those VIs typically load into RAM, and the size of the sample, particularly for the better orchestral instruments, are considerable. Even disk space becomes an issue here, as the collections of samples you might chose from total into the tens of gigabytes per VI nowadays. Eventually this desire for more VIs will cause me to need to freeze tracks and upgrade my computer.

I edit, mix and master on my PC almost all the time, but record on the Mac Mini--but that's for my own reasons I don't need to discuss at this time. I'm somewhat concerned that Apple is largely a smartphone company these days and that the future of them providing computers for artistic professionals and serious hobbyists or bootstrapping startups is far from assured. But the future isn't now. If you can afford it, get a 27" Imac (mixing and editing like screen real-estate big time!) and upgrade the RAM if you're going to use VIs. Get at least one external Thunderbolt hard drive if you're going to be recording more than 5 or 6 tracks. You likely won't need the Imac Pro.
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  #20  
Old 12-04-2017, 09:33 AM
KevWind KevWind is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cocobolo Kid View Post
I am guessing that an SSD will also let you record more simultaneous audio tracks (Kev will know more about this). In a laptop, an SSD will typically add 30 minutes or more of battery time and has no mechanical parts to break. However, what the improvement versus cost means to me is strctly a personal choice.
Actually I do not record more than two tracks at a time so I don't know how different an SSD might be
Quote:
Kev, I quckly checked the Apple and Dell websites. A 15" Macbook Pro with 16gb of RAM and 256gb SSD is $2,399. A 15" Dell XPS with the same CPU but bigger 512gb SSD (and even a better video card) retails for $2,149 and sells for $1,899. The Dell is $500 less and better equipped. If you configure the Macbook to match the Dell's 512gb SSD and 4gb video card it raises the price to $2,699. That's now an $800 difference.

For starters the OP is talking an iMac and not a laptop And he did not seem to asking for a PC vs Mac comparison. but be that as it may.
It appears for example that the Dell XPS has 1 TB port the Mac has 2.... the Dell has 1 USB 3 port the Mac has 2.. so not actually a feature= feature price comparison . Also the Mac is currently $1899 at Best Buy
https://www.bestbuy.com/site/apple-m...?skuId=8532502

And by the time you add to the Dell pricing the complement of software features on the Mac ,,, a DAW, office suite, Video editing and production, ect.
then the price gap starts closing .
I still think it is true that if you go straight head to head comparison the difference is less significant.
Ultimately price may favor PC, But in the big picture, there are other factors as well, all the software bundled on Mac is written specifically for Mac architecture is seamless, efficient, and supported by Apple , plus the virtual (pun) freedom from virus problems is in Mac's favor

I do not want to get into a back and forth PC vs Mac, debate let's just agree there are different advantages to either one and ultimately comes down to personal preference
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Last edited by KevWind; 12-04-2017 at 09:54 AM.
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  #21  
Old 12-04-2017, 10:22 AM
AX17609 AX17609 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankHudson View Post
Necessary power/capabilities needed in an audio recording/editing computer really varies depending on what kind of recording you're doing.

If you are recording external acoustic events: just acoustic guitar and vocals for example, you need very little in the way of Processor/Memory/Disk speed. Even if you are recording a whole band in a home studio, with maybe 16 tracks being recorded "live" not much is needed. Overdubbing is no more challenging than live recording, and along as you are overdubbing to unprocessed tracks. Even in the most extreme overdubbing situations where you want to have tracks running and recording with lots of effects, there are usually features to make the backing tracks "frozen" or they can be converted to tracks with the effects already "burnt" into the audio.

Having your sessions, your recorded audio files, on a separate hard drive is important as those track counts get higher. However, a separate, regular old spinning hard drive can handle large track counts easily.

Editing audio itself at this level is similarly not all that challenging. When you do final mixes or mastering with software plugins for compression, reverb, EQ and the like will up the need for processor power. Unlike many here from what I gather, I like to do larger projects with 6 to 24 or so tracks. Still managing with an older Mac Mini for this, older than the Mac Book Pros being discussed. Compared to even serious hobby video editing, the requirements for audio are laughable smaller.

If (and this may not apply to most here) you want to use Virtual Instruments then RAM and CPU power becomes important. I do, and so far I'm making do, even with moderate number of VI tracks (three or four orchestra instruments in stereo, full virtual drum set, electric guitar amp sims, maybe a piano, organ or synth part or two as well. Those VIs typically load into RAM, and the size of the sample, particularly for the better orchestral instruments, are considerable. Even disk space becomes an issue here, as the collections of samples you might chose from total into the tens of gigabytes per VI nowadays. Eventually this desire for more VIs will cause me to need to freeze tracks and upgrade my computer.

I edit, mix and master on my PC almost all the time, but record on the Mac Mini--but that's for my own reasons I don't need to discuss at this time. I'm somewhat concerned that Apple is largely a smartphone company these days and that the future of them providing computers for artistic professionals and serious hobbyists or bootstrapping startups is far from assured. But the future isn't now. If you can afford it, get a 27" Imac (mixing and editing like screen real-estate big time!) and upgrade the RAM if you're going to use VIs. Get at least one external Thunderbolt hard drive if you're going to be recording more than 5 or 6 tracks. You likely won't need the Imac Pro.
That's a great analysis...thank you!
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  #22  
Old 12-04-2017, 10:27 AM
jim1960 jim1960 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cocobolo Kid View Post
The minimum number of drives for a RAID 5 set is 3,
I didn't set up the raid so maybe I'm saying 5 when it's another number. I'll check on that and post it.

Edit: Just spoke to my friend. We had talked about a Raid 5 but then he thought it would be better to keep the sessions separate, so he made a Raid 0.
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Last edited by jim1960; 12-04-2017 at 11:03 AM.
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  #23  
Old 12-04-2017, 11:58 AM
jim1960 jim1960 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AX17609 View Post
That's the sort of creative work-around I was hoping to see in a thread like this, and it offers real direction for new users. A 3.4GB 27" iMac upgraded to 16GB RAM and a small, 256GB SSD is a relatively reasonable $2099. A Thunder3 adds another $350, but storage after that can be purchased on an as needed basis. On the other hand, if you can live with a 1TB fusion drive (which has an SSD component), the same iMac upgraded to 16GB is $1999, and you're done (until you want some extra external storage).

FWIW - Last I looked, the SSD component of the iMac 1TB Fusion drive is only 24GB, whereas the SSD component of the 2-3TB fusions is 128GB. The smallest internal SSD they sell is 256GB. So, there are a lot of possible configurations. Personally, if I had a bottomless checkbook, I'd get get as big an SSD as they'd sell me. Regrettably, I don't don't have a bottomless checkbook. Hence, trade-offs must be considered.
One advantage the 27" iMac has over the 21" version is you can easily upgrade your RAM on the 27.

On the iMac I bought in October, I upgraded from the 3.8 to the 4.2 processor for $200, and to 32gb of RAM for $600. Those upgrades seemed somewhat reasonably priced. The storage was another matter. Apple wants $1400 to upgrade to a 2TB ssd drive. That's exorbitant. So rather than do that, I opted for the 512gb ssd drive for $200. I added the Akitio unit for $350, and three 1TB Samsung evo ssd drives at $280 apiece. That totals $1390.

So for the same money, I have 3.5TB of space compared to the 2TB Apple would have given me. Plus I still have an open slot in the Akitio unit should I need more storage. I'm very happy with how that turned out.
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  #24  
Old 12-04-2017, 12:09 PM
KevWind KevWind is offline
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For me having a second or third drive is almost a must because I also have Final Cut Pro X on my Home Studio computer

So between the SSD Boot/OS drive (109.7 GB used) , PT Session HDD drive (192.5 GB used) and the FXP HDD Project drive (143.4 GB used ) I have used
up almost 460 GB so obviously a 256 would not be adequate as a one only drive , and my 512 GB SSD boot drive would be almost gone.


I have about 70 PT sessions and 12 small FCPX video projects
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  #25  
Old 12-04-2017, 12:14 PM
jim1960 jim1960 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevWind View Post
...my 512 GB SSD boot drive would be almost gone.
The only thing I have on my system drive is the OS, PT, and my plugins. Everything else goes on the externals. I was worried doing it that way might be sluggish but it's very fast.
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  #26  
Old 12-04-2017, 12:26 PM
KevWind KevWind is offline
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Originally Posted by jim1960 View Post
The only thing I have on my system drive is the OS, PT, and my plugins. Everything else goes on the externals. I was worried doing it that way might be sluggish but it's very fast.
Just so I am clear are you saying you removed all the Mac OS bundled software Apps except Sierra ? So when you open applications all the Apps like Garageband, iMovie , iTunes , QT player , etc.,eyc,etc, are gone?

And to be clear I have all the bundled Apps as well as PT & plugins and Reason 8 and the FXPX & Compressor & Motion apps on my system drive and it is currently at 109 GB used . The "almost gone" was if I had the PT sessions and FCPX projects stored on my system drive as well
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Last edited by KevWind; 12-04-2017 at 12:33 PM.
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  #27  
Old 12-04-2017, 01:05 PM
FrankHudson FrankHudson is offline
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One last thought, even though Apple has not done well by the Mac Mini in recent years: if you know that you won't be using lots of effects and Virtual Instruments, a modern Mac Mini, and two external displays might serve you well too. If you're going to go with larger track counts, add an external Thunderbolt hard drive.

The higher resolution of the iMac's built in screen vs. the typical 1920x1080 per screen of an inexpensive external pair of LCD screens pretty much evens out. Apple no longer offers any particularly powerful Mac Minis, and you can no longer upgrade the Mini's RAM to the max the computer can support at a much lower market price, but if price is keeping you from the iMac, and you're doing acoustic recording, not creating large arrangements with VIs "in the box", a Mini can still serve.

As they say in investing, past performance is not a guarantee of future returns, but I have been hugely impressed with the reliability of previous Mac Minis in commercial use.
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  #28  
Old 12-04-2017, 01:54 PM
jim1960 jim1960 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevWind View Post
Just so I am clear are you saying you removed all the Mac OS bundled software Apps except Sierra ? So when you open applications all the Apps like Garageband, iMovie , iTunes , QT player , etc.,eyc,etc, are gone?

And to be clear I have all the bundled Apps as well as PT & plugins and Reason 8 and the FXPX & Compressor & Motion apps on my system drive and it is currently at 109 GB used . The "almost gone" was if I had the PT sessions and FCPX projects stored on my system drive as well
I should have been more clear. I didn't remove the bundled apps that were included with the OS. I'm currently using 216 of 499gb on my system drive so I have plenty of room there.

Can the apps I have no use for (Garageband, etc.) be discarded should I need room in the future?
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  #29  
Old 12-04-2017, 03:28 PM
jawjatek jawjatek is offline
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Wow, the store was slammed for a Monday. 'Tis the season, I reckon.

I played around with the iMacs a good while. I liked the 27", but man that is big, and I'll have to rearrange my desk. I could get a 3.4MHz i5/8GB RAM/1T fusion drive equipped 27" today, but I am pretty sure I want the 512Gb SSD, and those are special order only. I could upgrade the RAM later and add 32Gb for around $200 less than apple charges. Decisions, decisions. Hmmm, better mull it over with a few beers and sleep on it.

Thanks for all the input.
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  #30  
Old 12-04-2017, 03:51 PM
jim1960 jim1960 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jawjatek View Post
...but I am pretty sure I want the 512Gb SSD, and those are special order only.
In case this is helpful information...
I special-ordered my iMac on Sept 22 and it was ready for pickup on Oct 3. Eleven days isn't too bad.
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