Quick Mac question

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
wildcon
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Quick Mac question

Post by wildcon » Thu Jul 29, 2010 1:05 pm

Hi,

I'm pretty close to getting a Mac book pro and using Boot camp for Windows.

however, I do have one question.

I've been advised that the i7 processor is the way to go and this is only available on 15" and 17" models.

I'm leaning toards getting the smaller 13" model for portablility, and was wondering if this is a viable option for running a DAW (especially processor hungry Live!)

Any comments appreciated.

Thanks
MacBook Pro, High Sierra, Live 10, Logic Pro X, Komplete 12, Audio Damage, Fabfilter, Camel, Waves plugs.

lapieuvre
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Re: Quick Mac question

Post by lapieuvre » Thu Jul 29, 2010 1:14 pm

the 13" is still core 2 duo... I don't understand why they don't at least put an i3 or i5 inside.
I read some test done between the Q9550 quad core and the i7 920 processor, and the difference was so big I just can't imagine what it would be against a core 2 duo...
Mac OSX 10.13.6
Live 9.7.6 Suite
Live 10.1.2 Suite
Soundcards : FF800, Apollo Twin duo

Tarekith
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Re: Quick Mac question

Post by Tarekith » Thu Jul 29, 2010 2:02 pm

Agreed, if you really want the 13" screen size, you're much better off waiting til they put at least an i3 in there.

sparklepuff
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Re: Quick Mac question

Post by sparklepuff » Thu Jul 29, 2010 2:45 pm

I'll just echo these sentiments. Whatever 'portability' you gain by shedding 2 inches of screen real estate, your opportunity cost is pretty high with the processing power you sacrifice. Either go 15 or wait. Personally, I'm a 17" MBP guy myself, I'll never use a smaller screen. I can carry this thing around wherever I want, I'm no pussy. :wink:
Guitar | Synths | Samplers | Ableton @ Phantogram & Big Grams

slirak
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Re: Quick Mac question

Post by slirak » Thu Jul 29, 2010 2:57 pm

lapieuvre wrote:the 13" is still core 2 duo... I don't understand why they don't at least put an i3 or i5 inside.
I read some test done between the Q9550 quad core and the i7 920 processor, and the difference was so big I just can't imagine what it would be against a core 2 duo...
Well, the i7 920 is a desktop processor with four physical cores, while the i5 and i7 processors in the MBP line are mobile processors with two physical cores, so, yeah, they're pretty fast too, but nothing like the 920. That one's fast. 8)

Apple claim the new line is "up to 1.5 times faster" than previous models. But then they're comparing with the fastest i7 620M model.
The slowest i5 MBP is about 20% faster than the fastest current 13" MBP C2D. (According to this benchmark.) That's good, but not what I'd call a huge difference.

Anyway, is a 13" MBP a viable option for Ableton Live? Sure, people are using much slower laptops with good results. Depending on how you work, there's an obvious risk you're gonna have to freeze tracks to save CPU. Then again, some people (like me!) would probably have to do that even with the new almighty twelve core Mac Pro... There are some seriously CPU hungry plugs out there.

What you really should ask yourself is, will you be able to work comfortably with so little screen estate? It's only 1280 x 800 and you won't fit many tracks before you're gonna have to scroll. I find it annoying even with my 1440 x 900 15". Next time, I'll get myself a 15" 1680 x 1050 model. Expensive, but the ergonomics are significantly better.

I really like the mobility of the 13" models (I've got one at work), but if you end up getting an external screen because of the lack of screen estate, you're not that mobile anymore.

Maybe someone with a 13" MBP could post a screenshot, so you can see how many tracks you can fit?

LightFireSound
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Re: Quick Mac question

Post by LightFireSound » Thu Jul 29, 2010 3:16 pm

Can I just ask why are you using bootcamp for Windows? Personally 'I'm a Mac' but why spend all that money on a Macbook Pro if your gonna run Windows on it? for the money you could get a really high end PC laptop.

wildcon
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Re: Quick Mac question

Post by wildcon » Thu Jul 29, 2010 6:43 pm

Hi There,

Thanks for the comments.

I'm using a 15" laptop (PC) at the moment, and have some back pain with carrying it around. I would use an external large screen and seperate keyboard at home, so not so much of an issue with the scrolling etc. To be honest I will probably end up with a 15" model, but just checking the viability of the smaller one.

Soulds like it too much of a trade off on performance though.
Can I just ask why are you using bootcamp for Windows? Personally 'I'm a Mac' but why spend all that money on a Macbook Pro if your gonna run Windows on it? for the money you could get a really high end PC laptop
Good question. My daughter has a Macbook pro which I've used and I really enjoy using it. Live runs fine on it as well. I've had so many problems with my PC laptop (DAW configured from Millenium music) with Live, that literally all the fun has gone out of using the program. It's pretty much died and ironically I am cool with it as I don't have the stress fest with Live anymore :?

I'm continually stressed about crashes etc. I had it go down on me at a couple of gigs (one at a large house party, which wasn't so bad, but one in a charity bash in a bar in Soho on a Friday night which was BAD - especially as the punters had paid £15 a ticket!).

I need windows, as I will also use it for work and need to load the latest 'office' programs.

A PC laptop is still a slim possibility but (and I know this is totally shallow :D ) the appearance is important to me, and the best option appears to be Lenovo thinkpad which I hate the look of. I was leaning towards a Sony Vaio, but was warned off 8O

If anyone is flying with a Sony, please let me know :)

I'd also considered a Dell but have read on this forum of audio issues.

Could go down the specialist Music Laptop again, but that would probably end up costing as much.

Cheers
MacBook Pro, High Sierra, Live 10, Logic Pro X, Komplete 12, Audio Damage, Fabfilter, Camel, Waves plugs.

Webbtronik
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Re: Quick Mac question

Post by Webbtronik » Thu Jul 29, 2010 7:05 pm

I have an old Santa Rosa (Nov 2007) White Macbook, 2ghz core 2 duo processor, 4gb of ram, and a 320gb 7200rpm hard-drive that I use with Ableton and I never get over 30% cpu usage. I think the key is to max out your ram, and make sure you have a 7200rpm hard-drive. What I don't like about the new Macbooks is the absence of firewire. I have noticed a 3-8% drop in cpu usage when I use a firewire audio interface as compared to usb or the built in core audio a/d converter. I use an average of 15 plugins per song. Ram and hard-drvie speed is the key!
Santa Rosa (Nov 2007) White Macbook, 2ghz core 2 duo, 4gb ram, 320gb 7200rpm hard-drive, Ableton Live 8.1.4, Logic Express 9.1.2, Sylenth1 plugin, Sonnox Inflator plugin, Novation Bass Station plugin, NI Kore 2 Player plugin.

slirak
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Re: Quick Mac question

Post by slirak » Thu Jul 29, 2010 8:02 pm

Webbtronik wrote:I have an old Santa Rosa (Nov 2007) White Macbook, 2ghz core 2 duo processor, 4gb of ram, and a 320gb 7200rpm hard-drive that I use with Ableton and I never get over 30% cpu usage. I think the key is to max out your ram, and make sure you have a 7200rpm hard-drive. What I don't like about the new Macbooks is the absence of firewire. I have noticed a 3-8% drop in cpu usage when I use a firewire audio interface as compared to usb or the built in core audio a/d converter. I use an average of 15 plugins per song. Ram and hard-drvie speed is the key!
The bottleneck(s) will depend on how you work. Lots of audio tracks? Hard drive. Lots of samples? RAM (and HD). Lots of, or CPU hungry (non-sample based) soft synths? CPU. Lots of, or CPU hungry, f/x plug-ins? CPU.

I often use like 30 plug-ins in a single project. And some are very CPU-hungry. I mean, there are presets in Amplitube 3 that'll use up about 40% CPU, even in an empty, idle set. We're talking about a single instance here. And that's on a 2.4 GHz/4 GB RAM late 2008 unibody.

Your best bet is of course to max out everything. You're never more than a bank loan away from the perfect DAW. :wink:

3phase
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Re: Quick Mac question

Post by 3phase » Thu Jul 29, 2010 11:36 pm

sparklepuff wrote:I'll just echo these sentiments. Whatever 'portability' you gain by shedding 2 inches of screen real estate, your opportunity cost is pretty high with the processing power you sacrifice. Either go 15 or wait. Personally, I'm a 17" MBP guy myself, I'll never use a smaller screen. I can carry this thing around wherever I want, I'm no pussy. :wink:

but arent the girls laughing about you when you run around with that bulky thing?
mac book 2,16 ghz 4(3)gb ram, Os 10.62, fireface 400,

3phase
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Re: Quick Mac question

Post by 3phase » Thu Jul 29, 2010 11:40 pm

LightFireSound wrote:Can I just ask why are you using bootcamp for Windows? Personally 'I'm a Mac' but why spend all that money on a Macbook Pro if your gonna run Windows on it? for the money you could get a really high end PC laptop.

thats bullshit... good highend windows laptops are not cheaper than mac books.. they can go even much higher.. no problem to find a> 5K windows pc laptop.. check the highend ibm´s with all options..


a pc laptop with similar specs is not one in a bulky plastic housing where the screen breaks off when you shake it a little...

And a good led backlight screen and illuminated keyboard are specs aswell...
mac book 2,16 ghz 4(3)gb ram, Os 10.62, fireface 400,

rikhyray
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Re: Quick Mac question

Post by rikhyray » Fri Jul 30, 2010 12:42 am

wildcon wrote: I need windows, as I will also use it for work and need to load the latest 'office' programs.

A PC laptop is still a slim possibility but (and I know this is totally shallow :D ) the appearance is important to me, and the best option appears to be Lenovo thinkpad which I hate the look of. I was leaning towards a Sony Vaio, but was warned off 8O

If anyone is flying with a Sony, please let me know :)

I'd also considered a Dell but have read on this forum of audio issues.

Could go down the specialist Music Laptop again, but that would probably end up costing as much.

Cheers
The only Sony worth buying is their top model Z series but those are not cheap and unfortunately even Sony dropped using TI chips in their latest releases. Have same opinion about Thinkpads, had one and hated every minute of looking at it, additionally they have terrible displays (useless outside or on stage) I hated this byatch more every day and Ebayed it after few months. None of specialised music PCs will give you powered FW , forget about backlighted keys (essential for me). Rain are just overpriced rebranded Lenovos.
I did much search before buying new notebook, I dont care for pc vs mac nonsense, can use any but at the moment I dont see any alternative to MBP as far as notebook for music is concerned (desktop is different story).
I got the newest 13`MBP with maxed RAM + HDD as I didnt want hot and heavier on battery "i" series CPU. I never use CPU heavy VSTs live so it works fine for me. I dropped using huge notebooks some years back- at home/studio can use 27`display while anything bigger than 13 is hopeless to use on the move (car, plain any place for that matter).

slirak
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Re: Quick Mac question

Post by slirak » Fri Jul 30, 2010 9:18 am

rikhyray wrote:I dropped using huge notebooks some years back- at home/studio can use 27`display while anything bigger than 13 is hopeless to use on the move (car, plain any place for that matter).
Good point, if you fly a lot, get the 13". Or use this as an excuse to get an iPad... :wink:

wildcon
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Re: Quick Mac question

Post by wildcon » Fri Jul 30, 2010 12:41 pm

Thanks again for the replies :)

I'm using some pretty heavy CPU plugs - NI Komplete u-He etc, so I think I'll go for a much power as I can get.

Fusion 3.1 seems to be the way to go for transfering Windows stuff? The Office for Mac program seems to have been slated in reviews and I do some pretty intense Excel stuff for work so can't take a chance.

One more question - I read on a user review that the i7 is a lot noisier and runs hotter. Does anyone have any comment on this. My PC Laptop fan ran constantly and drove me nuts and was easily picked up by my mic, which was a pain.

Cheers
MacBook Pro, High Sierra, Live 10, Logic Pro X, Komplete 12, Audio Damage, Fabfilter, Camel, Waves plugs.

mannheimguitar
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Re: Quick Mac question

Post by mannheimguitar » Fri Jul 30, 2010 1:04 pm

Been following this thread for a minute...
I am a musician using Ableton Live Suite 8 and all of the IK Multimedia Plug-Ins to record and arrange complete songs. I am on the road a lot and 2 years ago decided to go for a small portable PC-Laptop. At that time I wasn't too much into the DAW-Thing so the portability was my main concern. I got myself a VAIO TT, 11 inch, 1,2 GHz Dual Core, 4GB RAM with HDMI and Mobile Broadband. The only thing I changed later was the Operating System to Windows 7 and the Harddrive. It came with 160GB HD which I replaced by a 256GB SSD. It was a matter of storage since this is my only computer. Later I found out that this change was the best thing I could do as far as the speed for my DAW is concerned.
Yes, if I had the money today i'd probably go for a bigger, fancier looking, more powerful, niecer, faster, more advanced, more cpu, more RAM notebook, but to tell you the truth, I don't have it right now and that told me something. Just be happy with what you got and don't forget your main focus, the music.
The other day I had a gig in spain. Before I flew I was working on a track for another band I am working with in Germany. I recorded it in session view at home. (Just froze the tracks with the CPU-hungry Amplitube/Ampeg VST's). On the plane I arranged and mixed the track. In the hotel room I hooked up the little Laptop to the TV via HDMI so I could see my arrangement on a big screen. I than rendered the track, converted it to mp3 and put it into Dropbox sending it off to Germany using the built in Mobile Broadband so my band there could keep on working on the song. (The finished product is going to be mastered in a mastering studio anyhow.)
Went to the venue and played the gig using Amplitube 3 Standalone and IK Multimedias Stealth Pedal as a Soundcard to run straight through the PA since I did not realy wanted to travel with my Amplifier for just one gig in spain.
All went well and my little laptop did a great job.
I am happy with what I got, use it to the fullest and when it's time to upgrade I will be happy with what I get then and don't worry too much about the rest. Computers are just tools, whatever works for you they all do the job one way or the other. :)
11" MacBook Air, 1,8 GHz Intel Core i7; Apple Thunderbolt Display; Ableton Live 8 Suite; M-Audio: Ozone; IK Multimedia: Amplitube 3, Amplitube Fender, Amplitube Jimi Hendrix, Ampeg SVX, Stealth Pedal.

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