Ideal Macbook spec for audio production

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
jlgrimes
Posts: 1376
Joined: Mon Jan 22, 2007 1:55 am
Location: Atlanta, Ga

Re: Ideal Macbook spec for audio production

Post by jlgrimes » Tue Jun 24, 2014 12:37 am

Just got my MacBook Air (with the core i5).

Just finished loading the Garageband Packs.

I am downloading Live 9 now.

I maxed out the Ram to 8 gigs and got an 8gig SSD drive.


I went with the i5 because I don't plan on using this PC prime time (I have a maxed out Mac Mini for my more serious projects).

Will let you know of the performance. So far with the basic Garageband stuff so good but I plan on putting stuff like Komplete, Synthmaster, Sylenth, Omnipshere, and Nexus later.

mikb
Posts: 373
Joined: Sat Jan 08, 2011 9:53 pm

Re: Ideal Macbook spec for audio production

Post by mikb » Tue Jun 24, 2014 7:53 am

estibi wrote:
I would suggest avoid MBP with a dedicated graphic card. It tends to overheat very quickly.

Figures? Thread? What do you mean overheat? Overheat to turn off point? Overheat to premature component failure? Overheat as in is not possible to keep MacBook in your lap?

If this is true I do wonder why this isn't a problem for me (2011 Macbook Pro in the studio) or anyone I know, who all run MacBook Pro 15" or 17" with dedicated graphic cards.
Last edited by mikb on Wed Jun 25, 2014 8:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
Basic gear info: Macbook Pro with macOS 10.12, Ableton Live Suite version 9 (64bit) with Ozone, Push and APC20 as controllers.

Harmonic Progression
Posts: 84
Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2014 1:06 am

Re: Ideal Macbook spec for audio production

Post by Harmonic Progression » Wed Jun 25, 2014 2:13 am

mikb wrote:
estibi wrote:
I would suggest avoid MBP with a dedicated graphic card. It tends to overheat very quickly.

Figures? Thread? What do you mean overheat? Overheat to turn off point? Overheat to premature component failure? Overheat as is not possible to keep MacBook in your lap?

If this is true I do wonder why this isn't a problem for me (2011 Macbook Pro in the studio) or anyone I know, who all run MacBook Pro 15" or 17" with dedicated graphic cards.
I agree that MBP overheating is NOT an issue. I've been keeping up with MBPs since about 2010 and it's just not happening, folks.

Probably one person was using it on a bedspread or carpet or maybe didn't clean out the cat hairs or pet bird dander and had one overheat due to blocked air intakes/heat sinks/fans and then the rumor spreads like fire that all MBPs with this same configuration will overheat too.

Not an issue; just not an issue. If you want to buy a MacBookPro, by all means go for it and enjoy making music :) ; you only live once!
Desktop: Intel i7 hex-core, 64 GB ram, several SSDs, Focusrite Liquid 56, UAD-2.
Laptop: Alienware Area 51: Intel i9, 32 GB RAM, several more SSDs, UAD Apollo Twin.
Software: Win 10, Cubase, Live+Push2, Maschine, and more.

estibi
Posts: 43
Joined: Wed May 05, 2010 9:00 pm

Re: Ideal Macbook spec for audio production

Post by estibi » Wed Jun 25, 2014 5:51 pm

mikb wrote:
estibi wrote:
I would suggest avoid MBP with a dedicated graphic card. It tends to overheat very quickly.

Figures? Thread? What do you mean overheat? Overheat to turn off point? Overheat to premature component failure? Overheat as in is not possible to keep MacBook in your lap?

If this is true I do wonder why this isn't a problem for me (2011 Macbook Pro in the studio) or anyone I know, who all run MacBook Pro 15" or 17" with dedicated graphic cards.
It's not a problem that much with Ableton, but if you go with some other apps like games you will end up with a CPU temperature around 100'C. Using an integrated graphic card a temperature is 10-20 degrees lower.

mikb
Posts: 373
Joined: Sat Jan 08, 2011 9:53 pm

Re: Ideal Macbook spec for audio production

Post by mikb » Thu Jun 26, 2014 8:23 am

estibi wrote: It's not a problem that much with Ableton, but if you go with some other apps like games you will end up with a CPU temperature around 100'C. Using an integrated graphic card a temperature is 10-20 degrees lower.
If this happens you may use a stand or cooling pad to increase cooling. I use my Macbook (current CPU 94°C) elevated all the time, also in the studio. I'm not debating whether MacBook Pros run hot because they are. I just accept this as a possible side effect of fast processors. Also, last time I checked you can turn off the separate graphic card in modern MacBooks and use the built-in only. So while this may be a factor to evaluate when deciding for the proper machine, it's not something that warrants fully avoiding MAcbook Pros.

One valid reason not to get a retina MacBook is the lackluster support for good graphics as of now from Live 9.1.
Last edited by mikb on Sat Jul 26, 2014 10:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
Basic gear info: Macbook Pro with macOS 10.12, Ableton Live Suite version 9 (64bit) with Ozone, Push and APC20 as controllers.

mikb
Posts: 373
Joined: Sat Jan 08, 2011 9:53 pm

Re: Ideal Macbook spec for audio production

Post by mikb » Thu Jun 26, 2014 11:50 pm

As Ableton Live support multicore: (See Does Live 9 support Hyper-threading? and also on the subject of Hyper-threading at Wikipedia), the potentially most alluring option unless on you're on a really tight budget would be to limit the choice to MacBook Pro 4-core models. AFAIK only the i7 can have 4 cores (some have 2 cores, so watch out).

The current MacBooks with 4-core i7 Haswell processors are all Pro models with 15-inch Retina displays with either integrated only or dual graphics:
  • The MacBook Pro "Core i7" 2.8 15" Mid-2014 IG
    is basically the same model, but with just the integrated Iris Pro 5200 for graphics and 256gb, 512gb and 1tb PCIe Flash drive options. This model is also available in 2.5ghz (I7-4870HQ) and 2.2ghz (I7-4770HQ) versions.
More info in these links on the Intel® Core™ i7-4870HQ Processor, the Intel i7-4770HQ processor and the Intel I7-4980HQ processor.

The previous MacBooks from 2013 with 4-core i7 processirs were all also 15-inch Retina display Pro models, also Haswell and with either integrated only or dual graphics and these may be available to some extent:
  • MacBook Pro i7 2.3 15" DG
    with the 4core I7-4850HQ with dual graphics, the Iris Pro 5200 and typically the GeForce GT 750M. Max Ram 16gb, 512gb/1tb PCIe storage. Released October 2013.
  • MacBook Pro i7 2.6 15" DG
    with the 4core I7-4960HQ, otherwise same configuration options as the 2.3Ghz model. Released October 2013.
  • MacBook Pro i7 2.0 15" IG with the 4-core I7-4750HQ
    Integrated graphics in the form of Iris Pro 5200 with 1gb VRAM. Max Ram 16gb, Same order time storage options as previous mentioned models. Released October 2013.
  • MacBook Pro i7 2.3 15" IG with the 4-core I7-4850HQ Same RAM, graphics and storage options as the previous model. Released October 2013.
More info in these links on the Intel I7-4750HQ processor, the Intel i7-4850HQ processor and the Intel I7-4960HQ processor.


There are also the previous 2013 models that may be available, at least in some configurations and on the second-hand market:
  • MacBook Pro i7 2.7* 15" with the 4-core I7-3740QM, Intel HD Graphics 4000 and typically the GeForce GT 650M. Ram 16gb, Max order time flash storage 768gb. *=Also in 2.8GHz config. Released February 2013.
  • MacBook Pro i7 2.8 15 with the 4-core I7-3840QM, Same Graphics, RAM and storage options as previous model.* Released February 2013.
More info in these links on the Intel I7-3740QM processor and the Intel I7-3840QM processor.


Ars Technica reviews for the late 2013 models: Retina, round two: Apple’s 15-inch 2013 Retina MacBook Pro reviewed
You can compare system details at everymac.com including 64bit Geekbench 3 scores, just make sure what exact specific systems you choose to compare with and use highlighting.


Caveats for all these models
  • Lack of graphics support from Live 9 for proper retina resolution means you need an external non-retina display to currently get fully crisp graphics in Live 9.
  • USB-3 only ports, means you need to see how your audio interface drivers work in practice over it
  • No Firewire connector unless you use a thunderbolt adapter. Which may work out. Or not.
Basic gear info: Macbook Pro with macOS 10.12, Ableton Live Suite version 9 (64bit) with Ozone, Push and APC20 as controllers.

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