Mac system opinions, please

Discussion of anything not related to audio or music production
iceaxe
Posts: 20
Joined: Sun Jan 25, 2009 9:15 pm

Mac system opinions, please

Post by iceaxe » Sun Feb 07, 2016 11:09 pm

Setting up a DAW with Suite 8 after a 5 year hiatus, but using a Mac for the first time. I like the refurb system below (3rd party vendor, not Apple) and would love some Mac user opinions before laying out $1200. I use Live to write/record: cut vocals/AC guitar with mics and an ISA One, use some Suite instruments (drums, bass, keys), some samples, a few VST plugins. Wanna keep it simple this time...

Specs seem well suited, esp. the i7 and dual drives, and I can add memory, upgrade the OS if needed. But I'd appreciate confirmation, disagreement, and especially any potential 'gotchas.' :-) Thanks in advance!

iMac Core i7 3.4 27-Inch (Mid-2011)
Model MD063LL/A-R7A
CPU: Intel Core i7-2600 3.4 GHz
Memory: 8 GB
Storage: 250 GB SSD + 1 TB 7200 RPM
DVDRW
AMD Radeon HD 6970 1 GB
Mac OS X v10.6 Snow Leopard
USB 2.0 (4), Firewire 800 (1), Thunderbolt (2)
Finesse: Suite 8; Axiom 61; Pod Farm; Godin, Guild. A-T, Shure mics.
Muscle: Intel Q6600, 5GB, Vista 64. WD: 750GB, Raptor 150GB; 2 Combo's 300/140GB; HT Omega, Altec Lansing ADA885; geForce 9800 GTX.

fishmonkey
Posts: 4099
Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2007 4:50 am

Re: Mac system opinions, please

Post by fishmonkey » Sun Feb 07, 2016 11:29 pm

i suggest buying refurbs directly from Apple, as for warranty purposes Apple treats refurbs the same as new machines...
badbrainz wrote: I'm a drummer, so I'm already at an intellectual disadvantage here

iceaxe
Posts: 20
Joined: Sun Jan 25, 2009 9:15 pm

Re: Mac system opinions, please

Post by iceaxe » Mon Feb 08, 2016 1:28 am

Thanks for the advice. :-) Any thoughts on the specs?
Finesse: Suite 8; Axiom 61; Pod Farm; Godin, Guild. A-T, Shure mics.
Muscle: Intel Q6600, 5GB, Vista 64. WD: 750GB, Raptor 150GB; 2 Combo's 300/140GB; HT Omega, Altec Lansing ADA885; geForce 9800 GTX.

jlgrimes
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Joined: Mon Jan 22, 2007 1:55 am
Location: Atlanta, Ga

Re: Mac system opinions, please

Post by jlgrimes » Mon Feb 08, 2016 5:44 pm

iceaxe wrote:Setting up a DAW with Suite 8 after a 5 year hiatus, but using a Mac for the first time. I like the refurb system below (3rd party vendor, not Apple) and would love some Mac user opinions before laying out $1200. I use Live to write/record: cut vocals/AC guitar with mics and an ISA One, use some Suite instruments (drums, bass, keys), some samples, a few VST plugins. Wanna keep it simple this time...

Specs seem well suited, esp. the i7 and dual drives, and I can add memory, upgrade the OS if needed. But I'd appreciate confirmation, disagreement, and especially any potential 'gotchas.' :-) Thanks in advance!

iMac Core i7 3.4 27-Inch (Mid-2011)
Model MD063LL/A-R7A
CPU: Intel Core i7-2600 3.4 GHz
Memory: 8 GB
Storage: 250 GB SSD + 1 TB 7200 RPM
DVDRW
AMD Radeon HD 6970 1 GB
Mac OS X v10.6 Snow Leopard
USB 2.0 (4), Firewire 800 (1), Thunderbolt (2)

How many cores is the processor? I definitely recommend 4 cores. Most i7's are 4 cores but my Mac Book Air is an i7 and it is only 2 cores and it does make a difference if you plan on using alot of soft synths.


If you don't plan on using alot of softsynths, what you got is probably good (except for maybe upgrading the ram maybe).

iceaxe
Posts: 20
Joined: Sun Jan 25, 2009 9:15 pm

Re: Mac system opinions, please

Post by iceaxe » Mon Feb 08, 2016 6:24 pm

How many cores is the processor?
It's a quad core. Makes all the difference from what I've read. Thanks for the reply!
Finesse: Suite 8; Axiom 61; Pod Farm; Godin, Guild. A-T, Shure mics.
Muscle: Intel Q6600, 5GB, Vista 64. WD: 750GB, Raptor 150GB; 2 Combo's 300/140GB; HT Omega, Altec Lansing ADA885; geForce 9800 GTX.

H20nly
Posts: 15838
Joined: Sat Oct 27, 2007 9:15 pm
Location: The Wild West

Re: Mac system opinions, please

Post by H20nly » Mon Feb 08, 2016 9:33 pm

shopping today, the 2011 part would scare me out of it. that puts it near the end of life list. soon, the latest OS X version that doesn't work properly with audio applications and hardware will not be supported on that model.

i would definitely think twice about it if it comes with El Capitan pre-installed.

i think fishmonkey's advice about buying it from Apple is wise.

having said all that; i have the exact model you're looking at. the only difference is that mine doesn't have the SSD... so... bonus! and my RAM is bumped up to 20 GB, which supposedly isn't supported (16 GB max) but it works great. i love mine, i really do. i'm just getting worried that it's getting a little old. i have Mavericks installed and it works almost flawlessly on that OS X version.

Stromkraft
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Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2014 11:34 am

Re: Mac system opinions, please

Post by Stromkraft » Mon Feb 08, 2016 9:50 pm

H20nly wrote:shopping today, the 2011 part would scare me out of it. that puts it near the end of life list.
5 years of life is very good, but the year of release in itself doesn't really matter. What matters is what requirements Apple will have in future OSes.

I have OS X 10.11 El Capitan installed with Live 9.6 on my MacBook Pro from 2009. I went directly from OS X 10.9 Mavericks and I think this is as good or better than that.

I plan to get a 2011 or 2012 MBP after this one, unless I build my hackintosh first.
Make some music!

iceaxe
Posts: 20
Joined: Sun Jan 25, 2009 9:15 pm

Re: Mac system opinions, please

Post by iceaxe » Mon Feb 08, 2016 11:55 pm

Thanks for your replies. :-)

Can't I just upgrade the OS? Or would I run into potential conflicts with the hardware? I'm a PC guy...backwards compatibility isn't usually an issue. My media server is a 10-year old XP machine I upgraded to Windows 8. :-)
Finesse: Suite 8; Axiom 61; Pod Farm; Godin, Guild. A-T, Shure mics.
Muscle: Intel Q6600, 5GB, Vista 64. WD: 750GB, Raptor 150GB; 2 Combo's 300/140GB; HT Omega, Altec Lansing ADA885; geForce 9800 GTX.

iceaxe
Posts: 20
Joined: Sun Jan 25, 2009 9:15 pm

Re: Mac system opinions, please

Post by iceaxe » Tue Feb 09, 2016 12:19 am

From the Apple site:
These Mac models are compatible with OS X El Capitan:
iMac (Mid 2007 or newer)
So, I'm assuming I can just upgrade to latest and greatest first thing, then install software...?
Finesse: Suite 8; Axiom 61; Pod Farm; Godin, Guild. A-T, Shure mics.
Muscle: Intel Q6600, 5GB, Vista 64. WD: 750GB, Raptor 150GB; 2 Combo's 300/140GB; HT Omega, Altec Lansing ADA885; geForce 9800 GTX.

smutek
Posts: 4488
Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2003 3:30 pm
Location: Baltimore,United States

Re: Mac system opinions, please

Post by smutek » Tue Feb 09, 2016 7:41 am

iceaxe wrote:From the Apple site:
These Mac models are compatible with OS X El Capitan:
iMac (Mid 2007 or newer)
So, I'm assuming I can just upgrade to latest and greatest first thing, then install software...?
My wife has a mid 2011 2.7 core i5 with 12gb of ram. It's running el-capitan and I do not envy that machine. Mind you, she's not running audio. She's a photographer, but still, even day to day stuff, it's really sluggish.

The advice to buy refurb from Apple is solid. I don't know what country you're in, but check this out - http://www.apple.com/shop/product/FGX82 ... na-display

$1150

I've got the same machine and it's pretty kick ass, I run it clam shell, hooked up to a 27 inch Ben Q monitor. You should definitely consider something like that over that iMac. Bump up $200 more dollars and you can get a 2013 iMac - http://www.apple.com/shop/browse/home/s ... ac/imac/27

Remember, like mentioned above, those machines come with the 1 year Apple warranty and the option to extend to 3 years with Apple Care.

Based on that, the iMac you listed just isn't worth the money.

The flip side is that you could chose not to upgrade to El Capitan - keep it on Snow Leopard because if it's primarily a music machine, why not? Run it with an older version of Live - again, why not? As long as the features are there that you need.

The cool thing about this is that it opens up a whole shit load of cheap second hand hardware options because now you can run all the audio interfaces that aren't supported on El Capitan (or even Yosemite). You can find a lot of shit that people paid decent money for a few years back that is going for peanuts now if you look around on eBay and on sites like Reverb.

Even so, man, at $1200 it just doesn't seem worth it for that machine you listed.

H20nly
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Joined: Sat Oct 27, 2007 9:15 pm
Location: The Wild West

Re: Mac system opinions, please

Post by H20nly » Tue Feb 09, 2016 7:49 am

iceaxe wrote:From the Apple site:
These Mac models are compatible with OS X El Capitan:
iMac (Mid 2007 or newer)
So, I'm assuming I can just upgrade to latest and greatest first thing, then install software...?
you can, but the latest and greatest OS version would likely be your new issue. El Capitan is not ready. it probably never will be at this rate... Apple will release a new OS. hopefully a solid one for audio work next time.

Tarekith
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Location: Ableton Forum Administrator
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Re: Mac system opinions, please

Post by Tarekith » Tue Feb 09, 2016 7:51 am

What's wrong with El Cap for you?

Guillermo Barrancos
Posts: 297
Joined: Tue Mar 05, 2013 8:05 am

Re: Mac system opinions, please

Post by Guillermo Barrancos » Tue Feb 09, 2016 8:14 am

Tarekith wrote:What's wrong with El Cap for you?
Yeah Wonder that too. OSX 10.11 is working great for me.

I only had issues with my Focusrite 6i6 both on OSX 10.11 and Windows 10, because Focusrite hasn't updated their drivers since March 2014. Enough said.
I have returned it and traded it in for the Steinberg UR44 and it's rock solid ever since.

So if People have any issues on OSX 10.11 (or Windows 10 for that matter), it's almost sertainly related to hardware with outdated drivers.

iceaxe
Posts: 20
Joined: Sun Jan 25, 2009 9:15 pm

Re: Mac system opinions, please

Post by iceaxe » Tue Feb 09, 2016 2:53 pm

Thanks for the replies everyone. :-)

smutek, that 2013 iMac is tempting. An official Apple refurb would be nice. Less risk...but less bang for the buck.
Finesse: Suite 8; Axiom 61; Pod Farm; Godin, Guild. A-T, Shure mics.
Muscle: Intel Q6600, 5GB, Vista 64. WD: 750GB, Raptor 150GB; 2 Combo's 300/140GB; HT Omega, Altec Lansing ADA885; geForce 9800 GTX.

H20nly
Posts: 15838
Joined: Sat Oct 27, 2007 9:15 pm
Location: The Wild West

Re: Mac system opinions, please

Post by H20nly » Tue Feb 09, 2016 3:04 pm

Tarekith wrote:What's wrong with El Cap for you?
the reviews are horrible... horrible. getting better admittedly, but hardware issues with audio equipment is enough. it's a crap shoot. the OP came for recommendations, it would be a shame to lose a controller over El Cap. that's no way to start on an Apple platform.

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