OPTIMAL Mac configuration inquiry

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LaneYoungMusic
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Joined: Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:21 pm

OPTIMAL Mac configuration inquiry

Post by LaneYoungMusic » Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:35 pm

I am planning to purchase a new iMac Pro and would like to know the optimal configuration for Ableton. I fully understand more is better but that still begs the question... what is optimal? The minimum configuration (https://help.ableton.com/hc/en-us/artic ... quirements) is of small if any help. It represents a marketing response not an optimal configuration answer. Further, I recognize that there are several interlocking variables which drive the answer (RAM vs CPU vs core-count vs other possible programs/processes running simultaneously with Ableton but, I would like a more complete/thoughtful answer to the inquiry. Any and all help would be much appreciated.
thnx, Lane

8E
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Re: OPTIMAL Mac configuration inquiry

Post by 8E » Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:13 am

The most important is WHAT you will do with Ableton.
So, what?

mikb
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Re: OPTIMAL Mac configuration inquiry

Post by mikb » Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:37 am

LaneYoungMusic wrote: an optimal configuration answer. Further, I recognize that there are several interlocking variables which drive the answer (RAM vs CPU vs core-count vs other possible programs/processes running simultaneously with Ableton but, I would like a more complete/thoughtful answer to the inquiry. Any and all help would be much appreciated.
thnx, Lane
Assuming limited funds for a serious music production venture, then I'd work down the priorities like this

• Max the cores, the 10-core being a good balance I think. The basic 8-core is nothing to sneeze at, but the extra cost for 10 is in the context defendable.
• Max the SSD size, 1TB internal is sufficient if you plan to use external SSD drives for sample libraries and so on. Of course remember a big internal drive needs backup externally.
• 64GB RAM (or more), default 32GB is more than plenty for most but heavy sample library users might need more than that (and would know) and as you can't change your mind…

If there are unlimited funds, then you max everything as, I just said this, you from a practical stand point can't change your mind later (Gee, thanks Apple).

BTW, I'm test driving the basic 8-core next week. I will specifically look for any CPU throttling. There is a healthy scepticism against Apple desktops. I can already tell the 5k display is absolutely marvellous.
Basic gear info: Macbook Pro with macOS 10.12, Ableton Live Suite version 9 (64bit) with Ozone, Push and APC20 as controllers.

digitallush
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Re: OPTIMAL Mac configuration inquiry

Post by digitallush » Thu Jan 18, 2018 9:28 pm

Hey! Thanks, everyone, for sharing your thoughts on this. I had some thoughts and am wondering what you all think...

May main goal is to stick within the Mac family and build out a machine that will be able to handle loads of large sample library instruments for years to come.

I prefer the ability to write and preview without having to flatten as I enjoy making compositional and modulation changes throughout the entire process.

So here are my thoughts - if you have some technical feedback, would love to hear what ya'll think:

Processor
I think Mikb is right about the balance. $800 isn't much more for the additional cores, and the rest I think are overkill - I don't think Live would ever take advantage of them and considering the 10 cores are technically faster, the 10 core machine would probably run Live faster than 14 or 18.

My only question is can Live really can take advantage of the multi cores and if so, when exactly? The 8 core processors are even faster than 10, so should I really spend the extra $800? I'm not so sure I would actually feel a discernable difference here...

Memory
64 GB is a no brainer to support the sampled libraries. My major issue with 128 is it's stupid expensive (+2400!) - will it really make a difference? Is 64GB enough to take advantage of 40-50 samples instruments running at the same time?

Storage
2 TB is a no brainer. Can't justify paying an extra 2k for 2 more TBs (greedy apple!)

Graphics
I do love playing games in my free time, but I don't get to play nearly as much as I used to. I don't do as much video work these days, but I do quite a bit of heavy digital photography and compositing work. I think I'd be fine with the 8gb, but I'm wondering if it's worth the extra $600 in case I want to resell the machine...

@mikb - let us know what you find around the CPU throttling please :D

Cheers,

E

mikb
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Re: OPTIMAL Mac configuration inquiry

Post by mikb » Fri Jan 19, 2018 8:54 am

digitallush wrote:
Processor
My only question is can Live really can take advantage of the multi cores and if so, when exactly? The 8 core processors are even faster than 10, so should I really spend the extra $800? I'm not so sure I would actually feel a discernable difference here...
Yes, it can. Specifically your tracks will be distributed over your cores with each track staying on one core. With more cores to spread tracks over there will be less tracks per core.

There is also multicore support in some plug-ins, but I understand it varies if it's beneficial to have this in Live and there is a potential risk for resource conflicts.

I've seen people argue that Live "can't take advantage of multicore like other DAWs", but when pressed on this I don't remember anyone presenting verifiable data that supports the notion.
digitallush wrote: @mikb - let us know what you find around the CPU throttling please :D
I'll do that, but the test is delayed a bit as I have to repair another machine for a friend. I also have to prepare a boot disk with High Sierra as I can't install Live on the test machine.
Basic gear info: Macbook Pro with macOS 10.12, Ableton Live Suite version 9 (64bit) with Ozone, Push and APC20 as controllers.

digitallush
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Re: OPTIMAL Mac configuration inquiry

Post by digitallush » Fri Jan 19, 2018 3:21 pm

Thanks, mikb. That makes perfect sense. I guess the extra cores would be worth it since the first upgrade is so much cheaper. I'm not as concerned about the plugins using multiple cores because they're mostly just ram intensive. But it also makes sense that the more cores you have, and the more the tracks are spread out... the more power is available in each single core to take on additional processing weather it be a plug in or not.

Look forward to hearing how the testing goes.

Cheers!

MOSELEYNOISE
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Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2014 4:33 pm

Re: OPTIMAL Mac configuration inquiry

Post by MOSELEYNOISE » Wed Aug 29, 2018 5:53 am

mikb wrote:
LaneYoungMusic wrote: an optimal configuration answer. Further, I recognize that there are several interlocking variables which drive the answer (RAM vs CPU vs core-count vs other possible programs/processes running simultaneously with Ableton but, I would like a more complete/thoughtful answer to the inquiry. Any and all help would be much appreciated.
thnx, Lane
Assuming limited funds for a serious music production venture, then I'd work down the priorities like this

• Max the cores, the 10-core being a good balance I think. The basic 8-core is nothing to sneeze at, but the extra cost for 10 is in the context defendable.
• Max the SSD size, 1TB internal is sufficient if you plan to use external SSD drives for sample libraries and so on. Of course remember a big internal drive needs backup externally.
• 64GB RAM (or more), default 32GB is more than plenty for most but heavy sample library users might need more than that (and would know) and as you can't change your mind…

If there are unlimited funds, then you max everything as, I just said this, you from a practical stand point can't change your mind later (Gee, thanks Apple).

BTW, I'm test driving the basic 8-core next week. I will specifically look for any CPU throttling. There is a healthy scepticism against Apple desktops. I can already tell the 5k display is absolutely marvellous.

Did you ever get to test drive this machine mate? Wondering how the thermal issues were handled?

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

Re: OPTIMAL Mac configuration inquiry

Post by mikb » Sun Sep 02, 2018 7:39 pm

MOSELEYNOISE wrote:
Did you ever get to test drive this machine mate? Wondering how the thermal issues were handled?
Unfortunately the test machine had been sold and since I haven't found the time. Most people want real world tests of the hexacore MBPs now.
Basic gear info: Macbook Pro with macOS 10.12, Ableton Live Suite version 9 (64bit) with Ozone, Push and APC20 as controllers.

MOSELEYNOISE
Posts: 14
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2014 4:33 pm

Re: OPTIMAL Mac configuration inquiry

Post by MOSELEYNOISE » Mon Sep 03, 2018 10:40 am

mikb wrote:
MOSELEYNOISE wrote:
Did you ever get to test drive this machine mate? Wondering how the thermal issues were handled?
Unfortunately the test machine had been sold and since I haven't found the time. Most people want real world tests of the hexacore MBPs now.
No worries mate, I am about to get the imac pro so will let you know

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