Buying My First Mac...but how much Mac do I need?

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Hey Folks,

I wanted to ask if anyone knew just how much Mac I need. I'm migrating from PC to mac. However, I am also moving deeper into music composition.

With that said.

Finale 2012c is cross platform and wants
It wants 700 MB HDD space. with minimum 2, but 4 + GB of RAM prerfered
INtel Core 2 Duo or better, with i3 or above recommended.

IF I Use Sibelius 7
4+GB of ram, 40GB HDD (SSD prefered)
Intel Duo 2 Core or Better

I know Logic will use whatever is available.

But what if I wanted to use something like Cubase

Cubase wants 8GB of RAM, 15GB HDD space
Intel Core CPU

So the question becomes, how much HDD space does Yosemite want? and how much RAM over all, do I need.

If I added in, Komplete (Native INstruments Sound Library) - Standard issue, is 12,000 sounds, with 130GB of HDD space and 6GB of RAM, with Intel Core 2 Duo or better.

SO But thing that gets confusing for me, is. I would open Logic or Cubase, then in the program launch Komplete, to get to the sound file, to tweak the sound file, then to add it to the midi track, then record whatever, it is for that track. If we're talking a full orchestra with 100 instruments, I may not have 100 midi-tracks, but maybe I'll still have 60 or 80 tracks. All for the DAW to worry about.

So I've been asking around, and some say an 8GB RAM mini would handle it all. Do I need better.

Further, I have heard than iMac's display goes all weird, after 50% of cpu usage, not sure about it, i read it on the net (can't believe everything, but ya never know).

I already have a monitor, so, adding a keyboard / track / mouse to a mac mini / macbook pro, is a non issue, but there are some deals in the refurbished section vs, buying brand new.

Also the next intel chip sets (i heard) were do out next year, so how would these affect the current models...?

Ideally I'd like to keep the machine for a minimum of 5 years.

SO any ideas?

Thanks

Bootzzzz
 
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Any current Mac including the lowest Mac mini will do the job. They all have adequate processing power and vastly more Hard Drive space, which is easy to extend with fast external drives..

To make your work as easy and smooth as possible there are two things that have priority, RAM and screen real estate. Also since you are working with audio, the Mac should run as quietly as possible.

The more RAM the better but 8Gb is more than adequate, but given the opportunity install the maximum possible, it is not expensive. Buy your own, not Apple's which is way over priced.

A large display will let you see more work at once. Chances are your PC screen is smaller and lower resolution than an iMac's and also inferior in quality. If you purchase an iMac you can always plug in your existing display and use it to extend your desktop so you can see more work. iMacs let you use up to 2 extra displays.

iMacs are generally extremely quiet but under load you may hear the fan. Mac minis are even quieter and being small can be located under the desk or elsewhere to reduce all noise. A Solid State Drive (SSD) is a good idea in your case as it eliminates a source of noise, however slight.

Where I am we regularly get 10% discounts on Macs from non-Apple resellers so refurbished Macs are often not the best option, but you can work out what works best for you. Refurbished Macs are in every way, except perhaps minor cosmetic issues, as good as new Macs, with the same warranty and support.

A major consideration is warranty. If you only have one year where you are, I highly recommend getting AppleCare to make it 3. Repairing a Mac can be extremely expensive and any problems usually happen in the first 2 years. After that they are usually good.

We have 8 Macs here, most are much older than 5 years but all run well and would do what you want.

One notable difference with Macs over PCs is what you can install on them. They must have the minimum version of OSX when they first shipped, you can not install an older system. At the other end Apple will eventually update OSX to the point where it can not be installed on your version Mac. That however is usually much longer than the 5 year life you are planning, at least 7-8 years. Also there is no compulsion to upgrade. Just as with Windows there are better versions of OSX. Currently my choices would be Snow Leopard (10.6.8) or Mavericks (10.9.4).

You need to consider the requirements of the major software you use, that also will progress and eventually require either hardware or a version of OSX beyond what your Mac can handle. But I can not see that happening for a very long time.
 
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HI,

Thanks for the insight, I wanted to ask though, my understanding, is that once a mac (2014) maybe even (2013); is built, you can not update the RAM on it. As its on the motherboard. it is no longer slots, that you can purchase and put in yourself. ...not sure how true this information is.

?
 

dtravis7


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The new Minis that just came out now have soldered in RAM. The 27" iMac though has replaceable ram with a cover in the back. The Notebooks have all soldered in RAM.
 
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HI,

Thanks for the insight, I wanted to ask though, my understanding, is that once a mac (2014) maybe even (2013); is built, you can not update the RAM on it. As its on the motherboard. it is no longer slots, that you can purchase and put in yourself. ...not sure how true this information is.

?

That depends on the model. I think there are very few models with fixed RAM.

For full details of each model use MacTracker [free], if you get a refurbished older model you may get around any problem models.

Definitely the 27" iMac has a port at back to simply replace/upgrade the RAM.
 

chscag

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That depends on the model. I think there are very few models with fixed RAM.

Make that past tense. Dennis outlined in his post right before yours which models have fixed memory and which don't. Unfortunately, Apple is trending toward non upgradeable computers in general. Top of the line models (27" iMac and Mac Pro) are the exceptions.
 
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Our posts crossed.

There still are relatively few models in the scheme of things. Especially as Bootzzzz is looking at refurbished models.

Apple obviously however wants us to build our own Hackintoshes! ;)
 
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Hey Folks,

Its not that I'm looking at specifically refurbished or used macs. Its a $$$$$ and cents thing:

But from kijiji ......

Mid 2012 macbook pro 15" Retina, 16GB, 256 SSD, 2.3 Quad Core i7, dedicated GT630M gpu. Cost $1470 USED.

Now fast forward to a 2014 macbook pro from apple direct brand new
macbook pro 15" retina, 16gb / 256 SSD, 2.2 Quad i7, Iris Pro Graphics chip. $2099 [i can probably get corp. discount down to $1950]

Apple Refurbished,
Macbook Pro 15" w/ Retina, 8GB / 256 SSD, 2.0 Quad i7, Iris Pro Graphics Chip $1569

IF you look strictly at CPU's (everythingmac.com) you'd probably see them with in 1000 points of each other. because its not much of a difference chip wise.

i7. 2.3GZ is an i7-3615QM Quad core
i7. 2.2GZ is an i7-4770HQ Quad core
i7. 2.0GZ is an i7-4750HQ Quad core.

I don't even think you'd see a difference PC side for these minor changes.

what y'all think...?
 
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I forgot one very important point in the refurbished models:

Replaceable HDD and RAM usually go with an Optical Drive and USB 2.0 ports (no USB 3.0).
 
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chas_m

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OWC will be very surprised to learn that MacBook Air and MacBook Pro RAM is "un-upgradeable," as they make a nice living supplying these "impossible" solutions ... and are frequently recommended in these very forums!
 

dtravis7


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Chas please show us any current Macbook air with Upgradeable RAM. Only Pro that is upgradeable in the RAM department is the 13" old model that is still left. The Retina's can NOT be upgraded.
 
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chas_m

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Chas please show us any current Macbook air with Upgradeable RAM. Only Pro that is upgradeable in the RAM department is the 13" old model that is still left. The Retina's can NOT be upgraded.

You're correct. I was confusing RAM with storage, since they look similar (like RAM sticks). Most MacBook Airs can have their STORAGE upgraded -- not the RAM.

My apologies for my error and any confusion it might have caused.
 

dtravis7


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You're correct. I was confusing RAM with storage, since they look similar (like RAM sticks). Most MacBook Airs can have their STORAGE upgraded -- not the RAM.

My apologies for my error and any confusion it might have caused.

Agreed on the Storage part. OWC seems to be the only one so far making the SSD strips for the Air and Pro Retina. I hope others in the future do also.
 

chscag

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LOL, for a minute there chas, I thought maybe you were let in on an inside secret upgrade process at OWC. ;D
 

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