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Advantages of a Mac Pro "with DP"

Discussion of Digital Performer use, optimization, tips and techniques on MacOS.

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Re: Advantages of a Mac Pro

Postby mhurwitz » Thu Apr 12, 2012 5:19 am

Thought I would give a different perspective.

If you are halfway decent with systems configuration, or (if not) at least willing and able to learn a bit about it, go with building your own PC. PCs outperform macs in audio and MIDI--not just a little bit, they practically destroy macs.

I don't know how long it's been since you've used a PC, but the days of Windows Vista are over. Windows 7 is truly a great, stable operating system. The idea that W7 is somehow unstable is a holdover from the days when Windows Vista was around.

A Mac is going to cost you way more than it's worth. With DP coming on PC, there's never been a better time to switch to PC.

There's a lot more I could say about it, but that's all I wanted to add for now. At this time, I do not advise anyone to invest in a high end mac.
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Re: Advantages of a Mac Pro

Postby stoecklem » Thu Apr 12, 2012 9:41 am

I have to strongly disagree with you at least on the MIDI part. In my experience MIDI is significantly more intuitive, stable, and nicer to deal with on macs.
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Re: Advantages of a Mac Pro

Postby mhurwitz » Thu Apr 12, 2012 10:42 am

Point taken. OSX does have some nice built-in MIDI features, especially the built-in MIDI over LAN.

YMMV. I personally have not yet had problems. I do composition and MIDI mockups and I use VEP with a slave.
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Re: Advantages of a Mac Pro

Postby Tesionman » Fri Apr 13, 2012 5:33 am

If my Mac bites the dust, I might decide to go for PC, but my only concern is that PC laptops don't come with Firewire anymore! Sh*t! What a stupid move by the companies! :deadhorse:

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Re: Advantages of a Mac Pro

Postby Splinter » Fri Apr 13, 2012 11:42 am

I think I'd beg, borrow, and steal before I bought a PC at this point. I've always hated Windows in every conceivable version. I've been using a Mac since 1986. In the words of Apple, "It just works." It's intuitive, reliable, and powerful. It works the way I think. Apple's customer service is outstanding, too.

I appreciate the perspective though. If Apple continues with their evil plan to obsolete everything they create every two years, I may jump ship eventually. I'm pretty pissed with Apple at the moment. Upgrading to Lion, which I need to sync my iPhone and iPad to, will cost me hundreds, if not a thousand plus, in upgrade costs. I think I'll wait till all my plugs go 64 bit and do it all at once. For now, I can run Snow Leopard on a studio computer and not have to worry about keeping up my contact book or calendars.

Regarding a Mac Mini, I'm sure it could do the job, I'm just not convinced it would be the best option for me. My iMac does the job too, but I have to give up some awesome I/O to use it and I need more than my Apogee Duet :lol:
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Re: Advantages of a Mac Pro

Postby kwiz » Fri Apr 13, 2012 12:22 pm

Splinter wrote:I think I'd beg, borrow, and steal before I bought a PC at this point. I've always hated Windows in every conceivable version. I've been using a Mac since 1986. In the words of Apple, "It just works." It's intuitive, reliable, and powerful. It works the way I think. Apple's customer service is outstanding, too.



I couldn't agree more! I would love if Apple came up with a rack mounted MacPro much like the now discontinued X-Serve, but used 4 rack spaces instead of 2 in order to accommodate more drives etc. To me, that design would bode well with professional users more than the current tower design does. That, combined with upcoming thunderbolt external drives would make a mean compact system for any audio and video pro!
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Re: Advantages of a Mac Pro

Postby Splinter » Sat Apr 14, 2012 11:55 am

Aye. I was just at an Apple Store today and got to talking to one of the salesmen. He didn't know anything more about the MacPro than I did, but dabbles with audio and said he does some audio work with Logic. He was curious to see what Apple would do with the MacPro next as well. He did mention that Intel would be announcing their Ivybridge chips and processors at the end of the month and that this should stir up things with the next generation of the MacPro. I'm willing to wait and see, but now I have a potential mobile gig overseas in June. Maybe I'll have them pay me in gear 8^D

But, yeah, a 16 core, 4.0 GHz CPU, rackmount MacPro with a Thunderbolt RAID would be pretty amazing. Ha! They've got to be holding out for something pretty amazing.
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Re: Advantages of a Mac Pro

Postby mhurwitz » Sun Apr 15, 2012 5:43 am

I'm also interested to see what Apple does with the mac pro. But just to clarify for the O.P.: it's not the Apple hardware that is responsible for the poor audio performance, it's OSX (core audio). If it's performance you're after, there's technically no use waiting for a new mac pro when Windows (VST) is already so fast. Apple would have to rewrite core audio. You could always run bootcamp on a mac pro, but don't be fooled into thinking that it's %100 equal to running Windows on a native PC. Bootcamp does some weird things when it's first installed. For example, search the net for "enabling AHCI on Bootcamp".
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Re: Advantages of a Mac Pro

Postby Splinter » Mon Apr 16, 2012 5:50 am

Sooo... apart from expandability and I/O, can anyone vouch for using DP with an iMac or Macbook Pro with a Thunderbolt hard drive and a Firewire interface? How does it compare in regard to performance to having an 8-core MacPro?
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Re: Advantages of a Mac Pro

Postby nk_e » Tue Apr 17, 2012 4:04 am

I'd vote for a MacPro myself. Bought an 8 core 6 years ago and it is only now showing its age a wee bit. (Not in processing power limitations but more in the constrained bus...only 667mhz I believe.)

Couple of comments:

1-a refurb is definitely the way to go. Have always bought Apple refurbed machines and have never regretted it. You can also get AppleCare to extend the warranty.
2-read today on AppleInsider that user configured MacPro's are taking longer and longer to ship. Usually a sign that a refresh is imminent ...or a sign of an "end of life" product
3-if a refresh happens, you can get current generation stuff cheaper. Also there is usually a delayed bump in available refurbed units as companies return leased products to apple as they upgrade. Apple refurbs them and puts them back out, but there is a small time lag.
4-if EOL for MacPros is announced, then consider getting a refurb or new one quickly. Everybody who is on the fence like you (and me) usually moves fast and stocks deplete.

All of that said, companies are releasing Thunderbolt-to-PCIe external chassis. I think ATTO released one, but it's like $1k or something. Also, UAD has a promotion until June 30 where you get $200 voucher if you trade in your old UAD-1 card. You could apply that to a UAD Satellite FireWire box and combine that with a cheaper iMac or even a Mini..... http://www.uaudio.com/trade-in

Good luck.

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Re: Advantages of a Mac Pro

Postby Prime Mover » Tue Apr 17, 2012 5:14 pm

I'm just not so sure anymore. I bought one of the original intel Mac Pros back in 2007. I thought that it would be a good time because it was the beginning of a generation, and I would be able to upgrade for a long time. Well, it's 2012 and the thought of upgrading my processor is very inticing... but wait... the 2007 model turned out to be completely incompatable with all subsiquent upgrades, and the price of processors from that era has actually gone up! So the best i could do would be fork out $600 to gain about 50% improvement, and still not work in a true 64-bit environment. Meanwhile, my PCI drive bays are empty, I've settled for a single-monitor setup with Spaces, and I have no use for fancy video cards. My 13" bottom-of-the-heap MacBook Pro runs circles around my old Mac Pro, and would continue to do so even if I upgraded its processor. The Mac Pro did not turn out to be the upgradable powerhouse that I once thought.

Currently, my Pro is in the shop, unable to boot. I don't know whether it's completely dead, or just needs a tuneup, but it's really got me thinking about how I choose to spend my money. I've come to the following conclusion: if you want the best power-for-value, DON'T BUY A MAC PRO. Instead of buying a Mac Pro every 5 years, buy a MacBook Pro every 3 years, and spend the majority of your time ahead of the curve. Sure, that Mac Pro will be the fastest thing on the market for the next 6 months, but all computers, no matter how awesome they are, will eventually become obsolete. Another, even more thrifty option is to buy a Mac Mini every 2 years. Don't even bother using the internal HD, just hook it up to an external SATA bay, then toss the brain out every 2 years and don't look back.

If you do the math, upgrading a computer constantly is much more expensive than simply buying a new computer more frequently. Computers that can be upgraded typically are far more expensive, so the trick is to find the least upgradable computer that fits your needs for the short term, and just buy a new one every few years.

I'm seriously considering buying a $60 MacBook Pro dock, a Firewire 800 SATA bay, and taking my old Mac Pro to the dump. Currently, I've been booting up my MacBook Pro in target mode, and editing projects off its drive from the Mac Pro (because I did my last recording project on the MacBook). The Firewire transfer speed is speedy, but my old CPU is just not cutting it.

The world has gone external modular. External HDs, external audio cards, external everything. Even half the "desktop" computers sold these days use laptop parts. I run a Firewire MOTU 828, with projects stored on a Firewire HD, connected to an external network router, why the heck would I need 5 PCI slots and 4 eSATA bays?

Everyone acts like Apple stopping production on the Mac Pro would be the end of the world. Honestly, it's an outdated computing model. DP8 will run great on a Mac Mini with a mess of firewire cords, and will run even better 2 years from then when I swap it out for a new one.
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Re: Advantages of a Mac Pro

Postby bayswater » Tue Apr 17, 2012 6:03 pm

I agree. The big affordable desktop is fading. A Mini or two might have the necessary power but we need software that runs reliably across multiple processors in different computers.
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Re: Advantages of a Mac Pro

Postby malditoyanki » Tue Apr 17, 2012 6:22 pm

Prime Mover wrote:I'm just not so sure anymore. I bought one of the original intel Mac Pros back in 2007. I thought that it would be a good time because it was the beginning of a generation, and I would be able to upgrade for a long time. Well, it's 2012 and the thought of upgrading my processor is very inticing... but wait... the 2007 model turned out to be completely incompatable with all subsiquent upgrades, and the price of processors from that era has actually gone up! So the best i could do would be fork out $600 to gain about 50% improvement, and still not work in a true 64-bit environment. Meanwhile, my PCI drive bays are empty, I've settled for a single-monitor setup with Spaces, and I have no use for fancy video cards. My 13" bottom-of-the-heap MacBook Pro runs circles around my old Mac Pro, and would continue to do so even if I upgraded its processor. The Mac Pro did not turn out to be the upgradable powerhouse that I once thought.

Currently, my Pro is in the shop, unable to boot. I don't know whether it's completely dead, or just needs a tuneup, but it's really got me thinking about how I choose to spend my money. I've come to the following conclusion: if you want the best power-for-value, DON'T BUY A MAC PRO. Instead of buying a Mac Pro every 5 years, buy a MacBook Pro every 3 years, and spend the majority of your time ahead of the curve. Sure, that Mac Pro will be the fastest thing on the market for the next 6 months, but all computers, no matter how awesome they are, will eventually become obsolete. Another, even more thrifty option is to buy a Mac Mini every 2 years. Don't even bother using the internal HD, just hook it up to an external SATA bay, then toss the brain out every 2 years and don't look back.

If you do the math, upgrading a computer constantly is much more expensive than simply buying a new computer more frequently. Computers that can be upgraded typically are far more expensive, so the trick is to find the least upgradable computer that fits your needs for the short term, and just buy a new one every few years.

I'm seriously considering buying a $60 MacBook Pro dock, a Firewire 800 SATA bay, and taking my old Mac Pro to the dump. Currently, I've been booting up my MacBook Pro in target mode, and editing projects off its drive from the Mac Pro (because I did my last recording project on the MacBook). The Firewire transfer speed is speedy, but my old CPU is just not cutting it.

The world has gone external modular. External HDs, external audio cards, external everything. Even half the "desktop" computers sold these days use laptop parts. I run a Firewire MOTU 828, with projects stored on a Firewire HD, connected to an external network router, why the heck would I need 5 PCI slots and 4 eSATA bays?

Everyone acts like Apple stopping production on the Mac Pro would be the end of the world. Honestly, it's an outdated computing model. DP8 will run great on a Mac Mini with a mess of firewire cords, and will run even better 2 years from then when I swap it out for a new one.


Man that's a long quote...anyhow I love your thinking on this thing. I too got burned on a 2007 mac pro.

One issue, I can't imagine even in the next 2 years being able to use anything but a monster PC/Mac. I have a 6 core 3.33 ghz 32 gigs with 5 internal drives and using every bit of it for my sequences.
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Advantages of a Mac Pro

Postby James Steele » Wed Apr 18, 2012 3:11 am

Prime Mover wrote:Everyone acts like Apple stopping production on the Mac Pro would be the end of the world. Honestly, it's an outdated computing model. DP8 will run great on a Mac Mini with a mess of firewire cords, and will run even better 2 years from then when I swap it out for a new one.


Cool. Just tell me what I do with my UAD-2 Duo, PCIe-424 and my HD192 and 24 I/O?
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Re: Advantages of a Mac Pro

Postby Tesionman » Wed Apr 18, 2012 5:15 am

James Steele wrote:
Prime Mover wrote:Everyone acts like Apple stopping production on the Mac Pro would be the end of the world. Honestly, it's an outdated computing model. DP8 will run great on a Mac Mini with a mess of firewire cords, and will run even better 2 years from then when I swap it out for a new one.


Cool. Just tell me what I do with my UAD-2 Duo, PCIe-424 and my HD192 and 24 I/O?


Fortunately, with DP8 theres always the PC possibility. :mrgreen:
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