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Computer under $700 compatible w/ MOTU 828mkII & Pro Tools

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Computer under $700 compatible w/ MOTU 828mkII & Pro Tools

Postby TheLordThyGod » Wed Nov 23, 2016 4:13 am

I have an 828mkII and am looking for a computer that will be compatible with both my interface and the current version of ProTools, for $700 or less.

I've heard mixed stories about whether FireWire can be successfully adapted to Thunderbolt, and also whether modern computers would have driver issues with the MKII.

I'm a bit behind the times in terms of technological knowledge, have never had a DAW based recording rig before, and am pretty broke. I really don't want to foolishly buy the wrong computer and not be able to record. Can anyone help point me towards a computer that would function with my hardware and modern DAWs?

Thanks!
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Re: Computer under $700 compatible w/ MOTU 828mkII & Pro Too

Postby mikehalloran » Wed Nov 23, 2016 5:59 am

The Mini is the only Apple product that can. They begin at $599 with the minimum 8G RAM and an i5 Dual CPU. 16G is recommended by Avid. RAM in the Mini is not User upgradable.

This is for the bare minimum. I've never heard of anyone actually recommending that. Like DP, an i7 Quad chip is highly recommended for its FPU. The iMac and MacBook line have an i7Q available, the last Mini to offer it was built in 2012—good luck finding one of those with 16G under $700. Seriously, if you can, buy it.

You'll need a backlit LED HDMI monitor (under $200 for 24") and a multi-function mouse ($79 for the Magic Mouse) or trackpad ($129 for the Apple) plus a keyboard ($49 up) to make it work.

If $700 is a hard ceiling, look for used. If there's a new Windows machine that will do it for that price, I don't know of one. Make sure that the FireWire card uses a TI chip—even then, there are reports of problems in Win10.

Conflicting reports about the 828mkII over the Apple FW-TB adapter? Nonsense. It works as long as the mkII is in good shape—the newest ones are now over 9 years old. Mine is still going strong.
July 2010 iMac 2.93G i7 Quad, OWC eSATA mod, 32G RAM, OS 10.12.3
828mkII FW; MOTU MTP/AV USB with Firmware 2.0.1; DP 9.21, 9.02, 8.07 64bit, DP 7.24; IK-NI-Izotope-PSP-Garritan Antares, 32Lives, JBridge, MachFive 3.2.1
LogicPro X 10.3, Finale 25.2, 2014.5, Encore 5.0.7, Overture 5.2, TwistedWave, DSP-Quatro 4.4, QuickTime Pro 7.6.6, SmartScore Pro X2 10.5.5, Toast 15
Test machine: G4-1K Dual Processor: OS 10.4.11 / OS 9.2.2; DP 5.13; Encore 5.05 & 4.5.5; Toast 9.07b, legacy apps
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Re: Computer under $700 compatible w/ MOTU 828mkII & Pro Too

Postby TheLordThyGod » Wed Nov 23, 2016 6:54 am

mikehalloran wrote:The Mini is the only Apple product that can. They begin at $599 with the minimum 8G RAM and an i5 Dual CPU. 16G is recommended by Avid. RAM in the Mini is not User upgradable.

This is for the bare minimum. I've never heard of anyone actually recommending that. Like DP, an i7 Quad chip is highly recommended for its FPU. The iMac and MacBook line have an i7Q available, the last Mini to offer it was built in 2012—good luck finding one of those with 16G under $700. Seriously, if you can, buy it.

You'll need a backlit LED HDMI monitor (under $200 for 24") and a multi-function mouse ($79 for the Magic Mouse) or trackpad ($129 for the Apple) plus a keyboard ($49 up) to make it work.

If $700 is a hard ceiling, look for used. If there's a new Windows machine that will do it for that price, I don't know of one. Make sure that the FireWire card uses a TI chip—even then, there are reports of problems in Win10.

Conflicting reports about the 828mkII over the Apple FW-TB adapter? Nonsense. It works as long as the mkII is in good shape—the newest ones are now over 9 years old. Mine is still going strong.


Based on a quick search it appears the 16gb i7 quad minis are going for around $1000, MacBooks are going around $2000, and iMacs are going for almost $3000. $700 is a hard ceiling, so i guess I'm screwed.
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Re: Computer under $700 compatible w/ MOTU 828mkII & Pro Too

Postby TheLordThyGod » Wed Nov 23, 2016 7:02 am

Thanks for the insight though. I thought I could make it work for $700 but I guess I'll have to go back to the drawing board. One day...
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Re: Computer under $700 compatible w/ MOTU 828mkII & Pro Too

Postby rickorick » Wed Nov 23, 2016 7:19 am

You can find a used computer out there for $700 or less.
Used 2012 Mac Pro 3.33 6 Core 16g ram 10.8.5 DP 7.24
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Re: Computer under $700 compatible w/ MOTU 828mkII & Pro Too

Postby mikehalloran » Wed Nov 23, 2016 9:51 am

rickorick wrote:You can find a used computer out there for $700 or less.

Absolutely. A 2009 or later 27' iMac i7 will get the job done. All iMac i5s and i7s have quad cores.

Here's one for $590 buy it now--even includes a Magic Mouse and keyboard and a FireWire bus.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/APPLE-iMac-27-C ... Swj85YM30u

There are others. There's little difference between the 2009 and 2010 that I have. You can upgrade RAM yourself for around $107 (OWC) or less. Get 2x8G sticks--this leaves you with 20–24G depending on the original configuration (4x2G or 2x4G? It doesn't say).

Later on, you can install an SSD which a) makes these run a lot faster and b) makes them run a lot cooler. That's also a DIY and I know the shortcuts.
July 2010 iMac 2.93G i7 Quad, OWC eSATA mod, 32G RAM, OS 10.12.3
828mkII FW; MOTU MTP/AV USB with Firmware 2.0.1; DP 9.21, 9.02, 8.07 64bit, DP 7.24; IK-NI-Izotope-PSP-Garritan Antares, 32Lives, JBridge, MachFive 3.2.1
LogicPro X 10.3, Finale 25.2, 2014.5, Encore 5.0.7, Overture 5.2, TwistedWave, DSP-Quatro 4.4, QuickTime Pro 7.6.6, SmartScore Pro X2 10.5.5, Toast 15
Test machine: G4-1K Dual Processor: OS 10.4.11 / OS 9.2.2; DP 5.13; Encore 5.05 & 4.5.5; Toast 9.07b, legacy apps
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Re: Computer under $700 compatible w/ MOTU 828mkII & Pro Too

Postby TheLordThyGod » Wed Nov 23, 2016 4:59 pm

Oh wow, thanks y'all. I guess I was just looking in the wrong place or something. I'll do some homework and figure out the best deal I can get on a good Mac. I might have some more questions before I pull the trigger. Appreciate the info.
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Re: Computer under $700 compatible w/ MOTU 828mkII & Pro Too

Postby TheLordThyGod » Wed Nov 23, 2016 5:30 pm

mikehalloran wrote:
rickorick wrote:You can find a used computer out there for $700 or less.

Absolutely. A 2009 or later 27' iMac i7 will get the job done. All iMac i5s and i7s have quad cores.

Here's one for $590 buy it now--even includes a Magic Mouse and keyboard and a FireWire bus.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/APPLE-iMac-27-C ... Swj85YM30u

There are others. There's little difference between the 2009 and 2010 that I have. You can upgrade RAM yourself for around $107 (OWC) or less. Get 2x8G sticks--this leaves you with 20–24G depending on the original configuration (4x2G or 2x4G? It doesn't say).

Later on, you can install an SSD which a) makes these run a lot faster and b) makes them run a lot cooler. That's also a DIY and I know the shortcuts.


Ive never replaced RAM before. Are the sticks pretty generic/universal apart from capacity, or would I need a very specific part?
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Re: Computer under $700 compatible w/ MOTU 828mkII & Pro Too

Postby TheLordThyGod » Wed Nov 23, 2016 6:41 pm

I found a guide about RAM. Looks like I need to find the computer first and then figure out what type of RAM it has.
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Re: Computer under $700 compatible w/ MOTU 828mkII & Pro Too

Postby mikehalloran » Wed Nov 23, 2016 8:32 pm

TheLordThyGod wrote:I found a guide about RAM. Looks like I need to find the computer first and then figure out what type of RAM it has.

Yep!

Changing RAM on a 27" iMac is not hard if you have strong thumbs.

Many Macs including late Minis, MacBooks and 21.5" iMacs have it soldered in or otherwise extremely difficult to replace.
July 2010 iMac 2.93G i7 Quad, OWC eSATA mod, 32G RAM, OS 10.12.3
828mkII FW; MOTU MTP/AV USB with Firmware 2.0.1; DP 9.21, 9.02, 8.07 64bit, DP 7.24; IK-NI-Izotope-PSP-Garritan Antares, 32Lives, JBridge, MachFive 3.2.1
LogicPro X 10.3, Finale 25.2, 2014.5, Encore 5.0.7, Overture 5.2, TwistedWave, DSP-Quatro 4.4, QuickTime Pro 7.6.6, SmartScore Pro X2 10.5.5, Toast 15
Test machine: G4-1K Dual Processor: OS 10.4.11 / OS 9.2.2; DP 5.13; Encore 5.05 & 4.5.5; Toast 9.07b, legacy apps
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Re: Computer under $700 compatible w/ MOTU 828mkII & Pro Too

Postby TheLordThyGod » Wed Nov 23, 2016 10:14 pm

I've also found a few more decent deals but I'm still leaning toward the one you shared. I'm nervous about its age and lack of warranty, but the price is nice and it already includes peripherals. Balancing the desire to snatch it before someone else does against my need to make a well informed and cautious decision. Looks like RAM is going to be pretty cheap no matter what route I go. Does $80-100 sound about right for a pair of 8GB sticks?
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Re: Computer under $700 compatible w/ MOTU 828mkII & Pro Too

Postby Phil O » Thu Nov 24, 2016 8:10 am

Also, check out these guys for used stuff. Sometimes they have some great specials.

http://www.usedmac.com
DP 9.02, Mac Pro 2.66 quad[1,1] (6 Gig RAM), Mac Pro 2.8 octo[3,1], (12 Gig RAM), OS 10.6.8/10.11.6, two MOTU 828s, Apogee Rosetta 800, UAD-1e, UAD-2, a truckload of outboard gear and plug-ins, and a partridge in a pear tree.
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Re: Computer under $700 compatible w/ MOTU 828mkII & Pro Too

Postby mikehalloran » Thu Nov 24, 2016 11:30 am

Does $80-100 sound about right for a pair of 8GB sticks?
There are reputable sellers offering Kingston or Crucial RAM in that range. I think I paid $138 for 4 sticks of Kingston a few months ago. I can look that up if you need. OWC is more expensive but, if a stick goes bad, their warranty service is second to none so that's what I buy for my clients. I service over 30 Macs and have around one module go bad every other year or so nowadays.

I can't reassure you about 6–7 year old iMacs except to say that I'm not the only one around here using one that old. Recent OS and SSDs keep them going strong and let them run cooler which extends their life.

The original WD Black and Seagate drives these have are long in the tooth and the component likely to go bad. A 1T Caviar Blue 7200 is $50 from Amazon and is easy to install yourself—I can do it one-handed (that is not a joke). I don't like the Black in an iMac since they run hotter than most. A replacement HHD or SSD requires the heat sensor below.

In any case, have a good backup, Time Machine works great to a USB or Ethernet drive—best to an Airport Time Capsule. Do not back up via FireWire.

I cannot recommend an SSD too highly, however. Best to start saving for one now and, when you are ready, plan to do the swap. The Samsung 850 EVO is the go-to. About $300 for a 1T including the adapter bracket and replacement heat sensor. I have a 2T in my 2010.
https://www.amazon.com/Samsung-2-5-Inch ... ng+1tb+850

https://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/DIDIMACHDD09/

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00UN ... UTF8&psc=1

The one thing I don't like about the 2009–2010 is that replacing the NV RAM battery requires removing the mother board, a job that is easy on prior and later iMacs. The battery is a CR2032, available at any hardware or drug store.
Last edited by mikehalloran on Thu Nov 24, 2016 12:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
July 2010 iMac 2.93G i7 Quad, OWC eSATA mod, 32G RAM, OS 10.12.3
828mkII FW; MOTU MTP/AV USB with Firmware 2.0.1; DP 9.21, 9.02, 8.07 64bit, DP 7.24; IK-NI-Izotope-PSP-Garritan Antares, 32Lives, JBridge, MachFive 3.2.1
LogicPro X 10.3, Finale 25.2, 2014.5, Encore 5.0.7, Overture 5.2, TwistedWave, DSP-Quatro 4.4, QuickTime Pro 7.6.6, SmartScore Pro X2 10.5.5, Toast 15
Test machine: G4-1K Dual Processor: OS 10.4.11 / OS 9.2.2; DP 5.13; Encore 5.05 & 4.5.5; Toast 9.07b, legacy apps
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Re: Computer under $700 compatible w/ MOTU 828mkII & Pro Too

Postby mikehalloran » Thu Nov 24, 2016 12:13 pm

Having extolled the virtues of the 2009–2010, if I could recommend an older iMac, it would be the 2011 27". Here's why:

6G SATA 3 bus -- the 2009–2010 bus is 3G SATA 2

2 Thunderbolt ports + one FireWire -- only iMac with both.

Uses a different thermal sensor that makes it a bit easier when replacing the HHD with an SSD.
https://www.amazon.com/OWC-Digital-Ther ... B00J42AFUA

NV RAM battery on the front of the motherboard takes an extra minute to replace if doing at the same time as an SSD swap.

Easy to add up to two extra monitors if needed using $5 adapters to the TB ports. 24" backlit LCD HDMI monitors can be had well under $200 nowadays. The 2009-2010 support adding only one. There are $50 USB monitor adapters (I use one) but plug-'n-play is better.

I have a 2010 i7 and my wife has a 2011 i5. I tried swapping and found the i7's FPU performance to be such an advantage with audio and AV that I kept the 2010 for myself.
July 2010 iMac 2.93G i7 Quad, OWC eSATA mod, 32G RAM, OS 10.12.3
828mkII FW; MOTU MTP/AV USB with Firmware 2.0.1; DP 9.21, 9.02, 8.07 64bit, DP 7.24; IK-NI-Izotope-PSP-Garritan Antares, 32Lives, JBridge, MachFive 3.2.1
LogicPro X 10.3, Finale 25.2, 2014.5, Encore 5.0.7, Overture 5.2, TwistedWave, DSP-Quatro 4.4, QuickTime Pro 7.6.6, SmartScore Pro X2 10.5.5, Toast 15
Test machine: G4-1K Dual Processor: OS 10.4.11 / OS 9.2.2; DP 5.13; Encore 5.05 & 4.5.5; Toast 9.07b, legacy apps
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