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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 HCMarkus » Fri Apr 20, 2012 12:04 am

Perhaps the 1,1 is not deceased...

malditoyanki wrote:
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! The Mac Pro did not turn out to be the upgradable powerhouse that I once thought.


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

I'm no expert on this, but my reading suggests the early Macs are quite upgradeable... for example:

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1128933 (see the last reply!)
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Re: Advantages of a Mac Pro

Postby bayswater » Fri Apr 20, 2012 6:58 am

HCMarkus wrote:http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1128933 (see the last reply!)
Everything looks great until you get to the bit about "whamming" up the fans. Probably not referring to the audience.
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Re: Advantages of a Mac Pro "with DP"

Postby Splinter » Fri Apr 20, 2012 8:12 am

Hey, guys,

[I really appreciate the info on the MacPro upgrades. That's some really useful information and something I'm sure anyone with an early MacPro would be interested in, however, I've noticed the large pink banner stamped across the top of this thread and have taken note that this is not the place to have hardware upgrade discussions. :wink: ]

Lest we get booted to another forum, please try to keep your comments to issues related to hardware configurations and their affect on the performance of DP - what's working, what doesn't, how to optimize them, and the advantages of one system over another... "with DP." Thanks, and keep it coming. This has really made me think through a variety of issues I hadn't considered. I'm still wanting to know who's using TB hard drives with their set up and how this is working. Would it be better to wait for a TB audio interface, like an Apollo or Symphony, or is Firewire adequate for recording 24-32 channels of audio in DP?
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Re: Advantages of a Mac Pro

Postby HCMarkus » Fri Apr 20, 2012 10:45 am

bayswater wrote:
HCMarkus wrote:http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1128933 (see the last reply!)
Everything looks great until you get to the bit about "whamming" up the fans. Probably not referring to the audience.

He's overclocking, so the fans need to runs faster to compensate for thermal load. Software to handle this is available. Shouldn't be an issue if your Mac is remotely located, but could be a problem if it sits on or under your desk in your studio.
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Re: Advantages of a Mac Pro "with DP"... I pulled the trigge

Postby Splinter » Thu May 10, 2012 10:18 am

Okay, so I made up my mind and ordered a new rig. Should be here tomorrow. I unexpectedly came into some money so I was thrilled to be able to pull the trigger... but I made the leap. I decided to forego the Mac Pro and get a 15" 2.4GHz Quad i7 Macbook Pro with 750Gb HD and antiglare, hi-res screen, I got a Lacie 4TB Thunderbolt Raid drive, decided on a MOTU 896mkIII Hybrid, AND a I'm crowning it all with a Universal Audio 4-710d 4-ch Mic Pre. I'm very stoked about this and will be able to record 24 channels live with the 8 MOTU pres, 8 Digimax pres, 4 UA pres, and... the UA has 4 additional A/D line in inputs for 4 more external pres.

My rational was this: I had no doubt the CPU could do all I needed it to do since my current iMac 2.4 Core2Duo is pretty sufficient. With a TB drive, the HD won't be a problem either and I've got tons of storage! Lastly, portability makes a huge difference to me. Most of what I'm doing these days is/or will be remote, so it made the most sense to go with a portable rig. After all, portable rigs work in the studio, but studio rigs are a pain to use portably.

I'll let you know how it goes when I get it all hooked up. Hoping to do some live recording this coming week! Chuffed to bits!
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Re: Advantages of a Mac Pro "with DP"

Postby nightwatch » Thu May 10, 2012 3:21 pm

I didn't read the whole thread but I would say this (although i just see that you already ordered). Maybe someone else will find this useful. I recently switched from a G5 to a 2008 MacPro.

1) RAM costs - Wish I would have bought a 2009 - 2012 MacPro due to the costs of DDR2 vs DDR3 RAM. And the 2008s only hold 32GB, where as the newer ones hold 192GBs (or something like that). Very foolish and sloppy error on my part.

2) RAM usage- Whatever MacPro you get, get at least 16GBs of RAM and fill the RAM trays evenly. The CPU sees the pairs as 4 different memory lanes and will work better if you have something in all slots.

3) SSD - Got to have an SSD for audio/sample streaming. Even at the internal bus speed of 3Gbs it's still totally worth it. And if you ever need to expand in this area, OWC just released their awesome SSD PCIe cards which will extend the life of any MacPro. I have two 1TB 7200 drives, one for OS/apps, one for audio files. One 2TB for Time Machine, and one 240GB SSD for current projects. I copy the current project, with samples, to the SSD, and when I'm done for the day it gets backed up. When I switch to another project, I erase the SSD and put the next project on it. It's a cheap solution that works great. And when the time comes I'll install two or three SSD PCIe cards (one for os/apps and one for audio and samples) and use the internal drives bays entirely for backup.

Even this 2008 MacPro could last me another five years IF the CPUs are still hanging in there. The PCie slots give the MacPro a long life.

4 ) Future of the MacPro - I used to work for Apple and I can guess at this. If Apple were going to kill the MacPro, they'd say so. They're NOT going to drop their pro line. They're just "re-thinking" it.

5) Thunderbolt - Do you really need it? (It might be possible to get a Thunderbolt PCIe card at some point but I doubt it will ever happen- although I don't really know).
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Re: Advantages of a Mac Pro "with DP"

Postby Splinter » Thu May 10, 2012 4:09 pm

All valid points, Nightwatch, and things I did consider. Some of my thoughts were I don't use soft synths much and what I do use I print. Granted when I get to running 64 bit apps (no hurry here) I'll want to max out the MBP, but that will be far more RAM than I've ever used. A SSD would be nice, but the price-to-size ratio I couldn't justify. I will know doubt run two partitions - one for Lion, one for Snow Leopard. I believe TB is the wave of the future. With massive throughputs, modular systems are the way to go. Sure there are still good uses for a tower, but with a TB drive and FW audio interface there's not much I can't do. Ultimately, as I said, portability is a big issue for me, so it trumped the negatives, AND I'm needing a laptop for a lot more things than my iPad can handle and for the time I invest in engineering these days. I'll let you know how it goes.
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Re: Advantages of a Mac Pro "with DP"

Postby bayswater » Thu May 10, 2012 4:43 pm

nightwatch wrote:4 ) Future of the MacPro - I used to work for Apple and I can guess at this. If Apple were going to kill the MacPro, they'd say so. They're NOT going to drop their pro line. They're just "re-thinking" it.

Interesting. I had dinner last night with someone from Dell. She was careful about what she said, but the take away points were: 1 Apple has completely changed the picture in the computer market, 2 no one is investing in the the future of the PC, 3 you can pretty much expect the major players, including Apple, to be out of it in the not too distant future and 4, in a "few years we'll all have 10G access to the cloud, so who cares?"

I asked where people in media production would be getting large expandable desktop computers in five years, and the answer was "I have no idea". Maybe Sony? They take forever to abandon old products.

I don't like the picture painted, but the person who painted it knows the business. It's going to be very hard to know what investments to make in equipment over the next five years. If there is a new MP, you'd have to wonder how long it will be supported and what the upgrade path is after that?

And concerning your claim that Apple would tell us if they were going to abandon a product? They never have, no one does, so why would they start now?
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Re: Advantages of a Mac Pro "with DP"

Postby HCMarkus » Thu May 10, 2012 5:01 pm

Though I agree with Nightwatch in that I'd be mighty surprised if Apple dropped the mac Pro line immediately, it may well be difficult within three years or so to buy a new Mac that suits audio work as well as today's Mac Pro.

On the other hand, the server and roll-your-own PC market is going to remain substantial for years to come. We know MOTU is taking DP cross-platform. By the time the Mac Pro is no more, MOTU will have long ago ironed out the bugs in DP for Windows.

I care far more for DP than I do about my OS, at least when it comes to my audio work.

Still, I'm watching MacRumors daily for news of the new Mac Pro. I'll be very happy to slide into a 6 or 8 or 12 core Sandy Bridge machine, and believe such a computer will provide adequate power to run my studio for many years to come. Heck, I'm still cranking out work my customers dig on my G5 Quad. I'm not particularly concerned that Apple will stop supporting the Pro anytime in the forseable future, as I tend to set up with a solid OS/aplication combination and just WORK. So, every Tuesday morning, my fingers get a little tremble to them... and my piggy bank is pretty healthy at the moment. I am ready to apply the hammer to porky. :D
Last edited by HCMarkus on Thu May 10, 2012 5:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Advantages of a Mac Pro "with DP"

Postby Shooshie » Thu May 10, 2012 5:02 pm

The fact is that Thunderbolt is an "in transition" technology. It's not there yet. If you buy an iMac, you will give up that beautiful HD192 interface, and your 2408mkiii. Don't do that. Go with the Mac Pro. You can get the cheapest Mac Pro on the shelf at the Mac Store, and you will feel like the heavens opened up and sent down a golden chariot for your audio processes. There will be some upgrading to do here and there. You'll need a PCIe 424 card, which MOTU will provide for you for a few hundred bucks.

You need flexibility in connectivity, PCI expansion, memory and hard drives. The iMac, as nice a machine as it is, does not give you those options. Stay with the Mac Pro. Seriously. You'll end up spending more money trying to make the iMac work than you would have just getting the Mac Pro.

And one more thing… pretty soon your G5 is going to feel like the original Mac Classic. It's so far back in obsolescence land that you're really computing in another world now. Catch up before it becomes such a huge leap that you will never quite figure it out. If you can get a machine that runs with Snow Leopard, that will drag out the transition process for you, but I'm going to say jump in feet first and get the newest Mac Pro with Thunderbolt (at least you'll be ready for it) and with Lion OS. I'm not a big fan of Lion, but it's better to be current than not to be. I'm adjusting to it.

I also recommend the Apple Magic Trackpad. It does things you can't even imagine to ask about, so don't try to 2nd-guess it and buy something else. Get it. Commit to learning it. And you will find this to be the most amazing input device you've ever used. I am not exaggerating.

Ok, you're path is laid out. It will take you months to feel like you've fully converted. Do yourself a huge favor and don't delay. It's not going to get easier; just the opposite.

Good luck!

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Re: Advantages of a Mac Pro "with DP"

Postby nightwatch » Thu May 10, 2012 8:36 pm

bayswater wrote:
nightwatch wrote:4 ) Future of the MacPro - I used to work for Apple and I can guess at this. If Apple were going to kill the MacPro, they'd say so. They're NOT going to drop their pro line. They're just "re-thinking" it.

Interesting. I had dinner last night with someone from Dell. And concerning your claim that Apple would tell us if they were going to abandon a product? They never have, no one does, so why would they start now?


What I meant is this. The genie is out of the bottle. Many of us need workstation style PCs. The MacPro, may not look like it looks today, but Apple will still make high-end machines one way or another. How can they take powerful hardware away from consumers, when the software we buy requires so much power? It would be going against consumer demands.

That's just my opinion.

I also think that if Apple had plan to kill the MacPro, they would have done it by now. Maybe they'll update it. Or maybe it will be reinvented.

I remember when they were saying the same thing about the Mac mini on it's let cycle, and then it came out.

But who knows. Maybe MOTU is telling us something by porting DP to Windows. :)
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Re: Advantages of a Mac Pro "with DP"

Postby bayswater » Thu May 10, 2012 9:54 pm

nightwatch wrote:How can they take powerful hardware away from consumers, when the software we buy requires so much power?

I think the investment in the cloud is the answer to that question. And the software that the vast majority of consumers use runs fine on an iPad. The money to be made from the number of people who really need a Mac Pro is rounding error on Apple's books. Of course someone will serve this market, but I wouldn't assume it will be Apple.
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Re: Advantages of a Mac Pro "with DP"

Postby Dan Worley » Thu May 10, 2012 11:16 pm

My hope is that Apple is working on some wickedly fast, powerful, ass-kicking machines. And, because of the great advances made in manufacturing, they will shock us all with how low the prices will be. Wouldn't that be wonderful? There's still a need for these machines. The Cloud can't burn rubber. Why let this part of the business get away from them? Go after it just as they have everything else. Pretty soon they'll be ruling servers, too. They want to rule it all, you know?
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Re: Advantages of a Mac Pro "with DP"

Postby Splinter » Fri May 11, 2012 1:03 am

Well, Shooshie, you may be right, but you're too late. As I already posted yesterday, I ordered my MBP/896mkiii/TB rig this week. See above for specs. I haven's sold anything off at this point, but the G5, iMac, HD192, 2408 (maybe), and iPad (maybe) are all about to go. Part of it just boils down to logistics. I don't currently have a "studio" to work in. I've had my gear setup up (more like broken down) at a friend's house for two years. The iMac is at home and works great for the little work I'm doing, but the majority of work out there for me is remote. As I said, I have no doubt the MBP will be an amazing amount of power for me since I do primarily engineering work and very little work with VIs. At this point, the MBP is a better option because it will generate more work that will eventually allow me to get a proper studio set back up. I'm less concerned about longevity at this point and thinking about how do a build capital for now to get me where I want to be down the road.

You say TB is a transitional tech, but I wouldn't be so sure about that. I think it's more than just a faster USB... it's a paradigm shift. Granted the transition has been slow, but once the peripherals get out there - and they're coming - it's going to change the way people view computing. Trust me, the external 4TB Thunderbolt Raid drive running at PCIe speeds is gonna rock! I'll let you know how it goes!
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Re: Advantages of a Mac Pro "with DP"

Postby Shooshie » Fri May 11, 2012 5:43 am

Oh, I think we're in complete agreement about Thunderbolt. I was just concerned there wouldn't be anything out there right now, and that you'd have to wait for a few months before you could use it on an iMac. But if you got a MacBookPro, you're doing well, and if there is a Thunderbolt device already out there, then that's great.

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