Time for a new Mac. What would you recommend?

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by 1973Marshall, Apr 13, 2015.

  1. 1973Marshall

    1973Marshall Member

    Messages:
    6,324
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2006
    Location:
    NYC
    As a musician my Mac plays an integral role in my creative life. Whether I am using it for music production, film making, live performance and more, I live off of my now 5+ year old Macbook Pro 13.

    My Mac was chugging along but recent upgrades to Mavericks (not a choice, needed it to work certain new software and plug-ins) has put it on its last legs. I've made every change possible but it might be time for an upgrade. If I go through one more freeze amid tracking guitar parts I am gonna lose my mind!

    I've learned future proofing is key so here are my questions:
    1) Is it best to get a 15.4" model with Retina? It seems because of heat dispersion issues, a powerhouse QuadCore is cheaper on the 15" model.

    2) Is this the best time in the Mac cycle? In other words, are the current models about to be phased out or are they pretty mid-cycle?

    3) Which chipset? Does i5 2.2 GHz v i7 2.7 GHz chips make THAT much of a difference in rendering video or producing music?

    4) Is it possible to just buy a 13" and call it a day or am I going to keep suffering issues when it comes to video. The price$$$$ of the 13 along with the smaller form factor are really sweet! But I don't want to keep going through the same issues. I am assuming an AIR is out of the question for real production work.

    Are there other considerations? Any models you would recommend?
     
  2. sanrico

    sanrico Member

    Messages:
    11,967
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2009
    Location:
    Nuevo México
    One consideration is to downgrade your OS to the original. Mavericks and Yosemite are notorious for slowing down computers that had otherwise been speeding along just fine.

    My wife's iMac (late 2009) worked GREAT with Snow Leopard for her beefy Creative Suite design programs. A nice machine...I "upgraded" it to Mavericks and the damned thing turned into a 1970's Radio Shack TRS-80. It drives me crazy to use her computer now. Soooooo slooooooow.

    I loaded more RAM, which helped, but the machine is just about unusable in its current state. I'm waiting for a lull in the workload so I can revert it back to the original OS.
     
  3. Fred Farkus

    Fred Farkus Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    15,137
    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2009
    I got a 13" MBP last year for primarily audio production. Super-happy with it for that. The SS drive and retina display are real nice. It works for video too but with multiple overlays (keying) in FCP X it will start to struggle a little. I would buy as much cpu/ram you can afford. My wife has the 15" and it's great but bigger and heavier to carry around. Maybe a better solution for video production is use an external flatscreen and plug it into the HDMI port. Then you could get the 13" to save space/weight. YMMV.
     
  4. claudel

    claudel Member

    Messages:
    6,110
    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2007
    Location:
    Further Outside Area 51
    What's your budget?

    What do you want to do with it?

    A few months back I bought a refurbed late 2012 Mini 2.4 Ghz quad-core i7, added a 256GB Samsung SSD and upped the RAM to 16Gb.

    I passed on the new one because I wanted to be able to upgrade it without a hassle.

    I also bought a BluRay burner, new printer, external drive for backup target and a few cables.

    I haven't added it all, ~$1500 or so probably.

    I reused an old keyboard & mouse from my trusty iMac, I'll upgrade those when I sell it.

    I didn't buy a new monitor yet. I might not. Looks awesome thru my ancient Samsung 40",
    but I can't use the computer and watch TV at the same time unless I put the TV output in a window...

    My first Mac was a Powerbook that I never took anywhere

    Second was the iMac which I liked until I overloaded it.

    The mini is really cool. Should last me a while.
     
  5. 1973Marshall

    1973Marshall Member

    Messages:
    6,324
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2006
    Location:
    NYC
    Both great points.

    My 2 favorite pieces of software (both sets of plug-ins for FCP and Logic respectively) forced me to upgrade to Maverick. I tried cheating to Lion, but a couple of pieces forced the upgrade. So the choices are to go without. Can I test a downgrade? Can I try a version or 2 back and see if it works then revert if needed?

    As far as what I want - it's all the heavy duty stuff. I go from Adobe CS (incl Premier) to FCPX or Logic. FCP has really been challenged when editing and rendering times are awful. Certain color correction plugs-ins just eat the system alive. Meanwhile, Logic just isn't making it. I literally have to plan sessions in detail because too much time experimenting can lead to a crash or overheating. I also have to be very judicious when I get to adding a lot of plug-ins like EQs etc because the computer just can't handle it.

    Ironically, FCPX and Premier are more forgiving than Logic. If Logic can't play something real time, it's a fair bet it won't bounce it down either. At least FCPX will render with all FX regardless if it can play something in the program.

    There's my challenge lest I end up with a TRS-80 HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    Right now, spending isn't high on my list, but this is the core of my setup. I don't think there's a choice but to go $1700 - $2300 is there? If I go too cheap I might have the same regrets one would imagine.
     
  6. Fred Farkus

    Fred Farkus Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    15,137
    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2009
    I can't speak to Logic but Reaper runs like a bat out of hell on this MBP. There's no stopping it. And I use a lot of plugins and a good bit of midi instruments as well.
     
  7. claudel

    claudel Member

    Messages:
    6,110
    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2007
    Location:
    Further Outside Area 51
    Well, I'd skip the laptop unless I needed it to be portable.

    Small screen & cramped keyboard is a PITA to me. BTDT.

    If you're moving around a lot that's another story.

    The newest mini has only dual core i5s ( there's an option for i7, +$200 ) in some which will give
    slower rendering than my previous gen quad core i7, but has a more modern graphics chip.

    It cost me ~$100 less to buy the 2012 mini and add a SSD & RAM than if would have to
    buy a new Mini with 256GB SSD ( no spinning drive ) and 16Gb RAM.

    It helps to go thru the specs a few times... Not an easy decision.

    New iMacs are pretty cool too.
     
  8. bayAreaDude

    bayAreaDude Member

    Messages:
    3,227
    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2014
    Location:
    NorCal
    Consider something other than a Mac if you care about future proofing as their business model is directly opposed to that need. All of my computers are older than 5 years and doing fine.
     
  9. sundog964

    sundog964 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    8,975
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2015
    I got the 15.5 MBPS retina and am very happy. The SSD makes it so much faster. I'm running win7 in a boot camp partition and can do CAD and FE analysis on the win side.

    The logic and video aps are so much faster.

    Check www.macrumors.com for the product cycle and buying options.
     
  10. Pietro

    Pietro 2-Voice Guitar Junkie and All-Around Awesome Guy

    Messages:
    16,410
    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2007
    Location:
    Maineville, OH
    Often, you can buy a 13" MBP AND an external monitor for less than a 15". That's what I did. I have a 2012 NON-retina (Retina is, imho, a totally unnecessary luxury for virtually all computer use involving content creation), with 750G HD inside, 2.9ghz i7 dual-core and 8G of RAM. It handles every video, photo and audio job I throw at it (I record to an external drive).

    Things to worry about with Macs.

    The latest models are totally non-upgradeable in terms of internal storage and memory. Period. So get what you really need, and budget an external drive for storing large files on.

    The latest models are, from what I've heard, totally non-recycle-able. SHAME ON YOU Apple.

    The retina screen doesn't mean crap to making music.

    Any Mac will probably run best with the OS it ships with. I upgraded mine to Mavericks. It works fine, but there are little niggling things that drive me batty, especially with web surfing and MS Office use. On the other hand, I have no problems whatsoever with Final Cut, Logic Pro X or my old CS 5 version of Photoshop.
     
  11. Tom CT

    Tom CT Old Supporting Member Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    16,666
    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2004
    Location:
    Connecticut
    My thoughts as well. An iMac has a faster processor and a glorious screen. When it comes to shuffling A/V windows around, it's all about screen size.
     
  12. GMGM

    GMGM Member

    Messages:
    1,030
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Location:
    Omaha, NE
    I'm going to need a new computer within the next year as well.

    As of now, I'm holding out for the next gen 15" Macbook Pro. Supposedly, it'll be based on Skylake rather than broadwell. I don't know the latest though. I was reading every rumor thread up 'til about 3 months ago. It was causing me to have too much anxiety, so I've buried my head in the sand. I'll take a look again, once I start seeing commercials for it.
     
  13. 1973Marshall

    1973Marshall Member

    Messages:
    6,324
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2006
    Location:
    NYC
    As suggested I went to mad rumors and it might be best to wait.

    One option is to get a decent 13 and then get a Mac Mini. Minis seem to work so much better for heavy duty work.
     
  14. wyatt

    wyatt Member

    Messages:
    4,136
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2005
    It's hard to make a suggestion.

    You want a dedicated GPU to handle the viewports in the video editor once it gets FX heavy. LOTS of RAM is essential, as is CPU speed, those both factor into rendering times for the final product, but the GPU is what handles the viewport while you are editing. But they are only offering dedicated GPUs in their upper-level MBPs and the Mac Pros. I have to add the caveat that I own a couple of top-of-the-line MBPs and I'm retiring them from video work pretty soon, moving to a PC tower (which is replacing my retired Mac Pro). A new Mac Pro would be a great option, but for my visual FX work (camera tracking, compositing, 3D animation) the windows (and linux) environments has proven to more reliable and less fickle than the Mac world in my experience.
     
  15. gtrdave

    gtrdave Member

    Messages:
    4,209
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2012
    Location:
    The Small Wonder
    I still use CDs/DVDs on a regular basis and I don't want to carry around any clunky peripherals, so the 13" MBP w/ Superdrive is the only one I'd look at for on-the-go use.
    It can be had w/ a 2.9G i7, 8G RAM and a 512G SSD for $1999.
    I'd plug in a large 2nd monitor when home and call it good. :)
     
  16. koa

    koa Member

    Messages:
    1,182
    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2006
    Location:
    N.E. Ohio
    Dumb question... How do I go back to my original OS on my MacBook Pro?
     

Share This Page