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  • Att.: Mac people and VSL staff

    Hi everyone. One of my computers blew last night - actual smoke came out!! I would very much appreciate a prompt response if at all possible since I am getting a new one fast!

    I am ordering the latest 27' iMac upgraded to its limits in CPU and RAM, and I'd like some advice on the following:

    a) Does anyone know for sure whether this system runs smoothly and properly when filled with 8Gb RAM chips (so beyond the advertized maximum specs.) for a total of 32Gb of RAM?

    b) I'm going to run samples both internally and from external hard drive (probably my Pro Edition EXS internally, VI externally, any thoughts on that?). Should I opt for the extra SSD for any reason? I'd rather forego the expense but if there is a very good reason to include it I will.

    c) Should I order the 2Gb RAM graphics upgrade or stay with the default 1Gb? (I heard that some of the processing nowdays is shared with the graphics)

    d) This question can wait but nevertheless: Should I partition the main hard drive for sounds or Logic projects / OS and programs, or run them all from the one (what I have been doing so far).

    Please-please help asap,

    Thanks a lot!

    P.S.: My exploded computer is an older iMac. It does not turn on anymore (dead...). Do you think the hard drive and its contents would be salvageable (put inside an external box or other...)?


  • Hi Erik

    What iMac processor are you thinking about getting? Why an iMac instead of a powermac? 


  • How are you Paul?

    I will be getting the strongest iMac possible (i7 Quad-Core 3.4GHz) and will be filling it with its proposed maximum 16Gb of RAM. It comes with a 27' screen (good enough for orchestral scoring but not great since there's no pivot option), and it will cost me ~£1,725. The MacPro will offer a lot more in potentia and is much more flexible and I would prefer it, but an equivalent system costs ~£2,427, without the screen. At the moment it is prohibitive for me, I have a lot of other expenses.


  • I have bought my Macpro 12 core on the refurb ! you can get a good price !!!

    I use 4 x screen ; it is very confortable to write using VSL !


    MacBook Pro M3 MAX 128 GB 8TB - 2 x 48" - 1 x 27" screen --- Logic Pro --- Mir Pro 3D Dolby Atmos --- Most of the VI libs, a few Synch... libs --- Quite a few Kontakt libs --- CS80 fanatic
  • Thanks Cyril; I had a look and the prices are not that cheap and the machines would still need more money to upgrade certain components. Plus, the Mac Pro is just about to be upgraded with the upcoming Intel chips.

    Would it be possuble for you to answer some of the questions I posed given the specific computer I intend to purchase?

    Thanks in advance.


  • when the new Macpro will be availlable Apple is going to put on the refurb the old one, it is when you get good price !! about a 1000 $ less

    I cannot help you on Imac.

    Nowdays it is good to have SSD and less memory, I will wait for benchmark of the new VI pro and VE pro

    Today I have a full orchestra running on my Macpro 12 core and it is using less than 15 % cpu on a very difficult score


    MacBook Pro M3 MAX 128 GB 8TB - 2 x 48" - 1 x 27" screen --- Logic Pro --- Mir Pro 3D Dolby Atmos --- Most of the VI libs, a few Synch... libs --- Quite a few Kontakt libs --- CS80 fanatic
  • Thanks Cyril, but I can't wait that long - I wouldn't have put the "urgent" message on the board if that were the case. In fact I am ordering on Monday otherwise I can't work!. You say that you can't help me with the iMac but you mention the SSD and less memory. Can you elucidate a little? Should I order the small capacity (256Gb) SSD or do you find that this it too small to be of use? And are you saying that RAM is becoming less important?


  • An iMac with the top specs will probably be alright. Is 16 gigs the maximum you can put in one of those computers? Don't buy the ram from Apple btw. Get it from a place like crucial.com and if they take 32 gigs you will maybe upgrade to that later.

    The thing about buying a MacPro is you get more power and more flexibilty. But then you have to buy a screen. For example, I and loads of others here I'm sure, have a 30 inch Mac screen and they are not inexpensive. So an iMac takes care of that and the screen on an iMac is good, although I would be very slightly reticent if you were doing say, a  lot of photographic editing because they're a bit reflective. But very good in my view. The MacPro is about to be discontinued and no doubt replaced by something else.

    So on the external hard drives I use them simply for backing up things like audio, sample libraries, photos etc. I don't stream from an external drive but a friend of mine does and it seems to work well. I use Western Digital 1 terrabyte drives. All hard drives eventually fail. Internal and external.

    Running Logic on a top of the range iMac should be no problem at all so I would get that and you should have no problems. Hopefully. The internal hard drive should probably be partitioned and the partioning is really a question of choice in the way you segment it off in terms of size and for what. 

    Perhaps more importantly these days (because computers have nearly got its collective act together with memory access, 64 bit etc etc etc) is the external gear like soundcards, monitors, headphones, etc. Depending on what your requirements are, I would look at the Apogee Duet 2 if you haven't already placed a soundcard. Monitors like Dynaudio or even Genelecs are good just purely as an example. Plugins are useful and take up space on hard drives just like anything else. Headphones are useful but not recommended for mixing and mastering. Something like Sennheiser.

    What you can save on computer hardware is always handy for peripherals.

    And finally. Currency in Greece will soon be worthless Erik. So treat yourself while you can.  [:)]


  • did you look at a second hand Macpro ?

    With new VI/VE pro if you have a raid disk or a ssd or a raid of ssd you will be able to load smaller segment into memory

    If you get an Imac, how many internal disk can you connect ! one ??? two ??

    if you get a ssd you will have to use for your system too !

    If you where not using VSL, just Logic, you willl be able to do a lot on an Imac

    the bottle neck of VSL is disk access !! No matter to have a fast CPU is your disk I/O are slow (USB Firewire)

    it is a non sense to put a ssd on firewire or USB, SATA III is ok !

    will you be doing large orchestation ? 


    MacBook Pro M3 MAX 128 GB 8TB - 2 x 48" - 1 x 27" screen --- Logic Pro --- Mir Pro 3D Dolby Atmos --- Most of the VI libs, a few Synch... libs --- Quite a few Kontakt libs --- CS80 fanatic
  • I won't buy second hand hardware - call me stupid, crazy, I just never do it. I would appreciate any advice solely on the given system I am proposing.

    I will be using the latest VI/VE PROs. The iMac will have an internal hard drive of either 1or 2Gb and there is an expensive option of an additional internal SSD of only 256Gb - do you think it's worth the €400, and how would you use it? No plans (or finances) for RAID at the moment.

    The new iMac has Firewire 800 and Thunderbolt slots. I've heard that the current architecture of external drives cannot take advantage of Thunderbolt speeds. I am planning anyway to divide my sound libraries - Pro Edition EXS inside the iMac, VI inside an external drive with the abovementioned connectivity - should I keep all my sounds externally (the problems you mentioned regarding disk-access)?...

    I will be doing huge orchestrations, I am prepared to not use too many separate reverbs in order to be able to run more instruments.


  • Sorry Paul, I just saw your post, thanks for your thoughts.

    I do a lot of scoring so I like to use large screens with pivot capabilities (like Dell for example - good prices). The 27' iMac will serve me almost adequately in that regard, but it wil prove better during Logic sessions. As far as the rest of the gear, I already own a coupe of Tannoys and a MOTU audio interface and have to stay with those for the time being...

    In any case, the only thing I am unsure about is the partitioning bit you mentioned. What should go where?...

    As far as your last bit, I told you I might be moving over a few months ago... [;)]


  • Most of the Big composers are having a farm of Macpro or a  Macpro and a farm of PC


    MacBook Pro M3 MAX 128 GB 8TB - 2 x 48" - 1 x 27" screen --- Logic Pro --- Mir Pro 3D Dolby Atmos --- Most of the VI libs, a few Synch... libs --- Quite a few Kontakt libs --- CS80 fanatic
  • "Most of the Big composers are having a farm of Macpro or a  Macpro and a farm of PC". I must be one of those few that don't then...[H]

    Please Cyril, I am aware of all this, don't try to change my mind on the system, see if you can help me out with my questions. I do in the future plan to upgrade to the Mac Pro, when Apple releases the new ones and I have the relevant capital available. I only buy new products, call it an idiosyncracy...

    Much obliged.


  • you are making a mistake wanting to do large orchestration with an Imac

    If you do not want to listen too bad, buy you Imac and but dont come back crying in a few month

    You have to be aware that bus speed on Imac may be much slower than on a Macpro

    it is impossible to have the butter, the money of the butter and the farmer's wife !

    refurb stuff are new !

    good luck with your Imac !


    MacBook Pro M3 MAX 128 GB 8TB - 2 x 48" - 1 x 27" screen --- Logic Pro --- Mir Pro 3D Dolby Atmos --- Most of the VI libs, a few Synch... libs --- Quite a few Kontakt libs --- CS80 fanatic
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    @Errikos said:

    Sorry Paul, I just saw your post, thanks for your thoughts.

    I do a lot of scoring so I like to use large screens with pivot capabilities (like Dell for example - good prices). The 27' iMac will serve me almost adequately in that regard, but it wil prove better during Logic sessions. As far as the rest of the gear, I already own a coupe of Tannoys and a MOTU audio interface and have to stay with those for the time being...

    In any case, the only thing I am unsure about is the partitioning bit you mentioned. What should go where?...

    As far as your last bit, I told you I might be moving over a few months ago...

    The thing is Erik - you may have to break down your orchestral templates on an iMac. Reason - buss size. You could wind up

    with a bottleneck if your'e planning to have really massive orchestrations and loads of articulations gong on. I'm the worst person to answer you

    on this because (a) limited computer knowledge and (b) really tiny templates (maybe I'll go mad and have 25 tracks one day). And that on

    a MacPro 3.0 Ghz Quad-Core Intel Xeon with 14 gigs of ram. 

    Don't forget on top of that Erik - you will proabaly use plug-ins too. And also things like Kontakt. Uses up a lot of processing power. If money is the reason you want to get an iMac then it's not anyone's business to talk you out of it but I would give it some serious thought in terms of what you want to do as opposed to what happens later when you try to do it. Having said all that - an iMac may just be the right thing.

    Might moving over to England aye Erik?  You heard what the French Prime Minister said to us the other day? He said "you people live on and island and you have no idea about Europe."  

    He's right about that!   [<:o)]


  • @Cyril: Thanks anyway. I never disputed that the Mac Pro is the really professional tool and would love a large studio spread, farming Mac Pros. I don't buy 2nd hand and even the refurbished Mac Pro when you upgrade it properly (RAM, large screen, etc.) is more expensive than I can handle at the moment. I was after advice for the specific system that I wish to build, I won't cry about it later since I am prepared for the Bus, 2-channel RAM and other limitations. I was just hoping that more people who actually do use iMacs would help me out with some advice here but no one's interested...

    @Paul: Thanks again, and a/a. I just want to add that with my blown iMac (2.16 GHz / 3Gb RAM) I finished a work with 90 orchestral tracks, most were Pro Edition, some VIs, and some EWQL that were added later to a submix. They were all E.Q.ed, compressed and automated. A few had a couple of other plug-ins on them, and none had to be frozen throughout the project. The only limitations I faced were some glitches (stops and starts of Logic 8), and mainly the fact that I couldn't possibly have as many reverbs and tails as I had tracks; I had to contend myself with 4-5 for the whole thing... I realize those limitations may follow me to this proposed setup but it cannot be helped at the moment. I may have to break my projects up into sections if I want to use VI/VE PRO and Vienna Suite, I realize that. How about some partitioning details?...

    From the beginning my questions had nothing to do with comparing iMacs to Mac Pros, although I appreciate the warnings. The matter at hand remains: Can somebody please answer any of my original questions at the top of the previous page?


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    @Errikos said:

    @Cyril: Thanks anyway. I never disputed that the Mac Pro is the really professional tool and would love a large studio spread, farming Mac Pros. I don't buy 2nd hand and even the refurbished Mac Pro when you upgrade it properly (RAM, large screen, etc.) is more expensive than I can handle at the moment.

    if you do not buy memory, ssd, screen  ...... from Apple it is very acceptable.

    If you get a macpro you can always add upgrade it, add more memory, disks, raids, ssd, audio and video cards......

    Not buying from refurb is STUPID. I have bought my last 3 x macpro refurbished saved each time about a 1000 euro ! there are still working !

    If you sell it after a year you will sell it for more than you paied 

    I got the Apple care, you get service at home


    MacBook Pro M3 MAX 128 GB 8TB - 2 x 48" - 1 x 27" screen --- Logic Pro --- Mir Pro 3D Dolby Atmos --- Most of the VI libs, a few Synch... libs --- Quite a few Kontakt libs --- CS80 fanatic
  • You saved €1000 on the Mac Pro every time from the prices of brand new Mac Pros. Mac Pro refurbished as we speak is ~€500 more expensive than the fully specd. iMac, and it's not new. Additionally, I need to put in at least 10Gb more RAM immediately, not later. I need a good large screen (new) on top of it immediately, not later. You get service at home because you live in France; I don't. No Apple Care here.

    Now, I can barely spend €2000 all up on a new system. And let's just say you are absolutely correct about everything you have said and the whole meaning of life, for argument's sake.

    Given the above, is it at all possible for you to try and imagine a catastrophic scenario where aliens from a parallel universe are in conspiracy with a world shadow government, and are forbidding me to work with any computer whatsoever - other than an iMac 27' i7 3.4 GHz - for undisclosed reasons, and try to answer my original questions to your best knowledge and ability in your next post?

    Please?


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    As a former Mac Pro owner who decided to go the iMac 3.4Ghz route when I needed to upgrade, i feel I am probably in a better position to answer your questions.

    First though, I'm going to go through my own personal reasoning as to why i decided to buy the iMac rather than buying a new or refurbished Mac Pro (My last Mac Pro was refurbished and I was extremely pleased with it..)

    Positive points: Price (Much lower for comparative performance) Thunderbolt (Think multiple Gigabit networks..and multiple FW800 ports..) Great screen... New so three years of Apple care.. and no worries.. Ability via VE Pro to create farms of 2011 Mini Mac Servers (Quad core 2Ghz) for less than $970 each... and you can use your old Mac if it is still functional.. plus whatever cheap PCs you can pick up for further expansion... plus 16GB of Crucial Ram for less than 80 Dollars from Amazon.. (4x4GB sticks)

    Negative Points: Very few... given the expansion possibilities that Thunderbolt offers though at this time, they are far and few (and pricey) but give it time and that will all sort itself out.. 32GB Ram via 4 8GB sticks is very expensive too but coming down in price all the time..

    Conclusion: For me, with the current range of Mac Pros.. (and who knows if Apple will ever release new models.. as it may have already reached it's end of life) The new iMac is the road to take... and with the great pricing of 2011 Mini Mac Servers which also pack one hell of a punch for the buck.. you can put together one heck of a system for the same price or less as one well spec'd Mac Pro... and with a lot more flexibility using VE Pro to share loads etc...

    Btw,. for anyone in the USA... I got my iMac from here...

    [url]http://www.expercom.com/product_detail.html?p=751337[/url]

    27" 3.4Ghz 8GB Ram - 2TB 7200rpm Internal HD - Radeon 6970M with 2GB VRam and 3 years of Applecare included for $2499

    Still a great deal I believe....

    Anyhow to answer your questions..

    @Another User said:

    d) This question can wait but nevertheless: Should I partition the main hard drive for sounds or Logic projects / OS and programs, or run them all from the one (what I have been doing so far).

    I have never partitioned my system drive. I believe partitioning makes the drive work harder... so i have never done it. I store all my samples etc.. on external FW800 Glyph drives..

    HTH..


  • Thank you so much for the kind of post I have been hoping to get: Erudite, comprehensive, well-structured, and with additional relevant information; you have given me all I needed. Interesting point about the Mac mini servers, I can see the potential especially with them Thunderbolt-connected to the main computer.

    Thanks again and all the best.