New iMac... thoughts?

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seenoevil II
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New iMac... thoughts?

Post by seenoevil II » Fri Apr 23, 2021 10:27 pm

I'm still running my late "09 model with logic 9. It's on its last legs. I was holding out for the new iMac for irrational poetic reasons. But it appears to have the same M1 chip as the new MacBook and Mac mini, so now I'm wondering if there's any real point in going for the iMac. My biggest concern is the i/o. They only give you 2 thunderbolt ports on the $1300 version. An extra $200 gets you another 2 USBC ports. No versions have USBA ports. At least one port will be for the interface. And another will be dedicated to an external HD as even the top spec only comes with 500 GB :fp:

Granted, this thing is for a pleasant home use experience, so it has an amazing screen, improved built in speakers, and it's all cute or whatever.

IDK. I was hoping this would be an easy call, but as ever, Apple giveth and Apple taketh away.
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Re: New iMac... thoughts?

Post by andy_tchp » Fri Apr 23, 2021 10:47 pm

I'm not a recording guy but I've been going over similar thoughts about whether or not I should replace my current well-worn desktop setup with something like an M1 Mac Mini and a 'nice' new monitor (something like the Dell 4K 32" curved things which are currently on sale direct from them) - I'm not a huge fan of 'all-in-ones' regardless of vendor.

Then I started thinking about the M1 Macbook offerings for a few hundred more and docking stations. Down the rabbit hole we go...

My better half bought one of the new M1 MBPs recently and it really is an impressive bit of kit (bear in mind I am a 'Linux weenie' who's been Apple free for >15 years).

Apologies, this is of no help at all. :D


There seem to be well founded rumours (possibly helped by the recent theft/leaking of internal design documents) that the next release of the Macbooks (or at least the 'Pro' designated machines) will have many more ports and be broadly 'better' in every way spec-wise. If you can wait 'til the end of the year and keep the old iMac going it's probably the better option.
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Re: New iMac... thoughts?

Post by øøøøøøø » Sat Apr 24, 2021 2:58 am

I use a lot of third-party applications (Pro Tools, Finale, UAD, lots of plug-ins, etc), so I'm not going to be an early adopter. It seems like this is the biggest change in awhile, and I want to see how quickly (and how well) the third-party developers adapt.

It apparently has a ceiling of 16GB RAM (ships with 8 GB in its base configuration).

This is surprisingly low to me (the previous generation's base spec was also 8GB, but was configurable up to 64GB), but I wouldn't dismiss it out of hand just based on that. I also don't know how the M1 chip will change the calculus on system performance (for all I know, big RAM numbers might not mean as much anymore).

If I understand correctly, there's a bit of a hardware merge happening between the Macs and the iPads, and I guess it was only a matter of time before an iPad processor was powerful enough to run a desktop (or a desktop processor was small enough to fit in an iPad, if you prefer).

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Re: New iMac... thoughts?

Post by HarlowTheFish » Sat Apr 24, 2021 4:16 am

Honestly I think it looks pretty good, but just on pricing and IO the Mac Mini is a nicer option.

If you're upgrading from an older iMac, keep in mind that this is the replacement for the ancient 21" model, that hasn't been a good buy in many many years, and if you still want an AIO and want something a bit more powerful, the replacement Apple Silicon 27" shouldn't be too far around the corner.

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Re: New iMac... thoughts?

Post by jvin248 » Sat Apr 24, 2021 6:41 am

.

Hard drive space problem ... get or build yourself a NAS box, runs over your wifi like having a local personal 'cloud'.

https://www.openmediavault.org/


You can use an old tower desktop chassis you or friends have kicking around not doing anything, or buy a $35 Raspberry Pi pc to use as the base, like described in this video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpvlEbdA6qI
.

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Re: New iMac... thoughts?

Post by seenoevil II » Sat Apr 24, 2021 6:58 am

In regards to the imminent 27" replacement and the MacBook pro upgrade, my main feeling is frustration as I've been waiting longer than I ever imagined for this imac to come out. The rumor sphere has been teasing first, apple silicon, then the imac redesign for years now. It's lead me to put things off and change my plans because Apple such at supporting old hardware and I wanted my next rig to be as future proof as possible. As much as I love my old imac, it can't handle making a new album.

With regards to specs and power. I could be wrong, but I imagine that there's an upper limit to how much computing power music production needs. My 12 year old machine was already recording at sample rates twice that of the theoretical threshold of human hearing. Sure it crashed sometimes, but it has 2 gb of RAM and a spinning dark disc. So, I imagine even base spec macs with the M1 could handle it fairly easily. It's video editing and graphics rendering that keeps demanding more and more power every year.

And with the Mac mini. I have a slight preference for an AIO as it'd be easier to integrate it into my space (I don't have a dedicated studio space). And factoring a monitor into the mix does take some the economy away (I'd likely get a wall mount TV that could pull double duty). But I think you're right who said it might still be better from an I/O and price perspective. For $600 less (and a monitor) you get the same computer and a gigabit etherner port and 2 USBA 3.0 ports.

In any case, this is gonna take some figuring out and multiple purchases. It seems that in the 11 years I've owned my Mac, buying a computer has gotten more involved.
Last edited by seenoevil II on Sat Apr 24, 2021 7:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: New iMac... thoughts?

Post by DeathJag » Sat Apr 24, 2021 7:01 am

andy_tchp wrote:
Fri Apr 23, 2021 10:47 pm
I am a 'Linux weenie' who's been Apple free for >15 years).
My hat’s off to you. I wish I had done this. You are so advanced! I have come to hate Apple and am considering going back to Windows. But what I really want is what you have - a system that won’t update itself into problems, and keep the ability to use old progs that work perfectly fine.

I’d be happy if I could never update anything again. If I had a friend who was a Linux whiz I’d have made a box years and years ago.

Can’t help you OP sorry!

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Re: New iMac... thoughts?

Post by Singlebladepickup » Sat Apr 24, 2021 2:20 pm

I've been looking at replacing my 2012 macbook air, which is actually still running great.... love that thing. I read the new macbook pro later this year will have m1, active cooling, nice keyboard, magsafe, hdmi, and a few other things. I plan to take a look, although I may wait.

I'm sure Linux is great but I don't want to learn it. I switched to mac from windows because I wanted something reliable, and it has been for nearly 9 years. I don't want to go back to windows

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Re: New iMac... thoughts?

Post by HarlowTheFish » Sat Apr 24, 2021 5:27 pm

Singlebladepickup wrote:
Sat Apr 24, 2021 2:20 pm
I've been looking at replacing my 2012 macbook air, which is actually still running great.... love that thing. I read the new macbook pro later this year will have m1, active cooling, nice keyboard, magsafe, hdmi, and a few other things. I plan to take a look, although I may wait.

I'm sure Linux is great but I don't want to learn it. I switched to mac from windows because I wanted something reliable, and it has been for nearly 9 years. I don't want to go back to windows
Don't count on Magsafe, don't count on HDMI, and unless you're talking about the rumored M1X 15" MBP and potential 27" iMac replacements (or something like a Mac Mini Pro or something), that's pretty much what the current 13" Pro is.

Honestly NGL if I could get the stuff I wanted (MBP13 form factor, convertible, with an Apple Pencil) I'd be pretty tempted to switch to daily-driving Apple again. It's 100% just been a slow year, but it already felt like the Windows PC side of things was a couple years behind on basic functionality when we had no numbers on M1 performance, and it's really not getting better.

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Re: New iMac... thoughts?

Post by mediocreplayer » Sat Apr 24, 2021 6:24 pm

I have Macs from 2013, 2018, and 2020 lying around. The 2020 is a Mini I got last year whose RAM I upgraded to 64GB.

I was initially surprised that the new Macs are upgradeable up to only 16GB, but so far all reports seem to suggest that they are more powerful than the last generation that I have, so as Brad suggests it seems that these new systems are not to be judged based on the same criteria as the Intel machines.

Also as someone else observes, if you are making music at home there is probably a threshold for how capable your machine should be, beyond which it is just a waste of power.

For ports, you can always get a dock that gives you a ton of ports for $200 or so. I would not think of this as the make-or-break point in this decision when you are thinking about a non-portable machine.

I personally would go for the Mini over the iMac, but these new iMacs look great!

Edit: Linux is great for people who like to tinker and like to have total control over their machines. This is not the vast majority of people. Stick with MacOS.

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Re: New iMac... thoughts?

Post by Maggieo » Sat Apr 24, 2021 6:27 pm

Beware of Big Sur!!! It will break all sorts of stuff, even Apple applications.

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Re: New iMac... thoughts?

Post by HorseyBoy » Sat Apr 24, 2021 7:21 pm

Same boat here: I'm on a mid-2010 iMac and have been holding off on upgrading. I do like the new look and the idea of the M1 (once you get your head around only needing 16GB of RAM) but I'm wary of buying the first-gen of any new product and will probably try to hold out for another refresh, especially with all the talk of a newer and betterer M1 chip revision just around the corner. That said, I'm sure this new iMac would do everything I need it to and then some.

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Re: New iMac... thoughts?

Post by matbard » Sun Apr 25, 2021 1:11 am

Maggieo wrote:
Sat Apr 24, 2021 6:27 pm
Beware of Big Sur!!! It will break all sorts of stuff, even Apple applications.

I know the hard way.
No, not at all.

BS works for me with all of my pro audio apps.

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Re: New iMac... thoughts?

Post by matbard » Sun Apr 25, 2021 1:12 am

mediocreplayer wrote:
Sat Apr 24, 2021 6:24 pm
I have Macs from 2013, 2018, and 2020 lying around. The 2020 is a Mini I got last year whose RAM I upgraded to 64GB.

I was initially surprised that the new Macs are upgradeable up to only 16GB, but so far all reports seem to suggest that they are more powerful than the last generation that I have, so as Brad suggests it seems that these new systems are not to be judged based on the same criteria as the Intel machines.
ARM SoCs handle the RAM in a huge different way than Intel architecture. They use the RAM pretty much as a L1 cache and rely on drive swapping much more.
Last edited by matbard on Sun Apr 25, 2021 7:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: New iMac... thoughts?

Post by Logrinn » Sun Apr 25, 2021 1:33 am

Another option could be to go DAWless.
Or at least get some kind of hybrid system consisting of a hardware recorder that handles recording and basic editing (and will eliminate a lot of frustration regarding the computer’s capacity and will let you focus on music and the creative part) and a computer that handles mixing and mastering.
Perhaps such a solution will allow you to carry on using the present computer?

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