Planning to buy a new computer

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  • Kubrak
    Kubrak Member Posts: 2,835 Expert
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    @D-One

    sometimes even within the same brand it varies between models.

    It is even worse.... Even within the same model quality varries. Manufacturers put inside that SSD, RAM, ... which is currently at hand.... Better ones or worse ones.....

  • valerianmengsk
    valerianmengsk Member Posts: 19 Member
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  • G.B.
    G.B. Member Posts: 73 Helper
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    So to be "safe" without going "overboard"...

    If using Windows 11 desktop and Intel:

    Intel i7

    32 GB RAM

    1 TB SSD (or would 512 work...?)

    1 TB secondary 7200 RPM storage drive

    Does the graphics card matter...?

    Is the sound card in an HP desktop sufficient...?

  • gagarine
    gagarine Member Posts: 2 Member
    edited March 2022
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    Hi,

    Lots of answers already but I think I will jump in (and do my first post on the new forum!). I studies and work in IT (web dev now), have tons of friends that are working in design (photoshop, DaVinci, 3D stuff, ...) and the same amount that are working seriously (not like me) with music (Live, Logic and Cubase). All that switched to the new Apple Silicon have mostly no issue with them. So I'm not a hardware guy, but I know some and use Windows, Linux, and Mac.

    First, I see some peoples on the thread taking gaming computers. I believe this is a bad ideas except if you doing other stuff that music. You are paying a lot for crazy video card that you are not going to use for music.

    Now, short answer: Buy a Mac, try it, if you don't like it or have unsolvable problems -> return it before 2 weeks.

    Long answer: Macs are very good laptop for music => 

    For years now my main computer is a Mac, mostly MacBook Pro and Air. I switch to the MacBook Air M1 with 8 Gb in Jun last year. I have to use Logic Pro with Rosetta has most native plugin are not Apple Silicon compatible yet.

    => I had no issue related to the M1 (one issue related to Logic Pro complete Kontrol MIDI mapping, but that was fixed by the Native Support)

    => M1 main goal (except increasing shareholder value) was to reduce energy usage -> thermal is much better than with old intel Mac.

    => Roseta is incredible. They translate the software the first run, so first launch may bit a bit slower. Then it's faster than any intel Mac I used. One of the key reasons why Rosetta 2 provides such high level of translation efficiency is the support of x86-64 memory ordering in Apple M1 SOC.

    => The Apple chips are ARM-based system on a chip (SoC) (so all stuff are on the same chips, which make communication between memory, or graphic and CPU very fast). They use some new stuff like big.LITTLE where you have a different core working depending of the task intensity. They are also extremely well integrated with the system (for example security chips).

    => Yet, for music, it's mostly useless to compare CPUs. For example, intel new CPU will also have a big.LITTLE architecture. They are mostly neck to neck if you compare just the CPU without the full package. I believe we are entering a new "era" of CPUs (like when intel released the core duo 2), but I'm confident intel will be part of this. M1 is simply one of the first.

    => Now MacBooks are vastly superior on a lot of other stuff. You may find another PC that is better at one thing, but not on the full hardware package and hardware integration with the OS. And the one that comes close will be the same price.

    => If you got for Mac you have fewer choices and spend less time choosing the right computer... 

    => Onboard audio is very good. Fast (for onboard) and very good output level even for 80 ohm headphone.

    => What about drivers? Today a lot of things are standard devices, especially audio cards. You still may need a driver or software that helps you control a device (Focusrite is a good example, no need for drivers but their "Focusrite Control" is still cool to have). The truth is that you may have some issue (and on Windows too), so try, and eventually return it. It's not only M1 but also MacOS new security policies (drivers cannot access the kernel directly, this is a good thing, but constructor need to rewrite their stuff). Yet most device providers propose workarounds (that are actually working), for example https://help.uaudio.com/hc/en-us/articles/360057137692-Apple-Silicon-M1-Compatibility-Info

    => Screen for example is impressive.

    => Keyboard is very good and touchpads are simply the best

    => You can connect an iPad and use it as a controller (Logic Pro and Live have an app) or as a "standard" secondary touch screen. Connected the iPad is detected like an audio sound card, you can record for example synth you may have on your iPad.

    What about the price? Yeah, it's expensive. But you have to take into consideration two things. First, they do last about 1-2 years longer (sorry, I don't find the stats again, you have to trust me...). Second, they have a much better resell value, even broken. So except if you lose it (and their "find my Mac" may help you find it back haha), the total amount of money you spend on 10 years for computers should not be very different from that on the PC.

    => regarding native plugins, everything works (I have Komplete and two Komplete Kontrol keyboard) but you have to have you DAW running on rosetta at the moment. I believe things may finally change as NI recently release Kontakt that run natively on Apple Silicon.

  • Kubrak
    Kubrak Member Posts: 2,835 Expert
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    Well, I am not that sure, that M1 notebook is going to last longer than Win notebook.

    M1 notebooks have almost zerro repairability and extendibility. No possibility to exchange SSD in case of need bigger one or in case of failure or wear-off. The same with RAM.

    Need for RAM and disk space double in say 3 years....

    And I am not sure, it will be possible to sell M1 notebooks for good price after several years of use. The SSD might be close to EOL mainly on models with 8 and 16 GB of RAM.

    And there is no wonder M1 notebooks are better than several years old x86 notebooks. It would be sad if that would not be true. Would be more fair to compare to current Intels or even better current AMDs.

    If Apple does not has a trumph in the sleeve, Rosetta 3 will inevitably come in about eight years, maybe sooner. If Apple continues like now (huge onepiece SOC), it will be beaten to the blood by its x86 rivals. But certainly, it is great there is competition that forces x86 to improve energy efficiency.

  • ozon
    ozon Member Posts: 1,396 Expert
    edited April 2022
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    In 35 years using Macs, I had:

    • 0 Mac electronic fails
    • 1 Mac casing failure (the hinges of the titanium PowerBook G4, which had a design flaw)
    • 2 hard disk fails (one portable, one in a PowerBook I moved daily)
    • 2 RAM fails, one probably because I changed it without proper care and the other because it wasn't properly seated in the socket when replaced by me.

    My last Mac was a MacBook Pro from 2013 which I used until December of 2021 and replaced it because it came to its processing limits with Cubase 11 and because the last supported macOS is 10.15.

    I don't think they break often.

    I don't think they need to be replaced after 3 years because the RAM and CPU are insufficient.

    Therefore:

    • I replaced my MacBook Pro with a used full spec Intel Mac mini 2018 (because I need to stay on a legacy macOS for music because of the Virus TI driver)
    • I most probably will stay on macOS computers because of the whole eco-system.

    But:

    • I hate Apple's planned obsolescence policy.
    • I would not recommend a Windows user to change platform just based on hardware performance aspects alone.


  • Kubrak
    Kubrak Member Posts: 2,835 Expert
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    I spoke about M1 Apple computers.... Mainly those with small RAM and SSD. It may die in few years, if not used with low RAM value in mind.

    I use Win computers/laptops for 30+ years. No failure in the whole time (HDD, RAM, SSD, graphics, motherboard, display, ...). Well, OK one or two CD/DVD readers become unreliable after looong time of use and had to be replaced. I speak about 15 computers used in past. And, I could easily change HDDs for bigger, more RAM, updating from HDD to SSD. I still regulary use notebook for legacy purposes that is 25+ years old. And another, that is 10+. I just had to put SSD inside and update RAM to max possible (16 GB).

    If buying seconhand M1, the first thing to check, IMHO, would be the "wear-off" stat for SSD.

  • nightjar
    nightjar Member Posts: 1,305 Guru
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    Wonder if there is a "wear-off" stat for basis of opinions...

  • Kubrak
    Kubrak Member Posts: 2,835 Expert
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    There should be stat of data written to SSD, if Apple does not restrict reading this stat. And each type of SSD has a limit of writes that SSD should survive. Sort of guarantied amount of data written without problems.

    There are also other stats, that indicate health of SSD.

    If one has 250 GB SSD and writes daily 100 GB (pretty easy if having 8GB RAM and working with big data and so need for swapping memory is needed), its EOL might come in two years....

  • ozon
    ozon Member Posts: 1,396 Expert
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    @Kubrak wrote:

    I spoke about M1 Apple computers.... Mainly those with small RAM and SSD.

    How small is small?

    I just checked the Apple Store: The smallest configuration for the 14" MacBook Pro is 16GB with upgrade options for 32GB or 64GB. That „small“ 16GB is what I’ve been using for the last 9 years. No problems with that amount at all.

    It may die in few years, if not used with low RAM value in mind.

    What is this about? Are you referring to virtual memory and swapping? How do you think virtual memory is handled on macOS X (or any UNIX)?

  • Kubrak
    Kubrak Member Posts: 2,835 Expert
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    MacBook Pro does not have M1, it has M1 Pro/Max. And how to upgrade from 16 to 32 or 64 if RAM is on chip? Well, maybe it is already on the chip, and Apple just crippled it in firmware.... But anyway M1 Pro has 32 GB at most, no way to upgrade it to 64. Or change processor, if not soldered.....

    M1 CPU has 8 GB or 16 GB.

    Well, roll few pages back. Someone proclaimed that 16GB memory in AS system equals in performance 64GB on Win. Maybe it does, do not know. But it would definitely lead to massive using of swapping.

    So, while all systems use swapping memory to disc, it is not overused as it makes system run slower, so user is sooner or later motivated to add memory to reduce swapping. But it might not be case of 8GB M1 maschine... Swapping is fast and most users will not know they are swapping, and so they may wear-off SSD using massive swapping more probably than users of other systems.

  • Shadaab Kadri
    Shadaab Kadri Member Posts: 24 Member
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    I appreciate everyone taking the time to comment on this thread. I just want to say that it's important to not get emotionally attached to one particular side especially when it comes to this topic. The operating systems and machines are just tools and you can work with whatever you can get and make the most out of it. I couldn't afford a mac 8 years ago so I bought myself a windows laptop, it served me well! Doesn't make anything better than the other.

    Use them for your advantage and defend your use case, not the company.

  • Kubrak
    Kubrak Member Posts: 2,835 Expert
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    You are right. I just do not like statements like, Mac is the best platform for music production, M1 beats x86, 16 GB on M1 Mac is like 64GB on Win. SW developers should convert their applications to Apple Silicon ASAP (1 year is too much) and for free. And even Intel beats AMD.

  • Kubrak
    Kubrak Member Posts: 2,835 Expert
    edited April 2022
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    Well, it mostly depends on purpose you want to use it for. And also which generation of i7. And also whether you speak of notebook or desktop.

  • G.B.
    G.B. Member Posts: 73 Helper
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    Well...

    Latest generation of i7 (10, 11, 12)

    Would the latest generation i5 (10, 11, 12) work...?

    For a desktop

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