Could you advise me on an ideal spec for new iMac?

Samf
Samf Member Posts: 6 Member
edited February 13 in Komplete Kontrol

I use Logic Pro X with Komplete 14 standard and few other plugins . I bought a second hand 2017 iMac with 8gb RAM 2.3gb dual core intel i5 . I have been using it but everything is just way to slow to load . I’m not massive tech expert so could anyone give me an idea what I would need please ?

thanks

Sam.

Best Answers

  • Maciej Repetowski
    Maciej Repetowski Member Posts: 369 Pro
    Answer ✓

    Apple moved iMac from prosumer tier to consumer tier. As such, you can only get one with regular M3 processor, up to 2TB SSD and maximum 24GB Ram. Which is great for browsing internet or light office work, but not for making music. Also, there’s no 27” option, just 24”.

    In my opinion, much better investment would be Mac mini or Mac Studio with external display of your choice. Order as much RAM as you can afford as this cannot be expanded later. 1-2TB SSD, you can add an external one, so this will not be a problem.

  • geiger167
    geiger167 Member Posts: 26 Member
    Answer ✓

    From personal experience, M1 Mac Studio (always on offer now) base configuration with 32g ram, 512g hard drive, MI Ultra processor and a couple of Samsung T7 external ssds (as big as you can afford they are always on offer now) plugged into the thunderbolt ports on back. Runs Logic/Ableton superfast, instant start up. Awesome bang for buck. Had no issues with Komplete on it, Native Access seems stable on it. I moved all the big Kontakt stuff and all my Logic library and Arturia content to the T7s and they run great formatted to APSF. This is the optimum for performance for money I think, you can go lower price with a Mac Mini, or higher with a M2/M3 upgrade on your studio but unless you plan to run projects with hundreds of tracks why bother lol

  • D-One
    D-One Moderator Posts: 2,689 mod
    edited February 13 Answer ✓

    Anything modern will be much, much better than an Intel dual-core, even the cheapest M1 Macbook Air, dual cores don't belong in this era anymore.

    Since you had an iMac I guess portability is not a concern, so the cheapest option within Apple will be the Mac Minis... Just don't buy anything with 8GB of RAM, aim for 16GB - Most people won't need more but depends on what you do. Factor in the price for peripherals and a display, you can get 4K display for 200$ nowadays.

    I have the 10-Core M2 Pro Mac Mini 16GB, loading sessions from my old computer that had 32GB of ram works fine, I use an average of around 10 KK/Kontakt instruments + samples/drums + random amount of Audio tracks, no issues.

    If you can afford it then go for the Studio Model but don't buy anything with a Pro Max chip, it's the same chip as the regular Pro but just with more graphics cores (for video/3d/games, so useless for music) so it's a waste of money.

    James Zhan has the best video breaking down the more cost-effective modern Macs, it's about M1 and M2 but he also has a follow-up with M3 details:

  • BIF
    BIF Member Posts: 425 Pro
    Answer ✓

    I think the old days are gone when you had to worry about getting a "perfectly spec'd" computer for music or ending up with junk. The choices today are not so binary. The keys these days are "enough" memory and SSD space to support all of the libraries, especially if you have multiple orchestral instruments like some of us do.

    If you also have a halfway decent audio interface such as anything from UAD, Focusrite, Presonus, or any number of other makers, you'll be just fine going forward.

    ---------------

    There is one thing that I will remind you of, and that is taking backups of your work, as well as your system. And buying or building a new computer is a perfect time to re-evaluate your setup. Always have a plan when it comes to backups, because if you don't plan for recovery, then you might as well be planning for an unrecoverable disaster...because that's just what you could end up with!

    I use Macrium Reflect, for years now. It has saved me at least 5 times from my own mistakes (ranging from deleting critical folders to accidentally reformatting a drive partition), and at least 2 times from malfunctioning hardware.

    Also, Macrium Reflect has features to protect your backups from being encrypted/deleted by ransomware. Remember, ransomware encrypts the contents of a drive, then makes you pay a ransom for the "key" to de-encrypt that data. Well, Macrium has safeguards preventing the ransomware from changing your backup files in the first place, and that includes any attempt to encrypt them or delete them.

    Best of luck with the new computer!

  • Maciej Repetowski
    Maciej Repetowski Member Posts: 369 Pro
    Answer ✓

    Yes, regular backups are crucial. I've used Carbon Copy Cloner for years now, many people are fine with using Time Maschine. As others mentioned, regular M3 (or M1/M2 Pro - secondhand) is more than enough as CPU goes. What is really important is not to skimp on RAM as it is not upgradeable on Apple Silicon Macs. I would think the minimum is 16GB (as D-One said), but if you can afford it - aim for 32 or 64GB.

  • BIF
    BIF Member Posts: 425 Pro
    Answer ✓

    I agree on the RAM part! 32 or 64 GB are most appropriate, and that's true whether it's a Mac or a PC.

  • BIF
    BIF Member Posts: 425 Pro
    Answer ✓

    You're in good shape already then, and the 32 GB will not be a slouch. Personally, I'd recommend the M2, but not because it would be any better technology or because it will impart some magical musicality to your work...I recommend it only because it's newer and might help you stave off a future upgrade by a year or three.

    But hey, my own MBP is an M1, so if you decide to go for the M1 to save money, then maybe you and I will be shopping for a couple of new Macs with the M7 chip right about the same time...right around 2029, haha!

  • Jojo123
    Jojo123 Member Posts: 220 Advisor
    Answer ✓

    Hi @Samf

    All great advice here. I cant add anything but just second whats been said but perhaps emphasizing about RAM and the importance having a backup solution.

    All the best what you choose. FWIW My 27" iMac 2019 w 40GB RAM is going well. I find the Samsungs great for External.

  • D-One
    D-One Moderator Posts: 2,689 mod
    edited February 14 Answer ✓

    Note that sometimes folks are a bit alarming in terms of amount of Ram, if one is not into realistic orchestral production for cinema or something similar 64GB is crazy, I'm guessing people into that type of production know their needs better than the rest of us common mortals, so if you really need it then you should already know.

    If I use the biggest Kontakt libraries I own, all playing a 4 chords with a 4-note polyphony chord progression at the same time I spend about 11GB of ram, "pressure" is still on the green; this is not a very likely scenario for the average producer especially people more into synths than heavy Kontakt instruments.

    Here's a list of the test I ran due to having a new computer, order is the size of the lib, instrument name, and patch loaded.

    1. 72GB - Lores - A Friendly Face
    2. 50GB - Choir Omnia - Omnia Altos
    3. 36GB - Session Strings Pro 2 - Motown Sections 1 and 2 Bass
    4. 34GB - Symphony Series String Ensemble - Violins
    5. 33GB - Symphony Series Woodwind Ensemble - Woodwind Ensemble
    6. 30GB - Session Horns Pro - Session Horns Pro Performance

    So I am close to the limit with this type of Instruments, I could load maybe 2 or 3 more with just 16GB of ram. So, if someone wants double of the above, then go with 32GB, 4x then go with 64, and so on but note that most libraries aren't of this giant 70-30GB size.

    Someone very synth-based or mix-focused will benefit more from more CPU power than crazy amounts of RAM for example, keep that in mind because use case is important.

Answers

  • Maciej Repetowski
    Maciej Repetowski Member Posts: 369 Pro
    Answer ✓

    Apple moved iMac from prosumer tier to consumer tier. As such, you can only get one with regular M3 processor, up to 2TB SSD and maximum 24GB Ram. Which is great for browsing internet or light office work, but not for making music. Also, there’s no 27” option, just 24”.

    In my opinion, much better investment would be Mac mini or Mac Studio with external display of your choice. Order as much RAM as you can afford as this cannot be expanded later. 1-2TB SSD, you can add an external one, so this will not be a problem.

  • geiger167
    geiger167 Member Posts: 26 Member
    Answer ✓

    From personal experience, M1 Mac Studio (always on offer now) base configuration with 32g ram, 512g hard drive, MI Ultra processor and a couple of Samsung T7 external ssds (as big as you can afford they are always on offer now) plugged into the thunderbolt ports on back. Runs Logic/Ableton superfast, instant start up. Awesome bang for buck. Had no issues with Komplete on it, Native Access seems stable on it. I moved all the big Kontakt stuff and all my Logic library and Arturia content to the T7s and they run great formatted to APSF. This is the optimum for performance for money I think, you can go lower price with a Mac Mini, or higher with a M2/M3 upgrade on your studio but unless you plan to run projects with hundreds of tracks why bother lol

  • D-One
    D-One Moderator Posts: 2,689 mod
    edited February 13 Answer ✓

    Anything modern will be much, much better than an Intel dual-core, even the cheapest M1 Macbook Air, dual cores don't belong in this era anymore.

    Since you had an iMac I guess portability is not a concern, so the cheapest option within Apple will be the Mac Minis... Just don't buy anything with 8GB of RAM, aim for 16GB - Most people won't need more but depends on what you do. Factor in the price for peripherals and a display, you can get 4K display for 200$ nowadays.

    I have the 10-Core M2 Pro Mac Mini 16GB, loading sessions from my old computer that had 32GB of ram works fine, I use an average of around 10 KK/Kontakt instruments + samples/drums + random amount of Audio tracks, no issues.

    If you can afford it then go for the Studio Model but don't buy anything with a Pro Max chip, it's the same chip as the regular Pro but just with more graphics cores (for video/3d/games, so useless for music) so it's a waste of money.

    James Zhan has the best video breaking down the more cost-effective modern Macs, it's about M1 and M2 but he also has a follow-up with M3 details:

  • Samf
    Samf Member Posts: 6 Member

    Thanks very much for all your reply’s.. It really helps a lot, as I get lost in all of the tech side of things. I Just want to make some music lol 😃

  • BIF
    BIF Member Posts: 425 Pro
    Answer ✓

    I think the old days are gone when you had to worry about getting a "perfectly spec'd" computer for music or ending up with junk. The choices today are not so binary. The keys these days are "enough" memory and SSD space to support all of the libraries, especially if you have multiple orchestral instruments like some of us do.

    If you also have a halfway decent audio interface such as anything from UAD, Focusrite, Presonus, or any number of other makers, you'll be just fine going forward.

    ---------------

    There is one thing that I will remind you of, and that is taking backups of your work, as well as your system. And buying or building a new computer is a perfect time to re-evaluate your setup. Always have a plan when it comes to backups, because if you don't plan for recovery, then you might as well be planning for an unrecoverable disaster...because that's just what you could end up with!

    I use Macrium Reflect, for years now. It has saved me at least 5 times from my own mistakes (ranging from deleting critical folders to accidentally reformatting a drive partition), and at least 2 times from malfunctioning hardware.

    Also, Macrium Reflect has features to protect your backups from being encrypted/deleted by ransomware. Remember, ransomware encrypts the contents of a drive, then makes you pay a ransom for the "key" to de-encrypt that data. Well, Macrium has safeguards preventing the ransomware from changing your backup files in the first place, and that includes any attempt to encrypt them or delete them.

    Best of luck with the new computer!

  • Maciej Repetowski
    Maciej Repetowski Member Posts: 369 Pro
    Answer ✓

    Yes, regular backups are crucial. I've used Carbon Copy Cloner for years now, many people are fine with using Time Maschine. As others mentioned, regular M3 (or M1/M2 Pro - secondhand) is more than enough as CPU goes. What is really important is not to skimp on RAM as it is not upgradeable on Apple Silicon Macs. I would think the minimum is 16GB (as D-One said), but if you can afford it - aim for 32 or 64GB.

  • BIF
    BIF Member Posts: 425 Pro
    Answer ✓

    I agree on the RAM part! 32 or 64 GB are most appropriate, and that's true whether it's a Mac or a PC.

  • Samf
    Samf Member Posts: 6 Member

    Thanks. I think I’ll try and aim for 32gb ram. I do use a preSonos audio interface and have purchased recently a Samsung i7 1tb for my backups. It’s just to decide on a Mac mini or iMac . M1 or M2

  • BIF
    BIF Member Posts: 425 Pro
    Answer ✓

    You're in good shape already then, and the 32 GB will not be a slouch. Personally, I'd recommend the M2, but not because it would be any better technology or because it will impart some magical musicality to your work...I recommend it only because it's newer and might help you stave off a future upgrade by a year or three.

    But hey, my own MBP is an M1, so if you decide to go for the M1 to save money, then maybe you and I will be shopping for a couple of new Macs with the M7 chip right about the same time...right around 2029, haha!

  • Jojo123
    Jojo123 Member Posts: 220 Advisor
    Answer ✓

    Hi @Samf

    All great advice here. I cant add anything but just second whats been said but perhaps emphasizing about RAM and the importance having a backup solution.

    All the best what you choose. FWIW My 27" iMac 2019 w 40GB RAM is going well. I find the Samsungs great for External.

  • D-One
    D-One Moderator Posts: 2,689 mod
    edited February 14 Answer ✓

    Note that sometimes folks are a bit alarming in terms of amount of Ram, if one is not into realistic orchestral production for cinema or something similar 64GB is crazy, I'm guessing people into that type of production know their needs better than the rest of us common mortals, so if you really need it then you should already know.

    If I use the biggest Kontakt libraries I own, all playing a 4 chords with a 4-note polyphony chord progression at the same time I spend about 11GB of ram, "pressure" is still on the green; this is not a very likely scenario for the average producer especially people more into synths than heavy Kontakt instruments.

    Here's a list of the test I ran due to having a new computer, order is the size of the lib, instrument name, and patch loaded.

    1. 72GB - Lores - A Friendly Face
    2. 50GB - Choir Omnia - Omnia Altos
    3. 36GB - Session Strings Pro 2 - Motown Sections 1 and 2 Bass
    4. 34GB - Symphony Series String Ensemble - Violins
    5. 33GB - Symphony Series Woodwind Ensemble - Woodwind Ensemble
    6. 30GB - Session Horns Pro - Session Horns Pro Performance

    So I am close to the limit with this type of Instruments, I could load maybe 2 or 3 more with just 16GB of ram. So, if someone wants double of the above, then go with 32GB, 4x then go with 64, and so on but note that most libraries aren't of this giant 70-30GB size.

    Someone very synth-based or mix-focused will benefit more from more CPU power than crazy amounts of RAM for example, keep that in mind because use case is important.

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