Planning to buy a new computer

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  • Shadaab Kadri
    Shadaab Kadri Member Posts: 24 Member
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    @winihh Yeah makes sense. I might go the M1pro route. I can't afford the Max :)

  • Shadaab Kadri
    Shadaab Kadri Member Posts: 24 Member
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    @Uwe303 Thats not an option for me. I perform live so I need a laptop.

  • Kubrak
    Kubrak Member Posts: 2,858 Expert
    edited March 2022
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    And is not it better to buy notebook for half the money and have few more beers a week? Or bunch of plugins? Or controller or two?

    I need 5 computers for my job, but I havent spent that much money for all my computers bought in last 15 years, like the cost of your laptop is. My latest computer cost a bit more than 1000 EUR and it is just slightly weaker than M1 Max. But to be fair it is not notebook, but tiny miniPC (15x15x8 cm), easy to transport if needed. And only CPU is comparable, not GPU (I do not need strong GPU anyway).

    AMD Zen3+ notebooks might be close to M1 Max (CPU and maybe GPU) and cost only 1,5 EUR a day for four years. ;-)

  • D-One
    D-One Moderator Posts: 3,021 mod
    edited March 2022
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    I'm an Apple user and I co-sign this. If you have old HW just scratch off Apple M1's from your possibilities list, if you don't then it should be OK. I only had 1 piece of old gear, a Serato / Rane interface, no M1 support so I'll have to switch to Traktor, RekordBox or some other alternative.


    I just got an M1 Air 8Gb of Ram 2 days ago, the cheapest one, still unsure if I made the right decision.

    As far as Maschine Performance goes on a quick test using a Massive preset playing a 6 note chord continuously my desktop can do 54 instances and the M1 does 36, 40% difference, same buffer, interface, etc... I'm kind of impressed since I have an i7 8700k 6-core, water-cooled, delided with liquid metal + 3 internal fans while the MB Air is fanless, tiny and Maschine is not even M1 Native yet. I don't use laptops for heavy production, just light work but this seems capable, I can't think of a scenario where I would need 30+ synths all playing at the same time.

    The MB Air M1 cannot sustain max speed during the test long term, it drops down to 2.5GHz when things get hot, stabilizes at 90C. 10W power consumption tho, that's kind of crazy...


    I'll eventually test Kontakt / Ram performance since a synth test only uses about 1GB of ram.


    Can confirm, I've had that happen to me a couple of times at 35+ degrees in direct sunlight, all intel MacBooks on stage were useless but I have to point out that multiple devices were acting up not just computers, also mixers, interfaces, etc... big mess. I've been in hotter environments in packed sweaty clubs and that never happened, the sunlight is really a big issue. A chunky laptop with big fans will always have an edge in such scenarios. M1's run much cooler than the older intel ones but if enough to prevent this idk yet.. It's kind of an extreme scenario tho. My fanless Air will most likely struggle but an MBP should be ok, or at least behave better than an intel laptop with the same thickness.

  • Tony Jones
    Tony Jones Member Posts: 261 Pro
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    I've not seen that 16 GB = 64 GB on Windows stat before, have you a reference for that, or is it from experience?

  • D-One
    D-One Moderator Posts: 3,021 mod
    edited March 2022
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    Also curious. Never seen such bold claims before either, SoC Ram might work more efficiently, paging should be fast due to the high-end NVME but 16=64 sounds magical... none of those examples given are Ram intensive, they are all mostly pushing the CPU.

  • Shadaab Kadri
    Shadaab Kadri Member Posts: 24 Member
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    Thanks a lot for all this valuable information! The only hardware I use is an MK3 so I think I should be fine. It's crazy that the MacBook air can do all that with just 8gb memory.

  • D-One
    D-One Moderator Posts: 3,021 mod
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    No problem, note that a PC Laptop equivalent can also have similar performance, it just generally needs to be thicker and noisier to achieve it unless it's an AMD based one, even in that case I am not fully sure.

    People tend to associate RAM with the overall "Speed" and sort of as a performance metric for computers, maybe because Ram is easy to quantify: 8/16/32/64 while there are a million CPU models but Ram is just temporary storage. The only musicians that need high amounts of ram are people that use lots of big multi-sample libs in the same project, usually, for realistic instrument "emulation" but for most people 8/16GB is plenty.

    Some folks also need big ram for everyday tasks, like people who like to have insane amounts of Chrome tabs open at once for example but that's not your average user.

  • Kubrak
    Kubrak Member Posts: 2,858 Expert
    edited March 2022
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    @D-One

    No problem, note that a PC Laptop equivalent can also have similar performance, it just generally needs to be thicker and noisier to achieve it unless it's an AMD based one, even in that case I am not fully sure.

    The 6th gen AMDs Zen3+ are on 6nm process, while M1 on little better 5nm. I guess AMD might consume a bit more than M1, but for sure much less than intels. Notebooks with latest AMDs run up to 20 hours or so.

    Also curious. Never seen such bold claims before either, SoC Ram might work more efficiently, paging should be fast due to the high-end NVME but 16=64 sounds magical...

    That M1 16 GB equals 64 GB on Win is just another Apple marketing mem. Maybe if compared to Win with slow SSD. One cannot beat physics, 64 GB of data in 16 GB RAM may be OK in certain cases, but in others cases it may have very poor performance. Not speaking about massive wearing out the SSD. Imagine that 64GB might be written to swap disc every second in some cases. On small SSDs that low end M1 come with, it would kill SSD in few hours. And it is soldered and nonreplacable....

    And beside that Win computer also may have fast NVMe SSD disc. Apple maybe has better swapping technology, than current Win, but that is small difference.

    The only musicians that need high amounts of ram are people that use lots of big multi-sample libs in the same project, usually, for realistic instrument "emulation" but for most people 8/16GB is plenty.

    Before I started to use NI Symphony Series, 8 GB RAM was ok for me. I expanded to 16 GB and thought it will do. Cremona Quartet came and swapping again. So, when configuring new PC I put there 64 GB. It is overkill for my present needs, but it is computer that should serve me few years. And God knows how bil libraries NI brings in K14, that I expect to come this year...

    I do agree with you that if one does not plan to use libraries for classical music, 16-8 GB should do.

  • D-One
    D-One Moderator Posts: 3,021 mod
    edited March 2022
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    @Kubrak

    That M1 16 GB equals 64 GB on Win is just another Apple marketing mem.

    Apple never claimed that to begin with, afaik. Maybe some influencer said it? No idea...

    One cannot beat physics, 64 GB of data in 16 GB RAM may be OK in certain cases, but in others cases it may have very poor performance. Not speaking about massive wearing out the SSD. Imagine that 64GB might be written to swap disc every second in some cases. On small SSDs that low end M1 come with, it would kill SSD in few hours. And it is soldered and nonreplacable....

    Probably not OK in any sort of scenario unless it's on rare occasions, the user who really needs 64Gb should be the type of user who knows why he needs all that so would never in a million years consider a 8/16GB laptop. I don't think music apps write that often especially at that amount to kill a modern SSD but 64GB paged on disk on a daily basis when the user only has 8/16 is such an absurdly odd scenario that no one will ever test such a thing...

    "It's soldered" - this is a hard one, super valid on the intel days but the M1 is an SoC, everything is a single unit it cannot be any other way altho I understand it's a point of comparison VS PC's, especially desktops. Come think about it this transition to M1's is may be one of the reasons they were using soldered ram/ssd's in the intel days, to get people used to it.


    And beside that Win computer also may have fast NVMe SSD disc. Apple maybe has better swapping technology, than current Win, but that is small difference.

    Yes of course, I was not implying otherwise, it's an option on windows as well but on Apple fast nvmes is the default so it's might be a bit more common percentage-wise.

  • Uwe303
    Uwe303 Moderator Posts: 3,399 mod
    edited March 2022
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    Then i would take a Dell or HP Laptop. But before buying check that you can add ram or change at least one ram bar, unfortunately most laptops i opened up recently have, at least, one ram bar soldiered in, sometimes they strangely have only soldiered ram. Check that it has two ssd slots best both m.2 but at least one m.2 nvma and one sata SSD or both m.2.

    Uwe

  • Kubrak
    Kubrak Member Posts: 2,858 Expert
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    @D-One

    Apple never claimed that to begin with, afaik. Maybe some influencer said it? No idea...

    Probably only influencer. But influencer is unofficial marketing channell...

    If I remember this mem comes from someone manipulating large bitmap. It was snapier on M1 than on older intel Mac.

    SSD in Apple does not have to be soldered, but is. It saves Apple few bucks, locks users to what Apple offers and disallows replacement if it breaks.

    If one uses 16GB maschine as if it has 64GB he may throw away M1 Mac pretty soon... I agree with you that probably not many people would use Mac like that.

    And imagine one has 64GB of Kontakt data in 16GB RAM and swapping and swapping. Maybe it is not swapping 64 GB per second, but for sure at least 64 GB per song. Few TBs per day?

  • D-One
    D-One Moderator Posts: 3,021 mod
    edited March 2022
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    @Kubrak

    SSD in Apple does not have to be soldered, but is. It saves Apple few bucks, locks users to what Apple offers and disallows replacement if it breaks.

    Oh, right... I got mixed up in subjects, the Mac Studio actually has replaceable SSD's (of sorts) but RAM on SoC has to be "soldered" right there close to the chip, like it's almost part of it, no? Not sure, not an expert in this type of computer architecture, don't care much anyway tbh.

    Well... There are bad reasons to do it that way but also good ones, only mentioning half the story is what makes Y VS X discussions get sour. Like Uwe mentioned this is becoming common practice in laptops now, like it or not this sort of trend tends to stick, I don't like it either so it's one of the reasons I still use a Desktop. If something breaks I replace the part same for upgrades.

  • Kubrak
    Kubrak Member Posts: 2,858 Expert
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    M1 computers have RAM on the same chip like CPU, GPU, ....

    Yes also on Win it is more and more frequent that one, sometimes even two RAMs are soldered. It is probably to save space in ultrathin notebooks. If there is any soldered SSD it is extremely rare.

    Generally there are no good technical reasons solder memory or SSD. Except for the cases, it is not possible to use socket because of size.

  • Jon Watte
    Jon Watte Member Posts: 77 Advisor
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    the new Apple Silicon architecture because of the battery life, energy efficiency and performance

    Most of that comes from Apple optimizing the OS to do very little when nothing is going on. The actual battery lifetime when doing hard-core processing isn't that much better than an equivalent Windows laptop. Source: I have a M1 Pro and a Dell laptop, and have previously used Razer laptops.

    the new Apple Silicon architecture because of the battery life, energy efficiency and performance

    Signal integrity when going through plug-in contact is a real problem for modern DRAM. Soldered DRAM can run faster than the same chips going through a module connector. Same thing goes for SSD chips, except the signal frequencies aren't as insanely high there, as they are on DRAM chips. (This is the reason you can't buy a GPU with socketed DIMMs, for example.)

    The "16 GB M1 == 64 GB Intel" statement is not just true. Most of the memory space you need will be for sample data and other media, which is the same size no matter what the device. That being said, unless you also do heavy 3D modeling / development, or run tons of virtual machines as a software developer, 32 GB is probably enough for most music production systems. Maybe if you load multiple full symphony orchestra banks as a film composer, you could run into that as a limit.

    If I were to buy a live performance laptop TODAY, I would look seriously at the Razer Blade line. The Native Instruments plugins don't run well on M1 other than with emulation (except for the bare Kontakt,) and the port of Reaktor is so far behind that they haven't even yet publicly committed to completing it at all. And a lot of the interesting Komplete instruments are actually advanced Reaktor patches.

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