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  #1  
Old 04-10-2015, 06:17 PM
mattskii mattskii is offline
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Default A few questions about the adequacy of the 21.5 iMac for PT11.3.

Hi there,

A few questions about the adequacy of the 21.5 iMac for PT11.3.

Im doing home recording. At the moment, Im running three tracks consecutively, but intend to want to be up to eight at the same time.

My current Asus G73J is dying and PT11 is not stable with my Scarlett 18i20 interface on W7 (I get -6001 errors moving between sessions of different sample rates and therefore have to use PT 10). So, its time for a change, and maybe it should be to a Mac.

I see that the Pro Tools compatibility guide includes the 21.5" iMac
http://avid.force.com/pkb/articles/e...pple-Computers

All good, but Ive got two questions:

The 21.5 iMac has a hard drive speed of 5400 rpm. Is that fast enough for PT11?

As mentioned, currently Ive got a Scarlett 18i20 interface, so its UBS2. While thunderbolt is available on the iMac and is preferable, the USB connectivity suggests I can run the 18i20 interface with the 21.5 iMac. Is that going to be okay?


Cheers,
Matthew.
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  #2  
Old 04-10-2015, 06:52 PM
bradch00 bradch00 is offline
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Default Re: A few questions about the adequacy of the 21.5 iMac for PT11.3.

IMHO, 5400 RPM would not be fast enough for an audio drive and you probably don't want to use your system drive as an audio drive anyway (particularly a mechanical one). Would probably be a good idea to look at a thunderbolt attached SSD. Do a search on the forum for SSD and look for threads by Darryl Ramm, when it comes to SSD, he's the man.

I run a USB attached Antelope Audio Zen Studio on my iMac and have not had any problems with it.
__________________
Pro Tools 12, Studio One V3.x
iMac 27" 5k i7 4Ghz, 32GB RAM 1TB Flash (OS X 10.10.x)
OWC Thunderbay Mini (4TB SSD)
Interface: Antelope Audio Zen-Studio
Presonus Faderport & Faderport 8
Black Lion Sparrow Mk2 A/D, FMR-RNP-RNC, MIDI Xpress 128
BM5A, KRK VXT4, Equator D5
Macbook Pro 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD Audio(mobile rig)
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  #3  
Old 04-10-2015, 07:15 PM
mattskii mattskii is offline
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Default Re: A few questions about the adequacy of the 21.5 iMac for PT11.3.

Thanks.
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  #4  
Old 04-11-2015, 02:22 AM
VRW VRW is offline
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Default Re: A few questions about the adequacy of the 21.5 iMac for PT11.3.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bradch00 View Post
IMHO, 5400 RPM would not be fast enough for an audio drive and you probably don't want to use your system drive as an audio drive anyway (particularly a mechanical one).
+1
Definitely not fast enough for an audio drive! Even on the super-low-end for an OS drive in context
with Pro Tools 11 Native (not so important with Disc Cache/HD) but anyway you just may try it out.

If you buy it as a new product from Apple why not investing +200 and getting the 256GB Flash drive?
You definitely will be on the safe side and future proof with this one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bradch00 View Post
Would probably be a good idea to look at a thunderbolt attached SSD.
+1
This is one Darryl and others as well used to recommend for one single Thunderbolt/SSD drive.
http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Lacie/9000491/

If Thunderbolt/SSD might be too pricy for you, you also can go for a USB 3/SSD or, the most
affordable yet useable option, for a USB 3/7200rpm HDD combination.
Even the 7200rpm HDD with a USB 3 connection still will be fast enough for an audio drive and
will be very affordable though.

USB 3/SSD
http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Other.../MSU3SSD480GB/
or
this one http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-512GB-...+850+pro+512gb
in such a one http://www.amazon.com/Sabrent-Tool-f...sb+3+enclosure

USB 3/7200rpm HDD
http://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/MSU37T1.0T16/

As to your Scarlett you just will have to try it out yourself again. There have been more issue reports
about the Scarlett series than about the Saffire series which may have something to do with USB 2/USB 3
incompatibility/issues on some Macs but actually there are some guys using Scarletts successfully with PT11.
http://duc.avid.com/showthread.php?t=363163

So probably this will work out anyway.


Wishing you the best of success,


VRW





Mac Mini i7Quad, 16GB Ram, MBP Mid 2012 2,5GHz i5, 16GB Ram, Mac OSX 10.10.3 Yosemite, Apogee Quartet+Duet 2
Genelec Active, Yamaha NS10, Pro Tools 11.3.1, Logic 10.1.1, Waves, MCDSP, Duende Native, HOFA, IK Multimedia, NI etc.
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  #5  
Old 04-11-2015, 03:46 PM
mattskii mattskii is offline
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Default Re: A few questions about the adequacy of the 21.5 iMac for PT11.3.

Hi VRW.

Many thanks for all that.

The 256GB Flash drive you mention, I presume you're proposing this as a backup drive?

Cheers,
Matthew.
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  #6  
Old 04-11-2015, 04:05 PM
bradch00 bradch00 is offline
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Default Re: A few questions about the adequacy of the 21.5 iMac for PT11.3.

I'm assuming he means as an internal drive, for example I just bought a new iMac with a 1TB flash drive as a system drive. The thing's crazy fast. Don't get one with a Fusion Drive, lots of problems with people running PT on them.

An internal SSD/Flash is (IMO) worth the extra $$.
__________________
Pro Tools 12, Studio One V3.x
iMac 27" 5k i7 4Ghz, 32GB RAM 1TB Flash (OS X 10.10.x)
OWC Thunderbay Mini (4TB SSD)
Interface: Antelope Audio Zen-Studio
Presonus Faderport & Faderport 8
Black Lion Sparrow Mk2 A/D, FMR-RNP-RNC, MIDI Xpress 128
BM5A, KRK VXT4, Equator D5
Macbook Pro 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD Audio(mobile rig)
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  #7  
Old 04-11-2015, 05:33 PM
mattskii mattskii is offline
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Default Re: A few questions about the adequacy of the 21.5 iMac for PT11.3.

Thanks bradch00.
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  #8  
Old 04-11-2015, 08:10 PM
Darryl Ramm Darryl Ramm is online now
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Default Re: A few questions about the adequacy of the 21.5 iMac for PT11.3.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mattskii View Post
Hi there,

A few questions about the adequacy of the 21.5 iMac for PT11.3.

Im doing home recording. At the moment, Im running three tracks consecutively, but intend to want to be up to eight at the same time.

My current Asus G73J is dying and PT11 is not stable with my Scarlett 18i20 interface on W7 (I get -6001 errors moving between sessions of different sample rates and therefore have to use PT 10). So, its time for a change, and maybe it should be to a Mac.

I see that the Pro Tools compatibility guide includes the 21.5" iMac
http://avid.force.com/pkb/articles/e...pple-Computers

All good, but Ive got two questions:

The 21.5 iMac has a hard drive speed of 5400 rpm. Is that fast enough for PT11?

As mentioned, currently Ive got a Scarlett 18i20 interface, so its UBS2. While thunderbolt is available on the iMac and is preferable, the USB connectivity suggests I can run the 18i20 interface with the 21.5 iMac. Is that going to be okay?


Cheers,
Matthew.
A 5,400 rpm drive is a boat-anchor that will slow down your iMac and make it a PITA to use for many purposes, let alone as a DAW system. Even if you add an external faster audio/session drive.

You are likely to be much better off getting a 27" iMac. That gives you a nicer large screen (very useful with Pro Tools), ability to easily upgrade memory. And I would only get a system with a quad core i7, one of the faster CPU options, but not necessarily the absolute fastest i7. If the budget is is tight spend that money instead on the fastest SSD option (see below).

The thing with a closed/proprietary iMac is you are caught into spending money up front as you don't have the flexible upgrade options you have with desktop PC. But then with a decent purchase you can get a nice rock solid system.

It is important you understand the actual internal disk options with any iMac.

You can get either...

An internal SATA III HDD.

An internal PCIe SSD

An internal "Fusion drive" which is just a SATA HDD and PCIe SSD configured to behave as one hybrid drive.

----

The iMac internal SSDs use a PCI based Apple proprietary variant of an M.2 SSD. They are very fast compared to any SATA HDD or SSD. Fast enough that for many uses it is possible to use a single drive for boot/system, audio/session and VI samples. But YMMV and you need to test. If it was my iMac I would purchase one with the largest SSD possible (1TB) (since third party upgrades may not be possible) and test with my sessions to see if that will work or not. Yes those SSDs seem relatively expensive, but they are not really that expensive once you consider the performance you are buying... and reducing any clutter/hassle of always needing an additional external drive connected. The issue there can be if you need lots of space for VI samples the 1TB internal SSD may not be enough. Still the only iMac I would buy today is one with a 1TB internal SSD.

If you are brave and want to open these iMacs (third party service providers will also do this for you) then you can upgrade at least the internal HDD. The problem, with that is if you just order the SSD version it does not have the internal special SATA cable you need to add another HDD (or even better a good SATA III SSD). If you order the HDD or Fusion version for the Mac then it includes that cable and you can upgrade. You want to check around and know what you are doing as some iMacs have problems with thermal control with non-Apple HDD/SSDs and may run the fans continuously.

I would never use a Fusion drive, but if you purchase an iMac with a Fusion drive you can de-configure that drive into two separate drives. Maybe most useful if that fast SSD is large enough for your use as a boot/system drive.. If you buy the Fusion drive in an 27" iMac I believe you get a 7,200 RPM HDD, if you buy it in a 21.5" iMac I think you only get a 4,800 RPM drive, if so don't do get a 4,800 rpm drive unless you are planning on cracking open that iMac and swapping that slow HDD for a fast HDD or better still a SATA SSD. Apple don't want to tell you what exact HDD a Fusion drive comes with, but check around for info, and watch that warning about drive firmware/temp sensor compatibility.

If you are planning on opening up the iMac etc. try to confirm anything I've said above before committing to spend your money.
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  #9  
Old 04-11-2015, 10:56 PM
VRW VRW is offline
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Default Re: A few questions about the adequacy of the 21.5 iMac for PT11.3.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bradch00 View Post
I'm assuming he means as an internal drive
An internal SSD/Flash is (IMO) worth the extra $$.
Exactly. If you buy a new 21,5" iMac from Apple directly you have 4 options for your internal drive (the OS drive)
to choose from which are
1) 1TB Serial ATA HDD (5400rpm) without having to pay any extra money
2) 1TB Fusion Drive +$200.-
3) 256GB Flash Storage +200.-
4) 512GB Flash Storage +500.-
http://store.apple.com/us/buy-mac/im.../A&step=config

This is where I suggested to go for the 256GB Flash storage instead of getting the basic 1TB Serial ATA HDD (5400rpm)
because with Pro Tools 11 Native this 5400rpm HDD definitely can become kind of a problem as being too slow...like
mentioned by Darryl it slows down the whole Mac which finally also affects the overall performance with Pro Tools, no matter
which drives you are using for your audio finally.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darryl Ramm View Post
A 5,400 rpm drive is a boat-anchor that will slow down your iMac and make it a PITA to use for many purposes, let alone as a DAW system. Even if you add an external faster audio/session drive.
I know what Im talking about as I for a very short time I tried to use this original 5400rpm HDD
with my PT11 Native system when I got my Quad Core Mini once. Was no good idea finally
(although I even used 2 external 7200rpm Firewire drives for my audio).

So it is highly recommended to at least buy the 256GB Flash Storage or, even better, if possible,
the 512GB Flash Storage. Never ever get the Fusion Drive if you want to use Pro Tools, it doesnt work with Pro Tools!

With the 512GB Flash storage by the way you probably would not need any additional, external drive anymore because
512GB might be enough for your applications (as described in your 1st posting) and those Flash Storage drives are fast
enough to use it as the only drive in your Pro Tools system.

With the 256GB Flash Storage however you would be on the safe side as to the needed speed and 256GB are enough storage
space for an OS drive only.
You know, you must not fill up a SSD to the max but leave 20% of its available storage space free, otherwise this SSD
will slow down and die early. So 256GB will be definitely ok for an OS drive but in this case you might need an additional external
drive for your whole Pro Tools sessions+audio files just because of the needed storage space.

You will see how much space will be left on the 256GB Flash Storage when you will have put your stuff on it. Again, just make sure
there will be left 20% free of the available storage space finally to retain the SSDs performance.


Wishing you the best of success with your new system, have lots of fun,


VRW





Mac Mini i7Quad, 16GB Ram, MBP Mid 2012 2,5GHz i5, 16GB Ram, Mac OSX 10.10.3 Yosemite, Apogee Quartet+Duet 2
Genelec Active, Yamaha NS10, Pro Tools 11.3.1, Logic 10.1.1, Waves, MCDSP, Duende Native, HOFA, IK Multimedia, NI etc.
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  #10  
Old 04-13-2015, 12:35 AM
mattskii mattskii is offline
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Default Re: A few questions about the adequacy of the 21.5 iMac for PT11.3.

Thanks for the input Darryl and VRW. I will digest.
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