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  #1  
Old 11-05-2009, 12:04 PM
joey545 joey545 is offline
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Question What to Buy? iMAC vs Macbook pro

I'd like some help deciding which Mac system to get. I have always been frustrated trying to run pro-tools on various windows systems and have never been able to get it working so I'm making the Big Switch.

I would like to get a system that will run pro-tools LE 8 with my MBox (USB) flawlessly. I am willing to break my Bank and spend up to $2200 on a computer and need help choosing one that will be powerful enough. Please let me know which setup on MAC is the minimum I need to run pro-tools glich free.

I prefer a MacBook though if an iMac is much better I would compromise. (I would love a 27 inch screen!!)

Also if you have any recommendations regarding midi keyboards, instrument patches (orchestral and drums) and anything else I may need, please let me know.

Thanks for your help!
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  #2  
Old 11-05-2009, 12:19 PM
Dism Dism is offline
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Default Re: What to Buy? iMAC vs Macbook pro

As far as power goes, you'd be much better off getting the new iMac with the i7 quad. Not only are you getting twice the cores, but with hyperthreading (which all i7s have), Pro Tools will see 8 cores. This is 4 times that of any current Macbook, Pro or not. Pair that with at least 4GB of RAM, and your PT rig will fly. I'd say a 27" monitor would be lovely to use as well. Obviously, you're sacrificing mobility with this setup, but if that isn't your main concern, I would go with the iMac.
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  #3  
Old 11-05-2009, 12:41 PM
joey545 joey545 is offline
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Default Re: What to Buy? iMAC vs Macbook pro

thanks for that reply, Do you think 8 Gig ram is necessary? or even a great improvement?

Also I currently have USB Mbox should I upgrade to the pro version which has firewire?

One more - Will I need an external firewire hard drive? as I have seen it recommended on other threads

Sorry bout' all the Q's, I appreciate your help immensely!
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  #4  
Old 11-05-2009, 12:45 PM
getz76 getz76 is offline
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Default Re: What to Buy? iMAC vs Macbook pro

Quote:
Originally Posted by joey545 View Post
Do you think 8 Gig ram is necessary?
No.

Quote:
Originally Posted by joey545 View Post
or even a great improvement?
No. (minor improvement due to free RAM for other OS processes)

Quote:
Originally Posted by joey545 View Post
I currently have USB Mbox should I upgrade to the pro version which has firewire?
No.

Quote:
Originally Posted by joey545 View Post
Will I need an external firewire hard drive?
Yes. With either the MacBook Pro or the iMac, you need a FireWire hard drive with an Oxford chipset.
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| Logic Pro 9 | Reason 6.5 | Pro Tools 10 | MOTU UltraLite mk3 | RME ADI-2 | Summit Audio 2BA-221 x 2 | MOTU 8pre x 2 |
| Mac Pro (4,1) 2.26gHz Xeon x 2 16gB OS X 10.7.4 | Macbook Pro (8,2) 2.2gHz i7 Quad 16gB OS X 10.7.4 |
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  #5  
Old 11-05-2009, 12:57 PM
Dism Dism is offline
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Default Re: What to Buy? iMAC vs Macbook pro

Quote:
Originally Posted by joey545 View Post
thanks for that reply, Do you think 8 Gig ram is necessary? or even a great improvement?

Also I currently have USB Mbox should I upgrade to the pro version which has firewire?

One more - Will I need an external firewire hard drive? as I have seen it recommended on other threads

Sorry bout' all the Q's, I appreciate your help immensely!
4GB is all that's really necessary at this point, and you can always buy more RAM after the fact. It's much cheaper to do it this way, as well, since Apple will charge you an arm and a leg to stick in a few extra gigs. Meanwhile, you could go to any computer shop and buy RAM for a few hundred bucks cheaper and just stick it in yourself, which is typically fairly painless.

As far as the MBox goes... do you have the original MBox or the MBox 2? I ask because the original MBox is losing support by the very next update, and it won't be qualified for use at all on Snow Leopard. In terms of the difference between the USB and FW interface... we're talking fairly small, and is really dependent on what you intend to be using it for. The only real differences, other than the amount of inputs, are bitrate (the USB interfaces only go up to 48k, while the FWs go up to 96k) and low latency monitoring, which is literally a checkbox that turns down the latency to virtually nothing if you find yourself needing to record at higher buffer rates. One thing to note about the FW interfaces, however, is that they are all FW400, and the new Macs only have 800 ports on them, which has caused some issues for some people. However, if chained properly, you shouldn't have any problems. Which brings me to the next point.

Yes, you will need an external FW drive. You will need this as a drive to record to, as recording to your system drive (that is, the same drive that your OS and software are installed) can cause major performance issues. Again, can be tricky due to the lack of 400 ports, but as mentioned, a proper chain should remedy this problem. Your best bet is a FW400 drive running at 7200RPM+. You will want to make sure that the drive has two 400 ports on it to allow for daisy chaining. You will also need a proper 800 to 400 cable running from your Mac to the drive. Then, plug in your FW interface to the second 400 port, and you should have a properly working chain. If you aren't using a FW interface, however, a FW800 drive should be fine.
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  #6  
Old 11-05-2009, 12:59 PM
joey545 joey545 is offline
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Default Re: What to Buy? iMAC vs Macbook pro

well, I guess I hit one yes :)

can you suggest a specific hard drive that will work?

Also do you think there is anything else I should know. I'm concerned that I'll spend all that money and then run into some issue I didn't know about - I just want to write music!

You guys are so helpful - Thanks!
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  #7  
Old 11-05-2009, 01:03 PM
getz76 getz76 is offline
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Default Re: What to Buy? iMAC vs Macbook pro

Quote:
Originally Posted by joey545 View Post
can you suggest a specific hard drive that will work?
Check the link I provided above.
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| Mac Pro (4,1) 2.26gHz Xeon x 2 16gB OS X 10.7.4 | Macbook Pro (8,2) 2.2gHz i7 Quad 16gB OS X 10.7.4 |
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  #8  
Old 11-05-2009, 01:19 PM
joey545 joey545 is offline
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Default Re: What to Buy? iMAC vs Macbook pro

I'm looking at the hard drive here - http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Other.../MEAQ7250GB16/

What's your opinion on it?

Also the extra 4Gig Ram will cost another $180, so I'm leaning towards it, as it probably would be a bit of a hassle at a later point.

Do I need to do the "daisy chain" if I'm using the USB Mbox? (I'm asuming the chain works like this - Mac to Hard drive and mbox firewire to hard drive. though is the mbox is USB it connects to the MAC as well.

I do have the Mbox 2 (phew!)

Thanks again - you're a lifesaver!
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  #9  
Old 11-05-2009, 01:26 PM
getz76 getz76 is offline
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Default Re: What to Buy? iMAC vs Macbook pro

The drive should be fine.

With the MBox 2, you would plug it directly into a USB port on the iMac. The FireWire drive would connect directly to the iMac's FireWire port. Done.

Realize that the new iMacs will ship with Snow Leopard. Snow Leopard is not officially supported at this point with Pro Tools, though they have "pre-released" a version that is in process (8.0.3). I have had no real issues with Snow Leopard, but other folks have.

$180 is about double the price of the RAM if you buy it yourself. Just FYI. If you do not feel like cracking open your iMac, do what you like.
__________________
| Logic Pro 9 | Reason 6.5 | Pro Tools 10 | MOTU UltraLite mk3 | RME ADI-2 | Summit Audio 2BA-221 x 2 | MOTU 8pre x 2 |
| Mac Pro (4,1) 2.26gHz Xeon x 2 16gB OS X 10.7.4 | Macbook Pro (8,2) 2.2gHz i7 Quad 16gB OS X 10.7.4 |
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  #10  
Old 11-05-2009, 01:43 PM
joey545 joey545 is offline
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Default Re: What to Buy? iMAC vs Macbook pro

will I be able to upgrade to the compatible version of protools for free? I purchased Pro tools 8 about half a year ago.

What sort of issues are people having?
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