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Topic: iMac i7 thoughts

  1. #1

    iMac i7 thoughts

    OK, so I have been looking at getting a new mac computer to replace my G5. Up till now I have been thinking I would save and get a octocore mac tower but that would be about 6 grand with ram and hard drives and everything BUT no new monitor.

    Now I'm thinking that I might get the new iMac i7 with 8 meg of ram and the monitor is included. I'm running all of my big instruments from my quad core PC through Vienna Ensemble Pro.

    So, one of the questions is what to do for a sound card... the iMac only has one FW800 port and a couple of high speed USB ports. If I connect a FW800 drive for samples then that leaves me with just USB ports for my sound card. I'm looking at the m audio fast track MR
    or the motu 828 mkII.

    Do any of you have experience with either of these two audio interfaces and what do you think of the iMac?

    I could actually get (2) iMacs for less than the cost of one 8 core mac tower!

    If the audio interface will work I think it's a better deal and the iMac screen is gorgeous!

    what thinks ye'


  2. #2

    Re: iMac i7 thoughts

    I'd say....Do it! Do it! ;-)

    But 6g's for a new 8core? I think you can get it cheaper then that.

    New iMac is indeed a good choice.

  3. #3

    Re: iMac i7 thoughts

    I bought the older iMac 3.06 .....It has a firewire 400 and and firewire 800 port ....It's all on the same bus however .....You want the faster speed of the 800 bus for your h.d. setup .....Put your hd first in line, and come out of that to your firewire sound card ...In other words , get a hd setup that has 2 fw 800 input/output ....This way you can piggyback into the sound card ...Most sound cards only need FW 400 to run ......Im not sure about how good USB sound modules are ..... ON mine , I can also plug into the headphone out and get a spdf , but it would be a bit of adapting to do it ....It's a pita .......Do yourself a favor and forget the iMac .... It's a nice little computer for what it is , but you will be continually looking for work arounds to achieve what you want to do ....Ask me how I know !!....I was warned before I got it , and was determined that I would be able to make it work ....It has been more of a problem and a headache than just buying a Mac Pro to begin with ...The 8 gb of memory for the newer iMac is not cheap either .... Give me an iMac with 2 seperate FW busses and I would be happy !!! I think that Apple knows that if they do that , it will take away from the sales of the Mac Pro ..... Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings , but it is what it is , and there's no getting around it ..... With the Mac Pro you can add mucho memory, and have plenty of room for your hd's and just a better setup all the way around .... Save up for the Pro ....Jim

  4. #4

    Re: iMac i7 thoughts

    I wouldn't buy any iMacs, Mac minis or notebooks that use slot loading superdrives. The failure rate on these things is extraordinarily high. The local Apple store repair "genious" says it's the most common repair that they do. Not so with the tray loading drives (which is probably what you have in your old machine).

    Also, there is relatively little that you can upgrade yourself on any of these machines. You have to take it or ship it to Apple to make any of the minor upgrades that are available (adding RAM, replacing hard drives, etc.). My Mac mini came back from a superdrive replacement with scratches on its surface and part of the chrome finish chipped off.

    And the price Apple charges for components is outrageous. ($300 for a superdrive vs about $30 if you do it yourself. These days I can buy a whole pc for $300).

    Unless you're a total technophobe, go with a computer with a full size case that you can open and repair yourself. I bought the mini because I have a lot of Mac clients who need handholding on the applications I build for them. I thought it would save me some space. But it wasn't worth it. The G3 I had before that was much easier to service and maintain.

    Allegro Data Solutions

  5. #5

    Re: iMac i7 thoughts

    This is the first time that someone has brought to my attention the Mac Pro vs the iMac/mini/notebook/ as far as the repair aspect goes ....I never even gave this any thought until I decided to up my iMac from 2 gig memory to 4 gig .... As you say, the larger framed machines are just a better buy all the way around , and the power and connectivity, and now the ease of repairs , is a great thing to have ...Jim

  6. #6

    Re: iMac i7 thoughts

    I've had an iMac 2.4 Ghz since 2007 and, except for the 4 gig memory limitation I love it! I also have a MOTU 828 MKII and can share some experience with that.

    First, lets dispell some misconceptions. Upgrading RAM in an iMac is very simple. You unscrew a single screw at the bottom of the iMac, pop open a door and pull out the RAM. Insert new RAM and you are done. 5 minutes tops. Also, as with any upgrades to any Macs, never buy from Apple! You will pay three times what you would at OtherWorldComputing or similar Mac online store. If you go with a quad core RAM is going to be expensive because it is DDR3. That is true for Mac or PC. About $500 for 8 gig, $900 for 16 gig. This will come down in the future as DDR3 prices are due to start dropping. Just remember to keep your original RAM, you will need to put it in if you ever need to have your iMac serviced. Apple will look at 3rd party RAM as breaking the warranty.

    Upgrading the hard drive will require you to take your iMac into a local Apple store. My original drive died last week (thank the gods for Time Machine!). I set up an appointment on Monday at an Apple store, took in my iMac, they looked at the diagnosis I had done, checked the drive themselves and took it in for repair. 4 hours later they called and said it was ready to pick up. Because of Applecare it was all at no charge. Nice! (The short time was probably an exception more than a rule, they said they weren't busy that day.) No matter what Mac you buy, purchase Applecare! If something does go wrong in three years you are totally covered.

    The lack of a second firewire port on the new box is truly a bummer. A fly in the ointment. Because I am considering a quad core iMac I am going to test recording a few audio sources using the USB port. I'll post my findings. I use Glyph hard drives for my projects and main samples, the rest are USB 2 drives. From what I understand I should be able to daisy chain the MOTU off of the Glyphs (they are connected via firewire) but I don't know if that will really work well or not. If I have time I'll test it too, but honestly I'm a bit wary of daisy chaining. I've no data to prove it is good or bad, it is just me being paranoid. One last thought on this. If you are a complete `in the box' person then the connection doesn't matter. USB will only be an issue if you are recording several tracks from outside audio sources.

    Overall, the iMac is a great box to consider. It runs fast, is dead silent, the screen is gorgeous and the price point is good. If you need lots of expansion then by all means get a Mac Pro. Otherwise, iMac is a great solution.

    We are the music makers, we are the dreamers of dreams …
    24" 2.4 Ghz iMac, OSX 10.4.10, MOTU 828 MKII, 2 Glyph 250 Gig external drives, Logic 9, Finale 2008 GPO, JABB, Strad, Gro, Reason 4, EWQL Storm Drum, Adrenaline, Symphonic Choirs, SO Gold,All Arturia Synths, Many NI Synths, Spectrasonics Synths, KH Strings, VEPro on a Windows 7 4x 2.8 Ghz 12 gig of RAM

  7. #7

    Re: iMac i7 thoughts

    I totally agree with your thoughts on the iMac , but I do NOT like the idea of having to go to Apple to have my h.d. changed out ...As you said, your timing could very well be the exception to the rule on your repair ....That down time is not good, at least not for me on a typical repair in my area .....You hit the nail on the head in the end ... How many people really only have a few programs to load and can work " out of the box " so to speak .... You STILL need to be able to at least hook up a backup h.d. and a sound device .... If there were companies that could come out with decent peripherals in the USB realm , we'd be all set ..... One firewire port is completely unacceptable ....Please don't forget to post about your findings on USB sound devices, or ANYTHING that you find that works well with the USB ports ....I LOVE the picture on my iMac, and I also LOVE how quiet it runs , but the connectivity limits really do hamper it a LOT !!!....Apple could do us more justice is they added a simple spdif in and out on rca jacks ......I'm sure that they know that the lack of these items push us into a Mac Pro ..... They are surely aware now of just how much money can be made from people who use their Macs for music ....Their support for Logic is also good ....Plenty of money and support behind a good program and a drop in price is not bad in my book ... If you're working in Garage Band and have no need for an additional h.d. or sound card ( who doesn't need these in music production ? ) then the iMac is the machine for you .....I love my iMac for what it is , but it's just not enough .....Jim

    PS...What's gonna happen when 64 bit comes knocking at the door and you have an iMac ? ......

  8. #8

    Re: iMac i7 thoughts

    Hey Jim,
    I'll be performing the USB tests tomorrow night and will post the results. I agree with what you say, especially about the firewire port and Apple not providing all the bells and whistles to force people to Mac Pros. Aargh.

    iMacs (at least Intel iMacs) are 64 bit processor based so 64 bit won't be an issue. I've had Snow Leopard for over a week now and still can't get myself to install it. There is too much uncertainty around plug-in and DAW compatibility. To me that is the big issue. Again with the `Aargh'.


    I just did some checking based on your post and here is a real dilemma. If you buy a 27 inch iMac with 2.66 Ghz Quad core and then purchase after market RAM to slam it up to 16 gig ($967.99 at OtherWorld Computing) you are paying almost the same for a Mac Pro with 16 gig of memory. ($619.99). (About $100 - $150 difference when you add in an Airport card for the Mac Pro.) You get the screen with the iMac, but if you don't need a screen the allure fades a bit.

    Man I hate computers.
    We are the music makers, we are the dreamers of dreams …
    24" 2.4 Ghz iMac, OSX 10.4.10, MOTU 828 MKII, 2 Glyph 250 Gig external drives, Logic 9, Finale 2008 GPO, JABB, Strad, Gro, Reason 4, EWQL Storm Drum, Adrenaline, Symphonic Choirs, SO Gold,All Arturia Synths, Many NI Synths, Spectrasonics Synths, KH Strings, VEPro on a Windows 7 4x 2.8 Ghz 12 gig of RAM

  9. #9

    Re: iMac i7 thoughts

    I've sliced it , and diced it , and skinned the cat a million different ways, and thought that I made the right decision when I bought my iMac .....It all looks great on paper, but when you start to deal with real life situations , it becomes abundantly clear that I should have gone with the Mac Pro .... Life is hard enough without short changing yourself or the pleasure of creating music ....I have nickel dimed all my life trying to save a buck ...Ya know , when it all comes down to it , what you once enjoyed about creating music becomes a hassle because of technology ....You can make the iMac work on a very simple system , but you won't want "simple" for very long .... You will load up a good Sequencer program, then you will want more Virtual Instruments , and the next thing you know , you have no more hard drive space , and your sound card is already hooked up to the firewire port , and you start to pull your hair out trying to figure out what you're gonna do next .. With the Mac Pro you can build a MONSTER of a computer ....There's almost no end to what you can do with it .... It will cost you more money, but your computer will be ready when you are to upgrade to more programs or more ram, or more hd's , or even more cards for even MORE hd's , and card slots for any soundcard you want to purchase .... You hit a road block really quickly when you deal with the iMac, and you end up sitting there with your thumb ..........you get the picture !!!....Save yourself the same situation that I am in now .... "all dressed up and no place to go " ......Jim

  10. #10

    Re: iMac i7 thoughts

    I just got the quad core imac. Now I'm moving from a macbook pro (first generation with 2 gigs ram max), so I'm loving it. I got an internal 2 terabyte hard drive (that's a lot for me), so I won't need to use an external anymore, which is nice for me. The screen is amazing. It came with snow leopard installed (which I wouldn't of installed yet otherwise) and so far it's not playing nice with spectrasonics stuff (trilian and omnisphere won't authorize, though stylus rmx will) but I assume (hope) that will be fixed real soon. For me, the only thing I went on the cheap is I only got 8 gigs of ram (4 x 2) instead of 16 gigs because that would of been an extra thousand dollars - I'll upgrade the ram when the price comes down. I figure the mac pro might have a few more options but I don't feel I'm sacrificing much. I think a mac pro would become obsolete in about the same amount of time (if you bought one 4 years ago, it would have a g5 and not run snow leopard)...

    [edit: oh, yeah - my external hard drive has always been usb2, I just use the firewire for my soundcard]

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