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Advice sought: I'm buying a new Mac & upgrading Logic

Discussion in 'Mac OS' started by Wade, Oct 24, 2010.

  1. Wade

    Wade New Member

    Hi everyone,

    This is another 'I use Logic and I'm buying a new Mac, then upgrading Logic' topic. I have glanced at other similar topics and my main impression is that people don't know tons about the new Mac Pros yet. But I would still like to see what you guys think.

    Here's my story: my dual 1.8 G5 from 2004 died the other day. It was running Logic 7.1.1.

    I mostly use tons of virtual instruments to make electronica tracks, and have never used any of those huge sample libraries. I would experience the occasional core overload, but over the years a combination of designing songs to use CPU efficiently, and just holding back a little on overall track/effect numbers, meant that the rig handled my needs quite well. I simply try to avoid creating songs that would generate overloads, or I would be prepared to freeze one or two tracks to overcome them.

    I'm now looking to replace the G5 with a Mac pro.

    I'm a little confused about some of the upgrades that are available (like you can buy a four core, and get some kind of six core upgrade?)

    I am thinking of getting the basic eight core, as I've seen advice suggesting it may be the best power for money option. As I was saying, the only issue I ever dealt with in using logic was that of CPU load. I just wanted to know if there are any strategies or pieces of advice I need to think about before I buy some kind of Mac Pro, and then move to Logic 9?

    If I went with the quad core only, would I still be 'screaming'?

    Also, what's a good level of RAM for a default Logic 9 install? Any issues there?

    Thanks a lot

    - Wade
  3. Markdvc

    Markdvc Administrator Staff Member

    Wade, first of all, irrespective of whichever Mac Pro you choose, going from a 1.8 PPC Machine, it is hardly necessary to say, you should experience a very substantial increase in CPU power, even with the single Quad Core model.

    You mention relying a lot on virtual instruments. In this case, "as much CPU power per core as possible" may be the best approach for you. That to me means the giving the 6 core 3.33 GHz Westmere a closer look (assuming you don't wish to spend the sort of money required for a 12 core)

    A Core running at 3.33 GHz will provide substantially more power than one at 2.4 GHz, and it is worth remembering, if individual cores overload, play will be stopped with a Core Overload message, even if the other 7 or 11 are not being particularly hard driven. At the same time, 8 2.4 GHz Westmere Cores will be so much faster than the 1.8 GHz PPC Cores you have been using, it may not matter.

    Actually, given the range of Mac Pros Apple has currently on offer, it isn't that straightforward a choice to make.

    Concerning RAM, consider 6 GB as a Minimum. Perhaps it makes sense to order your Mac with this (it seems that both the 8 core and 6 core come with this amount of RAM anyway), see how you go, if you require more, it is very easy to add later, and buying RAM from sources other than Apple is from a cost point of view very sensible anyway.

    One issue you may have to deal with is accessing very old Logic Projects. Normally, the way to do this would be to have Logic 7.2.3 installed on your Intel Mac, but if you were running 7.1.1, I presume you didn't buy the 7.2 update DVD back then? While you could still install 7.1.1 on an intel mac, you would need to tell the OS to accept Rosetta Programs prior to doing that (I'm not sure whether new Macs now come with the OS installed with Rosetta, it is an option when upgrading to SL). Just something worth bearing in mind.

    - and those are just my subjective thoughts on the matter, others may have better reasons as to why you should choose another Mac :)

    kind regards

  4. Wade

    Wade New Member

    Thanks for the observations so far, Mark.

    With your comment about 7.1.1, I assume that when you say 'very old' projects, you meant pre version 7?

    Logic 7 was my intro to Logic, so I have no projects that aren't already in 7.1.1 format, and I figure those should all open okay in Logic 9.
  5. Markdvc

    Markdvc Administrator Staff Member

    Always a pleasure :)

    No, I mean from version 4 or older. Logic 8 and 9 can only open Logic Songs from Version 5 or newer. So in your case:

    You don't have any such problem.

    kind regards

  6. Eddie Sullivan

    Eddie Sullivan Senior member


    Also, because of the big beautiful screen, and the multiple cores, don't rule out the top end iMac... since you are doing Electronica, you may not have a need for a lot of I/O or expansion (multiple HD's, PCI expansions, etc...) just raw power and lots of screen real estate for those VI's...

    would save you a few dollars as well and improve your computing resources in the same way as those Mac Pro's... Quad i5's and a 1066 FSB is nothing to sneeze at:

  7. Wade

    Wade New Member

    Thanks, these are good points.

    In my G5, I only added 2 things to it over 6 years. A PCI sata card that saw little use (because old style sata connections were already on the out when I bought it), and an airport card which saw no use.

    But one thing is - my G5 died, but my 20" cinema display did not. So my plan was to buy the Mac Pro and use my old monitor. Unfortunately I don't have room for a monitor wider than this in my current space, so that rules out buying a huge screen imac... but also means I can put the monitor money into the Mac Pro. if I move things around in future, then I could buy a new monitor for the Mac Pro.
  8. Wade

    Wade New Member

    Hey guys. Thought I'd update you on what I did, and also so others can get an idea of what kind of power gains you get moving from a G5 to a Mac Pro.

    So, I did buy an 8 core MP. When I bought Applecare, the dealer threw in the Logic upgrade (7 Pro to 9) and 2gig more ram as freebies.

    The 9 DVD (!) install was a bit of an eye opener, but was all done in 2-3 hours.

    I have to say I was dubious that my old 7 songs would open up in 9 and sound the same. They contain very few audio regions, being electronica made up of plugins and acres of automation. It's the kind of situation where even moving automation a tiny bit left or right will change the sound significantly.

    After I put back all my plugins and got them AU validated, I opened up the last track I was working on when my G5 died. I gotta say I was extremely impressed with the zillion nameless programmers responsible that it came up and sounded exactly as I had left it. Then I opened up the first good track I made in Logic back in 2004. It sounded verbatim as well.

    In terms of CPU gains - that last track I had been working on in 7, it required on average 80-90% of a dual 1.8 G5's CPU power to play in realtime. On the 8 core in Logic 9, it now requires 5-10% of the computer's resources.

    So I gotta say this upgrade has been a great experience and I'm looking forward to working out Logic 9.
  9. Markdvc

    Markdvc Administrator Staff Member

    Glad to hear that it worked out for you, Wade. I must say, your experiences going from a g5 to an 8 core pretty much mirror mine. Everything was faster, smoother - and a lot quieter, no more fans brewing up a hurricane out the back of the computer :)

    kind regards


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