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TwoToneshuzz 07-18-2012 01:05 PM

I have a low low low CPU ceiling, bang hit my head again!
I really am getting frustrated after working with a very limiting CPU my 2.4 Ghz mid 2007 imac is just not playing nice.

I've been drooling over the new Retina macbook, but on reflection I must say I really just need more CPU power and next after that a screen. Soooo, I see that I could just about afford a new iMac without getting further in to Debt by much..

I would go for the 21.5" model upgraded to the 2.8 Ghz i7 to future proof my setup should my favourite programs support hyper threading a some point.

Would this be a good idea, or is the stock base model i5 2.5 quad core going to do well enough? I plan on upgrading the ram to the max allowable and perhaps also adding a SSD using in place of the DVD bay at some point.

Any ideas /suggestions and if anyone has the model in question and have been using it with CPU hungry plugs like Diva/Ace and Tassman I'd love to hear your experiences.

After much reading up it appears that the CPU gains in IVY bridge aren't that significant for my usage..



JES 07-19-2012 06:11 AM

Hi Wade,

Your setup posts make my head spin a little so apologies in advance if I get the "what you're trying to do" part wrong.

If you're getting an iMac for softsynths and sampling, get the fastest processor you can afford, and max out the RAM (from a 3rd party, like Other World Computing). If you're not using 64 bit now, you will be in a few years. Personally, I'd also get the SSD/HDD combo. In everyday use, the SSD makes the computer seem much faster even though it will have no affect on your synths and effects.

I haven't test i7 vs i5, but I went from a 2007 core2duo Macbook Pro (2.4ghz) to a 2011 i7 quad 2.2 Macbook Pro (I had wanted an iMac but needed the portability) when the old one's motherboard died. It was like night and day. I still run out of power when I go nuts with granular synths but I can get a lot further before I do. Though truth be told I ALSO have a Macbook Air for work that I travel with and it's amazing what I can get done on that device on an airplane.

Although lots of software uses multi-core features, not all software does, so the raw speed number, relative to other processors in the same line, still matters. The i7 seems like a big improvement on the i5.

Hope this helps. Happy to answer any questions if I can. There are benchmarks around on the web but most of those don't matter if it's not a program you use (I also use Live, so I can go with their users' benchmarks).


TwoToneshuzz 07-19-2012 11:31 AM

Thanks for the info. I sure would take your advice about the fastest iMac with hardisk and SSD, but really I can't find any info that would warrant me to going for the .3 Ghz increase i CPU power that I would acheive by getting the top and BTO option over the base model with 2.5 Ghz. From what I understand the i7 process is optimized for applications that make heavy use of multithreading. The i5 is capable of multithreading on it's four cores just not whats called Hyper Threading seems to be limited.

It' all boils down to do I get 900$ more performance from the BTO i7 compared to the Base i5. ny pris for the i7 BTO is 14000 Dkr as opposed to 9000 for the 2.5 i5 Dkr.

I know there is a bigger harddrive and a slightly better graphic card. But my thoughts are I can pick up a lightly used i5 2.5 Ghz for 7000 Dkr and use the money saved for other good things like, an additional portable Mac within a year or so.. Maybe the Retina 13 inch..

Another point is the base models are plentiful on the used market here in denmark the Top models not so...

Btw I'll be using the iMac in performance so I wouldn't be going for the 27 models as I'm my own roadie!!


And thanks for the help, don't worry about not following my posts. It's complicated setup is an acquired taste! Most are perhaps better without it!

TwoToneshuzz 07-20-2012 02:56 PM

I think I'm doing it! I made a bid on a 2011 iMac 2.7 i5 upgraded to 8 Gb ram. 1TB harddisk

I'm a little wary or at least aware that I might not be saving much from buying the coming base model iMac when it is realeased , Sept? Oct? Tomorrow? It's the maddening thing, but I just feel that I've waited long enough, I've got all these great Software Synths, and huge projects that I've worked out in Numerology and I'm constantly trying to futz around with CPU overload issues. I bought the Maschine a Looong time ago, and because of these issues I really haven't bothered intergrating it into my workflow. So now i find that I have the time to work, on the music, strangely when everyone elses is on holiday I find a pocket in time a place of peace, in the middle of a normally very busy neighbourhood here in the center of Copenhagen, a set of tired ears a razzled brain finds an oasis in the midst of all this activity alike a unexpected breeze on hot a day peace inhabits the city it's just a period of weeks every summer when everybody leaves and it's wonderfully restful and quite. Yes I'm forced to be here also because my Day Job as a grounds keeper requires it. But I love the outdoor chores and it make me feel a little like a own the right to live in this beautiful city because in my small way I contribute to the practical upkeep and workings of the place.

Anyways back to the computer, waiting until the new iMac is released in Sept or Oct means I be hobbled in my developement just when I have the time to use the gear..

So my reasoning then is to get a 1 year old used computer for 25% off the new price. That will give me some room in my budget, to get a MacBook pro in a year or so. This iMac 2.7 Ghz has enough power to keep me haapy I can dedicate this old 2.4 Ghz core duo to the Maschine and use it only for sampleplayback....

Those are my thoughts and background for this move. I save on the new price of the 2011 iMac by buying it used, and get access to more performance now or within about a weeks time instead of waiting two or three months, when my fall and winter duties wil be coming on line. Also I'd like to arrange a few concerts for the winter season so I need to get cracking if I'm going to bring something out...



TwoToneshuzz 07-23-2012 02:54 AM

Pain Pain Pain and Confusion!
Now I'm using a horrible amount of energy trying to grock this computer setup miasma, this blackwhole, this money vacumm, this sense of loss, this lack, why why why , how how how, when now? later back last week, I shouda I couda I wouda!

I'm an expert at some thing I have no clue about!

Anyways it's cheap entertainment until you ultimately pull the trigger on the DEVICE
To me it's like this, I have a lot of hardware that uses firewire usb and midi, I have an old computer, I've Software that works well with this computer like Numerology or Capture One pro (slow but stable) I need a computer only for playing my CPU hungry plugs. I would like a better non glossy screen. My budget within the next year could be about 20,000 Danish Crowns = 4000 United States Dollwalers!

My focus flits around from the Mac mini modular setup when the mac mini gets upgraded I'd go for the mid model.

The present Macbook Pro 2.6 Ghz 128 SSD AntiGlare high res screen is actually the most attractive solution here and now, and I do need a portable for concerts and travel.

The iMac 3.4 Ghz used would give the maximum computing power but is a heavy thing, and it would be nice to get the upgraded model when it comes.

The Retina Mac book pro 13" if and when it comes could be a good solution if it has at least a 2.5 i7 Quad Core processor otherwise it would be too underpowered for my Plug ins. I like though that it would be somewhat lighter than the 15" Retina and less expensive too..

I think I'd like one of each form factor

The coming Top model 27":

Imac for brute force work on big projects

Gives a great overview can be used as external screen. I hope the screen will be anti glare, if this is a case I think I'm sold Will possible come with SSD otherwise easier to upgrade to SSD plus 1 or two hardrives a neat package, same price as MacPro retina fully loaded..

Stays at home is also used as a TV...

The MacBook pro 13" retina the most powerful a lighter portable solution.

It will be lighter less expensive that th 15" model with a Retina screen and a 256 Gb SSD 16 Gb ram this would be a sweet package..

The mac mini for beefing up the whole setup when I really need 24 instances of Diva in Devine mode...

I will always be expanding the size of my projects and I'm and diehard plug in user. I would rather have controllers that a beautiful and durable like the Maschine the Waldorf Blofeld is a great keyboard that has additional sounds but can be had for a very reasonable price. The coming pulse may be realeased in keyboard version at some point that would have my interest it will offer four voices of analog, and can double a a great keyboard controller too.

The mac mini then would be and affordable way for me to expand my system if I still need further voices or want to make heavy graphics and video output in performances..

It's doable but this waiting is killing me. Now the bid I made on the iMac 21.5 25 Ghz for 8700 crowns, he was asking 9000 I wanted to shave off a little to take the sting off getting 16 month old tech maybe just a month or two before the refresh.. He doesn't call back!! I figure it means I should just holdout a little longer get my outdoor work done and this high used prices are going to have to fall further when the new gear comes out..

Really irks me to be using this old imac but on the otherhand I can always pull out the harmony books and work on composition and structure for a bit, listen and find useful sounds for my arrangements.. Go for walks in the summer weather.....

TwoToneshuzz 07-26-2012 05:07 AM


I just made a bid on a 27" i5 3.1 ghz imac with 4gb ram. I would get it for about 27% of new and it's about 9 months old. I'll be able to pay for it cash out right.

So then I can get to work with my bigger projects right away.

I'll then see how much power I need to go for my portable setup.

The MacBook pro 13" top model perhaps Retina, paired with the top model non server edition mac mini should give me enough power for live work.

Live work is more in the moment so the need for a large number of tracks is not so essential.. The main thing is it's portable, because the people that would be interested in coming in seeing my work, and such are likely in the US, and Canada, other places in europe too... Denmark is a small market.. For alternative music..


JES 07-26-2012 07:44 AM

Looks good. Depending on how your softsynths and software samplers work, you may benefit from bumping up the RAM once you have it (if money is tight, you can see if it's a problem). But you should get a big performance jump with that system.

TwoToneshuzz 07-26-2012 01:02 PM


Originally Posted by JES (Post 9637)
Looks good. Depending on how your softsynths and software samplers work, you may benefit from bumping up the RAM once you have it (if money is tight, you can see if it's a problem). But you should get a big performance jump with that system.

The fellow said yes to my offer so I'll be the proud owner of a 9 month old iMac 27" 3.1 Ghz. It's great that it has 2 Thunderbolt ports plus firefwire 800 and ethernet port so i won't have to buy and extra dongles there. The only thing I'll need to get extra is the 16 Gb ram. Later I'll add a SSD and perhaps change the HD to a 2 TB.

Thanks for the information!! I'll soon finally be able to get more out of my projects and softsynths..


TwoToneshuzz 08-03-2012 12:39 PM

Fursst Repuorté
I'm am now rwirghting to uyew Fram Mey NYew iMaOc, Me Lekey et rellee alowty mornin evne on lettel bite..

Very Guoud Cepyou Parformancezzes I gan see dat wright noweeeee...

I'm getting used to the keyboard on my New used imac. It's screams through my projects, ram needs upgrading to 16mbites


TwoToneshuzz 08-05-2012 02:35 AM

A couple of points about the upgrade
I have chosen the iMac 27" 3.1 Ghz

The best value at present for the most processor power. 10 month old, 27% off new price, Not a BTO model which would have cost be around 30 percent more for a used one.

The Firewire 800 port, the 4 usb 2 ports are compatible with my present peripherals.

I experienced difficulty with waking the iMac up from sleep and after a hour or so research on the net I noticed that one user solved the problem by switching his usb hub from a 7 port to a 5 port model. I was using a 7 port hub so for now I've just switched my Maschine, Launchpad, Blofeld, and midi interface midiport 2 to the four built in usb ports and this solved this non waking up from sleep. The novation nocturn is orphaned in this scheme though so for now so I will use the Waldorf Blofelds midi output patching it into the midi in of the Motu Traveler mk3 then the nocturn will get patched to the iMac. I hate using money on these dongles (usb hub) that then become obsolete with a computer upgrade. NOTE: the Blofeld needs to be used with usb for loading a patches and firmware upgrades.

Computer setup migration was pretty easy. I had cloned my previous system which I had recently upgraded to Lion using SuperDuper! So I just booted from this, Reformatted the internal 1TB on the new iMac, and copied. Probably the easiest migration to a new system I've ever experienced. I know that some recommend starting from a clean install. But I only had the Snow Leopard disk that came with the new imac, also If it works it works, all this system tweaking to get the last 3 or 5% increase in perfomance is just two time consuming to make it worth it.. I'll use my time solving real issues like the usb hub problem or getting the thunderbold SSD to work..

Authentication for all my plugs: Applied Acoustic Systems, used Challenge response, worked without a hitch, NI Maschine, and samples are on my boot disk so copying of the sample library was done, already, the Service Center saw all my plugs and it just worked as advertised. Numerology pro, tried Authenticating Offline, by pasting the serial numbers in the Validation fields, then by typing them in, did'nt seem to work out so I just used the Authenticate online, it just worked automatically, nice.

Valhalla Dsps Room and Shimmer worked without authentication just from the cloned copies.

uhe. com just worked from the cloned copies.

Logic Express, just needed the serial that was on the documentation.

So my Authentication process took hardly anytime and for this I'm grateful.

I had the new system up and running within about three hours of getting the computer in the door.

Some issues with getting my old keyboard and trackpad to pair, with the new imac, so I'm just using the new apple wireless keyboard and magic mouse. I actually like the magic mouse alot. The magic trackpad is good but the magic mouse is more like a combination of trackpad and mouse.. I would actually like to get a Wacom pad at some point, for better accuracy, and for drawing and photo editing.

The bigger screen is great and in my corner table arrangement it doesn't take any more space than the 20" imac I've upgraded from..

The 27" screen is more than sharp enough, and vibrant enough for editing and viewing photos..

The larger workspace will be a boon when working with many plugs open, I can have a healthy sized Numerology window open alongside of the Maschine window.

Processor seems to be handling quite well. I haven't set my kHz rate or bit depth up from the 44.1 and 16 bits that I've been using on the old 20" 2 core duo 2.4. My thinking is why upgrade the computer to then downgrade it by demanding it do more quality wise. I think 24 bit, 192 Khz isn't necessary for the type of synth based work that I'm doing. 10 Voices at 16 bit isn't going to introduce too much noise, also when you consider that I turn voices on and off automatically with my system, if a synth and effects chain isn't recieving signal it does not contribute noise to the mix. Definition of the individual voices is not so important with masses of synthetic instruments. Finally when someone says to me hey that sounds horrible you made that a 16 bit yukk then I'll think about getting on the 192khz 24 bit bandwagon.. If I need to work at those resolutions then working in Logic and freezing tracks would be the only sane way...

24 bit gives more dynamic range, lowers the noise floor

192khz reduces aliasing in sampled instruments. The physical modelling synths don't have this issue. Neither do the Uhe synths. Aliasing is not so apparent in sampled percussion

My ICY Dock to bay harddisk enclosure works, so all my old Sata 3 drives are compatible with the new system. later on I may get a SSD and in a Thunderbolt enclosure to use as the boot drive, then I will use the internal 1TB drive for current project storage, and the the firewire 800 for backups. No need to upgrade the internal disk or add SSD it's costly, difficult to switch out if theirs problems with the SSD. I daisy chain the Motu Traveller Mk3 to the ICY Docks firewire 400 port, so I save money on another dongle there..

The only thing I'll upgrade on the new iMac will be the ram to 16 gb . Though i sense it's going to give a huge improvement in the performance of the system with softsynths.. More ram will help with photoediting and internet use. Big sample instruments as well, but this could also be done using a SSD over thunderbolt.

It's interessting now to have all the plugs programs I need when upgrading the computer. So this upgrade is not one where I need to go out and use a bucketload of money to make the best use of it. It's the other way around this time.. Sure I'll get Zebra, photoshop elements, a external 500 Gb SSD, one or two 1TB hard drives for backup. This all over the next 3 or four months..

It seems wierd now with the upgrade, When I remember that I upgraded to 16 mb ram in my Mac Quadra 800 for 800 dollars in 1993, and now upgrade for 150 to 16 Gb a 100 fold increase! 33 mhz and the system runs on 35 watts, while the iMac 2012 pulls 350 watts full load!

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