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Topic: Upgrade to the mac, advice

  1. #1

    Upgrade to the mac, advice

    Okay, so I'm a PC user writing music on a fairly decent 2.53GHZ 1gig RAM XP machine. I'm on SBLive, and frankly, recently I've had enough with all of windows and it's problems. I've had high CPU usage, etc. etc. windows bugs, problems everywhere.

    I want to switch to a mac - I like using them. I want to write for full orchestra, so I need quite a poweful machine. I use Garritan, and Kontakt2. I want to add more onto my libraries though. iMac G5? I was thinking of getting an M-audio card for sound. (like the revolution or something)

    I notice the iMac g5 desktops have 1.9 and 2.1GHZ processors etc. Is this supposed to be better than the PC processors? I'd like to be able to write for full orchestras using samples (garritan etc.) without having any cpu problems.

    The power G5 looks great, but it's around $4000NZD, and I'd have to buy a monitor, sound card, new software etc. I think this out of my league.

    EDIT: Sorry with all the questions - but what's better for my uses? a new Athlon 64 3,200+ or a iMac G5 (not power). I know nothing about macs.

    I won't be able to use my software Cakewalk, so while we are here if people could make some suggestions for the mac. Cubase or Reason? I do a film and media stuff, so ability to load videos etc. is a must. And I like the Cakewalk style interface.



  2. #2

    Re: Upgrade to the mac, advice

    I was originally a Mac guy (from about 1990 to 2002), went over to Windows XP for a few years, and am now in the process of transitioning back to Mac OS.

    First of all, an Athlon 64 3200+ (1 GHz bus) is definitely going to be faster than an iMac G5 (700 MHz bus) in terms of sheer processing ability. The more important question is which computer is "faster" when you factor in things like workflow and reliability. In that light, the iMac may very well be faster. (Personally, I find I'm far more productive in Mac OS X than in Windows, in spite of never having really used OS X except over the past couple of months.)

    I don't make enough money in the music business yet to be able to compose full-time, so I do computer consulting on the side. Over the past couple of months, various clients of mine have purchased three iMac G5s (all 2.1 GHz models with the 20" widescreen). These machines are simply a dream to work with, and short of a shocking new product release at MacWorld Expo next week, I expect to buy one shortly as my main music rig. That's right: I'm selling my 2.4 GHz Athlon 64 3400+ and purchasing a 2.1 GHz iMac G5 in its place.

    As far as audio interfaces go, I've been using the M-Audio AudioPhile 2496 on my Windows box, and it has been nothing short of a nightmare. M-Audio's driver support seems very flaky to me, and I know that there are plenty of other users out there who would agree. I guess you get what you pay for.

    I wouldn't sweat the audio interface issue too much, though. Apple still ships its systems with built-in 24-bit audio that is at least as good as the audio quality of the 2496. I know more than a few PowerMac G5 owners who use the on-board audio with fantastic results. (Keep in mind that on the iMac, the digital input is only 16-bit, but the onboard sound processing remains 24-bit. If you're only using pre-recorded sample libraries, this shouldn't be a big deal.)

    If you decide to do audio on the Mac, I'd go with Logic. I had some limited experience with Logic many years ago, and now that I'm using Macs again I've been playing with Logic Express 7.1, and I'm very impressed. It seems more intuitive and accessible to me than Cubase, but I'm not exactly the most qualified individual to make that statement (though I have been using Cubase for the past three years).

    Something to consider: Apple is switching to Intel, so you will soon be able to buy Macs with the same processors that are used in the Windows world. Any performance disparity between Macs and PCs - whether real or perceived - will soon be a thing of the past. The first Intel-based Macs (probably the laptop line) are rumored to be coming out next week at MacWorld Expo in San Francisco. However, if an Intel-based iMac doesn't come out next week, I doubt I'll wait for one. I consider the G5 to be an extremely capable processor.

    Hope this helps.

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