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8GB or 16GB RAM for a Logic Pro M1 Mac?


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Interesting indeed!

Thanx!

LogicPro 10.7.4, MainStage 3.6,
MBPro 17", Core2Duo, 8G, OSX 10.12.6, MacPro, Xeon 6Cores, 64GB, OSX 10.16.1,
ULN8, MOTU MIDI TP-AV, C4, MCU Pro, KorgNano, Novation SLMkII, Several vintage gear
AAS, NI, Celemony, Spectrasonics, Korg, Arturia, etc..., PC, iPadPro 5th gen 12.9”(Duet D., V-Control & LogicRemote), AtariST(Notator SL),

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  • 3 weeks later...
Seriously? I've got 128GB loaded on my old Mac Pro. I have a Mac Mini I've set up for live performance duties, and I'll max out the RAM before I use it in front of an audience.
Mac Pro 5,1 • Catalina • LPX 10.6 • M-Audio Axiom 49 • Korg nanoKontrol • Focusrite Saffire Pro26 • Embarrassing amount of plug-ins
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I don't need a video to tell me that "chips are cheap!"

 

Logic is a "real-time application," and therefore everything that it needs to manipulate must be "in RAM" at the required instant. Therefore, you really want to invest in "as much RAM as you can get."

 

If I were forced to choose between, say, CPU and RAM, then I would without hesitation spend the money on RAM. Because, it doesn't matter that you're driving a Lamborghini, if your car is stuck in traffic behind a Yugo on a two-lane highway that could have just as easily been four-lane or six-lane.

 

Geek talk: If you don't have enough RAM, the system is forced to use so-called "virtual memory," which is a very poor substitute that tries to use your hard drive to "swap" information in and out on-demand. Unfortunately, this is orders-of-magnitude slower. This can very quickly lead to "system overload" because it couldn't meet the "in real time" requirement.

Mike Robinson - "I wanna quit being a computer consultant and become a composer and arranger at age fifty-nevermind."
Logic Pro X, MacBook Pro, 88-key MIDI controller.

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Can a computer-like thing, what looks like reminiscent of a monolithic thin client, used in client-server systems, considered studio-ready at all? Maybe it need a application server?

 

What it 'looks like' is not really the point, with respect. If you want to run LPX on a laptop, the MacBook Pro is really the only machine to buy. However, I completely agree with @MikeRobinson that RAM is king when it comes to the number of real-time processes a machine can handle.

 

It depends what you're trying to achieve, and your budget. I remember a charity single, more than 20 years ago, where most of the vocal tracks were recorded on a MacBook. That was because a lot of singers were prepared to take part, as long as the project came to them. They certainly didn't want catch a flight to assemble in one studio for a mass sing-a-thon! The song was a big hit.

 

Would I choose a MacBook Pro to handle a plug-in heavy 32+ track mix? Er... No. But I reckon I could just about make it work if I used Freeze on tracks, so they weren't running the plug-ins in real-time. I'd say the most significant thing about a MacBook isn't what it can't achieve, but what it can.

Mac Pro 5,1 • Catalina • LPX 10.6 • M-Audio Axiom 49 • Korg nanoKontrol • Focusrite Saffire Pro26 • Embarrassing amount of plug-ins
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Remember: "RAM is the only thing in your computer that is just as fast as your CPU(s)." And: "your CPU(s) can do nothing without it."

 

As a so-called "real-time application," Logic, when used in real-time mode, must be able to get whatever-it-needs into RAM before it is needed. (Otherwise: "system overload.") It doesn't matter how many CPU(s) it has to work on the data, if the data is not there. This is why, of the various other factors, RAM-size is always most important: the computer can't make information available if there is no place to put it, and "virtual memory" in this case is not the same.

 

Now, having said that: eventually you will run up against some limit of your hardware, no matter how "phat" it is. Such that the only way that you can solve the problem is by breaking it down: by planning-ahead on your project in stages so that you do certain things "not 'in real time.'" "Freeze," "Bounce in Place," and other features actually work quite well: Logic's designers obviously realized the importance of this, so they addressed the need quite admirably.

 

Many projects consist of several parallel sections that don't really involve each other, and which you focus-on one at a time. Once you've finished working on them (for now ...), freeze 'em. Why ask your CPU(s) to waste their time doing the same now-inconsequential thing over and over again?

 

For example – if "the star of your show" needs the benefit of a CPU-soaker plugin, "what about those background singers?" Freeze 'em to make room. Your computer can do a great many things, but it doesn't actually have to do all of them at the same time. No one will know. (You can even freeze your "star.") The sound file will come out the same.

Mike Robinson - "I wanna quit being a computer consultant and become a composer and arranger at age fifty-nevermind."
Logic Pro X, MacBook Pro, 88-key MIDI controller.

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I don't see why anyone would have multiple apps open during a Logic recording session.

I tested my wife's basic M1 mini around a year ago, and it handled Logic with 3rd party plugins well enough. When it was all Native Logic, it flew, and I could envisage completing projects of maybe 8-12 audio trx and 2-4 VIs without issue, as long as Logic's instruments and fx were used.

It's been a general rule of thumb for decades that the more RAM the better, and with Apple,s new M.O. of BTOs, best to be safe than sorry, so I chose 16gb.

I expect the M1max or Pro chips would be overkill for me. Nice to have, but I already committed myself.

2020 M1 Mini (16gb/1tb), macOS 11.6.4, Logic 10.6.3; RME FF802, Novation 61SL Mk II. Martins and Fenders and Guilds, oh my!
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  • 2 weeks later...
I don't see why anyone would have multiple apps open during a Logic recording session.

I tested my wife's basic M1 mini around a year ago, and it handled Logic with 3rd party plugins well enough. When it was all Native Logic, it flew, and I could envisage completing projects of maybe 8-12 audio trx and 2-4 VIs without issue, as long as Logic's instruments and fx were used.

It's been a general rule of thumb for decades that the more RAM the better, and with Apple,s new M.O. of BTOs, best to be safe than sorry, so I chose 16gb.

I expect the M1max or Pro chips would be overkill for me. Nice to have, but I already committed myself.

 

Seriously? 8-12 tracks on M1 mini? Heck, I can do 20+ tracks easily on my 2012 quad core mini.

 

There are some woefully misinformed and outdated responses in this thread. The M1's "system on a chip" architecture simply cannot be compared to older architectural paradigms. We've been conditioned for years to load up our machines with huge amounts of RAM. That's no longer (necessarily) a requirement for an M1 machine because of its architecture and efficient paging.

 

It's true that everyone's use case is different, and for certain instances 16Gb would be a requirement. But for *many, many* users 8Gb in an M1 machine will be entirely adequate.

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I don't see why anyone would have multiple apps open during a Logic recording session.

I tested my wife's basic M1 mini around a year ago, and it handled Logic with 3rd party plugins well enough. When it was all Native Logic, it flew, and I could envisage completing projects of maybe 8-12 audio trx and 2-4 VIs without issue, as long as Logic's instruments and fx were used.

It's been a general rule of thumb for decades that the more RAM the better, and with Apple,s new M.O. of BTOs, best to be safe than sorry, so I chose 16gb.

I expect the M1max or Pro chips would be overkill for me. Nice to have, but I already committed myself.

 

Seriously? 8-12 tracks on M1 mini? Heck, I can do 20+ tracks easily on my 2012 quad core mini.

 

There are some woefully misinformed and outdated responses in this thread. The M1's "system on a chip" architecture simply cannot be compared to older architectural paradigms. We've been conditioned for years to load up our machines with huge amounts of RAM. That's no longer (necessarily) a requirement for an M1 machine because of its architecture and efficient paging.

 

It's true that everyone's use case is different, and for certain instances 16Gb would be a requirement. But for *many, many* users 8Gb in an M1 machine will be entirely adequate.

 

I'm talking the base model. 8gb/256. If my estimate is too conservative, it's cool by me. 8-)

However: I don’t trust the videos that show the base model running with 100+ tracks of loops, basically dropped in as a stress test, along w/fx to be an accurate representation of how many tracks can be loaded, both audio/vi, with a low enough buffer to play another instrument or record audio with no issues.

2020 M1 Mini (16gb/1tb), macOS 11.6.4, Logic 10.6.3; RME FF802, Novation 61SL Mk II. Martins and Fenders and Guilds, oh my!
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Well, virtual-memory "paging" is certainly much more efficient than it used to be because we have "SSD drives" now which have no rotational latency and no seek-time: anything anywhere on the device can be stored or retrieved without mechanical delays. But you are still "paging." From my point of view, "chips are cheap."

 

Logic is typically used as a "real-time" application, and if it can't accomplish everything in real time you get "system overload." That probably happened because something that needed to be in RAM ... wasn't. Not because the CPU core(s) couldn't keep up. To me, it's better to have a six-lane highway than a three-lane one, especially since the price differential really should not be that large.

 

When I buy a computer and they ask me how much RAM I want, I ask how much RAM it will hold. I'm more interested in that than the CPU, because it does no good to have a Ferrari that's stuck in traffic behind a Yugo. :)

Mike Robinson - "I wanna quit being a computer consultant and become a composer and arranger at age fifty-nevermind."
Logic Pro X, MacBook Pro, 88-key MIDI controller.

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Well, virtual-memory "paging" is certainly much more efficient than it used to be because we have "SSD drives" now which have no rotational latency and no seek-time: anything anywhere on the device can be stored or retrieved without mechanical delays. But you are still "paging." From my point of view, "chips are cheap."

 

Logic is typically used as a "real-time" application, and if it can't accomplish everything in real time you get "system overload." That probably happened because something that needed to be in RAM ... wasn't. Not because the CPU core(s) couldn't keep up. To me, it's better to have a six-lane highway than a three-lane one, especially since the price differential really should not be that large.

 

When I buy a computer and they ask me how much RAM I want, I ask how much RAM it will hold. I'm more interested in that than the CPU, because it does no good to have a Ferrari that's stuck in traffic behind a Yugo. :)

+1

LogicPro 10.7.4, MainStage 3.6,
MBPro 17", Core2Duo, 8G, OSX 10.12.6, MacPro, Xeon 6Cores, 64GB, OSX 10.16.1,
ULN8, MOTU MIDI TP-AV, C4, MCU Pro, KorgNano, Novation SLMkII, Several vintage gear
AAS, NI, Celemony, Spectrasonics, Korg, Arturia, etc..., PC, iPadPro 5th gen 12.9”(Duet D., V-Control & LogicRemote), AtariST(Notator SL),

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The expense is significant because we have to go directly through Apple to bump up the RAM. The days of easy and cheap(er) memory upgrades are over for Macs, afaics. So is the storage. I think my BTO Miniin my sig cost €1,460, + Applecare, which is more than double the price of the base Mini. Hope it works for a while.
2020 M1 Mini (16gb/1tb), macOS 11.6.4, Logic 10.6.3; RME FF802, Novation 61SL Mk II. Martins and Fenders and Guilds, oh my!
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  • 1 month later...

I know this conversation is a bit old, but it's still relevant, and I am still confused by RAM usage on the M1 mini. Right now I have 32GB on my 2010 Mac Pro, and my activity monitor says I am using 22GB of it:

 

Physical Memory: 32

Memory Used: 21.90

  • App Memory: 14
    Wired Memory 7.81
    Compressed: 0

Cached Files: 10.01

Swap Used: 0

 

So it seems like 16GB wouldn't cut it for me. Everyone says how much more efficient RAM is on the M1, but I don't know how to translate that sentiment into numbers. Would I just have 16GB in Memory Used, and the other 6GB in Swap, and I wouldn't care if it were in Swap, because the M1 swaps memory so fast? There are 6 billion videos showing how awesome CPU usage is for Logic, but I can't find anything concrete about RAM.

 

Any thoughts?

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Well, "swap" does matter, in any so-called "virtual memory" system, because it causes a hardware interrupt which (maybe briefly) stops the process from continuing to execute before the so-called "page fault" can be resolved.  MacOS must retrieve the page from "swap," possibly first "swapping out" something else to make room, before it can allow the process to continue execution.  That takes time.

For a "real-time program" such as Logic, this could be ... "system overload."  Because: "even milliseconds matter."

This is why, given a choice between CPU-type and RAM-size, I would always choose RAM.  Your statistics look healthy: all of Logic's requirements are being handled by RAM, and nothing is being "swapped."  All of your CPU's "engines" are running without delay.

Edited by MikeRobinson

Mike Robinson - "I wanna quit being a computer consultant and become a composer and arranger at age fifty-nevermind."
Logic Pro X, MacBook Pro, 88-key MIDI controller.

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